Book Tour: Before Summer Ends by Susan Mallery

Goodreads

Release date: April 27, 2021

Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

A long, hot summer with her secret crush…

What could possibly go wrong?

Nissa Lang knows Desmond Stilling is out of her league. He’s a CEO, she’s a teacher. He’s gorgeous, she’s…not. So when her house-sitting gig falls through and Desmond offers her a place to stay for the summer, she vows not to reveal how she’s felt about him since their first—and only—kiss.

Desmond should’ve known better than to bring temptation into his house. He decided long ago that his best friend’s sister was too sweet, too good, for him. She deserves a guy who can give his heart. For her sake, he’s stayed away. But as her laughter breathes life into his lonely mansion, he’s not sure how long he’ll be able to resist.

I’m so excited to be participating in an excerpt tour for Susan Mallery’s latest today! If you want to follow along, here’s the schedule.

Excerpt:

Shane glanced around at the bare side tables and nearly empty floating shelves.

“You were robbed.”

She sipped her coffee before smiling at him. “You know how I am. I have stuff everywhere. No one wants to live with that. So I put it all away. It’s very clean looking, don’t you think?”

“I don’t know. It makes me feel as if you’ve been taken over by aliens.” He nodded at the small hutch in the dining alcove. “We’re just wrapping up the china?”

She nodded. “It’s a full set for twelve. I don’t want anything to get broken. I made space in my storage unit, so we can take the boxes down there.”

“Sounds like a plan. You’re moving in with Desmond after that?”

“This afternoon.” She wanted to protest that she wasn’t moving in with him—not in the traditional sense. But saying that would cause her brother to start asking questions and there was no way she wanted to explain about her crush-slash-fluttery stomach.

“So what’s with the new girlfriend?” she asked, hoping to distract him. “Who is she and what makes her ‘the one’?” She made air quotes with her free hand.

“Her name is Coreen and she’s an ER pediatrician.”

“A doctor,” she teased. “Mom and Dad will be so proud.”

He grinned. “I know. I’m the favorite for a reason, kid.”

“Oh, please. They so love me more.”

The joking was familiar. Shane might be more brilliant but she was no less adored by her parents. They hadn’t had a lot of money for fancy things when she’d been growing up but there had been plenty of attention and affection.

“You didn’t answer my question,” she pointed out as she picked up her breakfast sandwich. “Why is she special?”

“I don’t know. She’s smart and pretty and I like her a lot.” He took a bite of his sandwich. “There’s something about her. We’ll see how it goes. I’m optimistic and I don’t want to mess up anything.”

Review: Paradise Cove and Sandcastle Beach by Jenny Holiday

Goodreads

Release date: July 28, 2020

Publisher: Forever

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Dr. Nora Walsh has just been dumped in spectacular fashion, making it the perfect time for a major life change. She figures taking over the medical practice in tiny Matchmaker Bay for a couple of years will help her get over her broken heart, and then she can head back to the big city. But when the first man she sees looks like a superhero god, she wonders if maybe there’s something to small-town living after all.
Jake Ramsey also has a broken heart — one he never expects to heal. He doesn’t need people anyway and is content hiding out in his secluded cottage on the beach. But after helping Nora with a medical emergency, he finds himself opening up to the witty, warmhearted doctor. Soon the local matchmakers are working overtime to pair them off, and Jake begins to wonder if his campaign to get Nora to stay is for the town or because he can’t bear the thought of her leaving.

Review:

I struggled a little with the first book in this series, it was missing something for me and I felt like it was a bit too long. I wanted to give the next book in the series a fair chance too and I’m glad I did because I did end up enjoying this one more!

I loved that Nora was brand new to town and had no real connection to anyone and I enjoyed seeing her make new friends, find some romance and just find herself a home. Jake’s grief was portrayed so honestly and tenderly and he really tugged on my heartstrings. Their relationship felt really mature and deep right from the start and I love that it was rooted in friendship. Seeing Jake open his heart to Nora was so sweet and totally melted my heart. A sweet romance with lots of depth. 🥰

Overall rating: 4/5

Goodreads

Release date: March 9, 2021

Publisher: Forever

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Maya Mehta will do anything to save her tiny, beloved community theater. Put on musicals she hates? Check. Hire an arrogant former-pop-star-turned-actor? Done. But what Maya really needs to save her theater is Matchmaker Bay’s new business grant. She’s got some serious competition, though: Benjamin “Law” Lawson, local bar owner, Jerk Extraordinaire, and Maya’s annoyingly hot arch nemesis. Let the games begin.

Law loves nothing more than getting under Maya’s skin, and making those gorgeous eyes dance with irritation. But when he discovers the ex-pop star has a thing for Maya, too, Law decides he’s done waiting in the wings-starting with a scorching-hot kiss. Turns out there’s a thin line between hate and irresistible desire, and Maya and Law are really good at crossing it. But when things heat up, will they allow their long-standing feud to get in the way of their growing feelings?

Review:

I was actually really looking forward to this book as Maya and Law have been secondary characters in the first two books and I just knew their romance would be spicy with the whole enemies to lovers thing. The wait was definitely worth it because this was my favorite in the series thus far.

Besides catching up with the couples from the first two books and the meddling matchmakers you get a deeper look at both Maya and Law and what really happened between them in the past to make them so cranky towards each other. Bickering between soon to be lovers is always fun for me and these two had great banter, they definitely made me laugh. I loved getting to see more of Maya’s theater work as well, she’s a passionate character and her enthusiasm was adorable. The epilogue was super satisfying as it ties up some loose ends with all the characters, especially since I think this is the last book in the series.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy E. Reichert

Goodreads

Release date: April 20, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Jobless and forced home to Wisconsin, journalist Sabrina Monroe can tolerate reunions with frenemies and kisses from old boyfriends, but not the literal ghosts that greet her in this heartwarming tale of the power of love and connection from acclaimed author Amy E. Reichert.

For Sabrina Monroe, moving back home to the Wisconsin Dells–the self-described Waterpark Capital of the World–means returning to the Monroe family curse: the women in her family can see spirits who come to them for help with unfinished business. But Sabrina’s always redirected the needy spirits to her mom, who’s much better suited for the job. The one exception has always been Molly, a bubbly rom-com loving ghost, who stuck by Sabrina’s side all through her lonely childhood.

Her personal life starts looking up when Ray, the new local restaurateur, invites Sabrina to his supper club, where he flirts with her over his famous Brandy Old-Fashioneds. He’s charming and handsome, but Sabrina tells herself she doesn’t have time for romance–she needs to focus on finding a job. Except the longer she’s in the Dells, the harder it is to resist her feelings for Ray. Who can turn down a cute guy with a fondness for rescue dogs and an obsession with perfecting his fried cheese curds recipe?

When the Dells starts to feel like home for the first time and with Ray in her corner, Sabrina begins to realize that she can make a difference and help others wherever she is.

Review:

Say hello to the best rom com I’ve read so far this year!! Is it the quirkiest, most adorable book I’ve read all year? Yes. Does it feature two of the most endearing characters EVER? Also yes. Are there meddling ghosts who are sometimes cranky and other times utterly charming? YES. Who knew that this eccentric combination would be rom com gold for me!

This one is super witty, sweet, charming and sometimes silly and it made me smile like a big old cheese ball. Speaking of cheese, this is set in Wisconsin, so hello cheese galore! There’s a foodie fiction feeling here as the author always manages to incorporate delicious meals into her books, so if I wasn’t swooning over the budding romance between Sabrina and Ray, I was drooling over the food Ray was testing out for the restaurant. Books don’t get any more feel good than this one y’all, a must read for romance fans but especially those who love a cozy sort of story.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Boy Toy by Nicola Marsh

Goodreads

Release date: November 17, 2020

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

A woman ready to give up on love discovers that age is truly just a number in this heartwarming and steamy new romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Nicola Marsh.

For almost a decade, successful 37-year-old Samira Broderick has used her bustling LA practice as an excuse to avoid a trip home to Australia. She still resents her meddling Indian mother for arranging her marriage to a man who didn’t stick around when the going got tough, but now with a new job Down Under, she’s finally ready to reconnect with her. And while she’s there, a hot international fling might be just what she needs to get out of her recent funk.

Aussie stuntman, Rory Radcliffe, has been hiding his stutter for years by avoiding speaking roles. When a job he can’t refuse comes up as a reality show host, he knows he’ll need some help for the audition: a dialect coach. But he finds himself at a loss for words when he discovers it’s the same sexy woman with whom he just had a mind-blowing one-night stand…

Samira can think of many reasons why Rory is completely wrong for her: he’s ten years her junior, for one, and he’s not Indian–something Samira’s mother would never approve of. Even if things were to get serious, there’s no reason to tell her mother…is there?

Review:

Oh I just adored this one, my first by Nicola Marsh but definitely not my last! It was the type of fresh romance we all need right now, with interesting and diverse characters as well as interesting and complex issues. I didn’t realize how much I would like an age gap trope but apparently I really do?! Loved that Samira was older as well, the older man/younger women has been done to death for me. Besides that fun angle you have a first for me, a hero with a stutter and man did I swoon hard for Rory. The fact that both Rory and Samira were grappling with their individual problems and working on themselves was great to see, not everything explored here was solely about them as a couple and I appreciated that they were working on themselves, I found them both to be incredibly relatable. Everything I want in a romance was here, heat, passion, communication, tender moments and lots of fun!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan

Goodreads

Release date: April 20, 2021

Publisher: Grand Central

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

Her public life

Her public life

Her public life
Jade Thompson has it all. She’s an up-and-coming social media influencer, and she has a beautiful new home and a successful architect for a fiancé. But there’s trouble behind the scenes. To Greg’s children, his divorce from their mother and his new life can only mean a big mid-life crisis. To Jade, his suburban Connecticut upbringing isn’t an easy match with her Caribbean roots.
Her private life A savage home invasion leaves Greg house-bound with a traumatic brain injury and glued to the live feeds from his ubiquitous security cameras. As the police investigate the crime and Greg’s frustration and rage grows, Jade begins to wonder what he may know about their attackers. And whether they are coming back.
Her secret life As Greg watches Jade’s comings and goings, he becomes convinced that her behavior is suspicious and that she’s hiding a big secret. The more he sees, the more he wonders whether the break-in was really a random burglary. And whether he’s worth more to Jade if he were dead than alive.

Review:

This was a weird one for me y’all, I don’t even know exactly how I feel just that I wasn’t a huge fan. As much as I had issues with it, I did read it fairly quickly so there was something compelling about it and I never contemplated setting it aside. But I also found it kinda silly and boring too. I think my biggest issue was there was a lack of suspense for me, which made me not really care about what was going to happen to the characters. I was really in the mood for a fast and entertaining domestic suspense when I started this so I was disappointed that this wasn’t it. Between a lack of connection to the characters, not enough thrills and suspense, and a plot that I easily figured out, I just can’t get excited about this one.

Overall rating: 2.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Bookstore on the Beach by Brenda Novak

Goodreads

Release date: April 6, 2021

Publisher: MIRA

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis:

How do you start a new chapter of your life when you haven’t closed the book on the previous one?

Eighteen months ago, Autumn Divac’s husband went missing. Her desperate search has yielded no answers, and she can’t imagine moving forward without him. But for the sake of their two teenage children, she has to try.

Autumn takes her kids home for the summer to the charming beachside town where she was raised. She seeks comfort working alongside her mother and aunt at their bookshop, only to learn that her daughter is facing a huge life change and her mother has been hiding a terrible secret for years. And when she runs into the boy who stole her heart in high school, old feelings start to bubble up again. Is she free to love him, or should she hold out hope for her husband’s return? She can only trust her heart…and hope it won’t lead her astray.

