Summary (from the publisher): Anastasia Allen has worked her entire life for a shot at Team USA.
A competitive figure skater since she was five years old, a full college scholarship thanks to her place on the Maple Hills skating team, and a schedule that would make even the most driven person weep, Stassie comes to win.
Nathan Hawkins has never had a problem he couldn’t solve. As captain of the Maple Hills Titans, he knows the responsibility of keeping the hockey team on the ice rests on his shoulders.
When a misunderstanding results in the two teams sharing a rink, and Anastasia’s partner gets hurt in the aftermath, Nate finds himself swapping his stick for tights, and one scary coach for an even scarier one.
The pair find themselves stuck together in more ways than one, but it’s fine, because Anastasia doesn’t even like hockey players…right?
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
I’ve been looking for a book to give me the same feels that Elle Kennedy’s Off Campus did back read I read the college hockey romance series in 2019. I have read Elle Kennedy’s spin-off series, Briar U, and I will probably check out her recently announced, The Campus Effect, the first book in the Campus Diaries, another Off Campus spin off.
Anyways, I thought that Hannah Grace’s social media hit, Icebreaker, would satisfy that book craving. I had seen Icebreaker all over Instagram for a few months and especially even more so when it was traditionally published by Atria in February. This romance follows top college athletes, Anastasia and Nathan, at the fictional Maple Hills University. Anastasia is a figure skater and senior Nathan is a hockey star headed for the NHL post graduation. The two never run into each other’s circles, until a prank gone wrong forces them to share ice time.
My library has gotten better about stocking indie titles and romance titles in general lately, given the spike in popularity over the past year, but they only had one e-copy available through Libby that was at least a six week hold (sidenote that my Libby holds usually come in early, but this was seriously a title I had the wait nearly the whole hold period for). I was in Barnes & Noble while running errands one day (because where else would I end up?), and I debated on picking up a physical copy. I put up a quick Instagram poll and it was a mixed bag of to buy or not to buy. I ultimately didn’t buy it because there’s some upcoming releases I’d rather put my money towards and I’m kind’ve glad I did because Icebreaker wasn’t a home run for me.
My 2023 is really about not feeling any pressure when it comes to my reading and to just give into mood reads. I LOVED this reading month when it came to quality, finding so many gems, especially when it came to middle grade – PSA that I don’t think I’m necessarily a middle grade reader, BUT as a middle school teacher, I am all about finding ‘the good stuff’ aka the best books AND the ones that my reluctant readers WANT AND WILL read. That being said, I LOVED, LOVED Lisa Fipps’s Starfish and Megan E.Freeman’s Alone. I even found myself reading Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret because the adaptation looks so good and I honestly don’t think I read this one growing up!
I shared a lot of thoughts on the first 5 books in my February 2023 Currently Reading post, so I’ll be diving a little bit more into the second half of my reads below. My other favorites of the month were Lindsey Kelk’s On a Night Like This and Falon Ballard’s Just My Type.
The Reunion by Kayla Olson | 3.5/5 Stars
Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor | 3.5/5 Stars
Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun (Finlay Donovan #3) by Elle Cosimano | 4/5 Stars
Starfish by Lisa Fipps | 5/5 Stars
On a Night Like This by Lindsey Kelk | 4.5/5 Stars
Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey | 4/5 Stars| This one got a lot of early buzz, especially since the author was a writer for Schitt’s Creek. I don’t think this one will be everyone’s cup a tea, since it’s on the darker and satirical side (but keeps a lighter tone throughout), following a woman post divorce in her late twenties, but I found myself cackling at its many funny moments.
I’ve had a really strong start to 2023 when it comes to my reading. At the time of writing this post, I’ve read 7 books so far in 2023! In true new year, not so me new fashion, I’m behind on sharing my thoughts on some of those books, so here’s some mini thoughts on some books I’ve read this year. I’m feeling a little inspired by 2022 rounds-ups from people like Abby of Write On With Miss G, who shared their thoughts on ALL the books they read in 1 sentence per book.
