Welcome to my book recommendations, fellow book nerds.  As a writer, I not only love writing stories for the enjoyment of others, I love talking about books I've enjoyed as well. The following are just a few of those books.
This Time Next Year
Sophie Cousens

About The Book

Their lives began together, but their worlds couldn't be more different. After thirty years of missed connections, they're about to meet again...

Minnie Cooper knows two things with certainty: that her New Year's birthday is unlucky, and that it's all because of Quinn Hamilton, a man she's never met. Their mothers gave birth to them at the same hospital just after midnight on New Year's Day, but Quinn was given the cash prize for being the first baby born in London in 1990--and the name Minnie was meant to have, as well. With luck like that, it's no wonder each of her birthdays has been more of a disaster than the one before.

When Minnie unexpectedly runs into Quinn at a New Year's party on their mutual thirtieth birthday, she sees only more evidence that fortune has continued to favor him. The gorgeous, charming business owner truly seems to have it all--while Minnie's on the brink of losing her pie-making company and her home. But if Quinn and Minnie are from different worlds, why do they keep bumping into each other? And why is it that each fraught encounter leaves them both wanting more?

My Review
Minnie Cooper, no, I’m not shitting you, has had a touch of bad luck every New Year’s Eve since quite literally the day she was born, when both her glory (being the first 90s baby) and her name were stolen from her by Quinn Hamilton.  Since then, Minnie has grown to detest every New Year’s Eve to the point where she has come to avoid the whole day entirely. However, that all changed-ish when she meets Quinn Hamilton after she was locked inside a bathroom all night while at Quinn’s New Year’s Eve party. Realizing that she has met the man who stole her luck and, effectively, her life, Minnie and Quinn embark on a friendship, where she discovers that looks can be deceiving and success may not always equate to happiness.

Cute is about the only way I can describe this book. It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t bad, either. It was a nice romp into the life of a woman who, in my opinion, was brainwashed by her mother to believe that just because things didn’t work out the way they were supposed to at birth, she was cursed for her entire life because of it.  Smooth move there, Connie Cooper.  True Mother of the Year material. Quite honestly, had I’d been Connie, I would have stuck with the name Quinn anyway, considering it had only been her dream to have a daughter named Quinn since forever, but what the hell do I know?  Apparently, if you can’t get the name you want, you should doom your child to a life of torment and emotional scarring by naming her after a subcompact car.

As is the case in all books I’ve read set in the UK lately, the side-characters in this book are phenomenally written. I definitely need to find some more UK friends. LI Quinn, however, was a total knob throughout most of the book in the way he was hot and cold with Minnie. I get he had issues of his own he needed to work through, but it felt like he was purposely leading Minnie on. It reminded me of that State Farm commercial where the fisherman snatches the dollar away. You almost had it, Minnie, you almost had it. Hence my four-star rating.
Happy Singles Day

Ann Marie Walker


About The Book

Single and proud of it! Oh, oops...

As a Certified Professional Organizer, everything in Paige Parker's world is as it should be. Perfect apartment, perfect office, perfect life. And now, the perfect vacation planned to honor Singles Day. After all, what's better than celebrating her pride in being single? Because who needs a man anyway? They have zero taste in quality television, leave the toilet seat up, and sleep with your best friend. No thanks. Her life is fine just the way it is.

As the owner of a now-dormant bed & breakfast, Lucas Croft's life is simple and quiet. It's only him and his five-year-old daughter, which is just the way he likes it. Because who needs a woman anyway? They nag you to clean up your stuff, want the toilet seat put down, and expect the dishes to be done the same day the meal is cooked. No thanks. His life is fine just the way it is.

But when Paige books a room that Lucas' well-intentioned sister listed without his knowledge, their two worlds collide. If they can survive the week together, they just might discover exactly what they've both been missing.

My Review
I’ve read mixed reviews on this one from some of my favorite bookstagrammers and decided to give it a try, only to find my views just as mixed as theirs.

Paige Parker is a boss babe and a certified professional organizer—something I’ll never be in a million years. With a successful business, she hasn’t found the time for dating—well, that and the fact that her last relationship ended with her fiancé boinking her former boss (ouch). Dateless and completely cool with it, Paige decides to haul ass out of town for Singles Day (the day after Valentine’s Day). She rents a room at a seemingly-charming-from-the-ad bed and breakfast on an island on the Carolina coast, where she plans to embrace her I Am Woman Hear Me Roar mantra—a room that was listed for rent completely unbeknownst to the owner of the bed and breakfast, Lucas Croft.

Lucas Croft is grumpy af. Finding himself a single dad to a precocious little girl after the tragic death of his wife, he wants nothing to do with playing host to some city girl from Chicago. And it would seem that Paige shares his disdain; but when a nor’easter blows into town, closing down the ferries to the mainland, Paige and Lucas are forced to shack it up and weather the storm together.

Will their burning hatred turn into burning passion?

This book was a tease and not in a good way. Throughout most of it, the reader is made to think “Will they or won’t they?” With stolen kisses and smouldering glances, everything leads to the pivotal bedroom scene—where the door is promptly slammed in the reader’s face. Now, I don’t need graphic details, but this book was far from chaste beforehand, and it seemed kind of strange the author decided to go that route when she had been building to that moment for so long, but I digress. Something else that bothered me was the fact that Paige was a plus-sized MC, but the cover failed to recognize that. I know the author had nothing to do with it, but it left a sour taste in my mouth. The rest of the story was just okay—cute and predictable, nothing special or ground-breaking. Just a way to kill some time on a rainy day.


In Case You Missed It

Lindsey Kelk

About The Book

When Ros comes home after three years away, she’s ready to pick up with life exactly where she left it. But her friends have moved on, her parents have rekindled their romance, and her bedroom is now a garden shed. All of a sudden, she’s swept up in nostalgia for the way things were.
Then her phone begins to ping, with messages from her old life. Including one number she thought she’d erased for good – the man who broke her heart. Is this her second chance at one big love? Sometimes we all want to see what we’ve been missing…
My Review
After receiving the almighty sacking from her job in America, Ros Reynolds is forced to return home to the UK with her tail tucked between her legs, back to her persistently amorous parents’ home. Except, she’s not living in their home. Her father, whose carpentry skills match my culinary skills, it would seem, has outfitted Ros with her own personal she shed, complete with composting toilet. It’s like a tiny house from hell. But for a homeless Ros, beggars can’t be choosers. Feeling life escaping her, Ros looks to reclaim some of what she lost when she moved to the US, including her ex, Patrick Parker, (aka King of the Twats) whom she inadvertently summons when she sends a group text to literally every single contact in her phone. Reconnected with her ex, back with her awesome group of friends—I seriously need to find me a Sumi—and working at a job producing a podcast featuring a fourteen-year-old millionaire gamer, Ros has everything she could ever want…or does she?  Maybe instead of trying to capture what she left behind, she really should be trying to set her sights ahead, especially to one hunky, brooding bartender.

I haven’t laughed so hard reading a book in a long time. Pretty much every character was hilarious in their own way—except for Patrick. Patrick can piss off.  Between Ros’s mother’s constant nip slips, her friend Sumi having literally zero f**** to give, the banter between Ros and said bartender, Ros and her genius sister Jo, and Ros and basically everyone else in the book, including herself, I was entertained through the entirety of the book. My only real issue was that it was a tad predictable in parts, but that didn’t take away from the enjoyment. I also wondered what the holy hell Ros’s friend Lucy saw in her husband, Creepy Dave, and hoped the two would split. To each their own, I guess. Overall, this book is just plain fun. Romantic comedy at its best.

This Close to Okay

Leesa Cross-Smith
About The Book

On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home from work when she spots a man precariously standing at the edge of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally shares his name: Emmett. 

Over the course of the emotionally charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for Emmett, though she hesitates to confess that this is also her day job. What she doesn’t realize is that Emmett isn’t the only one who needs healing—and they both are harboring secrets.

My Review

This Close to Okay was this close to perfect *makes gesture with thumb and index finger close to touching.*

Fresh from a marriage that ended due to her husband’s infidelity, resulting in a child—and made all the more painful by the MC’s infertility—Tallie Clark finds herself a broken woman. As a therapist, she’s used to dealing with people whose lives are in crisis, so when she sees a man preparing to jump from a Louisville bridge into the Ohio River, she goes into therapist mode. Successful in gaining the man’s trust, ultimately saving his life, Tallie and the man, later identifying himself as Emmett, develop a friendly rapport that results in Emmett staying with Tallie, even getting to know her family, and, ruh roh, her ex-husband. But Emmett is keeping a secret that could threaten to derail the friendship the two of them have built in the short time they’ve known each other.

This was an engaging story. I found Tallie to be likeable, and I empathized with her. We’ve all been on the receiving end of a broken heart. However, I found some of her actions in this book to be questionable. Look, I think a few of us have Facebook-stalked an ex a time or two (raises hand), but Tallie logs into her ex’s account, reads his messages and essentially spies on his life. Um…not the healthiest of activities, especially for a therapist. Also, all my stranger danger bells started ringing when she brought Emmett home with her. Maybe I’ve watched too many episodes of Dateline, but a single woman bringing a strange man into her home doesn’t seem like the smartest thing in the world. Thankfully, Emmett is a great guy, and his backstory will tear your heart in two.

Aside from my minor gripes with Tallie’s lack of common sense, the only other thing that bothered me was the ending.  Not that it was a bad ending. It just wasn’t the ending I wanted. This story was beautifully written, and as someone whose life has been touched by suicide, it's one that will stick with me.

TW: Suicide and Infertility
The Simple Wild

About The Book

Calla Fletcher was two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when her father reaches out to inform her that his days are numbered, Calla knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this new subarctic environment, Jonah—the quiet, brooding, and proud Alaskan pilot who keeps her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. As time passes, she unexpectedly finds herself forming a bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago.

It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.
My Review

K.A. Tucker has worked some wicked voodoo magic. Not only did she write a phenomenal enemies-to-lovers love story (that’s actually so much more than a love story), she also made a beard woman out of me. Trimmed, of course; none of that pre-makeover yeti shit.

