eARC Review – Mr. Right Across the Street

Title: Mr. Right Across the Street

Author: Kathryn Freeman

Publisher: One More Chapter

Publication date: January 22nd, 2021

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Mia Abbott’s move to Manchester was supposed to give her time and space from all the disastrous romantic choices she’s made in her past. But then the hot guy who lives opposite – the one who works out every day at exactly 10 a.m., not that Mia has noticed thank-you-very-much – starts leaving notes in his window…for her.

Bar owner Luke Doyle has his own issues to deal with but as he shows Mia the sites of her new city he also shows her what real romance looks like for the first time. And when he cooks up a signature cocktail in her honour, she realises that the man behind the bar is even more enticing than any of his creations. And once she’s had a taste she knows it will never be enough! 

Review

I have read all of Kathryn Freeman’s books with One More Chapter and this one might be my favorite of all so far. I will also request her books because they are always adorable, relatable, and utterly charming.

First off, the characters in this book were so well rounded, fleshed out, and had very interesting back stories. The fun quirk to this book was that they communicated via signs written in the window a la the Taylor Swift music video for You Belong With Me. The side characters seriously add to the story and keep it going. Mia’s friendship her older neighbor Stan was my favorite relationship of the book, hands down. I don’t know if young person-old person friendships are a trope but if they are, it’s one of my favorites!

I don’t really have anything that I found to critique with this one! I loved it from start to finish and feel like Kathryn is great at creating chemistry between two people and making it super charming and adorable. The pacing made sense, the flow worked, and I read it all in one day. Definitely check this out if you’re a fan of contemporary romances, friends to lovers, and a quirky form of communication – all set in a bar!

Thank you to One More Chapter and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – These Violent Delights

Title: These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights #1)

Author: Chloe Gong

Publisher: Margaret McElderry Books

Publication date: November 17th, 2020

449 pages

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.

Review

The Violent Delights is a Shanghai twist on Romeo and Juliette, where Roma and Juliette are rival gang heirs in the city of Shanghai. The Communists have entered the city and are trying to take over and spread their ideals, in a city where more and more foreigners are coming to change the Chinese. The Scarlets and the White Flowers are trying to keep their grips on half of the city, when a deadly monster takes root and starts killing hundreds quickly. The two must find a way to stop the monster and keep the foreigners out, but secretly because of the blood feud between their gangs.

These Violent Delights is a mess of gory, violent plot mixed with two morally grey characters in a forbidden love story. Frankly, I LOVED IT. There is so much going on in this story and all of it is interesting. I love the dramatic retelling of the Shakespeare classic, there are so many callbacks to the source material but Chloe Gong has made the story her own. Beware, she is not kidding with the amount of violence. Juliette’s character is mysterious, bloodthirsty, and savage – while being super interesting and strong. Roma is more of a soft boy at heart, but not afraid to kill a man. Their families and the side characters all have their own plots that are separate yet keeping with the story. There is diversity within the cast – a trans character and what seems like will turn into a gay couple.

I will admit, the middle part of the story gets a bit tedious. I feel like there are some scenes that could have been shortened to keep the plot moving faster. The pacing slows down in the middle third and picks back up towards the end. BUT the end completely makes up for the middle, and left me shook and completely shocked. Others may see it coming, but I truly did not. SO ready for the sequel.

Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Happy Singles Day

Title: Happy Singles Day

Author: Ann Marie Walker

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Publication date:

288 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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.

Review

Happy Singles Day is a Nicholas Sparks reminiscent love story on an island in North Carolina. A grumpy, widowed innkeeper meets a type A, perky woman looking to celebrate ‘Singles Day’, by taking her first relaxation vacation. Neither of them are looking for love, but when the right person comes along, it changes your perspective on everything.

I really enjoyed this book, though I believe it could have been better if it was longer. It has a bit of an insta-love feel to it because of it’s shortness. They spend just a week together in the main portions of the book, without even liking each other the first few days. Normally I don’t enjoy this trope, but I love the grumpy/sunshine trope so much that it made up for the insta-love. I appreciate that Lucas has a daughter because it created an additional dynamic to the relationship.

