The Bookshop on The Corner by Jenny Colgan


🔥 or 🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more. Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling. From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

OMG, can you believe it? I listened to my first straight up fiction audiobook! I have listened to fantasy audiobooks (i.e. Harry Potter and The Books of Beginning) and loads of non-fiction books (I tend to like presidential memoirs, and celebrity memoirs), but never just straight up fiction. I posted to my instagram stories asking for suggestions of audiobooks that will make me want to drink tea. You read that correctly, I wanted tea drinking audiobooks. What can I say, when I go into a new hobby, I really commit. Anyways, this was the audiobook suggested to me.

Considering how slowly I get through an audiobook these days (constantly surrounded my kids and rarely alone), I felt like I flew through this one! It was somewhere around 9 ish hours long. And I only had to check it out twice from hoopla. I know, someone get me an award for the fastest anyone has ever listened to an audiobook! What…? That’s not actually fast? Hmm.. okay. I guess I shouldn’t mention that it took me a year and a half to finally finish Becoming by Michelle Obama on audio then….

The narrator was amazing. She does voices, and accents. I had her sped up to 1.25 and I got everything she was saying. Overall I greatly enjoyed the vibe of this book. The note from that author in the beginning was pure joy. The way the main character, Nina, loved books felt very authentic to my deep love of books and inspiring others to read. I was very sure this was going to be a high ranking book for me. And in a way, it will be, I think I’ll recommend it a lot. But in other ways I’m not sure I would’ve liked the book if I read it vs. listening to it. Nina and I definitely would not get along in real life. I found myself yelling at her a lot in my car. “Nina, for the love of God- stop making bad decisions!” I didn’t like the communication issues at the heart of both of her beau’s in the book. I hate a love triangle…and in this there were two. I felt like the climax wasn’t totally necessary, and the book could’ve ended earlier without further drama from ex-wives. Saying all of that might give you the impression that I didn’t like this book, though. And that’s totally untrue. I liked how deeply Nina felt things, she would say things like “utter loss of joy” or something that made you realize how deep in her bones she was feeling her feelings. She was so passionate about books and the journey’s they can take you on. She helped others even when it was awkward for her. She was a good friend to her BFF. So I don’t want you to give up on Nina. You may like her more than I did- I require a lot from my fictional heroines but most of all I require gumption.

Overall it was really relaxing to listen to, and I’ll see if hoopla has the next one!

The Cul-de-Sac War by Melissa Ferguson

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the ARC of this book.

This is my first book by this author, I was really into it for a solid 60% of the way through. I think that’s when it dawned on me that some of the sadder/content warning ish contents of the book weren’t really necessary for the plot. I didn’t like that aspect about the book at all. But I did enjoy the writing style. I would classify this as a closed- door low steam romance. Some might even say Christian Fiction…it didn’t feel overtly Christian Fiction to me, but it would appeal to a reader who does read within that genre, for sure. The last negative for me was how long the two main characters hung onto their respective partners…. I wish there would have been earlier-in-the-book breakups.

Content warnings: death of a loved one, pediatric cancer.

In Case You Missed It by Lindsey Kelk

Who’s ready for a super quick review? You? Oh well, perfect- I’m glad I can accommodate you!

I requested this book because I’ve heard amazing things about the author and I was so excited to be awarded an ARC. The premise sounded great to me! In the end, I ended up DNFing at 50%
The heroine was making bad choices that were stressful for me to read. She was too wistful about holding onto the past.
I really liked John and wished I would’ve gotten more scenes with him at this point.
I enjoyed the writing style a lot and found it witty! I would definitely pick up another book by the author – but overall this one just wasn’t for me.

I think if I would’ve finished it- it would’ve been a three star read for me – so feel free to pick this one up if it interests you!

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins for this advanced readers copy!

