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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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Top Ten Tuesday: My Most Anticipated Books Releasing In 2022

Top Ten Tuesday blog post

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but is now run by That Artsy Reader Girl.


Which 2022 releases are you most looking forward to reading?

For today’s Top Ten Tuesday, I want to list my Top 10 for the whole year as I recently did a post about every new release I’m anticipating in the first half of it.

Some of these books I wish I had like yesterday but also I don’t think I’m emotionally ready for yet because the previous book was devastatingly good – so many feels! Others are by new-to-me authors I’m excited to try.

My Top 10 Most Anticipated 2022 Releases are (in A-Z order):

1. Amari and the Great Game by B.B. Alston (February 1)

Amari and the Great Game by B.B. Alston cover

2. Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn (November 8)

Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn cover

3. A Brush with Love by Mazey Eddings (March 1)

4. This Cursed Crown by Alexandra Overy (December 6)

This Cursed Crown by Alexandra Overy cover

5. Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan (January 11)

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan cover

6. Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros (March 15)

Falling Short by Ernesto Cisnero cover

7. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh (February 22)

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh cover

8. The Heretic Royal by G.A. Aiken (October 25)

The Heretic Royal by G.A. Aiken cover

9. Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez (April 19)

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez cover

 

10. Remarkable Ruby by Terri Libenson (May 3)

*No cover on Goodreads yet but you can see it on the author’s Instagram*


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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ARC Review: Operation Sisterhood by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich #newbookrelease

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Thank you to Crown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Operation Sisterhood is out now!

Cover of "Operation Sisterhood" by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

Image via NetGalley

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

ABOUT: Fans of the Netflix reboot of The Babysitters Club will delight as four new sisters band together in the heart of New York City. Discover this jubilant novel about the difficulties of change, the loyalty of sisters, and the love of family from a prolific award-winning author.

Bo and her mom always had their own rhythm. But ever since they moved to Harlem, Bo’s world has fallen out of sync. She and Mum are now living with Mum’s boyfriend Bill, his daughter Sunday, the twins, Lili and Lee, the twins’ parents…along with a dog, two cats, a bearded dragon, a turtle, and chickens. All in one brownstone! With so many people squished together, Bo isn’t so sure there is room for her.

Set against the bursting energy of a New York City summer, award-winning author Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich delivers a joyful novel about a new family that hits all the right notes!

 

REVIEW: Operation Sisterhood radiates the joy that can be found between sisters, in family, and in a community. It’s the kind of story I wish I had growing up.

The story takes place primarily in Harlem and the surrounding area. Bo is having a difficult time adjusting to her new family, living situation, and freeschooling without putting a damper on her mother’s happiness about their new life. She worries all these changes will cause her to lose her individuality.

It was interesting following the day-to-day of this new lifestyle Bo is now living in. It’s a warm, loving environment conducive to learning, responsibility, teamwork, self-reflection, and exploration. I love that they live with so many animals too, especially a bearded dragon who seems to enjoy wearing hats.

I love the sisterhood between Bo, Sunday, Lili and Lee. Each sister has a distinct personality and a passion. Bo is a drummer, super organized, and loves to cook. Sunday (Bo’s stepsister) loves to write, is quirky, and plays the keyboard. She tries so hard (sometimes too hard) to make Bo feel welcomed and a part of the family. I forget which twin (Lili and Lee) liked what but one is a huge animal lover while the other is a fashion designer. They also play an instrument (guitar and bass).

These new sisters are expressive, big-hearted, outgoing and enthusiastic. It was great seeing how they worked together to solve problems, make their parents happy, bring the community together, and support one another.

Operation Sisterhood was a good story with a vibrant cast of characters that I think readers will greatly enjoy. I also adore the cover art – I think it sums up the story perfectly.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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2022 New Books Releases I Want to Read (January – June)

2022 New Book Releases I Want to Read (January - June)

What new book releases are you most looking forward to in the first half of 2022?

There are an abundance of great new releases to look forward to this year. Even though I know it would be impossible to get to them all, it’s still fun to make such lists and keep an eye on books in case of sales or mood changes.

