NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – APRIL 21, 2020

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


TIME OF OUR LIVES by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka is “a reflective, romantic coming-of-age novel that explores life after high school –perfect for fans of Fangirl and Emergency Contact.”

GIRL GONE VIRAL by Alisha Rai was the second in her latest series and took a reclusive millionaire (heroine) and her bodyguard out into the world. Great diversity and chemistry in this book.


Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!

GIRL GONE VIRAL by Alisha Rai

In Alisha Rai’s second novel in her Modern Love series, a live-tweet event goes viral for a camera-shy ex-model, shoving her into the spotlight—and into the arms of the bodyguard she’d been pining for.

OMG! Wouldn’t it be adorable if he’s her soulmate???

I don’t see any wedding rings [eyes emoji]

Breaking: #CafeBae and #CuteCafeGirl went to the bathroom AT THE SAME TIME!!!


One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a hot guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire episode with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae is the new hashtag-du-jour. The problem? Katrina craves a low-profile life, and going viral threatens the peaceful world she’s painstakingly built. Besides, #CafeBae isn’t the man she’s hungry for…

He’s got a [peach emoji] to die for.

With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard, friend, and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to his family’s home. Alone in a remote setting with the object of her affections? It’s a recipe for romance. But after a long dating dry spell, Katrina isn’t sure she can trust her instincts when it comes to love—even if Jas’ every look says he wants to be more than just her bodyguard… 


Title : Girl Gone Viral
Author : Alisha Rai
Series : Modern Love #2
Format : eARC
Page Count : 400
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Avon Books
Release Date : April 21, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

GIRL GONE VIRAL was a stronger second title in the Modern Love Series, it was all cute couple and story. I already knew that I was going to like Katrina from book one and this introverted and secluded woman had lots of mystery shrouding her but she was genuine, lovely and easy to side with.

Her bodyguard and head security guy, Jas had been with her for years and they had a caring yet professional relationship dynamic. I loved watching them interact and tip toe around their similarly fully developed feelings that they kept shrouded from one another.

The story took an interesting turn when Jas’ family came into the mix and it was a rich, funny and quirky element to the story. I liked how this prompted a re-evaluation of their professional friendship. The storyline in general was interesting with a side of predictability and ease.

GIRL GONE VIRAL was diverse to its foundations. It had good mental health representation but I would have loved to have got a bit deeper into both Jas’ and Katrina’s issues. I wanted more than the surface of how they dealt with their issues on a daily basis.

This was a story that I enjoyed but I didn’t love. I am definitely here for the series, as this was better than book one and I hope to see that upward trend continue.

Thank you to Avon Books and Edelweiss for the early review copy.

LOVE LETTERING by Kate Clayborn – double review!

We’re reblogging LOVE LETTERING by Kate Clayborn as this is now a double review. It’s another chalk and cheese!

A Take from Two Cities

In this warm and witty romance from acclaimed author Kate Clayborn, one little word puts one woman’s business—and her heart—in jeopardy . . .

Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing beautiful custom journals for New York City’s elite. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Like the time she sat across from Reid Sutherland and his gorgeous fiancée, and knew their upcoming marriage was doomed to fail. Weaving a secret word into their wedding program was a little unprofessional, but she was sure no one else would spot it. She hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid . . .

A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out—before he leaves New York for good—how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline, a fractured friendship, and a…

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ROSEMARY AND RUE by Seanan McGuire

October “Toby” Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas… 

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening’s dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening’s killer. 


Title : Rosemary and Rue
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book one)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 346
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 1, 2009

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

A few friends have been waiting very patiently (hah!) for me to start this series and I turned down a reread to start a (as of the writing of this post) thirteen book series, with seventeen listed on GR plus a handful of novellas/shorts, to do so. That’s love right there. Particularly in this panslumpic times. Shoutout to Milana and Flavia for already enduring my commentary in the group chat after only one book.

As for the book itself, well, I liked it! It did fall into some familiar patterns, which is fine, but I did find myself comparing it to the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, which is much beloved by I, and I need to get my head to stop doing that. This was a solid opener into this fae urban mash-up and the way we are introduced to October is, well, kind of heartbreaking. Also very unique. A changeling, and low on the totem pole when it comes to fae hierarchy, she is trapped as a fish for over fourteen years, and emerges into a world she once knew but, even with the long lasting years of the fae, so many have moved on; including her very human child and fiancé. Talk about a hook!

The story evolves into a murder mystery, with betrayal, debts to cash in at a later date, tantalizing hints from potential allies.. and also some little insights into October’s background, insights she might be unaware of. Obviously with so many books already out, and more to come, I imagine not all will be revealed right away. And that’s totally cool.

