Review: The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Public radio co-hosts navigate mixed signals in Rachel Lynn Solomon’s sparkling romantic comedy debut.

Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can’t imagine working anywhere else. But lately it’s been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who’s fresh off a journalism master’s program and convinced he knows everything about public radio.

When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it’s this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it’s not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts.

As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review. 

The Ex Talk publishes January 26, 2021. 

I really liked the premise of The Ex Talk. Fake Relationship is my favorite romance trope and I liked the twist to make it into a Fake Ex-Relationship. Add in my love of any book that includes journalists or writers and this book seemed like it was made for me. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but it still did have several enjoyable moments.

I liked Shay and Dominic together. There was some terrific banter between them that put a big smile on my face while I was reading. I really liked seeing them become friends and then become more. I thought they complemented each other well and I enjoyed every scene where they were cute together.

While Shay had likable moments, I found her frustrating most of the time. She was the definition of someone who keeps getting in her own way. She was very self involved and spent a lot of time blaming other people for her problems or her feelings. I especially didn’t like how she handled the big dramatic moment with Dominic.

While normally I love stories about journalists, it was just ok for me here. The book starts with Shay extolling the virtues of public radio and it kind of rubbed me the wrong way. She came off as so superior and condescending. And then her great big idea to revolutionize public radio is a dating show? Really? There was a lot of the characters having these ideas that they thought were so terrific that seemed kind of lame to me.

Overall, The Ex Talk ended up being just ok for me. While I really enjoyed Shay and Dominic’s banter and their growing relationship, the rest of the story was kind of hard to make myself get through. Shay’s total self-involvement, the too frequent sex scenes, and the overall superior attitude of the characters really brought the story down for me.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

Review: The Newlyweds by Arianne Richmonde

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

One marriage. One lie. Two sides to the story.

The moment Vivien meets Ashton, she knows she will be his wife and absolutely nothing will stop her.

Powerful, rich and from a good family, Ashton is everything Vivien is not. So, she molds herself into Ashton’s perfect soulmate.

Pouring his favorite vintage wine, whispering ‘I love you’ over dinner in front of friends and biting her tongue when she disagrees with him are simple sacrifices for the perfect marriage she has always craved.

When people begin to notice the bruises on her cheek, she holds their stares. There is no cry for help from Vivien. She simply keeps her mouth shut and lets the gossip continue.

If you saw Vivien nursing a black eye, you might be forgiven for thinking what everyone else does – that she is the victim in her marriage, but you’d be wrong. Vivien and Ashton’s life together is much more complicated than that. You will never guess the true story behind Vivien’s undying devotion to her husband. Nor could you possibly predict what she does next…

Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, Behind Closed Doors and The Perfect Couple. If you enjoy reading twisted psychological thrillers with bags of suspense, then you’ll love The Newlyweds from USA TODAY bestselling author Arianne Richmonde.

I received a copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Newlyweds publishes January 19, 2021. 

This is one of those books that sounded so intriguing in the synopsis, but the actual story failed to deliver. What should have been suspenseful and twisty came across as cliched and boring.

The first line of the synopsis mentions two sides to the story, so I was expecting Ashton’s POV at some point, but the story stayed in Vivien’s 1st person POV the whole time (though we do get a couple monologues from him in the final chapters). I think that even without the synopsis basically giving the whole plot away, I would’ve known very early on that Vivien is not what she appears to be. It made the first half of the book seem unbearably long. And the “big reveal” employed one of my least favorite narrative clichés – Vivien relays her whole backstory and scheme in a third person story that even begins with “once upon a time.” My eyes rolled so hard. Everything that happened after that was predictable and I’ll admit that I skimmed large parts of it just to make it to the end.

Overall, The Newlyweds was not for me. I was hoping for some fun cat-and-mouse type of suspense, but it all played out like a predictable Lifetime movie. I did like the setting, though. That and the fact that I actually felt compelled to finish the book and not DNF it, is why I’m giving this book 2 stars.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars

Review: Shipped by Angie Hockman

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it.

The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.

Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.

With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live?

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review. 

Shipped publishes January 19, 2021. 

Shipped started off pretty strongly for me. It had some fun banter and reminded me a lot The Hating Game. The characters were likable enough and the cruise setting was a nice change of pace. However, I felt like the story shifted focus towards the end and I started to lose interest. It ended up being just ok for me.

I did ship Henley and Graeme. The Hate-to-Love trope was more one-sided, with Henley not liking Graeme, but at least there’s a valid – if misguided – reason for it. I thought Graeme was really sweet and I liked watching how Henley’s view of him started to change.

