Review: The Last Night in London (Karen White)

The Last Night in London
Author: Karen White
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Karen White weaves a captivating story of friendship, love, and betrayal that moves between war-torn London during the Blitz and the present day.

London, 1939. Beautiful and ambitious Eva Harlow and her American best friend, Precious Dubose, are trying to make their way as fashion models. When Eva falls in love with Graham St. John, an aristocrat and Royal Air Force pilot, she can’t believe her luck—she’s getting everything she ever wanted. Then the Blitz devastates her world, and Eva finds herself slipping into a web of intrigue, spies, and secrets. As Eva struggles to protect her friendship with Precious and everything she holds dear, all it takes is one unwary moment to change their lives forever…

London, 2019. American journalist Maddie Warner, whose life has been marked by the tragic loss of her mother, travels to London to interview Precious about her life in pre-WWII London. Maddie has been careful to close herself off to others, but in Precious she recognizes someone whose grief rivals her own—but unlike Maddie, Precious hasn’t allowed it to crush her.  Maddie finds herself drawn to both Precious and to Colin, her enigmatic surrogate nephew.  As Maddie gets closer to her, she begins to unravel Precious’s haunting past—a story of friendship, betrayal, and the unremembered acts of kindness and of love.


Before I start this review, I have to talk about the author’s note. I have read all of Karen White’s books. Two on my list of favorites are Falling Home and After the Rain. It’s been years since I read those books and that is the only reason I have for not remembering who Maddie Warner was! Now, you don’t need to have read those two books to enjoy this one, but it sure had a delayed emotional impact on me when I made the connection! Now for the review…

The Last Night in London is one of those books that had my attention from the prologue. That chapter set up a story and mystery that had me questioning everything and everyone in the 1940’s setting. I was as curious as Maddie was to unravel the story in 2019. Even when I thought I knew, I don’t know that I knew what had happened with Precious, Eva, Graham, and Alex. It was frustratingly good to try and figure out.

As for the 2019 end of the story, I really enjoyed that part too. Maddie was a frustrating character when it came to her own life. She had her reasons, which I understood, but I wanted her to get over it. I loved how she played detective with Precious’ family to find out what had happened to her during the war and after.

Overall, this was another winner by Karen White. I love how she mixes past with present in her books, neither story winning me over more than the other. Both sides or timelines always keep me intrigued. She has done this with all her previous releases and again with The Last Night in London.

Review: The Last Carolina Sister (Michelle Major)

The Last Carolina Sister
Series: Magnolia Sisters, #3
Author: Michelle Major
Publication Date: March 30, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In Magnolia, North Carolina, love might be waiting right next door…

Meredith Ventner knows a wounded creature when she sees one. Though her temporary new neighbor may be—on the surface at least—a successful, drop-dead gorgeous doctor, she recognizes the deep hurt Ryan Sorensen is carrying, and it’s catnip to her soul. But even though Meredith is the youngest, scrappiest and single-est of Magnolia’s most famous sisters, she’s committed to expanding the animal shelter on her newly inherited farm. She can’t waste her energy on a man who’s only passing through town.

Ryan is hoping that after a month of small-town living he’ll be healed enough to return to his busy ER. His injured leg isn’t half as painful as his guilt from the tragedy he’s trying to forget. Yet somehow, helping feisty, tenderhearted Meredith care for her menagerie is making him question his career-first priorities. Here in this quirky small town another future is coming into view, but can he change his life, and open his heart, to claim it?


It’s been a while since I read a book by Michelle Major. The Last Carolina Sister was a nice reintroduction to her writing. Despite being the third book in the series, it was easy to jump right in. There was just enough background information given about Meredith and her sisters for their relationships and the story to make sense. It was also given in a way that didn’t feel like information dumping or cause a break in the story. My only complaint about the writing would be the switch between Meredith and Ryan’s POVs. It was a small change in font rather than a new chapter or heading with their names to discern when things changed between the two. That made it feel more abrupt when it changed and took me a while to get used to.

As for the story and characters, I liked them both. Meredith was dealing with who she was after finding out her father was not her biological sister, that she had sisters, and that she was the only one of them still single. She also was trying to expand her animal shelter. Ryan was dealing with a tragic shooting that left him injured, mourning a friend, and on a “vacation” from his job as an ER doctor. The more time Meredith and Ryan spent together, the more I loved them together. Meredith was a little insecure, but also determined. Ryan was grumpy and trying to wallow in his pain. I enjoyed how Meredith’s animal rescue brought them together. Helping out at the rescue and falling for Meredith became part of what helped Ryan heal, and in turn he helped Meredith heal. I loved the emotional journey they took together and love they built. The whole animal aspect just added such a special connection.

