eARC Review – Stuck on You

Title: Stuck on You

Author: Portia MacIntosh

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication date: September 17th, 2020

Unknown pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Could a post-it note really lead to love…?

Sadie doesn’t have time for finding love. She’s too busy as PA for famous artist Damian Banks. When she’s not arranging exhibitions, she’s organising his dry cleaning or dumping his never ending stream of girlfriends.

But when she strikes up an unusual friendship with her desk share buddy, she finds a confidante and a new potential love interest. Problem is, they’ve never actually met…

With Christmas just around the corner, can Sadie put herself first for a change and find what she’s been looking for all along?

Review

Sadie works for THE Damian Banks, a portrait photographer of critical acclaim. By works for, we mean runs his personal life. It wasn’t necessarily her plan in life, but truly the man couldn’t function without her. The one bright side to her job, which involves her breaking up with Damian’s flings of the week for him, is her desk mate Adam. They exchange post it notes daily complaining about the boss. After a year, she truly feels like she knows him well, but they’ve never met. When a job comes available for an art curator, Sadie decides it’s time to leave Damian and continue her professional career. But not before Damian invites himself home with her to Christmas….

Overall this book is like Portia MacIntosh’s other books, cute and easy to read. Sadie is my favorite character her, she’s funny and her internal monologues are funny. I think having Damian’s POV would have made him more likable as a character, though he did grow on me. It’s just hard when you have to imagine what he’s thinking, especially since he seems like a player. Sadie’s family was the sweetest and their Christmas traditions were so hilarious! I wish my family had such intricate holiday traditions.

For fans of The Flatshare, Stuck on You is a cute rom com about love, forgiveness, and family.

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

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – In Case You Missed It

Title: In Case You Missed It

Author: Lindsey Kelk

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication date: September 8th, 2020

400 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

When Ros steps off a plane after four years away she’s in need of a job, a flat and a phone that actually works. And, possibly, her old life back. Because everyone at home has moved on, her parents have reignited their sex life, she’s sleeping in a converted shed and she’s got a bad case of nostalgia for the way things were.

Then her new phone begins to ping with messages from people she thought were deleted for good. Including one number she knows off by heart: her ex’s.

Sometimes we’d all like the chance to see what we’ve been missing…

Review

Ros moved to America for the job of a lifetime, but returns to England, tail between her legs. She’s forced to move back in with her parents, who are having a sexual reawakening, and finds out they build her a shed in the backyard to live in. She gets back together with her ex-boyfriend, Patrick, whom her friend group doesn’t particularly like, but something seems to be missing. Her new job requires her to work with a 14 year old video gaming prodigy named Snazzlechuff on a podcast. Basically, she is missing the earlier days of life when she was in her 20’s and everything was better. But her friends and family are moving on, so will Ros be left behind or realize the best days of her life are still happening?

I enjoyed Ros as a character, she was funny and witty without taking herself too seriously. Patrick, was the worst. He was definitely the example of who NOT to date, but he truly helped Ros along in figuring out what she was wanting from life in the present instead of the past. And Ros’ friend group was AMAZING. I legit want a separate book for Sumi, and to know more about Lucy and Creepy Dave! I loved that even though she was in America for 3 years, she came back and they fell back together like nothing had changed.

I genuinely wish there was more romance with the endgame guy. He was a part of the book, but not enough in my opinion. You don’t get to know much about him, and the romance didn’t feel very organic because they really didn’t have a lot of interaction together, let alone positive interaction. It would have helped if his POV was included in the book.

The Snazzlechuff plot line was actually pretty funny, along with her parents and their sexual reawakening. I will never look at sushi the same way (if you know, you know). I gave this book 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for GR purposes. It was cute and easy to read, I read it all in one sitting, but there were just some things that could have taken it to an even better read.

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

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Recommended for You

Title: Recommended For You

Author: Laura Silverman

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication date: September 1st, 2020

272 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Shoshanna Greenberg loves working at Once Upon, her favorite local bookstore. And with her moms fighting at home and her beloved car teetering on the brink of death, the store has become a welcome escape.

