Books · Reviews

Make A Scene: A Spoiler-Free Review

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! For this week’s review, I decided to write one of my first five-star read of the year and that’s Make A Scene by Mimi Grace. This book was actually published last year but for some reason, I decided to hold off on reading it. I’m kicking myself now as I really enjoyed this one and I’m excited to see what else Mimi Grace writes in the future so let’s get into my thoughts on Make A Scene.

This is my spoiler-free review of Make A Scene.

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Faking this relationship should be a piece of cake.

Retta Majors is having a bad day. But that’s to be expected when your ex gets engaged to your cousin. Instead of (totally) freaking out, Retta decides to attend the wedding with her amazing, faithful, and handsome boyfriend.

One problem.

He doesn’t exist.

Duncan Gilmore is living his dream. His boxing gym is open for business, and he’s focused on success. The last thing on his mind is a relationship. That is until the beautiful baker next door makes him an offer so bizarre, he can’t refuse. One weekend of pretending to be Retta’s boyfriend should be easy.

However, shared kisses and some flirting start to blur the lines in their fake relationship. When their performance draws to a close, will they go their separate ways or return for an encore?

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

This is actually a book that I preordered before its release date because I was so excited about it and then I was dragging my feet on reading it. However, I’m happy to say that I finally read it and can solidify Mimi Grace as a new favorite author. This is actually only her second novel but I’m excited to see where she goes in the future so let’s get into what I enjoyed about the novel.

What I enjoyed about Make A Scene

  • The setting. For a majority of the story, we’re either at the bakery Retta works at or the gym that Duncan owns. It’s such an interesting chance of pace from normal romances and I feel like it really leaned into the cozy bakery vibes which made me feel really soft on the day I read it.
  • Retta and Duncan’s relationship. From the very first time these two meet, it’s obvious they have chemistry and it only goes up from there. While they do have some disagreements and little spats, it’s clear the two have a lot in common and are attracted to each other from the start.
  • All of the food descriptions. If there’s one thing I can credit Mimi Grace for, it was making me extremely hungry the entire time I was reading. Since it’s mostly set in a bakery, this book talked a lot about pastries and my mouth was watering when I read some of them.
  • The realisticness of Retta and Duncan’s situation. Another thing I have to give Mimi Grace credit for was how realistically she wrote their “fake dating” moments because it was truly awkward at times. These two danced around each other a lot and it was awkward at first which I feel like authors sometimes gloss over and I really loved watching them slowly get comfortable with each other.
  • Sweet and steamy. Overall, I thought this book was the perfect amount of sweetness and low angst while still being a steamy read. It can be a hard balance but I feel like Mimi Grace cracked the code.

What I didn’t enjoy about Make A Scene

  • Unnecessary family drama. One place where it felt like this book lacked was its side plots as some of them felt unnecessary. The entire premise with Duncan’s parents would have been nice but I feel like it was a bit over-the-top that Retta’s cousin and ex would rush to get married SO soon and then a twist happens there that annoyed me.
  • Slight lack of communication. While I know miscommunication can be annoying, it felt super annoying in this book. Retta and Duncan were old enough to have a conversation and I feel like the conflict really lacked in the regard. Maybe I’m just sick of the trope but it really annoyed me in here especially with Duncan’s speech in the end.
  • Relatively low-stakes. While I enjoyed the lack of angst in this book, it did feel like things were pretty low-stakes for both Retta and Duncan. Yes, they were fake-dating to prove she had moved on but what else? It really didn’t serve a purpose aside from that.
Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

All in all, I really loved Make A Scene and I’m SO happy I finally decided to read it. It was such an adorable yet steamy romance that I couldn’t get enough of. I honestly loved these two so much that I kind of want to reread it. Either way, I’m happy to say I finally have a five-star read in 2021. I know it’s a little early but I hope this one ends up making my best of 2021 list. Before you finish reading my post, please take the time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter.

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Books · Reviews

Spoiler-Free Mini Reviews: Booked for Christmas, Sweet on You and A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas

Hello friends and fellow book lovers!! For this week’s review, I decided to go with three mini-reviews of some Christmas books I read. I had 2 out of these three books from the library and the other is one I bought recently. Plus I hope it’ll give you some recommendations for Christmas romances if you want them so let’s get into the three books and my thoughts on them.

These are my spoiler-free mini-reviews of Booked for Christmas, Sweet On You and A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas.

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Novelist Sophia Hart (real name: Sophie Bartholomew-Kaur-Hughes, but try fitting that on a book cover) absolutely hates her loudest critic—Evan Wolfe, evil mastermind behind the Lone Wolfe book review column. They’ve never met, but Wolfe’s favorite pastime seems to be dumping on Sophie’s unapologetically happy, magical romances. Sophie, not one to be left behind, gets her revenge in her own ways (never annoy a writer in search of a villain).

