Not As Planned (The Ladies Who Brunch #4) (2024)

Harlow James

Author29 books1,016 followers

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April 16, 2024

NOW AVAILABLE ON AUDIO!

Narrated by CJ Bloom and Connor Crais!

http://mybook.to/notasplanned

Not As Planned, the fourth book in The Ladies Who Brunch series, is NOW LIVE!

Get ready to swoon over Grant, my sexy pilot, in this single mom, surprise twist romance ❤️

http://mybook.to/notasplanned

romancevibeswithbritt

189 reviews2 followers

April 14, 2024

ALC REVIEW
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is the book I have been the most excited for and Harlow did not disappoint.

I was absolutely in love with Noelle and Grant from the start. They had this immediate connection and attraction, I loved how they built such an amazing relationship built on loving her and Scarlet. Grant fell so hard for the both of them.

Noelle, girl has my whole heart, they way she describes motherhood had me in tears muiltple times throughout this book. It was the most honest depiction of all the parts of motherhood, it’s amazing, exhausting and freaking hard. The way I felt seen throughout this book was next level for me.

The friend group in this book was my favourite part, this girl group has my whole heart and I would read about them forever. They always make me think of my best friends and how they are my people, I’d be lost without them.

💛Single mom
💛Best friend group
💛Cinnamon roll MMC
💛Motherhood

Quotes I loved:

“They are my second family. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. It’s so rare to find friends like them. I know I’m blessed to know them and have them in my corner as I navigate life.”

“Sit on my face, sweetheart. Come over here so I can taste you and make you writhe on my tongue.”

“I don’t give a sh*t about all of the imperfections you think your body has now that you’ve birthed a human. I’m about to f*cking devour you, make you scream my name, and make you come so hard you won’t even worry about any of that sh*t, do you hear me?”

TheSassyNerdBlog

945 reviews369 followers

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April 19, 2024

This was my first book by Harlow James and it most definitely won’t be my last. This story was beautiful and so heartfelt. It had me swooning throughout the entire story.

Noelle is a single mom to a beautiful baby girl. What makes this a different single mom romance is that, unlike most single mom/parent romances… This book is about a mother who has always dreamt of her future and has had it all planned out in her head, which included a meet cute with her future husband, a white picket fence and a house and children. But as we all know, life doesn’t always go to plan and it often goes in different directions. Noelle is sick of waiting for Prince Charming so she has decided to make her dreams come true and do IVF and pick a sperm donor. This would be the first time I have read this kind of plot in a romance book. It was unique, intriguing, emotional, raw and empowering to read.

After deciding to have a baby on her own, the last thing she expected was to find the love of her life and you could say she got her meet cute… it was just extremely embarrassing.

Enter Grant…. He’s a sweet, sexy and amazing pilot who literally gave Noelle the shirt he was wearing after she had an accident. It was a one chance encounter and they both never thought they’d see each other again… But fate had other plans and brought them together when she was on another flight of his. A connection is formed and the chemistry between the two of them is explosive.

Unfortunately, they both have a past that could come back and haunt them. Will past trauma get in the way of them being together or will they be able to move forward and overcome these hurdles and will Noelle finally have the life she’s dreamt of with a husband, children, house and white picket fence?

This book was incredible. My heart was all over the place reading this it broke so many times, yet the connection and love that was blooming between Noelle and Grant was so pure and made my heart so happy. Especially with how perfect, extremely sweet and adorable Grant was with Scarlett and how eager and willing he was to help Noelle out when it came to her. It was perfect in every sense of the word.

I laughed, I cried and I swooned… I’m not a parent, so I couldn’t even begin to understand what it’s like to be a mother or a single mother at that but I can imagine how hard it is and I can see that the author didn’t sugarcoat it in. She was very realistic. She showed the good, the bad and the ugly and it was refreshing to read.

This book will hold a place in my heart now and I will most definitely be revisiting it. It’s going down as a top 2024 read. I highly recommend giving this book a read/listen. Especially if you are a mother. You will not be disappointed.

5 STARS!

Not As Planned (The Ladies Who Brunch #4) (4)

Ally Griffeth

269 reviews412 followers

April 11, 2024

Rating: ∞/10
Spice: 🌶🌶.5/5
Tropes: single mom; chance encounter;
Favorite Quote: “remember that even though I’m a mom, I’m a whole human, too, and that person deserves not to be lost.”

IF YOU ARE A MOM YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK.
Yes, I did in fact just yell that at you.
Gosh it was just SO DANG GOOD and such a refreshing take on a single mom romance book. so many times i'll read a single mom romance book and it showcases all the beautiful parts of motherhood and none of the hard and it always leaves me feeling some type of way as a mama. So, to read one that truly embodies motherhood for me boy, what I would of given to have this book 10 years ago when i first became a mama.

If you are looking for an empowering realistic single mom romance book with strong girl gang vibes and the most SWOOOOON worthy MMC
LOOK.
NO.
FURTHER.

