Monday, February 26, 2024

Review: CANADIAN BOYFRIEND by Jenny Holiday

Publication Date: January 30, 2024
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher | Purchased


A charming and heartfelt romance about a woman who comes face to face with the fake Canadian boyfriend she made up as a teenager.

The fake Canadian boyfriend. It's a thing. The get out of jail free card for all kinds of sticky social situations. “I can't go to prom; I'm going to be out of town visiting my boyfriend in Canada.” It's all over pop culture. But Aurora Evans did it first. Once upon a time she met a teenage hockey player at the Mall of America. He was from Canada. He was a boy. She may have fudged the “friend” part a little, but it wasn't like she was ever going to see him again. It wasn't like she hurt anyone. Until she did—years later—on both counts.
When pro hockey player and recent widower Mike Martin walks into the dance studio where Aurora Evans teaches, he's feeling overwhelmed with the fact that his wife may not have been exactly who he thought she was and the logistics of going back to work. As one of the few people his angry, heartbroken daughter connects with, Aurora agrees to be a pseudo nanny to help him navigate the upcoming school year and hockey season. To his surprise, she turns out to be the perfect balm for him as well. Aurora gets him. The real him underneath his pro jersey. And yet, he still finds himself holding back, unable to fully trust again—especially when he finds out the secret Aurora’s been hiding from him.


"He's not fake.
He's Canadian."

That tagline is all that it took for me to become desperate to read this book. Well, that and the fact that I LOVE Jenny Holiday's books. 

I've sat with my thoughts about CANADIAN BOYFRIEND for a while and I'm still not sure how I want to share them. I fear that I'll become too confessional and the book will come across as too sad and it may keep a reader from picking it up. Like Mike Martin, a recent widower, I am a widow. And every book that I read is now through that lens. It can't be helped. It can't be changed. And in books like CANADIAN BOYFRIEND, I usually relate to the saddest parts. That's what resonates with me. Don't let this review fool you. This isn't a sad book. It's fun and charming and it's my hope that readers will discover that for themselves. I'm very much looking forward to rereading the audiobook version where the humor will come through more. The intention will be more noticeable than what I brought into the story as I read it.

I straight up loved CANADIAN BOYFRIEND. As I began telling some family members about the book, I could feel the joy overcome me and felt the smile on my face and I could feel it throughout my body. And that was just from thinking about the book and how connected I felt to it. I even asked them if they could see how much I loved the book by how my demeanor changed and the happiness I exuded just talking about it. They could see it.

What I Liked:
  • The love between Mike and his daughter, Olivia and how they interact with each other 
  • Mikes flirty texts to Aurora
  • That it is always Mike Martin and always Aurora, never Rory. Then Aurora Lake.
  • The growth that Aurora experienced as she worked on healing herself and lived her life for herself. Especially when she recognized her self worth - setting boundaries and saying yes to the things she wanted and no to the things she didn't.
  • On the page, in the office therapy - with real talk, real questions, real revelations 

Some Favorite Quotes:

"It's our depression car." - IYKYK

"But with Mike Martin, kissing felt like the whole point." - This gives all the yummy, fluttering feelings.

"Holy cow, therapy was a lot of work." - Yes. Yes, it is.

Jenny Holiday writes about grief with compassion and she honors the experience in a touching, humorous, and relatable way. Seeing the many ways grief shows up in characters like Mike Martin and Olivia and in books like CANADIAN BOYFRIEND is both comforting and validating. It makes a reader like me feel less alone. For that, I thank her. 

Disclaimer: I requested and received an ARC of this book from the publisher for review consideration. I've purchased a final version of the book for my personal library. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024


The first book read in 2023 and the last book of 2023.

