BOOKS & BRIDGERTON: March 2022 Wrap Up

In March, I got two of my most anticipated sequels of 2022: Sarah J. Maas’ second book in the Crescent City series, House of Sky & Breath, AND Bridgerton Season 2. Despite being consumed by both SJM and Bridgerton (when I watched last weekend, I did manage to finish 2 books while consuming the second season), I still read a total of 11 books in March. I am loving my reading progress this year, as I have read 39 books so far! Today, I’ll be sharing the books I read in March, my Bridgerton Season 2 thoughts, and reshare what I wrote this month. 

I started this month with some poetry, then transitioned to the massive beast that is House of Sky & Breath, and made my way back to my usual romance self. My favorites this month were The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgerton #2) by Julia Quinn, If You Ask Me by Libby Huscher, The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith, and In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer. My absolute favorite though was One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle! 

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson | 4/5 Stars 

unlock your storybook heart by amanda lovelace | 4/5

House of Sky & Breath (Crescent City #2) by Sarah J. Maas | 4.5/5

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick | 4/5 

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A 2022 FAVE: One Italian Summer Review


81uTrV5w4ILSummary (from the publisher): When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.

But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.

And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Like so many readers, I was absolutely obsessed with Rebecca Serle’s In Five Years when I read it towards the end of 2020 – yes, I know the book was published early than that but it was one of those cases where the hype kept me away… but when I finally did read it, I TOTALLY understood the hype. Lesson learned,  I knew I wanted to get my hands on Rebecca Serle’s One Italian Summer ASAP, based on how much I loved In Five Years  & enjoyed The Dinner List (I haven’t ventured into her YA novels) AND the amazing-sounding synopsis of this book. And yes dear reader (can you tell I’m writing this review during release weekend of Bridgerton Season 2?), One Italian Summer was everything I wanted and more.

One Italian Summer follows thirty year old Katy, who has very recently lost her mother to cancer. Katy’s mother, Carol, was the love of her life, as the mother-daughter duo were absolutely inseparable. Katy and Carol were supposed to go to Positano, Italy, together, where Carol spent time as a young woman before getting married & having Katy. Dealing with her grief and struggling with her marriage to her husband, Eric, Katy decides to go on the trip solo. While in Positano, visiting all the places her mother frequented, Katy runs into Carol herself – a healthy, happy third year old version. 

I started One Italian Summer on Thursday night and came home from work to then finish it that Friday night. If you love books with mother daughter dynamics at the center or want something that reminds you of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, you absolutely need to read this book. Sidenote that I LOVE that the quote at the beginning of the book is from Lorelai on the last episode of Gilmore Girls AND that Lauren Graham narrates the audiobook. I rarely do this, but I might just have to reread One Italian Summer just for her narration and to experience this book again. 

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If You Ask Me Review

Summary (from the publisher): Violet Covington pens Dear Sweetie, the most popular advice51JgMx0ASTL column in the state of North Carolina. She has an answer for how to politely handle any difficult situation…until she discovers her husband, Sam, has been cheating on her. Furious and out of sensible solutions, Violet leaves her filter at the door and turns to her column to air her own frustrations. The new, brutally honest Dear Sweetie goes viral, sending more shock waves through Violet’s life. When she burns Sam’s belongings in a front-yard, late-night bonfire, a smoking-hot firefighter named Dez shows up to douse the flames, and an unexpected fling quickly shows potential to become something longer lasting.
A lot of people want to see the old polished Violet return—including her boss, who finds her unpredictability hard to manage, and Sam, who’s begging for another chance. But Dez appreciates Violet just the way she is—in fact, he can’t get enough of her. The right answers don’t come easily when Violet finds herself at her own personal crossroads. But maybe, by getting real, Violet can write her own happy ending.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I read Libby Hubscher’s debut, Meet Me in Paradise, last year on my first beach day of the season and I remember absolutely devouring it over my beach day. Fortunately, I had the same must-read-the-entirety-of-this-book-now approach with her latest release, If You Ask Me!

If You Ask Me follows newspaper advice columnist, Violet, whose life falls apart just as she receives the news that her column is up for national syndication – she literally walks in on her husband in bed with their neighbor. In a very non-Violet way, Violet’s bonfire of her husband’s belongings leads the local firefighters coming to her house to put out the flame, including Dez. Dez is any woman’s dream man, and Violet can’t help but fall for him even as her life crashes down around her.

I ate up If You Ask Me in about two sittings. There’s just something about Libby Hubscher’s  writing style and plot that grabs me immediately. Her books have this lightness to them, as seen in Dez and Violet’s banter and Violet’s relationships with her mom & friends. There is seriousness to the book, including but not limited to, in Violet’s case, cheating and miscarriage. Violet and her husband, Sam, struggled with infertility and miscarriages throughout their marriage. Violet receives harsh comments about motherhood and her miscarriages throughout, bringing attention to  issues that many women experience but aren’t talked about. I thought Libby Hubscher well-balanced the book’s harder moments with light and fluffy scenes. Dez is any romance reader’s dream man, between his career as a firefighter, his caring attitude, and his love for books and movies.

