Showing posts with label Romance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Romance. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Audio Book Review: Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez

Genre: Romance/Audio Book
Pub. Date: 4/11/23
Publisher: Forever
Source: Library
Other Books by Author: Part of Your World

Goodreads says, "Dr. Briana Ortiz’s life is seriously flatlining. Her divorce is just about finalized, her brother’s running out of time to find a kidney donor, and that promotion she wants? Oh, that’s probably going to the new man-doctor who’s already registering eighty-friggin’-seven on Briana’s “pain in my ass” scale. But just when all systems are set to hate, Dr. Jacob Maddox completely flips the game . . . by sending Briana a letter.  And it’s a really good letter. Like the kind that proves that Jacob isn’t actually Satan. Worse, he might be this fantastically funny and subversively likeable guy who’s terrible at first impressions. Because suddenly he and Bri are exchanging letters, sharing lunch dates in her “sob closet,” and discussing the merits of freakishly tiny horses. But when Jacob decides to give Briana the best gift imaginable—a kidney for her brother—she wonders just how she can resist this quietly sexy new doctor . . . especially when he calls in a favor she can’t refuse."




Briana Ortiz is an ER doctor and has a lot going on. She is recently divorced (her husband cheated on her), she is hoping to get a promotion at work, and her brother is in desperate need of a new kidney. There's a lot on her plate, so when a new ER doctor, Jacob Maddox, enters the scene, she assumes that he will want the new job that is up for grabs. But things aren't as they appear with Jacob. He doesn't want the job; in fact, he has his own issues starting with clinical anxiety and the fact that his girlfriend dumped him for his brother. So, obviously, when Briana and Jacob meet they both have a lot of baggage. After a really bad first impression, Jacob writes Briana a letter and then they start corresponding that way and actually hit it off. The letters level up to lunch dates and so much more. Abby Jimenez's Yours Truly is a delightful rom-com that had me laughing out loud and while the novel touches on serious issues at times, it never feels overly dark.

I really enjoyed Briana from the start of
Yours Truly. I thought she was a really fun character and her glitter revenge and other scenes had me cackling. Her dedication to her brother tugged on my heartstrings and I appreciated that Jimenez highlighted chronic health issues and how they can impact an entire family as well as the toll it takes mentally. Jimenez adds her own personal health issues in the author's note at the end of Yours Truly, so I really appreciated that as well and I think many readers can relate to it. So, needless to say, I was rooting for Briana.

Jacob is a picture-perfect boyfriend in Yours Truly. I mean he offers to donate his kidney to Briana's brother. He writes letters. He has houseplants! His family is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Need I say more? The one issue he has is clinical anxiety and I think Jimenez does a brilliant job showing us through Jacob how that can impact a person both socially and at work. While I didn't really buy that he would donate his kidney so soon, I appreciated the sentiment and adored his character.

There are many common tropes in
Yours Truly--fake dating for starts, but Jimenez makes it feel fresh and fun. Many readers will enjoy this romance and I think it would be a great one to throw in your beach bag this summer. I listened to the audio version and really enjoyed it as well. A solid romance!

Are you a fan of Jimenez? Have you read
Yours Truly yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Friday, June 16, 2023

Book Spotlight: Love, Theoretically


Romance fans, get excited! A new Ali Hazelwood novel has come out this week! Woo hoo! I always enjoy picking up her novels and I can't wait to read her latest, Love, Theoretically, which I hear is a fantastic enemies-to-lovers romance. Hazelwood's rom-coms are not only steamy romances, but they are smart and laugh-out-loud funny, too. 

Learn More About the Book:


Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood

Pub. Date: June 13, 2023


About the book, "It’s a rivalry that runs as old and as deep as the feuds between the Capulets and the Montagues, the Yankees and the Red Sox, Batman and the Joker, Tom and Jerry: theoretical versus experimental physicists. Elsie Hannaway is firmly in the camp of theoretical physics—an adjunct professor by day, she toils long and hard to teach students about the laws of thermodynamics in hopes of landing tenure. But to make ends meet, Elsie takes on another role in her (very) limited spare time: fake girlfriend. In this career, Elsie can pretend to be anyone her client needs her to be… and while she’s not supposed to go on more than one date with a guy, she develops a soft spot for one who really needs her help in front of his family. What could possibly go wrong?


Here is what can go wrong: her client has an older brother. A very hot older brother. And, on an interview for her dream tenure-track position in MIT’s physics department, Elsie learns that said older brother is a member of the hiring committee. And he also just so happens to be the very same experimental physicist who ruined her mentor’s career and is the reason why the entire science field views theoretical physicists as wastes of space. Did we mention that he happens to be terribly sexy? And he thinks that Elsie is a librarian who has been dating his brother?"


