Book Review: Romancing His Rival by Jennifer Shirk

If you’ve been following By Her Shelf for a while, you may remember me reviewing a book called Catch Him If You Can by Jennifer Shirk (you can find the review here). In that review, I said

This isn’t my first Jennifer Shirk book, and it most definitely won’t be my last. I have to know what happens in the next book to the next heroine. I know Jennifer is going to give her a great happily ever after as well.

Six months later, I had the opportunity to read that heroine’s book. Entangled Publishing sent me an advance copy of Romancing His Rival by Jennifer Shirk to review because I begged requested it. 

Title: Romancing His RivalRomancing His Rival

Author: Jennifer Shirk

Release Date: February 11, 2019

Review:  Hotel receptionist Elena Mason is left heartbroken months before her wedding when her fiancé dumps her, and it’s all Lucas Albright III’s fault. Her fiancé’s so-called best man talked him out of marrying Elena, and months later, she still hasn’t recovered, or stopped believing her fiancé will realize they’re meant to be together and come back. As for Lucas, Elena hopes to never see him again.

Lucas Albright is a marketing executive on the fast track to promotion. After a failed marriage, Lucas focuses all of his attention on his career, and it’s paid off. Convinced he works better alone, professionally and personally, Lucas is frustrated to find out his long sought after promotion is dependent upon him working with the one person who thinks of him as her archenemy.

Elena knows she has to work with Lucas. but that doesn’t mean she’s going to make it easy for him. She wants him to pay for breaking up her engagement. Lucas is willing to do whatever it takes to secure his promotion, even work with Elena. But the closer Elena and Lucas work together, the more each has trouble remembering they’re supposed to be rivals and not romantic partners.

I was ready to read Elena’s story from the time I turned the last page of Catch Him if You Can. The little glimpse into what happened with Elena intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to see how Ms. Shirk would pull of Elena’s happily ever after. Coming to a book with high expectations like this can be dangerous. I loved Elena as a supporting character, but how would I feel about her as a heroine? Could Jennifer make me love this character and her hero as much as Wade and Arden?

When I first met Elena in Romancing His Rival, I didn’t connect with her right away. I wanted to grab her and shake her out of her depressive funk. I wanted to say “get over it, already!” She seemed a little too whiny and was a little too eager to foist all the responsibility onto Lucas for why her relationship didn’t work out. Yet there was something about her that kept me reading.

This also did a curious thing: it immediately made me more willing to hear Lucas’s side of the story. Instead of being aligned with Elena against him, I was open to the idea there would be more to him and what he did or didn’t do than Elena knew or was willing to admit. I couldn’t love a man who went around destroying engagements for fun, but I could hear out the guy who was being unjustly blamed for the fate of an entire relationship.

Once Lucas and Elena were on the page together, things got even better. Even though Lucas is supposed to be the uptight ad exec, he’s funny and even laid back with Elena, who, although usually rainbows and sunshine, is acerbic and a little dramatic with Lucas to begin with. I liked them together from their first encounter on the page.

It’s evident from their first appearances that both of these characters have some growing and changing to do, and Ms. Shirk pulls them through it with an invisible string. Their actions, even the slightly outrageous ones, seem self-motivated and not driven by the plot. There were a couple moments I felt pulled out of the book by a bit of dialogue that felt clunky, but for the most part, I was able to immerse myself in Elena and Lucas’s story.

I would recommend Romancing His Rival to anyone looking for a sweet, enemies to lovers romance with humor liberally sprinkled in. Although you don’t have to have read them to enjoy Romancing His Rival, I would also recommend Bargaining with the Boss and Catch Him If You Can, the first two books in the Accidentally Yours Series by Jennifer Shirk.

Star Rating 3.5/5

Coffee Table Books Readers Will Love

Any reader will tell you that books bring value in a multitude of ways. It goes beyond reading the words on the page or losing oneself in a story. Books have their own aesthetic, their own sensory value that is powerful in and of itself.

