Thank You for Listening
By Julia Whelan
Oh, I love it so much! So much!!
The reason I purchased the title was because I’m a huge Julia Whelan fan! I mean huge! If she narrates it, it’s gold. But to have a title that she also wrote? I was very sure I couldn’t go wrong. Thank You for Listening went straight to the top of my of Top 10 Favorite books of 2022. In fact, it’s sitting at the top of my all time favorites too. It’s just gold!
Whelan has well developed characters. I mean, the main character is physically flawed and so amazing that you wonder how you manage day to day without any physical / noticeable flaws. There are at least 3-4 plot lines going at any time, and yet they are seamless. The number of characters she keeps track of, and narrates in the audio book, only brings the knowledge of the level of this woman’s talent to the forefront even more.
This book circles around the narration business and the love/hate relationship with being a romance narrator. Being a romance author with books in audio, I thought the behind the scenes look was mesmerizing, but you don’t have to be an author to appreciate it.
Aside from the fact that the opening scene of this book had me laughing out loud, literally, it just got better with each moment. I cannot recommend this book enough. Again, I wasn’t wrong when I figured this would be an epic story. I do recommend listening to it, because if you’re not familiar with Whelan’s narrative style, you will quickly become a fan. She’s all that! Consider this a review that should have many, many more stars than just five.
Brat : An 80’s Story
By Andrew McCarthy
Let’s just say, I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I guess it wasn’t this. Brat : An 80’s Story by Andrew McCarthy did not fill this 80’s girl’s need for nostalgia. The story, a memoir, starts at Andrew McCarthy’s childhood and finishes in the aftermath of St. Elmos Fire and Mannequin. Though usually I love memoirs, I felt as if the lead up, perhaps due to the title, was going to fill in those backlot secrets of the 80’s, but most of this was about his climb to that first movie and then a rush through the 80’s iconic roles we know and love. Reviews are personal in nature, and there is an aspect of did it hit the right chord with me? This one didn’t, but it doesn’t take away the love I had for Andrew McCarthy characters that were a huge part of my teenage years. What this means is I need to find some of his travel pieces and see what he has to say on a topic that I don’t have a preconceived thought on. If you’re a child of the 80’s and you can quote Pretty in Pink and St. Elmos Fire, give this a read. See what you personally think.
𝐀𝐋𝐖𝐀𝐘𝐒 𝐁𝐄 𝐌𝐘 𝐃𝐔𝐂𝐇𝐄𝐒𝐒
by Amalie Howard @amaliehoward
I’m not a reader of historical romance and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Now I can say I was grateful to have read this book and delved into something outside my norm.
This book is compared to Pretty Woman meets the Bridgertons, and the premise works and is very well done. Lord Lysander Blackstone, the Duke of Montcroix, is a ruthless businessman who has no time for relationships. Upon the accidental meeting with ballerina Genevieve Valery, he propositions her to be his fake fiancee to help him establish the right image for a seller who questions his authenticity.
Genevieve is in it for the money, Lysander for the opportunity it will give him, but neither are prepared for the feelings that blossom.
This is a beautiful love story where the heart of the grumpy duke is softened, and the ballerina, whose life had been turned upside down, gets a shiny HEA.
Ms. Howard created loveable characters, and a strong woman who wasn’t annoying in the least. I look forward to reading more of her books, and to diving into a subgenre that I’m not too familiar with.
by Lauren Blakey
A let loose in a new country plan that has a wild twist.
“When a scorching hot one-night stand with a stranger turns into a deliciously forbidden office romance…”
When Jo moves to London to work for the company that bought out the one she was working at, and vying for VP, her friends convince her to be a bit reckless and warm up to London, which she hates, by having a one night stand. When she meets Heath, a book loving Englishman, her one night is a thing of legend.
But, because this turns into a delicious romance, go figure, he’s also the one she’s competing against for the VP job!
This was one of those audio books I chose, dictated because of social media. I’d seen the cover enough times that I got curious. I had no idea it was the 3rd in a series, but let me tell you, I still didn’t know it until they mentioned the other books in the closing credits. It was so well done as a stand alone.
