Review: Begin Again by Emma Lord

Begin AgainBegin Again by Emma Lord
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Emma Lord and I have a special relationship. It’s like she sees me, she gets me, she channels what interests me into her stories. Every time I pick up one of her books, my heart is filled to the brim with love.

Okay, I’m not delusional. I know we don’t actually have a special relationship, but I definitely connect with her stories in a remarkable way; one that stands out to me amongst the many books I read.

For her latest release, Begin Again, I’ll be honest, I didn’t read the synopsis. I don’t really care what it is about, if her name is on the cover, I’m picking it up.

I went into this blind and was absolutely delighted with how this story began to unfold. Something completely wild happens in our protagonist’s life right off the bat. I was shocked and laughed, is this what this book is about?

This story follows Andie, who is navigating her first year post-high school. After spending her first semester at a local community college, remaining at home with her grandmothers, Andie has recently transferred to the college of her dreams.

Blue Ridge State is 2-hours from Andie’s home and once she is there, she quickly realizes that she is on her own for the very first time. Honestly, the wide-open freedom is jarring and a bit overwhelming.

Andie is a girl who always has a plan and right from the start her plans for her time at Blue Ridge don’t go as she anticipated. Her long-term boyfriend, Connor, who attended Blue Ridge first semester actually transferred to Andie’s old community college to surprise her.

She transferred to Blue Ridge with the hopes of surprising him. Huge whoopsie!

That enormous flub really sets the stage for Andie’s first term. She’s sort of thrown for a loop, but she isn’t someone who gives in easily. She slowly starts to build her own life; establish her independence.

Andie finds a group of friends, passions to pursue and a boy who is super kind and shares her interests. Blue Ridge is beginning to feel like home.

Life isn’t always smooth sailing though, as we all know and before too long the stress-monster is rearing his ugly head.

Connor is trying to maintain his presence in Andie’s life and she has mixed feelings about the status of their relationship. Then some startling secrets are revealed and of course, there’s some family drama happening that Andie can no longer ignore.

It’s a lot for her to try to navigate successfully. She’s sort of torn between the person she was and the person she has the potential to become. I became super invested in Andie’s life and all the issues swirling around her.

This story is set in that pivotal time of life when you are transitioning from high school, living with your family, to adulthood, living on your own. It’s that sweet spot where the building blocks of your future really begin to solidify.

Andie had some trauma in her family. She lost her mother when she was younger and her father skipped out a bit after that. It was a very impactful experience in her life.

As you would expect, Andie brings that into college with her. Her relationship with her father is still strained, even though he is making an effort, she’s not entirely sure she’s ready to forgive him just yet.

I love how Lord’s stories always include the complexity of family life. Families are just that, they’re complicated. Even the ones that appear perfect, there’s always something there; some issue or issues that can be explored.

Andie being on her own for the first time was also so compelling. She was on quite a journey of self-discovery, even if she was the last one to realize it.

Emma Lord brings so much love to her stories. You can tell she writes with care. She cares about her characters and how the issues are presented. While the stories overall have a feel-good tone, there are always deeper meanings and connections to be made.

I connected particularly well with this story. I’m not entirely sure what it was, but I developed such empathy for Andie. Additionally, the friend group, the found family feel, really touched me and the ending was completely satisfying.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review.

While I figured I would love this story, I had no idea how much I would LOVE this story. I cannot wait to see what Emma Lord gifts us with next!!

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Review: Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries: Book One of the Emily Wilde SeriesEmily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries: Book One of the Emily Wilde Series by Heather Fawcett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries is the perfect, snuggled-under-a-blanket, Winter read.

A Cozy Fantasy with low-stakes, light romance, enchanting atmosphere and easy-to-love characters. This was exactly what I needed for January!!

This book follows Miss Emily Wilde. Emily is a Cambridge Professor, who specializes in the study of faeries. In fact, when we meet her, Emily is fastidiously researching her latest project, the first ever encyclopaedia of fairy lore.

Emily has traveled all over the world studying various culture’s magical beings and the legends and lore surrounding them. She has one destination left, a remote village in the Scandinavian country of Ljosland.

