Book Review: The Fiction Between Us by Julie Olivia

Title: The Fiction Between Us
Author: Julie Olivia
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2022
Publisher: Indie / Kindle Unlimited
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Some fairytales may be real, but ours is strictly fiction.
I’ve been Queen Bee at our theme park for ten glorious, uncomplicated years. I’m far better at creating fictional magic than real life miracles. So when Landon Arden, my best friend’s twin brother and my old high school bully, starts to work at Honeywood, I’m wishing for some gift from above to fix this mess.
Cue a worse situation.
After Landon falls on stage during one of our shows, the guests mistake him for a character in the park: Ranger Randy.
The problem isn’t when our manager asks him to perform as the bearded, tight tush, short shorts-wearing hero. No, my fairytale comes crashing down when we’re told that Queen Bee and Ranger Randy must appear as a couple.
Fine. Whatever. Ten years ago, my teenage crush for Landon may have been real, but I can fake a happy ending with Ranger Randy. I can sign autographs with him, have his arm around my waist, hold his hand, and… kiss him on stage?
I tell myself it’s all for show. We’re just characters in a theme park. And I won’t fall for true love’s kiss, even if I do want to try it one more time…” (Goodreads)

I’ve been looking forward to another book set at the amusement park ever since reading the first. It’s been such a fun setting and this time it was about the characters and amphitheater instead of the rollercoasters.

The book is told from two point-of-views and they come from Quinn and Landon. Quinn doesn’t have the best impression of Landon after some high school drama and since then she will do anything to keep her distance. She is the grump to his shine and I loved their dynamic!

The romance is a slow-burn with a bit of spice once you get around the halfway mark. They are very cute together and I liked seeing them both manage their feelings, especially Quinn. She has a chip on her shoulder when it comes to her mother and Landon so when it comes to love it isn’t easy. She does have people around her that want to see her soar and be happy, in a relationship and when it comes to work. Plus, fake dating. Need I say more?

I’m still obsessed with the friend group and there were some major plot twists when it came to them! I’m hoping that the third book is about Bennett. I want to know more about his weird relationship, haha.

Overall, this was a great read.


Audiobook Review: American Royalty by Tracey Livesay

Title: American Royalty
Author: Tracey Livesay
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: June 28th, 2022
Publisher: Avon Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

“Sexy, driven rapper Danielle “Duchess” Nelson is on the verge of signing a deal that’ll make her one of the richest women in hip hop. More importantly, it’ll grant her control over her life, something she’s craved for years. But an incident with a rising pop star has gone viral, unfairly putting her deal in jeopardy. Concerned about her image, she’s instructed to work on generating some positive publicity… or else.
A brilliant professor and reclusive royal, Prince Jameson prefers life out of the spotlight, only leaving his ivory tower to attend weddings or funerals. But with the Queen’s children involved in one scandal after another, and Parliament questioning the viability of the monarchy, the Queen is desperate. In a quest for good press, she puts Jameson in charge of a tribute concert in her late husband’s honor. Out of his depth, and resentful of being called to service, he takes the advice of a student. After all, what’s more appropriate for a royal concert than a performer named “Duchess”?
Too late, Jameson discovers the American rapper is popular, sexy, raunchy and not what the Queen wanted, although he’s having an entirely different reaction. Dani knows this is the good exposure she needs to cement her deal and it doesn’t hurt that the royal running things is fine as hell. Thrown together, they give in to the explosive attraction flaring between them. But as the glare of the limelight intensifies and outside forces try to interfere, will the Prince and Duchess be a fairy tale romance for the ages or a disaster of palatial proportions?” (Goodreads)

This was a spur of the moment borrow from the library. I will say that I really enjoyed the narrators for this one. It was easy to listen to, even with an accent, and I liked how there was one for the dual point-of-view.

The book is told from the perspective of Dan aka Duchess and Prince Jameson. They both come from a different world and are dealing with their own drama. They never realized more would come when they become in close contact with one another. I liked seeing their interactions together, especially at the beginning when Jameson was trying to stay away. Dani’s chapters start off with a bit of online drama from another singer and she handled it better than I would have! She definitely knows how to keep it classy.