Review:

Don’t let the beachy cover fool you, this one had way more depth than I was expecting based on that alone. This was an emotional, multigenerational story that explores some very timely and relevant issues in a beautiful manner.

You hear from Autumn, her daughter Taylor and her mother Mary and I loved the various perspectives from all different age brackets. I can’t even imagine how Autumn is dealing with a missing husband and her kids as well, someone in my own circle going missing is my biggest nightmare. Each woman had their own issues they’re struggling with besides the disappearance of Nick and this brought so much substance to the story. It was definitely a multilayered story with some light moments, but overall it’s emotional. I think it could appeal to all types of readers, there’s romance, a mystery and family drama which is such a perfect combination for me.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle

Goodreads

Release date: April 6, 2021

Publisher: Putnam

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Can you find real love when you’ve always got your head in the clouds?

Maybell Parish has always been a dreamer and a hopeless romantic. But living in her own world has long been preferable to dealing with the disappointments of real life. So when Maybell inherits a charming house in the Smokies from her Great-Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start.

Yet when she arrives, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the house falling apart around her, but she isn’t the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who’s as grouchy as he is gorgeous—and it turns out he has very different vision for the property’s future.

Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than the other dying wishes Great-Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley’s scowls, and as the two slowly begin to let their guard down, they might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one’s comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.

Review:

What a unique and fresh feeling romance this one was! Maybell was such a refreshing character to read about, especially in a romance and Wesley was as well. This was a softer, more tender read than the authors debut, but there was definitely something special about this one, it definitely felt like a cozy, comforting read.

Maybell is the type of person with a larger than life imagination, I’m talking she can daydream so hard and so vividly she sometimes loses hours fantasizing about the life she wishes she had. I loved seeing her grow and blossom under Wesleys attention, although he brought out a wonderful side to each other, the beauty here was that she did the same for him. It wasn’t about changing yourself for your partner but rather about coming into your own with the support of the right partner and it was adorable, sweet and so nice to read about. This one was a slow burn and very low on the steam scale, but honestly that’s pretty much how it had to be with these too, super steamy would’ve felt disingenuous to them. Read this when you want a soft and sweet romance.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: An Invincible Summer by Mariah Stewart

Goodreads

Release date: April 6, 2021

Publisher: Montlake

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis:

It was a lifetime ago that recently widowed Maggie Flynn was in Wyndham Beach. Now, on the occasion of her fortieth high school reunion, she returns to her hometown on the Massachusetts coast, picking up right where she left off with dear friends Lydia and Emma. But seeing Brett Crawford again stirs other emotions. Once, they were the town’s golden couple destined for one another. He shared Maggie’s dreams—and eventually, a shattering secret that drove them apart.

Buying her old family home and resettling in Wyndham Beach means a chance to start over for Maggie and her two daughters, but it also means facing her rekindled feelings for her first love and finally confronting—and embracing—the past in ways she never thought possible. Maggie won’t be alone. With her family and friends around her, she can weather this stormy turning point in her life and open her heart to the future. As for that dream shared and lost years ago? If Maggie can forgive herself, it still might come true.

Review:

As the weather starts to warm up I’m drawn to beachy, breezy reads so when I read the description of this one, I knew immediately it would be just what I’ve been in the mood for lately. A multigenerational storyline, an idyllic setting and a new series from one of my tried and true authors? Yes please!

As much as I loved the setting and the premise of this one, the characterization is where it really shines. Maggie and her two lifelong friends were all such lovely, authentic women and I also loved that they were middle aged and had more life experience. You also get the viewpoints of Maggie’s two daughters so there’s definitely something for everyone here, a little romance, some drama and lots of friendship. A truly heartfelt read that I enjoyed so much, can’t wait to see what the next book is about.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Goodreads

Release date: March 9, 2021

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

Two former best friends return to their college reunion to find that they’re being circled by someone who wants revenge for what they did ten years before—and will stop at nothing to get it—in this shocking psychological thriller about ambition, toxic friendship, and deadly desire.

