Spoiler Free Review: Set On You by Amy Lea

Title: Set On You

Author:ย Amy Lea

Pub. Date: May 10th 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format:ย eARC

Publisher: Berkley Books

Pages:ย 384 pages

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๐Ÿ–คARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review๐Ÿ–ค

Fitstagrammer Crystal Chen has built her platform by breaking gym stereotypes and throwing positivity at the haters who can’t help but troll her posts. She’s just experienced a break-up that’s left her feeling like setting some boundaries. Tired of having surface level flings and craving a deeper connection, Crystal is on high alert for any guy with red flags. To top it off she finds herself in squat wars with the new guy at the gym who she’s dubbed The Squat Rack Thief. This guy doesn’t follow any of the gyms unspoken rules leaving Crystal both appalled and determined to beat him to the squat rack each night. Soon a tit-for-tat type relationship develops and with it, a whole dose of sexual chemistry.ย 

Hopefully Dear Reader, you haven’t read the Goodreads synopsis for this book since I feel it gives away a bit too much and I’m glad I went in with very minimal info. For starters, we don’t get Squat Rack Thief’s name right away and I felt this added a fun mystery and led to a surprising reveal. These characters face a couple of challenges before their romance takes off but nothing they couldn’t get through, it was more of a battle of wills playing out. Crystal isn’t trying to become anyone’s rebound (again) and she’s also fiercely and proudly protective of her followers. She dedicates her time to working privately with clients and posting motivational videos/captions that we get to read in the book. We also get to see both the positive & negative comments she gets daily and how she handles having a large platform as a plus size Chinese American Fitstagrammer. Squat Rack Thief is described as looking like Chris Evans and having killer abs but he also deals with some stereotypes and Crystal brings those to the surface.ย 

All images originate from Pinterest

CW (some of which are mentioned in the author’s note): Cheating, Cancer, death of a loved one mentioned, cyberbullying, fatphobia, references to racism, fitness/diet culture

At its core this book carries such a strong message on what exactly “body positivity” really is on an individual basis and what confidence and self-worth really looks like on the daily. Any book that can make me self reflect is one I’ll recommend and this is one I feel did that and more. Personally, my fitness journey like crystals stemmed from wanting to find my way back to a more confident ME. It’s not tied to a number on the scale but rather a feeling of happiness and comfort in my own skin. There’s also the fact that Crystal doesn’t have a traditional job or career, she has built a strong following and with it acquired some endorsements. Her loving traditional self-made father struggles with her choices and that too was interesting to see play out. All in all, we have a independent woman who has worked hard to achieve success, confidence and up her self worth but that doesn’t mean every day is a good day.

“I don’t think confidence and self-worth is something you magically attain. And you don’t simply hold onto it forever like a tangible object. It’s fluid. You can be confident in every aspect except one. Or something could happen and all your confidence can be shattered in an instant.”

The journey Crystal is on is hella relatable down to setting healthy boundaries with the male love interest. Yes there were moments where they bent the rules & gave into their cravings but there was also a clear line of communication. I really would’ve loved for this to have been multiple POV cause I was dying to know what Squat Rack Thief was thinking. Especially during the last 15% where that communication they maintained all throughout was put on pause. Otherwise this was a laugh-out-loud funny, sexy, empowering, and at times five chili peppers steamy read. There’s a strong cast of supporting characters made up of family members and friends, each of them well fleshed out with tons of personality. Something to look forward to? possibly? well, Crystal’s sister is introduced as a Bookstagrammer/Nurse and I’m more than READY for her story! One can hope amiright?!? Set on You by Amy Lea hits shelves May 10th!

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Spoiler Free Review: The Book Of Cold Cases by Simone St. James

Title: The Book Of Cold Cases

Author:ย Simone St. James

Pub. Date:ย March 15th 2022

Genre:ย Mystery Thriller/Paranormal

Format:ย eARC

Publisher: Berkley

Pages:ย 344

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โ˜†โ˜†ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest reviewโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Characters: 7/10ย  ย Atmosphere: 10/10ย  Writing Style: 9/10ย  Plot: 7/10ย  Intrigue: 7/10ย  Logic/Relationships: 7/10ย  Enjoyment: 7/10

Rating: 54/7.7 =ย ย โ˜†โ˜†ย 4ย Starsโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Rating system created byย The Book Roastย 

๐—ง๐—›๐—˜ ๐—•๐—ข๐—ข๐—ž ๐—ข๐—™ ๐—–๐—ข๐—Ÿ๐—— ๐—–๐—”๐—ฆ๐—˜๐—ฆ is my first Simone St James read even though I have their other books on my shelves. St. James just happens to be one of those authors I had a hunch that I would vibe with their writing style and I’m satisfied with this taste test. Opting for the audiobook was a solid choice considering that we get three narrators who slowly unwind this tale in past and present timelines. The mystery suspense is super amped up while we follow our narrator Shea Collins, a receptionist who spends her evenings working on her crime blog. Shea is a survivor from an attempted abduction at the age of nine. She lives with some PTSD that prevents her from ever riding in cars and what some may view as an obsession with cold cases. Shea goes down a rabbit hole when she crosses paths with Beth Greer, the towns wealthy resident who was once accused of murder. Howโ€™d she clear her name? Did she really kill her own father or those other random family men? Why does she still live in her family home surrounded by her parents things stuck in time? Shea gets the opportunity of a lifetime when Beth who was acquitted of all charges decides to grant her an interview. There are aspects of this book that are absolutely reminiscent of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, just in a small town setting sprinkled with a bit of paranormal happenings.

