ARC Review: The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren

The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren is a contemporary romance novel which acts as a companion to another book by this author duo, The Soulmate Equation. In the The True Love Experiment, single dad and documentary producer Connor Prince III is recruited to develop a romance reality television show in order to boost ratings for his network. As a result, Connor enlists Felicity “Fizzy” Chen, an outgoing romance author, as the show’s lead. If Fizzy fails to find love, it could mean the end for Connor’s career. However, Felicity is more interested in Connor than the men recruited for her show.

Christina Lauren’s book are usually hit-or-miss for me. My last few books that I’ve read by the author duo resulted in average age. I didn’t even finish their new release last year, Something Wilder, as I found the synopsis didn’t really match the contents or tone of the actual book. That being said, I was hopeful that I would enjoy The True Love Experiment as I really enjoyed The Soulmate Equation. While there were some aspects of The True Love Experiment that I did like, there were other areas where there could have been stronger execution.

The highlight of The True Love Experiment would have to be Fizzy, the main female character. Fizzy has a strong, likable personality. Fizzy can also be quirky, but not in an immature or unbelievable way. That being said, as with both main characters, I wanted a little more from their backstories. At the end of the book, I felt like I had a very surface-level understanding of Fizzy and what she needed in a relationship.

On the flip side, I found Connor to be a little bland. When I think of Connor, I can name several other similar protagonists. While I appreciated his maturity in approaching his relationship with Fizzy, there wasn’t much that stuck out about him to me. Additionally, in very pivotal moments within the book, I found his words and actions to be inconsistent with the characters that had been developed throughout the novel. Also, similar to Fizzy, I felt like I had a very surface-level connection to his character. Although I didn’t dislike Connor and Fizzy together, this prevented me from becoming fully invested in their relationship.

My biggest issues with The True Love Experiment were the plot and pacing. One of the big parts of the book’s synopsis is the reality television show. However, the show doesn’t really start until about 40% of the way through the book. Early in the book, Fizzy and Connor go to a boy band concert with Connor’s daughter. Fizzy attends a soccer game where Connor is a coach. These scenes really didn’t add much to the story for me, as it is established without these scenes that Connor is a devoted father. I found myself just wanting to push through these scenes to get to the real plot of the story.

Once I finally got to the show, I found that it lacked the tension which I expected. Fizzy’s feelings for Connor are established before the show even starts. As a result, I never saw Fizzy as truly invested in the show. The dates which take places on the show are typically summarized very quickly. During Fizzy’s time on the show, I felt like an outsider as a reader which took me out of the story. I assumed going into this novel that the show would be the main tension between the characters. As Fizzy’s relationships would grow with the contestants, she would find herself more pulled towards the producer. Since her feelings were established so early on in the novel, the television show part just like a formality to pass by in order to get to the happily ever after. While there were still some stakes, such as Connor’s job on the line, the stakes could have been much higher if the story was structured in a different way.

While I didn’t dislike The True Love Experiment, I didn’t find myself fully invested or engaged in the story. I was constantly picking this book up and putting it down. In the end, it took me about two months to finish this book. I give this book 2.5 out of 3 stars.


Secretly Yours Review

It’s not secret that I did like not Secretly Yours.

Secretly Yours is the first book in the Vine Mess duology by Tessa Bailey. This novel follows Hallie, a gardener who lives in a vineyard town, after her former high school crush, Julian, moves back into town in order to work on his novel. Hallie grows closer to Julian after she drunkenly writes him a secret admirer letter. However, this secret becomes more difficult to keep when she begins to develop a real-life relationship with Julian.

Tessa Bailey books, specifically the Bellinger Sisters duology, gained significant popularity on BookTok this past year. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Bellinger sisters duology, but I hoped that I would be more interested in this duology. Unfortunately for me, many aspects of the first book in the Vine Mess duology were quite literally a mess for me. As a result, my experience reading Secretly Yours as a whole was unenjoyable.