I very much appreciate the ending and epilogue of Happy Singles Day. It fully wrapped up the story, brought everything full circle, and was satisfactory. If you’re a fan of the setting and characters of Nicholas Sparks book (without the devastation and tears) then definitely check this one out.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Friend Zone

Title: The Friend Zone (The Friend Zone #1)

Author: Abby Jimenez

Publisher: Forever

Publication date: June 11th, 2019

372 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Kristen Petersen doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen—especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.

Review

I accidentally read the second book, The Happy Ever After Playlist, before reading The Friend Zone (oops) BUT I’m going to do the reviews in order for continuity’s sake.

The Friend Zone follows Kristen’s story of love. Currently dating a man serving overseas in the Marines, she meets Josh – her best friend Sloan’s fiance’s best friend. He may be everything she’s looking for, but she’s committed to her boyfriend whose tour is ending soon and they will be moving in together. When circumstances bring her closer to Josh, she learns he really wants to have children, which she isn’t able to do. She tries to ignore the growing chemistry with Josh in order to save him, but when her Marine boyfriend re-enlists without talking to her first – she gives in to Josh, still thinking it’s a mistake. Can Kristen let Josh get close when she can’t give him what he wants?

So, I did really enjoy this book. HOWEVER, I had an issue with books where the whole entire dang plot can be resolved through one fairly simple communication. Sure, a lot of the plot of books needs to be interesting, otherwise who would read the book? But I feel there are levels and I was just getting frustrating with Kristen’s refusal to effectively communicate with Josh, and then whining about it. It got a bit tedious by the end, when very similar scenes kept happening without adding much to the plot.

However, like I said I did still really enjoy this book because JOSH WAS WORTH IT. Hot dang Josh is a pinnacle book boyfriend characters and was from the very beginning of the story. And by the END?! Without spoilers, I’ll just say y’all need to read it to see what I’m flailing over. We love a man who can plan and prove his commitment to a lady, that’s all I’ll say.

Come back next time for my review of The Happy Ever After Playlist, starring Kristen’s best friend, Sloan!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Enjoy the View

Title: Enjoy the View (Moose Springs, Alaska #3)

Author: Sarah Morgenthaler

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Publication date: January 19th, 2021

352 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

A grouchy mountaineer, a Hollywood starlet
And miles of untamed wilderness…
What could possibly go wrong?

Former Hollywood darling River Lane’s acting career is tanking fast. Determined to start fresh behind the camera, she agrees to film a documentary about the picturesque small town of Moose Springs, Alaska. The assignment should have been easy, but the quirky locals want nothing to do with River. Well, too bad: River’s going to make this film and prove herself, no matter what it takes.

Or what (literal) mountain she has to climb.

Easton Lockett may be a gentle giant, but he knows a thing or two about survival. If he can keep everyone in line, he should be able to get River and her crew up and down Mount Veil in one piece. Turns out that’s a big if. The wildlife’s wilder than usual, the camera crew’s determined to wander off a cliff, and the gorgeous actress is fearless. Falling for River only makes Easton’s job tougher, but there’s only so long he can hold out against her brilliant smile. When bad weather strikes, putting everyone at risk, it’ll take all of Easton’s skill to get them back home safely…and convince River she should stay in his arms for good.

Review

As the third book in the Moose Springs, Alaska series, I had high expectations. And friends, my expectations were met and EXCEEDED by Enjoy the View. I fell in love with Easton during the first book, The Tourist Attraction and waited with bated breath for this book to fall onto my Kindle. My mind was blown from beginning to end and I read this whole book in one sitting, it was so amazing.

I adore grumpy characters, they are one of my favorite types of characters to read. Easton doesn’t really have much of a personality through the first two books, because he’s a quietly grumpy man – but getting his POV rounds out his character so much. You get to see how sweet, caring, and self-sacrificing he is – especially in his career with climbing the mountains of Alaska and escorting parties up. I also really enjoyed River as his love interest, she was an interesting combination of blunt, quirky, and confident – enough to break a grumpy man out of his shell while also evoking his protective side.

