CLOCKWORK PRINCESS by Cassandra Clare

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?

The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.

Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.


Title : Clockwork Princess
Author : Cassandra Clare
Series : The Infernal Devices #3
Format : ebook
Page Count : 557
Genre : YA Historical Fantasy
Publisher : Walker Books
Release Date : March 19, 2013

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

The completion of this trilogy within the wider shadowhunters series was an emotive experience. Alongside the fast-pacing and action was a tragedy unfolding and though I had a vague sense of plot direction from CLOCKWORK PRINCE, I didn’t expect what I got. It was rich, it was well written and it was hard to swallow.

This has to be the weirdest and yet most gracious love triangle I have ever read, I found it palatable in the way that love triangles often aren’t. Will had such character growth over book two and then this book, he matured, he stepped up and he was proper hero-material. Jem remained sweet and good but he didn’t draw my focus as much. I continued to like all the other characters, especially Tessa, Charlotte, the Lightwoods, Sophie and Magnus.

Jem’s story arc was unexpected in so many ways (no spoilers), the twists were multiple and clever. The silent brothers element to the story development brought all sorts of jaw drops to my face. Finally getting answers to who Tessa was, was satisfying and seeing the Clockwork Angel come to the fore again was exciting.

This book made me cry and I am a reluctant crier at books, but oh my, how could you not? The epilogue was everything unexpected, joy and pain combined. I am not convinced by the ending, the convenience of the final playing out of events; the now. I would love to hear your thoughts on that ending.

So, late to the party by a decade but here all the same to enjoy a series I thought I’d never read. I might even read the other series in this world that I said I wouldn’t.

DEAR EDWARD by Ann Napolitano

A heart-wrenching, life-affirming novel about a 12-year-old boy who is the sole survivor of a deadly plane crash

One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles. There are 187 passengers aboard: among them a Wall Street millionaire; a young woman taking a pregnancy test in the airplane toilet; a soldier returning from Afghanistan; and two beleaguered parents moving across the country with their adolescent sons. When the plane suddenly crashes in a field in Colorado, the younger of these boys, 12-year-old Edward Adler, is the sole survivor.

Dear Edward recounts the stories of the passengers aboard that flight as it hurtles toward its fateful end, and depicts Edward’s life in the crash’s aftermath as he tries to make sense of the loss of his family, the strangeness of his sudden fame, and the meaning of his survival. As Edward comes of age against the backdrop of sudden tragedy, he must confront one of life’s most profound questions: how do we make the most of the time we are given?’


Title : Dear Edward
Author : Ann Napolitano
Format : Hardcover
Page Count : 368
Genre : Literary Fiction
Publisher : Viking
Release Date : February 20, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Less is going to be more with this review, so I will try and encapsulate my feelings on this memorable book. Told in alternating perspectives from Edward the sole survivor of a plane crash and various passengers on the plane, this story was structured and unfurled in the perfect way. Edward grew from the broken 12 year old to a young man and it was a painful, aching process as he grieved.

Edward feels barren on the inside. There’s nothing alive in him. Food seems not only unnecessary but irrelevant.

Ann Napolitano took the approach of show and not tell when it came to grief journeys and I think she nailed a possible individual experience rather perfectly. I couldn’t personally relate to Edward’s experience but man, did I feel it. With the passangers, Napolitano crafted individuals that you got to know and cared for (at least most of them), including their relatives.

The slow growth of the story was a strength of this book, I never knew what was around the meandering corner for Edward. His friendship with Shay felt realistic and beautiful. The last quarter of the book took my breath away whilst filling my tear ducts simultaneously as everything came together.

What a character driven book this was. Edward was a boy and young man to root for and his journey was compelling. Everything about this book was unique and unforgettable.

THE VINE WITCH by Luanne G Smith

A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.

For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.

Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley. 


Title : The Vine Witch
Author : Luanne G. Smith
Series : Vine Witch #1
Format : ebook
Page Count : 263
Genre : Historical Fantasy
Publisher : 47 North
Release Date : October 1, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

THE VINE WITCH was a case of a really strong start and an exciting story that didn’t quite keep hold of that promise all the way through. This was a historical fantasy, set in the wineries of France with a rich history of witches working with the vines and elements to produce good wine. I absolutely loved this idea and the main character Elena was so interesting. Elena remained a strong characterisation throughout, she carried the show.