I’m one of those readers that loves to be surrounded by books. I can look at covers and spines and remember when I read that story and how it made me feel. I can just as easily get lost in those memories as I would if I smelled the cologne of my first love. I have an appreciation for not only the story, but also the magic and history behind it. Other readers know that, when you hold a book in your hand, there is so much more to it than the physical object you hold.  So it should come as no surprise that I love the aesthetic beauty of a good coffee table book. And a book about books checks all the sensory boxes for me.

Next time you’re browsing the bookstore, consider picking up a coffee table book that celebrates all the different aspects of books that we readers just adore!

The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures by Carla Hayden

The Library of Congress brings book lovers an enriching tribute to the power of the written word and to the history of our most beloved books. Featuring more than 200 full-color images of original catalog cards, first edition book covers, and photographs from the library’s magnificent archives, this collection is a visual celebration of the rarely seen treasures in one of the world’s most famous libraries and the brilliant catalog system that has kept it organized for hundreds of years. Packed with engaging facts on literary classics—from Ulysses to The Cat in the Hat to Shakespeare’s First Folio to The Catcher in the Rye—this package is an ode to the enduring magic and importance of books.

I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel

For so many people, reading isn’t just a hobby or a way to pass the time–it’s a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can’t imagine life without them.

I’d Rather Be Reading is the perfect literary companion for everyone who feels that way. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections on the reading life, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads readers to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them the reader they are today. Known as a reading tastemaker through her popular podcast What Should I Read Next?, Bogel invites book lovers into a community of like-minded people to discover new ways to approach literature, learn fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives.

The perfect gift for the bibliophile in everyone’s life, I’d Rather Be Reading will command an honored place on the overstuffed bookshelves of any book lover.

The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell

We’re not talking about rooms that are just full of books.

We’re talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I’ve-ever-been-to-bookshops.

Meet Sarah and her Book Barge sailing across the sea to France; meet Sebastien, in Mongolia, who sells books to herders of the Altai mountains; meet the bookshop in Canada that’s invented the world’s first antiquarian book vending machine.

And that’s just the beginning.

From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at over three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).

The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.

My Ideal Bookshelf by Thessaly La Force

The books that we choose to keep –let alone read– can say a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves. In MY IDEAL BOOKSHELF, dozens of leading cultural figures share the books that matter to them most; books that define their dreams and ambitions and in many cases helped them find their way in the world. Contributors include Malcolm Gladwell, Thomas Keller, Michael Chabon, Alice Waters, James Patterson, Maira Kalman, Judd Apatow, Chuck Klosterman, Miranda July, Alex Ross, Nancy Pearl, David Chang, Patti Smith, Jennifer Egan, and Dave Eggers, among many others. With colorful and endearingly hand-rendered images of book spines by Jane Mount, and first-person commentary from all the contributors, this is a perfect gift for avid readers, writers, and all who have known the influence of a great book.

You Oughta Know: YA Love: Young Adult Romance Tour


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Launch for
YA LOVE

We’re excited to be sharing books from four contemporary young
adult authors with you this week along with a fabulous giveaway…

Tour Schedule
(Links won’t work until the posts go live.)

February 11th: Launch
February 12th: Maggie DallenLove at First Fight
February 13th: Robin Daniels – Perfectly You
February 14th: Bria QuinlanSecret Girlfriend & Secret Life
February 15th: Kayla TirrellCourtside Crush
February 16th: Grand Finale

Books on Tour

Tour Giveaway

GIVEAWAY PRIZES:
1 winner will receive a $15 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)
1 winner will receive a paperback copy of LOVE AT FIRST FIGHT by Maggie Dallen (US only)
1 winner will receive a signed paperback copy of PERFECTLY YOU by Robin Daniels (US only)
1 winner will receive copies of SECRET GIRLFRIEND & SECRET LIFE by Bria Quinlan (if in the US: choice between the 2 paperbacks or the ebundle, if outside the US, the ebundle)
1 winner will receive a paperback copy of COURTSIDE CRUSH by Kayla Tirrell (US only)

Ends February 20, 2019

Rafflecopter giveaway

Grab Our Button!

