Book Review

Book Review: All Fired Up by Dylan Newton

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Dylan Newton
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: May 17th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


After one wild night together, two complete opposites plan to stay firmly in the friend zone, but life has other plans in this delightful romantic comedy, perfect for fans of Emily Henry and Abby Jimenez.

As a successful book publicist, Imani Lewis works night and day to promote her authors.  It’s her dream job, but she’s become a total workaholic. So when her grandmother invites her to stay for the summer as she recovers from surgery, Imani happily agrees. But being back in the same small town as her one-night stand may not be quite the relaxing break she envisioned… 

Zander Matthews wakes up every day determined to enjoy the present because he knows from his time in the Marines that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. But he’s never gotten over the beautiful woman who blew through town a year ago, then disappeared. And he doesn’t want to be hurt again. So they agree to a deal: he’ll help Imani fix up her grandmother’s house as long as they stay firmly in the friend zone.

Whether it’s repairing tiles in his ceramics studio, dodging nosy neighbors, or soothing the most obnoxious parrot ever, Zander never fails to make Imani laugh. And soon their friendly banter is turning ever flirtier. But since Imani’s stay is temporary and Zander can’t be tied to anything beyond the most tenuous plans, will she be able to handle it when things get all fired up?


Ohhh I loved this so much more y’all. New favorite of these brother books (because we get a third one right??!).

Zander never game up on Imani and I LOVE A MAN WHO FALLS FIRST. Probably my biggest highlight because I was full on smitten with everything he was doing to woo Imani.

I really liked a lot of the conversations throughout about growing up, stability, loss, and more. While I about found myself frustrated with the conflict, the conversations after were much more needed than I realized and I liked the switch up in the drama that usually plays out in these scenarios.

There were small tidbits throughout the plot I didn’t jive with. Nothing to go on about, but it drew me out enough to lower my rating. It was still much more enchanting than book one to me and I’m glad I took a chance on picking it up.

Fast paced and full of sweet moments (and a small dash of steam), I would easily recommend this as a good summertime romance read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: one open door
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: PTSD, grief depiction, childbirth, loss of parents recounted

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Book Review

Book Review: Spare by Prince Harry

Rating: ★★★
Audience: Memoir
Length: 410 pages
Author: Prince Harry
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: January 10th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow—and horror. As Princess Diana was laid to rest, billions wondered what Prince William and Prince Harry must be thinking and feeling—and how their lives would play out from that point on.

For Harry, this is that story at last.

Before losing his mother, twelve-year-old Prince Harry was known as the carefree one, the happy-go-lucky Spare to the more serious Heir. Grief changed everything. He struggled at school, struggled with anger, with loneliness—and, because he blamed the press for his mother’s death, he struggled to accept life in the spotlight.

At twenty-one, he joined the British Army. The discipline gave him structure, and two combat tours made him a hero at home. But he soon felt more lost than ever, suffering from post-traumatic stress and prone to crippling panic attacks. Above all, he couldn’t find true love.

Then he met Meghan. The world was swept away by the couple’s cinematic romance and rejoiced in their fairy-tale wedding. But from the beginning, Harry and Meghan were preyed upon by the press, subjected to waves of abuse, racism, and lies. Watching his wife suffer, their safety and mental health at risk, Harry saw no other way to prevent the tragedy of history repeating itself but to flee his mother country. Over the centuries, leaving the Royal Family was an act few had dared. The last to try, in fact, had been his mother. . . .

For the first time, Prince Harry tells his own story, chronicling his journey with raw, unflinching honesty. A landmark publication, Spare is full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.


I’m not sure I have anything to say past what has already been said at this point but I’ll throw some of my thoughts out.

What is the most upsetting is that a young boy lost his Mother and NOBODY did anything to truly help him grieve and work through that and that’s why everything eventually fell apart. I ache for him in that context.

Ghost writer wise, I am uuuupset that at such a wasted opportunity to create a great novel. Instead it was like Harry said here’s what happened and the writer put EVERY LAST TINY DETAIL THAT DIDN’T NEED TO BE THERE into these short choppy chapters that read poorly. 60% of this could have been taken out and it would have felt much more compelling.

The last bit with Meghan and afterwards is nothing that hasn’t been said a hundred times over in multiple interviews and documentaries. We’ve heard the story. Again and again and again.

I also think he through his family under the bus way too many times. I’m not saying they didn’t do wrong as well, but there’s a side to every story and if you were hoping for true reconciliation then maybe should have thought about that before sharing some of this.

I’m not necessarily upset I read it, I just don’t think it truly added anything I didn’t already know.

Overall audience notes:

  • Memoir
  • Language: a little
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: grief, anxiety and depression depiction, loss of a Mother, brief physical altercations, drugs and alcohol use, suicide ideation, stalking

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Book Review

Book Review: The Truth about Miss Ashbourne by Joanna Barker

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 272 pages
Author: Joanna Barker
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: November 1st, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Governess Juliana Ashbourne has dreams reaching far beyond the confines of her current position, hoping to someday establish her own school for girls. When she inherits a fortune from her late grandfather, she is shocked to learn that “someday” may soon be within reach. However, there is one condition: she must spend a month at the estate of Havenfield–with the very family who disowned her mother. Intent on securing the money she needs to start her school, Juliana accepts the invitation, vowing to guard her heart against those who shunned her all her life. 

But Havenfield is far from what she expects. She discovers a grandmother seeking forgiveness, a cold and disapproving aunt, and a painfully shy cousin. And then there is Mr. William Rowley. Though the heir to the estate is a merciless tease, Juliana finds in him a friend and confidant–and perhaps something more. As she struggles to make sense of her new place in the world, her stubborn independence clashes with a yearning to belong and the even more confusing desires of her heart.


Joanna Barker can do no wrong in my bookish opinion. I have sincerely enjoyed the three books (so far) that I have read by her. I love the way she crafts a story. There’s FANTASTIC banter that makes me all giddy and swoony, deep kisses that have my heart squeezing.

There’s also really solid character development. One of the biggest things I look for in a read. I loved Julianna’s growth and exploration of her self as she came to terms with her past and the options being opened for her now. It wasn’t an overnight solution and the progress made had me loving her all the more.

Enter in our heartthrob William Rowley. From a bit of a disaster meet-cute (at least to Julianna) to rousing confessions of love, I was hooked on him from the get-go. I loved how he gently teased her and taught her new things. Being a safe space to land, even if it took Julianna time to realize it.

The only thing that made me a little cranky was part of the final conflict. I think it would have been easily solved another way and I just didn’t like that it was dragged out. The last scenes were super sweet so props to bringing it back for me. That little complaint is no reason not to pick up this great regency.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of parents (off page, discussed), grief depiction

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Heart’s Choice (The Jewels of Kalispell #1) by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

Rating: ★★
Audience: Christian Historical Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse
Publisher: Bethany House
Release Date: May 16th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


After witnessing a wrongful conviction as a young girl, Rebecca McCutcheon–the first female court reporter in Montana–is now determined to defend the innocent. During a murder trial, something doesn’t sit well with her about the case, but no one except for the handsome new Carnegie librarian will listen to her.

Librarian Mark Andrews’s father sent him off to college hoping he would take over the business side of the family ranch. Mark would rather wrangle books than cows, but when a patron seeks help with research in hopes of proving a man’s innocence, Mark is immediately drawn to her and her cause.

In a race against time, will Rebecca and Mark be able to find the evidence to free the man before it’s too late?

Escape to Kalispell, Montana, for a daring and romantic tale from the talented pens of bestselling authors Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse.

Thank you to Bethany House for the ARC.


I gave this an honest try and did enjoy the first 30-40% of it. Then some stuff went downhill and I never recovered my attachment to the story. I struggled with the way some of the faith elements were addressed and handled that ultimately let to a disconnection from the novel. There might have been some reasoning with the time period? But it didn’t work for me.

The romance between Mark and Rebecca was pretty sweet. They had some cute moments and really seemed to connect with each other across the board. I liked their happy ending and their unique career paths in the early 1900’s.

With the little bit of mystery and multiple points of view it kept the general plot progression moving. There was a bit of a full circle moment that was nice to see and while this didn’t work for me I think it could work for others.

Overall audience notes:

  • Christian Historical Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: moderate
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, poisoning, attempted murder

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