Year on Fire by Julie Buxbaum

Young love, friendships, this latest YA release has all the best things about being a teenager! Thanks to TBR and Beyond for having me on tour, this was such a fun read, if you’re a YA reader that loves a burning, I mean budding romance, this one’s for you 😉

About the Book:

Book Title: Year on Fire

Author: Julie Buxbaum

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: April 12th, 2022

ISBN: 1984893661

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | Indiebound


Synopsis:

What secrets will people keep—or reveal—to protect those they love? This novel, set against the frightening backdrop of an encroaching fire season, sparks reflection about friendship, the allure of romantic love, and loyalty to family.


Can a single kiss change everything?

It was a year on fire. They fell in love. Someone was bound to get burned.

The Spark: Just days before the start of junior year for twins Arch and Immie and their best friend, Paige, a spontaneous kiss shakes the very foundation of their friendship. But some ties run too deep to be broken by accidental betrayal.

The Fuel: Enter Rohan, new to Wood Valley High by way of London, who walks into school on the first day completely overwhelmed by his sudden move halfway around the world. When Paige calls dibs on him—he’s too cute to ignore—Immie is in no position to argue, certainly not after taking the fall for the disloyal kiss. Too bad for Immie that Ro feels like the best kind of familiar.

The Kindling: Former lab partners Arch and Jackson, Paige’s ex-boyfriend, have never considered themselves more than friends. But sometimes feelings can grow like wildfire.

The Flames: When the girls’ bathroom at Wood Valley is set ablaze, no one doubts it’s arson. But in this bastion of privilege, who’d be angry enough to want to burn down the school? Answer: pretty much everyone.

Year on Fire explores the blinding power of the lies we tell others and those we tell ourselves, the tight grip of family secrets, the magic of first love, and the grounding beauty of friendship.


There’s just something about love and how so many qualities of fire match it — the quick way it burns, the fleeting pace, the all-consuming feelings, I could not have been more caught up in the way this story was laid out.

Buxbaum writes characters so well, I love her writing style and how the descriptions and feelings made me instantly feel a part of this friend group who are so relatable and full of personality.


About the Author:

Julie Buxbaum is the New York Times best selling author of Tell Me Three Things, her young adult debut, What to Say Next and most recently, Hope and Other Punchlines. She’s also the author of two critically acclaimed novels for adults: The Opposite of Love and After You. Her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Julie’s writing has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times. She is a former lawyer and graduate of Harvard Law School and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two children, and more books than is reasonable.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook


To check out the rest of the tour, please head over to http://www.tbrbeyondtours.com

Meow Is Not A Cat by Kelly Tillis

My daughter has been BEGGING for a cat for months now. The icing on the cake was finding old videos of when she was about two when we had a cat, who had kittens and needless to say she cannot BELIEVE we ever had kittens and didn’t tell her. As a momma, who is too busy as is, I am trying to stay pet free, and distracting her with any and all pet substitutes…. here Kennedy, look at this book….

Of course when I had the chance to read and review MEOW IS NOT A CAT, I had to say yes for her, and we really enjoyed it!

About the Book:

Book Title: Meow Is Not A Cat

Author: Kelly Tills

Publisher: FDI Publishing LLC | ISBN-13: 9781736700488

Illustrated by: Max Saladrigas

Ages 4+ | 44 Pages

Buy the book on Amazon


Synopsis:

Meow is definitely not a cat. Cats lick their butts. Follow along as this wild child’s unique way of following instructions ends up going a little bananas.

Meow Is Not Cat is a completely goofy story, guaranteed to make kids laugh. With a cynical cat, wild monkeys, butt jokes, and a banana cannon, even pre-readers will love shouting out their favorite parts as you read aloud. Nestled among the laughs is a lesson about how embracing a person’s different way of interpreting the world can lead to surprisingly good results —and bananas, lots of bananas.


About the Author:

Kelly Tills is the creator of her own uniquely shaped family. Kindness, neurodiversity, and potty humor are her jam. She writes silly stories for kids and believes even the smallest hat-tip, in the simplest of books, can teach our kids how to approach the world. Kelly’s children’s stories are perfect to read aloud to your little humans or to have your older kids read to you (hey, let them flex those new reading skills!). Either way, you’ll enjoy the giggles.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Meow Is Not a Cat!

Five (5) winners receive:

A copy of Meow Is Not a Cat

Meow Is Not a Cat: Book Giveaway https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js

To check out the rest of the tour, please head over to www.tbrbeyondtours.com

TOUR SCHEDULE

Wednesday, April 13, 2022 – The Children’s Book Review

Thursday, April 14, 2022 – Books Are Magic Too

Friday, April 15, 2022 – The Fairview Review

Monday, April 18, 2022 – Writer with Wanderlust

Tuesday, April 19, 2022 – A Dream Within a Dream

Wednesday, April 20, 2022 – icefairy’s Treasure Chest

Thursday, April 21, 2022 – Lisa’s Reading

Friday, April 22, 2022 – The Momma Spot

Monday, April 25, 2022 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Tuesday, April 26, 2022 – Me Two Books

Wednesday, April 27, 2022 – Barbara Ann Mojica

Thursday, April 28, 2022 – Reading Is My Superpower

Friday, April 29, 2022 – Life Is What It’s Called

Monday, May 2, 2022 – Crafty Moms Share

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 – Lille Punkin’

Wednesday, May 4, 2022 – Ravenz Reviews

Sense and Second-Degree Murder by Tirzah Price

Retellings have such a special place in my bookish heart, and after reading and loving the first book in the Jane Austen Murder Mystery series, I was so excited to get offered the change to read an early copy of the second book! So thankful for the incredible tours I get to be a part of, like this one with TBR and Beyond Tours.

About the Book:

Book Title: Sense and Second-Degree Murder (Jane Austen Murder Mystery #2)

Author: Tirzah Price

Publisher: HarperCollins

Release Date: April 5th, 2022

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | Indiebound


Synopsis:

Three of Jane Austen’s classic novels receive a murder mystery makeover in this romantic and thrilling three-book series that’s perfect for fans of The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy and Stalking Jack the Ripper. In Sense and Second-Degree Murder, aspiring scientist Elinor Dashwood and her sister Marianne, a budding detective, work together to solve the mystery of their father’s murder.

When eighteen-year-old aspiring scientist Elinor Dashwood discovers her beloved father slumped over the desk of his office study, she knows his death means dire straits for the Dashwood women. To make matters worse, an outdated will entails his estate—including Norland & Company, the private investigation firm where her younger sister Marianne worked as her father’s partner and protégé—to their half-brother and his haughty wife, who waste no time in forcing the Dashwoods out of their home and into a cramped apartment on London’s Barton Street.

But before they go, the Dashwood sisters make a startling discovery that points to foul play, and the killer might be family.

Obviously, the girls must investigate. It could be dangerous; it could ruin their reputations; and most importantly, it won’t bring back their father. But if the Dashwood sisters can combine their talents and bring their father’s murderer to justice, it may bring them all some comfort—and it might even lead to love.


I have just loved reading Price’s take on the Jane Austen classic with a murder mystery twist, her characters are so well-written and interesting. How she kept the original plot lines but weaving in characteristics and details that made it completely different as well.

These three sisters were a joy to read, I think I enjoyed Elinor most. Each girl had such a unique personality that made reading their adventures an absolute delight and can I just say the STEM titles out in the publishing right now are just killing it! Give me all the empowered smart ladies!


About the Author:

Tirzah Price (she/her) grew up on a farm in Michigan, where she read every book she could get her hands on and never outgrew her love for YA fiction. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is a former bookseller and librarian. Now, she’s a contributing editor at Book Riot, where she can be found recommending books on the site, newsletters, podcasts, and social media accounts. When she’s not writing, reading, or thinking about YA books, she splits her time between experimenting in the kitchen and knitting enough socks to last the fierce Michigan winters.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


To check out the rest of the tour, please head over to www.tbrbeyondtours.com

BOOK TOUR Savvy Sheldon Feels Good As Hell by Tej McCoy

I am fully over the cold and 100% focused on reading books that bring on the sunshine, tan lines and good times. Thankfully HQN sent over a copy of Susan Mallery’s new release THE SUMMER GETAWAY, and I was able to dive right in!

Book Title: Savvy Sheldon Feels Good As Hell

Author: Taj McCoy

Publisher: MIRA Books

Release Date: March 22nd, 2022

Genres: Fiction, Romance

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | BookShop.org


Synopsis:

A debut rom-com about a plus-size heroine who gets a full-life makeover after a brutal breakup, with the help of an irresistible cast of friends and family, a kitchen reno, and a devastatingly handsome contractor.Savvy Sheldon spends a lot of time tiptoeing around various aspects of her life: her high-stress and low-thanks job, her clueless boyfriend, and the falling-apart kitchen she inherited from her beloved grandma who taught her how to cook and how to love people by feeding them. When Savvy’s complacency (and her sexy new lingerie) reaches a breaking point, she knows it’s time for some renovations.

Starting from the outside in, Savvy tackles her crumbling kitchen, her waistline, her work/life balance (or lack thereof,) and last (but not least): her love life. The only thing that doesn’t seem to require effort is her ride-or-die squad of close female friends. But as any HGTV junkie can tell you, something always falls apart during renovations. First, Savvy passes out during hot yoga. Then, it turns out that the contractor she hires is the same sexy stranger she unintentionally offended by judging based on appearances. Worst of all, Savvy can’t seem to go anywhere without tripping over her ex and his latest ‘upgrade.’ Savvy begins to realize that maybe she should’ve started her renovations the other way around, beginning with how she sees herself (and loves herself,) before she can build a love that lasts.


About the Author:

Oakland native and attorney Taj McCoy is committed to writing stories championing black and biracial women of color, plus-sized protagonists, and characters with a strong sense of sisterhood and familial bonds. When she’s not writing, she may be on Twitter boosting other marginalized writers, trying to zen out in yoga, sharing recipes on her website, or cooking private supper club meals for close friends.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


My Review:

Savvy Sheldon Feels Good As Hell

I was lucky to “meet” Tej on Clubhouse, getting the chance to read and review her debut novel was especially exciting!

The best parts of this book were the food and friendships. Taj wrote Savvy to be an intelligent woman, who somehow has let her recent breakup get to her head, and inspires her to focus on a “revenge body” to get over him. While the plot had a curvy women of color / body positive theme that I was really excited to read, it was at times a focus that I lost interest in — from calorie counting to tennis lessons, at times it seemed repetitive BUT it was saved by the delicious food Savvy created that left me hungry for more of those details! Her friends and family were so supportive and added great range to the story, I wondered if we would get their stories as well.

While the romance kind of took a backseat to the overall theme of Savvy bettering herself, I enjoyed her and Spencer getting to know each other and just wished there was a bit more to their romance shown in the story.


I am so lucky to be an HTP Influencer and share their titles with you!

Thank you to HTP + NetGalley for providing This eARC + finished copies were provided in exchange for me to read and review, but all opinions are my own. Thank you to HQN + NetGalley, I hope you’ll come back for more of their upcoming 2022 releases I’ll be sharing here on the blog!

22 ANTICIPATED READS FOR 2022

As someone who reads primarily advance reader copies, looking ahead for upcoming titles is something I love, and there’s just something about kicking off a whole new year of books that makes my heart happy!

2021 was SUCH a busy year for me, and while I may not have read as much as I wanted due to starting my new job in September, but it was still full of amazing reads – check out my favorites HERE. As we say goodbye to last year, I want to share what books I’m excited for that release THIS year. Here’s 22 titles that I’m super excited about for 2022:

ONE TRUE LOVES | Elise Bryant

PUB DATE: January 4th

PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray

PREORDER from Belcanto Books and get a personalized copy & some adorable promo items, SWOONING over the camera pin!

SYNOPSIS:

From the author of Happily Ever Afters, comes the highly anticipated companion novel, One True Loves, another irresistible YA romantic comedy full of self-discovery, Black love, and a dreamy European cruise.

Lenore Bennett has always been a force. A star artist and style icon at her high school, she’s a master in the subtle art of not giving a . . . well, you know what. But now that graduation is here, she’s a little less sure.

She’s heading to NYU in the fall with a scarlet U (for “undeclared”) written across her chest. Her parents always remind her that Black kids don’t have the luxury of figuring it out as they go—they have to be 110 percent prepared. But it’s a lot of pressure to be her ancestors’ wildest dreams when Lenore’s not even sure what her dreams are yet.

When her family embarks on a post-graduation Mediterranean cruise, her friend Tessa is sure Lenore’s in for a whirlwind romance. But Lenore knows that doesn’t happen in real life. At least not to girls like her.

Then she meets Alex Lee. After their parents bond over the Cupid Shuffle, she ends up stuck with him for the remainder of the cruise. He’s a hopeless romantic and a golden boy with a ten-year plan. In short, he’s irritating as hell.

But as they get to know each other during the picturesque stops across Europe, he may be able to help her find something else she’s been looking for, even if she doesn’t want to admit it to herself: love.

Thankfully I got to read this one early, and I just LOVED it! I’ll be sharing my review over on the Under The Covers Book Blog, and I shared a little of my thoughs on Goodreads already!


OPHELIA AFTER ALL | Racquel Marie

PUB DATE: February 8th

PUBLISHER: Fiewel and Friends

SYNOPSIS:

A teen girl navigates friendship drama, the end of high school, and discovering her queerness in Ophelia After All, a hilarious and heartfelt contemporary YA debut by author Racquel Marie.

Ophelia Rojas knows what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and boys – way too many boys. Her friends and parents make fun of her endless stream of crushes, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She couldn’t change, even if she wanted to.

So when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s firm image of herself. Add to that the impending end of high school and the fracturing of her once-solid friend group, and things are spiraling a little out of control. But the course of love–and sexuality–never did run smooth. As her secrets begin to unravel, Ophelia must make a choice between clinging to the fantasy version of herself she’s always imagined or upending everyone’s expectations to rediscover who she really is, after all. 


NO FILTER AND OTHER LIES | Crystal Maldonado

PUB DATE: February 8th

PUBLISHER: Holiday House

SYNOPSIS:

You should know, right now, that I’m a liar.

They’re usually little lies. Tiny lies. Baby lies. Not so much lies as lie adjacent.

But they’re still lies.

Twenty one-year-old Max Monroe has it all: beauty, friends, and a glittering life filled with adventure. With tons of followers on Instagram, her picture-perfect existence seems eminently enviable.

Except it’s all fake.

Max is actually 16-year-old Kat Sanchez, a quiet and sarcastic teenager living in drab Bakersfield, California. Nothing glamorous in her existence–just sprawl, bad house parties, a crap school year, and the awkwardness of dealing with her best friend Hari’s unrequited love. But while Kat’s life is far from perfect, she thrives as Max: doling out advice, sharing beautiful photos, networking with famous influencers, even making a real friend in a follower named Elena. The closer Elena and “Max” get–texting, Snapping, and even calling–the more Kat feels she has to keep up the facade.

But when one of Max’s posts goes ultra-viral and gets back to the very person she’s been stealing photos from, her entire world – real and fake — comes crashing down around her. She has to figure out a way to get herself out of the huge web of lies she’s created without hurting the people she loves.

But it might already be too late.


GOLDEN BOYS | Phil Stamper

PUB DATE: February 8th

PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury YA

SYNOPSIS:

National bestselling author Phil Stamper crafts the perfect summer friendship story, starring four queer boys with big hearts and even bigger dreams.

Gabriel, Reese, Sal, and Heath are best friends, bonded in their small rural town by their queerness, their good grades, and their big dreams. They are about to embark on the summer before senior year of high school, where each is going on a new, big adventure. Reese is attending a design school in Paris. Gabriel is going to Boston to volunteer with a environmental nonprofit. Sal is interning on Capitol Hill for a U.S. Senator. And Heath is stuck going to Daytona Beach to help out at his aunt’s beachfront arcade.

What will this summer of new experiences and world-expanding travel mean for each of them—and for their friendship?

Can I just tell you how honored I was to be sent a finished copy of this book from Bloomsbury after including it on this list?! Check out my review HERE.


FLOAT | Kate Marchant

PUB DATE: February 22nd

PUBLISHER: Wattpad Books

SYNOPSIS:

A heartfelt summer read for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han about holding on and letting go.

Waverly Lyons has been caught in the middle of her parents’ divorce for as long as she can remember. This summer, the battle rages over who she’ll spend her vacation with, and when Waverly’s options are shot down, it’s bye-bye Fairbanks, Alaska and hello Holden, Florida to stay with her aunt.

Coming from the tundra of the north, the beach culture isn’t exactly Waverly’s forte. The sun may just be her mortal enemy, and her vibe is decidedly not chill. To top it off? Her ability to swim? Nonexistent.

>Enter Blake, the (superhot) boy next door. Charming and sweet, he welcomes Waverly into his circle. For the first time in her life, Waverly has friends, a social life, and soon enough, feelings . . . for Blake. As the two grow closer, Waverly’s fortunes begin to look up. But every summer must come to an end, and letting go is hardest when you’ve finally found where you belong.


THIS MIGHT GET AWKWARD | Kara McDowell

PUB DATE: March 1st

PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press

SYNOPSIS:

Sophie Kinsella meets Sarah Dessen in the most hilarious, romantic book of the summer about a girl with social anxiety and the boy who refuses to let her hide herself away.

Seventeen-year-old Gemma’s favorite kind of beach is an empty one. Social interactions are too much for her to handle. She always says the wrong thing—if she manages to say anything at all. She can’t even bring herself to speak to her longtime crush, Beau Booker, without losing sleep over her own awkwardness.

During a solo outing to her favorite beach, Gemma realizes—to her horror—that the popular kids from school have shown up to throw a party. Before she can sneak away (and possibly puke behind her car) Gemma is pulled into the action and ends up talking to Beau, who asks her to pretend that they’re “close.” Gemma is too flustered and flattered to refuse, and mostly, she’s wondering why Beau is talking to her at all . . . right up until the moment when he falls off the boat, hits his head, and ends up in a coma.

After rescuing Beau from the water, Gemma is mistaken for Beau’s girlfriend by his friends and family, including his mysterious older brother, Griff, who has returned to town after a year away. Gemma tries to correct the record, but her social anxiety (and a nosy reporter) gets in the way at every turn. Before she knows it, she’s in too deep to backtrack. And when Beau’s warm, boisterous family pulls Gemma into their orbit, she realizes how much she wants to keep them in her life.

For the first time, Gemma has everything she’s ever wanted: friends, big family dinners, and Griff—a boy who she can be herself around. But how can she embrace her new dream life when everything is built on a lie?


AND THEY LIVED | Steven Salvatore

PUB DATE: March 8th

PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury YA

SYNOPSIS:

From the author of Can’t Take That Away comes a sex-positive, fairytale-inspired YA novel that celebrates first love and self-acceptance, perfect for fans of What If It’s Us.

“My heart didn’t stand a chance. I loved it from once upon a time all the way to its joyfully complex ever after.” – New York Times bestselling author Becky Albertalli

Chase Arthur is a budding animator and hopeless romantic obsessed with Disney films and finding his true love, but he’s plagued with the belief that he’s not enough for anyone: he’s recovering from an eating disorder and suffers from body dysmorphia fueled by his father, and can’t quite figure out his gender identity. When Chase starts his freshman year of college, he has to navigate being away from home and missing his sister, finding his squad, and contending with his ex-best friend Leila who is gunning for the same exclusive mentorship. If only he can pull together a short for the freshman animation showcase at the end of the semester.

Then Chase meets Jack Reid, a pragmatic poet who worships words and longs to experience life outside of his sheltered world. But Chase throws everything into question for Jack, who is still discovering his sexual identity, having grown up in close-knit conservative family. Jack internalized a lot of homophobia from his parents and childhood best friend, who unexpectedly visit campus, which threatens to destroy their relationship. Chase will have to learn to love–and be enough for–himself, while discovering what it means to truly live.


LOVE, DECODED | Jennifer Yen

PUB DATE: March 8th

PUBLISHER: Razorbill

SYNOPSIS:

For fans of Jenny Han and Jane Austen, a rom-com that’s equal parts hilarious and heartfelt about the unexpected consequences of one teen’s quest to help her friends find love, from the author of A Taste for Love.

High school junior Gigi Wong strives to be the best: the top student, the perfect friend, and the ideal daughter. But it’s tough when there’s always someone who is just a little bit better. With college applications looming, she can’t help but worry that she won’t make the cut. Thankfully, her best friend Kyle never fails to find the right words–and the perfect bowl of ramen–to cheer her up.

After her teacher, Ms. Harris, announces she’ll be nominating students for an app writing contest, Gigi is determined to be picked. After all, first prize is an exclusive tech internship, sure to make her application stand out. There’s only one problem: she doesn’t have a winning program. It isn’t until transfer student Etta admits she’s struggling to fit in at Superbia that Gigi stumbles on an idea. She’ll use her coding skills–and the matchmaking experience she’s gotten from weekends with Auntie Rose–to create a friend matching app! Etta will meet new people, and Gigi will guarantee her acceptance into college. It’s foolproof.

What Gigi doesn’t expect is for her app to go viral around school. Soon, she finds herself at the center of a scandal—and at odds with both Etta and Kyle. Can Gigi fix what went wrong, or will her desire to be perfect cost her the people she cares about most?


ALL THAT’S LEFT IN THE WORLD | Erik J. Brown

PUB DATE: March 8th

PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray

SYNOPSIS:

When Andrew stumbles upon Jamie’s house, he’s injured, starved, and has nothing left to lose. A deadly pathogen has killed off most of the world’s population, including everyone both boys have ever loved. And if this new world has taught them anything, it’s to be scared of what other desperate people will do . . . so why does it seem so easy for them to trust each other?

After danger breaches their shelter, they flee south in search of civilization. But something isn’t adding up about Andrew’s story, and it could cost them everything. And Jamie has a secret, too. He’s starting to feel something more than friendship for Andrew, adding another layer of fear and confusion to an already tumultuous journey.

The road ahead of them is long, and to survive, they’ll have to shed their secrets, face the consequences of their actions, and find the courage to fight for the future they desire, together. Only one thing feels certain: all that’s left in their world is the undeniable pull they have toward each other.


MESSAGE NOT FOUND | Dante Medema

PUB DATE: March 29th

PUBLISHER: Quill Tree Books

SYNOPSIS:

An emotionally complex portrayal of secrets, loss, and grief from Dante Medema, Indies Introduce author of the Indie Next Pick title The Truth Project.

Bailey and Vanessa shared everything: laughter, secrets, and packets of Pop Rocks to ward off bad days. But that all changed the night Vanessa left Bailey’s, headed for home, and ended up swerving off a cliff nowhere near her house. Now Bailey, who thought she knew Vanessa better than anyone in the world, is left with a million unanswered questions, and the only person with answers is gone.

To help grieve her loss, Bailey creates a chat bot of Vanessa using years’ worth of their shared text messages and emails. The more data she uploads to the bot, the more it feels like she’s really talking to her best friend. That is, until the bot starts dropping hints that there was more going on with Vanessa than Bailey realized–a secret so big, it may have contributed to Vanessa’s death.

This compelling puzzle of a story, filled with engrossing twists and turns, is written in alternating prose and text message formats. Teens will gobble up this fast-paced page-turner.

I was lucky enough to read this one and be a part of Dante’s street team!

Head HERE to read my full review!


LOVE FROM SCRATCH | Kaitlyn Hill

PUB DATE: April 5th

PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press

SYNOPSIS:

This summer, Reese Camden is trading sweet tea and Southern hospitality for cold brew and crisp coastal air. She’s landed her dream marketing internship at Friends of Flavor, a wildly popular cooking channel in Seattle. The only problem? Benny Beneventi, the relentlessly charming, backwards-baseball-cap-wearing culinary intern–and her main competition for the fall job.

Reese’s plan to keep work a No Feelings Zone crumbles like a day-old muffin when she and Benny are thrown together for a video shoot that goes viral, making them the internet’s newest ship. Audiences are hungry for more, and their bosses at Friends of Flavor are happy to deliver. Soon Reese and Benny are in an all-out food war, churning homemade ice cream, twisting soft pretzels, breaking eggs in an omelet showdown–while hundreds of thousands of viewers watch.

Reese can’t deny the chemistry between her and Benny. But the more their rivalry heats up, the harder it is to keep love on the back burner…


SOME MISTAKES WERE MADE | Kristin Dwyer

PUB DATE: April 26th

PUBLISHER: HarperTeen

SYNOPSIS:

You can’t always go home again.

Ellis and Easton have been inseparable since childhood. But when a rash decision throws Ellis’s life—and her relationship with Easton— into chaos she’s forced to move halfway across the country, far from everything she’s ever known.

Now Ellis hasn’t spoken to Easton in a year, and maybe it’s better that way; maybe eventually the Easton shaped hole in her heart will heal. But when Easton’s mother invites her home for a celebration, Ellis finds herself tangled up in the web of heartache, betrayal, and anger she left behind… and with the boy she never stopped loving.


SEE YOU YESTERDAY | Rachel Lynn Solomon

PUB DATE: May 3rd

PUBLISHER: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

SYNOPSIS:

From the author of Today Tonight Tomorrow comes a magical romance in the vein of Groundhog Day about a girl forced to relive her disastrous first day of college—only to discover that her nemesis is stuck in the time loop with her.

Barrett Bloom is hoping college will be a fresh start after a messy high school experience. But when school begins on September 21st, everything goes wrong. She’s humiliated by the know-it-all in her physics class, she botches her interview for the college paper, and at a party that night, she accidentally sets a frat on fire. She panics and flees, and when she realizes her roommate locked her out of their dorm, she falls asleep in the common room.

The next morning, Barrett’s perplexed to find herself back in her dorm room bed, no longer smelling of ashes and crushed dreams. It’s September 21st. Again. And after a confrontation with Miles, the guy from Physics 101, she learns she’s not alone—he’s been trapped for months.

When her attempts to fix her timeline fail, she agrees to work with Miles to find a way out. Soon they’re exploring the mysterious underbelly of the university and going on wild, romantic adventures. As they start falling for each other, they face the universe’s biggest unanswered question yet: what happens to their relationship if they finally make it to tomorrow?


CAFE CON LYCHEE | Emery Lee

PUB DATE: May 10th

PUBLISHER: Quill Tree Books

SYNOPSIS:

Sometimes bitter rivalries can brew something sweet

Theo Mori wants to escape. Leaving Vermont for college means getting away from working at his parents’ Asian American café and dealing with their archrivals’ hopeless son Gabi who’s lost the soccer team more games than Theo can count.

Gabi Moreno is miserably stuck in the closet. Forced to play soccer to hide his love for dance and iced out by Theo, the only openly gay guy at school, Gabi’s only reprieve is his parents’ Puerto Rican bakery and his plans to take over after graduation.

But the town’s new fusion café changes everything. Between the Mori’s struggling shop and the Moreno’s plan to sell their bakery in the face of the competition, both boys find their dreams in jeopardy. Then Theo has an idea—sell photo-worthy food covertly at school to offset their losses. When he sprains his wrist and Gabi gets roped in to help, they realize they need to work together to save their parents’ shops but will the new feelings rising between them be enough to send their future plans up in smoke?


MELT WITH YOU | Jennifer Dugan

PUB DATE: May 17th

PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

SYNOPSIS:

From the author of Hot Dog Girl comes a sweet and salty queer YA rom-com about two girls on a summer road trip in an ice cream truck.

Fallon and Chloe used to be best friends. But last summer, the girls hooked up right before Chloe left for college, and after a series of misunderstandings, they aren’t even speaking to one another. Now, a year later, Chloe’s back home from school, and Fallon is doing everything in her power to avoid her. Which is especially difficult because their moms own a business together—a gourmet ice cream truck where both girls work.

But when their moms have the opportunity to make a presentation to some venture capitalists in Texas—something that could seriously expand their business and solve all their money problems to boot—it’s up to Fallon to work a series of food truck festivals across the country. But she can’t do it alone, and Chloe is the only one available to help. As tensions heat up again between the two girls, will Fallon be able to keep her cool?


A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY | Brian D Kennedy

PUB DATE: May 31st

PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray

SYNOPSIS:

Emmett Maguire wants to be country music’s biggest gay superstar – a far reach when you’re seventeen and living in Illinois. But for now, he’s happy to do the next best thing: Stay with his aunt in Jackson Hollow, Tennessee, for the summer and perform at the amusement park owned by his idol, country legend Wanda Jean Stubbs.

Luke Barnes hates country music. As the grandson of Verna Rose, the disgraced singer who had a famous falling out with Wanda Jean, Luke knows how much pain country music has brought his family. But when his mom’s medical bills start piling up, he takes a job at the last place he wants: a restaurant at Wanda World.

Neither boy is looking for romance, but sparks fly when they meet – and soon they’re inseparable. Until a long-lost secret about Verna and Wanda comes to light, threatening to unravel everything.

Will Emmett and Luke be able get past the truths they discover…or will their relationship go down in history as just another Sad Country Love Song?


THE COUNSELORS | Jessica Goodman

PUB DATE: May 31st

PUBLISHER: Razorbill

SYNOPSIS:

From bestselling author Jessica Goodman comes a twisty new thriller about three best friends, one elite summer camp, and the dark secrets that lead to a body in the lake.

Sisters by choice.
That’s how Goldie and her best friends, Ava and Imogen, define their friendship, which formed years ago at Camp Alpine Lake.
This year, Goldie is back at camp as a counselor, desperate for summer to start and for Ava and Imo to arrive. With the dark secret Goldie’s been keeping, she’s more in need of their comfort than ever. When the boy who broke Goldie’s heart, turns up dead in the lake, this last summer before college is completely upended—and Goldie learns that she’s not the only person at camp who has been lying. Asking questions offers Goldie no answers, only danger and betrayals deeper than she ever imagined.


HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE | Dahlia Adler

PUB DATE: June 7th

PUBLISHER: Wednesday Books

SYNOPSIS:

An American girl embarks on a competitive scavenger hunt in England—and along

In this sweet and funny new f/f romance from the author of Cool for the Summer, a cheerleader and the school’s newest quarterback are playing to win, but might lose their hearts in the process.

Amber McCloud’s dream is to become cheer captain at the end of the year, but it’s an extra-tall order to be joyful and spirited when the quarterback of your team has been killed in a car accident. For both the team and the squad, watching Robbie get replaced by newcomer Jack Walsh is brutal. And when it turns out Jack is actually short for Jaclyn, all hell breaks loose.

The players refuse to be led by a girl, the cheerleaders are mad about the changes to their traditions, and the fact that Robbie’s been not only replaced but outshined by a QB who wears a sports bra has more than a few Atherton Alligators in a rage. Amber tries for some semblance of unity, but it quickly becomes clear that she’s only got a future on the squad and with her friends if she helps them take Jack down.

Just one problem: Amber and Jack are falling for each other, and if Amber can’t stand up for Jack and figure out how to get everyone to fall in line, her dream may come at the cost of her heart.

Dahlia Adler’s Home Field Advantage is a sparkling romance about fighting for what – or who – you truly want.


LOVE & OTHER GREAT EXPECTATIONS | Becky Dean

PUB DATE: June 14th

PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press

SYNOPSIS:

An American girl embarks on a competitive scavenger hunt in England—and along the way, meets up with a bookish British boy who can’t help her with the clues . . . but might make the trip take some unexpected turns.

Britt Hanson has always preferred scoring goals on the soccer field to analyzing dusty old books. But when an injury ends her dream to play in college, she jumps at the chance to compete in a scavenger hunt in England that takes her to the locations of classic novels—the prize money would change her life!

There she meets bookish and very British Luke Jackson. He can’t actually help her with any of the clues (against the rules), but something about Luke compels her to invite him to join her. She wouldn’t mind getting to know him—and listening to his accent.

To win, Britt must outwit three smart competitors who aren’t afraid to play dirty while solving clues and traveling around the English countryside. Along the way, Britt learns that sometimes you have to follow the map and other times, you need to throw caution to the wind and see where the cobblestoned road takes you.


THE LOOPHOLE | Naz Katub

PUB DATE: June 21st

PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury YA

SYNOPSIS:

Your wish is granted! This YA debut is equal parts broken-hearted love story, epic myth retelling, and a world-journey romp to find home.

Sy is a timid seventeen-year-old queer Indian-Muslim boy who placed all his bets at happiness on his boyfriend Farouk…who then left him to try and “fix the world.” Sy was too chicken to take the plunge and travel with him and is now stuck in a dead-end coffee shop job. All Sy can do is wish for another chance…. Although he never expects his wish to be granted.

When a mysterious girl slams into (and slides down, streaks of make-up in her wake) the front entrance of the coffee shop, Sy helps her up and on her way. But then the girl offers him three wishes in exchange for his help, and after proving she can grant at least one wish with a funds transfer of a million dollars into Sy’s pitifully struggling bank account, a whole new world of possibility opens up. Is she magic? Or just rich? And when his father kicks him out after he is outed, does Sy have the courage to make his way from L. A., across the Atlantic Ocean, to lands he’d never even dreamed he could ever visit? Led by his potentially otherworldly new friend, can he track down his missing Farouk for one last, desperate chance at rebuilding his life and re-finding love?


BOYS I KNOW | Anna Gracia

PUB DATE: July 5th

PUBLISHER: Peachtree Teen

SYNOPSIS:

*A high school senior navigates messy boys and messier relationships in this bitingly funny and much-needed look into the overlap of Asian American identity and teen sexuality.*

June Chu is the “just good enough” girl. Good enough to line the shelves with a slew of third-place trophies and steal secret kisses from her AP Bio partner, Rhys. But not good enough to meet literally any of her Taiwanese mother’s unrelenting expectations or to get Rhys to commit to anything beyond a well-timed joke.

While June’s mother insists she follow in her (perfect) sister’s footsteps and get a (full-ride) violin scholarship to Northwestern (to study pre-med), June doesn’t see the point in trying too hard if she’s destined to fall short anyway. Instead, she focuses her efforts on making her relationship with Rhys “official.” But after her methodically-planned, tipsily-executed scheme explodes on the level of a nuclear disaster, she flings herself into a new relationship with a guy who’s not allergic to the word “girlfriend.”

But as the line between sex and love blurs, and pressure to map out her entire future threatens to burst, June will have to decide on whose terms she’s going to live her life—even if it means fraying her relationship with her mother beyond repair.


A DISASTER IN THREE ACTS | Kelsey Rodkey

PUB DATE: July 5th

PUBLISHER: HarperTeen

SYNOPSIS:

Saine Sinclair knows a little something about what makes a story worth telling.

Your childhood best friend refuses to kiss you during a pre-adolescent game of spin the bottle? Terrible, zero stars, would not replay that scene again.

The same ex-friend becomes your new best friend’s ex? Strangely compelling, unexpected twist, worth a hate-watch.

That same guy—why is he always around?—turns out to be your last shot at getting into the documentary filmmaking program of your dreams?

Saine hates to admit it, but she’d watch that movie.

And working with Holden Michaels on this doc is going to get her into college—even if she has to take a few. . . cinematic liberties as a director. But there’s something about Holden that makes her feel like she’s the one in front of the camera—like he can see every uncomfortable truth she’s buried below the surface. Saine knows how her story’s supposed to go. So why does every moment with Holden seem intent on changing the ending?


Which books releasing in 2022 have already caught your eye? Share with me in the comments below so I can add them to my TBR pile + want to read list!

AUTHOR FEATURE | Lynn Painter

TONIGHT I am going LIVE with one of the sweetest, funniest authors I know, Lynn Painter Kirkle!

I met Lynn on instagram and we instantly connected, she’s one of my favorite people on the space now. She wrote an incredible ode to bookstagrammers & if you aren’t already following her on instagram, you HAVE to check out the promotional videos her son, Matt, makes – they are HILARIOUS, and so worth a watch!

About the Author:

Lynn Painter lives with her husband and pack of wild children in Nebraska, where she is a weekly contributor to the Omaha World-Herald and an avid fan of napping. When working on a new book, she can often be found sound asleep on her office floor. Some might say she should grow up and stop randomly dozing off like she’s a toddler, but Lynn considers it part of her writing “process.”

She told me – “I’m a very boring person. I have kids and a day job and I write. I don’t paint or knit or refurbish houses. I binge-watch Netflix, eat ice cream from the carton and wear pajamas more often than not.” To me, this is exactly why I adore following her & supporting her – she’s real and funny and an absolute joy.

Her debut YA novel, Better Than The Movies, release 5/4 and I absolutely LOVED it, and cannot wait for you all to read it!

Website | Instagram | Goodreads | Twitter



BETTER THAN THE MOVIES

In this rom-com about rom-coms, in the spirit of Kasie West and Jenn Bennett, a hopeless romantic teen attempts to secure a happily-ever-after moment with her forever crush, but finds herself reluctantly drawn to the boy next door.

Perpetual daydreamer Liz Buxbaum gave her heart to Michael a long time ago. But her cool, aloof forever crush never really saw her before he moved away. Now that he’s back in town, Liz will do whatever it takes to get on his radar—and maybe snag him as a prom date—even befriend Wes Bennet.

The annoyingly attractive next-door neighbor might seem like a prime candidate for romantic comedy fantasies, but Wes has only been a pain in Liz’s butt since they were kids. Pranks involving frogs and decapitated lawn gnomes do not a potential boyfriend make. Yet, somehow, Wes and Michael are hitting it off, which means Wes is Liz’s in.

But as Liz and Wes scheme to get Liz noticed by Michael so she can have her magical prom moment, she’s shocked to discover that she likes being around Wes. And as they continue to grow closer, she must reexamine everything she thought she knew about love—and rethink her own ideas of what Happily Ever After should look like.

Preorder your copy HERE.


Tell me, how did you get into writing?

I am SO jealous of every writer who says they always knew, because I was clueless for most of my life. I was always pretty good at spelling and writing in school, I was a voracious reader, and I loved literature classes. But writing never occurred to me. I went to college to be a teacher but didn’t even finish; I got married and started babying, instead.

One day, my sister came over and said, “I saw an author on Oprah. You read books all the time – you should write one.” It sounds absolutely bonkers, but I started writing my first (awful) book that week. It was a hobby for a lot of years, and then I went back to college and studied in UNO’s Writer’s Workshop, where it switched from a hobby to my purpose.

Obviously you’re a romcom lover, what made you want to write THIS book?

 I wanted to write a book that had the FEEL of a rom-com movie, and what better way to do that than write a character who is obsessed with those same movies? I tried to create a book full of movie scenes.

Are any of the scenes drawn from your own high school experiences? 

Sadly, no. I’m not going to say I never went to a kegger, and I’m definitely not going to say I never embarrassed myself in front of cute boys, but alas – these experiences belong solely to Liz.

What was your favorite scene to write?

The party scene FOR SURE, because it was fun in so many ways. I got to create Wes and Liz’s first outing together so that was a blast, showing each of them seeing the other in a different light. But I also got to write Liz’s first experience at a raging kegger, her horror as she gets vomited on, and her dismay as Wes rescues her like a swoony rom-com savior. Every little bit of it was fun.

Tell me a bit about your writing process, and WHY YA – I know your’re working on an adult romance as well, do you do anything differently as you work on the two different genres?

My writing process is basically writing whenever I can. I have kids and a day job, so I pretty much write on weeknights when everyone is asleep (often including me at my keyboard), and on weekends. I am most productive on Friday and Saturday nights, when I lock myself in my office once the 5 year old is in bed and write until the wee hours of the night. I LOVE IT. My Friday and Saturday nights make me insanely happy.

When I get an idea for a book, I usually just free-write for a while. Usually, I can make it about 50 pages before it’s clear whether or not there’s enough plot to make for a book. If I think there is, I use huge post-it notes to plot out each scene. Then – the fun part – I rip down each note and write the scene. Feels really good.

YA feels like the most natural writing voice for me. My husband jokes that my frontal lobe never closed (I’m very immature), so perhaps that’s a factor. Oddly enough, I don’t really differ in my approaches to YA and adult at all. I mean, in both of my YA rom-coms the majority of the book is the buildup to the relationship – the flirty getting-to-know-you stuff, and the adult rom-coms get to the relationship more quickly. But when writing the characters, there is no difference.

Anything you can share about the projects you’re working on NEXT? I cannot wait to get MORE books from you in the near future! 

I’m sooo excited about my next YA – THE DO-OVER. The main character has the worst Valentine’s Day ever, and when she wakes up the next morning, it’s Valentine’s Day again. She gets stuck in a day-on-repeat, Groundhog Day scenario. After trying (and failing) to create the perfect day and snap the spell, she embarks upon The Day of No Consequences (my original title). She decides to do whatever she wants, because nothing will count. She steals her dad’s Porsche and gets it impounded when she joyrides on the way to school, she dumps her boyfriend over the school intercom, she tells of the mean girls, gets a tattoo, and asks out the bad-boy in front of her entire chemistry class.

But when she wakes up the next morning, it’s Feb 15. She has to face the consequences of every wild thing she did the day before.

I just turned in the edits and had a BLAST with this one!!!

On the adult front, my rom-com MR. WRONG NUMBER will be published by Berkley in March 2022. It’s basically a book about Olivia, a hot mess, who gets a text from a wrong number that turns into an anonymous sextual relationship. Only Olivia doesn’t know that she knows Mr. Wrong Number and sees him every day.

HOW does Matt come up with these videos, we MUST know! His videos & yours have been such a joy during this time! 

LOL – I HAVE NO IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!! I asked him once if he’d consider making a book promo Tik Tok, one time, and now he just does them. Sometimes I’ll hear him yelling in the basement, and the kindergartener will say “oh, Matt’s just making a video,” but I literally have zero creative input. He texts me and says “I have a Tik Tok for you,” and that is it! 😊

What has been your favorite part of releasing your debut during the pandemic? 

Since it’s my first book, I don’t know what it’s like to release NOT during a pandemic. I mean, I always daydreamed about book tours and those aren’t happening, but I feel blessed that it’s 2021. At least we’re not on lockdown, and I’ll be fully-vaccinated just in-time to go to a bookstore and see my book, so I have no complaints. After dreaming about having a published book for so many years, I’m thrilled with every single part of this.


Lynn & I will be going LIVE on instagram tonight at 7PM EST, hope to see you there!

A huge thank you to Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for providing me an eARC to read and review, and Lynn for sending me a physical copy!

AUTHOR FEATURE | Alison Hammer

TONIGHT I am going LIVE with one of my favorite authors, Alison Hammer!

My ARC based virtual book club, loveARCtually was lucky enough to be the first book club to read her latest book, Little Pieces of Me [link to loveARCtually wrap up post] and it was SUCH an honor. After being among the first to read an advance readers copy, and having her join the club for our end of book chat, I just knew I had to share MORE about Alison and her incredible book!

About the Author:

Alison Hammer has been spinning words to tell stories since she learned how to talk. A graduate of the University of Florida and the Creative Circus in Atlanta, she lived in 9 cities before settling down in Chicago. During the day, Alison is a VP Creative Director at FCB Chicago, but on nights and weekends you can find her writing upmarket women’s fiction. Alison is represented by Joanna MacKenzie of Nelson Literary Agency. Her debut novel, “You and Me and Us” & her latest release Little Pieces of Me are both available from William Morrow (Harper Collins).

Website | Instagram | Goodreads | Twitter


Alison’s book launched this past Tuesday, April 13th & her launch party was EPIC – watch some of the replay on Alison’s instagram! I am honored she agreed to not only do a Q & A but go LIVE with me – she’s one of the friendliest, fun authors to talk to & I know you’ll all enjoy hearing what she has to say!

I LOVE your writing style with the dual POV – has this always been your approach to telling your stories? What is that writing process like for you?

Thank you! I love reading multi-POV stories, and I have fun writing them,too. I like being able to see the story from different sides, I think it creates a much richer, more complex and emotional story. 


With my first book, YOU AND ME AND US, the POVs were in the same tense and timeline, so I wrote the chapters as I wanted them to be read, alternating between the characters. 


For LITTLE PIECES OF ME, the POVs are in different timelines and tenses, so I wrote each one separately and then wove them together—which was not originally the plan. When I first wrote the book, I had it written in three parts: Part 1 was present day as Paige, my main character made the discovery about her DNA, Part 2 was back in 1974 when her mom, dad and DNA dad were in college at the University of Kansas, and Part 3 was back in present day as Paige was trying to process the news. My agent had the idea of blending the timelines together, and it made the book what it is today. 

Which character in Little Pieces of Me do you relate with most and why?

I’m not sure there’s one specific character that I relate to, but I do think they all have little pieces of me. I’m 42 and I live in Chicago and work in advertising, so I definitely have that in common with Paige, but I also see parts of myself in Betsy and even Andy. Maybe a little Maks, too.

I loved that you picked the University of Kansas campus as one of your settings, what made you decide on where the book took place? 

The location of the book has a lot to do with writing what you know, but I also had to consider the logistics of the locations. I live in Chicago, but I’m from St. Louis which is just a five-hour drive away, and I wanted Paige and her mom to be within driving distance of each other. While I graduated from the University of Florida, I went to school my first two years at the University of Kansas and I was a member of Sigma Delta Tau, the same sorority that Betsy was in back in 1974. Setting is not one of my strengths, so being familiar with the various cities and locations definitely help. 


I decided to set a few scenes in Naples, Florida because it was a city where I could imagine Andy Abrams living as an adult, and I’m also pretty familiar with it. Growing up, my grandparents had a condo in Naples, and we spent a lot of spring and winter breaks there. Fun fact: the hotel where my characters stay when they’re in town, The Edgewater Beach Hotel, is a real place—and when I was 8 or 9, I remember deciding that I would go there one day for my honeymoon. I thought it was epitome of luxury. 

How was releasing book 2 different from book 1 for you? 

There were a lot of differences between the launches of book one and book two—even though both were released during the pandemic, and I had to find ways to get a little creative with them both. 


For the launch of You and Me and Us, none of us knew what we were doing. It was only three weeks into the pandemic and I was just starting out as an author and didn’t know what to expect anyway, much less in a pandemic. With Little Pieces of Me, it still feels like I don’t know what to do or expect, but I had more time to plan and think about ways that I could try to make a difference in sales. Both were unique experiences with plenty of silver linings, but I will be thrilled if it’s safe enough to have an in-person launch event for my next book!

I know I mentioned her launch party – if you haven’t already ordered the book, make sure you head to grab a copy from the indie bookstores she’s partnered with HERE.

What are you hoping readers take away from this title?

I love this question, and it’s honestly one of my favorite parts about the book being out in the world—that I can hear directly from readers what they take away from the story and the characters. But there are two themes that I hope resonate with people.


The first is that our parents aren’t just our parents—they’re people with their own lives and identities and experiences and mistakes that happened before we were born. As children, we often think of our parents as “ours.” 


The second takeaway really connects with the title of the book. We tend to try and put ourselves in boxes and define ourselves with where we fit—our careers, our relationship status, our religion and so many other labels. But we aren’t any one of those things. Like Paige learns in the book, we’re not just our DNA. We’re that, plus our life experiences, and the people who love us and the people we love. They’re all little pieces of us. 

What’s NEXT? Anything you can share with us? 

So many things. It’s a little crazy how many projects I have going on and I’m not sure yet which one will be next. I have a book that I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2018 called The Auntourage that has four friends dealing with the loss of one of their best friends the year before as they step up to help take care of that friend’s one-year-old son (I promise it’s not as sad as it sounds, and there is a little love story woven in!). 


I’m also working on a project with my friend, author and singer-song writer, Stephen Kellogg. We just finished the first draft last week, but I’m really excited about it. And I have another side-project I’m working on with my critique partner, Bradeigh Godfrey. We started writing romcoms together during the pandemic and are almost finished with our second one. We’ll hopefully have some exciting news that we’ll be able to share next week on our new Instagram account, @alibradybooks


Alison & I will be going LIVE on instagram tonight at 6:30PM, hope to see you there!

A huge thank you to William Morrow Books and NetGalley for providing me an eARC to read and review, as well as for providing the title to many of our club members! It opened up the opportunity to connect with Alison and her book!

Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron

Thanks to Forever Publishing & NetGalley, I was able to read this incredible book back in December, and I have been gushing about it ever since! Today I’m sharing my full review with you in honor of Farah’s launch event TONIGHT, hosted by Belmont Books.

Title : Accidentally Engaged

Author : Farah Heron

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher : Forever

Pub Date : March 2nd, 2021

Pages : 384

Reena Manji doesn’t love her career, her single status, and most of all, her family inserting themselves into every detail of her life. But when caring for her precious sourdough starters, Reena can drown it all out. At least until her father moves his newest employee across the hall–with hopes that Reena will marry him.

But Nadim’s not like the other Muslim bachelors-du-jour that her parents have dug up. If the Captain America body and the British accent weren’t enough, the man appears to love eating her bread creations as much as she loves making them. She sure as hell would never marry a man who works for her father, but friendship with a neighbor is okay, right? And when Reena’s career takes a nosedive, Nadim happily agrees to fake an engagement so they can enter a couples video cooking contest to win the artisan bread course of her dreams.

As cooking at home together brings them closer, things turn physical, but Reena isn’t worried. She knows Nadim is keeping secrets, but it’s fine— secrets are always on the menu where her family is concerned. And her heart is protected… she’s not marrying the man. But even secrets kept for self preservation have a way of getting out, especially when meddling parents and gossiping families are involved.

I may have reached my breaking point. As if trying to graduate from a school for supernaturals isn’t stressful enough, my relationship status has gone from complicated to a straight-up dumpster fire. 

Buy your copy HERE!


Sophia @the_unwined co-hosted this title with me for @loveARCtually & it was such a fun club read!

*** Beware, you’ll pick this one up & suddenly realize you sat down to start it & suddenly you’re finished, and craving ALL the bread, forever. ***

WHAT a great love story, and I could shout from the rooftops how much I adored this own voices, cultural tale that taught me plenty of new things about Reena’s Muslim culture and wanted me to try ALL of the incredible food they cooked up in this book. I may just be a boring heterosexual caucasian female, but love knows no color or sex and I am here to cheer on ALL the romances…. even if they might be a pretend engagement to the man your parents want to arrange you to marry. 

“Your father and my father just entered a business partnership together. And apparently…you and I are to be married.” He shrugged, one side of his lip raising slightly. “Surprise?”

Reena’s parents may want her to marry Nadim and live happily ever after in the version of her life they see, but she just wants to bake all the bread, forever. (my kind of girl, WHO doesn’t love bread?!) And who can blame her? She may be struggling with her career, but that doesn’t stop her from making it known what she wants and going after it. Encouraged by her endearing friends and even the sister she once felt betrayed by, this romance is full of heart and hope and SO much chemistry cooking up in that kitchen! 

While I had not read anything by Farah Heron before this book, I have to say I will be a fan for life. The contemporary romance had a flavor of fun, while keeping it a quick and engaging read with the witty wording & incredible character development. Reena and everything she wanted (or didn’t want) was so relatable and true to herself, it had me cheering her on in the cooking competition, in life and in love.

This was a title I loved so much, it was an absolute must pick for a club read for loveARCtually – we read this title as a buddy read early this year and we were so lucky to get to chat with Farah for our end of book chat! My lovely friend Sophia from @the_unwined cohosted the title and it was a member favorite for sure!

Want to see what some of our members thought of the book? Head over to see some of their reviews!

Accidentally Engaged is cute, funny and a gem. I laughed out loud so many times, I lost track. I loved Reena’s quirky personality, especially how she names all her bread starters. Her inner monologue is the best! Reena is also extremely relatable. I enjoyed her journey of self-discovery, figuring out her head and her heart, all while trying to buck her family’s pressure to settle down.

  • Check out Emma‘s Goodreads Review –

This book was anything but half-baked. Farah Heron expertly weaves together culture and romance while maintaining a well-proved plot. She also discusses mental health, familial pressure, and what it means to make a home for yourself. Overall a beautiful book that I couldn’t put down. Plus she includes recipes for some of the delicious food mentioned in the book which is a win in my book!

I can’t help the bread references, don’t be sour about it.

  • I loved Kenni‘s thoughts too –

I was very excited to read this ARC, and it did not disappoint! While I do not share Reena and Nadim’s culture, I do share in the experience of having this connection to my culture through food. Reading this book reminded me of how grateful I am to have that culture. Additionally, it was comforting to read about Nadim’s experience moving around (re: the quote above), as it felt similar to my own experiences of moving extremely often.

Our @loveARCtually end of book chat with Farah herself was SO much fun! Want to join in for one of our future club titles? Head HERE to sign up!

I cannot wait for tonight’s launch celebration hosted by Belmont Books – so excited to hear more from Farah & her incredible guests, Sonali Dev (Incense and Sensibility out July 6th!) and Roselle Lim (Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop out August 4th!)


About the Author:

After a childhood raised on Bollywood, Monty Python, and Jane Austen, Farah self-rejected her writing career before jotting down a single word, despite admitting her ultimate fantasy was to be a writer. But when she could no longer keep the story arcs straight in her daydreams, she started writing a few years ago and never looked back. She writes comedic women’s fiction full of huge South Asian families, delectable food, and most importantly, brown people falling stupidly in love. Prior to writing, she had careers in Human Resources and Psychotherapy. She lives in Toronto with her patient husband, surly teenager, and delightful middle-grader, along with two gerbils, one hamster, one rabbit, and a fish named Silvia.

Website | Instagram | Goodreads | Twitter

AUTHOR FEATURE | Annie Rains

Have you read any of Annie Rains books yet? Her most recent title, Reunited on Dragonfly Lane is the last in her longtime series, which just released on January 26th.

About the Author:

Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors. 

Website | Instagram | Goodreads

I got to chat with Annie about her incredible Sweetwater Springs series ending, here’s our Q&A!

How does it feel ending a series as loved and wonderful as Sweetwater Springs?

Oh, wow. Well, first of all, thank you so much for the wonderful compliment. I’m thrilled that readers have enjoyed the series as much as they have. I truly enjoyed my time writing the books. It went by way too fast. I feel grateful that I got to write 7 full novels in the series (and 2 novellas) and I’m also sad that it’s time to move on. 

What inspired Sophie’s survivor story, are you a rock climber yourself? If not, what kind of research did you do to create this backstory for her?

Noooo, hahaha. If you saw my arms, you’d know I am not a climber. I have to hand jars to my husband to ask him to open them. My series is set in the mountains so climbing is an outdoor activity that I thought Sophie and Chase might have enjoyed together once upon a time. I researched a lot of climbing sites in North Carolina and blogs to the point that I feel like I could go climbing if I wanted to–but I have no arm strength and no desire 🙂 

The idea of Sophie’s Fairy Godmother’s Closet is such a strong message of hope and community in your book. What about that idea moved you and made it something you had to have in this book?

I have a friend in real life who sells beautiful clothing for a living. She created a place similar to the Fairy Godmother’s Closet in her church to collect gently used clothing for people in the community who needed to dress nicely for job interviews and work. That inspired me to have Sophie do the same. The folks in Sweetwater Springs have such a heart for giving and helping others in their community. I knew I wanted Sophie to do something out of her boutique so the concept for the Fairy Godmother’s Closet just grew from there.

Of course, we ALL love a puppy in the story, do you have pets yourself? 

I do. We have a rescue dog and cat. Our dog, Carter, is half chihuahua, half miniature pincher. Our cat, Spiral, was adopted from the local animal shelter last Christmas. She has been a welcome addition to the family. We spoil her silly.

What was your writing process like for Sweetwater Springs? Did you know when you started there would be 7 books — tell me a little bit about what characters you decided upon ahead of time, and which ones caught you by surprise!

Well, I pitched Sweetwater Springs as a 3 book series so I had Kaitlyn and Mitch’s story, Josie and Tuck’s, and Halona and Alex’s. After that, my publisher asked for 3 more, so I chose the hero and heroine as I went along. I could kind of see the next book’s hero or heroine pop up in the previous book and usually knew whose story was coming next. Luke, Jack, and Granger came really easy for me in books 4, 5, and 6. I didn’t really see Chase Lewis coming until book 7, but I wish I had. I would have liked to have teased my small-town veterinarian throughout the series, but hindsight is 20/20, right? I would say that Sophie Daniels in book 7 caught me by surprise too. She was in all the books, but I didn’t know her story until I sat down to write it. I had no idea that she had lived through a near-death experience or that there was so much depth to her. I found her story very rewarding and that was a great way for me to end the series. 

I love that you typically write dual POV with a male and female character — What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

I actually don’t find it very hard to write the opposite sex at all. The male POV is very different from the female POV though. The hero’s feelings are relayed primarily through internal thoughts whereas the heroine can think about her feelings and discuss them with her best friend at length. It’s easy to relay what’s going on with the heroine on the page, but the hero isn’t typically as open with what’s going on with his heart. So the challenge is showing how the hero is feeling through his actions.

Of all of your Sweetwater Springs titles, which was your favorite to write? 

I think my answer to this question changes depending on the day. I really loved writing all of the books for very different reasons. I really enjoyed writing Sunshine on Silver Lake because Jack Hershey was such a charmer. He charmed me the whole time I was writing his character and I wanted so much for him to win Emma St. James back. I loved Halona and Alex’s story too. That might be a close second for me. 

What can you tell us about your upcoming series? I cannot wait to read it!

My Somerset Lake series is also set in the mountain of North Carolina. I drew inspiration from Lake Lure, NC which is where Dirty Dancing was filmed. Somerset Lake is a small lakeside town full of quirky characters, nosy neighbors, and fun hotspots that I hope readers will want to return to over and over again just like they did in Sweetwater Springs. It’s a place of homecomings, second chances, new beginnings, and happily ever afters. The heroine of the first book in the series is actually a character from Sweetwater Springs so it’s a spinoff series in that respect. 

What are you reading right now?

I’m going back and forth between listening to Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center and Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim on Audible.

Who are some authors that have inspired you in your journey as an author?

Raeanne Thayne, Jill Shalvis, and Nora Roberts. In my early days of writing, I couldn’t get enough of Danielle Steele, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Nicholas Sparks.

A huge thank you to Forever Publishing for allowing me to read and review Annie’s latest book, Reunited on Dragonfly Lane in preparation for this Q&A – I have LOVED the Sweetwater Springs series! Head over to my review, and watch on Instagram for an upcoming giveaway!

BOOK FEATURE | Reunited on Dragonfly Lane by Annie Rains

Title : Reunited on Dragonfly Lane

Author : Annie Rains

Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance

Publisher : Forever

Pub Date : January 26th, 2021

Pages : 347

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

In this romantic adventure, anything is paws-ible when a single shop owner makes a connection with her new vet.

Boutique owner Sophie Daniels certainly isn’t looking to adopt a dog the day veterinarian Chase Lewis convinces her to take in Comet. A rambunctious puppy with a broken leg may not be the best choice for a first-time pet owner. And house calls from the handsome doctor—her high school sweetheart who’s just moved back to Sweetwater Springs—may not be the best choice for her heart either.

Chase has come home to help his nephew but finds that he’s forgotten just how much he enjoys small-town life. However, sooner or later, he’s going to have to face the past and his unresolved feelings for Sophie. Now that Comet needs both their help, Chase is going to let the four-legged matchmaker work his canine magic. Then Chase will prove to Sophie that first love is even better the second time around.

Includes the bonus novella A Wedding on Lavender Hill

. . .

I can’t believe this is the END of Sweetwater Springs! I have totally fallen for Annie’s writing style in these last few books and will anxiously await whatever she decides to write next!

With lovable characters that pop up for cameos in many of the titles, and a charming town you can’t help but fall for this series has been so fun to read. Add PUPPIES on top of it, thanks to Chase being the town veterinarian and this one may have been one of my favorites in the series! 

Chase and Sophie are the second chance romance that book readers dream of, with a great backstory and even better future. I loved reading their story of growth, connection and romance! 

I loved how Sophie’s story came together as she dealt with the loss in her past, and how she overcame it, resulting in the heartwarming boutique she owns. A great cozy story that could be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend the entire series, this one got 4.5 stars from me! 

. . .

About the Author:

Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors. 

Website | Instagram | Goodreads

Head over to my recent Q & A with Annie to hear what she has to say about finishing up this incredible 7 book series HERE.