I think I'll be including 4 reviews going forward as I'm still so behind on them 😬
|Pub Date: 5-4-21|
YA - Contemporary
Better Than the Movies- Lynn Painter: Liz has always wished for her life to be like the romantic comedies she used to watch with her mother. She's always dreamt of having her own meet-cute and happily ever after. So when her childhood crush Michael moves back to town, Liz is sure this is the universe giving her an in. Liz devises a plan to get Michael's attention, but to do so she needs to enlist the help of her annoying next-door neighbor, Wes. Liz and Wes have always been at odds ever since they were young, but with the promise of a prime parking spot, Wes agrees to help Liz. Much to Liz's surprise, the more time she spends with Wes, the more she forgets about Michael. Could it be her happily ever after was in front of her the whole time?
I picked this up on a whim, and I'm so glad I did. It was adorable! I loved all the nods to famous rom-com movies and was sucked into the story straight away. I love a good hate-to-love trope, and while this was more annoyance-to-love, I thought it was so well done. Liz and Wes were so fun together. They had great banter, and I loved watching them push each other's buttons. I was either smiling or laughing at their antics the entire time. There was a few times I had to roll my eyes at the corniness, especially when it came to the prom conflict, but it didn't lessen my enjoyment any. I thought Painter did an excellent job crafting an endearing contemporary that was witty, sweet, and just as charming as the movies it referenced. If you're looking for something to add to your summer reading lists, check this one out.
|Pub Date: 10-26-21|
Adult - Historical Romance
The Perks of Loving a Wallflower- Erica Ridley: Thomasina "Tommy" Wynchester is a master of disguise. With her knowledge of cosmetics, she can go from a proper society lady to a bawdy old man in moments. Tommy will become whoever the mission requires. Tommy's newest assignment is to discover the truth hidden in a military cipher that dates back centuries. That's the easy part. The hard part is working alongside the one woman Tommy is head over heels for. Philippa York is a bluestocking who cares more about seeking academic pursuits than a husband, much to her mother's dismay. All Philippa wants to do is decode a priceless manuscript, unmask a villain, and give the proper people their due. It irks her to have to team up with a man to do so, but to her surprise, the "man" she's been working alongside is a charming, clever woman. As they grow closer, Philippa can't deny the feelings that start to stir, but is she willing to put everything on the line for a life with Tommy?
I haven't read anything by Ridley before, but I enjoyed this. However, it was one of those times where I enjoyed the characters more than the plot. I adored the Wynchester siblings and their dynamic. They each have such big personalities and certain skills they bring to the table, and I thought it was so fun that they take on these adventures together. I liked watching Tommy transform into these different characters, and how Philippa played a part in their scheme as well. The two of them worked well together, and I appreciated how Tommy didn't keep her identity from Philippa for too long. She brings her into the fray quite early on, which I liked. Their romance was a bit slow but sweet. Also, it was adorable how Tommy's family didn't even hesitate to include Philippa in their inner circle. As for the plot itself, I never felt invested in it, but I did like how it all wrapped up. Overall, I liked this and am looking forward to picking up the rest of the series.
|Pub Date: 8-30-22|
YA - Mystery
The Final Gambit- Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Avery Grambs is just weeks away from inheriting the full Hawthorne fortune, but will she be able to last that long? Since being named the heir to the Hawthorne legacy, Avery has had a target painted on her back. She's been kidnapped, shot at, and almost blown up, but the one thing keeping her sane is the Hawthorne brothers. Avery and the boys may have clashed at first, but they've grown to become a family, and she'll need to rely on their help to get her through the latest threat. When a stranger arrives at the house asking for help, it sets off yet another puzzle Avery will have to solve, and this one pits Avery and the Hawthornes against their most dangerous adversary yet.
It almost pains me to say this after loving the first two books so much, but this was so underwhelming. I had high expectations going in, and I feel a bit disappointed. My favorite thing about the other books was that they were exciting and engaging and I didn't feel that with this one. I wasn't as invested in the mystery and felt the pacing of it dragged. Barnes has also been dangling a love triangle in front of us for the last two books, which turned out to be for nothing. I can't stand that trope, so having to deal with it only for Avery to stick with who she was with was so annoying. And the ending? Talk about lackluster. The saving grace for me was Xander, who probably needs to see a chiropractor now after carrying the whole thing on his back. I still think the series as a whole is entertaining, but sadly, the ending wasn't my favorite.
|Pub Date: 1-4-22|
Adult - Mystery
The Maid- Nita Prose: Unlike many others, Molly Gray has a difficult time picking up on social cues and often misreads situations and people. Molly would always look to her Gran to explain the ways of the world to her, but after her passing, Molly is left to try and muster through on her own. One thing Molly has never been unsure of is her work as a maid at an upscale hotel. Unfortunately for Molly, her world is turned upside down when she discovers a dead body in one of the rooms she's meant to clean. Molly's strange demeanor catches the eye of the police, and she's taken into custody and charged with the murder. Molly quickly finds herself entangled in a bigger scheme and teams up with some unlikely friends to clear her name and get to the bottom of what happened before it's too late.
I've recently become a fan of the cozy mystery genre, so I knew I needed to pick this up. I ended up liking it a lot. I loved the murder mystery aspect, and I found the whole thing weirdly endearing. I liked Molly a lot. There were so many times I just wanted to give her a hug and a cup of tea. She's constantly being taken advantage of because of her differences, and you can't help but feel like you need to protect her. But I felt like she gets underestimated a lot throughout this. She's always looked at as weak and unintelligent, but she has strengths many overlook that make her an interesting character to follow. I also liked her relationship with Juan Manuel and Mr. Preston. Aside from the characters, I enjoyed the mystery even though I was able to guess how it was going to play out. If you're looking for a lighter mystery, I'd recommend it.