Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory

Synopsis

A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking.

Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can’t resist–it is chocolate cake, after all.

Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble–not just some privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Because of Max’s high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?

I have read every book in the Wedding Date series that Jasmine Guillory has written, because I am a sucker for a cute, light-hearted rom-com. Like all of the other books in this series, Party of Two did not disappoint. If I am being completely honest, the synopsis got me at chocolate cake, regardless of who wrote the book!

I had planned to read this book when it was released, however I saw it on Netgalley and thought why not take a chance, and to my utter astonishment, they accepted me and I could not be happier about it!

One main thing I enjoyed about this book, just like all of Guillory’s, is the fact that it is told from dual POVs. I feel like this adds so much more to a book, especially in a romance novel, so that you get the whole story from both perspectives.

I really enjoyed Olivia as a main character in this novel. You got a small glimpse at her in the first book, The Wedding Date, but this story shows you how strong and independent of a woman she is. She is risk adverse and spends most of her time strategically planning out her next move. In contrast, Max is a charming, spontaneous and intelligent senator.

As I have stated in a few of my other rom-com reviews, I tend to have a hard time if the male love interest comes off as controlling or overbearing. Luckily, Guillory seems to have it down and as always, Max was such a delightful male love interest and one that I found myself swooning over a time or two.

Lastly, the most surprising thing I loved most about this book was all the food talk. I am not sure you could go a single chapter without some sort of food being talked about. As mentioned before, the chocolate cake reeled me in from the synopsis and it made a few appearances throughout the book that made me want to run to the store and get one for myself!

So with all that being said, I would highly suggest this book to anyone who enjoys a good, light hearted rom-com. Also, this book is technically part of a series, but can definitely be read as a standalone.

Thank you so much to Netgalley, Berkley Books and Jasmine Guillory for providing me with an ebook review copy in exchange for an honest review!

Book Details:

Title: Party of Two
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Publication Date: June 23, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read any of Jasmine Guillory’s books? Or do you have any other rom-coms that you would recommend? I am always looking for more light-hearted reads!

Thank you as always for stopping by our blog! We appreciate all the support and love having you here!

May Wrap Up |Christie|

Thi is way more on top of things than I am lately! My husband and I have finally moved into our house and have, for the most part, unpacked everything. Now that all the moving is done, maybe I can get back to some me time and enjoy some reading in my new reading room!

However, with that being said, I still managed to read/listen to 13 books in May and happy that I was able to accomplish that!

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

This is a book that Thi had read before me and when I mentioned I was interested in reading a mystery/thriller she recommended this one. I could not agree more, this was just what I had been looking for! If you are looking for a quick enjoyable mystery/thriller, look no further.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Storm and Fury has been sitting on my bookshelf for quite some time. I ended up starting this one because I was planning on selling it to someone. I am glad that I finally took the chance on it.

The book was a little slow in parts, but I think that is to be expected in the first book of a series. However, I enjoyed the fantasy aspects of this story while also being set in real world setting. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkal

I had a very hard time with this book. I read the synopsis and I had such high hopes. However, this book just fell flat for me.

The magic system I thought was very creative, but I felt that this book was meant to be character driven and I could not care less about any of them. It is hard for me to enjoy a book if I don’t feel connected to the characters. I doubt that I will continue with this series.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Here is another great mystery/thriller recommendation for you. I would actually go as far as to say I recommend this one even more than The Wives.

The setting of this book makes this story even better. Not to mention the multiple POVs, which also make a book better in my opinion. With a wide range of personalities and a secluded island, what could go wrong?

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

I have absolutely loved this series, and this book might be my favorite book so far. I need more Audrey Rose and Thomas Creswell in my life!!

Throw in some magic on a cruise ship, with an air of mystery, and you have yourself a true masterpiece!

Rating: 4 out of 5.
A Million Junes by Emily Henry

I actually read this book for a Facebook discussion group, and I am so glad that this book was chosen.

I truly adore a good magical realism story and this one does it beautifully. I felt connected with all the characters and thought that the veil and different magical aspects of this story were so well-crafted!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I continued my Harry Potter re-read and every time I find something else to love about this story!

Order of the Phoenix is probably the book that I think it’s movie counterpart left the most out of. So if you have seen the movies and not read the books, I cannot recommend them enough!!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Supernova by Marissa Meyer

Thi and I finished up The Renegades trilogy this month and I loved it more than I thought I would.

