FAVORITE 2022 READ: Book Lovers Review

Summary (from the publisher):
9780593440872Nora Stephens’ life is books – she’s read them all – and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away – with visions of a small-town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again – in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow – what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

My Thoughts:

Yes, you read that title right, it’s only May and I’m already declaring Book Lovers as my favorite book of 2022. I do admit that there are two upcoming books that could make their way to my #1 spot, but I’m really certain that there is no match for my love for this book. I really think this is the book from now on when a person asks me what my favorite book is, it’s Book Lovers.

I am currently writing this review on my phone with Book Lovers clutched to my chest. I devoured Book Lovers in less than 24 hours and did the thing that I do maybe once a year and starting rereading her other two books (and yes, a Book Lovers reread is definitely in the future). Also PSA that if you have not yet bought a copy of this book, I recommend getting the Target exclusive edition because it comes with the Beach Read meets People We Meet on Vacation epilogue that Emily Henry recently sent out in her newsletter. Another sidenote that I’m slightly disappointed that Book of the Month didn’t offer Book Lovers as a pick, but I LOVE this paperback & its cover – why am I about to go out and buy paperback copies of Beach Read and PWMOV?

This book is everything. Book Lovers follows Nora, a top literary agent, who has always put her youngest sister, Libby, especially since their mother died years ago. Libby is pregnant with her third child and needing a break from life in New York City, convinces Nora to take some time off and rent a cottage in the town based on Nora’s client’s bestselling book. The last person Nora expects to run into in this small North Carolina town is Charlie, the same broody book editor who wasn’t willing to take on Nora’s client’s book two years ago. 

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Heartstopper Book Review

Summary (from the publisher):
heartstopper-book-cropCharlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him.

They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…

 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars 

My Thoughts:

My students have been obsessed with the Netflix adaptation of Alice Oseman’s graphic novel (and news flash, I am too!), which encouraged me to finally pick up the book . Alice Oseman’s Radio Silence (contemporary fiction prose, not graphic novel) was one of my FAVORITES back in 2017, so I was excited to jump back into her work. I’m only two episodes into the TV show so far, but I love how true it has stayed to the graphic novel so far — and I like the changes too!

The British set graphic novel series follows high school boys, Charlie and Nick. Charlie is an openly gay student at Truham Grammar School for Boys, and a change in his schedule leads him to meet Nick, a soft-spoken rugby player. As the two spend more time together, Charlie can’t help but feel chemistry between himself and Nick. 

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READ THIS DEBUT: Set on You Review

Summary (from the publisher):
71Mye0qvxXLCurvy fitness influencer Crystal Chen built her career shattering gym stereotypes and mostly ignoring the trolls. After her recent breakup, she has little stamina left for men, instead finding solace in the gym – her place of power and positivity.

 

Enter firefighter Scott Ritchie, the smug new gym patron who routinely steals her favorite squat rack. Sparks fly as these ultra-competitive foes battle for gym domination. But after a series of escalating jabs, the last thing they expect is to run into each other at their grandparents’ engagement party.

In the lead up to their grandparents’ wedding, Crystal discovers there’s a soft heart under Scott’s muscled exterior. Bonding over family, fitness, and cheesy pick-up lines, she just might have found her swolemate. But when a photo of them goes viral, savage internet trolls put their budding relationship to the ultimate test of strength.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Amy Lea’s upcoming Set on You has been getting so much early praise and so many spots on anticipated books lists. I’m here to report that the hype is very much deserved! 

Set on You follows curvy fitness influencer, Crystal, who has built a mini empire between her personal training sessions and large following on Instagram. Crystal unfortunately gets a ton of negative messages from Internet trolls & her family constantly questions her on her career choice & its sustainability. Crystal has had her last straw when firefighter Scott steals her favorite squat rack at the gym one day. Competition and sparks fly — even when Crystal and Scott realize at an engagement party that their grandparents are getting married. With their grandparents’ nuptials coming up, Crystal and Scott agree to work through their issues…and try to ignore their feelings for another.

