WWW Wednesday: December 2, 2020

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

I can’t believe it’s already December, but this year has also been crazy long.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

This weekend, I started binge reading the Bachelors of the Ridge series by Karla Sorensen. I finished both Dylan and Garrett.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m continuing my series binge with book #3, Cole by Karla Sorensen.

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m putting my Bachelors of the Ridge binge on hold to read The Revenge Pact (Kings of Football, #1) by Ilsa Madden-Mills. I have an ARC of the second book in the series that comes out on the 10th, so I need to read this one so I can start that one. Then I’ll get back to those bachelors.

Top Ten Tuesday: More Favorite Book Quotes

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is:

Books I Want to Read Again

I don’t re-read very often and it’s always Fallen Crest High series, so you get:

More Favorite Book Quotes

1. “I’m thinking deep thoughts like, ‘Hey if Gracie decides she wants to play softball, then she’s gonna have to dream a lot smaller than the little boys playing the same f*cking sport on the field right next door.’ And that kinda sucks, if you stop and think about it.”

-Lauren Rowe, Ball Peen Hammer

2. “The point is . . . sometimes fighting isn’t about leaving, it’s about staying. It takes practice to get it right, and it’s painful, but if you want to stay with people, you do it.”

– Kate Clayborn, Love Lettering

3.“You might preach you’re a mess, but I think you’re pretty f*cking perfect, wreckage and all.”

– Rebecca Yarros, The Reality of Everything

4. “Foster Wallace once said: You’ll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do.”

– Emma Scott, The Girl in the Love Song

5. “Some people grow up gradually, the foundations of their childhood steadily sinking into the earth so slowly they barely notice the change. Until one day they’re simply standing on their own two feet with little idea how they got there. Then there are people whose childhoods are smashed to bits in one blow. They topple into adulthood, flailing about for something to hold onto, and the terror of falling leaves a permanent scar on their psyche. Do those people ever end up feeling safe?”

– Kristen Callihan, The Friend Zone

6.“My nana used to say that broken people love the hardest because they appreciate the things that make their heart beat. Do I make your heart beat?”

– Ilsa Madden-Mills, Not My Romeo

7.“We all just take a leap of faith. Sometimes we fall. But we’d never know what it felt like to fly if we didn’t take the risk.”

– Nicole Williams, Fool Me Once

8.“Life is a journey for which we leave little pieces of ourselves behind.”

– Lisa De Jong, Love Unspoken

9. “You’re the type of woman that men don’t know they want until they’ve already fallen. You’re there, and then you’re just…everywhere.”

– Lisa De Jong, Lies Unspoken

10.“Love is complicated, and in its best form, it’s unspoken. It shows in the things we do, not what we say.”

– Lisa De Jong, Love Unspoken

Review: Loverboy (Sarina Bowen)

Loverboy
Series: The Company, #2
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Publisher: Tuxbury Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Secrets, desires, and exquisite pie. It’s all in a day’s work at The Company.

Growing up, I was the rough guy from the wrong neighborhood who couldn’t catch a break. Posy was the pampered girl I tried to impress. But all she gave me was a single kiss before I had to skip town.
Now I’m back, and the tables are turned. Posy runs a struggling pie shop. I’m the VP of a secretive billion-dollar security company. 
Not that I can tell her.
There’s a murderer on the loose in New York, and he seems to spend a lot of time at Posy’s shop. It’s my job to identify him before he can harm a hair on her pretty head.
Going undercover as Posy’s new barista wasn’t my idea. I don’t even drink coffee. But now I have to call her “boss,” and do everything the curvy perfectionist asks of me. I’d forgotten how much we infuriate each other, and that she somehow fills me with both irritation and desire in the same breath.
There’s nobody more skilled at stealth ops than me. I can bring this killer down. Right after I take a cold shower. And just as soon I figure out how to make a skinny peppermint latte with milk poured in the shape of a kitten…


I normally shy away from romantic suspense novels, but there’s nothing that would keep me from reading one from Sarina Bowen. Especially since I read and loved the first book in The Company series, MoonlighterLoverboy was as good as Moonlighter, if not better. It had an even larger suspense aspect to it while still maintaining the contemporary romance feel I love in Bowen’s books.

Gunnar and Posy had a great enemies vibe going on. They hated each other from their early adulthood and those feelings carried over to meeting again. It was more a fake enemies thing because the two couldn’t get enough of crushing on each other. I loved how they were thrown together in Posy’s pie shop. The whole situation was fun and engaging. I loved how their relationship built as the drama and suspense built.

That drama and suspense was so interesting! Like I said before, I’m not usually into it, but I loved how it was set up in this story involving the company and Posy’s shop. There were so many little twists to keep track of. It was fun. My only maybe complaint about it was that it took longer for Gunnar and Posy to interact because of the set up. That set up was actually a lot of fun, though!