The Last Carolina Sister was a sweet, well written love story. I’m looking forward to going back and reading Meredith’s sisters’ stories.

Review: The Songbook of Benny Lament (Amy Harmon)

The Songbook of Benny Lament
Author: Amy Harmon

Publication Date: March 16, 2021
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of What the Wind Knows and From Sand and Ash comes a powerful love story about a musical duo who put everything on the line to be together.

New York, 1960: For Benny Lament, music is his entire life. With his father’s deep ties to the mob, the Bronx piano man has learned that love and family can get you in trouble. So he keeps to himself, writing songs for other musicians, avoiding the spotlight…until the night his father brings him to see Esther Mine sing.

Esther is a petite powerhouse with a gorgeous voice. And when Benny writes a hit song and performs it with her, their collaboration thrusts the duo onto the national stage…and stirs up old issues and new scrutiny that the mob—and Benny—would rather avoid.

It would be easier to walk away. But the music and the woman are too hard for the piano man to resist. Benny’s songs and Esther’s vocals are an explosive combination, a sound that fans can’t get enough of. But though America might love the music they make together, some people aren’t ready for Benny Lament and Esther Mine on—or off—the stage.


You guys… I HAVE A NEW BOOK TO ADD TO MY FAVORITES LIST!!!

Amy Harmon consistently writes amazing works of art. It is always hard to pick a favorite book of hers, but The Songbook of Benny Lament just bulldozed right over all her other books to my top spot.

I loved EVERYTHING about this book. It alternates between chapters of radio interviews with Benny and his story of what happened along his way to fame. The radio chapters set up the story perfectly. They hinted at what was to come, making the story that followed all the sweeter. The story of Minecraft and Benny’s relationship with Esther Mine built in the best of ways. I had all these ideas of where things were headed, but didn’t even want to guess. I wanted to experience it all as I read it. It was such a fascinating love story set in the chaotic and violent times of the 1960’s. I enjoyed the way it wove music, the mob, politics, racial injustices of the 1960’s, and a sweet love story all into one package. There was even some humor!

The only book I can compare The Songbook of Benny Lament to is Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It gave me that same feeling. It had me forgetting that it was fiction and had me wanting to Google everyone and everything related to Benny Lament and Esther Mine. Their story felt real and true. I was so caught up in it that I forgot it was fiction. That’s not to say that The Songbook of Benny Lament was a copycat of Daisy Jones and The Six. It wasn’t. It was a completely different story.

If you love books that revolve around music, complex love stories and a ton of heart you won’t want to miss this book. Amy Harmon put so much heart into The Songbook of Benny Lament. It checked all my boxes. I will be thinking about it for a long time.

Review: To Sir, with Love (Lauren Layne)

To Sir, with Love
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: July 29, 2021
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis: 

Love Is Blind meets You’ve Got Mail in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy following two thirty-somethings who meet on a blind dating app—only to realize that their online chemistry is nothing compared to their offline rivalry.

Perpetually cheerful and eager to please, Gracie Cooper strives to make the best out of every situation. So when her father dies just months after a lung cancer diagnosis, she sets aside her dreams of pursuing her passion for art to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. She soon finds out that the store’s profit margins are being squeezed perilously tight, and complicating matters further, a giant corporation headed by the impossibly handsome, but irritatingly arrogant Sebastian Andrews is proposing a buyout. But Gracie can’t bear the thought of throwing away her father’s dream like she did her own.

Overwhelmed and not wanting to admit to her friends or family that she’s having second thoughts about the shop, Gracie seeks advice and solace from someone she’s never met—the faceless “Sir”, with whom she connected on a blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages and common interests before exchanging real names or photos.

But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life…and they can’t stand each other. 


I’m always excited to find out Lauren Layne is releasing another book. She’s a go-to author for me. I adore her writing style and the contemporary romances she creates. To Sir, With Love was a great addition to her catalog of books. It was another book set in what seems to be Layne’s favorite city of New York, but it was different than many of her other books. It came across warmer and almost had a small town feel despite the big city setting.

