Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

Like walking into cool air conditioning on the muggiest day. Cool. Crisp. Clear as a bell. Rooney’s economical writing combined with smart vocabulary, a moving story, and characters that effervesce makes this book a joy.

Lillian Boxfish, an ad-woman and confirmed bachelorette, is something of an institution. Lillian Boxfish mother and wife is a more amorphous creature. And there’s the rub.

This book is funny/sad. A single paragraph could make me grin then bring me to my knees. Nothing ostentatious. Just life – and all the ways it comes at us. There’s a dark irony in who Lillian was, who she becomes and how that made me want to cry for large parts of the story.

A highly recommended read for a fabulous beach weekend.Lill

The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson

DNF at 50%. And i’m eating thin mints as a reward for making it that far. I do not understand the positive vibes surrounding this book.

The heroine, a recent widow, has 4 kids and a miserable personality. Her hot new neighbor gives her feelings – so she cranks up the awful. Self-indulgent Whiny. Depressing. In the vein of “let’s be real” – as the mother of 4 young children it’s your responsibility to get some counseling before your rage causes you to terrify your kids and alienate the only family they have besides you.

The Queen & the Homo Jock King by TJ Klune

I connected with this book on a cellular level. Snotty, hiccuppy, laugh/crying where i couldn’t breathe and didn’t care.

Plot – doesn’t really matter bc although the plot is what the book’s about it’s not what this book is ABOUT. Still – Darren was once dismissive and shitty to Sandy. They spend years hate-flirting. Circumstances force them to work together and interact to save Jack It – and sparks (alllll kinds of sparks) fly.

I cried a lot while reading this. Happy crying – sort of. This swell of emotion in my chest and throat and ears. Sandy felt like the most real, funny, awful, kind, mean, dramatic, terrible human being ever. Throw in Paul and Vince from the first book…all my favorite people in one place.

Frequently in reading a romance i struggle to identify with a character. I’m not much of a plucky-down-on-her-luck heroine. I have too much attitude and an advanced degree. I’m also not much of a brooding alpha-male – i talk too much and panic at loud noises. Thus, i love books with the quirky (Rainbow Rowell. Penelope Reid.), the misfits, the funny and the weird. Though i can’t connect with a short curvy secretary who accidentally seduces her bazillionaire boss i apparently found my soulmate in a shy gay man with a fierce inner drag queen and a fabulous sense of humor.The

Stitch by L Wilder

MC romances are a favorite of mine, and Madeline Sheehan is my gold-standard. Her characters and storylines are so raw, real and jagged. She builds intense, awful and fabulous relationships while dragging her agonized reader over hot coals. It’s delicious. Unfortunately, this book didn’t quite measure up.

Wren has a child with an abusive ex. Griffin, an MC enforcer, grew up in an abusive home. They meet in a diner and BAM. idk, man. I literally have no idea how these people ended up together or why. Essentially dude just started hanging around (in a creepy way – let’s be real). Then they make out. Then they’re together. Then there’s drama.

If you’re going to have a book where dude kills someone I need to feel it. I need to live it and breathe it and understand who he is and why it happens and why I still like him. Instead this felt like the sketch of the book – ideas thrown together without the meat of the story to bring them to life.

Rebel by Elle Casey

I loved this book! Funny, goofy, awkward with a swoony dude that prolly said 14 words during the entire book.

Teagan, a rich college girl, is suddenly adrift when her dad dies. After an awkward job hunt she sort of forces Rebel to hire her. He’s the strong silent type. Rebel and his super star badass brothers get sucked into helping Teagan when a mystery arises about her dad’s death. There are feelings. And denied feelings. And all kinds of smooshy-wooshy-sweetness. Randomly this weird plot line appears near the end that’s super awkward – totally there to set up the next book. I will say it killed my book buzz a little.

I was gung-ho for the next book in the series til near the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Right now I’m not sure if I need more or if I can let this one go.

No Ifs, Ands, or Bears About It by Celia Kyle

I expect a couple of things from a shifter romance – and this one didn’t let me down. Growly alpha male – check. Sassy but sort of meddling female – check. Adventure – check. Nothing brilliant but a comforting read.

Plot – there’s this whole plot involving a bear cub and inheritance and double-crossing. blah blah blah. Mia is mostly human. Ty is the bear chief. He’s super into her – she thinks it’s for the wrong reasons. He pursues her. She throws silly obstacles in his way. There’s some action, some sexy time, and a large cast (you can see the author setting up the rest of the series).

Ty was super sweet. Mia was only moderately irritating (although there were several times she really coulda just kept her mouth shut). The other bears nice and funny – they’re going to make a readable series. Ty and Mia’s obstacles mostly made sense. Everything was kinda silly but not completely ridiculous. It was nice to open up a shifter romance and find exactly what I was expecting. I don’t think I’ll read any more of this series, but it’s nice to know that it’s here if I need it.

Tell Me It’s Real by TJ Klune

While M/M isn’t my usual gig I do have certain predilections when I do read it – i.e. super buff sporty gay guys. However, I love TJ Klune – his voice resonates with me. As this book illustrates there’s a reason for that.

Paul has self-esteem issues. Vince is gorgeous. Vince wants Paul. Paul needs Paxil. Normally this kind of thing would drive me up the wall. Characters without confidence are a book-killer. And Paul had some smack-worthy moments. But there was so much love, charm and funny in this story – it totally won me over.

2-legged dogs. Sassy drag queens. An unfortunate incident involving lettuce that made me laugh til fat tears streamed down my cheeks. And that parrot…Low on steam. High on family, sweetness and laughs. TJ Klune has done it again.