In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren Publication: Gallery Books Publication Date: 10/6/2020
Disclaimer: I received an advanced digital copy of this book from Gallery Books in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.
GoodReads Synopsis: It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.
Review: Christina Lauren is my favorite set of duo authors. I loved this holiday themed, childhood friends to lovers romance read. All the characters were delightful and loved that this book promoted self growth. I felt like I was watching a Hallmark Christmas movie while I was reading this book. There are a couple of sappy/cheesy moments, but that was to be expected. I found myself laughing out loud a couple of times. Overall, I highly recommend checking this one out if you love Christmas romance novels!
The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons Publication: William Morrow Publication Date: 9/8/2020
Disclaimer: I received a free finished copy of this book from William Morrow in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.
GoodReads Synopsis: It’s never too late to start living.
Infused with the emotional power of Me Before You and the irresistible charm of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Be Frank with Me, a moving and joyous novel about an elderly woman ready to embrace death and the little girl who reminds her what it means to live.
Eudora Honeysett is done with this noisy, moronic world—all of it. She has witnessed the indignities and suffering of old age and has lived a full life. At eighty-five, she isn’t going to leave things to chance. Her end will be on her terms. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland, a plan is set in motion.
Then she meets ten-year-old Rose Trewidney, a whirling, pint-sized rainbow of color and sparkling cheer. All Eudora wants is to be left alone to set her affairs in order. Instead, she finds herself embarking on a series of adventures with the irrepressible Rose and their affable neighbor, the recently widowed Stanley—afternoon tea, shopping sprees, trips to the beach, birthday celebrations, pizza parties.
While the trio of unlikely BFFs grow closer and anxiously await the arrival of Rose’s new baby sister, Eudora is reminded of her own childhood—of losing her father during World War II and the devastating impact it had on her entire family. In reflecting on her past, Eudora realizes she must come to terms with what lies ahead.
But now that her joy for life has been rekindled, how can she possibly say goodbye?
Review: The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett is the first book I’ve read from Annie Lyons and certainly won’t be my last! Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I’ve cried so much while reading a book. This is seriously one of the best books I’ve read this year and it deserves all the stars. I was so invested in each of the deeply complex characters. I also loved the flashbacks to learn more about Eudora’s younger years and how it shaped her to be the woman she is now. It was refreshing to hear the perspective of assisted death and how discussing about death openly instead of fearing. I loved this book promotes the importance of kindness and empathy to others. I’d also like to note that audiobook is phenomenal! I kept switching from reading the book and listening to the audiobook. The audiobook narrator was perfect for this novel! If you loved The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney and A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman, I highly recommend picking this one!
Don’t Look For Me by Wendy Walker Publication: St. Martin’s Press Publication Date: 9/15/2020
Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.
GoodReads Synopsis: One night, Molly Clarke walked away from her life. She doesn’t want to be found. Or at least, that’s the story. The car abandoned miles from home. The note found at a nearby hotel. The shattered family that couldn’t be put back together. They called it a “walk away.” It happens all the time. Women disappear, desperate to leave their lives behind and start over. But is that what really happened to Molly Clarke?
Review: Don’t Look For Me is the third book I’ve read from Wendy Walker. I was immersed in the story from page one and couldn’t put this one down. One aspect I really loved about the storyline was that this was character driven and how deeply complex some of the characters were. The story is told in two perspectives: Molly and Nicole (Molly’s daughter). I was really fascinated with Molly’s perspective, but I wasn’t as interested in Nicole’s. As the story progressed, I had an inkling on who the culprit was, but I still enjoyed reading the twists and turns. If you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller, I recommend picking this one up.
Layla by Colleen Hoover Publication: Montlake Publication Date: 12/8/2020
Disclaimer: I received an advanced digital copy of this book from Montlake in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.
GoodReads Synopsis: When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.
Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.
