An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – Review

An American Marriage coverAn American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Genres: Literary Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher (ARC)

5/5 Stars

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Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together. 

My Review

This was one of my most highly anticipated reads of 2018. I wasn’t sure what to expect but in the end, it did not disappoint.

Celestial and Roy are a couple who are dealt a terrible hand. Having only been married a year and a half, Roy is literally torn from their bed and sentenced to 12 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. It is difficult enough to make a marriage work let alone when one of you is in jail – and wrongfully accused.

This was a tough read. There are a lot of subjects I’m ignorant on, and mass incarceration is one of them. In the book, I didn’t understand why there wasn’t a rape kit, DNA testing, etc. How was Roy so easily convicted of something he didn’t do? I still don’t know if that’s the norm, or if that’s just the norm if you’re black and accused. Either way, it’s disgusting and disgraceful.

My heart broke right along with Roy’s and Celestials’ and this book had me crying less than 100 pages in.

I loved Jones’ writing. It was truthful, and visceral, sharp-tongued and didn’t sugar coat anything. I particularly loved reading the letters Roy wrote and received to and from Celestial, and the others in his life. It was a unique and truthful way to communicate to the reader what was going on. They weren’t able to talk face to face every day and through letters things can get misinterpreted. I liked that that was included.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers on how it ends, nor do I really want to say much about what happens in the book. I think it’s important not to know what happens, going into it. I will say the actions of Roy and Celestial are very believable. These are two imperfect humans trying to survive through what was dealt to them. I don’t think you can blame each of them for doing, acting, and saying what they did.

Although this book has a lot of heartbreak in it, I do think this story is one, ultimately of hope.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


New Release: Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid



MARRIAGE OF INCONVENIENCE, an all-new romantic comedy in the USA Today bestselling Knitting in the City series by Penny Reid, is available NOW!

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Title: Marriage of Inconvenience
Series: Knitting in the City #7
Author: Penny Reid
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Release Date: March 6, 2017
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There are three things you need to know about Kat Tanner (aka Kathleen Tyson. . . and yes, she is *that* Kathleen Tyson): 1) She’s determined to make good decisions, 2) She must get married ASAP, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Being a billionaire heiress isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it sucks. Determined to live a quiet life, Kat Tanner changed her identity years ago and eschewed her family’s legacy. But now, Kat’s silver spoon past has finally caught up with her, and so have her youthful mistakes. To avoid imminent disaster, she must marry immediately; it is essential that the person she chooses have no romantic feelings for her whatsoever and be completely trustworthy.

Fortunately, she knows exactly who to ask. Dan O’Malley checks all the boxes: single, romantically indifferent to her, completely trustworthy. Sure, she might have a wee little crush on Dan the Security Man, but with clear rules, expectations, and a legally binding contract, Kat is certain she can make it through this debacle with her sanity—and heart—all in one piece.

Except, what happens when Dan O’Malley isn’t as indifferent—or as trustworthy—as she thought?

Technically, ‘Marriage of Inconvenience’ could be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend you read the entire series first.

Read my reviews of the other Knitting in the City series books:
Love Hacked (#3)
Beauty and the Mustache (#4)
Dating-ish (#6)

MARRIAGE OF INCONVENIENCE was everything a die-hard Penny Reid fan could ever ask for. I’ll be sharing my full review here on the blog on March 22nd during the blog tour, so stay tuned!

pennyreidauthorpicMeet the Author: Penny Reid

Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full-time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

Connect with Penny:
Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Website – Goodreads – Amazon – Newsletter – Pinterest


New Release: Scenes from the Hallway by Penny Reid


SCENES FROM THE HALLWAY, an all-new novella from USA Today bestselling author Penny Reid, is LIVE and as a special Valentine’s Day gift from Penny it’s FREE!


Title: Scenes from the Hallway
Series: Knitting in the City #6.5
Author: Penny Reid
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Release Date: February 14, 2017
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From the USA TODAY Bestselling romantic comedy series, ‘Scenes from the Hallway,’ Knitting in the City #6.5

You know who I am.

I swear too much, I crack too many jokes, and I got a thing for Kat Tanner; a messy thing, a distracting thing, a getting-in-the-way-of-everything thing; a thing that makes being in the same room with the woman torture. Sometimes it’s the good kind. Mostly, it’s not.

What you don’t know is how it all started. You don’t know how we met, you might not know what happened in Vegas (or the morning after), and you definitely don’t know what happened after that.

You want to know the story before the story? Well . . . here you go.

But be careful what you ask for. As I’ve discovered the hard way, you might not like it.

‘Scenes from the Hallway’ is a companion short prequel/short story (11k words) for the upcoming book, ‘Marriage of Inconvenience,’ and includes the first 3 chapters of the soon to be released novel! (‘Marriage of Inconvenience’ releases March 6, 2018.)

**WARNING This short story contains a lot of cussing. Do not download or read if you dislike curse words in novels. WARNING**


pennyreidauthorpicMeet the Author: Penny Reid

Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. She lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband, three kids, and an inordinate amount of yarn. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she writes books.

Connect with Penny:
Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Website – Goodreads – Amazon – Newsletter – Pinterest


Release Blitz: The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon

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Heartbreaking. Heart healing. Heart melting.
THE SMALLEST PART, a contemporary friends-to-lovers romance is now available on all platforms.

The Smallest Part

Title: The Smallest Part
Author: Amy Harmon
Publisher: Barefoot Backstory
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 325 pages

Read Today!
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“In the end, only three things matter. How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” – Unknown

It was a big lie. The biggest lie she’d ever told. It reverberated through her head as she said it, ringing eerily, and the girl behind her eyes—the girl who knew the truth—screamed, and her scream echoed along with the lie.
“Are you in love with Noah, Mercedes?” Cora asked. “I mean . . . I know you love him. You’ve been friends forever. We all have. But are you in love with him?”

If it had been anyone else—anyone—Mercedes would have stuck out her chest, folded her skinny arms, and let her feelings be known. She would have claimed him. But it was Cora. Brave, beautiful, broken Cora, and Cora loved Noah too.
So Mercedes lied.
And with that lie, she lost him. With that lie, she sealed her fate.
She was the best friend, the bridesmaid, the godmother, the glue. She was there for the good times and the bad, the ups and downs, the biggest moments and the smallest parts. And she was there when it all came crashing down.

This is the tale of the girl who didn’t get the guy.

Meet the Author: Amy Harmon

Amy Harmon is a Wall Street JournalUSA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Amy knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Her books are now being published in eighteen different languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Levan, Utah.

Amy Harmon has written thirteen novels – the USA Today Bestsellers The Bird and The Sword, Making Faces and Running Barefoot, as well as the #1 Amazon bestselling historical From Sand and Ash, The Queen and The Cure, The Law of Moses, The Song of David, Infinity + One, Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, and the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue. Her novels The Bird and the Sword and From Sand and Ash were Goodreads Best Books of 2016 and 2017 finalists.

Connect with Amy: Website – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Amazon – Goodreads – BookBub – Pinterest

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Blog Tour: The Beau & The Belle by R.S. Grey – Review

TB&TBEbookCover.pngThe Beau & The Belle by R.S. Grey
Publication Date: February 1, 2018
Publisher: R.S. Grey
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Format: eBook
Source: ARC



Beau Fortier starred in most of my cringe-worthy teenage fantasies.

I met him when I was a junior in high school, a time that revolved exclusively around bad hair, failed forays into flirting, and scientific inquiries into which brand of toilet paper worked best for stuffing bras.

That is, until Beau moved into the small guest house just beyond my bedroom window.

A 24-year-old law student at Tulane, Beau was as mysterious to me as second base (both in baseball and in the bedroom). He was older. Intimidating. Hot. Boys my age had chicken legs and chubby cheeks. Beau had calloused hands and a jaw cut from steel. Our interactions were scarce—mostly involving slight stalking on my end—and yet deep down, I desperately hoped he saw me as more of a potential lover than a lovesick loser.

Turns out, I was fooling myself. My fragile ego learned that lesson the hard way.

Now, ten years later, we’re both back in New Orleans, and guess who suddenly can’t take his eyes off little ol’ me.

My old friend, Mr. Fortier.

But things have changed. I’m older now—poised and confident. My ego wears a bulletproof vest. The butterflies that once filled my stomach have all perished.

When I was a teenager, Beau warned me to guard my heart.

Let’s hope he knows how to guard his.

5 Reasons Why You Might Love This Book!

1. You Love Contemporary Romantic Comedies

R.S. Grey is one of the best writers of contemporary romantic comedies. Whether you like the storylines or not, you cannot deny that this woman knows how to write a rom-com. She’s a master at it. I found The Beau & The Belle particularly hilarious, especially Part One, which takes place in the past when Lauren is in high school. The writing is witty, fun, and snappy.

2. Unrequited love combined with second chance romance is your sweet spot

This book is told in two parts. The first part is the “past.” Lauren is a 17-year old junior in high school when Beau, a 24-year old law student, rents out the guest house of her parent’s house. I’d say Lauren is smitten by Beau right away, I mean who wouldn’t be: very cute, mature, intelligent, college guy when you’re an awkward 17-year old. It’s obvious there’s going to be some attraction on at least one end. (Also, let’s remember this is not the 2018 17-year old, this is the early-to-mid 2000s 17-year old. Very different in my opinion.). Anyways, some will say that this is a case of ‘love at first sight,’ but you should know that I do not believe in ‘love at first sight.’ ‘Lust at first sight’ however, is a very real thing, and I think that is what happens to Lauren.

Without too many spoilers, at the end of part one Lauren and Beau are forced to go their separate ways until they are reunited in part two (the present). Feelings get revealed, some of which are surprising, and unrequited love becomes requited (is that a word?). (Also, I don’t think that’s a spoiler, it is a romance so the HEA* is kind of a given if we are following RWA** rules).  If you like second chances and unrequited love stories, this book is for you.

3. You want to be transported to a different place while never leaving your living room

Grey does a spectacular job describing the New Orleans atmosphere. It has been several years since I’ve visited, but I was brought right back to Bourbon street, the French Quarter, and the hot humid air while reading this book.

4. You are craving a healthy dose of nostalgia

Now, some of this probably only pertains to people who were in high school between the years of 2000-2010. But if you were in high school before cell phones were the norm, you ran home after school so you could talk to your friends and crushes via AIM, and the most stressful thing going on was whether or not your crush was going to come to your pool party, then this book is going to give you flashbacks. It was one of the best things about the book in my opinion. I loved how much I could relate to Lauren and felt her pain through all her awkwardness during Part One.

5. You want to laugh

This one speaks for itself. I also touched on this on number one, but it is worth mentioning again. This book is a comedy and you will laugh. I dare you not to.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.

Click the links below to see my reviews of R.S. Grey’s other novels:

*HEA = Happily Ever After
**RWA = Romance Writers of America

About the Author:

authorR.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of thirteen novels, including THE FOXE & THE HOUND. She lives in Texas with her husband and two dogs, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga! Visit her at

Connect with R.S. Grey:


The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory – Review

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory35259631
Berkley Books
Publication Date:
January 30, 2018
Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: ARC

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A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck within an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other… 

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…

My Review

I really enjoyed this book. It was just like Mary Poppins, “practically perfect in every way.” This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. As soon as I read the synopsis I was hooked. Huge bonus points that it’s a romance by a WOC with the heroine also being a WOC. Waiting until it released seemed like torture, so I was so excited when I won an ARC through BookishFirst.

It really captured me right from the start. The characters of Alexa and Drew are warm and inviting. Alexa feels like she could be your best friend. She is committed to her career and has ambition. Drew is the nice and caring doctor you also want to be best friends with. They meet in a funny and unexpected way; when the hotel elevator they’re both in breaks down. Drew is in town to be in his ex-best friend’s and ex-girlfriend’s wedding, and Alexa is there to meet with her sister and celebrate her sister making partner at her law firm. One thing leads to another, and Drew, desperate to not attend the wedding alone, begs Alexa to be his date. She agrees and ends up pretending to be his girlfriend so he can save face.

