The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise Review

81kC0gJOWXL._AC_UF1000,1000_QL80_Summary (from the publisher): Twenty-one-year-old Tanner Quimby needs a place to live. Preferably one where she can continue sitting around in sweatpants and playing video games nineteen hours a day. Since she has no credit or money to speak of, her options are limited, so when an opportunity to work as a live-in caregiver for an elderly woman falls into her lap, she takes it.

One slip on the rug. That’s all it took for Louise Wilt’s daughter to demand that Louise have a full-time nanny living with her. Never mind that she can still walk fine, finish her daily crossword puzzle, and pour the two fingers of vodka she drinks every afternoon. Bottom line — Louise wants a caretaker even less than Tanner wants to be one.

The two start off their living arrangement happily ignoring each other until Tanner starts to notice things—weird things. Like, why does Louise keep her garden shed locked up tighter than a prison? And why is the local news fixated on the suspect of one of the biggest jewelry heists in American history who looks eerily like Louise? And why does Louise suddenly appear in her room, with a packed bag at 1 a.m. insisting that they leave town immediately?

Thus begins the story of a not-to-be-underestimated elderly woman and an aimless young woman who—if they can outrun the mistakes of their past—might just have the greatest adventure of their lives.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

In an amazing twist, my library received an early copy of Colleen Oakley’s latest book, The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise. I’ve read Colleen Oakley’s The Invisible Husband of Frick Island and You Were There Too, and this book definitely takes on a new genre from her romances. Comedy meets adventure when Louise Wilt’s daughter forces her to have a caretaker come into her home after breaking her hips month ago. This caretaker comes in the form of twenty-one year old Tanner, whose mother has thrown her out as Tanner’s attitude has been non-stop since an injury turned her life upside down months prior. Tanner’s life gets thrown upside down again when Louise wakes her up in the middle of the night insisting that they leave town immediately, since Louise’s past has finally caught up to her. 

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FIVE STAR READ: Off the Map Review

Summary (from the publisher):
4186VHILqDLCarla Black’s life motto is “here for a good time, not for a long time.” She’s been travelling the world on her own in her vintage Jeep Wrangler for nearly a decade, stopping only long enough to replenish her adventure fund. She doesn’t do love and she doesn’t ever go home.

Eamon Sullivan is a modern-day cartographer who creates digital maps. His work helps people find their way, but he’s the one who’s lost his sense of direction. He’s unhappy at work, recently dumped, and his one big dream is stalled out—literally.

Fate throws them together when Carla arrives in Dublin for her best friend’s wedding and Eamon is tasked with picking her up from the airport. But what should be a simple drive across Ireland quickly becomes complicated with chemistry-filled detours, unexpected feelings, and a chance at love – if only they choose it.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I’ve been reading at my usual (fast) pace lately, but I haven’t found too many books that I’d call favorites in March – and Trish Doller’s Off the Map came at just the right time because this book was an absolute home run for me. I devoured Off the Map over the course of one day, eating it up in three sittings. If this were summer, I so would’ve read this 250 page read from cover to cover while floating around the pool one afternoon. I should’ve known from the fact that most of this book is set in Ireland that this would’ve be a five star read.

Off the Map is the third book in the Beck Sisters companion series, following Carla, the best friend of Float Plan’s protagonist, as she takes a mini break from her worldly adventures to attend her best friend’s wedding in Ireland. Carla finds instant chemistry with the best man, Eamon, and the two get into some mini detours and adventures as they travel to the wedding. 

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Current Library Checkouts & Holds: March 2023

I like curating these posts about what I’m reading & hoping to soon borrow from the library 1) to encourage more people to use their library system and 2) it gives me my own look at what my reading taste seems to be lately. As per usual, I have my usual contemporary/contemporary romances, but an added touch of literary fiction apparently.


Off the Map by Trish Doller – I’ve really enjoyed Trish Doller’s contemporary romances over the past two years. They lean on the quiet & sweet side of contemporary romance as the main characters are typically dealing with some kind of loss or trauma, and the setting involves some form of travel. I just starting reading & I am already enjoyed her Ireland set release, Off the Map, following two characters who have instant chemistry as they travel through Ireland to a wedding. 

