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 – 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.

eARC Review – Just Saying

Title: Just Saying

Author: Sophie Ranald

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: July 3rd, 2020

300 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

I almost gave up on love. My ex, who called his private parts ‘Nigel’, was enough to put me off men forever. But then I met Joe.

Alice thought she’d found Mr Right. Her blue-eyed boyfriend Joe gives her butterflies, makes her bacon sandwiches when she’s hungover, and doesn’t have a nickname for any of his body parts.

She should have known it was too good to be true. Because one day, Alice and Joe bump into Zoe. According to him, Zoe’s ‘just an old friend’. But Alice saw the way they froze, and heard the strange note in Joe’s voice when he said her name.

Then, out of the blue, Zoe needs a place to live. And Joe has the bright idea of inviting her, and her fluffy ginger cat Frazzle, to stay with them.

Alice tries her hardest not to feel threatened. But the thing is, Zoe doesn’t survive off microwave meals, or go days without washing her glossy copper-coloured hair, or accidentally get mascara in her contact lenses.

Joe’s ex might be pretty much perfect, but there’s no way that Alice will let Zoe steal him. She’s on a mission to prove that three (four, if you count the cat) is definitely a crowd…

Review

TW: sexual assault

Just Saying follows Alice and Joe, trainee lawyers in England as they finish up their training years. Alice and Joe have been dating for a long time, and it’s just natural that they will continue to be together. Until it all starts to come apart. They bump into Joe’s college girlfriend Zoe, Alice loses her job prospect and becomes a bartender at a dive, and Zoe moves in with them when she breaks up with her boyfriend. Alice is convinced Zoe is there to steal her man, and it doesn’t help that Joe doesn’t particularly approve of her new profession. But as Alice comes to love her work at the bar and Joe becomes more distant, Alice wonders if they can continue like this. Are they meant to be together, or has he been in love with Zoe since college? Time will tell…

I genuinely thought this was a cute story with a LOT of layers to it. Just Saying tackles not only relationships and the drama that comes from exes, but sexual assault, career crises, and just in general being friends with the opposite sex. There are some communication problems between the characters, but I didn’t feel the main conflict could’e been resolved with one conversation so that’s a positive for me. As much as there are a lot of layers in this book, I didn’t feel like they were overwhelming or popping up randomly. The story arc flowed pretty smoothly even with new topics being broached.

The book in the end did not go how I was expecting, in a GOOD way. It avoided the one part of romance novels that I don’t like. I can’t really be more clear without giving away a spoiler, but it ended the way I would have wanted it to. Alice makes tremendous progress in tackling her own issues through this book, and as much as he is her boyfriend Joe really is a side character in this story almost. It is THEIR story as a couple it’s really Alice’s story which I appreciate.

The story was missing something to take it to a full 5 star level, I think some subplots were cut off too quickly or easily. Some more depth could have been added to take this to a 5 star level for me. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it and stayed up until about 2am to finish it!

Thank you to Bookouture, Netgalley, and Sophie Ranald for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Crushing It

Title: Crushing It

Author: Lorelai Parker

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation

Publication date: June 30th, 2020

336 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

In life, as in gaming, there’s a way around every obstacle . . .

To pitch her new role-playing game at a European conference, developer Sierra Reid needs to overcome her terror of public speaking. What better practice than competing in a local bar’s diary slam, regaling an audience with old journal entries about her completely humiliating college crush on gorgeous Tristan Spencer?

Until the moderator says, “Next up, Tristan Spencer . . .”

Sierra is mortified, but Tristan is flattered. Caught up in memories of her decade-old obsession as they reconnect, Sierra tries to dismiss her growing qualms about him. But it’s not so easy to ignore her deepening friendship with Alfie, the cute, supportive bar owner. She and Alfie were college classmates too, and little by little, Sierra is starting to wonder if she’s been focusing her moves on the wrong target all along, misreading every player’s motivations.

Maybe the only winning strategy is to start playing by her heart . . .

Review

**Thank you to Kensington Publishing, Netgalley, and Lorelai Parker for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Sierra is a video game developer with a horrible fear of public speaking, which causes issues as she’s trying to convince her investor to let her present at Gamescon to promote their new game. Her coworker and roommate Aida convinces her to go to an event being put on by a new bar near their home, a competition to get up in front of everyone and tell humiliating stories for the amusement of others. The catch is that it is for mostly alumni of their college, and the reason Sierra has public speaking fears dates back to college. When the source of her fears is in the bar, also in the competition, Sierra has to face all of her demons if she wants to further her career.

