It has been a while since a book made me cry, and The Lost Ticket was the book broke that streak.
I absolutely loved Frank. I would love to randomly meet such a sweet man like him. Especially as I continued to read the story and Libby and Dylan encounter more and more people whose life has been changed for the good by Frank over the years.
The neighborhood around the 88 Bus became such a part of the story and as much a character of the story as any of the main characters.
I absolutely adored this book. Thank you to Once Upon a Book Club for sending this book as part of a VIP box for the ir“Love at the Last Stop” box.
In the beginning of 2022, I made a resolution to read more authors of diversity. At the close of the year, I finished with 20 books read by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) authors. Read all about my year of Reading in Full Color here. While I read variety of genres, romance will always be my favorite, so I wanted to take a moment to look back at my favorites in this top five list.
Meddling aunties, a wedding, and a dead body…and a second-chance romance. After reading Dial A for Aunties, Jesse Q. Sutanto is on my auto-buy list for authors and I cannot wait to read Four Aunties and a Wedding to see what trouble this family can get into!
Strong and independent female main characters are the reason I reach for books by LaQuette, not to mention the steam she brings to the table. Vanessa Jared Got a Man was such a fun read, and the author flips the traditional romances script – the woman has the money and power rather than the man.
A Lot Like Adios is the second book in the Primas of Power series, and the steamiest book on this list. There’s so of the miscommunication trope in this one, but the main characters have so much chemistry that I adored them and this book!
Just Like Magic was my final festive book of holiday season, and, unfortunately, it wasn’t my favorite.
I did not like the female main character, Bettie, throughout the majority of the book; however, for how much I disliked Bettie, I liked Hall as much. While he wanted to make Bettie happy, what I liked about him is was that he anted to make everyone happy – he spread holiday cheer like glitter.
On the other hand, the Hughes-Watson family is quite a piece of work themselves. Although grandma Bettie (the main character’s namesake) is the perfect comic relief throughout the book.
I wanted there to be an HEA (and there is in this one), I didn’t love the way the story got there.
Thank you to Putnam and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for my honest review.
A Christmas romance set in Alaska – you know I was all over this one. Not only did I fall in love with Danni and Declan not to mention, I fell in love with Auke Bay, Juneau and all of the characters in town.
Mistletoe in Juneau is a Christmas romance, and as much as the characters make the book, the town of Auke Bay, which is a neighborhood in the city of Juneau, was also a pretty main character of the book. So much so that I looked up the town (a real town, by the way!) to scope it out for future travel plans.
I always enjoy a good grumpy sunshine trope, and Declan is definitely the stereotypical grump. After losing a leg in the Army, he returns to his hometown to be an Alaskan State Trooper. He’s quiet and keeps to himself and doesn’t make friends outside of his small group.
Danni on the other hand, is in Alaska visiting her long-time friend over Christmas and taking a break from her life as an influencer in New York City.
The slow build of Danni and Declan’s relationship felt so natural – not rushed or forced for the story by any means.
I was shocked, however, by how quickly they went from simply exploring a relationship to fully committed to each other. But then again, I am thankful the story ended the way it did rather than with an epilogue.
Mistletoe in Juneau is by Hallmark Publishing, and as with most of their Christmas romances, I could absolutely see this one being turned into a Hallmark Christmas movie.
I listened to this book as an audiobook and the narrator was fantastic – I was always engaged in the plot and there was enough differentiation in voices that it was easy to follow along with the dialogue.
Thank you to Hallmark Publishing and NetGalley for the gifted audiobook copy!
I had high hopes for Bride for a Day, and while this was a cute read, it wasn’t everything I was expecting.
Cassie was quiet and meek around Ted and his family, which frustrated me for her as a character. Ted’s family on the other hand was warm and comforting, and a family that anyone would love to be a part of.
I did feel like the main conflict was too easily resolved, and the relationship between Cassie and Ted felt very contrived and the marriage of convenience – well, seemed too convenient.
While this is cute, it definitely fell flat for me.
Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley for the review copy.
The Kiss Curse was a cute, fast read, perfect for spooky season – especially for those of us who like our spooky season on the sweeter side. I absolutely loved The Ex Hex last fall, and was looking forward to joining the crew in Graves Glen again.
The Kiss Curse was Gwyn and Wells story, and this was definitely followed the enemies-to-lovers trope. (Which is one of my favorites, so I absolutely loved the witty banter and the journey in their relationship.)
Speaking of favorite things, Sur Purrcival – I absolutely that cat. He seriously steals the show every time he is in the scene.
I did really enjoy the inclusiveness in this book – Gwyn is bi and one of the side characters uses they/them pronouns. It’s subtle, but so seamlessly written into the story.
There is a little mystery in this, and there was a good red herring to keep the reader guessing. Although, in the end I did find the conclusion to be taken care of too quickly and easily.
Pumpkinheads is such a cute graphic novel – and perfect reading for fall reading.
Deja and Josiah are “seasonal friends” working together at the local Pumpkin Patch. But on their last day of the season, during their last year working at the Patch before heading off to college, the duo decides to go out with a bang. They seek out the girl Josiah has been crushing on for three years, but on the way, they also try all of the snacks!
I absolutely, positively connected with Deja – she planned their night around eating all of the snacks at the Pumpkin Patch, including the epic sounding pumpkin bomb.
I wish I had read this slower, and sooner, it was such a heart warming graphic novel.
Witchful Thinking was a cute witchy romcom, even if it was set in the summer. And, while it was a cute, fast read for the fall season, it definitely won’t be a story that sticks with me.
I really liked the small town, second chance romance between Lucy and Alex. I love any small town romance!
I did want to know more about the merfolk and more background to Freya Grove. The author started to give some information why there are so many supernaturals in Freya Grove, but I feel like the full reason was never fully explained. And with Alex being a merman, I wanted more information about what makes them special.
While this is a romcom, the romance is very lowborn and there wasn’t much steam on the page.
This was a fun reader spooky season, as it is set in the summer, it could absolutely be enjoyed as a summery witchy read, too.
When Life Gives You Vampires had me laughing from the get go. I listened to this as an audiobook and the narrator, Meg Sylvan was absolutely perfect for this book.
I really adored Lily – she was such a spitfire, and her thoughts (when not focused on her body) were witty and sassy. Every time I hit play on this book, I felt like I was getting back together with a friend.
There were also some fantastic Buffy and Twilight references throughout the book that made me smile.
My biggest complaint, though, is how often Lily’s weight is brought up. I am all for a a plus sized main character, and even a plus sized main character that questions and worries about her weight. However, Lily mentions or thinks about her weight A LOT. It almost became a third character in the story.
Thank you to Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for the audio review copy of When Life Gives Your Vampires.
A romcom with all the doggies – you know I was all over this one! I listened to I Hate You More as an audiobook, and it was such a fun listen!
Ruby is a former pageant queen, but is now a nurse’s aide at a retirement home. But when one of those residents asks Ruby to show dog at the local dog show, Ruby breaks out her former beauty queen tricks.
The only problem standing in Ruby’s way is Spencer – who runs the dog show and is set on keeping her dog, Wheezy out of the show.
I couldn’t help but love the dynamic between Caleb and Spencer, and Spencer and Ruby. Oh, and Mrs. Orson stole every scene she was in.
This was perfect light, summer reading – not too heavy, not too steamy (a little steam), and not too serious.
Thank you to Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for the audio review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.