Review: Weather Girl by Rachael Lynn Solomon

Goodreads

Release date: January 11, 2022

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Ari Abrams has always been fascinated by the weather, and she loves almost everything about her job as a TV meteorologist. Her boss, legendary Seattle weatherwoman Torrance Hale, is too distracted by her tempestuous relationship with her ex-husband, the station’s news director, to give Ari the mentorship she wants. Ari, who runs on sunshine and optimism, is at her wits’ end. The only person who seems to understand how she feels is sweet but reserved sports reporter Russell Barringer.

In the aftermath of a disastrous holiday party, Ari and Russell decide to team up to solve their bosses’ relationship issues. Between secret gifts and double dates, they start nudging their bosses back together. But their well-meaning meddling backfires when the real chemistry builds between Ari and Russell.

Working closely with Russell means allowing him to get to know parts of herself that Ari keeps hidden from everyone. Will he be able to embrace her dark clouds as well as her clear skies?

Review:

I fell in love with the authors writing last year when I read The Ex Talk, that was one of my fave romances and I think I may have even liked this one more?! It had amazing representation of the Jewish community, it discussed mental health in an honest and realistic manner, a plus sized hero and scheming matchmaking done in the purest way. I adored this one SO much!

Ari and Russell are the most lovable characters separately and together they are pure magic. They’ve always been friendly coworkers until they decide to scheme to make their work environment more bearable by nudging their divorced bosses together and from the first minute these two were together I just knew they would have the cutest love story. Ari struggles with depression and feelings of inadequacy stemming from her childhood and Russell is a single dad who hasn’t dated in years and while they definitely had their issue they needed to work through before they could be together I really appreciated the way the author handled their conflict. Sometimes conflict in romances can feel forced or just silly, like the dreaded miscommunication and here I felt like it was really authentic and actually how mature adults with issues would behave. Loved, loved loved it and will be impatiently waiting for the authors next book!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Reunion by Kiersten Modglin

Goodreads

Release date: December 28, 2021

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis: Hotel Lilith holds terrible memories for Cait Du Bois.
The darkest night of her life happened within its walls.

Once, she vowed never to return to the place that reminds her of the horror she experienced. But when the hotel is chosen as the location for her high school reunion, Cait finds herself unable to resist the appeal of showing off her new life to the people who once made her existence miserable.

Cait is no stranger to being noticed in public, especially as a bestselling author with an enthusiastic fan base, but back at Hotel Lilith, she was once recognized for a completely different reason. With all eyes on her as she returns to the town she’s spent years running from, Cait finds it increasingly difficult to discern between her fans and foes.

Haunted by the memory of a night that torments her, she resolves to put the past behind her and move on.
No one knows the truth about what happened back then.
At least, that’s what she’s always believed.

Shortly after her arrival, strange things begin to occur. A mysterious package, strange calls, and frightening text messages seem to be just the beginning of the nightmare about to unfold.

Someone is determined to bring the truth to light. If they succeed, the life Cait has built based on secrets could come crashing down around her. And, if they want her to pay for what she’s done, her lies may be the least of her concerns.

Someone’s out for blood.

Review:

There’s something about a book with a character that has to go back to a place or time in their life that is dark that never fails to reel me in and the idea of a high school reunion with some dark secrets was too good for me to pass up. You know right away that Cait is apprehensive about her reunion, but you don’t know why and that’s slowly revealed over the course of the book in chapters set during her high school years. There were lots of mini cliffhangers at the end of chapters, both the present and past ones and that style really kept me glued to my kindle as I was dying to see what would happen next in both timelines. Another super fun and addictive read from one of my go to binge worthy thriller authors, KMod always entertains me!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the author for my copy.

Review: Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

Goodreads

Release date: January 4, 2022

Publisher: St. Martins

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

When Lux McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico, are hired to sail two women to a remote island in the South Pacific, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Stuck in a dead-end job in Hawaii, and longing to travel the world after a family tragedy, Lux is eager to climb on board The Susannah and set out on an adventure. She’s also quick to bond with their passengers, college best friends Brittany and Amma. The two women say they want to travel off the beaten path. But like Lux, they may have other reasons to be seeking an escape.