 

BHS Episode 5: Confident Creation with Amanda Pittman

Today, we’re getting to know Amanda Pittman By Her Shelf:

Amanda Pittman

Amanda Pittman is a Christian, a wife, and a mother. She is the author of two books, “Reflecting God’s Beauty,” and “Love Your First Year of Marriage.” Amanda is the founder of the Confident Woman Mentorship Program and helps her husband pastor The Gathering Oasis Church Downtown. In her free time, Amanda creates social media content that inspires and equips women to be confident and Christ-centered.

In this episode, Amanda and I discuss:

  • Consumption vs. creation in social media and reading
  • Why even avid readers should give themselves space to write
  • The odd reading habit Amanda shares with her mother

…and so much more.

Amanda was the very first person I interviewed for By Her Shelf, and this interview really set the tone for me. Her words about creating and using our voices were the exact encouragement I needed to hear as I was stepping into this new space. If you find yourself struggling with self-confidence or using your voice, I know you will be encouraged by this conversation as well.

Quotes:

  • One of the most valuable things we’ve been given is our voice.
  • It’s not that you don’t have any valuable thoughts, it’s that you haven’t give your mind any air to breathe.
  • What are you doing with all the information you stored up?
  • At the end of the day our confidence boils down to what we believe and if we believe the best about ourselves. If we believe what God says we are and who God says we are, then we’re going to walk in confidence.
  • Having the mindset of contentment and compassion is a way we can reflect the beauty of God and not the ugliness of the world.

The Books (These are affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you buy through them at no cost to you):

Links

 

Cover Reveal: The Truth About Cowboys by Lisa Renee Jones

Happy Friday, Shelfies! Erica here. Today, I’m excited to bring you a cover reveal from Entangled Publishing. I love the team behind Entangled, and not just because they give me free books! I love the romances they are bringing readers, especially the sweet romances in their Bliss line. Although you all know I say you can’t judge a book solely by its cover, how could you not stop and pick up a book with a cover like this? 

The Truth About Cowboys Lisa Renee Jones

Erica again. Couldn’t you just pick this up and read it right now? If this cover looks right up your alley, read on for the back cover copy and links to pre-order your copy. The Truth About Cowboys releases August 27th!

About The Truth About Cowboys:
I had my life figured out.

Engaged to a successful man.

About to make partner at my firm.

Bought a high-rise apartment in downtown Denver.

And then, poof, it’s all gone. Now, like in some cheesy romantic comedy, my car has broken down in the pouring rain on my way to “find myself” in The Middle of Nowhere, Texas. Cue hot guy coming to my rescue and changing my tire. This is the part where we flirt and have a meet-cute, right? That’s how it works in romance novels, and I should know—after all, I’m coming to Texas to write my own cowboy romance. But nope. This sexy cowboy lights into me about not being prepared for the country roads and how inappropriate my high-heeled boots are.

Little did I know, Michael Montgomery would tilt my world into a new dimension with his sinful smirk and his bad attitude. Every time I turn around, he’s there to reluctantly save the day. And every time, I think there may be something to that spark we ignite. But there’s a reason the majority of country songs are about broken hearts. The closer I get to this man, the closer I get to learning the truth about cowboys.

Goodreads Link
Purchase Link
Entangled Publishing

About Lisa Renee Jones:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy – a modern girl we all can identify with. In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa’s other bestselling series include: DIRTY MONEY and WHITE LIES. She is presently working on her LILAH LOVE series to be published with Amazon Publishing/Montlake Romance. Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine. Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at http://www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads

BHS Episode 4: Pockets of Lovely with Abigail Rudibaugh

Today, we’re getting to know Abigail Rudibaugh By Her Shelf:

Abigail Rudibaugh

Abigail calls Cincinnati, Ohio home alongside her husband and two young daughters. As a graduate from Miami University of Ohio in Integrated Language Arts, she spent nine years teaching, but is now taking time to nourish her writer’s soul. Abigail believes that in a prescriptive and productive world, poetry has become the umbrella in which she can finally find some shade. Find her on Instagram & Twitter @pocketsoflovely or at pocketsoflovely.com

In this episode, Abby and I discuss:

-The “lovely” story behind the name Pockets of Lovely

-How being a writer has changed the way she reads

-The late Mary Oliver, one of Abby’s favorite poets

-Embarrassing book habits

-FOMO on pop lit conversations

And so much more.

