The Romance Recipe

Title: The Romance Recipe

Author: Ruby Barrett

Series: N/A

Publication Date: July 12, 2022

Format: E-Book

Genre: Romance

Sub Genre(s): LGBTQIA+, Contemporary


Summary: Amy Chambers: restaurant owner, micromanager, control freak.

Amy will do anything to revive her ailing restaurant, including hiring a former reality-show finalist with good connections and a lot to prove. But her hopes that Sophie’s skills and celebrity status would bring her restaurant back from the brink of failure are beginning to wane…

Sophie Brunet: grump in the kitchen/sunshine in the streets, took thirty years to figure out she was queer.

Sophie just wants to cook. She doesn’t want to constantly post on social media for her dead-in-the-water reality TV career, she doesn’t want to deal with Amy’s take-charge personality and she doesn’t want to think about what her attraction to her boss might mean…

Then, an opportunity: a new foodie TV show might provide the exposure they need. An uneasy truce is fine for starters, but making their dreams come true means making some personal and painful sacrifices and soon, there’s more than just the restaurant at stake.—From Goodreads


What I Liked: With more and more LGBTQ romance books being published, it’s still rare to find one featuring a bisexual character, especially one who is just figuring out her sexuality.  In that regard, Sophie is an interesting character in that she finds herself questioning who she is personally as well as professionally. Barrett does a great job in exploring this new world for Sophie and the complications it can bring to her life. I also loved the spin on the work/power dynamic trope between Amy and Sophie. Neither is the boss of the other, but Amy doesn’t seem to understand that so seeing her loosen the grip she has on her restaurant and welcome Sophie into the fold was wonderful to read. Even without the romance between the two, them becoming partners in the business was heartwarming and a nice addition to the love story.

What I Didn’t Like: This book is described as being about an opportunity these women have to get their restaurant on a foodie tv show yet there is very little to do with the tv show throughout the story and it isn’t until the very end that the show even plays a significant role in the narrative. I was expecting much more of the book to be devoted to this plot line and was surprised when it was barely discussed. Additionally, while I believe Sophie was a fully realized character, I struggled with Amy, specifically the motivations behind her attitude towards Sophie in the beginning. I love a good enemies-to-lovers story but I need to know why they are enemies and I don’t think Barrett was able to show this fully. 

Who Should Read It: Fans of LGBTQ+ romances will find a lot to like about this one, especially Sophie’s story arc and the message of being true to yourself. I also think fans of foodie romances will enjoy this one.

Review Wrap Up: This was a fun, surprisingly emotional romance that I found entertaining and well-written. Despite a few minor issues, I think this a book worth picking up if you’re looking for a romance featuring characters not normally seen in this type of story. The romance was steamy and enjoyable, and I was rooting for Amy and Sophie the entire time.

Favorite Quote: “I don’t need to put our love on camera to know it’s real.”


@thespinsterlibrarian

The Dead Romantics

Title: The Dead Romantics

Author: Ashley Poston

Series: N/A

Publication Date: June 28, 2022

Format: E-Book

Genre: Romance

Sub Genre(s): Contemporary, Paranormal


Summary: Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.

When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.

Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.

Romance is most certainly dead . . . but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.—From Goodreads


What I Liked: The concept for this book is what caught my attention for its uniqueness—a woman who has to confront the ghosts of her past while she literally sees ghosts? I wasn’t sure this was an idea that could be pulled off effectively and my fear was that the “seeing ghosts” aspect would be too over the top and not fit into the romance story. However, Poston managed to create a believable love story despite the hero being a ghost and pulls off the “quirky heroine” trope quite well. Florence’s family was a hoot and I wanted them to be real so I could live in a world where people like them exist. Despite her family’s oddness, their problems were believable, especially the issues Florence and her sister are dealing with and their relationship was a highlight for me. This book is also a wonderful reminder that everyone grieves in different ways and that grief takes time, sometimes more than you think.  

What I Didn’t Like: I had a hard time believing in the romance at first because Florence seemed too all over the place and Ben seemed too put together for them to ever find the other attractive.

Who Should Read It: Fans of offbeat, weird stories will find this book fun. And if you’re a romance reader who is looking for something different, this would be a great pick.

Review Wrap Up: This book may be too “twee and quirky for the sake of being twee and quirky” for some but for me it was exactly what I was looking for at exactly the right time-a book that took me away from the real world for a few hours and made me laugh and cry happy tears. If you’re willing to immerse yourself in the world Poston has created and not think too hard, I thik you’ll enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote: “Love wasn’t a whisper in the quiet night. It was a yelp into the void, screaming that you were here.