I also really liked the book’s storytelling style, flipping between Libby’s present, her Dear Sweetie advice columns, and a handful of scenes set in the past exploring her marriage. Violet makes some rash decisions throughout, with both positive and negative consequences. The book is really about becoming her self through ignoring people’s criticism and being intentional about her actions and the people she includes in her life. 

I normally don’t read the excerpt of an authors’s upcoming release at the end of a book , but I just had to read the first few pages of Libby Hubscher’s 2023 release, Play For Me. Based on those few pages, I am already SO ready for this book, following an pro baseball athletic trainer who loses her job after making a necessary decision that influences a big baseball game (played by the Boston Red Sox) and decides on a fresh start as an athletic trainer at a boarding school in Maine. I will now basically read anything that Libby Hubscher writes, but I especially need this book now!

Have you read If You Ask Me or Meet Me in Paradise? What were your thought? What contemporary romances have you been loving lately? Share in the comments!

MUST READ HISTORICAL ROMANCE: The Viscount Who Loved Me Review

Summary (from the publisher):
51JEEwezi7L1814 promises to be another eventful season, but not, this author believes, for Anthony Bridgerton, London’s most elusive bachelor, who has shown no indication that he plans to marry.
And in truth, why should he? When it comes to playing the consummate rake, nobody does it better…
—Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, April 1814

But this time, the gossip columnists have it wrong. Anthony Bridgerton hasn’t just decided to marry—he’s even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield—the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate is the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams…

Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands—and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate is determined to protect her sister—but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony’s lips touch hers, she’s suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself..

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Just like the rest of the world, I am utterly obsessed with all things Bridgerton. I have been counting down the days for the second season of the the hit TV show inspired by Julia Quinn’s historical romance series. In order to better prepare for the new season, I recently read the second book in the Bridgerton series that mostly inspires the second season, The Viscount Who Loved Me

The Viscount Who Loved Me follows the eldest Bridgerton, Anthony, and his love interest Kate Sheffield – sidenote that the TV series changes  Kate and her sister, Edwinna, to Kate and Edwina Sharma. After much pushing from his well-intentioned mother, Anthony finally devices that it is time for himself, Lord Bridgerton, to find a wife. Despite his parents’ love for one another, the circumstances around the early death of Anthony’s father has led Anthony to believe that he has not meant to marry for life. His eyes are on the debutante of the season, Edwina, but her older sister, Kate, begins to capture Anthony’s attention more and more. Kate refuses to consider the rake, as Anthony has a reputation for getting around London, for herself, let alone her younger sister, but the more time she spends with Lord Bridgerton, the more she is led to believe that he isn’t the rake she thought he was after all.

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unlock your storybook heart review

Summary (from the publisher):
“life is not something that can be experienced on a deadline.”

amanda lovelace, the bestselling & award-winning author of the “women are some kind of magic” poetry series, presents unlock your storybook heart, the third & final installment in her feminist poetry series, “you are your own fairy tale.” this is a collection about being so caught up in the fable that is perfectionism that you miss out on your own life. be honest: when was the last time you stopped to take in the everyday enchantment all around you?

My Rating: 4/5 Stars 

My Thoughts:

Poetry isn’t my first reading choice, but if there’s one poet that I am ALWAYS ready for a new collection from, it’s amanda lovelace! I have loved so much of her collections & series, from break your glass slippers to shine your icy crown to her latest collection, unlock your storybook heart.

The third & final installment in the You Are Your Own Fairy Tale series, this beauty & the beast inspired poetry collection screams bookishness. This is one of my favorite poetry collections from amanda lovelace. I love using page tabs to mark my favorite poems and nearly all my tabbed pages in this collection had to do with books & reading. My favorite poem was hands-down “her book say.” Like amanda lovelace’s other collections, this collection explores family relationships (tw death of a loved one), romance, sexuality, self-love, and relationships. unlock your storybook heart especially focused on self-love & care and making the most out of life & love. 

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My Current Library Holds: March 2022 Edition

It’s no secret that I am an avid library patron. Having read 120+ books a year (for the past three years at least), it just would not be financially feasible (aka possible) for me to buy every single book that I read. I’ve been super fortunate throughout my blogging ‘career’ – sidenote that February/March is my five year anniversary of book blogging?!? – to receive so many books for review from publishers and I tend to buy more books than my past self would, but regardless, at least half, if not more, of my reading comes from the library. Out of the 32 books that I’ve read at the time of reading this post in 2022, 21 have been borrowed from the library.  I’m super fortunate that I have two local branches of my county library system close to my home AND that even if one of the branches doesn’t have a specific book that I’m looking for, I can put it on hold from another branch. 

For today’s post, I’m going to be sharing the books I currently have on hold from the library. The majority, if not all, are either new releases or upcoming books. I try to put anticipated books on hold as early as possible so I can be one of the first to have it when it comes in – I have noticed that likely due to supply chain demands that new releases can take weeks past their release date to come into the library system. And knowing my luck, all of these books will come in at the same time, but at least I’ll be busy reading!

Do you use the library? Have you read any books that I’ve listed here? Any on your TBR? Share in the comments! 

House of Sky & Breath Review & Rambles

916mwrmq6JLSummary (from the publisher): Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar are trying to get back to normal―they may have saved Crescent City, but with so much upheaval in their lives lately, they mostly want a chance to relax. Slow down. Figure out what the future holds.


The Asteri have kept their word so far, leaving Bryce and Hunt alone. But with the rebels chipping away at the Asteri’s power, the threat the rulers pose is growing. As Bryce, Hunt, and their friends get pulled into the rebels’ plans, the choice becomes clear: stay silent while others are oppressed, or fight for what’s right. And they’ve never been very good at staying silent.

In this sexy, action-packed sequel to the #1 bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode―and the people who will do anything to save it.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

Yes dear reader, it only took me 5 days to finish the 8-5 page beast that is the second book in Sarah J. Maas’s Crescent City series, House of Sky & Breath. Warning that I am going to be using this review as a way for me to process my thoughts on the book. I am going to do my best to not share specific spoilers for House of Sky & Breath, but there may be slight spoilers for the first book, House of Earth & Blood below. I actually haven’t read too many reviews that include spoilers for House of Sky & Breath. Plenty of the bookish people I follow across social media have simply said that they love this book & have alluded to its shocking ending. I also highly recommend listening to Fated Mates’ podcast non-spoiler episode with Sarah J. Maas about HOSAB.  I also plan on listening to SJM’s interview on the B&N Podcast this week. In this review, I am going to talk about my thoughts on the book & my relationship with SJM’s books overall..and yes, my reactions to THAT ending.

Nowadays, I don’t even really consider myself a fantasy fan aside from the occasional 1-2 books from fan favorite authors that I read (like Leigh Bardugo or Victoria Schwab) and of course, SJM. There’s just something so intricate yet somewhat – emphasis on somewhat because I don’t think I have the complete political details of HOSAB down just year & probably need a reread to do so – easy to understand world-building that just gets me every single time. I especially love HOSAB and the Crescent City series because I love how it blends the modern world and fantasy elements. And yes, again dear reader, this book is the most STEAMY out of SJM’s books, on an entirely new level from event A Court of Silver Flames). I really think HOSAB is way more fantasy romance than just high fantasy/adult fantasy compared to other books. There’s really no limit to the more mature content of HOSAB compared to SJM’s books. I know while it’s not every reader’s cup of tea, I love the fluff and the banter of these books and don’t mind the length of the novel. 

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately & March 2022 TBR

There’s so many books that I’ve read recently AND books that I plan on reading that I want to talk about today! I’ll be sharing some mini reviews on 4 recent books that I’ve read and 4 books I have on my March 2022 TBR (plus some anticipated releases on my library holds list!)

What I’ve Recently Read 

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead (Finlay Donovan #2) by Elle Cosimano – Finlay Donovan Is Killing It was one of my favorite books of 2021 & I just reread the first book in time for the sequel, Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead. I don’t want to give spoilers for either book, but I really enjoyed how the plot built upon and connected back to the first book – and still managed to make me laugh throughout! I need the third book ASAP! My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

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March & April 2022 Anticipated Releases

New season, new books! I usually share my anticipated releases posts by season but since they are so many new books on my radar coming out this March, April, and May, I decided to just focus on March & April this time around – my May 2022 list is already teeming with books and I know I’ll be adding more over the next few weeks. This list features a mix of young adult, contemporary romance, & adult fiction releases – & yes some are already available to read! 

March 2022

Turning by Joy L. Smith  | RD: March 1

I’m actually currently finishing Turning by Joy L. Smith – this YA contemporary follows a Black ballerina, Genie, who has suffered from an accident that has left her paralyzed from the waist down. The book is very much on the mature side, as Genie deals with the aftermath of her accident, the loss of her dreams of becoming a professional dancer, her complicated relationship with her ex and her family, and the start of a new relationship with Kyle, a former gymnast recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Add it on Goodreads 

The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith | RD: March 1

I went on a mega Jennifer E. Smith kick a few years ago, gobbling up all of her YA contemporaries, and I’m so excited to read her first adult fiction release that has been getting rave reviews so far. An indie musician, Great James, agrees to go on a week-long Alaskan cruise with her estranged father just after losing her mother. Add it on Goodreads 

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle | RD: March 1

I have been craving another new Rebecca Serle book since reading In Five Years at the end of 2022. One Italian Summer is another read that has been getting fantastic early reviews, following a woman whose recently lost her mother and goes on the trip to the Amalfi Coast that the mother-daughter duo was supposed to go on..only to meet the 30 year old version of her mother there. I’m typically not the biggest audiobook reader, but I might just have to change my ways because I recently discovered through Instagram that Laura Graham narrates the audiobook! Add it on Goodreads 

If You Ask Me by Libby Hubscher | RD: May 8

I LOVED Libby Huscher’s Meet Me in Paradise last year, so I have high expectations for her latest release, If You Ask Me. The book follows a beloved relationship advice columnist whose husband unexpectedly cheats on her & leaves and the firefighter who enters her life when she burns her husband’s belongings via bonfire. Add it on Goodreads

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