AUGUST 2021 WRAP-UP

August was the month to expect the unexpected – in life, and in reading! After a lackluster July, I was really hoping that things would look up reading-wise in August, and they kinda/sorta did. The books that I read were pretty solid overall, with several 5-star romances in the mix. I didn’t have a ton of unsuccessful reads, mostly because I just didn’t have the patience to finish books that weren’t working for me this month. It was a busy summer, and I moved on when it became obvious that a book wasn’t going to be a win. So, my DNF list is almost as long as my completed list this month, and I’m okay with that! Once I get back into my reading groove, I might revisit a few but it won’t be right away.

Things *should* settle down in September (here’s hoping!). My husband is a teacher, so he won’t be around the house to distract me all of the time – though I might be more worried about him out of the house! We’ve enjoyed a nice summer together and have been going on weekend adventures, but that won’t be the case heading into Autumn – which means more time for reading. And there are some intriguing books on the way in September, though not as many as usual. It’s going to be another unpredictable month in terms of new releases, so we’ll see how that plays out.

If you missed my September Release Calendar, you can find it here!

If you missed any of this month’s reviews, I’ve got the blurb and rating for each below. There’s also a link to my new release list.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Heartfelt slow burn

A woman looking for a new lease on life moves to Arizona where she rents a guest house on a gorgeous property with a mysterious owner—a man who teaches her about resilience, courage, and ultimately true love, in this funny, bighearted novel about hope and healing from New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay.

Stuck in a dreary Boston winter, Annabelle Martin would like nothing more than to run away from her current life. She’s not even thirty years old, twice-divorced, and has just dodged a marriage proposal… from her ex-husband. When she’s offered her dream job as creative director at a cutting-edge graphic design studio in Phoenix, she jumps at the opportunity to start over.

When she arrives in the Valley of the Sun, Annabelle is instantly intrigued by her anonymous landlord. Based on the cranky, handwritten notes Nick Daire leaves her, she assumes he is an old, rich curmudgeon. Annabelle is shocked when she finally meets Nick and discovers that he’s her age and uses a wheelchair. Nick suffered from a stroke a year ago, and while there’s no physical reason for him not to recover, he is struggling to overcome the paralyzing fear that has kept him a prisoner in his own home.

Despite her promise to herself not to get involved, Annabelle finds herself irresistibly drawn to Nick. And soon she wonders if she and Nick might help each other find the courage to embrace life, happiness, and true love.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3xDlDKd


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Light and fun

Francine is stunned when she discovers she’s been married – for the last ten years! – to Benny, the surly and nerdy frenemy she worked with one summer in Vegas.

How in the world did they end up married? They could hardly stand each other! Though there was that drunken night….

She tracks down Benny, sure he’ll be as shocked about the marriage as she is, sure he’ll be happy to dissolve their union ASAP so she can get the documents she desperately needs.

But Benny is now a cold and wolfish billionaire. And yes, he’ll sign the paperwork…for a price: she has to spend the next three weeks playing his doting wife.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3veEdZ0


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Light and playful

An ordinary summer goes royally awry when a prince and princess move next door, bringing their handsome bodyguard with them, from New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle.

Piper Evans: elementary school teacher by day–avid romance reader and anonymous podcaster by night. She has a quiet, reclusive life, taking care of her mother, who lives with mental illness, avoiding her regrettable ex, who bartends in town, and trying to make inroads in the tight-knit island community that still sees her, five years in, as an outsider.

And she’s happy with how things are–really–until British royals rent the property next to hers and their brooding bodyguard decides she’s a security threat. Piper quickly realizes that one person’s fairy tale is an ordinary woman’s nightmare as a media frenzy takes over the island and each run-in with Harrison Cole is hotter and more confusing than the last. But beneath Harrison’s no-nonsense exterior lies a soft heart, one that could tempt a woman who’s sworn off attachments into believing in white knights. 

But when Piper finds herself smack in the middle of a royal scandal that rocks the island she’ll need more than Harrison’s strong arms to shield her–she’ll have to do a little rescuing herself. With careers, hearts, and friendships on the line, Piper and Harrison will have to decide what they’re willing to give up for a chance at their own happily ever after.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3to5YN1


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Loved it 🎧

The New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners returns with a witty and effervescent novel about what happens when two people with everything on the line are thrown together by science—or is it fate? Perfect for fans of The Rosie Project and One Plus One.

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. After all, her father was never around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before her daughter was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers:This Jess understands.

At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt nother soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get ‘to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could launch GeneticAlly’s valuation sky-high, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.

“Laugh-out-loud, sweet, charming, and humorous” (Library Journal, starred review), The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated.

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3iSxDDK
Bookshop Hardcover: https://bookshop.org/a/18118/9781982123963


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sassy but slow

In this steamy tale by USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn, an American searching for her purpose escapes to a Scottish town but finds more questions than answers when she meets a brooding yet handsome handyman.

Freshly fired from her third job in a row, Bonnie St. James has lost her way. So when she and her best friend stumble upon a “help wanted” post to run a coffee shop in the Scottish Highlands, they apply on a whim. Who knows? Maybe traveling to a new place is just what she needs to figure out her next move.

When the friends arrive in the tiny idyllic town of Corsekelly, they instantly fall for the gorgeous Highland landscape and friendly townspeople. But Bonnie finds a less-than-warm welcome in Rowan MacGregor, the rugged local handyman. Busy wrestling his own demons, Rowan’s in no mood to deal with the quirky American—even if she is a bonny lass.

