Independent Bookstore Week @librofm @ABAbook @indiebound

Happy Friday everyone and happy indie bookstore week! If you’re like me and you’re always looking for ways to help support indie bookstores I have some ideas for you this week and especially tomorrow as it’s Indie Bookstore Day. Not everyone has a local independent bookstore that they’re able to physically shop at but Libro.fm makes it very easy to support them anyway. They are partnered up with 1700 stores and every time you make a purchase with them you can chose which indie to support. Libro shares their profits with them so you can buy some new audiobooks AND help out an indie store, whether they’re your local shop or one across the country.

To celebrate #IndieBookstoreDay they’re running some fun promos you can take advantage of. First, they’re having an audiobook sale and you can find great titles for $5.00 and under! Check out what you can grab here

Libro.fm also offers the best audiobook subscription service and right now you can get 2 audiobook credits (good for any of the 250,000 books available through Libro) for $14.99. You can use my code GOSSIP at checkout or click here.

If you have any questions please ask and I would be more than happy to help!

Like a House on Fire by Lauren McBrayer

Goodreads

Release date: April 26, 2022

Publisher: Putnam

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis:

After twelve years of marriage and two kids, Merit has begun to feel like a stranger in her own life. She loves her husband and sons, but she desperately needs something more than sippy cups and monthly sex. So, she returns to her career at Jager + Brandt, where a brilliant and beautiful Danish architect named Jane decides to overlook the “break” in Merit’s resume and give her a shot. Jane is a supernova—witty and dazzling and unapologetically herself—and as the two work closely together, their relationship becomes a true friendship. In Jane, Merit sees the possibility of what a woman could be. And Jane sees Merit exactly for who she is. Not the wife and mother dutifully performing the roles expected of her, but a whole person.

Their relationship quickly becomes a cornerstone in Merit’s life. And as Merit starts to open her mind to the idea of more—more of a partner, more of a match, more in love—she begins to question: what if the love of her life isn’t the man she married. What if it’s Jane?

Review:

Well this turned out to be much more thought provoking and introspective than I thought it would be. This asked so many questions that will stay with me about marriage and motherhood and being a middle aged woman who is struggling. While there were definitely parts of Merit that I could relate to she was a very morally ambiguous character but while I may not have agreed with many of her choices I found her to be fascinating. I tend to fly through books of the thriller variety but this was just as compulsive for me as any thriller, I really became wrapped up in Merit’s life and couldn’t wait to see what she would do next. I could see this being a great book club pick, especially as a summer choice as it’s light enough you could read it by the pool but it still has a lot of depth and loads to discuss.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Audiobook Review: Starry Eyed Love by Helena Hunting

Goodreads

Release date: May 10, 2022

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Having just broken up with her boyfriend, London Spark is not in the mood to be hit on. Especially not when she’s out celebrating her single status with her sisters. So when a very attractive man pays for their drinks and then slips her his number, she passes it right back to him with a ‘thanks, but no thanks’. As the business administrator for their family’s event hotel, the Spark House, London has more important things to worry about, like bringing in new clientele.

As luck would have it, a multi-million-dollar company calls a few months later asking for a meeting to discuss a potential partnership, and London is eager to prove to her sisters, and herself, that she can land this deal. Just when she thinks she has nailed her presentation, the company’s CEO, Jackson Holt, walks in and inserts himself into the meeting. Not only that, but he also happens to be the same guy she turned down at the bar a few months ago.

As they begin to spend more time together, their working relationship blossoms into something more. It isn’t until their professional entanglements are finally over, that London and Jackson are finally ready to take the next step in their relationship. But between Jackson’s secretive past and London’s struggle with her sisters, London must question where she really stands – not just with Jackson, but with the Spark House, too.

Review:

This is the second book in a series following the Spark sisters and while you don’t have to read the first book to enjoy this one you should because it was cute! I really liked what I saw of London in the last book so I was excited to learn more about her here and I now I like her even more than before. She was very relatable and her flaws were realistic. Her relationship with Jackson was a super slow burn which I’m not always into but it worked for me here. Sometimes seeing characters take their time before jumping into a relationship is refreshing and seems more mature and real to life and I felt that here. Of course HH knows how to write amazing banter and this was no exception. The audio was dual narrated by Jason Clark and Stella Bloom and they both did an amazing job at bringing London and Jackson to life so I can definitely recommend that format. Overall a charming and sweet read with some heat.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Set on You by Amy Lea

Goodreads

Release date: May 10, 2022

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Curvy fitness influencer Crystal Chen built her career shattering gym stereotypes and mostly ignoring the trolls. After her recent breakup, she has little stamina left for men, instead finding solace in the gym – her place of power and positivity.

Enter firefighter Scott Ritchie, the smug new gym patron who routinely steals her favorite squat rack. Sparks fly as these ultra-competitive foes battle for gym domination. But after a series of escalating jabs, the last thing they expect is to run into each other at their grandparents’ engagement party.

In the lead up to their grandparents’ wedding, Crystal discovers there’s a soft heart under Scott’s muscled exterior. Bonding over family, fitness, and cheesy pick-up lines, she just might have found her swolemate. But when a photo of them goes viral, savage internet trolls put their budding relationship to the ultimate test of strength.

Review:

It’s so refreshing to find an authentic feeling romance anymore and this one truly felt not only genuine, but fresh and fun too. While the romantic storyline was great and definitely the centerpiece of the story, there was so much more to it as well. The author did a great job of exploring how society’s standards of beauty and health are absurd through the lens of a kick ass heroine. Crystal was such a fun character, she’s funny and charming, she’s also a bad ass hard worker but she also has struggles that I thought the author handled in a meaningful way. I’m always a sucker for a character who is an influencer but I’ve yet to read about a fitness influencer so that was super interesting for me. She’s also not your typical size zero fitness advocate, she has curves and she’s not trying to lose weight she’s just trying to be healthy and strong all the while trying to be a source of motivation and support for other women. She was just so great, I could go on but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Scott because he was swoon worthy and sexy. The supporting cast of characters were a lot of fun as well and I’m really hoping this is a start of a series because I would love to get a book about Tara, Crystals sister! Overall an impressive debut that I truly enjoyed.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Dinner Guests by Kiersten Modglin

Goodreads

Release date: May 1, 2022

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

Six friends.
A lifetime of secrets.
One terrifying game.

When a group of friends receives unexpected invitations to a dinner party, they see it as a chance to finally meet the bizarre and reclusive new neighbor whose home is enshrouded in layers of security.

As the drinks are poured and dinner is served, the group begins to realize things are not what they seem. What starts out as an innocent night of fun soon becomes a seemingly calculated game filled with cryptic messages and chilling revelations.

With no way out, the guests are forced to play along in hopes of escape. Friendships fray, loyalties are tested, and the secrets they’ve kept from each other are revealed one by one.

Six friends walk into the house that night.
Will six friends make it out?

Review:

If you like twisty, fast paced, locked room style mysteries this one was so fun! I loved the premise, a group of lifelong friends trapped together at the dinner party from hell and I just knew there would be so many secrets. There definitely were and I didn’t see most of them coming, KMod is really clever and always executes well timed twists that leave you reeling. You get multiple perspectives that jump back and forth each chapter and little tidbits relating to everyone’s secrets, this tactic never fails to keep me engaged and turning the pages. As always I binge read this one, once I start one of the authors books I hate to stop and this was no exception. I’ve never failed to recommend one of her books and that’s still true here, this one is wicked and sly.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy.

Review: I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Goodreads

Release date: May 3, 2022

Publisher: St. Martin’s

Genre: YA

Synopsis:

Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.

But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.

On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square.

Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.

Fierce, funny, and frank, Casey McQuiston’s I Kissed Shara Wheeler is about breaking the rules, getting messy, and finding love in unexpected places.

Review:

While there is definitely a lot to enjoy here and I can see what the author was trying to do in the end I found this one lacking. It started out ok for me and I was interested enough but as things progress I found myself bored. The ending kinda picked up a little but overall I was never really excited to pick this back up. I also didn’t fully connect with Chloe or Shara, both separately or together and I would’ve liked to see more depth from them both. I also found the motivation behind Shara’s disappearance to be disappointing and it didn’t feel genuine to me. All of that say this one was just mediocre for me in the end, I didn’t hate it or anything just didn’t really enjoy it all that much either.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

Goodreads

Release date: May 10, 2022

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Six summers to fall in love. One moment to fall apart. A weekend to get it right.

They say you can never go home again, and for Persephone Fraser, ever since she made the biggest mistake of her life a decade ago, that has felt too true. Instead of glittering summers on the lakeshore of her childhood, she spends them in a stylish apartment in the city, going out with friends, and keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart.

Until she receives the call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek—the man she never thought she’d have to live without.

For six summers, through hazy afternoons on the water and warm summer nights working in his family’s restaurant and curling up together with books—medical textbooks for him and work-in-progress horror short stories for her—Percy and Sam had been inseparable. Eventually that friendship turned into something breathtakingly more, before it fell spectacularly apart.

When Percy returns to the lake for Sam’s mother’s funeral, their connection is as undeniable as it had always been. But until Percy can confront the decisions she made and the years she’s spent punishing herself for them, they’ll never know whether their love might be bigger than the biggest mistakes of their past.

Told over the course of six years and one weekend, Every Summer After is a big, sweeping nostalgic look at love and the people and choices that mark us forever.

Review:

There is something so endearing and sweet about reading about first loves and this one follows Sam and Percy from the time they meet at thirteen until the present day. Both of them as teenagers were awkward and slightly nerdy and I instantly fell in love with them. This one had all the teenaged angst but also some adult angst too and the author tugged on my heartstrings in the best way. I went through all of the emotions throughout reading this one and was dying to know why they fell out and weren’t close anymore because you just know these two are totally meant to be. At times this felt like a sweet friends to lovers story and then at others it felt like a complex and emotional love story and the best part of this one was that it was both. I tend to gravitate towards more fun and light rom coms but I’m so glad I tried this one because I really adored it and am impressed it was a debut. All the summer romance vibes here, definitely add it to your beach bag this summer!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Summer at the Cape by RaeAnne Thayne

Goodreads

Release date: April 12, 2022

Publisher: HQN

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

As the older sibling to identical twins Violet and Lily, Cami Porter was always the odd sister out. The divide grew even wider when their parents split up—while the twins stayed in Cape Sanctuary with their free-spirited mother, Rosemary, fourteen-year-old Cami moved to LA with her attorney father. Nearly twenty years later, when Cami gets the terrible news that Lily has drowned saving a child’s life, her mother begs her to return home to help untangle the complicated estate issues her sister left behind.

Navigating their own strained relationship, Cami readjusts to the family and community she hasn’t known for decades, including the neighbor who stands in the way of her late sister’s dream, while Violet grieves the loss of her twin and struggles to figure out who she is now, without her other half, as the little girl Lily saved pulls her back into the orbit of the man she once loved.

Review:

Ahh it was so nice to be back in Cape Sanctuary, some of these small town romance settings are so idyllic and I think this author may create my favorite of them all. The best part of this series is that it’s not even really a series, the books are all totally standalones because the only common factor is the town. There are a couple of fun little Easter eggs though if you have read any of the previous books but it’s definitely not necessary.

This author always writes the sweetest and most tender romance and this was no exception, but there was some darkness here as well. Cami and her family are grieving the tragic loss of her sister and that plays a big role in the story here. While it definitely has some sad and emotional scenes it’s not an overall heavy book, there is so much hope throughout and plenty of lighthearted fun as well. Per usual there is romance for sure but also relationships between family and a great and strong sense of community that makes me long for a Cape Sanctuary of my own. Loved this delightful read and recommend it when you just want to escape in a sweet little book.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez

Goodreads

Release date: April 19, 2022

Publisher: Forever

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

After a wild bet, gourmet grilled-cheese sandwich, and cuddle with a baby goat, Alexis Montgomery has had her world turned upside down. The cause: Daniel Grant, a ridiculously hot carpenter who’s ten years younger than her and as casual as they come—the complete opposite of sophisticated city-girl Alexis. And yet their chemistry is undeniable.

While her ultra-wealthy parents want her to carry on the family legacy of world-renowned surgeons, Alexis doesn’t need glory or fame. She’s fine with being a “mere” ER doctor. And every minute she spends with Daniel and the tight-knit town where he lives, she’s discovering just what’s really important. Yet letting their relationship become anything more than a short-term fling would mean turning her back on her family and giving up the opportunity to help thousands of people.

Bringing Daniel into her world is impossible, and yet she can’t just give up the joy she’s found with him either. With so many differences between them, how can Alexis possibly choose between her world and his?

Review:

You ever finish a book and absolutely love it but you can’t find the words to explain why? That’s me with this one. I’ve read and adored all of Abby’s books but this is my favorite for sure, it was such a balanced mix between super heavy and sad and funny and charming and I couldn’t get enough. There is the authors trademark humor and wit, of course Daniel is the sweetest and he’ll make you fall in love with him and Alexis is definitely the kind of character you want to befriend in real life. But what made this one special for me was the darkness and depth, it added so many layers to a fantastic story and it truly got under my skin. If you’ve her other books you know that she takes her characters on quite a journey and this was no exception, these people have to work for their HEA. But it’s so worth it in the end, it really is. I do want to mention this deals with abuse in a few forms so if that’s a trigger take care before starting this one but I thought it was handled with grace and was really well done.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Goodreads

Release date: May 3, 2022

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis: One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn’t see coming…

Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

Review:

Ok I think I found my new favorite Emily Henry book! I mean, all of her books have been five star reads for me so you can’t go wrong but this one was extra special for me. Maybe it was the grief element, maybe it was the sister bond between Libby and Nora or maybe it was just Charlie. Actually now that I think about it I’m sure the fact that there were so many different elements that I loved is what made this one such a winner. Here’s a few more things I adored! You get the classic NYC vibes but also the cozy small town vibes when the sisters stay in Sunshine Falls making the setting amazon. Then you get two leads who work in Publishing making then just as much of a book nerd as I am, which SIGH. There’s also Charlie and Nora’s incredible chemistry and fantastic banter, both of them are so dry and witty I couldn’t get enough of their exchanges. I really can’t say enough good things about this one, it was just such a delight from start to finish and a must for romance fans.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.