You can purchase your own copy of Love, Theoretically at Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, Books-A-Million, and Amazon. You can learn more about Ali Hazelwood by visiting her website and connecting with her on Facebook and Instagram

So, is Love, Theoretically on your summer TBR list? Are you a fan of Ali Hazelwood? Let me know in the comments below. 


Friday, June 9, 2023

Blog Tour: A Little Ray of Sunshine

Happy Friday! Summer is *almost* here! To me, there's nothing better than curling up with a light romance while on vacation, or a lazy day at the beach, or even during a relaxing stay-cation. You can always count on Kristan Higgins to write a delightful romance and her books are perfect for summertime. 

I'm part of Berkley's blog tour today celebrating the publication of A Little Ray of Sunshine, which just came out this week. You'll definitely want to add this book to your summer TBR list...I mean look at that cover! And did I mention A Little Ray of Sunshine takes place on beautiful Cape Cod?

About the Novel:


About A LITTLE RAY OF SUNSHINE: "35-year-old bookstore owner Harlow Smith lives an intentionally quiet life.  Which means her world is flipped upside down when a teenager walks into the bookstore and announces that he is the biological son she gave birth to and placed for adoption while in college. That heartbreaking decision was a secret to all in her life but her best friend and college roommate.


Matthew Walker asked that his family spend the summer before he leaves for college on Cape Cod for one reason: to meet Harlow Smith. He didn’t share his plan with his adoptive parents, Monica and Sanjay Patel, so they are nearly as shocked as Harlow.


Both Harlow and Monica struggle with their rapidly changing roles in Matthew’s life. Monica raised him, but feels abandoned by Matthew’s quickly developing relationship with Harlow. What scares her the most is that on some level, she knows Matthew has been searching for Harlow his whole life. What if there isn’t room enough in his heart for both of them?


Harlow is overjoyed at the opportunity to finally be involved in her son’s life, but she’s possessed by what ifs. What if she kept her baby? What if she told her family? What if she never met Monica and Sanjay? Placing Matthew for adoption gave him a life she never could have provided, but she’s plagued by guilt and regret. How can they make up for lost time?"


 You can purchase A Little Ray of Sunshine at Barnes and Noble, Bookshop, Amazon or Books-A-Million.  You can learn more about Kristan Higgins by visiting her website and connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, this book would be a perfect book club pick for summer; you can check out the book club kit here

So, will you be adding A Little Ray of Sunshine to your summer TBR list? Are you a fan of Kristan Higgins? Let me know in the comments below.


Thursday, June 1, 2023

Mini Reviews: Summer Indulgence Edition

Summer is the perfect time to indulge in some books that you normally might not read, whether they be out of your comfort zone or a new-to-you genre, summer is the time to try it out. For me, that is anything that is recommended for fans of Colleen Hoover as those type of books tend to be hit or miss for me. However, they can be the perfect type of novels to bring on vacation and read with a margarita in hand. 


My Summer Darlings by May Cobb

Pages: 368
Pub. Date: May 17, 2022
Genre: Adult Fiction/Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher for review 
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Three lifelong friends plus a dangerous, sexy new stranger in town add up to a scorching summer of manipulation, obsession, and murder, from the acclaimed author of The Hunting Wives. A woman in the forest thinks she’s going to die. I know he’s coming back for me. Jen Hansen, Kittie Spears, and Cynthia Nichols have been friends since childhood. They are now approaching forty and their lives have changed, but their insular East Texas town has not. They stay sane by drinking wine in the afternoons, dishing about other women in the neighborhood, and bonding over the heartache of their own encroaching middle age and raising ungrateful teens. Then Will Harding comes to town, moving into one of the neighborhood’s grandest homes. Mysterious and charming, he seems like the answer to each woman’s prayers. He’s a source of fascination for Jen, Kittie, and Cynthia, but none of them are ready for the way Will disrupts their lives. As Will grows closer with each of the women, their fascination twists into obsession, threatening their friendships and their families. When he abruptly pulls away, each woman scrambles to discover the source of his affection. But what they’ll uncover is far more sinister and deadly than any of them could have ever imagined."


Jen Hansen moves back home with her teenage son after a nasty divorce. She hopes to start over in her hometown in Texas and it will be great to have the support of her best friends Kittie and Cynthia. They love to spend the evenings sipping wine on each other's patios and discussing the latest gossip. A recent hot topic is the new neighbor Will Harding. He is good-looking, single, and has caught the eye of Jen. Of course, her best friends support Jen and want her to put herself out there with Will; what better way to get over her cheating ex-husband? Except things aren't as they seem at all. As Kittie and Cynthia get closer to Will (under the guise that they want to get Jen with him) they start to have feelings for him, too. Before we know it, all three women are obsessed with him and things get dangerous in more ways than one. May Cobb's My Summer Darlings is a juicy beach read of a novel that is part thriller, romance, and mystery. While it is absurdly far-fetched at times, I needed to know how this novel was going to end for these highly dysfunctional women.