When Sophie decides to throw a holiday party at her cabin, Wolfe is the last person on her mind. But the universe has a twisted sense of humor. Not only does Wolfe show up as someone’s plus one, but a massive snowstorm blows in, stranding them both alone together in Sophie’s cabin.

Over the next few days, Sophie begins to realize that Wolfe isn’t as odiously cynical a man as she’d originally thought. In fact, he’s kind of…sweet. And impossibly hot. But still, Sophie’s been hurt before and she has so much to lose. What she needs is one sure sign that she and Wolfe are meant to be together. Will Sophie and Wolfe get their Christmas miracle?

Starting off with the first book, I’m going to keep things similar to my other mini-reviews and talk about 2 things I liked and 1 thing I didn’t. For this one, I was cautiously optimistic since I’ve liked Lily Menon’s YA books but this one didn’t strike a chord with me as her YA works have done.

For the two things I enjoyed, I loved the premise of this as it’s a snowed-in romance between a romance writer and one of her critics. As for the second thing I enjoyed, I thought she dealt with a lot of intense topics in such a short novella which isn’t easy to do. This was such a short and sweet Christmas read which was great for this time.

As for the one thing I didn’t like, I just felt like the pacing or writing style didn’t jive with me. I’m not sure what it was but this book didn’t grab me as I hoped. Maybe it’ll be better when I read her full-length rom-com debut. Either way, it was still enjoyable so I gave it a 3/5 stars

Before I wrap up, I wanted to pair a Christmas song up with each of these and for this one, I’m pairing it up with “Christmas in the Country” by Thomas Rhett as they basically get stuck together in the middle of nowhere.

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For barista and café owner Sari Tomas, Christmas means parols, family and no-holds-barred karaoke contests. This year, though, a new neighbor is throwing a wrench in all her best-laid plans. The baker next door—“some fancy boy from Manila”—might have cute buns, but when he tries to poach her customers with cheap coffee and cheaper tactics, the competition is officially on.

And Baker Boy better be ready, because Sari never loses.

Foodie extraordinaire Gabriel Capras wants to prove to his dad that his career choice doesn’t make him any less a man. The Laneways might not be Manila, but the close-knit community is the perfect spot to grow his bakery into a thriving business. He wasn’t expecting a gorgeous adversary in the barista next door, but flirting with her makes his heart race, and it’s not just the caffeine.

It’s winner takes all this Christmas. And more than one competitor might just lose their heart for the holidays.

Moving onto Sweet On You, this is my first book by Carla de Guzman and I say that it won’t be my last one. I didn’t even realize this one was a Christmas book as it isn’t really in your face but it ended up being pretty delightful.

Getting into the two things I liked, I really enjoyed the two main characters: Sari and Gabriel. Their banter was just out of this world and they did a great job of pranking each other without taking it too far. I also really enjoyed the setting as I rarely read books featuring foodies nor books not set in the US or Europe so this was a solid one if you’re looking for non-US set Christmas read.

The one thing I didn’t like was that I felt as thought this book was a little bit too long and could have used some editing. It felt like I was waiting for the book to end as each conflict was either resolved too quickly or just seemed to make no sense. Maybe it’s just me, but it didn’t bother me enough to impact my rating. 4/5 stars

For the Christmas song, I’d pair with this one. I have to go with a classic Christmas song and that’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey. Really reminds me of how Gabriel feels about Sari.

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Greg Wong hates when things don’t go according to plan, so he definitely doesn’t appreciate it when his mother insists he drive Tasha Edwards back to Mosquito Bay for the Christmas holidays. He likes peace and quiet when he’s in the car, and that’s the opposite of what he’ll get with Tasha, his high school sweetheart. The first woman he ever loved.

Not that he has feelings for her now. Of course not. Though while he’s trying not to smile at her laughter and terrible singing, he can’t help noticing how beautiful she is.

And then his plans veer further off course when a snowstorm forces them to spend the night in an unheated motel room with only one bed…

The last book I’m talking about is A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas which is the second book in the Holiday With the Wongs series. This one focuses on Greg who was a side-character in book 1 and his second-chance romance with Tasha, his high school ex and it’s just delightful.

Getting into the two things I enjoyed, I really enjoyed the chemistry between Greg and Tasha as they were almost exact opposite but worked. It was really sweet seeing how well they were able to compliment each other despite their differences. I also really LOVED all of the tropes she packed in here especially the one bed trope and it was just so dang sweet.

As for the one thing I didn’t like, I really felt like this book could have wrapped up a little earlier or the ending could have been different. Overall though, this was easily my favorite of the bunch and I’m happy to continue this series in 2021. 4/5 stars

The Christmas song I’d pair up with this book is “Take Me Home for Christmas” by Dan + Shay as it goes perfectly. If you haven’t listened to this song, you need to because it’s one of my favorite Christmas songs.