A lot has changed in the years since Ambrosia Wellington graduated from college, and she’s worked hard to create a new life for herself. But then an invitation to her ten-year reunion arrives in the mail, along with an anonymous note that reads “We need to talk about what we did that night.”

It seems that the secrets of Ambrosia’s past—and the people she thought she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she’d believed. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did or who she did it with: larger-than-life Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, Amb’s former best friend, who could make anyone do anything.

At the reunion, Amb and Sully receive increasingly menacing messages, and it becomes clear that they’re being pursued by someone who wants more than just the truth of what happened that first semester. This person wants revenge for what they did and the damage they caused—the extent of which Amb is only now fully understanding. And it was all because of the game they played to get a boy who belonged to someone else, and the girl who paid the price.

Alternating between the reunion and Amb’s freshman year, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a shocking novel about the brutal lengths girls can go to get what they think they’re owed, and what happens when the games we play in college become matters of life and death.

Review:

Ahh this was such a devious, wickedly fun thriller! Think Mean Girls with a sharper, darker edge and that’s what you have here. Secrets, lies and girls behaving appallingly make up this tale of horribly toxic relationships, backstabbing and revenge.

Told from alternating timelines from back when Amb was in college and then ten years later as she’s getting ready to go to her reunion, this style almost always keeps my attention. I usually prefer one timeline over the other but here I was equally invested in both. It starts out a little slow but then about halfway through things ramp up and I was totally hooked. I kinda predicted a few of the twists, but seriously didn’t even care because this was so dark and shocking that I was just too swept up in the story I couldn’t be bothered enough to be mad about guessing. This one was pretty disturbing and hits basically every trigger around, but if that doesn’t bother you definitely check this one out!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan

Goodreads

Release date: April 6, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Naomi Grant has built her life around going against the grain. After the sex-positive start-up she cofounded becomes an international sensation, she wants to extend her educational platform to live lecturing. Unfortunately, despite her long list of qualifications, higher ed won’t hire her.

Ethan Cohen has recently received two honors: LA Mag named him one of the city’s hottest bachelors and he became rabbi of his own synagogue. Taking a gamble in an effort to attract more millennials to the faith, the executive board hired Ethan because of his nontraditional background. Unfortunately, his shul is low on both funds and congregants. The board gives him three months to turn things around or else they’ll close the doors of his synagogue for good.

Naomi and Ethan join forces to host a buzzy seminar series on Modern Intimacy, the perfect solution to their problems–until they discover a new one–their growing attraction to each other. They’ve built the syllabus for love’s latest experiment, but neither of them expected they’d be the ones putting it to the test.

Review:

Last year Rosie Danan’s The Roommate was hands down one of the best romances I read all year. It was funny, fresh, and incredibly sexy and I’ve been waiting for Naomi’s book ever since I finished it. Once again the author wrote another original and sexy romance, I mean a rabbi and an ex porn star?! GIMME

Really quick for those that didn’t love TR because it was too spicy don’t pass this one up thinking it’ll be the same. I was actually expecting more steam than this one had and while it definitely wasn’t closed door, it was nowhere near the level of hotness that TR was.

Ok, while I didn’t love this one as much as the previous book I did like it, I think my expectations were just unrealistic and way too high. Totally on me though, I can still recommend it for sure, I was just really hoping this would be another favorite of the whole year. I did really enjoy the merging of faith and sexuality and liked learning more about Naomi but I still didn’t feel like I truly knew her in the end. I guess I basically wanted more of her past and even how she would take her experiences into a future with Ethan, but I did really like him, so adorable! Overall I flew through this one, so there’s something to be said for that, I just hope that special magic that happened for me in book one will be back again in book three.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.