May Haul

Wow. Well I have so many thoughts running through my head as I write this blog post. I promise I will write about the books I acquired, but first I want to say that there is so much going on in the world. And there is no way to fix it without speaking up and letting our voices be heard. I am a white woman, and will never understand what it is like to black. What I do know, is that everyone, regardless of any external characteristics deserves to be treated with respect. Deserves not to be murdered by police officers, those that are here to “protect” us”. BLACK LIVES MATTER.

It’s hard to continue life with all the protests happening, on top of the pandemic. I’m going to keep this post brief because the books I acquired this month are not important comparatively.

SUBSCRIPTION BOX BOOKS

  1. The Boyfriend Project (The Boyfriend Project #1), Farrah Rochon (author who is a POC!) – Book of the Month
  2. Bone Crier’s Moon (Bone Grace #1), Kathryn Purdie – April OwlCrate

Please everyone, do what you can to support POC authors, POC creators, and in general – POC. Donate money, peacefully protest, sign petitions. Do what you can to make people hear and understand.

Happy reading, folks – and be safe.

Book Review – American Royals

“That was the thing about success, it could be even more draining than failure.” 

Title: American Royals (American Royals #1)

Author: Katharine McGee

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Publication date: September 3rd, 2019

448 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

What if America had a royal family? 

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling.

Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her.

And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.

Review

“All I know is that when I need to eat my feelings, my feelings taste like Wawa milkshakes with extra M&Ms.” 

katharine mcgee, american royals

American Royals is set in an alternate reality where George Washington created a monarchy when helping America achieve it’s independence instead of a democracy. Now, 200 some years later his descendants still rule America. Princess Beatrice is first in line for the throne and must marry – but will her love of a commoner win out over royal duty? Princess Samantha knows she is the spare – it’s painfully obvious even in her code name of Sparrow. She is the wild child because she knows she will never be tasked to rule. Prince Jefferson is third in line and is unknowingly caught in a love triangle with his potentially dangerous ex-girlfriend and his commoner childhood best friend. Who will win out?

American Royals is deliciously dramatic. It is exactly what I would imagine when envisioning America with royalty. There is love, love triangles, unrequited love, and forbidden love – it is love tropes galore! I also adore how the author built in a breaking of the fourth wall in several instances – some lines like:

“Elect the king or queen—what a funny concept. Everyone knew that elections only worked for judges and Congress. Making the executive branch pander to the people, go out begging for votes—that could only end in disaster. That structure would attract the wrong sort of people: power-hungry people with twisted agendas.”

Katharine mcgee, american royals

The author makes a clear statement about how politics is today but with a cushion of fiction and snark, and I adore it. I also enjoyed the characters, who were all SO different. They each have their own “main” personality points or plot lines, but each have a separate, more secret plot or personality quirk that strongly affects who they become by the end of the series.

One thing I didn’t like was how closely part of the plot aligned with the move First Daughter with Katie Holmes. The King’s daughter falls in love with a guard. It’s different, but is too strongly related for my taste. I think it needed a new element to make it more unique.

However, THAT ENDING. Talk about shocking and cliffhanger-y. I’m so glad the decision was made to turn this into at least a duology because so much more of this story DESERVES to be told.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Bromance Book Club

“That’s why fiction resonates with people. It speaks to universal truths.”

Title: The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club #1)

Author: Lyssy Kay Adams

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: November 5th, 2019

352 pages

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

Review

“Book club isn’t just about books.”

Lyssy Kay Adams, The Bromance Book Club

The Bromance Book Club stars baseball hotshot Gavin Scott and his wife Thea. Currently, they are separated after having a huge fight revolving around faked orgasms and lying. Gavin moves out and Thea asks for a divorce. In comes Gavin’s good friend and teammate Del who introduces him to a book club run by some of Nashville’s biggest male sports star or celebrities. They read romance novels in secret in order to fix their love lives and relationships. Gavin has to do whatever it takes to fix things with Thea or he will lose her forever.

