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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Recent TBR Additions: April 2022 Edition 

My Goodreads TBR has set a new record, or at least an amount I haven’t hit in a quite awhile, at over 200 books. I really blame this on the fact that I’ve just been super into reading in general and reading new books lately. I really don’t think I’ll ever be one of those people that gets their TBR pile down, so why not embrace the madness? One thing that I do to help prioritize my reads is keep a bulleted list in my reading journal of books I’d like to read ASAP along with the books that I need to read for review.

An Offer from a Gentleman (Bridgerton #3) by Julia Quinn – Blame this addition on my love for The Viscount Who Loved Me (the book) and my obsession over Bridgerton S2 and figuring out who the main love interests might be in season 3 (unless we get some somber of Benedict/Colin.Eloise hybrid). An Offer from a Gentleman is Benedict’s love story – I loved seeing on screen in the show so I’m looking forward to seeing how the book version compares. 

True Biz by Sara NovićTrue Biz has been getting a ton of buzz since it was chosen as a Book of the Month pick for April. I actually found about it through Book Page – if you use your local library, do they offer Book Page? I’m obsessed! True Biz is set at a residential school for the deaf, following two students and the school’s headmistress. 

The Chicken Sisters by K.J. Dell’Antonia  – Do you get any book recommendations from author blurbs? I definitely do! I was reading a recent favorite, Sadie on a Plate, which is blurbed by K.J. Dell’Antonia. I definitely blame the fog that was 2022 on not knowing about her book & Reese’s Book Club pick, The Chicken Sisters, which sounds like foodie book meets family drama. 

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FIVE STAR READ: Sadie on a Plate Review

9780593335710Summary (from the publisher):
Sadie is a rising star in the trendy Seattle restaurant scene. Her dream is to create unique, modern, and mouthwatering takes on traditional Jewish recipes. But after a public breakup with her boss, a famous chef, she is sure her career is over–until she lands a coveted spot on the next season of her favorite TV show, Chef Supreme.

On the plane to New York, Sadie has sizzling chemistry with her seatmate, Luke, but tells him that she won’t be able to contact him for the next six weeks. They prolong their night with a spontaneous, magical dinner before parting ways. Or so she thinks. When she turns up to set the next day, she makes a shocking discovery about who Luke is….

If Sadie wants to save her career by winning Chef Supreme, she’s going to have to ignore the simmering heat between her and Luke. But how long can she do that before the pot boils over?

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I’m here today to declare that Sadie on a Plate is the best food-inspired book that I’ve read. After going through a semi reading slump, I needed something to get me really wanting to read. I’ve seen so much love & praise for Amanda Elliot’s Sadie on a Plate (it’s the Matzah Book Soup Book Club pick for April), I picked this one up and read 160 pages upon the first sitting & devoured the rest of it the following evening. If there’s one contemporary romance you pick up this season, it’s Sadie on a Plate. Although I do admit it’s lighter on the romance side, it’s Top Chef meets Hell’s Kitchen synopsis makes it a must read! 

Sadie on a Plate follows Sadie, a Seattle-based chef who feels like her culinary dreams are over after a very public break-up with her boss, until she gets the opportunity to complete on the reality TV cooking competition show, Chef Supreme. On the plane ride to NYC to film the show, Sadie falls head-over-heels for a fellow chef, Luke, on the plane ride…until she realizes during the filming of the first episode that Luke is one of the show’s judges. While Luke was so sweet & warm during the first ‘not date,” his cold demeanor towards Sadie as a judge only fuels her fire and she focuses on whatever she must to do to win Chef Supreme and save her career. 

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THE HYPE IS WORTH IT: Lease on Love Review 

Summary (from the publisher):

57974961After getting passed over for an overdue—and much needed—promotion, Sadie Green is in desperate need of three things: a stiff drink, a new place to live, and a one-night-stand. When one drink turns into one too many, Sadie mixes up a long-ignored dating app for a roommate-finding app and finds herself on the doorstep of Jack Thomas’s gorgeous Brooklyn brownstone. Too bad she’s more attracted to his impressive real estate than she is to the man himself.

Jack, still grieving the unexpected death of his parents, has learned to find comfort in video games and movie marathons instead of friends. So while he doesn’t know just what to make of the vivaciously verbose Sadie, he’s willing to offer her his spare bedroom while she gets back on her feet. And with the rent unbeatably low, Sadie can finally pursue her floristry side hustle full-time. The two are polar opposites, but as Sadie’s presence begins to turn the brownstone into a home, they both start to realize they may have just made the deal of a lifetime.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars 

My Thoughts:

Falon Ballard’s Lease on Love is yet another book that I saw so much hype for & stayed away from, but when I finally picked it up, I kicked myself for not picking it up sooner because it was THAT good!! I’d see a few of my most trusted book recommendation sources pick it up – I first saw it from Mackenzie of Bad Bitch Book Club and another recommendation finally made me pick it up. I picked up Lease on Love one afternoon after work & had it finished by the time I went to bed!

