Happy Friday everyone!  I’ve had a crazy busy week but I’ll finally be catching up on my blog hopping today.  Today I’m sharing two very entertaining second chance romances with you.  One is a fabulous road trip read, while the other is an ode to the Bard himself.


Reviews: FOR THE LOVE OF THE BARD & A THOUSAND MILESFor the Love of the Bard Goodreads

Author: Jessica Martin

Publication Date: June 28, 2022

Publisher: Berkley Books

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

I’m a huge Shakespeare fan, so Jessica Martin’s new contemporary romance For the Love of the Bard was a must-read for me.  Aside from all of the Shakespeare love, the story also features a small town setting, a second chance romance, and a fabulous dog named Puck, all things that are basically catnip for me. For the Love of the Bard doesn’t disappoint either.  I spent most of the book smiling and chuckling to myself and was ultimately bummed when I reached the last page because I wanted to spend more time in this setting with these characters.

The story follows Miranda Barnes, a literary agent and author, who returns to her hometown for the summer in hopes of finding some inspiration to finish her next novel.  Miranda fully expects to hole up in the attic at her parent’s house and write all summer, but her mom has other ideas.  Each year their town hosts a popular Shakespeare festival, and this year is the centennial year and Miranda’s mom is the event planner.  She recruits Miranda to direct one of the plays they will be putting on as part of the celebration.  Miranda reluctantly agrees but immediately finds herself face to face with someone she had hoped never to see again – Adam, the high school flame who ditched her on prom night.  Will Miranda finally get to confront Adam and get some closure about what happened that night so many years ago?

I had so much fun reading this book! Miranda’s hometown of Bard’s Rest, in particular, delighted me.  If you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, imagine Stars Hollow but where every building, street, etc. is named using a Shakespearean reference and all the residents are Shakespeare enthusiasts who want to be part of the festival. It was so charming and quaint, and I just wanted it to be a real place so that I could visit it and geek out on all the Shakespearean references.

I was also a big fan of Miranda.  Even though the book is advertised as a romance and there’s definitely plenty to keep readers entertained with respect to Miranda and Adam’s will they or won’t they vibe, it’s Miranda’s journey and her relationship with her family, especially her sisters, that captivated me.  It was interesting to watch the different dynamics between Miranda and each of them as they try to navigate some personal drama regarding their mom’s health.  In addition to the family drama, Miranda is also dealing with fan pressure.  Her fans were very vocal about not liking the direction her last book went in, so she’s under tremendous pressure to write a new installment that will satisfy everyone.  I was very engrossed by what turns out to be a very personal journey of self-discovery for Miranda as she discovers who she really wants to be as an author.

For the Love of the Bard is a charming story about love, family, community, and most of all, it’s about second chances and finding yourself.  If you enjoy stories that features those elements and you’re a Shakespeare fan as well, I highly recommend this one.  4.5 STARS


Reviews: FOR THE LOVE OF THE BARD & A THOUSAND MILESA Thousand Miles Goodreads

Author: Bridget Morrisey

Publication Date: June 21, 2022

Publisher: Berkley Books

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

I love a good second chance romance and I’m also a fan of books that feature road trips so when I saw that A Thousand Miles by Bridget Morrisey featured both, I knew I had to read it.  The story follows Dee and Ben, two former best friends who had a falling out and haven’t spoken to each other for ten years.  One night Ben shows up unexpectedly on Dee’s doorstep simply stating “a promise is a promise.” The promise in question is to recreate the 1,000 mile road trip to Colorado that the two of them completed their senior year before their falling out.  Even though she’s still angry and confused about what happened ten years ago, Dee agrees to take the trip, hoping for answers and to reconnect because as upset as she is, she has missed Ben more than she wants to admit.

I really enjoyed this book. Ben and Dee’s road trip was so entertaining, and I loved the whole nostalgic vibe that surrounded it as they went to all of the same places they went the first time around.  I liked the contrast between the memories of when they were best friends versus experiencing the same things now but with so much awkwardness and tension between them.  It’s a fun trip for them, but there is also a lot of angst as those memories of their fight are still hovering between them.

I also thought both Ben and Dee were fantastic characters.  I loved their friendship, particularly as they slowly rekindled it, and was fully invested in learning what happened ten years ago and hoping they could move beyond it.  It was also pretty clear that they have more than just friendly feelings toward one another, which gave me another reason to be invested in their future.

The entertainment factor doesn’t just come from Dee and Ben’s road trip though.  Dee hosts a popular podcast called “Did I Forget to Tell You?” where she and her cohost share personal stories about their pasts, both the highs and especially the lows.  Transcripts of some of the episodes where Dee discusses her troubled relationship with Ben (or Name Redacted as she refers to him) are sprinkled throughout the book.  I loved the added in-depth look at Dee’s life and personality that those excerpts provided.  You can tell just how much the falling out with Ben has dominated her thoughts over the years.

A Thousand Miles is a delightful and insightful story about love, friendship, and second chances.  I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fun but angsty summer read and especially to those who are fans of road trip books. 4 STARS.

21 replies
  1. Angela
    Angela says:

    For the Love of the Bard sounds like something I would enjoy – my 9th grade English teacher was a huge Shakespeare buff, so we read a lot of his stuff that year!

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yeah and I think the more Shakespeare you have read, the more recognizable all of the references, especially the puns, are. I studied Shakespeare for two semesters in college and was just geeking out with every turn of the page, lol.

  2. Carla
    Carla says:

    These both sound like good reads. I have For the Love of the Bard on my TBR and am waiting for my library to get it. Wonderful reviews.

  3. Sam@WLABB
    Sam@WLABB says:

    My library loan for A Thousand Miles just came through. I like the sound of it, as well as the incorporation of the podcast.

  4. Sophie
    Sophie says:

    I think For the Love of the Bard seems an amazing read Suzanne! I always love books with some Shakespear in it!

  5. Verushka
    Verushka says:

    Miranda certainly goes through a lot in For the Love of the Bard, and as much as the romance sounds wonderful, I love that the author has supplemented it with a strong story between Miranda and her sisters.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yes, the relationship between the siblings was so well done and ended up being as big a draw for me as the romance.

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