When her boss announces a holiday bonus to the person who sells the most books, Shoshanna sees an opportunity to at least fix her car, if none of her other problems. The only person standing in her way? New hire Jake Kaplan.

Jake is an affront to everything Shoshanna stands for. He doesn’t even read! But somehow his sales start to rival hers. Jake may be cute (really cute), and he may be an eligible Jewish single (hard to find south of Atlanta), but he’s also the enemy, and Shoshanna is ready to take him down.

But as the competition intensifies, Jake and Shoshanna grow closer and realize they might be more on the same page than either expects…

Review

Recommended for You is a short, cute YA Contemporary with a hint of adorable romance, and all the book loving vibes! Shoshanna works at a book store in the mall, and it’s Christmastime so it is very busy. She gets a new coworker, Jake, who gasp DOESN’T READ! They don’t exactly hit it off right away, so they are instant rivals. When the book store owner announces a contest to see who can make the most sales, Shoshanna is sure she will win. But Jake is sneaky good at sales, so she has her work cut out for her…

I’m serious when I say this book is super cute. I loved that the main characters were Jewish, it’s not something you see in books often but really should be represented more. It was pretty short, less than 300 pages, but didn’t FEEL short. Like sometimes short books can see underdeveloped, or too quickly paced, but I felt like this book did a lot with a little. The pacing and flow was spot on, and it covered a good few weeks worth of time.

In terms of the characters, I like Jake more than Shoshanna. Shoshanna is a bit… much. She’s uber perky and bubbly, but it’s almost unrealistic with just how happy and optimistic she is, all the time. Or maybe I just can’t imagine being that happy! It’s certainly a bone of contention with Jake, because he initially interprets it as immaturity (they are 16). But Jake. Now Jake is that brooding, hot guy who is quiet and snarky, which is just a type of character I love reading about. But then you learn his backstory and it rounds him out so. well. BUT, I desperately wanted his POV. I would’ve adored to hear his snarky remarks in his head to Shoshanna and her perkiness, so I did feel like it was missing that opportunity.

Overall, a well done and interesting read, very quick and reminiscent of Jenn Bennett. I recommend if you’re looking for Jewish MC, a quick read, or a good rivals love story.

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

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Love Sold Separately

Title: Love Sold Separately

Author: Ellen Meister

Publisher: MIRA

Publication date: August 25th, 2020

352 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Dana Barry’s life is a mess, until she hears The Shopping Channel is auditioning new hosts. She dives right in and is stunned when she lands the job. Her keen eye for detail, knack for knowing what makes people tick and sheer bravado make her perfect for the role.

Then the star host is found shot to death in her office. Dana can’t help but involve herself in tracking down the killer. Never one to mind her own business, she winds up at the center of every drama. She also knows the prime suspect is innocent–they happened to have been together on the roof for some “alone time” when they heard the gunshot. His record may not be perfect, but she can tell the single father has a heart of gold. He may even be marriage material–something she’d focus on more if only Detective Marks wasn’t so handsome and their chemistry so electric. Dana is so close to having it all if, just this once, she doesn’t screw up. But trouble usually comes easier and is always a lot more fun…

Review

**Thank you to MIRA, Netgalley, and Ellen Meister for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Love Sold Separately is part murder mystery part love story, and it’s really good! Dana Barry is maybe not the best person in the world, but she knows it and doesn’t care. Her dream is to be an actress, and when an audition comes up for The Shopping Channel she jumps on it and nails it. BUT, on her first day – the star of the show is murdered in her office while Dana is on the roof sharing a joint with a coworker. She finds the body, and immerses herself immediately in the investigation. The detective leading the investigation rubs Dana the wrong way instantly, and they spend a good part of the book going back and forth.

I thought Dana was a good character, enough faults to make her interesting. I thought adding in her family dynamic was a good touch, because you can really see why she is the way she is. Her father is stingy with his approval and her sister is almost her complete opposite. There were some plot lines with Dana that felt unnecessary to me, because they didn’t end up going anywhere and weren’t really discussed again.