One area of the romance novel which needs to excel are the two main characters and the relationship which develops between them. Both of these areas were poorly executed. Both Hallie and Julian are very typical characters of the genre, but aren’t unique enough to stand out from the bunch. Hallie is the typical quirky, disorganized main character who makes incredibly immature decisions. On the flip side, Julian is the very serious, Type A love interest who is very academic and organized. Both characters have half-baked backstories which the author unsuccessfully uses to create a weak third act conflict. Additionally, I felt like they were too different to be a lasting couple. One example can be found when Julian goes to Hallie’s house for the first time and makes remarks about the clutter and Hallie shrugs it off as she just cleaned. Ultimately, I just could foresee too many problems with this couple in the future, so I couldn’t see a lasting relationship between them in the future.

Furthermore, Julian specifically lacks consistent characterization throughout the novel. Julian is introduced as a very serious and scheduled professor. However, his characters does a complete 180, but only during romantic scenes. With Julian, there is a lot more telling than showing. Readers are told that Hallie likes Julian because he is a very kind and helpful person. While he does help a struggling business in the story, I honestly don’t think he would have helped if the business wasn’t treasured by Hallie. It seemed like I was reading two different characters during the novel. I also extremely disliked reading from his POV. The way that Hallie is described during his chapters made me very uncomfortable to read. While the dialogue in this book is overall cringeworthy, some of the worst lines came from Julian. Think about the types of dating app messages where men say they would swim through shark-infested waters to be with a woman. Julian says a line akin to this, but instead of shark-infested waters, it’s a lake of fire. After reading that line, I had to put the book down for a few hours. When you read a romance, you want to like the male love interest. However, I could not stand Julian.

Another weak area of this book was the plot. From the book’s description, one would think the secret admirer letters would play a major role in this novel. However, they are only used to create some added drama at the end to make a conflict which could easily be resolved with one conversation. As I mentioned earlier, the third act conflict was incredibly weak and was a result of the miscommunication trope at its worst. The scenes building up to the conflict in the third act weren’t much stronger. Often times, it felt like I was reading a bunch of repetitive scenes or cute moments thrown in to make me see the male interest in a positive light, rather than scenes that built upon each other. Secretly Yours is a relatively short book as the last twenty pages are a preview of the next book. However, this book took me almost two weeks to read.

Overall, Secretly Yours has been my least favorite book of the year so far. I was very unimpressed by many aspects of this novel. As a result, I rated this novel one out of five stars.

February 2023 Reading Wrap-Up

My reading definitely slowed down from January to February. During January I read six books, but during February, I only read half of that number. I suffered from a bit of a reading slump during the middle of the month, as the books I was currently reading weren’t completely engaging me. That being said, I am still three books ahead of my yearly reading goal and I made some progress towards some of my other reading goals for the year, such as reading more graphic novels. Here’s a summary of my month:

Books Read: 3

Number of Pages Read: 1,318

Average Rating: 2.6 stars

Now, onto the books!

  • Lore Olympus: Volume Two by Rachel Smythe

I started off February with a quick and easy graphic novel. I enjoyed that this installment of the series focused more on Persephone and Hades. I also appreciated that Rachel Smythe gave depth to the some of the side characters in the novel. Overall, Lore Olympus was an enjoyable read and I look forward to reading the next volume of this series in March. I rated Lore Olympus: Volume Two as four stars.

  • Secretly Yours by Tessa Bailey

Moving into the middle of February, I suffered a major reading slump. This book, as well as The Happily Ever After Playlist (which I still need to finish), didn’t really hold my attention. I had major problems with many aspects of Secretly Yours. The novel’s weak construction, poorly executed plot, cringeworthy scenes and dialogue, and inconsistent characters made this novel an unenjoyable read. I gave Secretly Yours one of out five stars.

  • An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn

An Offer From a Gentleman isn’t an amazing read, however, it is a book that I frequently turn to during a reading slump. While this book is a quick and easy read, it does contain many outdated tropes or unhealthy aspects of a relationship that may turn off readers. While this isn’t the Bridgerton book which will be adapted for Season Three, rereading this book makes me think of all the ways this book can be updated for the Netflix series. I give An Offer from a Gentleman three out of five stars.