This was a solid 4 ๐Ÿ’ซ read that I really enjoyed, my only wish was that it had been a bit more eerie. Even though it is a mystery, I found myself quickly piecing together certain aspects. That being said, the paranormal direction that it took introduced a whole other theory in this whodunnit. Iโ€™ve heard from other readers that of all the St. James books, this one did scale it down a bit with the haunted aspects. I haven’t read any of their other books to compare however, I felt that I would’ve much rather enjoyed if the introduction of the paranormal aspects was executed earlier on in the story. There’s also a super slow burn romance that doesn’t take center stage to the story but I found myself rooting for. One things for sure, St. James is anuthor I’ll be keeping on my radar and The Broken Girls will be the next book I read by them ๐Ÿ–ค


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Spoiler Free Review: Scorpica by G.R. Macallister

Title: Scorpica

Author:ย G.R. Macallister

Pub. Date:ย February 22nd 2022

Genre: Fantasy/LGBTQIA+

Format:ย eARC

Publisher: Saga Press

Pages:ย 448

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โ˜†โ˜†ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest reviewโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Characters: 8/10ย  ย Atmosphere: 10/10ย  Writing Style: 9/10ย  Plot: 7/10ย  Intrigue: 0/10ย ย Logic/Relationships: 10/10ย  Enjoyment: 7/10

Rating: 51/7.2 =ย ย โ˜†โ˜†ย 4ย Starsโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Rating system created byย The Book Roastย 

โ˜†โ˜† ๐€๐œ๐ซ๐จ๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐…๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐๐ฎ๐ž๐ž๐ง๐๐จ๐ฆ๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ค๐ง๐จ๐ฐ๐ง ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ฅ๐, ๐จ๐ง ๐š๐ง ๐š๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐š๐ ๐ž ๐๐š๐ฒ, ๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐š ๐ก๐ฎ๐ง๐๐ซ๐ž๐ ๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ฅ๐๐ซ๐ž๐ง ๐ฐ๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐›๐จ๐ซ๐ง. ๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฒ ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ก๐ž๐ ๐ก๐ž๐š๐๐ฅ๐จ๐ง๐  ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐›๐ž๐ญ๐ฐ๐ž๐ž๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฐ๐š๐ซ๐ซ๐ข๐จ๐ซ๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฌ๐ก๐ž๐ฉ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐๐ฌ, ๐Ÿ๐š๐ซ๐ฆ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐œ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ญ๐ข๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ, ๐ฌ๐œ๐ซ๐ข๐›๐ž๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ก๐ž๐š๐ฅ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ, ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ช๐ฎ๐ž๐ž๐ง๐ฌ. โ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Five Queendoms have ruled over the land in peace for five hundred years until the Drought of Girls arrives. When girls who are the warriors, healers, magic wielders, and scribes in this world cease being born, the Queendoms turn against one another. In a land of many religions, prayers go up to their different Gods in hopes of ending this curse. Told in multi-POV mainly from the perspectives of the Queen of Arca & Scorpica, this is the start to what has been described as the female Game of Thrones. We have a matriarchal society where men have lesser magic if any all, theirs is more for cosmetic purposes since their role in society is mostly as stay at home husbands. They do not have the right to vote or hold any office, they’re tasked with rearing children in this world where polygamy is the norm. The exception being the land of Scorpica where men are not allowed entry and women warriors travel out of their lands every five years to procreate. Male born babies are sold off and female babies are welcomed as future warriors. When the Drought of Girls begins, all Queendoms look to one another for the source of this curse. Power plays are set into motion by each queen to protect their positions of power at any and all costs.ย 

This is the type of Fantasy that will satisfy the reader who enjoys thoroughly fleshed out world building, political machinations, and slow but steady storytelling that feels like it’s all leading up to something greater. Although quite dense at times with a TON of characters, the short chapters really make it easier to follow the many story lines at once. I really enjoyed learning of the different lands and their Queendoms because each has it’s own specialty they’re known for sort of like the seven kingdoms of Westeros (Game of Thrones). We get to spend some time learning of the warriors in Scorpica, Scribes in the Bastion, deal makers/traders in Paxim, and Sorcerers in Arca. Some lands were explored more than others but I was satisfied with the two we spent the most time in (Scorpica & Arca) since they wield the most power through physical and magical strengths. A good majority of the cast of characters are queer and most relationships are Polyamorous. I love a good set of supporting side characters especially when they’re sort of found family. We get that here in a group of misfits/thieves we meet on the journey of one of the main characters we follow. I’m hoping to meet these characters on the page again after getting fully invested in their lives. This was definitely a foundation setting book to what has the potential to be an EPIC fantasy. My guess is that the sequel will hit the ground running and swords will be clashing. For this to be the first fully matriarchal/feminist Fantasy I’ve read…MORE please? haha! this hit the spot ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ


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Spoiler Free Review: Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma

Title: Dating Dr. Dil

Author:ย Nisha Sharma

Pub. Date:ย March 15th 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format:ย eARC

Publisher: Avonย 

Pages:ย 352

ย 

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โ˜†โ˜†ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest reviewโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Characters: 10/10ย  ย Atmosphere: 7/10ย  Writing Style: 10/10ย  Plot: 8/10ย  Intrigue: 0/10ย ย Logic/Relationships: 8/10ย  Enjoyment: 10/10

Rating: 53/7.5 =ย ย โ˜†โ˜† 4ย Starsโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Rating system created byย The Book Roastย 

*โ€ข.ยธโ™ก ๐˜ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜บ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฌ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ, ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ตโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ญ. ๐˜ ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ธ ๐˜ช๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฌ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜š๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜บ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ด. ๐˜“๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ณ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฑ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ฅ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ต. ๐˜๐˜ตโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ณ๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ.โ€ โ™กยธ.โ€ข*

ย Kareena Mann dreams of having a love marriage like her parents had but sheโ€™s considered to be a difficult catch for having what some consider to be idealistic views on love. Her interests mainly lie in restoring her moms classic car, remodeling her childhood home, reading romance novels and swiping right on dating apps. When her dad announces heโ€™s selling their home, Kareena makes a last minute ditch effort/deal with him. If she gets engaged within four months he will gift her the house she grew up in.ย  Things get complicated when she has a very public argument with beloved Dr. Prem Dil on national TV. Neither believes they can possibly have anything in common because of their opposing views on love but quickly see that there is one thing they can do for one another that is sort of mutually beneficial. While Kareena is trying to buy her childhood home, Prem is trying to open up a medical practice to help the South Asian community. Both need money and are of the age where their families are pushing for marriage. What you can expect: Fake dating/Enemies-to-lovers trope, funny meddlesome families, dating scene highs/lows, great sex scenes, and yea some annoying nicknames ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚

Too often I pick up a “rom-com” paperback thinking of all the classic movies that made me fall in love with them in the first place like The Proposal and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This doesn’t often lead to the discovery of a new favorite because they rarely ever have that perfect balance of romance + comedy. I requested the eGalley of Dating Dr. Dil on Netgalley when I heard the male love interest was a Cardiologist who doesn’t believe in love or rather fallingย in love cause doesn’t that make for an interesting set-up? Why Yes! yes it totally does! I don’t remember the last time I had so much fun reading a book and it honestly got me out of a slump. The Auntie network made up of Kareena’s well meaning aunties alone had me giggling and SMH into the night. We get to know both their families through Whatsapp messages and If like myself you love a big family meddling in love affairs then this is a MUST read!ย 

The topic of arranged marriages vs. love marriages was explored in a positive light with instances where both have worked out in a successful pairing. Although the deal Kareena and Prem decide on would get them each what they’re looking for, I appreciated the emphasis on how Kareena would be viewed differently just for being a woman than Prem. A fake dating arrangement that can both help and harm Kareena in her dating life post situationship. I LOVED how Kareena did NOT stop dating just because of this arrangement, she stayed true to her character wanting to find true love. We do get to see her go on some of these dates which were frankly VERY close to what is actually out there in the dating pool *nightmares for days*ย but also added plenty of comedic moments. What I wasn’t expecting was for the spice to be at peak levels but Nisha Sharma delivered ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ I’ve seen many low reviews given simply because of the nickname Prem gives his manhood but I was not bothered at all by that and it didnโ€™t lessen my enjoyment of the book.ย  I do believe there are more stories to be told since we do get introduced to Prem’s BFFs who are fellow single Desi boys. Kareena has some single friends as well and I would absolutely read the next book in this seriesโ€ฆas long as we get more from the Aunties network ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ


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Review: I’m So Not Over You by Kosoko Jackson

Title: I’m So Not Over You

Author:Kosoko Jackson

Pub. Date:ย February 22nd 2022

Genre:ย Contemporary Romance/LGBTQIA+

Format:ย eARC

Publisher:ย Berkley Romanceย 

Pages:ย 368

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โ˜†โ˜†ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest reviewโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Characters: 7/10ย  ย Atmosphere: 5/10ย  Writing Style: 7/10ย ย Plot: 5/10ย  Intrigue: 0/10ย ย Logic/Relationships: 5/10ย ย Enjoyment: 7/10

Rating: 36/5.1 =ย ย โ˜†โ˜†ย 3ย Starsโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Rating system created byย The Book Roastย 