Shimmering on the horizon after days at sea, Meroe Island is every bit the paradise the foursome expects, despite a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. But what they don’t expect is to discover another boat already anchored off Meroe’s sandy beaches. The owners of the Azure Sky, Jake and Eliza, are a true golden couple: gorgeous, laidback, and if their sleek catamaran and well-stocked bar are any indication, rich. Now a party of six, the new friends settle in to experience life on an exotic island, and the serenity of being completely off the grid. Lux hasn’t felt like she truly belonged anywhere in years, yet here on Meroe, with these fellow free spirits, she finally has a sense of peace.

But with the arrival of a skeevy stranger sailing alone in pursuit of a darker kind of good time, the balance of the group is disrupted. Soon, cracks begin to emerge: it seems that Brittany and Amma haven’t been completely honest with Lux about their pasts––and perhaps not even with each other. And though Jake and Eliza seem like the perfect pair, the rocky history of their relationship begins to resurface, and their reasons for sailing to Meroe might not be as innocent as they first appeared.

When it becomes clear that the group is even more cut off from civilization than they initially thought, it starts to feel like the island itself is closing in on them. And when one person goes missing, and another turns up dead, Lux begins to wonder if any of them are going to make it off the island alive.

Review:

This was a pretty fun one, I always love the idea of a secluded spot and it doesn’t really get more remote than an uninhabited island. It does start out a little on the slow side with the introduction of the characters but although sedate, I was still interested in seeing where it would all go. It’s very apparent everyone has some sort of secrets in their past and as most of them are all meeting each other for the first time, you slowly get to know everyone and what they’re about. I thought the sense of unease surrounding the island was great, despite a picture perfect backdrop you know things are gonna get ugly and the author did a good job of leaving the reader feeling unsettled. It also switches back and forth between present day and little past chapters from the characters which helped to keep things moving along. It’s also on the short side and reads super fast, definitely pick this one up when you have time to settle into it! Like I said, overall a fun read and one of those easy to read thrillers that entertains in the moment.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Love at First Spite by Anna E. Collins

Goodreads

Release date: January 4, 2022

Publisher: Graydon House

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

They say living well is the best revenge. But sometimes, spreading the misery seems a whole lot more satisfying. That’s interior designer Dani Porter’s justification for buying the vacant lot next to her ex-fiancé’s house…the house they were supposed to live in together, before he cheated on her with their Realtor. Dani plans to build a vacation rental that will a) mess with his view and his peace of mind and b) prove that Dani is not someone to be stepped on. Welcome to project Spite House.

That plan quickly becomes complicated when Dani is forced to team up with Wyatt Montego, the handsome, haughty architect at her firm, and the only person available to draw up blueprints. Wyatt is terse and stern, the kind of man who eats his sandwich with a knife and fork. But as they spend time together on- and off-site, Dani glimpses something deeper beneath that hard veneer, something surprising, vulnerable, and real. And the closer she gets to her goal, the more she wonders if winning revenge could mean losing something infinitely sweeter…

Review:

I normally love a revenge storyline but typically I find them in a thriller so I was definitely curious about a revenge plot in a rom com. It was definitely a unique angle but I think it just went a little too far for me, I mean building a whole ass house seems extreme to me. But still, I went with it and I mostly enjoyed this one in the end. I liked Dani’s friendship with her cousin and her landlady, but I also thought it was kinda weird that they would support her efforts for revenge at such lengths. I mean don’t we all need friends to stop us from going too far? But their dynamic was still funny and cute. Wyatt and Dani had decent chemistry as well, he’s a total grump but he has his reasons and of course he’s a softie deep down. So there was definitely things I liked but overall I was just left wanting more, I think it lacked maturity in the end just making this ok for me.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Love Lists and Fancy Ships by Sarah Grunder Ruiz

Goodreads

Release date: November 23, 2021

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Sometimes a yacht, a bold bucket list, and a kiss with a handsome stranger are all a person needs to dive into the deep end of life.

For the last year, yacht stewardess Jo Walker has been attempting to complete a bucket list of thirty things she wants to accomplish by her birthday. Jo has almost everything she’s ever wanted, including a condo on the beach (though she’s the youngest resident by thirty years) and an exciting job (albeit below deck) that lets her travel the world.

