Review: Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Weather GirlWeather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ari Abrams has been fascinated by the weather for as long as she can remember. She grew up in Seattle watching Torrance Hale, the local meteorologist, and idolizing her the way other kids idolize sports stars or other celebrities.

As an adult, Ari is so close to achieving all her dreams. Torrance Hale is now her boss and while Ari loves her job, she wishes she were allocated more responsibility and more challenging stories.

Half the problem is that Torrance is too distracted by her turbulent relationship with her ex-husband, Seth, the station’s news director. It seems most days she barely notices Ari at all.

Ari is growing increasingly frustrated and finds someone to confide in at the office. Russell Barringer, a sports reporter, is also frustrated with the toxic atmosphere at the station created by Torrance and Seth’s constant fighting.

In the aftermath of a calamitous office Christmas party, Ari and Russ come up with a plan to get Torrance and Seth back together. The Parent Trap is referenced, so you get the deal.

From that point on, Ari and Russ spend progressively more time together as they plot and scheme to get the ex-couple reunited.

Weather Girl is really touching. Much like the weather, this story has both dark and light aspects. I enjoyed all the characters so much and it felt particularly good watching Ari and Russ open up to one another.

Rachel Lynn Solomon is such a gifted writer. I will continue to pick up every single thing she ever offers; YA or Adult, it doesn’t matter, it’s all incredible.

I know a lot of people have mentioned in their reviews that this one wasn’t as light-hearted as they were expecting and that may have decreased their enjoyment level a bit.

Ari does suffer from depression and works through a lot of issues relating to that. I thought it was handled really well though. One thing I always enjoy about RLS’s work is her inclusion of mental health issues.

I feel like having her characters mentally working through those types of things makes them more believable and relatable. I can understand how some Readers may not want so much of it included in a book they are expecting to be a light Rom-Com though.

For me, I found Ari to be extremely realistic. She recently went through a break-up from a long-term relationship and is still processing that dissolution.

Ari’s mother also has battled depression for decades and wasn’t always there for her children. As you can imagine, that has had a lot of impact on Ari’s life.

Russell has his own insecurities that he is working through. I enjoyed learning about his life. Russ isn’t your stereotypical leading man and I loved him all the more for it.

The banter between the two, in RLS’s signature style, is witty and engaging. I was rooting for the two of them from the start. They had such a sweet dynamic.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. The mix of serious and fun was compelling, thought-provoking and heart-warming. While this isn’t my favorite of Solomon’s work, it’s still wonderfully done.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I look forward to Solomon’s next release!!

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Review: Below Zero (The STEMinist Novella #3) by Ali Hazelwood

Below Zero (The STEMinist Novellas, #3)Below Zero by Ali Hazelwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Below Zero is the second of the STEMinist Novellas from Miss Ali Hazelwood that I have read.

Being aware that this is technically the third in the series, it interested me the most, so I was super pumped when my audiobook hold came through from my local library. I couldn’t put it off. I had to dive in right away!

Throughout this trilogy we follow the stories of a trio of girlfriends: Mara, Sadie and Hannah. This is Hannah’s story.

Out of the three, Hannah has the most difficulty letting people in. She is fairly guarded by nature and even found it uncomfortable at first getting close with Mara and Sadie. She has her reasons.

Fresh out of graduate school Hannah finds herself new in her career as a NASA aerospace engineer. Some may say she got there via some helpful tips from a man named, Ian, but she would never say that. He’s irrelevant.

Although if we’re being honest, Ian is never far from her mind. Ian is her rival, her nemesis and the man who haunts her most lurid dreams.

When Hannah finds herself on the brink of disaster, injured and stranded at an Arctic research station, Ian is the one who risks everything to save her. Hannah’s so confused. Why would he do this?

He legitimately tried to stop her research and sabotage her career. What could be his motivations now and why does her stomach feel so queasy anytime he’s around?

This novella bounces around a little as the different stages of Hannah and Ian’s relationship is pieced together. I enjoyed it so much. Watching the blanks be filled in and their connection grow.

I related a lot to Hannah. I found her to be such a convincing main. I liked that she was the type of person who didn’t let people in easily. It made you really recognize how special those people she has chosen to be in her life are.

This had some steamy scenes. In the novellas there aren’t a ton, it’s only 124-pages, so obviously there’s not going to be that much. However, what is there is top notch stuff.

Hazelwood can get your motor running, that’s for sure.

I’m really looking forward to getting to the final novella, Stuck on You, soon. I’m sure it won’t disappoint!