You know when you read a novel and you hate all the characters? Like not one character has redeeming qualities? That was
My Summer Darlings for me. It was a train wreck. If Desperate Housewives had a love child with a soap opera, it would be this novel. The catty behavior was next level from full-grown women who are all pining for this guy. I didn't buy it. I mean who is he? Even if he was Henry Cavill's look-alike brother, I still don't buy it. So, if you can suspend your disbelief and just go along for this crazy ride, then you'll enjoy My Summer Darlings, which was probably the most absurd beach read/summer thriller I've read in years.


Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

Pages: 560
Genre: Romance
Pub. Date: January 12, 2022
Publisher: Sourcebooks 
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Bearded, bad-boy barber Knox prefers to live his life the way he takes his coffee: Alone. Unless you count his basset hound, Waylon. Knox doesn’t tolerate drama, even when it comes in the form of a stranded runaway bride. Naomi wasn’t just running away from her wedding. She was riding to the rescue of her estranged twin to Knockemout, Virginia, a rough-around-the-edges town where disputes are settled the old-fashioned way…with fists and beer. Usually in that order. Too bad for Naomi her evil twin hasn’t changed at all. After helping herself to Naomi’s car and cash, Tina leaves her with something unexpected. The niece Naomi didn’t know she had. Now she’s stuck in town with no car, no job, no plan, and no home with an 11-year-old going on thirty to take care of. There’s a reason Knox doesn’t do complications or high-maintenance women, especially not the romantic ones. But since Naomi’s life imploded right in front of him, the least he can do is help her out of her jam. And just as soon as she stops getting into new trouble he can leave her alone and get back to his peaceful, solitary life. At least, that’s the plan until the trouble turns to real danger."



Naomi has left her fiance at the altar and is en route to Knockemout, Virginia, where her hot mess of a twin sister, Tina, has gotten herself into trouble, again. She goes to her sister's rescue, but instead is played by her, again. Tina steals her car, and her money, and leaves behind her eleven-year-old daughter. So, it appears Naomi is stuck in Virginia without a car, job, or house, and now has to take care of her niece whom she didn't even know she had. Enter Knox. Everyone knows him around town. He likes to be alone and is often in a grumpy mood, but deep down is a good guy. He can't possibly leave Naomi and her niece on the streets, so he decides to help her out even though he and Naomi are opposites and get along like water and oil. Slowly, Naomi gets acclimated to Knockemout and helps her niece. Even though Knox feels something for Naomi, he can't possibly get involved with such a high-maintenance woman, except trouble seems to follow her. Plus, Naomi can't stop thinking about Knox, the local hot guy barber who seems to be everywhere. Lucy Score's romance, Things We Never Got Over, has a lot of buzz surrounding it and I can see why. It's a compulsively readable romance that's perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover.

While I can see why
Things We Never Got Over is such a hit for many, for me it was just an average read. I will admit it was hard to put down, but I do feel like it could have used a bit more editing and the dialogue felt really cheesy. Knox was calling Naomi "baby" it felt like right off the bat and that seemed a little much. Also, it's 560 pages! That's a bit long for a contemporary romance. Nonetheless, if you love a good grumpy/sunshine or enemies to lovers trope, this one is done well overall and you'll definitely be flipping the pages this summer regardless of the novel's minor issues.

So, are you a fan of beach reads with extra doses of drama? Are these books on your TBR list or have you read them? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Blog Tour: The Duchess Takes a Husband

The past few years started reading historical romances and have enjoyed the Gilded Age Heiresses series by Harper St. George. I am excited to share with you all that the fourth book in the series, The Duchess Takes a Husband comes out today! It's perfect for fans of Bridgerton and would be a great steamy romance to escape to this summer.

Thanks to Berkley Romance, I am able to share with you an official excerpt from the novel. Let me know what you think!

