The Hero of Hope Springs by Maisey Yates

Publication Date: July 21, 2020
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Rating: ★★★★

For as long as brooding cowboy Ryder Daniels has known Sammy Marshall, she has been his sunshine. Her free spirit and bright smile saved him after the devastating loss of his parents and gave him the strength to care for his orphaned family. Only Ryder knows how vulnerable Sammy is, so he’s kept his attraction for his best friend under wraps for years. But what Sammy’s asking for now might be a step too far…

Something has been missing from Sammy’s life, and she thinks she knows what it is. Deciding she wants a baby is easy; realizing she wants her best friend to be the father is…complicated. Especially when a new heat between them sparks to life! When Sammy discovers she’s pregnant, Ryder makes it clear he wants it all. But having suffered the fallout of her parents’ disastrous relationship, Sammy is wary of letting Ryder too close. This cowboy will have to prove he’s proposing out of more than just honor…

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Maisey Yates, & Harlequin Books for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve read Maisey Yates before and I absolutely adored the story. I read the Copper Ridge series and I quickly became obsessed with all of the characters and I was so glad that it lasted over 10 books. I received an opportunity to read her newest book, The Hero of Hope Springs, and I knew I couldn’t pass it up. I never read any part of the Gold Valley series, but I didn’t have any trouble following along!

I really like Maisey Yates’ writing because as much as it does have sultry and sexy vibes, it doesn’t take the front of the story like it does in some romance novels. The angst, the friendships, the drama, the comedy, the full-on relationship between the characters make each and every one of her stories. The characters are always well developed and they make this stories as well-written as they are.

May I just say…this friends-to-lovers trope is perfection. I loved Sammy and Ryder! Their characters are great, and the fact that they were friends from the start, makes it all that more believable and real in my eyes. The brooding character of Ryder and the happy-go-lucky character of Sammy made these two a very unusual mash-up, but I think they really showed chemistry and connected well.

Overall, the story of love and acceptance is what takes first place in this book. The complexity of the characters and showing them make their own serious life choices makes this story really come to life. The Gold Valley series is definitely something I want to read now so I can get to know everyone! However, if you don’t choose to, it appears as though you can read these as a standalone. I’d really recommend this book to cowboy-loving romance readers!

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Publication Date: July 14, 2020
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Rating: ★★★

Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living.

But she wasn’t always that way.

Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen.

But he wasn’t always that way.

And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before―at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him―but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school―and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hell-bent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.

As the school community spirals into chaos, and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love―which is the riskiest move of all.

Review:

Thank you Katherine Center, St. Martin’s Press & NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

This is my third Katherine Center novel and she is definitely an auto buy / request author for me. Her writing is always very good for me, and I’m always able to connect to her characters instantly.

However, this one wasn’t a home run for me as much as her other books. I struggled to read this story as well as connecting with the characters. I didn’t necessarily mind Sam but I had a hard time with Duncan which isn’t good since he was a main character.

I read How to Walk Away and Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center. In these two books, the characters correlate, but are not listed in a series. As I’ve read from other reviews, apparently Duncan is the brother of Sam from Happiness For Beginners. I didn’t have any issues in her previous novels with reading them “out of order” but I’m not entirely sure if the circumstances are different with this one.

I will say that this story is truly about seeking happiness and joy in life. There is a lot going on in the world right now and this message about finding joy in the small things in life was actually very needed. I could appreciate that message coming from this book.

Overall, I love Katherine Center and I love her writing. I go to her when I need a good, heart-felt story with laughs and smiles. I did like the message behind this book, but it wasn’t my favorite book in the world with the characters and story. I will give Happiness for Beginners a try as well hopefully to learn more about who these characters are.

Hurry Home by Roz Nay

Publication Date: July 7, 2020

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Rating: ★★★

From the bestselling author of Our Little Secret comes a suspenseful new thriller featuring two estranged sisters desperate to keep their deepest and darkest secret where it belongs–in the past.

