Book Review

ARC Book Review: Along a Breton Shore by Arlem Hawks

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Arlem Hawks
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: June 6th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


A soldier and a young woman, on opposite sides of the revolution, must run for their lives across a war-torn France in this gripping novel of friendship, love, and survival.

France, 1794

Maxence Étienne, a soldier for the République, believes fiercely in the revolution that is bringing liberty to France. But even though the monarchy has fallen and Maxence is part of a great cause, he is still searching for a place to belong.

Armelle Bernard is a young woman from Breton whose father was sentenced to death for hiding counterrevolutionaries. She decides to confront the priest who betrayed her father, and as the conflict escalates, she herself is ordered to be executed—an order to be carried out by Maxence.

Maxence has seen his share of violence and bloodshed, but he also carries a tragic secret and can’t bring himself to carry out his assignment. In allowing Armelle to escape, he is forced to combat a fellow soldier, who dies in the struggle.

Though Armelle and Maxence are strangers and on opposite sides of the revolution, they find themselves united as fugitives of the new republic. Now they must find a way to trust each other as they search for a path to peace, and to freedom.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain for an ARC.


There is something incredibly soothing about Arlem Hawks writing style. It is slow paced in all the best ways. I kept continually wanting to pick this up to know what happens next + taking my time with it to savor all of the goodness.

I adored this grumpy x sunshine duo of Maxence and Armelle. I can’t even begin to pick a favorite moment because I feel attached to them all. From the disasterous meeting to being chased by soldiers and learning new things about each other (and themselves), it’s all there. All of the beautiful character growth and hard things that make this book sing.

The setting is unique. Being apart of the French Revolution I learned a lot!! Especially with the notes at the end to further explain details and facts from this time period.

Alongside the main characters (and it’s dual POV y’all!!) the side characters were great too. I loved the roles the others played and was very anxious to get to the happy ending. Another fantastic historical romance read by an auto-read author.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: battle themes, near executions (and mentions of executions), near death experiences, gun violence, surgery, loss of loved ones, imprisonment

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Book Review

Book Review: If Only You (Bergman Brothers #6) by Chloe Liese

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 376 pages
Author: Chloe Liese
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: April 11th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Brace yourself for longing, laughter, and a swoony slow-burn in this brother’s best friend sports romance about scoring the love of your life when you least expect to.


I’m the youngest player on the National Soccer team, the baby of my family, and thoroughly sick of being underestimated, so I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. Which is where my brother’s best friend and teammate, the infamous Sebastian Marchand, comes in. 

Seb needs to rehab his reputation. I want to give mine an edge. So I propose a fake friendship with real benefits: spending time in the public eye, my good-girl image and his bad-boy notoriety rubbing off on each other. He’s my devious, dark-haired fantasy come to life, but his destructive ways make it easy to keep him in the (fake) friend zone. Or so I thought, until I start to see the heart of gold he’s been hiding beneath that sinister surface…


Like any self-respecting reprobate, I’ve been spiraling downward, and finally I’ve hit rock bottom. My hockey career and sponsorships are in jeopardy, and while I’m not ready to actually reform my ways, I’m happy to pretend that I have, to secure the life I’m on the brink of losing. 

So when my best friend’s sister, Ziggy Bergman, proposes a public “friendship” to revamp our reputations, it’s an offer I can’t refuse. Up till now, I’ve stayed away from Ren’s sweet, shy little sister to avoid any risk of ruining my one good friendship. But I reassure myself there’s no risk in our scheme. I’ll fake a friendship with Ziggy, fix my reputation, and get back to hockey, the one and only thing I love. At least, it was, until what began as a transactional arrangement became the most loving relationship I’ve ever known.

​If Only You is a brother’s best friend, (fake) friends with benefits to friends to lovers romance about a bighearted, quietly fierce soccer star on the autism spectrum, and a thoroughly unprincipled, almost irredeemable hockey player who has celiac disease. Complete with an absurd level of mutual pining, meddling family and friends, and a spicy slow burn, this standalone is the sixth in a series of novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.


Goodness gracious I binged this book so fast. Who knew I would love this take on fate dating?? I loved the fake friendship vibes. It was perfect and created all sorts of angst and tension and build. Had me absolutely wrapped up in Sebastian and Ziggy’s life.