@thespinsterlibrarian

Wicked Beauty

Title: Wicked Beauty

Author: Katee Robert

Series: Dark Olympus

Publication Date: Expected June 7, 2022

Format: E-Book

Genre: Romance

Sub Genre(s):  Fantasy, Erotica


Summary: In Olympus, you either have the power to rule…or you are ruled. Achilles Kallis may have been born with nothing, but as a child he vowed he would claw his way into the poisonous city’s inner circle. Now that a coveted role has opened to anyone with the strength to claim it, he and his partner, Patroclus Fotos, plan to compete and double their odds of winning.

Neither expect infamous beauty Helen Kasios to be part of the prize…or for the complicated fire that burns the moment she looks their way.

Zeus may have decided Helen is his to give to away, but she has her own plans. She enters into the competition as a middle finger to the meddling Thirteen rulers, effectively vying for her own hand in marriage. Unfortunately, there are those who would rather see her dead than lead the city. The only people she can trust are the ones she can’t keep her hands off—Achilles and Patroclus. But can she really believe they have her best interests at heart when every stolen kiss is a battlefield?—From Goodreads


What I Liked:  Robert has created very likeable characters with alluring personalities in this third book in her Dark Olympus series. She could drop her versions of Helen, Achilles, and Patroclus into any other book or story, and I would want to read about them. There has been a trend (or at least something I’ve noticed recently) of writers creating badass female characters who don’t feel the need to apologize for their behavior or their actions and this version of Helen is a woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to fight for it. Even though she has moments of self-doubt, she leans on Achilles and Patroclus when she knows she needs help. If you know anything about Katee Roberts books, you know that even if you don’t like the plot or the characters, you will at least like the sex.  And this book is no exception. She writes scenes between 2 or 3 characters, that are hot, fun, and detailed. So, if you’re looking for some good erotica, this book will fit the bill.  

What I Didn’t Like: Listen….this plot is…..bonkers. We find out that there is a competition for who will be the next Ares because the old Ares has died and by law this is one of the positions in the Thirteen (the group who rules over everyone in this world) that can be won by anyone who enters this fight to the (possible) death. But there is no explanation as to why this is a rule or why the tasks they have to partake in are the ones chosen or really why the Thirteen even rule at all. Additionally, if you’re looking for a mythological retelling, look elsewhere. Other than using the names of the people involved, there is very little here that resembles the story of Helen of Troy and Achilles and Patroclus. Continuing to call this series a retelling is a stretch; reimagining might be a better term.

Who Should Read It: If you’ve read the previous 2 books in this series, you’ll like this one because it’s very much a Katee Robert book with a lot of sex. Those looking for a fun ménage book will also like this one as long as you don’t expect too much plot.

Review Wrap Up: I don’t read Katee Robert books for the plot so in that regard, this book is a winner. The fact that a ménage book is getting a wide, trade paperback release is something to cheer for so for that fact alone, I applaud this book and the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, for making more taboo romances available to the mainstream romance reader. As long as you don’t expect a faithful retelling and pick up this book for some hot fun, I think you’ll like this one.

Favorite Quote: “It could be like this. You don’t have to pretend with me – with us. We don’t expect perfection. We just want you.”


The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes

Title: The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes

Author: Cat Sebastian

Series: The Queen Principles of Kit Webb Series

Publication Date: June 7, 2022

Format: E-Book

Genre: Romance

Sub Genre(s): LGBTQ+, Historical, Mystery


Summary:  Desperate times call for desperate measures. Which is exactly why Marian Hayes, Duchess of Clare, turns to Rob Brooks, the very con artist and highwayman who tried to unsuccessfully blackmail her, for help. -From NoveList


What I Liked:  This is an amazing queer romance book with a ton of representation. This book deals with things much heavier than expected in romance novels, but Sebastian tackles issues of class, sexuality, and gender beautifully. Without a doubt, the strongest thing about this book is the characters, especially the relationship between Marian and Rob. It’s not often you have two main characters who identify as bisexual, open and honest discussions about ensuring your partner is safe while having sex, and the possibility of pegging (!) a partner later. I love the way they spoke to each other and I found that my favorite moments in the book were when they were allowed to be vulnerable with one another and expose their true selves. I ALWAYS appreciate a romance that takes the grumpy/sunshine trope and switches it up, which Sebastian does wonderfully here. Rob is a mush ball who rescues cats and loves holding babies while Marian is the gruff, sensible one. I fell in love with these two and their banter.