The romance for me was okay but it very much was insta-lust from the get-go, especially on Jameson’s part. He wanted her before even knowing her since she was picked for a concert at random. It just didn’t work for me. Their whirlwind romance does have its obstacles and everything comes to a blow right before the end. It does feel a bit rushed and I wish it had more time to develop.

Overall, it was a decent book and I liked most of it.

First Lines Friday | 7-1-22

Hello Lovely Readers!

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

“When I see Emory Dawson across the midway for the first time, I realize the world is not a fair place.”


The book is….

“The moment we meet, it’s all downhill.

My job is providing happiness and smiles at Honeywood Fun Park, and Emory Dawson is the frown our park didn’t ask for.

When our star roller coaster malfunctions with me on board, the manufacturer’s heir and lead engineer, Emory, vows to renovate the attraction. So instead of having a fun summer season as Marketing Manager for Honeywood, I’m now saddled with playing host.


Emory is the opposite of a good time. He’s the grump that won’t stop grumping, and our arguments escalate quicker than my heart rate after a roller coaster’s fall.

He knows I can see right through his broody gaze and big ideas. Repairing the coaster? More like overhauling his own company’s reputation, regardless of whether it helps our local theme park.

But when our firm handshakes start lingering too long, or when his muscled thighs rest against mine under the table, I’m thrown for a loop.

Most roller coasters are fun, but I’d like to get off this emotional one, please.” (Goodreads)


Have you read this book? Do you want to read it?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

E-Arc Review: Love in Lockdown by Chloe James

Title: Love in Lockdown
Author: Chloe James
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: November 23rd, 2020 (UK) / March 4th, 2021 (US)
Publisher: Avon

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an earc to review!

“Sophia is afraid lockdown will put her life on pause – just as she was she was going to put herself out there and meet someone. When the first clap for the keyworkers rings out around her courtyard, she’s moved to tears for all kinds of reasons.

Jack is used to living life to the fullest, and is going stir-crazy after just days isolating. Until that night he hears a woman crying from the balcony beneath his. He strikes up a conversation with the stranger and puts a smile back on her face.

Soon their balcony meetings are the highlight of Jack and Sophia’s days. But even as they grow closer together, they’re always kept apart.” (Goodreads)

I was definitely pulled into this book because of the blurb. Since March (and even earlier for some), our lives have been changed by a new virus. 2020 has been a wild year and we are still dealing with it all in October. It’s been interesting to see what authors come up with that involve a virus or even the quarantine aspect of it. In a crazy world with new social experiences, I wanted to give this romance book a try.

The book is written with two point-of-views: Jack and Sophia. Like I saw in pretty much every review, I always enjoy multiple point-of-views because it gives us more background for the characters and especially their feelings. This book was no different.

I did like reading about the characters lives and how they have changed due to a virus. It’s comforting knowing that others are in the same boat (even if they are fictional). It also made for a cute romance about two people meeting in a unique way.

At times the book felt a bit slow but there were a few plot twists to keep things a bit interesting.

Overall, it was a good, lighthearted book. I liked how a bad situation brought two people together and it made a nice romance story.

E-Arc Review: Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Title: Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3)
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Publisher: Berkley

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an e-copy to review. All opinions are my own.

“A hacktivist and a cat café owner decode the friend zone in this romantic comedy from the author of Undercover Bromance.

Alexis Carlisle and her cat café, ToeBeans, have shot to fame after she came forward as a victim of a celebrity chef’s sexual harassment. When a new customer approaches to confide in her, the last thing Alexis expects is for the woman to claim they’re sisters. Unsure what to do, Alexis turns to the only man she trusts—her best friend, Noah Logan.

Computer genius Noah left his rebellious teenage hacker past behind to become a computer security expert. Now he only uses his old skills for the right cause. But Noah’s got a secret: He’s madly in love with Alexis. When she asks for his help, he wonders if the timing will ever be right to confess his crush.

Noah’s pals in The Bromance Book Club are more than willing to share their beloved “manuals” to help him go from bud to boyfriend. But he must decide if telling the truth is worth risking the best friendship he’s ever had.” (Goodreads)

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the cover. I love it! The cat is just so adorable I want to snuggle it! Out of the covers, this one is my favorite.

I was really excited to continue on with this series. I was pleasantly surprised by the first book and even the second book had me hooked. This one was good in it’s own way but it was my least favorite and I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other two.

