Mini-Reviews: Bittersweet, Make Me Bad, and Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin

Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Source: Borrowed

The new series is set in Vermont. True North is populated by the tough, outdoorsy mountain men that populate the Green Mountain State. They raise cows and they grow apples. They chop a lot of wood, especially when they need to blow off steam. (Beards are optional but encouraged.)

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard.

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

I picked up Bittersweet purely because of my romanceopoly reading challenge, and since I expected to flat-out hate it, I ended up liking it a lot more than I’d expected. I’ve been meaning to read some of Sarina Bowen’s books for years, so I guess it’s a plus that I finally got the chance to.

Now, Bittersweet was fine. It started off well enough. I liked both Audrey and Griff. They definitely had chemistry and some good banter. I wanted to eat and drink everything that was mentioned in the book. The side characters were pretty likable as well. But then the book turned into a bunch of sex scenes in a row and kind of lost the plot and that’s one of my least favorite things to have happen in a romance novel.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t necessarily what I was expecting, either.

#romanceopoly: uptown


Make Me Bad by R.S. Grey
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: March 7, 2019
Source: Purchased

I was issued a warning: stay away from Ben Rosenberg.

As Clifton Cove’s resident “king”, he thinks he’s entitled to anyone and anything.

The trouble is, I’ve spent my whole life following the rules and playing it safe. I know what it feels like to be the good girl. I’m the police chief’s daughter and a librarian—for adorable children, no less.

An all-nighter with a fictional hunk is about as exciting as my life gets until one day, fate decides to take pity on me and shove me straight into the path of Mr. Off-Limits himself.

Just as I suspected, every inch of him promises to be my demise. Up close, he’s tall, menacing—a lawyer who looks like he’ll bite. A well-behaved girl would do as she’s told and avoid him at all costs, but I’m overdue for a little rebellion.

So, I ignore the warning and throw caution to the wind. But Ben doesn’t just nudge me out of my comfort zone—he thrusts me into a dark corner and presses his hard body against mine, covering my mouth with his hand to ensure we don’t get caught sneaking around. In that moment, I finally understand why everyone thinks he’s going to ruin me.

To him, this is all a game.
He wants to tempt me with his dares and taunt me with his words.
I should play along. After all, I asked him to make me bad. I just never thought he’d take his job quite so seriously…

I love R.S. Grey’s books and, as expected, I loved the beginning of this one. I read the first half on a plane and had to try very hard to keep myself from laughing out loud at some of the things Madison said and did. Ben was just the right amount of “bad,” not so much that it was over the top, but just enough to keep things interesting. Madison and Ben had great chemistry, so I’m not really sure why I didn’t end up loving this book.

Maybe it’s because the whole “make me bad” thing disappears and then there’s just some drama that’s honestly pretty unbelievable. I’m not sure how to say this without spoilers, but as someone who’d been living on her own for seven years by the time I was 25 years old, I just didn’t understand how Madison still let her father control her life like that.

I ended up being a little disappointed with this one, but it was still really easy to read. I might not have loved this one, but I’m still excited to read whatever Rachel writes next.

#romanceopoly: bad boy circus


Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin by Mariana Zapata
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: August 21, 2015
Source: Borrowed

Twenty-six-year-old Gaby Barreto might be a lot of things (loyal, sarcastic, one of the guys and a pain in the butt depending on which family member you ask), but dumb isn’t one of them. When her twin brother invites her to go on tour as his band’s merch girl, she isn’t exactly screaming at the top of her lungs with joy.

With no job opportunities pounding on her door, an ex-boyfriend she would still like to castrate, and no end in sight to moving out of her parents’ house in Dallas… it would be dumb to say no to the chance of a lifetime. Two bands, three continents, one tour. Spending the next ninety-plus days with three beloved idiots and eight complete strangers shouldn’t be a big deal, right?

If only the singer of the headlining band didn’t have tattoos… a great personality… a fantastic body… and if he wasn’t so funny….

Let’s be real: Gaby never had a chance against Sacha Malykhin.

I’ve been meaning to read a Mariana Zapata book for a while, so when I had to read a rockstar romance and found this one available through Hoopla, I figured it was fate. I had zero expectations going into this and it turned out okay! It wasn’t the best book I’ve read all year, but I definitely didn’t hate it.

Sacha was a great hero. Above all else, he’s a great friend to Gaby and he always seemed to legitimately care about her. Gaby, on the other hand, frustrated me a little bit. It seemed like she’d put herself in these uncomfortable situations (like the hair thing??) for no reason, and she was also so frustratingly blind to Sacha’s feelings! I mean, I’m the kind of person that never believes someone likes them, but Gaby took it like fifteen steps further than me.

All in all, if you’re looking for a cute friends-to-lovers romance that is exceptionally slow burn (due mostly to Gaby being oblivious) then you might like this one.

#romanceopoly: downtown


Have you read any of these books? Have you read any good romances recently?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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10 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews: Bittersweet, Make Me Bad, and Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin

  1. rayasreads says:

    Bittersweet is actually the first book I read of Sarina Bowen and the only one I liked.
    And reading your review of Make Me Bad has me feeling nostalgic because while I merely liked the book, I absolutely detested Grey’s most recent book.
    Mariana Zapata is an author who I feel follows one formula for almost all her books. Rhythm, Chord…. is one of the very few that don’t follow that formula.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dinipandareads says:

    Rhythm, Chord is one Zapata book that for some reason I haven’t been pulled to pick up. I’ve read quite a few of her other books though and I wasn’t a fan of the very veryy slow burn romances until I read her books! I would recommend The Wall of Winnipeg and Me if you’re keen on reading more of her stuff 🙂 Great mini reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

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