What I Didn’t Like: The whole premise itself was a bit weak and the ending wrapped up too nicely for there to be much of a mystery element here. Also, the obstacles that Rob and Marian thought were going to keep them apart weren’t that great to overcome so the stakes didn’t seem that high.

Who Should Read It: Historical romance fans will enjoy this book, as will fans of romances that play with traditional gender roles.

Review Wrap Up: I enjoyed reading Marian and Rob’s story after being teased with it so much in “The Queer Principles of Kit Webb.” The sex-positive attitude of the characters was wonderful, and the adventure was fun. I would recommend this book for romance fans but although it’s billed as a standalone, I would advise reading the first book to fully enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote: “You have been busy,” he murmured, thinking of what a waste it was that in all the thousands of love poems written across the ages, nobody had ever thought to catalogue their beloved’s proficiency in crime.


thespinsterlibrarian

Everything for You

Title: Everything for You

Author: Chloe Liese

Series: Bergman Brothers

Publication Date: May 10, 2022

Format: e-book

Genre: Romance

Sub Genre(s): LGBTQ, Sports


Summary:

Gavin

We’ve been teammates for two years, but it feels like a lifetime that Oliver Bergman’s been on my last nerve. A demanding captain and veteran player, I’m feared and friendless, while he’s the beloved rising star, all sunshine smiles and upbeat team spirit. To make matters worse, he’s obscenely attractive. In short: he’s genetically designed to get under my skin.

Avoiding Oliver has been my survival tactic on and off the field. But when Coach drops the bomb that we’re now co-captains, avoiding him becomes impossible, and keeping the truth from him–let alone my distance–is harder than ever.

Oliver

Life was great until soccer legend Gavin Hayes joined the team and proved he’s nothing like the guy I grew up idolizing. Instead, he’s a giant–albeit gorgeous–grump who lives to rain on my parade. I’ve sworn off pranks since entering the public eye, so rather than settle our differences the Bergman way, I’ve had to settle for killing Gavin with kindness. There’s just one problem: killing him with kindness is killing me.

To make matters worse, Coach gives us an ultimatum: put an end to our enmity or say goodbye to being captains. I’m prepared to be miserable while we meet her demands and make nice, but the last thing I expect is to discover an explosive attraction we can’t help but act on, and worse yet, to realize the man hiding beneath Gavin’s gruff exterior is all I’ve ever wanted.–From Goodreads


What I Liked: This series continues to be such a joy to read, and I find myself eagerly anticipating each new release.  Each Bergman sibling is unique, and I’ve found myself enjoying their individual love stories. Liese has done a fantastic job of giving the reader enough information about the family so that when it’s time for the next sibling’s book you feel like you know them already.  I already knew I liked Oliver from the small scenes he had been in before this, but this book made me love him. His personality was so unique and fun and a great antithesis to Gavin’s grumpiness. Liese does a good job showing us why Gavin is such a grump and how Oliver would be able to look past that to fall in love with him.  As a fan of Ted Lasso, the parallels here are obvious but that just made me like this book more.

What I Didn’t Like: As a fan of the enemies to lovers to trope, the thing that makes the reader invested in the story is the progression of the relationship.  In this book, we don’t get that.  The initial meeting of Oliver and Gavin is only talked about, not seen, so we miss the initial moment of attraction hidden by hatred. In many ways, enemies to lovers is also a slow burn story and I felt that this story went too fast.   

Who Should Read It: Existing fans of the Bergman Brothers series won’t be disappointed with this one and will want to continue the series after this but anyone looking for a sports romance will also enjoy this book. And while this is part of a series, it can easily be read as a standalone.

Review Wrap Up: Great banter, great chemistry, and great sex. What more can anyone ask for in a romance? As much as I loved the characters in this book and the overall story, I wish there was more to the enemies to lovers build up and we saw Oliver and Gavin’s initial meeting. Despite this issue, I would recommend this book for romance fans looking for a good sports themed story.

Favorite Quote: “We’re already proud of you. If you did nothing but exist the rest of your life, we’d be proud of you. Because you’re ours and we love you.”


