WWW Wednesday: January 26, 2022

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

WHAT DID YOU JUST FINISH READING?

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

My last read was an ARC of The One Who Loves You by Pippa Grant. I think this will be one fans of Tessa Bailey’s It Happened One Summer will like.

I’m reading an ARC of Places We’ve Never Been by Kasie West. I haven’t had the best luck with YA in the past couple of years, so I hope this works for me.

I think I will pause my ARC reading and read Running Wild (Wild, #3) by K.A. Tucker. I can’t wait to read Marie’s story.

Top Ten Tuesday: 16 Favorite New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2021

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is:

16 Favorite New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2021

…and where I would start if you wanted to give them a try.

1. Lex Martin

Dearest Clementine or Shameless

2. T.J. Klune

The House in the Cerulean Sea

3. Chloe Liese

Only When It’s Us

4. Kim Jones

That Guy

5. Julia Quinn

The Duke and I

6. Melissa Williams

Donut Disturb

7. S.T. Abby/C.M. Owens

The Risk Hooked on the Game

8. Jaqueline Snowe

Holdout or Evening the Score

9. Katja Millay

The Sea of Tranquility

10. Kate Canterbury

The Worst Guy or Underneath it All

11. Samantha Young

On Dublin Street

12. Ruby Dixon

Ice Planet Barbarians

13. Ali Hazelwood

The Love Hypothesis

14. Vera Kurian

Never Saw Me Coming

15. Claire Kingsley

Protecting You

16. Sariah Wilson

The Paid Bridesmaid or Roommaid

Review: Getting Real (Emma Chase)

Getting Real
Series: Getting Some, #3
Author: Emma Chase

Publication Date: January 24, 2022
Publisher: Emma Chase, LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

A sexy, hilarious, emotional, new romance from New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase.

Connor Daniels never thought he’d be starting over at dating square one. His career as a successful doctor, and his three boys, are everything to him. It’s not exactly a set-up conducive to a scorching love life—but he’s giving it a shot.

ER nurse Violet Robinson never intended for Connor to find out she’s had a crush on him forever. It was a dirty little secret only meant for her dirty dreams. Her heart trips every time he’s around—and so do her feet.

When Connor sees Violet coasting across the grocery store parking lot—and she falls on her face—he starts falling for the gorgeous, young nurse right back.

Dating can be tricky. And life can be beautiful and crazy and unpredictable. But when it gets real, you discover what matters most . . . and the one person you want loving you through it all.


I love it when Emma Chase releases a new book. I can count on her to give me a romance I didn’t know I needed. She did that with Getting Real. Connor, brother to Garrett Daniels from Getting Schooled, was a 40-something single, divorced father of three boys who was also an ER doctor. Violet was a 30-something nurse who had lost her mother to illness and couldn’t find one decent man in a string of bad dates. Both had secret crushes on each other. Their path to dating was highly entertaining.

Violet and Connor’s secret crushes on each other were adorable. I loved how clumsy Violet was around Connor and how Connor reacted to it. The build up from co-workers to friends to more was a lot of fun. I also appreciated the ups and downs they had to weather throughout their relationship. There were some big ones. Although there were a few times Connor drove me freaking nuts with his decisions and actions. For someone so smart, he could certainly be dumb. Thankfully he had friends and family to help him through those moments. There were a bunch of really sweet moments in this book, and I ended up loving and rooting for Violet and Connor together.

Family was a big part of this romance. Like I said before, Connor’s had to step up and help him out. We got to see our favorite characters from the first two books in those moments. There were also Connor’s sons. They weren’t always adorable, but I loved the realness of the moments they brought to the story. I also liked what Connor’s and his sons’ interactions with Connor’s ex-wife Stacey did. I wouldn’t say she was a favorite character or anything, but I loved the resolution that came with her. Oh! And I can’t leave out Violet’s family. They weren’t around as much, but they brought some great moments as well.

Overall, Getting Real was another great addition to the Getting Some series. It’s always a pleasure to be back in one of Emma Chase’s worlds. Fans and new readers will both love this book. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Review: Reminders of Him (Colleen Hoover)

Reminders of Him
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publication Date: January 1, 2022
Publisher: Montlake
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A troubled young mother yearns for a shot at redemption in this heartbreaking yet hopeful story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover.

After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself.

The only person who hasn’t closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. But if anyone were to discover how Ledger is slowly becoming an important part of Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them.