    2024-audiobooks chance-encounter infinity-star

Cindy thismomreadsbooks

311 reviews9 followers

January 15, 2023

This is book 4 of the Ladies Who Brunch series, and what a way to end it! I was so excited for Noelle’s story, she is a single mom who chose to have her daughter on her own, via donation. This book was everything I wanted and more and such a sweet love story.
Harlow gave us a beautiful love letter to parents, especially moms, out there and it was wonderful, heartwarming, refreshing and satisfying seeing the different realities on the page. Highlighting all the parts (good and difficult) that are sometimes very difficult to put into words.
Noelle’s character was well written and I easily related to her in a lot of ways! She was strong, passionate and so caring, but also had vulnerabilities and insecurities, that so many of us share.

I spent this entire story smiling and swooning over both these characters and their entire relationship. Grant is such a fantastic character. His instant connection and attraction to Noelle was evident, and all he wanted to do was make her happy and support her the way she needed. He was adorable when with her daughter and I loved seeing his point of view throughout the book. His past has plagued him with fears of relationships, trust and the future will he let them win out or will Noelle get the chance to be there for him like he is for her?

An absolutely on point meet cute between these two which set up both characters wonderfully, you really get to see their personalities shine especially Grant. You need to read it to see what I mean!

As with this whole series, Harlow James had me laughing out loud so many times! This group of friends (and their partners), who are more like family, are just fabulous together and Noelle’s inner thoughts and retelling of past relationships were phenomenal!

I am sad that these ladies stories are complete but as beyond excited we are getting Jeffery’s story, Nice Guys Still Finish, very soon!!

4.5⭐️

**ARC generously provided by author, this review and it’s opinions are my own*

Emily Johnston (Booked.Up.With.Emily)

885 reviews47 followers

April 11, 2024

Not As Planned is the fourth book in the Ladies Who Brunch series and I swear these books just keep getting better and better. I truly thought that Penelope and Maddox were going to be my number one in this series, but Noelle and Grant have officially taken that spot.

💛Single mom
💛Strangers to lovers
💛Adorable meet cute
💛Cinnamon roll MMC
💛Romcom
💛Emotional twist

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Spice level: 🌶️🌶️
Angst level: 💔

After Noelle decides to have a baby on her own, she never expects to find the love of her life – that is until one unexpected, and quite frankly, embarrassing meet cute with the hot pilot named Grant. They have one chance encounter where Grant literally gives her the shirt off his back, but never expect to see each other again.

Until fate brings them back together on one of Grant’s flights. From there, the two of them have an incredible connection, and even better chemistry. But there are things from their pasts that could come back to haunt them. Will they be able to move forward from past trauma, or will that forever affect their present?

OKAY I NEED TO SAY IT. GRANT IS A TOP TIER BOOK BOYFRIEND. It has been awhile since I have felt absolutely obsessed with a MMC, but Grant will make you fall in love with him instantly. He is exactly who Noelle needed and deserved. He took care of her and Scarlett instantly and I just loved that about him.

Noelle is also a fantastic character. He truly showed how hard motherhood is, let alone doing it by yourself. I admired her courage and strength and even her vulnerability at times. She is the definition of a great mother trying to do everything for their child.

CJ Bloom as Noelle was perfection. She completely embodied everything that Noelle was feeling and I felt it right along with her. Connor Crais is the best narrator for Grant – I have only listened to Connor when he has done sports romances, but man oh man he was perfect for cinnamon roll Grant. There is one part of this book where all of the emotions come out and I FELT the pain that Grant was going through.

Overall, fantastic book and audiobook and I highly recommend!

Michelle

1,631 reviews59 followers

January 27, 2023

4.5🌟s! I was so excited for this book and it delivered in spades! I was dying to know more about Noelle and her quest for the perfect HEA. her decision to pursue single motherhood was so brave to me. And this story is such an accurate portrayal of motherhood - the good the bad and the ugly.

Noelle and Grant were a “meet cute” made in motherhood heaven. Who doesn’t love a man who rescues you from a nursing disaster?!

I was continually impressed by Noelle throughout the whole book because she intentionally become a single mother to satisfy her own needs and just nailed it, even when she thinks she’s not.

I loved how supportive Grant was with Noelle and baby Scarlet. He just totally rolled with punches and did whatever needed to be done in true daddy fashion, and better than many biological dads.

And just as supportive were her friends, the Ladies Who Brunch. I loved their strong friendship and how they are all able to lean on each other. Each book has just built on that strong foundation.

I really enjoyed how Grant went out of his way to make Noelle feel attractive and wanted as a woman, when she was feeling like only a mommy. No need to worry if this single mom book is spicy, Grant certainly brings it!!

This book dealt with some very sensitive topics in a very careful and compassionate manner.

I am totally looking forward to the last book in the series now — Jeffrey’s story!!

I requested an early reader copy of this book and these are my honest opinions.

    arc cinnamon-roll-hero

Shannon Ferris

239 reviews3 followers

April 18, 2024

I loved this book so much!!

Full of so many lovable characters!

“When you stared up at me with these green eyes, I was powerless to stop the pull I felt toward you.”

Noelle was such an incredible mom. Even though her life didn't turn out like she expected she quickly realized that you can't plan for the things life throws at you!

Grant. My goodness. This man. The way he was with sweet little Scarlett from the very beginning!!! Swooonn!

These two deserved a beautiful HEA and Harlow James made sure they got it.

