Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

4-stars

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Title: Serious Moonlight

Author: Jenn Bennett

Format: Physical Book

GOODREADS

Review

I’ve read two other books by Jenn Bennett previously and while I liked the others a lot more, I still enjoyed this one.

The heroine in this story is obsessed with true crime and Sherlock Holmes, so I appreciated how she assessed nearly every character she came across by giving them a suspect profile. I thought that was a really cool way to expand on characters without being info-dumpy. The heroine randomly hooks up with this guy that she meets at a cafe, but freaks out and ends up leaving him before they can talk afterward. She thinks she’s never going to see him again, until she gets a job during the late night shift at this sketchy hotel and he happens to work there, too. Meanwhile, he’s been searching for her and even put an ad in the missed-connections personals looking for her.

I had fun reading about their reluctant relationship and I learned a bit about narcolepsy that I didn’t know before, but ultimately I found a good portion of this book a little boring. My mind kept wandering and when I tuned back in, I didn’t really miss too much. I can’t really put my finger on why because the characters were interesting and had great chemistry, but I just wasn’t that invested in the story.

Overall, this is my least favorite Jenn Bennett, but I still plan on reading the rest of her backlist because I really liked her other two novels that I’ve read (Alex, Approximately and Starry Eyes)


Representation

Characters: BIPOC hero


Trigger Warnings

Because of potential spoilers, trigger warnings are listed in white. Please highlight to see the list of trigger warnings.
Medical issues, death of a loved one


Audiobook Performance: 5 stars

5-stars


Butterfly Rating: 3 Stars

3-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Nah


Bookshelf Placement: Already there!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars

4-stars

 

 

 

Breaking Gravity (Fall Back #2) by Autumn Grey

4-stars
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Title: Breaking Gravity
Author: Fall Back #2
Series: Autumn Grey
Format: Physical book purchased from the author

GOODREADS

Review

We all know. I love Autumn Grey and that hasn’t changed with this book. While I don’t know that another book can quite live up to Fall Back Skyward, I still really liked this book.

It’s an age-gap, student/professor relationship between the sister of the heroine from Fall Back Skyward and this famous cellist who can no longer play due to a serious injury to his shoulder. Instead, he is subbing for the heroine’s teacher who she also happened to be a Teacher’s Assistant for. So… a lot of forced proximity.

The only downside to this book was that I was getting so much anxiety over how risky these two characters were being – especially when the stakes were so high! She could get kicked out and he could lose his job, but there is just something about how Autumn writes her heroes that gets me every time.

She writes forbidden romances SO well. The things he would say to the heroine had me swooning all over the place. I literally gasped and clutched my chest several times while reading. It helps that I’m such a big fan of non-rockstar musicians in romance novels.

Also, getting to see peeks of the characters from Fall Back Skyward was so nice. This story overlaps with that one, so it was very interesting seeing what happens in that novel from this heroine’s perspective. It definitely made me want to do a reread of FBS!


Representation

Author: BIPOC


Trigger Warnings

Because of potential spoilers, trigger warnings are listed in white. Please highlight to see the list of trigger warnings.
Talk of past abuse, death of a loved one, age gap romance, teacher/student relationship, car accident, serious illness (side character), talk of self harm (side character)


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Maybe


Bookshelf Placement: Already there!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars

4-stars

 

 

 

ARC Review: A Change In Tide by Freya Barker

4-stars
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Title: A Change in Tide
Author: Freya Barker
Series: Northern Lights #1
Format: Audiobook ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis:
What impact would it have when everything suddenly faded to black?

For Mia, a crowded subway ride changes her entire life. Retreating to the wilderness helps her cope with a world that is suddenly too loud, too turbulent.
Her existence safely contained to the small cottage on the lake, she is unprepared for the neighbor that moves across the bay

A career-ending injury has Jared permanently benched. His reputation as The Enforcer won’t survive the unanticipated responsibilities awaiting him.
Away from the public eye, he adjust to his new reality, under the quiet observation of the intriguing hermit on the other side of the water.

GOODREADS

Review

First of all, the audiobook for this was really, really good. The narrators are new-to-me, but I really liked them. The male narrator had such a nice, deep voice.

