The Nanny by. Lana Ferguson | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Nanny

Author: Lana Ferguson

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 432

Publication Date: 4/11/23

Publisher: Berkley Books

Categories: Romance, Contemporary

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Thank you to Berkley Books for giving me a chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

A woman discovers the father of the child she is nannying may be her biggest (Only)Fan in this steamy contemporary romance by Lana Ferguson.

After losing her job and being on the brink of eviction, Cassie Evans finds herself with two choices: get a new job (and fast) or fire up her long-untouched OnlyFans account. But there are no jobs to be found, and as for OnlyFans. . . . Well, there are reasons she can’t go back. Just when all hope seems lost, an ad for a live-in nanny position seems the solution to all her problems. It’s almost too perfect—until she meets her would-be employer.

Aiden Reid, executive chef and DILF extraordinaire is far from the stuffy single dad Cassie was imagining. She is shocked when he tells her she’s the most qualified applicant he’s met in weeks, practically begging her to take the job. With hands that make her hindbrain howl and eyes that scream sex, the idea of living under the same roof as Aiden feels dangerous, but with no other option, she decides to stay with him and his adorably tenacious daughter, Sophie.

Cassie soon discovers that Aiden is not a stranger at all, but instead someone who is very familiar with her—or at least, her body. She finds herself at a loss for what to do, given that he doesn’t remember her. As their relationship heats to temperatures hotter than any kitchen Aiden has ever worked in, Cassie struggles with telling Aiden the truth, and the more terrifying possibility—losing the best chance at happiness she’s ever had.

Content Warning: mention of death of a parent

A single dad and the nanny? I was definitely interested to see what would happen here especially since the nanny had an OnlyFans account. Here’s what I thought:

+ If you like steamy, hot scenes – this book is definitely for you. From the recollections of Cassie’s OnlyFans sessions with her favorite client to her and Aiden getting it one. Oh boy…this one is on fire!

+ The single dad trope I thought was done pretty good. He’s busy and needs some help and Cassie is definitely qualified.

+ My favorite characters in this book are Sophie who is definitely a typical 9 year old, playing on her Switch and thinking kissing is gross. She’s had some trauma and a busy dad so I totally understood her reservations. Also Wanda, Cassie’s best friend, an elderly woman with so much spunk is hilarious.

~ As much as I enjoyed the smutty scenes and I like that Aiden and Cassie have a connection. I wanted them to connect on a deeper level. I just didn’t feel it and honestly, I did feel like Iris (Sophie’s aunt) was correct to be worried that Aiden didn’t do enough for Sophie. He barely spent time with his daughter in this story and if he did, and was a bit more protective of her, even when it came to Cassie who was new to their family – I have been more endeared to him I think? I give him credit for trying but as a character – I felt like he was not putting enough effort. And you’d think as a chef with a famous restaurant he’d at least cook something good for Cassie but he never does! I was waiting for some amazing meal scene or something along those lines.

~ The conversations between Aiden and Cassie got repetitive at times and lacked the kind of banter I love in a romance. It would start off okay and they do well in the bedroom but outside of the bedroom I felt like they needed better communication skills.

~ Cassie is a sweetheart but honestly, sometimes she got on my nerves because she knows what sleeping with her boss would do and especially in the eyes of Iris. I’m glad Wanda was there to tell her what is up because that girl needed some guidance. Also when Cassie decides to leave – did she not think how that would affect Sophie who’s mom just died? So leaving without a goodbye is a good decision? Just little things like that bugged me.

Tropes: single dad, dad and the nanny, one house

Why you should read it:

  • hot sex scenes
  • single dad trope, live-in nanny romance
  • Wanda is the best character

Why you might not want to read it:

  • repetitive and need better communication between the characters

My Thoughts:

I was not expecting the blush factor in this book, it’s got some steamy scenes which I enjoyed! I just wish the two main characters connected better outside of the bedroom as well as they did inside of it because as much as I enjoyed the smut, I was skipping a few of it at the ending because I wanted the emotional parts of these two characters. Also their conversations felt repetitive. My favorite character is Wanda, Cassie’s spunky friend who is the closest thing to family that she has. She brought a lot of the humor into the story. Overall I thought the book was still enjoyable despite the some of the issues I had with it.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


BLOG TOUR} The Perfumist of Paris by. Alka Joshi | Book Spotlight and Excerpt

Welcome to the blog tour for The Perfumist of Paris by. Alka Joshi!

Title: The Perfumist of Paris (The Jaipur Trilogy #3)

Author: Alka Joshi

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 3/28/23

Publisher: MIRA

BUY HERE: Harlequin | Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Target | Google | Apple | Kobo

Categories: Historical Fiction

“A stunning portrait of a woman blossoming into her full power…this is Alka Joshi’s best book yet!” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Diamond Eye

From the author of Reese’s Book Club Pick The Henna Artist, the final chapter in Alka Joshi’s New York Times bestselling Jaipur trilogy takes readers to 1970s Paris, where Radha’s budding career as a perfumer must compete with the demands of her family and the secrets of her past.

Paris, 1974. Radha is now living in Paris with her husband, Pierre, and their two daughters. She still grieves for the baby boy she gave up years ago, when she was only a child herself, but she loves being a mother to her daughters, and she’s finally found her passion—the treasure trove of scents.

She has an exciting and challenging position working for a master perfumer, helping to design completely new fragrances for clients and building her career one scent at a time. She only wishes Pierre could understand her need to work. She feels his frustration, but she can’t give up this thing that drives her.

