To Love a Prince by Rachel Hauck (2020)
When they were children, Daffodil spent a lot of time with the royal family, particularly Prince Augustus, but when she inadvertently stumbles across a royal secret of epic proportions, the Queen banished her. Now 18 years later, she runs into Gus and they pick up right where they left off, and maybe a bit more. This was actually a contemporary novel, which I perhaps wasn't expecting at first. I loved learning about Daffodil's career as an art curator, but the relationship between her and Gus was the heart of the book. Neither has had great luck in love, and when they meet again, both quickly realize that it's what they've been searching for all along; now they just have to convince the Queen that it's a good match. This was a sweet and well-written story. I wanted to know what the big royal secret was, and it was pretty surprising, although not totally dealt with well, in my opinion. The book is Christian fiction, which didn't really come up often until the end of the book and helped explain some things. 3.5 stars
Squeeze Play by Aven Ellis (2017)
Recent college graduate Hayley has found her dream job at a Washington, D.C. nonprofit. She has no plans to start dating, until she meets professional baseball player, Brody, who challenges her in the best ways. I didn't love this book, but I did think it was a cute read. Hayley was a bit of a mixed bag for me - I feel like she tried to portray this really mature demeanor, but she still seemed immature in a lot of ways. I appreciated that she wanted to better herself and her career, and she seemed to have a pretty solid plan of doing that. The relationship between Hayley and Brody was sweet with just a little bit of heat. I loved their banter and the way they challenged each other on what they wanted out of life. The support and honesty they showed each other was really inspiring. That said, the writing was a bit simplistic and repetitive. Their conversations often felt a bit unrealistic and too sugary sweet. What little drama there was was solved way too quickly and easily. 3 stars
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