Emily is used to field work, so she’s not put off at all by the stark, isolated village life. However, she wasn’t aware that it would be so rustic that she would need to chop her own wood to keep warm.

Needless to say, Emily, along with her trusty companion, her dog, Shadow, have a bit of a learning curve to overcome in Ljosland.

As they’re settling in, Emily receives a letter from one of her Cambridge colleagues, Wendell Bambleby, that he’s planning to join her. He can’t be serious? Emily works best alone.

Alas, arriving as unexpectedly as his earlier correspondence, there he is. Wendell Bambleby on her doorstop, two student research aides in tow. Good grief.

As days pass, and Emily’s research deepens, she begins to suspect that Bambleby knows more about the fae than he is letting on and there may be an unconventional reason for that. Will Emily’s research be a success? Will she figure out the mystery of the Hidden Ones near her cottage?

Most importantly, will she figure out the mystery of the man residing within?

Emily Wilde’s was such a lovely, cozy, warm hug of a read. I’ll be honest, I teared up at the end. I just didn’t want to part from these characters. I’m so happy this is just the start of our journey with Emily.

There’s a lot to love about Emily as a character. She’s a true academic. Not one for small talk, she struggles a bit interacting with other humans. It’s not her favorite thing.

I loved the whole idea of her setting off into the great unknown, Shadow by her side, to complete her research. She is fearless. In fact, her life is in jeopardy more than once over the course of this story, yet she seems to navigate it all so well.

Emily has her ups-and-downs over the course of this story and I felt for her every step of the way. She’s definitely the type of character you would want to be friends with. I found it so easy to connect with her.

Wendell was so fun too. He’s handsome, charming and has a natural ease with people that instantly gets under Emily’s skin. Everything seems to come so easily for him and if you’re struggling, as Emily is with some of the villagers, that can definitely be frustrating.

I loved their sort of love-hate relationship. All love on his side, a little less so on hers. I wouldn’t say hate, but she definitely rolled her eyes at him more than once.

I really enjoyed the cold, barren setting with the backdrop of the magical faerie realms as well. There were quite a few whimsical scenes that I thought were done really well.

Additionally, I liked how Fawcett chose to format this. It reads like you are reading Emily’s journal entries. It felt intimate and real-time with her adventures.

There are footnotes though, just a warning, I know not everyone is crazy about those. I felt they worked here though by adding to the vibe of the story.

Overall, I think this is a fantastic start to a series. I am definitely attached to these characters and look forward to reading more about them in the future.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Del Rey, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I had a lot of fun with this one and definitely recommend it to fans of Cozy Fantasy and stories involving the Fae!

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Review: For Butter or Worse by Erin La Rosa

For Butter or WorseFor Butter or Worse by Erin La Rosa
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Nina Lyon has worked hard to make a name for herself as a chef. When she decided to host a culinary reality television show, some people felt she was selling out, but Nina chose to take the risk anyway.

Nina views the show, The Next Cooking Champ!, as a great way to secure her name, brand and the success of her restaurant.

Her co-host, Leo O’Donnell, is a thorn in her side however, the only real downside to the show. Dealing with him every day; good grief.

Leo doesn’t mean to drive Nina nuts. He’s not like aiming to tick her off or anything, it just happens. The stress of filming gets to him and he seems to direct that towards her. Whoops.

When Leo takes a joke a smidge too far, Nina quits the show, live on air.

Later when Leo and Nina get caught in what appears to be a compromising position by paparazzi, the fans go absolutely nuts. Has there been a secret relationship unfolding when the cameras are off?

Well no, but it would certainly help both of their careers if that were true. Thus, their agents arrange a fake dating relationship in the hopes of salvaging these two celebrity chefs’ reputations.

For Butter or Worse is a cute and satisfying enemies-to-lovers meets faking-dating story. I enjoyed my time reading this and loved the idea of two celebrity chefs having a bit of a romance.

I wish that they would have spent more time actually involved in the reality cooking show though. That’s sort of what sold me on this, so I was a little disappointed it wasn’t more of a setting for the actual story.

With this being said, it was still enjoyable reading about two chefs as main characters. They come from different worlds in the culinary business and I liked reading about their challenges within their careers.