The Simple Wild follows Calla Fletcher, the very definition of a spoiled city girl with major daddy issues. Calla and her father Wren have basically been estranged for years due to Wren’s dipping out on her graduation. So, when Calla gets a call from Agnes, a friend of her father’s, telling her that her father has lung cancer, Calla heads from her mother’s home in Toronto to the middle of BFE, Alaska, where she attempts to reacquaint herself with the father she barely knows in the time he has left. Oh, and I would be remiss if I failed to also mention that Wren owns his own charter plane business, employing one fine hunk of bearded specimen named Jonah who, it would appear, is less than thrilled to see the fashion forward, hygienically aware outsider. However, appearances can be deceiving.

I’ve been handing out five stars this year like Oprah hands out cars. But The Simple Wild is a legitimate five-star read, so I have to call it as I see it. I appreciated how it took some time for Wren and Calla to develop the father-daughter dynamic they hadn’t had since Calla was a toddler and how Calla slowly acclimated to a new way of life in Alaska and the people in it. I also liked Calla’s relationship with her stepfather, Simon, who is truly stepparent goals. All of the side characters were also well fleshed out and had a purpose in the story.

However, what I loved the most was the slooooow burn between Calla and Jonah. Jonah is every bit the grumpy bastard who sets my blood on fire with his banter and ability to transform into a big teddy bear when the opportunity arises. They say opposites attract, and Jonah and Calla certainly personify that adage. I know I’m certainly Here. For. It.
Anxious People

About The Book

Looking at real estate isn’t usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can’t fix their own marriage. There’s a wealthy bank director who has been too busy to care about anyone else and a young couple who are about to have their first child but can’t seem to agree on anything, from where they want to live to how they met in the first place. Add to the mix an eighty-seven-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment’s only bathroom, and you’ve got the worst group of hostages in the world.

Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them—the bank robber included—desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.
My Review

Fredrik Backman, where have you been all my life?  

I’m honestly trying to figure out how to summarize this one without giving it away, because that is kind of hard to do here.  So, we have this “bank robber” who’s been having a very shitty go of it. Their asshole ex-spouse left them for their boss, took their apartment, and is now threatening to take their daughters away because the would-be bank robber now has no job and may have no place to stay if they can’t come up with $6.5k for rent. Desperate (because who wouldn’t be?) the robber tries to rob a cashless bank (had no idea those existed) and when that fails, makes a run for it to an apartment, where a showing is taking place. The showing is comprised of some of the most inept and eclectic group of idiots you could ever encounter, yet all of them are loveable in their own way. But when police arrive at the apartment to apprehend the robber, they find no one. How can that be, and will the witnesses be of any help? Spoiler alert: they are of no help-their interviews are some of the best parts of the book.

Oh, my word, so much to digest with this one. So much wit, so much sarcasm, so much snark. If I could marry a book, I would totally walk down the aisle with it.

As many funny moments as there were in Anxious People, there were also many moments that make you think. For starters, I came into the book with a preconceived notion about the bank robber that was so totally and expertly blown out of the water by the author that I had to re-read the section a couple of times to absorb it. A lot of this book is about forming opinions about characters that are later turned on their head by the actions of these characters and/or their backstory. Every single one of the characters in this book were necessary, none felt like filler, and all cracked me up to no end, especially Zara—who I’ll probably turn into when I get older, minus the being rich part.

However, a large part of Anxious People also centers around events which lead us to make tough decisions. Those decisions may be to persevere or to end our lives entirely, and because of this content, I must caution some readers.
A Princess For Christmas

Leo Ricci's already handling all he can, between taking care of his little sister Gabby, driving a cab, and being the super of his apartment building in the Bronx. But when Gabby spots a "princess" in a gown outside of the UN trying to hail a cab, she begs her brother to stop and help. Before he knows it, he's got a real-life damsel in distress in the backseat of his car. 

Princess Marie of Eldovia shouldn't be hailing a cab, or even be out and about. But after her mother’s death, her father has plunged into a devastating depression and the fate of her small Alpine country has fallen on Marie’s shoulders. She’s taken aback by the gruff but devastatingly handsome driver who shows her more kindness than she’s seen in a long time. 

When Marie asks Leo to be her driver for the rest of her trip, he agrees, thinking he’ll squire a rich miss around for a while and make more money than he has in months. He doesn’t expect to like and start longing for the unpredictable Marie. And when he and Gabby end up in Eldovia for Christmas, he discovers the princess who is all wrong for him is also the woman who is his perfect match.

My Review


We have Marie, a bona fide princess of Eldovia, a fictional country in Europe (full disclosure: I for real had to Google “Eldovia” to make certain it was fictional—I know). Anyway, Eldovia sounds like what you would expect if a Disney and a Hallmark movie threw up in a bucket and threw said bucket and vomitous over the Alps. It’s cutesy af. 

So, our princess is in New York trying to get to a party on a yacht, where she hopes to make a business deal to save her country’s respected watch business and economy. In need of a cab, she stumbles upon Leo, our love interest who became a father to his sister overnight when their parents were killed in a car accident. To make some extra green, Leo took a job as cab driver and now finds himself in a cab with an anxious princess and a sister who just started riding the crimson wave. I’m pretty certain we all feel for Leo a little. The princess becomes so taken by Leo that she not only asks him to be her personal chauffeur for the duration of her visit but, later, to come back with her to Eldovia for Christmas. Oh, and there’s also the matter of that other proposition…

Can a commoner and a bedimpled princess find love, and if they do, will the king with a massive stick up his ass accept it, considering the princess is already betrothed to another man?

The first half of this book was intensely sweet, tempered only by Leo's delightful use of four-letter words and snark (aka he’s mine, ladies). But then, holy whiplash! It’s almost like the publishers had a meeting and said, “You know what this book is missing? All the sex!” And guess what we got as a result? Yup. All. The Sex. Not that I’m complaining, but I just feel like I should have been taken out to dinner first or at least given a firm, “Brace yourself!” like I'm accustomed to.

All in all, this was a super cute read. The secondary characters had depth and I really liked Marie and Leo together. My only gripe is that I felt like there was filler in some places and it did take me a bit to get into the story, but once I did, it was smooth sailing.


The Midnight Library
Matt Haig

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig's enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

My Review

You don’t have to understand life. You just have to live it.”

This is one review where I need to keep my smart ass comments to a minimum, partly due to the subject matter of the story and the fact that there were very few places to insert said smart assery. I’ll start out by saying that there is a major trigger warning with this book as it deals with suicide. As someone whose life has been impacted by suicide after the passing of my uncle, half-brother, and best friend, I can honestly say that I appreciate how the author dealt with this sensitive topic in this story, and it also helped me during a time when I needed to put my own life into perspective. Matt Haig is an exceptionally talented author.

Nora Seed is having a bad day, a bad week, a bad month, and even a bad year (with virtually no friends to be there for her). Actually, if you ask her, her entire life has basically always been shit. So, after a particularly bad day that consisted of losing both her job and her beloved ginger kitty, Voltaire, Nora decides life isn’t worth living anymore and overdoses on her anti-depressant medication, hoping to never wake up again. But she does wake up, except she’s neither dead nor alive, but in The Midnight Library, where the librarian, Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, shows her different books depicting how her life would have played out had she done certain things differently (such as not giving up swimming, not breaking up with her fiancé (a total douchebag, by way, completely right decision), not giving up on the band she was in, and pursing a different career). Nora is given the option to choose one of these “new” lives and leave her old one behind. What will Nora choose? I guess you’ll have to read to find out.

This book reminded me a little bit of It’s a Wonderful Life and the saying “The grass isn’t always greener”. Although I completely predicted what Nora would choose, it was still captivating and so well-written that I didn’t want it to end. My only complaint was the ending. I wish it would have been a tad happier, but it ended on a hopeful note and I guess I couldn’t have asked for more.

Fix Her Up
Tessa Bailey

Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World... whatever that means.

Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?)

Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.)

Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?)

Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!)

Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite.

Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there's Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her...

My Review

Hide your kids. Hide your nana. Just don’t hide your significant other, because you may want them around for this.

Fix Her Up tells the story of Georgette “Georgie” Castle, a children’s birthday party clown who just wants to be treated like the floppy shoe-wearing adult she is, and Travis Ford, the former star baseball player, sidelined by a shoulder injury. Since the beginning of time, Georgie has been crushing hard on Travis, who is also her bro’s best friend, while Travis has been crushing pretty much every woman in a five-mile radius. Depressed with his lot in life, Travis starts a new career as a pro bed warmer, but with the help of Georgie and a pint of melted ice cream to his naked back, he is eventually able to drag his ass out of his own pity party and soon finds himself in the running for a commentator position. This new position, shocker, wants their candidate to be family-friendly. With his reputation as a skirt chaser, Travis’s image is a tad opposite of that, until Georgie steps in and offers to fake date Travis to improve his image. Will this charade work or will Travis catch feelings? Will his past make it impossible for him to give his heart to someone?

First of all, I never thought I would enjoy reading an explicit, sexually charged romp between a clown and a baseball player, but here we are. Clowns scare the mother-loving shit out of me, so the fact that I could read this shows growth on my part. Georgie is super fun and has some great and cheesy lines that made me LOL, however, I wish there had been more explanation as to why she seemingly, at 23, never had a boyfriend. To me, it just felt like she had an unhealthy obsession with Travis. Nevertheless, the two of them had chemistry that was off the charts and once they—ahem—connect, hold your hats. The characters were well-developed, had depth, and that ending was magnifique. I’m freakin' stoked to read Rosie and Bethany’s contributions to the series.


American Royals
Katharine McGee

Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown.
Two girls vying for the prince's heart.
This is the story of the American royals.

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren't just any royals. They're American.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America's first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she's breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn't care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there's Samantha's twin, Prince Jefferson. If he'd been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.

My Review

If Gossip Girl was a book about royals.

I think that sentence best sums up this drama-filled, page-turner that I read in two days in preparation for my buddy read of Majesty. Even if I hadn’t had to caffeine-up and channel my inner Flash, I still probably would have devoured this book in record time because it reads similarly to Gossip Girl. I mean, come on, Prince Jeff’s friend Ethan is totally Chuck Bass (GG/AR fans know I’m right). Ok, enough GG references.