The story started with a curse, a toad and transformation. Elena’s return to her home was sad and interesting and the two key characters of Grand-Mere and Jean-Paul added to the intrigue. The wider village characters were rich and made me reminiscent of Chocolat by Joanne Harris.

Where my love for the book waned a little was when the story direction changed in the second half. This may be more about my expectations than anything else, but I wanted more time in the winery, how Elena worked, how she and Jean-Paul worked together. I didn’t expect what I got and I longed for more story development in other directions.

The romance that developed was so low-level and unfulfilled in terms of character connection to one another. This story line needed a fuller commitment on the page because I wanted this couple together and I believed in their grudging work relationship, so much that their romantic connection could have been great.

Overall, this was a good read that didn’t quite fulfill what I wanted but it was unique and quick. The second book follows a side character from this story and I believe more of Elena, so I may read on in the series.

HIDEAWAY by Nora Roberts

A family ranch in Big Sur country and a legacy of Hollywood royalty set the stage for Nora Roberts’ emotional new suspense novel.

Caitlyn Sullivan, a daughter of Hollywood royalty, was already a star at ten, but still loved to play hide-and-seek with her cousins at the family home in Big Sur. It was during one of those games that she disappeared.

Despite her glamorous background, Cate was a shrewd, scrappy survivor, and she managed to escape her abductors. Callan Cooper was shocked to find the bruised and terrified girl huddled in his ranch house kitchen—but when the teenager and his family heard her story they provided refuge and comfort, reuniting her with her loved ones.

Cate’s ordeal, though, was far from over. First came the discovery of a betrayal that would send someone she’d trusted to prison. Then there were years away in Ireland, sheltered and protected but with restlessness growing in her soul. Then, finally, she returned to Los Angeles, hoping to act again and get past the trauma that had derailed her life. What she didn’t yet know was that two seeds had been planted that long-ago night—one of a great love, and one of a terrible vengeance… 


Title : Hidewaway
Author : Nora Roberts
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : Romantic Thriller
Publisher : Piatkus
Release Date : May 26, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

HIDEAWAY was a rich melding of a family saga with suspense and a gentle romance. It was also only my second stroll with Nora Roberts. The story started with an almighty thrilling bang and then the rest of the tale played out over decades. This growth of the readers knowledge and affection for the family was facilitated by great writing and a solid plot.

Caitlyn (Cate) was at the centre of a kidnapping plot, age ten, all due to the fact she was from a famous family of actors. The Sullivans as a family made for great reading even though I got confused with the many names and who was who in the first quarter of the book. The whole kidnapping plot made for tense reading and this tension ebbed and flowed through the years as the crime was never really put to rest.

The characterisation was the key strength in this read, all the characters, good and bad, had great depth. I loved to read about Cate’s mother, Noah, Dillon, Red, Michaela and of course Cate herself. There were a few niggles for me, some of the ‘darling world’ and privileged life of the Sullivans was a little irritating at times and I didn’t like Dillon’s consistent reference to his mother and grams as ‘my ladies’.

The plot was interesting, I wanted to get back to the book and although there were some unexpected twists, many of the twists were pretty predictable. I can’t say that aspect spoilt the read at all. The wrap up at the end was a little too swift and I would have liked a bit of the calm after.

HIDEAWAY has definitely made me want to read more of this genre from Nora Roberts and this family saga is likely to appeal widely.

Thank you Piatkus/Little Brown UK for the early review copy.

THE DUTCH HOUSE by Ann Patchett

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.

The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives, they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested. 


Title : The Dutch House
Author : Ann Patchett
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 352
Genre : Literary Fiction
Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date :

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

THE DUTCH HOUSE was an epic family saga told over decades, detailing the level to which a family can be messed up. There was nothing predictable about this tale and overall the tone of the story was pretty sad and depressing. However, it was rich in characterisation and description.

The story was told from the POV of Danny, at first a young boy, at the end in his fifties. Alongside, his sister Maeve, they navigated traumatic family events that initially revolved around their house (The Dutch House) and later away from the house. There was an amazing cast of side characters, my favourites of whom were Dr Able, Fluffy and Andrea (who doesn’t love a Cruella de Ville character).