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Those are my mini-reviews of three Christmas novellas I’ve read so far this season and honestly, I’d recommend them all. I think if you’re a fan of Christmas novellas, then you’ll find something you like. Hopefully, you enjoy these reviews and end up finding some new Christmas songs to listen to. Before you finish reading my post, please take the time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter.

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Books · Reviews

Marriage of Unconvenience: A Spoiler-Free Review

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! This week, I was going to write some mini-reviews of Christmas romances I’ve read. However, I didn’t get one of the books finished in time and I decided to read this one so it’s going to be my review for this one. If you’re looking for Christmas recs, then you need to come back next week. With that being said, let’s talk about Marriage of Unconvenience.

This is my spoiler-free review of Marriage of Unconvenience.

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Lauren “Lo” Bowman is in a bit of a pickle. She needs money, like ASAP. She lost her job, the rent is due, and her car needs repairs. Problem is, the inheritance left to her by her old-fashioned Granny has one stipulation before she can collect: she has to be married.

Let’s just say suitors (of any gender) are not knocking down her door. And then Cara Simms, her best friend from childhood that she’s recently reconnected with, pours her heart out and confesses that she needs money to pay for grad school. Lo has a completely brilliant idea: they should get hitched.

Not married married. Like, fake married. All they have to do is play the part for the lawyers, get the money, and then get the marriage annulled. Easy as hell.

Well, it starts out that way, but being fake married feels a lot like being real married, and Lo is flipping out. She cannot be falling for her best friend. Can she?

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

I saw my library had this book forever ago and I’ve been wanting to read it and it made perfect sense to read it for the Romance Takeover Readathon along with #SnowInLoveBingo which is just an incredible bonus. With that being said, let’s get into what I liked about Marriage of Unconvenience.

What I enjoyed about Marriage of Unconvenience

  • The romance. Of course, I’d be remiss to not mention how much I loved the romance between our two main characters: Lo and Cara. This was such an adorable friends-to-lovers romance and I especially loved how the two got married and then feelings started to develop.
  • The wedding. I’m a sucker for weddings, what can I say? Personally, I thought the wedding in this book was sweet and surprisingly extravagant given how small their budget was. I especially loved how supportive Lo’s parents were and how excited they were to be at their wedding.
  • The side characters. This book had a plethora of lovable side characters especially Ansel who was best friends with the two MCs. Honestly, I’d love for him to get his own book because he was a delight.

What I didn’t enjoy about Marriage of Unconvenience

  • Fade-to-black scenes. I’m not saying that every book I read has to be incredibly smutty but the sex scenes in this were pretty fade-to-black. I honestly felt like this book could have been elevated a little it it wasn’t fade-to-black but that was the author’s choice.
  • Too-late realization. One thing I couldn’t stand in this book was that everything felt rushed in the end. It truly felt like the author didn’t know how to include something that happened with Cara so it got thrown in and I didn’t enjoy that. I think it could have been handled better and made the story feel less rushed.
  • Editing. The major issue I had with this book was that I felt like it needed another round of edits to fix some minor problems. Whether it be cutting down scenes, adding some depth to others or fixing problems with the writing style, I feel like this book just needed a tiny bit more editing. Maybe I’m just picky but it just felt like the story needed a second look.
Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Honestly, this book was a lot of fun but it didn’t really wow me as I’d hoped. I do plan on reading more of this author’s backlist, though. They have a few books at my library and at least, their new release is on KU. Even though I didn’t absolutely love this book, I do think Chelsea M. Cameron writes great f/f romances and if you’re looking for some good Sapphic reads, I’d check them out.  Before you finish reading my post, please take the time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter.

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Books · Reviews

Bear With Me: A Spoiler-Free Review

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! I decided that this week I’m going to write a review for Wednesday but have yet to decide what I want to do for Friday. Even though I’m typing this while I’m on vacation, my boyfriend had to work so I was able to squeeze in some reading time. I only ended up reading 2 novellas during my vacation but I’m not complaining because I was so happy to be spending time with him. Either way, let’s get into the book I’m going to be reviewing.

This is my spoiler-free review of Bear With Me.

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Hi, I’m Celestine Woods, most people call me Chellie. If you are one of my 850K followers, you might know me as the super successful Instagram influencer, but more than likely you probably know me as the woman who got dumped by her former rockstar boyfriend, who then publicly professed his love for his new girlfriend in a song on Spotify before getting engaged a week later. While I think I had a perfectly rational response to this news but my sponsors didn’t agree. Apparently no one wants to buy expensive skin cream from the woman who had an alcohol-fueled meltdown at the biggest New Year’s Eve party in the world.