I do have to admit, I almost DNF’d it. The romance didn’t start in the first chapter with a meeting or a glance—that didn’t happen until something like chapter four. But something made me keep listening, and I was glad I did.
This book was saved after those first few chapters, and the forbidden (or more hushed) office relationship was delightful and then yummy! I found I wanted them both to get the job, but more than anything, I just wanted them together and didn’t care if they both got fired over it.
The love was sincere, and hot, hot, hot. The characters were well defined and lovable.
This was an Audible Exclusive, and well worth listening to. (But it is in paperback as well, though the covers vary!)
I highly recommend this fun one night stand, HEA!
THE GOOD LUCK CHARM
By Helena Hunting
I love a good second chance romance with some hockey!
I am a sucker for a good second chance romance. Ethan broke Lilah’s heart when he ended their young, hot romance to play hockey in college, and then professionally. Having been intertwined in one another’s life since childhood, it would stand to reason that when Ethan is traded to his hometown team, Lilah is still embedded with his family. This romance is easy to fall back into, but after eight years, both of them have grown in different ways. Ethan assumes they can pick up right where they left off, but Lilah has plans of her own. But when she’s with him, he plays better than he ever has, and everyone notices. So the question is, is it love or is she just the good luck charm?
I enjoyed the pace of the story, the romance and angst was well done, and the steam level is scorch worthy. I love the relationship between Lilah and Ethan’s family separate from her relationship with Ethan. These kinds of romances uplift the heart.
I highly recommend this feel good romance.
By Andre Gonzalez
𝑾𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒊𝒇 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒊𝒏 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒓𝒈𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒂𝒔𝒕?
The very thought of time travel is intriguing. The first thing we often think about is “what would I change?” But what if you were part of a secret society that used time travel to right the wrongs? And what if the past pushed back at you when you tried to change it?
The Arielle Lucila Series is a spin off of author Andre Gonzalez’s 𝑊𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑡ℎ 𝑜𝑓 𝑇𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑠. Though, you’d be more familiar with the organization if you read all of the 𝑊𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑡ℎ 𝑜𝑓 𝑇𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑠, it’s not necessary to start there. The book is set up so well that you’re not lost in the premise at all.
Arielle Lucila is one of the top Angels in the industry. An angel being a time traveling expert with specific skills to succeed in the classified operations they are sent on. Arielle leads a new team with Selina and Felix in the first book in this new series, and this new permanent team will have to learn to work together to have a successful mission. This specific mission is to stop the murder of a local man nearly three decades earlier.
Mr. Gonzalez does an amazing job building up likable and strong characters that understand the ins and outs of working with others who may not see eye to eye. His take on strong capable women and intellectual men is refreshing.
The time travel aspect is also believable and not overdone. There are some well throughout rules for time travel, but again, the book isn’t bogged down with them.
If you’re looking for something that is well written and will take you on an adventure, I highly suggest 𝐴𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑙 𝐴𝑠𝑠𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑛, as well as any of the previous books in the 𝑊𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑡ℎ 𝑜𝑓 𝑇𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑆𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑠.
By Helena Hunting
Who doesn't love the down to earth millionaire?
London Spark has been rather focused on helping her sisters build up their family business, Spark House. However, her love is in the creative aspect, and not the business end. This is evident by the number of paper stars London has made in the past two books. Her nervous habit has her carrying strips of paper in her purse so that she can make the stars any time. (I’ve given it a try, and I have to say, they’re not so easy. But I think I need different paper.) Just recently single, London finds it necessary to focus on her work, and even turns down an invite from a stranger at a bar.
Jackson Holt is a media mogul, and a young and attractive millionaire, looking to work with other small companies. Luckily his company is expanding to have an office in Denver, and just by chance, the woman who turned him down at the bar is part owner in a prospective partnering business.
The trope of we can’t work together and see each other works well in the second Spark House book. Everyone understands the need to separate work and pleasure, but as the reader, the attraction is there and we’re cheering, “Just do it!”
