Mini Series Reviews: The Brown Sisters, Building 402 Series, and So Over the Holidays

I would apologize for the fact that my blogging has been incredibly sporadic of late, but I feel like that’s just what you’re going to keep getting for a while. I’ve transitioned into a new role at work and most of my energy has gone into that for the time being, which means my reading has been sporadic and my energy to write a blog post has been… non-existent. But I’m here! And if you’re reading this, so are you! So thank you for your patience. I hope you’ll enjoy this post.

In this post, I’m going to cover my thoughts on the incomparable Talia Hibbert’s Brown Sisters trilogy, which we know is complete. I’m also going to cover two series of novellas that I think(?) are complete, but the authors could definitely add more to the series and I would not be upset about it. First of all, we have the Building 402 novellas by Alexandra Warren and the So Over the Holidays series by Erin McLellan.

Mini Series Reviews:
Covers of Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert, Adjacent by Alexandra Warren, and Stocking Stuffers by Erin McLellan

The Brown Sisters by Talia Hibbert

To say that Talia Hibbert is amazing in every way is a gross understatement and does her a disservice. But truly, I have no words to describe my love for her first traditionally published series. I wanted to scream at the world about how unfair it was that Act Your Age, Eve Brown was the last book in the series. However, since Talia will actually be writing about characters she introduced in Act Your Age, Eve Brown, I have decided instead to be a more calm and rational human and instead extol the virtues of this series.

To begin, Get a Life, Chloe Brown is the first book in the series and it is glorious. Chloe has fibromyalgia and chronic pain. She is a wee bit of a grump and fiercely determined to carve out a life for herself after realizing how small she had allowed her life to get after a bit of a near-death experience. And then, there is my darling Red. He is an artist, but hasn’t really been working as one for a bit. He rides a motorcycle and his heart is so big. The two of them, the way they get off on the wrong foot, to the way they begin to understand and fall for one another… It is, to put it mildly, magical. I love them so much. And! Talia Hibbert is hilarious. Her books are actually funny! (Oh and one other content warning, Red has survived an abusive relationship. It’s mentioned, but not belabored.)

And then, we get to the pure shot of glorious fake dating and friends with benefits situation with Dani, my beloved, and Zafir, truly an angel, in Take a Hint, Dani Brown. This book is everything and then some. There are no words to describe how many times I laughed out loud and how desperately I loved it. Dani is a bi witch and she’s… everything, honestly. She is competence and strength and fragility and the sweetest grump you ever did see. And Zafir!! My anxious, precious bean. He cares so much and just wants boys to grow up into emotionally intelligent men who are okay with feelings and know what they are and how to handle them. Bless him. Anyway, the fake dating is glorious. Dani freaking out about the fact that “oops, maybe these are feelings??” is enchanting and I love this book so very, very much.

Then we move to Act Your Age, Eve Brown and I was nervous because how could Talia possibly top Take a Hint? But, Talia just very cleverly gave us something different but still familiar and I love Eve and Jacob so much??? Both Eve and Jacob have autism, though at the beginning, only Jacob knows that. After Eve impulsively stops at the B&B Jacob owns and interviews for the chef position, then accidentally runs Jacob over with her car… My heart was stolen. I love both of these characters and all the ones we were introduced to with a fierceness that I cannot overstate.

In case you can’t tell by my not at all succinct gushing, this series is perfect and you should read them all and while you can read them out of order, why would you want to?

Building 402 by Alexandra Warren

This is a series of interconnected novellas, not that Goodreads bothers to tell you that. I want to say I first discovered this series because of ShadesnPages with her marriage in trouble Instagram post I can’t find anymore. Anyway, she recommended Complacent on that, but I wound up reading Adjacent first. Adjacent is actually the first novella, chronologically, that sort of introduces Building 402 and some of the people who live in it to the readers. It is, in a word, delicious. Essentially, the plot of Adjacent is that two neighbors have a sort of antagonistic/teasing relationship where they are also attracted to each other. Their two best friends are dating so they spend a lot of time with one another, but Eve can hear every time (and it’s often) Art has a woman over to have sex with. So Art has to sort of prove that he’s for real in his interest, but the way they come together so slowly is fantastic. Also, Eve’s grandma is one of the best grandma characters in all of literature. I was really, really into this one. In fact, it was on my Favorites of Quarter One list!

Next up is Replacement, which is about a real estate agent, Angie, who is a little bit bougie falling for the new Building 402 maintenance man, Law. Law is extremely attractive as this book (and Adjacent) made clear and he’s also a great uncle, brother, and brother-in-law. This book was funny and sexy, but I’m just a little too neurotic for the plot of “seducing a maintenance man while he’s on the clock” to work for me. If that won’t bother you, I would still encourage you to try it!

Then we have Displacement, which is a friends to lovers romance that I loved, with one tiny quibble. Essentially, Nic’s apartment caught on fire and she is currently staying with her best friend, Monte. The two of them are totally platonic, except, maybe that’s a lie. This novella really explores that push pull between them and I really enjoyed it. My quibble had to do with the way they fall from friends to lovers, but honestly, I’m pretty sure it’s just a me thing.

Finally, we have Complacent, the marriage in trouble romance that wasn’t actually a marriage in trouble. Shayne and Danny have been married for three years and Shayne is trying to make sure that they don’t lose the spice in their marriage. I think, perhaps, part of the reason this book didn’t work for me is that I did feel like there were issues in their marriage, but that wasn’t actually the purpose of the novella so I just left the novella not certain I actually supported their relationship. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but that’s where I’m at.

Anyway, tl;dr, you can read this series in any order, but if you were to just read two, I would recommend Adjacent and Displacement.

So Over the Holidays by Erin McLellan

Let me begin by stating that I did not read this series in order so I definitely think you can read them in whatever order you want. Also, I’m going to strive to be concise because this post is already so long. Oops. Essentially, the conceit of this novella series started with three siblings getting their HEA on a particular holiday, and then Party Favors, the most recent novella, is about a friend of Sasha’s. The series is extremely casually queer with a variety of pairings as the main feature and in the background.

Stocking Stuffers was the first book and features Sasha Holiday getting snowed in at a place that is much too Christmas-y for our Scrooge heroine to enjoy. She winds up hooking up with Perry, a super sweet romantic, and enjoying her snowed in stay. Also, sex toys. Lots of them. (Sasha sells them.) Then we have Candy Hearts, which is a m/m romance between Sasha’s brother, Benji, and her friend, William. Benji is such a sweetheart, but he’s been very unlucky in love. He loves wearing lingerie, which comes across as incongruous with his career as a mechanic. William is an uptight business owner and honestly, watching him come undone by Benji is precious. There’s an age gap and also maybe the only romance I’ve read with a praise kink. It’s super cute.

Then we turn to the last of the Holiday siblings and also my favorite book in the series, Bottle Rocket. This is a second chance romance, where Rosie and Leo split up after high school. Now Rosie is fresh off a divorce and trying to find a hobby. I think one of the main reasons I loved this book is actually that I found Rosie so relatable. Finding a community is a bit of a challenge sometimes and I really love seeing that explored. Plus, Rosie and Leo are cute together and it’s real sexy. This novella was just excellent. And then the series finishes(?) up with a NYE friends to lovers with Party Favors, featuring Wren and Amanda. Wren is friends with Sasha, but really all the Holiday siblings, and she and Amanda have been online friends for a while. They meet for the first time for a NYE party, but it’s a few days before NYE when the book kicks off. The two of them are definitely attracted to one another and things get spicy between them fairly quickly.

Overall, I enjoyed this series and am definitely open to reading more in the future if I’m wrong and it’s not over!

Have you read any of these series? If so, what did you think?


7 responses to “Mini Series Reviews: The Brown Sisters, Building 402 Series, and So Over the Holidays”

  1. I still have Act Your Age, Eve Brown on my tbr list. In fact, I’m waiting for my library hold of the e-book, so I’m excited to be diving into it sometime in the future. Super intrigued about Hibbert writing about characters that are introduced in that book. Spin-offs can be fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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