What would you do if your ex sent you an urgent text to meet him at a cafรฉ post break up? Kian Andrews has had many thoughts and emotions since last seeing his ex Hudson Rivers. Could he possibly be having second thoughts about their break-up? or an apology? What he wasnโ€™t expecting was for Hudson to ask a huge favor, to fake date him for the sake of getting his wealthy parents off his back. Hudson hasnโ€™t given into his familyโ€™s wishes of joining their business, instead heโ€™s chosen to carve his own career path. His relationship with Kian was something his parents not only accepted but praised him for. ๐—œโ€™๐—บ ๐—ฆ๐—ผ ๐—ก๐—ผ๐˜ ๐—ข๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฌ๐—ผ๐˜‚ is a queer second chance romance paired with some fake dating that is set between New York City and Georgia. Our MCโ€™s are from very different socioeconomic backgrounds and are night and day in personalities making a strong case for opposites attract. We follow this couple as they revisit old wounds and decide whether or no their relationship deserves another go around.

This is one romance I wish had been more fleshed out since it featured the second chance trope. I really wanted to know why Kian and Hudson broke up in the first place…was it differences in socioeconomic class? Kian’s constant commentary on these differences? or was it something entirely different? I still feel the reason was needed before plunging into the fake dating negotiations that took place. ๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—œ ๐—Ÿ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ? I enjoyed Kianโ€™s sarcasm and dry humor when met with Hudsonโ€™s southern charm, their on the page chemistry that made for *chefs kiss* steamy scenes, a supportive friend group, the presence of strong sibling bonds, and female side characters who are driven and fiercely independent. There was enough witty banter and intriguing side characters in this book to guarantee I pick up whatever Kosoko Jackson writes next ๐Ÿ–ค


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Spoiler Free Review: Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake

Title: Delilah Green Doesn’t Care

Author: Ashley Herring Blake

Pub. Date: February 22nd 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance/LGBTQIA+

Format: eARC

Publisher: Berkley Romance 

Pages: 384

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | LIBROFM | AMAZON

*ARC received in exchange for an honest review*

Twelve years have passed since Delilah Green turned her back on Bright Falls and started a new chapter of her life in New York City. The small town holds a lot of memories, many of them sad and painful. After the loss of her mother, Delilah’s father re-married and that came with a step-sister she never quite felt comfortable around. When her estranged step-sister Astrid comes looking to hire her as a photographer for her wedding, Delilah is torn between ignoring the request or returning to a place she had sworn away. Life as a waitress/wedding photographer sustains her real dream which is art through a lens that focuses on queer people. She can’t really pass up the chance to make some real money from Astrids gig so she decides to go with no real plans to stick around. That all changes when she crosses paths with Astrid’s “stuck-up” BFF Claire Sutherland and decides to place a bet with her step-sister who is super protective of her besties. 

Claire Sutherland is a single mom raising a an 11 year old girl who also runs the towns local bookshop. In between dealing with her ex and his unreliability, she hasn’t had much time for dating and she doesn’t do random hook-ups. Her relationship with her child’s father has left her with some trust/abandonment issues. She most certainly doesn’t think someone like Delilah Green who is flighty & into casual sex, is a good idea to start something up with. Wedding preparations along with some sideline hijinks to stop Astrid from marrying the absolute biggest chauvinistic jerk on the planet, force these two to work together. It’s definitely a case of instant sparks flying paired with undeniable chemistry that WORKED! 

*Images respectively from Pinterest & IMDB

CW: Cancer, death of a parent(s), grief, cheating, misogyny, abandonment

I’ve never been one to fan cast while reading any book but these characters were so well fleshed out that only Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) & Laura Prepon (OITNB) came to mind. From the vintage pin-up style Claire so flawlessly executes to Delilah’s more wild devil-may-care attitude, these two had chemistry that jumped off the page. I LOVED them both and got so invested in their lives and the baggage they each were carrying. At its core we have a story about acceptance and learning how to allow yourself to be loved both romantically and platonically. The female friendships go back for these women to their childhood days and tied to that are feelings of being excluded and made out to feel like an outcast. Some of these characters (including supporting cast) are working through grief, co-parenting relationships, toxic relationships, feeling like they have to seek validation, and abandonment issues. Yes it’s absolutely a full on romance but it also has a huge emphasis on friendship which made it all the more sweeter. When I was in the book I didn’t want to put it down & when I was away from it, all I thought about was my next free moment to jump back in. I’m 100% the type of bookworm who loves character driven books but I was pleasantly surprised by the subplot and how much fun it added to the main storyline. Also! I can’t not mention this. The love shown to a woman’s body post having had a child was SUPER appreciated by this bookworm and just downright beautiful to see on the page. This is my first read from Ashley Herring Blake and I can already tell I may have found a new favorite author. There’s an excerpt to the next book in this series which follows one of the characters in this book and even that was *Chefs Kiss* enough to keep me holding on haha! 