Review: Colleen Hoover is one of my favorite romance authors! I was super excited to hear that she was stepping out of her comfort zone to write a paranormal novel. Though I’m not a fan of the paranormal genre, I found this book entertaining and loved that Colleen continues to bring out the deep emotions from characters in her novels. I liked that as I was reading, I kept having theories on what was going on and what would happen next. The only parts that didn’t work for me was that the book felt a bit too love at first sight. There were also some parts where I kind of wanted to see Layla’s perspective instead. If you’re a Colleen Hoover fan, this may be on your list already. It wasn’t my favorite, but it was a decent read.
Well Played by Jen DeLuca Publication: Berkley Publication Date: 9/22/2020
Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of this book from Berkley in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.
GoodReads Synopsis: Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.
When Stacey imagined “The One,” it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she’s not sure what to make of it.
Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey’s shock, it isn’t Dex—she’s been falling in love with a man she barely knows.
Review: I loved Well Met so I was super excited to get my hands on the sequel, Well Played, which features Stacey. Overall, Well Played was a cute romance, but it didn’t have the magic and flair of Well Met. I loved the setting vibes that the author had just like in the first book. It was also great to see what’s going on with Emily and Simon from the first book. One aspect I didn’t love was the love troupe. I really hope cat fishing doesn’t become a popular love troupe. I felt that Stacey and her love interest lacked chemistry and I wasn’t really shipping them as a couple. If you loved the first book, then you may enjoy this one since there are appearances of Emily and Simon.
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman Publication: Atria Books Publication Date: 9/8/2020
Disclaimer: I received an advanced digital copy of this book from Atria Books in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.
GoodReads Synopsis:A bank robber on the run locks himself in with an over-enthusiastic estate agent, two bitter IKEA-addicts, a pregnant woman, a suicidal multi-millionaire and a rabbit. In the end the robber gives up and lets everyone go, but when the police storm the apartment it is . . . empty.
In a series of dysfunctional testimonies after the event, the witnesses all tell their version of what really happened and it’s clear we have a classic locked-room mystery on our hands: How did the robber manage to escape? Why is everyone so angry? And: What is WRONG with people these days?
Review: I’ve read all of Backman’s novels and his latest book keeps up with the stride of his previous work! Backman has such an eloquent writing style bringing up important themes such as empathy, community, feeling ‘enough’, and mental health, in a way that resonates with you and really makes you think about them even after you’re done with the book. Honestly, it took me a while to figure how I wanted to rate Anxious People. At first, it took me a while to get into the book. There were some instances where I felt the author was rambling a bit and deriving from the story, however, everything ended up making sense at the end. I highly recommend picking up Anxious People. Be forewarned that I took my time reading Anxious People as you need to be in a certain headspace to read this one.
Dating Makes Perfect by Pintip Dunn Publication: Entangled Teen Publication Date: 8/18/2020
Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of this book from Entangled Teen in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.
GoodReads Synposis:The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed.
In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of the dating practice that they didn’t get in high school.
In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must practice fake dating in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course—and organized based on their favorite rom-coms. ’Cause that won’t end in disaster.
The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, infuriating, and way too good-looking. Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. And her parents love him.
If only he weren’t her sworn enemy.
Review: Dating Makes Perfect is the first book I’ve read from Pintip Dunn. This book kind of reminds me of the writing styles of Jenny Han and David Yoon. This young adult romance novel has a fake dating trope, focuses on Thai American culture, immigrant parents’ expectations, and self-discovery. Overall, this was a cute book. I loved the way the author portrayed sisterly love, friendship breakups, family and community dynamics. There are also some references to other popular romcoms which I loved seeing. I would highly recommend reading this one if you’re fan of YA romances!
Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting Publication: Read Forever Publication Date: 8/11/2020
Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of this book from Read Forever in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.
GoodReads Synopsis: Blaire Calloway has planned every Instagram-worthy moment of her cupcake and cocktails shop launch down to the tiniest detail. What she didn’t plan on? Ronan Knight and his old-school sports bar next door opening on the very same day. He may be super swoony, but Blaire hasn’t spent years obsessing over buttercream and bourbon to have him ruin her chance at success.
From axe throwing (his place) to frosting contests (hers), Blaire and Ronan are constantly trying to one-up each other in a battle to win new customers. But with every clash, there’s also an undeniable chemistry. When an even bigger threat to their business comes to town, they’re forced to call a temporary time-out on their own war and work together. And the more time Blaire spends getting to know the real Ronan, the more she wonders if it’s possible to have her cupcake and eat it too.
