Book Review – The House on Sunshine Corner by Phoebe Mills

Title: The House on Sunshine Corner (The Sunshine Corner #1)

Author: Phoebe Mills

Publisher: Forever

Publication date: August 24th, 2021

316 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

This captivating enemies-to-lovers romance about a daycare teacher who clashes with a brooding dad is perfect second-chance love story for fans of Debbie Mason.

Abby Engel has a great life. She’s the owner of Sunshine Corner, the daycare she runs with her girlfriends; she has the most adoring grandmother (aka the Baby Whisperer); and she lives in a perfect hidden gem of a town. All that’s missing is the thing she wants the most: a family. But after a stint of online dating and a string of bad blind dates, she’s ready to give up. And then her ex-boyfriend (aka the love of her life) walks back into town…

Carter Hayes has no intention of staying in Heart’s Hope Bay. He’s there to help his sister out for a few weeks, and then he’s back on a plane to Las Vegas. But small-town living has its appeal, and it’s not long before Carter’s reminded of just how much he loves his hometown…and the one woman he’s never been able to forget. But after breaking her heart all those years ago, can Carter convince Abby that he’s her happy-ever-after?


Can we just start off with how adorable the cover is for this book? I knew absolutely nothing about it when I requested to read it from the publisher but I have no regrets. I loved this cheery, small town romance. However, I have to argue the above synopsis calling it enemies to lovers… It certainly was second chance romance with Abby and Carter being high school sweethearts before he broke up with her when he went off to college and thought their paths were diverging. It was a sad break up but they were not enemies at any point. Unsure where that categorization is coming from…

Anyways, Abby runs Sunshine Corner day care and has terrible luck with dating. Carter return to Heart’s Hope Bay to take care of his sister and niece after a car accident broke her leg. Part of that involves taking his niece to Abby’s day care – and seeing the love of life every day but knowing it is only temporary and he intends to return to his old life when his sister recovers fully. Honestly, there isn’t a single page of this book that I didn’t love. It has the writing style of the old style Nora Roberts and Catherine Anderson romance where you can tell it’s for adults, but there is a youthful sense to it that will allow it to cross age groups with ease. There is mild spice but it’s a satisfying level for those who like it more on the spicy side.

And of course, the requisite HEA ending. I’m so ready to dive into the next in this series, check back tomorrow for the review!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S. Olson

Title: Sing Me Forgotten

Author: Jessica S. Olson

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Publication date: March 9th, 2021

336 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Isda does not exist. At least not beyond the opulent walls of the opera house.

Cast into a well at birth for being one of the magical few who can manipulate memories when people sing, she was saved by Cyril, the opera house’s owner. Since that day, he has given her sanctuary from the murderous world outside. All he asks in return is that she use her power to keep ticket sales high—and that she stay out of sight. For if anyone discovers she survived, Isda and Cyril would pay with their lives.

But Isda breaks Cyril’s cardinal rule when she meets Emeric Rodin, a charming boy who throws her quiet, solitary life out of balance. His voice is unlike any she’s ever heard, but the real shock comes when she finds in his memories hints of a way to finally break free of her gilded prison.

Haunted by this possibility, Isda spends more and more time with Emeric, searching for answers in his music and his past. But the price of freedom is steeper than Isda could ever know. For even as she struggles with her growing feelings for Emeric, she learns that in order to take charge of her own destiny, she must become the monster the world tried to drown in the first place.


“I pretend to be human, but the mirror does not lie.”

Jessica S. Olson, Sing Me Forgotten

I had high hopes for this book and sadly by the end I was just… disappointed. Isda is a ghost, she lives in the catacombs of the opera house her master runs. She isn’t supposed to exist, as a gravoir her kind is killed at birth due to their ability to manipulate memories while people sing. She has never left the opera house and the only human she has interacted with in her 16 years is Cyril – her master and savior. That is, until Emeric showed up – a janitor with the voice of an angel that makes Isda determined to know him.

Honestly, I was loving this book until the ending so please take my review with a grain of salt. It is not a traditional romance ending and it irritated me because after everything Isda and Emeric went through it just wasn’t fair. And yeah okay, I know that’s the point and it has it’s purpose but MEH. It just doesn’t do it for me – after Isda gives up everything and works so hard in this book to save Emeric it’s devastating that she doesn’t get the ending she deserves, in my opinion. But I digress, other than this main complaint – I did enjoy the book. The writing utilizes some prime imagery and the magic just leaps off the page. It’s a very unique world with a fairly well explained magic system that didn’t require too much info-dumping at the beginning.