I was smitten with the soft tender moments as Sebastian realizes just how much he loves Ziggy and the way that he works so hard to be the man he wants to be for her. But also how Ziggy balances that with showing him that that man is already there. I love that this was a slow burn and really gave time for the friendship to develop before bringing in a full relationship.

As usual, loved all of the side characters and familial moments. Loved the setting, the whole plot. All of the friend moments, sports moments and everything in between.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Sports Romance
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: multiple open, explicit
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: parental abandonment recounted, emotional child abuse recounted, anxiety, chronic illness & pain (celiac disease), alcohol consumption, emesis

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Book Review

Book Review: Cover Story by Susan Rigetti

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 368 pages
Author: Susan Rigetti
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: April 5th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Netflix’s Inventing Anna and Hulu’s The Dropout meets Catch Me If You Can, a captivating novel about an ambitious young woman who gets trapped in a charismatic con artist’s scam.

After a rough year at NYU, aspiring writer Lora Ricci is thrilled to land a summer internship at ELLE magazine where she meets Cat Wolff, contributing editor and enigmatic daughter of a clean-energy mogul. Cat takes Lora under her wing, soliciting her help with side projects and encouraging her writing.

As a friendship emerges between the two women, Lora opens up to Cat about her desperate struggles and lost scholarship. Cat’s solution: Drop out of NYU and become her ghostwriter. Lora agrees and, when the internship ends, she moves into Cat’s suite at the opulent Plaza Hotel. Writing during the day and accompanying Cat to extravagant parties at night, Lora’s life quickly shifts from looming nightmare to dream-come-true. But as Lora is drawn into Cat’s glamorous lifestyle, Cat’s perfect exterior cracks, exposing an illicit, shady world.

A whip-smart and delightfully inventive writer, Susan Rigetti brilliantly pieces together a perceptive, humorous caper full of sharp observations about scam culture. Composed of diary entries, emails, FBI correspondence, and more, Cover Story is a fresh, fun, and wholly original novel that takes readers deep into the codependency and deceit found in a relationship built on power imbalance and lies.


This was a total bookstagram made me do it read. I didn’t have a clue what it was about, I just picked it up and then DEVOURED it. The fast paced nature of email, text and diary entries make this a story you can’t look away from.

And it was worth it. That ending blew my mind. I had picked up on a couple of the subtle pieces mentioned throughout, yet I was still flabbergasted at how everything worked out in the end. It was perfectly convoluted and insanely well written.

Some of the diary entries did start to feel repetitive and drawn out to where I started skimming towards the end. Otherwise though, this is a great mystery of which I’m hardly saying anything to the pages within because I highly recommend you go into this book as blind as possible!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fiction / Mystery
  • Language: a little
  • Violence: low

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Book Review

Book Review: Places We’ve Never Been by Kasie West

Rating: ★★☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: May 31st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


A sweet and swoony contemporary Young Adult novel about a cross-country family road trip that puts one girl and her childhood best friend on an unexpected road to romance!

Norah hasn’t seen her childhood best friend, Skyler, in years. When he first moved away, they’d talk all the time, but lately their relationship has been reduced to liking each other’s Instagram posts. That’s why Norah can’t wait for the joint RV road trip their families have planned for the summer.

But when Skyler finally arrives, he seems…like he’d rather be anywhere else. Hurt and confused, Norah reacts in kind. Suddenly, her oldest friendship is on the rocks.

An unexpected summer spent driving across the country leads both Norah and Skyler down new roads and to new discoveries. Before long, they are, once again, seeing each other in a different light. Can their friendship-turned-rivalry turn into something more?


I go up and down with Kasie West books (big winners for me are P.S. I Like You and Sunkissed). This unfortunately fell deep in to the miss category.

The whole premise of the book is based off of a silly miscommunication between two friends who moved away from each other. That’s it. That’s the story. OH WAIT, alongside that is a sub plot about a parent choosing to hide information from her children (that, I understood to some degree, but didn’t love the way this went about). Both of these were red flags in my final opinions.

I did like the road trip antics. Those are fun, traveling in massive RV’s, eating by campfire, meet new friends. All good stuff. And there were some cute romance scenes too! Once both Norah and Skyler stopped acting ridiculous it was great. I thought they handled their relationship so much better after, ya know, COMMUNICATING.

We’ll see what the next West story holds.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: a parent with cancer

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