Beauty and the Baller by Ilsa Madden-Mills (2022)
After a disastrous one-night stand, a former football player turned coach and a former beauty queen are surprised to find they're now neighbors in her small hometown. Will they make the most of their second chance? I'd heard so many good things about this author, and this book in particular, that I had really high expectations - and unfortunately, this missed the mark for me. I honestly can't even really explain why. Something about it just didn't click for me. I have no problem with one-night stands, but the reasons behind it seemed a little icky to me and I wasn't necessarily rooting for Ronan and Nova to overcome it. I liked that Nova dropped everything to be there for her younger sister, but she also seemed so aimless. Ronan and Nova's conversations were often cringey and cliche, with too much purple prose. The side characters felt quirky just for the sake of being quirky, and the depictions of teenage football players felt so off. This book has such a high rating on Goodreads, so this seems to be more of a "me" issue, and I hope other readers enjoy this book more than I did. 2 stars
My Cone and Only by Susannah Nix (2021)
When I first heard about this new series, which follows the King siblings in their small Texas town, also home to their family's ice cream company, I was pretty excited, but unfortunately, this first book was a bit of a letdown. The first book focuses on Wyatt King and his relationship with Andie, his best friend's little sister. They have both been hiding their feelings for years, but when Andie needs Wyatt's help to fix up her house so she doesn't lose it, they finally open up to each other. It's a cute trope, and I liked Wyatt's loyalty to Josh, but there were things that didn't work for me. I didn't expect that the King family would be so... dysfunctional? Usually in these types of series, it's a very close-knit family, but the Kings just seem like a mess. And Wyatt basically has nothing to do with the family business, so that seemed odd. Also, I'm not sure what Andie saw in Wyatt - he drinks, smokes weed, lives in a disgusting apartment, has no steady job, and sleeps with any girl who looks at him. The story is fairly predictable, but it has the happy ending you're looking for in a romance. 3 stars
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