Hana Khan Carries On ARC Review

Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction

Heat Level: Closed Door

Release Date: April 13, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


SYNOPSIS

From the author of Ayesha at Last comes a sparkling new rom-com for fans of “You’ve Got Mail,” set in two competing halal restaurants

Sales are slow at Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the only halal restaurant in the close-knit Golden Crescent neighbourhood. Hana waitresses there part time, but what she really wants is to tell stories on the radio. If she can just outshine her fellow intern at the city radio station, she may have a chance at landing a job. In the meantime, Hana pours her thoughts and dreams into a podcast, where she forms a lively relationship with one of her listeners. But soon she’ll need all the support she can get: a new competing restaurant, a more upscale halal place, is about to open in the Golden Crescent, threatening Three Sisters.

When her mysterious aunt and her teenage cousin arrive from India for a surprise visit, they draw Hana into a long-buried family secret. A hate-motivated attack on their neighbourhood complicates the situation further, as does Hana’s growing attraction for Aydin, the young owner of the rival restaurant—who might not be a complete stranger after all.

As life on the Golden Crescent unravels, Hana must learn to use her voice, draw on the strength of her community and decide what her future should be. 


REVIEW

Hana’s family’s halal restaurant Three Sisters Biryani Poutine has seen better days. Hana waitresses there part time while also working as a intern for the local radio station. But what she loves doing the most is podcasting where her identity is kept anonymous. Her listeners really enjoy her content and she also forms a friendship with one “bot” in particular.

Hana’s mom enlists on some help from relatives in India. Soon Hana is sharing her house not only with her immediate family, but also her aunt as well as teenage cousin. Hana’s work/life balance is about to get even more hectic when direct competition moves into the neighborhood. The mysterious Aydin is about to open a halal restaurant across the street from Three Sisters. Hana needs to be clever to outmaneuver the clever Aydin! Will her family’s restaurant survive and can Aidyn and Hana ever act on their growing attraction to one another?

Hana Khan Carries On was the first book I have read written by Uzma Jalaluddin and it was such a delight! Being a second generation Indian American desi woman, I related to so much of what Hana goes through in the book.

Perhaps one of my favorite things about Hana Khan Carries On is the multifaceted way Jalaluddin tells the story. You feel how vulnerable and true Hana feels when she’s recording her podcasts and her relationship with her anonymous listeners. Hana wants to move up in the world of broadcasting, and yet she keeps feeling like she’s stuck with no where to go. And most of all you feel the anguish and heartbreak of knowing that her family’s restaurant might not make it if she doesn’t fight for it alongside her family.

I absolutely loved the You’ve Got Mail style of romance set in Hana Khan Carries On. And while the romance is essential to the story, it isn’t the only focus of the book. If you’re looking for a sweet romance filled with some (mild) family drama, and a sense of community – definitely pick up Hana Khan Carries On!

I have so many passages highlighted of this beautifully written book. I can’t wait to go back and revisit my favorite passages. Overall I’d give Hana Khan Carries On 4.5 stars!

April Reads

April flew by and I can already feel the beginnings of my favorite season – Summer! My reading lately has been hit and miss. Sometimes I can read a few books back to back and other times I just need a break or a re-read. I didn’t read very many books in April, but the books that I did read were mostly really stellar! Standouts included The Love Hypothesis and People We Meet on Vacation. Looking forward to reading some great summer romances in the next few months!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher

Managed by Kristen Callihan

Must Love Cowboys by Carly Bloom

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

Spotlight & Excerpt of Heart on a Leash

Heart on a Leash by Alanna Martin

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Hearts of Alaska #1

Release Date: April 27, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

Feuding Alaskan families, a forbidden romance and cute huskies – Heart on a Leash sounds like the perfect romance!


SYNOPSIS

A pack of rescue huskies inspires love and romance in a coastal Alaskan town fractured by feuding families–but can young pups really teach frozen hearts new tricks?

Taylor Lipin has made it her life’s mission to leave her hometown and its ridiculous, century-old feud with the Porters behind. But when her sister needs help running the family inn, Taylor agrees to return to Helen, Alaska on a temporary, definitely not longer than two weeks, basis. Or so she thinks, until she’s quite literally swept off her feet and into enemy territory by three happy huskies and their drool-worthy owner, Dr. Josh Krane.

Though Josh didn’t grow up in Helen with the rest of his Porter cousins, he’s heard the stories: Porters rescue huskies. The Lipins are cat people. Keep to your pack. But Taylor is too tempting to give up–plus, his dogs love her.

