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: 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: 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!)

What I Read: Jan. 9-15

The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama: I loved Becoming when I read it a few years ago, so Michelle’s new book was at the top of my Christmas list. This was good – it didn’t hit the same as Becoming, but it’s a worthwhile read. I would especially recommend this to people in college – a lot of Michelle’s advice and perspective would be more valuable and impactful for people a bit younger than I am.

How to Win a Wallflower (Rebels with a Cause #3) by Samara Parish: Love wrapping up (I think? Unless there’s another book coming!) a good historical romance series. This wasn’t my favorite of the three, but I still appreciated Charlotte and John’s story (although, the two major conflicts felt a bit repetitive). Thank you Forever for the finished copy!

Mixed Signals (Lovelight #3) by BK Borison: I am so sad that i’m finished with this series but I am SO ready to read whatever BK Borison writes next! Layla and Caleb’s book has some of the elements from the first book that I missed in book two. However, you really can’t go wrong with any book in this series (I would recommend reading them in order, though!)

Spare by Prince Harry: This had to be a tough book to write. Harry digs deep into trauma he faced as a child, and explains how he carried that trauma with him for more than a decade before even becoming close to starting to heal from it. Combine an unimaginable personal loss at a young age with being forced to grow up in front of the entire world (with all the trial and error that comes with being a young adult) – you can’t help but at least feel a LITTLE bad for him. (Prince Harry haters, see yourself out please.) Of course there’s an interesting look behind the scenes of some instances with the Royal Family (primarily his father and brother) but I didn’t think this was particularly damning given that the most upsetting information had already been covered in the Oprah interview and Netflix doc. Worth a read if you’re at all interested in the Royal Family. Would highly recommend watching The Crown first, and then picking this up.

The Marriage Auction (Season One, Volume One) by Audrey Carlan: This was a…journey. The premise is interesting (and obviously a bit taboo – consenting to being “auctioned” off to become someone’s spouse?) but the execution is…a different kind of interesting. If this were treated like a typical romance series, with each book focusing on one couple at a time, it might be a smidge better. However, in a single 300-page book, I read chapters from the POV of 10 different characters and, although I didn’t find it TOO difficult to keep track of each individual, it was just a LOT. Keep i mind, this is really just the first bit of a full story – Volume One just sets the foundation of the auction, the overall story and introduces us to each couple. However, the drastic tone shift is was really threw me off. Two of the couples have fairly lighthearted stories (at least so far) but the other two? We’re dealing with pretty severe abuse, a kidnapping, attempted murder, and so on. If soap opera drama is your thing, give this a go. Thank you Get Red PR for the finished copy!

What I Read: Nov. 7-13

The Key to My Heart by Lia Louis: I absolutely loved Dear Emmie Blue (also by Lia Louis) so I was really excited to give this a read. The story is sweet and emotional, with flawed characters you’ll love to root for. This dragged a bit in the middle for me, but the ending is *chef’s kiss* PERFECTION. Thank you Atria for the ARC!

The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller: This book took me by surprise and I absolutely LOVED it. I expected it to be a bit more gothic and a little less romantic (it’s also unexpectedly funny at times?) but it’s absolutely perfect. Alva puts on a brave face despite her internal struggles, and Sam is a top-tier book boyfriend (major golden retriever energy here, if that’s your thing). Highly HIGHLY recommend this to anyone, especially readers who find traditional historical romance to be a bit too stuffy.

Some Dukes Have All the Luck (Synneful Spinsters #1) by Christina Britton: This was SUCH a delight. Sure, Ash is a great male lead, but Bronwyn is really the shining star in this book. She just wants to study bugs and be appreciated and loved. I really enjoyed the Isle of Synne setting, so I’ll be adding Britton’s previous series to my tbr. Thank you Forever for the finished copy!

Going Rogue (Stephanie Plum #29) by Janet Evanovich: The Stephanie Plum series is delightfully formulaic (especially at almost 30 books), and it’s always hilarious. I can’t complain about a good, reliable read that makes me laugh out loud. Also, this book is solely responsible for making me buy a single Boston Cream donut on a Saturday morning and eating it in my car, so thanks Janet. (Disclaimer: This is not sarcasm, I really loved that donut.) Thank you Atria for the finished copy!

What I Read: Catching Up

It’s been a few weeks since I shared a review post, so I’m going to get caught up with a sentence or two for each book I’ve read recently.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne: Surprisingly amazing. In the running for one of my favorite romcoms of all time.