While I feel like this story was longer than it needed to be, I did really like it. I especially appreciated that the main character was a midwife who supported the hero’s sister throughout her “4th trimester.” It’s obvious the author has experience with all the nuances that come along with breastfeeding and all the attachment parenting things that I went through as a new mom. I had so many flashbacks to when my girls were newborns reading this book – it even made me nostalgic for those days as hard as they were!

I love this take on the hockey player trope. While it plays a big part in the story, especially toward the end, it’s different since Jared is retired due to an injury.

While I don’t have agoraphobia, the representation of the anxiety part of her disorder was done really well.

I loved how Jared took care of his sister and how well the heroine fit into their little family.

The journalist was incredibly annoying and seemed a bit over the top.

This book definitely made me wish I had a nice, secluded lake house across from a famous hockey player! Lol!


Audiobook Performance: 5 stars

5-stars


Butterfly Rating: 2 Stars

2-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Nah


Bookshelf Placement: No


Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars

4-stars

 

 

 

ARC Review: Not Like the Movies (Waiting for Tom Hanks #2) by Kerry Winfrey⁣

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Not Like the Movies
Author: Kerry Winfrey⁣
Series: Waiting for Tom Hanks #2
Format: ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: 7/7/20

Synopsis:
What happens when your life is a rom-com…but you don’t even believe in true love?

Chloe Sanderson is an optimist, and not because her life is easy. As the sole caregiver for her father, who has early onset Alzheimer’s, she’s pretty much responsible for everything. She has no time—or interest—in getting swept up in some dazzling romance. Not like her best friend Annie, who literally wrote a rom-com that’s about to premiere in theaters across America…and happens to be inspired by Chloe and Nick Velez, Chloe’s cute but no-nonsense boss.

As the buzz for the movie grows, Chloe reads one too many listicles about why Nick is the perfect man, and now she can’t see him as anything but Reason #2: The Scruffy-Bearded Hunk Who’s Always There When You Need Him. But unlike the romance Annie has written for them, Chloe isn’t so sure her own story will end in a Happily Ever After.

GOODREADS

Review

⁣⁣Finally, an illustrated cover that matches the story!⁣

This book is just as adorable as the cover. It’s a hilarious romcom about a barista named Chloe who is dealing with a lot: her best friend wrote a screenplay that is becoming a popular movie about the romance between her and her boss… except, her and her boss aren’t even in a relationship, which makes things awkward, but is also a bit forshadowing.⁣

There was so much to love in this adorable novel. Chloe doesn’t have it easy, her mother and brother have abandoned her to take care of her father with Alzheimer’s completely on her own, she’s trying to get through business school, and she’s working full time. However, she somehow holds onto her constant optimism by a thread even though the hits keep coming.⁣

The banter between Chloe and her boss, Nick, is so on point. I laughed out loud and highlighted so many lines while reading this one.⁣

Chloe and Annie’s friendship is total friendship goals and I absolutely MUST read Annie’s story, if only to get more of these two characters.⁣

The only downside about this book is that Chloe’s character became a little frustrating toward the end. Her reasons for refusing to be in a relationship with Nick just didn’t make sense to me, but Nick’s character alone was enough to make up for that. He’s the quiet, seemingly grumpy, but secretly sweet hero that I absolutely love.⁣


Butterfly Rating: 2 Stars

2-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Maybe

I might check out the audiobook after I read Waiting for Tom Hanks!


Bookshelf Placement: Yes!

This cover is gorgeous!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 3 stars

3-stars

 

 

 

The Marriage Game by Sara Desai

4-stars
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Title: The Marriage Game
Author: Sara Desai
Format: ARC Received in Exchange for an Honest Review from Netgalley

Synopsis:
A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy.

After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…

As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he’s forced to share his space with the owner’s beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.

As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.

GOODREADS

Review

I smiled a lot while I read this book.

This novel is full of heartwarming family dynamics between quirky characters. I loved Layla’s relationship with her huge family, particularly all her aunties, her mother, and especially her father.

I did wonder, though, why she didn’t have a stronger reaction to what happened in the beginning of the book with her father. As someone who is very close to my parents (and someone who has dropped everything to sit with my parents in the hospital for days on several occasions), it almost seemed like it was an afterthought to her, which rubbed me the wrong way a bit. Especially considering how close she is with her family. I would have loved to see that big family rally around him and one another in support as my big family tends to do in similar situations.