Tasked with her first major project, Radha travels to India, where she enlists the help of her sister, Lakshmi, and the courtesans of Agra—women who use the power of fragrance to seduce, tease and entice. She’s on the cusp of a breakthrough when she finds out the son she never told her husband about is heading to Paris to find her—upending her carefully managed world and threatening to destroy a vulnerable marriage.


September 2, 1974

I pick up on the first ring; I know it’s going to be her. She always calls on his birthday. Not to remind me of the day he came into this world but to let me know I’m not alone in my remembrance.

“Jiji?” I keep my voice low. I don’t want to wake Pierre and the girls.

“Kaisa ho, choti behen?” my sister says. I hear the smile in her voice, and I respond with my own. It’s lovely to hear Lakshmi’s gentle Hindi here in my Paris apartment four thousand miles away. I’d always called her Jiji—big sister—but she hadn’t always called me choti behen. It was Malik who addressed me as little sister when I first met him in Jaipur eighteen years ago, and he wasn’t even related to Jiji and me by blood. He was simply her apprentice. My sister started calling me choti behen later, after everything in Jaipur turned topsy-turvy, forcing us to make a new home in Shimla.

Today, my sister will talk about everything except the reason she’s calling. It’s the only way she’s found to make sure I get out of bed on this particular date, to prevent me from spiraling into darkness every year on the second of September, the day my son, Niki, was born.

She started the tradition the first year I was separated from him, in 1957. I was just fourteen. Jiji arrived at my boarding school with a picnic, having arranged for the headmistress to excuse me from classes. We had recently moved from Jaipur to Shimla, and I was still getting used to our new home. I think Malik was the only one of us who adjusted easily to the cooler temperatures and thinner air of the Himalayan mountains, but I saw less of him now that he was busy with activities at his own school, Bishop Cotton.

I was in history class when Jiji appeared at the door and beckoned me with a smile. As I stepped outside the room, she said, “It’s such a beautiful day, Radha. Shall we take a hike?” I looked down at my wool blazer and skirt, my stiff patent leather shoes, and wondered what had gotten into her. She laughed and told me I could change into the clothes I wore for nature camp, the one our athletics teacher scheduled every month. I’d woken with a heaviness in my chest, and I wanted to say no, but one look at her eager face told me I couldn’t deny her. She’d cooked my favorite foods for the picnic. Makki ki roti dripping with ghee. Palak paneer so creamy I always had to take a second helping. Vegetable korma. And chole, the garbanzo bean curry with plenty of fresh cilantro.

That day, we hiked Jakhu Hill. I told her how I hated math but loved my sweet old teacher. How my roommate, Mathilde, whistled in her sleep. Jiji told me that Madho Singh, Malik’s talking parakeet, was starting to learn Punjabi words. She’d begun taking him to the Community Clinic to amuse the patients while they waited to be seen by her and Dr. Jay. “The hill people have been teaching him the words they use to herd their sheep, and he’s using those same words now to corral patients in the waiting area!” She laughed, and it made me feel lighter. I’ve always loved her laugh; it’s like the temple bells that worshippers ring to receive blessings from Bhagwan.

When we reached the temple at the top of the trail, we stopped to eat and watched the monkeys frolicking in the trees. A few of the bolder macaques eyed our lunch from just a few feet away. As I started to tell her a story about the Shakespeare play we were rehearsing after school, I stopped abruptly, remembering the plays Ravi and I used to rehearse together, the prelude to our lovemaking. When I froze, she knew it was time to steer the conversation into less dangerous territory, and she smoothly transitioned to how many times she’d beat Dr. Jay at backgammon.

“I let Jay think he’s winning until he realizes he isn’t,” Lakshmi grinned.

I liked Dr. Kumar (Dr. Jay to Malik and me), the doctor who looked after me when I was pregnant with Niki—here in Shimla. I’d been the first to notice that he couldn’t take his eyes off Lakshmi, but she’d dismissed it; she merely considered the two of them to be good friends. And here he and my sister have been married now for ten years! He’s been good for her—better than her ex-husband was. He taught her to ride horses. In the beginning, she was scared to be high off the ground (secretly, I think she was afraid of losing control), but now she can’t imagine her life without her favorite gelding, Chandra.

So lost am I in memories of the sharp scents of Shimla’s pines, the fresh hay Chandra enjoys, the fragrance of lime aftershave and antiseptic coming off Dr. Jay’s coat, that I don’t hear Lakshmi’s question. She asks again. My sister knows how to exercise infinite patience—she had to do it often enough with those society ladies in Jaipur whose bodies she spent hours decorating with henna paste.

I look at the clock on my living room wall. “Well, in another hour, I’ll get the girls up and make their breakfast.” I move to the balcony windows to draw back the drapes. It’s overcast today, but a little warmer than yesterday. Down below, a moped winds its way among parked cars on our street. An older gentleman, keys jingling in his palm, unlocks his shop door a few feet from the entrance to our apartment building. “The girls and I may walk a ways before we get on the Métro.”

“Won’t the nanny be taking them to school?”

Turning from the window, I explain to Jiji that we had to let our nanny go quite suddenly and the task of taking my daughters to the International School has fallen to me.

“What happened?”