I’m told this is a genderbent Phantom of the Opera retelling but honestly I don’t know shit about Phantom of the Opera so I can’t speak to how true this is or how closely it follows the original story. So there’s that.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons

Title: The Passing Playbook

Author: Isaac Fitzsimons

Publisher: Dial

Publication date: June 1st, 2021

304 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother and a Messi-in-training. He’s also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio.

At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all: more accepting classmates, a decent shot at a starting position on the boy’s soccer team, great new friends, and maybe even something more than friendship with one of his teammates. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans – he’s passing.

So when a discriminatory law forces Spencer’s coach to bench him after he discovers the ‘F’ on Spencer’s birth certificate, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even if it means coming out to everyone – including the guy he’s falling for.


“First rule of passing…Don’t be different.”

Isaac Fitzsimons, The Passing Playbook

Meet Spencer, a transgender high schooler in Ohio who just transferred to the most liberal private school in the state in order to have a fresh start. Spencer tries really hard to pass to avoid the scrutiny and bullying he experienced at his last school. But he joins the boy’s soccer team and there’s a law that say Spencer can’t play due to being assigned female at birth. Also, he’s falling for Justice – a teammate and the pastor’s son. He may be gay but he’s so far in the closet he’s in Narnia due to his parent’s strict religiosity. Can these two find a way together?

My heart broke for Spencer while he was trying to figure out how to be himself during this book. It has to be so hard to be so young and know people hate you just for how you feel about your identity. Spencer goes through more in this book than I have in my whole life simply because I was born in the gendered body that feels correct for me. I admire his passion for soccer and internal growth in the Gay-Straight Alliance club at school. I also adored the friendship he made with a non-binary student and how they helped each other grow. Justice was a good character, but I wasn’t completely enthralled by him as a love interest. I got really put my finger on why, but he didn’t seem to have a strong personality and you just don’t get to know much about him besides his family.

I listened to this one on audio, and I think the narrator did a great job. Definitely recommend for LGBTQ fans.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The One True Me and You by Remi K. England

Title: The One True Me and You

Author: Remi K. England

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: March 1st, 2022

272 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

One small fandom convention. One teen beauty pageant.
One meet cute waiting to happen.

Up and coming fanfic author Kaylee Beaumont is internally screaming at the chance to finally meet her fandom friends in real life and spend a weekend at GreatCon. She also has a side quest for the weekend:

Try out they/them pronouns to see how it feels
Wear more masculine-presenting cosplay
Kiss a girl for the first time

It’s… a lot, and Kay mostly wants to lie face down on the hotel floor. Especially when her hometown bully, Miss North Carolina, shows up in the very same hotel. But there’s this con-sponsored publishing contest, and the chance to meet her fandom idols… and then, there’s Teagan.

Pageant queen Teagan Miller (Miss Virginia) has her eye on the much-needed prize: the $25,000 scholarship awarded to the winner of the Miss Cosmic Teen USA pageant. She also has secrets:

She loves the dresses but hates the tiaras
She’s a giant nerd for everything GreatCon
She’s gay af

If Teagan can just keep herself wrapped up tight for one more weekend, she can claim the scholarship and go off to college out and proud. If she’s caught, she could lose everything she’s worked for. If her rival, Miss North Carolina, has anything to do with it, that’s exactly how it’ll go down.

When Teagan and Kay bump into one another the first night, sparks fly. Their connection is intense—as is their shared enemy. If they’re spotted, the safe space of the con will be shattered, and all their secrets will follow them home. The risks are great… but could the reward of embracing their true selves be worth it?


This is one of those books that I downloaded without knowing anything about the overall story line or characters and I don’t know what I expected from it going in – but it wasn’t what I got – and it was WONDERFUL. Imagine a pageant queen with a hidden nerd side and a nerd having a gender identity and sexuality crisis and you have the characters in this book. I have been so excited about the wave of LGBTQ romances being published – especially in the YA genre – and I genuinely didn’t know that would play a part in this book!

Kay comes from a small town in North Carolina where considering gender identity is ridiculed and frowned down upon, so when they go to a fandom convention where they can be themselves, they decide to try out being the self they want to be. And then there is Teagan, a pageant queen just trying to win enough money to go to college. She is a out lesbian, except in the pageant circuit. They meet when the fandom convention and the pageant are held at the same hotel and there are immediate sparks.

I hands down loved this romance. The struggle Kay goes through with their identity and the exploration with Teagan was so charming and I imagine important to see represented for those who feel similarly. There was also a very interesting discussion about pageants and the underlying stereotype about those who compete in beauty pageants, and frankly it made me think about some opinions I have about them. I love when a book can be light and romantic while also delving into serious topics and making you question your world view. It’s a balancing act that England did masterfully in this book.

