Book Review – Irish Magic

Title: Irish Magic
Author: Susan B. James
Published: August 2019
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 2 stars
Cover: It’s okay

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Synopsis:

She needs a hero. He needs a break.
A four-leaf clover, a leprechaun with a mission, and a matchmaker may have other plans for them.

What do you do when everything goes wrong?
Make a wish to a four-leaf clover, right?
There’s no other logical way out of it!

A bitter end to her engagement turned novelist Kate Carnahan’s hero into a snarky disaster. With a deadline looming, Kate’s willing to try anything to find a new hero even wishing on a four-leaf clover.

But a clover wish is a heart wish. Everyone knows that! When part leprechaun, Bradley Flynn, is charged with finding Kate’s true love for her, he calls on Essie O’Callaghan, the Hereditary Matchmaker of Cluhalaugh who happens to have a mission of her own.

Dr. Michael Walshe had a ring in his pocket when he walked in on his girlfriend sleeping with her costar. He wants no part of Essie’s plan to find him a wife.

Fate – or something more leprechaun shaped – has Kate and the doctor bumping into each other wherever they go in Ireland. Will Kate realize that Michael could be far more to her than the cure to her writer’s block?

Thank you to Susan B. James, Soul Mate Publishing, and Xpresso Book Tours for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

I love stories that take place in the beautiful island of Ireland, and I was excited for a magical element through some leprechaun lore. Two people who are down in their luck somehow end up running into each other every turn they make on their individual vacations. Both have experienced a series of hurtful experiences that make them both lackluster toward the idea of new love, but with the help of a very friendly leprechaun who isn’t allowed to use his magic, they might just learn to embrace the wonderful unknowns of a new relationship.

While there was so much potential for a truly magical story, it just needed a ton of work. Much of the dialogue was awkward, transitions were missing, and changes in emotions weren’t followed well. I wish there had been more fact checking–one part in particular that stuck with me was the fact that the characters said Nintendo doesn’t exist anymore and they played Mario Kart on an Xbox. I texted my fiancé immediately when I read this, and he started laughing. I’m guessing James is hoping her audience doesn’t play video games?

For being a predominantly romance-driven book, I found the scenes where the sexual tensions build to be lacking. The sex was extremely fast and there is even a part where one character believes the only reason she could be so sexually attracted to the other character is because she’s been possessed by a random ghost that made an appearance a page or so ago.

I found myself wanting to read more about what’s at stake for each of the characters, or even understand more of the half-baked side romance stories. Kate is the character who gets the most background in this area, but I wanted more from the others instead of reading Kate go through the same exact internal struggle every few hours. I think the reason I am being so critical is because I see so much potential for this story, I just wish it could’ve gone through several more edits before it arrived here.

Book Review – Rebound Boyfriend

Title: Rebound Boyfriend (Varsity Girlfriends #3)
Author: Daphne James Huff
Published: April 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Goodreads

Rating: 2 Stars
Cover: It’s okay

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Synopsis:

I am 100%, completely, totally over Jeremiah.

After all, he’s the one who dumped me.
For my best friend.
Via text message.
Two days before Christmas.

So I did what any self-respecting head cheerleader would do: I started dating his teammate. Who’s great. Really.

But now Jeremiah keeps looking at me like he misses holding me just as much as I miss being in his arms. And we’ve been paired up for the most important history project of my entire life.

Can my heart survive this? Or should I hope for another shot with the only boy I’ve ever loved?

Rebound Boyfriend is a sweet second chance sports romance you’ll swoon over instantly. It’s the third book in the Varsity Girlfriends series.

“Everyone who knew how to make things better had left me. This was all on me to figure out” (chapter 26)

Thank you Kayla Tirrell and the Varsity Girlfriends team for a free copy in return for an honest review.

This story left a bitter taste in my mouth. I didn’t find any of the characters to be engaging or redeeming, except for possibly parts with Jeremiah. I tried not to go into this story with any time of YA cheerleader stereotypes, but this story stuck pretty close to the script. All of the girls were whiny and superficial. Sammi just wasn’t very likable, which made it hard to empathize with her while she’s dealing with heartache.

Things that made me frustrated: Sammi’s best friend was extremely manipulative. There’s a line between trying to help your friend get over their ex and forcing them to do things to make that happen, and Staci for sure crosses that line completely. I also didn’t like Sammi’s relationship with Ryan–or really Ryan at all. He was annoying and I couldn’t make sense of anything he did. Sammi’s decision to train him to be a good boyfriend was a really half-assed plot device and wasn’t fleshed out well at all. And finally, the reveal of why Jeremiah broke up with Sammi, even though he was clearly not over her, was extremely anti-climatic and pretty silly.

I did very much enjoy some of the scenes between Sammi and Jeremiah, specifically when they were working on their history project. The chemistry between them was fun to read.