Review: The Love Hypothesis

This was definitely a Bookstagram made me do it book. I had read so many glowing reviews about The Love Hypothesis that I couldn’t resist making this my Book of the Month back in September. And when @beautys.library chose this as the December book club pick, I jumped in.

Granted, I didn’t read this book until January.

Olive was so relatable – so awkwardly relatable. Even though I work in communications, I could absolutely relate to the issues Olive encountered in her lab.

Fake dating might be my favorite trope. And The Love Hypothesis did not disappoint. There were the perfect awkward moments, soft and tender moments, and moments that made me laugh out loud.

I absolutely loved Adam and Olive together. I couldn’t get enough of them! And Olive’s friends made everything more awkward (if that’s possible) and ridiculous.

Honestly, I loved this book so much I read the whole thing in a day and already miss being with these characters. I can’t wait until the next book comes out in this series.

Review: Little Christmas Shop on Nutcracker Lane

The Little Christmas Shop n Nutcracker Lane was such a cute read during the holidays. Nia is such a relatable character – someone who is working jobs she hates to be bale to pursue her dream.

I loved Nutcracker Lane and wish there was a place like that near me. Whenever I travel during the holidays, I always hope to find a Christmas market because I LOVE those!

This story absolutely reminded me the importance of shopping local all year round and how important our local shopkeepers are to our community.

I did guess the surprise pretty early on while reading this one, but I still enjoyed getting to the twist itself.

Review: Christmas on 4th Street

Susan Mallery’s Christmas on 4th Street was a cute read, but not my favorite holiday romance I read this holiday season. 

Noelle has recently moved to Fool’s Gold and has made a number of friends. Whereas Gabriel has just returned for the holidays from the Army to visit his brother Gideon.

While both Noelle and Gabriel have a lot of personal history to overcome, they find solace and peace with each other. There are undertones of learning to love yourself again in this story.

However, I did feel like the relationship and the romance was a little too fast for me.

This was a mostly clean romance, with kissing and a fade to black scene.

Review: A Wedding in December

Oh. My. Goodness. Sarah Morgan’s A Wedding in December was the ultimate holiday romance to put my in the holiday spirits and welcome winter.

Rosie announces she is engaged and getting married on Christmas Eve to a man she hasn’t dated very long. And who she met while at university in the US. Her family has to fly from England to Aspen, Colorado for the wedding, but also will experience a white Christmas!

With so many moving pieces of the family dynamic – parents who are temporarily separated, a sister who is burnt out at work, Rosie having a few doubts about the wedding, and the future mother-in-law trying to make the experience in Aspen and the wedding perfect, you know something is bound to go wrong.

I absolutely loved this story – the family struggles felt so real, the situations could have come from personal experiences. The author also captured the magic of snow and made me – who loves snow from indoors, but hates the slush and muck outside –  want to experience winter in Colorado.

I did find myself at the end wishing there was more on this family, though! I want to know where Katie and Jordan and Maggie and Nick all end up after the happily ever after is over.

Review: The One She Needs

Marissa J Gramoll’s A Game Like Ours was one of my favorite books I have read this year. When Marissa announced she was writing a prequel that focuses on Cody’s story, I was in.

This was a short novella with multiple points of view, bouncing between Cody, Lexie and Bobby, and definitely feeds right into A Game Like Ours.

I once again fell in love with Bobby and Lexie, but I didn’t feel the same connection to Cody. I wanted to fall in love with Cody the same way I did with Bobby and Lexie but I couldn’t understand Lexie’s connection to him. That said, I did feel for Cody’s family situation.

This was a lovely, short read that I really enjoyed. If you haven’t already read A Game Like Ours, this is the perfect opportunity to start reading the Suncastle Knights series!

Review: The Ex Talk

The Ex Talk was exactly the romcom read I needed this year! The fake breakup to actual dating storyline was unique in this genre and I am here for it!

Shay and Dominic work at Pacific Public Radio, but when the station has to layoff anchors and cut shows, Shay comes up with the idea of a relationship deep dive show. When the show gets the green light, the decision is to make the show to hosted by exes, and tap Shay and Dominic to be the co-hosts. One problem: They have never dated.

As a public radio listener – I absolutely loved this story and this is definitely a radio show I would listen to. 

I enjoyed reading the growth of the relationship between Shay and Dominic – from enemies, to frenemeies, to friends, to crushes and more. I was totally shipping these two and the slow burn to their romance.

Oh, an it was super fun that my local NPR station, WHYY got a shout out in the book!

I read The Ex Talk with Once Upon a Bookclub Box, which was so much fun. As I was reading along, there were sticky notes to open gifts included in the box that connected to what I was reading. Check out Once Upon a Bookclub and use LEANNREADS10 to save!

Review: The Ex Hex

I have not laughed while reading a book this much in a long, long time. But The Ex Hex had me laughing and chuckling throughout.

Nine years ago, Vivi finds out her boyfriend, Rhys Penhallow is betrothed and breaks up with him. In her heartbroken-state, this witch does what any other would do – curses the guy.