I also always enjoy an enemies-to-lovers trope and this one was well-done. I will say, I personally prefer when the banter has a bit more wit and humor, but it could be that this just wasn’t fit to my sense of humor. I definitely enjoyed it, but I wasn’t giggling along as Nina and Leo were exchanging barbs.

The sex scenes in this were great. I will say I enjoyed the level of steam La Rosa brought to the page here. There was just enough to keep me fanning myself, without crossing into eye-roll territory.

I also liked the sweet scenes a lot. The scenes were Nina and Leo really started to connect. While there was miscommunication, of course, it never got overplayed or annoying for me. I think the tension was well-built and resolved, so great job by the author on that.

Overall, I enjoyed this. It is a good, fun story, with believable characters and an interesting set-up. I would recommend this to fans of Jasmine Guillory ((me)), or Alisha Rai’s Modern Love series ((also, me)).

I am definitely looking forward to picking-up more from this author. I think she really did a lot of things well here and I look forward to following her skills grow with future work.

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

This is a fun book and I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it. It made me hungry…for delicious food and for more steamy romance!

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Review: Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson

Love in the Time of Serial KillersLove in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ph.D. candidate, Phoebe Walsh, has always been obsessed with True Crime. It’s a great way to focus her attention and avoid thinking about her own life for too long.

Phoebe and her younger brother, Connor’s, parents divorced when the two were kids. After that, Phoebe went to live with Mom and Connor stayed with Dad in their childhood home in Florida. Needless to say, it is a complicated family history.

After their father passes away, Phoebe agrees to live in his home and help prepare it for sale. It will be nice for her to have some privacy to continue working towards her degree; she has a lot of writing to do. She’s also looking forward to reconnecting with her brother.

They don’t know each other as well as you would assume siblings do, just due to the circumstances of their upbringing. Additionally, it can definitely be hard for Phoebe to let down her defenses to connect with people. At this point, she is willing to give it her best shot.

Truth be told, most people make her a little uncomfortable.

She arrives at her Dad’s late at night and is just deciding how much she wants to unpack in the dark, when a strange man pops up out of nowhere and offers his assistance.

A serial killer. That’s where Phoebe’s mind goes first.

This story begins there and then follows Phoebe as she grapples with her feelings involving her family, being reunited with an old friend and her quest to discover the truth about the mysterious neighbor, Sam.

There’s a lot of exploration of Phoebe as a character and why she views the world the way she does. I actually really enjoyed Phoebe. I liked her dry sense of humor and sort of cynical way of viewing life and love.

I also enjoyed Sam as a character. He would be the perfect golden boy of any romance. I mean, if he wasn’t a serial killer that is.

Even though I liked the characters individually, I wasn’t super sold on the two of them together. My interest waxed and waned over the course of the story and I wound up just being underwhelmed.

I liked it. It’s a good story. I did like Phoebe’s general sensibilities, but for me it just lacked like…I don’t know, heart, maybe?

It’s like when someone sings something technically very well, but there is zero emotion in it. That’s how I felt about this book.

It even took me two tries to get all the way through. The first time I stopped around 30%, deciding I just wasn’t in the mood and I would wait for an audiobook copy to come through from my library.

When the audiobook hold came through, Spooky Season was officially over, so I figured I would give it another shot. I’m glad I finished it, but it definitely wasn’t a memorable experience for me.

With this being said, just because this story didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. If the premise sounds intriguing, you should definitely give it a go. You could end up absolutely loving it. I know many Readers did.

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate it!

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Review: Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales

Never Ever Getting Back TogetherNever Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My confession of the day is that I have never watched a full episode of either The Bachelor, or The Bachelorette.

Of course I have watched clips and understand the general idea, I’m not a savage. I also recognize it is an absolute sensation and many people love it.

After having so much fun with this book, I think I may need to binge some!

The set-up of Never Ever Getting Back Together feels very ode’ to The Bachelor and frankly I was living for it.

We follow rich, related-to-royalty, arguably-charming playboy, Jordy, getting his own reality television show, Second-Chance Romance.