Where the book started to lose me was when it shifted away from the romance and got kind of preachy about environmental issues. There’s even a kind of lengthy note from the author about it, along with a call for donations. There were also a few other blink-and-you’ll-miss-it social issues brought up that nothing really happens with. Homophobia. Immigration. Domestic abuse. It felt like halfway through the cute romance, the author suddenly remembered she wanted to write something with a little more substance. The things that happened with Henley’s work situation also played out in a really unrealistic and kind of cheesy manner.

Overall, Shipped started off strongly for me, but I started to lose interest by the end. While I don’t have a problem with Hocking trying to draw attention to environmental and social issues, they weren’t included as seamlessly as they needed to be and it made the latter half of the book a little jarring. However, if you like a dose of environmental activism with your Romance, Shipped might be for you.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

Review: The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

The USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair returns with another delicious, twisty novel–about a grand estate with many secrets, an orphan caught in a web of lies, and a young woman playing a sinister game.

1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she’s truly part of the family…until they ask her to help them with a harmless game–and nothing is ever the same.

2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It’s strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she’ll be staying at, she figures she’s got nothing to lose.

In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she’d imagined–even with damage from a fire decades before–but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there’s something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone…including her.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Perfect Guests publishes January 12, 2021. 

The Perfect Guests is a steadily paced, twisty story. Unfortunately, I found the twists predictable and I think that impacted how enjoyable I found the overall story.

The story is told in two timelines, one following Beth as she arrives at Raven Hall as a young teenager in the 80s, the other following Sadie in 2019 as she arrives at Raven Hall to play a role in a murder mystery party. There was also a third, anonymous POV that speaks up every few chapters. I thought the multiple POVs and timelines were well done. Though I did think Beth’s chapters were a little more interesting, I was never that upset when it was time to shift over to Sadie.

There are many twists and turns revealed throughout the story. I thought they were placed effectively, but there was exactly only one twist that I didn’t guess far before it was revealed. I thought they were all really predictable to anyone paying attention and so I never really felt any tension or suspense. It made this feel more like a Women’s Fiction story to me than a Mystery/Thriller.

Overall, The Perfect Guests was just ok for me. I thought the multiple POVs and timelines were well done, but was a little disappointed in how predictable I found the mystery. If you’re able to just enjoy a story as it goes without trying to predict anything about the mystery, you will probably enjoy this one a little bit more than I did.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

Review: The Mistletoe Trap (Heart in the Game #2) by Cindi Madsen

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the moment Julie sees her best friend, Gavin, in the airport, it’s like no time at all has gone by instead of months and months. No matter how long they’ve been apart, their relationship has always been steady, comfortable, and decidedly just friends. Even though their meddling parents have hung what seems like unlimited amounts of mistletoe everywhere she goes this holiday season, Julie knows some things will never change.

Gavin is well-aware his family’s wanted him and Julie to get together since forever, even though he’s been friend-zoned since they could talk—and he’s been happy to play that role. After all, as the new starting quarterback for the San Antonio Mustangs, he’s got enough on his plate without adding romance to the mix.

But between playing elves in the holiday bazaar to nights spent one-on-one watching rom-coms or soaking in their town’s hot springs, suddenly the “reverse parent trap” they’ve fallen into is actually starting to work. But this could be one scheme where letting themselves get trapped might be way too dangerous.

Each book in the Heart in the Game series is STANDALONE:
* The Wedding Deal
* The Mistletoe Trap

I received a copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. It does not impact my review. 

What I Liked:

*I love a good Friends to More Romance and Madsen does them well. I really enjoyed Julie and Gavin’s friendship and shipped them to get together.

*Though I thought their parents bordered on rude and over the top sometimes when it came to wanting Julie and Gavin to be together, I did really like how close their families were. It’s nice to see happy marriages and even nicer to see big, happy families. It made me wish my family was as close to another as Julie and Gavin’s are.

*I liked the small town and all the cute holiday traditions.

*While I had some problems with the evolution of their relationship (I’ll get to that), I liked the big, cheesy, romantic gesture at the end. It was cute and made me smile.

What Didn’t Work for Me:

*I’m not a fan of the whole “looking for a casual fling” thing. After Julie breaks up with her boyfriend and he calls her boring, she decides she needs a fling to prove she’s not boring and also improve her bedroom skills. This is kind of a common Romance plotline and I never appreciate it. It made me like Julie a little less.

*I also am not a fan of the Friends-with-Benefits plotline. Though we know that the couple are obviously in love with each other, I didn’t like that they – especially Gavin – chalked it up to just being a new physical attraction and wanted to work it out of their systems and then move on with their friendship. I also didn’t like how either one of them handled the fall out when they realized it wasn’t that simple.