Review: Kiss My Cupcake is the second book I’ve read from Helena Hunting. This romcom is an enemies-turned-lovers trope that dives into cut throat industry of the restaurant businesses and behind the scenes of small businesses with a side of some sexual innuendos, pranks, family dynamics, and to top it off with a few steamy scenes. The beginning of the book started of strong with well developed characters and an intriguing storyline, however, half way through the book, it took a turn where I mostly skimming to the end to see what happens. The story is definitely a slow burn which I didn’t mind. I loved Ronan’s family and his backstory, but I wasn’t a big fan of Blair at all. Overall, I realized this book wasn’t really my cup of tea, but if you’re a fan of Helena Hunting, you may like this one.
You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria Publication: Avon Publication Date: 8/4/2020
Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of this book from William Morrow and an advanced listening copy from LibroFM and Harper Audio in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.
GoodReads Synopsis: Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers. After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez.
Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy. After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had.
Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars. With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.
Review: You Had Me At Hola is the first book I’ve read from Alexis Daria. Based on the premise, I had really high expectations for this book. The beginning started off really strong, but faltered towards the last quarter of the book. First off, I loved that this book showcased heartfelt characters in their 30s and also gave a background on telenovelas and soaps. I really liked Jasmine’s character in the beginning as she came off as endearing and very relatable. One main issue I had with the book was Ashton. Ashton’s emotional unavailability and the way he treated Jasmine didn’t sit well with me. His actions are later explained, however, I didn’t like how they were excused. The writing style of the switching between the behind the scenes and the show seemed to be one of the same which didn’t seem to make a difference. In terms of the narrator for the audiobook, I liked the way that the narrator brought the story life and loved the different voices she used for each character. I felt like I was listening to a telenovela when I was listening to the audiobook. Overall, I thought it was a decent romance read. If you’re a fan of steamy romance novels, then you’ll want to check this one out.
The Truth Hurts by Rebecca Reid Publication: Harper Perennial Publication Date: 7/28/2020
Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of this book from Harper Perennial in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.
GoodReads Synopsis: Caught up in a whirlwind romance that starts in sunny Ibiza and leads to the cool corridors of a luxurious English country estate, Poppy barely has time to catch her breath, let alone seriously question if all this is too good to be true. Drew is enamored, devoted, and, okay, a little mysterious—but that’s part of the thrill. What’s the harm in letting his past remain private?
Maybe he’s not the only one…
Fortunately, Drew never seems to wonder why his young wife has so readily agreed to their unusual pact to live only in the here and now and not probe their personal histories. Perhaps he assumes, as others do, that she is simply swept up in the intoxication of infatuation and sudden wealth. What’s the harm in letting them believe that?
How far will they go to keep the past buried?
Isolated in Drew’s sprawling mansion, Poppy starts to have time to doubt the man she’s married, to wonder what in his past might be so terrible that it can’t be spoken of, to imagine what harm he might be capable of. She doesn’t want this dream to shatter. But Poppy may soon be forced to confront the dark truth that there are sins far more dangerous than the sin of omission…
Review: This domestic thriller has your basic set up of a ditsy, broke, young woman marries a wealthy, older, good-looking guy. Each is hiding a secret, but they make a deal not to discuss about their pasts and get married anyway…what can go wrong?? Have you ever read a book that you were totally feeling, but then when you got to the end, you felt that you got jipped? Yeah, The Truth Hurts was it for me. I loved the writing style in this book which maintained my interest. To satisfy my thriller and romance mood, this book fit the tab. I was also totally invested in this cliché storyline in the beginning and I was totally okay with the middle dragging for a bit, but the ending is what annoyed me the most. The book had a potential to be a four star read, but I ended up giving it 3 stars. Without giving away any spoilers, there were so many other ways the author could have amplified the ending, but unfortunately, the ending was too rushed and was so lackluster. Overall, it was a decent book. If you decide to read this one, keep your expectations low.