Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing beautiful custom journals for New York City’s elite. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Like the time she sat across from Reid Sutherland and his gorgeous fiancée, and knew their upcoming marriage was doomed to fail. Weaving a secret word into their wedding program was a little unprofessional, but she was sure no one else would spot it. She hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid…
A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out—before he leaves New York for good—how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline, a fractured friendship, and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other about their lives, work, and regrets, both try to ignore the fact that their unlikely connection is growing deeper. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late…
Oh my heart… I can’t even with this book and how it’s made me feel!!! I knew I was going to enjoy this but I didn’t think that I’d fall so hard and fast (after a slightly rocky start) for Meg and Reid, and their love story. Swoonsh, indeed! I literally just finished this book two minutes ago (when I reviewed this on Monday…) and my heart is still soaring and I don’t know if I’ll be able to write a coherent review but I’m going to try anyway!
She’s investigating a cold case no one else could—by going places no else would dare.
In spite of a harrowing past still haunting her, Gwen Proctor is trying to move forward. Until a new assignment gives her purpose: the cold-case disappearance of a young man in Tennessee. Three years missing, no clues. Just Ruth Landry, a tortured mother in limbo. Gwen understands what it’s like to worry about your children.
Gwen’s investigation unearths new suspects…and victims. As she follows each sinister lead, the implications of the mystery grow more disturbing. Because the closer Gwen gets, the closer she is to a threat that looms back home.
In a town that’s closed its ranks against Gwen; her partner, Sam; and her kids, there’s no bolder enemy than the Belldene family—paramilitary, criminal, powerful, and vengeful. As personal vendettas collide with Gwen’s investigation, she’s prepared to fight both battles. But is she prepared for the toll it could take on everyone she loves?
Bitter Falls is just as intense and action packed as the first three books in the Stillhouse Lake series. Once again we’re swept up in a high-stakes thrilling drama as Gwen and her family face harassment from a town that shuns them, harrowing messages from trolls that want to see them grievously harmed, and getting caught in the cross-fires of the latest case that Gwen has been assigned in her new job. I’ve been a big fan of this series ever since I read the first book and I’ve truly come to appreciate all the main characters (Gwen, Sam, Lanny and Connor), as well as the recurring side characters in the series (Javi, Kezia, Agent Lustig etc.)
Goodreads: Trophy Life Publish date: 09 April 2019 Publisher: Lake Union Publishing Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction Panda Rating:
For the last ten years, Agnes Parsons’s biggest challenge has been juggling yoga classes and lunch dates. Her Santa Monica house staff takes care of everything, leaving Agnes to focus on her trophy-wife responsibilities: look perfect, adore her older husband, and wear terribly expensive (if uncomfortable) underwear.
When her husband disappears, leaving Agnes and their infant daughter with no money, no home, and no staff, she is forced to move across the country, where she lands a job teaching at an all-boys boarding school in the Bronx. So long, organic quinoa bowls and sunshine-filled California life. Hello, processed food, pest-infested house, and twelve-year-old-boy humor—all day, every day.
But it’s in this place of second chances (and giant bugs), where Agnes is unexpectedly forced to take care of herself and her daughter, where she finds out the kind of woman she can be. Ultimately, she has to decide if she prefers the woman and mother she has become…or the trophy life she left behind.
This was slow to start and was a little difficult to get into at first but once the story got rolling, I found the ‘light and fluffy’ contemporary I expected. I didn’t find it very surprising or different to anything that I’ve read in women’s fiction before though. For some reason (probably based on the cover) I might have thought the story and characters would be more comedic, but it was still an enjoyable and entertaining enough read.
