Author: Ava Wilder
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: contemporary, romance
Age Group: adult
ARC?: yes

Grey Brooks is on a mission to keep her career afloat now that the end of her long-running teen soap has her (unsuccessfully) pounding the pavement again. With a life-changing role on the line, she’s finally desperate enough to agree to her publicist’s scheme… faking a love affair with a disgraced Hollywood heartthrob who needs the publicity, but for very different reasons.

Ethan Atkins just wants to be left alone. Between his high-profile divorce, his struggles with drinking, and his grief over the death of his longtime creative partner and best friend, he’s slowly let himself fade into the background. But if he ever wants to produce the last movie he and his partner wrote together, Ethan needs to clean up his reputation and step back into the spotlight. A gossip-inducing affair with a gorgeous actress might be just the ticket, even if it’s the last thing he wants to do.

Though their juicy public relationship is less than perfect behind the scenes, it doesn’t take long before Grey and Ethan’s sizzling chemistry starts to feel like more than just an act. But after decades in a ruthless industry that requires bulletproof emotional armor to survive, are they too used to faking it to open themselves up to the real thing?


Review

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

I was expecting a pretty lighthearted book based on the cover and synopsis as well as the comp titles. What I got was something different than that. This book tackles issues (such as alcoholism, fatphobia, and death) in the overarching plot of the story. This book is a fake dating book – but they also do have an age gap, if that makes anyone uncomfortable. 

I enjoyed the writing style of this book as well as the pace. To me it read easily and with interest. Sometimes you get books that are hard to get through because of the writing style, but I quite enjoyed it. The style did feel light and airy, despite the fact that it dealt with some darker topics. 

There is quite a bit of will they won’t they in this book. At times I felt that there wasn’t chemistry between them, and at other times I did. I think that was partially because the characters themselves were trying to resist the romance between them. And then sometimes they just lacked chemistry together. I liked the banter Grey and Ethan had, I thought it was amusing at times. At others I felt it was a little forced. 

This book has some lighthearted moments, but it is a very angsty book. This isn’t a light fluffy book – but it still works. I don’t want people to go into this book unprepared; this is not one of your beach reads or rom-coms or light hearted, it is a much more intense romance. 

As far as being angsty goes; there are some scenes in this book that are just frustrating. I get that there are supposed to be obstacles, yet at times I felt like it was drawn out unnecessarily. 

I did like some of the side characters though. I enjoyed Nora and her relationship with Ethan, as well as Renata’s relationship with Grey. I liked seeing the differences between Ethan’s relationships vs the relationships that Grey has. 

The book is still good though. It flows well and tackles sensitive topics accordingly. I wasn’t as invested in this book as I wanted to be. At 56% I was wondering what else the author was going to throw at them – they’d hit obstacles, overcome them, and then???? More obstacles! I am not good with super angsty reads, and this one definitely was on the fence of being too angsty. 

In the end, I think the resolution was good. Overall, I’m not quite sure how I feel about this book. I wasn’t expecting it to be as angsty as it was. 

This book was 3.5 stars for me. 

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Author: Casey McQuiston
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: LGBTQ+, romance, myster
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.


But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.


On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square.


Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.


Review

Thank you to the publisher for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.


First off; I still love RW&RB more than anything McQuiston’s written since. Saying that, as their first foray into YA, this book read way more to the adult end. There isn’t anything in here resembling adult content, but it has the feel of an adult book written about teenagers and there is nothing wrong with that.

In fact, I love McQuiston’s writing. It’s fabulous. They truly have a gift for writing, and reading each page was a general pleasure. Even during some of the parts that I struggled with. And that’s just because I don’t enjoy YA contemporary that much anymore, but McQuiston’s name was on it, therefore I had to read it.

Overall, I think the book was good. It had themes that are going to resonate with each other, and as with all their books there was a bunch of diversity and pretty much the entire cast of characters were queer. I think this is really going to appeal to teens who seek to see themselves represented in places where it seems the most unlikely.