It’s a good thing Jiji can’t see the color rise in my cheeks. It’s embarrassing to admit that Shanti, my nine-year-old daughter, struck her nanny on the arm, and Yasmin did what she would have done to one of her children back in Algeria: she slapped Shanti. Even as I say it, I feel pinpricks of guilt stab the tender skin just under my belly button. What kind of mother raises a child who attacks others? Have I not taught her right from wrong? Is it because I’m neglecting her, preferring the comfort of work to raising a girl who is presenting challenges I’m not sure I can handle? Isn’t that what Pierre has been insinuating? I can almost hear him say, “This is what happens when a mother puts her work before family.” I put a hand on my forehead. Oh, why did he fire Yasmin before talking to me? I didn’t even have a chance to understand what transpired, and now my husband expects me to find a replacement. Why am I the one who must find the solution to a problem I didn’t cause?

My sister asks how my work is going. This is safer ground. My discomfort gives way to excitement. “I’ve been working on a formula for Delphine that she thinks is going to be next season’s favorite fragrance. I’m on round three of the iteration. The way she just knows how to pull back on one ingredient and add barely a drop of another to make the fragrance a success is remarkable, Jiji.”

I can talk forever about fragrances. When I’m mixing a formula, hours can pass before I stop to look around, stretch my neck or step outside the lab for a glass of water and a chat with Celeste, Delphine’s secretary. It’s Celeste who often reminds me that it’s time for me to pick up the girls from school when I’m between nannies. And when I do have someone to look after the girls, Celeste casually asks what I’m serving for dinner, reminding me that I need to stop work and get home in time to feed them. On the days Pierre cooks, I’m only too happy to stay an extra hour before finishing work for the day. It’s peaceful in the lab. And quiet. And the scents—honey and clove and vetiver and jasmine and cedar and myrrh and gardenia and musk—are such comforting companions. They ask nothing of me except the freedom to envelop another world with their essence. My sister understands. She told me once that when she skated a reed dipped in henna paste across the palm, thigh or belly of a client to draw a Turkish fig or a boteh leaf or a sleeping baby, everything fell away—time, responsibilities, worries.

My daughter Asha’s birthday is coming up. She’s turning seven, but I know Jiji won’t bring it up. Today, my sister will refrain from any mention of birthdays, babies or pregnancies because she knows these subjects will inflame my bruised memories. Lakshmi knows how hard I’ve worked to block out the existence of my firstborn, the baby I had to give up for adoption. I’d barely finished grade eight when Jiji told me why my breasts were tender, why I felt vaguely nauseous. I wanted to share the good news with Ravi: we were going to have a baby! I’d been so sure he would marry me when he found out he was going to be a father. But before I could tell him, his parents whisked him away to England to finish high school. I haven’t laid eyes on him since. Did he know we’d had a son? Or that our baby’s name is Nikhil?

I wanted so much to keep my baby, but Jiji said I needed to finish school. At thirteen, I was too young to be a mother. What a relief it was when my sister’s closest friends, Kanta and Manu, agreed to raise the baby as their own and then offered to keep me as his nanny, his ayah. They had the means, the desire and an empty nursery. I could be with Niki all day, rock him, sing him to sleep, kiss his peppercorn toes, pretend he was all mine. It took me only four months to realize that I was doing more harm than good, hurting Kanta and Manu by wanting Niki to love only me.

When I was first separated from my son, I thought about him every hour of every day. The curl on one side of his head that refused to settle down. The way his belly button stuck out. How eagerly his fat fingers grasped the milk bottle I wasn’t supposed to give him. Having lost her own baby, Kanta was happy to feed Niki from her own breast. And that made me jealous—and furious. Why did she get to nurse my baby and pretend he was hers? I knew it was better for him to accept her as his new mother, but still. I hated her for it.

I knew that as long as I stayed in Kanta’s house, I would keep Niki from loving the woman who wanted to nurture him and was capable of caring for him in the long run. Lakshmi saw it, too. But she left the decision to me. So I made the only choice I could. I left him. And I tried my best to pretend he never existed. If I could convince myself that the hours Ravi Singh and I spent rehearsing Shakespeare—coiling our bodies around each other as Othello and Desdemona, devouring each other into exhaustion—had been a dream, surely I could convince myself our baby had been a dream, too.

And it worked. On every day but the second of September.

Ever since I left Jaipur, Kanta has been sending envelopes so thick I know what they contain without opening them: photos of Niki the baby, the toddler, the boy. I return each one, unopened, safe in the knowledge that the past can’t touch me, can’t splice my heart, can’t leave me bleeding.

The last time I saw Jiji in Shimla, she showed me a similar envelope addressed to her. I recognized the blue paper, Kanta’s elegant handwriting—letters like g and y looping gracefully—and shook my head. “When you’re ready, we can look at the photos together,” Jiji said.

But I knew I never would.

Today, I’ll make it through Niki’s seventeenth birthday in a haze, as I always do. I know tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow, I’ll be able to do what I couldn’t today. I’ll seal that memory of my firstborn as tightly as if I were securing the lid of a steel tiffin for my lunch, making sure that not a drop of the masala dal can escape.

Excerpted from The Perfumist of Paris by Alka Joshi © 2023 by Alka Joshi, used with permission from HarperCollins/MIRA Books.