Jo is on track until a family tragedy turns her life upside down, and the list falls by the wayside. But when her two nieces show up unannounced with plans to stay the summer, they discover her list and insist on helping Jo finish it. Though the remaining eight items (which include running a marathon, visiting ten countries, and sleeping in a castle) seem impossible to complete in twelve weeks, Jo takes on the challenge.

When she summons the courage to complete item number five–kiss a stranger–and meets Alex Hayes, all bets are off. As her feelings for Alex intensify and Jo’s inability to confront difficult emotions about her family complicates her relationships, she must learn to quit playing it safe with her heart before she loses what matters most.

Review:

I think it’s the season of amazingly strong debut romances because this one is another must read! I knew as soon as my friend Sarah at ReallyIntoThis recommended this for fans of Below Deck this would be the book for me and she wasn’t wrong. The BD piece is just a small part of what this one has to offer, it’s so much more. It’s about grief, family and found family, taking chances with a side of romance and humor. Basically everything I could want in a book and more, I just adored this one.

While I truly loved every aspect of this one the characters were the best part for me. This is so much more than just a romance, (although Jo and Alex were THE cutest!) it’s about Jo’s journey and her path to healing herself and her fractured family and the author did a beautiful job at portraying how you can process a tragedy and start to forgive yourself. You know how most of the time they’ll be at least one character in a book that you don’t like? Not here, I seriously freaking loved them all, Jo’s nieces Kitty and Mia, her BFF Nina and Alex and his daughter, Greyson. They were just the best little crew and I wanna hang out with them, ok? If you liked Float Plan you’ll love this one too, such an amazing, emotional and heartfelt read!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Perfect Escape by Leah Konen

Goodreads

Release date: January 4, 2022

Publisher: Putnam

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

The perfect girls’ weekend turns deadly in this twisty unforgettable thriller that is perfect for fans of Shari Lapena and Riley Sager.

A girls’ weekend to die for.

New friends Sam, Margaret and Diana are thrilled to be getting out of the city for a girls’ weekend—they’ve bonded over their messy divorces, and every mile on the odometer feels like another step towards putting their exes in the past. But when car trouble halfway into their trip strands them in the most unlikely of mountain towns, they come face-to-face with the hurts and betrayals they were so desperate to leave behind.

When Diana doesn’t return home after a night out, Sam and Margaret’s search for her reveals just how little they know about their friend. As eerie coincidences and secrets begin to pile up, and an ex-boyfriend arrives in the tiny town, the women realize that their detour may not have been a mistake…and that someone wants to guarantee that they never make it out.

Review:

I just love a good fast paced and bingeable type of thriller lately and I’m always down to read a book about a girls trip gone bad. While the premise wasn’t super original the plot details themselves were pretty clever and this was a super fun popcorn type of read. Think lots of secrets and lies, untrustworthy characters all over the place and a slew of ex husbands with everyone behaving questionably and that’s this book. I liked the fast paced chapters and small reveals sprinkled throughout, this tactic really kept the plot moving and kept me engaged. Towards the end there was a heightened sense of atmosphere as there’s a storm, the sense of being watched and missing people which definitely added some creepiness. Overall a breezy thriller read, my second by the author and I’m definitely a fan!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau

Goodread

Release date: October 26, 2021

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

A baker provides the sweetest escape for an actor in this charming romantic comedy.

Actor Ryan Kwok is back in Toronto after the promotional tour for his latest film, a rom-com that is getting less-than-stellar reviews. After the sudden death of his mother and years of constant work, Ryan is taking some much-needed time off. But as he tries to be supportive to his family, he struggles with his loss and doesn’t know how to talk to his dad—who now trolls him on Twitter instead of meeting him for dim sum.

Innovative baker Lindsay McLeod meets Ryan when he knocks over two dozen specialty donuts at her bakery. Their relationship is off to a messy start, but there’s no denying their immediate attraction. When Ryan signs up for a celebrity episode of Baking Fail, he asks Lindsay to teach him how to bake and she agrees.

As Lindsay and Ryan spend time together, bonding over grief and bubble tea, it starts to feel like they’re cooking up something sweeter than cupcakes in the kitchen.