As Taylor and Josh grow closer, tensions in the town escalate and the need for secrecy starts taking a toll. Soon they’ll need to decide whether their newfound love is just a summer fling or if they’ve found their forever home.


EXCERPT

Ever since she was little, Taylor had been determined that-in her six-year-old self’s words-she was going to be a “business lady.” Little Taylor had devoted countless hours to making her Barbie dolls into perfect “business ladies,” which had mainly meant they wore stylish clothes, worked in tall buildings, and bossed people around. Her understanding had expanded as she grew older, but her desire to leave home and work someplace with tall buildings and stylish clothes had not. Taylor had taken off to Southern California for college and never turned back.

It was true that sometimes she wondered if she was still chasing an ephemeral ideal, because working in marketing had not lived up to her childhood expectations. And it was also true that sometimes, more frequently in recent years, she’d started wondering if she should have left childhood ideals in childhood and chosen a field that didn’t make her feel like her soul was being crushed on a daily basis.

But it was just as true that returning home and working at the inn remained on her list of Things to Consider Only before Selling Off Internal Organs. But even then, it might depend on which organ. No one needed two kidneys.

Lydia was still speaking, and Taylor caught the end of her last sentence. “. . . to help shut down the gossip too.”

“What gossip?”

“The usual. Mostly people speculating about affairs and garbage like that. All instigated by the Porters, I’m sure.”

Taylor snorted. Possibly living so long in L.A. had changed her perception about such things. “Can anyone back home actually have an affair without everyone else knowing about it?”

“Dan Fidel, the high school principal, carried on with a third-grade teacher for two years before his wife found out. So yes. But that’s not the point. The Porters are spreading lies, and rumor is Wallace is considering running against Dad for mayor. They’ve been looking for ways to cut us down since the article. We can’t afford to let them see us struggle. This is about family, however fractured we currently are.”

With her free hand, Taylor poked at the foam on her coffee. Sure, it was only eight in the morning, but she might need something stronger to drink if this was turning into a Lipin-Porter battle on top of a regular family disaster. Unfortunately, she could easily believe the Porters would try to take advantage of her family’s situation. After the Bay Song’s write-up, they’d started a whisper campaign that the hotel had only gotten such a glowing recommendation because her family had bribed the writer. Or, depending on which Porter was talking, because Lydia had slept with the guy.

It was easy for Taylor to roll her eyes from the California coast, but back home, the nastiness was something her family had to deal with on a daily basis. It was also another reason Taylor had been eager to leave.

The coffee shop’s door opened, and this time Stacy entered, along with a whiff of exhaust from the delivery truck idling outside. Her friend waved and began worming her way through the crowd.

“We can talk more about this later,” Taylor said. “I need to go.”

“Fine. Will you think about what I said? Please.”

“Promise.” It was an easy one to make. Taylor doubted she could do anything else.

Second First Impressions ARC Review

Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women’s Fiction

Heat Level: 🔥

Publisher: William Morrow

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and audiobook courtesy of Harper Audio & Libro.fm


SYNOPSIS

Distraction (n): an extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.

Ruthie Midona has worked the front desk at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa for six years, dedicating her entire adult life to caring for the Villa’s residents, maintaining the property (with an assist from DIY YouTube tutorials), and guarding the endangered tortoises that live in the Villa’s gardens. Somewhere along the way, she’s forgotten that she’s young and beautiful, and that there’s a world outside of work—until she meets the son of the property developer who just acquired the retirement center.

Teddy Prescott has spent the last few years partying, sleeping in late, tattooing himself when bored, and generally not taking life too seriously—something his father, who dreams of grooming Teddy into his successor, can’t understand. When Teddy needs a place to crash, his father seizes the chance to get him to grow up. He’ll let Teddy stay in one of the on-site cottages at the retirement home, but only if he works to earn his keep. Teddy agrees—he can change a few lightbulbs and clip some hedges, no sweat. But Ruthie has plans for Teddy too.

Her two wealthiest and most eccentric residents have just placed an ad (yet another!) seeking a new personal assistant to torment. The women are ninety-year-old, four-foot-tall menaces, and not one of their assistants has lasted a full week. Offering up Teddy seems like a surefire way to get rid of the tall, handsome, unnerving man who won’t stop getting under her skin.

Ruthie doesn’t count on the fact that in Teddy Prescott, the Biddies may have finally met their match. He’ll pick up Chanel gowns from the dry cleaner and cut Big Macs into bite-sized bits. He’ll do repairs around the property, make the residents laugh, and charm the entire villa. He might even remind Ruthie what it’s like to be young and fun again. But when she finds out Teddy’s father’s only fixing up the retirement home to sell it, putting everything she cares about in jeopardy, she’s left wondering if Teddy’s magic was all just a façade.

From the USA Today  bestselling author of The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine comes the clever, funny, and unforgettable story of a muscular, tattooed man hired as an assistant to two old women—under the watchful eye of a beautiful retirement home manager.


REVIEW

Ruthie Midona loves working at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa. She feels safe and loves taking care of everyone at the retirement home. From the little golden endangered tortoises to the residents who live there – Ruthie doesn’t ever want to leave the comfort of being there.

That is, until she meets Teddy Prescott. Teddy is the opposite of Ruthie. He is brash, bold and a lady’s man. Where Ruthie is buttoned up, Teddy is tattooed and moves from place to place at a moments notice. Turns out Teddy is the son of the owner of the retirement home. But Teddy’s father is tired of him not being reliable and tells Teddy he can have a place to stay at the retirement home if he earns his keep.

Thus begins Teddy’s job as an assistant to two cranky 90 year old women. Teddy has run all of their errands and do everything they ask him to. Ruthie doesn’t think he’ll last a week! Will Teddy show Ruthie that there’s more out there than the comfort of the retirement villa. And can Teddy stand to be in one place too long or will he bolt as he keeps saying he will.

Second First Impressions was one of my most anticipated books of this year. Sally Thorne is an amazing author and she has a way with her words that just make you feel. But sadly Second First Impressions missed the mark for me. I had a really hard time connecting with Teddy or Ruthie and definitely did not feel the chemistry or attraction between them. Where Ruthie was so charming and sweet, Teddy was abrasive and hard to like. His jokes fell flat and I really couldn’t see why Ruthie was so charmed by him.

While I loved Ruthie’s friends and the people who reside at the retirement home, I just felt like there was a lot going on without really anything happening. I did eventually enjoy the friendship between Teddy and Ruthie, but the romance aspect of it wasn’t working for me.

Audiobook:

Story: 3
Narration: 4
Overall: 3

This was the first book that I listened to narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya. I thought she did a wonderful job voicing Ruthie. I could always tell when other characters were being voiced by the change in her voice!

While Second First Impressions isn’t my favorite book by Sally Thorne, I did enjoy Ruthie’s character and her growth by the end of the book.

Spotlight & Excerpt of The Kindred Spirits Supper Club

The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy E. Reichert

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: April 20, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

The Kindred Spirits Supper Club is set in quirky Wisconsin Dells and has all of the elements of a warm and witty book – filled with supper clubs, random acts of kindness and a supernatural twist! Read on for an excerpt.


SYNOPSIS

Jobless and forced home to Wisconsin, journalist Sabrina Monroe can tolerate reunions with frenemies and kisses from old boyfriends, but not the literal ghosts that greet her in this heartwarming tale of the power of love and connection from acclaimed author Amy E. Reichert.

For Sabrina Monroe, moving back home to the Wisconsin Dells–the self-described Waterpark Capital of the World–means returning to the Monroe family curse: the women in her family can see spirits who come to them for help with unfinished business. But Sabrina’s always redirected the needy spirits to her mom, who’s much better suited for the job. The one exception has always been Molly, a bubbly rom-com loving ghost, who stuck by Sabrina’s side all through her lonely childhood.

Her personal life starts looking up when Ray, the new local restaurateur, invites Sabrina to his supper club, where he flirts with her over his famous Brandy Old-Fashioneds. He’s charming and handsome, but Sabrina tells herself she doesn’t have time for romance–she needs to focus on finding a job. Except the longer she’s in the Dells, the harder it is to resist her feelings for Ray. It doesn’t hurt that he shows his affection through good old-fashioned home-cooked suppers. And who can resist a guy obsessed with perfecting a Fried Cheese Curds recipe? 

When the Dells starts to feel like home for the first time, Sabrina begins to realize that she can make a difference and help others wherever she is. 


EXCERPT

Two days, twenty-three hours, and thirty-two minutes. Almost three full days since Sabrina Monroe had last spoken to someone who wasn’t a relative. Her record was seven days, four hours, and fifty-five minutes, but still, almost three days was impressive. In her ideal world, she could continue the trend indefinitely, a sweet happily ever after of telecommuting and food delivery.

She sat in the center of a large indoor waterpark, the WWW (Wild World of Waterparks)—or Three Dub, as people had started calling it—the latest addition to the Waterpark Capital of the World. The fake boulders hadn’t yet acquired the usual dust and stuck gum, the colors still popped on the water slides, and the painted murals were not yet dimmed by years of exposure to eye-burning levels of chlorine. With her feet propped on a white plastic chair, identical to the one she sat in, Sabrina stopped scrolling through the news app on her phone when a stack of towels toppled off a neighboring table into a puddle. She scooped them up, draping the wet towels over chairbacks and setting the still-dry towels at the center of the table, then returned to her lounging position before anyone noticed. Her nieces and nephew, Arabella, Lilly, and Oscar, frolicked in the kiddie area, a three-tiered structure of rope bridges, water cannons, and small slides for the little ones not quite ready to brave the twisty four-story flumes. An enormous bucket dropped one thousand gallons of water every fifteen minutes with a clang, a roar, and a rush of wind that blew over a lazy river circling the entire room, where tubes bobbed like Froot Loops and tweens raced around floating adults, who scowled at their rambunctiousness.

It should have been difficult to take her nieces and nephew to a waterpark without speaking to other people, but she had bought the tickets online, then took refuge among the crowded tables while the kids played. Being alone was always easiest in a crowded, noisy location, and no room was louder or more crowded than an indoor waterpark on a rainy holiday weekend.

Within the confines of this humid, echoing warehouse, Sabrina avoided interacting with people by scrolling through the news on her phone. She didn’t notice the people who stood up with meerkat attentiveness. She didn’t notice the people swiping chairs from other tables. She didn’t notice a nearby angry, tattooed chair-swiping victim returning from the snack bar with a giant fully loaded margarita.

Dumb luck had her looking up from her phone at exactly the wrong moment.

She watched as the Refill-A-Rita catapulted out of the tattooed man’s hand, centrifugal force and a red plastic lid keeping most of the fire-engine-red contents inside until they collided with the bridge of her nose. Tequila-laden pseudo-strawberry slush exploded onto her hair down to her flip-flopped feet, staining her yellow swimsuit a sunset orange and obscuring her vision with kaleidoscoping stars from the surprising pain. Bent over in agony, Sabrina avoided the unexpectedly aerodynamic white plastic chair that followed the margarita as it arced over her head toward the chair swipers.

A man wearing colorful swim trunks emblazoned with red crustaceans fought back a smile as his eyes inspected the substance dripping from her head, confirming Sabrina’s ridiculous appearance. What right did he have to judge her? He had crabs on his pants. As he took a breath to speak, Sabrina broke her no-talking streak.

“Duck,” she said, pointing to his white plastic table as a cup of soda soared over them. Caught in food-fight cross fire, the man crouched under it and out of the fray. Now she could do the same.

Sabrina dropped to the ground and scooted to safety, wiping the worst of the overly sweet slop off her face, the alcohol and red dye stinging her eyes. The warring people around her shouted, more food and plastic water bottles skittered across the wet concrete, and soon tables stuttered as bodies shoved against them. The man huddled under his table an aisle over from her. Around them, the babble of water rushing, children screaming, and parents yelling echoed off the walls and windows, amplifying the noise.

From her location under the table, she could spot her charges scampering in the spraying water, oblivious to the commotion at the nearby tables.

Two beefy men shoved at each other like Greco-Roman wrestlers, hairy bellies bumping against each other. Feet stumbled past her table, knocking her phone into a waiting puddle. She snatched it out of the water as her heart raced. Not her phone. She didn’t have the money to replace it. She dried it off the best she could on a small, still-clean section of her swimsuit.

A pair of delicate feet stopped beside her table, followed by a cheerful face framed by chin-length bouncing blond curls. The woman’s edges blurred into a soft glow as if she stood in front of a lamp. With Ghost Molly, it was barely noticeable. More recently deceased spirits had a blur that made it obvious they were new to the afterlife, helping Sabrina and her mom recognize them.

“Whatcha doing, honey?”

Secrets of a Summer Night Review

Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Wallflowers #1

Heat Level: 🔥🔥

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of this book from Libro.fm & Harper Audio.


SYNOPSIS

The Wallflowers

Four young ladies at the side of the ballroom make a pact to help each other find husbands… no matter what it takes.

Proud and beautiful Annabelle Peyton could have her pick of suitors—if only she had a dowry. Her family is on the brink of disaster, and the only way Annabelle can save them is to marry a wealthy man. Unfortunately her most persistent admirer is the brash Simon Hunt, a handsome and ambitious entrepreneur who wants her as his mistress.

Annabelle is determined to resist Simon’s wicked propositions, but she can’t deny her attraction to the boldly seductive rogue, any more than he can resist the challenge she presents. As they try to outmaneuver each other, they find themselves surrendering to a love more powerful than they could have ever imagined. But fate may have other plans—and it will take all of Annabelle’s courage to face a peril that could destroy everything she holds dear.


REVIEW

Annabelle Peyton and her family have fallen on tough times. After the death of Annabelle’s father, her family is having a hard time keeping up in society. Annabelle is without a dowry and doesn’t have very many choices when it comes to suitors.

Annabelle finds herself in the company of three other wallflowers and they soon form a friendship. First item on the agenda – to find Annabelle a husband! Annabelle is eager and looking, but definitely not in the direction of Hunt. He gets on her very last nerve!

But slowly their acquaintance turns into friendship and then that friendship starts to blossom into something more. Is Annabelle willing to give Simon a chance?

As always I have read the series out of order and although Secrets of a Summer Night is the first in the series, I have read all three books that come after the series first. I have to say that although I enjoyed Simon and Annabelle, it wasn’t my favorite book of the series. Perhaps it is because the groundwork is being laid for the rest of the series that I didn’t enjoy Secrets of a Summer Night as much as the other books in the series. I didn’t quite connect with Annabelle’s mother or her storyline, but I did enjoy the introduction of the wallflowers!

I did get a chance to listen to the audiobook of Secrets of a Summer Night and thought that Rosalyn Landor did a wonderful job voicing Simon and Annabelle! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this audiobook.

People We Meet on Vacation ARC Review

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Romance/Women’s Fiction

Heat Level: 🔥

Release Date: May 11, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


SYNOPSIS

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart–she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown–but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together–lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?


REVIEW

Popply and Alex have been constants in each others lives since they first met at college. She’s quirky and sarcastic, he’s shy and a bit on the quiet side. But they understand each other and are the best of friends (strictly platonic).

An annual tradition for them is to take The Summer Trip. A trip that they’ve been taking since after they met in college. They didn’t always stay at fancy or luxurious places. But now that Poppy works for a travel magazine – the options for travel are limitless. In between relationships and break ups, Poppy and Alex have always made time for their Summer Trip. That is until two years ago when their friendship started to fall apart. Poppy misses Alex and decides to see if he’s up for another summer trip. Will they be able to mend their friendship?

People We Meet on Vacation is the story of how the lives of Poppy and Alex have always been intertwined. Told from Poppy’s point of view, the book alternates between the current summer trip and trips of summer past. I really don’t know how to put into words how much I loved this book. The longing, the angst, the sweetness of their relationship – really everything in this book was perfect.

I’ve highlighted so many passages and am looking forward to going back to re-read People We Meet on Vacation. Definitely add this book to your TBR list if you love a slow burn, friends to lovers romance and pre-order before it releases in May!

Life’s Too Short ARC Review

Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Level: 🔥

Release Date: April 6, 2021

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


SYNOPSIS

A brilliant and touching romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zone and The Happy Ever After Playlist.

Vanessa lives life on her own terms — one day at a time, every day to its fullest. She isn’t willing to waste a moment or miss out on an experience when she has no idea whether she shares the same fatal genetic condition as her mother. Besides, she has way too much to do, traveling the globe and showing her millions of YouTube followers the joy in seizing every moment.

But after her half-sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her infant daughter, she is housebound, on mommy duty for the foreseeable future, and feeling totally out of her element.

The last person she expects to show up offering help is the unbelievably hot lawyer who lives next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. But as they get closer, Vanessa realizes that her carefree ways and his need for a structured plan could never be compatible for the long term. Then again, she should know better than anyone that life’s too short to fear taking the biggest risk of all. . .


REVIEW

There’s something amazing about Abby’s writing style. Every time I pick up one of her books it plays out like a movie. Life’s Too Short was no different and I literally could not stop reading this book once I picked it up.

Vanessa is a famous YouTuber. She has a huge following and lives by one motto – life’s too short – so get out there and live your very best life. Vanessa hasn’t had an easy life, she lost her mother at a young age and then her sister to ALS. Her younger sister leaves her newborn in Vanessa’s care and vanishes – so on top of everything Vanessa is now a caregiver to a little baby girl too. But Vanessa tries not to let anything slow her down and she loves her little niece. She tries to always have a sunny disposition and a positive attitude.

Adrian views most things in black and white. He relies on facts – he is a lawyer after all. When these two meet each other for the first time – I had a huge grin on my face. Abby knows how to write the perfect “meet cutes” and this one was no different. Suddenly Adrian and Vanessa start spending all of their free time together. Both of them state that they’re not looking for a romantic relationship – but being in such close proximity to one another that’s bound to happen, right?

The thing I loved most about Life’s Too Short was that Abby really incorporated mental health into her book in a way that we can all relate. We all process grief, sadness and anger in our own ways, but it’s what we decide to do with those feelings that sometimes make or break us. Life’s Too Short can sometimes be a bit heavier to read with topics such as ALS, mental health and addiction discussed, but in between those topics is an amazing love story.

I absolutely loved and enjoyed reading Life’s Too Short. Overall I would give it 4.5 stars – so many amazing parts of the book highlighted and quotes that resonated with me so deeply!

Meet Me in Paradise ARC Review

Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Romance

Heat Level: Closed door

Release Date: March 23, 2021

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


SYNOPSIS

Marin Cole has never:
Seen the ocean
Climbed a mountain
Taken a risk on love
….But if her sister’s plan works, she just might do all three.

Ever since her journalist mother died on assignment, Marin has played it safe, refusing to set foot outside the state of Tennessee. Her wild-child younger sister, Sadie, has trotted the globe as a photographer, living off of art and adrenaline.

When Sadie returns from a tough assignment abroad and looks a little worse for wear, Marin reluctantly agrees to a sisters’ spa weekend on the tropical island of Saba. But her lifelong fear of travel is affirmed when Sadie misses the flight, Marin’s luggage gets mixed up with another passenger’s, and an episode of turbulence sends her hurtling into the lap of Lucas Tsai, the handsome stranger who stole her sister’s seat.

For the first time in a long time, Marin has to step outside of her comfort zone as she explores the island with Lucas and learns what she’s been missing out on. With each breathtaking new experience, Marin gets closer to her real self, the man she’s falling for, and the heart-wrenching truth about why she’s there in the first place.


Review

CW: Death of a loved one (on and off the page), Cancer

Marin Cole has always been the caretaker. After her mother passed away when she was younger, Marin had no choice but to be the strong one for her younger sister. Her dreams and ambitions got put on hold while she literally had to become the adult/responsible one. Marin loves her sister, Sadie something fierce though. When Sadie wants some sister bonding time and books them a trip to the tropical island of Saba, Marin is so excited! What a great time they’ll have. Except…Sadie misses the plane and Marin boards it all by herself. She’s anxious and nervous and hates flying as it is. Her charming (know it all?) seat mate just happens to be handsome hotelier Lucas Tsai and from that tumultuous plane ride they form a rocky friendship.

I really loved all of the relationships in Meet Me in Paradise. Sadie and Marin had a very complex relationship, but I liked that the chapters were told from both of their point of views. I will admit that it took me a while to really get into the book, but as the story progressed I became more invested in all of the characters. I really enjoyed the banter and chemistry between Marin and Lucas. Although they were both a bit closed off and standoffish, they were both grieving a huge loss in their lives. I enjoyed the way they came together and how those shared feelings solidified their relationship.

Be forewarned that Meet Me in Paradise is not as light as the cover may have you believe. This is a very heavy story. There were a lot of parts that had tears streaming down my face. Libby Hubscher is a very talented writer. I have so many passages highlighted that were written so beautifully. Although Meet Me in Paradise has some romantic elements to it – I would categorize it more as Women’s Fiction. I do feel like the ending wrapped up maybe a bit too quickly, but I still enjoyed Meet Me in Paradise.

If you’re looking for a book that delves into the bonds of sisterhood, family and community with a side of sweet romance definitely grab Meet Me in Paradise!

March Reads

March totally flew by! I ended up binge reading a few books including Neon Gods, Twice Shy and Dear Enemy. My reading really slowed down during the end of the month and now I’m in a weird funk, where even if the story is good I’m just reading it so slooooooowly 😭 I hope to bounce back and read more in April!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle

Dear Enemy by Kristen Callihan

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Neon Gods by Katee Robert

The Devil in Her Bed by Kerrigan Byrne

Forever Never by Lucy Score

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Sandcastle Beach by Jenny Holiday

Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The Dating Plan by Sara Desai