*I thought the book was a little longer than it needed to be. For how little actually happens in the book, it could have been about half the length.

Overall

Overall, I did enjoy The Mistletoe Trap. Though it’s definitely not my favorite Madsen book, it had it’s cute moments and helped put me in the holiday mood. If you’re looking for a Christmas Romance, you should give this one a try.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

Review: Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

This story begins with a funeral. One of three brothers is dead, mourned by his siblings. But which one? And how? And, most importantly: why?

William, Brian, and Luke are each born a year apart in a lower middle class Catholic family in 1960s Dublin. William, the eldest, rises to the top of the heap in the film industry as a successful movie producer. Luke, the baby of the family, surprises everyone by morphing into a worldwide pop star. Brian, the compliant middle son, is the eternal adult in the room: the helpful, steady one, the manager of finances and careers.

But none of them is actually quite what he seems. Wounded by childhood, they have betrayed one another in myriad ways, hiding behind little lies that have developed into full blown treachery. With an unnerving eye for the complexities of families, Nugent delves into the secret life of a deeply troubled household and provides stunning insights into the many forces that shape us from childhood.

Hailed by #1 New York Times bestselling author A.J. Finn as “a dark jewel of a novel,” Liz Nugent’s new work of fiction follows three working class Irish brothers, and delves into the many ways families can wreak emotional havoc across generations.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Little Cruelties publishes November 10, 2020. 

I went into Little Cruelties expecting a psychological thriller and some suspense. Instead, I think this book is another case where Men’s Fiction should be a genre because if this same story was told with three sisters instead of three brothers, it would definitely fall under the Women’s Fiction category.

The story is told through the first person POVs of three brothers, Williams, Brian, and Luke. The book covers decades and swings around from one year to another in no organized fashion that I could discern. Before each brother’s section of chapters are short excerpts from an unknown brother’s view, discussing the funeral and aftermath of one of the other brother’s death. This is really the only bit of suspense in the whole book, though. The rest of the chapters don’t really even allude to someone being murdered, though they all certainly have the motives for it. We don’t find out which brother is dead until the final chapter and by then I was so fed up with these characters that I hardly even cared.

I always struggle with really character-driven books that feature such awful characters. There’s a small amount of sympathy for them because they had such a dysfunctional childhood, which carried into adulthood, but that excuse really only goes so far. Luke also gets a bit of a pass because of his mental health issues, but William and Brian were just straight up despicable. I didn’t enjoy reading about them and often wondered why I kept going. I think I kept hoping that there would either be redemption arcs or some real suspense would start to build. Neither happened.

Overall, Little Cruelties was not for me. I didn’t really ever care about the characters and I while I’m normally a fan of alternate timelines, the haphazard manner it jumped around here didn’t work for me. I also expected a lot more of a psychological thriller/suspense than family drama. However, I did think the first person POVS were well done and that’s why it’s getting two stars instead of one from me.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars

Review: Little Threats by Emily Schultz

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Both a taut whodunit and a haunting snapshot of the effects of a violent crime, Little Threats tells the story of a woman who served fifteen years in prison for murder…and now it’s time to find out if she’s guilty.

In the summer of 1993, twin sisters Kennedy and Carter Wynn are embracing the grunge era and testing every limit in their privileged Richmond suburb. But Kennedy’s teenage rebellion goes too far when, after a night of partying in the woods, her best friend, Haley, is murdered, and suspicion quickly falls upon Kennedy. She can’t remember anything about the night in question, and this, along with the damning testimony from a college boy who both Kennedy and Haley loved, is enough to force Kennedy to enter a guilty plea.

In 2008, Kennedy is released into a world that has moved on without her. Carter has grown distant as she questions Kennedy’s innocence, and begins a relationship with someone who could drive the sisters apart forever. The twins’ father, Gerry, is eager to protect the family’s secrets and fragile bonds. But Kennedy’s return brings the tragedy back to the surface, along with a whole new wave of media. When a crime show host comes to town asking questions, believing the murder wasn’t wasn’t as simple as it seemed, murky memories of Haley’s death come to light. As new suspects emerge and the suburban woods finally give up their secrets, two families may be destroyed again.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review. 

Little Threats publishes November 10, 2020. 

Based on that intriguing synopsis, I expected Little Threats to have a little more mystery and a little more thrills than it actually produced. Unfortunately, I just found it a little – maybe a lot – disappointing.

