The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada

imagesOriginally published in Library Journal, March 22, 2019.

Young Puerto Rican single mom, Angel Gomez, is almost through nursing school, while bartending at a high end club, the Peacock, in the evenings to pay the bills. Pregnant at 15, she then lost her mother at age 17, giving Angel an independent, tough exterior. Her older, brassy neighbor Gabriella, a hair salon owner, helps take care of 7 year old Jose, a mixed race boy with asthma who loves baseball. Yankees star pitcher, Caleb “Duke” Lewis, is having ankle pain after a scandalous bar fight which left his best friend dead. He begins secretly coming to Angel’s clinic to receive treatment from the shady attending doctor. The handsome black baseball player is cocky, proposing that beautiful Angel pretend to be his girlfriend for the media to keep attention off of his injury, hoping he’ll get contracted for another season. Meanwhile, Angel is dealing with sexual harassment at both of her jobs, while Duke has financial trouble. The title is a bit misleading; as the characters never really have a perfect date, only attend a party together that ends with quite the unpleasant surprise. Told in alternating point of view, the story is full of diverse characters, but it’s also overfilled with subplots, choppy narrative, and the ending is tied up in a predictable bow. VERDICT: Recommended for strictly additional purchase as this contemporary romance novel has far less plausibility and actual romance than others of its genre.

Faker by Sarah Smith

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Faker delights readers with a multicultural office romance that developed from two coworkers who really can’t stand each other…until they can’t stand being away from each other. Hawaiian born Emmie Echavarre knows how to fake her way through many things, especially her days in the office at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company full of men. Being one of the few women in the office causes her trips to the warehouse to be anxiety ridden. Her friends know her as easy going and fun but at work she fakes a tough persona, placing a no nonsense barrier between herself and her coworkers.  One coworker in particular, Tate Rasmussen, an all American white boy compete with curly blond hair and burly physique, has always been hostile with Emmie, scowling at her from his office where she has full view of his perfect biceps and curly locks. Even though he’s ridiculously handsome and swoony, Emmie forces herself to dish out the curtness and coldness right back to him. When the two are placed on a charity work team together to build a house, things heat up and scowls and grimaces turn to kisses and smoldering looks. Turns out neither Emmie or Tate are as bad as they thought each other were. Thus begins quite the adventure of a relationship, including an unforeseen emergency surgery & hospital stay for Emmie and a tension filled high school reunion for Tate. It’s also filled with some laugh-out-loud moments and tender moments between Emmie and Tate once his rough exterior is peeled away. Hang in there, readers, you’ll love it all the way to the end. Fans of Helena Hunting’s The Hating Game and Christina Lauren’s rom-coms will enjoy this debut romantic comedy from Sarah Smith. Thanks to Berkley for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Best Rom-Com Books

Romantic Comedies

Let’s talk rom-coms. Literary rom-coms that is. I’m a huge sucker for a quick, lighthearted romance book. I’m not referring to what I would call cheesy, sappy romance (in the vein of Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, etc.) or time period romance (i.e. the book covers with the scantily-clad women and long haired muscled man-beasts). Unless it’s Chris Helmsworth, no long hair for me please. I’m referring to the “meet-cute” type romance book that will have you laughing, crying, and swooning throughout the story. I’ve seen a trend in publishing lately where more and more books in this fun, enjoyable genre are being released, and it brings me great joy. I must read them ALL!

My Favorites – So, without further ado, here are some that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed lately:

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez (June 11, 2019)

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey (June 11, 2019)

Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (May 14, 2019)

One Day in December by Josie Silver

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

Dating You, Hating You by Christina Lauren

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Roomies by Christina Lauren

Intercepted by Alexa Martin

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

Fumbled by Alexa Martin

Blitzed by Alexa Martin

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

My TBR – Here are some on my to-read list (along with their publication date if they are still forthcoming):

Fight or Flight by Samantha Young

Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith

The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren

This is by no means a complete list, just some that I have read and enjoyed and some that I have flagged to read. Does anyone have any others to suggest for me, in case I finish all these in this lifetime? 🙂 Please drop them in the comments if you do!

Best wishes & happy reading,

Librarian Laura