Format: eARC

Review Roundup | The Wishing Game, Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, and Live and Let Chai

Posted July 17, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Roundup | The Wishing Game, Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, and Live and Let Chai

I was soooo looking forward to THE WISHING GAME. The book sounded so magical (while being realistic and not actually featuring any magic or fantastical elements) and the cover? Absolutely one of my favorites I’ve ever seen… which is why it’s such a bummer that I feel so incredibly mixed on this book. I had to really think about a rating for it. At its core, this book is a whimsical ode to children’s books and the lifelong impact they have on us. I loved that aspect! It was so cute in a lot of ways. If I sit here and think about the story as a whole and ignore a lot of the details that really bugged me, this could have easily been very highly rated. I appreciate the granting of wishes and foster care/adoption plotline in a general sense but I was really uncomfortable with how Lucy went about it all with Christopher. It’s one thing to want to adopt a child that needs it but I personally found it to be inappropriate that she was kissing his forehead and having him sit on her lap (and discussing her desire to adopt him before she was permitted to – I have to think, if it didn’t happen or come true, wouldn’t the kid be in a worse mental space? She even tried to argue that sleeping on the floor of her bedroom in a house she shared with drunk college students would be a better situation for him […]

ARC Review: The Seven Year Slip

Posted June 19, 2023 / Book Reviews / 2 Comments
ARC Review: The Seven Year Slip

I’ve loved Ashley Poston since her YA book days a few years ago. Her foray into “adult contemporary fiction with a sprinkle of magic” has been LOVELY so far – THE DEAD ROMANTICS was one of my favorite books last year and I can still remember the feeling of sitting on the amazing porch at our Airbnb and reading so much of it in one sitting. While that story gets the half-star edge over THE SEVEN YEAR SLIP, I clearly loved this one too. The story centers around Clementine and her somewhat boring life in NYC, six months after her beloved aunt and travel partner passed away. She was willed her apartment and has been living there ever since, despite how painful it can be. Her aunt always said the apartment was a bit magical and Clementine finds out firsthand how true that was. Somehow timelines overlap, and you may return to your apartment one day and find yourself seven years in the past… yes, including whoever was living there seven years prior. One summer, that turns out to be Iwan, a gorgeous Southern guy that her aunt sublet the apartment to when she was overseas (oddly enough, with Clementine) at the time. The two connect very quickly but Clementine isn’t sure how to tell him exactly what’s happening with their time-related disconnect. Some other ~things~ progressed in this story that were not what I expected when I read the synopsis, but I actually liked it way better than what […]

ARC Review: Something Close to Magic

Posted June 12, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
ARC Review: Something Close to Magic

I’m a huge Emma Mills fan. Every New Years Day for a few years in a row, I would hang out and read her next release that day, basically in one sitting, to start the New Year off on the right foot. I think I still have one contemporary romance from her backlist to read but I was really excited to see her foray into fantasy… especially one that sounded on the cozier side! I’ll admit that it took me a while to get into this. I think the problem was mostly having to read on my iPad because of the file type but I also just wasn’t hooked like I thought I would be. Her writing style is really different here and fantasy-oriented. I never would have guessed it was her writing without knowing. It just took a little getting used to! There are some elements of her signature clever dialogue between the characters though, so that helped! The story centers around Auralie, a baker’s apprentice in a small village, who suddenly finds herself hanging out with trolls and princes and bounty hunters. They go on a little quest at the beginning and then there’s an interlude of letter-writing (cute!) before some fun drama and action at the end. I’d definitely say this qualifies as a cozy fantasy because it’s breezy and fun to read while not having high-stakes action and worldbuilding. The second half of this book honestly REALLY took off for me. The trouble I had trying […]

ARC Reviews: Liars Beach and Jana Goes Wild

Posted June 5, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
ARC Reviews: Liars Beach and Jana Goes Wild

I love Cotugno but haven’t read her latest releases for one reason or another. The synopsis of this one really appealed to me and I liked that she was working in a different genre. There are very few reviews and the overall Goodreads rating is pretty low, which is interesting, but I was still cautiously optimistic. I haven’t read THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES but it’s definitely on my Agatha Christie to-read list now. Linden is off to Martha’s Vineyard to spend some time with his roommate Jasper and his family at their gorgeous house on the beach. He’s hiding a lot about his true background/socioeconomic status but tries to fit in with them nonetheless. He’s on a lacrosse scholarship at a fancy boarding school and has to keep up appearances. His childhood friend (his mom works for their family) Holiday is there too. When a body of a guy everyone hates shows up in the pool, Holiday and Linden set out to solve the mystery. I ended up really enjoying this! It’s a little surface-level and super short, which made for a breezy Memorial Day Weekend read on the porch in just a couple of hours. I don’t actually wish it was longer though – she achieved what she needed to in under 300 pages. There are definitely discussions on class, Great Gatsby vibes/themes, and manic pixie dreamgirl energy, which was all a part of the wider story and message Cotugno was trying to convey. The ending was interesting and […]

ARC Review: Meet Me at the Lake

Posted May 17, 2023 / Book Reviews / 2 Comments
ARC Review: Meet Me at the Lake

I absolutely devoured EVERY SUMMER AFTER last year. I was on the fence about reading it and was cautious about the hype, but I literally sat there and finished the book in one sitting on my deck on a sunny afternoon. That was such a wonderful and specific reading experience that I was super nervous to read her sophomore novel. Such high expectations! ESA was not perfect – it was messy in a way that really worked for me. I was curious to see if this novel would have much of the same (not really!) or if the author would branch out a bit. I was happy to still see dual timelines following the lead couple, a second chance romance, and another glorious summer setting. MEET ME AT THE LAKE is centered around the main character’s family resort on a lake in Canada. Fern determined as a college student that she didn’t want to take over the business someday and broke her mom’s heart in the process. Years later, with some success managing coffee shops in Toronto in the meantime, her mom passes away in an accident… leaving the resort to her. Beyond the grief and family feels of it all, the story alternates between past and present with Fern and Will – a boy she had a whirlwind day/night with as a college student. It feels a bit like instalove (especially because the chemistry 10 years ago just wasn’t there for me as much as it was in present […]

Blog Tour: The Boyfriend Candidate

Posted May 15, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
Blog Tour: The Boyfriend Candidate

Review I had only read IN MY DREAMS I HOLD A KNIFE before starting this book and really loved it, so naturally I’ve added all of Ashley Winstead’s books to my TBR regardless of genre. I love when authors are able to write both excellent romances and excellent thrillers… not much more I could ask for! 😉 Needless to say, I was excited for the opportunity to read THE BOYFRIEND CANDIDATE! The story centers around school librarian Alexis and her quest to ditch her boring girl persona for one night… and how she ends up in scandalous paparazzi photos with a young hot-shot Texas gubernatorial candidate Logan. His campaign quickly pivots to let everyone know that that the two are actually together and my beloved fake dating trope begins – just long enough to get Logan through the election. It was really interesting to get a peek behind the curtain of how politicians have to work on their image, determine their platform, and deal with other politicians, union leaders, and the public. It didn’t go into a ton of detail but just enough to make the book feel realistic. Alexis quickly impacted his campaign to integrate not just stopping the education budget cuts, but increasing the budget throughout the state. Logan and Alexis had a lot of chemistry and the typical “oh no, they couldn’t possibly be actually into me” vibes were strong. I loved watching them integrate into each other’s lives in a natural way where you could actually see […]

ARC Review: Return to Hummingbird Way

Posted April 20, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
ARC Review: Return to Hummingbird Way

This series has been so lovely – I seriously love Reese Ryan’s writing style and how she set up the picturesque town of Holly Grove Island. This book is the second in this companion series and another winner! The first book featured Dexter and Dakota as they embarked on their second chance romance; this one follows Dakota’s best friend Sinclair and Dexter’s best friend Garrett. Mild spoiler for book one, but Dexter and Dakota are heavily featured in this book as they’re planning their wedding. Naturally Sin and Rett are the MOH and Best Man so they’re tasked with pulling off their wedding planning in short order while also working on a joint bachelor/bachelorette party. (Sidenote: if you’re someone who loves when the first couple in a companion series makes an appearance in the next book, you’ll love this one – Dex and Dakota were major characters throughout the story, so you can see their friendships and relationship develop throughout still.) On top of that, they’re both working on redoing Rett’s grandmother’s house to prepare for sale. Sinclair and Rett are both realtors with construction and/or interior design skills so they collaborate on the fixer upper. The only problem? These two don’t really get along. They butted heads in high school, managed to have a quick one night stand years ago, and have generally avoided each other ever since. Rett is back in town to help his family and decides to stick around to work on these projects, but he’s […]

ARC Review: Yours Truly

Posted April 5, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
ARC Review: Yours Truly

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I think Abby Jimenez writes the BEST romance out there right now. I’ve enjoyed (even loved!) all of her books and truthfully, I think each one is better than the last. THE FRIEND ZONE was a book I really loved when I read it but those feelings faded a bit over time for a few reasons. And her books have only gone up from there (for the most part). In order of release, they went 3.5 stars, 4 stars, 5 stars, 4.5 stars, and 5 stars again for me. I’ll backtrack and chat about the plot and then get into the gushing. The story follows PART OF YOUR WORLD’s heroine’s best friend Briana. She’s hitting her divorce finalization date after her husband cheated on her and feels like she’s just going through the motions. A new ER doctor, Jacob, joins the hospital she works at and the two do NOT get off on the right foot. Jacob secretly finds out he is a match for her brother as a kidney donor, they start writing letters (which started as an apology letter), and the rest is history. I would categorize this as enemies-to-fake-dating-to-lovers, which was very fun. It’s light on the enemies part but still. I loved watching them fake date (Jacob needed a girlfriend for his brother’s wedding festivities… did I mention his brother was marrying Jacob’s ex? And they got together three months after she and Jacob broke up?) and see their […]

ARC Reviews: Off the Map and The Good Luck Cafe

Posted March 27, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
ARC Reviews: Off the Map and The Good Luck Cafe

`These books were two of my most anticipated contemporary romance reads for this year. They’ve also been sitting on my Kindle for MONTHS and I can’t believe I didn’t read them much earlier than their pub date! Man, this year has flown by. OFF THE MAP is the third (and I believe final?) book in this companion series about the Beck sisters. I’ve loooooved this series so far and am happy to report that I really enjoyed this one! It’s my least favorite of the bunch but still very steamy and swoony and wanderlusty. We follow Anna’s best friend, Carla (so not really a Beck sister), as she is heading to *spoiler for book one* Anna’s wedding in Keane’s home of Ireland. Keane’s brother, Eamon (who we met in the first book) is due to pick her up and bring her to the wedding. Sparks fly between them right away and the night quickly gets away from them in the bar… and then Keane’s apartment.  Carla has been traveling most of her life and avoiding her dad’s dementia diagnosis, and Eamon is dying to break out of his routine and do the same kind of thing. You’d think that would make things easier for them but it doesn’t, of course! The two of them take some detours on the way to the wedding and really enjoy each other’s company. They have really great chemistry and I actually like how quickly they hooked up. It was more unique for a romance […]

ARC Review: Missing Clarissa

Posted March 8, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
ARC Review: Missing Clarissa

I was beyond excited for this book – I was really hoping for the second-coming of the GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE books. I wanted a true crime podcast and best friends solving the case of a missing girl. I love all that stuff! Unfortunately, MISSING CLARISSA was a disappointing and predictable read, despite being an overall enjoyable ride. Cam and her best friend Blair come from a town with an infamous missing girl case – Clarissa Campbell. She was the popular cheerleader who left a party in the woods, never to be seen again. The two girls decide to focus on this case for their journalism class project and create a podcast about it. I loved this setup and the fact that both Blair and Cam had no experience in solving mysteries or making podcasts. The story went through the actual moments they had to figure out logistically where to even start. I didn’t mind reading about Blair and Cam but they (especially Cam) made very stupid decisions a lot of the time, especially toward the end. It was terrible to read about Blair’s shitty boyfriend. I didn’t mind Cam’s romantic arc but she was still frustrating. The writing was pretty good – I can’t figure out if it was the characters that annoyed me because they were annoying or if the writing made them more annoying lol. Their internal dialogue was a little cringe-worthy but again not sure if that has to do with the author’s writing or just the characters […]