What I Read: August 8-14

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez: This was a pleasant surprise, and Daniel is easily one of the best male leads I’ve read in a romance so far. Highly recommend this for the cozy, small-town vibes and lovable cast of side characters.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry: This is receiving a lot of hype for a reason. I loved some parts and disliked others (if I have to read about a grown woman calling her sister “Sissy” dozens of times again, I’m throwing the book), but overall I really enjoyed my reading experience. My one major complaint is that there is a severe lack of Charlie, honestly. This isn’t as romance-y as you might expect and that’s a darn shame.

Xeni (Loose Ends #2) by Rebekah Weatherspoon: I love that Rebekah Weatherspoon writes mature, low-angst romance. Xeni is a great female lead and Mason is a sweetheart (a giant Scotsman with a heart of gold? Fantastic).

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: July 11-17

My Killer Vacation by Tessa Bailey: This was a fun read, although a bit ridiculous. I liked the combination romcom/murder mystery, and Tessa Bailey’s writing is fun enough that I’m always interested in what she will publish next.

The Last Move by Mary Burton: This was an interesting read with a compelling murder case (I won’t really call it a “mystery” because there wasn’t much to solve here – we pretty much know who the killer is right from the jump. There aren’t any major twist or surprises). This is definitely on the darker side without being TOO gratuitously gory.

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade: Uhhh. SPOILER ALERT: I gave up on this book at the 70% mark (but I’m pretty sure that’s far enough to count it as “read”). I realized that 1. the characters are supposed to be 36 and 40, but they act like they’re in their early 20s and 2. I just didn’t really care what happened with them. This was just a little too long and a little too immature for me.

Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers #1) by Lisa Kleypas: If you’re going to read historical romance, Lisa Kleypas is IT. I’ve been hoarding Kleypas novels for almost two years now, but I had only ever read two of them before finally picking this up (for what it’s worth, I’m going to read the entire Wallflowers series, before moving on to the Ravenels). This wasn’t the BEST historical romance I’ve ever read, but Kleypas’ writing is fantastic and I assume the books will only get better.

CURRENTLY READING: I won’t name it, but I’m reading a VERY popular romcom right now, and kind of enjoying it (at least so far…but I’m only on chapter two).

What I Read: July 4-10

Shady Hollow by Juneau Black: I enjoyed this at first, but it ended up a bit lackluster. The idea is really cute, but the execution was just a bit off (a little TOO cutesy, a little TOO simplistic).

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg: I absolutely LOVED this book! I have never seen the movie, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The format and short chapters made it a really quick read, and it’s such a lovable, huggable book. Highly recommend if you haven’t given this modern classic a try.

CURRENTLY READING: Finally picked up Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel.

What I Read: June 27-July 3

The Marlow Murder Club (The Marlow Murder Club #1) by Robert Thorogood: This is like the Thursday Murder Club combined with Golden Girls – I enjoyed the cast of characters and the mystery was interesting (and caught me by surprise a few times!) Thank you Poisoned Pen Press for the finished copy!

Float Plan (Beck Sisters #1) by Trish Doller: I loved this so much more than I thought I would. Anna’s development throughout the book felt realistic and emotional, and the descriptions of the ocean and islands were like taking a little vacation. And, of course, Keane was super dreamy and a perfect book boyfriend. I don’t want to wait too long to grab book two!

Slightly Dangerous (Bedwyn Saga #6) by Mary Balogh: My journey through the Bedwyn Saga has been a bit of a rollercoaster, but the payoff was worth it (granted, I totally skipped book five). Wulfric’s story is absolutely worth a read, but I would highly recommend reading at least some of the other books in the series before picking this up. Wulfric is like Mr. Darcy cranked up to 1,000 and I absolutely loved every part of the reading experience. Now I need to decide which Mary Balogh series to tackle next: The Survivors’ Club or the Simply Quartet.

CURRENTLY READING: I’m about a quarter of the way through Shady Hollow (Shady Hollow #1) by Juneau Black, which i’m enjoying so far.

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: 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: May 16-22

Full Throttle by Joe Hill: This is the third short story collection I’ve read this month, which is really out of the norm for me. Joe Hill is a great author but, like with most short story collections, this has a few hits and a few misses.

Under One Roof (The STEMinist Novellas #1) by Ali Hazelwood: I absolutely LOVED this little novella. Liam is a fantastic character, and the shorter length of this book worked perfectly for the story (a full-blown novel would either get repetitive or weighed down by unnecessary drama). Novella two comes out in a few weeks, and novella three is due in July – I’ll be downloading them to my Kindle as soon as they’re available.

Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams: I really loved the first book in the series, so it’s a mystery why I waited a year and a half to read the second. This was delightful and hilarious – sure, the romance aspect is great, but the book club guys and their antics and interactions are what made me love this. I won’t wait as long to pick up book three.

Slightly Scandalous (Bedwyn Saga #3) by Mary Balogh: My journey through the Bedwyn saga continues (and this one had some great scenes with Wulfric and the rest of the family!) Freyja and Joshua are both incredibly unlikeable but I still enjoyed their story. This was vastly more interesting than book two, but not as lovable as book one. Not surprisingly, I have already requested book four on Libby.

Cop Town by Karin Slaughter: And thus ends my Karin Slaughter journey…at least until her next book comes out later this year. Cop Town was a great read, with some really powerful scenes that I’ll be thinking of for a long time (and one with a switchblade that I wish I could forget!) Karin also announced that a new Will Trent book is scheduled to release in 2023, so you have time to catch up (but seriously, start with the Grant County series!)

CURRENTLY READING: I’m about 15% into a historical romance I got via Libby, but I’m not sure I’m going to stick with it, so this section will just have to be a mystery this week.