Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: May 2020

Longest month ever with the shortest amount of books read. Wow May was tough on me. I at least read some good books and enjoyed what I picked up!

I focused a lot on ARCs to keep on top of those. Added in a bunch of Kasie West books for their quickness and cuteness. All in all, I’m amazed I made it through 9 books with how I spent my month.

My favorite this month was easily Aurora Burning. That book was AMAZING. My least favorite was By Your Side. It was the first Kasie West book I just really didn’t jive with.

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Book Review

Book Review: 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Ashley Elston
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: October 1st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation.

Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.

When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.

This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever… or is it?

DEFINITELY CUTE.

Oh man. Well this was just precious.

I finally had a chance to read this book and I’m so glad I got to! It is the perfect little pick me up type of read when you need something light and fluffy.

The whole dating concept was a bit crazy, totally unwarranted, and the best part of this book. I love how the author was able to create unique dates each time and had unexpected things happen that would make me eyes widen. It took the whole idea of me worrying this would be stagnant away because each date brought another layer to the novel itself.

Sophie’s family ran me ragged sometimes, yet after talking to someone who had a family exactly like this, it made appreciate the scope of it all and the differences all of our families have. They were loud, in everybody’s privacy and quiet moments and they made me laugh and shake my fists in the air. I love that this book wasn’t only about dating, but also about reconnecting with family and enjoying the moments together too.

I really appreciated that the real romance came from someone Sophie genuinely knew and not a full stranger. It was heartfelt and those quiet moments between them made me shout at the book to KISS ALREADY.

This definitely has all of the Christmas vibes. I think I would have loved it even more if I had the chance to read it during the actual holiday season. I definitely recommend adding this to your Christmas TBR.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Trigger warning: pre-mature birth

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Book Review

Book Review: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 330 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Point
Expected Release Date: July 26th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out.

WELL THIS WAS JUST THE FLUFFIEST BOOK.

This became a late night binge read when I was ignoring another book I wasn’t as into. And y’all. I LOVED IT. It totally took me by surprise and made my heart smile.

I love that this had mysterious notes passed in class without knowing who was who. I think it adds such a sweet flair to it all. Writing out your true thoughts and getting to know someone through letter writing. WHAT HAPPENED TO WRITING NOTES. Oh man, I miss those days. Texting has sped everything up.

These characters are in high school, so at times they do seem a bit naive. This never stuck out so much to ruin this book in anyway though. I love that there was some growth and maturity that came by the end. Lily and Cade both had their own personal conflicts that there were able to come together and form solutions.

Cade was so cute. Just, so cute. Lily’s perceived interpretation of him was entirely off and I appreciate her actually being open to getting to know him on a different level and seeing past his walls. The same goes for Cade. He took the time to show and prove to Lily he wasn’t the guy she thought. THEY WERE SO ADORABLE. I’m just happy to be here at this point because this book was all smiles.

I don’t really have a long review to continue with because there’s not much more to say. I thought it was precious and light-hearted. Made me smile and stoked to read some more Kasie West books. I’m happy that I took a second chance on her books because I knew there was one I would connect with and love.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: A Temporary Engagement (The Fake Love Series #3) by Summer Dowell

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: Unknown (it’s short though)
Author: Summer Dowell
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: May 14th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Strong, independent women don’t fall for their fake fiancé.

Elena is a thriving pharmacist who is totally confident in her single status. Well, relatively confident. But when her best friend asks a favor for a needy brother-in-law, Elena can’t say no. How hard can it be to pretend for one night?

Mason is not one to beg when it comes to women. In fact, he prides himself on having his fair pick of just about anyone. But when his big mouth gets him into serious trouble, he’s looking for anyone to get him out of his bind. He just didn’t expect his rescuer to be quiet so attractive.

What happens when this one night sham turns into more than these two planned for?

Thank you to the author for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

SHORT AND SWEET.

That’s what I have liked most about this series. How simple and kind the books are. I know I’m going to get something that’ll make me smile and always a happy ever after. Just what I need sometimes, ya know?

I loved the chemistry between Elena and Mason. They really did hit it off from the beginning. Good banter, witty comebacks and moments where they got some alone time to get to know each other. I didn’t love the ex-girlfriend plot of it. I was hoping she wasn’t going to play as big of a role as she did. Kinda took away from it because she was the worst and annoyed me immensely.

Otherwise, I really liked the plot. I always wish these were longer, but I feel like this one was close to its true nature in length. There weren’t any issues with plot holes that I noticed and found myself enjoying a good, wholesome, rom-com.

I don’t have a long review for this because the book itself is on the short side (200ish pages). But if you’re looking for something light-hearted, I definitely recommend this series by Summer Dowell.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger warning: character going into anaphylactic shock because of an allergen

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Book Review

Book Review: The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Rating: ☆☆☆ 
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Abby Jimenez
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: June 11th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Kristen Petersen doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen — especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.

HMM.

