B O O K R E V I E W :: Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson

Thank you so much to @berkleyromance /@berkleypub for sending me a copy of Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson which goes on sale tomorrow, August 16, 2022.

When Phoebe Walsh moves to Florida for the summer to prepare her late father’s house for sale, she also plans to finish her dissertation. She’s turned her lifelong obsession with true crime into a research topic, analyzing the genre for her thesis. With murders, cons, and others crimes always on her mind, she can be forgiven for being less than trusting or thinking Sam, her next door neighbor who keeps strange hours and has a soundproof garage might just be a serial killer.

Actually doing any writing may be a challenge as Phoebe stays busy wrangling her always positive but not always responsible little brother, Connor, reconnecting with her childhood best friend, dealing with her complicated feelings about her father with whom she hadn’t spoken in years, and evaluating Sam’s threat level. Returning to her hometown, though, gives Phoebe a new perspective on her future, her relationships, and the things that truly scare her.

I found this book delightful and laughed out loud several times. Phoebe was very relatable to me with her preference for messy buns and leggings. Because I have a PhD, I also empathized with Phoebe’s issues with her advisor and struggling to convey her thoughts on paper. As much as I liked Phoebe, I got so frustrated with her, but I appreciated her character arc. Sam, Connor, and Allison were all great characters, too!

Though I love true crime, I don’t love it as much as Phoebe! She does see the world through a suspecting lens and often discusses cases, many familiar to me. Readers should no that no murders are committed during the book. Alicia Thompson provides content warnings at the beginning of the book, and I’d encourage readers to preview those.

I enjoyed this so much, I can even imagine rereading it soon. I’d definitely recommend to romance fans.

B O O K R E V I E W : Luck and Last Resorts

By Sarah Grunder Ruiz
Publication Date: Tomorrow, August 9, 2022!

Thanks to @berkleypub / @berkleyromance for sending me a gifted copy of the book.

Nina Lejeune lives her life by two rules: 1) Always have fun and 2) Never depend on anyone else. As chief stewardess of THE SERENDIPITY, she works hard four months of the year so she can have independence the rest of the time. Single by choice, she doesn’t want her life to change.

Nina’s contentment is threatened when Ollie Dunne shows up on the first day of cruise season. Nina and Ollie had been co-workers and casually hooked-up until the previous year when Ollie left yachting to become the chef for a well-regarded restaurant.

Now, he’s back for Nina. He believes there is something serious between them, but if she can’t admit she loves him by the end of the season, he’s resolved to return to Ireland for good.

This is a clear violation of her rules. Relationships aren’t always fun, and they require depending on and trusting someone else. But can she stand to lose Ollie forever?

To be honest, I struggled with this book in the beginning. Nina’s idea of fun often seemed at best selfish and at worst cruel. It was hard, also, to understand Ollie’s attraction to her. However, as their backstories were revealed, their attitudes and behavior made more sense.

Before reading this book, I knew nothing about working on charter ships, so it was interesting to see how things operated below deck. Nina had to manage her second in command, Britt, as well as two new hires, and their personalities and conflicts provided a respite from the romance. Jo Walker also makes a few appearances in this book.

Most of all, I liked that the book showed a grand gesture is meaningless without real change and that relationships require attention and work to succeed.

Definitely pick this up tomorrow if you enjoy any of these tropes in your romances:


✅ Forced Proximity

✅ Second Chance

✅ Realistic Challenges

Where is your favorite place to watch the sunrise/sunset?

B O O K R E V I E W : Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Happy publication day to Book Lovers by Emily Henry, and thank you so much to @berkleypub and @berkleyromance for a gifted copy of one of my most anticipated books of the year! #berkleypartner #berkleyig

Book agent Nora Stephens always gets the best deals for her authors. She’s organized, tough, and a workaholic. She’s also careful not to fall in love; she’s not that kind of heroine. After all, three of her ex-boyfriends have gone on work trips to small towns only to find their true loves in the wholesome locales. Her one weakness is her little sister, Libby, whom she will always protect and to whom she will never say no.

So when Libby, five months pregnant, asks Nora to visit Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August for a sister’s getaway, Nora packs her bags. Libby has a list—laminated no less!—of things they (Nora) need to do during their vacation, including ride a horse, date a local, and save a small business. Nora can’t resist a good list.

Instead of finding a charming hamlet, though, Sunshine Falls leaves a little to be desired, such as reliable wi-fi and decent restaurants. And rather than running into a handsome denizen, Nora keeps seeing Charlie Lastra, an editor she knows from the city. Two years ago, when first meeting, Charlie chastised her for being six minutes late to a meeting. As far as Nora can tell, time has not made him less serious or brusque. They both know what they want, and it doesn’t include a future with the other, but that might not be the final chapter of their story.

“This book, this job, this trip, this never-ending, days-spanning conversation. I want to make it all last, and I need to know how it ends. I want to finish it, and I need it to go on forever.”

I’ve been eagerly awaiting Book Lovers since I first heard Henry mention it at a virtual event last summer. It’s as good as Beach Read, and transcends the romance genre. Reading this, I both laughed and cried.

📖 Full of bibliophiles and set in the publishing industry, the book celebrates writing and reading.
📖 Multiple characters have to negotiate how to manage balancing their own needs and desires against those of loved ones. It questions when sacrifices are necessary and when they verge into martyrdom.
📖 The book talks a lot about tropes in books, but another theme is family relationships (particularly among siblings) and how people are assigned roles within families.
📖Even though it’s set in South Carolina, it gives a lot of love to NYC!
📖 Charlie might be more swoonworthy than Gus!
📖 No one writes snarky banter (my favorite) better than Henry!

B O O K R E V I E W : Business Not As Usual

Thank you to Berkley Romance and NetGalley for the eARC of Business Not As Usual by Sharon C. Cooper, publishing Tuesday, Tuesday, April 5, 2022.

Dreamy Daniels, assistant to a brilliant software engineer who unfortunately is also a micromanager treating his his employees poorly, can’t wait to start her own non-profit helping female entrepreneurs. She just needs to finish her degree (only one more semester)—and win the lottery!

Dreamy and her grandfather have been playing the same numbers for years, and she’s sure their lucky day is on the horizon. Meanwhile, her charm, vibrant personality, and eclectic style win over those she meets, including Karter Redford, a potential investor in her boss’s company. Although her boss flubbed the meeting, Dreamy salvaged the opportunity.

Karter, son of a famous actor and Hollywood socialite, and successful businessperson himself, knows better than to mix business and pleasure, but he can’t stop thinking of Dreamy. And although Dreamy swore off men after her last boyfriend, she can’t deny the attraction between them. Yet, the two come from radically different worlds.

A light-hearted romance, Business Not As Usual has great representation, a fabulous female lead, and a wonderful cast of secondary characters, including Dreamy’s cousin and grandfather and Karter’s sister, driver, and assistant.

It was difficult to see the impact of class differences on Dreamy’s self-esteem, though Cooper contextualizes it with information from Dreamy’s past. I also had a hard time with Dreamy’s belief in and reliance on the lottery and almost wish that hadn’t been part of the story.

This would be a good option for those looking for a quick, feel-good age-gap romance.

B O O K R E V I E W : I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson

I’m So (Not) Over You 
by Kosoko Jackson
Publication Date: February 22, 2022

Thank you to Berkley Romance for a gifted copy of the book!

Aspiring journalist Kian Andrews never understood why his boyfriend, Hudson River, broke up with him just as they were graduating from Northeastern. When Hudson unexpectedly texts Kian, Kian can’t resist meeting him, hoping to find resolution. Instead, Hudson admits he never told his parents they split and begs him to attend a family dinner as his boyfriend.

Kian agrees but finds himself invited to Georgia’s biggest wedding of the year. If Kian goes as Hudson’s plus-one, Hudson promises to introduce him to one of the most prominent magazine editors in the business.

Soon, the fake relationship feels very real, but the class issues that drove them apart are only heightened as the two men navigate the expectations of Hudson’s wealthy family, owners of the Rivers & Valley brewing company.

I love the representation in the book and how it addresses race, class, and sexuality. Kian’s BFF, the newly minted lawyer, no-nonsense Divya is a fun character who delights in giving Kian reality checks. I wish that there had been more backstory about their relationship and circumstances surrounding their breakup. Without this information, it was difficult to understand why a second chance was worthwhile. Also, much of the narration moved via Kian’s inner dialogue, and I think I would have preferred less contemplation and more action. I’m excited that Kosoko Jackson transitioned from writing YA to adult novels and look forward to seeing his future endeavors!