American Royals is a YA told from the POV of four of its female characters: future first queen of America, Beatrice; the spare to the heir, Samantha; Sam's childhood friend and LI to Prince Jeffrey, Nina; and scheming ex-girlfriend to the prince, Daphne. The premise of the book was quite unique. What would it be like if, instead of a democracy, the US was a monarchy? Descending from George Washington, the royals in this book are young adults who are dealing with the trials and tribulations of life as they come of age in front of the eyes of an entire country. From birth, Beatrice was strictly raised to take over the monarchy from her father. Strict and rigid, her upbringing didn’t allow for much in the way of fun or the ability to marry for love (which is really a bummer when you fall in love with your guard). Twins Samantha and Jeffrey, however, were afforded more normalcy. Meanwhile, straight-laced Nina is in love with the prince, much to the consternation of crown-digger Daphne.

Mad props to the author for giving all the characters unique and memorable personalities and enough flaws (some more than others) to make them that much more human. There wasn’t a single one of them that didn’t seem real and hardly a one that I didn’t want to either give a stern talking to or a stern throat punch (I’m looking at you, Daphne). I really felt for Beatrice and the responsibilities thrust upon her at such a young age, as well as the heartache each of our leading ladies experience when they discover that falling in love isn’t as magical as it may seem. Except for Daphne. Daphne can screw all the way off.
Mistletoe & Mr. Right
Sarah Morgenthaler

Lana Montgomery is everything the quirky small town of Moose Springs, Alaska can't stand: a rich socialite with dreams of changing things for the better. But Lana's determined to prove that she belongs...even if it means trading her stilettos for snow boots and tracking one of the town's hairiest Christmas mysteries: the Santa Moose, an antlered Grinch hell-bent on destroying every bit of holiday cheer (and tinsel) it can sink its teeth into.

And really...how hard could it be?

The last few years have been tough on Rick Harding, and it's not getting any easier now that his dream girl's back in town. When Lana accidentally tranquilizes him instead of the Santa Moose, it's clear she needs help, fast...and this could be his chance to finally catch her eye. It's an all-out Christmas war, but if they can nab that darn moose before it destroys the town, Rick and Lana might finally find a place where they both belong...together.

My Review

First of all, those of you who said you wanted to travel to Moose Springs with me, jump inside the bus, ‘cause I’m popping smoke soon knowing that Chris Hemsworth (Graham) and Jason Momoa (Easton) will be waiting for me when I get there.  Bookish side pieces aside, I honestly enjoyed Lana’s story more than I thought I would. Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan of the socialite in the first book and didn’t like her plans to build a condo development in Moose Springs. I’m one of those people who doesn’t like change, even though I know it’s both necessary and unavoidable. I could empathize with the local folk not wanting tourists to invade their town like entitled zombies. However, Lana’s love for the town and its inhabitants really won me over, and I ended up liking her even more than Zoey from the first book.

On to the love story. I don’t think I’ve read a story with two people more perfect for each other than Rick and Lana. Rick is a giant softie who owns a struggling pool hall business and who also loves his spoiled rotten hedgehog, judgmental cat, and grumpy nephew. And he’s so smitten with Lana that even being shot by a tranquilizer gun, spending the night in a haunted squirrel B&B, and hunting an elusive “Santa Moose” isn’t enough to scare him away.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, though not as much as the first. The conflict at the end felt a little contrived to me and the ending was a bit rushed. I was also crossing my fingers that Ulysses would find his way back to Graham's truck, but all in all, it was a funny, well-written, and enjoyable holiday read and a great addition to the series. 
Winter in Paradise
Elin Hilderbrand

Irene Steele shares her idyllic life in a beautiful Iowa City Victorian house with a husband who loves her to sky-writing, sentimental extremes. But as she rings in the new year one cold and snowy night, everything she thought she knew falls to pieces with a shocking phone call: her beloved husband, away on business, has been killed in a helicopter crash. Before Irene can even process the news, she must first confront the perplexing details of her husband's death on the distant Caribbean island of St. John.

After Irene and her sons arrive at this faraway paradise, they make yet another shocking discovery: her husband had been living a secret life. As Irene untangles a web of intrigue and deceit, and as she and her sons find themselves drawn into the vibrant island culture, they have to face the truth about their family, and about their own futures.

My Review
I slept in and missed the Elin Hilderbrand fan train—story of my life. But after dragging myself out of bed with my cup of coffee, I finally made it in time, and I am not jumping off anytime soon, partly because, at my age, jumping off of anything will lead to me breaking something.

Winter in Paradise is told from the perspective of six characters: Irene Steele, Cash Steele, Baker Steele, Huck Powers, Ayers Wilson, and Maia Small. The book starts out with Irene finding out that her husband Russ has been killed in a helicopter crash near the Caribbean Island of St. John, which is both devastating and perplexing as Russ was away on business and the Caribbean wasn’t a factor in his business dealings. With her sons, the ne’er do well Cash, and Baker, whose in a troubled marriage, Irene flies down to the Caribbean to find out more about what happened to her husband. Upon arrival, the Steele family is shocked to find that the family man they knew was living a double life—in a fifteen million dollar villa, no less—with a  mistress named Rosie Small (who also perished in the crash). Devastated, the Steele’s work with locals Huck, Rosie’s stepfather, and Ayers, Rosie’s best friend and object of affection to both Cash and Baker, to find out exactly what happened to the man no one seemed to really know.

As you could probably surmise by my rating, I LOVED this book—but holy cliffhanger! I’m a little miffed I don’t have the second one on hand—never fear, Amazon Prime will soon be here. The characters were fleshed out very well, although I will say that Ayers drove me batshit.  She made some stupid decisions, often thinking with every part of her body except her brain. I hope that she shows growth as the series continues. I adored Maia. She is very mature for being only twelve-the way she handles the loss of her mother is extraordinary. There’s not too much else I can say without giving things away, except that I’m stoked to see where these characters go and I’m really shipping Huck and Irene (Hirene as I like to call them). I’m also hoping for a bit of redemption for Rosie, as given the circumstances, my feelings are a bit salty toward her.
The Roommate
Rosie Danan

House Rules:
Do your own dishes
Knock before entering the bathroom
Never look up your roommate online

The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.

After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive—not to mention handsome—for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet...

Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara realizes living with him might make her the Wheaton’s most scandalous story yet. His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too.

My Review

Unlike Josh, I’ll keep this short and sweet.

I’d heard going in that this book was steamy; however, I wasn’t prepared for it to go from zero to “Don’t bother mom while she’s reading!” at breakneck speed. But it did. So, after I kicked the kids out of the room, I binged the holy bejeezus out of this book.

The Roommate tells the story of roomies Clara Wheaton, an East Coast socialite, and Josh Connors, an adult film star known by the name of Joshua Darling. Incidentally, if I would have joined the adult film industry, my name would have been Peaches Resort—going by the whole first pet and street you grew up on thing. That in and of itself was almost enough to make me pull the trigger on that career path. Almost.

Clara moves to the West Coast because her childhood crush, who has shown no interest in her, asked her to (swell idea), and of course, the jackwagon bails as soon as she arrives, leaving her with Josh. Clara soon discovers Josh’s porn star identity and Googles him. Josh catches her watching one of his videos and the pair embark on a lust-filled romp spurred on by their mutual physical attraction. Meanwhile, Josh is fed up with the industry, namely the mistreatment of its stars, and with Clara’s financial backing and the help of Naomi, his ex-girlfriend/co-star, he embarks on building his own production company dedicated to producing films that erase the stigma associated with female sexual desire. Can a relationship between a prim and proper socialite and an in-demand porn star last, or will the stigma attached to Josh be too much for Clara to overcome?

I loved the concept of this book and the female sexual empowerment/sticking it to the man theme. LI Josh was great, with real insecurities, adding depth to his character. Clara’s naivete was annoying at times, but she had heart and balanced out Josh’s character nicely. The sexual tension between the two was so intense that I almost wanted to close the book and give them some privacy (almost). It was cheesy with some insta-love going on, but despite that, it was a stimulating read, indeed.
The Last Charm
Ella Allbright

A moving and heartwarming love story perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day in December…

Leila’s charm bracelet tells a story of love, a story of loss, a story of hope. This is the story of her … and the story of Jake.

When Leila Jones loses her precious charm bracelet and a stranger finds it, she has to tell the story of how she got the charms to prove she’s the owner. Each and every one is a precious memory of her life with Jake.

So Leila starts at the beginning, recounting the charms and experiences that have led her to the present. A present she never could have expected when she met Jake nearly twenty years ago…

My Review

I read The Last Charm with @thechicklitbookclub on Instagram and took part in the subsequent Zoom meeting with the author, who was such a sweetheart and was so generous to speak with us at midnight when the chat started for her.

I appreciated the premise of this book, centering around the story of Leila Jones, who we find has lost her beloved charm bracelet and begins the tale by recounting the meaning of each individual charm on said bracelet and the events that transpired in her life that led to them. When she was a pre-teen, Leila’s mother latered on out of the house, leaving Leila and her dad. Her mother also leaves said charm bracelet behind as a parting gift (better than a note saying she’s going out for a pack of cigarettes, I suppose). Unable to support their current living conditions, Leila and her father move out of their home, which is inhabited by Jake Harding and his family, consisting of his POS of a father. From there, Leila and Jake embark on a friendship that slooooowwwwwllly develops into something more, and that something more turns out to be both beautiful and heartbreaking.

There is not a ton I can say about this book without giving it away, but I will say that the last 10-15% of it broke me to the point that it will take copious amounts of chocolate and booze to put me back together again. I haven’t cried like that in a long time and don’t foresee another book doing that to me in the near future. Jake was far and away my favorite character in the book, but there were times when I wanted to smack him for giving Leila as many chances as he gave her. I felt like, when it came to Leila, he had no backbone and he enabled her immature behavior. Leila had a chip on her shoulder after her mother left, and I wanted to shake her and tell her to snap the f*** out of it so, so many times. It wasn’t until the last 20% that I finally warmed up to her, which was a bit too far into the story to finally feel that way, even though I did appreciate her progression. Overall, I enjoyed Jake and Leila’s journey through childhood and into early adulthood. It was a sweet coming of age tale that will stick with me for a while.