Whether or not you consider yourself to be a poetry lover, I guarantee you’ll connect with some part of this interview with Abby.

The books (These are affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you buy through one of these links):

The first book Abby remembers loving (Kindle)

The assigned reading that surprised her (in a good way) (Kindle)

This classic was disliked twice in five interviews! (Kindle)

A Thousand Mornings Kindle Version

Ariel by Sylvia Plath (Kindle)

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (Kindle)

Abby’s Surprising Book (Kindle)

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Kindle)

Liane Moriarty

John Steinbeck

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Kindle)

Abby’s current read (Kindle)

Up next for Abby (Kindle)

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (Kindle)

The Links:

I’m Nobody! Who are you? by Emily Dickinson

Abby’s site: Pockets of Lovely

Poet Mary Oliver

“A Thousand Mornings”

Poet Wendell Berry

Recordings of Sylvia Plath reading poems from Ariel

Newsletter subscribers will receive two special emails this week: A list of diverse books if Madeleine’s episode inspired you and a list of can’t miss poetry collections if Abby’s episode sparked your poetry reading fancy. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

Next week’s episode is actually the first episode I recorded for the podcast. My guest is an entrepreneur and content creator focused on empowering women to be confident and cultivate self-esteem. You don’t want to miss getting to know this powerhouse By Her Shelf. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t!

If you’re loving the show, I would really appreciate it if you left a rating/review on iTunes. It helps others find the show…and maybe their next favorite book.

BHS Episode 3: The Muggle Version of Hermione Granger with Madeleine Riley

Today we’re getting to know Madeleine Riley By Her Shelf:

Madeleine Riley

Madeleine is a special education teacher by day and a voracious bookworm by night. She shares her bookish life on her literary-themed Instagram @topshelftext. A loyal New Englander, she loves the ocean, cats, organizing, and is an aspiring gardener. When she grows up, she wants to be the muggle version of Hermione Granger.

In this episode, Madeleine and I discuss:

How she implements reading into her curriculum as a special education teacher

How watching the white Nationalist march in Charlottesville, Virginia sparked the Diverse Books Club, and why she shuttered the club with over 13,000 members

How she makes her Instagram more accessible and inclusive

The feedback she receives the most often from her appearance on What Should I Read Next

The book recommendation she’s been avoiding.

The books:

Nancy Drew Mysteries

Harry Potter Series

Romeo and Juliet (Kindle)

Madeleine’s favorite assigned book: The Odyssey (Kindle)

Song of Achilles (Kindle)

Circe (Kindle)

Madeleine’s least favorite assigned book: Great Expectations (Kindle)

Barracoon (Kindle)

The Madeline books

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast

A Boy Called Bat (Kindle)

What Should I Read Next Picks:

The Mothers (Kindle)

Death at La Fenice (Kindle)–A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery

A Share in Death (Kindle)

Small Great Things (Kindle)

The Pact: A Love Story (Kindle)

Most mentioned book from her WSIRN episode: The Cuckoo’s Calling (Kindle)

Don’t Judge Me, But: Beloved (Kindle)

Madeleine didn’t like this popular book: The Handmaid’s Tale (Kindle)

The Road Back to You (Kindle)

She also didn’t like this author: Liane Moriarty

Her comfort zone series: The Lady Hardcastle Mysteries (Kindle)

(T.E. Kinsey Author Page)

Maisey Dobbs Mysteries

Current read at time of interview: The Clockmaker’s Daughter (Kindle)

Top of TBR pile at time of interview: Beneath a Scarlet Sky (Kindle)

My suggestion for learning more about history of Charlottesville, VA:

Urban Renewal and the End of Black Culture in Charlottesville, Virginia: An Oral History of Vinegar Hill (Kindle)

The Links:

The account that inspired Madeleine to close caption her posts: @mugandnook

The book club Madeleine is following for diverse reads: @words.between.worlds 

For more enneagram info: @yourenneagramcoach

Madeleine’s episode of What Should I Read Next: Ep 72: Embarrassing Bookworm Confessions