The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walthers – The Summer of Broken Rules is the kind of book I would save for a summer day, following a girl staying at her family’s Martha Vineyard’s estate for her cousin’s weekend & whose swept in a family-wide game of assassin. I totally understand the hype for this book for its cute romance, summer setting, and focus on family & loss, as the main character has recently lost her older sister. I’m looking forward to reading K.L.Walther’s debut and her 2023 release, What Happens After Midnight. My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
The Villa by Rachel Hawkins – I admit that I likely would’ve passed on Rachel Hawkins’s latest release if it hadn’t been picked as Bad on Paper’s January Book Club pick. This book has been hyped as The White Lotus meets Daisy Jones & the Six meets thriller. I see the comparisons based on the book’s setting (Italian villa) and premise, since the story alternates between two kind’ve best friends’ vacation and the villa’s past when a famous rockstar stayed there and someone was murdered, but wouldn’t necessarily recommend the book based on those comparisons alone. The book also has the addictive quality everyone has talked about (I gobbled it up in one afternoon spent sitting on the couch), but I don’t think it will be particularly memorable and there’s a plot hole or two that’s still bothering me (being as non-spoiler as possible, but if you’ve read it, the thing that was hidden and where it was found..). My Rating: 4/5 Stars
It’s time for me to wrap-up & reflect on my favorite books of 2022! This year, I’ve read the most books I’ve ever had. I’m currently at 178 books (there are some novellas thrown in there) for 2022! While I will be sharing my favorite YA books of 2022 tomorrow, today I’m sharing my favorite books from a variety of the genres I read. While it’s mostly contemporary romance, there’s a mix of adult fiction, romance, mystery/thriller, and fantasy as well. I also admittedly tried to do a top 22 of ’22, but I didn’t want to push aside any of these titles.
My Top 5: Book Lovers by Emily Henry, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2), The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston, and One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
Here’s a look back at my favorite books from previous years:
We may already be a few days into August, but it’s never too late for a monthly wrap up, especially when I’ve been reading so much AND such quality books. Summer is my favorite season for plenty of reasons, but especially for reading outside, aka the place where I do my best reading.
I read 19 books and 1 novella in July! My FAVORITE books of the month were Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, Flying Solo by Linda Holmes, The Island by Elin Hilderbrand, and Marrying the Ketchups by Jennifer Close. I also really enjoyed Meant to Be Mine by Hannah Orenstein, Love, Lists, & Fancy Ships by Sarah Grunder Ruiz, Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin, and The Beach Trap by Ali Brady.
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.
Summary (from the publisher): Two days before Tam and Tony Kwan receive their letter of acceptance for the son they are adopting from China, Tony and his estranged cousin Mia are killed unexpectedly in an accident. A shell-shocked Tam learns she is named the guardian to Mia’s five-year-old daughter, Angela. With no other family around, Tam has no choice but to agree to take in the girl she hasn’t seen since the child was an infant.
Overwhelmed by her life suddenly being upended, Tam must also decide if she will complete the adoption on her own and bring home the son waiting for her in a Chinese orphanage. But when a long-concealed secret comes to light just as she and Angela start to bond, their fragile family is threatened. As Tam begins to unravel the events of Tony and Mia’s past in China, she discovers the true meaning of love and the threads that bind her to the family she is fated to have.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
The synopsis of Lyn Liao Butler’s Red Thread of Fate caught my attention as soon as I first heard about this book. The plot of Red Thread of Fate begins right from the get-go, as Tam’s husband, Tony, and his cousin Mia are killed in a car accident. While reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, Tam finds out that she is the guardian of Mia’s five year old daughter, Angela. As Tam tries to figure out Angela’s place in her life and determine exactly why Mia & Tony were both together when they died, she is also trying to figure out what to do with Charlie, the young boy that Tony and her are set to adopt from China in a few months.
I would categorize Red Thread of Fate as a family drama meets women’s fiction read, tackling motherhood, family, and love. There are many secrets revealed, as Tam pieces together why Mia would make Tam Angela’s guardian and her and Tony’s relationship. I do admit that I wasn’t really shocked by some of the secrets revealed until the last one revealed by Mia (trying to avoid spoilers). In addition, the book also focuses on Tam’s Taiwanese American upbringing and her husband and Mia’s childhood in China and then emigrating to America. I learned about a variety of topics, such as Taiwanese culture, immigration, life in China, and adoption, as Tam and Tony, after expiring a series of miscarriages, look to adopt a child from the Chinese adoption center that Tony’s mother had worked for. Lyn Liao Butler’s writing style was both informative about these topics while developing the plot and characters.