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James: This had a promising start, but ended up with a lot of unanswered questions and loose ends. Thank you Once Upon a Book Club for the gift box!

Stuck With You (The STEMinist Novellas #2) by Ali Hazelwood: Didn’t love this quite as much as the first, but these two had great chemistry! A worthwhile, short romance read.

Space Cowgirl: Houston, All Systems Go (Space #2) by Sara L. Hudson: Great male lead, insufferable female lead (tragically afflicted with “Not Like Other Girls” syndrome). However, I think this series is worth reading and I’ll be picking up book three sooner rather than later.

Everything For You (Bergman Brothers #5) by Chloe Liese: I’ll recommend this series to anyone and everyone – especially if you like a good romcom with an extra dose of big feelings. The grumpy/sunshine trope is extra fabulous when the grump is a literary version of Roy Kent.

Upgrade by Blake Crouch: A total downgrade from the Crouch novels I’ve loved before. Read those and skip this.

Nobody’s Princess (Wild Wynchesters #3) by Erika Ridley: A Regency-era romance with two superhero-adjacent leads. And the Wynchester family is delightfully chaotic as usual. Thank you Forever for the finished copy! | Check out my review on Instagram

40-Love (There’s Something About Marysburg #2) by Olivia Dade: Good but not great. Someday I’ll learn my lesson and stop reading books by Olivia Dade.

Bomb Shelter: Love, Time and Other Explosives by Mary Laura Philpott: Philpott’s writing makes me feel seen (or wonder if I blacked out and wrote this book myself). Funny and heartfelt; feels like a hug from a big sister or a beloved friend.

The Stand-Up Groomsman (Donut Fall in Love #2) by Jackie Lau: Asian representation, a short (5’6″!) male lead, and a great opposites-attract dynamic. Thank you Berkley for the e-ARC! | Check out my review on Instagram

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center: Katherine Center can do no wrong. I absolutely LOVED this.

What I Read: May 30-June 5

Dim Sum of All Fears (Noodle Shop Mystery #2) by Vivien Chien: This is easily one of my favorite cozy mystery series – I’ve read a few out of order, and have slowly gone back to the beginning (book two has been on my TBR shelf for a year now…) Chien always includes a good amount of humor, and the small community vibes set in a larger city (Cleveland!) keep this from being too sugary sweet. Also, the book covers and food descriptions always make me crave Chinese food.

Dukes Do It Better (Misfits of Mayfair #3) by Bethany Bennett: This is a fantastic little historical romance series – I found myself loving Mal in Dukes Do It Better, even though I’m pretty sure book two is my favorite of the bunch. Thank you Forever for the finished copy!

CURRENTLY READING: East of Eden by John Steinbeck – it’s been a while since I’ve read a classic and this is going pretty well so far. I’m a few pages short of being a quarter of the way through. Once I got used to the writing and the general premise, I’ve found that this has read a lot easier and quicker than anticipated.

What I Read: May 23-29

One for the Money (Stephanie Plum #1) by Janet Evanovich: After reading the two more recent books in the (very) long-running Stephanie Plum series, I decided to start from the beginning. Luckily, these books are pretty easy to find at most used bookstores. Keep in mind, this book was released in 1994, so some of the jokes are a little cringey and outdated – but overall, it was a decently fun read. I will continue on in the series because I think the books will improve.

Always Be My Duchess (Taming of the Dukes #1) by Amalie Howard: I had really high hopes for this, because I was under the impression that it was going to be a fun (and funny) romcom. However, this was much more serious than I anticipated and some of the grand gestures were just a little too cheesy for me. Thank you Forever for the ARC!

The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple #1) by Agatha Christie: One of my goals for 2022 was to start reading more Agatha Christie (especially now that I’m caught up on Karin Slaughter’s backlist). The Agatha Christie “estate” is releasing some really beautiful paperback editions of the Miss Marple books, so I figured that would be a great place to start. Unfortunately, The Murder at the Vicarage was a little lackluster – Miss Marple is barely a character, only making small appearances throughout. The story is narrated by the vicar, who isn’t the brightest bulb nor the most interesting mind to be inside. It’s worth noting that when most readers rank their top Miss Marple books, they almost never include this first entry. However, I’ve had pretty good results with the few AC books I have read in the past, so I’ll be continuing on with the series (I also have already purchased books one through six, so I’ll at least get that far before deciding if I’ll finish all twelve).

CURRENTLY READING: I’m in the mood for a short nonfiction read, so I’m starting Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation by Erika Krouse today.

What I Read: March 7-13

The Rebel and the Rake (League of Scoundrels #2) by Emily Sullivan: Rafe and Sylvia both have their secrets (Sylvia is hiding a scandalous past and Rafe is basically a SECRET AGENT). I enjoyed reading this but it’s a slower burn with a LOT of setup, which could be frustrating for some readers. Thank you Forever for the finished copy!

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee: Phew, okay. I really enjoyed this at first and then…it lost me. I found myself skimming sections towards the end because I just didn’t care anymore. The writing is very matter-of-fact, and although I recognized the tragedy of the events in this book, nothing really hit me, emotionally. Not sure if this one is for you? I’ll sum it up like this: no one in this book is happy. Nothing good happens. Life sucks, and then you die (or you watch all of your loved ones die). However, this has a crazy high rating on Goodreads, so maybe i’m the problem.

Mermaid Inn by Jenny Holiday: This was the perfect little romcom to pick up after the absolute downer that Pachinko was (see above). Mermaid Inn is a second-chance romance: Eve and Sawyer are easy to root for, and their reconciliation doesn’t come fast (or easy) but the payoff is worth it. There are a lot of lovable supporting characters in this book (including Sawyer’s buddies who are the focus of books two and three). I enjoyed this more than I thought I would, and i’m honestly a little peeved that the Mermaid Inn isn’t a real place. Great book for fans of Gilmore Girls (MAJOR Stars Hollow vibes here). Thank you Forever for the finished copy!

End of Watch (Bill Hodges #3) by Stephen King: Oh, Steve. This trilogy started off really strong and then sort of fizzled out. End of Watch as a whole is a great story, with a heck of an ending. Unfortunately, I was so through with the unbelievable supernatural elements that I couldn’t fully appreciate the good parts. I don’t mind supernatural elements (especially in King’s work, of course) but because this series started off grounded in reality, the wild elements of the last book seemed a little out of left field. As usual, this is still worth reading (especially for diehard King fans).

CURRENTLY READING: In an effort to finish the Bridgerton series before season two airs later this month, I am reading On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgerton #8), which is Gregory’s story. Gregory isn’t mentioned much throughout the series, so this one feels a little detached from the rest. However, it’s still relatively enjoyable and I am really looking forward to wrapping this up and moving on to some different historical romance series.

What I Read: Feb. 28-March 6

It’s in His Kiss (Bridgerton #7) by Julia Quinn: Hyacinth’s book has a little bit of everything: a secret diary (that needs to be translated from Italian), family secrets, hidden treasure, espionage, the infamous Smythe-Smith musicale and a lot of Lady Danbury sass. Gareth might be the second or third best male lead in this series (no one dethrones Michael Stirling, though – NO. ONE.)

Heart of Ice (Louis Kincaid #11) by PJ Parrish: I picked this up on vacation last summer, solely because i’ll always be interested in books set on Mackinac Island. Although this was published in 2013 it takes place in 1990, which I thought was an interesting (and maybe unnecessary?) choice. It’s a solid mystery overall – the plot is good but the execution is a little messy.

I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott: This was SUCH a pleasant surprise. Mary Laura Philpott and I might be long-lost best friends or kindred spirits – I saw so much of myself in this book. I also learned that she has another book coming out next month with a TURTLE on the cover and I NEED IT.

The Recovery Agent (Gabriella Rose #1) by Janet Evanovich (available 03/22/2022): I’ve recently turned to Janet Evanovich when I need quick, funny reads that are reliably ridiculous. Readers were introduced to Gabriella in Fortune and Glory (Stephanie Plum #27) and i’m pleased that she has her own series. The Recovery Agent was fun (and hilarious) but seemed a little disjointed at times with inconsistent pacing. However, I did enjoy the characters and will definitely give book two a read. (Thank you Atria for sending me an ARC!)

CURRENTLY READING: I’m about a third of the way through The Rebel and the Rake (League of Scoundrels #2) by Emily Sullivan and i’m enjoying it so far. Rafe and Sylvia are both wonderful leads and i’m excited to see how their story plays out. (Thank you Forever for the finished copy!)