Learn More About the Book:

The Duchess Takes a Husband by Harper St. George
Pub. Date: May 23, 2023

About the Book: "A scandalous arrangement between a London rogue and an American duchess leads to lavish stakes—perfect for fans of Bridgerton! Despite her illustrious title, Camille, Duchess of Hereford, remains what she has always been—a pariah. Though her title means she’s technically accepted by London Society, the rebellious widow with her burgeoning interest in the suffrage movement and her American ways isn’t exactly high on every hostess’s guest list. But Camille starts to wonder if being an outcast is not without its perks when the tantalizing answer to her secret fear appears in the shape of Jacob Thorne, the illegitimate son of an earl and co-owner of London’s infamous Montague Club. Jacob is used to making deals with his club members—he’s just not accustomed to them being beautiful women. Nor have the terms ever been so sweetly seductive as Camille’s shocking proposition. To finally buy his own club and gain the crucial backing of investors, Camille offers Jacob the respectability of a fake engagement with a duchess. In return, the tempting widow has one condition: she wants Jacob to show her if it’s possible for her to experience pleasure in bed. The lure of such a bargain proves too delicious to resist, drawing the enterprising rogue and the wallflower duchess into a scandalous game and an even more dangerous gamble of the heart."

You can purchase your own copy of The Duchess Takes a Husband at Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Books-A-Million.  You can learn more about Harper St. George by visiting her website and connecting with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

An Excerpt From the Novel:

Berkley Romance | On sale May 23, 2023

It was absolutely none of her business, but she couldn't help but wonder if Lilian and Thorne were lovers. He had lovers. Camille knew that. She had been a member of the club for a few months, and in that time she had seen any number of women arrive by the ladies-only entrance and greet him very warmly. Sometimes he'd offer his arm, other times he'd slide his hand around their waist and disappear with them into parts unknown and she wouldn't see him again that night. She couldn't say with reasonable certainty that he slept with all of them, but it was a fair bet that he'd bedded a few.

"How many women members are there?" Camille hadn't thought to ask when she'd filled out her registration form and paid the rather expensive dues. She'd joined because Hereford would have been appalled, not because she'd been trying to prove a larger point about equality of the sexes.

"A dozen, give or take, not nearly enough. I have to hurry off, but I would love to chat more. Will you be here another evening this week?"

Camille opened and closed her mouth when she realized she didn't know what to say. If Thorne rejected her proposition, then she couldn't imagine showing her face here again, but she didn't want to miss the chance of making a new friend. She didn't have many of those. Since coming to London over three years ago, she'd become that American because she could never seem to live up to the expectations of being Hereford's duchess. It had become the done thing to invite her to events only to sneer at her behind her back. Fellow American heiresses the Crenshaw sisters, August and Violet, were her friends, but they were both happily married now and starting families of their own.

"Perhaps we could have tea one afternoon?" she offered.

Lilian's smile was genuine when she said, "I would like that very much."

They exchanged goodbyes and Camille was left alone. She didn't bother practicing her smile again because it could quickly become a procrastination tactic. Either he was attracted to her and he said yes, or he wasn't and he said no. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, she rose and brushed out invisible wrinkles on her skirts. She wore an emerald-green gown cut the slightest bit lower than modest and in the natural shape that emphasized the flare of her hips, selected precisely because she thought it showed off her figure to the best advantage.

Pushing open the paneled mahogany door, she made her way down the wide corridor to the gaming room. It was nearly ten o'clock in the evening, which meant Thorne was probably there talking with patrons or dealing cards. He owned Montague Club along with his half brother, Christian Halston, Earl of Leigh, and their friend Evan Sterling, Duke of Rothschild. Both men were married to the Crenshaw sisters, so Camille had met him socially a handful of times. While she had always been charmed by his handsomeness in those social settings, it wasn't until she had joined Montague Club that she'd found herself viewing him differently . . . as someone she might want to get to know in an entirely more intimate way.

The double doors that led to the main gaming room were thrown wide open, revealing a dimly lit but richly appointed setting. Gilded sconces topped with frosted globes were set at regular intervals giving off flickering gaslight that was immediately absorbed by the dark wood paneling, creating playful shadows and an aura of intimacy. Aubusson rugs in dark reds, greens, and gold matched the sofas and overstuffed chairs set in small groupings near the fireplaces on either end of the space. Rosewood gaming tables topped with green baize were scattered throughout the middle of the room. It was a slow night, so only a few had men playing at them, while the rest sat empty.

As usual, the table where Jacob Thorne stood dealing cards was busy. He was well-liked and the club members seemed to gravitate toward him. He was as sinfully handsome as his half brother, Christian, but not nearly as forbidding. They were both tall and filled out a frock coat nicely, but where Christian's smile seemed to hold an edge of cynicism, Thorne's was more open and friendly. That was partly why she had decided to approach him with her indecent proposition. He was kind and trustworthy. She didn't think he would laugh at her or brag to his friends, but even more than that, he was the only man who had turned her head in a long time. Since her parents had introduced her to Hereford. Once she had met her future husband and reluctantly agreed to the marriage, she hadn't viewed men in the same way. She'd begun to despair that she ever would again, but something about Thorne had her looking twice.

