G. Bianco, 2019
If you’re a rom-com fan, then you’ve probably heard of the fabulous Staci Hart or one of her numerous books/series like The Bennet Brothers, The Red Lipstick Coalition, and Fool Me Once. However, her newest novel, Bet the Farm (which comes out February 23rd), might be her best work yet!
Olivia Brent has one summer to save the dairy farm she just inherited. But there’s one problem, and it’s not her lactose intolerance. Jake Milovic, a brooding farmhand, has inherited exactly fifty percent of Brent Farm, and he’s so convinced the city girl can’t work the land, he bets she can’t save it in a summer. Determined to prove him wrong, Olivia accepts what might be the dumbest wager of her life. His strategy to win seems simple: follow her around, shirtlessly distracting her between bouts of relentless taunting. What they don’t know is that they’ll have to weather more than each other. Mysterious circumstances throw the farm into disarray, and with the dairy farm in danger, Olivia and Jake have to work together. But when they do, there’s more to fear than either of them imagined. Because now their hearts are on the line, and the farm won’t be the only casualty if they fail.
This might be my favorite Staci Hart book yet! Did I tear up while reading this? Yes. Did I laugh? Yes. Swoon? You bet! I mean I think we all secretly wish we had a hot Croatian ranch hand like Jake in our lives... But aside from his hotness, Jake, along with our other protagonist, Olivia, complement each other perfectly! A brooding, controlling guy who has trouble trusting others who’s forced to share a farm with a bubbly, social media savvy city gal who is obsessed with the color pink? It’s a recipe for a delicious enemies-to-lovers romance!
As always, Hart weaves together a wonderful romance filled with drama, witty banter, silly puns, and, of course, the steaminess most of us crave while reading a good rom-com. Plus, I feel like I learned a lot about farm work and how cattle farms are run. You can definitely tell that Hart did her research while writing this book.
Anyway, I adored this book! It was steamy, funny, and super sweet to read! For those of you who haven’t read a Staci Hart book, you need to rectify that immediately and read Bet the Farm! Any rom-com lovers will fall in love with this book!
*I received an ARC from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
In her debut YA novel, The Valley and the Flood, Rebecca Mahoney takes readers to a strange town in the middle of Nevada and shows readers how powerful memories and emotions can be.
Rose Colter is almost home, but she can't go back there yet. When her car breaks down in the Nevada desert, the silence of the night is broken by a radio broadcast of a voicemail message from her best friend, Gaby. A message Rose has listened to countless times over the past year. The last one Gaby left before she died. So Rose follows the lights from the closest radio tower to Lotus Valley, a small town where prophets are a dime a dozen, secrets lurk in every shadow, and the diner pie is legendary. And according to Cassie Cyrene, the town's third most accurate prophet, they've been waiting for her. Because Rose's arrival is part of a looming prophecy, one that says a flood will destroy Lotus Valley in just three days' time. Rose believes if the prophecy comes true then it will confirm her worst fear--the PTSD she was diagnosed with after Gaby's death has changed her in ways she can't face. So with help from new friends, Rose sets out to stop the flood, but her connection to it, and to this strange little town, runs deeper than she could've imagined.
This book is not a love story. It’s not about different worlds. It’s not even about friendship. It’s about memories and our pasts and how we grapple with it.
The way Mahoney handles writing about PTSD is profound and enlightening. Let it be said that I have no experience with PTSD and the before or aftereffects of that diagnosis. However, this book helped raise awareness of it and gave it validity. It doesn’t matter how or what you suffered through or experienced: your thoughts and pain are valid. And I think that’s the main point to the story.
The plot was interesting and Rose’s alternating POV between the past and present was enlightening since with every flashback, more and more information about Rose’s past gets revealed. The characters were also interesting to learn about, especially the ones for Lotus Valley, and further showcases Mahoney’s emphasis on human emotions and feelings.
Reminiscent of Nina LaCour’s Watch Over Me, this book transcends genres and makes the reader focus on the metaphoric aspects of the story rather than the plot itself. For readers looking for a unique book, this one is a must-read.
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest opinion.
Love Lettering author Kate Clayborn is back with her newest romance set to be published February 23rd. In Love at First, readers see how sometimes a chosen family is all you need to make it through life.
Sixteen years ago, a teenaged Will Sterling saw—or rather, heard—the girl of his dreams. Standing beneath an apartment building balcony, he shared a perfect moment with a lovely, warm-voiced stranger. It’s a memory that’s never faded, though he’s put so much of his past behind him. Now an unexpected inheritance has brought Will back to that same address, where he plans to offload his new property and get back to his regular life as an overworked doctor. Instead, he encounters a woman, two balconies above, who’s uncannily familiar. No matter how surprised Nora Clarke is by her reaction to handsome, curious Will, or the whispered pre-dawn conversations they share, she won’t let his plans ruin her quirky, close-knit building. Bound by her loyalty to her adored grandmother, she sets out to foil his efforts with a little light sabotage. But beneath the surface of their feud is an undeniable connection. A balcony, a star-crossed couple, a fateful meeting—maybe it’s the kind of story that can't work out in the end. Or maybe, it’s the perfect second chance…
This novel is super cute and really dives deep into how your family is what you make it. It also plays upon the soulmate trope and how when two people are destined to meet, the universe finds a way to bring them together again.
The way Will tries to run from his past and how Nora refuses to leave the shadow of hers is an interesting contrast to read about. There is also the contrast of Nora’s reliance on her formed- family (made up of her neighbors) and Will's lone-wolf attitude is brilliantly done. These two seemingly opposite people realize they have more in common than it initially seems and that they need each other to heal the wounds of their pasts and ready themselves for what the future holds. Both of them also learn to realize that change is a natural part of life and it takes bravery to be a little reckless and take a risk at changing things up.
This story is heartwarming, funny, and a joy to read! Fans of Clayborn’s other novels will not be disappointed by this book and romance lovers will fall in love with Love at First. If you’re looking for a fun and heartwarming romance, then this is the book for you!
*I received an ARC from Kensington Books via Bookish First in exchange for my honest opinion.
You may not know who Ashley Schumacher is, but I have a feeling this won't be the last time we hear her name. Her debut young adult novel, Amelia Unabridged, is so painstakingly beautiful that it will stay with you long after you’ve finished the story and solidify Schumacher as a new name in the world of YA fiction.
Eighteen-year-old Amelia Griffin is obsessed with the famous Orman Chronicles, written by the young and reclusive prodigy N. E. Endsley. They’re the books that brought her and her best friend Jenna together after Amelia’s father left and her family imploded. So when Amelia and Jenna get the opportunity to attend a book festival with Endsley in attendance, Amelia is ecstatic. It’s the perfect way to start off their last summer before college. In a heartbeat, everything goes horribly wrong. When Jenna gets a chance to meet the author and Amelia doesn’t, the two have a blowout fight like they’ve never experienced. And before Amelia has a chance to mend things, Jenna is killed in a freak car accident. Grief-stricken, and without her best friend to guide her, Amelia questions everything she had planned for the future. When a mysterious, rare edition of the Orman Chronicles arrives, Amelia is convinced that it somehow came from Jenna. Tracking the book to an obscure but enchanting bookstore in Michigan, Amelia is shocked to find herself face-to-face with the enigmatic and handsome N. E. Endsley himself, the reason for Amelia’s and Jenna’s fight and perhaps the clue to what Jenna wanted to tell her all along.
This book is full of grief, love, and finding yourself amidst both emotions. Amelia’s story is touching and readers will be able to empathize with her in her struggles to not only figure out what she wants out of life, but also how to honor Jenna in doing so. The way each emotion and feeling is expressed and the way Schumacher used “whales” to convey Amelia’s highs and lows is beautifully written and unique. The descriptive language is comprehensible and heightens each emotion felt by Amelia from her own grief and Nolan’s.
Getting to know each of the characters in this book is so enjoyable and seeing how they interact with one another makes you wish you could join them in Lochbrook, Michigan. The way the world of Orman is interwoven into the story makes this book-within-a-book even more whimsical and magical. It will make you wish The Orman Chronicles was an actual book series just so you could experience the same joy Amelia feels when reading, thinking, or talking about it. Anyone who loves books will appreciate the way this novel emphasizes the magic behind reading.
The story leaves you hopeful that even if bad things happen in your life, the good will come as well and there will always be someone there to keep you grounded in living life instead of running from it. Additionally, Amelia’s story reminds us that the best way to remember those we’ve lost is by living our lives to the fullest and experiencing joy in it. That while grief is normal and necessary, it should not consume us and force us to follow a path we don't want to go down.
Brimming with meaningful storytelling, purposeful characters, and a little bit of mystery, Amelia Unabridged is a must-read for both YA and non-YA readers alike. I cannot recommend enough that you check this book out when it’s released on February 16th.
*I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!