Hey everyone!  Today I’m sharing reviews for some contemporary fiction.  These two novels will be out in the world on January 18, 2022, so you won’t have to wait long if they sound like something you would be interested in.  I enjoyed Sophie Sullivan’s last novel, <em>Ten Rules for Faking It</em> so I was excited to learn that her new novel How to Love Your Neighbor takes place in the same world and we get to see Everly and Chris from the first novel again.  I’ve also been wanting to read more debut novels so I was excited to be approved for Shauna Robinson’s book.


Reviews:  HOW TO LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR & MUST LOVE BOOKSHow to Love Your Neighbor Goodreads

Author:  Sophie Sullivan

Publication Date: January 18, 2022

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan is an absolute delight.  It’s an enemies-to-lovers romance that is packed with equal parts heart and humor, not to mention a healthy dose of interior design and home renovations.

Life is going pretty well for Grace Travis.  She is currently finishing up her degree in interior design and she has just inherited a cute little house on the beach from her grandmother.  Grace can’t wait to fix the house up so that she has a place of her own.  There’s just one problem. Her neighbor Noah Jansen is a successful real estate developer and he wants to buy her house so he can tear it down and make his property larger.  Noah is also a jerk, or at least Grace thinks so anyway, even though she has to admit that he’s a pretty cute jerk.

I was hooked from the moment Grace and Noah first encounter each other – a hilarious meet-cute on the beach involving a collision and two enormous and overenthusiastic dogs named Tequila and Lime. They didn’t know they were neighbors at this point and the chemistry between them was so undeniable.  Then when they realized they were neighbors and started butting heads over whether or not Grace should sell her house to Noah, the sparks really started to fly.  I loved Grace so much. She’s strong and independent, creative and resourceful, and she’s hilarious on top of it.  When it came to Noah, at first I agreed with Grace, that he was a jerk used to always getting his way by throwing money at what he wanted.  But the more we learn about him after he and Grace come to an understanding, the more I loved him.  He’s a lot more vulnerable than he lets on, especially because he has a strained relationship with his father.

Watching Grace and Noah’s relationship grow was my favorite part of the story.  Not only do they agree to a truce, but they even start helping each other with their home renovations.  I really loved all the scenes involving interior design and painting, especially if they led to opportunities for flirting and sassy banter or if they involved the fabulous cast of secondary characters that are in the book, including Noah’s siblings and a grumpy but lovable elderly man named Morty who is like a dad to Grace. Aside from getting flirty with each other, Grace and Noah also learn a lot from each other, including how to support one another when dealing with dysfunctional parental relationships.  I especially loved that aspect of their relationship and it had me flying through the pages hoping they would get a happy ending together.

If you’re in the mood for a light-hearted romantic read with a side of family drama, How to Love Your Neighbor is a great choice. 4 STARS.


Reviews:  HOW TO LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR & MUST LOVE BOOKSMust Love Books Goodreads

Author: Shauna Robinson

Publication Date: January 18, 2022

Publisher:  Sourcebooks

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

I’m always drawn to books about books and book lovers so I couldn’t resist requesting Shauna Robinson’s debut novel, Must Love Books.  I’m so glad I did too because I think the journey of self- discovery the protagonist Nora Hughes embarks on is one that will resonate with many readers, especially anyone who is searching for their “dream” job or anyone who thought they had their “dream” job until it became more of a nightmare than a dream.

Nora loves books and all she knows when she starts looking for her ideal job is that it has to somehow involve books.  When she lands an editorial assistant position at Parsons Press, she is in heaven because what could be better than working for someone who actually puts books out in the world.  Nora’s job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, however, and after a series of layoffs and corporate restructuring, she finds herself bogged down in administrative tasks like ordering lunches and office supplies rather than doing much that is directly involved with the books themselves.  It’s a bit disheartening for Nora as is but then things take an even worse turn and she is asked to take a 15% cut in her pay.  Nora can barely make ends meet with her existing salary, so when her pay is cut, she is forced to take drastic measures and secretly takes on part-time freelance work at a rival publishing company.

About the only thing that makes her happy at all these days is Andrew Santos, a bestselling Parson author who has taken an interest in Nora after they exchange some flirty banter involving avocados, of all random things.  As the two of them grow closer, Nora finds herself uncertain of where her loyalties should lie – the full-time job she has but hates or the freelance job that has the possibility of becoming permanent if she could score a big author like Andrew for them even though it involves manipulating Andrew. All Nora knows is that she is so unhappy that her mental health is suffering, so something has got to give.

Even though there is the possibility of a budding romance there with Andrew, Must Love Books is really all about Nora and her search for what is going to make her happy both personally and professionally.  Nora is a very likeable and relatable character in the sense that we’ve pretty much all been where she is at some point in our lives, that crossroads where you have to make some tough choices if you’re ever going to change your life.  I was rooting hard for her to find the happiness and sense of fulfillment she deserves.  I also liked that the author presents what Nora did with the two rival publishers in a very realistic manner and that the character development is equally realistic.  Nora is not presented as a hero trying to stick it to the company that has wronged her; instead, there are real consequences for what she does, and she really doesn’t like the person she becomes while she’s living this double life of secrets and lies.

If you’re in the mood for a heartfelt, reflective story about finding yourself and your place in the world, definitely check out Must Love Books4 STARS

16 replies
  1. Sam@wlabb
    Sam@wlabb says:

    I might have to give Books another try. I DNFed because I seem to have a low tolerance these days for the millennial ennui. Glad these were both good for you.

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