MAGIC BREAKS by Ilona Andrews

No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear… 


Title : Magic Breaks
Author : Ilona Andrews
Series : Kate Daniels #7
Format : library ebook
Page Count : 402
Genre : paranormal fantasy
Publisher : Ace Publishing
Release Date : July 29, 2014

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Holy Curran, Hugh and Roland on a cracker. What an insane read that was considering I struggled with the pacing initially but I ended up loving it.

Ilona Andrews had a whole spiel at the beginning of this book that heralded the unexpectedness of where it ended but I didn’t expect THAT. What a story of trial and tribulation this was with Kate showing her vulnerability and strength synonymously. There were passages that made my heart ache and eyes leak because I’ve become so damn attached to the characters in this book; so attached (shakes head at myself, already mourning the end of this series). I also felt the loss of an inanimate (questionable) object very keenly in this book and the substitution didn’t wholly comfort.

There were newer characters at the fore in MAGIC BREAKS that has me questioning where they might fit in future books, particularly Robert, Dessandra and Cuddles. Someone hold my sides, because I have a snickering attachment to Cuddles. Old favs also were there, bringing the banter and I adore Andrea, Derek, Christopher, Doolittle and Barabas. Talking of Andrea, how her and Kate communicate just gets me.

“Of course they’ll be fine.”
We looked at each other and made a silent effort to believe our own bullshit.

So if you thought you knew who was the baddie and who are the goodies, get ready to challenge those ideas because MAGIC BREAKS will break your freaking mind over this. When can I read the next?

THE HELPLINE by Katherine Collette

An eccentric woman who is great with numbers—but not so great with people—realizes it’s up to her to pull a community together in this charming, big-hearted debut perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and The Rosie Project.

Germaine Johnson doesn’t need friends. She has her work and her Sudoku puzzles. Until, that is, an incident at her insurance company leaves her jobless—and it turns out that there are very few openings these days for senior mathematicians with zero people skills.

Soon enough though, Germaine manages to secure a position at City Hall answering calls on the Senior Citizens Helpline. But it turns out that the mayor has something else in mind for Germaine: a secret project involving the troublemakers at the senior citizens center and their feud with the neighboring golf club—which happens to be run by the dashing yet disgraced national Sudoku champion, Don Thomas, a celebrity of the highest order to Germaine.

Don and the mayor want the senior center closed down and at first, Germaine is dedicated to helping them out—it makes sense mathematically, after all. But when Germaine actually gets to know the group of elderly rebels at the senior center, they open her eyes to a life outside of boxes and numbers and for the first time ever, Germaine realizes she may have miscalculated.

Filled with an eccentric, totally unique, and (occasionally) cranky cast of characters you can’t help but love, The Helpline is a feel-good page-turner that will make you reexamine what it means to lead a happy life—and is bound to capture your heart along the way.


Title : The Helpline
Author : Katherine Collette
Format : eARC
Page Count : 304
Genre : contemporary fiction
Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Release Date : July 23, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ .5


Hollis’ 1.5 star review

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around THE HELPLINE.

At first blush it seems like it’s supposed to be a humourous take on a woman who is brought in to oust troublemakers for the local city council, troublemakers who happen to be senior citizens, and in the end.. she ends up switching sides and teaming up with said senior citizens. And.. it’s sorta that? But also a lot of not.

It’s never stated in the book if Germaine has Aspergers, or is on the spectrum, but at the very least she’s socially inept and very fact-oriented. She’s also incredibly focused, driven to succeed, and preoccupied with looking good to the higher ups. As a result she’s not given much opportunity to be likeable because the higher ups are shady and manipulative and as a result so is Germaine. She’s also awkward with a neighbour, for no reason but she is, and there’s a lot of judgey hypocrisy in some interactions with other people, too. Most notably women.

The cast of seniors are a delight and.. well, that’s honestly all I can say to recommend it. The best parts of this book were when Germaine is navigating the random requests and conversations from the seniors calling in to the helpline. I wish the book had actually spent more time on that.

I didn’t find the humour in this I was promised, I wish the representation had been identified, and the ending just kind of baffles me. I’m sure it’s meant to be endearing but honestly I’m just really confused by the whole experience.

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

LIES by Kylie Scott

Betty Dawsey knows that breaking things off with Thom Lange is for the best. He’s nice, but boring, and their relationship has lost its spark. But steady and predictable Thom, suddenly doesn’t seem so steady and predictable when their condo explodes and she’s kidnapped by a couple of crazies claiming that Thom isn’t who he says he is.