I spent various points in this book incensed on behalf of Maeve and Danny. Danny had all the potential as a young man to turn out differently from his father but as the book progressed, I did feel he became something of a self-centred cold fish and he definitely had shades of his father. I adored Maeve as a character, she was the rudder to this story and many of her story lines just plain hurt.

It sounded so nostalgic when he said it, the three of us, as if we had once been a unit instead of just a circumstance.

The return of Elna to the story was not welcome to me and I just knew that she wasn’t going to be great news despite the understandable glee of Maeve. The wrap up to Andrea was a little disappointing as well; these mothers were just awful.

I am left reflecting on how much this book made me feel and how involved I became with this family despite my middling rating. I would definitely read Ann Patchett again because she creates such characters that you cannot help but get swept up by them.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing and Tandem Collective for the review copy.

PAINTED FACES by LH Cosway

Come forth with an open mind, for an unconventional tale of love..

Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn’t have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbour Nicholas takes a shine to her.

Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of colour when she’s around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a travelling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn’t know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night.

She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.

In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.


Title : Painted Faces
Author : LH Cosway
Series : Painted Faces #1
Format : Ebook
Page Count : 355
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : December 16, 2012

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

Wholly delightful, PAINTED FACES was that elusive treasure hiding down in the depths of my kindle, just waiting for me to catch it’s eye. I don’t know what made me pick it up but I am so glad I did and I really wish I’d read it sooner. I really think this is a special, fresh and unique story. It was released in 2012 but nothing about it feels dated as a contemporary read.

Told in the backdrop of city centre Dublin, Nicholas is a new resident to Ireland and next door neighbour to Fred (Freda). Freda was a most quirky character, brusque and difficult at times but a loyal friend to those around her. Nicholas took to Freda immediately and their working relationship was incredibly fun with star-bolts of chemistry shooting. These two burnt for one another but everything them was laden with insecurity.

Nicholas is one of the most unique characters I’ve ever read about, his persona and his real character were both poles apart and complimentary at the same time. I loved him, he appealed to me and his sexual cheekiness was something else. The banter between Freda and Nicholas was divine.

The description in this book of characters, clubs, people, costumes created such a colourful picture in my imagination, that the world was brought to life.

I want to tell everyone about this book and what I’m getting are pitiful looks, ‘yeah love, I read this about 7 years ago, you’re a bit late‘. If for some reason like me this one got buried, rectify your mistake immediately, you won’t regret it. Sometimes the backlog is a treasure chest.

SAPPHIRE FLAMES by Ilona Andrews

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews comes an enthralling new trilogy set in the Hidden Legacy world, where magic means power, and family bloodlines are the new currency of society…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.


Title : Sapphire Flames
Author : Ilona Andrews
Series : Hidden Legacy #4
Format : ebook
Page Count : 400
Genre : Urban Fantasy/PNR
Publisher : Avon Books
Release Date : August 27, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

I’ve got this old song going through my head…
🎵Don’t leave me this way🎵…because quite frankly, I cannot believe Ilona Andrews left it like that. I’ve read a stack of their books and I don’t think I’ve ever felt this incomplete at the end of a book, but I’ve got to tell you, it’s a delicious incompleteness.

SAPPHIRE FLAMES is the first novel where there’s truly been a full flavour of Catalina and she’s as interesting as Nevada but in a totally different way. I liked the age jump from the previous novella and having Catalina more settled in her position of responsibility. As ever with this series, this book was fast-paced, full of action, magic and monsters.

Now to the coupling, Alessandro, the smooth Italian stallion, was pretty to fun to read about and on a mission, the like of which I still don’t know. The banter between Alessandro and Catalina was exceptionally funny, entrancing and it totally gave me Jake and Amy vibes from Brooklyn 99 (sorry if you’re not a fan).

bustle.com

I am left worrying about where their joint story will go, what Catalina has got herself up to the neck in and most of all, what do I have to do to get my hands on EMERALD BLAZE? If you’ve not started The Hidden Legacy series yet, then what are you even doing with your life. Let’s call this my rec to you and get on it.

THE BRIGHTEST FELL by Seanan McGuire

Things are slow, and October “Toby” Daye couldn’t be happier about that. The elf-shot cure has been approved, Arden Windermere is settling into her position as Queen in the Mists, and Toby doesn’t have anything demanding her attention except for wedding planning and spending time with her family.

Maybe she should have realized that it was too good to last.

When Toby’s mother, Amandine, appears on her doorstep with a demand for help, refusing her seems like the right thing to do…until Amandine starts taking hostages, and everything changes. Now Toby doesn’t have a choice about whether or not she does as her mother asks. Not with Jazz and Tybalt’s lives hanging in the balance. But who could possibly help her find a pureblood she’s never met, one who’s been missing for over a hundred years?

Enter Simon Torquill, elf-shot enemy turned awakened, uneasy ally. Together, the two of them must try to solve one of the greatest mysteries in the Mists: what happened to Amandine’s oldest daughter, August, who disappeared in 1906.

This is one missing person case Toby can’t afford to get wrong.


Title : The Brightest Fell
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book eleven)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 368
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 5, 2017

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3.5 star review

I can’t believe it. I truly can’t. But we finally hit a book I.. liked? Enjoyed? Was moved by? Wow. Eleven books and finally an almost-winner.

I won’t say every aspect of this worked for me (this isn’t a five star, or even a four), but we got so close. And the bits that annoyed me? I mean, they were standard and expected at this point. But they were also very much in the minority. 

This book continued the thread of unravelling and explaining much of the why of went on in the first book and what shaped so much of.. well, a lot of the rest of the series. We had a redemption of sorts, we had a rescue of another sort, and then we lost some of the ground that was won. It was a very bittersweet, very emotional, circumstance that nearly had me crying. I full on welled up. 

I didn’t think I would ever say those words. After all this time, I didn’t think I’d ever write a mostly positive review for this series. Was it worth the journey to get here? Hahahah no, it’s too soon, this was too small a victory, but. But it reminds me of what I’ve talked about with my buddies; this is an author, though under a different penname, that I’ve enjoyed and outright loved. But those books I enjoyed were written much more recently than these. And I wonder if now that I’m catching up to her current day style, and her ability to make me love her worlds, that some of that magic is seeping through into this world, too. Maybe. 

Do I expect to love book twelve? No. I’ve run out of hope at this point (I am fueled only by stubbornness after all these lackluster reads, not to mention some weird ass novellas along the way, though a few good ones, too) b u t that doesn’t take away the fact that this experience was enjoyable. This installment did a lot for me. Today was a good day.

ONCE BROKEN FAITH by Seanan McGuire

Politics have never been October “Toby” Daye’s strong suit. When she traveled to the Kingdom of Silences to prevent them from going to war with her home, the Kingdom of the Mists, she wasn’t expecting to return with a cure for elf-shot and a whole new set of political headaches. 

Now the events she unwittingly set in motion could change the balance of modern Faerie forever, and she has been ordered to appear before a historic convocation of monarchs, hosted by Queen Windermere in the Mists and overseen by the High King and Queen themselves. 

Naturally, things have barely gotten underway when the first dead body shows up. As the only changeling in attendance, Toby is already the target of suspicion and hostility. Now she needs to find a killer before they can strike again—and with the doors locked to keep the guilty from escaping, no one is safe. 

As danger draws ever closer to her allies and the people she loves best, Toby will have to race against time to prevent the total political destabilization of the West Coast and to get the convocation back on track…and if she fails, the cure for elf-shot may be buried forever, along with the victims she was too slow to save. 

Because there are worse fates than sleeping for a hundred years.


Title : Once Broken Faith
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book ten)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 418
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 6, 2016

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

Sometimes it’s gratifying to see a thing you’ve complained about, or had issues with, in a story or world, actually get resolved.

I had a really hard time keeping my eyes open while reading this, whether from existential exhaustion or just being tired of this universe and the politics, but what didn’t exhaust me was that we finally saw a dialogue open up about elfshot, a poison often used via arrowhead (elf is shot, haha, get it) to send a faerie to sleep for a hundred years. It was a way of removing, or defeating, an opponent without breaking the only real law in this world : you don’t kill purebloods. But you can remove them from the chessboard for a time. However it wouldn’t be as kind to changelings, being lesser, as they would die.

This is more plot-recounting I’ve done in a while but it’s not spoilery, this is all talked about in book one, I’m pretty sure. It’s part of the world.

