Book Review

Book Review: It’s All in How You Fall by Sarah Henning

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Sarah Henning
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: May 31st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A contemporary young adult romance about moving on, finding your place, and recovering after life falls apart.

Gymnast Caroline Kepler has three state balance beam titles, a new trick even most elites can’t do, and chronic, undeniable back pain. While she might never be an Olympian, she has dreams of leveling up to elite, making Nationals, and competing in college. But when one epic face-plant changes all that and Caroline’s back pain goes from chronic to career-ending, her dreams are shattered and her life is flipped upside down.

Enter Alex Zavala, a three-sport athlete who’s both incredibly cute and incredibly off-limits. He offers to give Caroline a crash course in all the sports she’s missed, and she has an offer for him in return: For every sport Alex teaches her, she’ll play matchmaker for him. Deal done, Caroline “dates” new sports with Alex for the rest of the summer, which is loads more fun than wallowing in despair. Just as Caroline starts to see herself as more than her past athletic successes, she picks up something she didn’t bargain for: a big fat crush on Alex. Turns out life was way easier when it was just layout-fulls and beam burns.

THIS WAS AMAZING.

This was a read for any young athlete who’s had to give up a sport sooner than they were prepared for (hi, it’s me). I felt those opening scenes with every fiber of m athletic soul and the rest of the book carried a beautiful story I couldn’t get enough of.

The romance was absolutely the SWEETEST YA friends to lovers. Oh my goodness it was too much to handle. I loved Caroline and Alex. When Alex offered to hep Caroline find a new sport/activity she could possibly enjoy and sincerely took the time to show her the ropes? SMITTEN doesn’t even begin to cover it. This is exactly the kind of love story I want to see in young adult lit.

What was my favorite aspect was the COMMUNICATION. Multiple times things came up in the plot where it could have gone two ways. One being a major miscommunication that would lead to hurt feelings and drama, and the other a conversation to alleviate all of those issues. Time and again Caroline truly thought through how she felt, how she thought others would feel and chose to have a conversation rather than let things fizzle in a bad way. I LOVED IT SO MUCH.

I could spend a long time gushing about this read. It’s appropriate for younger audiences and older alike. I think there’s so much here and it really sang to my heart and I hope you give it a chance too.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: a little strong
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: career ending injury, depression

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Luck and Last Resorts (Love, Lists and Fancy Ships #2) by Sarah Grunder Ruiz

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Sarah Grunder Ruiz
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: August 9th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

They have a second chance at love, but there are some rough seas ahead in the new contemporary romance from the acclaimed author of Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships.

Commitment-phobe Nina Lejeune lives by two rules:
1. Always have fun.
2. Don’t rely on anyone but yourself.
The first rule is easy; the second, she’s only broken once.

Ten years after fleeing home, Nina is the chief stewardess on the super yacht Serendipity, single by choice, and perfectly content with how life has turned out.

But Nina’s ex-coworker and old flame, Irish chef Ollie Dunne, isn’t so happy with the status quo. One year after leaving yachting, he’s returned as the Serendipity’s chef with an ultimatum: if Nina continues to deny she’s in love with him by the end of this charter season, he’ll go back to Ireland for good.

Nina and Ollie’s shared secret from their past threatens to shipwreck not only their relationship, but the entire boat. But as their connection grows amidst chaotic guests and crew drama, could there be smooth sailing in their future?

Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for an eARC.

THIS STORY Y’ALL.

I was told the angst would be high. THEY DID NOT LIE. Off the charts angst, which is my absolute favorite. FAAAAAAVORITE.

Nina and Ollie are such gems. I loved the flashback chapters that were perfectly placed to give credence to the flair of the second chance trope. And I must mention, HE FALLS FIRST. Ohhhhh how I live for that sub-trope. I was smitten with Ollie up and down, around and around, FOREVER. I LOVE HIM. He is swoony, and kind, the best banter and when he stands up for what he deserves? YES. YES. YES.

My girl Nina, I admit, made me want to shake her a few times. I understood a lot of the feelings and internal struggles. I guess, for me, it was dragged on just a *touch* too long? But that was my only minor complaint. Otherwise, Nina was on this incredible journey that forced her to confront many things that needed to be knocked down. I loved these two together.

All of the sub plots and side characters were everything my Below Deck loving soul could not get enough of. The perfect dose of drama, THE CAPTAIN, glimpses of Jo and Alex? Everything flowed and fit in so well. I didn’t feel like there was wasted space, just glorious writing and a story that I couldn’t put down.

READ IT.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: one vague and brief open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: identity theft/fraud of a minor, remembrances of domestic abuse, smoking

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: July 2022

It was a great reading month around here!

Favorite Books: Air Awakens reread, Would You Rather, Songs of the Wicked, These Hollow Vows, These Wicked Bonds, Kulti, Master of Iron, Catherine Cowles books!

