Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Review: HOW SWEET IT IS by Dylan Newton

 


HOW SWEET IT IS
by Dylan Newton
Publication Date: July 13, 2021
Publisher: Forever
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher

Synopsis
 
What happens when the queen of romance falls for the king of horror--you get "a hilarious rom-com comp," perfect for fans of Beach Read. (Kirkus, starred review)

Event planner Kate Sweet is famous for creating the perfect happily-ever-after moment for her clients’ dream weddings. So how is it that her best friend has roped her into planning a bestselling horror writer’s book launch extravaganza? But the second Kate meets—or rather, accidentally maims—the drop-dead-hot Drake Matthews, her well-ordered life quickly transforms into an absolute nightmare.

Drake Matthews is tired of the spotlight and tired of his reputation as the Knight of Nightmares. He's really a nice guy! But he’s not prepared for Kate, a fearless agent of chaos in steel-tipped stilettos, or for that sweet sting of attraction he feels for her. She’s inspiring him to take his writing in a whole new direction—one that no one expects. Because now Kate and Drake are changing up the rules, and this plot twist might just surprise everyone . . . including themselves.

MY THOUGHTS

HOW SWEET IT IS is a perfect title for this hilarious, charming, and oh so sweet romantic comedy. I wanted to read this book as soon as I learned that the main characters were a writer and an event planner - both who undoubtedly have many stories to tell. And, I mean, how can you not want to read a story about the Queen of Happily Ever Afters and the Knight of Nightmares? 


What I Loved:
Kate and Drake's unforgettable, awkward, but also sexy first meeting 
Kate and Drakes tale from the crypt
Kate and her spreadsheets and specialty "Aww" moments
Drake's real life moments of inspiration

The thing I love most about this book is how happy I felt while reading it. And it's weird that I was actively aware of this happiness. I smiled constantly and laughed out loud as Drake and Kate stumbled their way through their working relationship and fell for each other. 

Memorable Quote:

"Real women were so much harder to read than heroines in novels, and trying to act like a book hero, with all the right words spoken at just the right time, was impossible."

If you ask me, Drake did just fine figuring out how to be a book hero.

HOW SWEET IT IS is absolutely adorable and a must-read romantic comedy. I loved it!!


Disclaimer: I received this ARC from the publisher for review consideration. I was not compensated in any way other than the ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.


Friday, July 23, 2021

Mini-Reviews: CRAZY STUPID BROMANCE, LOVE HER OR LOSE HER, and MY EVERYTHING

 A collection of mini-reviews, quick thoughts, and books worth mentioning. Check them out!


CRAZY STUPID BROMANCE by Lyssa Kay Adams
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
Pages: 342
Source: Purchased
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

Could this one be my new favorite of the series? Yes is could!

Friends to more is a favorite trope - Alexis and Noah figuring out their friendship and admitting that there was more to it made me so happy. And getting to more of the personalities of the Bromance Book Club members was a wonderful bonus.

What I loved:
1. Mack and his friends planning his wedding to Liv. It's all about the details.
2. Alexis cat, Beefcake: "He had an unkempt, murderous look about him, as if he'd just gone a few rounds inside a clothes dryer and liked it" (pg 23). And he brought his own level of drama. 
3. Alexis's cafe as a safe communal space for women to support each other.

I love this series for all of the laughs that it has given me. Can't wait for book #4!



LOVE HER OR LOSE HER by Tessa Bailey
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Pages: 336
Source: Purchased
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

Tessa Bailey's LOVE HER OR LOSE HER had a much different feel from FIX HER UP - the first book of the Hot and Hammered collection. The heat level is just as high and the heart is definitely there, but the story of a troubled marriage stirs up a wide range of emotions. LOVE HER OR LOSE HER pulls on all of the heart strings and leaves readers wanting only the best for Dominic and Rosie as they experience their second chance at a lasting love.

Memorable Quote:
"Lately I’ve learned that letting something feel crazy, not rejecting the unfamiliarity of a situation . . . can lead to something amazing.”

This book made me laugh many times over and there were moments it touched my heart and made me cry. LOVE HER AND LOSE HER explores the different languages of love. Dominic's love for Rosie was deep and true and he would do anything for her. It was beautiful. He began to understand her and the ways she needed him to love her - not just as a provider. She needed actions of love, she needed his words of love. Experiencing them falling in love with each other again was magical. I loved it!!



