Genre: Contemporary

Recent Reads | First Lie Wins and Red String Theory

Posted January 18, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | First Lie Wins and Red String Theory

I haven’t read a lot of books centered around con women/men before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew going into it is that Ashley Elston wrote it, and I love her YA books! Happy to support any of my favorite authors if they make a genre and/or age target jump. I didn’t even read the synopsis before I dove into the story. FIRST LIE WINS follows Evie Porter as she works on her next assignment. She doesn’t really know what the purpose is but she’s meant to get close to Ryan Sumner; her mysterious boss Mr. Smith hasn’t given her anything else to go on. I liked getting to know “Evie” and unraveling her past throughout the story. I will say that the first half was fairly boring, unfortunately. I was generally curious about what was happening but that also led to the question… what is the point of all this? It took a little too long to get there for me. Elston did a really great job of connecting people from her past and linking the flashbacks to present day – it was really well done and made for a great end of the story. The final half of the book flew by for me and I was finally curious to know what was going on. There was a bit of an info dump at one point to explain a bunch of things but I guess there really wasn’t a way around it. The story […]

Review Roundup | The Mystery Guest, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, and Raiders of the Lost Heart

Posted January 3, 2024 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Roundup | The Mystery Guest, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, and Raiders of the Lost Heart

THE MAID was a pleasant surprise and a bit of a roller coaster for me (which is weird considering it’s a somewhat “basic” cozy mystery). I almost DNFed if because I just wasn’t connecting with the story and didn’t really care about what was happening. As usual, a chapter or two after considering the DNF, I became a bit hooked… and I ended up giving the book 4.5 stars! I was excited by the premise of the sequel and immediately requested it from the library. I was really intrigued by a second story with Molly and loved how this one tied into her past. Molly is solving another murder mystery – this time it’s the famous author that her grandmother once worked for. The story involved flashbacks to her time spent in his mansion and all of the goings-on there. It didn’t feel like the author was retroactively adding things or changing things to make the plot work either – enough negative things were included about the victim from book one to make me feel like this was a well-planned sophomore follow-up. There are some times with these books where I start to lose interest a little bit and that’s the only reason for a 4.5 rating instead of 5 stars. I just don’t get THAT feeling unfortunately. I was sad that Juan Manuel was missing throughout this book because he was visiting family but it made sense to keep the mystery plot moving without getting the romance in the […]

Holiday Reviews: Bright Lights, Big Christmas and Through the Snow Globe

Posted December 21, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Holiday Reviews: Bright Lights, Big Christmas and Through the Snow Globe

Story I really enjoyed THE SANTA SUIT last year and was excited to try another short and sweet Christmas book from Mary Kay Andrews. BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CHRISTMAS followed Kerry as she joined her brother in NYC selling Christmas trees from the family farm. She hadn’t been at their lot since she was a kid – when her parents split up, her brother and father ran the tree farm while Kerry stayed with her mom. She’s feeling lost between jobs and is subbed in for her father this year, who recently had a heart attack. The characters were good – there’s a romance with a cute single dad from the building next door. I really loved meeting everyone else in the building and the nearby restaurants too. One of their neighbors goes missing and they all band together to find him in time for Christmas. It leads to an interesting new life path for Kerry that I really enjoyed reading about. I didn’t love the romance necessarily; the kid was cute but the father was a little pushy. It was off-putting to have him move so quickly on her when they’d known each other for a couple of weeks. Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels NYC during the holiday season is one of my favorite settings, as I’ve mentioned time and time again. The block they were located on felt real and gave some nice Christmas feels. Christmas tree lots or farms are some of my favorite settings for holiday books. […]

Holiday Reviews: Snowed in for Christmas and The Christmas Orphans Club

Posted December 14, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Holiday Reviews: Snowed in for Christmas and The Christmas Orphans Club