Favorite Book: Lore Olympus, Volume Two and An Offer from a Gentleman

Least Favorite Book: Secretly Yours

What books did you read in February?

Blogentine’s Day 2023 Wrap-Up

With Blogentine’s Day officially over on my blog, here are all the posts that I wrote during Blogentine’s Day 2023:

Valentine’s Day Book Tag

Happy Valentine’s Day!

As per tradition, I’ve decided to complete the Valentine’s Day Book Tag to round out my Blogentine’s Day line-up. This tag was created by CC’s Books. Here are my answers:

  • Stand Alone Book that You Love

Book Lovers by Emily Henry was one of my favorite books last year. I really enjoy Emily Henry’s writing style and I thought Nora and Charlie, the love interests in this book, were very well matched.

  • Dystopian Book You Love

Honestly, I have not read a dystopian in a really long time. I am afraid I do not have any dystopian books to love this Valentine’s Day. Let me know if there are any recent dystopian books that you loved in the comments!

  • A Book You Love that No One Else Talks About

I didn’t necessarily love this book, but overall, I did like it. Josh and Gemma Make a Baby by Sarah Ready was my least shelved book on my Goodreads stats last year. Contemporary romance has become extremely popular this past year, so it does surprise me that I don’t really see it mentioned at all.

  • Book Couple You Love

One book couple that I really loved during the past year were Aelin and Rowan from Throne of Glass. I loved watching their relationship grow and change throughout the series. Also, I thought they were a very well matched couple. I especially appreciated in the later novels how we get to see Rowan’s softer side towards Aelin.

  • Book that Other People Love, but You Haven’t Read Yet

One book that other people loved, but I haven’t read yet is Lovelight Farms by B.K. Robinson. I heard a lot of positive reviews for this book during Christmas in 2022, but I didn’t pick it up before December ended. As a result, I put this book on my 24 books to read before 2024 list. This book seems to be about saving a Christmas tree farm so I look forward to read it during December this year.

  • A Book with Red on the Cover

One book with a red cover on my TBR is Yours Truly by Abby Jiminez. I have read two books by Abby Jimenez and I’ve loved each of them so I am looking forward to her 2023 release. Yours Truly follows one of the side characters from Part of Your World, her 2022 releases which made it onto my favorites list for the year. Here’s to hoping that I will enjoy Yours Truly just as much!

  • A Book with Pink on the Cover

One book with a pink cover which I read recently was Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren. While I didn’t love everything about this book, it was a pretty solid read for me at 3.5 half stars. I do prefer the pink cover of this book as opposed to the previous orange cover.

  • You were given a box of chocolate. Which book boyfriend/girlfriend gave it to you?

One love interest who I think would give a box of chocolate is Lucas from The American Roommate Experiment. Overall, this book wasn’t my favorite. However, it did mention many, many times about Lucas making food for Rosie. Honestly, he’d probably turn the box of chocolate into a wonderful dessert!

  • You are single on Valentine’s Day. What book do you read? What movie do you watch? What TV show do you watch?

One book that is on my TBR for February is The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren. I recently received an eARC of this book from NetGalley and I think it will be the perfect book to read around Valentine’s Day. This book is about a filmmaker who recruits a romance author to be the lead of a reality dating show.

  • You are in a book store. All of a sudden you get shot with an arrow by cupid. What new release will you love?

One new release in 2023 that I’m hoping to love is Happy Place by Emily Henry. I’ve enjoyed her past two releases, The People We Meet on Vacation and Book Lovers, so I’m hoping to enjoy Happy Place just as much. To be honest, I’m not completely interested in the plot of this book, but if anyone can change my mind, it’s Emily Henry!

Lore Olympus, Volume 2 Review

Lore Olympus: Volume Two is the second installment of Rachel Smythe’s Lore Olympus series which is a modern-ish retelling of Persephone and Hades. Volume Two features episodes #26-50 of the web comic which was initially published on WebToon. This installment of the series follows Persephone after Hera schemes to get her closer to Hades by recruiting her to work as an intern in the Underworld. Persephone’s first day takes a turn for the worse when Minthe, the office secretary and lover of Hades, gives her bad advice.

