Book Review – Love of my Life by Rosie Walsh

My Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/ 5 

A dual POV mystery thriller involving Emma and her husband Leo. Upon writing an obituary for her in the case of her death (since she has cancer), he finds that stories of her past are not lining up with what she told him when they met. From her education to even her name, he soon realizes he knows nothing but lies from the woman he loves, including that their daughter really is his or not. The story has so many turns and twists that it is almost hard to keep up, where it seems every single character has their own secret.

This had me constantly guessing with its intriguing story and fast-paced writing style. Definitely one of my favorite thrillers over the last few months.

Book Review – Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

My Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/ 5 

This is a historical fiction taking place in 1950s England about three different women working at Bloomsbury Books. It is also the follow up to the Jane Austen Society (which I did not read).  The bookshop is managed by Mr. Dutton, who has created 51 rules that all staff must adhere to. These three women: Vivian, Grace, and Evie have all suffered from workplace inequality amongst their male peers. Evie, the newer employee, has a motive to search high and low for a rare book based on her previous research at Cambridge – she is adamant it must be there somewhere in the shop. 

There is a lot going on. Grace, with her unmotivated, abusive husband Gordon, to the hate/love relationship between Vivian and Alec, the secret relationships amongst the staff, the racism that Ash feels as an Indian man in England at this time, and efforts of different members of the staff to take over the shop. I liked it, but there were large portions of the book that moved painstakingly slow. The ending made me feel good, but also felt rushed at the same time. The subtle flirtation between Lord Baskin and Grace is cute, but I wish there was more of it.  I am in the minority of those that did not LOVE it, but glad I read it.

Thank you to St Martin’s Press for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!

Book Review – One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke

My Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/ 5 

This is a multi POV mystery thriller that takes place over a hen weekend aka bachelorette party in the Greek Islands. Lexie brought her best friends from school: Robyn and Bella (who don’t get along anymore); Ana, her newer friend from Yoga, Fen (Bella’s gf) and Eleanor, her future sister in law. From the get go, it is clear each of the friends have their own secret/reasons to why they are joining the trip. One does not make it out of the island alive, and it is a roller coaster all the way to the end to find out what happens. 

At first with all the characters, it is hard to keep up with who is who. I loathed the character Bella, but she is supposed to be immensely unlikeable. There are so many different twists and turns that leave you guessing until the end and I was surprised at who the victim was. This was an easy read and I liked it fine, but didn’t love it. 

Tropes & Triggers: mentions of rape, assault

Spice Level:0/5 

Thank you to Putnam books for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!

Book review – The Dragon’s Bride by Katee Robert

My Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️/ 5 

Not sure how I ended up here after a few Katee Robert books. I love the vintage romance clinch covers, so I loved these covers for Katee Robert’s romance “A Deal with a Demon” series. Escaping the clutches of an abusive husband, Briar Rose makes a deal with a demon to spare 7 years of her life to provide services. Then she would be free. Services would mean being auctioned to a dragon-like creature named Sol, who essentially needs to breed with a human to strengthen the bloodlines of his kingdom. So, what if some of the plot doesn’t make sense? The world building is thin, but the spice makes up for it. I mean, two penises? Come on! 

It’s a quick read and the cover alone is interesting enough for you to want to pick it up. I am intrigued enough to read the next one, but was expecting more! 

Tropes & Triggers:taboo, paranormal romance, monster romance,  18+

Spice Level: 4/5

Book Review – Your Dad Will Do by Katee Robert

My Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/ 5 

This is a quick novella from the “A Touch of Taboo” series by Katee Robert. In a nutshell, Lily’s fiance was caught cheating on her and she is seeking revenge with his dad aka her ex-future father in law. That’s the plot. Plus smut. A lot of it. And I’m here for it. It was probably the dirtiest thing I’ve ever read and it was perfect for a quick steamy read. 

Tropes & Triggers: age gap, taboo, revenge, daddykink, 18+

Spice Level: 5/5

Book Review – Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering

My Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/ 5 

This is a multi POV story essentially about obsessive love and how it can endanger and hurt those that you care about. Shifting between two different timelines, Molly meets lead singer Jake Danner at a concert in the 2010s while he is performing and they fall in love quickly and they both ride the wave of his rising fame and success. He even penned “Molly’s Song” for her – their biggest hit to date. Skipping to present day, Molly is living in the suburbs married to someone else, finding it difficult to fit in and meet new friends until she meets yoga student and newcomer Sabrina. It is clear early on that Sabrina has other motives and many secrets that link to Molly and Jake’s past.