Highly recommend for those looking for a great LGBTQ book, specifically in the non-binary sphere.

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

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – All the Feels by Olivia Dade

Title: All the Feels (Spoiler Alert #1)

Author: Olivia Dade

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: November 16th, 2021

385 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Following Spoiler Alert, Olivia Dade returns with another utterly charming romantic comedy about a devil-may-care actor—who actually cares more than anyone knows—and the no-nonsense woman hired to keep him in line.

Alexander Woodroe has it all. Charm. Sex appeal. Wealth. Fame. A starring role as Cupid on TV’s biggest show, God of the Gates. But the showrunners have wrecked his character, he’s dogged by old demons, and his post-show future remains uncertain. When all that reckless emotion explodes into a bar fight, the tabloids and public agree: his star is falling.

Enter Lauren Clegg, the former ER therapist hired to keep him in line. Compared to her previous work, watching over handsome but impulsive Alex shouldn’t be especially difficult. But the more time they spend together, the harder it gets to keep her professional remove and her heart intact, especially when she discovers the reasons behind his recklessness…not to mention his Cupid fanfiction habit.

When another scandal lands Alex in major hot water and costs Lauren her job, she’ll have to choose between protecting him and offering him what he really wants—her. But he’s determined to keep his improbably short, impossibly stubborn, and extremely endearing minder in his life any way he can. And on a road trip up the California coast together, he intends to show her exactly what a falling star will do to catch the woman he loves: anything at all.


“Sometimes I want to burn down the fucking world for what it’s done to you.”

Olivia Dade, All the Feels

I absolutely loved Spoiler Alert, because it combined two things I’m passionate about – body positivity and nerds. So I knew I was going to pick up All the Feels when it came out because Alex and Lauren practically leapt off the page in Spoiler Alert – and they were background characters. They clearly had off the charts chemistry that presented in bickering and insults, my favorite kind of flirting.

Alex is the actor who has a reputation for being difficult to work with, a party boy, and a reckless pot-stirrer. So when he gets caught up in a bar fight, the show runner insists he needs a handler (i.e. babysitter). In comes Lauren, the show runner’s cousin who recently left her emergency psychology job after being burned out. Lauren doesn’t have conventional good looks and she is used to being looked down upon for that and for her size, and she is frankly a doormat for her whole family and friends. Alex brings out a more opinionated and confident Lauren and it’s a beautiful sight to behold. And there is so much more to Alex than a playboy party boy. He has serious dreams and ambitions, and there is more to the incidents that led him to needing Lauren.

Absolutely loved every page of this book. The conflict damn near broke my heart, but it was so well done. Sometimes you can tell the conflict isn’t well thought out and is just there because it needs to be – but this conflict truly brought together Alex and Lauren’s insecurities and made them think about what they want and need out of life with themselves, and with each other.

I’m told there will be a third book, and you’re damn right I’m going to be reading it ASAP.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Remember Me by Estelle Laure

Title: Remember Me

Author: Estelle Laure

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: March 22nd, 2022

272 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

A new young adult novel from the critically acclaimed author of This Raging Light and Mayhem

If you could erase all of your painful memories, would you? Blue Owens wakes up one day with the strangest feeling that something is very wrong. Everyone’s acting weird and she’s found a note in her closet telling her to get on the Little Blue Bus at 7:45, which she does, meeting up with the exact person she was supposed to avoid: Adam Mendoza. Even though she has no idea who he is, something about him is so familiar. When the two are discovered by their families, the truth is revealed—Blue has paid to have her memories removed, and Adam is one of those memories. What transpires is Blue’s journey to get her memories back, uncover the truth of why she had them removed in the first place, and ultimately decide whether they were too necessary to who she is to lose in the first place.


Remember Me is a futuristic YA contemporary about how far one will go to forget, and then to remember. One day in 2032, Blue wakes up feeling… off. Her friends and family are acting weird, she’s having glitches in her memory, and she found this weird note in her room giving a date and time to meet somewhere with… someone. Blue feels sick and as she goes about her days she feels weirder and weirder, until she gets on the bus listed on the note and meets him. Again.

The main premise in this book is that you can “Release” memories of events, people, etc. It’s meant to take away pain and make life easier for hose who have suffered trauma or just need to forget something. Blue chooses to undergo the Release of her boyfriend, Adam, but then immediately wants to go and figure out what it is she felt needed to be erased. A lot of the book is flashbacks to Blue’s like 2 years ago to present to detail exactly what she had erased. I had a hard time with this book because I feel like the ordering of the timelines was really wonky. So little of the book is Blue in the “after”, the majority of it is the “before”, which feels backwards to me. It was hard to stay engaged.