London and her sisters, and Jackson and his entourage, are fun characters. Ms. Hunting always does a wonderful job of making you feel for them.
If you love contemporary romances with characters who feel for those around them, as well as budding romance, you’ll love this book.
WHEN SPARKS FLY
By Helena Hunting
I’m always a sucker for a friends to lover romance!
I love a book set in Colorado! The Spark sisters and their event center, offer the perfect backdrop for romantic possibilities.
Avery Spark is all business. Her goal is the make the Spark House, the business which has been in her family for generations, an even bigger success. She doesn't have much time for more than her sisters and her business. However, her roommate Declan McCormick, and their friends from college, make time to kick back and relax together.
Declan, a known ladies man, has a hard time covering up his soft side for Avery. When she's in a horrific car accident, and unable to do much for herself, he steps in to be her caretaker, while her sisters run the business.
But, we all know that forced proximity is a formula for good romance! Enter the best friend who promises to take care of the other, and "Sparks Fly!"
The characters are wonderful and the pace is good. I was more than excited to see Declan get his chance with Avery while he helped her heal. The trust Avery puts in him is refreshing.
I recommend getting to know the Spark sisters. This is book one in the trilogy.
By Emily Henry
This Twist on a Classic Trope is a Must Read!
The twist on the classic trope of the ice queen girlfriend left in the city when the guy marries the small town sweetheart whose family business he was sent to take over is DELIGHTFUL! I was sucked into this tale of twisted fates from the first line.
Nora Stephens (the book agent) who is named after Nora Ephron (now seriously, how rom com can you get? LOVE IT!) is the opposite of every doe eyed romance heroine. Add in the very moody Charlie Lastra (editor) and you have a bookish romance worth reading over and over. (Which I have!)
When Nora’s sister drags her to the small town where her favorite book is set, with a To Do list that would make any rom com dull in comparison, the plot is set for an amazing romance to blossom between the two bookish enemies.
Emily Henry never disappoints! She is hands down one of my favorites.
KISS MY CUPCAKE
By Helena Hunting
Enemies to Lovers with a Sweet Twist
Blaire and her cupcake store were all I needed to make me want to read this book, but add the brooding Ronan and his axe throwing bar, and I knew we had a winner!
I love Ms. Hunting’s writing style. She’s one of those who does that first person POV so well. The extra little quotes at the end of each chapter were something of genius.
This friends to lovers romance with the competing cupcake store and bar makes for the perfect romantic setting when these dueling businesses work together to draw business away from their new corporate neighbor. Of course, when opposites work together, surely sparks will fly--and that they do!
A must read if you’re looking for something light and fun to read!
BETTER THAN THE MOVIES
By Liz Painter
Can’t Get Enough of Wes and Liz
I had fallen in love with Mr. Wrong Number, so when I finished it, I went searching for another Lynn Painter masterpiece. There it was, a Rom Com loving novel and I pushed buy! I didn’t read the blurb. I didn’t look to see anything about it. Into the first chapter I find out it’s YA, and admittedly, I don’t ready YA, and I considered not continuing. Can I tell you I would have missed out on something special. OMG, I am in love with Wes and Liz. This book is on the top of my 2022 favorites list. It’s the one I go back to to read or listen to quotes. It’s the one that flashes in my mind most often. This glorious enemies to lovers romance has all the feels. YA or not, you simply won’t walk away from this not wanting more. (And if you watch Ms. Painter’s site, you might just get more.) Yes, the quest for more Wes and Liz is huge and she accommodates.
Liz is a rom com loving teenager who’s constant battle with the next door neighbor puts her in a hard place when she has to ask him to help her get noticed by the boy she has a crush on. Of course, as it would happen, spending time with one guy to make the other see her has its consequences. There might just be too many feelings for the boy next door, whom she was sure hated her, but she just might be wrong.
Again, you can’t go wrong with this one. I can’t recommend it enough. As of June 2022, it’s my most favorite book of the year!
