The Appeal

What I read: The Appeal by Janice Hallett

Why I picked it up: I can’t remember where I saw it advertised, but it was available on Libby so I borrowed it immediately.

How I read it: On Kindle over a week or so, it took some time to get into it and actually understand what was going on.

What it’s about: A series of emails, messages, articles, and notes were submitted as evidence for a case that is coming up for appeal. A prosecutor enlists two trainees to read through it and get their opinion on what they think happened.

What I liked: I appreciated getting to know the players through their messages, it’s an interesting way to get to know someone – especially when you only have one side of the story for much of it.

What I disliked: I was half way through before I even knew who was killed, and I only found out because I read a chapter title ahead. I wish I’d had more information about the main event when I started the correspondence.

Genre: Mystery, legal.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and maybe.

Four Aunties and a Wedding

What I read: Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Santo

Why I picked it up: I read her first one in October during my “month of thrillers, mystery, and murder” and wanted to read the follow up.

How I read it: On audio at 2x while traveling and walking.

What it’s about: Meddy and Nathan are getting married in Oxford and everything goes well until she overhears her wedding planner talking about a hit the vendors are carrying out. After their successful first murder last year, the aunties are ready to take this mafia family down. Their wedding is like nothing you ever seen.

What I liked: Nathan is the star of this show even though he’s kept in the dark almost the entire time.

What I disliked: It’s as crazy as you think it’s going to be, and much of it felt like the three stooges and a stereotype of Asian culture.

Genre: Mystery, wedding.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and you definitely have to read the first one before this one. And the first one is better.

Truth or Beard

What I read: Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Why I picked it up: Anne Bogel has recommended this for awhile, and when I saw it for $2 at a used book store this weekend, I decided to pick it up.

How I read it: On paper while flying yesterday and during lunch today.

What it’s about: Jess has been home for a few months trying to save money so she cod leave on her adventures, but she gets sidetracked by Duane, her childhood nemesis. She always thought she was in love with his twin, but history is rewriting itself now.

What I liked: I appreciated getting to know the brothers, they seem like an interesting crew, especially Cletus.

What I disliked: It was a bit too open door for me, and they felt really immature.

Genre: Enemies to lovers, open door.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and not my favorite story, I won’t be reading the rest in the series.

The Cheat Sheet

What I read: The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams

Why I picked it up: I’ve been loving this author this week so I’m just working my way through her available titles on Hoopla.

How I read it: On audio at 2x speed

What it’s about: Bree and Nathan have been best friends forever, both of them wanting more but being afraid to say anything. Then an unfortunate bathroom incident with a reporter and a tide pen changes everything, and they’re forced to pretend to be dating, but is it pretend?

What I liked: I really appreciated Nathan’s respect for her and that he wanted them to be married.

What I disliked: Something happened with Bree earlier than the book, and I felt like her story could have had more depth.

Genre: Faking dating, chaste romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I liked this one.

The Temporary Roomie

What I read: The Temporary Roomie by Sarah Adam’s

Why I picked it up: I’m working my way through her available books on Hoopla.

How I read it: On audio at 2x while traveling this weekend.

What it’s about: Jessie needs a place to stay while her house is being fixed, and Drew needs a date to a hospital fundraiser. The only problem is they can’t stand each other, or they’re in love with one another. It’s full of pranks and hijinks.

What I liked: I loved the way that Drew wasn’t pushed away by her pregnancy. Those were his sweetest moments.

What I disliked: Toward the end I was done with pranks.

Genre: Enemies to lovers, closed door romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes, it’s the second in a series that I think works better read in order.

The Off-Limits Rule

What I read: The Off-Limits Rule by Sarah Adams

Why I picked it up: Read one of the author’s books earlier this week and really liked it, so I downloaded more for my trip this weekend.

How I read it: On audio at 1.75x while flying and driving and walking today.

What it’s about: Lucy moves home after a bad breakup. She and her son, Levi, take up residence in her brother’s guest room. The first person Drew introduces her to is the one guy he’s told his sister is off limits. How long will it be before they start dating? Ummm… days!

What I liked: I loved everything!!

What I disliked: It wasn’t long enough!! Good thing there’s a sequel to the series featuring the brother. I’m hoping Lucy and Cooper show up a bit in that one!

Genre: Closed door romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and absolutely!!

Already Home

What I read: Already Home by Susan Mallery

Why I picked it up: I grabbed a bunch of hers I haven’t read last time I was at the library.

How I read it: On paper while flying! I had three chapters left when we landed, it was hard not to just sit on the plane and keep reading.

What it’s about: Jenna comes home after her divorce and opens a cookware shop, on a whim. Once she hires Violet and lets her actually help run the store things really take off. Then her birth parents show up, and nothing is ever the same again.

What I liked: I loved this story. I laughed. I cried. I was ready to beat up an ex-fiancée and a new boyfriend.

What I disliked: There are two abusive storylines for the two younger women, and they were hard to read.

Genre: Mothers and daughters, domestic abuse, adoption.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes, this was a good one!

The Marriage Game

What I read: The Marriage Game by Sara Desai

Why I picked it up: I can’t remember.

How I read it: On paper in my new “regular reading routine”: start a new book at dinner, read before bed, finish when waking up in the morning.

What it’s about: Layla has a spectacular breakup and gets fired from her job all in the same week. She moves back home, sets up a new business in the office above her family’s restaurant, and then meets Sam. He helps her weed through her father’s list of potential husbands, but it’s them who end up falling in love.

What I liked: The story moved quickly, but there were so many holes.

What I disliked: I didn’t appreciate the way tradition was portrayed. It was both something that was important, but also ignored – especially when it just didn’t fit their narrative.

Genre: Enemies to lovers, open door.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️ and no, there are many other romances that portray this culture and even this romance trope better.

The Anthropocene Reviewed

What I read: The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

Why I picked it up: Anne Bogel and Annie B. Jones both listened to it and loved it, so I decided to give it a try.

How I read it: On audio at 1.75x speed in a couple of drives and walks.

What it’s about: I’d never heard the word Anthropocene before and so I first thought this book was about Covid, that’s how Annie recommended it. So I was interested because I like the author’s fiction, but not excited because, well, Covid. Then I listened to a WSIRN bonus episode where Anne gives her review and it’s a book reviewing the world, essentially. It’s a series of essays, short and long, where John gives an explanation of the thing/idea/concept along with his own experience and a 1-5 star rating.

What I liked: Some were things I knew nothing about, some were things I’ve loved or hated and I agreed with his rating. It was a delightful listen.

What I disliked: I think this might be a better coffee table book where you open it and read a review or two and then leave it for another day, rather than a straight through listen.

Genre: Nonfiction, essays, star ratings.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes.

Funny You Should Ask

What I read: Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman

Why I picked it up: I liked the cover when I saw it on the new release shelf at the library.

How I read it: On paper in three sittings.

What it’s about: Chani is invited to do a follow up on her viral article from ten years ago. The original launched her writing career, but it has always been clouded by one question, “what really happened that weekend?” Now she gets a bit of a do-over, but so does Gabe. He’s different now, less Hollywood, more himself.

What I liked: There’s this bookstore in Montana called “Cozy” that I really wanted more of. He gave her the perfect day there.

What I disliked: The double standard for men and women in Hollywood is on full display here. Everyone thinks she slept with him to advance her career, and no one believes her when she tells the truth: nothing happened. They just smile, nod, and judge her forever.

Genre: Multiple timelines, celebrity, writing, open door.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I think it’s worth a read. Heads up for an open door scene at the end.