Thursday, February 4, 2021

One Old, One New: Adriana Locke Edition

One Old, One New features two books - one old, one new, which are connected in some way. Today, I am sharing two books by Adriana Locke!

Like You Love Me

Adriana Locke
Series: Honey Creek, #1
Age/Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Montlake 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Two childhood friends are playing house—and maybe playing for keeps—in this sexy, and unpredictable marriage-of-convenience romance.

To save her Tennessee bed-and-breakfast, Sophie Bates needs a fast-cash miracle. Holden McKenzie, her childhood best friend, needs to prove to a prospective employer that he’s a committed man. Their fortunes on the line, Holden proposes…a solution.

He’ll take care of Sophie’s bills if she agrees to a temporary marriage of convenience. And why not? They’re comfortable together, they have fun, and they trust each other. It’s as simple as saying “I do.” But the off-the-cuff wedding has all of Honey Creek talking—and Sophie and Holden realizing that their perfect arrangement is working too well. If they’re not careful, this marriage could turn into a love story.
After experiencing some personal setbacks, Holden returned to Honey Creek to try and regroup. Honey Creek was his childhood haven, and he only had fond memories of those carefree summers spent with his best friend, Sophie. While reconnecting, Holden realized that Sophie could help him get the job of his dreams. All she had to do was marry him. But would he be able to walk away once he achieved his end goal? 

This is the type of romance I gravitate towards. It made me laugh, smile, and swoon, and what more can I ask for? The combination of friends-to-more, marriage of convenience, and small town setting made this an absolute pleasure to read, but it was the characters who won my heart. 

This town was so charming and Locke packed it with quirky and wonderful citizens. It was such a treat getting to know them all. I was especially fond of the relationship between Holden and his grandfather, as well as the bond Sophie shared with her siblings. Her brother tried to come off gruff, but he showed his love in his own way, while her sister never failed to be there for Sophie. And granddad was full of love, warmth, and wisdom. 

Seeing Holden and Sophie allow their spark to grow was really gratifying for me. I adore watching characters with history and yearnings finally allow them to morph into something more, and I couldn't argue about the foundation these two had. All those summers allowed their friendship to grow deep roots, and some shared personal losses gave them insight into each other. 

Yes, I laughed and smiled a lot as I read this book, but when the "drama" came, my reaction solidified my feelings for these two. I found myself grappling with my emotions. Even knowing how it would end, I shed tears for them, because I was so invested in this "marriage" being a success. 

Overall, this was a sweet treat for me. I absolutely adored my time in Honey Creek and was happy to see Sophie and Holden reconnect and fall in love. This experience has me looking forward to revisiting Honey Creek in the near future. 

**ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

The Relationship Pact

Adriana Locke
Series: Kings of Football, #3
Age/Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Umbrella Publishing Inc
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
How hard can it be?

That was the question rolling around Larissa Mason’s mind just before she asked Hollis Hudson to be her fake boyfriend.
It was only supposed to be for five minutes, after all.

Granted, that was also before she felt his hand on the small of her back as he charmed the heck out of her family.
She hadn’t heard his laugh yet either.

And it was definitely before she saw the football god shirtless. Otherwise, she would’ve had an idea of just how hard some things could be.

It turns out that pretending to be in love with a crazily handsome, somewhat enigmatic, and absolutely unforgettable tight end (that has an amazing tight end) is easy.

Reminding herself that just because opposites attract doesn’t mean they’re forever is much harder.

What they have isn’t love—it’s a relationship pact. Right?
Larissa needed a break from dating. She only seemed to attract men, who weren't in it for the long haul, and she was tired of that. But when faced with her ex, she made a game time decision and asked a handsome stranger to be her boyfriend for five minutes. When five minutes turned into more both Larissa and Hollis needed to decide if they could walk away from their relationship pact. 

Confession: I bought all three Kings of Football books, but read this one first for blogging reasons. Now that I have finished my first Kings of Football book, I cannot wait to get to the others! One of things I loved seeing in this book were the exchanges between the three men. I am always here for a good bromance, and though the three were geographically separated, I could feel the love and support between them via their chats. 

I also adored spending time with Larissa, her bestie, and her family. What a great clan! They were a boisterous and big hearted bunch. They were fun and fantastic, and the epitome of family. I have to commend Locke for what she did her, because I am so curious about Coy and Bellamy and itching to read their book. 

The romance in this story was stupendous as well. Larissa and Hollis had enough sparks and heat to power a large city. Their interactions ranged from white-hot to sweet and playful, and each and every one delighted me. They were such a great match, and the way they could "see" each other was so meaningful when it came to their pasts. 

And then there were tears. Seriously, Hollis' backstory and abandonment issues were utterly heartbreaking. His reasons for engaging in a fake relationship were on a whole other level. I don't want to give out the details, but I know Hollis' story will touch many people. Because of what he had experienced, it was so important to me that he embrace what he found with Larissa. I wanted him to find the comfort, love, and "home" that he deserved. 

There were so many wonderful things wrapped up in this story, but the highlights really were all the special relationships Locke crafted. I am pretty sure the Masons and Grandma Judy made my heart explode. Family, friendship, and love took center stage, and it left me warm and fuzzy and full of happiness. 

Do you have a favorite fictional small town?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. I recently added Like You Love Me to my TBR, so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it!

    1. It was cute. I got a good feel for the town and I am interested in more of its stories.

  2. Okay, so I need to read Like You Love Me. I was curious about it. I've only read a few of her books -- started with The Relationship Pact, which I also loved. Great reviews!

    1. The Relationship Pact scored a bit higher for me, because it was more emotional (in my opinion), but both were great.

  3. I see Locke's books around all the time but have yet to try anything by her. The Kings of Football series has been getting a lot of attention lately and has definitely been on my radar. The Relationship Pact seems like it would check a lot of my boxes and my heart is already hurting for Hollis just based on what you shared.

    1. I think I had listened to one last year, Tangled, which is related to the Honey Creek book, but I hadn't read any other Locke books. I am glad I did. I thought both of these were fabulous. They were fun and gave me some warm fuzzies.

  4. These both sound so good. I love fictional small towns; I'd probably say my favorite is Creekwood from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

    1. I feel like I got out into the town a lot more in this book than in Simon. I was a fan of Simon and his family though, they were great.

  5. I don't know that I have a favorite fictional small town, but I always love that setting. My family raises cattle in a small town in South Texas, so I've always had a soft spot for that kind of community.

    1. A cattle farm! That's cool. I spent my teen years in a 1-square mile town adjacent to the city where Rutgers University is, and almost everyone knew each other since birth. It was an interesting transition from Brooklyn to that town

  6. And that's when you remind me that it's been a long time since I've read her books!

    1. These were just number 2 and 3 for me from Locke, but they both excellent.