By Antony Soehner
An adventure worth reading.
When Prince Theo fleas his kingdom, and his father’s rule with his trusted friend Oli by his side, he learns of a plethora of diverse people and creatures beyond the walls of the kingdom.
Antony Soehner creates diverse and wonderfully likable characters. His vivid descriptions of creatures, magical powers, and settings, keep the reader engaged as they follow the Prince on his epic journey.
This is a wonderful book for readers young and old.
by Helena Hunting
#1 Daxton Fan Here Too!
When Kailyn literally runs into Daxton, her teenage TV heartthrob crush, on the campus on her first day of law school, she fan girls hard. Only, after being classmates for years, she decides he’s a jerk. Years later, when Dax becomes his little sister’s guardian, Kailyn, a trust lawyer, becomes involved in his life, and the life of his sister.
I didn’t know what to expect when I started this book, but I quickly fell in love with all of the characters. Kailyn is smart and motivated. Daxton is equally as motivated as a lawyer now, looking to move past his teen-stardom. Dax’s sister is a pivotal character who is processing loss and new situations. The story is well thought out and never has a lull. The chemistry between Dax and Kailyn is spot on, and makes those hot and steamy sections even better. This was a fabulous story, and I was sad to finish it.
STUCK WITH YOU
By Ali Hazelwood
𝐅𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐬 𝐚 𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐭, 𝐒𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐋𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐒𝐓𝐄𝐌 𝐑𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬
I have recently become an Ali Hazelwood fan. Her STEM trilogy has been fun, but this specific book fell a little short for me. The book is written in alternating past and present, and is done extremely well. I love the academia and STEM that is included in Hazelwood’s books. I didn’t fall in love with these two characters as much as I have with her other books, but it won’t detour me from reading her further.
HOOK LINE AND SINKER
by Tessa Bailey
A Sweet Meets Wild Mix
Picking up where we left off with the Bellinger sisters, Hanna Bellinger has been texting her future brother-in-law’s best friend, and known playboy, Fox Thornton, for the past six months. The flirty texts, and deepened friendship, are all that this relationship can be. Hannah is a relationship kind of girl, and Fox’s reputation off the table for something stable. When Hannah convinces the film production company she works with to film in the small town where she was born, and where her sister now lives, she finds herself as Fox’s roommate for the duration of production. And even though she’s been warned away from Fox, the pull of attraction hits them both.
Again, Ms. Bailey’s character building is spot on. These two characters have been favorites from the first book in this Bellinger sister duo. Hannah’s love of music is astounding, and makes me wish I knew more about all genres of music. And the love we have for Fox and how he got to be how he is, it just melts a reader’s heart. I want to scoop him up for myself. (My husband will understand, right?)
Hook Line and Sinker is a winner and I highly recommend it. In fact, both books about the Bellinger sisters are must reads.
IT HAPPENED ONE SUMMER
by Tessa Bailey
Opposites attract and sparks will fly! It Happened One Summer follows the LA elite Bellinger sisters from LA to Washington when they are “grounded” to the small fishing town where they’d been born. Piper Bellinger, rich girl, social media magnet, pulls a few too many “look at me” stunts and her step-father sends her to Washington, cut off for three months, to prove to the world that she can make it without daddy’s credit card. Her sisters dutifully follows. While there, Piper falls in love with crab boat captain Brendan. In a story of, can the outgoing Piper bring out the softer side of the grouchy Brenden, and can Brenden offer Piper happiness in a life that is nothing like her life in Beverly Hills?
The characters in this book are so well developed. You know them, you feel them, you love them. Ms. Bailey is fantastic in giving those details to build the most delectable cast.
The only part of this book that skewed me from 5 stars to 4 is the hot and heavy sex scenes. They are WELL done, don’t get me. wrong. However, after the amazing character development, in the bedroom (or elsewhere), our characters absolutely turn the tables. Sure, behind closed doors, people are different, but I just felt that in intimate situations the character differences between caring lovers to wild and dirty just didn’t hit the mark. All parts are done well, but the transition just missed the mark for me.
