The Best Man Problem by Mariah Ankenman: Review + Blog Tour Contest

Today’s review is part of the official blog tour. Keep reading after the review for your chance to win an Amazon gift card.

I adored the first book in the Mile High Happiness series, so when I had the chance to read an early e-ARC of The Best Man Problem by Mariah Ankenman, I jumped. This one was just as charming as the first book, and has me even more eagerly awaiting the third installment.

Lilly Walsh is used to keeping things buttoned-up and aboveboard. After all, the last time she hooked up with someone in a wedding party, it nearly cost her her wedding planning business. Thankfully, those rules don’t apply when she meets a handsome stranger in a hotel bar. One bad pirate joke leads to the best night of her life, but come morning, she’s got a wedding to plan.

Lincoln Reid never imagined he’d see the woman who rocked his world last night and then ran out on him ever again. But there she is, planning his best friend’s wedding with the same passion and drive that brought him to his knees. She’s adamant that wedding planner and best man can never mix, but that just means he’s got four weeks to make her see him as more than just a one-night guy. Because he’s itching for more than one night … or five, or ten …

Each book is a standalone romance, so no worries if you haven’t read The Best-Friend Problem (although I highly recommend it). Lilly and Lincoln were such great characters, and their chemistry is sizzling. There’s also so much heart and humor injected into this story, making it truly fit the definition of a “feel-good read.” This book just made me happy.

Lilly and Lincoln both bring their own baggage to the table, and it causes hurdles for both of them to overcome in regards to building a relationship. But sometimes, those sparks just can’t be denied.

I loved seeing the push and pull between these two, and the build-up both to their major conflict and their eventual resolution were truly satisfying. Definitely a swoon-worthy, and at times hilarious, romance. Look for The Best Man Problem in stores now.

Available Now: Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle |  B&NiBooksKobo

Bestselling author Mariah Ankenman lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her two rambunctious daughters and loving husband who provides ample inspiration for her heart-stopping heroes.

Whether she’s writing hometown heroes or sexy supernaturals, Mariah loves to lose herself in a world of words. Her favorite thing about writing is when she can make someone’s day a little brighter with one of her books.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

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Sara | Novel Novice

The Romance Books That Kept Me Sane Through Fertility Treatments

In case you missed my recent post, I am expecting twins in May — and this much-wanted pregnancy comes after two years of fertility treatments.

The thing about fertility treatments and infertility in general is that it sucks you dry, mentally and emotionally. As a woman going through treatments, you’re pumping your body full of powerful hormones (sometimes involving lots and lots and lots of needles, with which you use to give YOURSELF injections), going through regularly invasive tests and procedures (some more painful than others), and constantly riding a roller coaster of hope and letdown. Hoping, hoping, hoping for that positive pregnancy test … and then crushing disappointment when you see yet another negative. Worse still are the times when you do see that positive, only for things to end in a miscarriage. (I had two within a few months of each other.)

It’s HARD to get through, and there are times where I wonder how my husband and I survived (with our marriage intact, no less).

But one of the small blessings that helped me get through some of the darkest days of infertility was reading. And while I continued to read and love a lot of YA books, the books that most helped me get through fertility treatments were romances.

That’s because the very definition of romance guarantees a happily ever after. And when your own life includes a lot of heartbreak and uncertainty, picking up a book that you know will end well is a very relaxing and satisfying endeavor. It’s also why I was particularly drawn towards romantic comedies in particular. Not only was I guaranteed an HEA, but I would probably get a lot of laughs along the way. I needed — craved — lightness and humor and happiness in my stories.

I read A LOT during my fertility journey, usually more so when things were going poorly. It would be near impossible to list ALL of the books that I read during this time, but here’s a look at some of the books and authors that really helped keep me going and made me laugh and smile, when real life made me want to cry endlessly.

Well Met by Jen Deluca

An advanced copy of this book landed in my hands just days after learning our first round of IVF had failed. Not only did this book bring me so much joy, it also inspired me to volunteer again for our local Ren Faire — which was an added dose of distraction and joy in the midst of utter heartbreak.

Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This book was published right after our first round of IVF failed, so I read it around the same time as Well Met. It is just a bundle of joy, in a charming pink package. I laughed endlessly while reading this book. Simply put, it made me feel so happy at a time when I was severely depressed.

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

A friend loaned me her ARC of this book over the summer, when my husband & I were gearing up for what would be our final attempt at IVF. Whether it worked or not, we knew this would be our last attempt at IVF because we couldn’t afford any more tries. The Bromance Book Club is not only a hilarious, refreshing new take on the romance genre, but it kept me distracted from obsessing over whether our last IVF would work or not. I re-read it again at the beginning of my 2nd trimester, and it still delighted me.

Literally (Almost) Everything by Christina Lauren

The only backlist books I have yet to read from Christina Lauren are, ironically, their first books ever — the Beautiful series is still on my TBR, and I’m hoping to get the last of the books from Christmas gift cards, so I can binge read the series during the remainder of my pregnancy. But the rest of their books seriously helped brighten my days during fertility treatments. Of note, I devoured their Wild Seasons series while recovering from my egg retrieval back in March (a procedure in which a GIANT needle goes into a lady’s most sensitive parts to retrieve her eggs). Several of their standalone books also got me through tough times, in particular: The Unhoneymooners, Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, and My Favorite Half-Night Stand.

Not So Nice Guy & Other Books by R.S. Grey

A friend introduced me to R.S. Grey last January, and after reading Not So Nice Guy (which I loved), I went ahead and paid for a subscription to Kindle Unlimited and proceeded to devour a majority of her backlist throughout the entire month. I was going through my 2nd miscarriage, and these books brought me so much laughter and distraction from dark times, exactly when I needed it.

Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher

I first started following author Andie J. Christopher on Twitter earlier this year, but it was when she was having a lousy day and asked followers to send her GIFs of Chris Evans that I really took notice. I hopped onto the thread for two reasons — firstly, to share more Chris Evans GIFs (because they are a gift). And secondly, to admire those Chris Evans GIFs. Because GIFs of Chris Evans, weirdly enough, also helped me survive fertility treatments (as did re-watching all of my favorite Marvel movies, including Captain America). My friends would often send me this GIF in particular, because I said it always got my ovaries tingling:

Anyway, I was already a fan of Andie’s simply because we both shared a deep appreciation for the human being that is Chris Evans. So when I picked up a copy of Not the Girl You Marry in my first trimester — and figured out early on that the main character is very much meant to resemble Chris Evans — I was hooked. This book provided a much-needed distraction from first trimester worries and complications, and provided moments of great swoon and hilarity.

For the Comments: What books have helped you survive a difficult time in your life?

Sara | Novel Novice

A Mackenzie Clan Christmas by Jennifer Ashley

Christmas and historical romance go together like warm and cozy — which is exactly what you’ll feel when you curl up with a copy of A Mackenzie Clan Christmas by Jennifer Ashley, a collection of two holiday novellas.

Celebrate the holidays with New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley’s Mackenzie clan in two heartwarming novellas.

Includes A Mackenzie Yuletide, a never before published Mackenzie Christmas novella!

When the Mackenzie family gathers in Scotland to celebrate the holidays, the love and joy of the Christmas spirit captures everyone’s hearts.

And a reader favorite…A Mackenzie Clan Gathering

The Mackenzie clan has gathered for Hart’s birthday at the sprawling family estate in Scotland. But before the festivities can start, the house is robbed, and thieves make off with an untold fortune in rare art.

Ian Mackenzie and his brothers must do what they can to retrieve the family treasure, but Ian is distracted by a family friend who claims he might have the power to “cure” Ian of his madness forever. All the Mackenzies must draw together as courage, love, and a tantalizing mystery serve to strengthen their bond, and redefine the meaning of family.

