Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle

twice shy by sarah hogle
twice shy by sarah hogle

Thank you to Putnam for providing a gifted copy of Twice Shy!

You Deserve Each Other was one of my favorite reads of last year – so when I found out Sarah Hogle had a new rom-com coming out, Twice Shy, I basically began counting down the days until its release. The anticipation paid off – Twice Shy was even better than You Deserve Each Other – and was one of my favorite reads of this year so far.

Can you find real love when you’ve always got your head in the clouds?

Maybell Parish has always been a dreamer and a hopeless romantic. But living in her own world has long been preferable to dealing with the disappointments of real life. So when Maybell inherits a charming house in the Smokies from her Great-Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start.

Yet when she arrives, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the house falling apart around her, but she isn’t the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who’s as grouchy as he is gorgeous—and it turns out he has very different vision for the property’s future.

Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than the other dying wishes Great-Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley’s scowls, and as the two slowly begin to let their guard down, they might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one’s comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.

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Act Your Age Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

Act your age eve brown by talia hibbert
Act your age eve brown by talia hibbert

After how much I loved Take A Hint, Dani Brown, I thought there was no way that Act Your Age, Eve Brown could live up to it, but boy am I happy I was wrong. This book is an amazing conclusion to the Brown sister trilogy – Eve’s story is my new favorite of the sisters’.

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how…

Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right.

Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.

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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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