Anything Rae Touches by Holly Caste

Publication Date: January 19, 2023
Publisher:
Self Published
Rating: ★★★★★

Rae and Miles met on the worst day of their lives.
They shared a kiss goodbye
And never saw each other again.

Ten years later and fresh out of rehab, Rae’s starting over in a new town, Golden Bay Beach. With a cynical outlook on life, her only two goals are to stay sober and escape the past.However, running away from the memory that haunts her becomes difficult to do when she crosses paths with Miles. With his sunny disposition and charming personality, he’s the complete opposite of Rae—but that only lures them closer to one another.

As the two reconnect over their tragic history, Miles becomes intent on showing Rae that the stars aligned for them to have another chance at life together. Slowly but surely, Miles chips away at Rae’s armor. Through their steam and banter comes vulnerability and healing.

Until ultimately, Rae is left with the decision of creating a new life with Miles or staying trapped in the pain of the past.

Review:

Thank you Holly Caste & Romance Me With Books for a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review and the ability to be on this tour. This book does have a few trigger warnings including grief, death and addiction. Please be aware of these before reading as they do play a massive role throughout this book.

Anything Rae Touches begins in the past and goes back and forth between current times and a fretful day where her entire life changes. The chapters change between Rae and a guy named Miles. Rae was just a random girl in high school and Miles was the head of the baseball team, a big shot. There’s something severe that happens that change their lives forever and they go their separate ways, never to see each other again. Or so they thought. After 10 years, they meet each other again by chance and have the ability to reconnect after tragedy stole 10 years of their lives.

This book was the reverse grumpy x sunshine I didn’t know that I needed. Rae had plenty of stubborn one-liners in this book and it honestly made me envision her character even more. I was able to physically imagine her in my brain and that doesn’t always happen to me. Her character surrounded around her addictions and past addictions made her completely real in my mind. It was written so vividly that I couldn’t stop reading about Rae.

Miles is definitely your next book boyfriend. He’s sweet, been through some trauma and says all the right things. He has his own storyline which makes this book 10x better in my opinion. Their friendship & relationship realistically shows what trauma is like and how people react to each other when put in a terrible situation.

This book is very spicy. It wasn’t something I expected in the beginning, but I’ll tell you, this was spicy in the best way possible. It didn’t overpower the book by any means, but it had some scenes where my cheeks were blushing.

This was my first Holly Caste book, and definitely not my last. I feel extremely comfortable saying that. This book wasn’t just written as a romance, it was written for those who have dealt with death, addiction or both. I found this book to be comforting to see how people attempt to get sober and how they might be feeling. It was very real, and I liked that a lot.

Little Free Love – Charter 103172

Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. This LFL was located in the perfect spot, located off of a pretty busy road located in South NJ.

This Little Free Library opened in July of 2020, right in the heart of the pandemic. I thought that was so wonderful because even though we were really stuck in our houses, there was still the ability to go get a book from this local spot.

This LFL does have a Instagram, it hasn’t been shared on in a while, but you can check it out here. One of my favorite things about this library was how big it was to hold so many bigs. Another thing was the selection. They had all different genres, including children’s books, YA and adult fiction. I definitely cannot wait to visit this one again!

Listed on the Little Free Library website.

Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate

Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Books

Rating: ★★★★

Natalie Groves once had big dreams. But soon after her fiancé, Jeremy Walters, inexplicably broke off their engagement and left town, her father was diagnosed with cancer. Now tasked with keeping her family afloat, Natalie’s grand plans have evaporated . . . and God feels very far away.

Fast-forward seven years, and Jeremy is back in Charlottesville with an infant son and years of regrets. When his niece, Lili, lands on his doorstep in need of a place to stay, Jeremy needs help—and fast.

An internship opening finally presents Natalie a chance at her dream job, but she needs a second income to work around it—and the only offer available is Jeremy’s. They could be the solutions to one another’s problems, provided they don’t kill each other in the process. When they join forces, sparks fly. But they both know there’s a thin line between love and hate . . . and that love will turn out to be the best decision—or the biggest mistake—of all.

Review:

I read A Girl’s Guide to the Outback before I read this book and I’d recommend reading this one first. Also, please be aware that this is a Christian romance so there are mentions of religion throughout.

Love and Other Mistakes was multiple genres wrapped into one. This was a Christian romance, second-chance romance and YA thrown all together. There were some moments that I laughed out loud but it had its very serious moments. There were many lessons that were important including the power of forgiveness and honesty.

In the beginning of this book, I found it to be overwhelming. There was a lot of people and a lot of information. Things were overlapping for me and I know that to have everything included, it had to be written this way. I just had a hard time differentiating everything.

Once I reached a certain point in this book (probably around halfway), things really cleared up for me and I enjoyed the rest of the book. There were many conclusions, and I felt as though things were extremely realistic.