The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk. Kenna must find a way to absolve the mistakes of her past in order to build a future out of hope and healing. 


I’m going to start by saying I was impressed by Reminders of Him. I don’t know that any book has ever done as a good a job as making it hard to choose sides as this one did. I felt sorry for Kenna. I wanted her reunion with her daughter. I truly felt for everything she had been through or was going through. BUT. I also felt sorry for and understood Grace and Patrick. I couldn’t fault them for their reactions or decisions. I felt like I shouldn’t be mad at them when I wasn’t. I felt like I should hate Kenna right along with them. Adding Ledger to the mix made me feel even crazier. He was this bridge between the feelings that truly made me be okay with everything I was feeling as he was working it out himself. He was a big blessing in this book.

This book is hard to react to without giving too much away. It’s about grief, forgiveness, understanding, love. It was a lot. I was constantly feeling something. I was hooked from the first page and tried to read it as often and as long as I could. There was magic in Hoover’s words. I loved what she did with the storyline, with the romance, with the dual POVs, with everything. Some might say it’s more women’s fiction than romance. I would say it straddles the line of both. I would lean more toward romance because of the dual points of view and the way the romance propels the story forward. But then I think more about it, and I change my mind towards women’s fiction. Hoover genre bended this thing up and the effect was hard hitting.

Anyways. I don’t know what else to say. I loved Kenna. I loved Ledger. I loved Diem. I loved what this story gave to me. It’s one I’ll remember in ways only Colleen Hoover can make me do.

Review: Made in Manhattan (Lauren Layne)

Made in Manhattan
Author: Lauren Layne 
Publication Date: January 18, 2022
Publisher: Gallery Books

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Central Park Pact comes a reverse My Fair Lady for the modern era about a pampered and privileged Manhattan socialite who must teach an unpolished and denim-loving nobody from the Louisiana Bayou how to fit in with the upper crust of New York City. Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne.

Violet Townsend has always been a people pleaser. Raised in the privileged world of Upper East Side Manhattan, she always says the right things, wears the right clothes, and never rocks the boat. Violet would do anything for the people closest to her, especially her beloved grandmother. So when she asks Violet to teach the newly-discovered grandson of her friend how to fit in with New York City’s elite, Violet immediately agrees. Her goal? To get Cain Stone ready to take his place as heir to his family company…but to say he’s not exactly an eager student is an understatement.

Born and raised in rural Louisiana and now making his own way in New Orleans, Cain Stone is only playing along for the paycheck at the end. He has no use for the grandmother he didn’t know existed and no patience for the uppity Violet’s attempts to turn him into a suit-wearing, museum-attending gentleman.

But somewhere amidst antagonistic dinner parties and tortured tux fittings, Cain and Violet come to a begrudging understanding—and the uptight Violet realizes she’s not the only one doing the teaching. As she and Cain begin to find mutual respect for one another (and maybe even something more), Violet learns that blindly following society’s rules doesn’t lead to happiness…and that sometimes the best things in life come from the most unexpected places.


I’m always excited to jump into a new Lauren Layne book. I can count on her to consistently write books that entertain me and make me happy. Made in Manhattan did both of those things. It was a fun read filled with memorable characters.

Maid in Manhattan was a slow burn romance told from Violet’s third person perspective. She was an Upper East Side socialite who inherited her status. She didn’t need to work and spent her time assisting her grandmother’s best friend, Edith. Violet’s life is thrown off when she tasked with giving the grandson a makeover to increase his likelihood to take over Edith’s company. Cain is rough around the edges and isn’t the easiest to talk into said makeover. And he’s not Violet’s biggest fan. Nor is Cain hers. 

Violet and Cain’s romance was a lot of fun. I enjoyed their banter and their animosity toward each other at the start. It made their transition from enemies to somewhat friends to more all the more entertaining. I loved that the makeover process for Cain taught them both a lot about themselves while also learning about each other. I loved the growth of both Violet and Cain’s characters. Their romance ended up being very sweet.

One thing that wasn’t my favorite about this book: third person. Not my favorite style of narration. Lauren Layne manages to make it work for me every time she uses it, but I prefer when she writes in first person. It’s so much easier to relate to her characters that way. I felt that I would have liked Violet more right from the beginning if this book had been written first. I also would have loved to have had Cain’s POV since his character was so complex. It didn’t ruin things not to have it, but it would have made his character more likable from the very beginning.