This shows how it feels to grow up in a very religious area who do not like anything different and still have racism embedded in the everyday life. But it also shows that there are people who are different from that; and that not everybody who lives there is terrible, and I think that is so important for teens who feel isolated or that they’re the only ones who feel like that.

I think this was a powerful book and is going to be very popular and become well loved. It was well written and touches on important topics in a way that meshes well with the story.

I think my only major complaints are that sometimes I felt the characters were a little flat, and that the pacing/plot of the story was a little awkward. But it was an enjoyable read.

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Author: TJ Klune
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: paranormal/supernatural
Age Group: adult
ARC?: no

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this absorbing tale of grief and hope is told with TJ Klune’s signature warmth, humor, and extraordinary empathy. 


Review

oh no oh NO

I was so excited for this book that I preordered the signed, sprayed edges edition from Waterstones. The book is stunningly gorgeous, I will say that. Last year, House on the Cerulean Sea topped my list of favorite 2020 books. And previously his indie series were some of my favorites. I went into this book expecting to love it, especially because so many people said it made them ugly cry. I was prepared; I brought tissues and everything for my lunch break, 100% prepared to have to explain to my coworkers why I was sobbing my heart out in the middle of the day. Little did I expect…that I wasn’t going to like the book.

While I didn’t hate the book, I also didn’t love it either. It’s a firmly middle ground book that I might try again in half a year or something. As I read it, I just found…I struggled to get into it. I like books with lots of characterization and character focus. Addie LaRue for example. I VERY much enjoyed that book. But this one…just didn’t work for me in the same way. It was slow, but slow in a way that I found uninteresting at best. Which is odd, because I love slow books. Just…something didn’t click with me in regards to this book.

The concept of the book was very neat, and I thought that was interesting, but I kept having to restrain the urge to skip through parts where I felt nothing was happening, plot wise or character wise. Which was very frustrating for me because I was trying to get myself to like the book.


I also liked the variety of characters that were included in the book. I think they could have been so much more interesting, but for the most part I felt apathy about them all. On top of that the romantic relationship just didn’t work for me.

I also love Klune’s writing. He’s got such a great writing style, but in this case, the book overall didn’t work for me with his writing style. I don’t know what happened.

This is one of those books that is going to go on my shelf because it’s a special edition and one that I might see if a change of mood will make me like it.

Suffice to say I am heartbroken and disappointed that I didn’t love the book.

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Author: Kate Bromley
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: romance
Age Group: adult
ARC?: no

Kara Sullivan’s life is full of love—albeit fictional. As a bestselling romance novelist and influential bookstagrammer, she’s fine with getting her happily-ever-after fix between the covers of a book.

But right now? Not only is Kara’s best friend getting married next week—which means big wedding stress—but the deadline for her next novel is looming, and she hasn’t written a single word. The last thing she needs is for her infuriating first love, Ryan Thompson, to suddenly appear in the wedding party. But Ryan’s unexpected arrival sparks a creative awakening in Kara that inspires the steamy historical romance she desperately needs to deliver.

With her wedding duties intensifying, her deadline getting closer by the second and her bills not paying themselves, Kara knows there’s only one way for her to finish her book and to give her characters the ever-after they deserve. But can she embrace the unlikely, ruggedly handsome muse—who pushes every one of her buttons—to save the wedding, her career and, just maybe, write her own happy ending?


Review

You know those books that just make you melt? That you can’t help but sigh and say, “oh, I just love this!”? This is one of those books. It was so cutesy and was so sweet that my teeth still hurt thinking about it. Okay I lie, there is a lots of banter and enemies to lovers in this book and it was done so well. I honestly was just inhaling my favorite things, books and enemies to lovers. Lauren recommended it to me, and I am so glad I picked it up. It was exactly what I needed.

