August 2022 Wrap Up 

As TSwift says, “August slipped away into a moment in time” (can we also take a minute to a acknowledge Taylor Swift’s tenth album announcement!?? I genuinely can’t believe my favorite season is beginning to come to a close – no worries though, I plan on having some more pool and beach days on the weekends this month. 

My favorites See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon,  The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand, The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall, and I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy. I also really enjoyed Just Another Love Song by Kerry Winfrey, Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood, and You Made Me a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Awaeke Emezi. 

How to Fake It in Hollywood by Ava Wilder | 4/5 Stars

See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon | 5/5

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin | 5/5 

Just Another Love Song by Kerry Winfrey | 4/5

The Displacements by Bruce Holsinger | 3.5/5 

A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand | 4/5

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VERY ANTICIPATED READ: Love on the Brain Review

59571699._SY475_Summary (from the publisher): Like an avenging, purple-haired Jedi bringing balance to the mansplained universe, Bee Königswasser lives by a simple code: What would Marie Curie do? If NASA offered her the lead on a neuroengineering project–a literal dream come true after years scraping by on the crumbs of academia–Marie would accept without hesitation. Duh. But the mother of modern physics never had to co-lead with Levi Ward.

 

Sure, Levi is attractive in a tall, dark, and piercing-eyes kind of way. And sure, he caught her in his powerfully corded arms like a romance novel hero when she accidentally damseled in distress on her first day in the lab. But Levi made his feelings toward Bee very clear in grad school–archenemies work best employed in their own galaxies far, far away.

Now, her equipment is missing, the staff is ignoring her, and Bee finds her floundering career in somewhat of a pickle. Perhaps it’s her occipital cortex playing tricks on her, but Bee could swear she can see Levi softening into an ally, backing her plays, seconding her ideas…devouring her with those eyes. And the possibilities have all her neurons firing. But when it comes time to actually make a move and put her heart on the line, there’s only one question that matters: What will Bee Königswasser do?

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Ali Hazelwood’s The Love Hypothesis was one of my top two books of 2021, right alongside Emily Henry’s People We Meet on Vacation, and like nearly every contemporary romance reader, I’ve been anticipating her second full length book ever since finishing her debut! 

Love on the Brain follows Marie Curie superfan, popular women in STEM Twitter account runner, & neuroscientist, Bee, who takes her research assistant and heads off to NASA to work on a neuroengineering project. While Bee is ecstatic about this project, she is not looking forward to working with her enemy from grad school, Levi, who is the head engineer on the project. Bee could never figure out why Levi was so standoffish towards her, even once refusing to work on a research project with their advisor together, and still seems to feel that Levi is trying to sabotage her work at NASA. 

Love on the Brain reminded me why I love Ali Hazelwood’s writing style so much. I love the humor and sarcasm from all of the characters, and especially the side characters, like The Love Hypothesis. Bee is a very unique character based on her personality and interests whom I think will become very memorable to readers. I was very mixed on her novella series this year, so this book was a reassurance in my enjoyment for her writing. I 100% admit that I didn’t always understand the science part of Levi and Bee’s project, but it had some twists that I did not see coming. 

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Dream On by Angie Hockman Review

Summary (from the publisher):

 

59366218What would you do if your dream man turned out to be real?

When law student Cass Walker wakes up after surviving a car accident, she is flooded with memories of her boyfriend, Devin. The only problem? Devin doesn’t exist. But everything she remembers about him feels so real, like the precise shade of his coffee-brown eyes; the texture of his favorite hand-me-down scarf; even the slightly crooked angle of his pinkie, broken after falling off a trampoline in third grade. She knows he’s a figment of her imagination—friends, family, and doctors confirm it—but she still can’t seem to get him out of her head.