Now, Rhys is back in Graves Glen and that spark has been rekindled almost immediately between Vivi and Rhys. Except Rhys’s magic within Graves Glen is a little wonky and nothing seems to be going right leading up to Halloween.

This was such a fun read! I loved all of these characters, all of the twists and turns and silliness. And the romance between Vivienne and Rhys was so honest and true. I almost didn’t link the ending and the easy way things wrapped up, though.

This was a perfect Halloween read, or a great witchy read anytime, and a fun romcom read!

Review: Not the Witch You Wed

Not the Witch you Wed by April Asher was such a cute read – and perfect for spooky season! 

Violet Maxwell is the oldest sibling in a set of triplet witches. However, she is the Maxwell “dud” – she’s a magic less witch. Violet has spent her life trying to fly under the radar of the Supernatural Council. That is, until they force her to enter into a Witch Bond within three months.

Lincoln Thorne is a wolf shifter and the Alpha to the North American Pack of shifters. He’s trying to make real change in the shifter community, but has a deadline of his 33rd birthday to take a mate.

To fix each others issue, Violet and Lincoln begin fake dating, at least to make the Supernatural Council happy. However, with history between the two, there are quickly emotions added to their faking dating plan. 

The shenanigans that ensue while the two try to hide their feelings from each other and those around them had me turning pages.

I also really liked the women’s empowerment in this – and how Violet didn’t want a mate and stands up to the Supernatural Council to get out of requiring a Witch Bond.

While I loved Violet and Lincoln – and totally shipped these two characters, I absolutely adored the side characters in this book and am thrilled that this is going to be a series, because I want to spend more time with them! Violet’s sisters seriously stole every scene they were in, and Lincoln’s second in command needs his own story!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. Not the Witch you Wed releases February 2022.

Review: For All Time

For All Time will be a love story for the ages.

It took me a while to settle into Tamar and Fayard’s story and figure out what was happening. Initially I wanted more nitty-gritty details about the characters in the here and now, but after finishing the book, I’m glad the author didn’t bog down the beginning with details that would have become obsolete later.

The beginning of the book I also felt like the timeline bounced around a little unexpectedly, but at the same time, this puts the reader into the same dream-state unsureness of the main characters.

The romance between Fayard and Tamar is what had me coming back to this book, even when I was frustrated and confused by it. I wanted to know what happened to these two, let’s call them “star-crossed lovers.”

I will say, Shanna Miles absolutely breaks my heart in this book, in the way only a good romance can. But, no worries, there is a happy (but ambiguous) ending.

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours, Shanna Miles, and Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers for the advanced review copy and including me on this tour!

SYNOPSIS:

The Sun Is Also a Star meets Outlander in this vivid, utterly romantic debut novel about two teens who relive their tragic love story over and over until they uncover what they must do to change their fate.

Tamar is a musician, a warrior, a survivor. Fayard? He’s a pioneer, a hustler, a hopeless romantic.

Together, Tamar and Fayard have lived a thousand lives, seen the world build itself up from nothing only to tear itself down again in civil war. They’ve even watched humanity take to the stars. But in each life one thing remains the same: their love and their fight to be together. One love story after another. Their only concern is they never get to see how their story ends. Until now.

When they finally discover what it will take to break the cycle, will they be able to make the sacrifice?

BLURBS:

“An unforgettable and artfully crafted romance right down to the very last page.” —Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’

“A romance for the ages. Fresh voices and original predicaments make this one perfect little novel.”

—Stacey Lee, award-winning author of The Downstairs Girl

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Shanna Miles is an author, reviewer and librarian who lives in Georgia with her two daughters, and educator husband and advocates tirelessly for appropriate representation for marginalized people in children’s fiction. Her passion is Paranormal Romance, but she also has a deep affinity for diverse Science Fiction like that of Octavia Butler and Sherri L. Smith. “Willow Born” is Shanna Miles’ latest work.

BUY LINK: https://bookshop.org/a/11727/9781534485976

Review: Shipped

Shipped by Angie Hockman was the perfect summer read – especially for a summer when my travel plans aren’t exactly what I had in mind.

Marketing manager Henley is competing for the promotion of her dream at the cruise line she works for, however, she is competing for the position against her work nemesis, Graeme. The twist? Both Henley and Graeme are being sent on a Galapagos cruise and tasked with drafting a digital marketing proposal for the Galapagos cruises.

I really saw myself in Henley – working all of time, taking work home while also taking classes for her master’s degree in the evening and not getting anywhere in her career.

However, Henley frustrated me while she is on the cruise. She’s in the Galapagos, surrounded by the beauty of nature and in a place that people save for their entire life to experience. But she would rather sit in front of her laptop and work rather than experience it.

Once Graeme opens Henley’s eyes and gets her to loosen up a little bit, she’s a bit easier to accept as a person.

Here’s the thing to remember readers: at your job, you are replaceable, at home, you’re not. Work-life balance is extremely important – you’re given vacation days, paid time off, personal time, etc., as part of your job’s compensation package…USE IT. (Sorry, rant over.)

I really liked the slow build romance between Henley and Graeme. The cruise ship is a fun setting for this romcom.