Short Take Reviews: Birthday Girl, Come Back for Me, Great and Precious Things


Contemporary romance reigns supreme today (and every day). Today I'm sharing my reviews of three contemporary romances: one backlist title (Birthday Girl from 2018) and two newer titles from this year. 

  

Birthday Girl is one that I’d been excited to read for a long time. What I had anticipated was a sexy age gap story. What I didn’t expect was a slow burn romance that had me emotionally invested. There was some insta-attraction/insta-connection but there was also a close relationship that slowly formed over time. I loved the dual POV, and being privy to both Jordan and Pike’s thoughts went a long way in showing how they both struggled with their feelings. They were both such likable characters, and good people who were unselfish and had no desire to hurt anyone else (namely Cole – Pike’s son/Jordan’s boyfriend). Pike, in particular, was so hard on himself and was so certain he didn’t deserve to have Jordan in his life. Their chemistry – and the sexual tension – was off the charts and made for a story that I could hardly put down. Something I loved: Jordan’s love for 80’s music and Pike giving her an entire box of cassette tapes from the 80’s. And Pike making Jordan a garden in the backyard. 

Eight years ago, Connor and Ellie spent a night together that neither of them ever forgot. The next day Connor was gone and shortly after Ellie was married. But they never forgot that one perfect night. When Connor was forced to return to his hometown after his father’s death he was shocked to find Ellie. The years had been hard for them both in different ways and there were still obstacles keeping them apart. I loved both Connor and Ellie from the very start. Connor was such a good man and his determination to be there for Ellie and her daughter warmed my heart. Eillie showed incredible strength and I found myself so thankful that she finally had someone who was determined to help her at all costs. I typically don't enjoy kids in my romance novels (too precocious and overly precious) but it was impossible not to be charmed by Hadley. There were scenes that were difficult to read and were truly heart breaking but Corinne Michaels balanced the darker moments with swoony romance and characters that I genuinely cared about. I adored Connor and Ellie’s story and now I’m counting the days until the release of the next Arrowood brother’s story. Something I loved: Connor's connection with Hadley and the way that little girl owned him made me melt. 

A phone call from the father who disowned him brought Cam back to the town where he grew up. Determined to do right by his father, who is suffering from Alzheimer's and wants a say in his medical decisions, Cam is back in the place where he is held responsible for the loss of the town’s golden boy – his younger brother Sullivan. Now facing off against his older brother regarding his dad’s care, he’s also facing Sullivan’s fiancĂ©e, Willow, the only woman he has ever loved.

There was a lot going on in Great and Precious Things but it never felt like too much. It was impossible not to hurt for Cam, a man who others were all too willing to demonize and lay blame upon. Seriously, this small town was filled with the most small-minded and judgmental people ever. And unfortunately, Cam was so filled with guilt and regret and grief that he accepted the blame. I loved the slow build of the relationship between him and Willow and the way she was so willing to stand up for him and fight for him. Something no one had done before. Their path was not an easy one but it made me all the more desperate for a good outcome. Great and Precious Things was a story of loss and grief, of forgiveness and reconciliation, and of love and second chances. Yarros wrote an intense and emotional story and there were a few scenes that brought me to tears. I highly recommend this powerful story. Something I loved: Willow's relationship with her sister was a real highlight. Their love and total support for each other was so great to see.


Have you read any of these books?


24 comments

  1. Yes! I have read and liked Birthday Girl and Great and Precious Things!

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  2. So Birthday Girl was not on my radar to read but after your review I'm like I need it. I've not read any Penelope Douglas before but I know the authors name so I think I might have to check that out. It sounds like a good book and I am all about the slowburn romance. And I read a Rebecca Yarros book ages ago and Have basically had the author on my radar ever since to try another book from her and Great and Precious Things sounds like the perfect book to try.

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    1. Birthday Girl was my first by Penelope Douglas but now I definitely want to read more. Great and Precious Things was pretty emotional so it’s one you really need to be in the mood for.

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  3. Wow! What an awkward set up for Birthday Girl. I have to give kudos to the author for being able to pull that one off in a positive way

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    1. Right? It could have felt skeevy and salacious but instead you just knew these two people belonged together.

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  4. I like sounds of the slow burn romance in Birthday Girl. Great and Precious Things sounds like one powerful and emotional read.

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    1. Birthday Girl was seriously slow burn... and so, so good!

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  5. All three solid reads. I'm glad to see you're finding so much to get into during these stay at home times!

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    1. Thanks Ethan. Thank goodness for the escape of reading!

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  6. I really liked reading your short reviews with your loves at the end. I have read and enjoyed all of these, so it was eve more fun to read them. Great reviews!

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    1. Thanks Deanna! I always enjoy reading of reviews of books I’ve already read and loved, too.

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  7. I really enjoy romances where we get both POVs - it's nice to see how both people are feeling!

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    1. Same here, Angela! I just love getting both main character’s point of view.

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  8. I think I might have a copy of Birthday Girl. I do enjoy Penelope Douglas, so happy to see it was a win for you! :)

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    1. Birthday Girl was my first by Penelope Douglas so now I’m excited to read more!

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  9. I've been extremely wary of Birthday Girl but you've made me want to read it! It's on KU too so if my slump would go away, I just might do it! :)

    Great and Precious Things is definitely on my list but Yarros' military themed books always gut me so it's on the back burner until I'm in the mood for pain and tears!

    Three 4-star reads! Not a bad group. :)

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    1. Birthday Girl was more than I expected. I certainly recommend it. And yes, you definitely have to be in the right mood for a Yarros book. Prepare yourself. LOL

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  10. I need to read these. What am I doing with my life? In January I was feeling all energetic and I requested a ton of review books and now I don't want to read them. I want romance. I want distraction.

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    1. I should be reading romance now myself for the easy distraction. Instead I’m reading a historical fiction that is breaking my heart.

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  11. These are all new to me and Great and Precious Things is really calling to me because it sounds like it packs such an emotional punch.

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    1. Great and Precious Things was an emotional story but, oddly, not as emotional as I anticipated. I'd been "warned" about Yarros' brand of story telling and was expecting something truly gut-wrenching. It was intense and did bring me to tears once, but not overly done at all.

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  12. You have me a little more excited to pick up Birthday Girl!

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    1. I hope you'll enjoy Birthday Girl if you decide to try it. It wasn't quite what I expected - and I mean that in a good way. :)

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