Thom is having a hellish week. Not only is he hunting a double agent, but his fiancée dumped him, and thanks to his undercover life, she’s been kidnapped.

Turns out Thom is Operative Thom and he’s got more than a few secrets to share with Betty if he’s going to keep her alive. With both their lives on the line, their lackluster connection is suddenly replaced by an intense one. But in his line of work, feelings aren’t wanted or desired. Because feelings can be a lethal distraction. 


Title : Lies
Author : Kylie Scott
Format : eARC
Page Count : 195
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : July 21, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

Every single thing about this read was unexpected, even taking the unusual synopsis into mind. This was a fast-paced, thrilling romance with bucket loads of story and plenty of twists. It was also consistently amusing with characters I couldn’t help but be pretty enamoured with.

What is super interesting about this story and how it starts, is that the ‘going wrong’ part of the relationship happens right at the beginning, in unholy style. So, you could almost call this a second chance kind of story but at break-neck speed. It was like a cross between a snarky, funny romance and ‘Die Hard’. Interested?

The heroine, Betty is unconventional, partly because she starts her journey with taking no more messing from Thom. She was over him, the relationship and she was empowered. Everything spiraled from there and Betty was resilient, strong but with heart. I loved her snark, her refusal to be put in a corner and I read about her with total interest.

There’s a crack in the ceiling high above my head. Fitting, given that there’s an even bigger and even more destructive fault line running smack bam through my life. Move over, San Andreas, Thom Lange has you beat.

Thom was definitely the character to be revealed but also I felt pretty distrustful of him, with a slice of ‘why are you so swoony’? It made for addictive reading watching these two connect for the second time. It took me time to believe in him and I understood Betty’s anger towards him.

Thom is basically a machine. Like some killer robot sent from the future to fuck up my love life.”

Alongside the great storyline was a tangible chemistry that also made for compelling reading. Everything about this read was addictive and I read it in less than 24 hours. The twists kept coming and from 80% my jaw was dropped and I was suspicious. This story was an unusual and welcome offering from Kylie Scott who has amazed me with her ingenuity on this one.

Thank you to Social Butterfly PR and Kylie Scott for the early copy.


About Kylie Scott

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013, 2014 & 2018, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films.

Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

Connect with Kylie Scott
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XujcZh
Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2GngiQq
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kyliescottwriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KylieScottbooks
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2EUrx11
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2Imusk3
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/kyliescottbooks/
Book+Main Bites: http://bit.ly/2ETz5RQ
Website: https://kyliescott.com/

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JULY 23, 2019

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.


GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is pitched as the Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore. This sounds fantastic!

THE MARRIAGE CLOCK by Zara Raheem is a more unusual fictional perspective on the pressure for an arranged marriage in an American-desi setting. This book promises a witty story of parents versus the protagonist. Micky enjoyed this and will have her review up this week.

LIES by Kylie Scott is a fast-paced thrilling and also hot ride. This book takes a stale relationship, blows it up, turns it on its head and takes you on an addictive read with Betty and Thom. It’ll keep you guessing. Micky had an early read of this book and loved it, so look for her review today.

ALL ROADS LEAD TO YOU by Jennifer Probst is book three of a series of interconnected stories with different couples. This story is set in a rescue farm with horses and is about a trainer who comes to rein in a spirited animal. Professional meets personal in this ranch tale.


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

THE MARRIAGE CLOCK by Zara Raheem

In Zara Raheem’s fresh, funny, smart debut, a young, Muslim-American woman is given three months to find the right husband or else her traditional Indian parents will find one for her–a novel with a universal story that everyone can relate to about the challenges of falling in love.

To Leila Abid’s traditional Indian parents, finding a husband in their South Asian-Muslim American community is as easy as match, meet, marry. But for Leila, a marriage of arrangement clashes with her lifelong dreams of a Bollywood romance which has her convinced that real love happens before marriage, not the other way around.

Finding the right husband was always part of her life-plan, but after 26 years of singledom, even Leila is starting to get nervous. And to make matters worse, her parents are panicking, the neighbors are talking, and she’s wondering, are her expectations just too high? So Leila decides it’s time to stop dreaming and start dating.

She makes a deal with her parents: they’ll give her three months, until their 30th wedding anniversary, to find a husband on her own terms. But if she fails, they’ll take over and arrange her marriage for her.