I have many thoughts about this book. First off I loved the idea of a “bromance book club”. What lady doesn’t like the idea of her man (or woman) doing research on the best way to communicate and love her? I’d personally be very happy if my fiance chose to do this, but alas it would never happen. Moving right along, like I said – love this unique concept in a romance novel.

However. Gavin and Thea are not great characters. Even Liz, a side character, is decidedly terrible (which is likely the point). These characters have a long way to go to be likable, and let’s be real Braden Mack seriously stole the whole book. I just don’t think a side character with only a few lines should be the best character in the whole book. Also, I just generally tend to like romance books featuring a new relationship compared to fixing a broken one. But that’s just me!

The Bromance Book Club is very easy to read, and outside of what I mentioned above it is well written and quite good. I had a hard time rating it, because in the initial aftermath of finishing the book I enjoyed it a lot more than when I sat down and thought about it and wrote this review.

Check back soon as I will be posting my review for the sequel, Undercover Bromance where my fave Braden will get his story!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Get A Life, Chloe Brown

“You always say such lovely things to me, Red. Do you say them to yourself?” 

Title: Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters #1)

Author: Talia Hibbert

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: November 5th, 2019

373 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Review

Bravery wasn’t an identity, so much as a choice.

talia hibbert, get a life, chloe brown

Chloe Brown longs for a life of adventure, or at least what she assumed adventure is. After being diagnosed with a chronic pain disorder, she spent several years being sick and accepting it. Now, she wants to stop being safe and start living again. The problem? She doesn’t know how, or even what her definition of “adventure” and “living” is anymore. In comes Red, her apartment handyman who makes her heart beat a bit faster. She feels comfortable with him, so they make a deal. She will help him get his art career back off the ground, if he helps her check off items on her bucket list. Neither of them expect to care for the other, but they seem to understand each other better than they understand themselves.

I read this book all in one sitting (which if you follow my blog reviews can’t be that surprising for you) but I found myself really enjoying this book! I heard some mixed reviews about it, and there are definitely pieces that I will comment on, but I was swept up in Chloe and Red’s world and there are many ways in which I related to Chloe.

To start off, I want to say that I do not have chronic pain and therefore cannot comment on how accurate or representative of that community Chloe’s portrayal is. I will not speak from ignorance, and it’s a topic I do not have experience with. HOWEVER. I love Red’s ability to suss out when Chloe is feeling badly, and the care with which he treats her when she is struggling. It was one of the first endearing parts of him, when he noticed the tiny changes in her facial expressions and knew something was wrong. It made me love him so much more.

I loved the romance portion of this book and the steps both Chloe and Red took to move away from the past and forge ahead into a new future. Shaking off the binds of past expectations and characteristics, while also creating new expectations and characteristics. There really was a good level of character development. And the sex scenes were prime, not going to lie.

I hate the language though. I know this is set in the UK so this word is likely more accepted there but I hate the C word, especially when used in sex terms. Ugh, just hate it so much. I took a whole star away just for that. I hate that word more than any other word!

Thank you for sticking around for this rambling post. I look forward to Take a Hint, Dani Brown which is coming this summer!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Plus One Pact

Title: The Plus One Pact

Author: Portia MacIntosh

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication date: May 21st, 2020

Unknown # of pages

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

What if your plus one could be the one…?



Cara has officially run out of men. Her most recent dates have gone from bad to worse, and when her dating app informs her there is no one left in her area to choose from, she is at a dead end.

But with a summer of events ahead of her, she needs to find a solution, fast; someone to keep her company at the never-ending weddings, family gatherings and gender reveal parties that she can’t face going to alone. So when she meets handsome, confident, Millsy on a night out she may be in luck. They could not be more different in personality, but he too has a summer of events ahead and is desperate to get his family off his back about finding a ‘nice girl’. What if they made a pact to help each other out and be a plus one for the summer? Just as friends of course…?

Review

**Thank you to Boldwood Books, Netgalley, and Portia MacIntosh for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

The Plus One Pact is an adorable and clean Adult Contemporary Romance. Cara is struggling with the dating scene. She strikes out every time she tries to date someone on a dating app, and she’s beginning to give up. When she is stood up by the last available guy on her dating app, she is ready to throw in the towel. At least until a handsome stranger comes over to save her. Millsy notices Cara has been stood up, and wants to help her. He enlists friends to give her a makeover and revamp her life as he tries to help her navigate the dating scene. They become fast friends, but could it ever be more?

I found this book to be so cute and I liked that it focused more on Millsy and Cara’s friendship for the summer instead of forcing a romance. Sometimes books jump straight into romance, but there are a lot amazing relationships that begin as just friends and organically grow into something more. That is Millsy and Cara’s story. They spend the summer being each other’s Plus One’s to family events – while trying not to ruin said events (there are some close calls!). At every point of the books, they are what the other needs in that moment, it’s truly beautiful.

As much as I enjoyed the friendship aspect, I almost wish the book was longer so you got to see more of the relationship aspect. It seemed to end kind of abruptly so I feel another few chapters could have continued the story without feeling unnecessary.

The Plus One Pact was an easy read that makes you wish you have a friend as good as Millsy. Because at the end of the day, it’s important to be friends with your partner.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – A Taste of Sage

Title: A Taste of Sage

Author: Yaffa S. Santos

Publisher: Harper Paperbacks

Publication date: May 19th, 2020

320 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Lumi Santana is a chef with a gift: she can perceive a person’s emotions by tasting their cooking. Despite being raised by a mother who taught her that dreams and true love were silly fairy tales, she puts her heart and savings into opening her own fusion restaurant in Upper Manhattan. The restaurant offers a mix of the Dominican cuisine she grew up with and other world cuisines she is inspired by.

When her eclectic venture fails, she is forced to take a position as sous chef at a staid, traditional French restaurant owned by Julien Dax, a celebrated chef known for his acid tongue as well as his brilliant smile. After he goes out of his way to bake a tart to prove her wrong in a dispute, she is so irritated by his smug attitude that she vows to herself never to taste his cooking.

But after she succumbs to the temptation and takes a bite one day and is overcome with shocking emotion, she finds herself beginning to crave his cooking and struggling to stay on task with her plan to save up and move on as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Julien’s obsessed secretary watches with gnashed teeth as they grow closer and becomes determined to get Lumi out of her way permanently.

Review

**Thank you to Harper Paperbacks, Netgalley, and Yaffa S. Santos for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Lumi is a chef who just opened up her own restaurant, Caraluna in New York City. Julien is a chef who has a highly successful restaurant, DAX. They both has VERY different cooking styles, and when Lumi’s restaurant goes under, she’s forced to accept a sous chef position at DAX working directly with Julien. Will Lumi’s influence have an effect on Julien’s overall demeanor in the kitchen? And will Julien change Lumi’s opinions on serious relationships? Read to find out!

What I found to be most interesting was Lumi’s ability to sense the emotions of whoever cooks the food she eats. It adds an interesting, fantastical element to this adult contemporary novel. I just wish there was more about it in the book, but it does affect the storyline pretty significantly.

I really enjoyed the banter between Lumi and Julien, and there is a bit of love at first sight as a trope. They balance each other well, and each mellows the other in different ways. Julien is such a sweet man under the hard exterior of ball busting head chef of a fancy French restaurant. The dichotomy within his personality is well done. Out of the two, he is my favorite due to something he does for Lumi about halfway through.

This book also made me SUPER hungry when I was reading because there was so much description of cooking!!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Well Met

“Like the stars, your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.”

Title: Well Met (Well Met #1)

Author: Jen DeLuca

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: September 3rd, 2019

336 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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.

Review

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

jen deluca, well met

Y’all I am TRASH for this book and that’s not even an exaggeration. It has legit everything I love in life… hate to love romance, Renaissance Faires, and sassy & witty characters. I AM obsessed and I was SO HAPPY to learn there were going to be two companion novels!! I need them in my life!!

First off, Emily gets roped off into helping with her niece’s school Renaissance Faire because her sister was in a horrible car accident and needed to be taken care of. Emily dropped everything (not that there was much to drop) and rushed to live with her. What she didn’t bargain for was the uptight, stickler English teacher in charge of running the Faire. Simon thinks Emily doesn’t care about Faire, and isn’t motivated to be there or make it successful. Emily thinks Simon is too strict and close-minded. They argue in every conversation…. but why can’t they stop thinking about each other??

Again, I. AM. OBSESSED. I was sold on Simon and Emily early on, because they were so good for each other. At any given point of the book, they were exactly what the other person needed. And that growth! Simon and Emily had such character and personal growth during Well Met that it blew my mind. They really were at pivotal points in their life and needed each other to make decisions and get through hurdles!

And don’t get me started on sexy, pirate captain Simon. HE is the show stopper, crowd pleasing, FANTASTIC man every woman needs in life. He made me actually swoon during this book, because you just knew it was the real Simon, not just the Simon everyone expected him to be. My cinnamon roll was able to open up and be his real damn self while playing a character and THE. FLIRTING.

Can y’all see how obsessed I am? Can you tell from this rambling review that barely has sentence structure or even makes sense? I HOPE SO!! Because I will be over here in my corner shipping them forever and ever and counting down the days until Well Played is in my hands.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – By the Book

Title: By the Book

Author: Amanda Sellet

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication date: May 12th, 2020

384 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

As a devotee of classic novels, Mary Porter-Malcolm knows all about Mistakes That Have Been Made, especially by impressionable young women. So when a girl at her new high school nearly succumbs to the wiles of a notorious cad, Mary starts compiling the Scoundrel Survival Guide, a rundown of literary types to be avoided at all costs.

Unfortunately, Mary is better at dishing out advice than taking it—and the number one bad boy on her list is terribly debonair. As her best intentions go up in flames, Mary discovers life doesn’t follow the same rules as fiction. If she wants a happy ending IRL, she’ll have to write it herself.

Review

**Thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers, Netgalley, and Amanda Sellet for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

By the Book is a Young Adult Contemporary read that follows Mary, a sophomore just starting at a new high school. She had been going to school in a small, experimental school so she has no experience with “typical” high school life, and at this point has no friends. She’s the second youngest out of 5 children, and she knows everything there is to know about classic literature. Mary is timid and quiet, but can have some sass to her. She meets a group of girls to befriend, and they start classifying the guys in their schools as some of the villains in European literature, but no one is worse than Alex Ritter. He is a senior and a huge player who will hit on any girls around…. or is he?

The story line is sweet and has a fun group of friends. It’s also interesting to see the family dynamic with 5 kids who are all literature and theater inclined. The love story is sweet, a kind of enemies to lovers in a PG rated way.
I loved the LGBTQIA aspects and the nod given to other characters who aren’t hetero.

Frankly, Mary is my least favorite character in the book. I just think she came across as very flat, whereas other characters were given a lot of dimension. There was mention of her feeling slighted and ignored in a huge family, but there was never anything done or said about it. I wanted her to have more life in the book than she did.

Overall, I felt this book was sweet but could have gone deeper with the MC.

eARC Review – The Trouble with Hating You

Title: The Trouble with Hating You

Author: Sajni Patel

Publisher: Forever

Publication date: May 12th, 2020

384 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy debut about first impressions, second chances, and finding the love of your life in the most unexpected way. 

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

Jay Shah looks good on paper…and off. Especially if you like that whole gorgeous, charming lawyer-in-a-good-suit thing. He’s also arrogant and infuriating. As their witty office banter turns into late night chats, Liya starts to think he might be the one man who truly accepts her. But falling for each other means exposing their painful pasts. Will Liya keep running, or will she finally give love a real chance?