I liked the premise of this book a lot, and I really enjoyed the resulting romance. I liked the growth that the characters went through, and the strides Sierra made in overcoming her fears. I didn’t enjoy all of the side characters, for reasons you’ll probably understand when you read! I won’t say who though, because it would be a bit of a spoiler for you all and I don’t want to do that. I respected Sierra’s investor for making her prove to him and herself that she can represent the brand and game how they want it to be represented.

This book was a tad predictable though. I could see where it was going, and what the big reveal would be. I still enjoyed it, but some parts were just too obvious and maybe could’ve been covered up better.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Never Have I Ever Club

Title: The Never Have I Ever Club

Author: Mary Jayne Baker

Publisher: Aria

Publication date: June 18th, 2020

??? pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Robyn Bloom thought Ash Barnes was the love of her life – until one day he announced he was leaving her to fly halfway across the world.

Months later, Robyn is struggling to move on – but then she has a brainwave: The Never Have I Ever Club. Her handsome next-door neighbour Will helps her bring their fellow Yorkshire villagers together for some carpe-diem-inspired fun.

From burlesque dancing to Swedish massages, everyone has plenty of bucket-list activities to try, but it doesn’t take long for Robyn to realise what – or who – her heart truly desires: Will.

There’s just one problem: he’s Ash’s twin brother.

Make that two problems: Ash is moving home… and he wants Robyn back.

Review

**Thank you to Aria, Netgalley, and Mary Jayne Baker for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Set in the UK, The Never Have I Ever Club features Robyn Bloom, a 35 year old woman who is still getting over her sudden breakup with Ash when he decided to move to Australia and begin a relationship with a woman 25 years her junior. Left in his wake, Robyn is struggling to move on as Ash is her next door neighbor, along with his identical twin brother Will. Robyn can’t even see Will without being reminded of her heartbreak, even though they’ve been best friends and neighbors their whole lives. Robyn and her friends decide to create a village club encouraging it’s members to learn new things and have those experience they’ve always put off. When Ash returns to win Robyn back, she is left flustered and angry but he isn’t ready to give up. But is he the right twin for her?

I enjoyed this book, I liked the characters and Robyn’s relationship with her friends and her aunt. The characters are quirky, relatable, and unique enough to give the dialogue and events an interesting quality. I just really didn’t like either of the love interests? Both twins – Will and Ash – got on my nerves for different reasons. Ash is selfish and impetuous, only looking after himself. Will is the opposite, he doesn’t even stop for a second to think of doing something that would benefit him. I imagine the author created this dichotomy for a reason, and trust me the effect worked, but there needed to be some ‘in the middle’ qualities for both of them. No one is that selfish or selfless.

This book does kind of include a love triangle trope, but it doesn’t follow the norm. For most of the book, the characters don’t know there is any triangle to speak of, so even if love triangles aren’t your jam – don’t let that keep you from reading this book if you’re interested.

I actually enjoyed the subplots more than the main love story plot. I cheered for Freya and Eliot and Aunty Fliss. This book is also very clean, for those who don’t enjoy smut in their romance novels.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Undercover Bromance

“There’s no force on Earth as strong as a woman who is good and fed up.”

Title: Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2)

Author: Lyssy Kay Adams

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: March 10th, 2020

320 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef. 

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club. 

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assist Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even while she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.

Review

You shouldn’t have to care about a women to recognize that the sexual degradation of all women is a problem. You should recognize that it’s wrong simply because they’re humans.

lyssy kay adams, undercover bromance

TW: sexual assault, sexism, misogyny

I think my favorite part about this book has to do with the quote directly above. Adams tackles misogyny and sexism within this romance book so well. There are men who actively hold conversations in an attempt to educate one of the characters that uses the excuse of “I’m too old to understand”. And it’s done so, so well. As someone who has experience sexism and sexual assault, I was heartened to see how it was dealt with in this book (for the most part). I say for the most part, because one of the main characters says some pretty awful things to someone who experienced assault. I believe it was used in order to later show character growth and development, but it did fall flat. I’m tired of the women attacking other women story line.