The Tourist Attraction
Sarah Morgenthaler

He had a strict "no tourists" policy...until she broke all of his rules.When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he's stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless parade of resort visitors who couldn't interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way...

Two weeks in Alaska isn't just the top item on Zoey Caldwell's bucket list. It's the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she's smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham's world, she may just find there's more to the grumpy local than meets the eye...and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.

My Review

I started writing this review after purchasing my one-way plane ticket to Alaska…I’m just kidding. I’m happily married…But if I were single, I would totally hop on one of those aluminum death birds and make my way to the Land of the Midnight Sun because that’s how incredible Sarah Morgenthaler's Moose Spring sounds.
The Tourist Attraction is the story of Zoey Caldwell, a girl from the Midwest (holla!) and LI Graham Barnett, a lifelong resident of Moose Springs. After years of saving up every dime from her waitressing job, Zoey embarks on the vacation of a lifetime to Alaska, where she stays in a ritzy resort with her socialite best friend, Lana. Shortly after arriving, Zoey crosses paths with Graham at his diner, The Tourist Trap, both his bread and butter and the bane of his existence. Graham immediately takes a shining to the meek and awkward (same, girl) Zoey and the two go from flirtatious encounters to a sweet relationship built upon their mutual respect for witty banter—and other things, too. I just appreciate good witty banter.
This book was the rom-com I needed right now. It was full of LOL moments, including a situation involving an errant horse and a ladyscaping session that could only take place in Alaska. I completely related to Zoey in all her self-conscious awkwardness that inadvertently lands her into some pretty crazy situations, and Graham was a great LI (not too perfect, not too sociopath). He was the classic rugged on the outside, soft, gooey center on the inside (a nice lava cake, if you will). However, despite how well Zoey and Graham were written, the side characters also had a habit of stealing the show, including locals Easton and Ash, Lana and her pack of uppity friends/family, Graham’s dog Jake, and the scene-stealer himself, Ulysses The Moose. I chuckled every time that amorous lug made an appearance, and I was absolutely heartbroken after a certain scene later on in the book. I’m just crossing my fingers that we see Ulysses again.
So, yes, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good time (like Ulysses—well, maybe not exactly like Ulysses).
The House on Firefly Beach
Jenny Hale

For Sydney Flynn, her treasured family home, Starlight Cottage, is her sanctuary. The house on the white sands of Firefly Beach, surrounded by glittering turquoise waters, is the perfect place for her fresh start. That’s until her knees almost buckle at the sight of Nate Henderson.

As teenagers, Sydney and Nate whispered sweet nothings and promised “forever” to each other. Sydney thought they were perfect. She never imagined that her childhood sweetheart was going to end things out of the blue and with no explanation, ruthlessly driving away from her and never looking back. She has spent the last decade piecing herself back together, and trying to figure out exactly what went wrong.

And now the man who ripped apart her heart is back. The down-to-earth son of a fisherman she used to know, forever in beach t-shirts and flip flops, is well and truly gone – in his place is a successful songwriter in a swanky designer suit who’s totally out of place in the small town she calls home.

All of a sudden, Nate wants to make it up to Sydney, yet how can she find it in her heart to forgive him? But when a new development threatens her beloved Starlight Cottage, Sydney needs all the help she can get, and her plan of avoiding Nate is suddenly impossible. Can they overcome their past to save Firefly Beach and the house that holds so many memories for them? Or will the town they adore, and the love they had for one another, be lost forever?

My Review

I read this book with the ever-fabulous ladies of @thechicklitbookclub, whose stirring conversation always makes even the most meh of reads that much better.

Okay, so I will start off by saying that I liked this book a tad bit better than the first one, but it’s clear to me that Jenny Hale books just aren’t my thing.  That’s not to say they’re bad books, they’re just way too cutesy for me, with endings tied up in bows. I also found myself rolling my eyes quite a bit at the all-too-perfect male love interests, who are so understanding and sweet they’ll give you a toothache. Personally, I like my love interests to fall somewhere between straight out of church and straight out of prison, but that’s my personal preference, and based upon other reviews of this book, many highly disagree with me.

I was also not a fan of the lack of communication present in both this book and its predecessor. Honestly, Sydney, the MC in this book, was given like a billion chances to receive an explanation from LI Nathan (and others), but she basically blew them off. Furthermore, the use of a third-party male “love interest” to shake things up in this book was so contrived it was ridiculous.

And that ending.

Was it sweet? Yes, it was very cute. Was it relatable or in any way believable? That it was not. Once again our MC is given everything she ever wanted without really having to do anything for it, which is honestly kind of frustrating, and her feelings for Nate escalated from hatred to wanting to spend the rest of her life with him extremely quickly. Again, that hatred was all because of lack of communication, but still, the emotional shift gave me whiplash.
In all, even though these books aren’t for me, they are still quick, cute reads that, again, anyone who enjoys books with a Hallmark feel will probably enjoy. And it is for that crowd that I recommend these books. 

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom. 

When big, brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and former rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact to him, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Suddenly, half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse? 

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf is secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his... um, thighs. 

The easy lay Dani dreamed of is now more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint? 

My Review

Take a Hint, Dani Brown was chosen by the fine ladies of #TheSteamRoom on Instagram and let me tell you, if ever there ever was a book that made me want to take a cold shower... I knew it was going to be a steamy one (hence the name of the group), but good lord, that was literally all the steam. Like there’s nothing left for the other books, so we all may as well go home now.

So, we have successful educator, Danika Brown, and Zafir “Zaf” Ansari, a loveable hulking brute of a security guard who has been hopelessly crushing on Dani since basically the moment he first laid eyes on her. Fed up with dating and relationships, Dani essentially wishes for a no strings attached friend with benefits. Her wish is subsequently granted when a botched fire drill turns both she and Zaf into viral internet sensations, mainly because Zaf is a former star rugby player. Seeing support for his organization, Tackle It, rise due to his sudden, unexpected fame, Zaf asks Dani to “date” him for a month to keep drumming up interest. Of course, what follows next is anything but fake when both Dani and Zaf end up catching feelings for each other.

Overall, this was a cute story. Zaf is a pretty perfect love interest and Dani is a smart, strong-willed MC. However, as much as I love smart, sassy, take-no-shit women in fiction, Dani was a tad frustrating at times, all too willing to sabotage a perfect relationship based on past experiences that had left her not as strong on the inside as she conveys on the outside. I also was a little disappointed that, after the first fog-your-glasses scene, nothing really all that important happened. It’s as though the story reached its climax (quite literally) and then dropped off a bit. There was character growth exhibited by Dani, but that’s about it. Still, it was an entertaining book and I will be continuing on with the others.
I've Got Your Number
Sophie Kinsella

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill, but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!
Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.
What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents, she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

My Review

I’m a new reader to Sophie Kinsella (I know, what’s wrong with me, right?), but I can guarantee you this will not be the last Sophie Kinsella book I read. I’ve Got Your Number is everything I love in a rom-com. Poppy, the MC, was hilarious, albeit a little naïve at times, and LI Sam was as swoon-worthy as they come. I often joke that I have an affinity for brooding jerks, and Sam was no disappointment in that area. I often gravitate toward LIs who are tough on the outside but are absolute piles of mush on the inside – a marshmallow, if you will. The relationship between Sam and Poppy evolved perfectly. Nothing felt forced or rushed, even though there were times I really wanted to hit the gas on their relationship. I also loved how Sam looked after Poppy and was there for her in ways that no one really has ever been before, including Magnus, her gag-worthy fiancé. About the only gripe I have is the fact that this is one of those books that could really, really have used an epilogue, as with the way the last chapter ended, I wanted more and still would like to know what happened next. Hint, Hint, Sophie Kinsella.

Sara xxxxx (you’ll have to read the book to figure out why I did that)
Kiss My Cupcake
Helena Hunting

Blaire Calloway has planned every Instagram-worthy moment of her cupcake and cocktails shop launch down to the tiniest detail. What she didn't plan on? Ronan Knight and his old-school sports bar next door opening on the very same day. He may be super swoony, but Blaire hasn't spent years obsessing over buttercream and bourbon to have him ruin her chance at success.

From axe throwing (his place) to frosting contests (hers), Blaire and Ronan are constantly trying to one-up each other in a battle to win new customers. But with every clash, there's also an undeniable chemistry. When an even bigger threat to their business comes to town, they're forced to call a temporary time-out on their own war and work together. And the more time Blaire spends getting to know the real Ronan, the more she wonders if it's possible to have her cupcake and eat it too.

My Review

If I had to describe Kiss My Cupcake in one word, it would be: freakin’ cute. Okay, so that was two words, but it’s the truth.

This book was one of the cutest enemies-to-lovers romances I’ve read in a long time. Plus, the word cute fits the MC Blaire Calloway to a tee. Blaire was raised in less than ideal circumstances in a, putting it mildly, rather unconventional family situation. So, it’s no surprise that she’s now doing everything in her power to distance herself from her family’s eccentricities, striving, instead, to be more like the matriarchs of the families she emulated as a child—June Cleaver, to be more specific. Even her outfits are inspired by ‘50s couture, and her cupcake shop, Buttercream and Booze, has everything anyone could possibly want.

But Blaire’s picture-perfect, cutesy world is turned upside down when her neighbor and local rival, Ronan Knight, owner of The Knight Cap sports bar, begins renovations on his bar that include an area for axe throwing (how cool is that), and, of course, he plans on opening his business on the same day as Blaire. Also, Ronan is literally the opposite of Blaire in every single way. Think the Paul Bunyan to her June Cleaver—a sexy lumberjack, so to speak.

Starting off on the wrong foot, the pair embark on ways to outdo one another, resulting in often humorous circumstances. However, when a chain restaurant opens across the street, threatening to steal their business, the two must set aside their differences and work together to keep their dreams alive.