So…What did I love about this book? Bubbly & More, Gracie’s family champagne store, was a unique venue. I loved how it fit in with Gracie’s family and her possibly suiter dynamic. The characters were all so fun. I adored Gracie from the minute she came to life on the page. She made me laugh plenty of times. I liked her communications with Sir. Those were fun. Any time emails, letters, texts, etc are in a book it adds to the fun. Gracie’s “enemy” Sebastian was a pleasant suit-type surprise as well. Add in Gracie’s family and co-workers and there were so many great characters to add to the story. It was just a cute story that made me smile the entire time I read it — which was basically in one setting.

There was one weird thing about this book. I don’t know exactly how to classify it. It was probably more women’s fiction than romance, but it still felt like reading a romance. Or I guess it could be considered an incredibly slow, slow burn romance. It doesn’t really matter when it comes down to it because however you want to classify it, it was a great read. I do have to admit I would have liked more time with the couple in this story. There was so much build up and so little time with them. That being said, I still loved every minute reading this book. 

Review: Heartbreak Bay (Rachel Caine)

Heartbreak Bay
Series: Stillhouse Lake, #5
Author: Rachel Caine
Publication Date: March 9, 2021
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

They’re hunting a killer so silent, so invisible, that his unspeakable crimes are the only proof he exists.

A car submerged in a remote pond. The bodies of two girls strapped into their seats. The mystery of their mother, vanished without a trace, leads Gwen Proctor and Kezia Claremont into dangerous territory.

On the surface, Gwen’s life is good—two children approaching adulthood, a committed partner, and a harrowing past dead and gone. But that past is attracting the attention of someone invisible…and unstoppable. Trouble’s just beginning. So is the body count in this backwoods Tennessee town.

As threats mount and Gwen’s hunted by an enemy who pulls all the strings, Kezia has her back. But working to solve these vicious and unreasonable crimes will expose them both to a killer they can’t for the life of them see coming.


Not going to lie. My heart is breaking a little as I write this one last review for Rachel Caine and the Stillhouse Lake series. Knowing Caine is no longer with us and will no longer be writing hit me hard as I finished Heartbreak Bay. While this book was a fitting end for Gwen Proctor, family, and friends, I would have loved for this series to gone on longer. It takes a lot for me to stay confined to my seat with a thriller, and Rachel Caine has always managed to do that with this series. Heartbreak Bay was no different. I was taken on a stressful but addictive journey to find another killer taunting Gwen and it was everything I hoped it would be. Rachel Caine finished up this series on a high and I will forever be grateful to her for writing a thriller series that kept me always coming back for more. Fans of this series won’t want to miss out on this spectacular ending.

Review: Candy Colored Sky (Ginger Scott)

Candy Colored Sky
Author: Ginger Scott

Publication Date: February 26, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Mature Young Adult
Note: This review is for an ARC I received from WordSmith Publicity and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Jonah Wydner has been in love with his neighbor Eleanor Trombley for years. He has watched her life play out from the sidelines—homecoming dances, football parties, and first dates. Her life seemed easy…simple…perfect. The complete opposite of his own.

But when Eleanor’s younger sister goes missing and the national media sets up camp in the middle of their street, the girl with the seemingly perfect life shows up in Jonah’s garage in search of a place to hide from the hurt and chaos. What begins as one night becomes many filled with unexpected surprises and unveiling, healing truths about Jonah’s own messy past.

Soon, Jonah gets to know the real Eleanor, and discovers all the ways they’re the same. Friendship blossoms into more, plans turn into promises, and hopes and dreams become shared under the warm glow of the fading Midwestern sunsets. But how far can a kiss under a candy-colored sky take them? And what happens when the clouds close in?


I was a little nervous to start Candy Colored Sky. When I reach for a Ginger Scott novel I know it’s going to do two things: pull me in with her writing and hit me with emotion. That was especially true with this book.

Candy Colored Sky had this emotional vibe to it. It wasn’t a heavy vibe, but one that lingered beneath the surface. It took me a long time to figure it out. I kept trying to compare it to how a thriller has a creepy vibe. I couldn’t put my finger on it until almost the end of the book. Somehow Ginger Scott took classic new adult angst and somehow flipped it. Instead of being in the head of the person who is experiencing all the angst, we’re in the head of the person watching that person experience the angst. It gave the book that underlying feeling of angst that was something I don’t think I have experienced before. I liked being once removed from the angst. It was a different reading experience.