I think the murder mystery part of this was the most interesting. I figured about half of the ending out before it ended, but there were some twists that I didn’t see coming. The love story is really more of an afterthought, but the progression of the MC’s love affair is interesting to read. It just takes a backseat to the murder, so if you’re reading this just for the love story – know that is isn’t the main focus.

I have to say I enjoyed this more than I thought I would after realizing it wasn’t a love story. Even without that, it was interesting, twisty, and showed that a normal human can help investigate a murder and actually help solve it. Love Sold Separately is a fun, easy to read, novel that will keep you guessing.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Strictly Come Dating

Title: Strictly Come Dating

Author: Kathryn Freeman

Publisher: One More Chapter

Publication date: August 15th, 2020

Unknown pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Saturday nights are strictly for dancing…

As the glitter ball shimmers and sequins flash, forty-year-old Maggie remembers the pull of the dancefloor. But now, as a newly divorced mum of two, Maggie’s certain her dancing days are over. Or are they…?

Encouraged by her friends, Maggie dusts off her silver stilettoes and enrols for dancing classes, all she needs now is the perfect partner.

Enter Seb. Young, carefree and hot as hell, Seb is definitely a perfect 10! Even though everything about him is outrageously inappropriate! But as Seb sweeps her across the dancefloor every week, Maggie begins to see a new side to him; kind, caring, funny, strong.

And Maggie realises that he’s the only one she’d like to foxtrot with…perhaps even forever?

Review

Strictly Come Dating is a loose pun around a popular dancing show, Strictly Come Dancing. Almost 40 year old Maggie loves the show, and watches every week with her best friends, Alice and Sarah, and her daughters, Tabby and Penny. But when Alice and Sarah’s younger brother Seb comes home from Australia, he joins the group after meeting Maggie and becoming infatuated. Despite being 10 years her junior, Seb desperately wants to prove to Maggie he deserves a chance. When he comes up with the idea to create a dancing competition at the local youth center he works at, he knows he has his shot and asks Maggie to be his partner. Their relationship begins hot and heavy, but can the adventurer in Seb be cooled for domestic life with Maggie and her kids?

I find Kathryn Freeman’s books to be so completely endearing. They are easy reads, the type of romance I crave to be honest. Just a pure love story, with real people. It just happens to be located in England! I am also here for all the British slang because I get to read in my British head voice. Anyway. I love how real Maggie and Seb seem. I can totally imagine groups of ladies sitting around every week watching a dancing competition, in America we do it for the Bachelor. I am also HERE for the age gap romance, because love doesn’t always revolve around your age. Once you’re an adult, it really should matter what the birth certificate says. And I love that it was the woman being older than the man for once.

Overall, super cute. I LOVED Tabby and Penny, it isn’t often you read romances where there are kids from a prior marriage involved. It adds a whole new level to the dynamic, because you’re not just dating the woman, you’re dating the kids and sometimes even the ex-husband. But Seb was fantastic with the kids, and is there anything more swoon worthy than guys being good with kids? AND THAT EPILOGUE. Love epilogues.

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

Happy reading, folks!

July Wrap Up!

Happy end of July friends!! I somehow failed this month’s TBR while also exceeding all expectations. Let me explain how that happens. I did NOT follow through on the Four Nations Readathon. I got about halfway, and it served it’s purpose of getting me out of my slight reading funk. So I quit halfway because I got into reading books I didn’t really want to be reading, and that just isn’t fun right? Reading should be fun. So my reading continued to blossom AND I went on vacation for the last almost week of the month. Long car ride + COVID closing everything around us = plenty of reading time.

All this to say that whereas I did not follow my TBR, I read a whopping 31 books this month (I pushed the last book today because I liked the symmetry of 31 books for 31 days of the month. This is seriously WAY more than I would ever read in a month, I’m honestly shocked it somehow happened. It didn’t feel like I was reading this much throughout the month, but I keep a draft of this post all month so I can remember my ratings. So when I looked at it a few days ago and really counted, I was amazed. (Also, several are short story/novellas).

I don’t want anyone to see this and think they don’t read enough. As my partner likes to say, I am very extra. The amount you read or don’t read is valid. I will likely never come even close to this number again, and I blame it entirely on COVID and it stealing my social life and needing to destress by way of books. I can’t be anxious about my own life if I’m anxious about character’s lives!

