What happens when you throw three family members together after a heartbreaking loss? Sharina Harris’s new women’s fiction novel, Judge’s Girls, explores the answer to that question. This October 27th release deals with heartbreak, family drama, and how each person grieves differently.
Beloved Georgia judge Joseph Donaldson was known for his unshakable fairness, his hard-won fortune--and a scandalous second marriage to his much-younger white secretary. Now he's left a will with a stunning provision. In order to collect their inheritance, his lawyer daughter Maya, her stepmother Jeanie, and Jeanie's teen daughter, Ryder, must live together at the family lake house. Maya and Jeanie don't exactly get along, but they reluctantly agree to try an uneasy peace for as long as it takes. But fragile ex-beauty queen Jeanie doesn't know who she is beyond being a judge's wife--and drinking away her insecurities has her in a dangerous downward spiral. Fed up with her mother's humiliating behavior, Ryder tries to become popular at school in all the wrong ways. And when Maya attempts to help, she puts her successful career and her shaky love life at risk. Now with trouble they didn't see coming--and secrets they can no longer hide--these women must somehow find the courage to admit their mistakes, see each other for who they really are--and slowly, perhaps even joyfully, discover everything they could be.
I really enjoyed this story about these different women who are actually more similar than it initially seems. I loved the alternating POVs and how we got to see three different women at three different stages in their lives cope with the loss of a man that was so important to them. I don’t think this novel would have worked if each of Judge’s girls didn’t get a point of view and Harris did a great job of shifting from a teen’s mind to a young adult’s mind to an adult’s mind. Some portions felt a bit rushed, but the chapters were broken up with days and times so that helped keep track of what was going on.
There are heavy topics like alcoholism, grief, and loss; however, this novel shows that no matter what hardships come your way, you can always find a way to move forward. There are also mentions of racism and racial bias, which was really insightful given that this novel focuses on a blended family with different ethnicities. But this book also shows how speaking your truth is imperative to living your life to the fullest and finding people that you can call family.
Overall, if you’re looking for a book that has humor, love, heartbreak, and family values, then this is definitely the book for you! I will definitely be keeping Sharina Harris on my radar and can't wait to see what other books she will write next!
*I received an ARC from Kensington Books via Bookish First in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hello my fellow bookworms!
I realized I had all of these books left to review and not a lot of year left to review them. So instead of writing three full-length review, I figured I do a little multi-review and combine three awesome romance book reviews into one mashup review! Also, this is my 100th review on this blog! *throws confetti* So why not celebrate with three reviews in one?! Okay, I'll stop with the celebratory intro and let's move on to some fabulous love story reviews:
A Rogue of One's Own by Evie Dunmore
The second installment of Evie Dunmore's A League of Extraordinary Women follows a women's suffragist and her long-time nemesis as they battle for power and love. This book had a very slow start and I think that’s what’s leading me to rate this book a little lower. I loved how both Tristan and Lucie held true to their values and beliefs, but the slow burn romance was a little too slow; however, it picks up about midway through the book and then the ending is great! I appreciated the emphasis placed on the suffrage movement and how there are letters and examples of what women had to deal with during the 1860s while under their husbands rule. While I liked this book, I think I just liked Bringing Down the Duke better.
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon
When Rex, two constantly teases Jordan for reading "books for grandmas," joins Jordan's book club and offers to help him revitalize it, Jordan realizes that maybe he might be guilty of judging this book by its cover. This novel was super funny and a quick and easy read! The best way I can describe this book is The Bromance Book Club meets Beach Read with gay protagonists? I love how Harbon emphasizes the reasons why so many people love romance books and how people like Jordan find comfort in them. Overall, just a super cute love story!
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
This friends-to-lovers, fake-dating romance is the second book in Hibbert's The Brown Sisters Series. This book is the perfect mix of slow burn, steamy scenes, self discovery, and witty banter! Zaf and Dani are completely different, yet are so compatible and it makes this novel that much more enjoyable to read about. The way Hibbert showcases different cultures and diverse characters is refreshing! She also does a wonderful job of highlighting deeper issues like anxiety, depression, grief, and self-worth. Both Zaf and Dani have their own demons and it is only through their friendship and fake dating that they learn to rely on one another and try to work through their respective issues. While this novel could be read as standalone, I highly recommend reading Get a Life, Chloe Brown to just further fall in love with Hibbert’s style of writing and the fabulous Brown Sisters!
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
What started as a website to showcase short stories is soon to be a published anthology. Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate The Magic of Reading & Writing YA was compiled by Emily X. R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma to highlight the different genres that make up the YA world of stories. Set to be released on October 20th by Algonquin Young Readers, this collection allows people to see a new side of young adult literature.
Created by New York Times bestselling authors Emily X. R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma, Foreshadow is so much more than a short story collection. A trove of unforgettable fiction makes up the beating heart of this book, and the accompanying essays offer an ode to young adult literature, as well as practical advice to writers. Featured in print for the first time, the thirteen stories anthologized here were originally released via the buzzed-about online platform Foreshadow. Ranging from contemporary romance to mind-bending fantasy, the Foreshadow stories showcase underrepresented voices and highlight the beauty and power of YA fiction. Each piece is selected and introduced by a YA luminary, among them Gayle Forman, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jason Reynolds, and Sabaa Tahir. What makes these memorable stories tick? What sparked them? How do authors build a world or refine a voice or weave in that deliciously creepy atmosphere to bring their writing to the next level? Addressing these questions and many more are essays and discussions on craft and process by Nova Ren Suma and Emily X. R. Pan. This unique compilation reveals and celebrates the magic of reading and writing for young adults.
Each story featured in this book is so unique that it’s hard to really summarize this book as a whole (but I will try my best)! It is fascinating to read such different stories and how each one is so engaging despite each story only being a few pages long. I may post a more in-depth review of each story, but for now I’m just going to appreciate the compilation as a whole!
One thing I really liked was not only how magical and mythical some of the stories were, but the little details before and after each story. There are author testimonials explaining why they liked the story. Additionally, after each story’s conclusion, there is a little author’s note explaining the background of the story and other points that lead to a really insightful reading of each story.
Even if you aren’t a fan of young adult literature, this anthology is so intriguing that anyone would become enthralled by these stories. If you’ve been wanting to experience more short stories then this is definitely the book for you!
*I received an ARC from Algonquin Young Readers in exchange for my honest opinion.
The acclaimed author of many book series, such as The Bennet Brothers and The Austens, Staci Hart’s newest novel, Pride and Papercuts. This retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which is available on October 13th, pulls from two of Hart’s series into one angsty romance.
Hate is a strong word. Depending on the company, loathe is a good substitute. Abhor might be a little fancy, but it gets the job done. But the word that really sums up how Laney Bennet feels about Liam Darcy is, without question, hate. He doesn’t seem to think much of her either. The second he lays his fault-seeking eyes on her, he sets out to oppose her. Everything about him is imposing, as if he consumes the nearby air to power the rise and fall of his broad chest, and it’s clear to Laney that he resents her presence on his advertising team. Every idea she has is shot down. Every olive branch she offers is set on fire by nothing more than the blistering coals he calls eyes. In return, Laney lights him up with her words. It’s not as if he can dismiss her, since Laney works for his client, Wasted Words. Instead, they’re forced to tolerate each other, which seems the closest they’ll ever be to friends. Which is fine with Laney. She can be civil and still hate Liam Darcy. But if there’s more to him than his exterior shows, she won’t be able to hate him at all. She might stumble over that line between love and hate and fall right into his arms.
What I love about Staci Hart’s books is that it’s not just a love story. There is drama, there is secondary plot, and there are always chock full of lovable characters! This novel is the final book in The Austens Series and it crosses over with The Bennet Brothers Series, but it works as a great standalone! There are some characters and plots that carry over, but if you haven’t read the previous series then you won’t be lost or confused at all. Hart does a good job of explaining and giving context for everything.I’ve only read The Bennet Brothers books, but you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m going to read the rest of the series because I loved this one so much! This is a bit of a slow burn and there isn’t much steaminess, but if you like retelling then you’ll really enjoy this one!
Any fans of Pride and Prejudice or slow burn romance stories, then I highly recommend checking out the rest of Hart’s books. I know I definitely am!
*I received an ARC from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
World famous novelist and the acclaimed author of A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman, has just released his newest novel, Anxious People. Chosen as a Book of the Month pick in September 2020, this novel shows what can happen when the universe works in mysterious ways to put you in the right place at the right time.
This is a poignant comedy about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined. Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers slowly begin opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths. As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.
I’m genuinely mad at myself for never reading one of Backman’s books before now. This book is frankly so absurd at times, yet is simple in its delivery. The style of narration Backman uses makes the reader feel they are being told the story by an old friend. The way every character interconnects and influences each other is so masterfully written it’s mind blowing.
This book deals with triggering topics like suicide, anxiety, and addiction; however, Backman handles the topics with intrigue, reverence, and with a little bit of comic relief. The messages of self-worth, forgiveness, and trying to do your best in this world will make you laugh and cry while reading and long for this story to never end. Additionally, it shows how everything happens for a reason and sometimes just being in the right place and the right time can influence not only your life, but someone else’s as well.
For fans of Backman both old and new, this novel will move you and make you think about your place in the world and how you can influence those around you without even realizing it. A poignant, sily, and mesmerizing read, this book is a must read for all lovers of fiction!
Known for other bestsellers like Happiness for Beginners and Things You Save in a Fire, Katherine Center’s most popular novel might be How to Walk Away, which was published in 2018. Revered by both die-hard Center fans and casual readers, the novel is beautifully written and will stay with you for a long time.
Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment. In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect.
I loved reading about Margaret’s journey and how she learns to live with her new normal. Center shows both the highs and lows of recovery and it’s evident she did her research before writing this story. I really loved the way the characters were developed and how each of them, whether likable or unlikable, played a role in Margaret’s journey. Center shows how sometimes bad things happen, but it’s how you choose to continue after a tragedy that really defines you.
This book leans more on the women’s fiction side of the genre than romance; however there is a bit of a love story that lurks underneath the surface and it’s quite sweet to read how this romance helps Margaret heal in more ways than one. There isn’t much steam in this book, so if you're looking for something tamer you ease into the romance genre, then this is a great option!
Overall, Center’s novel proves that she is a masterful storyteller by taking care in being detailed and tying up all loose ends. The epilogue felt a bit rushed, but overall I really enjoyed the way this story turned out! I highly recommend checking this book out if you’re looking for an easy, binge-worthy read!
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!