Now, I’m at Black Bear Mountain Lodges, a cabin resort in the Catskill Mountains, to relax, recharge, and rehab my image and— tossing in a couple sponsored posts. The only hitch in my plan for R&R is the sexy, yet grumpy, lumberjack who runs the resort. His people skills leave a lot to be desired and it’s no wonder I’m the only guest at this place. I know nothing about living in the mountains and he knows nothing about marketing and publicity. His resort and my image could both use a little TLC, so we formed a truce and teamed up to help each other.

Between my social media know-how, my smartphone, a gorgeous grumpy mountain man and a strangely friendly bear that keeps coming to my window every night, we can get this all turned around right?

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Let’s start things off by saying that this book is a shifter romance. I don’t recall ever reading one of these before so I was nervous to actually dive into it. I’ve also only read one book by Lucy Eden before now and enjoyed it. With that being said, let’s get into the things I enjoyed about Bear With Me.

What I enjoyed about Bear With Me

  • The start of the story. If you couldn’t tell by the synopsis above, the book starts with Chellie getting broken up with and her dealing with the aftermath of it. Honestly, I thought it was such a refreshing place to start this book at. Romance books rarely deal with the after-effects of a breakup and I think Lucy Eden handled this perfectly.
  • The love interest. From the first time we meet the love interest, it’s clear he has an interest in our heroine and honestly, I loved him so much. Even though he shared a name with my co-worker, I was able to look past it as he was just so sweet, loving and pretty much obsessed with Chellie. Once again, something super refreshing that I couldn’t get enough of.
  • It was short and sweet. Lucy Eden pretty much only writes novella length works and this one was no expectation. It was short and sweet while still delving into their relationship. Given the trope she used in here, it makes sense and I think that trope was another reason why I really enjoyed my time reading this book.
  • The playlist. If you caught my last review, then you’d know I included 5 Ariana Grande songs I’d pair with The Roommate and I had a lot of fun, doing it. This time, Lucy Eden did the work for me and included a playlist for this book. There’s also Jonas Brothers on said playlist so there’s no reason why I wasn’t going to love it.

What I didn’t enjoy about Bear With Me

  • Unnecessary family drama. During a majority of the book, Lucy had problems with her mother and it was such a downer. I don’t think it added anything to the story other than to give us some information. However, I think the book would have been fine being a light and fluffy read.
  • Quick turn-around. The only issue I had with this book was how quickly Chellie was able to get over her ex. With how much it focused on her being broken up over it, she moved on SO quick. Even though it had that particular trope, it made sense but other than that, it was a bit jarring.
Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Overall, I don’t really have much else to say about this one. It was a short and sweet shifter novella that I’d highly recommend if you’re new to shifter stories like me. It did make me want to pick up more, though. Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun, reading it and it might be the start of my #NovellaNovember bingo board. We’ll see if I even decide to participate but either way, I hope you guys enjoyed this short review. Before you finish reading my post, please take the time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter.

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Books · Reviews

Spoiler-Free Mini-Reviews: Trouble & Strife and Nordic Daddy

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! For this week’s review, I’m going to do two mini-reviews of books by Lara Kinsey. I read two of Lara Kinsey’s books last month and I wanted to read the rest of her backlist. These two books are vastly different in their premises but I wanted to include them both. Plus I feel like Lara Kinsey deserves more love and publicity so I’m happy to feature her on my blog and hopefully influence others to read her!

As I’ve mentioned in my previous mini-review posts, I’m going to talk about 2 things I enjoyed about each book and then 1 thing I didn’t. I’m also going to include some of my general thoughts as well.

These are my spoiler-free reviews of Trouble & Strife (Chances Limited #2) and Nordic Daddy by Lara Kinsey.

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Elizabeth Percival is sweet. Professionally. She left behind a life of stifling luxury to work in Cadwell’s chocolate shop. After over a decade, she’s itching to take over. She’s not about to let some broad-shouldered brawler mess it up. Even if he does have shoulders to die for.

Sidney Chance isn’t an enforcer…anymore. After a decade of smacking heads together in the name of the Chance Brothers, he’s lieutenant to the city’s most powerful family, but he’s not sure what to do with himself. Sid’s made some bad choices, but maybe the worst is mooning over a girl who keeps making good choices for him. Suddenly he has clean socks and wooly sweaters, and he’s not sure he minds, exactly, but it’s not doing his fearsome reputation any favors. But one taste of sweetness isn’t enough.

After reading and liking Hammer & Tongs, I knew I wanted to pick up the second book in this series. This one follows Sidney and his relationship with Elizabeth. With it coming out on July 30th, it was the perfect addition to my TBR and one I’m glad I picked up.

As for the two things I enjoyed, I absolutely adored the characters and their romance. It felt super believable and honestly, #goals. These two were head-over-heels for each other but yet weren’t afraid to be honest with each other. It was such a refreshing change from what I usually read. Communication was super important especially with the love interest dealing with pelvic pain.

