Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams #lyssakayadams @BerkleyPub @NetGalley #romcom #bookbloggers

Kaceey’s Review:

This is a series I have been loving from the start. A male book club dedicated to the reading of romance novels in order to help better themselves and make them better partners for their wives and girlfriends. Fun right!?

And to this point it was. But with this latest release of book 4, I was left a bit disappointed. It lacked the fun and romance of the previous books.

The focus of this latest release is on Vlad the Russian hockey star and his estranged wife Elena. They have been separated for virtually their entire marriage. Vlad now wants to make the marriage work. After all, she is the only woman he has ever loved. 

There are some fun moments with the losers club (the neighborhood women who have lost their men- for one reason or another). The animals that are drawn to Vlad as though he is the Pied Piper. 

I share a heritage with Vlad and Elena so reading about all the Russian foods Elena cooked up made me long for my mom’s cooking, 😥.

Unfortunately, instead of keeping the focus on the romance itself, other serious themes kept distracting both me and the characters. It just didn’t fit, not in a light humorous rom-com. 

I’m still a huge fan of the series and will be picking up the next release!

A buddy read with Susanne.

Thank you to Berkley publishing via NetGalley for an ARC to read and review.

Susanne’s Review:

A Beloved Series.  A Bit of a Let-Down.

As a HUGE fan of the Bromance Book Club series, I could not wait for “Isn’t It Bromantic?” – the next book in the series even though I had my doubts that any book could possibly top “Crazy Stupid Bromance” (Noah and Alexis’ story).  Sadly, I was right.  

Admittedly, Vlad has never been my favorite character, so perhaps, I was setting myself up for disappointment.

Vlad is a famous hockey player. He’s sweet, lovable, and has a horribly upset stomach at the most inopportune times. Little did he know that all this time he was gluten intolerant!  Poor guy!  Estranged from his wife and childhood best friend Elena, Vlad wants nothing more than to make her happy. Sadly, Elena wants nothing to do with him. That is until Vlad gets injured playing hockey and needs someone to care for him.  Enter, his wife.  Taking care of Vlad during his recovery puts these two in very close quarters and as it turns out, both do in fact have feelings for each other, if only they’ll admit it to the other.

Enter the Bromance Book Club and The Losers (Vlad’s widowed neighbors who check in on him from time to time).

Sadly, I felt that the entire romance between Elena and Vlad was forced and missed the witty banter between the book club members, which was lacking. 

Looking at other readers’ reviews, I appear to be an outlier when it comes to this book. Though this novel wasn’t my favorite, I can’t wait for the next Bromance book by Lyssa Kay Adams.

This was a buddy read with Kaceey.

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley for the arc. 

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

The Dead Husband by Carter Wilson #carterwilson @PPPress @NetGalley #thriller #bookreviewers #bookbloggers

Susanne’s Review:

Secrets can be deadly.

After Rose’s husband meets a tragic end, she and her son leave Wisconsin in order to escape to her hometown of Bury, New Hampshire, and the family she left twenty years ago, for good reason.  

Hot on her tail is a Detective from Milwaukee who is positive that Rose has something to hide, which of course, she does.  The question, however, is whether Rose is hiding something about her past, or her present.  

A mystery/suspense that was, unfortunately, lacking in the suspense department for this armchair detective as I guessed both plot points from the very beginning.

“The Dead Husband” is the second novel that I’ve read by Carter Wilson and while I enjoyed this, I preferred “Mister Tender’s Girl.” 

A buddy read with Kaceey.

Thank you to NetGalley, Poisoned Pen Press, and Carter Wilson for the arc. 

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

Kaceey’s Review:

Is it true… you can never go home?

Well, no one told Rose that. As she packed up her son and her life and returned home to Bury New Hampshire. Back to her father’s house. A place she swore she would never return to. 

So what made Rose finally come home. Well, perhaps the fact that her husband tragically died. But can she leave the past behind?

Not so fast Rose!

Detective Colin Pearson is hot on her trail. He is convinced Rose is responsible for her husband’s death and will go to any length to prove it.

A family filled with secrets. They are about to be unraveled and no one will come out unscathed. 

This was a fast and fun thriller though perhaps not the most memorable in a genre that is currently exploding with wild twists determined to shock the reader. Yes, we did have a few stunning moments but they felt a bit far-fetched. 

Overall I enjoyed the writing by this author and look forward to reading more of his books.

A buddy read with Susanne

Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for granting my wish.

The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn @laurellizabeth #fiction #mystery #thriller #bookreview

Susanne’s Review:

Lies and Deception!  

Everyone knows they always come back to haunt you!

Who:  Ambrosia Wellington

What:  10 Year College Reunion; Invitations Sent Out by Mail and Email

Where:  Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut. 

When Ambrosia Wellington receives the invitations to attend her 10-year college reunion, she is, shall we say, LESS than enthused.  Nor does she have any plans to attend.  

Then her husband Adrian gets wind of it and can’t wait to go.  Now Ambrosia (“Amb”) is stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Amb has been keeping quite a few secrets from her dearly beloved and if they attend her reunion, everything could come crashing down. 