My one real complaint about this is that it did seem to be leaning into the ‘everyone wants the MC’ shtick and while one avenue has very decidedly closed at the end of this book, thank god, there’s still a few more potentials lurking in the background. Well, one less, but still. Again, I imagine this will be dragged out to get the shippers into a frenzy (I have already committed to one direction and that was after, like, 20% of the first book, oy, I’m probably in for it..) but, sorry to bring this up again, I hope things go the way of the Kate Daniels series in the romantic department.

As I’m going to be deep diving into a binge, I hope to see more groundwork laid out for my (it’s way too early to be calling this, you utter idiot) endgame, and less nonsense with anyone else, but I’m also excited to see more from this world. And I can’t wait to finally get to the installment that turns this from a like into love. No pressure..

AFTER THE CLIMB by Kristen Ashley

They were the Three Amigos: Duncan Holloway, Imogen Swan and Corey Szabo. Two young boys with difficult lives at home banding together with a cool girl who didn’t mind mucking through the mud on their hikes.

They grew up to be Duncan Holloway, activist, CEO and face of the popular River Rain outdoor stores, Imogen Swan, award-winning actress and America’s sweetheart, and Corey Szabo, ruthless tech billionaire.

Rich and very famous, they would learn the devastating knowledge of how the selfish acts of one would affect all their lives.

And the lives of those they loved.

Start the River Rain series with After the Climb, the story of Duncan and Imogen navigating their way back to each other, decades after a fierce betrayal.

And introduce yourself to their families, who will have their stories told when River Rain continues.

This series was started with the help of you, my readers, during the pandemic crisis of COVID-19. The first book in this series is free, a gift to my Chicklets for their loyalty and support over the years, and a project we all banded together to produce during a challenging time. Thank you for years of kindness and encouragement. I hope you enjoy what we built together.

Please note: This book is a love letter to my readers, a project we worked on together, and as such, for the time being, will only be available right here on my website. In time, I will put it on vendors to be made available widely, but now, it’s just for you.


Title : After the Climb
Author : Kristen Ashley
Series : River Rain #1
Format : ebook
Page Count : unknown
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : April 4, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Micky’s 2.5 – 3 star review

It’s been a while since I’ve given a new KA release a chance and this freebie caught my eye. Side note: I was once a fan of KA but grew out of her writing style and alpha males but I still like some of my old favourites. AFTER THE CLIMB engaged my interest quickly with a story that was all about second chances, one of my favourite tropes.

I’m not going to rehash the story for you but I am going to explain what worked and what didn’t work for me. Character-wise, I liked the two main characters a lot and this fact carried me to completion of the book. I liked the family but how KA wrote the family I will return to. The male MC was not an alpha, and the ‘babes’ were kept to a minimum. I think the blending of the family that was central to this story, was fun but also somewhat unrealistic. The second chance romance was kind of lovely and light.

Now to the writing, having read so many KA books, I do know what I am getting into but unfortunately, what happens for me, is that the writing style stops me from sinking into the story. The robotic (thank you, Hollis) dialogue style that follows a unique KA formula does not float my boat.

But he looked how he looked. And he did what he did.

There’s a lot of these nonsensical statements along the way which I think is supposed to be endearing, but I have lost my love. Back to how the family was written, the family together were chaos but the dialogue with the family together was a disaster. I read numerous pages again and again, to try and grasp what was going on. Everyone was so humourous, everyone was so quippy.

All the above said, this wasn’t an awful book. I’m actually interested in future characters because it was a good story but whether I have to chops to throw myself back into the writing remains to be seen.

You can download this free book here.

IT’S NOT ME, IT’S YOU by Mhairi McFarlane

Delia Moss isn’t quite sure where she went wrong.

When she proposed and discovered her boyfriend was sleeping with someone else – she thought it was her fault.

When she realised life would never be the same again – she thought it was her fault.

And when he wanted her back like nothing had changed – Delia started to wonder if perhaps she was not to blame…

From Newcastle to London and back again, with dodgy jobs, eccentric bosses and annoyingly handsome journalists thrown in, Delia must find out where her old self went – and if she can ever get her back.


Title : It’s Not Me, It’s You
Author : Mhairi McFarlane
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 545
Genre : women’s fiction/romance
Publisher : HarperCollins
Release Date : November 6, 2014

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3.5 star review

At the onset of writing this review I was still hmm’ing and haw’ing over my rating for this one (but by the time you see if it’ll have a nice shiny star value up above) because sadly I’m still comparing everything to DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME. This had a similar ish vibe to McFarlane’s latest, IF I NEVER MET YOU, in regards to where our leading lady finds herself relationship-wise at the beginning of the book but things spiral out much differently and I appreciated that.

