What I Read: May 29-June 4

The Wallflower Wager (Girls Meets Duke #3) by Tessa Dare: Delightfully hilarious, and a perfect fit with the other books in the series. I loved Gabriel, but not enough to bump Chase out of the top Tessa Dare Book Boyfriend spot.

All Downhill With You; The Fiction Between Us; and Our Ride to Forever (Honeywood #1-3) by Julie Olivia: Casually binged a series in the span of 3 1/2 days. Lovable characters + a cozy setting = a recipe for success. I don’t even have a ranking for these because they were all pretty consistent – although I think Orson might be my favorite male lead so far (gotta love a wife guy!) Book four comes out later this month, and the entire series is available on Kindle Unlimited.

What I Read: May 22-28

Ciao for Now by Kate Bromley: Take Emily in Paris but make it Violet in Rome (and throw in a dash of The Devil Wears Prada) and you have the overall vibe of this book. This was mostly enjoyable and really cute, but I felt like it could have gone a bit deeper. Nonetheless, it’s a really fun read for summer and it feels like taking a vacation (without spending any money, of course). Thank you UpLit Reads! Ciao for Now is available June 6.

Love, Lists and Fancy Ships by Sarah Grunder Ruiz: This ended up being a lot different than expected but it was so delightful! I looooved Alex, and Jo was really doing the best she could while trying to mange unimaginable grief. I’m really looking forward to book two!

Midnight, Repeated (Movie Magic #1) by Dani McLean: This was fine – the premise is interesting but I found myself skimming the second half of the book. However, I would give McLean another chance because I think her writing shows a lot of promise.

Brazen and the Beast (The Bareknuckle Bastards #2) by Sarah MacLean: I mostly enjoyed this book but wow did I LOVE Whit! A menacing man known as Beast who also keeps candy in his pockets at all times? I guess we call contain multitudes. The setup for book three has me INTRIGUED and I might be picking it up sooner rather than later (famous last words. Check in with me in six months and ask if i’ve read it yet…)

What I Read: May 15-21

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn: It’s no secret that Kate Quinn writes some of the best historical fiction out there and this was no exception. Mila’s story is fascinating and I think Quinn did it justice by filling in some blanks the best she could and adding a few fictional twists to round out the book’s narrative. I didn’t love this quite as much as The Rose Code, but it’s still a worthwhile read.

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren: Although I felt the pacing of this was a bit off, I still mostly enjoyed it (until the inclusion of a trope I don’t particularly love at the end). However, I am enjoying my journey into FINALLY reading Christina Lauren books and I look forward to picking up more!

Happy Place by Emily Henry: Emily Henry’s books just get better and better (I mean, mostly. Book Lovers is still my favorite but it just barely squeaks past this one and that’s primarily because I love Charlie so damn much). The romance element in this is strong, but it’s so perfectly balanced by the dynamic of the friend group.

The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer: I finally picked up my next Georgette Heyer read and it did not disappoint. Gervase was delightful, Drusilla was wonderfully practical without being stuffy or naive. Heyer blends mystery with romance here and it works well – the romance is a BIT more subtle than I would have liked, but it still enjoyable.

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben: For me, Harlan Coben is like Stephen King – absolutely amazing when his books are good, and a complete head scratcher when they miss the mark. Fool Me Once was just a middle-of-the-road thriller…the set up is fascinating (recently widowed woman sees her dead husband on the nanny cam) but the payoff is a bit lackluster. Once you realize what’s really going on, some of the choices of the main character are confusing. I guess it doesn’t matter, because i’ll continue to pick up Coben’s books either way.

What I Read: May 8-14

Bookshop Cinderella (Scandal at the Savoy #1) by Laura Lee Guhrke: This was a perfectly fine historical romance, and i’d recommend it to any reader interested giving the genre a try. Thank you Forever for the ARC!

Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren: I loved this! Sure, it was a little silly at times, but it still made me laugh out loud. Excited to try more Christina Lauren books (this was only my second!)

Two Wrongs Make a Right (Wilmot Sisters #1) by Chloe Liese: This was fine, although not as punchy as Liese’s Bergman Brothers series. However, I have high hopes for book two!

Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rea: I had so much fun with this book. Bonus points for the Columbus setting. Content warning for some sad animal stuff, but it’s not TOO upsetting.

What I Read: May 1-7

Storm Warning by Nellie Wilson: Anxiously awaiting whatever Nellie Wilson writes next, because i’m pretty sure I’d follow her over a cliff (or into a tornado…) Her writing gets better the more she writes and all of her work is available on Kindle Unlimited, so you really don’t have an excuse.

Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld: I muddled through the beginning of this book but I am SO glad I stuck with it. I absolutely loved how the ending came together and it was surprisingly romantic (given the way the book started). Sally wasn’t the most likeable lead, but Noah is the real star here (both literally and figuratively).

What You Wish For by Katherine Center: Two words: DUNCAN CARPENTER. Katherine Center’s talent is immeasurable. I always fly through her books and i’m always left hugging them after i’ve turned the last page. This might be my favorite of hers so far (and an easy contender for favorite book i’ve read this year). Itching to get my hands on a copy of Happiness for Beginners before the Netflix movie comes out this summer!

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood: This was a love/hate read for me (mostly love, thankfully). I’m fully caught up on Hazelwood’s work (I liked her novellas better than her full-length books, but have mostly enjoyed everything she’s written), and cautiously optimistic for Love, Theoretically.

Managed (VIP #2) by Kristen Callihan: This was fine but I don’t really feel compelled to finish the series. Also the MMC’s nickname for the FMC was “chatty girl” and I cannot fully express how much I hated reading it every other paragraph.

What I Read: April 10-30

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry: This hasn’t dethroned Book Lovers as my favorite Emily Henry book, but I did like it more than Beach Read. (The verdict is still out on Happy Place, but i’ll be reading that at some point in May!)

A medley of historical romance: Did another historical romance readathon (just me, myself and I…) and this one was absolutely WILD compared to the first. More details here.

Famous for a Living by Melissa Ferguson: This was SO cute. Elements of found family and figuring things out after life throws you a major curveball. Bonus points for thoughtful commentary on social media addiction. Thank you Thomas Nelson for the ARC!

Terms and Conditions (Dreamland Billionaires #2) by Lauren Asher: This was a little bit too long (what’s with these 500 page romance books!?) but WOW was it romantic. Declan gives off Mr. Darcy vibes (icy on the outside but oh-so-soft and gooey inside) which is always a plus. I’ll definitely read book three even thought it’s almost 600 (!!! seriously, stop it!) pages.

The Bullet That Missed (Thursday Murder Club #3) by Richard Osman: Absolutely perfect. No notes. These books can be read as standalones, but I highly recommend starting from the beginning of the series to get fully acquainted with the crew.

Curated by Nellie Wilson: Dr. Ryan Andersson is a hot dinosaur-loving nerd, and I feel like that’s enough. I’m pretty confident that another book with the museum crew is coming eventually, and it had better feature a certain best friend and her tattooed bartender…

Need S’More Time by Nellie Wilson: One teacher struggling with career burnout plus one socks-with-sandals-wearing camp director equals a cozy book that will make you anxious for warmer weather and camp fire dinners (hot dogs and s’mores are a MUST).

Soft Flannel Hank (Elements of Pining #1) by Eliza MacArthur: Oh HANK. A gentle giant with a LOT of baggage. Tuck him in with a bowl of apple crumble and a forehead kiss. This has some paranormal elements but they never feel heavy-handed. Eliza is also an absolute gem of a human being, so this is worth your time for that reason alone. She also sets up book two in the BEST way, and I cannot wait to have more time with those particular characters.

What I Read: March 19-April 9

The Hellions of Halstead Hall series by Sabrina Jeffries: I read all five books in this series right in a row, and it was an EXPERIENCE (more details here). Needless to say, I had a lot of fun with it, and I’ll be more open to reading complete series back-to-back in the future.

Keyed Up by Sarah Estep: Easily the best book I read in March! A fun romantic comedy with the most lovable cast of characters. PLUS, it’s going to be a series and I CAN’T WAIT. Keyed up is available May 4. Thank you Sarah for the eARC!

Flow (Grip Trilogy #1) by Kennedy Ryan: This was…fine? A prequel to a two-book series about Marlon and Bristol’s relationship. There wasn’t anything wrong with this, it just wasn’t a memorable read for me.

Beauty and the Baller (Strangers in Love #1) by Ilsa Madden-Mills: I loved parts of this and was a bit “meh” on some other parts, but overall it was a decent enough read (it kept me interested while on a few flights, so that’s a plus).

Throttled (Dirty Air #1) by Lauren Asher: Formula 1 is a thrilling sport, but this book captured absolutely none of that excitement. The characters felt immature (I really need to take my own advice and avoid books with characters who are fresh out of college) and the plot was bland. Watch Drive to Survive instead for your motorsport fix.