About the Author:

Born in India and raised in the U.S. since she was nine, Alka Joshi has a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from California College of Arts. Joshi’s debut novel, The Henna Artist,  immediately became a NYT bestseller, a Reese Witherspoon Bookclub pick, was Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, & is in development as a TV series. Her second novel, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur (2021), is followed by The Perfumist of Paris (2023).Find her online at

Author Website: | TWITTER: @alkajoshi | FB: @alkajoshi2019 | Insta: @thealkajoshi


Right Girl, Wrong Side by. Ginny Baird | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Right Girl, Wrong Side

Author: Ginny Baird

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 352

Publication Date: 3/28/23

Publisher: Sourcebook Casablanca

Categories: Romance, Contemporary, One House

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Thank you to Sourcebook Casablanca for giving me a chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Ginny Baird brings her signature charm to this multicultural story about two disputing families sharing a beach house and the messiness that comes from falling in love with someone who your family is determined to despise.

Busy flower shop manager Evita Machado can’t wait to get to Nantucket. With a bad breakup behind her, relaxing at the shore with her folks and her brothers and their families sounds like the sure cure for heartache, and their vacation destination looks like an amazing place! But when they arrive at the quaint rose-covered cottage, another group has already put down stakes: the Hatfields.

Ryan Hatfield was Evita’s former crush from high school, but their business rival moms refused to let them date. Now history professor Ryan is here for a week with his parents, who won them this oceanfront rental in a society silent auction. Once it’s clear there’s been a double-booking due to a bidding mistake, Ryan’s mom digs in her heels, meaning to stay. When Evita’s mom won’t back down either, both sides tepidly agree to share the luxury accommodations by dividing the cozy space.

With the boisterous Machados livening things up and the strait-laced Hatfields tamping them down, can Evita and Ryan keep the peace between the warring factions while fostering a growing chemistry between the two of them?

Content Warning:

I thought this book cover looked really cute and the synopsis sounded like it would make for a good rom-com. This is what I thought:

+ Two families, two mom’s that hate each other, and two people who used to be close in high school are reunited accidentally in this book. They try to make the best of their vacation week by sharing one house and it’s almost a disaster. It’s definitely the type of book I was reading to the end to see what kind of chaos ensue and I was not disappointed.

+ Evita and Ryan was the level-headed ones of their families. Evita comes from a big, loud, tight-knit family and Ryan comes from a small, not so close, quiet family. Those two families clash but it’s mostly because of the mothers who have it out for one another due to a high school feud of their own! I loved Evita’s brothers and their families Talk about chaos, but I relate all too well.

+ The romance between Evita and Ryan is really sweet. They were good friends in high school, both crushing on one another without the other knowing. But it seems like the stars have aligned, or good timing, because both of them are free to date one another now, if they want to pursue it. And they do. This is a sweet romance, all we get is some kisses between them, nothing more but I think it works.

+ I love the theme of family in this story. Evita’s family is more tighter, but she still had to beg her mom to back off and let her be independent when it comes to wanting to hang out with Ryan. As for Ryan he had to have a major family meeting with his. But in the end it’s a very happy ending.

~ The mom’s are basically the ones acting like petty young girls, but I thought it was funny. I’m just glad they finally acted adult enough to bury the hatchet by the end.

Tropes: one house, rival families

Why you should read it:

  • you want a sweet romance, two families under one house with lots of chaos, but a very happy ending

Why you might not want to read it:

  • the moms are a bit petty, and fought over the silliest things

My Thoughts:

I thought this was a cute story and I loved seeing how different the two families were and how they warmed up to one another by the end. It does have two moms arguing about the smallest things but that’s as far as the drama goes in the story. Overall it was funny, and the romance was really sweet. I look forward to reading more books from this author.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Nevermore Bookstore by. Kerrigan Bryne and Cynthia St. Aubin | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Nevermore Bookstore (Townsend Harbor, #1)

Author: Kerrigan Byrne & Cynthia St. Aubin

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 363

Publication Date: 3/28/23

Publisher: Oliver Heber Books

Categories: Romance, Contemporary, Mystery, Dark Romance

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Thank you to Oliver Heber Books for giving me a chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Cadence “Cady” Bloomquist knows two things for sure: First, shelving books at her shop, Nevermore Bookstore, totally counts as cardio. Second, staying late every Thursday night to take a certain mysterious customer’s order is not the same as waiting by the phone for some man.


Until the calls with the man who identifies himself only as “Fox” last for hours, and become the highlight of her week. Which leaves her to wonder, if his jagged velvet voice can kindle her fire over the phone, what sort of alchemy might it inspire if they met in person?

There’s nothing Roman Fawkes wants more than the brilliant, beautiful bookstore owner, but Roman Fawkes knows it can never happen. Secreted in his mountain hideaway high above sleepy little Townsend Harbor, his hermit’s existence shields him–and those around him–from the pain of his past.


Until one of their weekly calls is interrupted by a break-in, and Fawkes is powerless to protect the woman who has become his one link to the world. Orchestrating a trap for the fool who dared harm her, Fawkes finds himself not just ensnared, but beguiled by her. Now so close to Cady, he discovers she’s fallen for “Fox”, and yet he’s unable to reveal her heart’s desire is closer than she thinks.

Can Fawkes resist the temptation to get between Cady’s covers, knowing they’ll never have a happily ever after?

Content Warning: PTSD, torture scenes in a memory

What caught my eye for this book was the cover and title. I’d say this is one of those instances where the cover made me think this would be a rom-com. Here’s what I thought:

+ Yes there are fun, light-hearted moments in this book but that’s mostly with Cady. She has ankylosing spondylitis and suffers from the pain of it but despite that she’s a sunshine girl. Cady is positive and living life. Whereas her romantic interest, Fox, is the opposite. Grumpy? YES. But with so much baggage, trauma, and suffers from major PTSD. His character threw me off in the beginning and I was wondering if this was a paranormal romance and he was a werewolf or something! Boy, was I wrong, but Fox is almost feral in this book. But opposites attract in this one and there is no shortage of chemistry between them.

+ I love the small town and how Cady runs a bookstore. She and Fox actually bond because of their love of books. But I love Cady’s friends Gemma, Myrtle, and Vee, they were all so funny together.

+ The romance between Cady and Fox was really heart melting after all the kinks they had to iron out. And it was a lot – it’s heavy, because of Fox’s PTSD. But I like that Cady fought to keep this guy, there is something beautiful about fighting for love. I like that these two people, strangers over the phone really, are each fighting their own battles and in the end decide they want to fight together. Also their sex scenes are steamy and hot!

~ This is a dark romance because Fox goes through some bad stuff and he dreams about it. I really couldn’t figure him out in the first part of the book, I couldn’t understand what the deal was with him. He’s a hermit in the woods, he seems like he’s on the verge of going out of his head – hence why I thought maybe he was a werewolf and this was a paranormal romance! There isn’t anything wrong with him dealing with PTSD, I just wasn’t expecting how hard he would deal with it. I really felt for him.

~ Because of the way they meet, and Fox is basically some guy in the woods – when he does come to be around Cady to protect her, it comes off a little suspect, like he’s stalking her. He doesn’t disclose who he is because he’s not good for her, but he sticks around a few days to make sure she is okay. He even watches her through binoculars so if that bothers you then this story isn’t for you.

~ The mystery part in this book I think didn’t flow as well for me? I was invested in Cady and Fox and the mystery of who HE is. But some things were happening at the bookstore that I felt like wasn’t something pushed to the forefront of the story. So by the time it’s dealt with at the end, it’s just some loose end that needs to be tied up and it is taken care of nicely.

Tropes: small town, sunshine girl/grumpy broken guy

Why you should read it:

  • set in a small town, at a bookstore owned by a sunshine girl with an autoimmune disease
  • fun secondary characters – Cady’s best friends
  • Cady and Fox’s romance – and how they try to help themselves and one another by the end of the book

Why you might not want to read it:

  • it’s darker than the cartoonish cover lets on! I liked the spotlight on Fox’s PTSD but it’s not a light-hearted read – I think it was trying to toe the line between light-hearted and dark. It worked for me but may not work for everyone.

My Thoughts:

After the initial rocky start of the book (mostly because Fox), I think I fell in love with Cady and Fox – especially when the truth comes out. Cady’s life in her small town, her book store and her close knit friends was perfect for her and her personality. Fox fit his surroundings also, because he really was on the edge of giving up, and he was going to give up in the woods but I didn’t know that until later. So like Cady, I didn’t understand him, until he let his guard down. But I loved the two of them together and glad they have a happy ending. The story is like a balance between light-hearted and dark romance and I enjoyed it. It looks like this is going to be a series so I hope the next love story is Gemma’s or Ethan’s? I look forward to reading more from this duo.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon

Play the Fool by. Lina Chern | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Play the Fool

Author: Lina Chern

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 320

Publication Date: 3/28/23

Publisher: Bantam

Categories: Mystery, Contemporary, Fiction

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Thank you to Bantam for giving me a chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

A cynical tarot card reader seeks to uncover the truth about her friend’s mysterious death in this delightfully clever whodunit.

For Katie True, a keen gut and quick wit are just tools of the trade. After a failed attempt at adulting in Chicago, she’s back in the suburbs living a bit too close to her overbearing parents, jumping from one dead-end job to the next, and flipping through her tarot deck for guidance. Then along comes Marley.

Mysterious, worldly, and comfortable in her own skin, Marley takes a job at the mall where Katie peddles Russian tchotchkes. The two just get each other. Marley doesn’t try to fix Katie’s life or pretend to be someone she’s not, and Katie thinks that with Marley’s friendship she just might make it through this rough patch after all. So one day, having been encouraged by Marley to practice soothsaying, Katie reads tarot for someone who stumbles into her shop. But when she sneaks a glance at his phone, she finds more than just clairvoyant intel. She finds a photo. Of Marley. With a gunshot wound to the head.

The bottom falls out of Katie’s world. Her best friend is dead? Who killed her? She quickly realizes there are some things her tarot cards can’t foresee, and she must put her razor-sharp instincts to the ultimate test. But the truth has deadly consequences, and Katie’s recklessness lands her in the crossfire of a threat she never saw coming. Now Katie must use her street smarts and her inner Strength card to solve Marley’s murder–or risk losing everything.

Content Warning: violence

I’m not a big fan of mystery books – it’s usually a hit or miss for me because if the story is slow and drags I will lose interest fast. But I wanted to take a chance on this one because of the cool cover and the whole tarot card reading. Here is what I thought:

+ I was pleasantly surprised with how much this story captured my attention. Katie is an under achiever and so good at it but I didn’t really feel sorry for her because she was quirky, she still tried to live on her own even if it was a dump, she loves her brother a lot (I love Owen!) and I love their connection and she was genuinely nice to people even if she sort of knew how to lie to them when card reading.

+ I like when Katie tries to find her friend’s killer and befriends a cop who has a past – he’s hard to read which is not normal for her, but I like their friendship a lot. Is there a romance brewing between them? I don’t know because it stays in the friend zone but I like that they get to know each other and have great banter. They need one another but the romance and feelings are not the focus in this book.

+ I enjoyed the twists in the story. I went along for the ride and was really interested to know how Marley (the dead friend) died and how everything fit in the puzzle. I was entertained until the very end!

~ Katie is kind of lost, she goes from job to job and she is a tarot reader but the story only has her do one major reading. I kind of wanted to see her do more because I find tarot reading fascinating and just wanted to see more of it in the story. I liked how she read people in her mind upon meeting them though.

~ Katie herself isn’t a cop but after the “bad guys” first start following her and warning her – I would have thought they (Jaime and the cops) would be more vigilant about protecting her. Also I was wondering why if the bad guys were so bad, they just didn’t kidnap Katie and rip that necklace off her. She wore on her person for awhile – so I thought those guys showed a lot of restraint and was expecting them to do worse to her.

Why you should read it:

  • entertaining whodunit story about an under-achiever who gets caught in the middle of a bad situation
  • love Katie’s relationship with Owen and her growing friendship with Jamie
  • fun twist and turns

Why you might not want to read it:

  • I like it because it was fun for me but I’m not usually a mystery lover. Most mysteries that people love – I find boring, so my judgment of this book might be way off for someone who already loves reading mysteries. Basically – take my review with a grain of salt if you are a die-hard mystery fan.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this one more than I thought I would! I love Katie’s quirky, chaotic, messy character, even though her living conditions stressed me out. I love her relationship with her brother Owen and her growing relationship with Jamie, the cop with a traumatic past. And overall I had fun trying to guess who killed Marley and seeing where the story went – which was into a place I didn’t even expect. My minor issues with the book only came with me wanting more tarot reading in the story since Katie is a tarot reader. Other than that I thought for someone who doesn’t love mysteries, this was a fun read.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

In Nightfall by. Suzanne Young | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: In Nightfall

Author: Suzanne Young

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 384

Publication Date: 3/28/23

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Categories: Young Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Thank you to Delacorte Press for giving me a chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

In the quaint town of Nightfall, Oregon, it isn’t the dark you should be afraid of—it’s the girls. The Lost Boys meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this propulsive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Treatment.

Theo and her brother, Marco, threw the biggest party of the year. And got caught. Their punishment? Leave Arizona to spend the summer with their grandmother in the rainy beachside town of Nightfall, Oregon—population 846 souls.

The small town is cute, when it’s not raining, but their grandmother is superstitious and strangely antisocial. Upon their arrival she lays out the one house rule: always be home before dark. But Theo and Marco are determined to make the most of their summer, and on their first day they meet the enigmatic Minnow and her friends. Beautiful and charismatic, the girls have a magnetic pull that Theo and her brother can’t resist.

But Minnow and her friends are far from what they appear.
And that one rule? Theo quickly realizes she should have listened to her grandmother. Because after dark, something emerges in Nightfall. And it doesn’t plan to let her leave.

Content Warning: underage drinking

I was definitely interested in this book because of the book cover and the synopsis. The Lost Boys meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Yes! Here’s what I thought:

+ I like the mysteriousness of the Oregon town, Nightfall. Something seems off to Theo but she doesn’t know what it is. I love the setting and I did like the addition of the paranormal podcasters which sets the tone for something spooky and amiss possibly going on in Nightfall.

+ I like the Theo and Marco sibling connection. I got a good sense of their family bond and the recent challenges in their broken family. And I like how Theo fights for Marco when things start to hit the fan.

+ The story moves quick and I thought it was an easy read.

~ Some issues I had with the story was that I wanted more action, wanted more danger, and wanted more tension. The villains didn’t come off super dangerous until the end climactic scene. I like my vamps to be dangerous – I want to be scared, but I wasn’t.

~ I didn’t get why Theo’s grandmother was so hostile and couldn’t help them out by telling them more about the town. If it’s to keep everything mysterious, it didn’t work, it just made me frustrated. She comes through in the end but honestly a little heads up on some of the things going in town would’ve been helpful to Theo and Marco.

Tropes: small town

Why you should read it:

  • set in a small town, a gender-bent The Lost Boys (vampires)
  • quick, easy read, lots of mystery and in the end some vampire slaying

Why you might not want to read it:

  • for me, I just wanted more from the story- more action, more danger

My Thoughts:

This was an okay read for me but I love the cover and the nods to The Lost Boys and Buffy. I just wish it had more spooky vibes and more danger but overall it was entertaining.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Lunar Love by. Lauren Kung Jessen | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Lunar Love

Author: Lauren Kung Jessen

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 336

Publication Date: 1/11/23

Categories: Romance, Contemporary

This sweet, enemies-to-lovers debut rom-com filled with Chinese astrology will undoubtedly prove to be a perfect match with readers of Helen Hoang, Jasmine Guillory, and Helena Hunting.

Always a matchmaker, never a match…

Olivia Huang Christenson is excited-slash-terrified to be taking over her grandmother’s matchmaking business. But when she learns that a new dating app has made her Pó Po’s traditional Chinese zodiac approach all about “animal attraction,” her emotions skew more toward furious-slash-outraged. Especially when L.A.’s most-eligible bachelor Bennett O’Brien is behind the app that could destroy her family’s legacy . . .

            Liv knows better than to fall for any guy, let alone an infuriatingly handsome one who believes that traditions are meant to be broken. As the two businesses go head to head, Bennett and Liv make a deal: they’ll find a match for each other—and whoever falls in love loses. But Liv is dealing with someone who’s already adept at stealing business ideas . . . so what’s stopping him from stealing her heart too?

Content Warning: death of family member

I love this book cover and thought the concept for the story was cute. Here is what I thought:

+ I like Olivia and her connection to her family. It is evident there is so much love between her and her family who run a successful matchmaking company that uses the Chinese zodiac to make these matches.

+ I like how the matchmaking services in the book show the old school ways, which Olivia’s family is expert in and then the modern version of dating – with an app. Bennett’s way is more technologically advanced and also uses the Chinese zodiac but is missing the personal touch. Olivia thinks Bennet is encroaching on her family business but is there room for both of their companies in the matchmaking world?

+ I loved all the Chinese references from the food, the holidays and the zodiac.

~ Unfortunately I was bored midway into this story. The beginning started off well but for me it lost steam when Olivia was plotting Bennett’s downfall without knowing his intentions for his own company.

~ I was hoping for more sparks between Olivia and Bennett.

Tropes: rivals to lovers, slow burn, false pretenses

Why you should read it:

  • modern dating vs. old school matchmaking discussions
  • slow burn, rivals to lovers
  • love the Chinese cultural references with family, traditions, food and the zodiac

Why you might not want to read it:

  • I wanted more sparks between the MC’s

My Thoughts:

I don’t know if I just wasn’t in the right mood for this book but I thought it was just okay. But I think because I was in the mood for sparks and tension this one didn’t quite do it for me. I did like a lot of things about it though – Olivia’s family, her grandmother, the Chinese cultural references and I like the discussion about matchmaking. I think a lot of romance readers will enjoy this one!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon

Where Darkness Blooms by. Andrea Hannah | ARC Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Title: Where Darkness Blooms

Author: Andrea Hannah

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 320

Publication Date: 2/21/23

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Categories: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery, LGBT+, Horror, Magical Realism

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Thank you to Wednesday Books for giving me a chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Andrea Hannah’s Where Darkness Blooms is a supernatural thriller about an eerie town where the sunflowers whisper secrets and the land hungers for blood.

The town of Bishop is known for exactly two things: recurring windstorms and an endless field of sunflowers that stretches farther than the eye can see. And women—missing women. So when three more women disappear one stormy night, no one in Bishop is surprised. The case is closed and their daughters are left in their dusty shared house with the shattered pieces of their lives. Until the wind kicks up a terrible secret at their mothers’ much-delayed memorial.

With secrets come the lies each of the girls is forced to confront. After caring for the other girls, Delilah would like to move on with her boyfriend, Bennett, but she can’t bear his touch. Whitney has already lost both her mother and her girlfriend, Eleanor, and now her only solace is an old weathervane that seems to whisper to her. Jude, Whitney’s twin sister, would rather ignore it all, but the wind kicks up her secret too: the summer fling she had with Delilah’s boyfriend. And more than anything, Bo wants answers and she wants them now. Something happened to their mothers and the townsfolk know what it was. She’s sure of it.

Bishop has always been a strange town. But what the girls don’t know is that Bishop was founded on blood—and now it craves theirs.

Content Warning: rape, violence

I wanted to read something creepy and look at this cover – it’s totally creepy. This is what I thought of the story:

+ I like the four different main characters. Four girls, who’s mothers are gone/missing or dead – the town assumes they are dead. So these four girls: Bo, Whitney, Jude and Delilah all live together and basically are trying to move on with their lives. They had distinct personalities and their lives are intertwined with certain events that culminated at a bon fire party. There is a big mystery in this story and these girls are the ones trying to figure out what is going on. I like the feminism theme in the story

+ The town of Bishop is strange. Women and girls go missing or end up dead every few months – but why? There is no “hospital” even though one of the girls had to be brought to one. There are the Harding boys who seem like they are the popular boys in school who can get whatever they want, but what they is to mess with these girls. There are these random storms or tornados but they are in a small town so that doesn’t seem totally mysterious…or is it? And what’s with the sunflowers?

~ A few things didn’t work for me – I was thrown into the story and left to figure things out. And it took me awhile to care about what was going on in this town. All I knew was that the boys were awful and two of the girls were in love with one of these awful boys, and that sucked. I knew right away this town was killing it’s women, but why? And why didn’t anyone else in town care about missing women?

~ I’ve read a few books similar to this but I don’t think I enjoyed the execution of this one. Everything is a big mystery but it didn’t creep me out as much as I wanted it to and it had all the potential to do so. I didn’t know what the connection was to the tornados, sunflowers and missing women and when the mystery is revealed I wasn’t super surprised. I wanted to know more about the town and get a better feel for the people, even the villains. I just wanted more from the story and I wanted to be spooked. Sunflower fields and a strange, small town with missing women has such a big potential to scare me, but this didn’t.

Why you should read it:

  • you like lite-horror and magical realism
  • the feminism message in the story

Why you might not want to read it:

  • didn’t scare me enough
  • slow start

My Thoughts:

This one didn’t work for me. I liked the concept and I like the creepy town, and the sunflowers fields, but it wasn’t as scary as I was expecting. I also feel like the story just didn’t flow easily. The bright spot for me in the story is the one about the girls working together to figure out why the women were going missing. The girls survive what is coming for them together, which is awesome, especially because it is such a dark story.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Sister’s Big Fat Indian Wedding by. Sajni Patel | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: My Sister’s Big Fat Indian Wedding

Author: Sajni Patel

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 4/19/22

Categories: Romance, Young Adult, Teens, Indian Wedding, Family, Coming of Age, Contemporary

A fresh, witty rom-com romp set against the backdrop of a high-profile music competition and a riotous Indian wedding

Zurika Damani is a naturally gifted violinist with a particular love for hip hop beats. But when you’re part of a big Indian family, everyone has expectations, and those certainly don’t include hip hop violin. After being rejected by Juilliard, Zuri’s last hope is a contest judged by a panel of top tier college scouts. The only problem? This coveted competition happens to take place during Zuri’s sister’s extravagant wedding week. And Zuri has already been warned, repeatedly, that she is not to miss a single moment.