So, as an LL fan, how does Made in Manhattan compare to her other books? I would say it’s closest to her Central Park Pact series. It wasn’t my favorite of her books, but it also wasn’t my least favorite. Once I got into it, it flew by and I fell in love with the characters. It was a fun read. I could see it as a movie. 

WWW Wednesday: January 19, 2022

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

WHAT DID YOU JUST FINISH READING?

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

The last book I read was Beard in Hiding (Winston Brothers, #4.5)  by Penny Reid.

I am now reading Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover. 

My next read will most likely be an ARC of Starry-Eyed Love (Spark House, #2) by Helena Hunting.

Review: Pieces of Me (Jay McLean)

Pieces of Me
Series: Pieces Duet, #2
Author: Jay McLean
Publication Date: January 15, 2022
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“I loved you then,
I love you now,
and I’ve loved you every single day in between.”

Jameson Taylor is a nomad. A drifter. A memory collector.
Or, at least, that’s what’s become of her life ever since she was forced to leave pieces of her fractured heart behind.

“This is the fault in our fate, our one undoing:
All he’s ever wanted is my happiness,
even when it costs him his own.”

Holden Eastwood is resentful. Angry. But most of all, hurt.
Torn to pieces by the girl who left him, he struggles to find forgiveness in the organ she once broke.

When a tragedy forces them to face the aftermath, Jamie seeks acceptance, while Holden searches for answers.
What they find, instead, are remnants of their love.
Fragments of forever.
And parts of a puzzle that will lead them to the truth…
A truth that might shatter them to pieces.


Jay McLean left me in a very frustrated state at the end of Pieces of You. I had no idea how she was going to explain things or bring things back to where they needed to be for Jamie and Holden. There was so much up in the air. I had to read Pieces of Me the minute it came out because I had to know what sorcery McLean was going to use.

Pieces of Me jumps five years into the future. Things between Jamie and Holden… Well, I’ll just say they aren’t what I would have wanted them to be. There’s a lot of anger and hurt going on in this book. I understood the source of those feelings, but it hurt me to read about them because I just wanted the best for everyone. It took a while to get there, and a lot had to be exposed for it to happen, but thankfully it did.

This book wasn’t a walk in the park, but there were some really great moments in it. I especially liked Jamie’s journey. She grew so much, and I felt a greater understanding of her character. Holden had his sweet moments. I loved his hometown farm and his family. It was fun to get to see bits of Mia, Leo, and Benny’s lives. Despite all the tough times and frustration, the good times shone through, and I ended up loving how everything came together for Jamie and Holden.

Review: The Best Men (Sarina Bowen & Lauren Blakely)

The Best Men
Authors: Sarina Bowen & Lauren Blakey

Publication Date: January 18, 2022
Publisher: Troliver Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ+
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Bestselling authors Sarina Bowen and Lauren Blakely team up for the first time in an enemies-to-lovers, opposites-attract, irresistibly sexy standalone romance between the best man and the other best man!

In my defense, I was left alone with a bottle of single-malt and a life-long penchant for protecting my baby sister. Still, that’s no excuse to send ten drunk-texts on why her hasty marriage would be a mistake.

If only I had just texted my sister. But nope. I accidentally sent the message to her, her groom, and his super hot wingman.

I also used the phrase “super hot wingman,” so I’d like to die now.

Instead, I have to plan a wedding with the aforementioned hottie and share a too-small guesthouse in steamy Miami.

Three days in the sun with the cocky, charming former athlete who likes to push my buttons? Fine, two can play at that let’s-infuriate-each-other game.

Until Asher ups the stakes with one wildly sexy suggestion. A no-strings fling, then I go back to my single dad life in New York, and he returns to his star-studded one.

Sign me up.

But the more nights I spend with the other best man, the more I want days too, and that just can’t happen. Especially when I find out the real reason why…


What could be better than two best men who don’t like each other setting out together to help plan their sister’s/best friend’s wedding in Miami? Not much. The Best Men was a great time full of fun(ny) moments.

I have to admit that I wasn’t a big fan of Asher St. James at first. I’m not sure why. Maybe he’s just not the type of person I would hang out with in real life. I don’t know. Asher was cocky and suave, but also had a good heart. He grew on me pretty quickly. I loved the way he teased Mark, while appreciating the things he was teasing Mark about.

Mark Banks was described as this hot nerd with bad fashion sense. He was a single father who put himself after his daughter. Despite his mistakes, I liked him instantly. I could tell he was a good guy with a heart of gold. I liked his backstory best. Plus, spreadsheets.

Asher and Mark’s relationship was full of ups and downs. They started off as enemies of sorts and quickly moved into the attraction and passion phase. I loved seeing how real they were each other and how their friendship grew. Mark and Asher were pretty adorable together — even when they weren’t so fond of each other.

I have to give a shout out to the setting and plot of this book. It was so much fun! Most of it was set in Miami preparing for Mark’s sister’s and Asher’s best friend’s wedding. There were so many awkward, entertaining, and fun moments there. The wedding dynamics with the best men, the engaged couple, and the parents couldn’t have been better. Oh, and Mark’s daughter Rosie. She was adorable.

This first co-written romance by Bowen and Blakely was a hit for me. It was just such a good time. I would definitely recommend.

BONUS REVIEW!

If you’re curious about The Best Men, Bowen & Blakely have released a free (for now) prequel novella called Super Hot Wingman. It’s a fun read that sets up the full-length novel.  I loved getting to read about what lead up to the texts Mark sent. It’s also worth a read if you already read The Best Men. 

Review: The Color of Us (Jessica Park)

The Color of Us
Author: Jessica Park

Publication Date: November 20, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

Callie Evans isn’t exactly living her best life in Los Angeles. She dropped out of college, has been repeatedly fired, and is now literally watching paint dry at a hardware store for a living. This isn’t the depressing existence she had planned for her early twenties, but here she is.

Although she’s faced a shattering trauma, she’s learning that avoiding grief has owned her for far too long. A change of scenery might be what she needs to regroup and move forward.

Callie takes a few months away from her California chaos to handle renovations on her family’s old house in small-town Vermont. This temporary escape could be just the thing to ease the pain that crushed her past and continues to impact her present. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll get a chance to reconnect with a certain boy from her childhood, whom she’s now aching to see again.

When Callie rolls back into her hometown, she finds that her preteen crush, Danny, has turned into a wildly hot twenty-something. The things that haven’t changed are his humor and kindness. But Danny’s hidden demons might possibly be even more painful than her own.

As Callie spends the summer falling in love with cooking, home repairs, and hosting brunches for her quirky neighbors, she also fights falling in actual love with Danny. After all, she knows from experience that love is never guaranteed to last.


If there’s one thing I can count on from Jessica Park, it’s for her writing and stories to hit me emotionally. That’s why I waited a couple of weeks from release to read The Color of Us. I needed to give myself time to mentally prepare for all of the emotions I was going to feel. Now I wish I hadn’t waited because I loved this story. It had such a great small-town feel. Everyone knew everyone and they all supported each other. I loved how everyone in Wake, Vermont supported and uplifted Callie.

Callie was a mess before and when she arrived in Wake. Her life had changed drastically when her mother uprooted her family after her father’s death and moved them to California. Callie was floundering and drinking away her sorrows. Returning to her childhood home helped her deal and gave her inspiration. She found her strengths there. I enjoyed the process of Callie finding herself and loving herself again.

Callie’s childhood friend, Danny, was a big part of Callie getting herself together. I loved the way he supported her and reminded her of the fun in life. He was a great friend first and foremost, but also a great boyfriend. Danny had some of his own issues and I liked how they played out. It would have been fun to have his POV in this book, but it wasn’t needed.

Like I said before, the Wake community was a big part of this book. I loved the relationship Callie had with her late father’s best friend Paul. Danny’s best friend Mary Ann was also a great character and gave Callie a new female friend to bond with. My favorite was Alex, though. I loved what his character brought to the story and Callie’s relationship with him.

There were only a couple of things I had still had questions about after I was done reading. The first was Callie’s drinking at the beginning of the book. I was sure she was going to have a drinking problem, but she didn’t. For some reason, I needed more clarification as to why she was drinking and why she could easily go from drowning herself with vodka to just having a glass of wine at dinner. Was it just depression that drove her to drink? I felt like she was depressed at the beginning. The second was the relationship Callie had with her mom and sister after they moved to California. I understood what their relationship was and kind of why toward the end, but I guess I still had some questions about how it got to that point.

The Color of Us was a beautiful story of grief and moving past it. I loved the characters and Callie’s journey. I might have been left with a few questions when I was done, but they weren’t anything that destroyed the experience for me. I would love to read more about any of the characters in this book. It’s another win from Jessica Park for me.