Everything wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows like how a lot of romantic books wrap up. There were some things that were still left with hurt, and I found that to be very true in real life. It’s almost like the feelings were move forward, not move on. I felt
like it was very true that some things are just unforgettable, and I appreciated that.

Overall, with the ending of this book, that’s why I rated it four stars. It was well worth the read and I really enjoy the writing style of Jessica Kate!

 

 

The Dazzling Truth by Helen Cullen

Publisher: Harlequin Books
Publication Date: August 18, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

In the courtyards of Trinity College, Dublin, in 1978, aspiring actress Maeve meets pottery student Murtagh Moone. As their relationship progresses, marriage and motherhood come in quick succession, but for Maeve, with the joy of children also comes the struggle to hold on to the truest parts of herself.

Decades later, on a small Irish island, the Moone family are poised for celebration but instead are struck by tragedy. Each family member must find solace in their own separate way, until one dazzling truth brings them back together. But as the Moone family confront the past, they also journey toward a future that none of them could have predicted. Except perhaps Maeve herself.

Review:

Thank you NetGalley, Harlequin Books & Helen Cullen for a copy of this novel exchange for an honest review.

This story follows Maeve and Murtagh Moone over 37 years. They first meet in Dublin at Trinity College where they quickly fall in love, get married and have children. You follow them and their stories to 2005 where tragedy strikes their family. You aren’t sure what’s happening until you start to see what’s been going on in their lives throughout this entire timeline.

I found the beginning to be a little slow. Stories that take place decades ago are very much not my cup of tea, and for that I thought it might’ve just been me. However, after we started to get closer to the reason why the tragedy happened the way it did, it really picked up well.

This story was very original. I loved learning about Maeve and Murtagh. Their stories were separate but together at the same time. Helen Cullen wrote hard hitting topics very well. There were a lot of mental health references that were able to be related to and that was very important for this type of story.

The feelings that this book has is sad, but also hopeful. It’s very sad to see how mental health can affect so much in one’s life, but it’s hopeful to see the potential of getting through these things and watching family come together.

This book reminded me of the movie Across the Universe which is the movie about the Beatles songs written in. It goes through the years, watching the characters, seeing their stories and where they end up all those years later. Sad, but hopeful. This was my first Helen Cullen novel, and even though it is something I normally wouldn’t go for, I’d definitely read another book of hers. The writing was done very well and I’d recommend this book those who really enjoy fiction stories with hard hitting topics.

The Cul-de-Sac War by Melissa Ferguson

Publication Date: November 10, 2020
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Books
Rating:
★★★

Bree Leake doesn’t want to be tied down. She’s had more jobs than she can count, and she plans to move as soon as the curtains fall on her less-than-minor stage role at The Barter—the oldest live performance theater in the US. But just when it’s time to move on again, Bree’s parents make her an offer: hold steady for a full year, and they will give her the one thing she’s always wanted—her grandmother’s house. Her dreams are coming true . . . until life at the theater throws her some curve balls.And then there’s Chip McBride—her handsome and infuriating next-door neighbor.

Chip just might be the only person whose stubborn streak can match Bree’s. She would move heaven and earth to have him off her cul-de-sac and out of her life, but according to the bargain she’s struck, she cannot move out of her house and away from the man who’s making her life miserable. So begins Bree’s obsessive new mission: to drive Chip out of the neighborhood—and fast.

Bree isn’t the only one who’s a tad competitive, and Chip is more than willing to fight fire with fire. But as their pranks escalate, the line between love and hate starts to blur—and their heated rivalry threatens to take a hilarious, heartwarming, and romantic new turn.

Review:

Thank you NetGalley, Thomas Nelson Books & Melissa Ferguson for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

The Cul-de-Sac War was definitely high-up on my TBR and was one of my most anticipated reads. I’m not sure if was my high expectations, but this novel fell a little flat for me.

I am a romance-fanatic, especially with friends-to-lovers or enemies-to-lovers. This premise had sooooo much potential, but the romance and slow burn fell behind the other things going on in this story. Due to the competitive nature of these characters, they both play a ton of pranks on each other. In the synopsis, it says “the line between love and hate start to blur – and their heated rivalry threatens to take a romantic new turn”. Reading that, it sounds great. However, the pranks took the front seat to this book for me and the romance was in the trunk.

I did find this book heartwarming. It was a very cute concept and I couldn’t even imagine if that were me in Bree’s place. There were a lot of parts where I did laugh out loud. Melissa Ferguson did hit the nail on the head with the comedy of it all.

Overall, this is a book I would definitely recommend to someone who loves clean, slow-burn romances. I would definitely try Melissa Ferguson again, I’m hoping the next time that I can really enjoy it!