Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.
When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?
Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.
Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?
Yes. Yes. YAAAAAS to this book!!! Oh my lordy lordy. MY FEELS. The swooning. I just… THE FEELS! If you love the fake dating trope, witty banter that will have you simultaneously swooning and cracking up, smart AF badass bisexual heroines, super soft hopeless romantic heroes, crackling chemistry and intensely steamy scenes: don’t sleep on this one. Talia Hibbert really brings it all with this romance I’m so here for it!
Goodreads: The Switch Publisher: Quercus Published: 16 April 2020 Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Leena is too young to feel stuck. Eileen is too old to start over. Maybe it’s time for The Switch…
Ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, Leena escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Newly single and about to turn eighty, Eileen would like a second chance at love. But her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen… So Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love, and Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with a rabble of unruly OAPs to contend with, as well as the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – local schoolteacher, Leena learns that switching lives isn’t straightforward. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, and with the online dating scene. But is her perfect match nearer to home than she first thought?
It took me a while to get around to it but I’m so glad that I finally picked up The Switch. I buddy read this with Leslie @ Books Are The New Black and it was so much fun! It made me wonder why I didn’t do buddy reads more when it’s so great to have someone to gush and whine to while reading 😂 We both tried to pace ourselves but we ended up devouring this book because it was so easy and mostly enjoyable to read! Don’t forget to check out Leslie’s review! This has, without a doubt, cemented O’Leary in my auto-buy and favourite authors list because she definitely knows how to write those feel-good heartwarming stories that leave you wanting more. 🥰
So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is:New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020 (if you didn’t read 10 new authors, that’s fine! Just do what you can)
I thought this was gonna be hard because my memory fails me but I took a quick look at my 2020 reading challenge and had to give myself a smack upside the head because the majority of the books I read last year were by new to me authors. 😂 If you’ve seen my December monthly wrap up and my 2020 yearly wrap up none of these titles will come as a surprise because I’ve mentioned some of them quite a few times (*cough* House in the Cerulean Sea *cough*), but all of these books and authors deserve to be read so I won’t stop gushing about them! Also, I’m mentioning 15 authors because there were so many new and amazing discoveries! 😍
Sorry I’ve been a bit MIA over the last week. My desire to do the absolute bare minimum took over and I’ve done nothing but read (and game) since my last day of full-time work on Wednesday! It’s been grand but okay, it’s time to hop back on the horse! In my typical disorganised fashion, I’ve saved up all the “ending 2020″/wrap up posts for the first week of January, so if you’re sick of looking at wrap up posts now is the time to quit reading 😅
The End of Year Book Survey was originally created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner. It’s a bit of a long one and when I did this for the first time in 2019, I split it into three parts, though I think for 2020 I’ll split it into two (combining two and three as they’re shorter)! On that note, let’s dive straight in:
Number of Books Read: 160 Number of Re-reads: 2 (Scythe, Thunderhead) Genre(s) You Read THE Most From: Young Adult Fantasy, Romance
Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Oh, it pains me to say it but… Kingdom of the Wicked. I did enjoy parts of it and gave it ★★★ but I thought I’d for sure love it, and then ended up feeling on the fence about it. I’m pretty sure this is more “it’s me and not the book” though because I also ended up feeling “so-so” about SJTR.
Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
One of my December reads was the non-fiction Bad Blood and even knowing how praised it is, I was surprised by how I sped through it. I’ve got a mixed relationship with NF as most of the time I find them a bit of a slog to get through but I devoured this book in a span of 8ish hours? It was intense. It was amazing. I would definitely recommend it (especially the audiobook)!
Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I think it’s a tie between two books and they’ll come as no surprise either. Plus, I don’t know if I’d say I “pushed” people to read them and also, I doubt it was me who convinced them to read them in the end? 😂 But I didn’t stop raving about both The House in the Cerulean Sea and Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crowand often highly recommended them!
Best series you started in 2020? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender of 2020?
Oof… The best series started is so freaking hard to pick because there were so many that I started and absolutely loved this year… How am I supposed to choose?! 😩 I think I’m just gonna have to go with the first one two three (cough) that popped into my head and that’s The Poppy War, The Kinder Poisonand Amari and the Night Brothers. (I’m sorry it’s so hard to choose okay!!!)
