ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

Book Review logo

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

CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram

ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Home for a Cowboy Christmas by Donna Grant

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! Home for a Cowboy Christmas is set to be published October 26, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

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

ABOUT: Tis the season—for everyone except Emmy Garrett. She’s on the run after witnessing a crime. But when it becomes clear that trouble will continue following her, the US Marshal in charge takes her somewhere no one will think to look–Montana. Not only is Emmy in a new place for her protection, but now, she’s stuck with a handsome cowboy as her bodyguard…and she wants to do more than kiss him under the mistletoe.

Dwight Reynolds left behind his old career, but it’s still in his blood. When an old friend calls in a favor, Dwight opens his home to a woman on the run. He tries to keep his distance, but there’s something about Emmy he can’t resist. She stokes his passion and turns his cold nights into warm ones. When danger shows up looking for Emmy, Dwight risks everything to keep her safe.


My Review: Home for a Cowboy Christmas was an enjoyable, fast-paced, sugary-sweet, suspenseful, and thrilling contemporary romance.

After witnessing a murder and nearly being killed while in the witness protection program, Emmy Garrett now finds herself hiding and in the care of ranch owner Dwight Reynolds. On the one hand, someone wants her dead so she can’t testify. She isn’t trying to get her hopes up that she’ll live long enough to do so. Meanwhile, she’s also dealing with PTSD symptoms. On the other hand, both Emmy and Dwight find themselves unexpectedly drawn to each other.

It’s brave of Emmy to want to testify at all despite how turbulent her experience has been so far in the witness protection program. She tries her best to keep calm and carry on, but every once in a while feels intense fear and anxiety. That is strength to admire. Luckily, Emmy is able to find safety and comfort in Dwight and his adorable and intelligent dog, Sam.

Having served in the military, the FBI, and Homeland Security, Dwight knows what he’s up against, is very capable of handling whoever after Emmy, and can empathize with the mental trauma she is going through. He’s so protective of and smitten with her from the start that I’m surprised with how long it took them to share their first kiss. Although Emmy too struggles not to get too close or attached since staying with Dwight is temporary, his kindness and patience allowed her to process things at her own pace, which was very helpful. I also like how close Dwight is with his sister, Victoria, and his ranch employees.

The story progressed quickly but not much so that it felt like something was missing or incomplete. Every moment counted and connected. There was an abundance of action, humor, and tenderness. The climax was absorbing, oh my goodness! I had no idea what to expect. Things tied up nicely in the end, but I was sad that the story was over.

Home for a Cowboy Christmas was a great romance read and just another reason why I love Donna Grant’s books.

More by Donna Grant

Heart of Texas
A Cowboy Like You (#4)
Looking For A Cowboy (#5)
A Cowboy Kind of Love (#6)

Dark Alpha’s Awakening (#7)
Dark Alpha’s Redemption (#8)
Dark Alpha’s Temptation (#9)

A Dark Kings Novel
Fever (#16)
Flame (#17)

ARCs Book Reviews

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

ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Her Renegade Cowboy by Lora Leigh

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Her Renegade Cowboy goes on sale September 28, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Moving Violations #3
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: He will risk his life…

The oh-so-proper school teacher, Lily Donovan has learned, the hard way, that men are not to be trusted. Period. Until Levi Roberts, the new cowboy working at her cousin’s ranch, tempts her carefully-built resolve and awakens an all-consuming passion she thought lay dormant. But when she discovers his deadly secret, and her own secrets come to light, Lily unwittingly joins the lethal cat and mouse race between Levi and the man he’s been hunting for weeks.

To save her heart…

Former Ranger Levi Roberts has seen his fair share of deadly trouble during his years as a tough-as-nails operative. The ultimate expert in undercover investigations, he’s been tasked to find a man with a dangerous agenda in town. Routine work has been boring…until he runs into Lily, the prickly school teacher who tempts him like no other. Getting under her skin has been deliciously satisfying for his red-hot desire, but when Lily lands in the hands of the very man he’s been investigating, Levi will have to fight with every ounce of his heart and soul to save her—and to heal the heart he broke.


CW: abuse relationship and trauma (see end of post for 24/7 resources)

My Review: I really enjoyed Her Renegade Cowboy. It was intense, steamy, and had a great plot.

Lily is a spitfire who doesn’t trust men, especially after the trauma she endured over a year ago. Ever since she’s been secretly struggling to reclaim who she used to be. Her plans are somewhat thrown for a loop by her attraction to Levi. I like Lily’s personality and how close she is with her family, especially with her sister. She’s a tough cookie but has a soft, loving side and quick wit.

Levi is dedicated to his job, tasked with secretly protecting Lily as a new hire on her cousin’s ranch while at the same time hunting a fugitive. His fierce desire for Lily grows exponentially throughout the story, so much that he can’t seem to stay away. I liked Levi too but he really overstepped between his job and his pursuit of Lily. He’s definitely perfect for her and their romance is raging hot. But the truth was withheld for far too long because communication is key. I increasingly worried about how Lily would react just because of all she’s experienced and all she’s done to move on with her life.