For the show, ex-girlfriends of Jordy’s will be living together in a mansion, interacting with him and each other, participating in challenges and generally biding for his attention. Week-by-week, Jordy sends one girl packing, until the time comes for his final selection.

Maya dated Jordy two-years ago and the break-up was rough. He cheated on her for months before ultimately calling it quits suddenly when she called him out on his behavior.

Skye dated Jordy directly after Maya. In fact, Maya’s reputation precedes her. Jordy warned Skye how jealous and crazy Maya got after he broke up with her.

Skye can’t believe Maya is joining the show too. Isn’t she like a security risk or something?

When Maya learns Skye, the girl who stole Jordy from her, is going to be participating on the show as well, she’s furious. This girl knowingly dated Jordy behind her back for months. Who does that? Filthy liars, that’s who.

Arriving at the mansion the two girls learn an even more horrible truth, they’re being forced to room together. They’re quite literally bunk-mates.

They try to muscle through it, they might even be contractually-obligated to, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Along with four other girls, Maya and Skye start to settle into their new normal and compete for the ultimate prize: Jordy.

Maya’s no fool though. She knows Jordy too well to fall for any of this smoke in mirrors. Jordy hasn’t changed and that’s fine by her. Maya isn’t dreaming of becoming Jordy’s one-true love, she’s dreaming of revenge.

I had a lot of fun with this. Particularly the set-up, it was adorable. The narrative alternates between Skye and Maya, beginning a little before they even agree to be on the show.

The backdrop of the mansion, filming the reality show, it was great. I felt like I was getting a real glimpse behind the scenes of an actual show. It felt very realistic.

I also liked the mix of personalities that the contestants had. They all had their own motivations for being there and few of those actually revolved around Jordy, or love.

Skye and Maya’s interactions, as they got to know one another, as they battled and then began to drop their defenses; I thought that was really well done too.

My only slight issues with this story would be that I feel like it may have worked better if the story was actually written as New Adult, or Adult. It could have gone farther in the exploration of the relationships.

Also, I didn’t feel the chemistry between the characters. I didn’t find the romance that ultimately transpires believable.

These are tiny critiques though and both of these things are simply my personal opinion. Overall, this book is adorable as heck and I really enjoyed following the concept through to the end.

I was lucky enough to listen to an audio copy and definitely recommend that medium. The narrators did an incredible job bringing this story to life.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I am absolutely looking forward to more from Sophie Gonzales!!


Never Ever Getting Back Together
releases next Tuesday, November 29th. Preorder your copy now. You don’t want to miss out. Get it while it’s hot!!

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Review: Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

**4.5-stars rounded up**

The Queen of Steamy-STEM is back and she’s done it again!!

Without putting too fine a point on it, I’ll just say that Hazelwood’s stories are the romances of my dreams. I loved this one even more than [book:The Love Hypothesis|56732449].

In Love on the Brain the Reader is introduced to Bee Königswasser, a neuroscientist, who has just been offered the opportunity to work on the project of her dreams for none other than NASA.

Moving to Houston, Bee gets to bring along her dark-ray of moonshine assistant, Rocío, who I absolutely adored. The project is set to run for 3-months. This could be the greatest 3-months of her career thus far. Bee is pumped.

Then she discovers her co-lead on the project is Levi Ward. Ughhhh, way to ruin an entire vibe. Levi is a huge jerk her spurned her at every turn in grad school.

Bee never really understood what his deal was with her, but she knows she doesn’t want to repeat any of it at this point in her life.

Unsurprisingly, as Bee and Rocío attempt to settle in at their new office and get to work, it seems that someone is sabotaging them.

Honestly, it’s like Levi isn’t even trying to hide it, but the longer they’re around each other, Bee begins to see a different side to him. Is Levi softening towards her, or was she possibly misreading him all along? Also, if it isn’t Levi sabotaging her, who is it?

Y’all, I adored this story. From the very first moments in Bee’s perspective, I knew I was going to become so connected to her. I adored the way her brain worked, her passions, her backstory, her insecurities, it was all so solidly developed.

Then there is Levi, the epitome of a leading man. He’s handsome, smart, industrious, athletic, motivated, charming, sweet and a Star Wars fan. I mean, sign me up.

