REVIEW: UNLIKELY ANIMALS by Annie Hartnett

Thank you to the publisher for sending me an advanced copy of this book!

Since I don’t share the synopsis of the book in my reviews, click the following links to Goodreads or The StoryGraph to read it!

This book is 100% outside of the norm of what I typically read, and I can give it no less than 5 stars. It wouldn’t be right. With masterful storytelling, a palpable family dynamic, and an intricate storyline, Unlikely Animals is full of heart and soul. I never wanted to leave Everton and its ghosts (literally ghosts in the cemetery, they’re the ones narrating the story).

Every single important character in this story had a quality that had me rooting for them. From Clive’s antics to Auggie’s recovery, the Starling family was charming and flawed. We get to witness our main character, Emma, find herself back in the familiarity of her hometown, a place that she couldn’t wait to get away from when she turned 18. It was fascinating to watch a family go through the troubles in their life while also interacting with the heaviness of the world surrounding them.

The pacing is slow, but there’s reason for it, as we watch every stitch in the fabric of this drama pull together. This quiet story produced some of the biggest twists I’ve ever read in my life – so twisty that I didn’t have them on my radar.

The writing is beautiful, the storyline well thought out, and the execution superb. I cannot wait to read more from Annie Hartnett.

This book releases April 12, and the following affiliate links to Amazon and Bookshop.org will let you preorder it today!

REVIEW: NORA GOES OFF SCRIPT by Annabel Monaghan

Since I don’t share the book synopsis in my review, feel free to click the following links to The StoryGraph or Goodreads to read it!

Friends, it’s the middle of February and my heart feels like summer after finishing NORA GOES OFF SCRIPT (thank you Putnam books for my gifted copy). This book publishes June 7th and please just go ahead and preorder it (my affiliate links are shared at the bottom).

This book gives the feeling of the first green blades of grass popping up in your lawn after a long winter, the inner warmth filling your body as the end of the bitter cold days comes into view. The feeling of new hope and feeling like yourself again after hibernating for months on end. It made me want to put on a sundress and get up at the crack of dawn to watch the sunrise (but alas, it’s February and 30 degrees, so I won’t).

The most wonderful part of this book was the representation of second love and the magic of finding someone after your life has come to an unsuspecting halt. This story portrays the strength of a single mom who does everything for her kids and nothing for herself. An unexpected gentleman shows up and we get to watch a love grow that is the thing of fairytales.

This story explores single motherhood, new love, the difficulties of parenting, and so much more. Set in a small, Stars Hollow-esque town outside of New York City, you’ll want to pour yourself a glass of lemonade and drink in this story with a smile on your face. I cannot recommend this book enough, and hope that everyone out there looking for a closed door romance that’ll make your heart burst picks this one up.

If you would like to order a copy, the following links to Amazon and Bookshop.org are affiliate links that provide me a small commission at no cost to you!

6 NEW MARCH TITLES I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO!

As I look at ice and snow outside my window right now, I cannot help but long for longer, warmer days – and the books that get published during the spring season. I have several books that I am looking forward to in a few different genres that release in the magical month of March where we start to see the world thaw and things come back to life. Check out my list below of the ones I am most looking forward to, and let me know if I missed any that you are anticipating!

Please note that the following links are affiliate links that, should you order through them, give me a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting me!

ONE ITALIAN SUMMER by REBECCA SERLE
Genre: Contemporary fiction/romance
Publication Date: March 1, 2022

I liked Serle’s debut, The Dinner List, and really enjoyed In Five Years. Her books typically have some heavy content in them, so proceed with caution. It won’t be a light, fluffy read like the cover may portray. Check out the synopsis on Goodreads and if you feel compelled to purchase it, both Amazon and Bookshop.org have it available for preorder!

BEING MARY BENNET by JC Peterson
Genre: Young adult contemporary, retelling
Publication date: March 8, 2022

I’ve only read one or two retellings in my day, but I am very intrigued by this one! It features a meet cute in an animal shelter, something my animal loving heart is so down with. Preorder available through both Amazon and Bookshop.org!

THE SUITE SPOT by Trish Doller
Genre: Contemporary fiction/romance
Publication Date: March 8, 2022

Doller’s last book, Float Plan made my top 10 of 2021, so I already preordered The Suite Spot last August. This follows the sister of the main character from Float Plan, and I believe is already set to have a third book in the series! It is easily one of my most anticipated books of the year. Available at both Amazon and Bookshop.org for preorder!

SADIE ON A PLATE by Amanda Elliot
Genre: Adult Romance
Publication Date: March 15, 2022

This book sounds like it’ll make me hungry and should also be compulsively readable. Berkley publishes some of the best contemporary romances I’ve read, and I am sure this one will be no different. It is available for preorder both via Amazon and Bookshop.org right now!

THE BOOK OF COLD CASES by Simone St. James
Genre: Adult mystery/thriller
Publication Date: March 15, 2022

I really enjoyed the spooky vibes of The Broken Girls when I read it in 2019, so I’m looking forward to picking this one with a storyline a fictional true crime blogger! Another hot release from Berkley, this one is sure to receive high praise from many. Preorder on Amazon or Bookshop.org!