Lore Olympus is my favorite graphic novel series, so I was excited to reread some of the episodes from the web comic in the printed version. One issue that I had with the first installment, however, is that it felt like the first book cut off at an awkward place and focused on too many different plot lines. That being said, I appreciated how the author, Rachel Smythe, handled difficult topics in her books. I found that Lore Olympus seemed more complete on its own than the first volume, but also contained many characteristics from the first novel which I enjoyed.

One aspect of Volume Two that I enjoyed was that the story felt more complete and focused. This book focuses primarily on story lines between Persephone and Hades, which I wanted to see more of in the first volume. On the other hand, this book still feels like a set-up for the latter parts of the series which may irritate some readers. Additionally, there are some story lines, like with Eros and Psyche, which were introduced in the first volume, but didn’t really get explored more deeply in the second volume. As a result, readers who were very interested in that part of the first book may be disappointed to see little progress in the development of that part of the story.

Another aspect that I enjoyed was the depth which Rachel Smythe added to the characters. Minthe, who is the lover and secretary of Hades, could easily become a one-dimensional character used to make Persephone look better. Instead, Smythe provides her character more depth in order to make her character more understandable. On the flip side, readers get to see a darker side to Hades at the end of the novel. In the original volume, readers see the more composed side of Hades. However, I think seeing another side of him makes his personality a little more akin to the leader of the Underworld.

Overall, the second volume is a nice addition to the first. Like with many graphic novels, I find myself flying through this book and wanting more. I give Lore Olympus: Volume Two four out of five stars.

Battle of the Books: Love & Other Words vs. Every Summer After

On social media, two books that I frequently see recommended for the romance genre are Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren and Every Summer After by Carley Fortune. Often, I see these books recommended for people who love the other, as they are frequently compared for their plots. As a result, I decided to read both books and see which one I liked best.

Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren was originally published in 2018. The story follows Macy Sorenson, an aspiring doctor, who runs into Elliot, her childhood friend and boyfriend, years after they broke up. This novel follows a dual timeline: part of the story takes place across several years in the summer, when Macy would spend time in a cabin next to Elliot’s family home. Meanwhile, the current timeline focuses on Macy and Elliot reconnecting, with the dark reason they broke up looming behind them.

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune was published in 2021. The story follows Persephone “Percy” Fraser as she returns to the lake town where she spent her summers following the death of a family friend. There, she runs into Sam, the son of the family friend, who she developed a friendship and relationship with across several years. This novel follows a dual timeline: part of the story takes place across several years in the summer, when Percy lived next door to Sam during the summer. The current timeline takes place over the weekend of the funeral, when Percy and Sam reconnect, but also confront the reason why they broke up.

Just based on the synopses, it’s clear why Love & Other Words and Every Summer After are frequently compared. Both take place in small vacation towns, where the main female character spent her summers and developed a friendship-turned-relationship with the boy next door. In both novel, the love interests come back into each other’s lives nearly a decade later after a devastating breakup. There is even more in common regarding characters and the plots below. Just a warning, there will be major spoilers for both books below.

There are many similarities between characters within these books. In Love & Other Words, Macy is becoming a doctor and Elliot is a writer. Meanwhile, in Every Summer After, Sam is a doctor and Percy is an editor who wants to be a writer. Macy and Elliot bound over books and their love of words. On the other hand, Percy and Sam bound over Percy’s love of horror movies. In both books, readers get to see they characters grow up and see the relationship between the characters grow and change.

That being said, there are still some differences. In Love & Other Words, I found Macy to be a very complacent character who was unwilling to make change. One aspect of Macy’s story is that she is engaged at the beginning of the book. When she runs into Elliot, she realizes she isn’t completely in love with her partner. However, she stays with him anyway because it makes sense. When she does finally break up with him, they amicably part ways. I found Macy’s choices made very little change in the book, which resulted in little tension throughout the book.

