The Fortune Cafe (Tangerine Street Romance #1) by Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobson, and Heather B. Moore

The Fortune Cafe (Tangerine Street Romance #1) by Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobson, and Heather B. Moore
Publisher/Year: Mirror Press, 2014
Format: E-book (Nook)
Pages: 235
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads

Summary

Welcome to Tangerine Street

Tangerine Street is a must-see tourist stop with a colorful mix of one-of-a-kind boutiques, unique restaurants, eclectic museums, quaint bookstores, and exclusive bed-and-breakfasts. The Fortune Cafe, situated in the middle of this charming collection of shops and cafes on Tangerine Street, is a Chinese restaurant unlike any other because, well, to be honest, the fortunes found in the cookies all come true…

MIS-FORTUNE: Emma, a waitress at The Fortune Cafe will do anything to avoid opening a fortune cookie. Each fortune is rumored to somehow magically come true. Being a girl grounded in reality, she doesn’t have time for that kind of nonsense. But when trying to prevent a food fight at the cafe, Emma accidentally cracks open a fortune cookie: “Look around, love is trying to catch you.” If there is one thing that Harrison, her former best friend in high school is good at, it’s catching her unaware.

LOVE, NOT LUCK: Lucy has always been lucky…until her parents meet her fiance’s parents at a disastrous lunch at The Fortune Cafe, and she breaks her lucky jade necklace. Even worse, her fortune cookie reveals that “True love is for the brace, not the lucky.” How is she supposed to read that? She’s always considered it lucky how she met her fiance. But after breaking her necklace, Lucy’s luck takes a dive. And when her fiance dumps her, the only person she can turn to is Carter, the unluckiest guy she knows.

TAKEOUT: Stella is content in her new life of taking over her mom’s jewelry shop. No more boyfriend to worry about, and as long as she stays busy, she doesn’t have to dwell on her non-existent love life. When Evan comes into the shop with his young daughter, Stella is charmed. But she is reluctant to complicate her straightforward life, so when she reads her fortune after ordering takeout from The Fortune Cafe, she completely ignores it. After all, how can a fortune as vague as “Do the thing you fear and love is certain,” apply to her?

What I thought

Okay, so THIS is why I’m always downloading Nook freebies! I thought this was SO cute. This was an easy-to-read, light-hearted collection, perfect for fans of Hallmark movies. And surprisingly enough, even though the first story was my favorite, I still really enjoyed all of these stories as a whole. I would certainly read the next collection in this series–I am ALL about small town romance stories. All in all, I thought this was a really cute collection of sweet romance stories. My only wish was that these characters could have their own full length stories–I didn’t want to be done with these characters yet!

The Roxy Letters by Mary Pauline Lowry

The Roxy Letters by Mary Pauline Lowry
Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster, 2020
Format: ARC – paperback
Pages: 308
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads

Summary

She’s got spunk. She’s got charm. She’s got the goddess Venus on her side. But can she save her city and her love life one letter at a time?

Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Where’d You Go, Bernadette in this hilarious and heartwarming novel about twentysomething Roxy, an unlucky-in-love Whole Foods employee, aspiring artist, and sometimes-vegan, who teams up with her two best friends to save Austin from gentrification–and to save Roxy’s love life–in whatever way they can. The Roxy Letters is a hilarious and heartwarming novel told through the letters that the charming and hapless Roxy, a twenty-eight-year-old Austin native, sends to her ex-boyfriend (and current roommate), Everett.

Roxy is underemployed, sexually frustrated, and uninspired. Tired of her job as a deli maid at the original Whole Foods, Roxy daydreams of breaking out of her funk and finding a job that will get her creative juices flowing. She also wouldn’t mind finding love and finding herself off the brink of financial ruin–though Everett’s late rent payments aren’t helping her with the latter.

On top of it all, gentrification is slowly changing her beloved Austin in new and evilly corporate ways. When a new Lululemon pops up at the intersection of Sixth and Lamar where the old Waterloo Video used to be, Roxy can stay silent no longer.

Encouraged by her ex-deli counter comrade Annie–now assistant to the Whole Foods CEO (Chief Ecosystem Officer) and planning an animal rights revolution from the inside–and her new friend Artemis–a vivacious and mercurial man-eater with a string of personas and paramours all over town–Roxy decides to take action. But can this spunky, unforgettable millennial keep Austin weird, avoid arrest, and discover good sex, true love, and her purpose in life in the process?

What I thought

Thank you to Simon & Schuster and Shelf Awareness for the free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Oh friends, this was a wild ride of a book! I never thought I could have this much fun reading a book in 2020. Let me pause before I go any further–if you are someone who is easily offended, especially by swearing or sex, this is not the book for you. If, however, you fall into the wicked category like the rest of us kids, you will find this book laugh-out-loud funny. Initially, I wasn’t sure about the epistolary format, but once I got used to it, I enjoyed it. Roxy is one helluva gal. At first, I found myself feeling increasingly frustrated with her, but after I put my Enneagram 1/Reformer self to bed, she became so endearing to me. You can’t help but root for her. The plot is too wacky to be even remotely believable, but I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard at a book, so I just went with it and ended up having a great time. If you’re looking for something totally off -the-wall and different, but also heartwarming, Roxy’s your gal!

Wild Man (Wild Men #1) by Melissa Belle

Wild Man (Wild Men #1) by Melissa Belle
Publisher/Year: Autumn Ink Press, 2019
Format: E-book (Nook)
Pages: 111
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads

Summary

Colton Wild didn’t save me. He showed me it was safe to live again.

I met him when I was sixteen and broken. When the world was filled with fear.

He was a high school football star at seventeen and ridiculously cocky. He was also hotter than the sun with his messy blond hair, clear blue eyes, and wicked grin.

My family and I were on the run from a predator, and Colton was harboring his own secrets and pain. We were two lost souls, and the moment I saw him, I felt something spark inside my soul.

He flirted with me shamelessly, and I pretended to hate him. I wasn’t allowed to get close to anyone. My life, and my family’s life, depended on it.

But I couldn’t stay away from Colton. He was the brightest light I’d ever seen.

And once the sun went down, I threw all my rules out the window…

What I thought

I don’t have much to say about this one other than that this was a short ‘n’ steamy prequel novella that definitely has me interested in continuing on with the series. Romance is a genre that I just don’t read enough of, but this was a fun intro to two of the series’ characters who initially met as teenagers. Being that this prequel focuses primarily on their time as teens, there’s A LOT of angst and A LOT of hormones flying around, but there’s also innocence and a feel of nostalgia, as well. Plus, this gives you a little added background to their characters as adults. I really liked this one, and I’m planning on continuing the series. I’d recommend this if you’re looking for something fun to shake up your reading a little bit!

142 Ostriches by April Dávila

142 Ostriches by April Dávila
Publisher/Year: Kensington Books, 2020
Format: ARC – paperback
Pages: 262
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads

Summary

Part love letter to the California desert, part intimate portrait of a family reckoning with drug abuse and denial, April Dávila’s beautifully written debut captures the anxieties of a young woman who suddenly bears responsibility amid great stress…

When Tallulah Jones was thirteen, her grandmother plucked her from the dank Oakland apartment she shared with her unreliable mom and brought her to the family ostrich ranch in the Mojave Desert. After eleven years caring for the curious, graceful birds, Tallulah accepts a job in Montana and prepares to leave home. But when Grandma Helen dies under strange circumstances, Tallulah inherits everything–just days before the birds inexplicably stop laying eggs.

Guarding the secret of the suddenly barren birds, Tallulah endeavors to force through a sale of the ranch, a task that is complicated by the arrival of her extended family. Their designs on the property–and deeply rooted dysfunction–threaten Tallulah’s ambitions and eventually her life. With no options left, Tallulah must pull her head out of the sand and face the fifty-year legacy of a family in turmoil: the reality of her grandmother’s death, her mother’s alcoholism, her uncle’s covetous anger, and the 142 ostriches whose lives are in her hands.

What I thought

Thank you to Kensington Books for the free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

So, I have been on a roll with truly excellent books. This was a BEAUTIFUL book that has solidly landed among my favorites this year. And it almost feels like fate that I was reading this alongside All Adults Here because I loved it for a lot of the same reasons. I just LOVE reading about family dynamics, especially when they involve messy & flawed families.

This story was a bit on the grittier side, but I think that really fit with the desert setting. And speaking of the (Mojave) desert, this book felt like Dávila’s love letter to it. I have never personally been there, but she painted this breathtaking view of it. It blows me away that this is a debut novel, and I feel like it is absolutely under-hyped. If you need an escape right now, I’m telling you–read this book. I was completely sucked into this story. There was so much going on, but it was always believable. There wasn’t a moment that it felt implausible, and it managed to be one of the most unique stories I’ve ever read. And oh, Tallulah, I just loved her–she was something else. Even when I could have just screamed at her, she was one of those special characters that I know I’ll find myself thinking of from time to time.

142 Ostriches is one of those books I loved so much that I hugged it when I reached the end. I still cannot believe that this is a debut novel, I was that impressed by it. I absolutely cannot wait for her next book. In the meantime, though, I’ll be here–pushing this book into readers’ hands. If you enjoy stories about crazy, messy families just making it through life, like All Adults Here, for example, I cannot urge you enough–read this book!

The Trail to You by Lindsay Detwiler

The Trail to You by Lindsay Detwiler
Publisher/Year: Hot Tree Publishing, 2019
Format: E-book
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads

Summary

An independent blonde seeking a fresh start.