The number one read in each month I can’t wait to read are: Daughter of the Moon Goddess (January), The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea (February), A Brush with Love (March), Part of Your World (April), Remarkable Ruby (May), and The Silence That Binds Us (June).

Here’s the full mega list of anticipated 2022 releases:

JANUARY
1 – Digging Up Love by Chandra Blumberg
4 – Operation Sisterhood by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (review coming soon)
11 – Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan
11 – The Family You Make by Jill Shalvis
11 – Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon
11 – The Shattered Skies by John Birmingham
14 – Snow White with the Red Hair (vol. 14)
18 – How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan (review)
18 – Operation Do-Over by Gordon Korman
18 – Joan Is Okay by Weike Wang
18 – Servant Mage by Kate Elliott
18 – Icebreaker by A. L. Graziadei
25 – Getting His Game Back by Gia de Cadenet (review)
25 – His Fresh Start Cowboy by A.M. Arthur
25 – The Map to You by Rachel Stockbridge

 

FEBRUARY
1? – Amari and the Great Game by B.B. Alston
1 – The Iron Sword by Julie Kagawa (review coming soon)
1 – Just Right Jillian by Nicole D. Collier (review coming soon)
1 – Count Your Lucky Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
1 – Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms by Jamar J. Perry
1 – Ramón and Julieta by Alana Albertson
8 – Not the Witch You Wed by April Asher
11 – Playing for Love by Jeevani Charika
15 – Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Fergusan
22 – The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh
22 – I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson
22 – Only a Monster by Vanessa Len

 

MARCH
1 – Turning by Joy L. Smith (review coming soon)
1 – A Brush with Love by Mazey Eddings
1 – Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega
1 – Wingbearer by Marjorie M. Liu
1 – This Is Not Enough by Anna Kang, Illustrated by Christopher Weyant
8 – The Suite Spot by Trish Doller (review)
8 – Kamila Knows Best by Farah Heron
8 – One for All by Lillie Lainoff
15 – Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros
15 – Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma
22 – The Garden We Share by Zoë Tucker, Illustrated by Swaney Julianna (review)
22 – Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell by Taj McCoy
22 – Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram
22 – A Million Quiet Revolutions by Robin Gow
29 – Summer Nights with a Cowboy by Caitlin Crews (review coming soon)
29 – Bharatanatyam in Ballet Shoes by Mahak Jain

 

APRIL
5 – Spy x Family (vol. 7)
5 – Positively Introverted by Maureen Marzi Wilson
5 – Alice Austen Lived Here by Alex Gino
5 – She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott & Alyson Derrick
5 – The Blood Trials by N.E. Davenport
5 – Love from Scratch by Kaitlyn Hill
5 – Business Not as Usual by Sharon C. Cooper
12 – No Rings Attached by Rachel Lacey
15 – Snow White with the Red Hair (vol. 18)
19 – Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez
26 – That Cowboy of Mine by Donna Grant
26 – The Damning Stone by TJ Klune
26 – Jagged Little Pill by Eric Smith
26 – In the Key of Us by Mariama J. Lockington
26 – Never Cross a Highlander by Lisa Rayne

 

MAY
3 – Remarkable Ruby by Terri Libenson
3 – Book Lovers by Emily Henry
3 – Chef’s Kiss by T.J. Alexander
10 – Set on You by Amy Lea
10 – Camp Famous by Jennifer Blecher
10 – Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas
31 – Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper

 

JUNE
7 – Batter Royale by Leisl Adams
7 – Same Time, Same Place by David M. Barnett
14 – The Silence That Binds Us by Joanna Ho
14 – Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith
17 – Snow White with the Red Hair (vol. 19)
21 – On Rotation by Shirlene Obuobi
21 – Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley
28 – The Black Girls Left Standing by Juliana Goodman
28 – The Song That Moves the Sun by Anna Bright


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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ARC Review: The Garden We Share by Zoë Tucker, Illustrated by Swaney Julianna

25 Days of Book Reviews logo.

DAY 15

Thank you NorthSouth Books and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! The Garden We Share is set to be released March 22, 2022.

Cover of "The Garden We Share" by Zoë Tucker, Illustrated by Swaney Julianna.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Picture Book
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: To everything there is a season in this beautiful story about gardening, seasons, and treasured memories.

This inspiring picture book written by Zoë Tucker and illustrated by Julianna Swaney—the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines—celebrates the friendship between a young girl and an elderly woman as they plant seeds in a community garden alongside friends and neighbors, waiting for the seeds to flower. By mid-summer, the friends welcome a rainbow of color in the garden and picnics in the sun. At harvest, the young girl’s elderly friend is bed-ridden, but jubilant as they share baskets with red tomatoes and snap peas amid the sweet smell of lavender. When the last leaves fall, everything is different. But in the spring, hope arises anew.

 

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

The Garden We Share is a touching story about a little girl and an elderly woman who have formed a close bond as they care for a community garden.

I like the quiet, peaceful atmosphere the story has. I like the illustrations and all of the pretty flowers and crops grown. You see how much love and care the people of this community give to the garden as the seasons change. There’s a strong connection with nature and what they’re growing. The book is rich in color, flowers, and crops galore.

When things changed it was a punch in the feels, but I think it shows kids one way they can cope with loss, honor those they love, and the comforting power of memory. The cover is so beautiful, the colors inviting – a total cover buy!

I enjoyed reading The Garden We Share. It’s the perfect story for springtime and would make a great addition to a child’s personal library.


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ARC Review: The Suite Spot by Trish Doller

25 Days of Book Reviews logo.

DAY 10

Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! The Suite Spot is set to be released March 8, 2022.

Cover of The Suite Spot by Trish Doller.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Beck Sisters #2
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: We stand there on the brink of something we both feel but neither of us is ready to identify, and the little half grin he shoots me is nearly as devastating as his full-blown smile…

One of the few bright lights in Rachel Beck’s life is her job at a Miami Beach luxury hotel—until she’s fired for something she didn’t do. As a single mom, Rachel knows she needs stability, and fast. On impulse, Rachel inquires about a position at a brewery hotel on a tiny island in Lake Erie called Kelleys Island. When she’s offered the job, not even the grumpy voice on the line can dissuade her from packing up her whole life and making the move.

What she finds on Kelleys Island is Mason, a handsome, reclusive man who knows everything about brewing beer and nothing about running a hotel. Especially one that’s barely more than foundation and studs. It’s not the job Rachel was looking for, but Mason offers her a chance to help build a hotel—and rebuild her life—from the ground up.

Trish Doller’s The Suite Spot is about taking a chance on a new life and a new love.

 

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

The Suite Spot was so lovely and sweet! The slow development of the romance was perfect for the main characters who are afraid to risk their hearts again for love.

After Rachel loses her job at a fancy/wealthy hotel in the most infuriating and unfair of ways and her ex-boyfriend once again shows how unreliable he is when it comes to their daughter, Rachel packs up her life to take a chance on a job offer that seems too good to be true in order to finally live a fulfilling life.

Rachel is surprised to find not only an unfinished hotel/brewery but a rather good-looking, recluse of a boss named Mason. But this new venture soon becomes a chance for both Rachel and Mason to rebuild their lives from the ground up.

Mason loves beer and has excelled at brewing. I like when he gushes about fermentation – so adorkable! Yet it’s been a challenge to keep his family’s history/legacy alive and build a hotel/brewery on a remote island in Ohio after the devastating loss of his child and subsequent divorce. Love is too painful to consider. Enter Rachel whose kindness, understanding, and capabilities – not to mention her adorable daughter, Maisie – begins to undo the carefully constructed walls he’d placed around his heart.

I like that the romance is more in the background because we get to really focus on the small and big changes Rachel and Mason undergo and how far they’ve come towards reopening their hearts to love and family. Neither pushes the other into something they’re not emotionally ready for.

The Suite Spot is the quieter sister to book 1 but just as heartwarming and significant. I like how heartache turns into an opportunity to reclaim one’s sense of self in order to have a purposeful future that has meaning. There’s a lot to love about this book.