Annie Tasaka

421 reviews3 followers

April 15, 2024

I adore these girls, this whole series makes you want to hang out with your besties and go to brunch. I was pretty excited to get Noelle’s story and it was so good. The minute Grant came on the scene I melted. That meet cute was adorable. Also doesn’t hurt that Connor Crais’s voice is 🔥🔥. I highly recommend doing this book on audio.

What got to me the most was how relatable Noelle’s new motherhood experience was. If you are a mom, at any stage you will love this trust me. My baby is all grown up and I still found myself nodding along and tearing up more than once.

Beautiful book. Can be read/listen as a stand alone but frankly all the books are great so don’t miss out.

I was given an ALC of this book and my opinions are my own.

    2024-audiobooks arc audiobook

Jessi

500 reviews19 followers

January 27, 2023

Noelle's story was everything I was hoping and so much more! She and Grant finally get the HEA they didn't think they'd have, but so deserved. The amount of sweetness, swoon, steam, and love was absolute perfection!

Noelle is an incredibly brave and strong woman. A planner by nature, she had her whole life planned out since she was very young. Unfortunately this meant that she didn't really live in the moment. After waiting for Mr right for so many years, she takes control and finally becomes a mom. She's such a good one too!

Grant is seriously one of the most swoonworthy heros I have ever read! He loves babies/kids, he's genuinely kind, and so dang sexy. He too has not had luck in the love department so when he finds Noelle and Scarlett, he falls fast. Goodness, when we find out what he's lived through, you can't help but love him more!

These two are absolutely combustible together! I love that Grant falls in love with Scarlett, Noelle's daughter, first. They give each other everything they’ve both wanted and needed. Grant is attentive and an amazing listener, Noelle is understanding and very loving. Their love story is inspiring! From how they meet to the dates they go on, the way they blend into one another's lives to the steam, I couldn't get enough! And of course we get a look into the lives of the couples from the other books too! Long live the Ladies Who Brunch!!!

I received an ARC for an honest review.

Lucy

120 reviews3 followers

April 7, 2024

3.5⭐️ I literally read this in a couple of hours. I was not expecting it to be that good.

Rachel Reads Romance

385 reviews44 followers

January 26, 2023

I was generously given an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

f: Noelle (31)
m: Grant (38)
(Dual POVs)

Noelle has always dreamed of her future, had it mapped out including a meet cute with her future husband, having children, and owning a house with a white picket fence. Realizing that things don’t always work out like you want them to and feeling tired of waiting for the right man, Noelle decides to make her dreams of a family come true on her own. Most books that discuss the possibility of using a sperm donor and doing IVF end up going in another direction, with the female MC finding a man that will help her get pregnant the old fashioned way, and they eventually fall in love. Not this book! This book takes the highly untraveled route of following through with a sperm donor, IVF, and welcoming a baby girl as a single mother.

This book is so honest and raw with the emotions and struggles of a mother! I greatly appreciated the realistic struggles of motherhood displayed throughout this book and how it showed acceptance and tried to normalize the fact that obtaining some of your greatest desires doesn’t mean your life is going to be all sunshine and butterflies. There are still going to be days where you might struggle and you don’t have to feel guilty over it. I sincerely admired Noelle for her strength and bravery for taking control of her future and making her dreams become a reality, especially knowing she wasn’t going to have a partner to help her through the process.

This wouldn’t be a Harlow James novel if it didn’t include real life struggles for her characters. I loved that this book brought awareness to and included a topic that is rarely discussed in romance novels. There were some subtle hints dropped about Grant and his personal conflict, but I was not expecting everything that he had suffered through in his past. With great suffering comes great wisdom though and I absolutely loved Grant’s insightfulness! Grant is absolutely perfect for Noelle because he’s charming, understanding, extremely sweet with Scarlett and eager to help with her as well! He goes above and beyond to give Noelle experiences she feels she missed out on, and always makes a point to make her feel not only comfortable, but beautiful in her own skin.

I’ve read quite a bit of this author’s back list and one thing I can tell you I greatly appreciate is that she is still able to bring fresh and hot sex scenes to the table! Noelle reads romance novels as part of her job and this man brings almost every romance reader’s fantasy to life! Not only does her read a steamy scene from one of her books out loud, but he also helps her to reenact it 🔥

I cannot tell you how happy I am that this is not the last book in this series because I have fallen in love with this series and I’m not ready to let any of these characters go! So excited to get a little bit more time with Noelle, Grant, and the rest of the Ladies Who Brunch characters in Jeffrey’s book, Nice Guys Still Finish!

Favorite Quotes:
“So you’re single?”
“Are you seriously hitting on me right now while I have breastmilk all over my shirt?”

“You don’t have to take big risks and live dangerously in order to live a full life. We don’t leave impressions on this planet by what we do but by our relationships with other people. -Grant

happiness isn’t a destination–it’s a choice. -Noelle

    single-parent

Britney Chavez

442 reviews10 followers

January 15, 2023

Oh my my my🥰🥰

This whole series is now a top 10 favorite! But I must say that Grant and Noelle are my favorite couple out of the 4, and that is saying something because I absolutely loved them all in their own way.