I love an Enemies-to-Lovers trope, so I wasn’t surprised that I enjoyed this plot. One thing I really appreciated was that most of the miscommunication between the couple is cleared up earlier in the book than is generally the case.

This allowed a better building of their relationship in my opinion. Usually you spend so much time just trying to have characters actually communicate with one another, it can get frustrating. I didn’t really feel that here. It felt like just the right amount to build tension without causing annoyance.

I also really loved the side characters, particularly Rocío, Bee’s assistant, and Levi’s cat, Schrodinger, because who doesn’t love the cats who star in romance stories!?

I will say towards the end, there was some silly drama that felt very eye-rolly for me, hence the 4.5-stars rounded up, versus a full-5. With that being said though, that’s a pretty minor thing and it was the only time where I was sort of shaken out of the hypnotic trance this story put me in.

I have read all of Hazelwood’s currently published works and I have enjoyed them all. I love that she is writing women in STEM characters and that her characters are all so well-rounded and likable.

As with many Romance stories, there is a formula to them, but hey, they work. You know what you are getting into when you pick up a Hazelwood book and I’m here for it all the way.

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

This is my favorite Hazelwood yet and I cannot wait to see what she has in store for us next!!

Review: Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner

Mistakes Were MadeMistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Following her divorce, Erin Bennett feels like she and her ex-husband are in a competition for their daughter, Parker’s, attention. So, when Family Weekend rolls around at Parker’s college, Erin and her ex decide to split the nights.

On a night when Parker is having dinner with her Dad, Erin heads to an off-campus bar by herself. She’s looking for nothing more than a cold drink.

For Cassie Klein, Family Weekend is the perfect time to avoid campus like the plague. All those happy families, gross.

Thus, she decides to hit up an off-campus bar as a means of escape. She’s not looking for anything, but when she spots a beautiful woman sitting alone at the bar, she offers to buy her a drink.

Little did Cassie know that harmless gesture was going to lead to the most enticing one night stand of her life.

The next morning, Cassie’s friend Parker convinces her to go to breakfast with her to meet her Mom. She’s not super pumped about it, but Cassie tags along anyway.

Imagine her surprise when she walks into the restaurant and discovers Parker’s Mom is her steamy hook-up from the night before.

Erin is equally taken aback when her daughter walks in with the sexy girl from the night before. Erin had no idea Cassie was a college student, let alone a friend of her daughters.

Both women cover it up well, but their mutual attraction burns through every moment they are together. More unsettling than this though, is the fact that they can’t stop thinking about one another when they’re apart.

Cassie and Erin cannot stay apart. It’s like it’s against the laws of physics. They are drawn together like opposite poles of a magnet. Having no choice, they begin sneaking around.

It’s risky as heck, but it’s more than just great sex. Although neither wants to admit it at first, it’s complicated, they grow to really care for each other, but how the heck are they going to make this work? Is it even possible?

Meryl Wilsner’s debut novel, Something to Talk About was the first F/F romance published by Berkley. I was so stoked about it for months, but at the end, it left me underwhelmed.

I enjoyed the writing and the characters, but the pace was quite slow and it was lacking the steam I was looking for. Y’all, at 5% into Mistakes Were Made we had steam; a lot of it.

The pace of this one was night and day compared to that first book. I feel like Wilsner listened, because man oh man, did they deliver with this story.

The characters were still fantastic, there were some serious issues being explored, but the forbidden romance trope brought the fun. There were moments that I was a little uncomfortable for Parker, but at the end of the day, they are all adults and I liked how Wilsner wrapped it up.

Overall, I found this one to be highly entertaining. A huge success of a sophomore novel. I am definitely looking forward to more from Wilsner in the future.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. This is a perfect example of why I never give up on an author after only one book.

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Review: Well, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Well, That Was UnexpectedWell, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💜🧡💛❤️💜🧡💛❤️💜🧡💛❤️💜🧡💛❤️💜🧡💛❤️💜

After Sharlot Citra’s mother walks in on her clumsily exploring her sexuality, her mother freaks out. Things are going to change around here!

After George Clooney Tanuwijaya’s father walks in on him clumsily exploring his sexuality, his father freaks out. Things are going to change around here!