As I read this book, two words continually came to mind. Pretentious and Familiar. I can’t even count how many thrillers out there revolve around a character not being able to remember some violent and tragic event. It’s a cliché for a reason, though, right? Some books use it really effectively and some not so much. Also, the whole “poor little rich girl” thing. The girls who have every opportunity and advantage rebel against their privilege by doing inane things like shoplifting and drugs and dating bad boys. I’ve read it a hundred times before and I found myself just really bored for so much of the book. And the characters, with the exception of Everett, were truly awful. So much of the story is just them being in their own heads and the writing was so pretentious I couldn’t really take it seriously.

I found the mystery pretty underwhelming, as well. I read some reviews that talked about multiple twists throughout the story and a shocking ending and I didn’t get any of that. I thought it was predictable and completely lacked suspense.

Overall, Little Threats was not for me. I found the plot cliched, the writing pretentious and the pace extremely slow. The book was heavily character focused, which might have saved it if I had cared anything about them. Everett was the one character that came across as sympathetic, but again, this wasn’t enough to turn the book around for me. This isn’t one that I would recommend, but I have seen some good reviews on it, so it might just be me.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars

Review: Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of I Owe You One, an utterly delightful novel about a woman who ditches her dating app for a writer’s retreat in Italy–only to find that real love comes with its own filters

“As close to perfect as romantic comedies get.”–Jenny Colgan, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop on the Corner

Call Ava romantic, but she thinks love should be found in the real world, not on apps that filter men by height, job, or astrological sign. She believes in feelings, not algorithms. So after a recent breakup and dating app debacle, she decides to put love on hold and escapes to a remote writers’ retreat in coastal Italy. She’s determined to finish writing the novel she’s been fantasizing about, even though it means leaving her close-knit group of friends and her precious dog, Harold, behind.

At the retreat, she’s not allowed to use her real name or reveal any personal information. When the neighboring martial arts retreat is canceled and a few of its attendees join their small writing community, Ava, now going by “Aria,” meets “Dutch,” a man who seems too good to be true. The two embark on a baggage-free, whirlwind love affair, cliff-jumping into gem-colored Mediterranean waters and exploring the splendor of the Italian coast. Things seem to be perfect for Aria and Dutch.

But then their real identities–Ava and Matt–must return to London. As their fantasy starts to fade, they discover just how different their personal worlds are. From food choices to annoying habits to sauna etiquette . . . are they compatible in anything? And then there’s the prickly situation with Matt’s ex-girlfriend, who isn’t too eager to let him go. As one mishap follows another, it seems while they love each other, they just can’t love each other’s lives. Can they reconcile their differences to find one life together?

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review. 

Love Your Life publishes on October 27, 2020. 

Love Your Life was pretty classic Kinsella. The story was cute with charming, if sometimes very frustrating, characters.

There was a lot that I enjoyed about this book. The cast of characters and quirky situations they found themselves in made me laugh out loud often. While they all were a little unbelievable, Ava and Matt’s group of friends were definitely my favorite part of the book. I loved the scenes when they were all together and the banter was great. I even though Matt’s awful parents provided opportunity for a lot of humor.

While the friendships were great, the romantic relationship is what I struggled with. Ava and Matt have a whirlwind romance during a one week writing retreat where they’re not allowed to use their real names or talk about their personal lives. They both form a picture of who the other person really is and declare their love by the end of the retreat. They’re thrilled to find out they both live in the same city, but they quickly find out that their real life selves are not anything like what they expected. They forge ahead into a relationship anyways, even though it’s obvious from the start that they are totally incompatible. What really drove me crazy, though, was how Ava tried to pretend like everything was fine.

Have you ever noticed that the people who yell about tolerance the loudest are often the most intolerant people? That was Ava. She came off like she was free spirited and accepting of everything and everyone, but in reality she was very judgmental about anything that differed from what she thought. She also blamed all of the relationship problems on Matt instead of admitting anything wrong on her part. Matt also didn’t help things by refusing to communicate most of the time. I honestly thought this story would end up with them not being together. I even found myself rooting for Ava to wind up with one of Matt’s roommates. However, as this is a Romance, the moral of the story is obviously going to be more about how love can help people change for the better instead of how it sometimes doesn’t work out.

Overall, I had a pretty good time reading Love Your Life, but my frustration with Ava kept me from enjoying the story as much as I wanted to. I loved the group of friends and could have gone on reading much more about them. While the romance did work out for me in the end, the journey there left me more annoyed than anything else. This wasn’t my favorite Kinsella book, but I’ll definitely still be reading more from her in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

Review: In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners, asks what happens when wishes come true…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

In a Holidaze publishes October 6, 2020. 

Whenever I am in a book slump, I can always count on Christina Lauren to pull me out. Before I picked this up, I hadn’t been having great luck with the books I was reading, but In a Holidaze definitely broke me out of my rut.

The story ended up being a little different than I thought it would be, though. The synopsis mentions “hilarious disasters” send Mae back to start the day over and over again and I guess I expected a little more hijinks. What sends her back are life-threatening accidents – and not funny ones. And she didn’t “reboot” as often as I expected, either. I thought there would be several reimaginings of the same scene, but this was limited to only one or two specific scenes before that part of the plot was basically left behind and Mae goes on to live several days in a row that we hadn’t seen before. This isn’t really a bad thing as I like how the story unfolded, I just wish the authors would have committed a little more to the hook of the plot.

That said, I enjoyed watching Mae’s week of Christmas vacation unfold. Every year, her family joins a few other families at a cabin to spend the holiday together. They’ve been doing it since before Mae was even born and the week is steeped in tradition. I loved the cast of characters. They were such a fun, close group of people and I would love to have a group like them in my life. Included in that group is Andrew, who Mae has had a crush on for half her life. He’s always thought she had a thing for his younger brother, so he’s always treated her like more of a little sister than potential love interest. When Mae decides the universe is telling her to go for it with Andrew, she lets him know how she feels and a bit of a slow burn romance begins.

I really enjoyed the romantic development between Mae and Andrew. He was just so sweet. It seemed almost impossible that he could be so perfect and I kept waiting for him to do something awful. Thankfully, he is just a really great guy. There was a bit of time where I got annoyed with him for how he reacted to something, but overall I thought he was a great romantic lead and I definitely shipped him with Mae.

Overall, I really enjoyed In a Holidaze. While I wish it had committed to the whole “groundhog day” gimmick a little more, I liked the romance and the family atmosphere of the cabin. While I did like Mae’s journey to becoming a more confident person, I thought the “big lesson” was a little underwhelming and could have done without a passage regarding religion that I found a little offensive. However, Christina Lauren’s addictive writing and the cute romance definitely broke me out of the reading slump I was in and this book is one I would recommend to Romance fans.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Review: A Path to Redeeming Love: A Forty Day Devotional by Francine Rivers and Karin Stock Buursma

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

This one-of-a-kind devotional based on the timeless classic novel Redeeming Love provides forty days of inspiration–featuring essays from the author on her beloved novel.

A Path to Redeeming Love: A 40-Day Devotional welcomes readers to revisit Francine Rivers’s life-changing story of God’s all-consuming love in an inspiring new way: a personal, 6-week journey through Angel and Michael’s iconic love story.

Following the novel’s key themes–Rejected, Resigned, Rescued, Redeemed, Reconciled, Restored–each daily devotion includes a Redeeming Love story tie-in with an excerpt from the novel; selected quotes from Scripture embodying both the message of the devotion and its theme; and prompts for reflection and activities including Bible study, prayer, journaling, and outreach. Each theme begins with a personal essay from Francine in which she shares stories from her life and her thoughts on Angel, Michael, and God’s unconditional and unending love. A meaningful devotional with depth and heart, this book is a perfect companion to Redeeming Love for its many fans.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

A Path to Redeeming Love: A 40 Day Devotional publishes October 13, 2020. 

Even though it’s been many years since I’ve read Redeeming Love, it’s a story that has stayed with me. I still find myself thinking about it from time to time and comparing other books to it. I was looking for a new daily devotional when I came across A Path to Redeeming Love and it felt like an obvious choice.

I usually prefer devotionals that involve a little more study – scriptures to look up, questions to answer, etc. While this devotional didn’t have as much as that, it was longer than a lot of other one verse/one page ones I’ve tried and I liked that. Each day starts with an excerpt from Redeeming Love, which is then analyzed in respect to the theme of the day’s lesson. It goes deeper than the book, though, and the lesson digs into several passages of scripture. The verses are all included in the text, but I also liked to look them up separately for more context. Each day ends with a small assignment – memorize a verse, meditate/pray on a subject, reach out to someone who has been an important part of your spiritual journey, etc.

I really enjoyed the devotional. I loved the passages of Redeeming Love and it has really made me want to re-read the book. While the story is obviously a romance, it’s also a parable of God’s love. Rivers mentions that she has received many responses from readers about how they wish they could find a man to love them like Michael loves Angel and she tells them that they can. The selfless, sacrificial way he loves her is the same way that God loves us. I found the daily installments easy to read and understand and often relatable. I definitely recommend this to someone who is looking for new devotional, especially if you were a fan of the book. I’m going to be buying a copy of the devotional for my mother, who is the one who introduced me to Redeeming Love.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars