Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club (8/16/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim!
Expected Release: August 16, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • Romance and meet-cutes are all well and good, but I do love something about matchmaking. It seems lovely to have someone who gets to know you so well they can recommend someone to you whom you might want to spend your life with. Sophie is taking a swing at being exactly that, even if she technically doesn’t have her degree in it. Side note: there are schools on matchmaking?
  • It’s all men in their 70s who are getting match-made, and I have really high hopes for that. I love love at all points in life, but I worry this could end up being treated in a really trite or cruelly comical way. Roselle, please do it justice!
  • This is prime to be sweet and tender and heartbreaking and make me cry a lot of different kinds of tears.

Summary

Newly minted professional matchmaker Sophie Go has returned to Toronto, her hometown, after spending three years in Shanghai. Her job is made quite difficult, however, when she is revealed as a fraud—she never actually graduated from matchmaking school. In a competitive market like Toronto, no one wants to take a chance on an inexperienced and unaccredited matchmaker, and soon Sophie becomes an outcast.

In dire search of clients, Sophie stumbles upon a secret club within her condo complex: the Old Ducks, seven septuagenarian Chinese bachelors who never found love. Somehow, she convinces them to hire her, but her matchmaking skills are put to the test as she learns the depths of loneliness, heartbreak, and love by attempting to make the hardest matches of her life.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Such A Good Mother (8/2/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Such a Good Mother by Helen Monks Takhar!
Expected Release: August 2, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • 1As much as I’m not interested in ever being a mother, I seem to freakin’ love domestic thriller-y stories about intense moms who seem to have their shit 100% together and do social media beauty shots, BUT — there tends to be a dark AF underbelly and I relish it.
  • Y’all the super mom clique is literally called The Circle and if that’s not the most obvious delightful name ever I don’t know what is. They aren’t pretending AT ALL to not be stuck up and awful. I can’t wait. I wonder if they actually are awful people? Hmm.
  • When the blurb has already prefaced the story with a death — a MYSTERIOUS death — I can only imagine what else is coming. Did she not wear pink on Wednesday and they made it so she couldn’t sit with them EVER?

Summary

Rose O’Connell is barely surviving. Her relationship with her husband is on the rocks and their son has isn’t fitting in at his new school, the prestigious Woolf Academy. Their tiny flat in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood–the very place Rose grew up as the daughter of an infamous local con artist–can barely contain her family. Rose can’t catch a professional break either, trapped in the same junior bank teller role for years. Life as the only mom in a nametag and uniform at The Woolf’s shiny school gates isn’t easy.

Not so for those in the elite and secretive Circle, a tight-knit group of mothers who rule the school, led by the charismatic and glamorous Amala Kaur. In exchange for supporting The Woolf’s relentless fundraising and public image drives, the women enjoy lucrative business opportunities, special privileges for their children, and the admiration of the entire community.

After the mysterious death of one of The Circle’s members, Rose dares to hope that filling the vacancy could set her family up for success. And when Amala makes the shocking decision to invite Rose into their clique, her fortunes, self-esteem, and status soar. But the deeper Rose gets inside The Circle, the darker the secrets lurking within every perfectly Instagrammable life. Far from being a dream come true, being inside The Circle could prove Rose’s worst nightmare…

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Long Story Short (7/26/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor!
Expected Release: July 26, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • Wow am I a sucker for people doing that thing where they make a list of experiences to turn their life around, or change direction, or prove a point. Turns out my own love of lists translates into feeling kinship with characters who embrace them as well. xD
  • SHAKESPEARE CAMP! HELLO MY LANGUAGE LOVER SIDE! I am desperately hoping for old timey insults that make me cackle, and moody pining in Middle English, and the joy of acting and the fun that can be had with costumes and stage kisses. 🥰
  • I grew up in New England, so it being set in Connecticut will feel like a familiar comfort to me. The water, the green, the fresh air. The swanky preppy boat shoe boys (I assume). Not like that was my life, but the stereotype, right? xD I digress. I like the setting. 😁

Summary

Growing up homeschooled in Berkeley, California, Beatrice Quinn is a statistical genius who has dreamed her whole life of discovering new mathematical challenges at a school like Oxford University. She always thought the hardest part would be getting in, not convincing her parents to let her go. But while math has always made sense to Beatrice, making friends is a problem she hasn’t been able to solve, so her parents are worried about sending her halfway across the world. The compromise: the Connecticut Shakespearean Summer Academy and a detailed list of teenage milestones to check off. She has six weeks to show her parents she can pull off the role of “normal” teenager and won’t spend the rest of her life hiding in a library.

Unfortunately, hearts and hormones don’t follow any rules, and there is no equation for teenage interactions. When she’s adopted by a group of eclectic theater kids, and immediately makes an enemy of the popular—and, annoyingly gorgeous—British son of the camp founders, she realizes that relationships are trickier than calculus. With her future on the line, this girl genius stumbles through illicit parties, double dog dares, and more than your fair share of Shakespeare. But before the final curtain falls, will Beatrice realize that there’s more to life than she can find in the pages of a book?

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Bodyguard (7/19/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is The Bodyguard by Katherine Center!
Expected Release: July 19, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • MORE FAKE DATING MORE FAKE DATING MORE FAKE DATING! I’m pretty sure 3 of the last 4 books I’ve added for Fast Forward Friday have had fake dating, and a bunch of recent reads had fake dating, and I have no idea why I’m on such a fake dating kick. But it’ll be continuing on the 19th for sure. 😁
  • A twist! I adore that the man is NOT the bodyguard 😎 Take that, gender norms! I’m hoping the usual gender stereotypes are appropriately turned on their head in this — and it doesn’t become cringy with Hannah.
  • And a celebrity / famous angle too! Someone recently mentioned how they were reading a lot of books with royalty and famous-person romances, and I realized I also have been really enjoying those when they pop up. This one has an element of that too, though lately Jack has shied away from the public eye for unknown reasons…
  • Also, honorable mention reason: it’s by Katherine Center. And I’ve historically enjoyed her novels. Maybe not in a blew-me-away way, but they tend to have some unique element to them and feel overall very refreshing. I hope the trend continues!

Summary

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.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday, Reviews

Fast Forward Friday: Nothing But The Truth (7/12)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Nothing by the Truth by Holly James!
Expected Release: July 12, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • I love a good story of reinvention. Whenever a person is like “Yo, the way I’m living right now A’INT WORKING” and then does something drastic to make change and find happiness, I love it! I can’t help but cheer for them!
  • I get the sense that Lucy is going to be a bold, take-no-shit kind of character. The title is all about giving the truth no matter what, and that usually leads to difficult or awkward conversations, as well as really lovely and personal ones! I want to see them all ^.^
  • Combining those two things, I expect some scenes of people getting what they deserve. And yes, I mean nasties getting schooled, but also — hopefully — sweethearts catching a break.

Summary

It’s the eve of Hollywood publicist Lucy Green’s thirtieth birthday, a day she hopes will bring the promotion she deserves and a proposal from her boyfriend. But he stands her up for a date, not for the first time, leaving Lucy alone at the bar—or at least, alone with the handsome bartender on the other side of the counter—so she makes a rueful wish over her cocktail for a perfect birthday. But when Lucy’s wish is granted in the most unexpected way, things go terribly awry, as things often do when wishes come true….

When Lucy wakes up on her big day, she can’t seem to force herself to go through her rigorous fitness and beauty routines—things she usually tells herself she likes. She has no desire to eat only a spoonful of yogurt for breakfast and she simply can’t bear to put on the uncomfortable shapewear needed for the power outfit she had planned for work.

When Lucy arrives at the office, she realizes that not only can she no longer lie to herself, she can’t lie to anyone else, either. Not her clients, not her boyfriend, not her creep of a boss. Now that she can’t hide how she feels, Lucy must confront all the injustices—small and large—she’s faced on a daily basis at work, in her relationship, and in every other aspect of her life…and the truth is going to come out in a big way.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Honey & Spice (7/5/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola!
Expected Release: July 5, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • FAKE DATING! I’m on an absolute TEAR of fake-dating tropes in books right now, and I’m ready to add another winner to the pile! I love that the angle for this one is salvaging each of their reputations (and radio shows).
  • It’s also a little bit enemies to lovers, since Kiki sees Malakai as the total player he is and calls him out in a WILDLY public manner as a piece of trash to be avoided at all costs — before frenching him (for some reason??).
  • Ah, and there’s also a lot of reluctant-to-love going on here. Kiki is never one to let herself be totally vulnerable, but it sounds like Malakai might end up worming his way past her defenses to a really lovely place. 🥰

Summary

Sharp-tongued (and secretly soft-hearted) Kiki Banjo has just made a huge mistake. As an expert in relationship-evasion and the host of the popular student radio show Brown Sugar, she’s made it her mission to make sure the women of the African-Caribbean Society at Whitewell University do not fall into the mess of “situationships”, players, and heartbreak. But when the Queen of the Unbothered kisses Malakai Korede, the guy she just publicly denounced as “The Wastemen of Whitewell,” in front of every Blackwellian on campus, she finds her show on the brink.

They’re soon embroiled in a fake relationship to try and salvage their reputations and save their futures. Kiki has never surrendered her heart before, and a player like Malakai won’t be the one to change that, no matter how charming he is or how electric their connection feels. But surprisingly entertaining study sessions and intimate, late-night talks at old-fashioned diners force Kiki to look beyond her own presumptions. Is she ready to open herself up to something deeper?

A gloriously funny and sparkling debut novel, Honey & Spice is full of delicious tension and romantic intrigue that will make you weak at the knees.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: American Royalty (6/28/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is American Royalty by Tracey Livesay!
Expected Release: June 28, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • The recluse (Damien) and the diva (Danielle). I CANNOT WAIT. I want her to drag him out of his shell, and I want him to cozy her up in quiet calm solitude. Look at how he looks at her on the cover! Huge kudos to the artist/designer for it, because I feel like it already tells a story I want to read 🥰 There’s a little splash of social/family drama too since it’s the whole “I want to but we shouldn’t” thing that can make a great tension.
  • Forced proximity! Maybe it’s weird to get excited about that but it’s my FAVORITE romance method (sorry, boyfriend) especially if it comes with a there’s-only-one-bed moment 😍 Considering they’re on the road together for tour I have hiiiiigh hopes!
  • Now add in royalty and music. I am usually hesitant about music-focused books, but also tend to end up loving them, so maybe it’s time I dropped that weird unfounded prejudice. And I’m an absolutely sucker for royalty for sure, so I think I’m ready to go. ^.^

Summary

Sexy, driven rapper Danielle “Duchess” Nelson is on the verge of signing a deal that’ll make her one of the richest women in hip hop. More importantly, it’ll grant her control over her life, something she’s craved for years. But an incident with a rising pop star has gone viral, unfairly putting her deal in jeopardy. Concerned about her image, she’s instructed to work on generating some positive publicity… or else.

A brilliant professor and reclusive royal, Prince Jameson prefers life out of the spotlight, only leaving his ivory tower to attend weddings or funerals. But with the Queen’s children involved in one scandal after another, and Parliament questioning the viability of the monarchy, the Queen is desperate. In a quest for good press, she puts Jameson in charge of a tribute concert in her late husband’s honor. Out of his depth, and resentful of being called to service, he takes the advice of a student. After all, what’s more appropriate for a royal concert than a performer named “Duchess”?

Too late, Jameson discovers the American rapper is popular, sexy, raunchy and not what the Queen wanted, although he’s having an entirely different reaction. Dani knows this is the good exposure she needs to cement her deal and it doesn’t hurt that the royal running things is fine as hell. Thrown together, they give in to the explosive attraction flaring between them. But as the glare of the limelight intensifies and outside forces try to interfere, will the Prince and Duchess be a fairy tale romance for the ages or a disaster of palatial proportions?

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Lucie Yi Is Not A Romantic (6/24/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Lucie Yi Is Not a Romantic by Lauren Ho!
Expected Release: June 24, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • I have never read a novel about a co-parenting partnership, and I LOVE that this is one. I’m not sure what the correct term is, but an alternate family structure like this is another example of diversity in stories for people of all kinds to see their own experiences reflected. I also think it’s an option for parenthood that is unknown/stigmatized, so seeing it in fiction is great!
  • There’s an extra perk for me of travel in this novel, as Lucie goes to Singapore to see her family once she’s pregnant. Since she’s pregnant and a local, I’m not sure how much exploring will happen for my benefit, but just being there in the story will be exciting! Even if her parents aren’t exactly on board with her co-parenting decision…
  • And then toss in the reappearance of an ex-fiance! Drama with lovers! I assumed the plot would go towards her falling for her co-parent, but I like the idea that it could go the direction of having a romantic partner and a parenting-partner and negotiating those intertwined relationships. Or maybe she’ll only give her heart to her baby, who knows! I think there are a lot of good options for the path, and I’m so excited to see which one plays out. 🙂

Summary

Management consultant Lucie Yi is done waiting for Mr. Right. After a harrowing breakup foiled her plans for children—and drove her to a meltdown in a Tribeca baby store—she’s ready to take matters into her own hands. She signs up for an elective co-parenting website to find a suitable partner with whom to procreate—as platonic as family planning can be.
 
Collin Read checks all of Lucie’s boxes; he shares a similar cultural background, he’s honest, and most important, he’s ready to become a father. When they match, it doesn’t take long for Lucie to take a leap of faith for her future. So what if her conservative family might not approve? When Lucie becomes pregnant, the pair return to Singapore and, sure enough, her parents refuse to look on the bright side. Even more complicated, Lucie’s ex-fiancé reappears, sparking unresolved feelings and compounding work pressures and the baffling ways her body is changing. Suddenly her straightforward arrangement is falling apart before her very eyes, and Lucie will have to decide how to juggle the demands of the people she loves while pursuing the life she really wants.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Thank You, Next (6/14/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Thank You, Next by Andie J Christopher!
Expected Release: June 14, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • After reading Bad Luck Bridesmaid and super loving it, this caught my attention by having another kind of romance-curse. In this case, it’s that Andie is the girlfriend who apparently sorts out the guy’s issues just in time for their next girlfriend to benefit. Alex is the girl we’re all thankful for being in our boyfriends’ past. Which, admittedly, really sucks for Alex.
  • This has so many romance tropes I can barely even track it! Alex and Will grew up close — physically at least — but seem to clash at every turn. So I guess they’re kind of like frenemies-to-lovers? Although it seems like Will knows pretty damn clearly what (who) he wants (Alex). So while Alex is trying to learn from her exes what she did wrong and how to avoid it, Will is along trying to learn from Alex’s exes what they did wrong — and how he can be sure to woo Alex.
  • Well I’m sure it will have some really funny and also really emotional moments! Considering this involves interviewing ex-boyfriends about “why not her” when they’re all now married, I think that alone is rife with opportunity for situational discomfort and humor. ^.^ Don’t forget the group of girlfriends — and Will — who are tagging along to interrogate!

Summary

Single divorce attorney Alex Turner is watching reality TV when she sees her latest ex’s new fiancé picking out her wedding dress. Yet again, the guy she dumped went on to marry (or at least seriously commit to) the next person he dates after her. Fed up with being the precursor to happily ever after, she decides to interview all her exes to find out why.

Up-and-coming chef Will Harkness mixes with Alex like oil and vinegar, but forced proximity growing up means their lives are forever entwined. When Will learns Alex and her friends are going on a wild romp through Los Angeles to reconnect with her ex-boyfriends, he decides to tag along. If he can discover what her exes did wrong, he can make sure he doesn’t make the same mistake with Alex.

On this nonstop journey through the streets of LA, Alex realizes the answer to her question might be the man riding shotgun…

Bonus fun / awkward fact: one time I was at a restaurant with a group of friends, including a guy I had recently broken up with but were still on decent terms. Part of the restaurant’s gimmick is to write mean things on hats for everyone, and mine said “Why are all my exes gay?” which was reeeeally awkward with my ex-of-2-weeks sitting right there with his buddy. Uhh, sorry. 😅

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Zyla & Kai (6/7/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Zyla & Kai by Kristina Forest!
Expected Release: June 7, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • This story of an unlikely couple — cynic and hopeless romantic — is one on my radar. I tend to enjoy that “grump & sunshine” trope in couples, no matter how much it annoys me sometimes, too. 😅I want to see them fall in love in flashbacks, and see the understanding between them grow into something more.
  • And yes, I expect flashbacks, because the crux of this novel is the mystery of their disappearance when they were broken up (or so everyone thought). I’m desperately hoping for a romantic elopment of some kind and not an ultimately sad story. I’m a little nervous about that though…
  • Considering this all happens on a mountain during a massive storm, I’m a bit worried that there might not be a happily-for-the-moment kind of ending. It might be trending that way and end with a tragic romeo-and-juliet mountainside rescue and/or double death. I don’t know. I’m in a rough place mentally so maybe that’s me projecting, because the cover CERTAINLY doesn’t look like it would go that direction. Just don’t break my heart here, Kristina Forest.

Summary

While on a school trip to the Poconos Mountains (in the middle of a storm) high school seniors, Zyla Matthews and Kai Johnson, run away together leaving their friends and family confused. As far as everyone knows, Zyla and Kai have been broken up for months. And honestly? Their break up hadn’t surprised anyone. Zyla and Kai met while working together at an amusement park the previous summer, and they couldn’t have been more different.

Zyla was a cynic about love. She’d witnessed the dissolution of her parents’ marriage early in life, and it left an indelible impression. Her only aim was graduating and going to fashion school abroad. Until she met Kai.

Kai was a serial monogamist and a hopeless romantic. He’d put a temporary pause on his dating life before senior year to focus on school and getting into his dream HBCU. Until he met Zyla.

Alternating between the past and present, we see the love story unfold from Zyla and Kai’s perspectives: how they first became the unlikeliest of friends over the summer, how they fell in love during the school year, and why they ultimately broke up… Or did they?

Romantic, heart-stirring and a little mysterious, Zyla & Kai will keep readers guessing until the last chapter.