This book follows Alexis and Noah and their relationship from friends-to-lovers. This trope isn’t a favorite but I liked how close they were as friends. Each one would do anything for the other. When others didn’t understand their dynamic, they didn’t make much of it. They knew how important it was to be together even if that meant staying friends just in case the other didn’t feel the same.

I will say that they aren’t my favorite couple in the series and it may be because they just weren’t two of my favorite characters. I do remember Alexis from the second book but I actually don’t remember much about Noah. Where as with Gavin I could relate because he was married and Mack is just so lovable!

When it comes to the plot, there is a lot going on. An angry shop owner, organ transplants, figuring out the past, and finding the courage to make the next step. There is plenty of drama from all of them! Some were done better than others. One didn’t really have a conclusion and I wanted to know what the verdict was.

Since this is a part of the Bromance Book Club many old characters are still a part of the plot. I liked seeing them once again and they are always ready to help a fellow man in need!

If there is a next one, I hope it is about the Russian. I know he has an interesting story to tell and I felt like the author was hinting at him in this one! (P.S. It has been confirmed!)

Overall, it was still a good book but it just didn’t hit a high mark for me.

Book Review: Next Stop Love by Rachel Stockbridge

Title: Next Stop Love
Author: Rachel Stockbridge
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2020
Publisher: Self-Published

Thank you to the author and Netgalley for an e-copy to review! All opinions are my own.

“Love will get you back on track.

Beatrice Bauer is struggling to keep up with the demands of family, friends, college life, and a part-time job. She doesn’t have room to breathe, much less question whether the track she’s on is worth the effort. But it’s fine. She’s fine. She can breathe after college.

Julian Moon is doing his best to get back on his feet and reconnect with his dream of being an illustrator. The problem is he can’t seem to shake the habit of making all the worst decisions. The most recent of which is his return to New York, where all his problems started in the first place.

When a shared commute dumps Julian and Beatrice in each other’s lives, they start wondering if there isn’t more to life than a desperate scramble to stay afloat. If maybe a coincidental commute acquaintance couldn’t become something more.” (Goodreads)

I’m not going to lie, I requested this one because of the cover. It’s just so cute! 😍 Although the book was kind of a mixed bag for me I still liked a majority of what I read.

The book is split into two point-of-views. This always gets brownie points because I like being to able to understand both characters that will end up in a relationship.

The first one that was introduced was Julian. He is Korean and hasn’t had the best life. He is now just trying to make a life and stay out of trouble. Also, he’s an artist! I like that.

Beatrice is a marketing major who is running on coffee while trying to make everything work. I’m not even sure how she manages to live because her life is intense, haha. School takes up a lot of time and then there is work. I really did like her determination.

The way that these two characters meet had me giddy. It was just perfect and I won’t spoil it if you tend to read this one.

Their relationship does start out slow and they become friends before they become more. I always like seeing this because it’s just more believable than instant-love. You see their growth and it’s just nice.

*Spoilers*My biggest thing I didn’t like was how obvious it was when it came to who would be the one causing the most drama between Julian and Beatrice. Right from the beginning the person is painted as someone who can’t be trusted even though Beatrice is dating him. Why be with someone who you don’t understand and question why they are with you? It just kind of ruins all of the plot twists that involve them. *End of Spoilers*

Because of a lot of the drama, I did like the first half more than the last.

Overall, I liked it. Besides those two things, I still think that this book is cute and makes for a lighthearted read. I would still check out another book by this author.

E-Arc Review: Simmer Down by Sarah Smith

Title: Simmer Down
Author: Sarah Smith
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Publisher: Berkley

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an e-copy to review. All opinions are my own.

“In this finger-licking good rom-com, two is the perfect number of cooks in the kitchen.

Nikki DiMarco knew life wouldn’t be all sunshine and coconuts when she quit her dream job to help her mom serve up mouthwatering Filipino dishes to hungry beach goers, but she didn’t expect the Maui food truck scene to be so eat-or-be-eaten—or the competition to be so smoking hot.

But Tiva’s Filipina Kusina has faced bigger road bumps than the arrival of Callum James. Nikki doesn’t care how delectable the British food truck owner is—he rudely set up shop next to her coveted beach parking spot. He’s stealing her customers and fanning the flames of a public feud that makes her see sparks.

The solution? Let the upcoming Maui Food Festival decide their fate. Winner keeps the spot. Loser pounds sand. But the longer their rivalry simmers, the more Nikki starts to see a different side of Callum…a sweet, protective side. Is she brave enough to call a truce? Or will trusting Callum with her heart mean jumping from the frying pan into the fire?” (Goodreads)

I didn’t know that this author wrote a book before this one that I had seen before but never picked up. I solely read this one based on the blurb because anything about food I automatically want to read even though I will be starving by the end! This also had the enemies-to-lovers trope and I’m sure you know by now how much I enjoy it. Either way, I was hoping this would be a great read.

There were certain things I liked about this book. The writing was nice and I liked that Nikki always put family first even if it rocked the other relationships in her life. It can be hard to balance the two.

What I didn’t like was how convenient every plot twist seemed to be. There were also huge time gaps which made the relationship move quickly and we didn’t get to see much of the build-up for it. All of this led to everything about their relationship feeling a tad too unbelievable. I understand it’s a work of fiction but I need to feel something for them and it just wasn’t there.

If you are solely looking for a book with steamy moments, you get quite a few in this one.

Overall, it was okay but I just needed more development when it came to their relationship.

E-Arc Review: The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke

Title: The Lost Love Song
Author: Minnie Darke
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Publisher: Ballantine Books

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an e-copy to review. All opinions are my own.

Behind every great love song is a great love story, from the author of Star-Crossed

Concert pianist Diana is finally ready to marry her longtime fiance, Arie; she’s even composing a beautiful love song for him, and finishes it while on tour. Before she can play it for him, though, tragedy strikes–and Diana is lost to Arie forever.

But her song might not be.

In Australia, the world has gone quiet for Arie and he lives his life accordingly, struggling to cope with his loss. In Scotland, a woman named Evie is taking stock of her life after the end of another lackluster almost-relationship. Years of wandering the globe and failing to publish her poetry have taken their toll, and she might finally be ready to find what her travels have never been able to give her: a real home. And through a quirk of fate or circumstance, Diana’s song is passed from musician to musician. By winding its way around the world, it just might bring these two lost souls together.

With heart-wrenching emotion, The Last Love Song explores what it means to be lost, what it means to be found, and the power of music to bring people together.” (Goodreads)

This book follows many different people but it follows one song. It’s hard to picture how it would all come together but the author does a fantastic job of weaving it all together.

I did like some of the characters stories more than others. Aries and Evie being my favorite. I would also say that they are the main focus.

Aries has lost a lot when it comes to losing Diane. You don’t just lose out on the love from that person but also the life you were planning to share together. I could only imagine losing my husband. I would be losing a rather large part of me. Aries doesn’t know where to go even after it’s been awhile since that fateful day. His story of finding himself after loss was one that I enjoyed reading about even if it made me all emotional.

When it comes to Evie, she is living a much different life. She is living the life of a drifter and traveling to wherever feels right at the moment. How freeing would it be to be able to drop everything and go somewhere new? She hasn’t had the best of luck with relationships and wants to find someone who will do anything to make sure she is a top priority. I like her character a lot. It takes her some time to realize what she wants and sets out to hopefully find it.

The plot is filled with love, first times, loss, and being found. There are different things going on in each person’s life but yet that one song brings them together even when they don’t realize it. It’s an emotional ride that’s hard to put down because you want everything to work out for the best even though you know how cruel the world can be.

Overall, I enjoyed this one a lot. It’s hard to write a review for it without giving away more from the story and my words seem to be failing me. I do know that this book will stick with me for awhile. I’d definitely recommend this one!

Mini Book Review: 500 Miles from You by Jenny Colgan


48748054Title: 500 Miles from You (Scottish Bookshop #3)
Author: Jenny Colgan
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: June 9th, 2020
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

synopsis header
New York Times bestselling author Jenny Colgan returns to the beloved Scottish Highland town of Kirrinfief, which readers first met in The Bookshop on the Shore, and adds a dash of London’s bustling urban landscape. 

Lissie, is a nurse in a gritty, hectic London neighborhood. Always terribly competent and good at keeping it all together, she’s been suffering quietly with PTSD after helping to save the victim of a shocking crime. Her supervisor quietly arranges for Lissie to spend a few months doing a much less demanding job in the little town of Kirrinfeif in the Scottish Highlands, hoping that the change of scenery will help her heal. Lissie will be swapping places with Cormack, an Army veteran who’s Kirrinfeif’s easygoing nurse/paramedic/all-purpose medical man. Lissie’s never experienced small-town life, and Cormack’s never spent more than a day in a big city, but it seems like a swap that would do them both some good.

In London, the gentle Cormack is a fish out of the water; in Kirrinfief, the dynamic Lissie finds it hard to adjust to the quiet. But these two strangers are now in constant contact, taking over each other’s patients, endlessly emailing about anything and everything. Lissie and Cormack discover a new depth of feeling…for their profession and for each other.

But what will happen when Lissie and Cormack finally meet…?” (Goodreads)


I don’t know why but this one just wasn’t clicking for me. It could be my mood. Maybe it just wasn’t the right genre for me at the time, I’m not sure. I do enjoy this author’s writing but I just couldn’t get into the characters or the plot.

I started this series at the beginning of June. The first book was my favorite. The second book was good but the characters were as memorable for me. This one was like the second but also a bit less. There is really nothing wrong with the book per say. Maybe I just didn’t care for the characters because the relationship lacked. 🤷‍♀️ There are a lot of maybe’s in this review, haha.

There are cameos from the previous characters and I really liked reading about them once again.

Besides the relationship lacking, I also did not like the part about the cat being ran over. As a cat owner that is a no-go. I skipped over all the parts talking about it. The cat didn’t die but yeah, not for me.

Overall, it was okay. I just couldn’t really enjoy it for whatever reason and it is what it is.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Audiobook Review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary


48842183Title: The Switch
Author: Beth O’Leary
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: August 8th, 2020
Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an early edition of the audiobook for this title to review. All opinions are my own.

synopsis header
A grandmother and granddaughter swap lives in The Switch, a charming, romantic novel by Beth O’Leary, who has been hailed as “the new Jojo Moyes” (Cosmopolitan UK)…

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some long-overdue rest.

Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

So they decide to try a two-month swap.

Eileen will live in London and look for love. She’ll take Leena’s flat, and learn all about casual dating, swiping right, and city neighbors. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire: Eileen’s sweet cottage and garden, her idyllic, quiet village, and her little neighborhood projects.

But stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected. Will swapping lives help Eileen and Leena find themselves…and maybe even find true love? In Beth O’Leary’s The Switch, it’s never too late to change everything….or to find yourself.” (Goodreads)


After enjoying this author’s first book last year, I knew I wanted to read this one. Since NetGalley now has audiobooks, I was able to get it from there and listen to it early. Although it didn’t hit me in the feels like The Flatshare, I still liked my overall experience with this one.

This book is split into two point-of-views. For the audiobook, there is two different narrators which I really enjoyed! Especially since one of the point-of-views was Leena’s Grandmother. If it wasn’t for the two different narrators it would probably be harder to distinguish the two, ha.

Out of the two main characters, I liked Eileen the most. She is trying to find her groove after her husband left her. It would be hard at that age to get out of your comfort zone. Props to her for trying new things!

Leena is definitely still going through a lot when it comes to her family after her sister’s death. It’s understandable.I’m not really sure why I didn’t care for her. I wouldn’t really say there is anything wrong with her. I think that she was very hard on her mother but at least they work it out in the end. Family is very important and it does play a big role in this book.

The plot focuses more on the characters and their development vs. the romance aspect. Eileen has more romance going on in her life than Leena and Leena doesn’t get much happy romance until the end of the book. I do wish there would have been more when it came to the romantic relationships.

At times the plot also felt a bit slow to me. This could just be because of the content. I did really like how the two switched places. It reminded me of a lot of movies I enjoy where that is the whole beginning.

Another cool feature about the audiobook narration is that when they would call someone they made it sound like an actual telephone call. It was a nice detail!

Overall, it was still a good book just not really what I was expecting and lacked that connection or feelings like I had from this author’s first book. I think it is more a case of its me and not the book because this author is a fantastic writer.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)