There was just something about these two that stole my heart and never gave it back. Maybe it is since she is a single mother finding love in the most unexpected way. As a mother myself, though never have I been a single mother, I felt for Noelle as this is the toughest job a woman can do. And she was strong enough to decided to do it on her own, I 100% admired that about her.

Then Grant, I don’t want to give too much away because you just need to read this book for this man alone! From their first meeting I knew I was going to love him and I was NOT disappointed!

This whole series is standalones but I would say it is best to read them in order as each girl is each book that follows timelines starting with the first book.
———————————————————-
5️⃣🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️
❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
10/10 recommendation‼️(Both for this book and series)

    single-parent

Shushi

127 reviews1 follower

April 18, 2024

Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐♾️
Spice - 🌶🌶🌶

Trope - single mother, publishing agent × pilot, meet cute, age gap, insta connection, strangers to lovers, romcom, strong-knit girlfriend group, cinnamon roll MMC, cancer survivor, emotional twist, no third-act breakup(just 1 major fight)

Bonuschapter- 1 (series epilogue)

Once again an unexpected 5-star read, I just randomly came across this book, and damn it was the best decision. I DEVOURED IT, it was angsty, cute, sexy, funny, emotional, touching, and empowering. It was a total package deal. I loved how the story unfolded, couldn't have thought of a better chain of events.

After making plans for her entire life, when nothing goes as planned for Noelle she decides to take fate in her hand, leading her to the most beautiful and unexpectedjourney. Noelle takes matters into her own hands when she's tired of waiting for "Mr. Right". One day while waiting in the line of a coffee shop with her daughter she meets Grant, Mr. I'm-too-sexy-for-my-shirt who offers her his shirt when breastmilk leaks out her dress. One encounter leads to another and in no time you are reading one of the best books.

“So you’re single?”
“Are you seriously hitting on me right now while I have breastmilk all over my shirt?”
This has to be the perfect meet-cute because OMFG GRANT, stop it or else I will be a blushingpuddle. This guy knew what to say and every time he opened his mouth I was a goner because how can a man be so perfect??

Noelle was the epitome of motherhood, she was strong, courageous, and vulnerable sometimes but regardless she fought her battles, first for herself, then for Scarlett, and finally for her future with Grant. She described all the sides of motherhood so well. Damn, I loved her character.

Their first date already had me on the edge, the chemistry, the way he understood her and took care of them like he knew they belonged together even before the official date. Their conversation hadmeswooning. Grant already acted like a dad to Scarlett on their first date. AGAIN SWOON!!!

All your doubts walk out when men like Grant exist, and damn we need more men like him. He was caring, sweet, flirty, playful and not to forgetextremelyHOT. He had his battles, regardless he was so selfless, he treated the girls right, spoke the right things, and was there when they needed him the most

I understood why Noelle kept saying her ovaries were in danger when he was around, because GIRL I get it, I was onthesamepage. Did I mention he's a PILOT and doppelganger of Gave Kapler?? No? He also worshipped her body, and not just that he also made her love it. The list is long, and it kept extending with the book, I was head over heels for this character. And I think I just found my next BookBoyfriend. I loved how when he was in trouble Noelle did not let him pull away, she gave him the love and support he has been giving her and Scarlett from the beginning, and damn it was an emotional moment.

Noelle was such a strong character with a soft heart, she knew he was the one, and even though she had doubts regarding putting herself out again, she did it for herself and that changed her life. That's something I appreciated, she took a chance regardless of the outcome, and in the end, she got the happiness and love she craved and deserved. Sometimes it is okay to wait because the best things take time and in a way, it was a learning for me.

Her friend group was a pure gem, they were so close-knit, that I wish I had a friendship like theirs. Amelia knows how to handle every doubt and feeling of her friend, Charlotte is there to support and care, and Penelope (don't get me started on her) is the funniest and says the most disturbing things on the planet. These girls were there for each other through ups and downs, through highs and lows, they would sit and discuss their issues without the fear of judgment and that's what friendshipisallabout. I loved how they were there for Noelle and Scarlett before and after Grant entered their lives.

"Is Grant who I think he is?" It was the question I asked myself as soon as I started this book and I knew my brain was right. But damn the wait and drama wereworthitall.

I loved every moment and every second of this book. The way the author handled a sensitive topic (won't mention it as it would be a spoiler) was remarkably well. I loved, how Noelle and Grant figured their way out of their problems. Even when they fought, I knew in hindsight that everything was going to be okay and they'd talk things out and that's exactly what happened. They were a family regardless of the situation and one could just see the instant connectionthey shared.

I laughed for hours while reading this book, it was so damn hilarious I just didn'twantittoend. SWOONED OVER BOTH THE CHARACTERS.

I just couldn't get enough of these couples. I was just gonna read this book but as I came near the end I wanted to read the whole series and that's what I'm gonna do because I feel it's gonna be worth my time. Even though the author pretty much gave the gist of the rest of the series, regardless I'm looking forward to them.
(Maybe not right now but soon)

Read this if you love Out on a Limb by Hannah Bonam-Young

I doubt anyone would not like this book.
PERFECTION, I'M NOT GETTING OVER THIS ANYTIME SOON.
Overall 5/5, f*ckin loved it.

    age-gap book-boyfriend contemporary-romance

Erica (_speedereader_)

637 reviews13 followers

January 28, 2023

Grant & Noelle

Book 4 in the Ladies Who Brunch series.