She studied him as she made her way around the tables to reach him. He was dressed as well as the men he entertained with nothing about him to indicate he owned the club and they were customers. His clothing was bespoke like theirs and had probably come from the same tailor. He was the son of an earl after all, though born outside of wedlock. He had been raised by his father, and that aristocratic arrogance showed on his face and in his mannerisms, except he wore it more naturally than many. It wasn't conceit with him, so much as grace and charm.

His well-formed lips parted in a smile as he dealt another hand of vingt-un and made a joke she couldn't hear. The men at the table laughed as they added to their bets. Thorne picked up the deck of cards with a skill born from years of practice and tossed another card onto each stack. His hands were strong but graceful with long fingers and clipped nails. If all went to plan, he could be touching her with those very hands soon. She paused as a flush warmed her face, but it was too late. He'd caught sight of her.

"Your Grace." He smiled as the other three men greeted her in turn. "Have you come to join us?" he asked, his voice rich and smooth.

She swallowed and willed the butterflies in her stomach to cease their antics. She'd talked to him many times since joining his club, and tonight didn't have to be any different. Only it was. Fighting past her nerves, she took the chair at the end of the crescent-shaped table. "Yes, but I'm afraid I've never played the game before."

"Not to worry, Your Grace. We'll teach you, won't we, gentlemen?"

They murmured their agreement. A footman came forward almost immediately, bearing a small tumbler of her favorite whisky on ice. The service here was remarkable. Accepting it with a smile, she spent the next several minutes watching the men play as Thorne went over the rules. The game seemed easy enough; one simply tried to get the sum of their cards to add up to twenty-one without going over. It wasn't complicated. Finally, Thorne dealt her in, and she promptly lost the first two hands.

"Too aggressive," he warned her with a shake of his head when she asked for another card on the third round. The gaslight played in his thick, black hair, and she wondered if it would be as soft as it looked.

Excerpted from The Duchess Takes a Husband by Harper St. George Copyright © 2023 by Harper St. George. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved.

So, what do you think? Is The Duchess Takes a Husband on your summer TBR list? Have you read The Gilded Age Heiresses series? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Blog Tour: Summer Reading


It's beach read season and what better time to read a book called Summer Reading? As soon as I saw the title, read the description, and saw the cover, I knew I had to add this new novel by Jenn McKinlay to my summer TBR list. Summer Reading comes out today, so keep your eye out for it!

I am part of Berkley's blog tour today showcasing Summer Reading, which takes place on beautiful Martha's Vineyard. Not only is it a romantic comedy, it features a neurodiverse cast. I can't wait to read it!

Learn More About the Novel:


Summer Reading by Jenn McKinlay

Pub. Date: May 16, 2023



The story: "For Samantha Gale, a summer on Martha’s Vineyard at her family’s tiny cottage was supposed to be about resurrecting her career as a chef, until she’s tasked with chaperoning her half-brother, Tyler. The teenage brainiac is spending his summer at the local library in a robotics competition, and there’s no place Sam, who has dyslexia, likes less than the library. And because the universe hates her, the library’s interim director turns out to be the hot-reader guy whose book she accidentally destroyed on the ferry ride to the island. 
Bennett Reynolds is on a quest to find his father, whose identity he’s never known. He’s taken a temporary job on the island to research the summer his mother spent there when she got pregnant with him. Ben tells himself he isn't interested in a relationship right now. Yet as soon as Sam knocks his book into the ocean, he can’t stop thinking about her. 
An irresistible attraction blossoms when Ben inspires Sam to create the cookbook she’s always dreamed about and she jumps all in on helping him find his father, and soon they realize their summer fling may heat up into a happily ever after."


You can purchase your own copy of Summer Reading at Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, Amazon, and Books A Million. You can learn more about Jenn McKinlay by visiting her website and you can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook

So, what do you think? Is Summer Reading on your TBR list? Let me know in the comments below. 


Thursday, May 11, 2023

Book Review: Happy Place by Emily Henry

Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Fiction/Romance
Pub. Date: April 25, 2023  
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Personal Copy
Other Books By Author: Beach Read,
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college—they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls. Except, now—for reasons they’re still not discussing—they don’t. They broke up six months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends. Which is how they find themselves sharing the largest bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade. Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blue week they leave behind their daily lives; have copious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most. Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other. Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place. They can’t stand to break their friends’ hearts, and so they’ll play their parts. Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts a fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show. It’s a flawless plan (if you look at it from a great distance and through a pair of sunscreen-smeared sunglasses). After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week… in front of those who know you best?"


Wyn and Harriet have always been a part of an amazing friend group since college. This group takes a vacation to their "happy place" every summer: a cottage in Maine. Except they find out that this year will be the last year there as the cottage is up for sale, so they are determined to make this the best summer yet. Major problem though. Wyn and Harriet have been together for years, but they broke up six months ago and haven't told their friends, because they know it will devastate them. They can't tell them now as it will for sure ruin the vacation. So, things get awkward when Wyn and Harriet have to share a room and pretend for the entire week that they are still together. As Harriet spends more time this week with Wyn, she realizes she still has strong feelings for him. Plus, there's more issues in the friend group and things are inevitably changing for them all. Emily Henry's Happy Place is one of my favorite books of the year. It's snappy and witty dialogue had me laughing out loud and the plot was swoon-worthy, not to mention the perfect location of the cottage in Maine. A stellar beach read!

I really liked Harriet from the start in Happy Place. I think Henry creates such a realistic character in Harriet. She is a surgical resident and is constantly stressed, so she is really looking forward to her vacation in Maine, but is shocked to see Wyn there. This obviously complicates things and brings her romantic feelings for him to the surface. She tries to so hard to make things perfect for her friends as this is there last summer there and managing everyone's emotions takes a toll on her. Plus, there's the underlying issue of does she really want to be a doctor? Is this what she wants for her life or is this what her parents want for her? Does she want to be with Wyn? I couldn't help but wonder what happened to their relationship? I was hoping they could get a second chance at love.

Then there's Wyn. He is perfect. He is flawed, don't get me wrong, but he is a perfectly developed character that I was rooting for. I adored Henry's portrayal of their relationship and how it evolved in Happy Place. The then/now narrative really worked in giving us the full picture slowly. Wyn is such a complex character; he feels such a strong responsibility to his family and is dealing with a lot. Just like in Meet Me at the Lake, Henry tackles mental health issues that many people face and can relate to.

The best part of Happy Place was Henry's depiction of coastal Maine and the vacation. The restaurants, the cold white wine, the lobster, the quaint shops, and rowdy bars were so much fun and reminded me of my lazy days at the beach with friends. Combine all this with a wonderful romance and you've got yourself a winner of a beach read. I have to say that this is my favorite of Henry's novels to date. 

Have you read Happy Place? Are you a fan of Emily Henry? Let me know in the comments below.


Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Book Review: A Lakeside Reunion by C. Chilove

Pages: 320
Genre: Romance
Pub. Date: April 4, 2023
Publisher: Forever
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "This summer, escape to the Shores­--a Southern lake town full of elegance and glamour in a story about family traditions, friendship, and a love that can’t be denied. Chareese “Reese” Devlin spent every summer of her childhood in the lake town of Mount Dora, Florida, where her days were filled with fun in the sun. Reese never realized that the idyllic haven hid a deep divide between the town’s haves and have-nots. Not until the summer she turned seventeen and fell for Duncan McNeal, a boy who lacked the pedigree so valued by her parents and their equally well-connected friends. After her family squashed the budding romance, Reese refused to return to the place she lost her heart. Now, ten years later, she’s back to attend her sister’s debutante ball and must come to terms with all she’s missed. But the biggest surprise of all is that Duncan is now a successful real estate developer in Mount Dora—and time hasn’t weakened the connection between them. Behind the multimillion-dollar homes of the Shores lay old grudges and secrets capable of collapsing any family legacy. As the summer progresses, Reese must fix the sins of the past by facing the lines between truth and deception, tradition and breaking free, and family expectations and self-discovery."

Chareese "Reese" Devlin left Mount Dora, Florida years ago, but finds herself back home for her sister's debutante ball. Mount Dora is a well-to-do Florida lakeside community filled with only the most successful Black families and a Southern town with a lot of traditions as well as families that have known each other for years. Reese runs into her ex-boyfriend, Duncan McNeal, who is now a successful developer. Her parents didn't approve of their relationship in high school, but now they want her talk to him since he has bought their family's inn, Hill House Bed and Breakfast. The Devlins want to restore it, but Duncan wants to turn it into a youth center as that is a big need in Mount Dora. Reese also finds herself mentoring not only her younger sister, but also Duncan's, during the debutante season.  Through all this, she not only still has feelings for Duncan, she also finds out some major family secrets between the McNeals and Devlins. Things aren't as easy as they appear for Reese this time around in Mount Dora. C. Chilove's A Lakeside Reunion is a beach read filled with family drama, romance, and chock full of Southern charm.
I felt badly for Reese from the start as she is reluctantly returning home and is put in a tough spot immediately in A Lakeside Reunion. Her parents pretty much encourage her to use her former relationship with Duncan as a strategy to help her family reclaim their inn. It's awkward, because her parents never approved of Duncan, but now they want Reese to work her magic. They are way too overbearing if you ask me and tend to tell Reese, a grown woman, what to do. But that appears to be the case with may of the elite Black families in Mount Dora. 
I did enjoy Reese and Duncan's relationship in A Lakeside Reunion. What can I say? I am a sucker for a second chance romance; however, the path to love is never easy, right? There's some major obstacles for them to get through, including Duncan questioning Reese's motives, as well as a family secret between the two families.
While I am not the biggest fan of debutante balls, I did find it amusing in A Lakeside Reunion. All the traditions and rules seems to be a lot and while I did get tired of reading about "rich people problems" at times, it did make for a very entertaining aspect of the story. A Lakeside Reunion is also full of Southern traditions and charm, which makes it a perfect beach read, as well as the lakeside setting.
So, if you are looking for a light romance this summer, A Lakeside Reunion is a sweet one. Are you a fan of C. Chilove? Is this novel on your TBR list? Let me know in the comments.   


Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Mini Reviews: Bridgerton Edition Part II


To continue the celebration of the start of a new Bridgerton show, Queen Charlotte on Netflix, I am sharing another round of Bridgerton reviews. This time I am focusing on the Rokesbys series, which is the prequel to the much loved Bridgerton series. The Rokesby family are close friends and neighbors to the Bridgertons, so their paths are always crossing. I really enjoyed the Rokesby series as it's not only fun to be in the Bridgerton world, but also the Georgian time period is a nice change. Plus, the Rokesby series has a lot more adventure! If you missed my previous Bridgerton and Rokesby reviews, you can catch up on them here.

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn (Rokesbys #2)
Genre: Audio Book/Romance
Pub. Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: HarperAudio
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "While you were sleeping ...With her brother Thomas injured on the battlefront in the Colonies, orphaned Cecilia Harcourt has two unbearable choices: move in with a maiden aunt or marry a scheming cousin. Instead, she chooses option three and travels across the Atlantic, determined to nurse her brother back to health. But after a week of searching, she finds not her brother but his best friend, the handsome officer Edward Rokesby. He's unconscious and in desperate need of her care, and Cecilia vows that she will save this soldier's life, even if staying by his side means telling one little lie ...I told everyone I was your wife.When Edward comes to, he's more than a little confused. The blow to his head knocked out six months of his memory, but surely he would recall getting married. He knows who Cecilia Harcourt is--even if he does not recall her face--and with everyone calling her his wife, he decides it must be true, even though he'd always assumed he'd marry his neighbor back in England.If only it were true ...Cecilia risks her entire future by giving herself--completely--to the man she loves. But when the truth comes out, Edward may have a few surprises of his own for the new Mrs. Rokesby."



Cecilia Harcourt is out of options. She has to either marry a foul cousin or move in with her aging aunt. She is orphaned and her brother, Thomas, is over in America fighting the Revolutionary War. When she finds out Thomas is injured, she decides to travel overseas to find him. She can't help but worry what will happen to their home if he doesn't inherit it? Once over in America, she doesn't find her brother, but instead finds his handsome best friend and their neighbor, Edward Rokesby. He is unconscious and is struggling. She decides to nurse him back to health, but in order to do that, she has to be his wife. So, when assumptions are made, she goes with it and even reinforces the idea, because how could she leave him there like that? When he finally wakes up, his memories are a bit foggy due to a head injury. Everyone is referring to Cecilia as his wife, so he assumes she must be, right? Edward thinks he knows her, but does he? Or does he just know of her from reading the letters that she wrote to Thomas? Meanwhile, Cecilia can't help but wonder what will happen if the truth gets out or his memory comes back completely? Julia Quinn's second installment in the Rokesby series, The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband is a delight and reminiscent of While You Were Sleeping.

I really enjoyed Cecilia from the start even though I knew she should have been truthful. It's more fun this way, right? I also appreciated the new setting of America during the Revolutionary War. This was a nice change from England. As always, Rosalyn Landor was a delight and one of the reasons I keep coming back to this audio book series.  