This book checked basically every box for me. There was witty banter, dual perspective, a fair amount of steam, a swoon-worthy love interest, some memorable supporting characters, and just the right amount of angst. Plus, Blaire’s dysfunctional family’s incredibly awkward Thanksgiving was pretty much the icing on the cupcake. The only negative thing I can say about this book is that it started out a wee bit slow for me. But, with that said, around chapter five or so, it really takes off, and I couldn’t stop myself from reading, finishing the book quite quickly.
Loathe at First Sight
Suzanne Park


Melody Joo is thrilled to land her dream job as a video game producer, but her new position comes with challenges: an insufferable CEO; sexist male coworkers; and an infuriating—yet distractingly handsome—intern, Nolan MacKenzie, aka “the guy who got hired because his uncle is the boss.”

Just when Melody thinks she’s made the worst career move of her life, her luck changes. While joking with a friend, she creates a mobile game that has male strippers fighting for survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Suddenly Melody’s “joke” is her studio’s most high-profile project—and Melody’s running the show.

When Nolan is assigned to Melody’s team, she’s sure he’ll be useless. But as they grow closer, she realizes he’s smart and sexy, which makes Melody want to forget he’s her intern. As their attraction deepens, she knows it’s time to pump the brakes, even with her Korean parents breathing down her neck to hurry up and find a man.

With her project about to launch, Melody suddenly faces a slew of complications, including a devastating trolling scandal. Could the man she’s falling hard for help her play the game to win—in work and in love?

My Review

Okay, let me preface this by saying that if you go in thinking this is an enemies-to-lovers story, you are going to be disappointed. Because it’s not. In fact, it’s really not a romance at all. There’s a smidgen of romance tucked inside the story of a woman taking on the male-dominated gaming industry. Except it’s not packaged like that. From my rating, you’re probably able to discern that Loathe at First Sight was not one of my favorite reads. Don’t get me wrong, it had some high points to it, the MC and her parents being one of them. I really enjoyed Melody Joo’s personality. She was witty and incredibly funny, which makes sense given that the author is a former stand-up comic. Melody’s parents also never failed to make me laugh, and I crossed my fingers that they would appear in every chapter.

But, aside from those two things, the rest of the story just wasn’t for me. I’m all for female empowerment and taking on a field that’s been considered a man’s world for far too long. But something about the story just seemed disjointed and cobbled together, forcing things to fit that really didn’t. Also, the misogyny, racial stereotypes, and events in the book seemed way too over-the-top for me. Unfortunately, racism and sexism still run rampant in this country and are present in the workplace, but some of the events in the book just felt overblown. I also couldn’t really connect with any of the supporting characters, either. Melody’s friend Jane was insufferable, Asher was a caricature who did a complete 180 about halfway through the book, and I never felt a connection between Melody and Nolan, the love interest.

I wish I could have liked this book a little more; however, for me, it was just okay.
Home Before Dark
Riley Sager

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father's book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father's death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

My Review

This was my first book by Riley Sager and I must say it did not disappoint. I’ve not read a book told from dual perspectives from two different time periods before, and I was a little hesitant at first, but this was so well done that the book wouldn’t have worked any other way.

After the death of her father, Maggie Holt reluctantly inherits Baneberry Hall, a residence made infamous by her father Ewan’s bestselling novel, House of Horrors, where he recounts the family’s brief stay in the home, which abruptly ended one night when escalating paranormal activity drove them away. As a result of their experiences in the home, Ewan pens his novel and, from Maggie’s point of view, subsequently ruins her childhood and her parent’s marriage after the family receives a barrage of attacks from the book’s skeptics. A non-believer in the paranormal and believing her father made the home’s strange occurrences up for the sake of fame and fortune, Maggie, against her mother Jess’s wishes, returns to Baneberry Hall to fix it up and, hopefully, sell it for a profit. However, soon after Maggie steps over the threshold, a series of strange events begins to make her question whether the book she thought was fiction may be rooted in fact, after all. 

My Thoughts: This book had more twists and turns than a labyrinth. It is seriously a puzzle, giving you a piece here and piece there, however, just when you think you have all the pieces you need to finally put it together, a tornado comes and everything you thought you knew no longer exists. It takes a lot to scare me, and although this book is chilling, I would say I was more creeped out than frightened. Taking more of a skeptical point of view, like Maggie, I found myself trying to find a more logical reason for the events that transpired in the home. Yet, no matter how much I thought I knew, the ending and all its twists, proved I knew absolutely nothing, and I will say that I was not prepared for how this book ended.

Are the happenings at Baneberry Hall paranormal or something more? I guess you’ll have to read the book to find out. 
The Trouble with Hating You
Sajni Patel

Liya Thakkar is a successful biochemical engineer, takeout enthusiast, and happily single woman. The moment she realizes her parents' latest dinner party is a setup with the man they want her to marry, she's out the back door in a flash. Imagine her surprise when the same guy shows up at her office a week later -- the new lawyer hired to save her struggling company. What's not surprising: he's not too thrilled to see her either after that humiliating fiasco.

Jay Shah looks good on paper...and off. Especially if you like that whole gorgeous, charming lawyer-in-a-good-suit thing. He's also infuriating. As their witty office banter turns into late-night chats, Liya starts to think he might be the one man who truly accepts her. But falling for each other means exposing their painful pasts. Will Liya keep running, or will she finally give love a real chance?
My Review
I have to admit that I was a little nervous when I first started this book. I didn’t connect well with Liya, and found her to be entirely too brash and unnecessarily rude, especially to Jay, who only had the best of intentions when it came to her. However, as the story progressed and the complicated layers comprising Liya Thakkar were peeled back, a broken, yet incredibly strong and resilient woman was revealed. Liya has been hurt badly. Shunned both by her community and her “father” (and I use that term loosely) after a traumatic event, Liya has proven to be a survivor. The embodiment of girl power, rising from the ashes of her past. It’s no wonder she was resistant to letting any man into her heart, even a man as seemingly perfect as Jay.

Jay Shah, wow, he was great. He was progressive, kind, compassionate, and never gave up on Liya no matter how much she pushed him away. Yet, he also had layers of his own and a trauma that shaped him into the man he is, precipitating in a ton of guilt. Unlike Liya, Jay is welcomed into his community and is the object of affection by many of the women, including one in particular that just couldn’t take no for an answer.

All of the other characters in the book were well-developed. I adored Liya’s friends, especially Preeti, who’s getting her own book next year, and Jay’s mother, who was everything a parent should be. Even the “villains” in this book were well-developed. Mukesh and Liya’s dad were terrible human beings (again, using that term loosely), and I hope they receive their comeuppance in the next book.

What Ms. Patel does well throughout the entire book is making her readers feel. I felt such a broad range of emotions while reading this book. From frustration, to elation, fear, and anger to the point where I bent my book from gripping it so hard. The feelings were raw and real and the hallmark of a great writer. 
Mexican Gothic
Silvia Moreno-Garcia

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.   
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. 
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

My Review
Upon receiving an odd note from her newly-wed cousin, Catalina, Noemi Taboada is sent to High Place, a mansion in the Mexican countryside, to investigate what’s going on in this mysterious house.

Let me preface this review by saying that I don’t normally read thrillers/horror/gothic fiction, and although I only gave Mexican Gothic 3.5 stars, it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it.

Because I really did.

I enjoyed the writing. Boy can Silvia Moreno Garcia write! I love how descriptive she is. The world building is spectacular and, for the most part, the characters had real depth to them. What I think bogged me down a bit with this book was the slow build…and I mean really, really, slow. There was a lot to set up to lead to the climax of the story, and the first 2/3 if the book did just that. The creep factor was strong, the ominous nature of the house and the Doyle family, it’s eccentric inhabitants, had to be fleshed out for the reader to truly understand and appreciate the big reveal. It just felt like the story dragged on in some places.

But that last 1/3—Wow! I won’t give away too much, but that portion of the book takes off and doesn’t stop running until the very end.

What I loved the most was Noemi Taboada. Noemi is a real kick ass female lead, something of which I truly appreciated. She’s headstrong and determined, and I enjoyed her voice throughout the book and her love for her cousin. I also appreciated the tiny sliver of a romantic element that the story provides, along with the hint of a potential HEA in that regard.

Something that made me scratch my head a little was the big reveal itself–the true goings on at High Place, if you will. Again, I can’t say anything without giving everything away. I just couldn’t understand how it could possibly all work as described in the book. But like I said, I don’t normally read thrillers/horror. If I did, I think that the reveal would have been easier to swallow.

All in all, this is a really good read, one that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, who loves being creeped out, and who appreciates a lighter element of horror.
Dear Emmie Blue
Lia Louis

At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address…and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached addressed, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens.

Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him. So dedicated to her love for Lucas, Emmie has all but neglected her life outside of this relationship—she’s given up the search for her absentee father, no longer tries to build bridges with her distant mother, and lives as a lodger to an old lady she barely knows after being laid off from her job. And when Lucas tells Emmie he has a big question to ask her, she’s convinced this is the moment he’ll reveal his feelings for her. But nothing in life ever quite goes as planned, does it?

My Review

I didn’t think I was going to read a book this year that would dethrone Beach Read as being my favorite read of the year, but here we are. Dear Emmie Blue is without a doubt my favorite read of the year so far.

Emmie Blue has had a rough life. She has an, at best, absentee mother, no idea who her father is, and is ostracized by her entire school over a traumatic event that is nowhere near to being her fault as she’s accused – by a teacher and man she considered a father figure, no less. All alone in the world, at the age of sixteen, she releases a balloon that makes it all the way from England to France and to Lucas Moreau.

Lucas and Emmie, along with Lucas’s brother, Eliot, become fast friends, and forge a bond so strong, Emmie begins considering Lucas’s family her own. So, when Lucas asks Emmie to their favorite restaurant to tell her something important, Emmie immediately thinks it’s to take their relationship to the next level…not to tell her he’s engaged to be married to another woman.

Dear Emmie Blue is not only a love story. It’s the story of a broken woman who finds herself able to put the pieces of her life back together again to make herself whole. It’s the story of friendship, of facing your fears and insecurities, and realizing that sometimes the greatest love of your life has been right under your nose the whole time.