PHYSICAL BOOKS

  1. The Unhoneymooners, Christina Lauren – 5/5 stars (reread)
  2. In the Neighborhood of True, Susan Kaplan Carlton – 4/5 stars
  3. Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1), Tahereh Mafi – 4.5/5 stars
  4. Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3), 4/5 stars
  5. All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1), Adalyn Grace
  6. The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1), Suzanne Collins – 5/5 stars
  7. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2), Suzanne Collins – 4/5 stars
  8. Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2), Tahereh Mafi – 4/5 stars
  9. Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3), Tahereh Mafi – 4/5 stars
  10. Restore Me (Shatter Me #4), Tahereh Mafi – 3.5/5 stars
  11. Hieroglyphics, Jill McCorkle – 4/5 stars (also Netgalley but received physical book from publisher)
  12. With or Without You, Caroline Leavitt – 4/5 stars (also Netgalley but received physical book from publisher)
  13. Head Over Heels, Hannah Orenstein – 4/5 stars
  14. Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3), Suzanne Collins – 4/5 stars

EBOOKS

  1. Not That Kind of Guy, Andie J Christopher – 3/5 stars
  2. The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  3. The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2), Helen Hoang – 4.5/5 stars (reread) (FourNationsReadathon)
  4. The Choice, Nicholas Sparks – 3/5 stars (reread) (FourNationsReadathon)
  5. Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2), Talia Hibbert – 4.5/5 stars
  6. Destroy Me (Shatter Me #1.5), Tahereh Mafi – 4/5 stars
  7. Fracture Me (Shatter Me #2.5), Tahereh Mafi – 3/5 stars

NETGALLEY/EDELWEISS/AUTHOR EARCS

  1. One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and A Journey into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues, Cara Sue Achterberg
  2. In A Holidaze, Christina Lauren – 4/5 stars
  3. The First to Lie, Hank Phillippi Ryan – 4/5 stars
  4. Float Plan, Trish Doller – 5/5 stars
  5. The Code for Love and Heartbreak, Jillian Cantor – 3.5/5 stars
  6. In Case You Missed It, Lindsay Kelk – 3.5/5 stars
  7. Sorry Not Sorry, Sophie Ranald – 3.5/5 stars
  8. Recommended For You, Laura Silverman – 4/5 stars
  9. Set Fire to the Gods (Set Fire to the Gods #1), Sara Raash & Kristen Simmons
  10. A Tortured Soul, L.A. Detwiler – 4/5 stars

Look out tomorrow for my August TBR! I am betting high on myself next month, because even if you don’t reach the moon, you’ll fall amongst the stars!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Sorry Not Sorry

Title: Sorry Not Sorry

Author: Sophie Ranald

Publisher: Forever (reprint)

Publication date: July 28th, 2020 (originally February 13th, 2020)

384 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Charlotte has always been a good girl. But after discovering a motivating podcast she suddenly feels restless and sees that being good is getting boring . . .
She’s not just stuck in a rut — she’s buried in it up to her chin. The only company she has in bed is the back catalog of Netflix, and falling in love feels like the stuff of fairy tales. So when she stumbles across the popular podcast Sorry Not Sorry, which challenges women to embrace their inner bad girl, she jumps at the chance to shake things up.
Old Charlotte would never ask for a stranger’s number, go on a blind date or buy lacy lingerie . . . but New Charlotte is waving goodbye to her comfort zone (with a side order of margaritas). And it turns out that good things do happen to bad girls . . .

Review

tw: cheating, stalking

Sorry Not Sorry is a type of prequel story to No, We Can’t Be Friends. It kind of takes place during the same timeline, from different points of view. They really can be read in any order, but I read NWCBF first and then Sorry Not Sorry. Charlotte’s flatmates, Maddy and Henry, are moving out and getting married, so she’s left finding new flatmates. Two new strangers move in, while Charlotte is trying to balance a demanding job and helping to plan Maddy’s wedding. Suddenly, Maddy is mad at her, Charlotte is dating a married man (but Myles says they are separated and sleeping apart), and she’s made friends with her new flatmate Tansy. Charlotte seems to have life figured out, but when her work, personal, and romantic life implode basically at the same time – Charlotte needs to figure out what is most important.

I found this book to be very similar to Sophie’s other books, cute & easy to read. It was nice to get this side of the story from NWCBF, and see what was happening in the background that story. Charlotte as a character was good, she was interesting and well developed. I liked reading about her forays in dating and trying to be a “Bad Girl” as the podcast she listened to was teaching her to be. I got frustrated with her relationship with Maddy, because it seemed like she just let Maddy be mad at her without really trying to get to the bottom of the issues. I feel like that could’ve been resolved quicker if she had.

I would have loved to read more about the penultimate love story, and had more interaction with the guy before the last 10% of the book. Normally you can tell who the main love story will be about, but I had no idea who the guy would be until the end. I just prefer when you get to experience more of the romance and relationship in romance books.

Overall, the plot was good – even if the end climax was a smidge unbelievable. I read this book all in one go, as I usually do with Sophie’s books, which is always a good sign for me. Even better sign, I stayed up until 2am to finish it, because I just needed to know where Charlotte’s story would go.

Thank you to Forever Publishing and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – More Than Maybe

Title: More Than Maybe

Author: Erin Hahn

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: July 21st, 2020

336 pages

4.5/5 star

Goodreads Synopsis

Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell.

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out-of-this-world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her?

Review

**Thank you to Wednesday Books, Netgalley, and Erin Hahn for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

More Than Maybe is a Young Adult (or maybe New Adult) contemporary romance told in alternating POV’s. Luke is a shy and dorky, but very good looking, high school senior with a long term unrequited crush on music blogger, Vada. He runs a podcast with his twin brother Cullen, and secretly sings and composes songs. His father was a punk rock musician who wants nothing more for Luke than to have him famous – but Luke wants nothing to do with it. Vada ALSO crushes on Luke, and has her own dad issues. Vada has a plan to take her music career to the next level and Luke was decidedly not a part of that plan. But when they work together on a school project, they get close enough to throw some plans out the window.

I LOVED this book. Definitely 4.5 stars for me. I loved the emphasis on music and how even though they are in high school, they are able to work in a bar and have their dreams planned out. It’s so NOT how my life was in high school, but I love that they both know what they want – or DON”T want. I loved the characters, especially Luke. My favorite part of rom coms is when the guy also has a POV, and Luke does not disappoint. He is the softest, cinnamon roll of a boy ever and he makes me heart ache. He and Vada are just perfect for each other, because they bond over music and basically create their own language with songs.

There are some plot holes, and a plot line that I felt needed more attention at the end. Basically something kind of major happens and is never addressed again. Would’ve liked to see more closure with that piece.

Overall, the writing is beautiful, the descriptions and plot are pristine, and I loved watching Luke and Vada’s story arcs come together.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Keep My Heart in San Francisco

Title: Keep My Heart in San Francisco

Author: Amelia Diane Coombs

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication date: July 14th, 2020

400 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Sparks fly when two ex-best-friends team up to save a family business in this swoon-worthy and witty debut perfect for fans of Jenn Bennett and Sarah Dessen.

Caroline “Chuck” Wilson has big plans for spring break—hit up estate sales to score vintage fashion finds and tour the fashion school she dreams of attending. But her dad wrecks those plans when he asks her to spend vacation working the counter at Bigmouth’s Bowl, her family’s failing bowling alley. Making things astronomically worse, Chuck finds out her dad is way behind on back rent—meaning they might be losing Bigmouth’s, the only thing keeping Chuck’s family in San Francisco.

And the one person other than Chuck who wants to do anything about it? Beckett Porter, her annoyingly attractive ex-best friend.

So when Beckett propositions Chuck with a plan to make serious cash infiltrating the Bay Area action bowling scene, she accepts. But she can’t shake the nagging feeling that she’s acting irrational—too much like her mother for comfort. Plus, despite her best efforts to keep things strictly business, Beckett’s charm is winning her back over…in ways that go beyond friendship.