MY EVERYTHING by Heidi McLaughlin
Beaumont Series 1.5
Publication Date: July 1, 2013
Pages: 88
Source: Purchased
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts
(originally posted 10/11/2016)

When I read FOREVER MY GIRL, Nick Ashford wasn't a character who I could like. From the get-go, I wanted Josie and Liam to find their way back to each other and Nick was one of the obstacles keeping them from rediscovering their love. It was easy to see him as the "villian" of the story. But he wasn't. Not really. His actions were out of desperation of losing Josie's love and Noah.  I didn't truly understand that until I read MY EVERYTHING.  

I loved that the story mainly takes place outside of Beaumont and focuses on Nick rebuilding his life and finding love after he meets Aubrey. I LOVED her character immediately. Her youthfulness was invigorating and she came into Nick's life at just the right time. While this novella is pretty short, just 88 pages, their love story is captivating. 

I'm glad that we get a chance to see a different side of Nick in MY EVERYTHING. This novella is a great addition to the Beaumont Series.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

New Release: UP ALL NIGHT: 13 Stories between Sunset and Sunrise

 

UP ALL NIGHT: 13 Stories between Sunset and Sunrise
edited by Laura Silverman
Publication Date: July 13, 2021
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher

Synopsis
 
When everyone else goes to bed, the ones who stay up feel like they’re the only people in the world. As the hours tick by deeper into the night, the familiar drops away and the unfamiliar beckons. Adults are asleep, and a hush falls over the hum of daily life. Anything is possible.

It’s a time for romance and adventure. For prom night and ghost hunts. It’s a time for breaking up, for falling in love—for finding yourself.

Stay up all night with these thirteen short stories from bestselling and award-winning YA authors like Karen McManus, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nina LaCour, and Brandy Colbert, as they take readers deep into these rarely seen, magical hours.

Full contributor list: Brandy Colbert, Kathleen Glasgow, Maurene Goo, Tiffany D. Jackson, Amanda Joy, Nina LaCour, Karen M. McManus, Anna Meriano, Marieke Nijkamp, Laura Silverman, Kayla Whaley, Julian Winters, Francesca Zappia

MY THOUGHTS

My sleep schedule is completely off, so it’s very fitting UP ALL NIGHT is my current late night read. This part of the description:  “It’s a time for romance and adventure. For prom night and ghost hunts. It’s a time for breaking up, for falling in love, for finding yourself” is what ultimately persuaded me that I needed to read this short story collection.  Plus I was reading contributing author Karen McManus’s latest book, THE COUSINS, when I learned of UP ALL NIGHT, and I was enjoying her book so much, I was convinced.


One thing that excites me about UP ALL NIGHT is that most of the authors are new-to-me. With the exception of Nina LaCour (LOVE HER BOOKS) and Karen McManus, I have the opportunity to find new authors to read. That’s one of my favorite things about short story collections is discovering new-to-me authors and getting the chance to read the words on some favorites too. 


As an adult reading UP ALL NIGHT, there is a sense of nostalgia for my high school years. I have fond (and not-so-fond) memories of late night adventures with my friends and these stories take me back to those moments when everything felt significant and you were living in the moment. 


And that’s another thing that I love about reading, and reading these stories specifically, is that it can ignite a spark of creativity. This UP ALL NIGHT collection gives me the urge (and maybe some courage) to pick up a pen and write some of my own stories. 


I’ve read a handful of these stories and am sure that I’ll read the rest soon enough. These sleepless nights are becoming all too common. Thank goodness for books.


Disclaimer: I received this ARC from the publisher for review consideration. I was not compensated in any way other than the ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Mini-Reviews: COWBOY COME HOME, HOW TO FAIL AT FLIRTING, and ENJOY THE VIEW

 A collection of mini-reviews, quick thoughts, and books worth mentioning. Check them out!


COWBOY COME HOME by Carly Bloom
Publication Date: March 31, 2020
Pages: 512
Source: Netgalley | Giveaway
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

Carly Bloom delivers just the right amount of humor in this cowboy romance. Claire and Ford are so stubbornly adorable that you want all of the banter and bickering, but you desperately want all of their heated kisses more.

I especially enjoyed experiencing the friendships between men - all of the teasing and friendly taunting to get a rise out of each other. I couldn't help but laugh out loud at their antics. 

A Favorite Quote:
"Hey, I'm sorry if I'm flip and irreverent. It's what I do when I get nervous. Which is very unfortunate. You deserve a friend who can provide real comfort instead of just farting out of her mouth."
We all have this one friend and we love them for it.

Things that made me laugh:
The backstory of Ford's name
The "Sunday safety pin"
Claire's sparkly show chaps 
The characters have a book club and there's one reader who didn't finish the book (that's real life y'all)

What I loved most about COWBOY COME HOME is that it's not just a second chance romance. It's about family and finding a place to belong. And it's about community and taking care of each other, and you can't help but feel like you're a part of it all.

I loved it!!!


HOW TO FAIL AT FLIRTING by Denise Williams
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Pages: 343
Source: Purchased
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I purchased HOW TO FAIL AT FLIRTING to read along with an online book club. I missed the book club, but I'm so glad that I bought the book anyway.

What I loved:
1. Naya is a lover of lists: ways to flirt, but also ways to get what she wants and ways to put herself out there
2. The Super-steamy love scenes, and there were plenty of them. They were so good that you can't help but want even more.
3. Naya has some wonderful friends who she could count on. They're honest with her and they keep her honest too.

Uh-oh, someone's falling:
"A few days, a few days, a few days. Enveloped in his warmth, I had to remind myself what this was, because he felt like safety, like home, like more."

I fell hard for this book and am already looking forward to the author's next book.




ENJOY THE VIEW by Sarah Morgenthaler
Publication Date: Januray 19, 2021
Pages: 352
Source: Purchased
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

It was so much fun to return to Moose Springs and finally get to know about the mysterious Easton and what was the best part is that Easton isn't so mysterious after all. He's charming, funny, and definitely the kind of guy you want to know.

ENJOY THE VIEW is full of danger and risks and scenerios that really gave me an adrenaline rush. I could feel my own anxiousness at the possible danger at any moment.

Favorite Quote:
"You're my kind of confusing."

There were many almost first kisses between River and Easton, and then finally, finally the first kiss and it was incredible.

I've enjoyed every book of this series and truly hope that I get the chance to visit Moose Springs again. It's just so fun there!

Friday, May 21, 2021

Mini-Reviews: ECHOES BETWEEN US, MISTLETOE AND MR. RIGHT, BE STAIGHT WITH ME

 A collection of mini-reviews, quick thoughts, and books worth mentioning. Check them out!


ECHOES BETWEEN US by Katie McGarry
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Pages: 384
Source: Netgalley| Purchased
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

One of my favorite things about Katie McGarry’s books is how she makes readers care about the characters whole-heartedly. It’s easy to get caught up in their lives, care about their struggles, and what happens to them. And this is what happened with Veronica and Sawyer in ECHOES BETWEEN US. They both are dealing with serious, heartbreaking things.


The ghost hunting, hauntings, and the urban legends made it eerie and thrilling. There is this one scene in a graveyard and the moments leading up to it that gave me some awesomely creepy chills.  


I want to know more about Glory. She definitely needs her story told. Fingers crossed, some day.


ECHOES BETWEEN US brought out all the emotions as the characters dealt with love and death, fear and grief. It is a love story and a story about friendship, family, and letting people be there for you when you need them the most. 


I loved it. Just like I knew I would.






MISTLETOE AND MR. RIGHT by Sarah Morganthaler
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
Pages: 400
Source: Netgalley | Purchased Copy
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

Traveling to Moose Springs in THE TOURIST ATTRACTION was a lot fun, so I was more than happy to revisit the town and everyone who lives there in MISTLETOE AND MR. RIGHT. 


I loved catching up with the townspeople of Moose Springs as they prepare for the holiday season and try to figure out how to protect their community from the influx of tourists and a mystery moose set on destruction.


I loved reading MISTLETOE AND MR. RIGHT for the laughs and for the romance and all of the unexpected moments of ridiculousness. While this book is set during Christmas, I don't consider it only a Christmas-time read and it can be read and enjoyed any time of the year. 


It was fun to visit Moose Springs and I can’t wait to go back.






BE STAIGHT WITH ME by Emily Dalton
Publication Date: May 19, 2020
Pages: 240
Source: Netgalley | Purchased
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

This memoir-in-verse shares the story of college life and all of the experiences of becoming who you are and who you're going to be. It's a story of love and of friendship and living those moments that seem ordinary, but really mean everything.

One thing that is striking about this book that comes across beautifully is the realization that sometimes you are in the midst of a love story that you didn't expect, but it's still real. It's love. And it matters.

BE STRAIGHT WITH ME had me all up in my feelings because it also tells the story of a friendship that's lost when the love is no longer shared.

Before I even finished reading the review copy of BE STRAIGHT WITH ME, I knew this was a book that I had to add to my personal library. It really touched my heart.

*******************************************************
Disclaimer: I requested e-ARCs of these titles from the publisher for review consideration. I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. I've purchased finished copies of these three books for my personal library. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Review: COOL FOR THE SUMMER by Dahlia Adler

 


COOL FOR THE SUMMER
by Dahlia Adler
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Pages: 272
Source: Netgalley

Synopsis
 
Lara's had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He's tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he's talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe...flirting, even? No, wait, he's definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara's wanted out of life.

Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.

Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she's finally got the guy, why can't she stop thinking about the girl?

Cool for the Summer is a story of self-discovery and new love. It’s about the things we want and the things we need. And it’s about the people who will let us be who we are.

MY THOUGHTS

The title COOL FOR THE SUMMER and the cover are what made me want to read this book. The color palette and the fun sunglasses did it for me. It screamed: "I'm going to be fun, READ ME!"

COOL FOR THE SUMMER was just as fun and enjoyable that I had hoped it would be. It was a quick read that brought both the laughter and the longing. I loved the friendship that developed between Lara and Jasmine and how well they knew how to be with each other.

There were moments I was worried about Chase's intentions with dating Lara. Everyone knew about her years long crush and I wondered if he was playing with her emotions or did he really like her. Thankfully that question was answered early on and I didn't have to worry. Chase isn't the jerk that he could have been portrayed as.

I wanted to know more about Lara aside from her relationships with her friends and Chase and Jasmine. What makes her who she is? I think there is still so much more to know about her than what we were given in the story.

Each of her friends have their own lives separate from their friendships. One character who I really want to know is Kiki. What is her story? She's just so interesting with her podcasts and her sleuthing. I hope there's a Kiki book in the future!

COOL FOR THE SUMMER is a great book to kick off your fun summer reading. It's a story about romance and friendships and it's full of surprises that will keep readers turning the pages.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from the publisher for review consideration. I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Review: A WICKED AND BEAUTIFUL GARDEN by Katie McGarry

 


A WICKED AND BEAUTIFUL GARDEN
Witches of the Island #1
by Katie McGarry
Publication Date: May 5, 2021
Pages: 308
Source: Author

Synopsis
 
Twenty-eight year-old Cassie Strega can’t escape fate.

All she wants is to live a normal, quiet life delivering the babies in her small town. But when she discovers she comes from a lineage of witches, her life becomes extraordinary—in the gravely dangerous type of way.

Then, she’s reunited with her first love.

Orion, the sultry Fae warrior who broke her heart years before, is searching for a baby. Not just any baby, but the queen of the Fae who will one day lead them in their final battle against the demons determined to rule the world. The same baby who has been calling to Cassie for help in her dreams.

Fighting the intense attraction of their former blood bond, Cassie and Orion work together to find the child. But when the heartbreak that nearly destroyed Cassie nine years before looms once more, she’ll have to decide whether getting involved in the supernatural war is worth losing everything, including her life.

MY THOUGHTS

I adore Katie McGarry and she has written some of my favorite YA contemporary romances. I will read anything that Katie writes. When I was offered the opportunity to receive an early copy of A WICKED AND BEAUTIFUL GARDEN and read her first adult novel which is also her first in the fantasy romance genre, my answer was YES!! OF COURSE!!!!

The First Sentence:

Cassie was five when she learned she would one day play chess with the devil.

I loved getting lost in the supernatural world of Fae and Witches and Demons which is full of visions, dreams, prophecies, and fate. It’s a mystical and magical world where anything can happen.

The Suspense:

Don’t trust anyone. Orion included. Everyone here has an endgame, and none of their original plans included you.”

This made all of the alarms go off. Who is a friend of Cassie's and who is a foe. I have so many spoilery theories of what will happen and what it all means. 

The Romance:

To have you in my life again is a gift I never thought I’d receive.

Orion's devotion to Cassie pours out of him. And there were times that it made me feel super emotional because he would do anything to protect her. To have a love like that is powerful and it comes across on the page as beautiful and devastating.

Oh how I NEEDED them to kiss. I kept willing Cassie to just go ahead and kiss him. Not the memory of kissing and all of the other good stuff. The anticipation is TOO MUCH and I want them to be together. So together. Like that. 

I cannot wait to read A WICKED AND BEAUTIFUL GARDEN again. I read it so quickly to find out what was going to happen. Just as Cassie is beginning to learn about her abilities as a witch in this world, there’s a lot for the reader to grasp too. Next time I want to savor it and pick up on even more details and connections of this fantastical world.

I loved it!!!


Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from the author for review consideration. Quotes are from the   e-ARC and may differ from the final published version. I've purchased a final finished copy for my personal library. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

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