The other thing I enjoyed was how soft it was. While there were some harsh parts, this story was mostly these two being soft for and around each other. It was such a nice change of pace and I really liked how she did it with Sid’s character. As for my one complaint, I wish this would have been longer. I think the story, characters and their relationship could have been more developed. Overall though, this was another enjoyable read from her. 4/5 stars

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Annika likes to keep these trips strictly business. But big, bearded Olof is an unexpected pleasure. She doesn’t normally date men with kids, but this cinnamon roll is irresistible.

Olof’s been on paternity leave for over a year, but with Annika behind him, he’s finally ready to move forward.

The other Lara Kinsey book I read was Nordic Daddy. This one is a romance between a tourist and a guy she meets during a coffee break. Overall, I don’t really have much to say about this one as it was only 23 pages. It was good but pretty under-developed as it didn’t focus much on their “relationship” if you can call it that. They mostly just hooked up and then sort of left things open.

While I don’t have much to say about it, it was short, sweet and to the point. It wasn’t a new favorite but it wasn’t bad. If you like short smutty reads, then I’d say give it a chance as there is bi rep in here. I can understand why it wouldn’t be for everyone, though. Either way, it was good but not extremely memorable. 4/5 stars

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Those are my mini-reviews of Trouble & Strife and Nordic Daddy by Lara Kinsey. This was a short post but I hope I convinced someone to check out Lara Kinsey. She’s someone I discovered on Kindle Unlimited and she’s such a delight. I can hope that I convince at least one of my followers to pick up her books. Before you finish reading my post, please take time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter.

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Books · Reviews

Meet Cute Club: A Spoiler-Free Review

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! This week, I’m writing another review and oh boy was I excited to read this book. I’ve heard a lot of Booktubers talk about Jack Harbon so I knew I wanted to read his books. Personally, I don’t read many m/m romances let alone m/m romances with Black characters. Either way, let’s get into my spoiler-free thoughts on this book. 🙂

This is my spoiler-free review of Meet Cute Club.

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Jordan Collins doesn’t need a man.

What he needs is for his favorite author to release another one of her sexy supernatural novels and more people to sign up for the romance book club that he fears is slowly and steadily losing its steam. He also needs for the new employee at his local bookstore to stop making fun of him for reading things meant for “grandmas.”

The very last thing he needs is for that same employee, Rex Bailey, to waltz into his living room and ask to join Meet Cute Club. Despite his immediate thoughts—like laughing in his face and telling him to kick rocks—Jordan decides that if he wants this club to continue thriving, he can’t turn away any new members. Not even ones like Rex, who somehow manage to be both frustratingly obnoxious and breathtakingly handsome.

As Jordan and Rex team up to bring the club back from the ashes, Jordan soon discovers that Rex might not be the arrogant troll he made himself out to be, and that, like with all things in life, maybe he was wrong to judge a book by its cover.

Credit: Pure Imagination Blog

I’ve only finished this book less than an hour ago but I knew I wanted to write a review of it. Honestly, this concept had me so excited that it was an easy pick for my TBR. With that being said, let’s get into my thoughts on Meet Cute Club starting with the things I enjoyed about the book.

What I enjoyed about Meet Cute Club

  • The concept. If you couldn’t tell from above, the concept of this book is about two guys who meet because of the other’s book club and it’s their romance. If you’re a reader, then I’m sure you’ll love this concept, too. It’s just so cute and bookish and something that could happen to any of us. Lol
  • The positive romance vibes. If there’s one thing this book did great was, it talked so openly and positively about romance. Jack Harbon touched on the problems but also talked about how great romance is as a genre. I really enjoyed that as someone who is a HUGE romance reader. It felt nice to see someone loving it as much as I do.
  • The romance. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love the romance between Jordan and Rex. They were stereotypical enemies-to-lovers but they also had this softness for each other. It was clear they had real feelings for each other and were just pure sweet cinnamon rolls for each other.
  • The pop culture references. Sometimes in books, authors really don’t know how to write pop culture references. Since Jack Harbon is young, he really got it and placed them where they needed to be. Nothing felt forced but rather, it was funny and made sense that the characters would say that.

What I didn’t enjoyed about Meet Cute Club

  • The conflict. As per most romance novels, this book had an inevitable conflict and I didn’t enjoy the one in this book. It’s not that the conflict didn’t make sense, but it felt overly dramatic when it didn’t need to be. Maybe it was just me but I found it to be a little too over-the-top.
  • The length. This book was just under 200 pages and I wish it would have been longer. I think it could have been a little bit longer and more developed. I especially would have liked to see more of Jordan and Rex spending time together.

With my thoughts of the way, I wanted to talk about how this fit into my Olympic Games TBR. I used this book as “Read a book you predict will be five stars.” Unfortunately for me, I didn’t end up giving it 5-stars. I rated Meet Cute Club 4 out of 5 stars which isn’t bad but it wasn’t a perfect book for me.