If Chuck fails, Bigmouth’s Bowl and their San Francisco legacy are gone forever. But if she succeeds, she might just get everything she ever wanted.

Review

**Thank you to Simon Pulse, Netgalley, and Amelia Diane Coombs for an early book copy in exchange for an honest review**

Caroline “Chuck” Wilson loves San Francisco – she would do anything to stay living there. When her father’s bowling alley, Bigmouth Bowl, starts to go under, Chuck thinks she can help out. Her ex-best friend, turned new best friend, Beckett suggests they participate in illegal bowling gambling by hustling bowlers under the table at lanes across San Fran. While she’s bowling her heart out to stay, she’s giving her heart away to someone who broke her trust a long time ago. Will she be able to save her family’s bowling alley?

A main focus of this book is Chuck’s struggles with her mental health, and the potential of turning out like her mom – who killed herself when Chuck was young. Her mother had bipolar disorder, and Chuck has already experience several depressive episodes. Every decision she makes, she wonders if it’s a decision that should be made or one she made impulsively – which would denote the manic side of bipolar. Due to the afterword, the reader knows this is an Own Voices novel, and I cannot speak on the mental health portrayal in this book as it’s likely very personal for the author.

The other main plots are the bowling and the romance. As someone who has been bowling for over 20 years, I have to say that there are several bowling inaccuracies in this manuscript, which could potentially be cleaned up in edits or with further research. However, the romance felt very flat and unconvincing to me. I’m all for friends to lovers and hate to love tropes but Beckett as a character was very one dimensional and I didn’t buy the romance. The date scene was good and unique, but it all fell flat for me.

Overall KMHISF was a decent Young Adult rom com with the unique twist of bowling. It wasn’t my favorite, but I guarantee there are many people who will read it and love it.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Dear Emmie Blue

Title: Dear Emmie Blue

Author: Lia Louis

Publisher: Atria Books

Publication date: July 14th, 2020

320 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

In this charming and poignant novel, teenager Emmie Blue releases a balloon with her email address and a big secret into the sky, only to fall head-over-heels for the boy who finds it; now, fourteen years later, the one thing Emmie has been counting on is gone for good, and everything she planned is up in the air. 

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?

Emmie Blue is about to learn everything she thinks she knows about life (and love) is just that: what she thinks she knows. Is there such thing as meant to be? Or is it true when they say that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans? A story filled with heart and humor, Dear Emmie Blue is perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Evvie Drake Starts Over.

Review

**Thank you to Atria Books, Netgalley, and Lia Louis for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Emmie Blue has been in love with her best friend for almost 10 years. They met at 16 after she tied her email address to a balloon and sent it off into the sky. Emmie suffered a tramautic event and lost all her friends, so when the reply came from Lucas she was overjoyed. They share the same birthday, and didn’t live all that far apart. They became quick friends and spent every birthday together. On their 30th, Emmie was sure he was going to confess his love for her and they could start dating. Instead, he announced he was engaged and wanted Emmie to be his best woman.

This book was quite the rollercoaster. In the beginning, I found myself confused at times as the writing involves flashbacks. With the eARC version, it was hard to tell when the flashbacks were happening, but I’m sure this will be more clear in the finished copies so I would not take this as a criticism. Dear Emmie Blue is told entirely from Emmie’s perspective, and it contains themes of found family, overcoming traumatic events, and finding love for yourself. I found myself totally relating to Emmie throughout the entire book.

Without going into too much detail and giving spoilers, the highlights of this book include the romance, Emmie’s burgeoning friendship with her elderly landlord, and her dealing with the aftereffects of being sexually assaulted at her school by a faculty member when she was young. Lia Louis managed to fit so many plotlines into the novel without it feeling like it is too much.

I frankly was not a huge fan of Lucas as a character. You learn more about him as the book goes on, and I was not impressed by him as a person (which could be partially the point). His downfalls serve to pave the way for the love interest, but he did everything wrong, so I don’t know why Emmie sticks by him. It doesn’t make sense and really he seems unhealthy for Emmie to have in her life.

Overall, a very poignant and interesting story that makes you think about fairytale love stories, and the difference of being in love with someone and being in love with the idea of someone.