Book Reviews

How to Kiss Your Grumpy Boss by Jenny Proctor – Book Review

The book cover of How to Kiss Your Grumpy Boss by Jenny Proctor

Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))

How to Kiss Your Grumpy Boss by Jenny Proctor – Book Details

TITLE – How to Kiss Your Grumpy Boss

SERIES – Hawthorne Brothers, book #2

AUTHOR – Jenny Proctor

CATEGORY/GENREromance, contemporary



MY RATING – 4 of 5


A huge thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of How to Kiss Your Grumpy Boss by Jenny Proctor in exchange for an honest review.

What It Is About

But as soon as our eyes meet, there’s something else happening. Something stronger than uncertainty or fear or anything else. Some unseeable force, a living, breathing thing, weaves its way around us, pulling us toward each other.

The Hawthorne brothers are the heartthrob of North Carolina, and How to Kiss Your Grumpy Boss follows the oldest one, Perry Hawthorne.

Despite being super hot, Perry’s love life has plummeted. After the nightmarish divorce and no luck dating anyone ever since, Perry could use all the help he can get to keep his grumpiness in check.

Enter his new virtual assistant, Lila. Lila seems efficient enough and even her apple puns started growing on Perry. But because of a bad experience with assistants in the past, Perry will do everything possible to keep their communication at a minimum.

But then he meets Lila and her son Jack in person. And he is about to break not only his keep-assistants-at-distance rule, but even his dating dry spell might be coming to an end.

Themes and vibes:

    • one-of-the-hot-brothers companion series
    • single mom who is comfortable with her curves
    • touches of: boss/employee, grumpy/sunshine, fake dating and only one bed
    • a picturesque farm during the fall setting
    • an adorable kid determined to find himself a “stairdad”
    • 2 POVs

How to Kiss Your Grumpy Boss by Jenny Proctor – My Review

Real? We’re talking about being real? Because this man feels anything but real. Like a dream come impossibly true. How did I ever think he was just my grumpy boss?

Another week, another great read. This time, it was a sweet contemporary romance How to Kiss Your Grumpy Boss by Jenny Proctor, and it had a bunch of wholesome characters, lots of precious moments and low-key autumnal vibes. What more can you ask for in life?

How to Kiss Your Grumpy Boss is a light and fun story about two people who went through a lot. It was emotional and endearing, swoony at moments. And most importantly – despite being clean, there was a lot of heart and chemistry between Perry and Lila.

Perry was sweet and charming most of the time. He wasn’t at all as grumpy as I expected him to be. I even wished he were, it would make everything even more fun.

I thought he was awkward more than grumpy, and understandably so, as he was way out of practice. It led to many funny encounters, so at least I got that.

But the real star of this book was Lila. Lila is a widow and a single mom who’s been through a lot. I loved how strong and enthusiastic she was, approaching everything with an open heart and always giving her best to make a good life for herself and her son Jackson.

I loved her relationship with both Jack and Perry. Things mostly seemed realistic and relatable. And I loved her apple puns. They were a bit too nerdy even for me, and they gave the whole thing a special kind of charm.

Another thing I appreciated about How to Kiss Your Grumpy Boss was that both Lila and Perry had a past and they were both struggling to overcome certain things. Leaving bad experiences behind can be one of the toughest things ever, and that aspect of the story added a layer of struggle and vulnerability to the otherwise sweet and light romance.

Nobody speaks poorly of a military hero, especially not his widow, so I can’t ever talk about the way things really were at home. But maybe that’s better. I feel guilty enough even just thinking these thoughts, let alone saying them out loud.

There was also the big Hawthorne family who loved to be in everyone’s business, playing matchmaking. It doesn’t get cozier and more comforting than a bunch of kind-hearted siblings who love and support each other and wish each other everything best.

The fact that the family business that keeps them all thigh together was in fact Stonebrook Farms was just the cherry on top. The setting for this book was just adorable, picturesque, full of autumnal vibes and just a perfect backdrop for two people to fall in love with each other.

Perry’s personal nemesis, a mischievous pig called Buttercup, added even more charm and personality to the whole story. And, of course, a bunch of cuddly baby goats – it’s almost unfair how cute that was.

The book almost felt too cute at moments. Well, not exactly, but if there was something I wish was different, it was maybe the lack of drama and things to overcome. This way, it felt a bit insta-lovey.

I am not a man who needs a reminder to keep my eyes up, but this woman is the ultimate test, and it’s taking all my willpower not to fail. I fasten my eyes to her sunglasses, but that hardly helps. Now I can’t stop wondering what color her eyes are.

As I already mentioned, both Lila and Perry have painful pasts. But when we meet them, they are both more or less ready to move on. Sure, there were problems, but it’s almost as if they were dealing with them too easily. I wanted to see some more obstacles, to make everything more believable.

Of course, the fact that Lila is a mom and that being with her would mean becoming an instant dad did provide some real struggle. But if we are talking about just Lila and Perry, they clicked too quickly and too perfectly with each other, and as cute as that was, it didn’t always feel real.

But that was literally the only thing I’d change. Everything else was a sweet and heartfelt romance, a delightful story to sink into.

I for sure want to spend more time on that farm and with the Hawthorne family, and luckily I can. How to Kiss Your Grumpy Boss is the second companion novel in Jenny Proctor’s Hawthorne Brothers series. It can be read as a standalone, but I’ve already had the first book in the series, How to Kiss Your Best Friend and I hope I’ll get to it soon.

The third book, How to Kiss Your Enemy, is scheduled to be released in May 2023. I’m pretty sure it will be following Lennox and there will be lots of food involved. Guess who will be reading it as soon as it’s out…

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