With the stakes set, Leila succumbs to the impossible mission of satisfying her parents’ expectations, while also fulfilling her own western ideals of love. But after a series of speed dates, blind dates, online dates and even ambush dates, the sparks just don’t fly! And now, with the marriage clock ticking, and her 3-month deadline looming in the horizon, Leila must face the consequences of what might happen if she doesn’t find “the one…”


Title :  The Marriage Clock
Author :  Zara Raheem
Format : eARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : William Morrow
Release Date : July 23, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


THE MARRIAGE CLOCK is a witty insight into the pressure for marriage to take place on parents’ timescale for an American, South Asian, Muslim woman. Leila was a free-spirited protagonist with a desire not to hurt her parents but also with a strong feminist streak. She was also a big Bollywood fan and this fandom had influenced how she imagined her falling in love to play out.

“He’s a nice guy, but we just didn’t connect,” I said.
“Connect? What is this, a Wi-Fi signal?” My mother glared at me.

What ensued was a series of cringe-worthy, parent-chosen potential spouses. What was even more hilarious was Leila’s attempt to go solo on this husband-finding project and I laughed many times at her attempts. The speed dating scene was particularly hilarious.

“This was definitely not how I pictured my Indian fairy tale panning out. I had imagined me + Shah Rukj Kahn + villa in the mountains + romantic song + dancing penguins. Instead, I got guy with too much gel + weirded-out looks + tone-deaf singer + lifeteime ban from ever stepping foot into this bistro again.”

The parent nightmare was pressurising and real. I couldn’t imagine having to conform and losing my choice in that way and in reality, this was Leila’s biggest difficulty. She was working as a teacher, she’d lived away from home previously and she sought autonomy, empowerment and freedom. So whilst this was a humourous tale, there was a constant streak of poignancy in Leila’s situation that just got me in the gut. At least she had some great friends around her.

The story went from the US to India and back. There were some short but unexpected heart breaks along the way and they really did have a kick. The story completed in a way that stung my romantic heart but made my feminist heart soar, so I can’t be unhappy about that.

This is a debut by Zara Raheem and she wrote engagingly and with wit. I will definitely be searching out any future releases she has; I would say she’s one to watch.

Thank you to William Morrow and Edelweiss for this review copy.

HOOKED ON YOU by Kate Meader


The steamy Chicago Rebels series returns with this racy and sassy tale of embittered hearts, second chances, and going for the goal—on and off the ice.

Violet Vasquez never met her biological father, so learning he left his beloved hockey franchise—the Chicago Rebels—to her is, well, unexpected. Flat broke and close to homeless, Violet is determined to make the most of this sudden opportunity. Except dear old dad set conditions that require she takes part in actually running the team with the half-sisters she barely knows. Working with these two strangers and overseeing a band of hockey-playing lugs is not on her agenda…until she lays eyes on the Rebels captain and knows she has to have him.

Bren St. James has been labeled a lot of things: the Puck Prince, Lord of the Ice, Hell’s Highlander…but it’s the latest tag that’s making headlines: washed-up alcoholic has-been. This season, getting his life back on track and winning the Cup are his only goals. With no time for relationships—except the fractured ones he needs to rebuild with his beautiful daughters—he’s finding it increasingly hard to ignore sexy, all-up-in-his-beard Violet Vasquez. And when he finds himself in need of a nanny just as the playoffs are starting, he’s faced with a temptation he could so easily get hooked on.

For two lost souls, there’s more on the line than just making the best of a bad situation… there might also be a shot at the biggest prize of all: love.


Title : Hooked on You
Author : Kate Meader
Series : Chicago Rebels (book four)
Format : OverDrive eBook
Page Count : 384
Genre : sports romance
Publisher : Pocket Star
Release Date : May 7, 2018

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3.5 star review

Apparently I was so so keen to read this book in October of 2017 (even though it wouldn’t be out until May 2018).. that it took until July 2019 to actually read it. Go me!

I, more than anyone, understand how they will happily remove your heart, hold it bloodied and pulped to the sky, and offer in sacrifice to whichever gods they pray to.
Does Isobel seriously put up with this shit?
She has accused me of drama on occasion. I have no idea why.

So it’s been over a year since I was rubbing elbows with these characters but it was so easy slipping back into the Chicago Rebels universe. Which says something about the level of memorable-ness of both these characters and Meader’s world. A world which is pretty hilarious, full of hockey, hotties, and generally has at least one or two heavy topics to wield, or work through, before we see that HEA. As you do.