I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai – I Have Some Questions for You is going to be my ‘long’ read for the new week or so/alternate book in between reading my usual contemporaries. I have seen either RAVE or medium reviews for this literary fiction book following a woman who returns to her former boarding school to teach a two week course on podcasting & finds herself drawn back to the murder case of her school roommate. 

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IS THIS WORTH THE HYPE? Icebreaker Review

Summary (from the publisher): Anastasia Allen has worked her entire life for a shot at Team USA.

41j6ViuX3vLA 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.

No exceptions.

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

My Thoughts:

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. 

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Things We Hide from the Light Review

Summary (from the publisher):
519fN8XynhL._AC_SY780_Nash Morgan was always known as the good Morgan brother, with a smile and a wink for everyone. But now, this chief of police is recovering from being shot and his Southern charm has been overshadowed by panic attacks and nightmares. He feels like a broody shell of the man he once was. Nash isn’t about to let anyone in his life know he’s struggling. But his new next-door neighbor, smart and sexy Lina, sees his shadows. As a rule, she’s not a fan of physical contact unless she initiates it, but for some reason Nash’s touch is different. He feels it too. The physical connection between them is incendiary, grounding him and making her wonder if exploring it is worth the risk.

Too bad Lina’s got secrets of her own, and if Nash finds out the real reason she’s in town, he’ll never forgive her. Besides, she doesn’t do relationships. Ever. A hot, short-term fling with a local cop? Absolutely. Sign her up. A relationship with a man who expects her to plant roots? No freaking way. Once she gets what she’s after, she has no intention of sticking around. But Knockemout has a way of getting under people’s skin. And once Nash decides to make Lina his, he’s not about to be dissuaded…even if it means facing the danger that nearly killed him.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

Like many readers, I became quickly obsessed last fall when I picked up Lucy Score’s super popular, Things We Never Got Over, set in a rural Virginia town and featuring an opposites attract romance with so much cuteness, romance, and yes, a crime subplot (hello Virgin River fans). The second installment in the series, Things We Hide from the Light, follows Knox’s police chief brother, Nash, and Lina, a friend of Knox whose reason for being in town aligns with Nash’s current mystery: what happened the night he was shot? 

Things We Hide from the Light has that same addicting quality that the first Knockemout novel has. Is this the best romance story I’ve ever read? No. Is there a level of cheesiness? Yes. Do you have to suspend your disbelief at times? Yes. But is it a super enjoyable, unputdownable series that everyone should read? Yes! It’s such a light and honestly joyful reading experience. Its wide cast puts a smile on your face..and leaves you trying to figure out if certain pairings will get their own spinoff. Like book #1, this one falls into opposites attract territory. And yes, the size of this book get definitely be intimidating, clocking in around 570 pages, but the story absolutely flies. While there is a ton of tension building around the romance between Lina and Nash and the crime subplot, Lucy Score’s writing style, character development and banter included, makes you want to keep reading.. and don’t make you realize you’re reading 100 pages at a time. 

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February 2023 Wrap Up

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.

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Current Library Holds: February 2023

Another month, another glimpse at what books I’m hoping to get from the library soon! 

I’m not going to go too much into Amanda Elliot’s Best Served Hot and Rebecca Makkai’s I Have Some Questions For You, since I discussed these two in my February 2023 Anticipated Releases.

Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn – I haven’t yet read a book by Kate Clayborn, but her latest releases, Georgia, All Along, has been all over my bookstagram altely. This is a grumpy sunshine romance following a woman who returns to her hometown in Virginia after losing her personal assistant position in LA. 

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Just My Type by Falon Ballard Review

Summary (from the publisher):
41DFt+ktbeL._AC_SY780_Lana Parker has never been single for long. After a disastrous break-up with her high school boyfriend, Seth Carson, Lana’s bounced from long-term relationship to long-term relationship. She’s an expert girlfriend, even acting as the resident dating and relationship columnist for one of Los Angeles’s trendiest websites. But now, at the age of thirty, Lana suddenly finds herself single again, and she’s determined to stay that way, no matter how challenging.

That is, until her high school ex, Seth, now a journalist in his own right, takes an assignment at Lana’s site. Ready to put down roots after years of traveling and freelancing, Seth becomes not only Lana’s colleague but also her competitor. With their combative relationship history–and undeniable chemistry–they quickly find themselves pitted against each other in a battle of wits: writing an article series that goes against dating type. For Lana, that means writing about staying single and embracing it. For Seth, it’s learning to settle down and become boyfriend material. Whoever’s is most popular wins a highly coveted columnist spot that either could only dream of. But when the two square off against one another, it’s not only their careers on the line–it’s also their hearts.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Despite seeing all the hype, I slept on Falon Ballard’s debut Lease on Love for a few months after its release last year. I picked it up on a random Friday night that March..and had it completed by the time I went to bed that night. That being said, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Falon Ballard’s sophomore release, Just My Type! I’m happy to report that I started this one on a holiday off from work and had it finished by early evening. 

Like I shared in my review for Lease on Love, there’s such an addictive  quality to Falon Ballard’s writing that was again captured from the very start of Just My Type (it probably had something to do with the very reminiscent (and referenced) Legally Blonde scene). I knew going in that Just My Type is a second chance romance following two writers, but I really love how the plot expanded from the basic premise, especially since (while I absolutely love it) we’ve seen more & more books following writer or even bookish couples over the past few years (hello Beach Read and The Roughest Draft). 

The book is told from the perspective of relationship columnist, Lana, who has been dreaming of getting a column where she could write about what she truly loves, books, Marvel movies, and all things pop culture. The opportunity presents itself the next day, after she is dumped by her boyfriend on the night she thought he’d propose. Lana’s company is looking for more clicks and ad revenue, so Lana’s boss challenges her to write a series of posts and complete a series of challenges to see what it’s like being single. If she’s successful, she’ll get to make the column of her choosing. The catch? Lana’s posts will go against the company’s newest hire, whose being challenged to see what it’s like be in a relationship & write a series about it: Seth, Lana’s high school sweetheart, first love,..and first ex. 

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately: February 2023

February has been such a good month of reading! While I admittedly haven’t read a YES THIS IS A FAVORITE BOOK yet, two of the following are definitely in my top 3 favorites of 2023 so far and another was a highly anticipated 2023 read. 

On a Night Like This by Lindsey Kelk – I read Lindsey Kelk’s The Christmas Wish in December & I knew I wanted to read more by her in the new year. I know British romances usually have more wit and sarcasm, bu Lindsey Kelk’s books are so laugh out loud funny with some of the one-liners. On a Night Like This was no exception and it should honestly be part of a starter kit for contemporary romances because it was THAT good. The book follows a woman who’s had a series of temporary assistant gigs and lands a high paying role as an A-list singer’s assistant aboard a private yacht on the way to a charity ball. On a Night Like This felt like two stories in one – the first half of the book follows Fran’s role as an assistant on the yacht and the second half follows her Cinderella like night at the Crystal Ball where she falls for a handsome stranger – but I love how the story came together and made for the perfect happily ever after. So looking forward to picking up more of her work! My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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How Many Goodreads Top 100 Romances Have I Read?

While I was checking Goodreads’s February newsletter, my attention was instantly drawn to this post, “The Top 100 Romances of the Past Three Years.” Goodreads curated this list based on how many people have read & recommended these books, and the books had to have at least a 3.5 star rating (yes, I know Goodreads does not have a foolproof rating/review system, but I think this was still a fun post!). Goodreads’s post was also divided into 2 subgenres, contemporary and historical, and while they also could have dived into more subgenres, you probably also know that I’m not really a historical romance reader, so I really won’t be earning any “points” there. 

 Without further ado, I’m going to share the amount of books that have read on this list & which ones I did read.

Out of the 100 Top Romances, I read 41, with an additional 3 on my TBR. It’s not much of a surprise, but I have read none of the 30 historical romances they did share. Again, Goodreads does not have a perfect system, but I am surprised that none of the Bridgerton books made this list – yes, I know the majority of the series was published in the early 2000s, but I would’ve guessed that the Netflix adaptation and the growing amount of Bridgerton readers since would’ve shot the series up the rankings. I have a feeling even based on the contemporary books included that this list was also based on books that have been published in the past 3 years.

How many of Goodreads’s Top 100 Romances have you read? Are there any books I must check out immediately? Share in the comments!