In the midst of the chaos, Zuri’s mom is in matchmaking mode with the groom’s South African cousin Naveen—who just happens to be a cocky vocalist set on stealing Zuri’s spotlight at the scouting competition. Luckily Zuri has a crew of loud and loyal female cousins cheering her on. Now, all she has to do is to wow the judges for a top spot, evade getting caught by her parents, resist Naveen’s charms, and, oh yeah . . . not mess up her sister’s big fat Indian wedding. What could possibly go wrong?

Check out this book cover! It is so vibrant that it caught my eye and I had to borrow it. This is what I thought:

+ This is a coming of age book set around Zurika’s older sister’s wedding. Zurika is thinking about college, thinking about her love of music and trying not to disappoint her family.

+ I love that this is set around an Indian wedding! I love weddings and I love learning about other cultures and how they celebrate weddings. I could just picture the colors of the celebration and the food. I think it’s beautiful how an Indian wedding is centered around tradition and family.

+ Outside of Zurika’s coming of age challenges, this story is about family. Zurika has cousins who help her try to get to an audition and encourage her musical talents. Her parents and the elders of course want her to pursue law or medicine but eventually they let her make her own choices with the help of Zurika’s sisters standing up for her. I love that her family is complex and relatable. I love how much fun she has with her cousins!

+ The romance between Zurika and Naveen is super sweet! They go from strangers, to friends, to a little something more and it’s cute.

~ So the wedding celebrations take place in the span of one week, and so this is a bit of insta-like. I won’t say love because clearly it’s not there…yet.

Why you should read it:

  • you get to learn about Indian weddings and the fun they have with all the celebrations leading up to the actual wedding
  • a sweet romance
  • perfect for teens – Zurika is relatable

Why you might not want to read it:

  • I think it’s more geared towards teens – but it’s still a cute story

My Thoughts:

I think this is a cute story with some Indian wedding celebration fun and a sweet romance. I love that it centers around family and it’s got a beautiful book cover.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

First Quiver by. Beth C. Greenberg | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: First Quiver (#1)

Author: Beth C. Greenberg

Format: paperback (gifted)

Pages: 302

Publication Date: 1/25/21

Publisher: Isotopia Publishing

Categories: Contemporary, Romance, Greek Mythology, Humor, Series, LGBT+

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Thank you to Beth C. Greenberg for giving me a chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

Immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially for the 3,375-year-old virgin of Mount Olympus.

Day after day, the God of Love launches his arrows, then watches from the sidelines while everyone else has all the fun. On a mischievous whim, Cupid sends a love-tipped arrow into the wrong rump—and the gods sentence him to a taste of his own medicine.

Banished from the only home he’s ever known, Cupid plunges to Earth and lands in present-day Tarra, Indiana, where mortals go on about their daily routines, oblivious to the capricious gods stirring the pot from above. Delighted to discover his wings and pubescent pudge have been transformed into a magnificent human body, Cupid swiftly leaves his virginity behind.

But his carnal spree is cut short when he falls passionately in love for the first time in his immortal life, and he understands the full measure of his punishment: he must find the Right Love match for the mortal he desperately loves, and then he must let her go.

Caught between two worlds on a quest to fix Love, Cupid must survive the violent throes of his own coming of age and triumph over the powerful gods conspiring against him. Failure will not be tolerated; success will cost him everything.

First Quiver is an irreverent, contemporary twist on mythology and the struggle between duty and love, a battle as old as the gods themselves.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, First Quiver, but I like greek mythology so here’s what I thought:

+ This is a light-hearted, humorous and steamy story about Cupid falling from grace (onto Earth). Cupid is basically unleashed among humans and is learning about sex and trying to learn about love.

+ I thought it was interesting how it Cupid’s job as “cupid” to find the perfect love for the woman he’s now fallen in love with. What a conundrum! It was funny how Pan, his friend, was always trying to get Cupid back on track. I enjoyed all the greek mythology aspect of this book.

+ The supporting cast with the other fallen greek gods was interesting, especially Pan. Now Cupid may be losing his virginity to women, but what is this chemistry he has with his friend Pan? I was actually rooting for the two of them to get together! Cupid hooks up with women but there is an attraction and flirtation with Pan.

~ Story-wise I did like the humor but I wanted something more to happen. I know it’s a light-hearted read and it’s perfect for a quick reading experience. But I wanted to see what would happen with Cupid and Pan’s relationship. I wonder if the two of them hook up in the next book? This is a series so there is no full conclusion at the end of this first book – Cupid’s journey in love and lust continues in the next book

Why you should read it:

  • you want to read a light-hearted, humorous, steamy romance
  • you like greek mythology

Why you might not want to read it:

  • not into greek mythology or romance

My Thoughts:

If you are into greek mythology and want a light-hearted, steamy, romance book, definitely try this one!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon