Accidentally Engaged | Arc Review

One more ARC down, another million to go!

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SYNOPSIS

Reena Manji doesn’t love her career, her single status, and most of all, her family inserting themselves into every detail of her life. But when caring for her precious sourdough starters, Reena can drown it all out. At least until her father moves his newest employee across the hall–with hopes that Reena will marry him.

But Nadim’s not like the other Muslim bachelors-du-jour that her parents have dug up. If the Captain America body and the British accent weren’t enough, the man appears to love eating her bread creations as much as she loves making them. She sure as hell would never marry a man who works for her father, but friendship with a neighbor is okay, right? And when Reena’s career takes a nosedive, Nadim happily agrees to fake an engagement so they can enter a couples video cooking contest to win the artisan bread course of her dreams.

As cooking at home together brings them closer, things turn physical, but Reena isn’t worried. She knows Nadim is keeping secrets, but it’s fine— secrets are always on the menu where her family is concerned. And her heart is protected… she’s not marrying the man. But even secrets kept for self preservation have a way of getting out, especially when meddling parents and gossiping families are involved.

What a fun and enjoyable read Accidentally Engaged was. Meddling parents and a fake engagement seems to always make for a fun story, fiction or not. This book will knock your socks off from the first page and keep you laughing throughout.

What’s even better is there is food involved. Maybe I’m biased to food-centric themed books, but if that is wrong, then I don’t want to be right! I would definitely suggest going into this with food or snacks nearby, because you are going to be HUNGRY watching the cooking competition and sweet romance brew!

That being said, I totally adore the love interests. Their fun bantering and chemistry is undeniable! More than that, the supporting characters are amazing! I felt like they added so much value to the book.

As always, it goes without saying, but when a book offers more than just romance, I can’t help but get more smitten with the book. Reena’s personal growth was one of my favorite aspects of this book. Without giving too much away, dealing with some real life issues, it is unfortunately normal and understandable that your confidence gets depleted at times; however, it was so refreshing watching Reena grow and learn to love and believe in herself. Also, the representation is worth noting. Though it is a desi-representation book, as an Asian American, I can totally relate to a lot of the cultural aspects in this book.

It goes without saying that I would highly recommend this book! Accidentally Enagaged is my first novel by Farah Heron and definitely will not be my last! A wonderfully woven story centered around family, love, and food. I cannot thank Netgalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) enough for giving me the chance to read this book early in exchange for an honest review!

Book Details:
Title: Accidentally Engaged
Author: Farah Heron
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you guys read any of Farah Heron’s books? I added Chai Factor to my list and am now ready to go get some chai latte, haha! As always, thank you so much for stopping by our little corner and supporting us as we maneuver through this fantastic book blog community!

Let’s Get Back to the Party | Arc Review

Happy PUB DAY to this book and happy Tuesday to you lovely people! I cannot believe we are already halfway through this month. 2021 has so far seem to be flying by! Does anyone else feel that way? I’m not sure what I have been doing with my time, Some days I feel like I don’t even have a minute to breathe, and the next- I have watched almost a whole season of Schitt’s Creek. Anyway, so I had to buckle down and get some reading done because new books just keep coming out and I need them all! HAHA
So without further ado, I present my review of Let’s Get Back to the Party!!!

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SYNOPSIS

What Does It Mean to Be a Gay Man Today?

It’s just weeks after the historic Supreme Court marriage equality ruling, and all Sebastian Mote wants is to settle down. A high school art history teacher, newly single and desperately lonely, he envies his queer students their freedom to live openly the youth he lost to fear and shame.  

So when he runs into his childhood friend Oscar Burnham at a wedding in Washington, D.C., he can’t help but see it as a second chance. Now thirty-five, the men haven’t seen each other in a decade. But Oscar has no interest in their shared history. Instead, he’s outraged by what he sees as the death of gay culture: bars overrun with bachelorette parties; friends getting married, having babies.

While Oscar and Sebastian struggle to find their place in a rapidly changing world, each is drawn into a cross-generational friendship that treads the line between envy and obsession: Sebastian with one of his students and Oscar with an older icon of the AIDS era. And as they collide again and again, both men must come reckon not just with one another, but with themselves.

Rich with sharply drawn characters and contemporary detail, provocative, and emotionally profound, Let’s Get Back to the Party is sure to appeal to readers of Garth Greenwell, Alan Hollinghurst, Claire Messud, and Rebecca Makkai.

Before I proceed with my review, I would like to put out a disclaimer. I try to make sure when I pick my books that I am making a conscious effort to support all my bipoc, own voice, lgbtqia+ authors and friends. That being said, though I am an ally for the lgbtqia+ community, I cannot speak first hand for the pain and problems they have to deal with so please read my review with that in mind. I would implore you to also read reviews by members and readers of the lgbtqia+ community to get a more accurate judgment of this book.

A very heartfelt debut, Let’s Get Back to the Party is told from dual perspectives of two friends who have floated in and out of each other’s lives throughout life. Sebastian and Oscar are both flawed characters, so you could read into the rawness and trauma of the characters. This book is candid in how the characters talk about how they don’t belong and feeling out of place in society is exhausting. That being sad, I thought the characters were well-developed even if I found it hard to root for them at times.

What did not work for me in this book was the writing style. The long chapters unfortunately had me zoning out more often than not. There was also an issue with the usage of quotation marks. Some sections included it, and some did not. While it did not necessarily take away from the overall story, it was just a bit hard for me to stay focused. Fortunately, I ended up getting approved for the audio by Workman Audio, so I was able to listen to the second half which worked a lot better for me.

While I did have some difficulties with the writing of the book, I would still recommend this book to people, because I think as messy and unrelatable as the characters are, they are human and in their own complicated ways, they are just trying to navigate their way through life.

Let’s Get Back to the Party is definitely a thought-provoking story, because it explores what it means for individuals to be a part of a larger community while highlighting the struggles and prejudices gay men continue to face in today’s society.

If you are someone like me who is not a fan of long chapters, or get bothered with the lack of quotation marks, I highly recommend the audio!

**Many thanks to Algonquin Books, Zak Salih, and Workman Audio for providing me with a review copy and the audiobook in exchange for my honest review.

Book Details:
Title: Let’s Get Back to the Party
Author: Zak Salih
Publication Date: February 16, 2021
Genre: LGBTQIA+, Contemporary

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

As always, thank you so much for stopping by our blog. We appreciate all of your support!

A Pho Love Story | Arc Review

I’m a day late with my blog review (WHOOPS), but YOU GUYS! I jumped on this book as soon as I saw the author’s name. I love a good #ownvoice book, but there’s something about actually being able to relate to a book that I haven’t figured out how to describe it yet. Being part Viet and growing up in a primarily Asian household means eating a lot of Vietnamese food. So, naturally, we grew up eating lots of pho and banh xeo (think savory crepes- DELISH!) amongst other dishes. Being a vegetarian now, I don’t get to enjoy pho as much as I’d like because most restaurants use beef broth, but it still does not mean I crave it any less!

That being said, this book made me so hungry and with this cold weather in Georgia, I definitely wanted to warm myself up with a nice hot bowl of pho (Hmmmm..) I even planned to take my kindle to a pho restaurant for picture purposes, but realized there was a slight technical difficulty, so alas- it’s the thought that counts, lol.

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SYNOPSIS

If Bao Nguyen had to describe himself, he’d say he was a rock. Steady and strong, but not particularly interesting. His grades are average, his social status unremarkable. He works at his parents’ pho restaurant, and even there, he is his parents’ fifth favorite employee. Not ideal.

If Linh Mai had to describe herself, she’d say she was a firecracker. Stable when unlit, but full of potential for joy and fire. She loves art and dreams pursuing a career in it. The only problem? Her parents rely on her in ways they’re not willing to admit, including working practically full-time at her family’s pho restaurant.

For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring pho restaurants. Bao and Linh, who’ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.

But then a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao in the same vicinity despite their best efforts and sparks fly, leading them both to wonder what took so long for them to connect. But then, of course, they immediately remember.

Can Linh and Bao find love in the midst of feuding families and complicated histories?

When Dimple Met Rishi meets Ugly Delicious in this funny, smart romantic comedy, in which two Vietnamese-American teens fall in love and must navigate their newfound relationship amid their families’ age-old feud about their competing, neighboring restaurants. 

I really enjoyed this book. It is cute and food-centric (so prepare to be craving a lot of food)! I can’t say I have read too many Vietnamese-American reps before, so this really was exciting for me. I can’t relate to being a restaurant-kid, but culturally speaking- this book was very relatable to me. I could hear my mom in a lot of the scenes, which was oddly weird yet comforting knowing I wasn’t the only one who had to go through some of these things. I mean, let’s be honest- I’m almost thirty, and my mom still expects me to sit at the kids’ table when we have gatherings! HAHA

Told from a dual POV, it was a heartwarming Romeo and Juliet-esque romance. A lot of the dilemma and rivalry stems from their parents way back, then that has just carried into current day. I really enjoyed watching Bao and Linh maneuver their way through school and really try to find what they are passionate about and pursing it.

I thought their potential career paths was such a breath of fresh air because it was something they were enthusiastic about and not because Mom and Dad pressured them into it. I also loved how much they cared about the community, their families, and each other. You can’t help but cheer them on. I also loved the supporting characters and their friendships and support for one another.

My one critique is that this book was a tad bit long. It was quite wordy, but I think the same message would have gotten across in less pages. As much as I enjoyed the book, I didn’t feel like I was breezing through a YA romance until the last quarter of the book.

That aside, it is a really adorable book. I would definitely suggest having your favorite Vietnamese food around to munch on while you read, because you are going to be hungry!

Book Details:
Title: A Pho Love Story
Author: Loan Le
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read this book or plan to?

I’d also love to hear any other #ownvoice book recommendations you have!

As always, Christie and I are extremely grateful for you guys! Thank you for stopping by and supporting our blog and listening to us divulge about one of the greatest joys of life- reading!

The Project | Arc Review

Happy Pub Day to The Project by Courtney Summers! I finished this book a couple of days ago, but it was so out of the realm of my normal reading genres that it took me some time to collect my thoughts.

Speaking of, how do you guys write your reviews? I find that I tend to ramble often, especially with books I enjoy, because I feel like I cannot find adequate enough words to describe how much I appreciate the book and want others to read it!

If you have any tips on writing reviews, or even what kind of reviews you like to read (spoiler vs spoiler free, short vs long, pro vs con lists, etc.), drop them in the comments below! I’d love to hear about them.

That being said, please enjoy my constant babbling of The Project below!

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SYNOPSIS:

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.

The Project was one hell of a ride! We follow two different timelines and two sisters, Bea and Lo. It definitely was a slow burn till the timelines converge and we are able to see how the story intertwines.

While it is considered a YA thriller, I thought it was extremely well written. I don’t think I have read a YA thriller/mystery until this point, and a book centered around a cult at that!

Though this book had more of a measured pace, I found myself glued to every page and every word of this book. I was hooked and just couldn’t get enough. The whole idea and concept of a cult is quite the morbid fascination, especially seeing how it plays out in modern day.

One of the things I found interesting in this book is that it doesn’t necessarily focus primarily on the fact that cults are terrifying, but instead, centers around individuals who are lost and trying to find their anchor in this thing we call life. These individuals are broken and are trying to find a place they feel like they can belong and call home. It is a hard and emotional read in the sense that this is something, very realistically speaking, people see their loved ones get sucked in to.

The characters were written with so much depth. At the heart of the novel is Lo and Bea- you feel their grief and love for each other as they both process the accident that changed everything. We watch as both sisters get entangled with the Unity Project in different ways and different times, and for different reasons. At the heart of the Unity Project is Lev. His character is just WOW. Courtney did such a wonderful job developing him. Understandably, he is the villain of the story; however, he has to be crafted in a way that shows how charismatic one must be to lure people into a cult and have them give up everything.

The Project is my first novel by Courtney Summers. It is stimulating and complex and just leaves you with much to think about. I am so glad I got the chance to read this! Many thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press/Wednesday Books for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest review. Thank you Courtney Summers for writing this bold and gripping story!

Book Details:
Title: The Project
Author: Courtney Summers
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As always, Christie and I are so grateful for your support!
Thank you for taking time and stopping by our blog!
If you have read any other C. Summers books or have any other YA mystery/thriller suggestions,
let’s have a chat in the comments, because I obviously have been missing out!

Thank You, Next | ARC review

You guys, how are we one month away from the end of 2020?! I cannot believe we are crossing into December tomorrow. It feels like November flew by with the blink of an eye. Did you guys do any Black Friday shopping or will you be doing Cyber Monday shopping? Please support small and local businesses where you can! They need it this year more than ever!

I’m excited to be back with another arc review. I’m still slowly treading through my Netgalley reads, but I think I have a system worked out, so we will see how that works out, lol. So, without further ado, below is my Thank You, Next review!

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Synopsis

“Seriously, why do guys on dating apps think I want a picture of what’s in their pants? I could open an art gallery with the collection I’ve got.”

Zoe really doesn’t want to die alone and surrounded by cats. But it’s not looking good: she’s had sex precisely twice in the last year, and her feline friend isn’t the kind of male company she wants in bed…

Her top dating disasters include:

1) The guy who kissed her hand, took out a violin and serenaded her in public.
2) The guy who force-fed her oysters (she can confirm that they’re not an aphrodisiac).
3) The guy who was so hungover he turned up with his t-shirt on inside out, sweating sambuca.
4) The guy who brought his actual kid on a dinner date.

And don’t even get her started on the dick pics, or how on earth you’re supposed to know whether a total stranger is an axe murderer or not.

Zoe’s ready to give up on the search for love, until her friend has an idea. Robbie lives by his horoscope, and he’s sure she’s got this dating stuff all wrong. He dares her to work her way through the zodiac until she finds The One.

Usually Zoe would laugh at such a suggestion, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Could love be written in the stars? Or is she destined to end up alone, eating take-out in bed and watching endless re-runs of Friends?

Firstly, I’d like to thank Netgalley and Bookouture for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

The first thing that caught my attention was the book cover. I would be lying if I said I have never made up a lame excuse to not go on a date, but I think we have all been there, right? So, when I saw that phrase on the book cover, I was like “I HAVE TO READ THAT BOOK!.”

This is my second book by Ms. Sophie Ranald and it did not disappoint. Overall, I found this book to be very relatable and funny. Watching Zoe go through a series of dating mishaps was as awkward and disastrous as it was hilarious. You can’t help but get invested in her love life.

When Zoe initially settled for a boyfriend, I was a little frustrated, because I couldn’t understand why she felt like she had to have someone in her life for it to be completed. In the end, said boyfriend was ultimately part of a journey Zoe needed to take to grow as a character. While I like Zoe and her eventual main squeeze, it felt like something was missing. I think I simply would have just liked to have seen more of them, since he didn’t come into the picture until much later in the book. So at the end of the day, the romance plot fell a tad bit flat for me.

The narrative of this book is also worth mentioning, because you can actually visualize scenes and through some of the dialogue- it felt as if you and your best friend were just having a chat over a cup of coffee. While Zoe is the main character in the book, we also got to catch glimpse of multiple side characters and I for one am a huge fun of that, because more often than not- one of the side characters becomes my favorite person in the book!

Overall, while I was not as emotionally invested, Thank You, Next would be a wonderful book to pick up if you are looking for a light, fun, and enjoyable quick rom com read and it is out today!

Book Details:

Title: Thank You, Next
Author: Sophie Ranald
Publication Date: November 30, 3030
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Rom Com, Adult

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Question of the Day: Because I can never have enough books/books rec, what are some 2021 books you guys are looking forward to getting your hands on?

As always, thank you so much for your continuous support as Christie and I make our way through all our reviews!

Don’t Look for Me | Arc Review

Happy Tuesday friends! We are halfway through the month and I don’t know about y’all, but I am apparently so ready to be done with 2020 that I have mindlessly started dating 2021 on some work documents (*inserts face palm emoji, lol).

Anyway, I wanted to stop by and wish Don’t Look For Me by Wendy Walker HAPPY PUB DAY! I am slowly playing catch up with all my arcs and piles of books at home, but YOU GUYS…. seriously- go get this book (or read the synopsis and review and decide, lol). I will keep it short and sweet, because I want y’all to run to the bookstore!

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Synopsis:

In Wendy Walker’s thrilling novel Don’t Look for Me, the greatest risk isn’t running away. It’s running out of time.

One night, Molly Clarke walked away from her life.

She doesn’t want to be found. Or at least, that’s the story.

The car abandoned miles from home. The note found at a nearby hotel.

The shattered family that couldn’t be put back together.

They called it a “walk away.”It happens all the time.

Women disappear, desperate to leave their lives behind and start over. But is that what really happened to Molly Clarke?