The beauty of AA was that no matter what city you were in or the time of day, there was usually a meeting happening nearby. Dallas was no different. [..] The team might be his brothers, but these strangers were his tribe.

This matchup between the grumpy Scot and the sassy Latina has been building for a while (see aforementioned 2017 excitement..) and I won’t say it disappointed. I definitely enjoyed this more than book two, the only other one I couldn’t round up on, because I think the balance between the humour, the joy, and the serious, was just.. right. Violet with her health scare, Bren with his alcoholism, both resisting the other for their own reasons. Throw in some single dad-ness, with two kids who were neither too overwhelmingly present or too precocious, and it was a great mix of Doing The Right Thing for the Right Reasons while still agonizing and angst-hate-flirting.

Do you have some sort of Fleetwood Mac kink?
Kink? No. I’m a fan, like any right-thinking human.

But there were also weird transitions or hiccups in their dynamic that would sometimes take me out of the moment, and I’m not quite sure why or how it happened. It was almost like being one step out of sync, things just wouldn’t line up, and it would take a moment for the record to stop skipping. But when that wasn’t interrupting my fun, there was also a lot of that ‘final book lets wrap up all couples and get hitched and/or pregnant’ cheese that, I mean, sure we know to expect it. But, again, cheese. Additionally there was a lot of evil ex behaviour syndrome. Which, fair, this is from last year (and likely written well before that) and I think we’ve since seen a down-turn, and taken strides to stop, with this trope but.. still. It existed. A lot. And suddenly.. it didn’t?

Take me to bed, Scot.
Need direction.
Been that long?
Hilarious.

This is definitely a high three, because there was a lot of strength — like Violet not giving in when you think she might, which, for example, was definitely a highlight and also bucked a convenient romance trend — and fun, but those moments holding it back, well. It held it back. I might have felt differently last year but.. shrug emoji.

I have an ARC of Meader’s spinoff for this world, though, and I’m so excited to dive in. One of the many reasons I finally caught up on this series/book, hah. Because, yeah, complaints aside, this series has been a mostly four-star experience for me and I love this female-run, while also managed and supported by the first (in this world) out gay man in hockey (or was Cade out first? I can’t remember! either way! LGBTQIA+ friendly!), hockey team.. because who doesn’t love a Cinderella, underdog, against-all-odds-like-sexism-and-homophobia success story. But at the same time I’ll be kinda glad to leave behind the daddy issues and branch out and get a new angle on things. Like, say, an angle that features a journalist and an ex-Special Forces turned rookie? Hi hello.

THE RAGE OF DRAGONS by Evan Winter

Game of Thrones meets Gladiator in this debut epic fantasy about a world caught in an eternal war, and the young man who will become his people’s only hope for survival.

The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.

Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.


Title : The Rage of Dragons
Author : Evan Winter
Series : The Burning (book one)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 544
Genre : adult fantasy
Publisher : Orbit
Release Date : July 16, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

If the pitch of Gladiator meets GAME OF THRONES drew you in, you’ll probably be very happy with THE RAGE OF DRAGONS. Because in addition to those things, it’s also as not-white as you can possibly be. This is a world that I guess would be the fantasy version of Africa, or fantasy-inspired version, and the “savage” people are no less dark than the “Chosen” people.

This is a pretty long book, clocking in at almost five hundred and fifty pages, but if you love battle scenes, or long arduous periods of training, you probably won’t notice the passing of time. There’s a whole lot of worldbuilding that we don’t really get at the beginning, though we definitely get some, and that Winter actually sprinkles in along the way and, surprisingly, this worked really well for me. It’s not overly complicated but there are complexities to this world and I found easing us into it made it much easier to digest.

You won’t help your people if you don’t know your place.”
I don’t think I like the place they’ve set for me.”
It’s based on what you are.”
They don’t know what I am.”

Think RED RISING, if you’re familiar with that series, as far as this caste system goes. There are Lessers, and Nobles, full bloods and not, and then Gifted. Crammed in there are also various rankings of military people, too. Also similar to RED RISING, Tau, our lead character and the main POV (we do get brief chapter interludes with three other characters, I believe, but they are single-shot snapshots), is very much like Darrow, like all lower-born men who rise to become more, or to represent more. There’s also shades of The Princess Bride as he does get a little Inigo Montoya along the way.. (+10 points if you understood that reference). But don’t get it twisted, this isn’t an African RED RISING, there’s so much of this world that stands alone. There’s a spirit world at play, demons, and, of course, the dragons.