There was never a dull moment that I flew through this book. Her Renegade Cowboy is a real page-turner. I liked how much Lily and Levi grew throughout. Lora Leigh really knows how to write a captivating and steamy romance. An enjoyable and satisfying read.

More by Lora Leigh

Moving Violations
Strong, Silent Cowboy (#2) – with Veronica Chadwick

24/7 Support That’s Here For You

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

National Alliance On Mental Illness
NAMI Helpline – Call 800-950-NAMI
Or in a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741

To Write Love On Her Arms

ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: A Cowboy Kind of Love by Donna Grant

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! A Cowboy Kind of Love goes on sale April 27, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Heart of Texas #6
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Who wants to rodeo again?

Jace Wilder has been rebuilding his life since the love of his life, Taryn, up and left town unexpectedly. But when she mysteriously returns, Jace’s dependable world comes crashing down. Taryn is hiding a dangerous secret, and no matter how hard he tries, Jace can’t stay away—especially when Taryn is at risk. And especially when the attraction he thought he’d buried long ago is back and hotter than ever. Will he be able to trust Taryn again?

Taryn Hillman’s world fell apart one horrifying night, and it’s never been the same since. When she sees a small chance at untangling herself, she takes it, though it means returning to Clearview—and seeing Jace again. But when he vows to protect her, will Taryn take a chance, and this time, never let him go?


My Review: We’re back in Clearview, Texas; this time it’s Jace’s story. This series has been hit or miss with me. But I loved Jace in the last book, so I was looking forward to reading this book.

Jace has been struggling since his days as a POW years ago. Taryn brought back light into his life until her and her family’s sudden disappearance. Her return to Clearview brings out all his protective Alpha instincts. From Jace and Taryn’s backstory they’re definitely each other’s one and only. He kind of forgave her awfully quickly but I assume that was a combo of still loving her and wanting the emotional pain to stop.

Taryn has sacrificed a lot to pay her father and brother’s debts and shield her sister Payton by selling drugs for a huge drug lord. Through all the hardships she’s never forgotten Jace and their undeniable, steamy chemistry. I was surprised that she was surprised by the lengths and risks Jace was willing to take to help her because of their deep connection/history.

There’s not much character growth as things focus mostly on Taryn’s predicament. The danger involved was high and led towards a calamitous climatic scene. I also liked that Taryn and Jace’s demons weren’t completely insta-solved but left room beyond the story for healing.

A Cowboy Kind of Love was a quick, enjoyable read. I’m really hoping there’s another book featuring Ryan, Cleaview’s chief of police, because he was my favorite side character in this book.

CW: drugs and drug addition

More by Donna Grant

Heart of Texas
A Cowboy Like You (#4)
Looking For A Cowboy (#5)

Dark Alpha’s Awakening (#7)
Dark Alpha’s Redemption (#8)
Dark Alpha’s Temptation (#9)

Dark Kings
Fever (#16)
Flame (#17)

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Awakening by Nora Roberts

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: The Dragon Heart Legacy #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Quotes: “…be who you are and the hell with the rest.”
“You are what you are, Breen Siobhan. What you do is for you to say.”

ABOUT: In the realm of Talamh, a teenage warrior named Keegan emerges from a lake holding a sword—representing both power and the terrifying responsibility to protect the Fey. In another realm known as Philadelphia, a young woman has just discovered she possesses a treasure of her own…

When Breen Kelly was a girl, her father would tell her stories of magical places. Now she’s an anxious twentysomething mired in student debt and working a job she hates. But one day she stumbles upon a shocking discovery: her mother has been hiding an investment account in her name. It has been funded by her long-lost father—and it’s worth nearly four million dollars.

This newfound fortune would be life-changing for anyone. But little does Breen know that when she uses some of the money to journey to Ireland, it will unlock mysteries she couldn’t have imagined. Here, she will begin to understand why she kept seeing that silver-haired, elusive man, why she imagined his voice in her head saying Come home, Breen Siobhan. It’s time you came home. Why she dreamed of dragons. And where her true destiny lies—through a portal in Galway that takes her to a land of faeries and mermaids, to a man named Keegan, and to the courage in her own heart that will guide her through a powerful, dangerous destiny…


My Review: This was an incredible magical first book of a trilogy. In The Awakening, Nora Roberts takes everything you could ever love about fantasy to new romantic heights. My first Nora Roberts book was enchanting and I’m left utterly wanting more!

Roberts paints a beautifully vivid picture of Ireland’s breathtaking landscapes. I fell in love with the otherworldly places Breen ventures to. I loved the lgbtq+ neighborhood in Philadelphia where Breen lives – you could really feel how at home Breen felt there compared to the home she grew up in. The whole book was skillfully written.

I love Breen and could connect with her feelings of inadequacy and deep yearning to find herself. I enjoyed getting to know the Real Breen and couldn’t help but revel in her joy and sympathize with her sadness. I found myself on more than one occasion inspired by her passions and drive. And I absolutely adore her found friends/family of Marco, Sally and Derrick.

The alluring realm of Talamh is a simple and practical place. I kind of wished to live in the same warm solace the denizens of Talamh enjoy every day too. It’s full of magical creatures of all kinds and exists much differently than past books I’ve read involving fey, which I liked.

This was a very extensive opening with a lot of world building and character growth enclosed with a gorgeous cover. The Awakening really set the stage for more magic and wonder, for Breen to truly be tested and come into her destiny.

Breen must find a balance between love, family and duty to truly find her place in the world. I wish I could read book 2 now because The Awakening was a superb story and feelings.

#PubDayTuesday ARCs Book Reviews

#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.

ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Looking For A Cowboy by Donna Grant

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Looking For A Cowboy goes on sale October 27, 2020.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Heart of Texas #5
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
Recommend to Others?: No

ABOUTA cowboy finds love in the most unlikely place in New York Times bestseller Donna Grant’s newest Heart of Texas novel, Looking for a Cowboy.

A beautiful stranger has come to Clearview, asking questions that are nobody’s business. Cooper Owens also wasn’t born yesterday. He knows that this out-of-towner is hiding a dark secret of her own. Much as he knows he should head in the other direction, he can’t make himself turn away. . .

P.I. Marlee Frampton always wanted to lead a nice quiet life, working as a cop in her local police department. But that dream came to an end when her sister was murdered—and her baby kidnapped. Now Marlee’s come to Texas to investigate the Harpers, who may be linked to shady adoption agencies. Cooper can’t believe that his friends could be involved in anything so sinister…and soon he makes it his mission to help Marlee discover the truth—and keep her safe in his arms.


My Review[Content Warning: this story alludes to infertility, and pregnant women being killed and their babies being kidnapped or cut out of the womb and then sold.]

Looking For a Cowboy was an okay read with a lot of sweet moments but I couldn’t suspend disbelief through most of the story. The premise sounded really promising but execution was underwhelming.

I don’t know much about P.I. work but it seemed negligent of Marlee to disclose information about her case and allow civilians (aka Cooper and family) to join her highly dangerous investigation just because they’re good people. I love Cooper and his family/friends and I know they mean well. But I don’t think it was right of them to insist they be included in stopping the bad guys.

I liked Marlee and Cooper together but I don’t know if I fully believe their relationship. They’re better as P.I. partners/lovers than as a couple. There didn’t seem to be any depth to it.

For the last 10 years, Marlee’s sole focus has been finding her sister’s baby on top of other missing babies and nothing else. But Cooper’s presence was more a distraction that easily causes her to lose focus on what brought her to Texas.

Cooper is a good guy searching for something he would enjoy doing on a regular basis. He’s there to lend a helping hand whenever someone needs it. But his character was okay, nothing special that distinguishes him from the others.

Looking For A Cowboy seemed more about Marlee, Jace and the antagonists than anything else. I enjoyed their POVs the most. However, it was Jace who stole my heart. I liked his backstory, his personality, and his hard-headedness. I wanted to know more about him than others.

This was a quick read all things considered. I had a difficult time connecting with the story and characters though. Jace was the best part and I really want to read his book (A Cowboy Kind of Love), although I’m worried there’d be the same high level of disbelief. I still love Donna Grant and think she’s a fantastic author. This series may not be for me.

Heart of Texas Series
A Cowboy Like You (#4)

More By Donna Grant
Dark Alpha’s Awakening (Reaper #7)
Dark Alpha’s Redemption (Reaper #8)
Dark Alpha’s Temptation (Reaper #9)

Fever (A Dark Kings Novel #16)
Flame (A Dark Kings Novel #17)

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.

Bookish Memes Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – 3/25/20

We are halfway through the week! Woo-hoo! These are rough times we’re facing but we can still find good things to look forward two. Today I’m doing another bookish meme, Waiting On Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.

This Wednesday I am waiting on Inferno by Donna Grant (A Dark Kings Novel #18) expected to be published August 25, 2020.

Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: Inferno is the explosive, most anticipated, final book in Donna Grant’s Dark Kings series featuring Con, the King of the Dragon Kings!

I knew what I wanted. And nothing was going to stop me.

King of Dragon Kings. Driven, ruthless, shrewd. The weight of survival for Constantine and his brethren has pushed him to set aside his own yearnings—for now. He’s the most powerful of all Dragon Kings, and Con will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who dares to threaten his existence.

For years, Con has hidden his pain—his desperation—for there is one smoldering beauty that he craves above all else, even if he feels he doesn’t deserve her. However, his enemies are at every corner. There is no one left to trust. But none of that matters anymore: There is only one thing that Con wants. With this one woman by his side, he can fight for the freedom of his fellow men-in-arms. All Con has to do is get her to surrender her heart…and be his for all time.

It seemed fitting to do this post since I just finished book 17, Flame, of which my review will be up later today. This also a bittersweet post despite the anticipation.

Inferno is the final book of the Dark Kings series. And Constantine, the King of Dragon Kings, is finally getting his story. Concluding a series is always hard. And even though I started reading this series more half through its publication, I’m going to miss these gorgeous dragons, strong-willed women, and the world the stories take place in.