Overall, Loverboy was another fantastic read by Bowen. It had a swoon worthy romance, hilarious moments, and an engaging suspense plot. I loved Gunnar and Posy, plus all the supporting characters. I am really hoping Max finally gets his book next.

PURCHASE LINKS

All in one link page: https://shor.by/the-company
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54585164-loverboy

VENDORS

🗝️ Amazon https://geni.us/Amazon-LB 
🗝️Apple https://geni.us/Apple-LB 
🗝️ Kobo https://geni.us/Kobo-Lb 
🗝️ Nook https://geni.us/Nook-LB 
🗝️ Google https://geni.us/Google-LB
🗝️Audio: https://geni.us/LoverboyAudible

Review: The Bookworm’s Guide to Faking It (Emma Hart)

The Bookworm’s Guide to Faking It
Series: The Bookworm’s Guide, #2
Author: Emma Hart
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

What I expected on Saturday morning: Books.
What I got on Saturday morning: my ex-best friend and first crush in front of me.

Let it be known that I, Holley Stuart, do not give a single rat’s behind about pro baseball’s star pitcher Sebastian Stone.
I definitely don’t care that he’s standing in my bookstore.
Nor do I care that he seems to have forgotten about the last time we saw each other—senior prom, when he both humiliated me and broke my heart, albeit unknowingly.
Now, he needs a date to his sister’s wedding.
Don’t ask me how I ended up being it, because I have no idea. But that’s the least of my problems.
His grandfather is adamant we’re dating, and Seb isn’t in a hurry to convince him otherwise, so I have no choice but to go along with it.
The problem? The only thing I’ve ever faked is… well, you know.
I’ve definitely never faked my feelings for someone.
And judging by the way I feel whenever Seb looks at me, it doesn’t look like I’m starting now.


I can always count on Emma Hart to bring the angst-free, low drama fun and that’s exactly what she did with The Bookworm’s Guide to Faking It. This was a delightful romantic comedy filled with some of a romance fan’s favorite tropes: ex-bestfriends, fake dating, and best friends again to more.

I loved every moment of Holley and Sebastian reconnecting. I appreciated Holley’s resistance to letting Sebastian back into her good graces. I loved finding out what truly happened on the prom night that shattered their friendship. Even more, I loved how easy they slipped into best friends and the attraction that followed. Their chemistry was so sweet and entertaining. 

The Bookworm’s Guide to Faking It was such a good time. I liked it even more than the first book in the series, and that’s saying a lot because that one was older brother’s best friend goodness. I cannot wait for the next book in the series because I have a feeling it’s going to continue the tradition in being better than the last — which is pretty hard to do at this point. 

Add to your Goodreads TBR: http://emmahart.pub/TBGTFI-GR 

 

One-Click Today! 

Series Amazon: https://amzn.to/3gDoUlk 
Amazon US → https://amzn.to/3eFnxlb 
Amazon UK → https://amzn.to/3dqG1UT 
Apple Books → https://emmahart.pub/TBGTFIapple 
Nook → https://emmahart.pub/TBGTFInook 

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Review: A California Christmas (Brenda Novak)

A California Christmas
Series: Silver Springs, #7
Author: Brenda Novak
Publication Date: October 13, 2020
Publisher: MIRA
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Holiday
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Up-and-coming TV anchor Emery Bliss can’t imagine anything more humiliating than the sex tape her ex revenge-posted online. That is, until it causes her to lose her job on top of her self-esteem. Seeking solace—and anonymity—in Silver Springs, Emery isn’t looking to get involved with another man anytime soon. But when she’s thrown back into contact with Dallas Turner, she sees something that his many detractors have missed.

Being home for the holidays and his adoptive mother’s wedding isn’t where mountain climber Dallas feels most comfortable. Thanks to his troubled childhood, he’d rather be on a rock face alone than trying to connect with people. Emery, however, makes him want to overcome his past…somehow.

Both Emery and Dallas had been planning on a quiet, solitary Christmas, but the sparks between them are lighting a fire strong enough to last—possibly forever.


It’s been a long time since I picked up a book by Brenda Novak. I adored her Whiskey Creek series, but had yet to try out this Silver Springs one. I couldn’t resist A California Christmas’ blurb and the fact that it was a holiday novel — those are some of my favorites from Novak.

A California Christmas ended up being a good read for me, but not great. Dallas and Emery’s love story was sweet, but there wasn’t as much depth to them as I wanted. That made it harder to connect to them. I wish I had gotten more of their teenage backstory. I also probably shouldn’t have jumped into this series so far into it. I just didn’t have enough of background information on the many of the characters to make this a completely smooth reading experience for me.

Another thing that was hard for me was that I was expecting a cute holiday romance. This book cover, title, and blurb screams holiday novel, but it wasn’t really a true contemporary holiday romance. It had a big romantic suspense element going on. There were some cute holiday moments peppered in, but I wanted more.

