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ARC Review: Wednesday Wilson Fixes All Your Problems by Bree Galbraith, Illustrated by Morgan Goble

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Thank you Kids Can Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Wednesday Wilson Fixes All Your Problems releases June 7, 2022.

"Wednesday Wilson Fixes All Your Problems" by Bree Galbraith, Illustrated by Morgan Goble (cover)
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: In this second title in the early chapter book series about everyone’s favorite young entrepreneur, Wednesday Wilson is only trying to help her brother when her latest business idea strikes! Sometimes the best business ideas pop up when you least expect them. Or that’s what happens to Wednesday Wilson, anyway, the morning her brother, Mister, locks himself in the bathroom because he’s nervous about a school presentation. When classmate Emmet convinces Mister that a worry stone will calm his nerves, Wednesday offers Mister her marble — with the promise that a Worry Marble will fix all his problems! But then Wednesday starts thinking about just how many things kids get nervous about. And, hmm, she does happen to have a whole collection of marbles. Has Wednesday just hit entrepreneurial gold?

This is the second title in the early chapter book series by Bree Galbraith that follows the ever-evolving, but always entertaining, antics of girl entrepreneur Wednesday Wilson. The highly engaging series encourages ingenuity, creative thinking and resourcefulness. It’s also loads of fun! Wednesday’s enthusiasm and energy and her one-of-a-kind take on the world will delight and inspire. Short chapters enhanced by Morgan Goble’s illustrations along with lists and clever business-themed definitions help bridge the gap for emerging readers. Wednesday has two moms, one is Black and one white, and the story features an expanding diverse cast of BIPOC and disabled characters. It also contains character education lessons on initiative and perseverance.

 

REVIEW: Another delightful business adventure with Wednesday Wilson, future entrepreneur!

Wednesday Wilson usually has a lot of big business ideas to try. But lately she’s been in a funk. As she tries to help her little brother, Mister, overcome his nerves about giving a presentation in front of the whole school, Wednesday is suddenly struck with a new business idea: the Worry Marble, guaranteed to fix all your problems..or get Wednesday into trouble once again.

I love Wednesday’s perseverance to see an idea through. She’s earnest, organized, and very persuasive. She has a vibrant personality that draws others in.

Kids can learn important skills from these books, such as basic business terminology, problem-solving, creativity, and teamwork. I like how Wednesday, her friends, and brother work together to make a genuine product that will help others.

The illustrations are expressive and bring the story to life in all the best ways. The cast of characters is wonderfully diverse. And I like how the story talks about and celebrates different types of families.

I hope there will be more books forthcoming because this is a really enjoyable series. I love that it’s equal parts entertaining and educational with great lessons to learn. Wednesday Wilson is such a fun character with a lot to offer the world.


More by Bree Galbraith

Wednesday Wilson Gets Down to Business (#1)


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Getting His Game Back by Gia de Cadenet

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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?

 

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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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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan

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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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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Oddball by Sarah Andersen

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Thank you to Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Oddball is set to be released November 30, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Graphic Novel, Humor
Series: Sarah’s Scribbles #4
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: The fourth book in the enormously popular graphic novel series, the latest collection of Sarah’s Scribbles comics explores the evils of procrastination, the trials of the creative process, the cuteness of kittens, and the beauty of not caring about your appearance as much as you did when you were younger. When it comes to humorous illustrations of the awkwardness and hilarity of millennial life, Sarah’s Scribbles is without peer.

 

My Review: This was another fun and relatable graphic novel by Sara Andersen. As always, the illustrations were creative, expressive, and delightful in Andersen’s signature art style. Oddball is full of many brief relatable moments to enjoy and think further on. I do wish those had been longer or that there was something to bridge each mini story so that it didn’t feel random at times. My favorite comics were all the ones that involved cats. Oddball was a good read that I read quickly in one sitting.


More by Sarah Andersen

Sarah’s Scribbles
Adulthood Is A Myth (#1)
Big Mushy Happy Lump (#2)
Herding Cats (#3)

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ARC Review: A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation by Momochi, Misake, Sando (Volume 3)

Thank you to Independent Publishers GroupTokyoPop, and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review! Volume 3 goes on sale June 8, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Manga, Fantasy
Series: A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: After defeating the underground dragon and finishing up their business in the mercantile city of Marcade, Lizel and Gil resume their journey, having promised Judge’s grandfather to protect Judge along the way. But danger soon catches up to them when a strange group of bandits called the Forky Gang attacks in the middle of the night! It quickly becomes clear that someone is targeting Lizel… but who could it be, and for what reason?

As always, former noble and current adventurer Lizel takes all new developments in stride in his usual, laid-back fashion. He’s celebrating his promotion from a simple E-rank to a D-rank adventurer — and setting his sights on ranking up again soon!

 

My Review: Volume 3 was good! There were a few new interesting developments foreshadowing possible dangers on the horizon. Lizel and Gil continue to surprise others by doing the impossible. We’re briefly introduced to a new character who I think will add some liveliness to the story. My favorite part was Judge and Studd basically competing for Lizel’s attention and affection – they’re so adorable! I’m really looking forward to the next volume. It’s gearing up to be a fun one.


Volume 1 (ARC review)

Volume 2 (ARC review)
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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston #newbookrelease

Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! One Last Stop is available now!

Image via NetGalley

Genre: LGBTQIA+, Romance, Mystery
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

 

My Review: One Last Stop is an enchanting, unforgettable story that takes your heart on a journey where two lost souls find themselves and love defies the laws of time at every stop.

I didn’t expect this story to go the way it did. One Last Stop is more than it appears on the surface the same way the mystery surrounding Jane is. The romantic suspense was high but didn’t overshadow all the other parts that makes this story so charming.

August and Jane are amazing main characters and super relatable. The lack of true family connections, of a place to plant roots, have left them feeling lost. Almost going through the motions of living and never quite fitting in wherever they wandered. In that, I felt a profound kinship to August and Jane.

August has vehemently wanted out the quote unquote family business of helping her mother find her runaway brother. So I was surprised by how quickly and eagerly she latched onto solving why Jane – a punk-rock style queer Asian girl from the 1970s – is stuck on the Q train. Yet I kind of get it because of the kind or person Jane is.

Jane is a bright, shining star. She’s colorful, kind, effervescent and funny. Her presence draws you in and once within her orbit you can’t help but feel happy or loved. I don’t think she realizes just how great of a person she is and how much of herself she’s left on people, places, and time.

Really the entire cast of characters in One Last Stop are amazing, endearing, dynamic, and diverse. August’s roommates are so chill and made me smile a lot with their antics and freeing way of life. August’s co-workers at a pancake diner are tough on the outside but inside they are so much more that it’s hard to describe. I wanted to be friends with all these people who are so supportive of one another.

Of course, this story isn’t without its share of heartaches. There’s how much of a toll Jane being “present” has on her. The life Jane and others have lived prior to the start of this book. The hate towards LGBTQIA+ community and the resentful disappoint some of the characters have experienced. And ultimately how time hinders the growing love between August and Jane.

I had some trouble getting into the story and really feeling something for what was happening. It felt slow going, as if the story could have been wrapped up much earlier. In hindsight, the story was fully told and what took place made the plot and characters richer.

My favorite parts were Isaiah’s annual drag family Easter brunch and the Christmas in July party. Those scenes were so much fun and allowed August to really consider and experience things for the first time in her life.

In the end, I enjoyed reading One Last Stop. It’s a unique, time-travel romance with a well-written mystery to be solved. All of the characters are wholesome, lovable, and vibrant. A beautiful story.

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ARC Review: Of Wicked Blood by Olivia Wildenstein & Katie Hayoz

Thank you to Twig Publishing and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Of Wicked Blood goes on sale February 2, 2021.

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy
Series: The Quatrefoil Chronicles #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
Recommend to Others?: Maybe

ABOUT: SLATE

I didn’t mean to steal the Bloodstone from the De Morel’s crypt.

Scratch that, I did mean to steal it.

Until I realized it was a curse-magnet that only comes off if I, along with a jolly trio, successfully defeat four curses.

If any of us fail, I’m dead.

I’ve never been a glass half-empty sort of person, but my glass looks in dire need of a refill right about now.

The only highlight of this wicked treasure hunt: feisty, entitled Cadence de Morel.

CADENCE

I was raised on tales of magic, in a small town reputed to be the birthplace of French witchcraft.

Did I believe all the stories I heard? Absolutely not. I mean, if magic existed, Maman wouldn’t have died, and Papa wouldn’t be stuck in a wheelchair, right?

Wrong.

The night Slate Ardoin waltzes into my life, wearing a ring he stole from my mother’s grave, I call him a monster.

But then I meet real ones, and Slate, well . . . he becomes something else to me.

Something frustrating to live with but impossible to live without.

Something I will fight for, no matter the cost.

 

My ReviewOf Wicked Blood was not the story for me. It was a depressing read but I do think others will like this book and series.

I love any magic system that involves elements and Of Wicked Blood was no exception. I liked how each element – Quatrefoil – was a dangerous course that each character had to defeat their respective element. I didn’t have any trouble understanding how magic worked or the background to this whole hunt.

The four “main” characters – Slate, Cadence, Adrien and Gaëlle – were so-so but I was still rooting for them because of how deadly the curses were. I wasn’t much of a fan of Slate and Cadence’s relationship because of what happened in the beginning. They do have nice chemistry. I just couldn’t personally get behind it. Yet the character I despised most was Cadence’s dad.  He is a despicable man who can’t be trusted.

The hardest part of reading Of Wicked Blood was that I had trouble immersing myself into the setting. The story takes place in a small, fogged-over town in France that has managed to maintain much of its original architecture over hundreds of years with only adding some contemporary technology. I couldn’t quite mesh it together for the entire story, which made enjoying it almost impossible. I also didn’t care for the brief mention of covid (even if it was in the past tense). Too soon.

Of Wicked Blood is the kind of dark fantasy I didn’t particularly care for. However, I really wanted to know if the characters would succeed and if Slate and Cadence would become a couple. Overall, the book was okay but I don’t think I’ll be continuing this series.

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#PubDayTuesday / ARC Review: Secret Nights With A Cowboy by Caitlin Crews

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Secret Nights With A Cowboy is on sale NOW.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Kittredge Ranch #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐1/2
Recommend to Others?: Not Really

ABOUT: A man holding on…

Riley Kittredge has always known exactly what he wanted. His land, his horses. His woman. He met and married Rae Trujillo far too young, and their young love combusted right after they said their vows. But their passion has never managed to burn itself out. Yet when Rae shows this time, it’s not a night of pleasure she demands, but a divorce.

A woman letting go…

Rae should have moved on a long time ago. She knows she and Riley just don’t work. They might make great lovers, but that doesn’t make a marriage. And now Rae wants a new life, complete with a baby. But when her husband offers to be a father, to give her the family she’s always secretly desired, she and Riley will both have to face demons from their past—and choose love over fear at last.

 

My Review: [Actual Rating: 3.5 out of 5]

Context: This is a spin-off series to Crews’s Cold River Ranch series – same setting, return of previous characters. I have not read that series but was still able to follow this story.

It wasn’t easy getting through Secret Nights With A Cowboy. There were several times I wanted to dnf the book because the main characters were so frustrating and their interactions toxic for 60% of the book. The last 40% I did enjoy.

Rae says she wants a divorce but immediately fails to follow through. She doesn’t seem to make good decisions towards starting a new life. I question if she even knows what she truly wants.

Riley I felt didn’t have much respect for Rae – sometimes rightfully so – and seemed to treat things as an amusing game, which doesn’t help if he wants a clean break too.

As you learn about their long history together, Rae and Riley do seem like the perfect couple who are meant to be. However, in Secret Nights With A Cowboy, their relationship is so toxic post-breakup. The only thing holding them together is the heated make-up sex.

Rae’s secret didn’t make things easier. Finding out why she left Riley was the only thing that kept me reading. No one knows why and it’s frustrating (for the reader and characters. You don’t fully understand why she left until towards the end.

The last 40% was great although super heavy. Crews is a fantastic writer and storyteller. She paints a realistic picture of the rougher side of relationships (romantic or otherwise) and marriage, which drew me in. I finally started to care about Rae and Riley and all the other characters. Relationships take work. History shapes us but doesn’t define us.

While the story was difficult to get through I did end up enjoying it.

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ARC Review: The Princess Knight by G.A. Aiken

Thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! The Princess Knight goes on sale November 24, 2020.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Scarred Earth Saga #2
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUTLONG LIVE THE QUEEN
 
Gemma Smythe dedicated her life to the glory of battle. With her fellow War Monks, she worshipped the war gods, rained destruction on her enemies, and raised the dead when the fancy took her. Until her sister Keeley became the prophesied Blacksmith Queen, and Gemma broke faith with her order to journey to the Amichai Mountain and fight by Keeley’s side.

The Amichai warriors are an unruly, never-to-be-tamed lot, especially their leader-in-waiting, Quinn. But when the War Monks declare support for Gemma’s ruthless younger sister Beatrix, the immaturity of her key ally is the least of Gemma’s problems. She has to get to the grand masters, dispel their grudge against her, and persuade them to fight for Keeley and justice. If her conviction can’t sway them, perhaps Quinn’s irritating, irreverent, clearly unhinged, ferocity will win the day . . .

 

* * * Content Warning: serial rape and sexual abuse by a religious authority * * *

My ReviewThe Princess Knight wasn’t quite what I expected and had some bumps in the road, but was still an entertaining read. The Monty Python-like humor that amazingly colored the first book continues in this sequel.

As I’ve come to expect, love and admire of any Smythe woman, Gemma is unapologetically herself. She is self-sacrificing to a fault, odd, brash, and fights as fiercely as she loves. A woman of faith who’s brittled with faults, Gemma owns up to them, her past, and works hard to overcome the unexpected challenges she and others face in this book.

I liked getting to know her better, what drove her from home, what she had been up to for the decade she was gone training to be a war monk, and why she went home.

The arc covering her return to the co-ed monastery was the best, saddest, darkest, bloodiest part. There are great characters we get to meet; good, bad and crazy. I wish there could have been more scenes with Gemma’s mentor and her battle cohorts.

We get to know another Smythe sibling named Ainsley. The poor young woman. She just wants a purpose and to be useful and her siblings always forget about her or treat her like a child. You really feel for her plight. But I enjoyed Ainsley’s storyline and wouldn’t be surprised if she gets her own book. She is very much a Smythe with her own brand of sass and skills to throw around.

Gemma and Quinn’s relationship is like oil and water. It’s a comical clash of stubbornness, ridicule and teasing – mostly by Quinn. I adored all of their interactions.

I was surprised by the threats Gemma and company face and the effects of dealing with these conflicts. It was interesting to see different sects altogether; a sometimes amusing hodge-podge of colorful characters.

I enjoyed the previous book more than this one. Some parts stagnated but, as I mentioned before, The Princess Knight is still a good read. The ending of book 2 really opened the overall story up to really exciting possibilities for the next installment.


The Scarred Earth Saga series
The Blacksmith Queen (#1)

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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Ten Rules For Faking It by Sophie Sullivan

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review! Ten Rules For Faking It goes on sale January 5, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

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

ABOUTWhat happens when your love life becomes the talk of the town?

As birthdays go, this year’s for radio producer Everly Dean hit rock-bottom.

Worse than the “tonsillectomy birthday.” Worse than the birthday her parents decided to split (the first time). But catching your boyfriend cheating on you with his assistant?

Even clichés sting.

But this is Everly’s year! She won’t let her anxiety hold her back. She’ll pitch her podcast idea to her boss.

There’s just one problem.

Her boss, Chris, is very cute. (Of course). Also, he’s extremely distant (which means he hates her, right? Or is that the anxiety talking)?

And, Stacey the DJ didn’t mute the mic during Everly’s rant about Simon the Snake (syn: Cheating Ex).

That’s three problems.

Suddenly, people are lining up to date her, Bachelorette-style, fans are voting (Reminder: never leave house again), and her interest in Chris might be a two-way street. It’s a lot for a woman who could gold medal in people-avoidance. She’s going to have to fake it ‘till she makes it to get through all of this.

Perhaps she’ll make a list: The Ten Rules for Faking It.

Because sometimes making the rules can find you happiness when you least expect it.

 

My Review: Ten Rules For Faking It is a light but sweet office contemporary romance I enjoyed reading more than I thought I would.

The book opens with a unique punch that is at first cliché but then makes you feel secondhand embarrassment for Everly. But I was hooked from then on hoping beyond hope that something good would come out of this for her.

I liked how the story suddenly becomes a smaller scale version of The Bachelorette. It’s an interesting turn of events in opposition to Everly’s “Ten Rules For Faking It” list to turn her life around. It was a well balanced internal and external conflict.

What I loved most about this book is the apt representation of social anxiety disorder. Anxiety – from what it looks like on the outside versus how it actually looks/feels on the inside – is translated so well through great writing. The author really understands intricacies and subtle nuances anxiety has on the mind and body.

Everly is an empowering character. There’s a lot to love about Everly once you get to know her, such as how she loves her job as a radio producer.  I related to Everly so much and understood from experience why she is the way she is. Nobody wants to feel anxious or afraid all the time. Nobody wants to be mentally exhausted after socializing. It’s hard to appear “normal” out of fear of being judged. And having anxiety isn’t something to be ashamed of.

Chris is a great character who’s been fighting demons of his own since childhood. I liked getting to know his character during the chapters in his POV. He has a wonderful, close relationship with his two older brothers, which was nice to see.

Ten Rules For Faking It is very much a character driven story where all the characters seem to have something about themselves to overcome. I was wholly invested and wanted to read more afterwards. There are two characters in particular I would love to read a story about.

It’s still a good, slow burn story that was told well. I would read more books by Sophie Sullivan. I think this story will help a lot of people who are indecisive about who they are and what they want from life.