Story I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one but I have to say, I enjoyed it! Becca and Harrison are neighbors on a college campus (one is a sorority house mom and the other is the football coach) who went on a date two years ago… then he ghosted her. They’ve spent the years since avoiding each other until a huge snow storm comes right as the students are heading for winter break. They end up hunkering down together due to power outages, lack of firewood, and extreme wind and temperatures. I really enjoyed their chemistry and the snowed-in style romance here. It’s so much fun to watch two people get closer from a relationship perspective while they’re forced together in those circumstances. Becca was such a fun character who tried her hardest to not let other people’s assumptions about her get in the way of her being herself. Harrison was grumpy but soft underneath, which I like. Honestly, I think Harrison got off a little too easy on the ghosting thing. There’s obviously some explanation as the two start talking about it but I think that could have been beefed up a little bit. The ending got progressively more cheesy (lots of instalove) but was still cute in general. Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels There’s definitely a difference between books that take place on Christmas and Christmas/holiday books. I think this story straddles the middle a little bit. The story happens right before the holiday and the […]

Holiday Reviews: The Christmas Guest and Emergency Contact

Posted November 20, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
Holiday Reviews: The Christmas Guest and Emergency Contact

Story This was my first holiday-themed mystery and I’m really excited for the others I have on my TBR now! This story follows Ashley, an American girl studying in England, who is invited to her friend’s family estate for the holidays. She immediately falls for her friend’s charming older brother and is brought into their cold, not-so-comforting home (and family) for the holidays. The brother, Adam, has been accused of murdering a local girl but this doesn’t really deter Ashley. Surely he had nothing to do with it? This is a story-within-a-story where someone is reading  a diary years and years later. I really enjoyed the twist in this one! After it was revealed, I did lose interest for a few pages, but Swanson brought me back in somewhat quickly. I think the story took a few interesting turns and I really enjoyed how everything was revealed. Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels The holiday feels are interesting in this subgenre. Yes, it was creepy and gothic and had a mystery element. But it definitely also had cozy scenes in pubs and festive decor around the dinner table. It was a fun mix, to be honest! It creates a different kind of holiday feel but the setting was cold and wintery for sure. Overall I’m really glad that Swanson made this short as a novella – I truly think it was the perfect length and format for this kind of story. The twist packed more of a punch for me. Going […]

Review Roundup | The Brothers Hawthorne, Project Hail Mary, and The Pumpkin Spice Cafe

Posted November 10, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 3 Comments
Review Roundup | The Brothers Hawthorne, Project Hail Mary, and The Pumpkin Spice Cafe

I’m really bummed by this one to be honest – it was really just FINE. I’ve loved this series so much and was excited to get into the heads of a couple of the brothers for this “spinoff” fourth book. It follows Jameson and Grayson as they embark on their own individual journeys. (It may have been more fun to follow Nash and Xander instead because they were featured less than Grayson and Jameson in other books.) Grayson’s part of the story was more interesting as he learned more about his father and the family that he never knew about. There was a little mystery there for him to solve and some lovable new characters introduced. Jameson is also dealing with his father and more games/riddles. I thought the concept behind his part of the book was good but not executed in a way that made me want to keep reading? It took me all of September to read this one because I just kept being more interested in other books. I did end up reading the final section pretty quickly and was curious to see how things would wrap up. I’m glad there’s another book and I’m hoping it’ll be more interesting than this one was. I really enjoyed THE MARTIAN despite not usually reading adult science fiction. (Even YA sci-fi is lower on my list unfortunately, despite enjoying them!) I kept seeing insanely positive reviews for this one and decided I should give it a try. The audiobook […]

Review Roundup | Sister of the Bride, Drowning, and Murder in the Family

Posted September 27, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
Review Roundup | Sister of the Bride, Drowning, and Murder in the Family

I’ve enjoyed Morrill’s YA books before – they’re usually nice and bantery, super easy to read, and a lot of fun. I was so excited when I saw she wrote an adult contemporary romance and requested it immediately. SISTER OF THE BRIDE is apparently a Father of the Bride retelling (?) but I haven’t seen the movie. I loved the premise of a girl having to plan her sister’s wedding while falling in love with her best friend. This is the kind of book that you could easily sit and read in one sitting so I’m a little annoyed it took me so long to finish it! I started it right before my birthday weekend, which always gets too busy for reading. In any case, the Italian food and Boston vibes were immaculate in this book. I’m from Connecticut so Boston is an hour and a half from where I live. It was fun to see what they included and how they presented the story. It was a really unique situation for the MC Pippin and it was fun to see how she would move on with her life after literally everything changed. She was occasionally frustrating but I have to say, the lack of drama and miscommunication in this one (especially in a few key areas near the end) was just perfect. She would get annoyed about something and freak out, then come back to earth and apologize. It was refreshing that she didn’t let things get to her for too long and […]

Review Roundup | The Honeymoon Crashers, None of This is True, and One of Us is Back

Posted September 14, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Roundup | The Honeymoon Crashers, None of This is True, and One of Us is Back

I was so excited when I learned that THE UNHONEYMOONERS was getting a “sequel” in any capacity. Learning it was an audio exclusive with a full cast, sound effects, and generally full production was even MORE exciting for me. This novella-length audiobook follows the best man and maid of honor for Olive and Ethan’s wedding on Maui! The two announce to Olive’s family they’re just going to elope and get married on the island alone. Cue her twin sister Ami and brother Diego deciding instead to invite 18 family members to surprise the two of them there with a real wedding instead of an elopement. The production here was awesome, and appropriately sparse (if that makes sense) – there were a handful of scenes with background noise and sound effects like the ocean or breezy music, but not all the time. It was perfectly done to not be distracting! Many of the conversations between characters alternated between them like they were actually talking, with the voice actors taking turns and no “he said” or “she said” in between like you would read in the book. I liked Ami and Brody a lot – I think the book did a good job of building up their romance and chemistry in a shorter time period, but I totally could have seen this being a full-length book instead. They had different personalities but in a way that balanced each other out. Plus, you learn a bit more about Brody at the end of […]

ARC August Reviews: All That’s Left to Say and Same Time Next Summer

Posted September 8, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
ARC August Reviews: All That’s Left to Say and Same Time Next Summer

Emery Lord has been one of my favorite authors since I first started my blog in 2014. It’s kind of alarming to see how underrated this book is (literally, there are only a few hundred reviews and ratings on Goodreads!). Remember when she was the top author in YA?? I feel like some of my fellow YA comrades have fallen off a bit (which I understand) but she’ll be an auto-buy forever for me. I joined some reading sprints on booktube the other day and people didn’t even really know Emery Lord when I mentioned this was my current read. I MUST EDUCATE EVERYONE. As you can see, I’ll read her books immediately regardless of topic. This book is about very fresh and unexpected grief, which is not something I like to read about. I don’t pick up sad books on purpose and just try to escape to a happier place when I read (or solve a murder mystery – nothing more or less!). Reading about the opioid crisis was even harder. However, as always, Emery Lord treated the topic with care and created a very emotional and powerful story. In ALL THAT’S LEFT TO SAY, Hannah is reeling from losing her cousin Sophie to an extremely unexpected overdose. Perfect, vivacious Sophie would never take pills on purpose! The story features her immediate grief and how she decides to get to the bottom of what happens to her. This includes transferring to Sophie’s school and trying to track down where […]

ARC August Reviews: The Last One and Business or Pleasure

Posted August 24, 2023 / Book Reviews / 1 Comment
ARC August Reviews: The Last One and Business or Pleasure

If there’s one thing Will Dean has, it’s the audacity. What an ending!! I did not see that coming at all. (Had to get that off my chest first, now on to an incredibly vague review!) The synopsis of THE LAST ONE intrigued me so much when I watched a the booktuber vlog her reading experience. Basically the first 10% of the book is the synopsis and a bunch of other stuff happens after that – I strongly recommend going into this book as blind as you can so I’m definitely not going to share anything else that happens lol. My main theories right off the bat were some of the classics (everyone is dead including the MC, it’s all a dream, etc.) – needless to say I won’t tell you if anything was right. I couldn’t put this down and finished it in one day. Once some ~things~ happen and are revealed, the book is a pretty slow-ish thriller. It’s not fast-paced like many others but I still couldn’t stop reading because I was dying to know what would happen next. There are some strong twists but not too many, which was really nice (no whiplash like other thriller books/writers). It’s a little slower at parts like I said and thus I think it’s a LITTLE too long, but the ending was so good. I can’t believe how the author chose to end this lol. There was a lot of character backstory that I think was supposed to make us […]