Close to my heart you’ll be, sisters forever you and me...

Alexandra Van Ness has the perfect life. She lives in an idyllic resort town tucked away in the Rocky Mountains, shares a designer loft with her handsome boyfriend, Chase, and has her dream job working in child protection. Every day, Alex goes above and beyond to save children at risk. 

But when her long-lost sister, Ruth, unexpectedly shows up at her door, Alex’s perfect life is upended. Growing up, Ruth was always the troublemaker, pulling Alex into her messes, and this time will be no different. Still, Alex will help Ruth under one condition: we will never, ever, talk about the past. But when trouble befalls a local child, both women are forced to confront the secrets they’ve promised to keep buried.

Utterly engrossing and claustrophobic, Hurry Home is a tantalizing reflection of the chain-and-shackles relationship between sisters that asks: what lines wouldn’t you cross for your own?

Review:

Thank you to Roz Nay, Crooked Lane Books & NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I love sister stories. Whether its drama, long distance, good relationships, bad relationships, mysteries, any kind of story. I think it’s because I have a sister myself so that I’m able to relate a lot.

This sister story was not my favorite unfortunately. I believe it’s because this is classified as a thriller and I didn’t really get that from this book. This was more about the sister relationship and how you could just feel the drama between them.

I thought this story was interesting, but it didn’t really give me the surprise or mystery that I was looking for. The interest from this story comes from the fact that you are curious on why these two ladies have the relationship that they do.

The thing I liked about this novel was the slow burn aspect. You do find yourself sitting there wondering when something will happen or when the other shoe is going to drop. I was able to guess the ending, but I will say it was pretty interesting getting there.

Overall, it wasn’t my favorite book in the world, but it wasn’t the worst either. I think that if it was more of a thriller like it was classified, I would’ve enjoyed it more. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with this book, I just went in with a different expectation!

June 2020 Reads

Number of Books Read: 13
Avg. Rating of the books: 4.2/5 stars
Five Star Ratings: 6/13
*five star ratings are bold

  • Incomparable by Nikki & Brie Bella
  • Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai (Modern Love #2)
  • Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
  • The Summer Villa by Melissa Hill
  • The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman
  • Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan
  • Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr
  • The Girls Weekend by Jody Gehrman
  • Asking For Trouble by Amy Andrews (Creedence, Colorado #3)
  • That Summer in Maine by Brianna Wolfson
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
  • Operation Bailey Babies by Piper Rayne (The Baileys #6.5)
  • Kind of Cursed by Stephanie Fournet

20 Books to Read While You’re Quarantined

Obviously, we are all SHOOK with what’s going on around the world right now. I’ve found myself inside and staying there unless it’s absolutely necessary to go out! This is giving me the option to catch up on my current reads as well as review some of my recent reads! I decided to make a list of 20 books for you all to read during this self-quarantine time! Feel free to click the pictures to take you to the Goodreads pages! Stay safe everyone!

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Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Published: December 10, 2019

Colleen Hoover is always an easy choice when it comes to one of my favorite authors. She has a way with words and her latest novel, Regretting You, was nothing short of spectacular. You could read any of her books and be happy in your quarantine!

It’s currently available for free on Kindle Unlimited or you can buy it on Kindle for only $1.99! Find that: here. If you’re more of a book-in-hand person, this is still on Amazon Prime for only $7.48! Find that: here.

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The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
Publisher: Avon Books
Published: February 4, 2020

I received this book as an advanced reader copy. I got to read it before the publication date and I will say that I really, really enjoyed it. You can read my full review: here. Because it is relatively new, the price of the ebook is $12.99 and the paperback is $12.62 with Prime eligibility. You can find those: here.

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Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
Publisher: Dutton Books
Published: July 2, 2019

I will never get over the mystery that was Lock Every Door. From start to finish, I just adored every twist and turn this novel had to offer me. This was my first Riley Sager novel, but I cannot wait to see where her novels end up. I have her other mystery Final Girls on my to-be-read, but just haven’t gotten to it yet. Soon enough! Lock Every Door is available on Kindle for $13 and in paperback for $17! Find that: here.

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How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published: May 15, 2018

This was the first Katherine Center novel I read and I wanted more. Her writing was impeccable and I honestly can’t even explain this book without spoiling anything. There was romance, angst, drama, sorrow, very real mental health issues and more. Both the Kindle ebook and the paperback are $9.99 on Amazon right now. Find those: here.

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The Note by Teresa Mummert
Publisher: Self-Published
Published: March 11, 2013

Romance lovers. Military lovers. Mental health lovers. Everyone really. I want you to read this book. It’s a SELF-PUBLISHED novel about a military man that finds love after war. I have never been in war or even really surrounded by anyone that has been in war. I felt like I could personally resonate with the main characters and that’s really hard to do with readers who don’t have that relatable situation. The Note is available on Kindle for $4.99 and on paperback for $14.99! Find those: here.

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18 Hours To Us by Krista Noorman
Published: November 21, 2017

This YA book was really different and that was something I could appreciate. The writing was impeccable and that’s why it had such a high rating for me. Krista Noorman wrote this awesome story and made sure that all of her bases were covered, which was my favorite part about it. You can read this book for free on Kindle Unlimited or free on regular Kindle! You can also order the paperback off Amazon Prime for only $9.99! Find those: here.

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Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
Publisher: Avery Books

Published: September 11, 2012

There’s a lot of scary moments going on around the world and it’s easy for someone with anxiety or depression to fall into a scary moment within themselves. As someone who has deals with that and read this book, Brené Brown has a way with her words to really get through to you. She really helps and not only does Brené have this as a self-help, but she shares her own personal experiences within life to really show you that you’re not alone. If you want to pick a self-help author, Brené Brown is IT. Daring Greatly is available on Kindle for $12.99 and paperback for $9.39 on Prime. Find that: here.

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All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: June 28, 2016

All the Missing Girls was Megan Miranda’s breakout novel. This story is was wild from start to finish. It was different than anything I really read before as it is told backwards. It had me on the edge of my seat and to this day is one of my favorite mysteries. You can find this book on Kindle for $11.99 and paperback for $10.34 on Prime! Find those: here.

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The Game Changer by Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Published: January 7, 2020

I recently read this one and I really, really enjoyed it. I have been trying to read all of the Hallmark Publishing novels as they’re usually a cute-sy romance type. This one, however, really caught my eye. It’s a romance for sure, but this is a mystery as well. If you’re someone who likes the romantic suspense genre, this is DEFINITELY for you. You can find this on Kindle for $7.89 or paperback for $10.89 on Amazon Prime! Find those options: here.

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Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published: July 30, 2019

Love and Other Mistakes is classified as a Christian Romance novel. I am not really religious in the slightest bit, but Jessica Kate has the writing ability to sneak in little hints of religion here and there. I read her other book, A Girl’s Guide to the Outback, recently and I found myself really enjoying her writing style. She writes about heavy topics with romance and little bit of self-love! Find Love and Other Mistakes: here.

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The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Published: March 17, 2020

Newly published, I was lucky enough to receive The Sea Glass Cottage before its publication date. It was a really interesting story of family, drama and all that happens in between. RaeAnne Thayne writes as if these are her family members and you really get attached to them in this book. This was a quick read for me as I enjoyed it so much and I think you will too! To find it on Amazon, click here.

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Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey
Publisher: Avon Books
Published: January 14, 2020

Calling all steamy romance lovers. Tessa Bailey has a way of writing that you will question every steamy romance novel you’ve ever read before. This trope, Tessa’s writing, everything about this book was amazing! She really pulls at your heart strings as well as showing you that old-school romance still is a thing! If you’re looking for a new romance author, Tessa Bailey is it! To find this book on Amazon, click here.

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The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
Publisher: Graydon House
Published: December 30, 2019

I read this story not too long ago and it’s really unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The story of this one will have you questioning if these type of things go on in real life. This book grips you from the very beginning and the ending…PHEW. It will definitely keep you interested when you need your brain stimulated! Find it on Amazon here.

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Sunrise Cabin by Stacey Donovan
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Published: September 16, 2018

I had to pick another Hallmark book…didn’t I? I fell in love with Sunrise Cabin as soon as I started reading it. The story captured me as something I’ve never really read in a romance novel before. The angst and drama make this book, not even going to lie. The romance is such a big part of this book, but the drama and angst is an even bigger part. Who doesn’t love some good drama?! Find it on Amazon here.

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The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper
Publisher: Ebury Press
Published: March 7, 2019

The Day We Met is about two people that meet at a younger age and know they’re right for each other, but never make it back to each other after meeting all those years ago. They see each other throughout the years, knowing that they’re soulmates, but as their lives take them in two different directions, they both move along with their lives as well. It’s absolutely heartwrenching, romantic, and it’s so real that it can actually happen in life. Find that on Amazon here.

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American Fire by Monica Hesse
Publisher: Liveright Publishing
Published: July 11, 2017

Where are my true crime lovers? This non-fiction novel about an arsonist is from the perspective of Washington Post reporter, Monica Hesse. It is so amazing and so twisty-turny to see from her perspective that we have no idea what is even going on. This happened in Virginia in the early 2010s and I feel like it never even made national news (from what I remember). Reading this story was so interesting and I know you’ll love it too. Find it here.

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Published: May 9, 2017

I think that everyone should have to read this in their lifetime. Eleanor Oliphant to this day is one of my favorite characters in a book. She is quirky, social awkward, and just hard to understand sometimes. Gail Honeyman did a phenomenal job writing this book, and it is one of my favorites. i’d recommend it to anyone. Find this book on Amazon: here.

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The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: May 17, 2016

Mary Kay Andrews is my favorite author. Her writing style is impeccable and I love it in every book she writes. Normally, she’s just a romance writer with little to no steam, but a hell of a story. This one was a little different and it’s one of my favorite books. This is a romantic suspense and the story captures you from the beginning literally until the last page. I recommend this book to everyone! Find it here.

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No Exit
No Exit by Taylor Adams
Publisher: Joffe Books
Published: June 25, 2017

You want to hear about an underrated mystery novel? This book was INSANE. Whenever I talk mysteries with someone, I always tell them about this book and most of the time, they’ve never even heard of it. I want that to change!! From the first few sentences until the final words, you are gripped into this crazy moment. This book is all about moments! Find it on Amazon here.

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This Train is Being Held by Ismée Amiel Williams
Publisher: Amulet Books

Published: February 11, 2020

Last but certainly not least, a book that touched my heart in more ways than one. This book was recently just published in February 2020, but I’m hoping that this book explodes and becomes one of the top YA books of the year. This story gripped my heart and squeezed it into oblivion. This story is so so real, and it really relates to today’s society. You can read my full review here. You can find this book on Amazon here.

 

Temporary Wife Temptation by Jayci Lee

I received this novel as part of the Harlequin Desire book tour! Thank you to Harlequin Desire, Harlequin Books, Jayci Lee & NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Rating: ★★★★

Much more than he bargained for…

“You want me to find you a wife?”

“No. I want you to be my wife.”

Garrett Song is this close to taking the reins of his family’s LA fashion empire…until the Song matriarch insists he marry her handpicked bride first. To block her matchmaking, he recruits Natalie Sobol to pose as his wife. She needs a fake spouse as badly as he does. But when passion burns down their chaste agreement, the flames could destroy them all…

Review:

From the beginning, you feel the chemistry between the two main characters, Natalie and Garrett. There is a proposition of fake marriage between the two because they both need it. It was a very realistic and passionate read!

My favorite thing about this book was how you could see that Natalie and Garrett were perfect for each other right from the start, but it was funny to see them move towards this moment together. It was awkward and I laughed a few times just from them fumbling around this “aha!” moment.

I am a huge fan of the fake marriage trope and this story does it so well. It was amazing to see how they both needed a fake marriage and how hard they were fighting their feelings throughout the novel. I wanted them to just figure it out so bad, but the burn that Jayci Lee wrote was phenomenal.

I think the only issue that I had with this book was that I felt almost… unfulfilled. This book had me wanting and wanting and I wanted more at the end. I waited the entire book for the obviously predictable ending, but I felt that there could’ve definitely had an epilogue. I understand that the next installment will be out this year, but I wish it was wrapped up a little better.

This definitely won’t be the last Jayci Lee novel for me.

 

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Publication Date: December 30, 2019
Publisher: Graydon House
Rating: ★★★★

Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.

But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married.

What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read.

You’ll have to grab a copy to find out why.

Review:

Tarryn Fisher wrote a truly impeccable thriller with The Wives. There were twists and turns and everything really did not seem to be as it was. I like a good thriller, but this was super dark and I enjoyed it so much.

The synopsis was enough for me to pick up this book. Seth is married to two other woman other than Thursday. Her name is Thursday because that’s the day of the week she gets with Seth. It was a concept that was so interesting and nothing I had heard of before.

Tarryn Fisher’s writing was what got a high rating from me. It was a little slow to start, but once I hit a certain point, I was so engrossed that I could not stop reading until I found out what happened. The writing was so back-and-forth and I wanted to love the main character even though I was unsure of who she was actually. I wanted to be on her side even if things were going so out of control that I didn’t know how they would end up.

The ending was a little too crazy in my opinion but I don’t think it took away from the story. I think it was getting a little into uncharted territory where it became almost unrealistic, but I think it was wrapped up really well.

Overall, I loved learning about Thursday and what was going on in her head. Tarryn Fisher’s imagination truly shined in this novel. This was my first novel by her, but definitely not my last.

Her Homecoming Wish by Jo McNally

I received this novel as a part of the Harlequin Special Edition Blog Tour! Thank you to Jo McNally, Harlequin Special Edition, Harlequin Books & NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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Publication Date: January 21, 2020
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition
Rating: ★★★★

She’s ready to shed her good-girl ways…

“You’re all about following the rules now?

“Pity.”

Mackenzie Wallace hopes there’s still some bad boy lurking beneath single father Danny Adams’s upright exterior. Being the proverbial good girl left her brokenhearted and alone in the past. Now she’s back in town and wants excitement with her high school crush—not love. Dan knows their connection runs deep, despite Mackenzie’s protests. But will their new personas work together—especially when Dan’s secret is exposed?

Review:

Good girl turned bad. Bad boy turned good. This trope was awesome. I loved the fact that they had a role reversal thing going on after Mackenzie, or Mack, returned home after having a really nasty divorce. Coming home to find out that the bad boy growing up was now a Sheriff of their small town? Priceless.

The slow burn was one of my favorite parts about this book. I think that Jo McNally did a phenomenal job creating that curiosity of what was going to happen and when. The romance was extremely realistic and I appreciated that. It could’ve gone the other route where I was rolling my eyes over the way Mack comes back to town, etc. I really didn’t find any flaws with that writing.

As someone who lives in an area where drugs are potent, this book hit too close to home. The small town vibes really showed me that maybe Jo McNally really understands what it’s currently like in today’s society when it comes to drugs and overdoses. On the other hand, the small town vibe did include the closeness and love within it as well. That was definitely something I could appreciate.

Overall, I think that the biggest takeaway that I got from this book was the fact that you can plan your life all you want, but it might not ever come out that way. Jo McNally really wrote an amazing book and if you are a homecoming romance lover, this is definitely a book you should read.