One constant through this series is that they are kind of long. They feel like pieces could be removed without the end result being less, but I felt that the least with this book. There is so much action and adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what happens.

Lastly, the marmot stole the show. If that sentence confuses you, you’ll just have to read it to find out!

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casabanca and Netgalley for an advanced copy of Enjoy the View in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Shipped

Title: Shipped

Author: Angie Hockman

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication date: January 19th, 2021

336 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it.

The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.

Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.

With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live? 

Review

When a tag line mentions The Hating Game ad The Unhoneymooners, I am 100% sold on reading that book. The work tension coupled with a tropical vacation? I’m here for it. Overall, Shipped was a cute and surprisingly serious book that I enjoyed.

The main character, Henley, is looking to get a promotion at her cruise line company when she finds out Graeme, her work nemesis, is also up for the promotion. They’ve never met, but she knows he has been trying to steal her work and undermine her since he arrived at the company. When their boss insists they take one of the company’s cruise ships to better market the experience, Henley realizes she will finally meet, but also be trapped with, her nemesis.

Overall, I enjoyed the premise and it was a solid romance read. I was surprised by the serious feminist tone it took at the ending, but not in a bad way. I thought it brought a new level to the book, but would have liked it to be more a part of the whole book instead of the ending. I also found the romance between Henley and Graeme a little off. I think it happened far too quickly and should have been given more time to develop. However, there is a cast of solid supporting characters that really add to the story line.

I do agree with the Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne comparisons, but it missed a bit of the mark for me, so it is a 4 star read instead of 5.

Thank you to Gallery Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

BLOG TOUR – Roman and Jewel

Title: Roman and Jewel

Author: Dana L. Davis

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Publication date: January 5th, 2021

336 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Jerzie Jhames will do anything to land the lead role in Broadway’s hottest new show, Roman and Jewel, a Romeo and Juliet inspired hip-hopera featuring a diverse cast and modern twists on the play. But her hopes are crushed when she learns mega-star Cinny won the lead…and Jerzie is her understudy.

Falling for male lead Zeppelin Reid is a terrible idea–especially once Jerzie learns Cinny wants him for herself. Star-crossed love always ends badly. But when a video of Jerzie and Zepp practicing goes viral and the entire world weighs in on who should play Jewel, Jerzie learns that while the price of fame is high, friendship, family, and love are priceless.

Review

Jerzie is 16, prepared to star on Broadway, when her dreams are snatched from her by the super star, Cinny. Cinny wins the lead in Roman and Jewel, a Hamilton-esque take on Romeo and Juliet. Jerzie tries to be excited to be an understudy, but she’s not. However, she means the male lead – Zeppelin Reid – and falls head over heels in love instantly. He’s older, hot, AND starring on Broadway. But no one wants Jerzie and Zeppelin to be together, so Jerzie must make some hard decisions.

I absolutely love the concept behind this book. Roman and Jewel celebrates diversity and I loved that Jerzie was young but so talented. She basically was making changes to a Broadway musical at 16 and being listened to by adults. I love to see books empowering younger audiences in a world that tries to silence the young. Roman and Jewel is a quick, easy read that will entertain and inspire.

A few points made me rate this book a little lower. The relationship between Jerzie and Zeppelin was a little weird with the ages. 19 and 16 is still a bit of a cringe age difference for me. And Jerzie was a very young 16. It was clear from the dialogue and her behaviors that she is completely innocent, and Zeppelin was not. It made the romance feel a little off, and a bit much for me to really root for them. Some of the writing felt stilted at times, and a bit unrealistic for the real world.

However, even for these thoughts – I found Roman and Jewel to be entertaining and believe it would truly empower the young audience to feel they can do what they dream of – even from a young age. I know I grew up being told I was too young to do this, too inexperienced to do that. Everyone deserves to feel they can accomplish what they want, which is why I did enjoy this book overall.