I don’t think I can just choose one for this because I read so many books by new-to-me-authors that it’d be really impossible for me to pick one. I refuse. So here are some of my new faves: T.J. Klune, Jessica Townsend, Talia Hibbert, Chloe Liese, Kate Stewart, Teagan Hunter, Devri Walls, R.F. Kuang, Zoraida Cordova, June Hur. Basically, these authors are or are close to being auto-buys for me! 😂
Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Hmm… I think I’m going to also pick two books for this one. The first being Bad Blood, as I already mentioned this was a fantastic non-fiction and I’d highly recommend it especially if you like true crime. The second is Children. Although this is fantasy, it was pretty dark and different to what I usually read. It was definitely out of my comfort zone but Larssen’s writing and characterisation were exquisite!
Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
I think this one goes to Amari and the Night Brothers. This was packed with action from the go and it was an absolutely thrilling adventure from start to finish. It was so much fun and 100% unputdownable (for me), and I can’t wait for the world to experience its awesomeness when it’s out this month (Jan 2021)!
Book You Read In 2020 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
While I can pick more than one, I don’t tend to re-read very often so it’s gonna be With the Fire On High. Acevedo’s writing is so evocative and Emoni’s story was so beautiful and touching. Not to mention the recipes and all the talk about food made me crazy hungry. I definitely want to re-read it!
Favorite cover of a book you read in 2020?
I’m not even going to pretend that I can pick just one favourite cover because there were so many that were gorgeous and I refuse to choose ONE. 🤣 So, feast your eyes on some gorgeous covers:
Most memorable character of 2020?
Surprise surprise, I think I’m gonna go with… The cast of my favourite book this year! I loved Linus, Arthur and all the kids in this book. They won my heart big time ❤️
Most beautifully written book read in 2020?
Ooh, this one was a really tough pick but in the end I think Words in Deep Blue takes this one. This book was so deeply touching. It was beautifully written and made me feel ALL THE FEELS. It’s a gorgeous book!
Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2020?
These books really made me think a lot about history and the society we live in, especially with the murder of George Floyd. The Nickel Boys and The Black Kids are really important, impactful and timely reads that are so worth your time!
Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read?
I have a tendency to put off hyped books (or, well, many books but mostly hyped ones) because the hype is intimidating a lot of the time, but I was so annoyed with myself for putting off reading Well Met until earlier this year. It’s SUCH a great romance! The banter, the character development, the faire! I loved it so much and can’t wait to read the next book set in this town!
FavoUrite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2020?
“Words matter, in fact. They’re not pointless, as you’ve suggested. If they were pointless, then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history. If they were just words, we wouldn’t write songs or listen to them. We wouldn’t beg to be read to as kids. If they were just words, then stories wouldn’t have been around since before we could write. We wouldn’t have learned to write. If they were just words, people wouldn’t fall in love because of them, feel bad because of them, ache because of them, and stop aching because of them.”
It’s not just the brutality of certain scenes that shocked me in The Poppy War but I was also shocked by how much I loved it! This was definitely one heckuva dark read, especially as the story goes on, as Kuang does not shy away from the gruesome details of war. But it’s brilliant writing!
OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
I’m a sucker for the found-family trope and strong friendships, and there were some really great ones in the books I read this year but I have to say that my favourites were from Nevermoor. The relationship between Juniper and Morrigan and also the friendship between Morrigan and Hawthorne filled my heart with such joy and warmth. These relationships made me fall even more in love with this book/series!
FavoUrite Book You Read in 2020 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Vengeful. I love Schwab and I honestly wasn’t expecting to love Vengeful more than I loved Vicious because that book was *chefs kiss*. It was so great to come back to the devious characters I loved in the first book and I can’t wait to see what else Schwab has in store for these ‘Villains’.
Best Book You Read In 2020 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.
Get A Life, Chloe Brown/The Brown Sisters series has been hyped everywhere (blogosphere, bookstagram, book twitter, booktube) and y’know what? Even though I’ve only read Chloe’s story, I know the praise is so well deserved. The banter, the romance, the diversity, the disability rep, THE STEAMINESS *fans self*. Ooh, I can’t wait to continue the series!
Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2020?
Ryder from Only When It’s Us. Um, yes, hello. THIS GUY. Ryder had me from the beginning even at peak broody mountain-man mode. That gruff exterior but soft interior is such a weakness for me. But I loved the disability rep in this book (and the series overall). Also, there’s this scene that involves Ryder + Pride & Prejudice and oh my heart, how I melted and swooned! 😂
Best 2020 debut you read?