Despite how long this book is, I won’t say that it felt long until.. the sixty percent mark. By this point it was all Revenge Time, all the time. And the training and battle scenes (though maybe more the training than the battle) were, well, proving a point. The time was definitely taken to show Tau becoming better, stronger, faster. I think this is a hard balance to maintain; too short and it’s not believable, too long and it can get boring. I wouldn’t have minded a few time jumps with convenient flashback or summary paragraphs though..

That said, when I was reading it, I was invested. But if I put it down, I never thought about it or felt any burning desire to pick it up. It’s good but I would say the weakness, beyond the drawn out moments, was definitely the dialogue. It felt either kind of cheese or just weak. The storytelling, though, felt pretty solid which, thankfully, helped to bolster some of those moments where I side-eyed the words coming out of the characters’ mouths.

Overall I was surprised by one or two characters along the way, grew to enjoy some of the others (not Tau but that’s mostly because I think he’s the driving force, the change, not so much a personality) but the plot itself didn’t wow me or blow my mind. I will still read on in the series because I think there’s a lot of backstory and worldbuilding to explore, and I have questions about what happened prior to the opening chapter of the book that started everything that lead to this particular place and time. I think, ultimately, I’m hoping for more GAME OF THRONES plot twists and less playing-with-swords or ruminating-on-my-revenge montages. Fingers crossed for that!

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

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JULY 16, 2019

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.


RAGE OF DRAGONS by Evan Winter is Gladiator meets GAME OF THRONES and if that isn’t a hook, what is? This is a series opener that promises so much more to come and I’m excited to see where it goes! Look for Hollis’ review tomorrow.

THE WEDDING PARTY by Jasmine Guillory is an interesting proposition of a best friend in the middle of two other friends who hate one another. The kind of hate that turns into a mistaken one night. The two frenemies, Maddie and Theo, have to get ready for their mutual best friend’s wedding and it sounds like shennanigans ensue. I might give this one a go.


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

HE’S A BRUTE by Chloe Liese

One dark and handsome control-freak sports star meets one smarty pants bioengineer with hair to match her fiery temper. It’s an experiment straight out of sexual thermodynamics.

Every good scientist knows the second law of thermodynamics: the universe’s disorder, entropy, is always increasing. Professionally and personally speaking, Nairne’s familiar with the principle. After a streak of costly fame, now she’s set on saving the world, microscope in hand, and there’s no time for romance. Problem is, when a rude, despicably sexy Adonis shows up to run their board meeting, chemistry and its ensuing chaos become more than a formula—now they’re a burning hot reality.

Mafia prince. Professional footballer. Bad boy demeanor and a reputation for being as talented between the sheets as he is on the pitch. Rumors are the man’s an absolute brute. And he turns out to be just as demanding, controlling and vicious in person as he is on paper. The Law of Attraction’s proven true, as Nairne finds herself accepting Zed’s proposal: rough, wild stress release, more orgasms than she can count, and most importantly—no falling in love.

Agreement in place. End date secured. No attachments. No forever.What could possibly go wrong?


Title : He’s a Brute
Author: Chloe Liese
Series : Tough Love #1
Format : e-ARC
Page Count : 263
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : May 6, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 


Micky’s 3 star review

HE’S A BRUTE was a cover love, blurb appealing arc click. There’s a lot going on in this contemporary romance with a slice of the erotic. It’s a tale of two very strong MC’s who were multi-talented. Zed is a background mafia boss-second, professional footballer (soccer, you American guys!) and lead of an ethically sound organisation; he was something of a contradiction to himself. Nairne was an ex-pro footballer, a scientist and she battling some pretty heavy baggage. I felt like there was almost a bit too much going on with these characters.

The two clashed with strong personalities and there was a tangible attraction between them but despite this, I didn’t always feel their connection. What ensues between these two was a contract, some dominance and submission which really isn’t my bag, but it was fairly mild. I didn’t always buy Nairne’s ability to submit to Zeb. I found Zeb’s desire to care of Nairne controlling despite his arguments to Nairne about this actual issue and so I didn’t feel that attached to them as a couple.

This book has the most amazing disability rep, truly fabulous. I loved the way the sexuality of this character was written with this in mind. Their sexual relationship wasn’t hindered by the disability but it was totally interwoven into what they did and how they did it. Total kudos to the author for this. This aspect of the book is part of why I am still interested in reading more from this series.

I didn’t always love the writing style of this book and I found the intimate scenes weren’t that interesting. HE’S A BRUTE was a debut and the story of Zeb and Nairne will continue across two more books. This isn’t an abrupt end but I do find I want to know more about these two and I will probably read on with these characters. Book two is out now, with book three to come.

Thank you to netgalley and the author this review copy.

THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL by Abbi Waxman – double review!

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.


Title : The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Author : Abbi Waxman
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : women’s fiction, contemporary
Publisher : Berkley
Release Date : July 9, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis / Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3 star review

As Neil Gaiman once memorably said, “books were safer than other people, anyway.”

THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL has an adorable cover, a ridiculously appealing plot, and overall seemed to cater directly to my interests and needs. I mean, it’s about a bookish woman who likes being alone, has a cat, and works in a bookstore (to which I say #goals), so, I mean, this was ringing all my bells and checking all my boxes.

In public Nina was a quiet, reserved person; in private she was an all-singing, all-dancing cavalcade of light and motion. Unless she was a quivering ball of anxiety, because that was also a frequently selected option.

And for the first 50%, I was convinced this would be a strong, even high, four star read. Nina is quirky and organized, anxious and intelligent, sassy and shy, also a total snob (which I can’t say I loved but it felt authentic), and just.. relatable. I could see myself in her, the good and the bad, and yet it wasn’t the painful kind of self-reflection, or too campy and therefore cheesy or caricature-like. The narration was witty and fun and was constantly throwing random trivia and stream-of-consciousness tangents at you and I was having a great time.

It’s hard to be human sometimes, with the pressure to be civilized lying only very thinly over a brain of a nervous little mammal.

Nina had a maybe hate-crush on a member of an opposing trivia team, she voiced her cat, Phil’s, thoughts, and suddenly, after being a single-parent child her whole life, a lawyer pops out of nowhere and drops a dead dad on her. In the sense that she’s inherited a family and possibly something else, too, but she’ll need to go to the will reading to find out.

“Do you young people actually date anymore, or do you run algorithms to see if it’s going to work?”

And so begins this really strange and charming discovery of this huge extended family, people so like her and also different, and reconciling this found-yet-related mass of people into her world view after thirty-plus years of living and being on her own. Throw in a love interest and it’s all sorts of emotions.

Life can throw you major curveballs, but it’s rare you can do much more than duck.

Most of which were good and fun to work through. Even the confusing ones felt natural. I just think that eventually we did cross a line into a sorta campy OTT strange drama where warring businesses threw ice cream at each other in the streets and some of Nina’s charm kind of wore off and overall, with maybe one or two exceptions, I just wasn’t as fond of the second half as the rest of the book. Some of it felt cliche, after having otherwise felt very fresh and different, and the ending in particular just didn’t land for me. 

Do lesbians do this?”
Send dick pics? Only if we’re breaking up with someone and want to make sure they block our number forever.

THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL has a lot of great moments — tons of one liners and hilarious observations and I highlighted many many a passage. This book will definitely hook you from the start. I just wish I had loved it the same amount by the end.

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


Micky’s 3.5 star review

This book was full of appeal for any booklover and Nina was a relatable protagonist in terms of her love for books. Nina was quirky, nerdy, anxiety-ridden, something of a loner but she was actually much better with people than she perceived.

THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL had depth and complexity but this was offset by humour, quips and banter. Nina’s inner monologue was insightful into her psyche but also pretty funny at times.

Nina tried to pull herself together. She’d been irritable all week. Either her period was coming or she had a brain tumor, and at that moment the tumor felt more appealing, which probably meant it was her period.

The story was overwhelmingly about finding family and for Nina this was a first. Her evolving relationships with Archie and Peter were my favourities but I also appreciated Millie and Lydia. The family were almost farciscal in their make up and they were rather fun to watch interact.

There is a lowish-level romance in this book with Tom from a rival quiz team, it made for cute reading but I really did want more from this aspect of the story. I felt somewhat disconnected from their own connection.

There were some pacing issues in this read for me, slow parts leading to more faster-moving scenes. I would have preferred a more active pace throughout the book.

Overall, this was a good read and I think this could be categorised as women’s fiction or romance but again, it was less on the romantic front for that genre.

I voluntarily read an early copy of this book, thank you netgalley and the publisher.