Compared to the usual idiots I meet, he wasn’t a git. He was pleasant. He was.. benign.”
Tumours can be benign.”
That is so fucking deep! Write that down.”

I found this one easier to connect to on the emotional front than I did her latest, and I loved the complexity she made in the story’s romantic villain (I have to quantify this because there’s an actual villain). That’s the thing about this author’s books; I’m discovering that you may not always enjoy the journey, or love every second of it, but it’s all so painfully real and genuine and complex. You can’t fault her for that. This one did err a bit into the unreality with regard to where our lady finds herself along the journey to self-discovery and reflection and it was that bit I didn’t quite love. But it did get us on the road to the end game.

Oof. One night with you and he’s turned into a love-letter writer. You must have an incredible pelvic floor.

Additionally, I also appreciated how this could’ve gone an obvious route with regards to romance but it took a left turn along the way and I like that McFarlane made us wait a bit instead of just giving us the first available option. Well done.

So, again, yes, I enjoyed, one bit even had me howling so loud and long they probably heard me in the UK, but all around love, full body sobs of sadness or joy or both? Not quite and no. It does deserve a round up, though, because ontop of everything good or great mentioned? We have yet another fantastic female duo of besties, a delightfully awkward but also beautiful family dynamic (shout out to Ralph because he’s amazing!), and one of the best love letters I’ve had the pleasure to read. Delia might not have been my favourite McFarlane heroine (Georgie4ever), but I have absolutely no regrets about reading this or spending time with these characters.

FIVE ON OUR TBRS

We’ve found that breaking down our tbrs can be something that inspires us to pick up reads hidden or briefly forgotten. ‘Five on my tbr’ is something that I (Micky) have done a few times on bookstagram and I got it from someone else, but I’ve no idea who. We thought it’d be nice to have a running occasional feature where we pick five on our tbrs and you tell us yours.. and no doubt that will cause some adding to tbrs!

Micky’s five

SKYWARD by Brandon Sanderson
DARLING ROSE GOLD by Stephanie Wrobel
THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY by Alix E. Harrow
CLOCKWORK PRINCE by Cassandra Clare
TELL ME THREE THINGS by Julie Buxbaum

I don’t know why I’m putting off Skyward, I really want to read it and I’ve only heard good things. The other four are fairly new additions to my tbr in the last few months but I now own them all.

Hollis’ five

SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by Taylor Jenkins Reid
AURORA TERMINUS by S.E. Fanetti
THE BEST THING by Mariana Zapata
RED SISTER by Mark Lawrence
DEFY THE FATES by Claudia Gray

Literally all five of these books are titles that have been scratching at the back door of my brain, waiting to be let in. Either because they are a favourite author (MZ), a final book in a series (the Gray), or a highly recommended book buddy recommendation (Fanetti, sorry Paula). The others are ones I know, or think I know, that I’ll love.. but just haven’t had time to pick up. But hopefully identifying all these and making them into a TBR (something I never do) will kick my butt into gear.


Tell us the top five books on your TBR! Do any of ours make your lists?

THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST by Abby Jimenez – double review!

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zonecomes an adorable and fresh romantic comedy about one trouble-making dog who brings together two perfect strangers.

Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can’t seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.

Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?


Title : The Happy Ever After Playlist
Author : Abby Jimenez
Format : eARC/finsihed copy
Page Count : 400
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Forever/ Little Brown UK
Release Date : April 14, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis/Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

If you read THE FRIEND ZONE, you know that Jimenez’s writing is compulsively readable and nigh unputdownable. So why I decided to pick it up at nine PM on a work night and stay up almost until midnight to finish and then write this review.. well, it wasn’t a decision, I just lived it. I don’t regret it now but we’ll speak later as to how I feel in the morning.

Additionally, if you’ve read Jimenez’s debut, you know that going into this one is going to be emotional. The events of the first book in this universe, events that directly change Sloan’s world, are a lot. And we open up two years after that event and Sloan is.. not doing well.

While we eventually get to a place where there’s a new love interest and there’s flirting and connection and sweetness, the grief doesn’t poof disappear. I really appreciated the balance that the author had between taking steps to move on — initially nothing to do with the romance — and the hesitations, the relapses, the moments that required her to pause and step back. It felt natural and not overblown and also heightened the intensity of the romance because this powerful connection had a counterweight of.. not sadness but maybe appreciation? Hard to say. But the early chapters? I devoured. I delighted.

Later there is some drama with an ex, the record label, a harsh tour schedule, and other than a few blips, I thought all the speed bumps were pretty acceptable. If you’ve read any rockstar romances, you probably won’t be too surprised with how it plays out, but this one is more wholesome than most, mostly because the characters themselves are pretty wholesome excellent humans. That said, I’m not quite sure I buy the big confessional but, again, it’s what you do in a rockstar romance, and it makes for great cinematic-dramatic style romance so, hey, whatever man. The ending is also hella cheese but HEAs are what it’s all about and it’s literally in the title, so.

So, yeah, smooth sailing all the way through? Maybe not. I can’t quite decide if this was on par with THE FRIEND ZONE or if the former was a little better, but this was still a really fun read, with characters just zany enough for comic relief (Kristen), supportive found-family friends, swoony love, a heaping portion of emotions and feels, a dog, and a big time second chance at love — not with the same guy, of course, but a second chance nonetheless.

This is definitely going to be a hit.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


Micky’s 4 star review

Devoured in 24 hours and compulsive reading are my first thoughts on finishing THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST. This story had all the highs and crushing lows, so get ready for a roller coaster ride that had me gripping onto the safety bar.

The Sloan that we met in THE FRIEND ZONE was brought to life in this story, a shadow of her former self and still understandably stuck in a complex grief pattern of one significant date of loss to another. The grief element of this book was well written but it didn’t overwhelm the narrative; it was balanced so well. The serendipitous meeting of Tucker, the dog, Sloan and then Jason was absolutely fun. I got so wrapped up in their virtual meet cute and then their real life one.

I got lulled, lulled into chemistry for days, banter (much of which came from Kirsten) and the gorgeous newness of a relationship. So that when the rot and angst crept in, I wasn’t ready. The second half of the book had more serious tones and it was gripping but tough reading. I will say no more to the plot because you just have to read this.

I have exited the book reinforcing my fandom of Abby Jiminez’s writing and character creations. I feel like I want to go back and read these two books back to back soon because I just haven’t had enough. You are definitely going to want to read this.

Thank you to Little Brown for the finished review copy.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – APRIL 14, 2020

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST by Abby Jimenez is the companion novel to last year’s THE FRIEND ZONE and I think many of us who lived that debut were very very desperate to get our hands on this book and see what happened to one of the secondary characters in the background of that story. And this did not disappoint.


Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!

THE INFINITE ONION by Alice Archer

The truth is harder to hide when someone sharp starts poking around.

Grant Eastbrook hit the ground crawling after his wife kicked him out. Six months later, in Seattle without a job or a place to live, he escapes to the woods of nearby Vashon Island to consider his options. When he’s found sleeping outdoors by a cheerful man who seems bent on irritating him to death, Grant’s plans to resuscitate his life take a peculiar turn.

Oliver Rossi knows how to keep his fears at bay. He’s had years of practice. As a local eccentric and artist, he works from his funky home in the deep woods, where he thinks he has everything he needs. Then he rescues an angry man from a rainy ditch and discovers a present worth fighting the past for.

Amid the buzz of high summer, unwelcome attraction blooms on a playing field of barbs, defenses, and secrets.


Title : The Infinite Onion
Author : Alice Archer
Format : eARC
Page Count : 439
Genre : LGBTQIA+ romance
Publisher : indie
Release Date : March 31, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ .5


Hollis’ 1.5 star review

I think, not unlike the title implies, this is a story you have to unravel. Much like the characters themselves undergo a shedding of layers, of revealing themselves and their secrets, there’s a journey and a process to understanding and learning.. about everything. But not unlike Grant, one of our leads, you might feel the urge to quit if you don’t like what’s happening. I was definitely tempted to — on multiple occasions. 

Initially (well, maybe, always..) I didn’t like the story or the characters. I slogged through the first 40%, putting this down every few pages, frustrated or lost, and feeling no anchor or connection to anything. I wasn’t without feeling for these characters and their struggles, both very different though they were, but they were also both such massive oblivious assholes, each in their own way, that I was uncomfortable and unable to connect for a long time. Or, rather, ever.

Having pushed through despite my reservations, or maybe because of them and wanting to see the other side, find meaning in it all, I can’t say I came to the end liking these characters. Or even the story itself. I might have hated it all a little less but the journey to get there was such a battle that I’m not sure less hate is much of an achievement. There were definite moments that felt sweet, or had the potential to tug on my heartstrings in a different context, but overwhelmingly I just feel pretty ambivalent. I did eventually “get” it, I think — the story, the reason for everything that had brought these characters to where they ended up — but I didn’t feel it. Still don’t. And maybe I didn’t really get it at all, and that’s why I don’t love it, or feel it, or even like it. 

This was a strange experience for me. The writing, the motions the characters went through, at times almost edged towards fabulism. There is an edge of dreamy nebulousness to the story and the events, this kind of Peter Pan and Neverland vibe, and it was hard to grasp and hold onto, hard to process, forever uncomfortable, and.. well, I think that’s all I have to say, really. 

I think this is a book you’ll either love and feel in your bones, your soul, or you just won’t. 

** I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. **