Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

defy the night by brigid kemmerer
defy the night by brigid kemmerer

Thank you to Bloomsbury YA for the gifted copy of Defy the Night

During the pandemic one of the genres I’ve begun to read more and more is young adult fantasy – when I found out that Brigid Kemmerer had a new series coming out, I slid straight into Bloomsbury’s DMs (thank you for the ARC!). Defy the Night has it all: Robin Hood style bandits, a mysterious plague (relatable), and a strong-willed heroine. 

The kingdom of Kandala is on the brink of disaster. Rifts between sectors have only worsened since a sickness began ravaging the land, and within the Royal Palace, the king holds a tenuous peace with a ruthless hand.

King Harristan was thrust into power after his parents’ shocking assassination, leaving the younger Prince Corrick to take on the brutal role of the King’s Justice. The brothers have learned to react mercilessly to any sign of rebellion–it’s the only way to maintain order when the sickness can strike anywhere, and the only known cure, an elixir made from delicate Moonflower petals, is severely limited.

Out in the Wilds, apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade is tired of seeing her neighbors die, their suffering ignored by the unyielding royals. Every night, she and her best friend Wes risk their lives to steal Moonflower petals and distribute the elixir to those who need it most–but it’s still not enough.

As rumors spread that the cure no longer works and sparks of rebellion begin to flare, a particularly cruel act from the King’s Justice makes Tessa desperate enough to try the impossible: sneaking into the palace. But what she finds upon her arrival makes her wonder if it’s even possible to fix Kandala without destroying it first.

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A Lot Like Adiós by Alexis Daria

A Lot Like Adios by Alexis Daria
A Lot Like Adios by Alexis Daria

Thank you to Avon for the gifted copy of A Lot Like Adios.

Earlier this year I read, and adored, You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria – and as soon as I finished it, I needed more of Alexis Daria’s lovely writing. I was lucky enough to snag an early copy of her follow up novel, A Lot Like Adiós. Second chance romance, cowriting fanfiction, and fake dating (oh my!) – A Lot Like Adiós has it all. Also look at that cover – stunning (Bo Feng Lin killed it). 

Hi Mich. It’s Gabe.

After burning out in her corporate marketing career, Michelle Amato has built a thriving freelance business as a graphic designer. So what if her love life is nonexistent? She’s perfectly fine being the black sheep of her marriage-obsessed Puerto Rican-Italian family. Besides, the only guy who ever made her want happily-ever-after disappeared thirteen years ago.

It’s been a long time.

Gabriel Aguilar left the Bronx at eighteen to escape his parents’ demanding expectations, but it also meant saying goodbye to Michelle, his best friend and longtime crush. Now, he’s the successful co-owner of LA’s hottest celebrity gym, with an investor who insists on opening a New York City location. It’s the last place Gabe wants to go, but when Michelle is unexpectedly brought on board to spearhead the new marketing campaign, everything Gabe’s been running from catches up with him.

I’ve missed you.

Michelle is torn between holding Gabe at arm’s length or picking up right where they left off—in her bed. As they work on the campaign, old feelings resurface, and their reunion takes a sexy turn. Facing mounting pressure from their families—who think they’re dating—and growing uncertainty about their futures, can they resolve their past mistakes, or is it only a matter of time before Gabe says adiós again?

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Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn

never saw you coming by erin hahn
never saw you coming by erin hahn

Thanks to Wednesday Books for the gifted copy of Never Saw You Coming!

Last year I read Erin Hahn’s sophomore novel, More than Maybe, and fell in love with the story and its characters. When I found out that Meg would be getting her own spinoff novel, I was thrilled and added the book, Never Saw You Coming, to my TBR ASAP.

Raised by conservative parents, 18-year-old Meg Hennessey just found out her entire childhood was a lie. Instead of taking a gap year before college to find herself, she ends up traveling north to meet what’s left of the family she never knew existed.

While there, she meets Micah Allen, a former pastor’s kid whose dad ended up in prison, leaving Micah with his own complicated relationship about the church. The clock is ticking on Pastor Allen’s probation hearing and Micah, now 19, feels the pressure to forgive – even when he can’t possibly forget.

As Meg and Micah grow closer, they are confronted with the heavy flutterings of first love and all the complications it brings. Together, they must navigate the sometimes-painful process of cutting ties with childhood beliefs as they build toward something truer and straight from the heart.

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The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy of The Charm Offensive

If you’ve been around my page for a minute, you know I love The Bachelor and all things Bachelor adjacent – especially Bachelor inspired books. When I was offered a copy of The Charm Offensive, I was thrilled – it was a new kind of Bachelor inspired book – an LGBTQ+ story focusing on the lead of the show falling for his producer.

Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.

Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

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It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

It Happened One Summer is the latest buzzy book in the online romance community – for the last month I could not open my BookTok without seeing people raving about it. I finally bit the bullet and read it – in one sitting, and finished at 3AM. And y’all – I am so mad that I waited so long to read this book. 

Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart. 

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