Set on You was such a fun & unique read, especially given Crystal’s career and background. As a curvy and Asian influencer, Crystal gets love and even more hate on her Instagram, which ignites a ton of self-doubt about herself and even over her relationship with Scott. Set on You was the type of read that didn’t have the clearest conflict, other than Scott and Crystal trying to work out their feelings for one another, but I loved their banter and relationship development so much (& the book definitely delivers on the steam). I also loved the dynamics with their family, especially given that Crystal’s grandma and Scott’s grandfather are to be married. Crystal’s sister, Tara, is also a book influencer – do I see a companion novel following Tara coming?? 

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Dating Dr.Dil Review

Summary (from the publisher):
57007401Kareena Mann dreams of having a love story like her parents, but she prefers restoring her classic car to swiping right on dating apps. When her father announces he’s selling her mother’s home, Kareena makes a deal with him: he’ll gift her the house if she can get engaged in four months. Her search for her soulmate becomes impossible when her argument with Dr. Prem Verma, host of The Dr. Dil Show, goes viral. Now the only man in her life is the one she doesn’t want.

 

Dr. Prem Verma is dedicated to building a local community health center, but he needs to get donors with deep pockets. The Dr. Dil Show was doing just that, until his argument with Kareena went viral, and he’s left short changed. That’s when Kareena’s meddling aunties presented him with a solution: convince Kareena he’s her soulmate and they’ll fund his clinic.  

Even though they have conflicting views on love-matches and arranged-matches, the more time Prem spends with Kareena, the more he begins to believe she’s the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. But for Prem and Kareena to find their happily ever after, they must admit that hate has turned into fate.

My Rating:4.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Dating Dr.Dil had been all over my bookstagram a few weeks ago, especially since it was a prevision Book of the Month selection. A recommendation from one of my favorite authors and book recommendation sources, Hannah Orenstein, was the final convincing that I needed to pick this one up, & I’m so glad I did! 

Dating Dr.Dil is an enemies-to-lovers romance &  follows the third person perspectives of Kareena, an attorney, and Prem, a cardiologist and medical talk show host. Kareena spends her free time working on her mother’s old BMW and house, but her world gets turned upside down when her father announces that he is selling the house and will only give Kareena the money he has set aside for her when she gets engaged (just like her youngest sister). Kareena thus goes on a hunt for a fiancé so she can get the house…until a fight with Prem on his talk show goes viral and the two can’t get anyone to invest in either one, as Prem is trying to raise money to build a community health center. 

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The Roughest Draft Review

9780593201930Summary (from the publisher): Three years ago, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen were the brightest literary stars on the horizon, their cowritten books topping bestseller lists. But on the heels of their greatest success, they ended their partnership on bad terms, for reasons neither would divulge to the public. They haven’t spoken since, and never planned to, except they have one final book due on contract.

Facing crossroads in their personal and professional lives, they’re forced to reunite. The last thing they ever thought they’d do again is hole up in the tiny Florida town where they wrote their previous book, trying to finish a new manuscript quickly and painlessly. Working through the reasons they’ve hated each other for the past three years isn’t easy, especially not while writing a romantic novel.

While passion and prose push them closer together in the Florida heat, Katrina and Nathan will learn that relationships, like writing, sometimes take a few rough drafts before they get it right.

My Rating: 3/5 Stars 

My Thoughts:

I’ve had Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka’s adult contemporary romance debut, The Roughest Draft, was on my TBR since its January 2022 debut. I kind’ve saved this one until this spring/warmer weather because this book’s cover just screams summer, with the two main characters lounging in the pool and writing – however, I do agree now with some reviews that I saw that this book isn’t as light and fluffy as it cover seems.

The Roughest Draft alternates between the first person perspectives of Nathan and Katrina, a bestselling author duo who haven’t spoken in four years after writing their latest book together. Within those four years, Nathan has gone on to publish a book independently (without much success) and Katrina has retired from writing and moved to LA with her fiancé, who also happens to be her agent. As a PR move for the duo, Nathan and Katrina’s team convinces them to reconvene in the same house in Florida where they wrote their first book to finish out their contract. The duo has to not only figure out how to write with another again, but also confront what led them to split up as a team in the first place.

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Current Library Holds: May 2022 Edition

You probably know that I am frequent library user – let’s be honest, reading would be a VERY expensive habit for me if I bought every single book that I read. My college town’s library would put the amount of money saved based on the books you borrowed this year (does anyone else’s library do the same?) and I would be so curious to see what my total would be at my county library. That being said, I plan on sharing my library holds each month. My current holds’ are a mix of recent & upcoming releases.

Have you read any of the books that I mentioned? Are you anticipating any of these upcoming releases? Share in the comments!

April 2022 Wrap Up

April showers bring a ton of reading apparently! I fortunately had spring break this month and I read 7 books during my time off, nearly 1 book a day. It felt so good to be in this reading groove, & makes me even more excited for summer reading time! 

I read 14 books this month. My absolute favorites were Lease on Love (don’t sleep on the hype, read this one ASAP), Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean (if you are a Princess Diaries fan, you need this series), Sadie on a Plate (best foodie book meets romance I’ve read), and The 57 Bus by Danika Slate – this is a nonfiction book about two teens in Oakland, California, & I highly recommend going into this one without knowing much.

 I also really enjoyed The Suite Spot (Trish Doller’s Beck Sister series is adorable), One of Us is Dead (elite town murder mystery/drama), Commencement ( a little dated, but loved the college set friendship story), and Funny You Should Ask (so well-written & its the Bad on Paper Podcast Book Club pick for May!). I definitely felt pretty meh about Project Hail Mary – I read this one for Bad on Paper’s April book club and it was way too science-y for me. 

Lease on Love by Falon Ballard | 5/5 Stars 

The Suite Spot by Trish Doller | 4/5 

The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand | 4/5 

Sadie on a Plate by Amanda Elliot | 5/5

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean | 4.5/5

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May 2022 Anticipated Releases

I usually publish my anticipated releases by season, but similar to this March and April, May itself is filled with so many good book coming out from some of my favorite authors. I also plan on doing a separate post for June anticipated releases, since again there is an amazing line up of books coming out throughout 2022. I have a bunch of these books on hold from the library already & plan on buying others upon their release day. 

Inheritance (e-novella) & Rivals (American Royals #3) by Katharine McGee | RD: May 3 and 31

Inheritance takes place before the events of American Royals – I know I could listen to this novella on audio (Penguin Random House has been doing a ton of audio releases before digital/print, like with Ali Hazelwood’s novella collection), but I really am a text reader over audio. I also plan on rereading American Royals & Her Majesty before Rivals, so I think it will be a fun way to kick off my reread before the final book in one of my all-time fave YA series. Add Inheritance & Rivals on Goodreads

Book Lovers by Emily Henry | RD: May 3 

I think Emily Henry’s Books Lovers is every contemporary romance fan’s most anticipated book of May – as the title suggests, this is likely the most bookish of her contemporary romances yet, with the main characters as an author and editor. Add it on Goodreads

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GLAM THRILLER: One of Us Is Dead Review 

Summary (from the publisher):

81n8c3ChIrLMeet the women of Buckhead—a place of expensive cars, huge houses, and competitive friendships.

Shannon was once the queen bee of Buckhead. But she’s been unceremoniously dumped by Bryce, her politician husband. When Bryce replaces her with a much younger woman, Shannon sets out to take revenge …

Crystal has stepped into Shannon’s old shoes. A young, innocent Texan girl, she simply has no idea what she’s up against …

Olivia has waited years to take Shannon’s crown as the unofficial queen of Buckhead. Finally, her moment has come. But to take her rightful place, she will need to use every backstabbing, manipulative, underhand trick in the book …

Jenny owns Glow, the most exclusive salon in town. Jenny knows all her clients’ secrets and darkest desires. But will she ever tell?

Who amongst these women will be clever enough to survive Buckhead—and who will wind up dead? They say that friendships can be complex, but no one said it could ever be this deadly.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

If I could categorize my reading outside of my usual romance, it would for sure be thriller/mystery. One of my latest thriller reads that I’ve really adored is Jeneva Rose’s One of Us Is Dead. The book is set in an elite town outside of Atlanta, Georgia, called Buckhead, following the rich queen bees of the town, who convene daily at Jenny’s high-end beauty salon. Olivia, the town’s ruthless alpha, can’t help but give snide comments about everything & everyone, including Shannon, whose recent divorce to a town politician has gotten even more attention, after her ex-husband soon remarried a young twenty something, Crystal. Karen can’t help but feel bad for Shannon, but knows she can’t say anything without Olivia saying about it. Jenny and her best friend & co-worker, Keisha, watch as the drama unravels as the women visit the salon each day & more & more secrets are exposed. The novel begins with a detective interviewing Jenny about a murder involving the women and goes back to the weeks leading up to the murder. 

Reader, I started this book late on a Friday night and had it finished by the following Saturday evening. One of Us Is Dead is the definition of addicting. We get the perspectives of five of the women, Olivia, Karen, Crystal, Shannon, & Jenny. Jenny was definitely the most interesting to read from, between her police interviews and her viewpoint as the salon owner and not an exact friend of the women. I really liked the salon setting, and I think having one main setting (we sometimes go to one of the women’s houses or a bar) made it easier to focus on the plot & mystery. If you love books about the elite, you’ll love all the details involving their designer clothes & bags and seeing Olivia out own hundred dollar bill after hundred dollar bill. 

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Ranking Sarah J. Maas’s Series

I shared in my A Court of Silver Flames or House of Sky & Breath reviews that it was soon time for me to do an updated Sarah J. Maas review. As you likely know, I have been an avid SJM reader since 2015 – yes, I was indeed reading A Court of Thorns & Roses in my high school library before school and during study hall. If reading fantasy romance in that setting is my claim to fame, I am so here for it. Fun fact that my Top 5 SJM Books post I wrote in 2020 is one of my most popular posts on the blog – I definitely owe some of the attention to the increased popularity of SJM thanks to ACOTAR love on BookTok. 

While I am tempted to do an updated ranking since I do think that A Court of Silver Flames and House of Earth & Blood might just be among my top five favorites (I’m thinking of doing a top ten because let’s be honest, if though I have my FAVORITES, I LOVE all of SJM’s work), I thought I’d go in a different direction and rank the Throne of Glass, ACOTAR, and Crescent City series, based on the first 2 Crescent City books. 

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – Yes, let the controversy rain over me. Maybe blame it on the fact that it was my introduction to Sarah J. Maas,  but Throne of Glass owns my heart. I think Throne of Glass is the most fantasy of SJM’s books, in the sense that we don’t get a ton of steam/romance, at least until the last three books. Yes, a large part of that is because Throne of Glass is considered YA, but my theory is that those last few get a little steamy because they were written along side A Court of Mist & Fury and A Court of War & Ruin, ie when ACOTAR really established the romance. Crescent City is of course SJM’s most high fantasy, but I think its setting that borrows a lot of elements from the modern world makes it less of an intimidating fantasy read than ToG (aside from the page numbers of course). While there is that connection to ACOTAR within House of Sky & Breath (trying to be save with spoilers/as non-spoilers as possible).If you’re a reader that has started with the Crescent City series and want to explore more of her backlist, while ACOTAR is the obvious choice, I would recommend reading Throne of Glass if you like the fantasy of SJM more than the romance. Throne of Glass as a series has a similar effect to the transition from ACOTAR to ACOMAF, in the sense that everything you know and expect based on the first two books, Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, gets blown up by the end of Heir of Fire and the series goes into a new direction with my personal favorite SJM book, Queen of Midnight. Throne of Glass begins as semi-Cinderella inspired retelling, as assassin Celaena Sardothien is selected to compete to be the king’s champion, earning the attention of the crown prince, Dorian, and captain of the guard, Chaol Westfall, along the way.  

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