I am so glad we decided to buddy read the last two books together, as there was plenty to discuss. If you want a fast paced, action packed, superhero/villain story, this series is definitely one you should check out!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
The Unwilling by Kelly Braffet

I finished this book about two and a half weeks ago and I still don’t know how to adequately put into words my thoughts.

I read this synopsis and thought this is the book I have been looking for. However, something was off about it and I can’t seem to put my finger on exactly what it was.

I thought the beginning of this book was very strong and drew me in quickly, but after the halfway point, I didn’t find myself as interested. Also, that ending left a lot to be desired.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle

First off, can we talk about how amazing cozy mystery titles are? I have had a few books friends tell me that I need to try out a cozy mystery. So when I saw this one available on my Libby, I decided to give it a shot.

This was a fun, cute and quick mystery audiobook that took me just a few hours to get through. I think they are a good palette cleanser between heavier books and I will definitely be checking out more!

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

I somehow got in a few mystery/thrillers in the month of May and I couldn’t be happier. I tend to read a lot of YA fantasy/dystopian and I am glad that I branched out a bit more this month.

This book held my interest the whole way through and I liked the alternating time periods. At times it was a bit slow building, but that ending was well worth it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was able to read two books in the Harry Potter series this month and it was fantastic as ever!

Half-Blood Prince is my second favorite book in the series and every time I read it I learn more and more and remember why it has captured my heart!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed

Let me start by saying that the romance in this story is definitely YA, as the main characters are 17. However, with that being said, the issues that are discussed in this book are very important and highly pertain to today’s political climate.

I enjoyed this story and would definitely recommend for anyone looking for a quick, fun, and important read!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

All in all, I am very happy with the books that I read in May. I had a few books that were a bit of a let down for me, but overall I think it was a pretty positive month for me! Have you read any of these books? Do we agree or disagree? Lets chat down in the comments!

And as always, thank you so much for stopping by our blog! We truly appreciate each and every one of you!

May wrap up |thi|

How are we almost halfway through the year already? 2020 has been, ermm, quite a handful to say the least. There is much that needs to be said, that I can’t possibly cram into this post as it is a different subject-matter, but I hope you are all staying safe and speaking up against all the injustice.

That being said, as far as a book reading month, I wrapped up with fifteen books and am actually super proud of that!

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The Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon

This book had been on my shelf for quite some time, and I finally picked it up to read because I do a lot of swaps, and someone was looking for it. I didn’t know what to expect while I was reading this. It seemed like it was being pulled in multiple directions, and I just wasn’t sure what to expect. I initially went in expecting a thriller, but it is not.

I’m still unsure of what genre to categorize it as- mystery, suspense, family drama? Either way, I ended up really enjoying this book!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book is as dense as you would expect, both in material and in the 450+ pages. However, Larson truly did such an amazing job writing about this piece of our history. It tells of richly detailed account of Winston Churchill’s first year as Prime Minister. It is obvious throughout the book the amount of research he put in to make this book as great. I was nervous going in that I would get flashbacks of sitting through history classes, but it was nowhere near. Though it did take a bit of time to get into it, Larson is a masterful storyteller.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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The New Husband by D.J. Palmer

I found the story line of this thriller to be super easy to follow. I also am a sucker for alternating POVs, so I also loved that this book is written as such. Unfortunately this story didn’t really stand out to me in any particular way. I didn’t love or hate the characters. Some people didn’t like that the MC was too trusting, but I thought it added a nice touch of reality to the character, because some people are more trusting than others in real. There is a creep factor, and I loved the overall message at the end. All in all, it is a fun and quick read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Have you guys read anything by Karin Slaughter? If not, you are missing out! I have read a few books by her, some I loved, some I did not, and I even had a DNF one, but no matter what, I’ll always pick up a book by her because I love how she writes. To me, this book was like an episode straight out of Criminal Minds. It had it’s slow parts, but overall- I pictured this book so vividly in my head while I was reading it!

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake

I won’t say too much as this book is the last of it’s series and to not spoil anything for you, but this series does not get as much recognition and spotlight as it deserves.

I’ve seen so much growth in all the characters throughout the series. I am so sad this journey is ending. It is a definite favorite for sure!