WELCOME TO THE SCHOOL BY THE SEA by Jenny Colgan
Genre: Adult fiction
Publication Date: March 29, 2022

The first book in a 4 part series about an English boarding school by the sea, this one should give ocean and school day vibes all in one. Colgan is known for writing warm, comforting books, and I am sure this one will be no different! Preorders available on Amazon and Bookshop.org right now!

VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE READER IN YOUR LIFE

We are a week out from Valentine’s Day, and while my husband and I don’t typically exchange gifts, I took a quick minute to compile a list of some gifts that I think most readers would love to receive! All of these should come in before the holiday and are easy to keep in your back pocket as future gift ideas for any other occasions.

Please note that all Amazon items are affiliate links and that I will receive a small commission at no cost to you should you purchase through it.

Idea #1: A Wearable Blanket

My husband bought me this for my birthday in December and I’ve been in it basically every night while I read since. The pocket is even large enough for my e reader! Perfect for anyone who likes to be PEAK cozy!

Idea #2: The Book Seat

Perfect for any sized book (really, it can adjust to hold even the largest 800 page paperback I have in my home), this little contraption is excellent for folks with chronic pain who can’t always hold a book up. It also prevents falling asleep and losing your spot in the book 😆

Idea #3: A Book Cart

Even if the reader in your life already has a set of bookshelves, a more portable book cart for small spaces creates so much versatility for book storage! So many great things can fit in it and it obviously looks cute.

Idea #4: A Book Weight

This little doodad is a big help when I need a book held open to write down notes or even to just read while I blow dry my hair or something (constantly multitasking here)!

Idea #5: A Bookstore Date

Give the gift of quality time and take them to the bookstore! My husband and I like to go and play a game where we each guess the number of pages in a book. Whoever is closest without going over wins!

REVIEW: THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS by Ali Hazelwood

Since I do not include the book synopsis in my reviews, I’ve included direct links to the book details on both The StoryGraph and Goodreads for your convenience. There are affiliate links at the bottom should you feel compelled to purchase the book based off my review, and I will receive a small commission at no cost to you should you choose to support me in this way.

I kicked off the month of love with this hilarious debut from Ali Hazelwood, and I am happy to say I laughed out loud a few times as I read it. Featuring great banter, a prickly but lovable male love interest (Dr. Adam Carlsen), and a whip smart female protagonist (Olive Smith), The Love Hypothesis delivered on so many levels.

Things I loved about this book:

⭐️ The grumpy/sunshine trope was so wonderfully executed without being over the top. A lot of times, the grump is a little too difficult for me to bear, and other times, the sunshine character is overdone and way too happy to be real. These characters landed perfectly in the middle.
⭐️ As someone who struggled with math/science in school, I really enjoyed seeing a woman portrayed in STEM that was smart, sexy, and relatable. She knew who she was without coming across as arrogant. She held her own in a male dominated field.
⭐️ The academic setting was such a fun escape for me! It’s been a while since I attended college, but I spent my years at the University of Louisville (GO CARDS!) with my boyfriend/fiancee/now husband, so I think back on them fondly. It felt oddly nostalgic without being juvenile (for example, there are no 18 year olds sneaking into bars in this story) and made me think of all the stolen kisses and late nights studying with my husband.

No photo description available.
Quick photo of Caleb and me graduating in 2015!


⭐️ While this is a romance, yes, the healthy friendships in this book were top notch. Olive has some amazing sidekicks that make for a wonderful supporting cast, something not many novels do well.

One thing I did not like about this book:

⭐️ I needed more Holden! He was the best character! Maybe he will be featured in the sequel? I hope so!

All in all, I really, really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants a fun, lighthearted romance!

Content warnings: cancer, death of a parent, sexual content, sexual harassment

If you would like to purchase this book, please consider using my affiliate link to either Amazon or Bookshop.org!

REVIEW: MEET ME IN THE MARGINS by MELISSA FERGUSON

Since I don’t share the synopsis in my reviews, feel free to click one of the following links to read the synopsis on The StoryGraph or Goodreads.

This sweet little book was sent to me by the publisher (Thomas Nelson books) in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This book was a perfect book to read leading up to Valentine’s Day! With a perfectly bookish setting, we get to go on the emotional ride with Savannah Cade as she works to live out her dream of being a romance author. With some hilarious supporting characters, a compelling workplace romance, and a fun look into the publishing industry, this story was the sweetest palette cleanser.

I loved the setting and the light, fluffy feelings this book gave me. I loved the quirky characters. I loved how easy it was to turn the pages.

My biggest drawback with the book was that there wasn’t enough romance for me – the pacing of the story was quite slow, and I was hoping to read more of Savannah and her secret editor together.

All in all, this was a solid read that I gave 3.75 stars to! It publishes on February 15, 2022, so be sure to pick up a copy from Bookshop.org or Amazon using one of my provided affiliate links if you want to support my blog!

REVIEW: VICIOUS by V.E. SCHWAB

Since my reviews will not tell you what the book is about, go ahead and click the following links to The StoryGraph or Goodreads to read the book synopsis!