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Review: Under One Roof (STEMist Novellas #1) by Ali Hazelwood

Under One Roof (The STEMinist Novellas, #1)Under One Roof by Ali Hazelwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perfection in 112-pages!!!

Ali Hazelwood taught me something last year. A very important something. If you’ve read The Love Hypothesis, you may know exactly what I am talking about.

Essentially, Hazelwood taught me that steamy STEM romances are definitely something I am into!

Luckily for me and others like me, while patiently awaiting Hazelwood’s 2022-full length release Love on the Brain, there are three all new STEM novellas to enjoy.

Under One Roof is technically the first of these novellas, but after reading this one, I would say that they can really be read in any order.

In this one we follow Mara, an environmental engineer, who moves to D.C. post-graduate school after inheriting half of a house from her academic mentor.

The other half of the house is owned by said mentor’s extremely dreamy nephew Liam, who just so happens to be an attorney for big-oil.

Liam expresses from the start, with all the swagger he can muster, that he is not down for a random roommate.

Unfortunately for him, Mara is not taking no for an answer. She really doesn’t have the option to say no with her new job in D.C. starting soon and she literally hasn’t the money to find another place. Plus, she has just as much legal right to the premises as he does.

After they move in together, anger and annoyance eventually leads to sparks. You know the drill.

Y’all, how did Hazelwood make me feel so invested in only 112-pages?! Seriously, how?!

I did listen to the audiobook for this one and the narration was straight-up fabulous. Loved, loved, loved. I cannot wait to get to the other two novellas!!

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Review: The No-Show by Beth O’Leary

The No-ShowThe No-Show by Beth O’Leary
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**2.5-stars rounded up**

Siobhan, a no-nonsense life coach. Miranda, a tough as nails arborist. Jane, an insecure charity shop worker with a traumatic professional history.

Three very different women with one very important thing in common: a man named Joseph Carter, who happens to stand them all up on Valentine’s Day.

Alternating between the various perspectives, the Reader gets a front row seat to Joseph Carter’s varied, dramatic and plentiful love life.

The No-Show is my first novel by Beth O’Leary. I was so excited to pick this one up, as there seems to be a lot of hype and love surrounding this author.

Y’all, I’m sure all of that is more than valid, but it took me just under a month to finish this. I was so relieved when it was over. This was a solid 2-star book for me up until about the 70% point when it started to come around.

However, for the majority I was bored out of my skull.

Even though this may seem harsh, it’s honestly how I felt. While I was reading it, it was okay. I was just waiting and waiting for something significant to happen.

The problem would begin after I would set it down. I had zero desire to pick it back up again. In fact, it began to feel like a chore to do so.

I expected this to be funny, maybe a little swoony, possibly a little steamy. It was none of those things. I don’t mind if a Romance has a more serious tone, but a boring tone is not something I am looking for.

With this being said, it is clear from the reviews that many, many Readers have loved this one, so don’t take my word for it! If the synopsis sounds interesting to you, please pick it up and give it a shot. You may find an all new favorite here.

As for me, I am happy I read it, but even happier to be moving on.

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley Romance, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to provide my opinion.

On to the next!!

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Review: This May End Badly by Samantha Markum

This May End BadlyThis May End Badly by Samantha Markum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Weston School for girls has been engaged in an epic prank battle with the boys across the street at Winfield Academy for a century. This battle is on-going, with literally generations of girls and boys taking part.

Now that Doe is in her Senior year at Weston, she’s determine to win the battle once and for all. She’s a prank master and determined doesn’t even begin to describe Doe.

When the Weston headmistress makes an announcement that Weston and Winfield will be merging the following year, their campus descends into chaos. Chief among the dissenters, Miss Doe.

Doe is horrified. Weston and Winfield merging! She cannot possibly let that happen. Together with her best girlfriends, they vow to do whatever it takes to stop the merger.

One of Doe’s targets is Three, the kingpin of Winfield Academy. Smart, wealthy, good-looking and popular, Three is the kind of boy that has the world in the palm of his hand.

Doe just wants to knock him down a notch or two. She ends up making a deal with Three’s cousin, Wells, to fake date, thus getting under Three’s skin and throwing him off his game. With Three out of sorts, Doe should easily be able to outsmart the Winfield boys.

As the pranks begin to escalate, so does Doe’s so-called fake relationship with Wells. Will Doe lose sight of her goals, give them up entirely for a cute boy, or achieve everything she’s ever wanted?

The May End Badly is such a fun and cute YA Contemporary. Wells is one of the most swoon-worthy boys I’ve come across in a long time and don’t even get me started on how great this fake dating set-up was!

At first, I’ll admit, I was a little confused by the passion Doe had for the prank battle, but the more I got to know about her as a character, the more it started to make sense.

Doe came to Weston after going through a very difficult time in her life. Her parents had recently divorced and Doe had been having some behavioral issues at her old school. Weston became a safe haven for her. A place where she could feel safe and grow.

She wants to be sure Weston can remain that safe space for girls into the future. However, has Doe let her own experience blind her to that of others?

There are some really great friendships in this story. Doe’s friend group is very close, but still not afraid to call one another out on bad behavior. Wells also has a strong and interesting friend group, so it was nice to see that with both the boys and the girls.

I loved watching Doe and Wells relationship grow. There were moments when I absolutely wanted to shake her, but I was definitely on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen between them.

Additionally, I loved the humor in this novel. There is some great, witty banter, including moments that had me in stitches. I even loved the parents. They were funny and helpful, which was so nice to see.

My only slight criticism of this novel would be that there was an issue going on at the school, with a teacher possibly being inappropriate with students.

Nothing about that storyline felt natural to me in the context of the rest of what was going on. This is obviously just my opinion, but it felt very forced.

It felt like there needed to be some tension at school, a villain, and this character was it. Oh and along the way we can stuff in some heavy social commentary.

It felt completely out of place with the rest of the story. I don’t know. I feel like I could have enjoyed this even more without that in there. It just felt disjointed to me.

Phew, that was uncomfortable to say, but overall, yesssss, I had so much fun with this one. I became so attached to Doe and completely head over heels in love with Wells.

Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m looking forward to reading more from Samantha Markum in the future!

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Review: Fortuna Sworn (Fortuna Sworn #1) by K.J. Sutton

Fortuna Sworn (Fortuna Sworn, #1)Fortuna Sworn by K.J. Sutton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Fortuna Sworn is the last of her kind. It was her and her brother, Damon, but he went missing two years ago.

Since that time, Fortuna has spent her days blending into the human world while searching for him at night. On one of her searches she gets captured by goblins and brought to the market to be sold.

Luckily she’s able to escape the whole being sold thing, but she did catch someone’s eye whilst at the market; a very powerful faerie named Collith.

Before she knows it, she’s receiving a proposition, her hand for the possibility of getting her brother back. I am putting it simply, but you get the gist.

The story follows Fortuna as she enters the world of the fae, hoping against all hope that she’ll be able to find what she’s looking for.

But if she finds her brother, will he even want to be rescued? And what is she sacrificing in the process?

This was good. I liked it. A solid foundation for the start of a series. I don’t read a lot of fae books, in fact, I have only read a handful that I can think of, but I liked how this one was constructed.

Additionally, I’m very intrigued by the ending and will be continuing on to the second book.

I won’t claim I understand everything going on here, but I loved Fortuna as a character and want to learn more about her and this world.

Fortuna is a creature known as a nightmare, which I have never come across before. Basically, she can make people see, or experience, their worst fears just by touching them. She wields this power as a weapon and I got to say, it’s pretty badass.

As stated above, I’m definitely on board to continue on with this series. I listened to the audiobook and thought it was a great way to take in this story. The narration was fabulous.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Dreamscape Media, for providing me a copy to read and review. I’m so happy I finally had the chance to check this one out. It sucked me in!

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Review: One Night on the Island by Josie Silver

One Night on the IslandOne Night on the Island by Josie Silver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On the cusp of her 30th-birthday, Cleo Wilder, a dating columnist for a Woman’s publication in London, is given a special assignment by her editor.

She is being sent to Salvation, a remote Irish island, on a self-coupling retreat. There she will marry herself and write about it. Cleo accepts the assignment with grace, looking at it as a chance to get away and re-energize herself, as well as her writing.

Mac Sullivan is a photographer from Boston with familial ties to Salvation island and the very lodge in which Cleo will be staying.

The twist, Mac is planning to stay at the lodge himself. The very tiny, fit for one person, or a couple lodge. When the two discover the double-booking, they also discover there’s no place else on the island for one of them to stay and the next ferry doesn’t leave for days.

Short on options, they decide to suck it up and share the lodge until the next boat. They’re both adults. Neither one seems like a psycho-killer, so how bad could it be?

Therefore, they do what any consenting adults would do and draw an imaginary line. He has his space, she has her space and they are only allowed to meet and talk in the common areas. After all, they’re in a gorgeous location, full of warm and friendly people, it could be worse.