Lease on Love is an opposites-attract contemporary romance set in Brooklyn. Having just been fired from her job, Sadie is desperate to find a cheaper apartment while she job hunts. After a drunken decision, she meets Jack through a roommate marching app and upon their first meeting,  Jack offers Sadie to move into his gorgeous Park Slope brownstone for super cheap. Sadie is an open book and shares her plans to run her floral arrangement side hustle and more importantly, share her best friends Gemma, Harley, & Nick, with Jack. On the other hand,  Jack is very closed off and really does not share too much about his life, partly due to the grief he’s felt since losing both of his parents years ago. 

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YA MYSTERY MEETS THRILLER: Very Bad People Review

very-bad-people-9781534449732_hrSummary (from the publisher): Six years ago, Calliope Bolan’s mother drove the family van into a lake with her three daughters inside. The girls escaped, but their mother drowned, and the truth behind the “accident” remains a mystery Calliope is determined to solve. Now sixteen, she transfers to Tipton Academy, the same elite boarding school her mother once attended. Tipton promises a peek into the past and a host of new opportunities—including a coveted invitation to join Haunt and Rail, an exclusive secret society that looms over campus like a legend.

Calliope accepts, stepping into the exhilarating world of the “ghosts,” a society of revolutionaries fighting for social justice. But when Haunt and Rail commits to exposing a dangerous person on campus, it becomes clear that some ghosts define justice differently than others.

As the society’s tactics escalate, Calliope uncovers a possible link between Haunt and Rail and her mother’s deadly crash. Now, she must question what lengths the society might go to in order to see a victory—and if the secret behind her mother’s death could be buried here at Tipton.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I had been on a YA mystery & thriller kick and after finishing Holly Jackson’s  A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and not having the sequel on hand, I immediately needed another YA mystery. I was fortunate enough to have an ARC of Kit Frick’s Very Bad People and wow, this book couldn’t have come at a better time. Kit Frick & had always been on my TBR radar, since I killed Zoe Spanos was everywhere in 2020 (update that since reading Very Bad People, I’ve also read I killed Zoe Spanos & really enjoyed that one too!) , so I knew I had to check out her books. 

A YA murder mystery meets thriller, Very Bad People is set at a Hudson River Valley private school, Tipton Academy, following our main protagonist, sixteen year old Calliope. Years ago, Calliope’s mother drove herself, Calliope, and Calliope’s two younger sisters, Lorelei and Serafina, into a lake in their family minivan. Calliope and her sisters survived, but her mother unfortunately passed and no foul play was suspected. In an effort to get away from the small town she’s always known and try to solve the mystery behind her mother’s death, Calliope attends the same private high school that her mother attended. Calliope is soon recruited into a secret society that fights for social justice on campus. As Calliope digs into her mother’s mystery and the society’s plans to expose scandals at Tipton escalate quickly, Calliope begins to question if she’s meant to be at Tipton and what’s at stake.

 

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LOVE & NYC: In a New York Minute Review

Summary (from the publisher): Franny Doyle is having the worst day. She’s been laid off from Unknownher (admittedly mediocre) job, the subway doors ripped her favorite silk dress to ruins, and now she’s flashed her unmentionables to half of lower Manhattan. On the plus side, a dashing stranger came to her rescue with his (Gucci!) suit jacket. On the not-so-plus side, he can’t get away from her fast enough.

Worse yet? Someone posted their (entirely not) meet-cute online. Suddenly Franny and her knight-in-couture, Hayes Montgomery III, are the newest social media sensation, and all of New York is shipping #SubwayQTs.

Only Franny and Hayes couldn’t be a more disastrous match. She’s fanciful, talkative, and creative. He’s serious, shy, and all about numbers. Luckily, in a city of eight million people, they never have to meet again. Yet somehow, Hayes and Franny keep running into each other—and much to their surprise, they enjoy each other’s company. A lot. But when Franny’s whole world is turned upside down (again!), can she find the courage to trust in herself and finally have the life—and love—she’s always wanted.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Kate Spencer’s In a New York Minute was everywhere in my Instagram and podcasts feeds surrounding its March release. I’m a weekly Bad on Paper Podcast listener and both hosts Becca & Grace had such amazing early praise for this book. I also loved their interview with Kate Spencer, who is also the host of the podcast Forever 35, making me even more excited to get my hands on her contemporary romance debut.

Set in New York City, In a New York Minute begins with Franny and Haye’s meet cute on the Q train, just after Franny has been laid off from her interior design job. When her dress gets caught in the subway doors & rips, Hayes is there to save the day with his suit jacket. The whole ordeal is caught on Instagram and goes viral from there, with Franny & Hayes then appearing on a news show together and soon finding themselves meeting again & again. 

In a New York Minute was such a strong contemporary romance debut – it didn’t even feel like a debut novel, as Kate Spencer completely nailed the plot line & Hayes and Franny’s chemistry. It was so fun to see them go from complete opposites & just plain ol’ awkward people to then falling head over heels for one another & having such great back & forth in their conversations. Dual perspective books are either hit-or-miss for me, but I loved getting both Hayes and Franny’s perspectives. Hayes was an absolute dreamboat of a love interest and his care for Franny was so, so sweet. 

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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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