@thespinsterlibrarian
*Thank you to Netgalley and the author for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

Book Lovers

Title: Book Lovers

Author: Emily Henry

Series: N/A

Publication Date: May 3, 2022

Format: E-Book

Genre: Romance

Sub Genre(s): Contemporary


Summary: 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.-From Goodreads


What I Liked: Emily Henry has become a must read for me because she writes characters I wish were real, characters I want to be friends with, and characters I want to date and fall in love with. Only in my dreams do I have the ability to speak like her characters do-the witty banter between Nora and Charlie, the heartfelt conversations between Libby and Nora, it was all perfection. Charlie is a perfect, brooding, enemies-to lovers romance hero who has flaws and imperfections but who deep down wants to be brave enough to show his true self to someone who deserves it. Nora is a true queen and a breath of fresh air in the romance novel world. She’s not the girl who dreams of the white picket fence or 2.5 kids. She knows who she is and what she wants but that has left her feeling left out in a world that places so much emphasis on being the sweet, docile woman. I love that Nora and Charlie compromise for each other without losing themselves in the process.  While categorized as a romance, one of my favorite parts of this book is the complex relationship between the sisters and the evolution of that relationship. The way Henry shows how two people who are everything to each other can still view shared experiences differently is masterful as is the way she shows how two “identical” people (Nora and Charlie) can be vastly different.  

What I Didn’t Like: I loved everything about this book. There is nothing I would change.

Who Should Read It: Fans of Emily Henry will love this book as will fans of complex yet fun romances.

Review Wrap Up: This book was truly an enjoyable experience that checked all the boxes I look for in an enemies-to-lovers romance: flawed yet likable characters, sexual tension, witty banter, and a satisfying ending. Emily Henry continues to write entertaining stories that are must reads for romance fans and I highly recommend this book.

Favorite Quote(s): “Is there anything better than iced coffee and a bookstore on a sunny day? I mean, aside from hot coffee and a bookstore on a rainy day.”

“That is what I’m looking for every time I flip to the back of a book, compulsively checking for proof that in a life where so many things have gone wrong, there can be beauty too. That there is always hope, no matter what.”


thespinsterlibrarian
*Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

I Kissed Shara Wheeler

Title: I Kissed Shara Wheeler

Author: Casey McQuiston

Series: N/A

Publication Date: May 3, 2022

Format: E-Book

Genre: Young Adult

Sub Genre(s): Romance, LGBTQ+, Mystery


Summary: 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.-From Goodreads


What I Liked: It appears Casey McQuiston can’t miss. This is her third release in as many years (although this is her first for young adults) and each one has been unique, complex, and entertaining. While I am not the intended audience for this book, the emotions in the story are universal and will appeal to anyone, especially those that are questioning their identity or their place in the world. I don’t know if this is a trend, or I happen to have picked up a few of these stores in a row but I am HERE for books featuring mean girls (or are they?) and showing different sides of their personalities. And showing that they deserve love too! Perfect protagonists are getting old, and McQuiston has created intriguing, realistic, imperfect characters. Like her previous books, one of the best aspects of this story is the theme of found family and the relationship between Chloe, Smith, and Rory is such a beautiful part of this book. Honestly, the main story could have been about anything and I would have read it as long as their relationship stayed the same.

What I Didn’t Like: All of McQuiston’s books seem to drop the reader right into the action, which can sometimes feel disorientating. It took me some time to familiarize myself with what was going on and who the characters were and who they were to each other. I also found the mystery itself to be a bit confusing and not in a good way. I didn’t see the point behind Shara’s letters because I didn’t understand the connections between the characters until further into the story.

Who Should Read It: Any teen or young adult will find something to like about this book, but adults will enjoy this one as well. Fans of McQuiston’s previous books will not be disappointed.

Review Wrap Up: I had high expectations for this one based on McQuiston’s previous books, and I was not let down. This story isn’t just about identity, it’s about ambition, internalized hate, and religious trauma. It’s a story about finding love in unexpected places and opening your heart to someone even though it can be scary. It’s a story about how people can let you down and how people can surprise you. It’s a story about being unapologetically yourself. This book filled my heart with joy and I love that these are the kinds of stories teens and young adults are reading and having access to.

