Hey everyone! I want to start off by apologizing in advance for the fact that I’m yet again behind on blog visits.  The other person who does my job at work was on vacation all last week so I had to cover for her and it was a bit hectic.  Add in soccer practice for my son, helping him prep for tomorrow’s AP exam, and then ending the week in pure frustration when I got a call from the school Principal because my son got caught doing something he shouldn’t have been doing, and there just wasn’t much motivation or energy left for blogging.  I did a couple of posts on instagram and then just wanted to hide in a blanket fort coloring the rest of the weekend.  Anyway, enough of my parenting/life woes, because I do have reviews to share today for two wonderful reads that I’ve enjoyed recently.  How cute are those covers?


Romance Reviews:  THE SPANISH LOVE DECEPTION & BY THE BOOKThe Spanish Love Deception Goodreads

Author: Elena Armas

Publication Date: February 23, 2021

Publisher:  Atria Books

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

I was a little nervous going into Elena Armas’ debut contemporary romance, The Spanish Love Deception, because of all the hype surrounding it.  I couldn’t resist the pull of an enemies-to-lovers romance that also featured fake dating and a fabulous trip to Spain though so I finally dove into it.  I immediately wanted to kick my own butt for putting this book off for so long because it is an absolute delight!

I was hooked on this story from the very first scene.  We meet the protagonist, Lina Martin, as she is lamenting to her best friend about needing a date for a family wedding she will be attending in Spain in four weeks. Lina’s coworker Aaron overhears their conversation and offers to be her date.  While taking Aaron as her fake boyfriend would definitely get her family off her back about her “forever single” status, there’s just one problem – Lina and Aaron hate each other, or at least Lina hates Aaron anyway.  In her mind, he’s always up in her business, offering opinions where they aren’t wanted, and just quite possibly the most annoying person she has ever met.  Needless to say, the fireworks are off the charts whenever Lina and Aaron interact and I was practically screaming for her to say yes to him, just to see how the trip would play out, specifically if Aaron would make it back home alive, haha. At first, Lina says no, but out of sheer desperation, she caves and accepts Aaron’s offer.  I was positively gleeful by this point waiting to see what would happen.

I adored Lina so much. She’s smart, sarcastic, and she is driven to be successful in her career.  But she’s definitely not perfect, which made her so real and so relatable.  She’s almost ridiculously stubborn when it comes to her feelings about Aaron too, which made for some very entertaining moments, especially since he’s practically standing in front of her with heart eyes.  And oh my goodness, Aaron!  Even though Lina thinks she hates him, he’s seriously book boyfriend material.  I loved everything about the man. He’s smart, sexy, and kind and caring, and just so obviously into Lina.  Watching the two of them grow closer and realize their feelings was definitely the highlight of the book for me.  It’s a slow burn but Armas writes their growing relationship so well that it ended up being very easy for me to patiently wait because each step along the way is so satisfying.

The Spanish Love Deception is a wonderful new addition to the romance genre.  I found it sexy and hilarious, and the ending left me with a big grin on my face.  It’s perfect for enemies to lovers and fake dating fans.  4 STARS


Romance Reviews:  THE SPANISH LOVE DECEPTION & BY THE BOOKBy the Book (Meant to Be #2) Goodreads

Author: Jasmine Guillory

Publication Date: May 3, 2022

Publisher: Hyperion Avenue

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

Have you ever enjoyed a book so much that you actually breathed a contented sigh as you finished the last page?  Well, that was exactly my experience with Jasmine Guillory’s latest novel By the BookBy the Book is a contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast that is set in the publishing industry.  In some ways I felt like this novel was tailor made for me because I’m a sucker for bookish characters, books about books, and Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale.