I’ve had a lot of friends read this. And I have heard literally every review under the sun. All things from 1 star rants to 5 star raves. I have decided that I’m smack in the middle. There was some parts I did like (hint: Josh) and some parts I didn’t like (hint: Kristen).

Good stuff first, JOSH. Dude, this guy put up with so much crap throughout this entire book and I feels deserves more praise. He was sweet, funny, attractive and the kind of guy I would enjoy being around. The only thing that happened that I didn’t love was his drunk confession of love. I personally just don’t like those scenes.

Bad stuff next, Kristen. I was really hoping to see a bigger character arc from her. I knew the main subject of the book was infertility and the struggles Kristen was going through involving that. Her despair was palpable and I truly felt for her (and those) in that situation. I thought I would see her come to a better understanding of herself and knowing she is more than whether or not she can have a child. There was no change until the last page of the epilogue where I finally felt she was at peace. I wish this had come sooner. Her sarcasm and wit were on fire and she had me laughing at some point. Yet, Kristen’s CONTINUAL pushing away of Josh instead of just LISTENING for a minute almost annoyed me.

The romance was good. I liked the build up. The only thing that bothered me was the emotional cheating. I know some people don’t consider this cheating, personally I do. After that point I loved watching the banter and heat between Kristen and Josh.

I was emotionally attached to some parts of the book involving Kristen and Josh. I was HIGHLY involved emotionally in Sloan and Brandon’s story. I’m still a bit shaken up over it because I was blind-sided by that whole bit. Makes me curious where Jimenez’s next book will take us (I’ve heard good things about it too!).

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult contemporary romance
  • Language: A LOT of strong language
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, two love scenes that were too descriptive for me personally (on the very explicit spectrum)
  • Violence: car accidents, discussion of a firefighters life
  • Trigger warnings: infertility

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: April 2020

Y’all. This month started out so great, then I got really sick for a few weeks (NOT COVID, don’t worry y’all) and the last half just plummeted. I’m not in an awful book slump where I can’t even get myself to read a few pages a day.

I know its not a huge ordeal to stop reading for a bit, and this too shall pass, but it’s still weird not reading so many books. I’m focusing solely on the ARCs I’ve already received and titles that I’ve already pre-ordered so I can try to at least keep up with those.

I dd manage 17 books in the first chunk of April, and some good titles at that!

My favorites this month were: King of the South, Dark Skies, Voyager, Elantris and a A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.

My least favorites were: The Kingdom of Back, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird and The Honey-Don’t List.

  • King of the South (Belgrave Dynasty #1) by Calia Reed – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] Dark Skies (Dark Shores #2) by Danielle L. Jensen – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell #5) by Deanna Raybourn – (☆☆☆)
  • Elantris (Elantris #1) by Brandon Sanderson – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu – (☆☆☆)
  • Imagine Me (Shatter Me #6) by Tahereh Mafi – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Empty Grave (Lockwood & Co. #5) by Jonathan Stroud – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab – (☆☆☆☆)
  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1) by Holly Jackson – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver – (☆☆☆)
  • Moment of Truth by Kasie West – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren – (☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1) by Sarah Morgenthaler – (☆☆☆☆)
  • You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle – (☆☆☆)

There we have it! My reads for April. Were any of these books you read too? See some favorites? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1) by Sarah Morgenthaler

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Sarah Morgenthaler
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: May 5th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he’s stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless string of resort visitors who couldn’t interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way…

Two weeks in Alaska isn’t just the top item on Zoey Caldwell’s bucket list. It’s the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she’s smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham’s world, she may just find there’s more to the man than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own!

ALL GOOD THINGS.

This was a gem. I had such a good time reading this that I went through it even fast than I expected. When I saw the setting for Alaska my mind immediately goes to The Simple Wild. That’s a lot to live up to in my bookish brain. No, this isn’t TSW, but it IS another great book set in the Alaskan wilderness I would easily recommend this to others.

With a time period of about two weeks you would think I’d be shouting about insta-love. NOPE. Morgenthaler wrote this romance beautifully. It felt honest, cute, and like they were actually into each other. Graham is the trope-ish grump who meets his sunshine in Zoey. I found myself laughing at their antics and the different situations that kept them colliding. Yet swooning when it was clear that Graham was into Zoey. Resistance was completely futile. Not to mention that utterly wonderful rom-com ending was what dreams are made of.

The only issue I had was wanting more depth from Graham. I felt very surface level with him (and most of the other characters). He spent most of the time in one state. A goofy grump who never divulged too much information. If I had gotten just a bit more from him it would have sent this off the charts.

I liked the rotating point-of-view. I love those in romances. It gives insight to both mindsets and decision making. The setting [of course] played a big part in how this book played out. I loooove the wilderness setting and all it entails. Getting a feel of both sides of tourism vs. those who live there.

Cute, low on the steam (huge plus in for me!), and an easy read that will make you smile. And can’t we all use that sometimes? I can’t wait to read Morgenthaler’s next book.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: a little throughout
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a love scene with little detail that fades out quickly
  • Violence: drunk driving (not by either MC, a side character in a small scene)

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