Weekly Review Roundup – Jan 29th

The week of the 29th I read/listened to 6 books.
See below for my reviews and the synopsis.
I absolutely adored Maame it definitely brought up so many memories of my dad’s passing and me after. It’s so hard having people witness your grief and not feel that you are acting the right way or be the sole caregiver.

Books Read:
💌Darling Girl – 4⭐
💌Finlay Donovan -3.75⭐
💌Maame -5⭐
💌Sorry Bro- 4.5⭐
💌The Valentines Do Over-4⭐
💌Behind the Scenes-4⭐


Darling Girl
by Liz Michalski
Book 5/15 for 2023 of my Book of the Month books

Darling Girl: A Novel of Peter Pan

This has been on my shelf since last June! Oops. I love a retelling and I wasn’t expecting this storyline or where it ended up. I liked how it wasn’t the traditional story but there was so much heartache in this generation of the Darling family. It was hard to follow but I was rooting for them! I felt bad for Holly making the best decisions she could for her children but as a mom there isn’t always a black and white solution when both children need you.
Liked who the hero ended up being. If you know me that character is my favorite Disney character.

In this beautiful, grounded, and darkly magical modern-day reimagining of J. M. Barrie’s classic, to save her daughter’s life one woman must take on the infamous Peter Pan–who is not the innocent adventurer the fairy tales make him out to be . . .

Life is looking up for Holly Darling, granddaughter of Wendy–yes, that Wendy. She’s running a successful skincare company; her son, Jack, is happy and healthy; and the tragedy of her past is well behind her . . . until she gets a call that her daughter, Eden, who has been in a coma for nearly a decade, has gone missing from the estate where she’s been long tucked away. And, worst of all, Holly knows who must be responsible: Peter Pan, who is not only very real, but more dangerous than anyone could imagine.

Eden’s disappearance is a disaster for more reasons than one. She has a rare condition that causes her to age rapidly–ironic, considering her father is the boy who will never grow up–which also makes her blood incredibly valuable. It’s a secret that Holly is desperate to protect, especially from Eden’s half-brother, Jack, who knows nothing about his sister or the crucial role she plays in his life. Holly has no one to turn to–her mother is the only other person in the world who knows that Peter is more than a story, but she refuses to accept that he is not the hero she’s always imagined. Desperate, Holly enlists the help of Christopher Cooke, a notorious ex-soldier, in the hopes of rescuing Eden before it’s too late . . . or she may lose both her children.

Darling Girl brings all the magic of the classic Peter Pan story to the present, while also exploring the dark underpinnings of fairy tales, grief, aging, sacrifice, motherhood, and just how far we will go to protect those we love.
Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun
by Elle Cosimano
Pub Date – 1/31/23

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun: A Novel (The Finlay Donovan Series #3)

This is the third in the series. Finlay and Vero were at a weeklong police camp which is like a summer camp feel but with boot camp. There are funny situations, romantic moments and clues to detect- all under the guise of researching for her next book.
I entered my husband’s chili recipe awhile ago. Excited to see who she picks for her finished book.
Have you read these books yet?

Thank you stmartinspress minotaur_books and netgalley for the e-ARC for my honest and voluntary review.

Author and single mom Finlay Donovan has been in messes before―after all, she’s a pro at removing bloodstains for various unexpected reasons―but none quite like this. When Finlay and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero accidentally destroyed a luxury car that they had “borrowed” in the process of saving the life of Finlay’s ex-husband, the Russian mob did her a favor and bought the car for her. And now Finlay owes them.

Mob boss Feliks is still running the show from behind bars, and he has a task for Finlay: find and identify a contract killer before the cops do. The problem is, the killer might be an officer themself.

Luckily, hot cop Nick has just been tasked with starting up a citizen’s police academy, and combined pressure from Finlay’s looming book deadline and Feliks is enough to convince Finlay and Vero to get involved. Through firearm training and forensic classes (and some hands-on research with a tempting detective), Finlay and Vero use their time in police academy to sleuth out the real contract killer to free themselves from the mob’s clutches―all the while dodging spies, confronting Vero’s past, and juggling the daily trials of parenthood.

From USA Today bestseller and Edgar-Award nominee Elle Cosimano, comes Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun—the highly anticipated, hilarious, and heart-pounding next installment in the beloved Finlay Donovan series…
Sorry, Bro
by Taleen Voskuni
Pub Date – 1/31/23

Sorry, Bro

An Armenian-American woman rediscovers her roots and embraces who she really is in this vibrant and heartfelt queer rom-com
I learned a lot in this book about a culture I had previously not known much about, sorry. Amidst Nareh’s journey of self discovery and finding new love. She decided to date within her culture and go to many of the events in her area. But instead of picking from the long list of eligible men that her mother has made for her. She is drawn to one woman at the events and can’t seem to get her off her mind. She is bi but is not out to her family yet. This is part of her journey to accept herself despite societies and the expectations of her.
I like that this is set in the Bay Area they were traveling all over the Bay.

Thank you berkleyromance and netgalley for the e-ARC

An Armenian-American woman rediscovers her roots and embraces who she really is in this vibrant and heartfelt queer rom-com by debut author Taleen Voskuni.

When Nar’s non-Armenian boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes to her in front of a room full of drunk San Francisco tech boys, she realizes it’s time to find someone who shares her idea of romance.

Enter her mother: armed with plenty of mom-guilt and a spreadsheet of Facebook-stalked Armenian men, she convinces Nar to attend Explore Armenia, a month-long series of events in the city. But it’s not the mom-approved playboy doctor or wealthy engineer who catches her eye—it’s Erebuni, a woman as equally immersed in the witchy arts as she is in preserving Armenian identity. Suddenly, with Erebuni as her wingwoman, the events feel like far less of a chore, and much more of an adventure. Who knew cooking up kuftes together could be so . . . sexy?

Erebuni helps Nar see the beauty of their shared culture and makes her feel understood in a way she never has before. But there’s one teeny problem: Nar’s not exactly out as bisexual. The clock is ticking on Nar’s double life, though—the closing event banquet is coming up, and her entire extended family will be there, along with Erebuni. Her worlds will inevitably collide, but Nar is determined to be brave, determined to claim her happiness: proudly Armenian, proudly bisexual, and proudly herself for the first time in her life.
by Jessica George
Pub Date – 1/31/23

Maame: A Novel

Maame (ma-meh) has many meanings in Twi but in my case, it means woman.
This was definitely an absorbing story and so many frustrations of family, friends and work relationships. Maddie seemed to be used by everyone and she just did what she was expected to do. But there is a limit and her grief once her father passed was it. Honestly there should be an industry of funeral planners like wedding planners because trying to plan a memorial and all the arrangements when you are in a fog of grief and shock is just bizarre.
I loved her friends but the other people that were around her didn’t deserve her. That dude she was dating, at the company event gave me a flashback cause I was her to a guy once and it is the worst feeling, iykyk.
Also, the amount of Google searches that she does and the range of answers sounds so accurate.
This was so cathartic at times. The grief, the therapy, finding yourself with positive messages being through it. It’s hard to find the light sometimes but there’s always a new day.

Wish there were more pages!

Thank you stmartinspress and netgalley for the e-ARC

Maame (ma-meh) has many meanings in Twi but in my case, it means woman.

It’s fair to say that Maddie’s life in London is far from rewarding. With a mother who spends most of her time in Ghana (yet still somehow manages to be overbearing), Maddie is the primary caretaker for her father, who suffers from advanced stage Parkinson’s. At work, her boss is a nightmare and Maddie is tired of always being the only Black person in every meeting.

When her mum returns from her latest trip to Ghana, Maddie leaps at the chance to get out of the family home and finally start living. A self-acknowledged late bloomer, she’s ready to experience some important “firsts”: She finds a flat share, says yes to after-work drinks, pushes for more recognition in her career, and throws herself into the bewildering world of internet dating. But it’s not long before tragedy strikes, forcing Maddie to face the true nature of her unconventional family, and the perils––and rewards––of putting her heart on the line.

Smart, funny, and deeply affecting, Maame deals with the themes of our time with humor and poignancy: from familial duty and racism, to female pleasure, the complexity of love, and the life-saving power of friendship. Most important, it explores what it feels like to be torn between two homes and cultures―and it celebrates finally being able to find where you belong.

The Valentine’s Do-Over
by Michelle Lindo-Rice
Pub Date -1/24/23

The Valentine’s Do-Over

✨ Workplace romance
✨ He falls first
✨ Radio station co-hosts
✨ Disability and mental health rep

Trent and Selena cohost a radio show. During their show they answer questions or messages from the viewers. After one message was very popular they planned an event for Valentine’s Day for the singles out there which forced them to work more together planning the party.
These two have harbored an attraction to eachother but kept it professional until they couldn’t anymore. Another sweet romance. Loved his sister and her journey for independence. His need to be her caretaker and not let her live on her own was strong.
They both had very different past family pain to share. Selena’s was very sad, glad she found her hea.

Thank you harlequinbooks and netgalley for the e-ARC for my honest and voluntary review.

Sworn off love, they’ll soon discover
As valentines, they’re into each other!

When radio personalities Selena Cartwright and Trent Moon share their Valentine’s Day trauma stories and why they’ve sworn off love, the gala celebrating singlehood is born! Planning the event has Trent and Selena seeing—and wanting—each other more than just professionally. But if they’re found out, it could ruin their reputations and careers. As the gala approaches, can …

Behind the Scenes
by Karelia Stetz-Waters
Pub Date – 1/31/23

Behind the Scenes

✨ One bed
✨ FF workplaceish romance
✨ Both mcs dealing with past traumas
✨ Indie movie set and ASMR

Former Hollywood director Ash gets a chance to get funded by an important backer and needs help organizing the pitch. Her assistant hires consultant Rose who she has bumped into at a pug crawl, yes pug’s lots of them.
They have immediate chemistry and through the work and time spent they open up about issues from the past. So many that were hard to share at first but they were open.
Also, all the supporting characters from the crew and Roses sisters are great.
Definitely sweet romance!

Thank you readforeverpub and netgalley for the e-ARC for my honest and voluntary review.

Fans of Abby Jimenez and Meryl Wilsner will fall in love with this hilarious and refreshingly authentic novel about second chances, pugs, and finding the perfect muse . . .

Business consultant Rose Josten might not have officially reached “pug lady” middle age, but she’s already got the pugs—along with their little Gucci coats and trash-lovin’ appetites. Still, life is good, with her work, her sisters, and a secret hobby creating incredibly tactile (if surprisingly sexy) mindfulness videos. So why does it feel like it’s not quite enough? Which is exactly when former filmmaker Ash Stewart enters camera left, and Rose’s world suddenly goes full technicolor . . .

Ash never looks at anyone. Not since her ex ripped her heart from her chest in Spielberg-esque style, crushing Ash’s reputation, dreams, and directorial career in one brutal blow. But Rose is altogether different. She’s curvy, beautiful, and just so damn put together. And her business expertise might be Ash’s best bet for getting her last film—and her last chance—financed. Now if they can just keep their attraction under wraps, Ash’s lost dream could finally come true. But are they creating movie magic . . . or setting the stage for disaster?


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