I also finished with a lot of questions regarding some of the events that went on in the book that weren’t answered. I won’t list them because that would be spoiler-y but I don’t generally enjoy leaving a world with several unanswered questions. I did like the concept and memory removal in the future – it felt very Black Mirror meets YA contemporary. It brings up an important conversation on mental health, depression, grief, trauma, and how to handle loved ones in this situation. There are many trigger warnings, so please read with caution.

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

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – How to Deceive a Duke by Samara Parish

Title: How to Deceive a Duke (Rebels with a Cause #2)

Author: Samara Parish

Publisher: Forever

Publication date: January 25th, 2022

364 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Fiona McTavish is an engineer, a chemist, a rebel—and no one’s idea of a proper lady. She prefers breeches to ballrooms, but her new invention—matches—will surely turn as many heads. There’s just a little matter of her being arrested for a crime she didn’t commit. And the only person she can turn to for help is the man who broke her heart years ago.

Edward Stirling, Duke of Wildeforde, will do anything to restore his family’s name and put his father’s scandalous death behind them. But when Fiona needs his help getting released from prison, he can’t deny her—even though it means she must live with him as a condition of her freedom. With the desire between them rekindling as fast as the gossip about their arrangement is spreading among the ton, Edward will have to choose what matters most to him—his reputation or his heart.


After finishing How to Survive a Scandal, I was so excited to see the next one followed Fiona and Edward’s love story. They had so few interactions in the first book but they leapt off the page and clearly had a very interesting and compelling backstory. And I was not disappointed with their story at all. Fiona is such a strong, independent woman in a time where that is not socially acceptable and Edward goes a long way to understand and accept her – even though he is a Duke and she is a commoner from Scotland. Fiona works in a factory, wears breeches, and is an inventor whereas Edward is obsessed with maintaining his family’s reputation and not moving a hair out of line (hence the broken engagement in the first book!).

I loved the underlying plot line of Fiona attempting to sell her invention of matches to distributors in London by herself, without a man. As much as it is frustrating to read about female oppression, Fiona was the type to not let it get her down or affect her and it gave me happiness to read and cancelled out the annoying parts that have to be included for historical accuracy. However, there were several times I just wanted to shake Edward because he was being such a MAN, ugh.

But he redeemed himself, oh how he redeemed himself.

Edward’s siblings also made this book so incredibly entertaining. I adored his sister and brother, and I am stoked the next book follows his sister’s love story with John. I’m very excited to read that one when it comes out and continue in the Rebels with a Cause series.

Thank you to Forever and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – How to Survive a Scandal by Samara Parish

Title: How to Survive a Scandal (Rebels with a Cause #1)

Author: Samara Parish

Publisher: Forever

Publication date: May 25th, 2021

332 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

In this whirlwind Regency romance, a near-death experience leads to a marriage of convenience for two unsuspecting strangers, but will their unusual meeting lead them to true love?

Lady Amelia was raised to be the perfect duchess, accomplished in embroidery, floral arrangement, and managing a massive household. But when an innocent mistake forces her and the uncouth, untitled Benedict Asterly into a marriage of convenience, all her training appears to be for naught. Even worse, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to this man no finishing school could have prepared her for.

Benedict Asterly never dreamed saving Amelia’s life would lead to him being shackled to the hoity Society miss. Benedict was taught to distrust the aristocracy at a young age, so when news of his marriage endangers a business deal, Benedict is wary of Amelia’s offer to help. But his quick-witted, elegant bride defies all his expectations… and if he’s not careful, she’ll break down the walls around his guarded heart.


“Of course I bloody love her. Frankly, I don’t know how you were engaged to her for fifteen years without falling in love with her.”

Samara Parish, How to Survive a Scandal

I don’t read a ton of bodice ripper, regency romance novels but when Forever asked if I was interested I couldn’t pass up this one. Lady Amelia has been engaged to the Duke of Wildeforde since she was 5 years old, and was raised to be the perfect Duchess. That is, until she was caught in a carriage in a snowstorm and rescued by a commoner, and then found in a compromising situation by her father, fiance, and another lord. She finds herself immediately married to the commoner who saved her and fell completely from grace on the ton.

Amelia’s and Benedict’s lives change forever and they have to learn how to coexist in their new realities and it really was a whole journey to compromise and two very different people try to dictate their ways. But over the course of the book you can see the love grow from the physical attraction and the growth of the two characters. The main conflict hurt my heart as there were a few very tragic events they had to overcome. There were times where I wanted to strangle both of them and shake some sense into them.