Review:

The first thing I had heard about this was that it was like Notting Hill with sweet treats and that’s all I needed to know before adding it to my TBR. Donuts and romance is basically all I need in my life and this delivered. I don’t know if it’s a trend in publishing or if I’ve just been seeing it more but romances with a side of grief have been working so well for me lately, maybe it’s the mix of depth and sweetness that strikes a perfect balance for me but whatever it is I’m loving it!

The Asian representation was so great here, specifically the discussion of Asian rep in the entertainment industry and seeing how Ryan dealt with this was so good. I loved Ryan and Lindsay together too, they had smoking hot chemistry and that translated to fireworks in the bedroom, the author brought the steam here phew 🥵 Ryan’s relationship with his father stole the show for me, I mean his dad trolls the hell out of him on Twitter and it was too funny. There was lots of exploration of family dynamics, again so much depth alongside a storyline about a celebrity baking competition so basically all I could want and then some. Read this if you like foodie romance, inclusive rep and some sexy heat!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Stolen Ones by Angela Marsons @bookouture @writeangie

Goodreads

Release date: November 11, 2021

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

25 years ago he took a girl. Today he takes another.
One August afternoon, eight-year-old Grace Lennard skips into the garden of the childcare centre she attends and vanishes into thin air.

Hours before, Steven Harte walks into Halesowen police station and confesses to having information that will lead Detective Kim Stone to Melody Jones – the little girl who was taken from a playground exactly twenty-five years ago. But something about his confession is off and Kim dismisses his claims.

Arriving at the scene of Grace’s disappearance, Kim finds a chilling piece of evidence: the heart bracelet belonging to Melody. Now Kim must play Steven’s twisted game if she is to find Grace alive. But they’re going to play by Kim’s rules.

With only twenty-four hours to make every second of Steven’s interrogation count, and scan his behaviour for hidden clues, Kim and her team soon link Steven to the abduction of several vulnerable girls – two were kept for a year and then released, unharmed – but where are Melody and the others?

Then small bones are discovered in the grounds of a local park, and Kim fears the worst.

Kim may be close to convicting a killer, but there’s another who wants revenge against her – Dr Alex Thorne – the evil woman Kim did her best to keep behind bars. Alex is about to reveal a shocking secret to Kim that will hit her where it hurts the most. And if Kim lets Alex mess with her head, she might not be able to save Grace and find the other missing girls in time.

An edge-of-your-seat thriller that will leave your heart in your mouth. You will be totally hooked on the utterly addictive, number one, multi-million-copy bestselling Detective Kim Stone series.

Review:

Ahh it feels SO good to be back with Kim and the team again but there is a downside to being reunited with the gang. Now it’ll be months before a new book is released so I’ll have to wait!! At book fifteen though maybe it’s time for a series reread while I’m impatiently waiting. 🤔 The whole series is so strong and each book separately is a powerful read so maybe I’m onto something…Anyhow, enough of my tangent but maybe my rambling has you intrigued about this series (hopefully!) and although I’ve said it fourteen times let’s make it fifteen, this is my new favorite Kim Stone book!

Have you ever read a crime novel where someone willingly drops into a police station to offer help as to information on a crime? I sure hadn’t and that wasn’t even the most original part of the plot here. So needless to say I was intrigued immediately and if you know an Angela Marsons book you know that the intrigue just keeps on building as you read, along with the tension too. Maybe you’re thinking that revealing the who in a thriller would be a bad move but you would be wrong because when you’re in the hands of an incredibly talented author like AM you know she will have not only a solid reason for letting a story unfold in a certain manner, but she’ll also have several tricks up her sleeve. Besides the unusual start you also have a deep look into interrogation techniques which was a facet of police work that I hadn’t given much thought before maybe besides the standard good cop/bad cop routine. Little did I know until reading this but there are so many things a suspect can reveal about themselves during an interview and things I never would’ve guessed. I don’t want to ramble on too much about that aspect but it was fascinating and per usual I learned something new due to the authors impeccable research. Before I wrap this up I always have to talk about the characters because while I loved everything about this book I adore the characters the most. While the Kim and Co. are incredible the subplot with Alex Thorne laid some seriously interesting groundwork for subsequent books and she’s the ultimate love to hate character for me. Overall another flawless read from one of the best, highly recommended!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: My Darling Husband by Kimberly Belle

Goodreads

Release date: December 28, 2021

Publisher: Park Row

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

Everyone is about to know what her husband isn’t telling her…

Jade and Cam Lasky are by all accounts a happily married couple with two adorable kids, a spacious home and a rapidly growing restaurant business. But their world is tipped upside down when Jade is confronted by a masked home invader. As Cam scrambles to gather the ransom money, Jade starts to wonder if they’re as financially secure as their lifestyle suggests, and what other secrets her husband is keeping from her.