The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn (Rokesbys #3)
Genre: Audio Book/Romance
Pub. Date: November 20, 2018
Publisher: HarperAudio
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "She was in the wrong place… Fiercely independent and adventurous, Poppy Bridgerton will only wed a suitor whose keen intellect and interests match her own. Sadly, none of the fools from her London season qualify. While visiting a friend on the Dorset coast, Poppy is pleasantly surprised to discover a smugglers’ hideaway tucked inside a cave. But her delight turns to dismay when two pirates kidnap her and take her aboard a ship, leaving her bound and gagged on the captain’s bed. He found her at the wrong time…Known to society as a rascal and reckless privateer, Captain Andrew James Rokesby actually transports essential goods and documents for the British government. Setting sail on a time-sensitive voyage to Portugal, he’s stunned to find a woman waiting for him in his cabin. Surely, his imagination is getting the better of him. But no, she is very real—and his duty to the Crown means he’s stuck with her. Can two wrongs make the most perfect right? When Andrew learns that she is a Bridgerton, he knows he will likely have to wed her to avert a scandal—though Poppy has no idea that he is the son of an earl and neighbor to her aristocratic cousins in Kent. On the high seas, their war of words soon gives way to an intoxicating passion. But when Andrew’s secret is revealed, will his declaration of love be enough to capture her heart…?"



Poppy Bridgerton, after an unsuccessful season in London, is visiting her friend in Dorset. While there, she is off exploring a cave and happens upon what appears to be a smuggler's hideout. Then that's when things go badly for Poppy. She gets kidnapped by pirates and brought aboard a ship. While there, she realizes that the captain is actually a gentleman, but despite his good upbringing, he won't let her go free. So, off they sail to Portugal with Poppy on board. Andrew James, the captain, tries to keep Poppy comfortable while enroute to Portugal, and he realizes who she is: his neighbor's cousin. She doesn't recognize his true identity as he is on a secret mission for the monarchy. The more time they spend together, the more sparks fly and they have such lively discussions whether it be about puzzles, history, architecture, and more. Julia Quinn's The Other Miss Bridgerton reads more like an adventurous romance and I was delighted by the ride.

I really enjoyed Poppy as she is spirited, independent, and doesn't shy away from an adventure. I also really enjoyed the banter between her and Andrew and loved how his identity was a mystery to her. I will say the time spent to Portugal and stuck in the ship's cabin lagged a bit at times, but once ashore in Portugal, the pace definitely picked up. The Rokesbys series is proving to be quite the adventure - kidnapping, pirates, bandits, and more! As always, Rosalyn Landor makes it all come to life.

First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn (Rokesbys #4) 
Genre: Audio Book/Romance
Pub. Date: April 21, 2020
Publisher: HarperAudio
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "She was given two choices...Georgiana Bridgerton isn't against the idea of marriage. She'd just thought she'd have some say in the matter. But with her reputation hanging by a thread after she's abducted for her dowry, Georgie is given two options: live out her life as a spinster or marry the rogue who has ruined her life. Enter Option #3 As the fourth son of an earl, Nicholas Rokesby is prepared to chart his own course. He has a life in Edinburgh, where he's close to completing his medical studies, and he has no time -- or interest -- to find a wife. But when he discovers that Georgie Bridgerton -- his literal girl-next-door -- is facing ruin, he knows what he must do. A Marriage of Convenience It might not have been the most romantic of proposals, but Nicholas never thought she'd say no. Georgie doesn't want to be anyone's sacrifice, and besides, they could never think of each other as anything more than childhood friends... or could they?But as they embark upon their unorthodox courtship they discover a new twist to the age-old rhyme. First comes scandal, then comes marriage. But after that comes love...



Lady Georgiana "Georgie" Bridgerton found herself in a compromising situation when she was trapped by a scoundrel, Freddie Oakes. This ruined her reputation and when her godfather got word of it, he found an immediate solution. He told his son, Nicholas Rokesby, to marry his childhood friend, Georgie. Both Georgie and Nicholas had hoped to marry for love one day, but they understand how this is a decent solution to a major scandal. Nicholas is in medical school and this consumes most of his time. However, Georgie is really interested in medicine, but women can't attend medical school during this time period. Nicholas teachers her as much as he can and supports her dreams. Slowly as their friendship blossoms into something more, they realize that this marriage of convenience may end up being something more. Julia Quinn's fourth installment in the Rokesby series, First Comes Scandal, features a delightful progressive couple that I enjoyed from the start.

It wasn't Georgie's fault with what happened to her with Freddie as she was truly a victim, so I was glad to see Nicholas, her life-long friend, step up to help her. I really enjoyed their friendship and the slow burn to something more. I also appreciated how Nicholas supported Georgie's dreams from the start. 

Also, First Comes Scandal included a lot more humor than Quinn's previous novels. Rosalyn Landor excels at bringing to life all the scenes including one laugh-out-loud scene in a carriage with Georgie's cats on the way to Scotland, which was a nice change of scenery. Lastly, fans of the Bridgerton series will love seeing some of Georgie's young nephews make a cameo.



So, are you a fan of the Bridgerton series? Have you read the prequel series, Rokesbys yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

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