But anyway, in my review for book nine I talked about the stakes, the frustrations of this universe that had so many “rules”, though only one real one, and all the loopholes people used to get around it. And this book confronts that. I thought it did a great job of showing the pros and cons, even from perspectives that should’ve wanted the cure, and why it might also cause a new set of problems. So, points for that! I liked feeling validated about the wrongness.

What bored me were the politics, the posturing, and etiquette, blah blah. The actual particulars of the villain of this book, causing the murder and mayhem ironically amongst a gathering hoping to prevent further murder, was actually pretty interesting. There was a sense of unknown and mystery about it and the reveal was good, if sad.

But overall? I was definitely checked out of this story on the whole but I appreciate the strides it took towards the society and world of the fae. 

This series is far from over but I’m getting closer and closer to catching up to the most recent release and that makes me happy. It’s the only thing keeping me going right now.

BEACH READ by Emily Henry

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.


Title : Beach Read
Author : Emily Henry
Format : eARC
Page Count : 384
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Berkley
Release Date : May 19, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4.75 star review

Oh man. I have a bad feeling this book is going to confuse and mislead some readers because the vibe from the cover, and my understanding of the plot from the skimming I did of the summary when I requested it (#TeamMostlyBlurbFree), gives you a very different idea of what the whole of this experience is going to be. I’m not saying the book, or the marketing of said book, is a lie but that it’s so much more than what you think it’ll be. Also, like, I don’t think this book is a book you would actually take to read on the beach. But the title is still very relevant to the story.

With that said, though, I totally loved this? Sure, I picked it up thinking it would be the fluffy frothy happy delight I needed after some not-remotely-those-things reads, plus, like, I needed a break from the dystopian nightmare world we’re living in right now and instinctively reached for some brightness, but instead I got that and more.

You never told me what you write, Everett. I’m sure it’s something really groundbreaking and important. Totally new and fresh. Like a story about a disillusioned white guy, wandering the world, misunderstood and coldly horny.”
‘Coldly horny’? As opposed to the very artfully handled sexual proclivities of your genre? Tell me, which do you find more fascinating to write : love-struck pirates or love-struck werewolves?

This is definitely filled with banter, as these two writers of very different subject matter duel with words and perspectives and challenge each other to swap genres. It’s full of that delicious tension where amidst that challenge there’s even a promise they won’t fall in love with each other (a throwback reference to a popular romantic movie because this book has lots of references, but also, heyoooo). Equally (nay, more?) delicious were the makeout scenes leading up to fireworks because, uh, hi, hello. Have I been skimping on romance lately or is Henry just hella good at this because wowza.

But there was also an edge to this story, both in one of the subplots and in the characters. Each are dealing with things they’ve either carried with them throughout their lives or that have just sent them reeling and reevaluating so much of what they thought was true. There’s loss, grief, betrayal, abandonment.. there’s a lot to deal with. We also do have some bits of miscommunication between the leads but, delightfully (how many more times will I use this word, you might be wondering..), things are dealt with in a fairly timely manner. Like the summary says, these two are polar opposites. Gus is wrapped in layers, January wears everything on her skin, and while they fall into a headlong intense connection, full of that hot excited desperation to be around each other, it isn’t without work to stay together. To understand.

As different as I’d thought we were, it felt a little bit like Gus and I were two aliens who’d stumbled into each other on Earth only to discover we shared a native language.

Beyond the romance, though, we also have an amazing female friendship. Which is made more amazing by the fact that the friend gets hardly any page time beyond some text communications and yet I still felt the love. Don’t believe me? The first time I cried was during a scene where they are together on page. Friendships for the win.

Oh, yes, probably should’ve mentioned. I cried a few times. Or rather the same cry on and off near the end. You’ve been warned.

So, is this a book you might want to pack for the beach after release? And by beach I mean the towel you spread on your living room floor in front of your computer’s screensaver showing some tropical location in the effort to remain socially distant? Maybe not. But if you love banter or an opposites attract situation; if you love books about books; if you like some emotional backstory and good realistic, complicated, backbones to your fiction, you’ll love this. For me, this is like biting into a shortbread cookie and finding out the inside is stuffed with brownie. It was going to be good as it was, and instead it ended up even better, more substantial, and delightfully (!) delicious in an unexpected way.

Read this book.

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