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

Told in dual timeline (1875 to 1987), Lisa Wingate has hit me in the heart once again. I cannot find the right words to explain this book. Though it was a bit slower than I was used to (considering all the fantasy and thrillers I was reading before), this is a well-researched and beautifully written story. There are sections in this book that will break your heart (fair warning) and others that will leave you inspired. Overall, highly recommended for lovers of historical fictions and book clubs as there is so much that can be discussed.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

While this book was more of a slow-burner than I expected, I really enjoyed this story. I love when there is a hidden message in a story, regardless of of what genre the book falls in, and Pretty Things is no exception.

Click here to review full, spoiler free review of this beauty!

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Supernova by Marissa Meyers

Initially I only planned to wrap up one series this month, but Christie and I buddy read and loved Archenemies (book 2) so much, we had to add this finale into our May stack. This series did not disappoint at all. It was fun, thrilling, action-packed.

Click here for the full, spoiler free review of the series Christie and I wrote earlier in the month.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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What Lies Between Us by John Marrs

This is my first five star read of the month, so if you were wondering if you need this book, the answer is yes.

You need every John Marrs book, because his books never disappoint.

Click here to read the full, spoiler free review I wrote earlier in the month.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

Can we all take a moment to enjoy this beautiful cover?! Okay, now, I absolutely loved this book.

My heart ached and swelled simultaneously reading this and will sit with me for a long time. I’d highly recommend this to anyone who loves story of lost loved, fate and destiny, historical fiction, diversity, and culture.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book is a great opener to the series. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start a new series, but I have a good feeling this will be one I’m going to really enjoy.

With its fast paced, short chapter, and fun characters- I am excited to see where this series take me!

I have book 2 of this series in my June stack ready to go!

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Do you ever see a book and decide right off the bat it’s not the book for you and end up reading it and falling in love with it?

The Book of Longings did that for me. I am so glad I decided to circle back to read this book, because otherwise I would have missed out so much.

Click here for the full, spoiler-free review I posted about a week or so ago!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian

This was one of my highly anticipated books this year, but unfortunately it feel a bit flat for me. I wanted to like this book more than I did.

It was a good and interesting read amidst the current pandemic. Unfortunately, I just didn’t really resonate with any of the characters and felt it dragged a bit on some parts. Overall, it was still enjoyable and being of Vietnamese descendants, I really enjoyed the Vietnam setting.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine

Okay, if you are looking for books with bizarrely crazy characters, the Wife Stalker is the book you’re looking for. Written in alternating narratives, you get the story of two women. What follows is a crazy, stalker-y and thrilling story of how far a woman will go to protect her family. So buckle your seatbelts. You’re in for a fun and crazy ride.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane  

I am honestly really torn about my rating for this book. I was certain this would be a three star for me, but McFarlene pleasantly surprised me with the last quarter of the book and I loved the main character.

There are some major themes was brought up in this book and I absolutely loved that.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Overall, I am pretty happy with my monthly wrap up. I only DNF’d one book, Ember in the Ashes, which I am honestly super shocked about. I think I may be the only soul in the book world that didn’t connect with it. How did May shape up for you? Did you absolutely love or DNF’d any that surprise ya?

Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd |book review|

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Synopsis

“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.” So begins the new novel from the number one New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings, an extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny in a time of great despair and great hope.

In her fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart.

Their marriage unfolds with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, James and Simon, and their mother, Mary. Here, Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to the Roman occupation of Israel, partially led by her charismatic adopted brother, Judas. She is sustained by her indomitable aunt Yaltha, who is searching for her long-lost daughter, as well as by other women, including her friend Tabitha, who is sold into slavery after she was raped, and Phasaelis, the shrewd wife of Herod Antipas. Ana’s impetuous streak occasionally invites danger. When one such foray forces her to flee Nazareth for her safety shortly before Jesus’s public ministry begins, she makes her way with Yaltha to Alexandria, where she eventually finds refuge and purpose in unexpected surroundings.

Grounded in meticulous historical research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’s life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her.

Have you ever read a book that leaves you completely inarticulate? Because I just did. I read a lot of books that leaves me at a lost for words, but the Book of Longings has left me not only speechless, but also breathless.

I’m going to be frank with you guys- I’m agnostic, so the Book of Longings was originally no where near being in my pile. I was scrolling through Goodreads one day, and someone gave this book a one-star without even reading it because it didn’t follow their religious view, so it peaked my curiosity.