Review

**Thank you to Forever, Netgalley, and Sajni Patel for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

TW: sexual assault, domestic abuse, slut shaming

The Trouble with Hating you is a more serious contemporary romance where both characters have more tragic backstories and have some demons to overcome together. Told in alternating POV’s, Liya and Jay are being set up by their traditional Indian families. Neither wants to be set up to get married, but in this culture it is hard to say no. They both have different reasons for not wanting to get married, by when Liya flees the meeting Jay is interested in knowing why she is so against the idea of marriage.

Liya and Jay do not initially get along, this is a definite hate to love plot line. Liya has her defenses up so high due to her past and she can’t accept that a man is seriously interested in her for more than just a night. Jay means well, but Liya’s brand of honesty and bluntness causes him to rile her up further, even without always meaning to. It was a good transition from hate to love, it wasn’t too fast or too slow. There also was not a lot of steam.

There were very serious aspects to this book too, which can make it hard to read or be triggering for some people. Please see the trigger warnings at the top of the page before you read. I do believe the scenes were handled well and weren’t too much to handle at any given point. It was heartbreaking to see Liya shunned by her community and her father over something that was done TO her.

Overall, I really enjoyed this and think it was a solid contemporary romance.

Happy reading, folks!

April Wrap Up!

Hello again, friends!! It is already the last day of April and I lament the end of this month that was almost completely spent indoors, whether at work or at home. I have never been a huge outdoors person, but my body is desperately missing the ability to go places and just hang out. I also seem to be going through a bout of insomnia, which the internet says could be due to a lack of natural light… but the weather’s been so bad here that I haven’t been able to spend time outside! I am yearning to take a chair outside and read but nooooope not fun in almost daily rain.

Anyway, that’s how my month has been going. I’ve been reading, but it’s been a struggle and I haven’t wanted to read anything I planned to read. (Spoiler alert I did not read everything on my April TBR!) I did however manage to read 18 books this month, but 6 of them were very short, fluffy, Kindle Unlimited books – because it’s what I needed in my life at that time.

PHYSICAL BOOKS

  1. The Wife Between Us, Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen – 4/5 stars
  2. Magic For Liars, Sarah Gailey – 3.5/5 stars
  3. Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #1), Laini Taylor – 5/5 stars
  4. House of Salt and Sorrows, Erin A. Craig – 4/5 stars
  5. Well Met, Jen DeLuca – 5/5 stars

NETGALLEY EARC’S

TBH I really only wanted to read books on my phone/iPad this month for some reason… I wasn’t interested in physical books at all! So strange for me, because it’s normally always the opposite! Oh well, it was good for my Netgalley ratio!

  1. The Girl with the Whispering Shadow (The Crowns of Croswald #2), D. E. Night – 4/5 stars
  2. Chasing Lucky, Jenn Bennett – 5/5 stars
  3. What Lies Between Us, John Marrs – 4/5 stars
  4. By the Book, Amanda Sellet – 3.5/5 stars
  5. A Taste of Sage, Yaffa S. Santos – 4/5 stars
  6. The Circus Rose, Betsey Cornwell – 4/5 stars

EARC FROM AUTHORS

  1. Last Memoria (Memoria Duology #1), Rachel Emma Shaw – 5/5 stars

KINDLE UNLIMITED

  1. Love at First Fight (Geeks Gone Wild #1), Maggie Dallen – 4/5 stars
  2. My Virtual Prince Charming (Geeks Gone Wild #2), Maggie Dallen – 4/5 stars
  3. Once Upon a Comic-Con (Geeks Gone Wild #3), Maggie Dallen – 3.5/5 stars
  4. Playing the Enemy (The Trouble with Tomboys #1), Maggie Dallen – 4/5 stars
  5. Play to Win (The Trouble with Tomboys #2), Stephanie Street – 4/5 stars
  6. Playing the Field (The Trouble with Tomboys #3), Christina Benjamin – 3.5/5 stars

So that’s that! All 18 books I read this month! I have also revamped my plans for my TBR moving forward, but I’ll leave that for tomorrow’s post!

Happy reading folks!