For Sharlot, this change includes leaving her life in California behind, getting dragged onto an international flight, and flying to her mother’s native Indonesia where they will remain for the rest of the Summer.

For George, the change isn’t quite as shocking to the system. As a member of one of the wealthiest and most prominent families in Indonesia, George isn’t going anywhere, but he will have his family meddling a lot more into his social life.

Unbeknownst to both teens, Sharlot’s mom and George’s dad have begun quests to find appropriate romantic partners for their children. They cannot sit by and let their teens deviant behaviors progress any further.

Thus, they do what any good parent would do and they both begin cat-fishing potential love interests via social media.

And that’s how Sharlot and George ultimately end up on the most uncomfortable date ever, in one of the most beautiful coffee shops ever, struggling to live up to whatever ridiculous things their parents invented about them.

For example, Sharlot’s fake hobbies include cooking strong bone broth and hopefully one day being a good wife, while George’s hobbies include math and someday taking over the family empire.

As the teens are forced to continue the charade for a number of different reasons, they begin to get to know one other on their own terms.

Will they like what they find? And if so, how will they ever clear the air about the truth behind their meeting in the first place? What other terrible things could go wrong?!

With these two families, literally anything and everything.

Y’all, I loved this with my whole heart and soul. I was so invested in these characters. Sharlot and George have to be two of my favorite characters ever.

Well, That Was Unexpected got unexpectedly under my skin. While the humor kept me giggling throughout, certain emotional aspects got me deep in my feels. It was everything I wanted and more.

I knew going into this that Sutanto’s sense of humor meshes really well with my own. I love how realistically she writes her characters thoughts, which are always so darn on point and witty.

This story is told via alternating perspectives from Sharlot and George. It was so fun seeing both of their sides to this unbelievable situation they found themselves in. I also liked being able to see both of their thoughts involving the evolution of their feelings towards one another.

100% satisfying start-to-finish!!

This is definitely my favorite Romantic Comedy of the year and in fact, is one of my favorites ever.

I would fall on a sword for it. I would shout from a rooftop for it. I would fly to Jakarta to defend its honor…and might as well get some delicious coffee whilst I’m there… 😋☕️

Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press, for providing me a copy to read and review.

I am a Jesse Q. Sutanto stan and this novel is the perfect example as to why. I can’t wait to pick up whatever she serves up next!!

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Review: Drunk on Love by Jasmine Guillory

Drunk on LoveDrunk on Love by Jasmine Guillory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Margot has been busy the past 3-years co-running Noble Family Vineyards with her brother, Elliott. The brother-sister duo inherited the Napa Valley vineyard and corresponding business when their dear Uncle passed away.

Margot has always felt like her brother was displeased that she was included in the bequeathment. Because of this, she has continuously worked extra hard to prove herself to him.

It’s put a strain on their relationship. Nevertheless, they both show up to work every day and bust their humps.

Sometimes after a stressful day, Margot likes to go to her best friend, Sydney’s restaurant, The Barrel, sit at the bar, chat with her friend, have some drinks and food, it’s her go-to for unwinding.

On one particular night, a very handsome man ends up sitting right beside her. After some friendly prodding from Sydney, Margot ends up taking a chance and striking up a conversation with him.

He’s quite charming and the two end up hitting it off, keeping each other company for the next few hours. Before they know it, it’s time to go, but neither really wants the night to end.

Luckily, they both live close by, so it doesn’t have to. One thing leads to another and the next morning, Luke, is dropping Margot off at her apartment before work. Whoops, that might have gone too far, but boy, was it fun.

Margot’s happy. She needed that. A fun little release. She fully expects and is prepared to never see Luke again.

Then she gets to work and that very morning is introduced to their new hire. Imagine her surprise when Luke walks into her office, just as sexy as the night before.

The two have to pretend they’ve never met, all while keeping their insane chemistry in check. The sparks traveling between them have to be snuffed out and ASAP.

How are these one-time lovers going to make this work? Can they hide their feelings from everyone, even themselves?

Drunk on Love is the 7th-book that I have read from Ms. Jasmine Guillory. I love her writing and will continue to pick up all her new releases.