If you’re looking for more queer books by Black authors though, I highly recommend this one. I also plan on reading more from Jack Harbon in the future. While it might not have been a 5-star read, it was still enjoyable.

*Before you finish reading my post, please take time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter. Whether it be signing a petition, donating or simply re-sharing this same link, USE YOUR VOICE. If you’re a white person reading this, you have privilege and it is your duty as an ally to educate yourself, amplify Black voices and show that Black Lives Matter.

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Books · Reviews

Spoiler-Free Mini-Reviews: Stage Dreams and Check, Please! Book 1

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! Without Top 5 Tuesday, I have to get a little creative. For this week, I wanted to write some mini-reviews of the two graphic novels I read for the Olympic Games read-a-thon. While I originally only planned on reading Check, Please, my library had Stage Dreams so I deviated from my TBR a little bit.

With that being said, let’s get into the two books. Similar to my previous posts, I’m going to be featuring 2 things I liked about each and 1 thing I didn’t enjoy. Obviously, I’m aiming for short reviews so let’s get into it.

These are my spoiler-free mini-reviews of Stage Dreams by Melanie Gillman and Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu.

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In this rollicking queer western adventure, acclaimed cartoonist Melanie Gillman (Stonewall Award Honor Book As the Crow Flies) puts readers in the saddle alongside Flor and Grace, a Latinx outlaw and a trans runaway, as they team up to thwart a Confederate plot in the New Mexico Territory. When Flor—also known as the notorious Ghost Hawk—robs the stagecoach that Grace has used to escape her Georgia home, the first thing on her mind is ransom. But when the two get to talking about Flor’s plan to crash a Confederate gala and steal some crucial documents, Grace convinces Flor to let her join the heist.

This was an unplanned addition to my Olympic Games TBR but I decided to use it as a book that you know will make you happy. I can use Bewilder for one of the advanced challenges as it fits almost all of them. Honestly, I heard Chandler from Chandler Ainsley talk about this and knew I had to pick it up.

For what I liked about Stage Dreams, I really loved the art style/color palette. The colors were so soft and pretty. I especially loved the design Gillman did for all the characters. It felt like the characters were soft if that makes sense. Looking on Goodreads, I saw that Gillman illustrated it in colored pencils and that explains why. Overall, I thought it was a unique choice and I loved it.

The other thing I liked was the friendship and eventual relationship between Grace and Flor. The two couldn’t have been more different but they connected. They were both so bad-ass in completely different ways. I especially liked how Flor used her hawk to get what she wanted. As for what I didn’t like, I wish this would have been longer. The story and their relationship deserved MUCH more time. Hopefully, Gillman writes a sequel or give us something else because this was a delight. Plus at just over 100 pages, it was a super quick read. 4/5 stars.

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Helloooo, Internet Land. Bitty here!

Y’all… I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack—our very attractive but moody captain.

A collection of the first half of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.

Let me start off by saying, I went into this book expecting to love it. Both Ally and Ellyn raved about it. They both gave it 5-stars and I thought…alright so it’s obvious I’m going to love it. Going in with that pretense, I was a little bit hesitant but had no reason to be as I did genuinely love this.

For the two things I loved about Check, Please! Book 1, I loved the hockey team’s brotherhood. Bitty fit in so easily with his new teammates and they really grew to love him. It was just so wholesome especially his friendship with Shitty. Almost every single character in this was so lovable and I just wanted to hug them all. I also loved that Bitty loved baking and had a Youtube channel about it. It made for a fun addition to the story and I think it really set him apart from the other characters in that right.

Honestly, I could go on all day about the things I love (Uh a Jonas Brothers reference!) but let’s get into one thing I didn’t like. As much as I loved this, I didn’t really enjoy how the author added Bitty’s tweets at the end. It felt like unnecessary filler and only served to add a few extra pages. I know some people probably enjoyed them but I didn’t think it really added anything to the story. Either way, I love this book and can’t wait to get into book 2 ASAP. 5/5 stars

Before you finish reading my post, please take time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter. Whether it be signing a petition, donating or simply re-sharing this same link, USE YOUR VOICE. If you’re a white person reading this, you have privilege and it is your duty as an ally to educate yourself, amplify Black voices and show that Black Lives Matter. 

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Books · Reviews

Kill The Boy Band: A Spoiler-Free Re-Read Review

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! Surprisingly, I’ve been really in the mood to write reviews even though I’m usually not. With that being said, I knew I wanted to review one of the books I re-read this month and try something different. At first, I was going to review Foolish Hearts but no doubt that’s going to be 5 stars lol. Instead, I decided to feature Kill The Boy Band.

This is my spoiler-free review of Kill The Boy Band. 

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Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.

We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next.

We swear.

From thrilling new talent, Goldy Moldavsky comes a pitch-black, hilarious take on fandom and the badass girls who have the power to make—or break—the people we call “celebrities.”