I was skeptical going into this book, worrying it would be more focused on the religion aspect than the synopsis leads you to believe. It came through on Libby three days ago, and you guys- I practically inhaled the book. WOW! I’ve been working on this review the last three days, and yet- I find myself continuously rambling because I still cannot articulate my thoughts.

It is a poignant story that is character-driven and may not be for devout Christians unless you are willing to keep an open mind, reminding yourself it is a work of fiction because it is traditionally believed that Jesus did not marry. While obvious mentions of God, prayers, and biblical stories are present throughout the book, the story primarily focuses on Ana, the wife of human Jesus, an amiable husband who is in the background. Ana is fierce and strong. She speaks her mind and writes her words in a time period that tries to silence women.

What I loved about this book are the women, their resilience, and their friendship. There are definite note of feminism, courage, and perseverance. Ana’s voice is strong and she uses that to make sure other’s stories get told and are heard.

All in all, Kidd did a terrific job balancing the book between biblical stories and weaving in a woman’s voice and determination to stand up for herself and others as well as maintaining equality in her marriage with human- Jesus. It is very clear that Kidd put a lot of research into this novel, and while I am not familiar with all biblical stories, I know they are sprinkled throughout the book.

This is a book I’d highly recommend for anyone willing to step out their comfort zone, regardless of which side you stand on, because you have to have an open mind in order to see all the beauty this book has to offer. It is a book that’ll sit with you for a long time if you’re willing to look at the big picture instead of dissecting every phrase of paragraph, or page.

Title: The Book of Longings
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 21, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you are a BOTM member, do you have any books in mind that might be a contender for the year, because I can see Book of Longings being one! I’d love to hear your thoughts and chit-chat 🙂

Sundays in Bed With…

Well, this weekend I will unfortunately not be able to spend much time in bed. We have finally made it to moving week. I am so excited for this next step, but also so darn stressed out about everything that is left to get done!

So while I have all of this going on, I have not been able to read as much as I would have liked. However, it has given me the time to listen to more audiobooks! I don’t really listen to a lot of music, so audiobooks have been a real pleasure while I am packing and cleaning.

So without further ado, this is what I am listening to on this lovely Sunday!

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

I have had this book on my TBR for awhile and have heard a lot of great reviews on it. So when I found it on my Libby app, I thought now was as good a time as any to listen and try it out for myself!

Synopsis:

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory

Ok, so this one is not actually an audiobook. I somehow forgot that I was reading this arc. I am not able to sit down and read as much right now, so I am slowly but surely making my way through this one. I have absolutely loved all of the books in The Wedding Date series, and so far this one is no exception!!

Synopsis:

A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking.

Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can’t resist–it is chocolate cake, after all.

Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble–not just some privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Because of Max’s high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?

I am hoping to finish up a few other books this week, but that may be wishful thinking!

As always, thank you all so much for stopping by and showing us love. We truly appreciate all of you! What books are you reading? Have you read either of these? Let’s have a chat down in the comments!

What lies between us by john marrs [book review]

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SYNOPSIS

Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.

They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way—even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies. 

UM, HOLY GUACAMOLE, YOU GUYS!

I am currently at a loss for words, because John Marrs has once again rendered me speechless. This is my third John Marrs’ book, and they seriously get better and better. Like, seriously, what did I just read?!

Told through alternating POVs spanning with flashbacks from over the course of two and a half decades to current day. We are introduced to Maggie and Nina’s dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship. John Marrs takes you on a roller coaster ride as we learn why Nina keeps her mother a prisoner in their own home.

This book was completely addictive as it is unhinged and insane. Twists after twists are thrown at you left and right as the story unfolds leaving you shell-shocked. I was at the edge of my seat reading this! Do you ever catch yourself talking to yourself or gasping so loud, the person next to you gives you a weird look? Because I did that with this book. Sometimes I would think I figured something out (YAY ME!), then John Marrs would say “haha, jokes on you. PLOT TWISTS.”

So, without giving anything away- I promise you guys will not be disappointed if you pick this up! With so many thanks to Netgalley, Amazon Publishing UK, and John Marrs for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review!

Book Details

Title: What Lies Between Us
Author: John Marrs
Publication Date: May 15th, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Do you have an author whom you’ll pretty much read anything by without looking at the synopsis?

I have so many, and I know this will come as a shocker, but John Marrs is one author I’ll read anything by, lol! I’m pretty sure I immediately requested this book as soon as I heard John was releasing a new book. SO- I’d love to hear about the staple authors in your library!