While I will say this one felt a bit more subtle and serious than her other works, I still really enjoyed it. The characters were well-developed, believable and relatable. I was invested in their journeys, both together and individually.

I always like how Guillory’s characters are working through things in their careers, or family lives, that warrants equal attention to the romance involved in the story. For me, I need more substance than a strictly romantic plot to stay invested and Guillory always delivers that.

This is no exception. Both Margot and Luke are at sort of pivotal points in their lives, with their careers and in making decisions for their futures; where they want to be and what they want to be doing.

I liked the way that Guillory was able to explore them individually so deeply, without giving preference really to one over the other. The dual POV narrative definitely helped with that.

This is a sweet story. Luke is a dreamy leading man, so focused on Margot, on making her feel safe, happy and appreciated.

Margot was strong, independent and goal-oriented. I loved that about her. She didn’t need a man to make her life complete, but was willing to open her heart if the right one came along, even though it scared her to let down her defenses.

I had fun with this. I loved the setting in Napa Valley and the vineyard angle will set it apart for me, as I haven’t read any other romances taking place with that as a backdrop. It was a lovely change of pace. A perfect Autumnal romance!

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

Drunk on Love is available tomorrow, Tuesday, September 20th!!

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Review: Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle

Love RadioLove Radio by Ebony LaDelle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love Radio is a hard-hitting, heart-warming, YA-Romance following two teens in Detroit approaching the end of their high school years.

Prince Jones, our male lead, has an Uncle who is a popular radio-DJ. Prince, being raised with his Uncle as a strong influence in his life, loves all things music. He also loves helping people.

So, when his Uncle offers him a segment on his popular hip-hop show, Love Radio, Prince graciously accepts. His mission, to give romantic advice to those seeking it. He is dishing advice and good music. It’s perfect.

Dani Ford, our female lead, dreams of moving to NYC and going to college to become a writer. She has always dreamed of becoming a writer. The only thing standing in her way at this point is the dreaded college essay.

You would think that would be an easy task for an aspiring author, but Dani had something happen to her a while back, a traumatic event, that has ended up having an lasting impact on many different facets of her life.

Dani has started to withdraw a bit from her peers, a fact her loving parents definitely recognize, yet they’ve been unable to get Dani to open up to them about what’s going on.

When Dani and Prince meet, he’s smitten. He’s actually been noticing her for a while, but has never had the courage to speak to her, but how can he give out serious love advice if he can’t even follow it himself.

While their first real encounter isn’t perfect, the two definitely make an impression on one another.

From there, we follow the two as they get to know one another and Prince vows to win Dani’s heart over just three dates. The Reader gets a front row seat not just to the exquisitely-adorable dates, but also to what’s going on behind the scenes in both Prince and Dani’s home lives.

Will the self-proclaimed teen love doctor be able to get the girl, or is all his love talk just hot air?

I absolutely adored this story. From the very start I was enamored with these two characters. Both of them were very well-developed and likable. It was so easy to get behind them and cheer them on.

For me, one of the highlights was all the incredible heart-felt details that LaDelle put into both of their backstories. Both Prince and Dani were very committed to their families and the scenes involving their family members were indeed some of my favorites.

And even though there are a lot of heavy-hitting topics explored, there was also a lot of fun and humor in this as well. The banter between Dani and Prince, as they got more comfortable with one another, had me laughing out loud and, at times, blushing a little.

I loved how mature these two characters were. Even though they were teens, that didn’t mean they couldn’t have their heads on straight. They both had goals, and in spite of outside influences, they both were steadily working towards achieving the things they wanted.

Additionally, I liked how they learned to support each other and help one another work through their difficulties.

I did listen to the audiobook and one thousand percent recommend that format. The narration was so spot on. The narrators absolutely brought these characters to life.

I went through it over the course of this story, feeling pretty much every emotion under the sun. I learned from these characters and was inspired by them. It melted my heart.

Overall, as you can tell, I loved this. It had so many strengths as a story and I feel like it is so underrated at this point. I really hope more people discover this wonderful book and give it a go.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I cannot wait to read more from Ebony LaDelle!!!

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