This post includes reviews of the books in the Loose Lips Sink Ships duet:

Malicious Compliance (#1) | Instant Regret (#2)

Malicious Compliance (Loose Lips Sink Ships #1)

Any book by this author is going to be packed with emotion, and this one hits us with it right away. Jules is coming out of a toxic relationship and trying to make a new start back home, but unfortunately, his ex has a long reach in their shared profession. Jules’ “fresh” start is rough, but I loved the spine he retains despite his experiences.

His first encounter with his neighbor is far from a typical romance novel “meet cute,” and the cranky neighbor dynamic that develops is different from what I expected based on the cover description. Their method of communication allows for both conflict and interaction that add to the uniqueness and vulnerability of this slow-burn romance.

Slow burn is not an understatement here. Jules’ sister, in an attempt to get her brother back on his feet emotionally as well as financially, sets him up on some pretty terrible bad dates. These aren’t page-filler incidents, though. Lindsey ultimately ties everything back to what is developing between Jules and Forrest, and over the course of the book, their connection goes from volatile to emotional to scorching. The pacing is so well-done that I never experienced whiplash; instead, I was glued to my Kindle the entire time.

This duet is truly meant to be read as a continuous story, and I loved that Lindsey gives us only one point of view for this first half. The cliffhanger is more emotional than plot-related, but it contributed to me immediately needing to start the next book instead of pausing to review this one first.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book from the author.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars.
Amazon | Goodreads | BookBub

Instant Regret (Loose Lips Sink Ships #2)

The way Lindsey splits up this storyline also contributes to a character twist reveal that I won’t spoil here. I figured something out about instrumental to Forrest and his character arc during book one, but the official reveal was a satisfying confirmation rather than a letdown.

Forrest and Jules are incredibly different characters, but circumstances in their lives have led them to the point at which they meet. Lindsey plays a bit with mirroring in this series in how Forrest also attends a date set up by his sibling. Conversely to Jules’ low-key tragic bad dates, Forrest’s is mostly uncomfortable with a spot of terror right at the end. This sets into action the chain of events that will finally put Jules and Forrest face-to-face, but I loved that Lindsey still gives them space to settle into their affection before this meeting.

These books are set during the holiday season, but they feel more like a New Year than Christmas story. New Year’s Eve plays a more important role in the development of their relationship and better fits the themes of change and new beginnings undertaken by both main characters.

I highly suspect these books will be a re-read for me at least once so that I can better appreciate the story from a fuller context (and not just because I stayed up way too late finishing the second book on the same evening I started reading the first).

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book from the author.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars.
Amazon | Goodreads | BookBub

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