It has been 2 days since I finished this masterpiece of a novel and I am still reeling over it. What a great start to my 2022 reading life!

To preface this review, I want to add that the only prior book of Schwab’s that I’ve read is The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, and while I LOVED that book with my heart and soul, it was absolutely nothing like this book. So if you’ve only read Addie and you want to pick up Vicious, just know that you are not going to get a similar novel.

I give this book 50 gajillion stars, though, and here’s why:

If I had to describe this book in one adjective, I think I would choose explosive. From start to finish, this story is fast paced, action packed, and compulsively readable. The story did not lag and there were not chunks of the book that were irrelevant. And I only read a few fantasy novels a year – so if you are worried that this book is only for avid fantasy readers, have no fear! I think anyone can pick this up and easily digest it.

Another thing that Schwab knocked out of the park was the character development alongside the storytelling. I find that, often, authors who are focused on writing something plot driven let the character development slip through the cracks, leaving readers with a lot of questions at the end about why decisions were made throughout. But since Schwab wove in the stories of our key players throughout, I never once questioned their actions or their motives.

Lastly, the dual timeline in this book was executed flawlessly, with both narratives holding a unique purpose that ultimately brought us to the end of the story. The flash backs never gave me readers whiplash, and I didn’t have to question which storyline I was in on any given page or why.

I know it’s only January 12, but I’m calling it now – this is in my top 10 of 2022. It has to be. What a ride. I’m so glad I read it!

To purchase a copy of Vicious, please consider using my affiliate links to Amazon or Bookshop.org to do so. This provides me a small commission at no cost to you!

REVIEW: WEATHER GIRL by RACHEL LYNN SOLOMON

To read the synopsis of this book, click the following links to be redirected to The StoryGraph or Goodreads.

Thank you to Berkley Publishing for an advanced digital copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!

I kicked off 2022 with a book by one of my favorite authors, Rachel Lynn Solomon, and I’m so glad that I did! Weather Girl birthed some brilliant, colorful characters while touching on a subject that is near and dear to my heart – depression and mental illness, brought to life and displayed in a first person voice with the main character of Ari.

Rachel Lynn Solomon did something beautiful with the portrayal of Ari and her lifelong battle with the dark looming illness of depression. This topic is often treaded lightly around in novels versus being fully discussed and exposed, and I think that our society’s stigma round mental illness is exacerbated because of it. Instead of giving subtle hints about mental illness or using it as a plot device for a side character, it is discussed openly, gently, and genuinely.

While many folks of generations past swept anything of the nature under the rug, we now live in a time where talking about it is normal and accepted – something that we see Ari grapple with. We get to watch her grow from being with someone who knew nothing about her illness to finding someone that knows, loves, and accepts her with it.

The feeling of being unable to share your whole self with others because of your disease is something that so many, myself included, struggle with daily. This portrayal in literature is a massive step in the world of mental illness, and I applaud Solomon for giving Ari to those of us who needed her. Feeling seen at this level in a story is a gift.

I took this photo in the snow because one of my favorite passages in the book came from a chapter/scene that took place during a snowstorm, where Ari explains that depression cannot be controlled, and no matter what she does or how content she is at any given time, it’ll eventually come back. And that is so personal to me and my life – where I truly felt seen. Because while yes, I am happy in my life, and I do everything I can to try and beat the battle going on for serotonin in my brain, at the end of it all, it always comes back.


That being said, this book had a few shortcomings that kept it from being a 5 star read for me, the first one being the lack of chemistry between the lead characters. While I enjoyed Ari and found Russell endearing, I had a hard time believing in their attraction to one another. I don’t know if it was a lack of banter or dialogue in general, but something just…missed the mark on that one.

Secondly, I felt like a side story (that really felt close to being the main story) was overall more interesting than the story of Ari and Russell. And maybe that was the authors intention, I can’t be sure, but I found myself more invested in characters that were not as present throughout.

With this book, Rachel Lynn Solomon has proven once again that she can mesh a bunch of different tropes into one heck of a story, charming readers and making us fall in love with and want to travel to Seattle yet again. I recommend reading this one upon its release on January 11, 2022!

To purchase a copy of Weather Girl, please consider using the following affiliate links to Amazon or Bookshop.org. Those provide me with a small commission at no cost to you.

REVIEW: THE HOLIDAY SWAP by MAGGIE KNOX

Thank you to Putnam Books for sending me this free copy in exchange for a review!

To read the book synopsis, click the following links to be redirected to Goodreads or The StoryGraph.

This book was like The Parent Trap + Christmas + love stories, and those are three things that I love!

This sweet story of sisters banding together to help solve each others problems made me genuinely wish I had a sister, or even a twin. While the romances were definitely plot points, the sisterly bond was my favorite part to read. Especially the twin ESP moments, where one could FEEL something that the other was feeling, even from afar!

While I thought there were a few things that were “off” with this one (pacing a smidge uneven, some characters that just didn’t thrill me), I do think this was a sweet story for someone looking for a light holiday read that’ll make you want to eat all the cookies – and call your sister.

To purchase this book, please consider using the following affiliate links to Amazon or Bookshop.org. These provide me with a small commission at no cost to you.