Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships ARC Review

Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships by Sarah Grunder Ruiz

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction

Heat Level: Closed Door

Release Date: November 23, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

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


Sometimes a yacht, a bold bucket list, and a kiss with a handsome stranger are all a person needs to dive into the deep end of life.

For the last year, yacht stewardess Jo Walker has been attempting to complete a bucket list of thirty things she wants to accomplish by her birthday. Jo has almost everything she’s ever wanted, including a condo on the beach (though she’s the youngest resident by thirty years) and an exciting job (albeit below deck) that lets her travel the world.

Jo is on track until a family tragedy turns her life upside down, and the list falls by the wayside. But when her two nieces show up unannounced with plans to stay the summer, they discover her list and insist on helping Jo finish it. Though the remaining eight items (which include running a marathon, visiting ten countries, and sleeping in a castle) seem impossible to complete in twelve weeks, Jo takes on the challenge.

When she summons the courage to complete item number five–kiss a stranger–and meets Alex Hayes, all bets are off. As her feelings for Alex intensify and Jo’s inability to confront difficult emotions about her family complicates her relationships, she must learn to quit playing it safe with her heart before she loses what matters most.


Yacht stewardess Jo Walker is on a mission – to complete a 30 before 30 bucket list! She’s checked off so many of the items on her list and only has a handful of things left to do. But recently Jo hasn’t felt much like celebrating or ticking items off of a list. She lost her young nephew and she now feels lost and not so sure what brings her joy.

But Jo’s summer is about to turn upside down because her nieces are coming to visit for the summer! And they are adamant that Jo completes her list. One of the items on Jo’s list is kissing a stranger and Jo soon realizes that the stranger she ended up kissing would be no other than the yacht chef Alex or hot yacht chef as he wants to be known (lol!). As Jo and Alex grow closer, will she let down her guard and let him in or keep everything on the surface as she has been since her nephew passed.

Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships was such an emotional read for me. Sarah’s writing was so poignant and she truly writes beautiful prose. I would stop reading a passage just to reread it again. I felt Jo’s pain as well as the pain of her nieces and even her sister after losing a prominent figure in their lives. And while yes, the heavy parts of this book could be really heavy – I also found myself laughing or grinning like a fool at the antics of Jo and her nieces, or Jo and her best friend Nina or Jo and Alex (swoon)!

While LL&FS crossed over more to women’s fiction, the romance aspect was definitely prominent. I was longing for Alex and Jo to find their way to one another. They both had to get there on their own though and I loved their respective journey’s.

I highly recommend Love, Lists and Fancy Ships and can’t wait to read the next book in this series!

CW: death of a loved one, grief, parental neglect, cheating (not main character)

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