In Guillory’s reimagined version of the classic fairytale, Belle is now Isabelle. Isabelle works at Tale As Old As Time publishing house and she has aspirations of becoming an editorial assistant one day.  In order to prove to her boss that she is worthy of such a promotion, Isabelle volunteers to take on one of their most problematic clients, Beau Towers, a rude and gruff young man who is supposed to be writing a memoir for them.  Beau is months behind his deadline, has not submitted a single page, and doesn’t respond to correspondence from anyone at the publishing house.  If you guessed that Beau is the Beast character, you would be correct. And if you guessed that sparks would fly between Beau and Isabelle from the first moment Isabelle shows up on his front door step, you would also be correct!

As with the classic tale, there are enemies to lovers and grumpy sunshine romantic vibes everywhere.  It’s easy to see that there’s a lot more to Beau than first meets the eye, if only Isabelle can get him to open up, which she is very determined to do, at first for her career but later because she starts to see beyond his gruff exterior and likes what she sees for more personal reasons.  I loved watching their relationship evolve from those hostile moments when they first met, to a tentative friendship and productive working relationship, and then to a more personal connection.  I especially loved that most of their bonding took place through scenes that focused on the actual writing of the book, with Isabelle coaching Beau through passages he was having trouble putting on paper.  Isabelle is an aspiring writer as well but she hasn’t touched her book in months because of some cruel feedback she received from a coworker.  One of my favorite moments of the book is when Beau learns this and gives Isabelle her own advice and coaxes her to start writing again. It was just so sweet and they were adorable sitting there together each working on their own books.

By the Book feels fresh and new, yet with a comforting sense of familiarity with its many nods to the original fairytale.  If you’re a contemporary romance fan who also loves Beauty and the Beast, you’ll definitely want to check out By the Book.  4 STARS

26 replies
  1. Jonetta | Blue Mood Café
    Jonetta | Blue Mood Café says:

    Love both of these reviews, Suzanne💜 I’ve got the audio version for the first and just added the second. I’m a sucker for good Beauty & the Beast retellings.

    Hey, don’t sweat being behind in blogging. When real life shows up, that takes precedence. Hope all turns out okay.

  2. Angela
    Angela says:

    I haven’t had a ton of luck with Jasmine Guillory’s books, but this one sounds fantastic! I love a bookish theme in stories and the Beauty and the Beast retelling part is so fun!

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      This is probably my favorite from Guillory so far, which I guess isn’t surprising since it’s a retelling, which is like catnip for me, lol.

  3. Greg
    Greg says:

    I feel like blanket forts would solve a lot of problems. 🙂 Seriously though- hope this week is better. Glad these were both winners.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Right? Blanket fort, a good book, hot cocoa and a plate of cookies sounds pretty darn perfect to me right now, lol.

  4. Carla
    Carla says:

    We all get busy, that’s life. I hope things settle down for you. I have By the Book to read. I was really hoping to get the audiobook, but I know I will enjoy reading it. Great reviews, Suzanne.

  5. Dini @ dinipandareads
    Dini @ dinipandareads says:

    Great reviews! I still haven’t read anything by Jasmine Guillory even though I have two of her books on my shelf but I really do want to check this one out because it looks/sounds like a romance I’ll really enjoy. I also haven’t read Spanish Love Deception because the hype around it is wild and I’m nervous that it won’t live up to my expectations! 😂 I’m so glad to hear that it did work for you though which gives me hope that it’ll work for me too lol

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I’ve enjoyed several of Guillory’s books but I’d say this one is my favorite, mainly just because I love retellings so much.

  6. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books says:

    Well, By the Book sounds just delightful. I didn’t realize it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I love the way you describe the evolution of their relationship. I’ll have to look for this one.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I had honestly forgotten it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling until Isabelle mentions that her workplace is Tale As Old As Time. I could feel the grin spreading over my face as soon as I saw those words, lol.

  7. Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads
    Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads says:

    So glad to hear you loved The Spanish Love Deception, it was one of my favorite reads last year and I’m so excited for her next novel! Also, By The Book sounds amazing too!

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Spanish Love Deception was so good. I immediately went to see if her new novel was available to request yet. I know I have it coming up soon as a CWW post.

  8. Verushka
    Verushka says:

    Okay, Beauty and the Beast in the publishing industry has me hooked! What a wonderful idea for a retelling!

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