Like several of the other books I’ve read recently, the supporting characters in this book are on point. Fox and Rosie supplied some of the best comic relief and really lightened up some of the heavier moments in the story. I also enjoyed Louise, Emmie’s landlady/roommate and, of course, Eliot. Eliot is everything a man should be and more. He’s supportive, loyal, responsible, caring, funny, and thoughtful. The only bad thing I can say about the man is his taste in a certain woman, but that’s a whole different rant for another day.

Keep in mind this book deals with some pretty heavy subjects and it starts out incredibly depressing and slow. Stick with it! Trust me, you’ll be so glad you did!
Not Like the Movies
Kerry Winfrey

What happens when your life is a rom-com . . . but you don’t even believe in true love?

Chloe Sanderson is an optimist, and not because her life is easy. As the sole caregiver for her father, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s, she’s pretty much responsible for everything. She has no time—or interest—in getting swept up in some dazzling romance. Not like her best friend, Annie, who literally wrote a rom-com that’s about to premiere in theaters across America . . . and happens to be inspired by Chloe and her cute but no-nonsense boss, Nick Velez.

As the buzz for the movie grows, Chloe reads one too many listicles about why Nick is the perfect man, and now she can’t see him as anything but Reason #4: The scruffy-bearded hunk who’s always there when you need him. But unlike the romance Annie has written for them, Chloe isn’t so sure her own story will end in a happily-ever-after.

My Review

I read Waiting for Tom Hanks with my book club and absolutely adored it so much that I didn’t hesitate to become part of the buddy read for Not Like The Movies. Just like Waiting for Tom Hanks, Not Like the Movies was filled with banter and one-liners that literally made me LOL, garnering questioning stares from the rest of my household.

Also, let’s discuss the cover. I love vibrant, bold colors, so this book earned instant brownie points with me based on the cover alone.

Also working in this book’s favor is the fact that Chloe is its MC. Chloe was one of my favorite characters from the first book, and I quickly became invested with her and Nick’s will-they-or-won’t-they relationship dynamic. Nick is Chloe’s boss at the coffee shop where Chloe proudly displays her baking prowess in the form of, mainly, pies and other pastries. Seriously, if you finish this book without craving pie, there’s something wrong with you.

I absolutely loved Chloe’s personality. She’s beyond hysterical, and there’s hardly a page where there isn’t a memorable line or two. She uses humor to deal with the hand she’s been dealt, being the sole caretaker for her father with Alzheimer’s and just trying to find her way in life, all while her best friend Annie’s career and love life are skyrocketing before her eyes (due to a romcom Annie wrote about Chloe and Nick, no less). I honestly related to Chloe and her constant need to please people and take everything on her shoulders. She reminded me a lot of myself in that way and inadvertently provided me with some insight into my own life.

The relationship between Chloe and Nick is cute. Nick is one of the sweetest LIs ever. He’s also one of the first people to ever take care of Chloe. However, I was a little frustrated with the way Chloe treated Nick, all because she was too afraid to allow herself to fall in love.

In all, I really enjoyed Not Like the Movies. Like Waiting for Tom Hanks, it was a quick, humorous read that was hard to put down (I may or may not have finished it before I was supposed to), with likable main characters and stellar supporting characters as well (Once again, coffee shop patron Gary practically carried the book for me). 
Waiting for Tom Hanks
Kerry Winfrey


Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.

When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days...can he?

My Review

I’d had Waiting for Tom Hanks sitting in my TBR pile for a few months when I saw that The Chicklit Book Club on Instagram was reading it as a buddy read. I decided then and there that it was fate that I read this book next, so I joined in.

And am I ever glad I did!

The MC, Annie, is a dreamer. She’s been obsessed with rom-coms her entire life, those featuring Tom Hanks, in particular. I mean, come on, it’s Tom Hanks. Who wasn’t obsessed with Tom Hanks in the '90s—or even now, really? As such, Annie has developed this skewed view on how her love life should play out, including a just as equally as distorted vision of who her Tom Hanks should be, so when she lands a job as an assistant to the director of a rom-com filming her hometown, she has an idea of who should play the lead character.

And it’s certainly not Drew Danforth.

Drew is known around Hollywood for being a bit of a prankster who’s unable to take life seriously. His reputation as a playboy precedes him everywhere he goes, and in Annie’s mind, he’s certainly no Tom Hanks.

Or is he?

Obviously, based upon my rating, I LOVED this book, despite the cheesiness (I mean, who doesn’t love cheese?). Part of what ensures a five-star rating for me is a book that captures my attention, has great banter, and stellar supporting characters. Let me tell you, this book has all of that and more. The banter between Annie and Drew is on point throughout the entire book. There was hardly a page where there wasn’t a line that made me chuckle, and it made it hard for me not to read ahead of the assigned chapters for the day (Spoiler alert: I ended up reading ahead, finishing the book early—oops!). But that’s how well this book is written; I didn’t want to stop! Also, the ending. THAT ending makes the whole book worth it in the end.

Of particular awesomeness (I think that’s a word), were the secondary characters. I adored Annie’s best friend Chloe, and coffee shop owner, employee, and patron, Nick, Tobin, and Gary. Uncle Don also added a nice touch to the story.

The only complaint I have is Annie’s tendency to be a tad immature at times. She jumps to conclusions all the time and reacts before having all of the information. Other than that, the story is beyond adorable and a nice escape from the world that 2020 has brought us. I will be reading anything and everything Kerry Winfrey puts out in the future.

Emily Henry

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They're polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they're living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer's block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She'll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he'll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

My Review

Full disclosure: this book instantly scored points with me solely based on the fact that it takes place in Western Michigan. I’m from West Michigan, and I appreciated reading about one of my favorite places—the Lake Michigan shoreline—and the name-dropping of cities of which I’m familiar, such as Grand Rapids. I haven’t read too many books set where I live, and this was a pleasant surprise.

Okay, on to the review.

January is a romance author, struggling with a bout of writer’s block (oh, how I can relate to that). After her father, with whom she was close, dies, January learns that he had been living a double life, with a girlfriend in North Bear Shores, Michigan. Also in North Bear Shores is a beach house at which her father would live with his girlfriend when he would go on “business trips”. Having inherited the beach house, January travels to Michigan for the summer to begin clearing it out in order to sell it. And that’s when she happens upon her next-door neighbor: college nemesis and fellow best-selling author, Augustus “Gus” Everett.

January quickly surmises that Gus, too, is suffering from writer’s block and comes up with the idea for them to essentially genre swap. Gus would spend the summer writing a story with a HEA ending, and January would write a story featuring darker and more serious content than she’s used to writing. Along the way, the pair go from passive-aggressive, but always witty, banter that literally made me LOL, to friends and then, eventually, so much more. I honestly fell in love with their relationship and was so frustrated that a simple misunderstanding and misreading of cues lead to January believing that Gus hated her, when nothing could have been further from the truth (an often-used trope in enemies-to-lovers romances). Nevertheless, I adored this book. The characters were well-written, and I totally fell in love with Gus.

There were just a couple of things I really didn’t care for. One of those things was the resolution between January and Sonya (aka That Woman). I wish there would have been more of a resolution than there was and, quite frankly, I would have loved it if January and Sonya could have made amends. I think that would ultimately have helped with January’s overall healing—though I did appreciate her growth in the book. The other thing that irritated me had to do with the reappearance of a certain someone in Gus’s life and a decision he claimed he had to make. In my opinion, this decision shouldn’t have had to have been made, and the unnecessary pain it caused January was a tad frustrating.

Obviously, given the fact that I gave this book five stars, those two issues really didn’t bother me too much. As a whole, Beach Read is a fabulous summer read, one that I’ll carry with me for a while.

The Hating Game
Sally Thorne


Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.

                       2) A person’s undoing

                       3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

My Review


It took a bit for me to really get into this one, as it started out a bit slow, but once I did…Yowza! The chemistry between Lucy and Joshua is off the charts. I have a soft spot for enemies-to-lovers romances and this one did not disappoint.  Since day one, Joshua Templeman has hated Lucy Hutton’s very existence (or did he?) and the two engage in various “games” in an attempt to either one-up or just plain mess with each other.  The games are a bit juvenile but entertaining at the same time…until everything comes to a head in an elevator after work one night.

Joshua has been burned by those who should have loved him unconditionally, while Lucy has had a nearly perfect life, and their personalities reflect their life experiences.  Joshua is a hardened skeptic, while Lucy is more of a bubbly free spirit. They are total opposites, but when they come together, it’s pure magic. I really adored the slow burn and progression of Lucy and Joshua’s relationship. It was never dull and provided plenty of sweet and comical moments.

One of the few things I didn’t really care for, however, was Joshua’s jealousy and aggression toward another love interest of Lucy’s.  He reverted to a caveman mentality, his possessiveness becoming a bit too much at times. There were also a couple of twists that I saw coming a mile away, and I never could quite understand why Lucy had decided to quit if Joshua was promoted over her. But other than those minor gripes, I loved the flow of the story and was thoroughly rooting for a HEA for Lucy and Josh.

Does said HEA come to fruition? I guess you’ll have to read to find out.

One to Watch
Kate Stayman-London

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers—and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition—under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, wickedly observant debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men—and herself—for a chance to live happily ever after.

My Review

First of all, let me say that I’ve never read a book written the way this one is written. The use of tweets, blog posts, podcasts, magazine articles, and other forms of social media and press to tell the story were very unique, and I felt they added a lot to the book. I’m not usually one for reality television shows, but I have found myself covertly indulging in The Bachelor here and there, mainly live-tweeting all of its absurdities on Twitter. And in many ways, I felt this book was a bit of a satire, pointing out all of the ridiculousness and the obvious ways unscripted television is actually scripted, and that our choices aren’t always our own.

I really appreciated MC Bea’s growth throughout the book. Initially, I wasn’t certain whether I was going to like her, and I was worried that I may end up disliking the book because of that. She was constantly down on herself, pessimistic, and instantly thought the worst of everyone she met. Oh, and she slept with her best friend who was engaged to be married to another woman. But then I thought about everything Bea had been through in her life, and the torment a few of the contestants put her through on the show, along with all of the horrendous commentary from the internet trolls and asshats of the world, and I realized that I may be just as pessimistic and judgmental as Bea was had I’d been subjected to that my whole life.