Goodreads: Cold Feet at Christmas Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit, Christmas Holiday Romance Panda Rating:
Running out on your wedding shouldn’t be this much fun! A remote Scottish castle on a snowy Christmas Eve. A handsome husband-to-be. A dress to die for. It should have been the happiest day of Leah Harvey’s life – but the fairytale wedding turns sour when she finds her fiancé halfway up the bridesmaid’s skirt just hours before the ceremony! Fleeing the scene in a blizzard, Leah ends up stranded at the nearest cottage, where she collapses into the arms of its inhabitant – a man so handsome she thinks she must have died and gone to heaven! And when Rob Cavelli suddenly finds himself with an armful of soaking wet, freezing cold, and absolutely gorgeous bride on the run, he’s more than happy to welcome her into his snowbound cottage this Christmas…
Argh, I’m struggling with my thoughts on this one because it started off really well! I found myself quickly hooked into the story and the characters, however, I’m really sad to say that it quickly went downhill after the first few chapters. I knew I had to suspend my disbelief because obviously, this is penned as a ‘Christmas romance’ and I was expecting some possible insta-love or something else that wasn’t really believable but okay, I was ready for it. The majority of the story takes place after Christmas though and that wasn’t really a problem for me, but if you’re expecting a fun festive romance, this wouldn’t be my first pick. Potential for mild spoilers ahead (just kidding, it’s not potential, there are spoilers ahead)!
Goodreads: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae Publish date: 29 October 2019 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction Panda Rating:
Ailsa Rae is learning how to live. She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that – just in time – saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But…
Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point. She knows she needs to find her father. She’s missed so much that her friends have left her behind. She’s felt so helpless for so long that she’s let polls on her blog make her decisions for her. And now she barely knows where to start on her own.
And then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.
But her new heart is a bold heart. She just needs to learn to listen to it…
The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae was a heartwarming (no pun intended) story about health, family, friendship, love, grief and quite simply ‘adulting’. Ailsa was born with a heart condition which meant that for most of her life she was too ill to really live. She wasn’t completely unexperienced and sheltered although she missed out on a lot of the ‘normal things’ that kids, teenagers and young adults experienced because her heart and body simply couldn’t handle it. She started to blog about her ‘blue heart’ and what her life was like as she waited for a transplant, until she finally gets the new heart she has literally been waiting for her whole life. It’s not a fast paced read and while there’s a lot of changes that happen, it’s not a larger-than-life miracle story either. It’s set in Edinburgh and as you might know by now it’s one of my favourite places! The author really made the city come to life and I could practically feel myself navigating the streets alongside Ailsa and it was such a wonderful feeling!
What do you do when you’re the reigning kissing booth champion but the only person you want to kiss is your best friend’s brother?
Let me make this clear right here, right now: I, Halley Dawson, do not care that Preston Wright is kissing other women. Not a lick. Not at all. Nuh-uh-freakin’-uh. I do care that he’s doing it six feet away from me behind a gaudy velvet curtain—making him my competition in this year’s kissing contest.
Why do I care, you ask? Because I’ve had an unfortunate crush on the insufferable idiot since I was sixteen years old, but I also know it’s never going to happen. He’s the Creek Falls bachelor to die for, and I’m the Creek Falls racoon lady who puts peanut butter sandwiches out for them every night. I’m not going to let him break my four-year-long reign—no matter how many times he breaks the rules and slides the curtain across to do the one thing he’s not allowed to: Kiss me.
Kiss Me Not is a short and fluffy romantic comedy that certainly had me giggling at times but overall, I thought was just alright. The enemies-to-lovers story focuses on our MCs Halley and Preston. Halley is the all-around golden girl and notorious Raccoon lady, and Preston is her best friend’s older brother and the most eligible bachelor of Creek Falls. Halley has been the reigning champion of the town’s Kissing Booth for the last four years, but this year Preston is her competition and soon bets are made and truths come out.
Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own…shell.
The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.
When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all–or mostly all–excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?
Nina considers her options. 1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.) 2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee). 3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)
It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill was just as quirky and relatable as I expected and I enjoyed every minute I spent with Nina Hill and the odd mix of characters we encounter in this book. This was one of the more hyped books in the last few months on bookstagram, which intimidated me for a while (hype and I have a love/hate relationship), but I’m glad that I took the plunge and finally read it!
“It also meant she thought of books as medication and sanctuary and the source of all good things. Nothing yet had proven her wrong.”