I loved this book and would recommend it, and it’s seaqual.
MR. WRONG NUMBER
by Lynn Painter
One Wrong Text. One Hot Guy.
“What are you wearing?” is the miscellaneous text that Olive gets after having to move in with her brother after she’d burnt down her apartment building.
This amazing adventure into love made me fall in love with Lynn Painter’s writing.
Colin and Olive have that best friend’s little sister trope mixed into a fun romance with the twist of a misdialed text message that starts their romance, long before they get involved in person. This story had it all and was so well organized, it was a great read. Because of this book, I’ve begun my journey down the rabbit hole of collecting and reading all of Ms. Painter’s books.
I highly recommend Mr. Wrong Number. You won’t be disappointed.
by Ali Hazelwood
I love the depth of this Female Lead!
I do love an Ali Hazelwood book. Hannah has her dream job at NASA, and the eye of sexy Ian. Below Zero is the final in the STEM trilogy, and I love Hazelwood’s angle of smart, educated women who have amazing jobs. This book is written in present and in recalls, but done so well. Added are the sexy details, and Hannah is a modern woman, unashamed of being forward, and excited by the prospects of not only her career, but relationships between men or women. It was refreshing!
UNDER ONE ROOF
By Ali Hazelwood
Smart, sassy, funny, and HOT
A wonderful story about by chance roommates. The characters are smart, sassy, funny, and hot enough to jump off the page and make you want to take them home. I enjoyed the premise and the story as these two roommates, who start out as potential enemies, learn about one another, forge a friendship, make sacrifices for the other, and then a romance blossoms. I’ve preordered Ms. Hazelwood’s other books, as I thoroughly enjoy her writing style and voice. I listened to this in audio, and the performance of the narrator, Emma Wilder, was fantastic.
PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION
by Emily Henry
Poppy and Alex sucked me in from the moment they took their first vacation. This book bounces from their summer vacations each year and their current vacation, but it’s done so well that it’s fun to jump around with them through their twelve year friendship that blossoms.
Each of them has that one thing that keeps them from falling for the other. You know, it’s a bad idea to fall in love with your best friend. This slow burn keeps the reader waiting. Ms. Henry throws in just enough lust and love to give us hope as we keep reading (or listening as the case was for me.)
Ms. Henry is a master at creating deep and loveable characters. Each has a quirk that is skillfully carried through the book. Her characters are easy to love and keep with you for a long time, even after you’ve finished this book.
Done in first person POV, Ms. Henry draws you in and is a master in this POV.
A must read for anyone who loves friends to lovers romance.
By Emily Henry
I absolutely loved this book! This was the first for me from this author. The characters were fun and damaged, but in the realistic way that we’re all damaged. The story of these past acquaintances and dueling authors was a fun story line. The journey of January (and how can you NOT love that name?!) to find the truth behind her father’s deception, and Gus’ internal battle to find acceptance sets the perfect scene for self discovery and romance. A must read!
THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS
By Ali Hazelwood
Results = O-M-G!
I never follow what’s trending, it’s not in my nature. However, having seen this book pop up multiple times on multiple feeds, I thought I’d try it. I couldn’t get enough! Olive is likable, and maybe a bit pathetic when it comes to social skills beyond her roommates. Her entire character is driven by the need to do good for others. Adam (swoon) appears to be the opposite. His character is introduced as Olive’s opposite—care to no one. When they both have reason to fake date, they begin to fool those around them, but who are they really fooling?
The characters are amazing. The narrative is unique, and so well done. I could easily be friends with Olive, and it’s been a long time since I’d considered a new book boyfriend, but Adam just topped that list.
Though set in academia, the audience isn’t belittled or lost. In fact, there is just enough academia to be interesting.
The narration was spot on to the characters, and easy to listen to.
It’s been a long time since I’ve wanted to start a book over right after I finished it. The Love Hypothesis just might be the book that gets that honor.