Thank you to Turn the Pages Tours and Inkyard Press for inviting me to take place in the blog tour for this title. A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Author Bio:

Dana L. Davis is a novelist and Hollywood actress with previous series regular roles as: Carmen Phillips on TNT’s Franklin and Bash and modern day mimic Monica Dawson on NBC’s cult series Heroes.

She currently stars on the animated series Star Vs. the Forces of Evil, Craig of the Creek, and She-Ra. Dana has guest-starred in over 20 prestigious primetime series, including 911, ScorpionCode Black, Grey’s Anatomy, and CSI. She made her film debut in Coach Carter with Samuel Jackson.

In addition to her work on screen, Dana has become a motivational speaker for teens. Her stirring assemblies empower and encourage youth, helping them to redefine what it means to win and lose.

Extremely versatile, Dana is a screenwriter and a trained Violist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from Loyola Marymount University. She volunteers for nonprofits like Empowering Lives International, an organization which provides training, resources, and encouragement to underprivileged East African children.

Dana also created her own nonprofit organization Culture For Kids, LA, an organization which gifts inner city children tickets and transportation to see performing arts shows around the Los Angeles area. 

Dana was raised in the Midwest and currently resides in Los Angeles with her 9-year-old daughter.

Links

Goodreads

Harlequin

Dana L. Davis

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Lies Like Poison

Title: Lies Like Poison

Author: Chelsea Pitcher

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication date: November 10th, 2020

304 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Poppy, Lily, and Belladonna would do anything to protect their best friend, Raven. So when they discovered he was suffering abuse at the hands of his stepmother, they came up with a lethal plan: petals of poppy, belladonna, and lily in her evening tea so she’d never be able to hurt Raven again. But someone got cold feet, the plot faded to a secret of the past, and the group fell apart.

Three years later, on the eve of Raven’s seventeenth birthday, his stepmother turns up dead. But it’s only belladonna found in her tea, and it’s only Belladonna who’s carted off to jail. Desperate for help, Belle reaches out to her estranged friends to prove her innocence. They answer the call, but no one is prepared for what comes next.

Now, everyone has something to lose and something equally dangerous to hide. And when the tangled web of secrets and betrayal is finally unwound, what lies at its heart will change the group forever. 

Review

The concept of this book truly intrigued me, which is why I requested it and wanted to read it. I think the execution could have used some work, but Lies Like Poison is a solid YA Mystery that delves into the tangled web of 4 teenagers, friends who have many secrets…

Poppy, Belladonna, and Lily got together one day to plot to kill Lily’s mother, because they believed she was torturing their best friend, Raven, by causing him to want to commit suicide after his mother died. The create the recipe for the perfect murder, intending to carry it out, until one of them backs out at the last minute. Flash forward 3 years, and Evelyn has been murdered – but no one knows who. The four friends must reunite to clear their names, and discover the truth about what happened to her, as well as what was going on 3 years ago.

I overall found this book to be very enjoyable. The mystery element here was good, the characters were unreliable, allowing the big reveals not to be seen a mile away. The characters are great as a group, but only okay individually. Some more development could’ve been helpful. Also, prepare for some suspension of disbelief around the police procedural scenes. I had a good idea of the ‘whodunnit’ piece of the plot, and ended up being right. But, it took awhile to get the guess right.

Lastly, there is queer representation in a lot of the characters, which is always great to see.

Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

Top Ten Reads of 2020!

I read 230 books this year, which is still absolutely insane to me! But, I wanted to try and narrow it down to a top ten (which totally didn’t happen so at the end of this post you will find honorable mentions). Below are the results of the very hard decisions I had to make about the books I’ve read this year because so many were so amazing!

  1. Legendborn (Legendborn #1), Tracy Deonn

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

2. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, V. E. Schwab

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

3. 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 has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

**currently being adapted for the silver screen!**

4. The Shadows Between Us, Tricia Levenseller

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

5. Well Met – Jen DeLuca

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, 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.

**loved so much I read it twice this year!**

6. Empire of Storms – Sarah J Maas

Kingdoms will collide.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

7. Beach Read – 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.

**again, loved it so much I read it twice!**

8. Enjoy the View (Moose Springs, Alaska #3), Sarah Morgenthaler

A grouchy mountaineer, a Hollywood starlet
And miles of untamed wilderness…
What could possibly go wrong?

Former Hollywood darling River Lane’s acting career is tanking fast. Determined to start fresh behind the camera, she agrees to film a documentary about the picturesque small town of Moose Springs, Alaska. The assignment should have been easy, but the quirky locals want nothing to do with River. Well, too bad: River’s going to make this film and prove herself, no matter what it takes.

Or what (literal) mountain she has to climb.

Easton Lockett may be a gentle giant, but he knows a thing or two about survival. If he can keep everyone in line, he should be able to get River and her crew up and down Mount Veil in one piece. Turns out that’s a big if. The wildlife’s wilder than usual, the camera crew’s determined to wander off a cliff, and the gorgeous actress is fearless. Falling for River only makes Easton’s job tougher, but there’s only so long he can hold out against her brilliant smile. When bad weather strikes, putting everyone at risk, it’ll take all of Easton’s skill to get them back home safely…and convince River she should stay in his arms for good.

9. The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2), Helen Hoang

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

**another 2x this year read!**

10. Fable (Fable #1), Adrienne Young

For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one, and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father, and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him, and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men. Fable takes you on a spectacular journey filled with romance, intrigue, and adventure.

HONORABLE MENTIONS!

  1. The Gravity of Us, Phil Stamper
  2. When We Were Magic, Sarah Gailey
  3. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, Abbi Waxman
  4. You Deserve Each Other, Sarah Hogle
  5. Float Plan, Trish Doller
  6. Midnight Sun (Twilight #5), Stephenie Meyer
  7. The Happy Ever After Playlist (The Friend Zone #2), Abby Jimenez

Were any of these on your top ten list?!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – You Have a Match

Title: You Have a Match

Author: Emma Lord

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: January 5th, 2021

320 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie…although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front.

But she didn’t know she’s a younger sister.

When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents—especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself.

The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. But there are complications: Savvy is a rigid rule-follower and total narc. Leo is the camp’s co-chef, putting Abby’s growing feelings for him on blast. And her parents have a secret that threatens to unravel everything.

But part of life is showing up, leaning in, and learning to fit all your awkward pieces together. Because sometimes, the hardest things can also be the best ones.

Review

After reading Tweet Cute last year, I knew I needed to read You Have a Match – and it did not disappoint. Emma now has set herself up as the author to incorporate social media sites into her novels, and she does it so. well. You Have a Match uses Instagram to help tell the story of Abby and Savannah, secret sisters who find each other through a DNA app. There’s a story here, and the two try to navigate their parent’s lies while also getting to know each other. On top of that, there’s a subtle romance aspect and a summer camp plot line.

Overall, I found this story to be super cute. Each character had specific personality traits, and the secret sister storyline was VERY compelling. Since the boom of DNA testing, you’ve heard stories in the media of people finding family members they didn’t know existed and familial secrets that wouldn’t have been discovered otherwise. I enjoy that Emma Lord incorporated this story line. Instagram is used by both sisters for different purposes, but it isn’t as much of the storyline as Twitter is in Tweet Cute. Emma Lord’s writing is very good and her pacing is always on point. I never felt unfocused while reading it or that it was too long or wordy.

I didn’t prefer the romance portion as much as I wanted to. I actually wanted Abby to end up with a background character, I just felt like he was a better fit for her. But, I recognize why the romance happened the way it did, I just also wish it was resolved sooner than it was. Also, there was a character in Abby’s friend group that just didn’t have as much page time as she deserved. As a “best friend” you’d think she’d have more of story – but she seemed to only serve to move a minor plot line forward. I wanted more for Connie.

The ending was very heartwarming, and you love to see it. I do highly recommend this story, especially if you read and loved Tweet Cute like I did.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!