I’m not sure what expectations I had going in, but the writing style was very different to what I expected, though not necessarily in a bad way. It definitely enhanced the quirkiness of the story and fit it quite well, but I’m not sure if I’d prefer or enjoy this style in a different book. As this was a character driven story, there wasn’t much in the way of a plot. We follow Nina as she navigates having her perfectly structured world turned completely upside down with the introduction of family members that suddenly appear in her life, difficulties at work that could lead to the loss of her safe space, and Tom: #1 trivia nemesis turned potential love interest. The writing was simple, engaging and infused with great humor, which had me speeding through the pages and made it an even greater pleasure to read.
There was so much friendly banter between all of the characters and it made me feel warm and fuzzy inside, as as much as I was constantly smiling and laughing at their interactions. I really enjoyed meeting Nina’s many siblings and nieces/nephews. Peter was sassy, smart and I loved how he so readily embraced and accepted Nina. I also ended up really liking her brother Archie, but especially sweet little bookish Millie! Although I was initially unsure of how I felt about Nina’s character, she quickly grew on me, as did most of the others, and by the end I don’t think there was one I disliked (surprisingly). As a fellow bookworm and appreciator of all things bookish, but also as someone who really appreciates structure, it felt at times that Nina Hill’s story was picked right from my own life; obviously I related to her a lot. What I enjoyed most about Nina was that although she preferred being alone with her books, she still kept up a very busy and active social life — trivia nights, book clubs, yoga etc., and even though she was an introvert she never actually shied away from doing things that I personally would’ve panicked to get out of (i.e. go to a wedding alone). I really admired those traits in her and it was a refreshing perspective to see in a fellow bookworm!
“Being with you is as good as being alone.”
The romance aspect of Nina’s story also had me in giggling fits! The interactions between Nina and Tom were sweet but incredibly awkward at times. I loved that we got to see both of their thoughts during these interactions because it made it all the more hilarious and it endeared me even more to their characters. Their relationship is really a case of where opposites attract, and I thought Tom was such a sweetheart of a character. I do wish we got more personality from him, but he seemed like a really sweet guy that I wanted to give endless hugs to? I found it really adorable how he was so smitten by Nina!
“Being surrounded by books was the closest she’d ever gotten to feeling like the member of a gang. The books had her back, and the nonfiction, at least, was ready to fight if necessary.”
I was thoroughly entertained throughout Nina’s story. I honestly didn’t look too much into the believability and ease in which things happened because of course, life never falls so seamlessly into place as it does for Nina. BUT I still loved it because who doesn’t love a story about a character who’s so much like yourself? Especially when they get happy endings! Overall, this was the perfect fluffy read that I know many book lovers will get a kick out of reading.
Have you read The Bookish Life of Nina Hill? What did you think? Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!
Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would. When her marriage ends after two miserable weeks, Marnie is understandably shocked. She’s even more astonished to find that she’s inherited Blix’s Brooklyn brownstone along with all of Blix’s unfinished “projects”: the heartbroken, oddball friends and neighbors running from happiness. Marnie doesn’t believe she’s anything special, but Blix somehow knew she was the perfect person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps. And Blix was also right about some things Marnie must learn the hard way: love is hard to recognize, and the ones who push love away often are the ones who need it most.
What a seriously charming book! The characters are lovingly quirky and the situations they find themselves in are emotional and heartfelt, but not without comedy injected here and there to lighten the mood up a little bit. It’s also endlessly quotable!
Marnie McGraw doesn’t want for much except a normal life with the white picket fence, doting husband and adorable children, and she knows that being engaged to Noah (a.k.a. the man of her dreams) brings her one step closer to achieving all that. But life doesn’t always go as planned and she experiences that first hand when her world falls apart after Noah leaves her on their honeymoon, she loses her teaching job in California and has to move back home to her parent’s house in Florida. As she deals with the aftermath of her disastrously short-lived marriage, Marnie is beyond shocked to receive a letter informing her that not only has Noah’s ‘crazy aunt’ Blix passed away, but she has left her a home in Brooklyn.
Eccentric, life-of-the-party, and carefree Blix is the black sheep of her family. When she meets Marnie at a family gathering, she feels an instant kinship and spiritual connection to her and believes that Marnie is meant to take up her mantle of matchmaker once she’s gone. She tells Marnie that no matter how things work out between her and Noah, she has a big, big life ahead of her.Although she’s still reeling from recent events, and is convinced all of it is a mistake, Marnie goes to Brooklyn to fulfill the wishes of a person she remembers fondly and who gave her comfort when she needed it, despite only having met Blix all of two times.
What follows is an emotional, heartfelt, and comedic rollercoaster of a journey, as Marnie tries to leave the past behind and deal with an unexpected present that doesn’t quite fit with the picture she’s always had of her future. It is in Brooklyn, where she meets all the characters from Blix’s life and explores the magic of her matchmaking gift–not without plenty of mishaps along the way, that Marnie discovers the power of love and healing, and she finally finds where she truly belongs.
As corny as all of this sounds, I finished this book feeling so happy and comforted, and sometimes, that’s all you really need from a book, isn’t it? I’m glad that I followed along with the Audiobook because although it took me nearly three times as long to finish it, it gave me the chance to really immerse myself in the story and build a strong attachment to the characters. Although I found Marnie’s character desperate and pretty annoying at the start, her character growth throughout the story was very satisfying, and I’m happy with how she learned to embrace herself in the end. I think Amy McFadden does a wonderful job narrating Marnie, and I don’t think I could have picked a better voice than Joyce Bean for Blix. There’s something so grandmotherly and comforting about Bean’s voice and although it was only for the first few chapters, every time Blix would ‘reappear’ in subsequent chapters, I would still hear the part as if she spoke it. 😂
If you’re looking for a fun, sassy romcom, I’d definitely recommend this!
Have you read Matchmaking for Beginners? Do you like romance? Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!
Goodreads: The Stopover Publish date: 29 October 2019 Publisher: Amazon Publishing UK Genre: Contemporary Romance Panda Rating:
I was upgraded to first class on a flight from London to New York. The food, champagne, and service were impeccable—the blue-eyed man sitting next to me, even better. He was smart, suave, and sexy. We talked and flirted—and though the plane was unexpectedly grounded, we still felt sky high in each other’s company. We danced and laughed our way around Boston…and had a night of crazy passion that no woman could forget. That was twelve months ago, and I haven’t heard from him—until today. I started a new job and met the CEO. Imagine my surprise when I saw those naughty blue eyes gazing at me from behind his mahogany desk. But I’m not that carefree girl anymore. I have a boyfriend now, and responsibilities. Now he wants to see me in his office for a private meeting. How can I resist?
I’m torn with how to review this because I won’t lie: I read it straight through the night and suffered from lack of sleep at the office the next day because of it. It’s a very quick and easy read, but there’s also nothing here that I haven’t read before. This was also one of the most toxic relationships I’ve ever read! I found myself laughing at how ridiculous the ‘relationship’ was, and then I was tearing my hair out and trying not to scream in complete frustration with what was happening. But then again, I couldn’t seem to put the book down and found myself staying up until 5am to finish it… So, there’s that? I’m warning you now, this is a fair bit of a rant (but I’ve tried to reign it in as much as possible)!
My favorite part of the book had to be the friendship and banter between Emily, Aaron and Molly. I was so worried the latter would end up being bad people but I was glad to be proven wrong! Their friendship reminded me a lot of how I interact with my friends and it just felt completely natural. The interactions between these friends brought much needed comedy to the story to distract from all the silly drama between the two MCs. I initially also liked Emily’s character, mostly for her drive to pursue her passion without letting anything deter her. She knew what she wanted and she went for it without letting anything hold her back. It’s a pity that all but disappeared the minute Jameson came into her life. She mildly protested every now and again but it’s like her backbone shriveled up whenever he came around.
