G. Bianco, 2019
When you first hear the words “magic hotel”, anyone’s first instinct is to experience the magic for themselves. However, in The Splendor by Breanna Shields (which comes out on September 28th), one girl realizes that sometimes separating fantasy and reality can be a dangerous thing.
When Juliette’s sister, Clare, returns from her birthday week at the magical hotel upon a hill, she comes back changed. All at once, it seems Clare’s love for Juliette has vanished. Or perhaps it was stolen. Deeply unsettled, Juliette uses the last of her savings to book a stay at the Splendor and unravel its mysteries. Run by the talented young illusionist, Henri, the halls are full of magnificent delights and alluring distractions. Every wonder seems to twist Juliette’s attention away from the answers lurking just beneath the surface. Even as Henri reveals the truths behind his illusions, Juliette is uncertain whom she can trust in this palace of lies. The Splendor promised Juliette her dreams, but the longer she stays, the more it feels like a nightmare.
This book was a really engaging read! The mysteries of The Splendor Hotel and the allure of magic was well written and the plot was entertaining. I can totally picture this book being made into a movie or something in the future since everything was so detailed.
Figuring out the secrets of the hotel through Juliette and Henri’s eyes was fascinating and made this YA novel a fun escape from reality (similar to The Splendor itself). I found some parts of it to be predictable, while others were shocking. However, to a younger audience, I think this book would be so enrapturing.
I think this is a great YA book for those just looking for a fantastical mystery, especially for younger readers on the YA spectrum. If you’re looking for a standalone fantasy that will be a quick read, then I highly recommend Shield’s novel!
*I received an ARC from Page Street Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
Staci Hart is back on the romcom scene with the release of her newest book, For Love Or Honey. Set to be published on September 21st, this buzz-worthy read brings readers back to Lindenbach, Texas for another small-town romance that will have you swooning.
When the devil comes to town, you have to meet him head-on. Which is exactly what Jo Blum did when Grant Stone rolled into her small Texas town, driving a sports car she could fit in the bed of her truck, wearing a suit as black as his soul. He’s here to acquire mineral rights to half a dozen farms in town and there’s no way he’s getting hers. She doesn't make deals with the devil. So when he challenges her to show him the small town ropes, Jo’s motivation is the prospect of seeing him make a fool of himself. He might have an angle, but if he thinks he can finagle her into endangering her bee farm, he’s got another thing coming. Until the line in the sand is washed away. Her family farm is in danger, her town is in upheaval, this man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, and Jo is in the middle. When the devil comes to town, you have to meet him head-on. And when he sneaks into your heart, he’ll only break it.
As with every other Staci Hart book I’ve read, I binged this story so quickly and was enamored by the romance. The book seemed to start pretty abruptly so I definitely recommend at least reading Friends with Benedicts first for a little precursor to give you a little background on the town of Lindenbach; that being said, this book still totally works as a stand-alone novel!
I adore a good small-town romance and Hart is always a master at weaving together a small-town community in a book. Throw in a little enemies-to-lovers steaminess, a sexy man in some Wranglers and boots, and some other drama and you’ve got a delicious romance that is the perfect read to kick off your Fall with!
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: go read a Staci Hart book if you haven't already! This is just another example of why Hart is a fantastic romance writer and I cannot wait for the next book in this universe to be published!
*I received an ARC from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
From bestselling author Helena Hunting comes a friends-to-lovers romance that will set off a new series of love for a set of isters. Set to be released on September 21st, When Sparks Fly shows how healing can help bring people together.
Avery Spark is living her best life. Between her friends, her sisters, and Spark House, the event hotel her family owns, she doesn’t have much time for anything else, especially relationships. She’d rather hang out with her best friend and roommate, Declan McCormick, than deal with the dating scene. But everything changes when she is in a car accident and needs someone to care for her as she heals. Declan avoids relationships, giving him a playboy reputation that he lives up to when he puts a one-night stand ahead of a promise he made to Avery. While he may not have been the one driving the car, he feels responsible for Avery’s injuries and is determined to make it up to her by stepping into the role of caretaker. Little did they know that the more time they spend in compromising positions, the attraction they’ve been refusing to acknowledge becomes impossible to ignore. When they finally give in to the spark between them, neither is prepared for the consequences. Their love is fragile and all it will take is a blow from the past to shatter it all.
I really enjoyed the trajectory of this story. The way these best friends deal with tragedy, altering their relationship, realizing their feelings, and overcoming the obstacles in their lives is so well done and shows that not every relationship can be solved with a single grand gesture and apology. That sometimes it takes time and work to make a relationship work.
Don’t worry my romcom fans: there are still plenty of steamy times in this book as well as journeys of healing (both physical and emotional) for Avery and Declan. However, this boo gave me a lot of Katherine Center vibes so if you’re a fan of her work and like a bit of steam then this is the book for you!
For my first Helena Hunting book, I was very satisfied with it! I can definitely see why people are such fans of her writing. I will definitely be checking out her blacklist collection while I wait for the rest of this series to come out!
*I received an ARC from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Chloe Liese has taken the romance world by storm with her inclusive and diverse romcoms. Now she’s back with her latest #OwnVoices novel and the fourth book in her Bergman Brothers Series, With You Forever, which comes out September 14th.
Rooney Sullivan is sunshine incarnate. Warm, bright, always smiling, she’s everything Axel Bergman is not and the last person he should have any business desiring. Desperate to hide a hopeless attraction, he’s done everything possible to keep his distance...until a charades game gone wrong brought that to a grinding halt. Since then, steering clear of Rooney has been impossible. In a matter of months, the woman who was once avoidable has become the last thing Axel needed: temptingly within reach. To Rooney, Axel is a gorgeous grump who doesn’t have the time of day for her. Thankfully, she’s kept her crush under wraps...well, until she kissed him. Charades got away from her, okay? She hasn't seen him since, which is for the best. Her life is a mess, and the last thing she needs is to embarrass herself further with the man who avoids her like that’s his job rather than painting modern masterpieces. It seems the universe, however, has a different plan. When Axel and Rooney unexpectedly find their paths—and problems—converging, a marriage of convenience proves the perfect solution. At least, until Rooney’s facing her most serious problem yet: a once-loveless marriage of convenience that’s inconveniently become a love match, after all.
This book further proves that Chloe Liese can do no wrong! Not only do we get a neurodivergent character falling in love with someone with chronic illness, but we also get the sweetest marriage-of-convenience slow-burn romance ever. All set in a cozy cabin in the woods featuring a lovable dog and cute kitten? Sign. Me. Up! This book just solidifies my love for Liese’s writing. This story is so easy to fall in love with and is a great read to snuggle up with this Fall.
I loved the way communication took a front seat in this book and how Axel and Rooney continuously try to put each other's needs and happiness above their own. Even though these two characters have such differing personalities (one’s a sunshine and one’s a grump), they begin to learn more and more about the other which makes this slow burn romance so delicious.
I also love how the Bergman Family always makes an appearance in some way, shape, or form during each book of the series and strings these storylines together. While this book could work as standalone, they are so much more fun to experience as a series.
As I impatiently wait for Oliver’s story to come out next, I highly recommend checking out With You Forever (and the rest of the Bergman Brothers Series) and embrace the wonder that is a Chloe Liese novel!
*I received an ARC from the author via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
From New York Times Bestselling authors Chandler Baker and Wesley King comes a young adult romance set during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Poignant and relevant, Hello (From Here), which comes out on September 7th, shows how in an uncertain world, it's the unlikely connections that keep us together.
Maxine and Jonah bump into each other in the canned goods aisle of the grocery store just as the state of California is going into lockdown, when everything changes completely. Could there be a worse time to meet? Max's part-time job at a supermarket is about to transform into a hellish gauntlet. Jonah's pre-existing anxiety is about to become an epic daily struggle. As Max, Jonah, and their friends live together but apart through hijinks, humanity, and heartbreak, their story cuts across urgent matters much bigger than a teenage crush. Differences of class, privilege, mental health, and sacrifice are thrown into stark relief by the profound and personal stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. As thoughtful, probing, and informed as it is buoyant, romantic, and funny, Hello (From Here) looks at the first two months of the quarantine and adds falling hopelessly in love to the mess.
I thought it would be weird reading a love story set during COVID times, especially since COVID-19 isn’t completely eradicated yet, but I was so enraptured with this YA story and found it to be quite adorable.
This story reminded me that even though times were (and still are) different and frustrating and scary, it’s sometimes the little things or single people that make it just a bit more bearable.
I think the authors did a great job of highlighting the realities of the pandemic without being too carefree or doom-and-gloom about it. Additionally, the highlighting of different issues like mental health, privilege, and social disparities made this book more than just another young adult romcom.
This book made me laugh and cry while also making me grateful for the loved ones that helped me get through this pandemic. I think this book was such a great read and any fan of YA romances like Five Feet Apart and The Fault in Our Stars will enjoy this book, too.
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest opinion.
From the bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo comes the story of four famous siblings, an epic party, and how their lives will all change after one fateful night. Taylor Jenkins Reid’s newest novel, Malibu Rising, shows how fame can affect people and who it means to be a family.
Malibu: August, 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva. The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth. Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there. And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone. By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.
This book was a lot easier to read than I thought it would be and further solidified my belief that Taylor Jenkins Reid is a masterful writer. The story flowed wonderfully and made it such an engaging read.
The way this story takes place in the span of a day in 1983, while also flashing back to moments from the 50s to 70s, is so wonderfully engaging and really broadens the scope of the characters and why they are the way they are and the actions that shaped them.
While I found there to be a few too many characters to keep track of at certain parts of the story, the different people taking part in the Riva Party actually gives readers a glimpse into not only what the party is like, but also what the 80s were like for those trying to make it big in Hollywood or those who already have. The setting of Malibu paints an idyllic picture of what fame and fortune can bring while also juxtaposing it with the realities of these people’s not-so-perfect lives.
Once again, Reid is a masterful storyteller and readers looking for an engaging story that will hook you in from the beginning will fall in love with this book! I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a final summer read or to escape real life for a while.
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!