This seems like different books at some times. I expected this to be a thriller, but it is really more of a soap opera/ drama. I enjoyed the love story of Molly and Jake – and there is so much drama with Sabrina and her secrets. Also Sabrina’s story was promising and I was curious to what all the fuss was about over Jake. I was disappointed with the lackluster ending. There was so much more potential to Sabrina and even Liz’s storyline! It is a quick read and pretty easy to follow throughout.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press  and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Spice Level: 0/5

Book Review – Book of Azrael by Amber Nicole

My Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/ 5 

This is a Dual POV fantasy romance novel about Dianna, a woman who exchanged her freedom for her sister’s life a thousand years ago. Now she is a killing machine (with a mortal heart) under Kaden’s rule. Think precursor to the modern day vampire abilities. She is a monster and the only thing keeping her rooted to her humanity is her younger sister, Gabby. Samkiel, known as the “World Ender” and leader to the Celestials and son of a God himself, is considered forever immortal. After the events of the Gods’ war, he retreated to isolate himself from being a leader, until the death of a member of his Hand. After unexpected events, Dianna and Samkiel are forced to work together, even though they are eternal enemies. 

The world building is excellent. It’s a big book at 800+ pages but it flows really well. The pace keeps you constantly intrigued and entertained while also feeding you tons of information that is not too overwhelming. Usually with these bigger books, it feels like they are way too long, but this was actually perfect. The love scenes were steamy, but more of a tease to what is coming in future books. The ending left me with such a cliffhanger and I cannot wait for book 2! 

Thank you to Rose & Star Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Tropes: enemies to lovers, overprotective, one bed, forbidden love, slow burn, morally gray heroes

Spice Level: 2/5

Book Review: Glow by Raven Kennedy

My Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/ 5 

This multi POV 4th installment takes place directly after the horrific events of the 3rd book, Gleam. Auren is healing and confronting her past trauma under King Midas’ rule and imprisonment while also trying to be in the future with Slade. Unfortunately, the other Kingdoms in the realm are not willing to let the death of two monarchs go unpunished (from the last book) – and are halting shipments to starve the people of the Fourth until Auren faces judgment. Naturally Slade is not having it.  Meanwhile, the other Queens /Monarchs are trying to acquire more and more power.

These books just keep getting better and better. It was so important to showcase real emotion and ramifications that Auren was going through after a lifetime of being imprisoned and after essentially being tortured by Midas. The steamy scenes  was chef’s kiss  – the perfect amount while also moving the story along. It was great to learn more about Slade’s past and his own people in the Fourth, and more about his family. My new favorite part of the series is the new blooming possible romance between Osrik and Rissa. I nearly screamed out loud when the ending came about – and I can’t wait to see more about these two. The other POVs of the other Queens kept me curious about what could possibly come next and I was still shocked at the end. My only disappointment is waiting another year for the next (and last) installment to this series!

Tropes: enemies to lovers, overprotective

Spice Level: 4/5

Book Review – Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

My Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️/ 5 

Nora Hamilton’s husband Ben left her and her kids high and dry. As a romance screenwriter for the Romance Network, she poured her heart out in the script for “The Teahouse”. It ends up getting the big screen treatment, even filming scenes at her own home in Laurel Ridge. The famous actor Leo Vance, who will be playing the part of her husband, is standoffish and cold at first, but he mysteriously stays after the crew leaves to get a little R&R. Nora needs the money and he is not bad to look at – so she agrees to let him stay for a week. After watching early morning sunrises together everyday, she finds out why he has been seeking a simpler life and perhaps he fits in better in her life than even her own ex-husband did. 

I love the trope of the movie star/hometown heroine, but I did not believe their relationship. It went from one page where he really was indifferent to all of a sudden “in love” with her. I had to skim back to make sure I didn’t miss a few chapters where their relationship suddenly shifted. There were parts that were charming: the grocery shopping, the sunrise watching, their little texts but my biggest pet peeve trope: miscommunication! They wasted so much time because of a simple thing – it still bothers me writing about it. This is a cute-sy rom com/beach read, expect little to no spice though. Overall, I liked it enough until I found out they can’t even talk to each other.

Thank you to Putnam books and netgalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. 

Tropes: small town, celebrity

Spice Level: 0.5/5

Book Review – Four Ways to Wear a Dress by Gillian Libby

My Review: ⭐️⭐️.5/ 5 

A contemporary romance about a woman named Millie Ward who is fired from her job for speaking her mind. To lift her mood, her best friend Quincy invites her to California to visit and reassess what she wants to do next. Millie’s other friends sent her their joint black dress (that they all share for big events). Millie hopes this might also help her get closer to Quincy’s brother, Pete. 

This reminds me so much of the Sisterhood of Traveling Pants series/movies. The title is a bit confusing as it mentioned the other ways to wear the dress but it doesn’t go into the history of the dress with the other friends. It’s a romance, so I expect that Millie will be very evident as the narrator how much she wants Pete but it was very repetitive to the point of annoyance. The spice is OK, but it doesn’t get into gear until the end really, and it doesn’t make up for the thin storyline as it is. I enjoyed some parts of this including the inclusion of her ADHD and her internal struggle with it and the location of the book. The writing story was not for me though unfortunately.

Thank you to Sourcebooks and netgalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. 

Tropes: small town/coastal, brother of the best friend

Spice Level: 2/5

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