Aside from that, I think this is such a fun/funny hate-to-love romance particularly for people who like to see the strong attraction between the love interests despite their frustrations with each other.

For me, I tend to prefer this trope when the couple is so busy loathing the other person, they barely notice their attraction and hardly realize how much passionate frustration and passionate lust have in common. This is why I can’t say that this book is my favorite of the trope, but I can say I expect it will be for many who like to see the chemistry between enemies much more blatantly on page.

If you’re looking for an OWN voices, match-making, enemies-to-lovers romance filled with banter and big families, with just enough drama and angst, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book.


Butterfly Rating: 2 Stars

2-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Maybe


Bookshelf Placement: Maybe

I do love the cover of this!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 3 stars

3-stars

 

 

 

ARC Review: Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

3-stars
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Title: Something to Talk About
Author: Meryl Wilsner
Format: ARC provided by Netgalley in Exchange for an Honest Review

Synopsis:
A showrunner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumor in this debut romance.

Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time–threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?

GOODREADS

Review

This was a pretty highly anticipated release for me, and to be completely honest, I was a little disappointed.

Perhaps it has something to do with the writing style, which seemed a little choppy to me. Or the fact that the slow burn romance was a little TOO slow (something I never thought I’d say) I mean, we didn’t even get a kiss until more than 80% of the way through the book. The chemistry between these two characters built extremely slowly and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t supposed to be the case. I think there was meant to be a lot of tension between these two characters, but instead it just seemed like stilted interactions.

I always appreciate a love interest who comes off as a little standoff-ish, but really they have a heart of gold, and I think that was supposed to be Jo. I almost wish this book was entirely told in Emma’s perspective so that Jo was less mechanical and more mysterious.

All that being said, I had so much appreciation for this book. We need more F/F romances, contemporary and otherwise. I appreciate an excruciatingly slow burn, though perhaps not quite this slow. I love the diversity and how this book brought to light some very timely issues that we have in the entertainment industry.

I think there were some really great elements within this book, though it may not have been my favorite execution of it. I absolutely can see a lot of people enjoying this one, even if I didn’t love it.


Butterfly Rating: 3 Stars

3-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Nah


Bookshelf Placement: Nah


Book Girlfriend Rating: 3 stars

3-stars

 

 

 

ARC Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Beach Read
Author: Emily Henry
Format: ARC received in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley, hardcover purchased from Book of the Month.
Release Date: May 19, 2020

Synopsis:
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

GOODREADS

Review

There are two key indicators that I loved this book:
1. I unconsciously disobeyed the laws of a pandemic and found myself constantly touching my face – pressing my hand over my mouth to hold in gasps of surprise and sighs of happiness.

2. I sat staring blankly at the pages after certain scenes, trying to pinpoint what exactly it was making the butterflies swarm in my belly.

Beach Read, I feel, will be my new recommendation for people who like Women’s Fiction and find they want to get into romance. To me, I think this book could easily be categorized as both.

The “deep dive into everyday, angsty life” aspect felt very Women’s Fiction-y, but the romance was one of the strongest elements of this story… and it helps that it was done really well.

Also… the humor in this had me snorting out loud so many times. The one-liners in this book were on point. I had to keep a pen with me anytime I picked up this book so that I could underline my favorite parts.

Let’s talk about the romance because I realized a few things.

This book had two key elements that many of my favorite romance novels have: pining and longing. Extra points for when one of the love interests has no idea those two things are going on.

This. This is exactly how I want to feel when I read a romance novel. I want to feel giddy and excited and hopeful. I also like feeling as though I went through something to get there. That I earned it.

Beach Read was all of those things. The hype surrounding this book is well deserved.


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes!


Bookshelf Placement: Yes!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars

4-stars

 

 

 

ARC REVIEW: That’s Not a Thing by Jacqueline Friedland

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: That’s Not a Thing
Author: Jacqueline Friedland
Format: ARC received in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley
Release Date: 4/14/20

Synopsis:
Meredith Altman’s engagement to Wesley Latner ended in spectacular disaster—one that shattered her completely. Years have passed since then, and now she’s about to marry Aaron Rapp, a former Ivy League football player and baby-saving doctor. As they celebrate their engagement at a new TriBeCa hotspot, Meredith is stunned to find the restaurant owner is none other than Wesley, the man she is still secretly trying to forget.