So when she runs into the real Devin a year later in a Cleveland flower shop, she’s completely shocked. Even more surprising is that Devin actually believes her story, and soon they embark on a real-life romance. With her dream man by her side and an upcoming summer job at a prestigious law firm, Cass’s future seems perfect. But fate might have other plans…

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

I really enjoyed Angie Hockman’s debut last year, Shipped, an enemies-to-lovers set in the Galápagos Islands, so I was interested in checking out her latest release, Dream On. The book follows Cass, a law student who wakes up from a coma after getting into a car accident and keeps asking for her boyfriend Devin…only for her best friend and mother to break the news to her that Devin is not real. A year later, Cass feels like her life is getting back on track: she’s gotten a job as a summer associate at her dream law firm, she is living with her best friend, Brie, and her memory has made some improvements. 

Imagine Cass’s surprise when she walks into a flower shop and while talking to the owner, Perry, his brother is the man of Cass’s dreams, Devin. After the initial shock on both sides, Cass and Devin get to know another, but throughout the story, Cass must determine if Devin and even her job if the life of her true dreams. 

Dream On was a fun and unique contemporary romance. The premise was different from what I’ve seen done in YA before, and Angie Hockman executed the story and all the other plot & character elements really well. I enjoyed that the story is more than Devin and Cass’s relationship, as Cass works as a summer law associate and isn’t sure if it’s everything she thought it would be. Devin’s brother, Perry, is also a big part of the story than the book’s official synopsis hints at. Perry isn’t too keen on Cass and Devin’s relationship, based on Cass’s near unimaginable backstory involving Devin and Devin’s own romantic past. I really liked Perry as a character and his role in the story, including his encouragement of Cass’s artwork. 

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What I’ve Been Recently Reading: August 2022 Edition

I took a little blog break last week, but I of course have been reading offline. Today I’ll be updating you on some of my recent reads, including some summer reads and an especially popular memoir. 

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy – I had seen Jennette McCurdy’s memoir on a few anticipated books of summer lists, but I finally hit ‘must read’ on my TBR when so, so many rave reviews started flying in. It’s become near impossible to get your hands on a physical copy both online and in-stores, but I was able to grab a digital copy through Libby. I devoured this memoir following Jennette McCurdy’s childhood through her acting career and now – that’s not to suggest though by saying that I ‘flew’ through this book that it was an easy read, as there are warnings for eating disorders, alcohol abuse, relationship abuse. You know that I almost always share star ratings but I won’t be for this book given how personal it is and Jennette McCurdy’s braveness for sharing her story.

The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall – I wish I saw more hype for Katy Birchall’s books because her books are SO worth the hype. I read The Secret Bridesmaid last summer and adored it, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on The Wedding Season. This British contemporary follows Freya, whose fiancé cancels their wedding the day before. Heartbroken and with a full summer of friends and family members’ weddings ahead of her, Freya’s friends challenge her with new tasks for each event to get her out of her comfort zone and have some fun again. The Wedding Season was so perfectly charming and funny. I loved the cast so much, as Freya’s friends and family really surround her to help her embrace her new phase of life. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a light read! My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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BOOK SPOTLIGHT: SCANDALIZED by Ivy Owens

Today I’m sharing a spotlight on Ivy Owens’ soon-to-be-released, Scandalized, a celebrity/childhood friends romance with a bit of a mystery twist. So many readers are highly looking forward to this one!

ABOUT SCANDALIZED: A one-night stand between two old childhood friends turns into something more, but when a scandal threatens to tear them apart, they must decide how hard to fight for love—a steamy romance debut perfect for fans of Tessa Bailey and Kennedy Ryan​.

Exhausted and on deadline with a story that could make or break her career, investigative journalist Georgia Ross is on the verge of a meltdown when a cancelled flight leaves her stuck in the airport overnight. But when a familiar face appears—the older brother of her childhood friend—and offers help, Gigi seems to have caught a break.

Alec Kim is handsome, humble, and kind—exactly the sort of man that Gigi has forgotten existed after her own painful heartbreaks. An evening of reconnection followed by a night of no-strings-attached passion with Alec feels like a gift—that is, until Gigi finally realizes that their childhood connection isn’t the only reason he seems so familiar to her.

Alec is determined to prove to Gigi that he is truly the man she thinks he is, even if it means coming clean about his fame—and his family’s connection to the story Gigi’s been working so hard to break. But as their feelings for each other grow deeper, Gigi and Alec must navigate a new reality…one where both of their hard-won careers are put directly in the path of an international scandal.

I received an advance review copy from the publisher in exchange for review/coverage.

Is Scandalized on your TBR? What romance books have you been enjoying lately? Share in the comments!

5 STAR YA: See You Yesterday Review

Summary (from the publisher):

 

59365594Barrett Bloom is hoping college will be a fresh start after a messy high school experience. But when school begins on September 21st, everything goes wrong. She’s humiliated by the know-it-all in her physics class, she botches her interview for the college paper, and at a party that night, she accidentally sets a frat on fire. She panics and flees, and when she realizes her roommate locked her out of their dorm, she falls asleep in the common room.

The next morning, Barrett’s perplexed to find herself back in her dorm room bed, no longer smelling of ashes and crushed dreams. It’s September 21st. Again. And after a confrontation with Miles, the guy from Physics 101, she learns she’s not alone—he’s been trapped for months.

When her attempts to fix her timeline fail, she agrees to work with Miles to find a way out. Soon they’re exploring the mysterious underbelly of the university and going on wild, romantic adventures. As they start falling for each other, they face the universe’s biggest unanswered question yet: what happens to their relationship if they finally make it to tomorrow?

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Rachel Lynn Solomon is one of those authors for me whose books, both contemporary romance and young adult, I know I am going to love. That being said, as a huge fan of her work, it takes a lot for each book to top the next one. I love, LOVE Today Tonight Tomorrow (her enemies-to-lovers YA contemporary following a scavenger hunt-esque day around Seattle) and I really enjoyed her last YA release, We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This. I wanted something that gave me Today Tonight Tomorrow feels, which was totally delivered by See You Yesterday

I haven’t been reaching for YA as much as I used to, really only reading the genre now when one of my FAVORITE authors publishes a new romance or a new YA book gets a ton of buzz..but if you tell me a YA book is college-set, I’m already there. See You Yesterday follows freshman Barrett Bloom, who is trying to create a fresh start for herself after an overall awful high school experience (tw for sexual harassment), on her first day of college…which you could say ultimately is pretty disastrous, between a know-it-all in her physics class, her high school ex-best friend becoming her roommate, not doing the required reading, a bad interview with the college newspaper editor, and maybe even a fire. Barrett doesn’t know how she is going to make it through her second day…until she wakes up the next morning re-living her first day. Barrett soon discovers that her physics classmate, Miles, is also experiencing the same phenomenon and the two set out to figure out how to make it to tomorrow. 

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Current Library Holds: August 2022 Edition

It’s one of those times where I don’t have a ton of books checked out from the library, but I have a million and one (okay,13) put on hold. Many of the following books are recent releases and some upcoming releases that I can’t wait to get my hands on to continue my summer reading.

 

Have you read any of the books that I mentioned? What are some of your most anticipated upcoming books? Share in the comments! 

Just Another Love Song Review

81g4SXndjwLSummary (from the publisher): Two high school sweethearts get a second chance at their perfect ending in this charming new romance by Kerry Winfrey, author of Very Sincerely Yours.

Once upon a time, Sandy Macintosh thought she would have her happily ever after with her high school sweetheart, Hank Tillman. Sandy wanted to be an artist, Hank was the only boy in town who seemed destined for bigger things, and they both had dreams to escape town together. But when Sandy’s plans fell through, she stayed in their small town in Ohio while Hank went off to Boston to follow his dreams to be a musician, with the promise to stay together. Only that plan fell through, too.