On the other hand, Percy makes a lot more waves in the story. Percy is a very flawed character who makes many poor, but realistic choices throughout the story which results in a lot of conflict. While I would say the major twist in the novel felt very inconsistent with her character to me, it at least added some tension to the story overall. In her author’s note, Carley Fortune said she wants to make Percy realistic, even if it may make her seem unlikable at times, and I felt like she succeeded in that aspect.

As for the love interests, Elliot and Sam are extremely similar. Both over infatuated with their love interests to the point where it seems a little overbearing to me. They also have some identical choices, such as immediately breaking up with their significant other the moment when they run back into their first loves. Sometimes, Elliot and Sam both came across as a little too perfect.

Like with the characters, the plot of these two books are very similar from the basic premises down to scenes, plot twists, and even conversations. As I was reading, I couldn’t believe some of the parallels between these two books. Similarly, the ending of both books majorly disappointed me. With both books, I found the endings didn’t really match the rest of the book and dragged down my final ratings. In Love & Other Words as well as Every Summer After, there was a huge build-up to the events which broke these couples up for over a decade. In both books, these were quickly resolved with a couple conversations, which didn’t seem realistic or consistent with the characters or stories.

Initially, I rated Every Summer After higher than Love & Other Words by rating it 4 stars in comparison to the 3.5 stars I gave to Love & Other Words. However, after thinking further, I would probably rate each book at 3.5 stars. For this Battle of the Books, it will end in a tie. If you enjoyed Love & Other Words, then you will probably enjoy Every Summer After and vice versa.

Conversation Hearts Book Tag


In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought I would complete the Conversation book tag created by That Bookie on Youtube. In the video, she pulls out conversation hearts and chooses a book that relates. Since I don’t have any conversation hearts nearby, I decided to look up some phrases and create some of my own! Here are my answers:


One book that I Purchased recently based on the cover was Ice Breaker by Hannah Grace. I thought the cartoon cover was cute and I heard a lot of positive buzz surrounding the book. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t a huge fan of Ice Breaker. For me, the plot wasn’t very well developed and it was a little too long for a contemporary book. While I do still think the cover it cute, I’m not a huge fan of romances that are just a series of cute moments strung together.


One love at first sight book that I enjoyed this past year was Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood. Typically, I don’t enjoy the miscommunication trope, but this book was a fun and easy read. Even though we don’t really get to see the love at first sight on page in this book, I still overall enjoyed the romance.


One group of friends which I enjoyed recently was the cast of characters from Throne of Glass. Many of these characters didn’t like each other when they initially met, but they grew to respect and fight for each other. The cast of characters and friendships in this book are one of the reasons which I loved this series so much.


I would love to have a conversation with Holly Black, the author of many popular faerie books. Recently, I have seen a few different interviews of Holly Black pop up on my TikTok and I really enjoyed how she described creating the world of Elfhame, particularly how she imagines the appearances of the faerie characters. I am also a huge fan of her writing style and I love how she describes different things in her books. I think she would love to her more about her writing and world-building process.


When I think of a musical character, I have to think of Colton Wheeler from A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams. Colton is a country singer, which typically isn’t my favorite genre. However, I really enjoyed him as a character in A Very Merry Bromance and he seems really proud of the direction which his music makes at the end of the novel.


While they aren’t my favorite couple ever from a book, I did believe by the end of the novel that they were soul mates. Since Love & Other Words has a dual timeline, readers really get to see how Macy and Elliot’s relationship develops and changes by the end of the year. At the end of a romance novel, you want to believe that the love interests will be together forever and I definitely believed that for Macy and Elliot.

Have a great Valentine’s Day! 

Taylor Swift Lover Book Tag

Taylor Swift’s Lover is the perfect album for Valentine’s Day, so it makes for the perfect book tag for Blogentine’s Day! This book tag was created by Nish and Ngoc.

  • I Forgot That You Existed: A book that you want to forget you ever read

I don’t necessarily wish that I could forget this book, but a recent book which I didn’t like was Ice Breaker by Hannah Grace. I initially was interested in this book because of the cover and a lot of positive reviews which I saw on TikTok. However, for me, the plot of the book felt very disjointed with unmemorable characters. I also found that the synopsis of this book didn’t necessarily match the contents inside. Overall, it was a very disappointing and unenjoyable read for me.

  • Cruel Summer: A book that you turn to when things get tough

If I’m ever in a reading slump, I usually pick up one of the books from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I really love the characters in that series, so it is definitely one of my comfort reads!

  • The Man: Favorite female protagonist

A female protagonist who I enjoyed recently was Maria from Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade. While I wasn’t extremely impressed with the book itself, I really liked Maria as a main character. Maria was outgoing, positive, and always stood up for herself. Throughout the book, Maria dealt with awful producers who attempted to shame her for her body and tried to make her change her body, but Maria always stood her ground.

  • The Archer: A book with good mental health representation

As I mentioned earlier, Ice Breaker wasn’t one of my favorite reads, but there was one aspect which I did appreciate in the book. In Ice Breaker, the female main character is constantly criticized for her weight. While the text doesn’t explicitly state that she has an eating disorder, she does have a very unhealthy relationship with food. I think this book brought up a huge issue in women’s sports where women who excel at their sport are often criticized for their appearance, despite needing to eat healthily and maintain muscle in order to perform well in their sport.

  • I Think He Knows: Favorite fictional crush

One love interest who stood out to me this past year was Daniel from Part of Your World by Abby Jiminez. Daniel was a patient and kind love interest who supported the female lead in becoming more independent. This was one of my favorite books of 2022 and the healthy relationship featured in this book was a huge factor in that decision.

  • Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince: Favorite angsty romance

One angsty romance which I read recently was Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood. The miscommunication trope plays a large role in novels by Ali Hazelwood which causes a lot of angst to appear throughout her novels.

  • Paper Rings: A book with an ugly cover that you absolutely adored

I’m actually not a huge fan of this series, but one series which I think needs an update for covers is the Off-Campus series. This series was published several years ago and it looks like it is still stuck there. Since this series has gained a lot of popularity in recent years due to TikTok, I think it would be a good idea to update the covers.

  • Cornelia Street: A book or series you never want(ed) to end

One book that I never wanted to end was A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams. This was an unexpected five star read for me. I was a huge fan of the romance in this book and I loved the main couple featured. The Bromance Book Club books aren’t usually my favorite, but this book makes me want to read whatever Lyssa Kay Adams writes next!

  • Death by A Thousand Cuts: A book or series that deserved a better ending

This is an oldie, but it is one that has stuck with me for years after reading. The Divergent series definitely went downhill for me after the first book and the ending of Allegiant just destroyed everything else that I liked about this book. While I appreciate Veronica Roth tried to write an ending that would stand out in a sea of YA dystopian at the same time, I dislike when an end of a series makes the rest of the series seem pointless. Unfortunately, that is how I felt at the end of the Divergent series after I finished reading it.

  • London Boy: Your favorite British male protagonist

Although the Bridgerton books often have insufferable male love interests, I do enjoy how they change their characters to be less toxic in the show. Jonathan Bailey played an excellent Anthony Bridgerton in the show and it made me interested in watching other television shows and movies where he appears because he was such a strong actor for the role.

  • Soon You’ll Get Better: A book that your heart will never recover from

I don’t typically read books that make me sad, but I wasn’t expecting Love & Other Words to be as emotional as it turned out to be. However, that was one aspect of Love & Other Words which I thought made it stand out for me.

  • You Need to Calm Down: A book with a powerful message

Recently, I have been rereading the Lore Olympus series through the published book versions. One aspect of Lore Olympus which I really appreciate is how it tackles difficult subject matter in a thoughtful way. Additionally, I have always appreciated that Rachel Smythe gives warnings to this content at the beginning of the book in order to be mindful of readers who pick up her book.

  • Afterglow: A book you want to give a second chance

It’s not that I want to give this book a second chance, but I do want to give this duology a chance for redemption after the first book. Recently, I read The Stolen Heir by Holly Black which is a duology taking place several years after The Cruel Prince series that follows Oak, Jude’s brother, and Lady Soren from The Court of Teeth. I had high expectations going into The Stolen Heir because I loved The Cruel Prince series so much. While The Stolen Heir wasn’t the worst book that I’ve ever read, it didn’t have the same magic as the original trilogy for me. That being said, I do plan to read the next book in the duology and I hope it is a little stronger than the first book.

  • Me!: Best character development

One of my favorite character developments in a book is Manon from Throne of Glass. Due to her upbringing, Manon suppresses her emotions and doesn’t believe that she could ever love another person. A lot of pressure is placed on Manon to follow very rigid rules and orders, as there is a swift and brutal consequence for disobedience, so she will typically follows the rules set by her grandmother as opposed to her own heart. However, throughout the series, Manon slowly opens up to other people and begins to make her own choices, often due to her love for other people.

  • It’s Nice to Have a Friend: Fave friends-to-lovers story

This isn’t necessarily my favorite friends-to-lovers romance, but I was impressed with how Love & Other Words was able to build such a successful friends-to-lovers romance through flashbacks. Typically, I am not a huge fan of dual timeline books. While I did have some other aspects of this book which I didn’t enjoy, I did think the scenes that readers get to see of the development of the relationship in book really reinforces that the main characters are soulmates, which is what I like to see in a romance book.

  • Daylight: If you could read one book or series again and again, what would it be

If I could read one series again and again it would have to be A Court of Thorns and Roses. Like I mentioned earlier, I love the world and the character inside, so I could read it again and again without being bored.

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune is a Goodreads Award nominated book which follows Persephone “Percy” Fraser when she ventures back to a small lake town where she spent her summers in order to attend the funeral of a family friend. There, she encounters Sam, the family friend’s son, who she developed a friendship and romantic relationship with during the summers of her childhood, but she has spoken to in twelve years. Every Summer After is a dual POV book, which focuses on one weekend in the present day as well as across several years in the past.

I put Every Summer After on my TBR after seeing many positive reviews about this book online. However, I also saw online that this book contained many similarities to another book on my TBR, Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren. As a result, I wanted to read these books within a short time frame so I would be able to see the similarities and differences. I will discuss these similarities and differences more in depth in a future post. That being said, like other readers, I noticed several strong similarities in plot, tropes, and even conversations between the characters.

As for my reading experience specifically with Every Summer After, I did enjoy this book. However, I think I may have enjoyed it more if I didn’t see all the hype before I read it. Going into Every Summer After, I expected this book to be a five star read. Ultimately, I rated Every Summer After as four stars, but as I continue to think about my reading experience, I fluctuate between 3.5 stars and 5 stars. While I did enjoy several aspects of this book, there were several moments and plot points which hindered my reading experience.

One aspect of Every Summer After that I thought was well-executed was the dual timelines. I’m typically not a huge fan of dual timelines because they can throw off the pacing of the novel. While I did have some issues with pacing more towards the end of the novel, these issues didn’t necessarily come from the dual timeline aspect of the story. I thought Fortune did a good job of selecting scenes that gave us an idea of who the characters were at each stage of their lives and each scene was cut off at a good stopping point.

Like I mentioned, however, I did have some issues with pacing mostly at the end of this novel. As I was reading, I thought the story would culminate at the funeral. However, once readers reach this book part of the story, there is still one third of the book left. What happens at the story is heavily foreshadowed throughout the rest of the book. It seemed like this part of the story was really dragged out and moved much slower than the middle part of the book. Then, there is a huge reveal which is quickly wrapped up and readers get an epilogue of a year later in the story. As a result, the pacing of the last act of the novel felt very inconsistent.

Speaking of the end of the novel, there is a major plot point which annoyed me. I won’t give away any spoilers, but it felt really inconsistent considering the development of the characters. This plot point wasn’t surprising considering the hints sprinkled throughout the story, but it was still frustrating. There are so many directions that the plot could have taken which would have been more true to the characters and the twist felt like a quick way to some last minute drama. It also irritated that this big event which caused the characters not to speak for twelve years seemed to easily be solved and led to a quick resolution.

While I did enjoy parts of Every Summer After, I did enjoy it as much as I had expected to enjoy it. Like I mentioned before, I originally rated this book four stars, but I find myself fluctuating between 3.5 and 4 stars.