13: Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile
15: How to Win at The Challenge and Life by Sydney Bucksbaum
16: home is not a country by Safia Emillo
22: The Night of the Wedding by J. Broson
29: A Familiar Stranger by A.R. Torre

4: Fold in the Cheese by Parker Long
12: A Merry Little Meet Cute by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone
13: Movie Star by Jessica Simpson
14: After the Blackout by J.R. Rogue
22: These Are My Big Girl Pants by Amber Vittoria
27: Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez

3: Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
20: The Retreat by MArk Edwards
23: A Thousand Miles to Graceland by Kristen Mei Chase

2: Gloria by Sierra Simone
2: Oddball by Sarah Andersen
14: An Honest Lie by Tarryn Fisher
15: Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler
16: Behind Closed Doors by Brittainy Cherry and Kandi Steiner
29: The Reunion by Meghan Quinn

1: Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon
7: Why Are You Like This by Meg Adams
10: Love, Pamela by Pamela Anderson
13: Only When It's Us by Chloe Liese
14: It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
18: Stripped by Zoey Castile
24: Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez
29: Better Than The Movies by Lynn Painter
29: Better Than The Prom by Lynn Painter
31: Barbarian Alien by Ruby Dixon
31: Moist, Actually by Ash Dylan

4: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
4: Sun of a Beach by Mia Sosa
6: Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan
8: 7th Circle by Tate James
9: The Summer Melt by Emily March
9: Barbarian Lover by Ruby Dixon
14: Dirty Calls by Sade Rena
15: The Trail of Lost Hearts by Tracey Garvis Graves
19: The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
29: Barbarian Mine by Ruby Dixon
1: Sing Anyway by Anita Kelly
5: The Ro Bro by JA Huss and Jonathan McClain
8: We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
9: Ice Planet Honeymoon: Vektal & Georgie by Ruby Dixon
9: ICe Planet Holiday by Ruby Dixon
10: Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan
18: Truly Yours by Abby Jimenez
26: I Can Be a Better You by Tarryn Fisher
28: Layla by Colleen Hoover
28: Barbarian's Prize by Ruby Dixon
29: Barbarian's Mate by Ruby Dixon
31: Love Next Door by Helena Hunting

6: A Fatal Affair
6: These Walls Can Talk by Erin Mallon
11: Always Only You by Chloe Liese
12: Just A Girl by Alyssa Cole
13: The Heart of a Mother by Julie Clark
13: The Narwal Strikes Back by  Erin Mallon
14: Ice Planet Honeymoon: Raahosh & Liz by Ruby Dixon
17: Forever Mason by Heidi McLaughlin
20: Ice Planet Honeymoon: Aehako & Kira by Ruby Dixon
23: All Fired Up by Dylan Newton
26: A Walk in the Park by Rebekah Weatherspoon
28: Swipe for a Cosmo by Megan Wade
30: Office Hours by Katrina Jackson

3: Having the Barbarian's Baby by Ruby Dixon
3: Ice Ice Babies by Ruby Dixon
10: All the Right Notes by Dominic Lim
13: The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher
18: Dirty Red by Tarryn Fisher
21: Everything Is OK by Debbie Tung
22: Blind Date with a Book Boyfriend by Lucy Eden

1: Life's Too Much by Anny Jimenez
7: Supper Club by Jackie Morrow
8: I'm a Wild Seed by Sharon Lee Dela Cruz
8: Forever is Now by Mariama J. Lockington
11: Crushing On You by Jen Trinh
15: The Hills of Estrella Roja by Ashley Robin Franklin
17: Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
22: Coven by Jennifer Dugan
23: Butcher and Blakbird by Brynne Weaver
25: Ghost Book by Remi Lai
27: Still Beating by Jennifer Hartmann
29: Restless Waters by Jessica Park

1: Ravenous by Jen Trinh
2: About Tomorrow . . .  by Abbi Glines
7: Rotten Fruit by D.W. Cole
11: Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll
16: Family Style by Thien Pham
16: Batter Royale by Leisl Adams
18: A Merry Little Meet Cute by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone
22: Snow Place Like L.A. by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone
25: Amity by Micol Ostow
26: Best Friends by Francine Pascal
26: Boy Heaven by Laura Kasischke