Grab your copy in stores now from Berkley Romance.

Sara | Novel Novice

Wrapped Up in You by Jill Shalvis

Wrapped Up in You by Jill Shalvis, the latest addition to the Heartbreaker Bay series, offers up a seasonal dose of holiday romance for two people with major trust issues.

After a lifetime on the move, Ivy Snow is an expert in all things temporary—schools, friends, and way too many Mr. Wrongs. Now that she owns a successful taco truck in San Francisco and an apartment to call home, Ivy’s reinvented life is on solid ground. And she’s guarded against anything that can rock it. Like the realities of a past she’s worked hard to cover up. And especially Kel O’Donnell. Too hot not to set off alarms, he screams temporary. If only his whispers weren’t so delightfully naughty and irresistible.

Kel, an Idaho sheriff and ranch owner, is on vacay, but Ivy’s a spicy reason to give his short-terms plans a second thought. Best of all, she’s a tonic for his untrusting heart, burned once and still in repair. But when Ivy’s past intrudes on a perfect romance, Kel fears that everything she’s told him has been a perfect lie. Now, if only Ivy’s willing to share, Kel will fight for a true love story.

I started reading the Heartbreaker Bay books about a year ago, and I just like them more and more as I continue reading the series. Wrapped Up in You features two of my favorite characters to-date, both with understandable trust issues, and both longing for something more, even while scared of being burned again.

Seeing Ivy and Kel try to fight off their feelings (and fail spectacularly) makes for a delightful read. The more serious aspects of the story (most notably Ivy’s past, and how it catches up to her) kept me engaged and turning the pages to see what would happen next. But it also never detracted from the romantic aspect of the story, which I truly appreciated.

And of course, the romance between this pair was enchanting, and had me rooting for them to work things out at every turn.

I really loved watching these two characters fall in love, and try to navigate the rocky path to happily ever after. The ultimate payoff was well worth it. Look for Wrapped Up in You in stores now.

Sara | Novel Novice

The Christmas Dare by Lori Wilde

Add a major dash of holiday romance to your reading list this month with The Christmas Dare by Lori Wilde. It combines all the seasonal magic of a Hallmark Christmas movie with the steamy romance you’d expect from Avon Romance.

A jilted-at-the-altar bride reunites with her high school sweetheart in Lori Wilde’s sensational new Twilight, Texas Christmas novel.

Kelsey James always played by the rules and look where it got her—dumped and half-drunk in a poofy white dress, her Christmas wedding ruined. Then her best friend talks her into going on her “honeymoon” anyway, daring her to a “Christmas of Yes.” It’s about time she lets loose a little, so Kelsey agrees to say “yes” to fun, to romance, and to adventure! And adventure leads her right smack into the arms of sexy Noah MacGregor.

Noah’s never one to say no to a risk—from leading his NBA team to victory to making Christmas cookies in Twilight, he’s up to the challenge! But a lot has gone on since they were teenagers, and he knows he has to take his time to make Kelsey dare to believe that what they feel is more than just the holiday magic that’s in the air . . .

This second-chance romance was a refreshing mix of lighthearted romance and humor, and serious subjects like grief and mental illness. I wasn’t expecting the more serious sides of this story, but they definitely added some depth and intensity to the book that made it much more gripping to read.

A lot of the “holiday” romances I’ve read are pretty light on the Christmas — they so often feel like a regular romance, but there’s a Christmas tree in the corner. But that was not the case with The Christmas Dare, which was jam-packed with holiday cheer. This is definitely a festive read, and perfect for curling up with over the next few weeks before December 25th.

Both Kelsey and Noah have never forgotten their teenage romance, and when they reunite unexpectedly, the sparks of romance are still strong. But life has made each of them wary of opening up too much — so it’s a bumpy road to their happily ever after.

Their characters’ growth and journeys were really what captivated me as a reader, while the holiday aspect of the setting enchanted me. Look for The Christmas Dare in stores now.

Sara | Novel Novice