Completely racked with guilt from an accident that killed Annie, her nine year old daughter, Molly feels estranged and alienated from her family. One night while she was on the road, Molly notices a storm is near and is practically out of gas (YIKES!). What happens next is a crazy roller-coaster ride when the police find Molly’s car abandoned.

Told from both the perspectives of Molly and her oldest daughter Nic, Don’t Look For Me is paced extremely well. You are hooked from the first page watching Molly try to live with the guilt of the death of Annie to the very last page. There are a few creep factors and twisty turn of events, so buckle up, buttercups! I generally have to be in a mood for thrillers and even then, there are not many that resonate with me afterward; however, Wendy Walker did such an amazing job with keeping my attention. This book had me so captivated and in awe. It is riveting, well-crafted, and overall jaw-dropping.

Thank you to Wendy Walker, St. Martin’s Press, and Netgalley, who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! It was such a crazy ride, but one that I cannot wait for everyone to read! SO now that you all have read my review, read the book and come back with your thoughts (or if you have read it, what did you think of it?)!

Book Details:
Title: Don’t Look for Me
Author: Wendy Walker
Publication Date: September 15, 2020
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological thriller

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Destination Wedding| Arc Review

Happy Saturday, friends! I wanted to hop on and write this review, so as not to run into my next couple of reviews because I am determined to knock out a few more arcs before June is over!

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What could go wrong at a lavish Indian wedding with your best friend and your entire family?

Tina Das wants to belong, but she just isn’t sure where. India or America? Brooklyn or Bombay? Manhattan or Delhi? Or start from scratch in London–she still has fond memories of her one-night stand with Rocco Gallagher, the handsome Australian, as they traipsed through Covent Garden and Seven Dials, but he never called back so maybe it’s time to let that dream go, and focus on finding the next big story for her streaming network instead.

She’s hoping she’ll find it at her cousin’s lavish, weeklong Delhi wedding, and has taken her best friend Marianne Laing along for the ride to Delhi’s poshest country club, Colebrookes. Marianne has always had international tastes, in life and in love, yet can’t help but think of sweet, steady, khaki-clad Tom back home in New York.

Also in attendance are Tina’s divorced parents: her mother, Radha, who’s bringing her American “boyfriend,” David, to the wedding, and her father, Neel, who’s using the visit to India to explore the idea of dating again, only to discover it and he have both changed completely in the decades he’s been away.

Infused with warmth, charm, and wicked humor, Destination Wedding grapples with the challenges of work, love, and finding the people who make a place feel like home. 

Firstly, I would like to thank Netgalley and Ballantine Books for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review of Destination Wedding.

You know how sometimes you breeze through a book in a matter of hours or days? And sometimes, a book takes weeks or even longer?

Well, this book has been on my kindle for a couple of months and I have been reading a chapter here and there. The premise is everything I’d love in a book. Tina was born in Ohio, but doesn’t feel like she belongs or identifies as American. Her family is from India and she used to visit there in the summer, but also feels like an outcast. Now, in her early 30s, Tina, her family, and her best friend flies to India for a big lavish wedding, where Tina goes through an identity crisis.

It seemed like it would be a fun quick read; however, this book started quite slow for me. I originally wasn’t sure if I would finish it. I kept picking it up and putting it down. It took me a while to really get into the book because the chapters are a lot longer than I’d like. I like short chapters because I tend to zone out, so books with long chapters just generally drag for me.

I did not get invested in any of the characters, which is another reason why it took so long for me to finish. The characters all felt underdeveloped. It also jumps around multiple POVs within the chapter instead of alternating them by the chapter. This made for a confusing read at first because it is quite a few characters being introduced. However, once you meet all the characters, it flows better and makes more sense. Basu also has a creative way of inserting subtle humor throughout the book. It made reading the chapters more bearable and fun.

One of the things I really did love about this book was that with the story being based in India, Basu incorporates Indian rituals and cultures and that made the book feel more authentic.

Overall, while there were bits and parts of the book I enjoyed, it fell flat for me. I honestly think this would probably have been better as a movie instead of a book.

Book Details:

Title: Destination Wedding
Author: Diksha Basu
Publication Date: June 30, 2020

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I honestly really hate leaving low rating for books, especially for arcs that publishers and authors are so generous to send out. Does it ever get easier or how do you go about leaving reviews for books you don’t connect with?

What Lies Between Us by |Arc 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!