Coronation Year by Jennifer Robson: A more character-driven historical fiction, with QEII’s coronation as a grounding element. I enjoyed the perspective of each character (I particularly liked Jamie) and although the main conflict felt a bit pushed to the background (until the last few chapters), this was a quick, atmospheric read. It’s a shame that the Blue Lion is purely fictional! Thank you UpLit Reads!

What I Read: March 13-19

Two for the Dough (Stephanie Plum #2) by Janet Evanovich: The early Stephanie Plum novels might have some issues (they were written almost 30 years ago, after all…) but I still laughed out loud and fully plan on reading MOST of this series over time. These books are reliable, quick reads and they’re easy to find at the library or the used bookstore!

The House on Mulberry Street (Blue Cedar Falls #3) by Jeannie Chin: I’m always sad to wrap up a beloved series, but I really enjoyed my time in Blue Cedar Falls. Elizabeth and Graham are besties-turned-roommates-turned-lovers and their story is sweet and funny. Thank you Forever for the finished copy!

What Happens in the Ballroom (Designing Debutantes #2) by Sabrina Jeffries: I have a few Sabrina Jeffries books on my tbr shelf, but this is the first one I picked up. Eliza reconnects with her late husband’s best friend Nathaniel, who is looking for help introducing another young widow to society. There are a LOT of secrets, twists and turns in this story, but it’s not without humor. Thank you Kensington/Zebra for the ARC!

What I Read: March 6-12

A Most Intriguing Lady by Sarah Ferguson: This is an interesting historical romance, leaning more in the style of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer rather than your standard modern-day HR. I had a lot of fun following Mary and Tre’s story (this takes place over the span of a few years which was an unexpected but refreshingly realistic touch). Thank you Bibliolifestyle and Avon for the finished copy!

Exposed (VIP #4) by Kristen Callihan: This is a recommendation that I picked up from a BookTube video and it was…fine. I liked Rye and Brenna, but this book might have been more enjoyable if I would have read other books in the series first (which is completely my fault!) I would consider picking up some of the other books, but my tbr is so long already that i’m not sure this was compelling enough to bump other books out of the way.

I Will Find You by Harlan Coben: Harlan Coben is always a sure thing for me and I Will Find You was no exception. I read this book in less than twelve hours (which is pretty par for the course with any Coben novel). I mean, it has a boy (potentially) back from the dead, a VERY anxiety-inducing prison escape, and a plot that never stops. Harlan, i’m sorry you spent probably a year or more writing this, and I devoured it in half a day. One of the best things about his books is that they’re all set in the same universe, so you’ll start to notice little mentions and characters from other books. Thankfully, I have a LOT of Harlan Coben backlist to get through, so I won’t be TOO impatient waiting for his next release. Thank you Novel Suspects and Grand Central Publishing for the ARC!

The Bribe (Calamity Montana #1) by Willa Nash and Devney Perry: This is a perfectly serviceable contemporary romance, but it felt incredibly insta-lovey and there is some intense melodrama introduced toward the end that felt a bit over the top. I still read it in a day, though, so maybe it wasn’t so bad. I do wish that the town of Calamity felt more like its own character, but i’m guessing it might play a larger part in subsequent books in the series.

Hang the Moon (Written in the Stars #2) by Alexandria Bellefleur: This was cute, but I’ll probably forget most of the details in a week. The book equivalent of cotton candy: enjoyable in the moment and a nice little treat, but ultimately it’s all sugar, zero substance.

What I Read: Feb. 27-March 5

Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn: This was such a pleasant surprise. Georgie and Levi are some of the most lovable leads, and their journey is a delight to follow. I loved the chapters from Levi’s perspective because his thought process in some moments was fascinating and relatable.

Say Yes to the Marquess (Castles Ever After #2) by Tessa Dare: Easily one of the funniest historicals I’ve ever read. It’s not perfect, but it is entertaining.

The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson: This is a THICK book but it reads fast. Based on a real underground library that existed during WWII, The Little Wartime Library is a hopeful story, but isn’t without its moments of sorrow and grief. The sense of community amongst the people living and working underground is easily the most impactful part of this story. Thank you Forever for the finished copy!

The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan: It takes awhile for the plot and relationship of this book to be fully realized, but it’s worth it! Naomi and Ethan have wildly different backgrounds but their working-relationship-turned-somewhat-friendship-turned something-more made for a good story. Not nearly as good as The Roommate, but still worth a read. (And I can’t wait for Danan’s next book, coming out later this year!)