Due to their circumstances, and a bit of whiskey, Cleo and Mac get to know each other fairly quickly. They’re both impressed with what they see, soon discovering they’re compatible as well, but it’s complicated.

The remote location and separation from their regular lives provides both characters ample time for self-reflection as well. I enjoyed those quieter moments with each character as much as I enjoyed their witty banter.

There were so many aspects of this story that I loved actually. The whole thing. It was a complete package for me.

What surprised me the most was the found family element that was created involving the locals.

I wasn’t expecting that and because of those connections, this became more than just a romance story for me. I could feel the confidence and self-acceptance in Cleo growing as the story progressed. She was finding her own tribe; it was beautiful.

I loved that for her character arc. It gave the whole self-coupling thing a real boost. I felt that aspect, even though the main focus was the ‘will they-won’t they’ vibe going on between Cleo and Mac.

I think it is safe to say at this point that I am in love with Josie Silver. Seriously, such a fangirl. Sometimes I feel like, the way she writes her stories, we share a brain or something.

I just know we would be best friends!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Ballantine Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I am so excited to see what Silver comes up with next.

Until then, I need to finally get to The Two Lives of Lydia Bird. I’m really hoping to pick that one up this Spring!

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Review: A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft

A Far Wilder MagicA Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

When Weston Winters shows up on her doorstop, Margaret Welty is home alone and has been for quite some time.

Margaret’s mother, a famous alchemist, is traveling for work and Margaret, essentially abandoned, has no idea when she will return.

Wes is an aspiring alchemist seeking apprenticeship with Margaret’s mom, hence his sudden and previously unannounced arrival. Although Margaret is annoyed by his mere presence, he is able to break down some of her walls and she agrees to let him stay until her mother returns.

Margaret may have ulterior motives. The Halfmoon Hunt approaches and she is desperate to participate. The winner of the hunt, the one who is able to slay the legendary Hala, the last living mythical creature, will win fame and a large sum of money.

The catch is only teams of two are allowed to sign up. Margaret is the best shot in town, but she needs an alchemist for a partner. Perhaps Wes can serve a purpose after all.

As you can imagine, with two young people living and working together under the same roof, sparks begin to fly. It’s not immediate and certainly not discussed, but as Margaret and Wes learn more about each other, they discover they may be more alike than they initially thought.

I was swept away with this story. Saft is a master at creating lush and fully-consuming atmospheres. I loved the world she created here; it felt very greater-Boston area, maybe mid-to-late 1920s, but with magic.

Additionally, I was impressed with the different layers woven into this story. For example, there was quite a bit of commentary on discrimination against ethnic minorities and immigrants. It never felt forced, which I appreciated. It felt like a completely natural aspect of this story.

Both Margaret and Wes had experienced outward discrimination and hostilities towards them based upon who they were and where they came from. Eventually, they were able to talk about and bond over these shared experiences.

I was moved by both of their stories and how they learned to stand strong in the face of those aggressions; how they both sought to make changes for the better for all.

That is just a minor part though, for me, the highlight of this book is the Halfmoon Hunt. I loved learning about it, the lore, history, dangers and watching Margaret and Wes prep for the big day. Of course it doesn’t go entirely smoothly.

Drama abounds as the event nears and I had no idea where it was going or what was going to happen. I was completely head over heels for this team by that point though, I was ready to cut down the competition myself!

While Margaret and Wes have their ups and downs over the course of the story, one thing that never waned was their growing feelings for one another.

This is a YA Fantasy Romance after all and I thought the romance was splendid; so natural and satisfying to watch evolve. From the early neurotic days of pining and questioning, all the way through to the end, I was invested.

There were no eye-roll moments for me, no wishing for it to be over, it was organic and fun.

I really enjoyed Saft’s 2020-release, Down Comes the Night. It was an impressive Romantic Fantasy debut. In A Far Wilder Magic, I feel like Saft’s writing has really blossomed. This is a complex story and it was executed so well.

Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I cannot wait to for Allison Saft’s next book. I look forward to following her career for a long time to come!!

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Review: Payback’s a Witch (The Witches of Thistle Grove #1) by Lana Harper

Payback's a Witch (The Witches of Thistle Grove #1)Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

After she graduated from high school, Emmy Harlow, left her small town of Thistle Grove and moved to Chicago. Since that time, she really hasn’t been back.

She’s forged her own life in the city completely separate from her magical family in Thistle Grove. Perhaps, now is a good time to mention that Emmy is a witch.

During her time in Chicago, she’s felt her powers waning. Apparently, it’s important for her to remain somewhat tied to her magical roots.

With the approach of a traditional spell-casting tournament occurring in Thistle Grove, Emmy finally decides to return for an extended visit. Her parents will be so happy.

Emmy’s family normally acts as the arbiters for the competition and because of where she falls within the family line, it is her turn. She could have passed the duties on to her overzealous cousin, but Emmy feels like it is finally time for her to be involved.

Upon returning to town, it doesn’t take long for Emmy to be right back into the small town circle: gossip, run-ins with ex-boyfriends, flirting with old classmates, amongst other things.

We learn more about the reasons behind Emmy leaving town, more about her and her relationships with her family.

I love the trope of a character returning to their hometown after an extended absence. As someone who moved away from my own hometown as soon as I graduated high school, I can totally relate to those feelings.

When you go back, it’s so mixed. You’re from there, of there, but also, feel like you are out of place. Life moves on without you while you are away and it’s like learning about a whole new place once you finally do go back.

I really enjoyed that aspect of this book. Emmy being reintroduced to her roots and really reconnecting with the people she had left behind.

The tournament was interesting as well, although I could have used more of it. It’s basically like the Triwizard Tournament, but for the founding magical families of this town. I wish there would have been more of that aspect.

Unfortunately, I didn’t connect with the romance. I wanted to be interested, but I just didn’t care either way. It was fine, but I wasn’t sold on how quickly Emmy and Talia fell for one another. Also, I’m not really sure Gareth’s vices were worth the efforts the ladies went to in order to get back at him. Not to be mean but, get over it.

With all of this being said, this was a super cute story overall. I loved the town of Thistle Grove. It felt to me like an Adult version of The Babysitters Coven and I’m not mad about it. I will absolutely be continuing on with this series.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I am looking forward to returning to this town and this great cast of characters when the second book releases in May!

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Review: A Brush with Love by Mazey Eddings

A Brush with LoveA Brush with Love by Mazey Eddings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Harper Horowitz is in her last year of dental school and is anxious about her future placement into an oral surgery residency program. In truth though, Harper is anxious about a lot of things.

She has an anxiety disorder and sometimes finds it a struggle to keep herself focused and negative repetitive thoughts at bay. In spite of her challenges, however, Harper excels as a student and takes it very seriously.

Heading to class one day, Harper, distracted and in a rush, crashes into a jaw-droppingly cute boy named, Dan.

Her literal wrecking ball force of a crash destroys a project he had been working on. Harper, remembering how difficult that portion of first year had been, guiltily offers to help him repair it.

Working together on the project, the two hit it off. They feel comfortable with one another and the banter back in forth is flirty and fun.

Dan finds himself quickly falling for Harper, but she is pretty clear with him, she doesn’t want any distractions. She can’t afford it at this point in her life. They have to stay just friends.

Lines get blurred though and the ‘just friends’ mandate becomes more and more difficult to maintain.

Harper feels out of control. This whole Dan debacle is overwhelming. She needs her life to return to the way it was before the infamous crash, but is that what she truly wants?

A Brush with Love is such a smart, witty and romantic comedy. I fell in love with Harper from the very first chapter. I feel like she came to life on the page, and don’t even get me started on Dan.

Swooning from the start!

Even though this is cute and funny though, that’s not all it is. Both Harper and Dan had great depth of character with some hard-hitting story lines in their past.

Both of them were struggling to move past self-doubt, guilt and fear. I loved watching them open up with one another about their pasts and really support each other through those moments. Their vulnerability was beautiful.

Eddings did a great job balancing the humor with serious, real-life issues that many Readers will be able to relate to.

One of my favorite aspects was the incredibly fun dialogue. Harper had a great friend group and the dynamics between them all was fantastic. If you are a Reader who loves hilarious dialogue, you have to read this.

The one, very small critique I have with this story, is that I didn’t feel any real conflict in the plot until about the 70% mark. Then it felt like that wrapped up too quickly after it presented itself.

That’s extremely minor though and completely personal taste. You may read this and feel that it is perfectly paced. It is super fun the whole way through, I just could have enjoyed a bit more time with the resolution to the conflict.

Thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I did listen to the audiobook and it was absolutely fantastic. I definitely recommend that format to Readers who enjoy audiobooks.

Also, I was super stoked to see that this is the first book in a companion series by Eddings. This makes me so happy. I cannot wait for the next book!!

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