Told in both the past and the present, “The Girls Are All So Nice Here” is a suspenseful tale of college that turns ugly quite fast. 

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, right?!  

Thrilling, Shocking, and Twisty Turny, this Suspenseful Tale made me glad I commuted to college.

Thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of the audiobook narrated by Erin Mallon who kept me entertained throughout.

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

The Missing Hours by Julia Dahl @JuliaDahl @msjuliadahl @juliadahlauthor @MinotaurBooks #fiction #themissinghours

Kaceey’s Review:

Have you seen Claudia? 

When Claudia Castro awakens in her dorm, she quickly realizes something is very wrong. A fast glance in the bathroom mirror confirms it. YUP! Split lip, black eye. No doubt something drastic happened last night…but what?! 

As the fog of the evening in question clears and things become clearer, Claudia immediately goes dark. Off the grid, no sightings or social media. Question is, was that by choice or has something happened to her. 

Her family is frantic to find her. Others are searching for her as well…although their intentions are highly questionable. 

A few difficult themes through-out this book, that at times made reading difficult. The book blurb doesn’t reveal much so I’m keeping my review vague. You’re welcome! 

The second book I’ve read by Julia Dahl. I enjoyed the first in her series, Invisible City and own the following two. This latest stand-alone has a very different feel than her previous series. More intense and a bit edgy.  

Thank you to Minotaur Publishing via NetGalley and Goodreads giveaway for access to both a digital and physical copy to read and review. 

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller @ClaireFuller2 @Tin_House @NetGalley #fiction #literaryfiction #bookreview

Susanne’s Review:

Wholly Unexpected.

When twins Jeanie and Julius are hit with the death of their mother, they are left to fend for themselves for the first time in their adult lives. The problem? At 51 years old, neither has ever had to, as they have always lived with and relied on their mother.

A mother who left her children wholly unprepared for life.

Afraid, alone, shocked and despondent, Jeanie and Julius must learn to take care of basic needs.  Working, making money and finding a new place to live, all while discovering that their mother wasn’t exactly who they thought she was.  

Time and again, these two are hit hard, devastated by life’s circumstances.  

Digging deep, Jeanie works hard and is determined to save herself and her brother from the depths of despair.   

A slow moving story that I enjoyed but that took quite a bit to get going. While I liked this novel, I didn’t quite love it. I admit to being confused by a mother who didn’t raise her children to care for themselves, and become independent forward thinking adults.

Thank you to NetGalley and Tin House for the arc.

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

Under the Magnolias by T.I. Lowe @TiLowe @TyndaleHouse #fiction #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

Susanne’s Review:

Poignant, Thought-Provoking, and Affecting.  

“Under the Magnolias” will capture your heart and run away with it.

Austin Foster is a teenage girl who is forced to grow up way too fast when her mother passes away and she is left to raise her younger siblings.  

Dysfunction runs amok in this familial drama with Austin’s father being at the heart of it.

Tension swirls and heartache rises as Austin desperately tries to save her siblings from realizing the cards they’ve been dealt.  

Beautiful, Powerful, and Impactful, this novel drew me in wholly and completely.  A coming-of-age novel about hard work, strength, and perseverance that brought tears to my eyes.

This was my first novel by T.I. Lowe.  I was blown away by the beautiful, gorgeous, lyrical writing and the heart and soul of each character portrayed in this novel.  

“Under the Magnolias” will most certainly be on my Goodreads-Best-of-List for 2021 and is now the runner-up for my favorite book of 2021 right behind “We Begin At The End.”

I received an arc of Under the Magnolias from NetGalley and Tyndale House.  For those of you who have Hoopla and are interested, I happened to notice that both the e-book and the audiobook are now available to borrow. 

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

The Break-Up Book Club by Wendy Wax @Wendy_Wax @BerkleyPub #BlogTour #womensfiction #bookreviewers #bookblogger

Kaceey’s Review:

With the help of your friends, you can get through just about anything!

This is a touching read of friendship, loss, and heartache, but most importantly the strength to finding oneself and move on.

Told through the perspective of four very different and distinct voices. You are taken on a journey as they find their inner strengths to pick up the pieces of their lives and move forward. 

The book club always serving as the place everyone can let their walls down and be open and honest with each other and themselves. 

I felt every character was well developed and enjoyed each perspective equally. 

Wendy Wax has written a touching novel about life and love that every reader will connect with at some level. I know I certainly did.

My only quibble with this read is I would have liked to have seen one of the main characters be a male. To see love and heartache through his eyes. Perhaps Chaz the EMT?💁🏻‍♀️. He would have just given the book a bit more balance (but that’s just my opinion).

Overall a highly enjoyable read that Susanne and I just flew through in only a few sittings. 

Thank you to Berkley Publishing.

Susanne’s Review:

Earnest & Endearing. 

At the Heart of “The Break-Up Book Club” is Friendship, Support, and a Love of Books.  What more could one ask for?

When life’s trials and tribulations impact several different women who attend the same book club, they can lean on each other for guidance and support. Sharing book discussions, friendship, heartache, tears, laughter, baked goods, chocolate, and wine, these ladies realize they can survive anything as long as they have each other.

I personally adored this novel and was immediately drawn into each characters’ storyline, especially that of Jasmine’s and Sara’s, whose personal strife reminded me a bit of my past. From the strength each character found within, to the strength these women drew from each other, I was all in, cheering from the sidelines.

My favorite part of this novel (besides the friendships, which I loved)  was “Between the Covers” – the book store frequented by the book club members. It sounded absolutely fabulous and made me wish I could visit and attend the book club with Jasmine, Erin, Judith, Sara, Chaz, and all of the other characters in this book.

“The Break-Up Book Club” is a well-rounded character-driven novel that stole my heart. I highly recommend it for those who love contemporary and/or women’s fiction.

This was a buddy read with Kaceey that we both enjoyed.

Thank you to Dache’ J. Rogers at Berkley Publishing Group for the arc.

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

Hang The Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur @ambellefleur @avonbooks # romcom #fiction #bookreview #bookblogger

Kaceey’s Review:

Who says romance is dead?!

This was such a delightful rom com that captured me right from the start and held my heart through the final chapters.

Brandon is a strong believer in romance. He has developed an app to help people find their true love. Only he is still looking for his.

When his sister’s best friend Annie shows up in Seattle. He is instantly smitten. Well it’s not a new crush. He has always been infatuated with her… since they were teenagers. And now the very beautiful adult Annie is right in front of him and he instantly knows she is The One.

Only Annie isn’t a believer in love and romance. Can Brandon win her heart in just the few weeks of her visit? Will love conquer all?

Set in the backdrop of Seattle Brandon shows Annie all the beauty of living in the Pacific Northwest. And having just recently visited Seattle I couldn’t agree more. It was fun to revisit all the touristy highlights with Brandon and Annie.

This is book two of the Written in the Stars series. And though I just jumped straight into book two, there is absolutely enough background information that I didn’t feel like I missed anything.

If you enjoy your rom coms slightly 🌶 🌶. This is the perfect read for you!

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon and Harper Voyager for an ARC to read and review.

At First Sight by Hannah Sunderland

Kaceey’s Review:

I was in the mood for a heartwarming love story. But this one just missed the mark for me. 

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Nell who works for a helpline is rushing to eat her lunch before having to return to work. Her cafe is almost full, the only open chair is at a communal table. Not her fav, but with no other options, she asks the man next to the open seat if she can join. 

After a few funny antics at the table, Nell is instantly enamored by her tablemate Charlie. A big soft-spoken Irishman. Can she get up the nerve to ask for his number? Or will she miss her chance at possibly finding love?

I kept waiting to find a connection with either of these characters…but I just didn’t. I wanted to feel the love as it bloomed but it just wasn’t there. 

This book deals with heavy subjects of grief and suicide. This was not your typical uplifting love story (at least for me). 

There are many fabulous five-star reviews for this book so I am definitely in the minority here. 

A buddy read with Susanne.

Thank you to Avon Books UK for an ARC to read and review.

Susanne’s Review:

A Chance Meeting at a Cafe. Two Lives Become Intertwined. 

When Nell meets Charlie at a Cafe, she immediately feels sparks, as does he.  Little does she know the moment they meet, the universe has something greater in store for these two.

Charlie has been troubled for quite some time.  In need of help, he finds it.

Reading friends’ reviews, I was looking forward to “At First Sight” – unfortunately, this book did not live up to my expectations.  I felt as though the characters lacked any real substance and thought the author tried too hard throughout to make the book compelling and heartfelt.  In addition, for the most part, I found this book to be extremely depressing.  I did however like the character of Ned (Nell’s roommate) and laughed out loud at the predicament he found himself in at the tail end of the book.  Way to go Ned!

A buddy read with Kaceey that left us both disappointed.  

Thank you to Avon Books UK, NetGalley, and Hannah Sunderland for the arc.

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

The Secret Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall @KatyBirchall @MacmillanAudio #romcom #fiction #Bookreview #Bookblogger

Kaceey’s Review:

Every bride needs a bridesmaid to help them navigate the most important day of their lives.

But what if you need a little more help than what your friends or family can do? What if you really need professional assistance? But don’t want to give up control of your wedding.

Enter Sophie Breeze, a professional bridesmaid. Under the disguise of a friend or long lost relative she will play the role of a bridesmaid while coordinating everything behind the scenes to make sure the wedding flows seamlessly.

Sophie loves her job and all her brides and their (sometimes ridiculous) requests. But when she is hired for a high society wedding she may have finally met her match.

This was a fun light rom com that had me chuckling at what Sophie had to endure to make sure her weddings go off without a hitch.

I listened to the audio version and the narrator did an amazing job with the characters. I flew through this audio quickly over a (rom com) weekend! Hope you enjoy this one too!