Neither seems ready to say good-bye, and they end up flying back and forth from Berkeley and Los Angeles (where Drew lives), to see each other on the weekends. Quickly this ‘fling’ starts to turn into something much much more. It takes them both a while to come to terms with the fact that they both want it to be more than just a fling. They want commitment, or at least exclusivity and a long-term relationship.

The dialogue was fun and witty, and Guillory had me eating out of the palm of her hand immediately. I also loved that it did not shy away from tough and timely topics like white privilege and racism. They brought a needed dose of reality to this fun and sweet read. It added a wonderful layer to the story that made the characters more true-to-life.

If I had to pick one thing I would change, I would have to say that it just wrapped up too quickly for me. That seems to be a trend with the books I’ve been reading lately. They all leave me wanting more! I just felt like I needed a bit more at the end in order to give it that nice crisp lovely bow that wraps everything up with no loose ends. I just really wanted more of Alexa and Drew.

In the end, I really did love this book, and highly recommend you pick it up ASAP!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Jasmine Guillory is a graduate of Wellesley College and Stanford Law School. She is a Bay Area native who has towering stacks of books in her living room, a cake recipe for every occasion, and upwards of 50 lipsticks.

Follow Jasmine online: InstagramTwitter

Roomies by Christina Lauren – Review

Roomies by Christina Lauren

Roomies by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date:
December 5, 2017
Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: ARC

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Marriages of convenience are so… inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

My Review

I immediately wanted to do a reread of this book the minute I finished it! It was one of those books that made me think “now what do I do with my life” after I was done. The characters are captivating, partly due to the fact that neither is perfect. Holland was a character I easily related to. Scrambling through life, not quite sure what to do, a lot due in part to her fear of failure. She’s never been a risk taker, and doesn’t know (or doesn’t want to) stick up for herself.

In an impulsive move, Holland ends up proposing marriage to this guy, Calvin, a street musician she has a crush on, even though they’ve never spoken. The reason behind her proposing is so that he can stay in the country (he is here illegally) and be the lead guitarist in her uncle’s Broadway show (which happens to be his dream). I really liked how the story progressed, but I will say I was left a little bit wanting at the end. It just wrapped up a bit too quickly for my liking.

In romance novels, you’ll find every kind of guy under the sun. However, it does seem that the regular good guy doesn’t show up as much – and the regular good guy is my favorite. Calvin was just that. He’s truly a good, nice, genuine guy. Does he make mistakes and missteps? Yes. But his intentions and actions up to and after those mistakes speak to the fact that he is a man of good character.

Overall, it was a truly enjoyable read. Fun, heartwarming, and swoon-inducing. Not only are the characters relatable, the writing, particularly about Calvin’s music is vivid and captivating. I hope to read more books by this wonderful duo that is Christina Lauren very soon!

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates/brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced fourteen New York Times bestselling novels. Their books have been translated into 31+ languages. (Some of these books have kissing. Some of these books have A LOT of kissing.)

Follow Christina Lauren online: InstagramTwitter – Website

Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer – Review


Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Publication Date:
January 23, 2018
Women’s Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: ARC

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After two intense, dead-end relationships, serial monogamist Alison finds herself confused, lonely, and drastically out of touch with the world of modern dating. Refusing to wallow, she signs up for a popular dating app and resolves to remain open-minded and optimistic as she 

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Blog Tour: Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker


Keep Her Safe
 by K.A. Tucker

Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: Jan 23, 2017
Genres: Romance, Mystery, Suspense
Pages: 448

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Making a Murderer meets Scandal in this story of police corruption, family secrets, and illicit affairs from bestselling author K.A. Tucker, celebrated for her “propulsive plot twists and searing seduction” (USA TODAY).

Noah Marshall has known a privileged and comfortable life thanks to his mother, the 

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