Things to look forward to on February 22nd…

๐Ÿ“šAn Idyllic small town with a cute Bookstore
๐Ÿ“ธSingle Mom finding love
๐Ÿ“šBookworm MCโ€™s
๐Ÿ“ธA tight knit female friend group
๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆSapphic main characters
๐Ÿ“ธPhotography explored
๐Ÿ“šCo-Parenting ups/downs
๐Ÿ“ธComplex sibling relationship
๐Ÿ“šCampsite Pranks
๐ŸŒถSteamy AF sex scenes


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Spoiler Free Review: Ramรณn and Julieta by Alana Quintana Albertson

Title: Ramรณn and Julieta

Author:Alana Quintana Albertson

Pub. Date:ย February 1st 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Latinx

Format:ย eGalley

Publisher: Berkley Books

Pages:ย 304 pages

GOODREADSย |ย BARNES & NOBLEย |ย LIBROFMย |ย AMAZONย 

โ˜†โ˜†ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest reviewโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Characters: 7/10ย  ย Atmosphere: 10/10ย  Writing Style: 7/10ย ย Plot: 10/10ย  Intrigue: 0/10ย ย Logic/Relationships: 5/10ย  Enjoyment: 7/10

Rating: 46/6.5 =ย ย โ˜†โ˜†ย 3ย Starsโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Rating system created byย The Book Roastย 

โ•ฐโ˜†โ˜† ๐–๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐Ÿ๐š๐ญ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐š๐œ๐จ๐ฌ ๐›๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐‘๐š๐ฆ๐จฬ๐ง ๐š๐ง๐ ๐‰๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ข๐ž๐ญ๐š ๐ญ๐จ๐ ๐ž๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ƒ๐š๐ฒ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ƒ๐ž๐š๐, ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ซ-๐œ๐ซ๐จ๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ž๐ ๐ฉ๐š๐ข๐ซ ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ฆ๐š๐ค๐ž ๐š ๐œ๐ก๐จ๐ข๐œ๐ž: ๐š๐œ๐œ๐ž๐ฉ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐›๐ข๐ญ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐จ๐ ๐ซ๐ข๐ฏ๐š๐ฅ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐๐ซ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ ๐š๐ฉ๐š๐ซ๐ญ ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ซ ๐ญ๐จ ๐š ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ. โ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Iโ€™ve been waiting what seems all my life for a taco lovers romance so it was without a doubt a must read when I saw this title make its rounds. We have our modern day Latinx Romeo and Juliet who are literally from opposite sides of the bridge in San Diego, specifically Barrio Logan. A community that has for a very long time been home to many Mexican-Americans who try to preserve the rich culture. Thereโ€™s so much to appreciate and love in this book, from the respect given to Dia De Los Muertos to the emphasis placed on discussing Gentefication (not to be confused with Gentrification) and its trickle down effects. The neighborhood comes to life with mom and pop shop owners who take great pride in their Cultura and watching over one another. Ramon comes from the other side, born and raised wealthy he is a business man who works alongside his dad for a large chain of taco shops. Julieta owns a small fish taco shop alongside her mom where she is the chef and prides herself In authentic Mexican cuisine. This is a predominantly plot driven Contemporary Romance that delivers thought provoking social commentary from a Latinx perspective. Readers who enjoy their romance storylines with some external layers as contributing factors in the romance would enjoy this. What’s to love? taco wars, cheesy over the top declarations of love that in turn induce cheesy smiling, Latinx small business owners protecting their turf, BIG families with lots of siblings, aunties, and cousins and a backdrop filled with so much culture that you feel like you’re walking down Barrio Logan.ย 

I’ll preface this by saying that I’m not the biggest fan of insta-love so it was rather early on that I started to struggle a bit with the romance aspect of this book. That being said, there’s SO much to love that made this a book I wanted to finish. I got invested in Barrio Logan so deeply that I was rooting for the shop owners to rally up and find a way to stay where they’ve worked so hard to grow roots. Gentefication, a term that was new to me up until I read this book, is the gentrification of neighborhoods by the very same people who live in it. Our love interest Ramรณn would be considered a Gentefier as a Mexican-American from across the bridge who has interest in Barrio Logan. Our characters are from two very different socioeconomic classes and it does prove challenging in their story arc. I kind of hoped to see more gradual character development but overall the pacing for this and the romance was what I struggled with. If the romance had been a bit better developed, I wouldn’t have minded what felt like over the top cheesy moments heaped with terms of endearment too early on. What I loved about their romance? the scenes we got with Ramon genuinely taking interest in the community and Julieta’s life.ย I loved seeing two MCโ€™s who are very passionate and invested in what they do. Scenes at the taco shop where they’re both cooking were some of my favorite. Latinx stories with large families are my bread & butter, Julietaโ€™s mom and many aunts were fun to meet on the page. I was actually hoping that we’d get more from Julieta’s mom and Ramรณn’s father since there is a back story there. We also got some page time with Ramรณn’s brothers who I see potentially getting their own story arcs. I’m very curious to see if there are more stories with these characters and if so, who the next couple would be! So, count me in for this author’s next book ๐Ÿ˜‰


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Thriller Thoughts…

The Thriller genre isn’t where you’d typically find me but this year has already started off oddly and we’re just going with it at the moment. I have found Thrillers to be easier to digest as audiobooks while I’m multi-tasking indoors and outdoors. Funny observation, I run faster on the treadmill when I think someone is chasing me while listening to ANY thriller smh. No idea how this looks but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s possible my Pheobe Buffay style of running keeps anyone from coming up behind me ๐Ÿ˜‚ย  it’s a work in progress. I listened to the audiobook for each of the thrillers down below, and they’re listed in order of enjoyment.