If nothing else, this book is an ode to motherhood. The struggles, the self-doubt, the accomplishment, the joy. Every single range of emotions is explored in this book as single mom Noelle navigates a relationship with hot pilot Grant.

Truthfully, as a person who is childfree by choice, I struggled to connect with Noelle & all of the aspects of being a mom but I did connect with her aspirations for her life. To manifest, to want/crave order, to have a life plan. However, I think that this book was written with so much care & consideration for all aspects of maternal instinct, that anyone can understand the reality of the challenges and the joy of the rewards.

As a romance novel editor, Noelle has spent her whole life waiting for her HEA. She started her family non-traditionally & it couldn’t be just ANYONE who stepped in as her other half. Enter Grant, a true gentleman in the streets & hotttttie in the sheets. The two keep finding a way together, even when life tries to pull them apart.

My favorite thing about Grant, is that he makes every effort to include Noelle’s daughter, Scarlett, in their love story - instead of trying to woo a single mom without any consideration for her child. He also tries to make her life feel exciting & remind her that she isn’t just a mom, but a woman who deserves to live her life with adventure too.

Without giving anything away, I am always amazed at how Harlow weaves together the lives of her characters so strategically, but without alerting the reader too much before “the reveal”. There’s always something that connects them - something parallel but unassuming - and then it’s a “oh my gosh!” moment. Or an “ohhh I see that you did there”.

She also has a lot of fun with her characters. They’re original, they have unique storylines, their troubles are unexpected yet genuine. It���s been really fun reading this series as four best friends each navigate a different stage of their lives.

Don’t start your experience with this series with this book, because you really need to read them in order to grasp the whole group personality.

    arcs books-read-in-2023 couple-mf

Lena

137 reviews3 followers

January 28, 2023

NOT AS PLANNED, the fourth book in The Ladies Who Brunch series, is out now! If you’ve been reading (and loving!) the rest of the books like I have, then you’re sure to love Noelle’s story of creating her future on her own terms, becoming a mother, and her serendipitous meet-cute with a handsome stranger at their local coffee shop. We see more from the other ladies as well, including other familiar faces and a new one in Scarlett, Noelle’s daughter, who definitely steals the show!

As a single mom, Noelle has pretty much given up on trying to find the perfect man. She loves her job as a literary agent, her three best friends, and of course, her daughter. When an unfortunate situation in line at the coffee shop leads her to meet Grant, the slightly older and very handsome pilot, it seems too good to be true. He’s attentive, understanding, and cares for both Noelle and her daughter. As their relationship progresses, Noelle starts to see a future with Grant. But as one surprise twist leads to another, they both have to decide whether or not their love can withstand the obstacles in their way.

I just adored Noelle. I love that she took the initiative to and decided to have a baby, even when it meant that she would be doing it alone through a donor. I’m not a mom, but the author does such a great job of articulating the highs and lows of motherhood and I’m sure a lot of people will relate to Noelle’s journey. It was so special to see all the ladies back together again, supporting each other and giving Noelle a shoulder to lean on. When Grant becomes another shoulder for her…swoon! He was such a great character and he supported Noelle with her motherhood journey, through and through. Scarlett also took a liking to him fairly quickly, and all the sweet scenes with them together just melted my heart! Grant had to face a lot of his own past in order to truly have a future with Noelle, but in the end, they both had so much to gain together than they did being apart. With a fun twist in the story, I think readers will really enjoy the way the series has wrapped up. As much as I don’t want to say goodbye to the ladies, I’m excited for what’s next, with Jeffrey’s book!

A big thank you goes to the author for sending me an early copy to read and review. NOT AS PLANNED is out now, and is available in Kindle Unlimited!

Romance Reads Reviewed by K

385 reviews11 followers

January 27, 2023

I love all The Ladies Who Brunch series books, but Harlow James has saved the best for last.

Never before have I read a parent who is more relatable than Noelle. Every feeling and emotion she felt as a mother was familiar, and the way Harlow James described her was so realistic. I enjoyed reading how she discovered being a mother was just a part of her and not all she is.

In the dictionary, behind the word "Perfection" should be the description of Grant. He is the ultimate book boyfriend, imperfectly perfect.

These two are the real deal, they complement each other so well. The chemistry between Noelle and Grant was amazing, they were a team in every way. I loved Grant's relationship with Scarlett and how he stepped up to help Noelle care for her daughter but also how she allowed him and trusted him.
Every mother, every parent should read this book, it's not only a beautiful story, but the message behind it is one we all need to remember more often.

The Ladies Who Brunch, Noelle, Penelope, Amelia, and Charlotte, are sisters. They aren't blood-related but choose to be there for each other like family should.
Harlow James showed us throughout this series that you don't need to share DNA to be family, but in this book, she highlights it a little extra by showing the kind of love Grant, and baby Scarlett have.
I, as a foster mother, love Harlow for showing this, and she deserves all the praise for spreading this message. For many people, I'm not a real mother because I didn't birth my son, and we don't share DNA, but being a mother means so much more than that.

Not As Planned is Harlow James' best book to date. It's realistic and relatable but also heartwarming, funny, swoony, and steamy. One of my favorite books of 2023!!

I received an ARC from the author but am voluntarily leaving my honest review.

    2023 favorites-2023 found-family

Dana

69 reviews

April 13, 2024

Adored Noelle & Grant

This is the fourth book in the Ladies Who Brunch series. This book follows Noelle & Grant. Noelle is a literary agent who got tired waiting for Mr. Right and decided to have a baby. Grant is a pilot who is dealing with an illness from the past and gives up finding Miss Right. They had a cute meet up when Noelle had a “mishap” and Grant came to the rescue. They feel like they missed their opportunity but fate steps in and they meet again.
CJ Bloom and Connor Crais were the narrators for this book. They did an outstanding job. CJ was perfection as Noelle. She brought out Noelle insecurities of being a single mom, her humor with Noelle’s friends and the love she had for Grant. Connor also did an incredible job as Grant. Grant was the perfect cinnamon roll with a dirty mouth, who also had his own insecurities and Connor also brought that to life with such perfection as well. I thought CJ & Connor worked so well together and this is a pairing I want more of.
Harlow again wrote another amazing story. I loved Noelle and her struggles as a mom. Harlow made Noelle so real for me that she was the one character I related to the most. There was such humor in this one for me. Especially with Noelle and her friends. That’s what made this series so special to me. The friendship of these four ladies and the men they fell in love with. Harlow made all these characters especially Noelle so relatable. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and this series and I can’t wait to see what Harlow comes up with next.

Alaine McDaniel

298 reviews14 followers

April 14, 2024

Not As Planned- Harlow James
Narrated by CJ Bloom and Connor Crais

Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Spice 🌶️🌶️🌶️
Narration 🎧🎧🎧🎧🎧

I loved this so much. I am not a mom but I imagine this book would resonate with moms, especially at those beginning stages with your first kid and you’re just trying to figure it out. I loved that this wasn’t your typical story. I did guess at the beginning what the big twist was and I predicted half right, but I liked that it wasn’t completely predictable and didn’t go where I thought it was going to go. It was very emotional but still so funny. This was my first series by Harlow James and I’ve just been blown away by how the characters are so funny but she can still get super emotional with some heavy topics, literally crying one line and cackling laughing the next.

CJ Bloom and Connor Crais did amazing in this narration. Connor did such a great job handling the heavy emotional stuff in Grant’s past and CJ was stunning in her portrayal of Noelle and her acceptance of everything Grant had and her growth from beginning to end. There was one part where Noelle was talking about Grant’s big muscular arms and all I could picture was Connor’s arms. Is that the real reason Harlow cast Connor as Grant? 😂😂😂

Jacklyn B

357 reviews8 followers

April 17, 2024

I was so excited to start this audiobook! I absolutely love The Ladies Who Brunch series. I love reading about women supporting women and Harlow James has created this amazing group of ladies! I highly recommend this entire series!!

CJ and Connor did an amazing job as narrators!! Seriously - if these two are narrating I am listening! CJ brought Noelle to life for me. I felt her all her emotions from joy to doubt and her insecurities. Grant has some very emotional scenes and Connor blew me away! This should not be a surprise: the steamy scenes are very hot!

I loved Noelle and Grant’s meet cute - it really set the tone for the rest of the book! I was laughing out loud and swooning at the same time. They have this immediate connection.

Noelle is so strong and relatable and I think her character will really resonate with a lot of people. She really knows what she wants and isn’t willing to settle. Grant - swoon! He was so sweet and attentive (ok and yes there is groveling) but he is definitely one of my favorite MCs ever!!

🍊🍾I am low key still waiting for my brunch invite!!

✨Genre/Tropes
🩷Romantic Comedy
🍊Single mom
✈️Hot Pilot Hero
💋Strangers to Lovers
🔥He Falls First
🍭CinnamonRoll Hero
🧡Surprise Twist

    arc audio-book

Kate Reads Romance

60 reviews45 followers

January 16, 2023

This book perfectly captures how rewarding and difficult motherhood/parenthood can be. Nobody ever talks about how difficult it is being a parent, because we feel guilty about feeling like that. But being a parent, and specifically a mother, is one of the most challenging things a person can do, and this book really highlighted that it is possible to love your child(ren) and your life but still be overwhelmed with everything that is involved with being a parent.

The Ladies Who Brunch series has truly been a joy to read. Maintaining adult friendships is difficult, and seeing Charlotte, Amelia, Penelope, and Noelle keep their friendship with each other a priority was so beautiful. Women truly need other women in their lives to lean on. That is the entire foundation of this series, and I think it’s so important for women to read. We need to have support systems!

Harlow James has quickly become a go to author for me for when I need a feel good contemporary romance. Her writing style and story lines always make for a great read. I have absolutely loved reading the ladies who brunch series and can’t wait to see what Harlow James writes next-I know it will be amazing!

Sarah Elyse | Retro Girl Reads

1,309 reviews79 followers

January 28, 2023

I can’t even begin to express how much I adored Grant and Noelle’s love story!!! This is the fourth book in the Ladies Who Brunch series, and it was just as amazing as the others. I loved Grant and Noelle, both as individuals and as a couple. Grant is a pilot, and Noelle is a literary agent/single mom, but there’s more to them than that. They were both such incredibly complex characters, and I could relate to them both for different reasons. I think Grant is the ultimate swoony love interest, he went above and beyond not only for Noelle but also for her daughter, Scarlett. Yes, he made mistakes, but he owns up to them and tries to fix them. And Noelle! She’s so sweet, but she’s also not afraid to stand up for herself and do what’s best for her daughter. I admired Noelle because even though she was a mess at times, she was brave enough to work through it and not let the trying times get her down. All in all, this was a fantastic read, and I highly recommend both this book and Harlow James as an author!

Katja ♡

101 reviews

April 15, 2024

Another five star read for The Ladies Who Brunch series! Harlow James has a way of making each and every book so captivating from the first page on. I am amazed at how each book has such force and drive, characters that are so lovable and relatable, plots that are absolutely amazing and love stories that will melt your heart. And panties 🤣

Not As Planned had me hooked come start to finish, our hot pilot Grant ‘I’m-Too-Sexy-For-My-Shirt and literacy agent Noelle have such a beautiful story develop between the two of them, but we also felt for them through their past and current struggles. I’ve had tears in my eyes several times, gasped in shock and excitement, laughed so hard (I mean, Penelope 🙈) and was just all up in my feels with these two lovebirds.

The side characters from the other books take their spots in this book too of course, and the new side characters are nothing short of amazing either! His mom….. OMG what a funny coincidence!!! But 🤫, find out for yourself on self why that is 😏

Kati

39 reviews14 followers

January 26, 2023

Not As Planned is the 4th book in The Ladies Who Brunch series by Harlow James. IMO, this series is best enjoyed in order, so check out 1-3 if you haven't yet!

First off, there isn't a single romance book in my READ list that has made me feel as seen as a mother as this one right here. This book is as much an ode to the beauty and pain of motherhood as it is a spicy romance novel with the most cinnamon-y cinnamon roll hero you've ever read.

With Noelle's story, Harlow highlights some of the most honest and vulnerable thoughts mothers have as they struggle to balance it all - the great joys and unconditional love coupled with the guilt and conflict we constantly feel torn by when we try to mother to the best of our abilities while maintaining our own sense of self and unique identity. And then the secondary guilt that comes from complaining at all about something that is such an immense blessing?! We just don't talk about the realities of motherhood enough, but Harlow lays it all out there through Noelle - the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Noelle is a literary agent and perpetual life planner, but her plan didn't quite come to fruition the way she mapped it out. She decides to take matters into her own hands and become a mother on her own terms. But being a single mom is no joke!

Grant is legit DREAMY AF... Let's talk about the literal perfection that is Grant Thomas - he's thoughtful, kind, loves children, and did I mention he's a hot, Gabe-Kapler-lookalike commercial pilot??? Fly me to the moon, Grant Thomas!

Noelle and Grant's meetings are serendipitous, and it's evident by the end of the book their connection was meant to be, just not on the timeline they expected.

52 reviews2 followers

April 23, 2024

Book Title: Not as Planned
Ladies Who Brunch book 4
By: Harlow James
Narrated by: Connor Crais and CJ Bloom

Dual narration
Pilot
Single mom
Infertility
Found family

Narration: 🎤🎤🎤����🎤
Story: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Spice: 🌶️🌶️

📚Story Summary and Review📚
Noelle Parker: “lover of romance, believer of soul mates”, planner, and “type A” to a tee. Tired of waiting for her Mr. Right Noelle takes matters into her own hands and makes herself the mom she always wanted to be via sperm donor. Tired, overwhelmed, and covered in leaked breast milk, Noelle meets the swooniest and most chivalrous man on the planet. A dead ringer for Gabe Kepler, he leaves her nothing short of speechless.

I devoured this story and it easily moved into first place of the series for me. There were so many laughs! Noelle goes on a rant about her ex’s that will have you rolling. The funniest part is that Harlow said they’re all true stories from readers! 😂🫣

Not As Planned wholly and accurately reflects the trials and tribulations of motherhoods. The good, bad, ugly, and smelly….And the MOM GUILT!

@harlowjamesauthor writes the most relatable and real life characters. I cannot express my gratitude enough that Not as Planned captures just a glimpse of the internalized emotion and struggle surrounding infertility.

Having experienced a not so straight forward journey myself, the emotion and connection I felt for these two fictional characters was off the charts! These two could easily be our friends, family, or neighbors and it was truly a beautiful reminder that we never really know what others are going through, and there’s no right way to make a family.

🎧❤️Audiobook Review❤️🎧
In the world of narration, @carleyrobinson and @connorcrais are remarkable talents who consistently mesmerize me with their captivating performances. Their seamless delivery, rich character portrayals, and impeccable pacing make every listening experience unforgettable. It's simply another job well done, they consistently deliver nothing but excellence.

Special thanks to: @homecookedbooks and Harlow James for this ALC. It was my pleasure.

**These are my own honest thoughts that I have provided voluntarily.

CurlUpWithBooks

261 reviews18 followers

January 29, 2023

Grant is a total swoon-fest!
He is absolute book husband material. That's right, immediately promoted to book HUSBAND. He is smitten with Noelle and Scarlett the moment he meets them. His protective nature kicks in from day 1. He listens and shows his love for these two with every action. He does face his own personal struggle, and there is a point he is an idiot, but he makes up for it.

Noelle is a single mom by choice, trying to balance her career and life as a single mom. Her journey shows her inner strength but also her vulnerability. Of course, we get more fabulous women from this series. I adore a book that shows women supporting women at every phase of life.

Not as Planned is a love letter to moms and the perfect conclusion to this series!

🌟 Available in Kindle Unlimited 🌟

An advanced copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

    5-star-romances big-city book-boyfriend

Kate Deeds

335 reviews

April 12, 2024

AUDIO IS PHENOMENAL 🖤

Story: 14/10
Spice: 4/5
Spice Hierarchy: spicy
Narration: 5/5

Audio-Releases 4/15

Noelle is ready to be a mom and after years of dating not getting her the results of finding a partner, she takes it into her own hands. A few months after her daughter is born she meets Grant as he quite literally gives her the shirt off his back while she experiences one of the most embarrassing moments of being a mom in public. From that moment, Grant is gone for both Noelle and Scarlett.

I have no complaints. Zero. As I have been listening to this series I didn’t love Noelle, even though I knew her story would be single mom and it’s one of my favorites. I just didn’t connect with Noelle in the previous stories. Well. She is my favorite now. Maybe a top FMC of all time. And then there’s Grant. He was perfect from the start and the moment he called them “my girls” I was in a puddle.

Harlow wrote the absolute truth of being a mom. It’s the best and hardest job ever. She had me laughing one moment and then almost crying the next with how relatable this story was.

Now let me share about the narration. Absolutely perfect. CJ Bloom and Connor Crais are the best possible voices for these characters. These characters are in their upper 30s and CJ and Connor delivered. They weren’t playing 20-something’s. Their emotion came through for both. And let me tell you, Grant (Connor) and Noelle (CJ) have things be to emotional about.

    arc-alc single-mom

Ashley

166 reviews10 followers

April 8, 2024

I listened to an ALC of this book. I honestly didn't think anything could top Penelope and Maddox but helllooooo Grant! He's literally the perfect book boyfriend. Absolute husband material.

Noelle is a strong woman! She knew what she wanted and she went after it and was unashamed. I admired Grant for not being scared off by a single mom. He loved baby Charlotte just as much as he loved Noelle. He even included her on their dates. Their chemistry was top notch.

I loved the portrayal of motherhood throughout the book. Motherhood is HARD. And I loved seeing Grant step in to help Noelle and to give her a break when she needed it. She wasn't used to the help and she was tired and he just came right on in without hesitation.

Connor Crais and CJ Bloom knocked this audiobook out of the park! They brought the characters to life and I loved every minute of it. Thank you Harlow James & The Author Agency for this ALC. It was perfect.

    alc single-mom

What.Nikki.Reads

440 reviews39 followers

April 14, 2024

Rating: ♾️
Spice: Open door

❤️ Cinnamon roll MMC
❤️ Single mom
❤️ He falls first
❤️ Pilot MMC
❤️ Fantastic friend group
❤️ Hardships of motherhood

💜Grant + Noelle💜

This book 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼. If you are a mother you MUST read this one. And if you are not a mother I still suggest it because it's a great read. It's not your average single mom read. Noelle has chosen to have a baby all by herself through a sperm donor. The way Harlow touches on different aspects of motherhood the good the bad and the ugly was fantastic.

"𝑹𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒎𝒃𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒈𝒉 𝑰'𝒎 𝒂 𝒎𝒐𝒎, 𝑰'𝒎 𝒂 𝒘𝒉𝒐𝒍𝒆 𝒉𝒖𝒎𝒂𝒏, 𝒕𝒐𝒐, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒐𝒏 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒗𝒆𝒔 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆 𝒍𝒐𝒔𝒕."
👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
Say it again please for the moms in the back!!!!!

Ok, now the romance.
The freaking meet cute 🥰. Sucked me in from the start. We love a man who will give you the literal shirt off his back. This man went out of his way time and time again to make sure Noelle KNEW she was beautiful. He stepped in to help with the baby constantly and was totally SWOON worthy.

This book was perfection and definitely one I recommend picking up BUT I do think you should read them in order to get the entire friend group experience.

Can't forget the narrators! @connorcrais and CJ Bloom were fantastic. Had me completely immersed in the story.

Thank you to Harlow and @theauthor.agency for this ALC.

    cinnamon-roll favorites he-falls-first

Claire Ingledew

876 reviews8 followers

January 17, 2023

Given this ARC leaving my honest review
Not as planned 4th in the series of Ladies who Brunch, well where do I start.
Noelle and Grant journey is one emotional but enjoyable reads. It amazes me how a book can make you reflect on your own life. Harlow has written this book so well the main characters Noelle and Grant were a delight to read the chemistry these two had on there first meeting was off the scale and the friendship that Noelle has her girls is truly amazing. The journey that Noelle and Grant go is a little bumpy but all I know is all women deserve a man like Grant.
For me this a 5⭐️ read definitely book to read

Not As Planned (The Ladies Who Brunch #4) (2024)

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