Even though this book wasn’t quite what I was expecting, it was an entertaining read. I have a feeling fans who have read the entire series will enjoy it much more than I did.

Review: Best Friends Don’t Kiss (Max Monroe)

Best Friends Don’t Kiss
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: November 28, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Goal: Find a boyfriend, get married, buy a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, and pop out 2.5 kids.

Deadline: Sixty days.

That’s possible, right?

HAHAHA. *Faints*

I’m kidding. Well, kind of. I mean, I’m not going to attempt a shotgun wedding or try to get knocked up by some guy I met on the internet, but there is no doubt that, this year, home for the holidays takes on a whole new, terrifying meaning.

I have to travel from New York City—my home and safe haven for the last fifteen years—to my tiny hometown in Vermont for Christmas, my baby sister’s wedding, and my high school reunion.

Talk about a trifecta of single-doom.

Throw in Callie Camden—aka my high school class’s version of Regina George—and it’s a recipe for certified disaster.

Especially since my mouth ran away from me when she asked me if I’d be bringing someone to our reunion, and I told her to put me down for two.
Gah. Now I can’t go alone.

But the online dating world is a cesspool of bad manners, speedy hookups, and outright weirdos.

Handsome, single, successful—that’s what I’m looking for.
And it just so happens that my best friend Luke London fits all of the criteria.

The only problem is best friends don’t kiss

But maybe it doesn’t count if it’s pretend? 


Banking the Billionaire will probably always be my favorite Max Monroe book, but Best Friends Don’t Kiss comes close. Best Friends Don’t Kiss was one of those magical romance novels that I couldn’t help fall in love with. Everything about it was so swoony! Not only was it a best friends to more/fake dating romance, it was a holiday romance filled with charming Christmas moments.

Ava and Luke Ava and Luke were just so dang cute together. Everyone (and I do mean everyone) knew they should be together, and it was easy to understand why. Those two had chemistry galore. Their friendship made it even stronger. I couldn’t get enough of how cute they were together. I loved how supportive they were of each other — Luke especially. The things that guy did to show Ava he was on her team was pretty cool. THEY WERE JUST SO FREAKING ADORABLE TOGETHER.

I absolutely loved all the characters that came out to support Ava and Luke. Ava’s family was so much fun. The relationship she had with her dad was so sweet. Her mom and aunts had me cracking up. The character who tried to steal the show was Thatch. That guy never goes away, and I can’t say I’m mad about that. I loved what he and his billionaire buddies brought to this story. It was all so entertaining.

Best Friends Don’t Kiss was yet another stellar release from Max Monroe. It made the 2020 holiday season even brighter. I had so much fun reading it that I was sad when it was over. If you’re looking for a holiday romance that’s going to make you laugh as much as swoon, you’re going to want to read this book.

Audiobook Review: Anxious People (Fredrik Backman)

Anxious People
Author: Fedrik Backman
Narrator: Marin Ireland
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Humor

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Trapped in an apartment open house with six neurotic strangers, a would-be bank robber gets much more than he bargained for in this clever, rollicking, and heartfelt novel that is one-part locked-room mystery and one-part insightful character study from the beloved, bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and Beartown.

This is a story about a hostage drama. But more than that, it’s a story about idiots. That’s why, from the very outset, I need to say that it is always very easy to declare people idiots, but only if you forget that it is also almost always idiotically difficult to be human.

When a failed bank robber escapes into an apartment filled with people during an open house, a group of six strangers are suddenly forced to get to know one another quickly and under extreme circumstances. But what will be the result?

In captivity we meet Roger and Anna-Lena, a recently retired couple who are on a manic hunt for fixer-uppers because they don’t know how to fix their own marriage. They have the distinction of shopping at every Ikea in Sweden—and those are some of the most romantic moments they ever shared. Then there is Zara, a wealthy director of a bank who has never cared for poor people or their problems (and isn’t shy about saying so). But when tragedy strikes in her life, she becomes addicted to visiting real-estate open houses to see how the middle-classes live—and possibly to find a suitable place to commit suicide. Julia and Danijela are a young lesbian couple with a newborn baby who can’t agree on anything. Their opposite and idiosyncratic home preferences are making them increasingly anxious about their chances of spending a lifetime together. And Estelle, an eighty-year-old woman who has lived long enough to be unimpressed by some bank robber waving a gun in her face. Despite the story she tells them all, Estelle hasn’t really come to the apartment to view it for her daughter, and her husband really isn’t outside parking the car.

As police surround the premises and television channels are broadcasting live, the pressure of an increasingly tense situation mounts, causing each person to reveal more and more about themselves to each other. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.

A riotous comedy, Anxious People is about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and a group of very anxious people who experience exactly the same events in wildly different ways.