As Bonnie and Rowan’s paths inevitably cross, insults—and sparks—fly. Can the pair build on their similarities to help each other find purpose and direction…and maybe romance too? Or will their passionate tempers fling them apart?

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3mPXvCq


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Soapy and suspenseful 

Loving him could kill us both…

I thought the days of fathers selling their daughters were over.
Apparently, I thought wrong.
Because, in a few short months
I’m supposed to marry Johnny Maldonado.
His record is squeaky clean,
but anyone who’s been to Boston knows who he really is
and what he controls.
There’s only one problem:
I’m not interested in Johnny.
I’m interested in the man charged with his protection.
Maxon Holt. His Bodyguard.
When I ran away, he was the one to find me.
He’s not friendly and we don’t get along.
But, I find myself drawn to him.
Max is cold, dark, and distant.
And he’s harboring a secret.
One that could get us both killed.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2VxT3ws


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Fun but forgettable

When a personal trainer agrees to fake date her client, all rules are out the window in this “fun, heartfelt, and totally relatable” romantic comedy (Abby Jimenez, NYT bestselling author of Life’s Too Short).

When it comes to personal training, Taylor Powell kicks serious butt. Unfortunately, her bills are piling up, rent is due, and the money situation is dire. Taylor needs more than the support of her new best friends, Samiah and London. She needs a miracle.

And Jamar Dixon might just be it. The oh-so-fine former footballer wants back into the NFL, and he wants Taylor to train him. There’s just one catch—no one can know what they’re doing. But when they’re accidentally outed as a couple, Taylor’s game plan is turned completely upside down. Is Jamar just playing to win . . . or is he playing for keeps?

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3vek4C4
Bookshop Paperback: https://bookshop.org/a/18118/9781538716670


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Light and steamy

I’m Poppy Woodstock.
Romance author and wholehearted believer in Happily Ever Afters.
A terminal case of writer’s block should be my biggest worry.

Then I crash into him—literally—and fall into the most gorgeous pair of blue eyes I’ve ever seen.

Connor Bradley.
Thief, rebel… and my new neighbor.
One slip with the bad boy next door, and my life becomes stranger than any fiction I could ever write.

I impulsively tell his mother that I’m his fiancée, forcing him to help me.
And for some reason, he willingly takes my problems onto his broad shoulders, growling at anyone who stands in my way to meet my deadline.

He turns my world upside down, sparks my inspiration, and claims my body in ways I’ve never dreamed possible.
Through it all, I have to wonder…

Do Happily Ever After endings exist in real life?

One Day Fiance is a full length romantic comedy. It is a complete standalone.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3lKZUOs


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Women’s fiction with some romance

A smart, modern novel about a woman trying to balance her career, her best friend, and falling in love without crashing and burning.

Nicole Palmieri is married to her job. As a user experience designer at Virtuality, an artificial intelligence company in Los Angeles, Nicole is at her desk from sunrise to sunset. She doesn’t have time for a social life (or a love life), but that’s perfectly fine with her. Until her best friend, Parisa Shahin, announces her engagement and asks Nicole to be her maid of honor.

That’s when Nicole decides to meticulously schedule out the next six months of her life—from her project due dates to her dress-fitting appointments to how many hours she plans to sleep each night. If she can stick to her schedule, she’ll balance everything fine. Of course, that’s a really big if. And after she crosses paths with emerging restaurateur Brandon Phelps, Nicole is feeling feelings she hasn’t felt in…well, ever. But scheduling time to fall in love might push even the most meticulous plans into pure chaos.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3CcFl2S


⭐️⭐️⭐️ Intense instalove

Shayne

I’ve never had anyone look at me the way he looks at me, like I could be his whole world.

Ford is different from other guys. For starters, he doesn’t know about my troubled past—the one this small town won’t let me forget, no matter how hard I try. Being with him, I can be myself. Without judgment. Without pretending. He’s unlocked a part of me I wasn’t sure still existed.

Just as quickly as we find each other, it’s time to say goodbye. Ford might feel a world away, but reading his letters and sharing starry nights with him keeps us close until I can be back in his arms.

Ford

From the first moment I laid eyes on her, I knew I needed more time.

While on leave with my best friend from the Army, I finally meet his cousin, Shayne. She’s unexpected—in the best of ways. I quickly realize she could be exactly who I need her to be—my everything.

As long as my life belongs to the military, I can only offer her promises and distance. Maybe getting in involved while enlisted is a mistake, but I’m not ready to let her go. From afar, we find something neither of us was looking for, and it’s all possible beneath the fallen stars.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3iSpSO6


⭐️⭐️⭐️ Steamy but shallow

From USA Today bestselling author, Willow Winters, comes a sexy office romance with a brooding hero you can’t help but fall head over heels for… in and out of the boardroom.

I didn’t get to where I am by being nice. 
I’m the boss, the CEO, the owner of whatever I want.  
Right now, that includes every person in this building of the company I just bought. 
I stop at nothing once I’ve decided I’m taking something. 

And then she showed up… full of spitfire just for me, the man she’s decided is her worst enemy.  
Like I said, I stop at nothing once I’ve decided I’m taking something.  
This pretty little thing just moved to the top of my “must acquire” list.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3sH3hal


Check out this week’s new releases here.


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