Five college friends have arrived at forty in very different circumstances, but with at least one thing in common: they are among the more privileged in society. Elizabeth and Sara are lawyers, Martha is a doctor, Carmen is a wealthy and well-educated homemaker, and Heather, the most successful, is a famous tech executive―and after more than two decades of friendship, they know one another better than anyone.
Then Heather writes a women’s advice book detailing the key life “mistakes” of her four friends―opting out, ramping off, giving half effort, and forgetting your fertility―that becomes wildly popular, and Elizabeth, Sara, Martha, and Carmen all feel the sting of Heather’s cruel words. Despite their status, these women face everyday obstacles, including work problems, parenting challenges, secondary infertility, racism, sexism, financial stress, and marital woes―and as they weather their fortieth year, each one can’t help but wonder if their life might have been different if they had followed Heather’s advice.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Laura Jamison’s debut, All the Right Mistakes, was the first book I read while floating around the pool this summer – and it was the perfect choice! I’m always ready for any book about female friends from college, especially having been obsessed with Elizabeth Ames’ The Other’s Goldlast summer.
Ever since their first move-in day at Dartmouth, Elizabeth, Sara, Martha, Carmen, and Heather have been best friends. Instead of bonding over sorority rushes and homework like they used to, the women are now more likely to talk about their struggles with work-life balance and motherhood over anything else, despite having found success in their own ways. But when Heather, a famous tech executive, publishes an advice book based on her friends’ ‘mistakes,’ the other four begin to question each other’s friendship and all the choices that they’ve made since.
My summer reading mood is definitely on, which means I have a lot of reviews coming! Today I’ll be talking about a few of my reads from June & July, focusing on some diverse YA contemporary and historical fiction.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Elizabeth Acevedo has always been one of those authors whose books I’ve been meaning to read for what feels like forever. Everyone’s love and praise for her latest release, Clap When You Land, made me pick this one up ASAP – it was actually the first book that I’ve read on my Kindle! Written in verse, Clap When You Land is told from the perspectives of sisters Camino and Yahaira, who don’t know they’re sisters until the father dies in a tragic plane crash. I love YA books that highlight events that are often forgotten in public memory. I had never heard of flight AA587, so it was really interesting reading Elizabeth Acevedo’s inspired story.
The novel really works up to the moment to when Camino and Yahaira discover that they’re sisters, with the novel focusing on their individual grief over their father’s death, the struggles they experience at home, and both of their attempts to untangle the meaning of family. Camino and Yahaira experience drastically differently lives, Camino having grown up in the Dominican Republic and Yahaira in New York. While dual narratives can be hit or miss for me, I really appreciated having both sisters’ narration in Clap When You Land. Although their daily lives are very different, the girls do have a lot in common and it was interesting to read their different reactions to finding about one another. Throughout, the story maintains its focus on family and sisterhood. While yahaira does have a girlfriend, it was really refreshing to have a story that is truly about a pair of sisters and the family and secrets they share.Read More »
Let be honest- I really enjoy doing all kinds of book tags, but especially love ones that encourage me to talk about my TBR! The Prediction Tag is all about talking about our predictions about upcoming reads. I was nominated to do this really creative tag by Norees of No Reads Too Great. The Prediction Book Tag was created by Mandy and Sha of Book Princess Reviews.
All of these prompts are your predictions for your…
I have a TBR set for April but I’m not sure what book I’ll exactly pick up next. I’ve been on a Christina Lauren kick, so I know I’ll be reading Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating within the next two or three weeks.
Next 5 Star Read
I know I’m going to absolutely love Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams, the second book in The Bromance Book Club series. I’ve seen a lot of people say this sequel was even better than the first book and I loved one of its protagonists, Liv, in Bromance Book Club.
Next 1 Star Read
I rarely rate books 1 star because I usually DNF by then, but I think one book on my TBR that I might not exactly love or like is Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher. This is another one on my April TBR because of my deep dive into contemporary romance, but I’ve recently seen more and more meh reviews for this one. I’m definitely going to give it a chance because I’ve been in the mood for any type of contemporary lately.
Next Love Interest (or Character that Seems Really Cool to You)
I’m not sure if he’ll necessarily be a love interest, but I’m interested to see if Elle Kennedy’s The Play makes me reconsider my feelings about one of its protagonists, Hunter.
Next Book You’ll Be Buying
I’ve been buying more books than usual lately to help support the industry while my county library is closed. I think I’ll be buying You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle next!Read More »