I’m a fairly new Fredrik Backman reader. I read and ended up loving Beartown, but to be honest it took me a long time to get into it. It started so slow for me. That was not the case with Anxious People. Where Beartown was dreary and took a lot of time to build up to action, Anxious People took off at an addicting pace. I loved the way the story was set up. I couldn’t wait to find out how everything unraveled. Learning about the characters along the way was like a cherry on top of a sundae.  I loved how their personal stories wove into the bigger picture. I appreciated how this book managed to be incredibly funny while delivering some very strong punches. So many things hit me right in the heart. I loved every minute of it. Anxious People will be going on my list of favorite books I’ve read this year.

Since I listened to this book, I want to comment on the narration as well. It was spectacular. I got both the audiobook and e-book from my library at the same time. I thought about switching from the audiobook to the e-book just so I could read the book faster than listen, but I liked the narrator too much. Marin Ireland brought the story to life in the best way.  Her narration was so good that I had to listen and sent the e-book back for someone else to read.

WWW Wednesday: November 25, 2020

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who are celebrating tomorrow! I will be celebrating at home with my immediate family. No big gatherings like usual with my extended family here, but that’s okay. I’m still going to enjoy spending time with my family and sharing some good grub (even if I’m cooking it all myself this year).

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

I read an ARC of Layla by Colleen Hoover. It was…different.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m reading an ARC of Best Friends Don’t Kiss by Max Monroe. It’s making me laugh.

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

My plan is to read ARC of The Not-Outcast by Tijan. I’ve been looking forward to this one.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Lifted My Spirit This Year (AKA: Rom-Coms)

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is:

Thanksgiving Freebie

My freebie topic is going to be:

Books That Lifted My Spirit This Year (AKA: Rom-Coms)

Besides being thankful for family, friends, and pretty good health this year, I have also been thankful for some great books that have helped me get through COVID-19 social and physical distancing. Some of the ones I’m most thankful for are romantic comedies because they make me laugh. Here are some of my favorites I have read this year.

1. The Match
Author: Sarah Adams

This was my first book by Adams, but it won’t be my last. It brightened my day.

2. Hate the Player
Author: Max Monroe

Every book Max Monroe released this year could make this list This is my favorite.

3. Cheesy on the Eyes
Author: Teagan Hunter

Teagan Hunter always knows how to make me laugh.

4. The Change Up
Author: Meghan Quinn

Every book Quinn writes has me in giggles.

5. Jock Blocked
Author: Pippa Grant

I feel like I should just say “ditto”. Grant knows how to make me laugh like Meghan Quinn does.

6. AWK-WEIRD
Author: Avery Flynn

The awkward-weird combination was a winner.

7. Frenemies
Author: Emma Hart

Emma Hart has some seriously fun books. I love her characters — especially if the books contains grandmas.

8. See Me After Class
Author: Meghan Quinn

And I’m back to Meghan Quinn because she’s the queen of rom-coms. This one had me laughing out loud.

9. The Roommate
Author: Rosie Danan

I don’t know that this one is marketed as a rom-com, but it made me laugh.

10. Not My Romeo
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills

Same as #9. Probably more a contemporary, but I appreciated the humor in this one.

Audiobook Review: The Five Stages of Falling in Love (Rachel Higginson)

The Five Stages of Falling in Love
Author: Rachel Higginson
Narrator: Christine Marshall
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Publisher: Audible Studios
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The Five Stages of Falling in Love is a Contemporary Romance.
Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief.

Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady’s prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her?

Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days.

When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn’t just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she’s capable of ever giving again.

As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there’s more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache, and discovers there’s more to life than death.


The Five Stages of Love has been on my TBR since it was released. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to get to it. I’m seriously regretting that now. This book was heartbreakingly good.

Liz is has lost her husband and the father of her four young children. She’s simply trying to make it through the day when Ben moves in next door. As Liz moves through the stages of grief of Grady, she begins to develop a friendship with Ben. As their friendship morphs into more, Liz has to navigate her feelings over losing Grady and what it means to fall for Ben.

Like I said before, this book was heartbreakingly good. Liz’s grief was overwhelming at times, as it should have been. Listening to her navigate her understandable feelings was hard, but it was also rewarding. The way she worked through things and picked up the pieces of her life was inspiring. It might have taken time, but also felt natural. I loved how her feelings grew organically for Ben. I adored how Ben accepted Liz for who she was at any given moment, and also how he bonded with her children. The only thing I could have wanted from this book that wasn’t included was Ben’s point of view. I don’t blame Higginson for not including it, though. It might have distracted from the growth of Liz’s character.

The Five Stages of Falling in Love was a very beautiful story of grief and love. It broke my heart several times, but also put it back together. It touched me in ways I wasn’t expecting. I would highly recommend it. It is now my favorite Higginson book.