Amanda Reads: The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky

I’m breaking my MFA thesis hiatus to write a quick review of the super fun romance novel I managed to find time to read this weekend: The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky by Summer Heacock.

Title for Awkward Path to Getting Lucky by Summer HeacockI got an arc of The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky via NetGalley back in the summer months when I had time for things like pleasure reading and not wringing my hands over the essays in my thesis. This weekend, I realized I needed to read something not thesis related, so I dug up my copy and let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

If someone had been writing specifically to an audience of Amanda, they couldn’t have done much better than this book. Cupcakes! Awkward issues preventing successful sexy times! Banter! More cupcakes!

Now, I read romance fairly irregularly because it takes a very specific level of awkwardness for me to enjoy it, so I could be off base here, but I’ve never personally encountered a book that deals so deeply with physical issues in the bedroom while also somehow providing steamy sexual tension.

Main character Kat has somehow forgotten to make time to deal with some physical issues preventing successful sexy times with her longterm boyfriend and as the two year mark approaches, she gets a little bit desperate to find a way to reignite her spark.

While Kat was sometimes oblivious to her own emotions and behaviors, it was still fun being along for the ride. Plus, the side characters each had their own fleshed-out backstories and personalities, which lent her girl gang of cupcakery coworkers some authenticity–even if one of them is named Butter, which seemed a bit far fetched. The love interest was also adorably nervous and nerdy, which is more or less catnip for me, so I was 100% head over heels for this story.

As is often the case for me when I read romance, I felt that the plot pacing was a bit odd at times, with everything speeding along after a given point. But as someone who likes a good slow simmer (see: Jim and Pam in The Office) that’s probably just personal preference speaking.

All in all, spending my weekend with this book was a delightful way to reset and refresh. I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks sexy times can be a bit awkward or who loves some good banter. Or cupcakes, for that matter.

Amanda Reads: The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach

This week, I’m writing about Kat French’s The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach. (Full disclosure: I received an egalley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review).

This title is yet another one of the romance titles I’ve picked up this summer in my thirst for quick, light reads. This one is a sugary sweet as the berry-infused rum that pervades the island on which it takes place, and I mean that in both good and bad ways.

Bed and breakfast on the beachThere was a lot about this book that I liked. The, er, romantic scenes were compellingly written and, since there are three main characters, varied.

The island setting made me feel like I was reading on the beach, which was a nice touch.

The three main female characters were written convincingly as nuanced, unique individuals, and their love interests (to varying degrees) were fairly well-rounded, as well.

In the beginning, I read through pretty quickly and was gripped with the building romances… but then the plot became a thing and I got distracted by how ridiculous it was.

The premise of this book was perhaps too much a flight of fancy for being the third or fourth romance title I’ve read this summer. I know romance is often about fantasy, but personally I need a plot I can at least somewhat buy in order to be engaged.

In this one, three women buy an island villa on a whim while on vacation, then move to the Italian island to run said villa. Once there, they discover they signed up for more than they thought, since the island’s supply of super-secret gin is produced at the villa. Which, okay. But also… what?

One love story seemed central in spite of the three characters seemingly set up as equal narrators (the chapters shift between third person filters of each woman’s experience).

In addition, the main problem that the women would have to solve became all too immediately obvious, and the ominous vibe set up by the introduction never quite felt earned.

All in all, I enjoyed reading this book well enough, but it isn’t one I’d want to return to. It’s a fun, light book for when you’re wanting to really escape the ordinary–and engage in suspending your disbelief, as well.