Christmas at Holiday House by RaeAnne Thayne

christmas at holiday house

 

official blurb
This New Year will bring widowed nurse Abigail Powell a fresh start in a different city. Excited about the chance to create an unforgettable Christmas for her young son in picturesque Silver Bells, Colorado, Abby has been hired to take care of her dear friend’s recuperating grandmother. But sprightly senior Winnie insists she doesn’t need looking after. What she does need is help decorating her historic mansion, Holiday House, for a seasonal town fundraiser. Abby warms to the festive task, but she’ll have to contend with her own personal Grinch: Winnie’s prickly grandson, Ethan Lancaster. Ethan Lancaster is good at a lot of things. Relationships surely aren’t one of them. His ex-fiancée convinced Ethan he was incapable of love, and he believes her…up until the moment he impulsively kisses Abby. What is it about this vibrant woman and her sweet son that knocks his world off-kilter? He knows they’re leaving town after Christmas. He just didn’t expect they’d be taking a little of his heart with them. But as he and Abby work together on the magical Holiday House through the record cold weather, visions of a different future dance in his head…one filled with warmth, love and a new beginning for them both.

 

arc review

 

3 out of 5
🔥  out of 5 steam level

This was my first book by this author. I am all about Hallmark and Christmas and this book delivered with those vibes. Instead of having a dual point of view, I was surprised to find this featured three POVs. The main two POVs you read are between Abigail and Ethan. I liked Ethan overall but found Abigail to be less appealing. There was a specific scene regarding sledding and her fear of heights. Personally, I have a huge fear of heights and don’t even like standing on a chair – but am easily able to go sledding. For this reason, that scene felt unrealistic and a tad eye rolly.
The third POV was from Ethan’s sister, Lucy. I actually found I liked her story the best even though it was featured the least.
I liked that the book featured diverse characters, from a latinx family, to a character with down syndrome.
Overall this book fell a bit flat for me, but if you’re looking for a sweet holiday read with low steam levels then this one’s for you!

Content warnings: loss of a loved one, violence (very little described on the page)

Dating Makes Perfect by Pintip Dunn

dating makes perfect

arc review

 

official blurb
The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed. Until now. In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of the dating practice that they didn’t get in high school. In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must practice fake dating in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course—and organized based on their favorite rom-coms. ’Cause that won’t end in disaster. The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, infuriating, and way too good-looking. Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. And her parents love him. If only he weren’t her sworn enemy.

5 out of 5

REQUIRED READING FOR YA FANS!

what i liked
I finished this book over a week ago and I’m still so dang excited about it.  This book was so good! You are going to smile read through it, you’re going to read through your hands cringing during embarrassing moments and you are going to be so glad you watched all of those romcoms throughout the years because those warm and fuzzies have prepared you to fall in love with the Tech family!
If you loved the Song Sisters from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, then you are going to adore the Tech sisters.  The Thai culture weaved throughout this book is refreshing to read.  The traditions and food are delightful in every way.  But that’s nothing compared to the actual family!  I mean, I could just grab this family- they were so real for me!  I was in this book the whole time and didn’t even want to pick it up the last night to read it because I didn’t want my journey with Winnie to be over.
If you don’t believe me that I loved this book- let me tell you this, I wrote in the margins of this book the whole time! I know, this is nuts!  I never do that unless it’s a five star read!
I don’t want to give too much away from this but it does include so many amazing references to cute romcom moments in your favorite movies.  And it does make you smile.  It does make you want to hang out with your family.  And it does make you want to eat.  Can you ask for anything more?!  I don’t think so either!

Good news, this book is out 8/18/20!  Preorder your copy now!

while reading you should
Eat: Authentic Thai food!
Watch: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Listen to: Catching Feelings by Justin Beiber

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Get a Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

I found another old review! This one is coming at you from November 2019! (What?! I was pregnant!)

get a life chloe brown

4 out of 5🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

 

what i liked
Loved someone tackling chronic illness as a heroine! Seriously loved this aspect!  Chloe has fibromyalgia and chronic pain.  And in her words:  “fibromyalgia and chronic pain were invisible afflictions, so they were easy to dismiss.” I felt this quote in my bones!  (If you’re new here, I am an endometriosis sufferer).

This book also features an interracial couple.  Again, I’m team interracial couple because I’m in one and I’m a product of one! But do you remember ever reading books with interracial couples growing up? No! Because they weren’t around, but it’s another big perk of reading romance.  I finally get to see myself in the pages of a book!

This book shows the positives of going to therapy. We need more books like this!

This is gonna be a series with the next book being about her sister Danni. And I will read that one as well!

So many lines I loved in it- here are a few…

Chloe used cuteness to disguise her inner evil. Sort of like Professor Umbridge.

I climbed that tree like . . . like Lara Croft!”
“With sweaty cleavage and frequent, strangely sexual grunts?” Dani mused.
“With effortless expertise,” Chloe corrected. Inaccurately.

“That track is the biggest waste of vocal talent ever created.” Dani arched an eyebrow. “Darling. You act as though you’ve never heard a Miley Cyrus song.”

“They’re judgmental.”
“I had no idea that it was such a reprehensible trait. I expect to see you on the news soon, protesting the judiciary.”

As for Instagram, you really should get over your Too Cool for School reluctance and just sign up. This behavior is modern hipsterism.

Okay I could have done liks 7,000 more quotes but I think you get the jist.  This book was hilariously quoteable.

 

what i didn't like
The climax of the book was almost juvenile-y dramatic. Is love worth it? That was too much for me.

 

Content warnings for emotional and some physical abuse in a previous relationship- more description of the emotional than the physical. Lots of f bombs and crass language.

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Engagement and Espionage by Penny Reid

engagement and espionage

official blurb
Jennifer Sylvester made her deal with the devil . . . and now they’re engaged! But all is not well in Green Valley. A chicken choker is on the loose, 61 dead birds most “fowl” need plucking, and no time remains for Jennifer and her devilish fiancé. Desperate to find a spare moment together, Jenn and Cletus’s attempts to reconnect are thwarted by one seemingly coincidental disaster after another. It’s not long before Cletus and Jenn see a pattern emerge and the truth becomes clear. Sabotage! Will an undercover mission unmask the culprit? Or are these love-birds totally plucked?

3.75 our of 5🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

 

I loved diving back into the Winston brothers lives. I struggled through a lot of the “pennyverse” books so I was not sure how I would feel revisiting this world again, but in the end I was happy I did.

Cletus and Jenn are as adorable as ever. This was a different genre of book than the Winston brothers- I would call this a steamy cozy mystery, with the steam level being quite high.

I really liked this book! It was a little stressful for me (that’s normal with me and any suspense even if it’s minimal), even with it being pretty predictable. It was fun to try to piece together where this book intertwined with the other books in the timeline. I almost had to remember what I didn’t know yet.

One of the things that this book mentions is how rude Cletus is to Roscoe – I had no memory of this whatsoever! This is probably to be expected when you read 628183772 books in this universe but it was kind of funny to me that I didn’t remember that at all.

Like most PR books there are plenty of content warnings: abuse (emotional and physical), kidnapping, gun violence, attempted murder.

Overall I read this book quickly and really loved the time I got to spend in Green Valley. I loved seeing Cletus and Shelley interacting a lot.

One last complaint is the last chapter was from Cletus’ perspective and it felt as though it should’ve been from Jenn’s. it didn’t keep the same cadence or tone that Cletus’ chapters usually did.

While this is technically a stand alone novel I would not recommend it without reading Beard Science (but in all reality you should read the Winston brothersseries up through beard science and then read this book). And if you really wanted to go for it, it would give you additional knowledge of you read Ashley and Drew’s book (Beauty and the Mustache)  before the Winston brothers series. I know, that’s a lot before this but the series is on my required reading list for romance lovers, so really you should read it anyways.

while reading you should
listen to bluegrass music – may I suggest the civil wars?
Eat: a new cupcake from a local bakery.
Do: change your oil and have your tire pressure checked. (Cletus is a mechanic after all).

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