Like I mentioned, this was one of the most toxic relationships I’ve ever read. Emily and Jameson/Jim/Jay’s relationship yo-yo’d from getting into ridiculously blown out of proportion fights over (literally) nothing, to jumping straight into bed for wild sex. It took a really long time for them to even get to the point where they would try being civil and having normal conversations without blowing up; and even then it didn’t really last long most of the time. The basis of their relationship was physical and in my opinion, it never really progressed out of that phase by the end. I will say though that their physical chemistry was off-the-charts. If you don’t like explicit sexual scenes in books, this will not be for you! If I had to rate the heat out of 5, it’d be a solid 5 though lol
For someone who’s meant to be an “older man”, Jay was the most immature rich CEO character I’ve encountered. He was petulant, emotionally unavailable and often times acted like a really big man-child, and at his office no less. He would be cruel and cold one minute and in the next he’d be messaging Emily, demanding she go with him to dinner, as if he hadn’t just treated her like trash not too long back? I wanted to slap him so hard. What gave me hope the first time was that she would say no and I’d be like HELL YEAH EMILY! And then in the next scene she’d cave and they’d end up screwing like rabbits before the night’s out. GIRL, PLEASE! *roll my eyes so far back they get stuck* 🙄 At the same time though, towards the end of the book, I found myself curled over with laughter over some of Jay’s drama queen antics–especially during the camping scene. It was actually hilarious and 100% amusing? Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to redeem his character from start to finish. There were other inconsistencies with the events in the book that had me scratching my head for a while before shrugging and moving past it because I was more concerned with other issues in the book.
All in all, I finished this book laughing in bewilderment (at myself mostly) and I was genuinely curious whether this is what people felt when they finished reading the After series. I’m referring to the people who acknowledge that the relationship in that series was toxic AF and yet they STILL couldn’t put that book down. Is this how you felt?? Haha I’ll still never read that series, but after reading this book, I do think I get what you mean with your comments 😂
Thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book is out 29 October 2019. Have you read The Stopover? Have you read the After series? I’m still shook by how I just couldn’t put this down.Come chat in the comments if you feel this! LOL
Goodreads:One Day in December Genre: Contemporary Romance Reviewed: December 2018 Panda Rating:
Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story. Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic… and then her bus drives away. Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be. What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.
My heart is soaring and a silly grin is still plastered to my face as I lie in bed with this book. What a roller coaster of emotions this book gave me! I was worried at the start that it would be a love-triangle-type of story that would leave me feeling uncomfortable and annoyed, but as I kept reading and realized that it wasn’t, I loved it even more. It’s a story of romance, passion, triumphs, loss, grief, secrets, family and friendships.
If you’re not into romances then this book might not be for you. I, on the other hand, am a hopeless romantic and I loved every heartbreaking, breath stealing, beautiful page of it. It could have very easily been just a sappy, romantic, not-so-well-done novel, but I think that Josie Silver did a fabulous job of writing characters that worm their way into your heart. I think that all of the characters are relatable, they’re not these perfect beings, and you can connect to them on a certain level. I particularly connected with Laurie – her slight shyness, awkwardness in social situations and devotion to family and her closest friends. All of them had endearing qualities that grow on you and by the end of the book it almost feels as if you’re closing a chapter on old friends.
There were several things I enjoyed with the romance in this book. I might have mentioned it previously in another review, but I have this thing for serendipity, fate, destiny or whatever you want to call it. I like the thought of “that one moment” and in this story, I liked how Laurie and Jack had their one moment at the start and although they didn’t get together right then, the world brought them back together in some way. What I also appreciated was the fact that although Laurie felt the way she did about Jack, she didn’t close herself up to the possibility of other love. Is there only one person made for you in this lifetime? In so many romances, it’s boy meets girl, they both fall in love and live happily ever after, the end. Although at times it felt like the characters would endlessly spin around in this dance of falling in love with other characters and it not working out because of their true feelings for someone else, I thought it added more realness to the story.
I also liked that despite the tricky “triangle-esque” situation with Sarah, Laurie and Jack, it didn’t get in the way of the friendship between the girls, but also didn’t get in the way of a real friendship blossoming between the latter. I think I would have been as devastated as Laurie was at finding Jack again, only to know that it could never be and it could have been ugly between friends (in the name of love and all of that) but I’m glad that Silver respected that friendship boundary and even strengthened it in the end.
Was it sappy? Sure. Was the ending predictably happy and not at all unexpected? Yeah. But this is definitely one of those feel good novels that you journey through and that give you a satisfying ending and makes you feel happy to read. It makes you want to take chances and to do things that scare you a little bit a lot. That’s life, right?
Have you read One Day in December? Are you a hopeless romantic? Lol Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!