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife (5 STARS) Did I stay up until 2am finishing this book? Yesโ€ฆyes I did and although I payed for it dearly the next morning, I had zero regrets while living in the moment. Hands down a compulsive read that is equal parts character and plot driven, this is one you canโ€™t put down for long. Some reviewers say this has Riverdale Vibes and Iโ€™d have to agree. We have an academic setting with seven characters whoโ€™ve gravitated towards each other and have a complex friend group. Itโ€™s told in past and present timelines from mostly Jessicaโ€™s point of view, she is an unreliable character with one hell of a narcissistic personality and fits the bill as far as unlikeable characters go. We get to slip into some of the other characters points of view as they recount their version of events. Ten years ago, one of the friends was murdered on campus and most walked away ready to leave that all behind. Someone decides to make Homecoming the time to lure out the killer to carry out overdue justice which triggers the unraveling of secrets, lies and betrayals within their friend circle. This was fast paced with the first half reading a bit lighthearted (when compared to the latter half this almost seemed like the โ€œgood timesโ€) as we see these characters living their best college lives, dating, and dealing with baggage that stems from unhealthy/toxic relationships with their parents. The second half was like watching the domino effect set off, at which point there is no turning away. Dark & filled with obsession, greed, vanity, violence and narcissismโ€ฆI donโ€™t think Iโ€™ve ever read something so wrong yet also satisfying that I couldn’t stop thinking about the way it ended.ย  Also, other than Coop I canโ€™t really say I liked any of these characters but I found myself 100% invested in all of their lives. In any case, this author is now on my radar for future reads.

A Flicker In The Dark (4.5 STARS) – Iโ€™m not well read with thrillers like I am with Fantasy but as Iโ€™ve been reading more from this genre, Iโ€™m beginning to spot the red herrings. We follow Chloe who is a psychologist in a small Louisiana town where her father is serving time for having killed 6 young girls twenty years ago. Like many children of killers in small towns, your last name haunts and shames you. Sheโ€™s trying to create a new life detached from her dad but when girls begin to go missing again, sheโ€™s thrust back in time to the days leading up to his arrest. This doesnโ€™t read like a debut at all, the writing is engrossing and almost plays out like a movie. I say this while also acknowledging the fact that it wasn’t too difficult to piece together certain things. I still ate it up and appreciated the whole cinematic vibes it was giving as we flash back and forth between Chloe’s childhood and present timelines. Our MC is addicted to prescription medication and with her easy access to them, it makes for moments where you start feeling as paranoid as she’s acting half the time. I lost count of the times I thought to myself “but what if” or “but then that can’t be” safe to say there was an abundance of plot twists. I also wasnโ€™t surprised at all to see that it has already been picked up by HBOMAX, my true joy kicked in when I saw Emma Stone tapped in for the lead ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ we Stan Emma in this corner ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ

The Collective (4 STARS) – โ€œ๐ˆโ€™๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ฐ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ฒ-๐ž๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐ข๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐„๐ฆ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฒโ€™๐ฌ ๐๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ก. ๐ˆโ€™๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ฉ๐ฉ๐ž๐ ๐œ๐จ๐ฅ๐จ๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐ก๐š๐ข๐ซ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฐ๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฆ๐š๐ค๐ž๐ฎ๐ฉ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ˆ ๐ก๐š๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐›๐จ๐ฅ๐ญ-๐จ๐ง๐ฌ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฆ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž๐, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฌ๐จ ๐ˆ ๐š๐ฆ ๐ฅ๐ข๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ง๐จ ๐ฅ๐จ๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฐ๐จ๐ฆ๐š๐ง ๐ˆ ๐จ๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ. ๐“๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ง๐จ ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ฌ๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฐ๐š๐ญ๐œ๐ก ๐ฆ๐ž. ๐๐จ ๐Ÿ๐ฅ๐š๐ญ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ฌ๐จ๐ง, ๐š๐ง๐ฒ๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ.โ€

Ever find yourself reading a book where youโ€™re just as conflicted as the protagonist? The premise of this book lured me in possibly because as a mom myself, the thought of a group of anonymous women (whoโ€™ve all lost a child) working together to deliver justice is hard NOT to get behind.ย The MC Camille has been grieving the death of her 15 year old for the past 5 years and there isnโ€™t a day that goes by that she isnโ€™t angry and obsessed with the killer. Her marriage has come to an end and sheโ€™s left to live in this big colonial style house where the memories of her daughter haunt her. Camille follows the life of her daughterโ€™s killer via social media and ends up showing up at an event where her actions grab the attention of this secret group of women. This is a trip down the dark side of justice that had me back & forth with my feelings but I believe that to be the intent here. Camille at some point finds herself trying to figure out whether the group is strictly operating in the name of avenging these children or if they too are like the monsters they seek to eliminate in the name of justice. Iโ€™m very curious to see how this all ends, in many ways the MC disregards logic and comes more from an emotional headspace. I canโ€™t say I blame her for it but things snowball rather quickly once she acts upon her darkest fantasy. If you can read from the POV of someone who in an obsessive cycle and very angry, this is worth a go.


Review: Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Title: Finlay Donovan Is Killing It

Author:Elle Cosimano

Pub. Date:ย February 2nd 2022

Genre: Contemporary Mystery/Thriller

Format:ย Audiobook

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Pages:ย 355 pages/9 hrs 59 min

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | LIBROFM | AMAZONย 

Characters: 7/10ย  ย Atmosphere: 0/10ย  Writing Style: 7/10ย  Plot: 8/10ย  Intrigue: 0/10ย ย Logic/Relationships: 10/10ย  Enjoyment: 6/10

Rating: 38/5.4 =ย  โ˜†โ˜† 3ย Starsโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Rating system created byย The Book Roastย โ•ฐโ˜†โ˜† โ€œ๐Œ๐ฒ ๐†๐จ๐จ๐ ๐ฅ๐ž ๐ฌ๐ž๐š๐ซ๐œ๐ก ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐š๐ฅ๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐›๐š๐›๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ž๐ง๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฉ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ฆ๐ž ๐จ๐ง ๐š ๐ ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ง๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐ฐ๐š๐ญ๐œ๐ก ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ. ๐ˆ ๐ฐ๐ซ๐จ๐ญ๐ž ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ž๐ง๐ฌ๐ž ๐ง๐จ๐ฏ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฌ ๐š๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ซ๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐ฅ๐ข๐ค๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ. ๐ˆโ€™๐ ๐ฌ๐ž๐š๐ซ๐œ๐ก๐ž๐ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ข๐›๐ฅ๐ž ๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ค๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐จ๐ง๐ž. ๐–๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐œ๐ž๐ข๐ฏ๐š๐›๐ฅ๐ž ๐ค๐ข๐ง๐ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฐ๐ž๐š๐ฉ๐จ๐ง.โ€ โ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Finlay Donovan is a single mother of two who is struggling to launch her career as a Mystery/Thriller writer post divorce all the while being stripped of her nanny. We meet Finlay on a very chaotic morning as she tries to get her kids ready before a meeting with her agent since she is on deadline for a book. Findlay has an outspoken five year old who is pretty much getting into everything and anything she can when mom is not looking. During her meeting she discusses the premise of her novel and is overhead by a customer sitting nearby, this stranger misunderstands Finlay and believes her to be a hit-woman for hire. This woman approaches Finlay with the name of her husband on a piece of paper, she is offering Finlay a substantial amount of money (*Side note* Life after divorce has left Finlay in need of income since she hasn’t sold a book in quite a bit and her bills are stacking up)ย to kill and dispose of his body. Our MC is flabbergasted and immediately thinks to herselfย I can’t do this but those thoughts quickly change to wellย it wouldn’t hurt to find out why this woman wants her husband dead.ย Lots of Google searches and undercover nights while juggling the responsibilities of a single mom on deadline for a book, make for a mystery with lots of comedic scenes.

I enjoyed this fast paced witty audiobook, although I was convinced I’d end up loving it since it does have a ton of hype in the book community. There were some very funny laugh out loud moments but this is one where you want to suspend all disbelief and just enjoy the ride. Now, I donโ€™t see this mentioned anywhere but since I listened to the audiobook Iโ€™ll just go ahead and say it…Finlayโ€™s 5 year old was NOT my favorite, the voice she made really made me want to stop listening and switch to physical reading. A part of me believes she was intentionally making that voice to irritate Finlay but still I couldn’t help not being annoyed. There were some characters I loved like Finlayโ€™s nanny turned sidekick Vero and the nosey neighborhood watch lady who keeps a log of comings/goings but we donโ€™t get much of her. Personally, I feel our MC reads as very relatable when it comes to the aspects of handling motherhood and a career while also co-parenting in a difficult situation. We see her sort of unintentionally get her groove back when she’s dressing up for these undercover gigs. There are love interests that I felt would’ve been nice to see more chemistry between but I also appreciated that her romantic life wasn’t center stage to the plot.ย  As for the general plot itself, it was entertaining seeing Finlay get into one messy situation after another wondering how she would dig her way out. If you enjoyed Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala, then this would be a good fit for you. Will I be picking up Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead? how could I not after that epilogue which was *jaw dropping*ย 


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Review: Olga Dies Dreaming by Xรณchitl Gonzalez

Title: Olga Dies Dreaming

Author:ย Xรณchitl Gonzalez

Pub. Date:ย January 4th 2022

Genre:ย Contemporary Fiction/LGBTQIA+

Format:ย Audiobook – Libro.FM & Book Of The Month

Publisher:ย Flatiron Books

Pages:ย 384 pages/11 hrs 22 min

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | LIBROFM | AMAZON

Characters: 10/10ย  ย Atmosphere: 10/10ย ย Writing Style: 10/10ย ย Plot: 6/10ย  Intrigue: 0/10ย  Logic/Relationships: 8/10ย  Enjoyment: 8/10

Rating: 52/7.4 =ย  โ˜†โ˜† 4ย Starsโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Rating system created byย The Book Roastย 

โ˜†โ˜† โ€œ๐‹๐ข๐ค๐ž ๐ฌ๐ก๐žโ€™๐ ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ž๐ง๐ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐š ๐’๐œ๐จ๐จ๐›๐ฒ-๐ƒ๐จ๐จ ๐ž๐ฉ๐ข๐ฌ๐จ๐๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฉ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐ ๐จ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐จ๐ฐ๐ง ๐ฆ๐š๐ฌ๐ค, ๐ซ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž ๐ฌ๐ก๐žโ€™๐ ๐›๐ž๐ž๐ง ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐š๐ฒ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฉ๐š๐ซ๐ญ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐‡๐š๐ฉ๐ฉ๐ฒ-๐†๐จ-๐‹๐ฎ๐œ๐ค๐ฒ ๐๐š๐ซ๐ญ๐ฒ ๐๐ฅ๐š๐ง๐ง๐ž๐ซ ๐ฐ๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐ข๐ง ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐ฌ๐ก๐ž ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ซ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ฒ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐„๐๐ฎ๐œ๐š๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐–๐จ๐ฆ๐š๐ง ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐‚๐จ๐ฅ๐จ๐ซ” โ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Olga Dies Dreaming is a dual point of view story that toggles between present day and timelines that date back to the early 2000โ€™s. We follow Olga and Pedro aka โ€œPrieto” Acevedo as they navigate their lives and careers while also dealing with an absent mother who makes her presence known through letters and visits from fellow associates. Blanca abandoned her children when they were very young to fight for a liberated Puerto-Rico, never making her whereabouts known since sheโ€™s the leader of a small group of liberation radicals known as the โ€œPaรฑuelos Negrosโ€ who are akin to the Black Panthers. Olga has made a career out of wedding planning for the elite in NYC Manhattan while also keeping love and romance at arms length. Sheโ€™s out to break stereo-types as a Latinx business owner and has turned her back on ALL things related to her mom & issues plaguing Puerto-Rico. Olgaโ€™s brother Prieto is a popular Congressman in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood who is torn between being present as a good father for his daughter vs. wanting to protect Puerto-Rico from exploitation. Prieto is flawed thereโ€™s no denying that, his intentions started off good as he struggled with finding his role and how to do his part in helping the island. Ultimately I found his actions in politics to be very spineless and damaging to the island.

Whenever I pick up a book by a debut author, I’m looking to see if they’re characters are compelling enough for me to get invested in their back stories. Gonzalez delivered top tier character development and gave each one a distinctive voice, down to the absentee mother whose presence was felt through a series of evocative letters.ย  Both siblings have serious abandonment issues that are in need of healing as it continues to play a role in the decisions they make with their loved ones and in their respective careers. They both seek validation from a mother who abandoned her role in their lives and lives/breathes her cause, something they still canโ€™t accept.

This book wonโ€™t be for every reader especially since woven in the text is a lot of history centered around the Puerto-Rican diaspora. There is a heavy emphasis on politics both in gentrifying NYC neighborhoods as well as the relationship between the mainland United States and Puerto-Rico. I can appreciate this since so much went down when Hurricane Maria made landfall in 2017 leaving the island in the dark and many of us outsiders with family on the island, feeling helpless and frantic. PREPA and the shady political behaviors by the Governor which we watched in real life get exposed, are mentioned in this book which may shed some light to those who didnโ€™t know much about it. The conclusion wrapped up a bit too quick for my liking for a book that mostly was medium paced with many complex layers to unravel. I listened to the audiobook and gave the performance 5 stars, the narrator knocked it out the park. I felt the audiobook specifically, really brought Blancaโ€™s letters to life and made her passionate pleas to rally up more powerful. There were scenes I found hard and heavy to get through, especially when Prieto visits the towns in Puerto-Rico and speaks to citizens who are exhausted and feeling forgotten without water or light. Overall, it was an impactful memorable read that has placed Xรณchitl on my radar for any future releases.

CW: Death of a parent, rape, suicide, cheating, divorce, cancer, serophobia, gentrification, abandonment, drug addiction, homophobic slurs, racism


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