This book is hilarious on so many levels. Kara and Ryan had a falling out in college. Mostly due to some terrible communication issues, but when he appears at a friends wedding Kara is forced to talk to him. Unfortunately for Kara, he becomes her muse as she is stuck on writing a steamy book that is due for publication. Oh dear…now she has to find a way to deal with him so she can write and turn in her book.

As far as an enemies to lovers plot goes this was so well done. Then you can’t help but root for the two of them to succeed. Their banter is some of the best that I have read. It reminded me very much of Christina Lauren banter, and the whole book was just so delicious. It made me smile more than once.

Of course, there HAS to be an obstacle/angst that might prevent their happy ending (GRRR GRRR GRRR) but never fear, our lovebirds do get a HEA in this one. I love a good HEA and this one is just so dang adorable. There were quite a few angsty parts in the middle of this book, which is why I ended up docking it a star, it just felt a bit over the top and contrived (given I know this is a romance book but STILL). I like my characters to be happy, and have obstacles that have to face together. But whatever, minor point there.

It was a well written and quick read that helped soothe me and gave me many smiles. This book also mentioned the book community, specifically bookstagram and I thought that was a neat little nod to that community and the work that they do!

Overall, this was a sweet romcom that I enjoyed!

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Author: Leah Johnson
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: romance, LGBTQ+
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.

But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.

The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?


Review

I’ve been excitedly waiting to get my hands on a copy of this book, so I was so pleased when I did. I’d heard nothing but good things about it, and they were all true. It definitely lived up to my expectations and it was truly a delightful story. There is something to be said for a book that gives you so much and does it well! I felt that this book hit all the right marks and is a four star read. It is one I have already suggested that my library buy. So, what are the things I enjoyed about it?

Well, I generally hate prom oriented books. They’re not my favorite in the world. But I liked how prom was tackled in this one. I thought it was well done and delightfully created. I think using prom as a theme for the book was a great choice because it is so relevant to many teens around the US and elsewhere. Or any dance. There is nothing quite like prom. So first off, this book made me enjoy a book with a prom theme!

Second, I liked Liz. Liz is a fantastically relatable character in many respects, and will be more so for people who identify with her. While I didn’t face any of the same challenges she did (nor did I get as good grades!) she feels like the way a normal teen these days would act, or would be. She just flew off the page and felt vibrant and alive. It was wonderful to see Liz and her growth and her strength. She’s an amazing character and I think a great role model for girls.

What else was great? The friendships in this book. The rise and fall or the fall and rise and all the aspects therein. I felt Liz had good, complicated relationships with her friends. I think so many books either put the main character into one of two camps: popular with friends or unpopular with no friends. This book seems to strike a balance between that without feeling odd. It felt rather natural, including the issues people do have with friendships. I did think the friendship drama in this was a little odd – especially in regards to Gabi, but in the end, I think it worked out.

I think the romance was absolutely adorable in this one. I don’t want to give too much away. I know communication issues are pretty typical teen, but I didn’t love the way that happened in this book. I think that was one of the biggest issues for me. I don’t want to give too much away about the romance in this book, suffice to say it was adorable.

I loved the writing in this book! I think it was well written and easy to read. I blew through it in under three hours and just soaked it up. It felt like one of those feel good summer reads that leaves you sighing after and just enjoying. I love those type of books!

.

Author: Erin Hahn
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: romance, contemporary
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell.

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out-of-this-world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her? 


Review

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book, and I’m still not quite sure what I read, mostly because I felt I wasn’t totally liking the book at times. There were parts I really enjoyed and others I was just “meh” on. Overall, I think it was a good book, but nothing I thought was totally memorable for me personally. In the end I unfortunately don’t have much to say about the book as I felt that it was good for passing time, and a cute read.

The Writing
The writing was good! I think Hahn is a good writer, and I did enjoy the descriptions and the dialogue, i even enjoyed the chat conversations which I feel like can sometimes make things awkward in the book.

The Pacing
The pacing wasn’t great for me. In fact, I know at times during this book I began to zone out and I struggled to keep my attention focused on the book. It just wasn’t making me want more.

The Plot & Characters
Cute, again, like much of this book. Both the plot and characters were tied up with each other in this book, and it really doesn’t work without the other. Anyways, the plot was fine and I really enjoyed the subplot about families, and I think that was well done. The romances in this book were cute all around, and again, the relationships between the characters were crafted nicely.

Overall
I think this book just wasn’t for me overall. Something about it just didn’t click. And therefore it is a me, not the book kind of thing! If you like music and such you will probably love this book!

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Author: Sandhya Menon
Series: St. Rosetta’s Academy
Series #: 1
Genre: contemporary, fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

Will the princess save the beast?

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?

His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…

As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending. 


Review

I got really tired of retellings, especially fantasy ones several months ago, and so I hesitated to read this one at the time. I am SO GLAD that I waited. Because I feel that I really wouldn’t have enjoyed this book if I had read it when I first wanted to. (Okay, February, but still.) I enjoyed this book, and I felt that it was a read I had fun with, and one that I liked. This is a 3.5 stars for me.

Now, I LOVED the writing in here. That alone is enough to convince me to try Menon’s other works. The writing was absolutely delightful and I feel the way that she depicted the characters made them come off the page with how she wrote them. It was also nice because we had two POVs, and they were clear, distinct voices. To me, that is a huge plus. Sometimes multiple POVs can sound the same because it is the author writing it, but this was not the case here.

The pacing for this book worked. We have nice pacing throughout the book. It is steady, consistent pacing. It isn’t action packed or fast, but there are events that happen that propel the plot forward. However, to me, the pacing was well done as it steps what is happening up the further along you get in the book all the way to the end.

This is pretty much a beauty and the beast plot line with a contemporary twist and I enjoyed that about this book! It was a different take without being too much of an exact replica. I also appreciated that there were multiple other characters who appeared and were fleshed out.


There were a lot of interesting subplots happening throughout this book, and it helped keep the book moving forward. To me, that was really successful. I like plots that keep me engaged.

Jaya is my love! I love Jaya’s character, and I think it was amazing to see a totally different take on “beauty”. We get to see a strong, young woman who is struggling to figure out herself. Jaya’s journey in this was really powerful, and there were some great moments with Jaya as she goes through her ARC.


The romance was low-key, enemies to lovers in this book. Yes, there was some romance, but to me, a big portion of this book was focused on familial duty, sisterhood and friendships. And that was all excellent.


Grey wasn’t my favorite character, but I still enjoyed his chapters. He’s broody, but has emotions and he has to deal with those. Grey also has a character arc, but I feel for me at least, his ending was a little sudden. I wanted to see a bit more progression like we did with Jaya.

I liked this book! I enjoyed reading it, and I got lost in the book for hours as I read it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys retellings, contemporary romance, or the enemies to lovers trope.

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Author: Auriane Desombre
Series: n/a
Series #: na/
Genre: contemporary/romance
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

Arch-nemeses Emma, a die-hard romantic, and more-practical minded Sophia find themselves competing against one another for a coveted first-prize trip to a film festival in Los Angeles . . . what happens if their rivalry turns into a romance? For fans of Becky Albertalli’s Leah on the Offbeat, full of laugh-out-loud humor and make-your-heart-melt moments.


Review

Thank you to NetGalley and Underlined for this e-arc in exchange for an honest review!

I’m always looking for a funny, feel good romance that is queer. I so very much wanted to love this book, but I only ended up liking it. I felt that overall, there were some really good points in the book, and at other times the book fell really low and didn’t do anything for me. First off, I want to say how much I loved the rep in this book. It was one of my favorite parts. We’ve got bi Emma (hi, yes, I am ALWAYS looking for a good bi character I can relate to!) and lesbian Sophia. I thought, what on earth could go wrong?

The Writing
The writing is lovely. I felt that it was one of the best parts of the book. Desombre is a lovely writer, and I think the book was easy to read, and it flowed well overall. The writing was delightful and smooth, and I loved that part of the book. I was impressed by it.

The Pacing
Funny enough, I thought the pacing in this book was rather good. There were events causing others to happen, and I think the pacing worked. I never felt we got bogged down or were sped through something too fast. I think it was just right for what this book was. And sometimes with these romances, that happens. In this case I am pleased to say that the pacing and the writing together worked wonders.

The Plot
I even mostly liked the plot. There were a couple moments in this book in which I thought the plot was rather “eh” overall, especially because I felt that it was dramatic. And I understand it was supposed to be dramatic. I just didn’t love that, and so for me, that’s something more personal rather than critical. One plot point I really did love was the discussion of sexuality that is really candid between Emma and Sophia. I really appreciated the nuanced conversations they have, and their remarks in general. It was done well.
The film plot was interesting, but I sometimes felt that it was awkward, or forced at times, but that may tie into my feelings on the characters themselves.

The Characters
So, the characters. Surprisingly, I didn’t really hate either of the protagonists. I know I said I didn’t love this book, but I did like it. I liked it enough that I think it has some merit to it. While Emma was a rom-com diehard, and at times, I felt she was annoying, I also felt that it was a real enough quality, that Emma herself felt somewhat real. So when she aggravated me, I realized this was the author giving her flaws. Same for Sophia and her anti-love statements. However, I do think Sophia felt a little more fleshed out, and a bit of a stronger character. I enjoyed reading her portions far more than Emma’s.


The romance also felt a little forced, and a little too quick, but perhaps that is because of how it came about. It was nothing egregious, I just didn’t love the way it happened. I loved enemies to friends and so on, but this just didn’t quite work all the way for me.

Overall
I think it was a cute book. The cover is adorable, and I loved the idea. I even liked the characters. And as I said, it just didn’t fully work for me. This was not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, it was rather lovely, but it wasn’t perfect for me personally. I am always looking for good bi rep, and this did have it. So, it does get good points for that!

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Author: Amanda Sellett
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: contemporary, romance
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

As a devotee of classic novels, Mary Porter-Malcolm knows all about Mistakes That Have Been Made, especially by impressionable young women. So when a girl at her new high school nearly succumbs to the wiles of a notorious cad, Mary starts compiling the Scoundrel Survival Guide, a rundown of literary types to be avoided at all costs.

Unfortunately, Mary is better at dishing out advice than taking it—and the number one bad boy on her list is terribly debonair. As her best intentions go up in flames, Mary discovers life doesn’t follow the same rules as fiction. If she wants a happy ending IRL, she’ll have to write it herself. 


Review

Thank you to NetGalley and HMH Books for Young Readers for this e-arc in exchange for an honest review!

First off, the cover was adorable and the title was amazing. That convinced me to request the book, and then the description…it seemed like it would be the perfect book for me. I am pleased to announce: if you haven’t read this book you are going to love it when it comes out. There is so much to love packed into this book. I mean, it was so good I was having trouble forming coherent thoughts. This is a romantic comedy. This is a good falling in love book. Honestly, I could sing this books praises all day long.


The Writing
First, Sellet has an amazing voice. I started reading this book and went “oh my god, oh my god” because the writing was out of this world fantastic. I cannot even put into words how much I loved the writing. It was so good I think I was drooling. (I’m kidding…but seriously, the writing is top notch and it is beautiful). The quality was there and I flew through this book in between another one I was reading. I just didn’t want to stop reading it, but I also didn’t want to finish it because it was so good.

The Pacing
The pacing worked very well for me. There were no weird or jarring moments, and therefore, I have almost nothing to say regarding pacing. It worked. The characters and the plot melded together creating perfect pace and atmosphere for me.

