What I Read: Nov. 14-20

In the Event of Love (Fern Falls #1) by Courtney Kae: Please sign me up for all of the small-town romance books. Fern Falls is SO dreamy. If you’re ready for snowy, cozy holiday reads (this isn’t aggressively holiday themed, but it does take place between Thanksgiving and Christmas) you’ll want to add this to your tbr. Plus, there’s really good setup for book two. Thank you Kensington for the ARC!

The Wrong Mr. Right (The Queen’s Cove Series #2) by Stephanie Archer: This started off strong for me, but fizzled out a bit by the end. However, it’s a really sweet (and moderately spicy) book set in an adorable beach-side town, and it’s available on Kindle Unlimited which is always a plus.

Heartbreaker (Hell’s Belles #2) by Sarah MacLean: This might be one of my new favorite series. I enjoyed the first book, but I was most excited for Adelaide and Imogen’s stories (Adelaide is the lead in Heartbreaker and Imogen’s book is next!) This was so much fun, and had the right amount of seriousness without feeling weighed down. Henry is an adorable duke who has a few surprises up his sleeve, and you can’t help but root for and love Adelaide. Thank you Avon for the ARC!

Walk on the Wilder Side (Wilder Adventures #2) by Serena Bell: This was a quick read, but the pacing and tone felt a bit inconsistent. There’s a LOT of humor early on involving Rachel’s mom’s business, but that entire plot feels a bit shoved to the side by the middle of the book. Brody’s “bad boy” persona felt a bit more tell than show (however, I didn’t read the first book, so I may have missed some substantial setup for his character). There’s also a pretty major plot featuring a baby (this isn’t a spoiler, it’s revealed pretty early on) that I didn’t really care for (it was sweet, but just not my thing).

What I Read: Oct. 31-Nov. 6

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier: This started off really promising and then it just kind of made me feel icky (also, I figured out the “twist” way too early for it to have any real impact once revealed). If you’re looking for a book with the same vibes as Rebecca, this ain’t it.

The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams: This book made me irrationally angry. It had SO MUCH promise and then it took a massive left turn into complete cheese territory (and not even good, charcuterie plate-worthy cheese. Like movie theater, liquid “cheese” that comes with a side of too-salty tortilla chips or questionably greasy pretzel bites). If the setup for this was a delicious, cozy plate of pasta with a large glass of red wine, the execution was more like off-brand Easy Mac with a flat can of RC Cola.

Single and Ready to Jingle by Piper Rayne: I may not be ready to put up my Christmas decorations quite yet, but I am more than ready for all the holiday romance reads! Single and Ready to Jingle DELIVERS. It’s adorable, it’s funny, it’s emotional. For the record, the holiday version of sunshine/grump is sugarplum/Grinch, and TRUST ME you will fall in love with Kenzie and Andrew. Thank you Valentine PR for the ARC!

To Catch a Raven (Women Who Dare #3) by Beverly Jenkins: Ms. Bev is a legend in romancelandia, and To Catch a Raven was a really lovely read. Raven and Braxton are mature adults who don’t play games – they’re open with their emotions (I mean, to a point, we do need a little bit of mutual pining to make the work!) and the main conflict in this story is purely external. This was probably one of the most historically accurate historical romances I’ve ever read, so I felt like I was actually learning something while also enjoying a well-crafted love story. Thank you Avon for the ARC!

What I Read: Oct. 17-23

The Kiss Curse (The Ex Hex #2) by Erin Sterling: While I didn’t enjoy this QUITE as much as The Ex Hex, I really loved Wells. Overall, both of these books are perfect October reads.

In the Weeds (Lovelight #2) by BK Borison: When I was reading Lovelight Farms, I was convinced that Beckett was going to be my favorite. I did enjoy Evie and Beckett’s story, but the first book takes the top spot for me (we’ll see how I feel about Mixed Signals!)

Duke Most Wicked (Wallflowers vs. Rogues #3) by Lenora Bell: This was a fun historical romance that did feel a teensy bit repetitive at times, but was completely redeemed by West’s crew of hilarious, adorable sisters. I’m definitely interested in reading more from this author! Thank you Avon Books for the ARC!

And Yet by Kate Baer: Poetry isn’t my jam, but Kate Baer’s brand of introspection sure is. If you already love her, you’ll love this. Thank you Harper Perennial for the finished copy!

What I Read: June 20-26

All the Duke I Need (Desperately Seeking Duke #3) by Caroline Linden: The cover of this book is…not my favorite, but I really enjoyed the story. Will is a little different from the typical historical romance male love interest – he’s rogueish but not REALLY a rogue. He’s a rough-around-the-edges kind of guy, but with a willingness to help where he can. The overall storyline is really interesting (although you MAY have to suspend a bit of disbelief here). Thank you Avon for the finished copy! | My All the Duke I Need review on Instagram

If It Bleeds by Stephen King: WOOF. I need to take a longer break from Uncle Steve. This collection of four novellas was just so boring. I slowly made it through the first two, and he completely lost me during the Holly Gibney bit.

Roll Red Roll: Rape, Power and Football in the American Heartland by Nancy Schwartzman: I’m actually finishing this up today but I have read enough to offer some thoughts. This is a comprehensive, informative book about the Steubenville rape case that happened in 2012. Schwartzman examines the attitudes and contributing factors in the town that ultimately led to the crime. If you’re familiar with this case (and similar cases) nothing here will surprise you, but it’s a short, worthwhile read. Thank you Hachette for the finished copy!

