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Anticipated Book Releases

2022 July – December New Book Releases

2022 July-December New Book Releases

Which books releasing in the second half of 2022 do you wish you could read right now?

Here it is! As of this post, this is the complete list of all the books I want to read that are being published during the remainder of 2022.

So many adventures to read by so many new-to-me authors! There are also highly anticipated sequels – looking at you, Bloodmarked! – forthcoming that I’ve been thinking about since last year, which also feels like forever ago. A lot of fantasy and romance make up this humongous list too. I think most of my favorite upcoming releases are being published in August, September, and November.

On Tuesday, I’ll be posting about my top 10 releases in the second half of 2022 that I’m excited about the most. Until then, please enjoy this list (that is in no way out of control):

🎆 JULY 🎆

July 1
Pink Is Not a Color by Lindsay Ward

July 5
Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser
The Charmed List by Julie Abe
What Souls Are Made Of: A Wuthering Heights Remix by Tasha Suri
Dream On by Angie Hockman

"Wash Day Diaries" by Jamila Rowser & Robyn Smith (cover)
Image via Goodreads

July 12
Bet on It by Jodie Slaughter (review)
The Romance Recipe by Ruby Barrett
Llama Rocks the Cradle of Chaos by Jonathan Stutzman
Always Be My Duchess by Amalie Howard
How Maya Grace Got Fierce by Sona Charaipotra

July 19
Heat Wave by TJ Klune (review)
The Bodyguard by Katherine Center (review)
Crumbs by Danie Stirling
The Accidental Pinup by Danielle Jackson
Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin
Blackwater by Jeannette Arroyo

July 26
The Valkyrie’s Daughter by Tiana Warner
Master of Iron by Tricia Levenseller
Love Times Infinity by Lane Clarke
Twice as Perfect by Lousia Onomé
Booked on a Feeling by Jayci Lee

🌈 AUGUST 🌈

August 1
Riley Reynolds Crushes Costume Day by Jay Albee

August 2
Snow White with the Red Hair (vol. 20)
Husband Material by Alexis Hall
How to Date a Superhero by Cristina Fernandez
The Hookup Plan by Farrah Rochon
Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan
Kind Like Marsha: Learning from LGBTQ+ Leaders by Sarah Prager, Illustrated by Cheryl Thuesday

August 9
Bend Toward the Sun by Jen Devon (review)
Ruthless by Gena Showalter (review coming soon)
The Forgotten Cottage by Courtney Ellis
Black Boy, Black Boy by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond, Illustrated by Ken Daley

August 23
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
Azar on Fire by Olivia Abtahi

August 30
Amari and the Great Game by B.B. Alston
In the Event of Love by Courtney Kae

SEPTEMBER

September 6
Do You Take This Man by Denise Williams
Dark Alpha’s Command by Donna Grant
Court of the Vampire Queen by Katee Robert
The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster by Mo Willems
The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas
Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake by Mazey Eddings
Monsters Born and Made by Tanvi Berwah

September 13
Maya and the Lord of Shadows by Rena Barron
Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rae

September 20
Vanessa Jared’s Got a Man by LaQuette (review coming soon)
Spy x Family (vol. 8)
Drunk on Love by Jasmine Guillory
Rust in the Root by Justina Ireland
Seolmates by Susan Lee
The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers by Adam Sass

"Seoulmates" by Susan Lee (cover)
Image via Goodreads

September 27
Rain Rising by Courtne Comrie
Where We End & Begin by Jane Igharo
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Inspiring Young Changemakers by Rebel Girls

🎃 OCTOBER 🎃

October 4
A Curse of Queens by Amanda Bouchet (review tba)
Narwhalicorn and Jelly by Ben Clanton
You’re a Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky
When Life Gives You Vampires by Gloria Duke
How to Heal a Gryphon by Meg Cannistra

October 11
Iron Ember by Donna Grant

October 18
Built to Last by Erin Hahn (review)
Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra (review tba)
Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega
Marikit and the Ocean of Stars by Caris Avendaño Cruz

October 25
Marlowe Banks, Redesigned by Jacqueline Firkins (review tba)
Strike the Zither by Joan He
Sparrows in the Wind by Gail Carson Levine

🍁 NOVEMBER 🍁

November 1
A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams
The Rewind by Allison Scotch
A Restless Truth by Freya Marske
The Sour Grape by Jory John, Illustrated by Pete Oswald

November 8
Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn
A Sweet Lowcountry Proposal by Preslaysa Williams
Children of Ragnarok by Cinda Williams Chima
Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston by Esme Symes-Smith
The Luminaries by Susan Denard

November 15
Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade

November 22
The Choice by Nora Roberts
Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail by Ashley Herring Blake

🎄 DECEMBER 🎄

December 6
This Cursed Crown by Alexandra Overy

December 27
The Heretic Royal by G.A. Aiken
Never Cross a Highlander by Lisa Rayne

"The Heretic Royal" by G.A. Aiken (cover)
Image via Goodreads

AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday – June 22, 2022

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.


What upcoming title that’s being published this summer are you most looking forward to?

Now that it’s summer I thought I’d highlight a book that’s being published this summer, one I’ve been anxiously waiting to read for forever it seems: Husband Material by Alexis Hall.

I enjoyed getting to know Luc and Oliver in Boyfriend Material. Luc underwent such a transformation to regain a self of self and life. Olivia is such a lovable person with an innate goodness that draws you in. Both were such charming characters that I’m glad that their story is not over. Book 2 looks like it’s gonna be another entertaining summer read.

Husband Material releases August 2, 2022.

"Husband Material" by Alexis Hall (cover)
Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: Wanted:
One (very real) husband
Nowhere near perfect but desperately trying his best

In BOYFRIEND MATERIAL, Luc and Oliver met, pretended to fall in love, fell in love for real, dealt with heartbreak and disappointment and family and friends…and somehow figured out a way to make it work. Now it seems like everyone around them is getting married, and Luc’s feeling the social pressure to propose. But it’ll take more than four weddings, a funeral, and a bowl full of special curry to get these two from I don’t know what I’m doing to I do.

Good thing Oliver is such perfect HUSBAND MATERIAL.

This Summer 2022, you’re invited to the event(s) of the season.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

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Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! The Bodyguard releases July 19, 2022.

"The Bodyguard" by Katherine Center (cover)
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
Recommend to Others?: No

ABOUT: She’s got his back.
Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindergarten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka “bodyguard”), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker.

He’s got her heart.
Jack Stapleton’s a household name—captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, famous for, among other things, rising out of the waves in all manner of clingy board shorts and glistening like a Roman deity. But a few years back, in the wake of a family tragedy, he dropped from the public eye and went off the grid.

They’ve got a secret.
When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it.

What could possibly go wrong???
Hannah hardly believes it, herself. But the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And there lies the heartbreak. Because it’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own, long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.

 

REVIEW: A good bodyguard rom-com that lost me at times. But I liked the story’s theme of realizing your self-worth, loving yourself, and taking chances.

Hannah is an Executive Protection Agent, the best of the best. This quirky workaholic with an endearing personality often desires escape when things become too much. Sometimes it was hard to grasp who Hannah was and what she really wanted or feared, lots of back and forth. But it’s clear she’s closed off her heart to love or close relationships given the few she has/had. I like her character though and hated seeing her doubt herself or her worth.

Jack is an uber famous actor who has lived isolated and emotionally distant from everyone and everything due to survivor’s guilt after his younger brother’s death. I liked getting to know the real Jack. Not the Jack Stapleton, renowned, beloved, charming actor extraordinaire that everyone thinks they know. But Jack, a simple, ordinary man who loves his family.

Some of the best moments of the story were during the humorous interactions between Hannah and Jack, especially knowing how much of a hardcore fan Hannah is of Jack’s film career. I liked how as they got to know each other better it put their pasts into perspective enough to reconcile and move forward. Because Jack is so widely famous and liked it’s hard for him to relax or be the real Jack. Hannah makes him laugh, happy, and relaxed. Hannah in turn slowly learns that it’s okay to take a break and enjoy life (something we should all remember to do, especially when it comes to work).

To me, there was more telling than showing as a whole. I didn’t like that there wasn’t much guessing or inferencing for the reader to do as it was continuously indicated when something bad or adverse was about to happen. Lots of “and that’s how this” or “I was going to do this” or “I was doing this when blank happened” or “ when blank entered the room” type of language. You learn pretty much far too early on what happened to Jack’s younger brother, Drew, because it’s very obviously said.

I also didn’t like the last 15% of the story. I’m not sure if we needed that last section of tension and pain, especially for Hannah. Didn’t add much value to the story given the state of Hannah and Jack’s relationship at that point. The story could’ve easily ended there. I will say, there was one line in particular that was too real in a good but heartbreaking way. Otherwise, I wasn’t a fan of this section of the book.

All of Hannah’s coworkers (except for one) I adored. Glenn Schultz is the best, grumpy boss ever. Kelly is a hoot. I also adored Connie, Jack’s mom. Despite being diagnosed with cancer, she still shines so bright with such unwavering strength.

So this was a good, maybe okay read. I had some issues with how it was told. But there were enough lighthearted, enjoyable moments that carried me through to the end.

CW: cancer, survivor’s guilt, gaslighting


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday – June 8, 2022

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.


One June 2022 release I’m looking forward to is The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi.

A YA sapphic fantasy that’s sprinkled with a dash of African and Arabian mythology and is helmed by three women who’ll risk all in blood, sand, and fire sounds like a fantastic read. From the way the author describes it – she had me at giant desert lizards you can ride – this sounds like my kind of story.

The Final Strife is the first of a trilogy (another plus) and definitely far different from the fantasy books I usually read. But it’s good to read outside your comfort zone even within a genre you’re already comfortable with.

The Final Strife releases June 23, 2022.

"The Final Strife" by Saara El-Arifi (cover)
Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: In the first book of a visionary fantasy trilogy with its roots in the mythology of Africa and Arabia that “sings of rebellion, love, and the courage it takes to stand up to tyranny” (Samantha Shannon, author of The Priory of the Orange Tree), three women band together against a cruel empire that divides people by blood…

Red is the blood of the elite, of magic, of control.
Blue is the blood of the poor, of workers, of the resistance.
Clear is the blood of the slaves, of the crushed, of the invisible.

Sylah dreams of days growing up in the resistance, being told she would spark a revolution that would free the empire from the red-blooded ruling classes’ tyranny. That spark was extinguished the day she watched her family murdered before her eyes.

Anoor has been told she’s nothing, no one, a disappointment, by the only person who matters: her mother, the most powerful ruler in the empire. But when Sylah and Anoor meet, a fire burns between them that could consume the kingdom—and their hearts.

Hassa moves through the world unseen by upper classes, so she knows what it means to be invisible. But invisibility has its uses: It can hide the most dangerous of secrets, secrets that can reignite a revolution. And when she joins forces with Sylah and Anoor, together these grains of sand will become a storm.

As the empire begins a set of trials of combat and skill designed to find its new leaders, the stage is set for blood to flow, power to shift, and cities to burn.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Built to Last by Erin Hahn

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Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Built to Last releases October 18, 2022.

"Built to Last" by Erin Hahn (cover)
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Erin Hahn’s Built to Last is a sparkling second chance romance about owning what you’re worth and fighting for the one who got away.

Shelby Springfield has spent the last ten years trying to overcome her past, sanding it away like the rough spots on the vintage furniture she makes over. But as a former child star, it’s hard to forget a widely documented meltdown and huge public break up with her former co-star Lyle Jessup. It’s also hard to forget her other co-star and childhood sweetheart, Cameron Riggs—the one who got away.

Anytime Shelby has called, Cameron has come running… And then he runs right off again to chase stories around the world by making documentaries, too scared to admit what he really wants. But when Lyle stirs the pot, getting the two back in the spotlight with a home renovation show, Cameron can’t help but get on board.

There’s something in it for everyone—almost. Cameron wants to set down some roots. Shelby wants to prove she’s not the messy party girl anymore. And a jealous Lyle can’t help but try to get in the way. But for his two childhood friends who had more chemistry than he could ever dream of, nothing is getting in the way of their second chance at love.

 

REVIEW: I adored this story about two child stars and sweethearts with a messy history getting a second chance at love!

I was wary at first but the story gradually got better with each passing page. There was so much pining and angst between Shelby and Cameron. Even after so many years apart, their chemistry remains undeniable and strong on and off screen. It was a slow burn worth reading about. I was hooked!

I liked that Shelby and Cameron got to reconnect as they worked on the pilot for the home renovation show. Also, I loved how they had each other’s back through the whole process, especially with Lyle (who is the worst, as well as Shelby’s mom) constantly meddling. It’s a rocky slope for the main characters. They have to reconcile with their pasts (as individuals and together) in order to figure out what they most want from life and to have a future together.

I love how interchangeable the theme of renovation is throughout the story. Shelby’s discovered passion for refurbishing things. Mending family ties (or not). Revamping a once-thought lost romantic relationship. Restoring one’s self-worth. And so much more. It’s a well-done, exquisite use of theme.

The interview with the main characters at the end was nice to read. I liked the brief hint to who the next book will feature (please, let there be a book 2!).

Overall, I ended up really enjoying Built to Last. Shelby and Cameron’s romance was so sweet and tender and funny. Cameron was so loyal and charming. Shelby was so strong and passionate. I can’t wait to read whatever Hahn writes next!


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#PubDayTuesday ARCs Book Reviews

#PubDayTuesday | ARC Review: Camp Famous by Jennifer Blecher

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Thank you to Greenwillow Books and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Camp Famous is OUT NOW!

"Camp Famous" by Jennifer Blecher (cover)
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: The Princess Diaries meets Harriet the Spy when Abby—the most ordinary girl in the world—finds herself undercover at a summer camp for famous kids. From acclaimed author Jennifer Blecher, Camp Famous is an accessible and fun summertime adventure about fitting in, being brave, and letting others see who you truly are. Camp Famous is pitch-perfect for anyone who loves Disney’s Camp Rock.

Eleven-year-old Abby Herman is beyond excited that her parents are letting her go to summer camp for the first time ever. Maybe camp will be the place she’ll finally find what she’s always wanted: a best friend. But—surprise!—she’s not going to just any summer camp, she’s going to Camp Famous, the one exclusively for famous kids escaping the spotlight.

Desperate to fit in with the pop stars, princesses, and geniuses, Abby creates a fake identity as a famous author. Everything goes as planned: the other girls welcome her, she participates in camp activities, and she even inspires a pop star! But as camp comes to a close, Abby finds herself torn between who she has pretended to be and who she truly is.

 

REVIEW: An ordinary girl attending a summer camp for famous kids instantly drew me in. What a fun summer camp story about friendship and being your true self! It was easy to relate to Abby and her desire to fit in, be accepted, and make friends easily as everybody else.

The difference between Abby and the other kids presents a compelling juxtaposition of perception versus reality. Abby feels compelled to lie about her identity in order to fit in. She already has preconceived notions about celebrities and is adamant that pretending to be a famous writer will help her chances of making friends. Minus the lying, Abby’s actions are genuine

I liked getting to know some of the other campers. At Camp Famous, these kids are getting the summer camp experience and a break from the spotlight and people who think they know them but actually don’t. For a few secluded weeks, these famous children can be their true selves. To just breathe and be kids. I felt bad for one girl in Abby’s cabin whose mother has clearly been exploiting her for fame and fortune without her consent. The reality these child celebrities display is that they are still just like other kids with thoughts, feelings, and wishes. Slowly, Abby begins to see this in her interactions and discussions with them. I think it also helped that there’s variety in what each camper is famous for that kids of today connect to (i.e., inventing slime, viral dances).

I would love to read a story of how Abby navigates her new friendships with famous people in the real world. The ending was great and I think set up the right conditions for a sequel.

Camp Famous was endearing, enjoyable, and unputdownable!


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Waiting On Wednesday – March 30, 2022

Waiting On Wednesday post image

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.


Did you ever attend summer camp growing up?

Happy Wednesday! Is it too early to be thinking about summer? Because this Wednesday I’m looking forward to Camp Famous by Jennifer Blecher, which I was recently approved for on NetGalley.

The title caught my attention as I was one day browsing upcoming titles. I actually did attend a summer camp for several years and basketball camps for a few summers. I had a great time at both, so I’m always happy to find books that take place at a camp.

Even though this sounds very much like Disney’s Camp Rock (which I wasn’t really into when I was younger), I’m still intrigued and it sounds like a fun read.

All the campers except for Abby (the main character) are famous, which will contrast well with the common perception versus reality when it comes to famous/popular figures. The other campers are still kids and at their age (really any age) they want to make friends, fit in, and have a place to belong. Nevertheless, this will be an interesting read and can’t wait to get to know Abby Herman.

Camp Famous releases May 10, 2022.

"Camp Famous" by Jennifer Blecher (cover)
Image via NetGalley

ABOUT: The Princess Diaries meets Harriet the Spy when Abby—the most ordinary girl in the world—finds herself undercover at a summer camp for famous kids. From acclaimed author Jennifer Blecher, Camp Famous is an accessible and fun summertime adventure about fitting in, being brave, and letting others see who you truly are. Camp Famous is pitch-perfect for anyone who loves Disney’s Camp Rock.

Eleven-year-old Abby Herman is beyond excited that her parents are letting her go to summer camp for the first time ever. Maybe camp will be the place she’ll finally find what she’s always wanted: a best friend. But—surprise!—she’s not going to just any summer camp, she’s going to Camp Famous, the one exclusively for famous kids escaping the spotlight.

Desperate to fit in with the pop stars, princesses, and geniuses, Abby creates a fake identity as a famous author. Everything goes as planned: the other girls welcome her, she participates in camp activities, and she even inspires a pop star! But as camp comes to a close, Abby finds herself torn between who she has pretended to be and who she truly is.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Bookish Memes Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – March 23, 2022

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.


Don’t you just love it when characters also have a passion for books in some shape or form? Book Lovers by Emily Henry seems like my kind of read, which is why it’s made my highly anticipated release this Waiting on Wednesday.

Books Lovers seems like an ideal enemies to lovers romance story. I love that the main characters are a literary agent and an editor. I get the feel that there will be some funny and cute encounters as the two really get to know each other.

Book Lovers releases May 3, 2022.

"Book Lovers" by Emily Henry (cover)
Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn’t see coming…

Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.


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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Just Right Jillian by Nicole D. Collier

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Thank you to Versify and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Just Right Jillian releases February 1, 2022.

Just Right Jillian by Nicole D. Collier
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: In this heartfelt middle-grade novel from debut author Nicole D. Collier, fifth-grader Jillian must learn to speak and break free of her shell to enter her school’s academic competition and keep her promise to her grandmother.

Fifth-grader Jillian will do just about anything to blend in, including staying quiet even when she has the right answer. After she loses a classroom competition because she won’t speak up, she sets her mind on winning her school’s biggest competition. But breaking out of her shell is easier said than done, and Jillian has only a month to keep her promise to her grandmother and prove to herself that she can speak up and show everyone her true self.

A warm and relatable middle-grade debut novel about family, friendship, and finding the confidence to break free from the crowd and be who you truly are.

 

REVIEW: To feel seen, to be heard, and the freedom to be yourself are some of the most empowering things in the world – Just Right Jillian embodies this and more.

The wonder that is Just Right Jillian will forever hold a special place in my heart. It’s rare that I come across a character I feel a deep, personal connection to. Jillian’s story was so much like looking in a mirror that I couldn’t help but get emotional at times.

Jillian is many things – smart, a warrior weaver, an expert at hanging upside-down, kind. But many see her as a kind of awkwardly shy turtle if they see her at all, she feels. Though her family always supports and encourages her, saying she’s just right as herself, Jillian isn’t convinced because words are often “too big” to get out of her mouth. She can’t help but believe it’s better to conform and hide (be invisible) than be different and stand out. People-ing and speaking are a struggle for sure!

Jillian wants to enter her school’s Mind Bender academic competition (and maybe win), so that she can prove her worth and keep a promise to her Grammy. Jillian’s journey is challenging because of her low self-esteem and continued grief over the recent loss of her Grammy.

The path towards Mind Bender and being the Jillian she wants to be is a mesmerizing undertaking with exceptional character development. There were as many steps forwards as there are steps back. I love Jillian’s strength and resolve to be better. Even when she feels she hasn’t made any progress towards her goal, with the love and support from her friends and family, she continues to try her best.

I loved the close, loving relationship Jillian has with her parents through the good times and the bad. I also loved her friendship with one of her classmates, Marquez. They’re very kind to each other, offering helpful advice whenever the other is feeling troubled. Marquez’s advice was really wise. I liked his philosophy of being JTRA (just the right amount) and that you can overcome your fears by training your heart. Even the relationship between Jillian and her supposed enemy, Rashida (known for her smarts and also a classmate), was wonderfully developed and special.

A fun part of the story was Jillian’s class raising chickens. It was interesting learning the process of what happens inside the eggs from the time they’re laid to when the chickens hatch. I like how Jillian made connections with the eggs to her own predicament and how she could find a solution to it.

Just Right Jillian is a book I wish I had when I was younger and beyond. This book made me feel so seen and for that I really appreciate it. Indeed, Just Right Jillian is a marvelous debut with a ton of heart. Short, sweet, and oh-so endearing.


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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Bend Toward the Sun by Jen Devon

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Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Bend Toward the Sun releases August 9, 2022.

Cover of "Bend Toward the Sun" by Jen Devon
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Jen Devon’s Bend Toward the Sun is a gorgeous, emotional love story about taking unexpected paths, accepting loss, and finding strength in the transformative power of love.

Rowan McKinnon believes love isn’t real. Armed with a PhD in botany, two friends who accept her social quirkiness, and some occasional no-strings sex, she has everything she needs. What she doesn’t share is that she hides deep wounds from the past—by an emotionally negligent mother, and by a fiancé who treated her like a pawn in a game. The only love she’s ever known came from her grandmother Edie, who taught her to care for all things that grow. After a chance encounter at a future winery, Rowan is captivated—by the beauty of the land, the challenge of the vineyards’ restoration, and by the warm and inviting family that plans to run it. They’ll offer her a job. She’ll eventually accept it.

And try not to think about Harrison Brady.

Harry Brady is a doctor. Was a doctor. An obstetrician profoundly struggling after the unexpected loss of a patient, Harry no longer believes he is capable of keeping people safe. Reeling from the loss and his crumbled four-year relationship, Harry leaves Los Angeles to spend time emotionally recuperating at his parents’ new vineyard in Pennsylvania. He’ll work to get the place ready to open, and try to pick up the pieces of his heart. Because if there’s one thing Harry Brady knows how to do, it is love deeply, fiercely, with his whole heart.

As soon as he meets Rowan McKinnon, sunlight begins to crack through the dark cloud smothering Harry’s soul. He wants to explore the compelling pull between them. Rowan just wants to keep things casual—she’s spent a lifetime protecting herself against feeling anything, for anyone.

But even Rowan can feel their extraordinary connection tilting the axis of the world they both thought they understood.

A moving, powerful novel about the ways love can irrevocably change your life, Bend Toward the Sun is a cinematic, unforgettable romance.

 

REVIEW: Bend Toward the Sun was an emotionally charged story with an electrifying romance that was painful, exhilarating, and deeply personal.

This story wears its heart on its sleeve as Rowan and Harry struggle to reconcile with their pasts in the wake of the instant attraction and affection they feel for one another.

The main characters had polar opposite upbringings. Rowan is socially awkward and understands plants far better than people. She had her beloved grandmother Edie who fostered Rowan’s love for nature – which led to Rowan becoming a botanist – until age 12 when she was then left in the uncare of her estranged mother. Meanwhile, Harry is one of six in a very close and loving family. This major difference is one of many roadblocks in Rowan and Harry’s relationship.

But I love how these two lost souls find their way again through love. It’s a painful journey and several times you’ll question in chest-tightening worry if their chance at true love and happiness will burn away.

Past intimate relationships have not gone well for either (an understatement). So to have such strong feelings feels right, wrong, and terrifying all at once. Plus, they both can be very, very, very stubborn.

I felt those months and months worth of time skips, which made their back and forth will-they won’t-they arguments seem redundant and a tad frustrating. Post-read, Rowan and Harry’s romance is really well fleshed out with all the necessary growth, drama and angst you’d want in an enthralling love story. Time just dragged some.

In the end (oh my goodness!), Rowan and Harry filled my heart with such joy and fondness. The chemistry between them was sizzling, the banter endearing and funny, and a satisfying conclusion worthy of a standing ovation.

I had a good feeling I would end up truly enjoying Bend Toward the Sun, and I did! I loved the story and all of the characters. Rowan was my favorite because I could relate with her and she’s unexpectedly hilarious. Jen Devon wrote a wonderful, heartfelt romance. I highly recommend this novel.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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