It’s honestly hard to believe that The Silence of Bones is June Hur’s debut because it is so beautifully done. I’ve never read a book set in 1800s Joseon Dynasty Korea but the writing made it so easy to picture the historical setting perfectly. The inclusion of the sociopolitical climate of the time was intriguing and the mystery kept me on my toes! Plus, this cover? I LOVE! 😍
Best World building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
There are three books in the Venators series (so far) and Walls amps up the world building with each book we read and it’s done amazingly. I love that we get to explore so many different areas of this world in such great detail. It’s so easy to picture it all coming to life before my eyes and it doesn’t hurt that the characters and plot are fantastic as well!
Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
The Good for Nothings was such a treat to read and I’m so glad it got put on my radar! It had me laughing out loud so often because the characters, their banter and their many shenanigans were so entertaining. This was a fast-paced, action-packed space drama that I absolutely loved!
I really think it’s gonna be The Poppy War. I mean, this book just forking devastated me emotionally especially towards the end. It was… Wow. A lot. It was definitely worth it though! LOL
Most Unique Book You Read In 2020?
Oh, easily the biggest standout for this is Big Girl, Small Town. This was easily the most unique book I read in 2020 especially because it combines so many elements that tend to frustrate me in books, but instead I ended up loving this and the MC, Majella. I learned a lot about The Troubles and the simple, every day life in Northern Ireland. It also made me ridiculously hungry!
Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
There were actually a few books that made me quite mad this year and I loved all of them! I got mad at the blatant discrimination and bullying in these books, especially when it’s directed towards a child by the “adults” in the book. I wonder that I can still be surprised at the cruelty of humans when terrible and infuriating situations happen so often (even IRL)!
And that’s a wrap, folks!
Oof, despite all the crazy that happened this year, there’s no doubt that some really amazing books were read and many new favourites were discovered. I’m really hoping that 2021 will continue to be an amazing year for books and blogging! Stay tuned for part 2 & 3 of the End of Year survey which I’ll hopefully post tomorrow! 😉 Hope you’re doing well, taking care and staying safe, friends! ❤️
How was your year of reading? Did you do the End of Year Book Survey too? Have you read any of these books? Any favourites?
Hey friends! I’m excited to be back for another @WriteReads blog tour for the highly anticipated The Cousins by Karen M. McManus. Be sure to check out all the other bloggers participating in this tour: here! Thanks to Dave for organising the tour and Noly for the banner! 😍
Special thanks to Penguin Random House and NetGalley for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Goodreads: The Cousins Publisher: Penguin Random House Children’s UK Published: 03 December 2020 Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Thriller Panda Rating:
The Storys are the envy of their neighbours: owners of the largest property on their East Coast island, they are rich, beautiful, and close. Until it all falls apart. The four children are suddenly dropped by their mother with a single sentence: You know what you did. They never hear from her again.
Years later, when 18-year-old cousins Aubrey, Milly and Jonah Story receive a mysterious invitation to spend the summer at their grandmother’s resort, they have no choice but to follow their curiosity and meet the woman who’s been such an enigma their entire lives.
This entire family is built on secrets, right? It’s the Story legacy. This summer, the teenagers are determined to discover the truth at the heart of their family. But some secrets are better left alone.
Welcome back to another Top 5 Saturday! Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is actually: books with two authors.
I think the first book that I read written by two authors was the Illuminae Files. Actually, it was probably Christina Lauren before I even knew they were two people 😂 But I don’t read a lot of books that are written by two authors although I do have a surprising number of them on my TBR! I’m gonna keep this introduction short and simple and there’s really no need for a lengthy introduction 😉
Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This is my first week joining in on Can’t Wait Wednesday and it’s because I’m really excited to be sharing this upcoming book with everyone. I simply cannot wait until I can get my grabby little hands on it because I loved the first two books in this fun romcom series and it definitely takes one of the top spots for my favourite romance of 2020!
Note: this is the third book in the series and while it can technically be read as a standalone, trust me, you won’t want to! 😉
Aiden I’ve spent twelve years loving Freya Bergman and twelve lifetimes won’t be enough to give her everything she deserves. She’s my passionate, tender-hearted wife, my best friend, and all I want is to make her happy. But the one thing that will make her happiest is the one thing I’m not sure I can give her: a baby. With the pressure of providing and planning for a family, my anxiety’s at an all-time high, and I find myself pulling away, terrified to tell my wife how I’m struggling. But when Freya kicks me out, I realize that pulling back has turned into pushing too far. Now it’s the fight of a lifetime to save our marriage.
Freya I love my cautious, hard-working husband. He’s my partner and best friend, the person I know I can count on most. Until one day I realize the man I married is nowhere to be found. Now Aiden is quiet and withdrawn, and as the months wear on, the pain of our growing distance becomes too much. As if weathering marriage counseling wasn’t enough, we’re thrown together for an island getaway to celebrate my parents’ many years of perfect marriage while ours is on the brink of collapse. Despite my meddling siblings and a week in each other’s constant company, this trip somehow gets us working through the trouble in paradise. I just can’t help worrying, when we leave paradise and return to the real world, will trouble find us again?
Ever since stumbling across her first book, Only When It’s Us, earlier this year and absolutely loving the slow-burn romance between a fiesty sports heroine and lumberjack hero, I immediately knew I needed to read more by Chloe Liese. I was over the moon when I managed to get an ARC for her second book, Always Only You, and I fell even more in love with the characters. The whole Bergman family are a trip to read about and I dare you to not fall in love with all their loves! Chloe Liese’s books are such underrated gems and if you’re a lover of own voices and diverse romances with realistic and relatable characters, you should definitely read her sooner rather than later! 😉
If you’re not yet convinced, take a peek at my reviews for book 1 and book 2!
Have you read any books by Chloe Liese or any of the books in the Bergman Brothers series? Are you excited as me to get book three?!
When I first looked at today’s prompt I was stumped and *almost* decided to pass up on doing this or choosing a different topic. Just the thought of meeting my favourite authors let alone getting the chance to ask them questions already has me tongue tied and honestly? I’m just really bad at coming up with good/smart questions 😂 So that was pressure on my little brain that I didn’t know if I could handle today… Until I decided that I would just think of ten random/silly questions, and so I did. I’m not going to be identifying my favourite authors below but as I was writing down these questions I did have these authors in mind: V.E. Schwab, Neil Gaiman, Jay Kristoff/Amy Kaufman, Leigh Bardugo, and Laini Taylor. It goes without saying that these are just some of my favourites (in random order). Now without further ado…
How much time do you usually spend on research while writing a book?
Do you have any weird/quirky superstitions or rituals that are part of your writing process?
What’s one of your favourite quotes from one of your books?
What’s the funniest/weirdest/coolest moment that struck as inspiration for one of your books?
Do you have a favourite out of the books you’ve written (for sentimental or any other reason)?
Do you write with music or shows/movies on? If yes, what is your favourite band/show/movie to listen to?
If you could see one of your books be adapted into a series/movie which would you pick?
What are three of your favourite tropes to read or write about?
Would you survive living in the world(s) in your book(s)?
Can you describe your most popular book in the most boring way you can think of?
This week’s topic is pretty straightforward and although it should be easy I have to admit I was a little stumped to figure out who I’ve read the most books by. I have to admit that I don’t actually know the number of books that I’ve read for each author and I’m also really tired right now so I don’t have the energy to look it up (I’m so lame, I’m sorry, friends!), and so I’m ballparking it here… I’m also keeping this short since this week has already felt like the past three months combined and is it really only Tuesday? 🙃 Welp.
Jodi Picoult and Nora Roberts really take the top spots for this because I used to devour their books starting from high school and when I picked up reading again after I finished uni. I’ve also read almost all of Michael Crichton’s books after I discovered a bunch of his books in the secondhand bookstore when I moved to Cambodia and started reading again (the same time as Roberts’ books actually which were also found in abundance at the secondhand store)!
I’ve read about half of V.E. Schwab’s books including some of her earlier works (The Archived series) but I’m still planning to read her latest middle grade books eventually… If I can work up the courage to since it’s all ghost-y and stuff!
Pretty sure that when it comes to romances I’ve binged a large number of Mariana Zapata and Christina Lauren (including their much earlier and quite smutty romances back in the day)! 😂 I love these three authors so much and they’re always my go-to recs.
I realise that I’ve actually read all of Leigh Bardugo’s books, save for her latest two releases. I read her series years ago before knowing that such a huge book community existed online and that the books had such huge followings lol. Same goes for Laini Taylor! All I have to finish now is Muse of Nightmares… *cough*
Then of course there are my more ‘recent’ favourites: Jay Kristoff (& Amie Kaufman) andNeil Gaiman! I still have a lot of Gaiman to read although I’ve already read a fair few of his books. Of course I can’t wait to read more of Kristoff and Kaufman, too!
It’s that time of the week again, friends! We’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is:authors who have a fun social media presence.
I almost skipped this week’s TTT for the first time since joining in weekly because I honestly don’t follow that many authors on my social media accounts? Not for any particular reason other than the fact that I just don’t? 🤷🏻♀️ I think there’s only one author who I follow religiously on all platforms I’m on and he’ll be at the top of my list. There are a few other authors whose tweets I do enjoy reading whenever they come up on my feed though so they’ll be making up my list for today!