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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The Project by Courtney Summers

the project by courtney summers
the project by courtney summers

Thank you to Wednesday Books for the review copy of The Project

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died in a tragic car accident, her sister Bea joined the elusive community called The Unity Project, leaving Lo to fend for herself. Desperate not to lose the only family she has left, Lo has spent the last six years trying to reconnect with Bea, only to be met with radio silence.

When Lo’s given the perfect opportunity to gain access to Bea’s reclusive life, she thinks they’re finally going to be reunited. But it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t want to be found, and as Lo delves deeper into The Project and its charismatic leader, she begins to realize that there’s more at risk than just her relationship with Bea: her very life might be in danger.

As she uncovers more questions than answers at each turn, everything Lo thought she knew about herself, her sister, and the world is upended. One thing doesn’t change, though, and that’s what keeps her going: Bea needs her, and Lo will do anything to save her.

The Project by Courtney Summers Summary

A few years ago I read Sadie by Courtney Summers and absolutely loved it (sidenote: if you haven’t yet, listen to it as an audiobook, it’s awesome). Naturally, I was super excited to read her latest book, The Project. Unfortunately, this book really fell short for me. I found the plot to be a slog (I kept waiting for the cult to get more exciting but it just never really happened). The ending was also an issue for me – it just fell flat and felt very anticlimactic. Lo was easy to root for – though sometimes she made frustratingly poor decisions. Overall, The Project didn’t live up to my expectations that Sadie set and I really couldn’t get into it the way I expected to. 2/5 

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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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Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey

Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey
Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey

Thank you to Berkley Romance for the gifted copy of Very Sincerely Yours

Just last year I read and really loved Not Like the Movies by Kerry Winfrey – it had the cozy and slightly corny vibes that I loved in early 2000s rom com movies. When I found out that her new book, Very Sincerely Yours, was inspired by You’ve Got Mail (arguably one of the best rom coms ever), I couldn’t wait to dig into it.

Teddy Phillips never thought she’d still be spending every day surrounded by toys at almost thirty years old. But working at a vintage toy store is pretty much all she has going on in her life after being unceremoniously dumped by her longtime boyfriend. The one joy that she’s kept is her not-so-guilty pleasure: Everett’s Place, a local children’s show hosted by Everett St. James, a man whom Teddy finds very soothing . . . and, okay, cute.

Teddy finds the courage to write to him, feeling slightly like one of the children who write to him on his show. He always gives sound advice and seems like he has everything figured out–and he pretty much does: Everett has a great support system, wonderful friends, and his dream job. But there’s still that persistent feeling in the back of his mind that something’s missing.

When a woman named Theodora starts writing to Everett, he is drawn to her honesty and vulnerability. They continue writing to each other, all the while living their lives without meeting. When their worlds collide, however, they must both let go of their fears and figure out what they truly want–and if the future they want includes 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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