Orphaned and unhappy, Ally Hunter makes a life-changing decision to move across the country to a small town that once felt like home. As she reinvents herself, she realizes there’s one part of the equation missing–love. However, a tragedy from the past makes her hesitate when it comes to giving up her heart.

A betrayed man looking for a sense of pride. 

Abandoned by his first love and family, Ronan has one friend he can truly count on–his two-hundred-pound mastiff, Henry. When he returns home from service in the National Guard, though, he find his entire life catapulted in a different direction with the disappearance of his beloved dog.

A loyal four-legged friend who will unexpectedly bring them together. 

When Henry, Ronan’s brindle mastiff, finds himself far from home, Ronan sets out on a journey to bring him back. However, as the trail to Henry leads Ronan to Ridgewood, Virginia, and an interior designer with a big heart, he’ll realize some hardships lead to beautiful discoveries.

What I thought

So, before I get into my review of this, I’d like to offer a little bit of background on how I came to read this wonderful book. Let me preface this by saying that I love the area of central PA where I’m from, so much so that I moved back home after college. However, one of my very few complaints is that there’s not much here for readers in terms of local authors, author events, or even bookstores (we have a local Barnes & Nobel and a Bradley’s Used Books, and that’s about it). So, when I happened to go past Bradley’s on a day in 2017 and saw that they were set up for a local author event, I made a beeline into the store. I met Lindsay, as well as her husband and Henry (who is ADORABLE), and we talked about her upcoming release. You guys, she is SO friendly! And her books sounded right up my alley. So, when she contacted me about reviewing her newest upcoming release that has the most adorable premise, I jumped at the opportunity!

And I loved it! I’m so glad I’ve finally read a book by Lindsay, and this definitely has me interested in reading her other works.

The Trail to You is one of those feel-good reads that you want to curl up on the couch with, leaving you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. That’s not to say that this book is empty fluff, though! Our two main characters both have to deal with some of life’s harder “stuff,” which I felt added some extra depth to their story. And let’s face it–with these kinds of stories, you know the guy and the girl will end up together in the end, so I was touched by how beautiful Ronan and Ally’s tale turned out to be. As a dog lover myself, it brought tears to my eyes to watch the mutual love of a dog bring two people together.

Besides that, I have to say that I was very impressed by Lindsay’s writing, as a whole. The story flowed with an ease that made me forget that I was reading, and the character development was spot-on. “Insta-love” was nowhere to be found, and I truly appreciated watching a love story progress naturally. Through all of the “Will they? Won’t they?” I couldn’t help but root for Ronan and Ally. Not to mention, the star of this book (Henry, of course!) had me at work constantly counting down the minutes until I could see my own pup.

I know that sometimes, readers are hesitant to try a book from a self-published or, in this case, an indie-published author, but let me assure you, you’ll be missing out if you don’t read Lindsay Detwiler’s books. The Trail to You is a great place to start! It releases on March 14, 2019, and I’d highly recommend pre-ordering this one, friends!

**Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC of this book thanks to the author, Lindsay Detwiler, and her publisher, Hot Tree Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion or this review.

The Way We Fall by Cassia Leo

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The Way We Fall by Cassia Leo
Publisher/Year: Cassia Leo, 2015
Format: E-book (Nook)
Pages: 206 (Nook edition)
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Goodreads

 

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

From New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo comes a twisted and passionate love story that pushes the boundaries of loyalty.

Maybe we shouldn’t have fallen so fast and so willingly.

Maybe we shouldn’t have moved in together before we went on our first date.

Maybe we should have given our wounds time to heal before we tore each other to shreds.

Maybe we should have never been together.

Houston has kept a devastating secret from Rory since the day he took her into his home. But the tragic circumstances that brought them together left wounds too deep to heal.

Five years after the breakup, Houston and Rory are thrust together by forces beyond their control. And all the resentments and passion return with more intensity than ever.

Once again, Houston is left with a choice between the truth and the only girl he’s ever loved.

The Way We Fall is the first book in The Story of Us series, which follows the tumultuous love story of Rory and Houston. The sequel, The Way We Break, will be released Spring 2015.

What I thought

I have no problem admitting that I enjoy a good guilty pleasure read every once in a while. And as a steamy, angsty new adult romance, The Way We Fall perfectly fit the bill.

Although certainly nothing earth shattering, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Cassia Leo’s writing, given that I downloaded this for free on my Nook. I was pretty hooked to the story. Some things didn’t sit perfectly well with me, but I was able to put that aside & just enjoy the story. I will say that this is more of a novella-length book & the ending brings no resolution, it just sets up for the next book. That doesn’t bother me, just be forewarned if that’s something that bothers you.

Like I said, I really enjoyed this book, from all the sexy scenes to all the drama & angst. I will definitely be reading the next book! If you are able to enjoy a new adult romance without getting too critical, definitely pick this up–it makes for a great escape!