The Plot
Let’s talk about the plot…the plot that is the characters. Because there is a plot, but most of it is focused on character driven arcs and character relationships. Done well, it can be one of my favorite things to read, and this was done really well. We have Mary, our title character, who loves books and is new to her school. There she makes some friends, and if you’ve read the summary, you know what the book is about, but in any case, Mary’s arc is very much the plot of the book, and her growth as a character.
I also love resolutions of the issues in this book, unlike some books who don’t address problems, this one does, and does it very well.

The Characters
I don’t know if it is at all possible to talk about any of the characters without giving too much away, but I do want to say this: I loved them all. I loved very specific parts of this book so much so I want to go back and reread it immediately.


Mary is a fun character. I think she is relatable, quirky, has faults but is also supremely adorable. I love her. She may be one of my favorite characters.


Then you have her friends, and one thing I really loved about this book was how friendship was featured. How well it was developed and how honest it felt. It was one of my favorite parts in the whole book. Mary and Arden and Lydia and Terry were all fabulous characters and I would love to see them and their own books in the future.


I also loved the romance in this book. I felt the setup for it was great. I mean, I knew what was going to happen, and I knew some plot points I had guessed at, but it didn’t make the book any less fun, in fact, I loved that this book did and didn’t take itself seriously. There was so much to love about these characters and the relationships that they formed with each other.


Mary’s family was great too, I loved how it was function dysfunctional family. It was great, and I am sitting here trying to figure out how to phrase it an unable to.

Overall
If you couldn’t tell, this was a five star read for me. This book was so amazing, and I absolutely loved it. It drew me in, and kept me reading. I am so excited because I am sure going to be ordering the final copy of this book when it comes out. I liked the book that much – and when it comes out, I am begging you all to try it.

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Author: Katherine Center
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: romance
Age Group: adult
ARC?: yes

Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before.

When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.


Review

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I have never read anything by this author before, so I was stepping into the unknown. I like to expand my horizons in what I read, and this book seemed to fit the bill. It was a quick read, and it was overall satisfying to me. I will say that it wasn’t at all what I was expecting or what I would normally read. Nonetheless, I thought that the book was enjoyable. This was a solid 3.5 stars for me. I don’t have a whole lot to say about the book in general.

The Writing
I liked the writing in this book. Center’s writing was easy to read and it flowed. I finished this book in about two hours, maybe a little less. This is because I felt that the book’s writing was working well with everything else. It wasn’t overly descriptive, and the dialogue was good as well. I think the writing was a solid foundation that the rest of the book is set on.

The Pacing
I didn’t particularly have a huge problem with the pacing, but I will say at some points the pacing left me a little annoyed. This is mostly because it felt like we were going somewhere then suddenly it slowed down again. This was a problem for me as it was slightly jarring at times. Otherwise, I think it all worked.

The Plot
The plot was far more character driven than it was action driven. The teachers and staff essentially band together to prevent their school from being changed. This was mostly the action plot with a small subplot involving our characters trying to make someone happy again. It was a simple plot, but it worked. It wasn’t convoluted because there was no need for it to be. In fact, I loved it for that reason.

The Characters
The characters are the real stars of this book. I enjoyed the characters immensely and I think that Center did a good job with them. I didn’t dislike any of the characters (okay, I did hate two of them, but because we were supposed to!) and felt that all of their development was nicely done. Much of the development we get for them has occurred off screen, except for a few moments. There is nothing wrong with that.
Underlying the characters and plot is the romance. The romance doesn’t take up a large portion of the book, and in fact, how it is incorporated is lovely. It just becomes another aspect to the characters and plot.

Overall
I enjoyed the book; I can say that much. It was a soothing read, and it was lighthearted for the most part. I laughed at a couple points and overall I enjoyed myself while reading it. There were some fun moments as well as some serious ones.

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