Cam may be a good father, a celebrity chef and a darling husband, but there’s another side he’s kept hidden from Jade that has put their family in danger. Unbeknownst to Cam and Jade, the home invader has been watching them and is about to turn their family secrets into a public scandal.

With riveting twists and a breakneck pace, My Darling Husband is an utterly compelling thriller that once again showcases Kimberly Belle’s exceptional talent for domestic suspense.

Review:

There’s a reason I’ll read anything KBelle writes and this book just solidifies that for me. Lately if I pick up a thriller I’ve been gravitating towards a domestic suspense and she’s basically the queen of the sub genre. A solid premise, a riveting plot, break neck speedy pacing and too much intensity to accurately describe makes this one of my fave thriller reads this year.

Part of the reason this one was so perfectly paced for me was that you get to hear from Jade right before the home invasion happens and during the terrifying ordeal, and then Cam both before and during as well BUT you also get pieces of an interview between him and a reporter after things end. So you don’t know how they end, you’re just aware the public response to his role was…not great, but that juicy addition was awesome. Oh! You also hear from Sebastion too, he’s the man holding Jade and her kids hostage. Never a dull moment here and I was so sucked in. Definitely a one sitting type of read, I was gripped and couldn’t wait to see how things turned out. A must read for thriller fans!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Wedding Ringer by Kerry Rea

Goodreads

Release date: November 9, 2021

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Once upon a time, Willa Callister was a successful blogger with a good credit score, actual hobbies, and legs that she shaved more than once a month. But after finding her fiancé in bed with her best friend, she now spends her days performing at children’s birthday parties in a ball gown that makes her look like a walking bottle of Pepto Bismol. Willa dreams of starting fresh, where no one knows who she used to be, but first she needs to save up enough money to make it happen.

Maisie Mitchell needs something too: another bridesmaid for her wedding. After a chance encounter at a coffee shop, Maisie offers to pay Willa to be in her bridal party. Willa wants nothing to do with weddings–or Maisie–but the money will give her the freedom to start the new life she so badly desires.

Willa’s bridesmaid duties thrust her into Maisie’s high-energy world and into the path of hotshot doctor Liam Rafferty. But as Willa and Maisie form a real friendship, and Liam’s annoyingly irresistible smile makes her reconsider her mantra that all men are trash, Willa’s exit strategy becomes way more complicated. And when a secret from Maisie’s past threatens to derail the wedding, Willa must consider whether friendship–and romance–are worth sticking around for.

Review:

There is something really special about reading a debut authors work and falling head over heels in love with it and that’s exactly what happened to me with this book. I’m so impressed this is a debut and am even a little disappointed that I can’t immediately devour the authors backlist, but hey now I can look forward to reading more from her. Since I loved everything about this one I’ll give you a list of exactly what I enjoyed so you can hopefully add it to your TBR too!

🌸 It’s much more than just a romance, it’s much deeper and more soulful as Willa is grieving, but it’s not the usual type of grief, so it’s unique.

🌸Willa’s personality had me thinking we would be great friends in real life, she’s super sarcastic and witty and I was rooting for her from page one.

🌸If a book has anything to do with a sister relationship I’m alllll in and Sarah and Willa had the best bond. Sometimes it’s nice to read about fairly simple family dynamics and these two were the best.

🌸A fake bridesmaid plot was a new one for me, did y’all know hiring a professional bridesmaid is a thing?! But I loved it and Maisie was so adorable and quirky, you can’t help but love her.

🌸While the main focus is on Willa herself and her personal journey there is romance too in the form of Liam who was just great. Willa and him had good chemistry and he’s the sort of dependable yet sexy guy women wanna settle down with.

I could ramble on about this one because I loved it that much, but hopefully I’ve convinced you already, I promise it’s SO good!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.