Maisie is so cute and I like how her character kind of breaks the ice (tension) between Rachel and Mason. Mason has a mean cat with the most perfect of names, Yōkai. I don’t know much about brewing but it was really interesting to learn. Rachel’s ideas for the hotel/brewery sound cool and unique. Their passions were infectious. And I like that the author headed each chapter with a word from different languages and definition to encompass the emotion of each chapter.

The Suite Spot was another great read from Trish Doller. Reading this and Float Plan (book 1) have been the highlight of 2021. I can’t wait to see what stunning new romance she delivers next.


More by Trish Doller

Beck Sisters
Float Plan (#1)


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ARC Review: Getting His Game Back by Gia de Cadenet

25 Days of Book Reviews logo.

DAY 1

Thank you to Dell and NetGalley for eARC to read and review! Getting His Game Back is set to be published January 25, 2022.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance, Mental Health
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Khalil Sarda went through a rough patch last year, but now he’s nearly back to his old self. All he has to do is keep his “stuff” in the past. Real men don’t have depression and go to therapy—or, at least they don’t admit it. He’s ready to focus on his growing chain of barbershops, take care of his beloved Detroit community, and get back to being the ladies’ man his family and friends tease him for being. It’ll be easy . . . until Vanessa throws him completely off his game.

Vanessa Noble is too busy building a multimillion-dollar tech career as a Black woman before age thirty to be distracted by a relationship. Not to mention, she’s been burned before, still dealing with the lingering hurt of a past breakup. Besides, as her friends often remind her, she’ll never find a man who checks all the boxes on her famous List. Yet when she desperately needs a shape-up and happens upon one of Khalil’s barbershops, the Fade, he makes her reconsider everything. Khalil is charming, intelligent, sexy, and definitely seems like he’d treat a woman right . . . but he’s not Black.

Vanessa may be willing to take a chance on Khalil, but a part of him is frustratingly closed off, just out of her reach. Will old patterns emerge to keep them apart? Or have they both finally found a connection worth throwing away the playbook for?

 

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

My heart is so full of love for this story! Gia de Cadenet does a magnificent job weaving together the experiences of interracial relationships, men’s mental health, and women in STEM careers into a gripping, heartwarming story. Getting His Game Back is a must-read!

It took a while for me to get into the story. Lots of short scenes with huge time skips. I wasn’t sure if this story would be for me. But once things settled, I enjoyed every single page oh my goodness! A lot of that had to do with Khalil and Vanessa’s incredibly satisfying, slow burn romance.

Vanessa and Khalil are instantly drawn to each other when they first meet in Kahlil’s barber shop. They have such great chemistry and feel more at peace within each other’s company than in past relationships they’ve had. The past is an unshakable barrier that keeps them from taking chances on something that feels so right.

As a black woman in STEM, Vanessa faces adversity in her personal and professional life despite her many successes and equal capabilities (i.e., is CEO of her own business and known as the “App Goddess”). She’s reluctant to date white men because she and her grandma (adorable nicknamed Ma-Max, short for Maxine) have had bad experiences with interracial dating. Vanessa felt she’d been treated like an object, something to “try out” than as a real person because she was black. Dealing with the sting of backhanded, polite racism and sexism from colleagues and others who don’t take her seriously. Enter good-natured, big-hearted Khalil who she struggles to separate from those who’ve spurned her.

Khalil, who is half Algerian, has previously faced similar objectification but in a different way. Most notably during his college years. He attended an HBCU school (if I’m remembering correctly) where he was sometimes an outcast or other to experiment with because he was white. It took him a while to realize that and his mental health seeming to decline compounded those feelings of being less than a person and a man.

I appreciate the mental health rep in this book and how it deep dives into the stigma surrounding men’s mental health. The signs and symptoms of depression are depicted within raw, heartbreaking scenes where you can feel alongside Khalil his harsh self-loathing about not being good enough, not man enough. There’s no sugar-coating what Khalil is experiencing. And while some of these scenes may be to read (see content warning), it shines a bright light on the fact that mental health is nothing to be ashamed of and the importance of asking for help and having a support system.

There’s so much to love about Vanessa and Khalil as individuals and together. They are down-to-earth, hard-working, good people. Vanessa helps out with small businesses. Khalil’s barber shops operate in black communities. They support each other’s career and life goals in encouraging ways. They click in a way that’s so beautiful and inspiring, seeing each other for who they truly are as a person.

Getting Back In the Game was evocative, sweet, well-written, and relatable. I highly recommend adding this book to the top of your tbr list!

CW: depression, thoughts of suicide (see below for 24/7 resources)


24/7 Support That’s Here For You

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, self-harm, or harm to others, please seek help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line
www.crisistextline.org
US and Canada – Text HOME to 741741
United Kingdom – Text HOME to 85258
Ireland – Text HOME to 50808

National Alliance On Mental Illness
https://nami.org/Home
NAMI Helpline – Call 800-950-NAMI
Or in a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741

To Write Love On Her Arms
https://twloha.com/


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ARC Review: How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! How to Love Your Neighbor is set to be released January 18, 2022.

Image via NetGalley

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

ABOUT: Interior Design School? Check. Cute little house to fix up? Also check.

Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of all your plans? Check. Unfortunately.

Grace Travis definitely has it all figured out. In between finishing interior design school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree. She’ll have her dream job. And most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her cold, manipulative mother could never make for her. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—an adorable little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.

Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. A real estate developer with a knack for betting and winning big, he’s not one to let a good opportunity slip away. So when a beachside house with great bones is ripe for a remodel and flip, Noah doesn’t hesitate. Except in order to spruce it up properly (is it even a beach house if it doesn’t have a pool?), he’ll need to take over the house next door. The house with the willful and combative and way-too-intriguing woman living in it.

With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can turn out to be the person who shows you that home is always where the heart is.

 

My Review: How to Love Your Neighbor is a hilarious and sweet enemies to lovers story! The competitive side of Grace and Noah and their mutual attraction really made things pleasantly interesting.

Grace has worked hard to create a life for herself as a future interior designer. She has had a rough childhood with a mom who wasn’t there for her and liked to play the victim, sometimes blaming Grace for why her (the mom) life turned out badly. This resentment heats up after Grace inherits her mother’s childhood home. But Grace is a go-getter and very resourceful. She truly has an eye for design. I love how she surprises and impresses Noah at every turn.

Noah grew up financially privileged. After working under his micromanaging father, Noah wants to plant roots and make a name for himself without his father’s influence and say. Part of that plan includes buying the house next door, which Grace now lives in. Noah is capable and has good instincts. He’s also easy-going and always on the move, which is possibly why he thinks people underestimate him or don’t think he’s serious enough.

Grace and Noah are very likable. There were plenty of cute moments that made the story fun to read. I like how they made bets to either get an advantage or prove the other wrong. Those scenes plus Grace’s not-so-graceful, clumsy moments were enjoyable.

The two neighbors have a lot in common that help bridge their relationship. They’re both goal-oriented, have a rocky relationship with a parent, and want to find a place to settle. But Grace and Noah also faced challenges as they continued to get to know one another because falling in love wasn’t a part of either of their plans.

I love all the side characters and their respective story-lines. My favorite was Morty, an old man who Grace had been living with and was taking care of for a few years before moving out at the start of the novel. I love that they’d formed familial bonds, Morty being the father Grace never had and Grace being like a daughter to Morty. They became each other’s family when they had no one else. I also liked Tilly (Morty’s girlfriend), Josh (Noah’s assistant), and Rosie (Grace’s best friend and classmate). It was nice to see characters from Sullivan’s previous novel, Ten Rules for Faking It.

How to Love Your Neighbor was a wonderful read that kept a smile on my face throughout much of the story. I loved the plot, the characters, and the romance. I can’t wait to read whatever book the author decides to write next!


More by Sophie Sullivan

Ten Rules For Faking It


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Waiting On Wednesday – August 25, 2021

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


Happy Wednesday!

Today, I’m spotlighting a 2022 book release and debut author, Just Right Jillian by Nicole D. Collier.

I already feel connected to the story and the main character, so this is a must-read, anticipated book for me.

Image via Goodreads

Just Right Jillian is set to be published February 2, 2022.

ABOUT: 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.


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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