However, as the story progressed, a beautiful thing happened: Bea began to grow more and more self-confident and was actually somewhat of a badass. And. I. Was. Here. For. That.

If you’re going into One to Watch expecting a romantic comedy, be prepared to get so much more. Yes, there’s romance and, yes, there’s comedy, but at its core, the story is about finding yourself and the strength to move beyond your past. It’s a story about loving yourself for who you are, perceived flaws and all, and not allowing anyone else to steal your light.

Yes, I loved One to Watch for many, many reasons, but the actual romance was just the cherry on top of an otherwise fabulous sundae (also, the guy I wanted to “win” won in the end, so there’s that, too).
Happy & You Know It
Laura Hankin

A dark, witty page-turner about a struggling young musician who takes a job singing for a playgroup of overprivileged babies and their effortlessly cool moms, only to find herself pulled into their glamorous lives and dangerous secrets....
After her former band shot to superstardom without her, Claire reluctantly agrees to a gig as a playgroup musician for wealthy infants on New York's Park Avenue. Claire is surprised to discover that she is smitten with her new employers, a welcoming clique of wellness addicts with impossibly shiny hair, who whirl from juice cleanse to overpriced miracle vitamins to spin class with limitless energy.
There is perfect hostess Whitney who is on the brink of social-media stardom and just needs to find a way to keep her flawless life from falling apart. Caustically funny, recent stay-at-home mom Amara who is struggling to embrace her new identity. And old money, veteran mom Gwen who never misses an opportunity to dole out parenting advice. But as Claire grows closer to the stylish women who pay her bills, she uncovers secrets and betrayals that no amount of activated charcoal can fix.
Filled with humor and shocking twists, Happy and You Know It is a brilliant take on motherhood – exposing it as yet another way for society to pass judgment on women – while also exploring the baffling magnetism of curated social-media lives that are designed to make us feel unworthy. But, ultimately, this dazzling novel celebrates the unlikely bonds that form, and the power that can be unlocked, when a group of very different women is thrown together when each is at her most vulnerable.

My Review
Initially, Happy & You Know It took me a couple of chapters to really get into it, but once I did, all I can say is WOW. This was one crazy roller coaster of a book, and I loved every minute of it. The drama was off the charts, keeping me glued to my chair.

The book starts off with Claire, a down-on-her-luck musician who was let go from her band, Vagabond, that, of course, later hit it big with a new singer and a song that Claire helped them write. Finding herself unemployed, Claire accepts a job singing for a playgroup comprised of women with more privileged lives than she has ever known. However, underneath the women’s perfectly polished and poised exteriors are secrets that could threaten to not only tarnish their picture-perfect images, but also destroy the lives they’ve built for themselves.

Told from the perspectives of several of the women, namely Claire, Amara, Whitney, and Gwen, Happy & You Know It is also a bit of a satire when it comes to the absurdities and impossible expectations placed on new and veteran mothers to be “perfect” and raise the “perfect children”. I related to it in so many ways and found myself cracking up quite a bit, especially whenever Amara was in the picture. Seriously, I want to be besties with Amara—she’s amazing and swears like a sailor. Oh, and that twist—yeah, I NEVER saw that twist coming.

So, yes, I absolutely adored Happy & You Know It and will emphatically recommend it to anyone and everyone looking for a fun escape from life in general.

Colleen Hoover

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish. 

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity's notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn't expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity's recollection of the night their family was forever altered. 

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen's feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife's words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her. 

Due to graphic scenes and mature content, this book is recommended for readers 18+.

My Review


It’s no secret that I’m a huge Colleen Hoover fan, and Verity certainly doesn’t disappoint, even though it was NOTHING like I expected it would be. Verity was a dark and, at times, creepy thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat and my headphones firmly planted to my ears. I really related to Lowen Ashleigh and felt a kinship with her…at first. (Like Lowen, I’m also an introvert who really only ventures out of the house when I have to.) However, the deeper into the book I got, the further I began to distance myself from Lowen and her choices.  You see, around three-quarters to the very end of the book, things take a drastic turn, and I found myself feeling sorry for Verity Crawford, who was basically the antagonist throughout the entire book. It was at this point that a five-star read became a four-star read for me. I can’t get into too much detail without basically spoiling the book for you, but I will say that I HATED the decision that Lowen and Jeremy made at the end. I believe a completely different choice could have been made (and should have been made) to handle the situation, especially given what Lowen finds later. Lowen and Jeremy’s relationship was also an issue for me. In the beginning, after Lowen finds Verity’s secret manuscript, I was all for it, but as the relationship progressed, it kind of weirded me out a little, especially with Verity being under the same roof. 

Still, Verity is a psychological thriller that really did a number on me, and I honestly still don’t know what to believe when it comes to Verity Crawford, which is a true testament to Colleen Hoover’s gifted storytelling abilities.


Elizabeth Wetmore

Mercy is hard in a place like this . . .

It’s February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom. While the town’s men embrace the coming prosperity, its women intimately know and fear the violence that always seems to follow.

In the early hours of the morning after Valentine’s Day, fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramírez appears on the front porch of Mary Rose Whitehead’s ranch house, broken and barely alive. The teenager had been viciously attacked in a nearby oil field—an act of brutality that is tried in the churches and barrooms of Odessa before it can reach a court of law. When justice is evasive, the stage is set for a showdown with potentially devastating consequences.

Valentine is a haunting exploration of the intersections of violence and race, class and region in a story that plumbs the depths of darkness and fear, yet offers a window into beauty and hope. Told through the alternating points of view of indelible characters who burrow deep in the reader’s heart, this fierce, unflinching, and surprisingly tender novel illuminates women’s strength and vulnerability, and reminds us that it is the stories we tell ourselves that keep us alive.

My Review

Elizabeth Wetmore’s Valentine is a poignant, beautifully descriptive look into 1970s West Texas, where the oil industry is booming as much as the misogyny. It’s the story of the brutal rape and beating of a teenage Hispanic girl at the hands of a white, well-liked local man, and the resulting fallout throughout a town gripped by its own racist beliefs.  The story is told through the perspective of five women of varying classes and beliefs and contains just as much hope as it does despair.

I loved the female-driven storyline, especially the characters of Mary Rose Whitehead and Corrine Shepard. Mary Rose is a take charge, take no crap kind of woman who understands that a woman’s place isn’t in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. She stands up for her convictions, despite facing threats and ostracization from the rest of the town. She’s the kind of woman I hope to be. Corrine is a lot like Mary Rose, except she adds slightly more humor to the mix. A retired schoolteacher, Corrine is a recent widower who needed the permission of her husband to return to work after their daughter is born. When I reached this point in the audiobook, I had to remind myself of the year this story is set. To think that only 40 years ago, this kind of thing was taking place is absolutely mind-blowing.

As much as I loved the beautiful flow of the author’s writing and many of her characters, I felt that the five different character perspectives were a bit too much and made the story hard to follow at times.  It also felt like some of the weaker character’s voices were lost among the voices of the stronger ones. Still, it’s a brilliant story and a breathtaking debut by Ms. Wetmore. I highly, highly recommend this read.

The Happy Ever After Playlist
Abby Jimenez

Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can't seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a "take me home" look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker's owner reaches out. He's a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.

Well, Sloan's not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can't deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There's no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?

My Review


What a sweet, delightful, well-written romp this was! The story starts out with one of the MCs, Sloan Monroe, on her way to visit the grave of her fiancé, who was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident. While on her way, a dog runs out in front of her. Believing the dog to be dead, she’s shocked when he climbs onto her car and crawls inside her broken sunroof.  Sloan is eventually able to locate and contact the dog’s owner, Jason (aka rising music star Jackson Waters), who is presently working outside the country, and the two engage in witty banter via phone calls and texts as Sloan makes Jason prove his love for Tucker (aka the dog). What follows is a brilliant romance surrounding the trials and tribulations of a blossoming love and the complexities presented with falling for someone in the music industry. The story is both beautiful, heartbreaking, and, at times, extremely frustrating (there’s something Jason tells Sloan to protect her, but of which I thought was completely unnecessary), but the ending (OMG, that ending!) makes up for it.
Don't You Forget About Me
Mhairi McFarlane


You always remember your first love... don’t you?

If there’s anything worse than being fired from the worst restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else. Reeling from the humiliation of a double dumping in one day, Georgina takes the next job that comes her way—bartender in a newly opened pub. There’s only one problem: it’s run by the guy she fell in love with years ago. And—make that two problems—he doesn’t remember her. At all. But she has fabulous friends and her signature hot pink fur coat... what more could a girl really need?

Lucas McCarthy has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but he’s also turned into an actual grown-up, with a thriving business and a dog along the way. Crossing paths with him again throws Georgina’s rocky present into sharp relief—and brings a secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows what happened twelve years ago, and why she’s allowed the memories to chase her ever since. But maybe it’s not too late for the truth... or a second chance with the one that got away?

My Review


I have to admit, it was hard for me to get into this book at first. The first third or so of the book more or less seemed to drag, and I was worried I wasn’t going to finish it. The MC, Georgina, is having a bad day, to say the least. After being fired from her shitty waitressing job at an equally as shitty restaurant, she goes to her boyfriend’s apartment to find him sleeping with another woman. Ugh..Robin. I detested Robin, and it wasn’t only because he was cheating on Georgina.  He’s just a vile human, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what Georgina ever saw in him to begin with. Aside from being a mildly famous comedian, there really wasn’t anything about him that’s special or in any way attractive. Actually, I wanted to puke every time one of his scenes came up, especially when he began blatantly harassing Georgina.

Just when I thought all hope was lost and I was going to abandon ship, here comes Lucas McCarthy.  Lucas happens to be the owner of the new restaurant Georgina is hired into. Lucas and Georgina dated in high school and were quite serious; so serious in fact that Georgina was going to give her virginity to Lucas before he abruptly broke up with her. Now here they are twelve or so years later, face to face. Georgina recognizes Lucas right away, though Lucas doesn’t seem to know who she is at all. That was one of the more unbelievable aspects of the story. A lot can change in twelve years, but short of plastic surgery or a REALLY hard life, a person’s change in appearance from 18 to 30 is probably not going to be too drastic. At least, not enough for you to completely not recognize the person you were supposedly in love with once upon a time. When Lucas doesn’t seem to recognize Georgina, she goes along with it to avoid the awkwardness of the two of them working together.