Teach Me (There’s Something About Marysburg #1) by Olivia Dade: I’ve been interested in reading an Olivia Dade book for awhile, and Teach Me was a pleasant surprise. Rose and Martin are mature and work through their emotions and feelings in healthy ways (it helps that both main characters are in their 40s). It’s always nice to find a contemporary romance with minimal drama and angst. The story was a little lacking in depth but it was still an enjoyable read.

The Rogue of Fifth Avenue (Uptown Girls #1) by Joanna Shupe: I read my first Joanna Shupe book last year and absolutely LOVED it, so I’m surprised it took me so long to give another a try. The Rogue of Fifth Avenue was good, but not great. I did like Frank and (mostly) liked Mamie, but I have a feeling I’ll enjoy the other books in this series even more.

What I Read: June 13-19

Aurora by David Koepp: This was a read-in-one-day sort of book – fast-paced and interesting, without being TOO heavy (although focused on an apocalyptic-adjacent event). Koepp wrote the screenplay for Jurassic Park, so this reads very much like a movie. Thank you Harper Books for the finished copy! | My Aurora review on Instagram

The Body in the Library (Miss Marple #2) by Agatha Christie: I enjoyed this more than the first book, but I don’t know if Miss Marple and I can be friends. I’ll probably read the remaining four books I have in this series, but I’m not sure I’ll go beyond that. Looks like I’ll be scurrying back to Poirot in a few months…

Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma: This started off incredibly promising and fizzled out, FAST. Between interesting (read: embarrassing and immature) names for body parts and a male lead who actually turns out to be a pretty big jerk, you’re not missing much if you decide to skip this one.

Witch and Famous (Witch Way Librarian Mysteries #3) by Angela M. Sanders: Witchy books can be really hit or miss for me, and this series continues to be a favorite! Sanders perfectly balances the magical and witchy elements with real life. The mystery in this one had me guessing until the very end, and I was thrown off by some very clever red herrings. Thank you Kensington for the ARC! | My Witch and Famous review on Instagram

Deal Breaker (Myron Bolitar #1) by Harlan Coben: I’m no stranger to Harlan Coben, having read a handful of his books over the past few years. After catching up with Karin Slaughter’s backlist, I decided to shift my focus to starting the Myron Bolitar series from the beginning. Myron and Win are some of my favorite characters to revisit, and this series does a decent job of filling the Karin Slaughter void in my reading life. And for a book published in 1995, this didn’t feel TOO dated which is an achievement on its own.

CURRENTLY READING: Getting back into historical romance and finally reading All the Duke I Need by Caroline Linden. Thank you Avon for the finished copy!

What I Read: March 21-27

Anne’s House of Dreams (Anne of Green Gables #5) by LM Montgomery: Okay, WOOF. I have absolutely loved this series so far (the first book is pure magic) and i’m not sure i’ll actually finish it… I was so excited for Anne and Gilbert to get married, and thought this book would feature a more grown-up version of Anne. Well…it does. But it’s so horribly boring. Gilbert is barely featured in this book and the “secondary” characters are in the spotlight. I’ve heard the next two books in the series are focused primarily on Anne’s children (and some children in another family) and I could not be less interested in those storylines. Unfortunately, I think my time with the Green Gables crew has come to an end.

Bombshell (Hell’s Belles #1) by Sarah MacLean: I’ve heard from many historical romance fans that Sarah MacLean books are top tier. Bombshell was really good – Sesily and her girl gang were fun characters (Adelaide and Imogen in particular!) and Caleb was a solid male lead. This dragged a little bit for me towards the end (some plot points felt a bit repetitive at times) but i’ll still give book two a shot when it comes out later this year. Thank you Avon for the finished copy!

CURRENTLY READING: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steven Brusatte

What I Read: Feb. 21-27

Don’t Cry for Me by Daniel Black: This is a heartbreaking story of a dying father communicating with his son through a series of letters. It’s a quick, emotional read, but I found myself getting frustrated with the father’s excuses for his abusive behavior and was really hoping we would get some sort of perspective from the son at the end.

Hook, Line and Sinker (Bellinger Sisters #2) by Tessa Bailey (available 03/01/2022): I was so excited when this showed up in the mail (Thank you Avon!) I loved It Happened One Summer when I read it a few weeks ago, and I was really looking forward to reading more about Hannah and Fox. Although each book has its strengths (and weaknesses), both are really fun contemporary romance reads.

The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig: I should have learned my lesson when I read Wanderers in 2019, but I had high hopes for this book. There are some really great bits here, but ultimately the story is disjointed and there are a lot of (seemingly important) things that don’t get much detail and a few things that get way too much detail. The very end is really fantastic, but I couldn’t wait for this one to be over.

The Whispering Dead (Gravekeeper #1) by Darcy Coates: I read my first book by Darcy Coates (The Haunting of Leigh Harker) and absolutely LOVED it, so I was excited to start this series. I think I need to manage expectations for this book: this is NOT horror. It’s more of a cozy mystery-ish story with some spooky elements (yay ghosts!) The pacing is a little off, but overall it’s a fun, quick read with a really lovable cast of characters. I also have an early copy of book two, The Ravenous Dead (available 03/15/2022), sitting on my shelf (Thank you Poisoned Pen Press!)

CURRENTLY READING: In an effort to finally finish the Bridgerton series, I’ve picked up It’s in His Kiss (Bridgerton #7) by Julia Quinn and i’m loving it so far. Hyacinth and Gareth are both delightful characters, and i’m always ready for more Lady Danbury content.