I tend not to enjoy these books because even reading about women’s place in the world back then hurts my soul and makes me angry. And I don’t want to read books that make me angry. But this one brought a much needed perspective to the time period and also showed a modern sensibility take on it, and I could handle that.

I’m excited for the next one in the series, Fiona and Edward’s story! Check out How to Deceive a Duke next.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Fastest Way to Fall by Denise Williams

Title: The Fastest Way to Fall

Author: Denise Williams

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: November 2nd, 2021

361 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Britta didn’t plan on falling for her personal trainer, and Wes didn’t plan on Britta. Plans change and it’s unclear if love, career, or both will meet them at the finish line.

Britta Colby works for a lifestyle website, and when tasked to write about her experience with a hot new body-positive fitness app that includes personal coaching, she knows it’s a major opportunity to prove she should write for the site full-time.

As CEO of the FitMe app, Wes Lawson finally has the financial security he grew up without, but despite his success, his floundering love life and complicated family situation leaves him feeling isolated and unfulfilled. He decides to get back to what he loves—coaching. Britta’s his first new client and they click immediately.

As weeks pass, she’s surprised at how much she enjoys experimenting with her exercise routine. He’s surprised at how much he looks forward to talking to her every day. They convince themselves their attraction is harmless, but when they start working out in person, Wes and Britta find it increasingly challenging to deny their chemistry and maintain a professional distance.

Wes isn’t supposed to be training clients, much less meeting with them, and Britta’s credibility will be sunk if the lifestyle site finds out she’s practically dating the fitness coach she’s reviewing. Walking away from each other is the smartest thing to do, but running side by side feels like the start of something big.



I can’t be any more clear than that. Britta is a plus size writer who signs up to test out a new body-positive fitness app and report on her experience. Wes is the CEO and just happens to pick up Britta as his trainee, but after they start messaging back and forth on the app sparks start to fly. Wes throws the playbook and rules out the window after Britta collapses during a low mental health period and not eating properly. They didn’t mean to fall for each other, but sometimes you stumble upon the best parts of life accidentally.

I adored this book with my whole soul. As someone who struggles with self image and her weight, I resonated with Britta’s struggles so much. The desire to love your body, but the continued comments from others and in society about having to change. Wes is wonderful about this with Britta and sometimes he sounded just like my therapist when she is talking me through a false core belief. Britta reaches exercise goals that have nothing to do with weight loss and I cheered for her the whole time. And phew boy the chemistry leapt off the page with these two – it’s one of those where you just want to shake them and say “oh for God’s sake just bone already!”.

Denise Williams is quickly growing to be one of my favorite contemporary romance author’s that have the ability to mix in very serious topics and handle them beautifully. If you read The Fastest Way to Fall, definitely go back and read How to Fail at Flirting as well.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross

Title: A River Enchanted (Element’s of Cadence #1)

Author: Rebecca Ross

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication date: February 15th, 2022

480 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

House of Earth and Blood meets The Witch’s Heart in Rebecca Ross’s brilliant first adult fantasy, set on the magical isle of Cadence where two childhood enemies must team up to discover why girls are going missing from their clan.

Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.

As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.

With unforgettable characters, a fast-paced plot, and compelling world building, A River Enchanted is a stirring story of duty, love, and the power of true partnership, and marks Rebecca Ross’s brilliant entry on the adult fantasy stage.


Rebecca Ross is an auto-read for me ever since her debut YA duology – so of course I had to read her first foray into adult fantasy. Whereas I felt the first 30% of the book went along slowly and had a lot of world-building, the plot slowly picked up steam until we were barreling towards the finish and I was on my edge of the seat. Also, Rebecca how dare you with that ending. Give me A Fire Endless now!

Anyway, imagine a magical Irish/Scottish island with ethereal elemental spirits, wind that carrying your words across the island, and two sides at war for hundreds of years. Imagine a magical Berlin Wall between the two sides of the island. There are two pairs of islanders that the story follows – Torin/Sidra and Jack/Adaira. Chapters bounced back and forth between perspectives and the major plot point is that young girls are being snatched from the East side of the island and the characters are working on solving the mystery of who is kidnapping them. But add in secrets, hidden love, and lies.

I did end up loving this book by the end. It may have been a slower progression than I prefer, but that isn’t unheard of in the adult genre. And Rebecca’s writing always speaks to me so I knew if I kept with it I would end up enjoying the book. For a debut adult fantasy it was very good and I look forward to the sequel with bated breath.

Thank you to Harper Voyager and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!