Favorite Quote: “It’s not much—Chloe knows this. It’s just car windows rolled down, the blue-and-white glow of a Walmart in the distance, the smell of wet pavement under the tires, the hum of neon from a passing Dairy Queen, the same radio station as always blasting a rotation of the same fifteen songs. But she thinks she’s starting to understand what it means to be from here, because she could swear the bright red burn of artificial cherry is the best thing she’s ever tasted. She leans out into the wind and tips her head back, opening her eyes to the stars, and thinks maybe everything in the world really can fit inside False Beach city limits. Shara has that effect.”


thespinsterlibrarian

*Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for and ARC in exchange for an honest review*

Burn the Page: A True Story of Torching Doubts, Blazing Trails, and Igniting Change

Title: Burn the Page: A True Story of Torching Doubts, Blazing Trails, and Igniting Change

Author: Danica Roem

Series: N/A

Publication Date: April 26, 2022

Format: E-Book

Genre: Non-Fiction

Sub Genre(s): Memoir, LGBTQ


Summary: Danica Roem made national headlines when–as a transgender former frontwoman for a metal band and a political newcomer–she unseated Virginia’s most notoriously anti-LGBTQ 26-year incumbent Bob Marshall as state delegate. But before Danica made history, she had to change her vision of what was possible in her own life. Doing so was a matter of storytelling: during her campaign, Danica hired an opposition researcher to dredge up every story from her past that her opponent might seize on to paint her negatively.

In wildly entertaining prose, Danica dismantles all the stories her opponents tried to hedge against her, showing how through brutal honesty and loving authenticity, it’s possible to embrace the low points, and even transform them into her greatest strengths. Burn the Page takes readers from Danica’s lonely, closeted, and at times operatically tragic childhood to her position as a rising star in a party she’s helped forever change. Burn the Page is so much more than a stump speech: it’s an extremely inspiring manifesto about how it’s possible to set fire to the stories you don’t want to be in anymore, whether written by you or about you by someone else–and rewrite your own future, whether that’s running for politics, in your work, or your personal life. This book will not just encourage people who think they must be spotless to run for office but inspire all of us to own our personal narratives as Danica does. -From Goodreads


What I Liked: I enjoyed the conversational style way this book was written. Roem’s voice is unique, and it seems like the publisher let her just go for it and write what she wanted to write and tell any story she wanted to tell. She doesn’t hold anything back and I appreciated that. I particularly liked her insight into campaigning and how hers was successful, despite her opponent finding everything he could to use against her. She is very open about her past and her family without being intrusive and her advice to younger LGBTQ folks was touching. I think where the book excels is her openness about being Transgender and the difficulties she faced with coming out. These are the moments I wish bigoted people would read and learn from so they can know what it is like to not feel like you are being your true self.

What I Didn’t Like: I found myself skimming over a lot of the sections in this book about Roem’s love of heavy metal and her exploits with her band because most of it felt repetitive. I wouldn’t have minded this so much if I felt there was a point to some of the stories, but they didn’t connect well to what Roem was trying to say.  

Who Should Read It: Anyone interested in running for public office can learn from Roem’s story and would benefit from reading this book. Anyone struggling with their gender identity would also find Roem’s words heartening and inspiring.

Review Wrap Up: This is an important book because everyone should know Danica Roem’s story and how important it is to elect LGBTQ representatives. I enjoyed the insight into what it’s like to be a freshman legislator and how we can work together in this country for the better good. I liked that Roem was given free rein to write her story how she wanted to but I wish some of the stories had been tighter and fit more into the overall narrative.

Favorite Quote: “That is something we seem to have forgotten about as a population: it’s possible to be several things at the same time. You can think different thoughts and hold different identities and be fascinated by different things all at once. It doesn’t make you weak or distracted; it makes you human.”


thespinsterlibrarian
*Thank you to Netgalley and Viking for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend

Title: Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend

Author: Penny Reid

Series: N/A

Publication Date: April 12, 2022

Format: e-book

Genre: Romance

Sub-Genre(s): Contemporary, Slow-Burn


Summary: Winnifred Gobaldi and Byron Visser are not best friends.

Yes, they’ve known each other for years, but they’re not even friendly. Winnie considers them more like casual, distant acquaintances who find each other barely tolerable, especially when he’s being condescending (which is all the time).

The truth is, they have nothing in common. She’s a public school science teacher with stars in her eyes, and he’s a pretentious, joyless double PhD turned world-famous bestselling fiction author. She loves sharing her passion for promulgating women in STEM careers and building community via social media, and he eschews all socialization, virtual or otherwise. She’s looking for a side hustle to help pay down a mountain of student debt, and his financial portfolio is the stuff of fiduciary wet dreams. So why are they faking a #bestfriend relationship for millions of online spectators?

