Love, Lists and Fancy Ships by Sarah Grunder Ruiz

love lists and fancy ships by sarah grunder ruiz
love lists and fancy ships by sarah grunder ruiz

Thanks to Berkley Romance for the review copy of Love Lists and Fancy Ships

This really is the year of boats in romance novels – and Love, Lists and Fancy Ships is here to cap off the year of boats with a bang. This book had my interest from the moment I finished reading the blurb – a 30 by 30 bucket list, a hot chef, and two cute (and meddling) nieces? Sign me up.

Sometimes a yacht, a bold bucket list, and a kiss with a handsome stranger are all a person needs to dive into the deep end of life.

For the last year, yacht stewardess Jo Walker has been attempting to complete a bucket list of thirty things she wants to accomplish by her thirtieth birthday. Jo has almost everything she’s ever wanted, including a condo on the beach (though she’s the youngest resident by several decades) and an exciting job (albeit below deck) that lets her travel the world.

Jo is on track until the death of her nephew turns her life upside down, and the list falls by the wayside. But when her two nieces show up unannounced with plans to stay the summer, they discover her list and insist on helping Jo finish it. Though the remaining eight items (which include running a marathon, visiting ten countries, and sleeping in a castle) seem impossible to complete in twelve weeks, Jo takes on the challenge.

When she summons the courage to complete item number five–kiss a stranger–and meets Alex Hayes, all bets are off. As her feelings for Alex intensify and Jo’s inability to confront difficult emotions about her family complicates her relationships, she must learn to quit playing it safe with her heart before she loses what matters most.

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To Sir, With Love by Lauren Layne

to sir, with love by lauren layne
to sir, with love by lauren layne

Thank you to Gallery Books and Valentine PR for the gifted copy of To Sir, With Love

You’ve Got Mail is one of my all-time favorite movies – when Valentine PR reached out to me about To Sir, With Love and described it as a mix of Love is Blind and You’ve Got Mail, I was sold. Let me tell you: this was my first Lauren Layne book, and it certainly won’t be my last.

Perpetually cheerful and eager to please, Gracie Cooper strives to make the best out of every situation. So when her father dies just months after a lung cancer diagnosis, she sets aside her dreams of pursuing her passion for art to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. She soon finds out that the store’s profit margins are being squeezed perilously tight, and complicating matters further, a giant corporation headed by the impossibly handsome, but irritatingly arrogant Sebastian Andrews is proposing a buyout. But Gracie can’t bear the thought of throwing away her father’s dream like she did her own.

Overwhelmed and not wanting to admit to her friends or family that she’s having second thoughts about the shop, Gracie seeks advice and solace from someone she’s never met—the faceless “Sir”, with whom she connected on a blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages and common interests before exchanging real names or photos.

But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life…and they can’t stand each other.

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One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

one last stop by casey mcquiston book cover
one last stop by casey mcquiston book cover

Thanks to St Martins Press for providing a review copy of One Last Stop

One Last Stop was hands down my most anticipated read of 2021. Needless to say, I was very excited when I got offered an early digital copy. It took me a long time to write this review after reading the book – simply because I found it really hard to articulate how much I loved this book.

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

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Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto

dial a for aunties
dial a for aunties

Thank you to Berkley Romance for the gifted copy of Dial A For Aunties

Dial A For Aunties has a super unique pitch: one murder, plus a wedding, plus a super tight knit group of aunties, plus some romance equals a romantic comedy. I was a little skeptical, it seemed like a lot to balance in a stand alone book, but boy was I blown away by this one.

1 (accidental) murder
2 thousand wedding guests
3 (maybe) cursed generations
4 meddling Asian aunties to the rescue!

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for their family wedding business—“Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream cake flowers.

But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?

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People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

people we meet on vacation by emily henry

Thanks to Berkley Romance for the gifted copy of People We Meet on Vacation

people we meet on vacation by emily henry

Emily Henry became an instant favorite author of mine with her adult debut, Beach Read, last year. Naturally, when I got the opportunity to read an early copy of her sophomore adult romance, People We Meet On Vacation, I jumped on it. I was a little worried about whether it would live up to the standard set by Beach Read, but she managed to raise the bar.

Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

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