When Meredith learns that Wesley has been diagnosed with ALS, her feelings about their past become all the more confusing. As she spends more time with Wesley and is pulled further under his spell, she discovers what kind of man her new fiancé really is—and what kind of woman she wants to be.

GOODREADS

Review

I’ve never been yanked around by my heartstrings so much by a book before.

I didn’t remember anything about the synopsis before I picked up this book to read it, and I’m glad I didn’t. I’m glad I went into the novel blind, because I thought I had a pretty good idea about where this book was going, and I was so wrong.

I won’t go into detail here for that reason.

The first half of this book is told in a dual timeline. Sometimes when this happens, I find I’m more invested in one timeline than I am in the other, but that was not the case with this book. I was completely invested in both timelines from the very first page. I felt attached to the characters I was meant to feel attached to immediately.

I felt as torn as our main character, Mer. And that is not at all an easy place to be, not at all.

The first 30ish percent of this book seems like your typical novel. I thought I knew where it was going and I was comfortable with that. And then I was completely blindsided…and immediately after the first punch in the gut, I felt like I got hit again. And again. Up until the very end, I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how and if everything was going to be resolved. NEEDING everything to be resolved. And entirely unsure HOW I even wanted it to be resolved.

I casually read the first part of this book over a couple of days, picking it up whenever I had time. Little did I know that once I hit a certain part, I’d abandon my plan of getting to bed early and stay up all night reading fiendishly until I finished.

aside from the story itself, I loved the three main characters in this book.

Mer is not a main character I usually like so much. She’s almost overly self-sacrificing, greater-good kind of character that can be eyeroll worthy sometimes, but she isn’t perfect and she’s not annoying. She’s just a good person in a really heartbreaking situation.

Then there is Aaron, who seems like your typical almost-too-perfect rebound boyfriend and Wes, the magnetic first love.

There are a lot of typical romance tropes here, but I promise this book isn’t typical. It’s so much more and it’s a story that needed to be told.

I adored this book, these characters, and yes even the heart pumping, tear-jerking rollercoaster it took me on.

Keep in mind there are trigger warnings in this book for severe illness and loss of a parent. I’m not the best at spotting triggers, but I felt like I should mention the ones I did notice since this was an ARC.


Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars

5-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes


Bookshelf Placement: Yes


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars

 

 

 

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers #1) by Penny Reid

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Truth or Beard
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #1
Format: eBook purchased from Amazon

Synopsis:
Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my!

Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life.

His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…

But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Order.

Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?

GOODREADS

Review

Why the hell was I sleeping on this one?

It took me a while to make my way through Penny Reid’s Knitting in the City series, but I did really enjoy that one,

I will say, however, while I appreciate the way she writes, she does some repetitive things as far as the words she uses that are a bit irritating. Don’t get me wrong, Penny Reid is a gorgeous writer, but sometimes it is almost ruined by the repetitive “therefores” and “at lengths” – it makes the otherwise smooth, beautifully writing and butterfly-inducing romance read like a research paper rather than a story. I found myself trying to pretend they weren’t there so that my eye wouldn’t start twitching in annoyance.

Having said that, I am absolutely OBSESSED with this story.

If you are like me and you crave desperate LONGING in romance novels, this book will absolutely sweep you off of your feet.

I’ve never been a big fan of the country boy romance novels and the Winston Brothers series takes place in a very small, country town, and they are all big country boys, but man… if country boys are written like this, they can call their parents Mama and Daddy all they want.

To be fair, I still call my dad “Daddy” so who am I to judge?

You guys. This book was amazing from the first sentence. I fell in love with Jessica immediately.

Typically when a main character is already pining after a character in a novel, I feel like it takes a lot for me to catch up with her feelings, but I was right there with Jessica and her obsession.

I was SO excited to be completely taken off guard right from the beginning of this book. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t go into detail, but ughhh… again… the longing made my heart hurt and swell over and over again, it was almost too much to take.

I devoured this book in one late night and I don’t regret a thing

I am so excited about this series, but at the same time I’m so hungover and worried that none of the other books will live up to this one! It’s almost nerve-wracking when a first book in a series skyrockets to a favorite spot. I worry it can only go downhill from there.


Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars

5-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes


Bookshelf Placement: Yes


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars