What I Read: Oct. 3-9

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill: This was just so depressing. It wasn’t particularly creepy, just sad (the last few pages were pretty terrifying but not really in a “horror” way). It’s a short book, so if you’re really interested then give it a go. If you’re on the fence, i’d recommend skipping this one.

Go Hex Yourself (Hex #1) by Jessica Clare: This was a fun read for October but it felt a little disjointed at times. I enjoyed it enough to want to read the next book in the series.

Sign Here by Claudia Lux: The main thing you need to know about Sign Here is I read it in one day – the chapters are short and the story is intriguing enough to keep you moving through at a fast pace. I did end up with a few questions once I finished, but this is a wild ride from start to finish and it’s a DEBUT which is pretty impressive. I’ve seen this recommended for fans of Grady Hendrix and that feels like the best way to describe the vibes of this book.

Lovelight Farms (Lovelight #1) by BK Borison: I absolutely LOVED this book! Luka is a top-tier book boyfriend, the Christmas tree farm setting is perfect and I cannot wait to read Beckett’s story! In all honesty, I’m ready to follow BK Borison off of a cliff (or, to be a bit less dramatic, immediately read everything she writes from here on out).

A Week to be Wicked (Spindle Cove #2) by Tessa Dare: Even though I DNFed book one, for some reason I thought that I would enjoy this one (it seems to be the Spindle Cove fan favorite). It started off really strong – I loved both of our main characters and there were some hilarious moments that made the reading experience fun. However, I started to lose interest about 70% of the way through, and I just kind of dragged myself across the finish line. I’m starting to think that Tessa Dare might be a real hit-or-miss author for me vs. a sure win.

What I Read: Sept. 26-Oct. 2

A Murder is Announced (Miss Marple #4) by Agatha Christie: This was probably the best in the series so far. The mystery was interesting, the characters were fun and Miss Marple finally felt like a real amateur detective instead of just an insufferable know-it-all. This does take place around Halloween, but it really could have been set at any time of the year — there are no Halloween mentions or vibes.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang: This was…fine? It’s been on my list for awhile and I may have enjoyed it more if I had read it earlier in my contemporary romance journey. Michael was a bit too pushy at times (given Stella’s issues) and Stella felt almost childlike at times, which is not great for a romance novel.

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree: This is the coziest, loveliest little fantasy novel. You don’t have to be a fan of fantasy to enjoy this (fantasy is not my particular jam either). The plot is relatively light (orc leaves her violent past behind to open a cafe) but there’s enough substance there to keep the reader interested. If you’re looking for a low-drama, feel-good book, this is it.

Open Hearts (Bennett Sisters #2) by Eve Dangerfield: I really have a love/hate relationship with this book. I really enjoyed Dean, aka the dumbest, sweetest male lead in a romance novel. However, Ashley wasn’t my favorite and the overall plot felt a bit loose and unpolished at times. (Also this has easily one of the worst romcom book covers I’ve ever seen.)

Against a Wall (Stonecut County #2) by Cate C. Wells: I read this almost against my better judgment — Cash Wall is NOT my type (for a multitude of reasons) but I still find him incredibly charming and sweet. This isn’t anything groundbreaking, but it’s a fairly well-written contemporary romance (and it’s on Kindle Unlimited, which is always a plus!)

What I Read: Sept. 19-25

A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels #1) by Sarah MacLean: I enjoyed the plot and characters in this, but it was just a little too long and repetitive and I found myself skimming the last few chapters. I do think MacLean’s writing has improved over time (this book is 10 years old) so i’m still interested in reading her more recent stuff.

That Summer in Berlin by Lecia Cornwall: It’s been a minute since I read (and enjoyed) historical fiction, but this was SUCH a fantastic read. If you’re tired of WWII historical fiction, this is a good compromise – it’s set mostly in Germany in 1936 during the Summer Olympics (the games do take a major backseat to the rest of the story). The overall vibe of this book was so tense and sinister at times that I was racing through certain chapters to find out what was going to happen. It does require a little suspension of disbelief at the very end, but is still a worthwhile read if historical fiction is your jam. Thank you Uplit Reads and Berkley for the finished copy!

Return to Cherry Blossom Way (Blue Cedar Falls #2) by Jeannie Chin: This series is like if Hallmark movies were rated PG-13. May returns to Blue Cedar Falls for work (she’s a travel writer) and can’t help but bump into her high school ex-boyfriend Han, who runs his family’s Chinese restaurant. This is an incredibly well-rounded book (the side characters are just as lovable as the main couple, and the small town setting is so vibrant I can’t believe it’s not a real place). I enjoyed the first book just a little bit more, but i’m excited to read more in this series!

What I Read: Sept. 12-18

Space Oddities (Space #3) by Sara L. Hudson: Okay this series started off really strong for me but I have yet to enjoy any of the books as much as book one. I did like this story more than book two, but not enough to convince me to finish the series…plus book four includes a trope I’m not a fan of.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas: I’m only halfway through but that’s approximately 600 pages, and I honestly don’t know if I’m going to end up finishing this or not. It started off really strong and then started to lose me by taking massive detours into incredibly elaborate backstories about minor characters.

Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman: This has SO MUCH promise. Inspired by a 2011 interview with Chris Evans, I really thought the vibe of this would be more fun and less depressing. Throw in some alcoholism, two divorces, two deaths (off page) and zero chemistry…skip this and read the real article instead.

What I Read: Sept. 5-11

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy: When I realized this was sold out everywhere, I placed a Libby hold assuming it would be months before it became available. Somehow, it popped up sooner than expected but only took me one day to read – I won’t say anything that anyone else hasn’t, but infinite content warnings for this (abuse, assault, disordered eating, and so on). Jennette did a very brave thing sharing her story, and this book is getting a lot of buzz for good reason. For the record, I was a tad too old for iCarly but I was somewhat familiar with the show – you don’t need any background with the show to appreciate this book.

Put Out to Pasture (Farm to Table Mysteries #2) by Amanda Flower: This was a read-in-one-day sort of cozy mystery that was good in the moment but not super memorable. The fall vibes are lovely and the characters are solid. However, I prefer the author’s Amish Candy Shop Mystery series. Thank you Poisoned Pen Press for the finished copy!

Below Zero (The STEMinist Novellas #3) by Ali Hazelwood: I have finally finished this little trilogy of novellas, and am almost caught up with Ali Hazelwood’s work. When it comes to her books if you’ve read one, you’ve kind of read them all…but I still find them enjoyable. I enjoyed the STEMinist novellas more than The Love Hypothesis, so i’m really interested to see where Love on the Brain ends up.

Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) by Lyssa Kay Adams: This series is delightful and I do recommend reading them in order, just so you can feel like you’re part of all of the inside jokes by the time you hit book three. Noah isn’t my FAVORITE of the male protagonists, but he’s still a great character. The Russian’s book is next, and book five is due in November, so i’m thinking I might catch up with the series by the end of this year.

What I Read: August 29-Sept. 4

Girl, Forgotten (Andrea Oliver #2) by Karin Slaughter: Now that I’m totally caught up with Karin Slaughter’s backlist, I have to (impatiently) wait for her to release something new. Thankfully, anything and everything Karin writes is worth the wait, and Girl, Forgotten is just fantastic. I’m hoping there will be more books in this new Andrea Oliver series. In the meantime, I’ll be waiting for the next Will Trent book…

We Are the Troopers: The Women of the Winningest Team in Pro Football History by Stephan Guinan: This appealed to me on so many levels: badass women in sports, specifically football, more specifically a team from Toledo. We Are the Troopers provides a really insightful look at the Toledo Troopers and their dominance in the 70s. Thank you Hachette for the ARC!

Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas: This book was like a ride at Cedar Point (fellow Ohioans, hello). Unfortunately, it was less like a rollercoaster and more like one of those rides that starts off at the top, with a fantastic view, and then quickly lets you down… Add in a trope that I really hate and a male lead who was a kind of a douchebag, and you have a recipe for a mediocre day at the theme park.

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell: When my copy of this showed up in the mail, I let out a noise that could best be described as a cross between a hungry manatee and a delighted raccoon. Thankfully, the horror of that noise is not indicative of the quality of this book – The Marriage Portrait is just phenomenal, and I liked it even more than Hamnet. I don’t want to say too much about the plot because it’s best to just read the synopsis and dive right in. It gets so tense and terrifying at times that I’m hoping her next book leans in a horror direction simply because her ability to create vivid imagery and emotions through words is *chef’s kiss* Thank you Knopf for the finished copy!

What I Read: August 22-28

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes: I really enjoyed this book! The setting was cozy, the story was interesting and the characters were incredibly lovable (and the baseball angle was a huge plus!) This is basically the book version of a cable-knit sweater.

I Hate You More by Lucy Gilmore: Despite a relatively low rating on Goodreads, I had a fairly enjoyable experience with this book. It’s a little bit too “skimming the surface” to be considered REALLY good, but the characters are cute and there are some funny bits sprinkled throughout. My main criticism is that this is billed as “enemies-to-lovers” and that’s not really true. Our main characters get off to a slightly bumpy start, but if you’re looking for vibes similar to The Hating Game, this won’t do the trick.

What I Read: August 15-21

Devil in Winter (Wallflowers #3) by Lisa Kleypas: I’m honestly on the fence about this series. I somewhat enjoyed the first book, DNFed the second. I can see why everyone loves Sebastian but this dragged in some spots for me (it’s just a tiny bit too long). Not sure if I’ll pick up book four, or move on to a different Kleypas series.

The Moving Finger (Miss Marple #3) by Agatha Christie: After struggling through the first two books (see: novels. Technically the first book in the series is a collection of short stories) in the Miss Marple series, this was a pleasant surprise. To be clear, I enjoyed this more for the overall vibes vs. the actual plot, but it gave me hope that i’ll be happy continuing on in the series.

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.