  • The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall
  • Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan
  • A Crown of the Gods (Shadows and Crowns #4) by S.M. Gaither
  • A Thousand Miles by Bridget Morrissey
  • [ARC] Hearts of Briarwall by Krista Jensen
  • [Reread] Earth’s End (Air Awakens #3) by Elise Kova
  • Mischief, Mayhem, and Marriage (Supposed Scandal #2) by Rebecca Connolly
  • Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho
  • Naked in Death (In Death #1) by J.D. Robb
  • The Last of the Talons (Talons #1) by Sophie Kim
  • Fake it Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley
  • [Reread] Water’s Wrath (Air Awakens #4) by Elise Kova
  • [ARC] Would You Rather by Allison Ashley
  • [Reread] Crystal Crowned (Air Awakens #5) by Elise Kova
  • Blood and Moonlight by Erin Beaty
  • [Novella] Finding Perfect (Hopeless #2.6) by Colleen Hoover
  • The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
  • The Sin of Saints (Benevolence & Blood #1) by Lauren M. Leasure
  • Dream On by Angie Hockman
  • A Cowboy for Keeps (Colorado Cowboys #1) by Jody Hedlund
  • When He Was Wicked (The Bridgertons #6) by Julia Quinn
  • Songs of the Wicked (A Dreamer’s Misfortune #1) by C.A. Farran
  • [Reread] These Hollow Vows (These Hollow Vows #1) by Lexi Ryan
  • [ARC] Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus
  • [ARC] The Make-Up Test by Jenny L. Howe
  • These Twisted Bonds (These Hollow Vows #2) by Lexi Ryan
  • [Reread] Kulti by Mariana Zapata
  • [Novella] Commit (The Sweet Rom”Coms” #2.5) by Kortney Keisel
  • [ARC] Master of Iron (Bladesmith #2) by Tricia Levenseller
  • Tattered Stars (Tattered & Torn #1) by Catherine Cowles
  • Mother of Death and Dawn (The War of Lost Hearts #3) by Carissa Broadbent
  • Falling Embers (Tattered & Torn #2) by Catherine Cowles
  • [ARC] The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart #2) by Stephanie Garber
  • The Heart of a Cowboy (Colorado Cowboys #2) by Jody Hedlund
  • Doing Time (Wayfair Witches #12) by A.A. Albright
  • Tokyo Dreaming (Tokyo Ever After #2) by Emiko Jean
  • The Enemy and Miss Innes (Tales from the Highlands #2) by Martha Keyes
  • City of Gods and Monsters (House of Devils #1) by Kayla Edwards
  • The Beach Trap by Ali Brady
  • Class Act (The Thornback Society #1) by Aspen Hadley

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Book Review

ARC Book Review & Blog Tour: For Butter or Worse by Erin La Rosa

Purchase Links (I do not receive any commission for this):

The Ripped Bodice (signed copies) || Bookshop.org || B&N || Amazon

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Erin La Rosa
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: July 27th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

They go together like water and oil…

All chef Nina Lyon wants is to make a name for herself in the culinary world and inspire young women everywhere to do the same. For too long, she’s been held back and underestimated by the male-dominated sphere of professional kitchens, and she’s had enough. Now, as co-host of the competitive reality TV series The Next Cooking Champ!, she finally has a real shot at being top tier in the foodie scene.
Too bad her co-host happens to be Hollywood’s smarmiest jerk.

Restaurateur Leo O’Donnell never means to get under Nina’s skin. It just seems to happen, especially when the cameras are rolling. It’s part of the anxiety and stress he has come to know all too well in this line of work. So nothing prepares him for the fallout after he takes one joke a smidge too far and Nina up and quits—on live TV.

To make matters worse, the two are caught in what looks like a compromising situation by the paparazzi…and fans of the show go absolutely nuts. Turns out, a “secret romance” between Nina and Leo may just be what their careers need most.

Now all they have to do is play along, without killing each other…and without catching feelings. Easy as artisanal shepherd’s pie. Right? 

Thank you to HQN for the eARC!

DELECTABLE.

I didn’t have any wild expectations going in for this and found myself completely wrapped up this story. I wouldn’t call it enemies to lovers, but more a rival angle. There’s fantastic banter that made me laugh and were such great quips. The spark definitely ignited as Leo and Nina got to know one another.

And how did they get to know one another? FAKE DATING Y’ALL. Another beloved trope that I loved the execution of. I thought all of the dates dove deeper into each layer of their budding relationship. I liked how they got to know one another, apologize for past grievances and work together to save their restaurants.

I did find the last 10/15% a little slow. I liked that Leo’s anxiety was addressed and he was able to work on that for himself and that Nina found a new path for her career to move to. I don’t mind some time away, but it did go on just long enough that I was wondering where the grand finale was finally going to take place.

Different from a lot of books recently, this one focused on cooking over baking. I loved that and it made me continually hungry and in need of a personal chef to make some of these grand meals for me. I loved the outside plot that didn’t overtake the romance but helped push it forward. The side characters (family and friends) were wonderful and added a perfect touch too. A seriously great read and I look forward to more!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: multiple open; med/high explicit
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: anxiety, panic attacks (on page), sexism, bullying (including cyber)

AUTHOR BIO:

ERIN LA ROSA is a writer living in Los Angeles. As a writer for BuzzFeed, she frequently writes about the perils and triumphs of being a redhead. Before BuzzFeed, Erin worked for the comedy websites Funny or Die and MadAtoms, as well as E!s Fashion Police, Wetpaint, and Ecorazzi. Erin has appeared on CNN, Headline News, Jimmy Kimmel, and The Today Show on behalf of BuzzFeed. She is the author of Womanskills and The Big Redhead Book.


Author Website: https://www.erinlarosacreative.com/
IG: https://www.instagram.com/erinlarosalit/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/erinlarosalit
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/erin.larosa 
TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@erinlarosawrites

And for fun, some recipes from the chef’s themselves!

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