As the story progresses, the attraction between Georgina and Lucas is quite evident and comes to a head, wherein Lucas reveals to Georgina that nothing can ever happen between them because, from his perspective, Georgina was the one who broke his heart. Little does Lucas know how wrong he actually is and what devastating secret Georgina has kept to herself the whole time.

I thoroughly enjoyed the last half of this book. The chemistry between Lucas and Georgina was well done and there were plenty of LOL moments in the book.  I just wish it would have strayed away from the played-out “it was all a misunderstanding” trope, but all in all, it was a great read.

The Unhoneymooners
Christina Lauren

Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

My Review

One of the great things about books is their inherent ability to completely pull you away from the trial and tribulations of real life, making you momentarily forget they even exist at all. It’s escapism, pure and simple. And that’s exactly what The Unhoneymooners is – escapism at its finest.

The Unhoneymooners tells the story of “enemies” Olive Torres and Ethan Thomas, who find themselves having to set aside their differences after disaster strikes at the wedding of Olive’s sister and Ehtan’s brother, Ami and Dane. A buffet of bad seafood strickens everyone but Olive and Ethan with severe food poisoning. Unable to go on their honeymoon, Ami, suggests that Olive and Ethan go in their place, posing as the newlyweds. Being Ami’s identical twin sister, it wouldn’t be hard for Olive to pass for Ami, and after a lifetime of terrible luck, she accepts Ami’s offer, despite knowing she’ll be stuck with Ethan the entire time. What ensues is a relationship that blossoms from disdain fueled by a misunderstanding, to friendship, to lust, and, eventually, love.

I adored this story and read it fairly quickly. It was an easy read that offered plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. In particular, I enjoyed the banter between Olive and Ethan, both of whom seemed to adore getting under the other’s skin. The character development was on point and the story never became stagnant. It flowed continuously, keeping this reader glued to the pages.

However, there were just three things I didn’t really care for.

For starters, the misunderstanding that occurred shortly after Olive and Ethan first met years before the events of this book take place was, in a sense, ridiculous, stemming from Olive believing that Ethan was body shaming her for consuming cheese curds in front of him. It’s hard to believe this misunderstanding could result in a grudge that lasted for years and even harder to believe that Olive wouldn’t have confronted Ethan sooner. Next, Olive is fired for a lie she told to her new boss on her first day on the job. In my opinion, it was a dumb thing to be fired over. The lie Olive told in no way affected her work or anyone or anything at her new job. As such, I find it hard to believe that any employer could fire their employee over something so trivial. Lastly, toward the end of the book we find out something troubling about one of the characters (I’ll spare you the spoilers). When this information comes to light, instead of supporting Olive, Ethan and Ami completely turn on her. For me that was hard to swallow and really left a bad taste in my mouth concerning those two characters.

Despite my minor gripes, I thoroughly enjoyed The Unhoneymooners. It’s a charming, witty rom-com that serves as the perfect distraction to the insanity going on in the world today.

Well Met
Jen DeLuca
Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon's family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn't have time for Emily's lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she's in her revealing wench's costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they're portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can't seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

My Review


“I didn’t choose the wench life. The wench life chose me.”

This is one of the best first lines in any book I’ve ever read. It seriously sets the tone for this delightful romcom that can only be summed up in one word: cute.

After her douchebag ex leaves her high and dry and suddenly homeless, Emily is forced to leave her life behind to begin anew in the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland. Emily moves into the home of her sister, April, who was in a terrible car accident, which left her with a shattered leg and an inability to properly take care of her teenage daughter. Emily assumes somewhat of a motherly role, taking care of her niece, Caitlin, basically shuttling her to wherever she needs to go. So, when Caitlin tries out for the town’s annual Renaissance Faire, Emily tags along and “volunteers” to take part in the Ren Faire so that Caitlin can participate in it.

And that’s where we meet Simon Graham.

Simon Graham is uptight and, for some reason that’s not apparent, really seems to dislike Emily. That’s one of the few problems I had with this book. It’s an enemies to lovers romance, but the reason why the two characters are enemies is never fully fleshed out. Simon is rude to Emily and Emily can’t stand Simon because he’s rude, but that’s about it. I think one of the reasons for the animosity may have been because Simon didn’t feel like Emily was taking the Ren Faire seriously. The Ren Faire means everything to Simon, as it was started by his late brother who tragically passed away from cancer three years prior. Since his brother’s passing, Simon has made it his mission to keep his brother’s legacy alive, almost obsessively so.

Unqualified for many of the positions with the Ren Faire, Emily is designated as a tavern wench, a role she takes to naturally having been a bartender. Over the course of the summer, Emily becomes acquainted with the residents of the small town she was forced to move to and actually begins to enjoy her role at the Ren Faire, even finding herself hopelessly drawn to Simon, who takes on the confident, flirtatious persona of the pirate character he portrays at the Faire.

Simon and Emily’s romance is a slow burn, which I enjoyed. The buildup was handled well and kept me listening (I listened to the whole book in one day). I loved peeling back Simon’s layers and getting to know him better. Simon is clearly damaged, as is Emily, and together they heal each other’s wounds. Like I said above, all in all, this was a cute read, with some pretty funny moments interlaced within. The audiobook was well-narrated, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a sweet romcom to pass the time.
The Worst Best Man
Mia Sosa

A wedding planner left at the altar? Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials. 

Marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning—absolutely off-limits—ex-fiancée. And she loathes him. 

If they can nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own. 

Soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again...

My Review


The Worst Best Man took me a bit to get into, but once I did, I was hooked, and I finished the audiobook in two days. I don't know what it was about Lina, the MC, but I couldn't warm up to her at first. I think she was just too abrasive for my taste. However, like the story, I eventually began to relate to her, especially when she finally started to let her guard down and revealed that she had formerly been a paralegal who was fired after making a mistake. As a paralegal, I know all about the anxiety associated with that scenario.

Max, on the other hand, I took to right away. He was everything I adore in a LI. Funny, smart, with a rough exterior that easily melts away to reveal a soft, marshmallowesque interior. Yet, beneath the cockiness he projected, he was full of self-doubt brought on by feelings of inferiority when comparing himself to his brother, Andrew.

Andrew was a spineless weasel who left Lina at the altar after making Max deliver the news. Instead of Andrew, however, Lina blamed Max for her fiancé’s cold feet due to a text message sent by Andrew the night before.

Years later, Max, Andrew, and Lina find themselves brought together again when the three of them vie for a coveted position working with a popular hotel. 

And that's where the story really takes off.

A relationship characterized by sheer loathing (more by Lina than Max) gradually turns into a slow burn romance, peppered with numerous laugh out loud moments and plenty of steam.

But can Lina and Max move beyond their past to a well-deserved HEA? I guess you'll have to read/listen to find out. 



Where The Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens

For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life--until the unthinkable happens.
My Review 

I can't even begin to describe this book. I've never read anything quite like it, and I probably never will again. Each sentence was pure poetry, and the ending-oh, that ending-was the definition of poetic justice. Ms. Owens does a fabulous job creating both characters the reader loves and characters the reader loves to hate. I can't tell you how often I felt compelled to wrap my arms around Kya Clark (aka "The Marsh Girl"), a girl who only wanted to be loved and never abandoned again. I found myself inspired by Kya's strength, her tenacity, and her love of nature-the one constant in her life. Ms. Owens' descriptions of the marshlands, estuaries, and various flora and fauna were so vivid you honestly felt like you were standing on the shore with Kya feeding the gulls. Where the Crawdads Sing was by far one of the best books I've read in quite a while, and I highly recommend it to, well, everyone.

Sarah Fine

"My plan: Get into the city. Get Nadia. Find a way out. Simple."

A week ago, seventeen-year-old Lela Santos’s best friend, Nadia, killed herself. Today, thanks to a farewell ritual gone awry, Lela is standing in paradise, looking upon a vast gated city in the distance – hell. No one willingly walks through the Suicide Gates, into a place smothered in darkness and infested with depraved creatures. But Lela isn’t just anyone – she’s determined to save her best friend’s soul, even if it means sacrificing her eternal afterlife.

As Lela struggles to find Nadia, she’s captured by the Guards, enormous, not-quite-human creatures that patrol the dark city’s endless streets. Their all-too human leader, Malachi, is unlike them in every way except one: his deadly efficiency. When he meets Lela, Malachi forms his own plan: get her out of the city, even if it means she must leave Nadia behind. Malachi knows something Lela doesn’t – the dark city isn’t the worst place Lela could end up, and he will stop at nothing to keep her from that fate.

Lauren Oliver

In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn't about to make the same mistake.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the Wilds who lives under the government's radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

It Ends With Us 
Colleen Hoover
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

My Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ /5

"In the future... if by some miracle you ever find yourself in the position to fall in love again... fall in love with me.” 

Oh, my word. I cannot express how powerful this book was. It touched me on such a deeply emotional and personal level. It was probably the most accurate portrayal of what it's like to be in an abusive relationship I've read. How hard it can be to walk away and how brave those who do are. I can't wait for the movie! 

The Guernsey Literary and
Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer and Anne Barrows
“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb. . . .

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members
were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

My Review
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ /5

I saw the movie based on this book on NetFlix and loved it so much that I picked up the book. There are some pretty significant differences between the two. The movie had more of a romantic element. But overall, I enjoyed the book and the history surrounding Guernsey during World War II.

The Time Traveler's Wife
Audrey Niffenegger

A MOST UNTRADITIONAL LOVE STORY, this is the celebrated tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who inadvertently travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate affair endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap that tests the strength of fate and basks in the bonds of love.
Water for Elephants
Sara Gruen
Jacob Janowski's luck had run out--orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was the Great Depression and for Jacob the circus was both his salvation and a living hell. There he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but brutal animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this group of misfits was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.
Victoria Aveyard

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction.

One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.



For the latest on my new releases, bargain books, the books with the most buzz, and all other things bookish, subscribe to my newsletter.