If you read the blurb, you can understand why this book would be emotional. Our main character, Jonah, is watching the girl he has secretly crushed on his entire life go through a traumatic experience. Eleanor’s younger sister has been abducted and Jonah is determined to do what he can to ease Eleanor’s pain. I loved Jonah’s approach to this. He took the time to look closely and see what others couldn’t or didn’t want to. He stood by her and lifted her up when needed. He was honest with her. The two of them formed a bond in the toughest times that could only get stronger.

I didn’t just love Jonah’s approach, though. I loved him. He was this slightly nerdy math wiz who hung on the edges of the popular crowd. There wasn’t a mean bone in his body. He came from a family that had been through its own trauma. I adored his relationship with both his mom and his grandfather. He had a fun friendship with his best friend and jock Jake. Jonah was one of those really good kids you want to see get the girl of his dreams.

Eleanor was more of a mystery because this book was told in Jonah’s POV. I don’t like admitting I was glad not to be in her head, but Jonah’s descriptions of her (and her family’s) pain was enough. I can say I loved her because of how she reacted to and treated Jonah.

Candy Colored Sky was one of those books that will stay with me for a long time. It left me feeling hopeful despite the overall sadness of the story. Only really great books can do that.

★NOW AVAILABLE★ 

𝗖𝗮𝗻𝗱𝘆 𝗖𝗼𝗹𝗼𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗦𝗸𝘆 by Ginger Scott is LIVE! This is a coming of age love story, stand alone. One-click your copy and take a peek inside below! 

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Universal Link: https://books2read.com/CandyColoredSky 
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08VTTWXLP/
Apple: https://books.apple.com/…/candy-colored-sky/id1553932714 
BN: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w?ean=2940162507444
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/candy-colored-sky 
Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=aG0ZEAAAQBAJ 

Add it to your TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56553619-ccs 

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

The Bookworm’s Guide to Flirting
Series: The Bookworm’s Guide, #3
Author: Emma Hart
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

What I thought I’d get on Valentine’s Day: a card.
What I got on Valentine’s Day: a blind date with my brand new roommate.

Let it be known that I, Saylor Green, am wholeheartedly against blind dating. I think it’s superficial, unnecessary, and designed wholly to force people into relationships they aren’t ready for.
It’s me. I’m people.
So when Dylan Parker takes the seat across from me, I’m ready to dismiss him at one glance.
The problem? He’s hot and funny and sweet and the exact kind of guy I read about in the romance novels I sell like hotcakes in my bookstore.
He’s also my new roommate.
Who likes to walk around in his sweatpants and peer over my shoulder and comment on all my online dating escapades.
When he offers to help me flirt my way to dating success, I’m all for it.
But what am I supposed to do when the only person I want to flirt with is… Dylan?


The Bookworm’s Guide to Flirting was one of those quick, light reads. There was little drama and a bunch of moments to make me laugh. Usually in romances, the hero is the grumpy one. I loved that in this one Saylor was the grump. Her sarcastic, negative personality made things very entertaining. Dylan seemed to be a go with the flow type of guy. I loved how he put up with and sometimes antagonized Saylor. Their interactions as roommates were pretty hilarious. I also enjoyed the moments that led up to their coupledom. This was a great ending to this series and I loved how much fun I had reading it. 

Available Now:

Series Amazon: https://amzn.to/3gDoUlk 
TBR: http://emmahart.pub/TBGTF-GR
Amazon US → https://amzn.to/319P5ev 
Amazon UK → https://amzn.to/37Weh9A 
Apple Books → https://emmahart.pub/TBGTFapple 
Nook → https://emmahart.pub/TBGTFnook 
Kobo → https://emmahart.pub/TBGTFkobo 

Review: The Things We Leave Unfinished (Rebecca Yarros)

The Things We Leave Unfinished
Author: Rebecca Yarros

Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Romance, Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Twenty-eight-year-old Georgia Stanton has to start over after she gave up almost everything in a brutal divorce—the New York house, the friends, and her pride. Now back home at her late great-grandmother’s estate in Colorado, she finds herself face-to-face with Noah Harrison, the bestselling author of a million books where the cover is always people nearly kissing. He’s just as arrogant in person as in interviews, and she’ll be damned if the good-looking writer of love stories thinks he’s the one to finish her grandmother’s final novel…even if the publisher swears he’s the perfect fit.

Noah is at the pinnacle of his career. With book and movie deals galore, there isn’t much the “golden boy” of modern fiction hasn’t accomplished. But he can’t walk away from what might be the best book of the century—the one his idol, Scarlett Stanton, left unfinished. Coming up with a fitting ending for the legendary author is one thing, but dealing with her beautiful, stubborn, cynical great-granddaughter, Georgia, is quite another.

But as they read Scarlett’s words in both the manuscript and her box of letters, they start to realize why Scarlett never finished the book—it’s based on her real-life romance with a World War II pilot, and the ending isn’t a happy one. Georgia knows all too well that love never works out, and while the chemistry and connection between her and Noah is undeniable, she’s as determined as ever to learn from her great-grandmother’s mistakes—even if it means destroying Noah’s career.

Told in alternating timelines, THE THINGS WE LEAVE UNFINISHED examines the risks we take for love, the scars too deep to heal, and the endings we can’t bring ourselves to see coming.


The Things We Leave Unfinished… Where do I even start? With each new release, Rebecca Yarros somehow exceeds my expectations and writes my new favorite book of hers. I fell in love with The Things We Leave Unfinished from the very first page. Past and present were beautifully woven together. I could have read two separate books about the two different timelines and been completely happy. Weaving the two together made it all the more fascinating. With every page I turned and chapter I finished, I wanted more. I needed to know what was going to happen in WWII England with Scarlett and Jameson. I wanted to know where the unraveling the past would take Georgia and Noah. Their individual and combined journeys were both heartbreaking and heartwarming. I loved every minute of this stunning love story.

Series Review: Moo U (World of True North)

Good morning! I have something fun to share with you today. It’s a series review for the first series in Sarina Bowen’s World of True North. All three books are available TODAY! Get ready for some college hockey romance fun!

Blindsided
Series: Moo U, #1
Author: Victoria Denault
Publication Date: February 15, 2020
Publisher: Heart Eyes Press
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts: 

 I already found a new favorite author for 2021! Blindsided was a great introduction to Victoria Denault’s writing. I loved absolutely every minute of this book. The enemies to more trope was on point. The tension between Maggie and Tate was off the charts. I loved the whole neighbors who hate each other thing that was going on with their entire families and how to trickled down to them.  Once all that hate ignited in chemistry, POOF! FIRE! Maggie and Tate were just as much fun in lust and love as in hate. Plus, there were so many laughs to be had. Blindsided was exactly the type of enemies to more romance that I love. It was also a strong debut of a new world and series created by Sarina Bowen. I was impressed how easily the writing matched with Bowen’s own. I can’t wait to read more from Denault and the rest of this series.

Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3omh4Qh
Pre-Order: https://geni.us/AmazonBlindsided
Moo U Hockey: https://hearteyespress.com/wotn#/moo-u-hockey/

Slapshot
Series: Moo U, #2
Author: Rebecca Jenshak
Publication Date: February 15, 2020
Publisher: Heart Eyes Press
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

Slapshot was the main reason I wanted to read the Moo U series. I love Rebecca Jenshak’s NA sports romances and this one was every bit as good as her others. Kaitlyn and Lex won my heart right very quickly. They initially seemed like an odd combination together. She was a couple of years older, (maybe) wiser, and trying to avoid everything hockey until she ends up as the team manager. Lex was new to Moo U, trying to find his place on the team, and all about hockey. Despite feeling like an unlikely couple to me at first, their chemistry couldn’t have been any stronger. Kaitlyn and Lex’s personalities became bigger, brighter when they were together. I loved the progression of their relationship, that fiery chemistry, and they way helped each other find their way. It was an adorably fun romance. I also loved seeing some other favorite characters from this series again. Slapshot was another hit for me in the Moo U series.

Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2VFqM4b
Pre-Order: https://geni.us/AmazonSlapshot
Moo U Hockey: https://hearteyespress.com/wotn#/moo-u-hockey/

Holdout
Series: Moo U, #3
Author: Jaqueline Snowe
Publication Date: February 15, 2020
Publisher: Heart Eyes Press
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

I have another new author to love! What was most impressive about Holdout was the insane chemistry Ryann and Daniel had. I could feel their sizzle coming off the page. It wasn’t just the physical chemistry I felt, but the emotional connection was well. These were two people who held everything close to them and found the one person who got them. I loved that. Not to mention the way they ended up as roommates and what that meant for both of them was so much fun! Holdout was a fantastic addition to this series.

Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2JD9qSZ
Pre-Order: https://geni.us/AmazonHoldout
Share this page: https://hearteyespress.com/wotn#/moo-u-hockey/

Overall thoughts on the series:

WOOHOO! We’re 3 for 3 for 5 stars in this series. That’s so awesome! A lot of time these “worlds” authors create don’t work for me, but this one totally did. All of the books were standalones, but they easily tied together. Each author had their own writing style, but they all meshed so well that you felt like it was one author writing a series. That author very well could have been Sarina Bowen herself. That’s how well written they were. I hope there will be more books in this series coming. I would love it if they were written by these three authors.

Review: Five Ways to Fall Out of Love (Emily Martin)

Five Ways to Fall Out of Love
Author: Emily Martin
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

This whip-smart rom-com explores the risks and rewards of letting love in, for fans of Jennifer E. Smith, Julie Buxbaum, and Sandhya Menon.

How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways…

Aubrey Cash learned the hard way not to rely on love. After all, Webster Casey, the new boy next door she’d been falling for all summer, stood her up at homecoming in front of everyone with no explanation. Proving her theory that love never lasts seems easy when she’s faced with parents whose marriage is falling apart and a best friend who thinks every boy she dates is “the one.” But when sparks fly with a boy who turns out to be Webster’s cousin, and then Webster himself becomes her lab partner for the rest of senior year, Aubrey finds her theory—and her commitment to stay single—put to the test.

As she navigates the breakdown of her family, the consequences her cynicism has on her relationship with her best friend, and her own confusing but undeniable feelings for Webster, Aubrey has to ask herself: What really happened the night Webster stood her up? And if there are five ways to fall out of love…could there perhaps be even more ways to fall back in?


I have been waiting for another book from Emily Martin since I fell in love with The Year We Fell Apart. I was so excited to read Five Ways to Fall Out of Love when I downloaded it. I put off reading it for a bit because YA contemporaries just hadn’t been hitting the right note with me. I’m happy to report that Five Ways to Fall Out of Love got me back into the swing of reading them.

Emily Martin’s writing was as engaging as I remember it being. I was immediately pulled into Aubrey’s life. She seemed like a normal teenage girl. She wasn’t the “special snowflake” we see sometimes in YA fiction.  Aubrey had real life insecurities navigating high school friends, cliques, and boys. She also had family problems that I believe many teenagers will be able to relate to. There was a lot of hurt she had to deal with in all of that. I liked how Martin portrayed it all.

As for the romance… Well, it had its love triangle moments. You might have guessed that from the blurb. Aubrey used to like Webster, now she likes his cousin Holland. Being with Holland led to being around Webster more than normal and drug up old feelings. Normally, I’m not a fan of love triangles. I didn’t mind this one because it didn’t always feel like one, and there wasn’t any overlap between Aubrey being with either of the guys (no cheating). What I didn’t like was that Webster and Holland were cousins. That did bug me. At least they weren’t brothers, I guess.

A little more about the guys since I won’t be giving away how things go down or end up. Webster was not my favorite guy. I knew, from reading countless romances, that his rudeness had to be related to something Aubrey was unaware of. I could tell her cared for her and liked her despite his actions. That being said, he made some poor decisions that drove me nuts. Holland was a great guy from the start. He’s a character you can’t help but like because he’s just so dang decent. He treated Aubrey well, better than Webster. Holland had some flaws of his own in relation to Aubrey.

Oh! One of my favorite things was the friendship aspect of the book. Aubrey had to navigate both a long-term and a new-found friendship. I really loved how everything went down in terms of both and what Aubrey learned from them.

Another thing I should mention is that this book is about seniors in high school. It is on the mature side of things when it comes to the YA genre. There is some sexual content, alcohol, and partying.

It’s hard to talk about some of my feelings about this book without giving things away. It was well written, but I think some readers are going to have a problem with Aubrey’s decisions and maybe even the ending. I kind of wanted it to either go a different direction than it did or for an epilogue. I vacillated between 3.5 and 4 stars as a rating, and ended up going with 4 because it was so well written, held my attention, and had me genuinely rooting for Aubrey to find her way through her senior year of high school.