When a simple case of tit-for-tat trends between nonfriends leads to a wholly unexpected kind of pretend, nothing is simple. Sometimes, it takes a public audience to reveal the truth of private feelings, and rarely—very rarely—you should believe what you see online.—Goodreads


What I Liked: Penny Reid always manages to write books that have a lot of heart, tackle some serious issues with grace and aplomb, and make me laugh the entire time. I’m happy to say that this book held up to my very high expectations. Winnie and Byron are two people who are dealing with their own issues and realize that to truly commit to each other, they need to accept themselves for who they are.  This book isn’t afraid to discuss issues you don’t normally see in romance novels like sensory processing disorders, the difficulties women face in STEM fields, and the societal pressure of losing one’s virginity. Normally I find myself frustrated when the issues between characters would be solved if they just talked to each other but the communication difficulties between Winnie and Byron made sense here. I loved the supporting characters and the depth and emotion they added to the story, especially Amelia as the friend stuck between both of them. We should all be so lucky to have a friend like her; someone who isn’t afraid to tell the hard truths when needed but gives you the space to figure things out on your own. The main conflict in the story felt real within this world, even if some of the situations were over the top. Overall the story was enjoyable and the characters were charming.

What I Didn’t Like: Despite not feeling like it, this book is very long, and I don’t think that any romance novel needs to be over 500 pages. As much as I loved these characters and the world they inhabited, I would rather their story be split into two books if needed. This is a very minor “issue” and more a personal preference.

Who Should Read It: Fans of slow-burn romances will love this book as there is enough heat and smoldering looks to keep the reader interested but the relationship takes its time until the satisfying conclusion. If you have never read a Penny Reid book, this would be a good place to start.

Review Wrap Up: This is a great story about how another person shouldn’t complete you but compliment you and be someone that brings out the best in you. At the end of the day, we’re all looking for someone to accept us for who we are while also wanting us to be the best version of ourselves and Winnie and Byron are a fantastic, fictional couple that embodies this. I was rooting for them from page one and never stopped.

Favorite Quote: “You are extraordinary.”


thespinsterlibrarian

Thank you to Social Butterfly PR and Cipher-Naught for an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Part of Your World

Title: Part of Your World

Author: Abby Jimenez

Series: N/A as of now

Publication Date: Expected April 19, 2022

Format: e-book

Genre: Romance

Sub Genre(s): Contemporary


Summary: 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?

What I Liked: Romance is a genre in which the characters have to be likable (unless the trope calls for an unlikeable character) and you as a reader have to feel the chemistry between the protagonists. If I don’t buy that the people I’m reading about would fall in love by the end of the story, then the book has failed to live up to it’s promise of being a romance. This is not the case with this book. Even though Alexis and Daniel are complete opposites, their chemistry is apparent right away. I LOVE that for once, the age difference is an older woman and a younger man and that it’s not an unsubstantial amount (10 years). I like that the reservations Alexis has about their age difference aren’t the main focus of the story and goes away as their relationship develops. Despite their differences in age, class, and occupations, they are both struggling with the weight of obligation, which is a realistic obstacle in their love story.  Another fun aspect of this book that I liked was the moments of magic that pop up here and there and the allusions to Disney movies. It was fun to catch these as I was reading and added something extra to the story.

What I Didn’t Like:  There were times that the antagonists in this book, mainly Alexis’s parents, were so outlandishly over the top that I wanted to roll my eyes. I know that this was done as part of the “evil villain” theme but there was only so many scenes of Alexis being yelled at by her dad that I could take. I also felt like some of the storylines were left a little open ended or without a conclusion that made sense. Alexis’s friendship with Jessica and Gabby in particular would have benefitted from a clearer conclusion.

Who Should Read It: Fans of romantic comedies that also deal with heavy subject matter will like this book. As a content warning, a major part of this book deals with both physical and emotional abuse (nothing graphic) and how easy it is for an abuser to hide their actions from the world.

Review Wrap Up: Jimenez received some flak for a previous book that left me a bit leery to read something of hers but I’m so glad I did because this was a fun yet emotional story that managed to tackle some difficult subjects with compassion. The opposites attract trope was used well here and I enjoyed the growth that both Daniel and Alexis had to do in order to be together in a healthy way. I’m excited to read Bri’s story, expected to be released in 2023.

Favorite Quote: “Like, seriously? These are the men we’re supposed to get a UTI for? If you found someone you like, date him. Trust me.”

“I don’t think she realizes how exceptional she is. I got the sense nobody tells her, which is weird.”


*Thank you to Netgalley and Forever Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review*
thespinsterlibrarian

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