Last month, I finally read Goldy Moldavsky’s sophomore novel, No Good Deed, and really enjoyed it. With all the reading I’ve been doing, I wanted to revisit her debut which was the first book I read by her. With that being said, I’m going to share my thoughts on the book and then talk a little bit about my re-read along with if my thoughts/ratings changed.

What I enjoyed about Kill The Boy Band

  • The characters. Despite the story being told by someone whose name we never learn, I really enjoyed the characters. Each of the girls represented different parts of fandom and it was refreshing. While I didn’t particularly like one more than the other, I think they made for an interesting dynamic.
  • The fandom “representation.” I’m not sure how Goldy Moldavsky captures exactly what it’s like to be part of a fandom. Whether it be a boy band, another musical group, or TV show, she doesn’t shy away. She dives deep into the different types of fans, the lengths fans are willing to go and what being a fangirl is like. I really enjoyed how they were clearly based on One Direction and it’s just wild to think where the band is now.
  • The audiobook narration. When I first read Kill The Boy Band, I read it physically but now I can see the audio is the way to go. It’s narrated by Barrett Wilbert Weed and what a fabulous narrator she was. She did a great job of doing different voices for the girls and even, doing British accents for the Ruperts. If you’re wondering about which way to consume this book, audio is a must if you can.
  • The plotline including plot-twists. This book is told in two parts and what a rollercoaster ride both are. Not only is the plotline to “kill the boy band” ingenious but how the story unfolds is incredible. Every time I thought I had a handle on something, something else would happen. I felt like I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what happened next.

What I didn’t enjoy about Kill The Boy Band

  • Horrible friendships. In fandom, you find friends and you can also have toxic friends because of it. In this book, our narrator has some pretty shitty friends who are all connected because of the Ruperts. I know they all had their own reasons for being horrible, but I couldn’t imagine how they would be able to connect because of the band. Something about them didn’t feel believable to me.
  • “Sloane’s” condition. There is something revealed about our narrator towards the end of the book and I think it wasn’t handled properly. While I understand why it was added, I think it could have been handled more delicately. I know it was used to hurt Sloane but still, it rubbed me the wrong way.
  • Slightly overdramatic. On the whole, I think this book was a little bit more dramatic than it should have been. While I do enjoy the concept and plot, things got crazy pretty quickly and it didn’t slow down from there. Every time something would start to calm down, something else would happen. Then again if it’s anything like fanfiction, I can see why she would go that route. Either way, some parts just felt like they were completely ridiculous.

Let me start off by saying, I forgot a lot about this book until I re-read it. A lot of the crazier events completely left me so things felt more shocking. In all honesty, I think this book was just as good as my previous read. I even tabbed up a few more quotes talking about fandom, being a fangirl, and boybands.

Before moving on, I wanted to include one of my favorite quotes: “Other people may have seen fangirls as crazy teenage girls obsessed with a fad, but they couldn’t understand the small but important joy you get from indulging in these fandoms.” If you’re a fangirl or even if you’re not, I’m sure you have something you can relate to this quote. Personally, I know that the Jonas Brothers have that effect on me.

The big question is if my rating changed and that’s going to be no. In Feb 2018, I rated Kill The Boy Band 4 stars and it’s staying the same. This is a solid 4-star upon reread and it gets me even more excited for Goldy’s upcoming fall release. I’d highly recommend if you were a 1D stan, are part of a fandom, or if you like dark humor.

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Books · Reviews

The Babysitters Coven: A Spoiler-Free Review

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! For my review this week, I’m going to be featuring a book I was incredibly excited to read. Considering it follows witches too, it was the perfect pick for my OWLs read-a-thon TBR. With that being said, let’s get into the book and my thoughts on it!

This is my spoiler-free review of The Babysitters Coven

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Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it. And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club? The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from a seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.


The day I’m writing this is actually the day I finished the book so a lot of my thoughts are fresh in my mind. With that being said, I’m going to keep this intro pretty short so let’s get into my spoiler-free thoughts about The Babysitters Coven.

What I enjoyed about The Babysitters Coven

  • The characters. In a lot of ways, this book is more about the characters than the plot as a lot of the action didn’t happen until later. I thought Esme was a strong character who experienced a lot of character development throughout the novel along with  Cassandra. Those two were easily the most fleshed out aside from Janis.
  • The concept. As someone who just recently re-read The Babysitters Club, I was super excited about this concept. A babysitters club but with witches? Sign me up! There were even a few mentions of the series and the girls having their own BSC which was really cool.
  • The plot twist with the side character. I don’t want to give too much away, but there was a plot twist we found out about one of the side characters. I thought it was really interesting and made for a more well-rounded character. While I think it’ll be discussed deeper in the second book, this was a good intro to them. Even though it felt a little underdeveloped at times, this was a debut so I can forgive it.
  • All of the descriptions. I think that Kate Williams did a great job of describing everything in the story. It really felt like I could picture their outfits, the houses, and their surroundings. I especially loved hearing about their outfits as we got to see Janis and Esme describe their outfits in such a unique way. Some might call it distracting but I think it was a fun addition.

What I didn’t enjoy about The Babysitters Coven

  • Slow start. This book had an incredibly slow start as things felt a little bit stagnant at first and then after the halfway point, the action finally started. Maybe it was just me, but I thought we’d get more witchy stuff throughout. Rather, this book did a lot of setting up for the witchy stuff to eventually happen.
  • Cringey dialogue. Unfortunately, I think this book suffered from an adult trying to write a teenage character and failing. A lot of what Janis, Esme, and Cassandra said felt super ~hip~ and ~trendy~ rather than being how teenagers talked. For some reason, the use of “AF” in here really annoyed as the author used it a ton.
  • Not enough of either selling point. Personally, I think this book struggled a lot with what it was trying to do. In a lot of ways, it didn’t have enough witchy stuff but not enough babysitting. Maybe I’m just nit-picking, but the title felt a little bit misleading. I thought I was going to get a coven of bad-ass witchy babysitters and that just didn’t happen. Maybe my expectations were just too high but this didn’t really work.

Overall, it was clear that this book was a debut and hopefully, the author will iron those wrinkles out in the second book. While I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped, I thought it was still a cute story. Maybe with the second book, Kate Williams will be able to tell a more complete story with all the groundwork already laid. Sadly though, this book was a little bit of a disappointment considering I read it for my OWLs.

I gave The Babysitters Coven 3 out of 5 stars!

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Books · Reviews

The Worst Best Man: A Spoiler-Free Review

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! If you looked at my TBR, you’ll know that this book was not on it. During the first few days of March, I didn’t end up reading anything on TBR and just went rogue lol. Either way, one of the books that came off hold was The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa and I was super excited to read it so I knew I had to review it so let’s get into it.

This is my spoiler-free review of The Worst Best Man

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A wedding planner left at the altar. Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s managed to make other people’s dreams come true as a top-tier wedding coordinator in DC. After impressing an influential guest, she’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials.

Tired of living in his older brother’s shadow, marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning—absolutely off-limits—ex-fiancée. And she loathes him.

If they can survive the next few weeks and nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own.

But even the best-laid plans can go awry, and soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again.


Normally, I would have more to talk about but I really want to get into my review as I finished this book last night and everything is fresh in my mind so let’s get into it.

What I enjoyed about The Worst Best Man

  • The characters. I’ve never read anything by Mia Sosa, but one thing that I noticed was how well she writes her characters. The two main characters: Lina and Max went through a lot of growth throughout the story. While I think Lina was better developed, I really appreciate how she wrote her characters.
  • The romance. Since this is rom-com, it’s no surprise that I loved the romance. If you couldn’t figure it out from the synopsis, you’ll know who the romance is between. Personally, I thought it was super believable if not incredibly dramatic but I think these two were a great match. While it didn’t start off as a romance, I enjoyed the path Sosa took to get it there.
  • The nods to Brazilian culture. I really enjoyed how much Brazilian culture was represented in this book. Since Lina is Afro-Brazilian, it made sense to include those details. However, I think it added another layer to the story especially with all the Brazilian food references. It was such a nice change of pace as I don’t think I’ve read a book with a Brazilan character before so I really appreciated that.

What I didn’t enjoy about The Worst Best Man

  • The “conflict.” Since this is a romance, there has to be a conflict but I really thought the conflict in this book was stupid. If anything, it worked to vilify another character which was the idea? I’m not sure but I thought it didn’t make sense in the story and I wish that she would have taken a different route with that.
  • The ending. Another thing that annoyed me was the ending of this book. I feel like everything up in a neat little bow and I didn’t like that. While the conflict coming towards the end of the book, it was jarring. Maybe I’m just being picky but it really annoyed me how quickly everything was okay. I don’t know but it just seemed completely annoying to me.
  • The length. I don’t mind a long romance book but this book was WAY too fucking long. This book was almost 400 pages and I don’t think it needed to be. If it was 100 pages shorter, it would have been so much better. Maybe that’s why I was so annoyed at the ending but this book was so long that the ending just felt like it was an afterthought. That’s probably weird to say but I think this book could have been edited down and still had the same effect.

While I did have some issues, I really did enjoy this book. I’m happy that my library bought it since I suggested it lol. I am intrigued to see what she does with the second book in this series. Personally, I think it would better as a standalone but I’ll still check out Dean’s book. Overall, this was a solid romance book despite having a handful of problems that will hopefully be ironed out in the next one.

I gave The Worst Best Man 4 out of 5 stars.

Have you read The Worst Best Man? Would you recommend Mia Sosa if you’ve read any of her other books? I’d love to know! ❤

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