The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

queen of nothing by holly black
queen of nothing by holly black

I’m a huge fan of YA fantasy – and Holly Black is one of my favorite fantasy authors of all. I was a little late to the game with her Folk of the Air series – but holy did it live up to the hype. Given how much I loved the first two books, the bar was set super high for this third and final book, The Queen of Nothing.

After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.

When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.

When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.

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Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher

Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher
Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher

Thank you to Berkley Romance for the gifted copy of Meet Me in Paradise

Do you ever go into a book totally blind other than the cover? That’s what I did with Meet Me in Paradise – and while I was expecting a tropical rom-com, it ended up being an emotional story about the relationship between two sisters that absolutely made me bawl my eyes out. With a side of romance.

Don’t let the sunny cover fool you – you will definitely need tissues for this story. What started as a fun rom-com starring a character seemingly prone to hijinks (losing her luggage, her sister missing their flight, etc), quickly turned into an emotional story of family and loss. Libby Hubscher is incredibly talented as a writer – she was able to tell a tragic story while still infusing romance and small moments of levity throughout.

My favorite part of Meet Me in Paradise was the relationship between Marin and her sister, Sadie. Ever since they were young, Marin had played the caretaker role for Sadie, whether she wanted her to or not. As they grew up and Sadie became more adventurous and independent, Marin stalled and stayed firmly in her comfort zone.

The main focus of this book is the shifting dynamics between the sisters as Marin finally began relinquishing her protective role and started stepping out of her comfort zone – with the aid of a little interference from Sadie. Getting to read about Marin finally going on an adventure and learning to experience the world was amazing – her character growth was off the charts and felt very well earned by the end of the book. I loved how she learned to be to roll with the punches and be more adventurous from her sister. Also, her relationship with Lucas Tsai, the mysterious businessman, was so fun – their chemistry was great and their relationship definitely helped Marin grow as a character.

Even though Meet Me in Paradise was an emotional blindside, it was still one of my favorite books of the year so far. It was a poignant story that focused on the importance of family and stepping out of your comfort zone all set on a gorgeous tropical island. This was definitely a five star read for me. If you’re looking for other tropical books, check out Float Plan or Simmer Down 5/5

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Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne

second first impressions by sally thorne
second first impressions by sally thorne

Thanks to William Morrow for providing a review copy of Second First Impressions

Y’all should have heard the squealing when Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne arrived at my doorstep – I’m pretty sure I scared my neighbors. Sally Thorne is one of my favorite authors – she has a real talent for infusing emotion, quirkiness, and chemistry into every page of her books. The Hating Game is one of my comfort rereads, so naturally, my bar for Second First Impressions was set pretty high.

Distraction (n): an extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.

Ruthie Midona has worked the front desk at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa for six years, dedicating her entire adult life to caring for the Villa’s residents, maintaining the property (with an assist from DIY YouTube tutorials), and guarding the endangered tortoises that live in the Villa’s gardens. Somewhere along the way, she’s forgotten that she’s young and beautiful, and that there’s a world outside of work—until she meets the son of the property developer who just acquired the retirement center.

Teddy Prescott has spent the last few years partying, sleeping in late, tattooing himself when bored, and generally not taking life too seriously—something his father, who dreams of grooming Teddy into his successor, can’t understand. When Teddy needs a place to crash, his father seizes the chance to get him to grow up. He’ll let Teddy stay in one of the on-site cottages at the retirement home, but only if he works to earn his keep. Teddy agrees—he can change a few lightbulbs and clip some hedges, no sweat. But Ruthie has plans for Teddy too.

Her two wealthiest and most eccentric residents have just placed an ad (yet another!) seeking a new personal assistant to torment. The women are ninety-year-old, four-foot-tall menaces, and not one of their assistants has lasted a full week. Offering up Teddy seems like a surefire way to get rid of the tall, handsome, unnerving man who won’t stop getting under her skin.

Ruthie doesn’t count on the fact that in Teddy Prescott, the Biddies may have finally met their match. He’ll pick up Chanel gowns from the dry cleaner and cut Big Macs into bite-sized bits. He’ll do repairs around the property, make the residents laugh, and charm the entire villa. He might even remind Ruthie what it’s like to be young and fun again. But when she finds out Teddy’s father’s only fixing up the retirement home to sell it, putting everything she cares about in jeopardy, she’s left wondering if Teddy’s magic was all just a façade.

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The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan

The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan
The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan

Thank you to Berkley for the gifted copy of The Intimacy Experiment

Last year, The Roommate by Rosie Danan was one of my favorite romance reads – it was cute, chemistry driven and oh-so sexy. Naturally, when I found out that there would be a companion book focusing on the bad ass Naomi, I slammed the request button on Netgalley for The Intimacy Experiment.

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

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

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

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Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez

Life's Too Short by Abby Jimenez

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing a review copy of Life’s Too Short

Life's Too Short by Abby Jimenez

How the hell does Abby Jimenez keep getting better with each book? Seriously – when I first read The Friend Zone, it was one of my favorite romances, then The Happy Ever After Playlist raised the bar even higher. I have no idea how she does it – but she’s gone ahead and topped the amazing The Happy Ever After Playlist with the third entry of the series, Life’s Too Short.

A brilliant and touching romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zone and The Happy Ever After Playlist.

Vanessa lives life on her own terms — one day at a time, every day to its fullest. She isn’t willing to waste a moment or miss out on an experience when she has no idea whether she shares the same fatal genetic condition as her mother. Besides, she has way too much to do, traveling the globe and showing her millions of YouTube followers the joy in seizing every moment.

But after her half-sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her infant daughter, she is housebound, on mommy duty for the foreseeable future, and feeling totally out of her element.

The last person she expects to show up offering help is the unbelievably hot lawyer who lives next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. But as they get closer, Vanessa realizes that her carefree ways and his need for a structured plan could never be compatible for the long term. Then again, she should know better than anyone that life’s too short to fear taking the biggest risk of all. . .

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