I did not like Liv’s character in The Bromance Book Club and frankly I did not like her more in this book. I inherently liked this one more than the first as I am more interested in a new love story than reviving an old love. But Liv honestly sucks. She does get better – but I can’t with her for the first 75% of the book.

I am here for BRADEN FREAKING MACK though. Braden Mack makes this book bearable because he is a sweet, cinnamon roll of a man who can do no wrong. I would die for Braden Mack and I am jealous of Liv because I would take him as my husband in a heartbeat. There were so many swoonworthy parts to this book, and they were all due directly to Braden Mack.

Overall, a decent book that tackled some serious issues while still being a good romance novel. I am still excited for the third book, Crazy Stupid Bromance, coming later this year.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Up Close and Personal

Title: Up Close & Personal

Author: Kathryn Freeman

Publisher: One More Chapter

Publication date: June 12th, 2020

??? pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Sizzling chemistry, a page-turning will they/won’t they romance and the hottest twist on one of your favourite movies…

British actor Zac Edwards is the latest heartthrob to hit the red carpets. Hot, talented and rich, he sends women wild…all except one.

Close protection officer Kat Parker hasn’t got time to play celebrity games. She has one job: to protect Zac from the stalker that seems to be dogging his every move.

Zac might get her hot under her very starched collar, but Kat’s a professional – and sleeping with Zac is no way part of her remit…

Review

**Thank you to One More Chapter, Netgalley, and Kathryn Freeman for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Up Close and Personal follows Zac Edwards, new movie star being stalked and harassed by a female fan, and Kat Parker, his new bodyguard hired by the production company of the film he is shooting. The problem? Zac and Kat are hopelessly attracted to each other and have giant personal secrets that they won’t share with the other. It’s a story full of push and pull in this relationship, made more complicated by someone trying to kill Zac…

I really enjoyed this book, which didn’t surprise me because I also really enjoyed Kathryn’s most recent book as well. The characters had a great rapport and dialogue from the beginning, and I enjoy a forbidden romance. Both Kat and Zac have their demons that affect them but also have a lot to do with their character development and in their future relationship development. The plot was intense and incorporated a realistic kind of villain.

In some parts of the book the relationship super dragged. I get why because it was forbidden, but I think it could have been more interesting if more happened when it was still forbidden. Also, there was a sub plot that really wasn’t followed up on, and I have questions about it.

Up Close and Personal was a cute, easy to read, romance that included forbidden love, emotional baggage, and a crazy stalker. It is also mostly clean for those who aren’t interested in a lot of smut in their romance books.

Happy reading, folks!

Novella Review – Quarantined by Love

Title: Quarantined by Love

Author: Hilari T. Cohen

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication date: April 27th, 2020

82 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Tim has no time for anything other than his work as an ER doctor, especially during the all-consuming global pandemic that has leveled his city. But when he sees a beautiful stranger dancing on the rooftop of her building he immediately knows that he must somehow meet her, so he devises a crazy plan…


Lola’s first major role on a Broadway stage is stalled due to a deadly virus that has forced the world indoors, but she can’t sit still. She sneaks outside to dance and is surprised to have a drone with a phone number land at her feet. Who is this mysterious sender? And was her broken heart ready to take another chance?

Can two strangers find virtual love in a time of social distancing? Will Tim and Lola be Quarantined By Love? There’s only one way to find out…

This is a novella with no cliffhanger and a happy ending!

Review

**Thank you to Hilari T. Cohen for sending me a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

In a novelle length book, Cohen writes of the current global pandemic and how it changed the way you date & meet people. Tim is a doctor on the front lines fighting the pandemic. One night, he looks out the window to see a woman dancing on her rooftop and he is immediately interested. He wants to get to know her, but how? He grabs his drone and sends her a note with his phone number. Lola receives the note & humors him – even though she is still dealing with the demise of her previous relationship.

This story is short, cute, and romantic. I think if I were single during this pandemic, this is how I would want to meet someone. It’s the modern “their eyes locked from across the bar”! Seriously though, the dating was cute and for a short story, you get a decent amount of character background for Tim and Lola.

The romance trope is insta-love, obviously because it’s a novella and barely longer than 80 pages. If this is the trope for you, maybe this won’t be the novella for you. But the few days of dates and getting to know each other are super cute & it’s clear how deeply Tim and Lola connect.

Overall, I think this was a sweet read that was worth it.

Happy reading, folks!