3: Every Last Secret by A.R. Torre
4: Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Butler by Ibi Zoboi
6: A Holly Jolly Ever After by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone
12: You Shouldn't Have Come Here by Jeneva Rose
13: Dashing through the No by Tara Sivec
20: Wreck the Halls by Tessa Bailey
22: Fangirl, Vol.3 by Rainbow Rowell and Gabi Nash
30: A Stormy and Sultry Sea by Katie McGarry
31: Forget Me Not by Julie Soto

Monday, November 27, 2023

Release Day Review: ROTTEN FRUIT by D.W. Cole


Publication Date: November 27, 2023
Pages: 119
Source: Author | Purchased


What do you get when you have a fragile psyche, a knack for self-sabotage, and a slew of mommy issues? Killer instincts.

The battle of the mind can rage the most extensive war. That’s what Rue’s therapist always told her, and she was desperate to end the never-ending rug from being pulled from underneath her.

Determined to leave her troubled history behind, she relocates to Virginia for a fresh start. After significant strides to heal her wounds, Rue falls in love with Wyant Minnick, a seemingly perfect man with few flaws. After almost two years together, she believes she has finally found the love and stability she has craved since childhood. However, her fragile psyche starts to shatter when she discovers a lie that Wyant has been harboring. This devastating revelation sets off a chain of events that could have disastrous consequences for both.

Caught in an internal battle of self-sabotage, Rue transforms into an anti-hero, torn between her desire for a new life and the darkness within her. As the story unfolds, the lines between right and wrong blur, and Rue's secrets come to light. With each page, the suspense intensifies as Rue navigates the intricate web of her mind and grapples with her demons while struggling to come to terms with Wyant's potential betrayal.

In this gripping psychological thriller, delve into the complex world of Rue, a woman seeking solace from a haunting past. This captivating tale will have you on the edge of your seat, eagerly turning the pages to unravel the mystery that will keep your mind guessing until the end.


Who do you become when you're created out of spite, treated as though your existence is wrong, and convinced you're nothing but a burden? How do you find the light when all you have been shown is darkness? Author D.W. Cole shows readers exactly who in her debut novella ROTTEN FRUIT.

Written in a beautiful mix of poetry and prose, D.W. Cole has a style uniquely her own. ROTTEN FRUIT will have readers both mesmerized and intentionally unsettled. Readers will root for Rue to find the love she deserves, and be fearful of the wrath she can inflict. 

ROTTEN FRUIT is the jolt to your TBR that you need and D.W. Cole is an author to watch out for. I cannot wait to have this beautiful book in my hands!

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book for review consideration. I've purchased a final version of the book for my personal library. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Review: ALL THE RIGHT NOTES by Dominic Lim


Publication Date: June 6, 2023
Publisher: Forever
Pages: 384
Source: Purchased |



​In this hilarious and joyous rom com, sparks fly when a piano genius and a Hollywood heartthrob are thrown together for a charity performance of solos, heartfelt duets, and a big, showstopping finale.

Quito Cruz might be a genius piano player and composer in New York City now but it doesn’t mean that he’s any closer to his Broadway dream. Although Quito knows what the problem is. Or rather who . Because ever since that night in college—with pretty-boy jock Emmett Aoki—his inspiration has been completely MIA . . .

Now Quito’s dad wants him to put on a charity performance in his hometown. And there’s one hella big string convince Emmett—now one of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities—to perform.

It’s all shaping up to be the biggest musical fiasco of Quito’s life. Especially when Emmett agrees to attend, and Quito realizes that undeniable vibe between them is stronger than ever. Because there’s nothing simple about falling for a movie star . . . even when he’s pitch-perfect.


Dominic Lim did exactly what he intended to do when writing ALL THE RIGHT NOTES and left this reader with a song in my heart as I continue to spontaneously sing True Colors around my house. As a former choir kid and someone who enjoys a heartfelt, second chance romantic comedy, ALL THE RIGHT NOTES gets all of the stars and endless hearts from me. 