Fifteen years later, Sandy runs a successful greenhouse while helping her parents with their bed and breakfast. Everything is perfect…until Hank rolls back into town, now a famous alt-country singer with a son in tow. She’s happy with the life she’s built by herself, but seeing Hank makes her think about what might have been. There aren’t enough cliché love songs in the world to convince Sandy to give Hank another chance, but when the two of them get thrown together to help organize the town’s annual street fair, she wonders if there could be a new beginning for them or if what they had is just a tired old song of the past.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

There are few things better than floating around the pool with a good romance book, which is exactly what I did reading Kerry Winfrey’s latest release, Just Another Love Song.

Just Another Love Song follows Sandy, the owner of her small-town’s green house, as her high school sweetheart and country singer, Hank, comes home for the summer. Sandy and Hank were destined for one another, until Hank goes off to college and Sandy decides to break things off for a certain reason. But fifteen years later, Sandy is still hung up on Hank, but is still trying to convince herself that she is 110% happy with her life in Baileyville AND that she has no feelings for Hank, especially as the two work together to put on the town’s annual fair. 

Just Another Love Song is a solid contemporary romance read. The novel plays with a few tropes, including second chance romance, small town romance, and the famous person trope. I really loved the small town setting, set in a small Ohio town – it was reminiscent of one of my recent favorite reads, The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston – & seeing Sandy and her friends come together to put on the town’s annual fair (now here’s where you picture Stars Hollow). The book is so heart-warming, between Sandy’s relationships with her friends, Hank, her best friend, Honey, and Honey’s kids, and her parents, who own the town’s only B&B. If you want a book that puts a smile on your face, then  Just Another Love Song is the book for you. 

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SUMMER READING SEASON: July 2022 Wrap Up

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.

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For Butter or Worse Review

71qHgvkRepLSummary (from the publisher): All chef Nina Lyon wants is to make a name for herself in the culinary world and inspire young women everywhere to do the same. For too long, she’s been held back and underestimated by the male-dominated sphere of professional kitchens, and she’s had enough. Now, as co-host of the competitive reality TV series The Next Cooking Champ!, she finally has a real shot at being top tier in the foodie scene.Too bad her co-host happens to be Hollywood’s smarmiest jerk.

Restaurateur Leo O’Donnell never means to get under Nina’s skin. It just seems to happen, especially when the cameras are rolling. It’s part of the anxiety and stress he has come to know all too well in this line of work. So nothing prepares him for the fallout after he takes one joke a smidge too far and Nina up and quits—on live TV.

To make matters worse, the two are caught in what looks like a compromising situation by the paparazzi…and fans of the show go absolutely nuts. Turns out, a “secret romance” between Nina and Leo may just be what their careers need most.

Now all they have to do is play along, without killing each other…and without catching feelings. Easy as artisanal shepherd’s pie. Right?

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

If you love any rom-com with foodie talk or perfect descriptions of food, then Erin La Rosa’s new release, For Butter or Worse is the book for you.

For Butter or Worse is an enemies-to-lovers meets fake dating romance following restaurant owners and co-hosts of a cooking competition show, Nina and Leo. When Nina quits their TV show on-air after Leo makes a not-so nice comment, the two face a PR disaster that means less customers in Nina’s LA restaurant and Leo’s family owned Italian restaurant chain. In order to save their reputations and businesses, and after a revealing paparazzi photo of the two together, Nina’s publicist suggests that Nina & Leo fake date to save their careers… but why do their fake dates and fake feelings for one another start to feel a bit too real? 

For Butter or Worse is perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory’s Wedding Date series, based on the LA setting and food talk & descriptions alone. Nina is a chef, and Leo runs the business side of his family’s Italian restaurant chain, aka meaning that the food talk was descriptive and perfectly endless in this book. I loved seeing the restaurant owner side of things, even though both Leo and Nina’s restaurants are facing financial struggles throughout the story. And throughout, this book made me crave chocolate, donuts, and pizza…just to name a few things. If you’re also a fall fan, the book is set during the transition from summer well into autumn, aka there are a few fall-set and Halloween date scenes. 

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