The Betrothed by Kiera Cass

Book cover of The Betrothed by Kiera Cass

Book cover of The Betrothed by Kiera CassThe true tragedy of publishing is that successful authors are given a free ride to publishing their next book, regardless of the quality. Kiera Cass skyrocketed to fame with the publication of her series, The Selection. The original trilogy was a fun romp, mixing elements of The Bachelor with all the dystopian clichés – they weren’t the most groundbreaking books, but they were perfect for relaxing on a beach with. However, every book she has written since then has been a decline in quality. Finally, with The Betrothed, Cass has finally reached the point where her books have become a waste of paper.

When King Jameson declares his love for Lady Hollis Brite, Hollis is shocked—and thrilled. After all, she’s grown up at Keresken Castle, vying for the king’s attention alongside other daughters of the nobility. Capturing his heart is a dream come true.

But Hollis soon realizes that falling in love with a king and being crowned queen may not be the happily ever after she thought it would be. And when she meets a commoner with the mysterious power to see right into her heart, she finds that the future she really wants is one that she never thought to imagine.

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Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Photo of the book Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Photo of the book Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

I’ve been on a kick of revisiting young adult contemporary’s that came out around the time I was in high school and middle school. I’ve reread some Sarah Dessen books, a few Rainbow Rowell books, and a few newer YA contemporaries that came out after I was in high school. With this nostalgia kick I have going I decided to pick up a book that I have had on my shelf since middle school. Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt had a certain sense of appeal to me it seemed to promise decent levels of angst as well as a fun road trip. What I wasn’t expecting were vile, sexist characters and an overdrawn plot.

This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They’re even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.

Then Jordan dumps Courtney—for a girl he met on the Internet. It’s too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney’s heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days.

La la la—this is Courtney pretending not to care. But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.

Turns out, he’s got a secret or two that he’s not telling Courtney. And his secrets have everything to do with why they broke up, why they can’t get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.

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Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

Photo of the book Love Her or List Her by Tessa Bailey

Photo of the book Love Her or List Her by Tessa Bailey

Financial abuse, a controlling husband, and an unhealthy relationship, oh my! I’ll be honest, I really didn’t love the first book in the series – Fix Her Up – but I decided to give the second one, Love Her or Lose Her, a shot. The reason I decided to try it out was because it had a different story than most of the romances I read. This book is about two characters who are already married and have gone through their meet cute and their love story and who are now considering getting divorced. Somehow, this book was even worse than the first and I definitely will not be reading anything else that this author puts out.

Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.

Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to-emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippy. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous—yet surprisingly helpful—assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret… and it could demolish everything.

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Opposite of Always by Justin A Reynolds

I’ve been on a bit of a roll of time traveling books lately – Recursion by Blake Crouch, the Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver – and they’ve all been phenomenal. So when I saw there was a YA rom-com time travel book coming out, I got really excited about it and couldn’t wait to see the author’s spin on the trope. Plus, I don’t seem to read many books in YA genre with male narrators, so I was excited to get a bit more diversity in my reading. Unfortunately, this book relied far too heavily on the time travel mechanism and failed to really tell a story. It’s deeply repetitive, the romance feels forced and inorganic, and none of the characters are likable. Altogether, this is a nonsensical take on a fun narrative mechanism.

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack.

But then Kate dies. And their story should end there.

Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind.

Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves.

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I Didn’t Come to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain by Courtney Robertson and Deb Baer

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I am a Bachelor junkie – I host a viewing party weekly for my friends, I’ve seen almost every season, and I follow a lot of the contestants on Instagram. In case you are not familiar with the show, every single season of The Bachelor has at least one central ‘villain’ contestant – they usually hang around long enough to stir up some drama and have some fun, quippy lines during their interviews. Courtney Robertson was one of the most legendary villains to ever be on the show – she constantly berated and mocked other contestants and against all odds ended up winning her season. The Bachelor production team is notoriously manipulative (and great at editing sound bites) so I was excited to see if Courtney had been a victim of this manipulation and to get her side of the story. Sadly, this book didn’t end up changing my opinion of Courtney for the better.

Millions of devoted fans of ABC’s reality hit The Bachelor tune in each week find out which lucky woman will win the heart of America’s most desirable single. But what happens in the fantasy suite doesn’t always stay in the fantasy suite. For the first time ever, a former Bachelor contestant offers up an insider look at the love, heartbreak, and reality behind reality television.

Courtney Robertson joined season sixteen of The Bachelor looking for love. A working model and newly single, Courtney fit the casting call: she was young, beautiful, and a natural in front of the cameras. But as her bachelor, winery owner Ben Flajnik, was unveiled and the season unfolded, something else was also clear—she was not there to make friends.

Courtney quickly became the biggest villain in Bachelor franchise history. She unapologetically pursued her man, steamrolled her competition, and broke the rules—including an illicit skinny-dip that sealed her proposal. Now, after a very public breakup with Ben, Courtney opens up about what really happened—from her first moments in the limo, to her proposal on a Swiss mountain top, to the tabloid frenzy that continued after the cameras stopped rolling. Dubbed “one of the most controversial contestants” ever, Courtney dishes on fellow alums in Bachelor Nation and explains why most relationships implode after the final rose.

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