I was fascinated with Quito by his observations and descriptions immediately. I enjoyed seeing his view of his world around him. And he has a habit of rhyming when he’s nervous that is so endearing and that one habit reveals a lot of who he is. Emmett is adorable with his winking and smirks that you can’t help but have a crush on him. In the beginning, we don’t know what has happened that keeps them apart. Yet, the moment that they see each other again and Emmett is stunned into silence, it’s obvious that there is a lot left unspoken, but there’s something still between them that is undeniable. 

There is so much that I loved about the book:

  • The timeline of the THEN and the NOW

  • The rehearsals with Quito and Emmett allows for a closeness to their new friendship and showed the vulnerability and acceptance

  • The relationship between Quito and his father. Mr. C. charmed me with how played match-maker and how he saw exactly who his son was and all that he could be

  • All of the friendships and community and the roles that they all filled in each other’s lives

For all of the smiles and laughs ALL THE RIGHT NOTES gave me, it does take an emotional turn (one that wasn’t completely unexpected to me) . Readers should take notice of the content warnings as there are some topics that may be difficult for some and  they may need to take care with themselves while or after they’ve finished reading. 

I enthusiastically sing my praises for this book and hope that others discover the delight of reading (listening) to this story just as much as I did. As soon as I started listening to ALL THE RIGHT NOTES, I was so thrilled that I bought the audiobook because of the musical aspect and how the narrator’s performance drew me in. And now that I’ve finished it, I know that I will need the paperback too. Because, like Quito’s sheet music, I need the physical copy for the gift that exists within the covers.    

I purchased a finished copy of this title for for my personal library. 
Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Saturday, August 19, 2023


 A collection of mini-reviews, quick thoughts, and books worth mentioning. 

Check them out!

SING ANYWAY by Anita Kelly
Publication Date: May 31, 2021
Pages: 124
Source: Library
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)


SING ANYWAY was a complete joy to read. I loved the dual perspective and getting the inner thoughts of both Sam and Lily. Set in a karaoke bar, it was fun to get to know the characters through their interactions, their friends, and through their song selections. I loved how Sam and Lily had crushes on each other from afar and how they finally take a chance and meet. And we, the readers, get to experience them falling for each other in the best way.

  A favorite quote: 
"Why are we shouting facts at each other?"
This cracked me up and created an endearing moment between Sam and Lily.   

SING ANYWAY is sexy and vulnerable and hopeful and just a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to reading more by Anita Kelly and bonus, I already have their books on my shelves! 

THE SUMMER MELT by Emily March
Publication Date: June 1, 2023
Pages: 125
Source: Audible
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)


THE SUMMER MELT will have readers rushing to the ice cream shoppe for a double scoop.

The short sweet novella made me giggle. I discovered this book when the author shared her promotion as a Book Bonanza signing author. I'd noticed Emily March's books before, but hadn't read any yet. Since I was attending Book Bonanza, this was a perfect time to start.
THE SUMMER MELT is set in the town Eternity Springs where people love, support, and look out for each other. It was a joy to get to know the town's people. Dana made me laugh with her G-rated curse words. And Cal is swoony as the "Even Hotter" Scot.

This story was so fun and charming and I'm already thinking about taking another trip to Eternity Springs.


THE WEDDING DATE by Jasmine Guillory
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Pages: 317
Source: Purchased
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

Last month I took some time to reread THE WEDDING DATE. I originally read THE WEDDING DATE in 2018 with a book club and thought it was a good idea to get reintroduced to Alexa and Drew before continuing on to the many books by Jasmine Guillory that I have on my shelves. I love a good friends with benefits/fake dating story and this is more of a stranger with benefits to friends to so much more story. My favorite part of fate dating trope is how the characters have convinced themselves that they can be together without expectations, but the reader knows that they are going to fall for each other and experiencing it all happen.

I must mention that a lot of their time together is spent snacking and eating meals. There is a level of comfort and intimacy in that which bonded Alexa and Drew in more than just friendship. All of the cheese and burgers and tacos and donuts were just as delicious as all of the yummy kisses between them.

Alexa and Drew mean a lot more to each other than they ever anticipated. There are no casual hook-ups to be had. Since they lived in different cities, they had to put in effort to see one another. Of course there was more beneath the surface for them and it made me so happy (as it always does in the fake dating trope) for them to finally figure that out for themselves.

THE WEDDING DATE reminded me just how much I love the fake dating trope and it makes me even more excited to read the other books in my Jasmine Guillory collection.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Review: THE BOYFRIEND PROJECT by Farrah Rochon


Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Publisher: Forever
Pages: 345
Source: Netgalley | Purchased



If you love Jasmine Guillory, Abby Jimenez and Talia Hibbert, you'll LOVE Farrah Rochon!

What happens when three women discover , thanks to the live tweeting of a disastrous date, that they've all been duped by the same man? They become friends of course!

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be 'that' girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she's been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah - along with his two other 'girlfriends', London and Taylor - have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status...

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she's always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there's no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?


THE BOYFRIEND PROJECT had me completely hooked from the get-go. Starting off with a Twitter scandal leading to unwanted Twitter fame, Farrah Rochon brings the laughs with entertaining dialogue and interactions between Samiah and her sister and her new friends Taylor and London. I loved this book for the friendships just as much as for the romance.

Samiah is absolutely wonderful. She's an incredible friend; she's witty and intelligent. She knows her worth and doesn't take anyone's mess.  

What I Loved:

    • Women in STEM! 
    • The Just Friends App - it's a cool innovative idea and I would definitely sign up
    • The chemistry between Samiah and Daniel. And that hand massage! I mean how could they not catch feelings?

I enjoyed this book a lot - so much so that I included a copy in a pick-me-up care package for a friend. I hoped that it would bring her as much joy and entertainment for her as it did for me. 

I requested this ARC from the publisher for review consideration. I was not compensated in any way other than the ARC provided. I've also purchased a finished copy for my physical library. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

What I'm Reading and Loving Right Now

What I'm Reading and Loving Right Now

by Ruby Dixon
(links to Goodreads

Months ago in a group chat, I asked what everyone was reading and reader after reader kept listing Ruby Dixon's ICE PLANET BARBARIANS series. At the time, I didn't know about the series but I made a note of it because SO MANY people kept talking about it. A couple of days later, I saw a paperback of ICE PLANET BARBARIANS in an airport bookstore and I was tempted to get a copy, but didn't. Jump to April and I was in the mood for something different from the contemporary romance that I usually read. It was the perfect time to start ICE PLANET BARBARIANS.

I may be a little late to the game with this series, but I don't even care because I am LOVING it. I'm having so much fun getting caught up in the stories and constanting laughing. And these stories are hot, hot, hot filled with Barbarians whose main goal is loving, adoring, and pleasing women - what's not to love about that?

What I LOVE:
  • The joy I'm experiencing reading this entertaining series - it's complete escapism  
  • How the couples couple up  - it's more than their khuis/cooties - they do find their perfect mates for their personalities:
Vektal and Georgie - She speaks, He listens. They have so much to learn about each other and they are eager to do so.
Liz has more in common with Raahosh than she thinks. When they figure it out, it's more explosive than either of them can imagine.
Aehako's playfulness is adorable and he's such a flirt. He can bring the calm to a situation and helps to ease Kira of her responsibilities and worries. 
  • The world-building - the elements are brutal. Their environment is both primitive and futuristic and it's interesting to discover it all as the women adapt and find a new way of life on the Ice Planet.
  • The fantastic illustrated covers and their gorgeous depictions of fierce women
 I am so happy that I was curious enough to begin this science fiction romance. I've read the first three books of the series so far and don't plan to stop there. I'm having too much fun!

Ruby Dixon definitely has a new fan in me AND I cannot wait to dive into this fandom and discover all of the gloriousness that everyone brings to it.


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