Book Review: Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Adult Fiction, British Literature

Warnings: Unexpected death, abuse, absent parent

Read if you liked: In Five Years

Review: Have you ever read a book and think you know what is going to happen but it goes in a totally different direction and it’s perfect? Yeah, this is that book. Just Last Night was heartwarming, gut-wrenching and oh so perfect to read on a Sunday afternoon.

McFarlane did an amazing job navigating hard things; grief of unexpected loss, adult friendships, abuse, family disputes, the lies we tell ourselves and love. This book might be qualified as a romance novel but it’s so much more, it’s a life novel than ends in some perfectly imperfect love.

Eve is a quirky thirty-something with a group of life long friends Susie, Ed and Justin. Eve (and kind of Ed) have secretly, not so secretly been in love with each other forever but Ed has a longtime girlfriend/fiancé, Hester. Tragedy strikes the group, which leads Eve + the group to question all they thought they knew. Eve finds an unlikely alley in her journey, could a love story start in a single moment?

Things I loved: The dialogue is so wonderful, some amazing witty moments and the ability to be ironic in times of sadness (aka relatable to how we are in real life) is just what I needed.

Things I didn’t care for: Eve’s attempted one-night stand and why it went wrong…could have done without that scene.

I can’t wait for people to read this book when it comes out on May 4th…so, go pre-order now!

Thank you NetGalley for providing this ARC for my honest opinion.

Love,

A

Week in Review: 3.16-3.22

My week, in review. This is a short and sweet weekly update with ratings and blurb. If they are getting their own review, I’ll share it there!

Happy Tuesday! This past week has been spent working on the website (still am, it’s a work in progress), brainstorming ideas and starting to redecorate my house for spring aka I have been working from home for a year and I need a change. Raise your hand if this is you (*raises arm really high).

On a high note, I was able to read and review my first ARC and I was pumped! I have another I am reading this week. It’s truly the little things in life to bring you joy.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2) – 3.5/5 Meet the 2nd Brown sister, PhD student and resident feminist Dani Brown. We have hot former pro-athlete, fake-dating trope + a unique and diverse heroine.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters #3) – 3.5/5 Because if you read one, you have to read the other! Meet Eve, she can’t decide what she wants to do with her life and she may be a little spoiled. Hint: If you hit someone with your car by accident, you might get a job while they recover.

How To Be An Antiracist – 4/5 My most recent anti-racism reading list book, and see my full review here.

All Adults Here – 3/5 We had a lot going on at once in this one; social, political, sexual and emotional issues. There was so much going on, I had a hard time enjoying a good family drama filled with revealing long held secrets but it did have some good nuggets of wisdom.

Just Last Night (not pictured) – 5/5 ARC from NetGalley (Thank you!), full review coming soon (aka tomorrow) but you are going to want to pre-order it ASAP! I was all in my feels after I finished it, it was so good and I can’t wait for everyone to read.

What should I read next? My TBR list just keeps getting larger.

See you next week!

Love,

A

Welcome + 10 Bookish Facts About Me

Hi Friends,

If you are here today, it might be because I told my favorite corner of the internet that I launched my blog. Reading books + sharing them brings me so much joy. If you love reading (especially RomComs), this is a great space for you!

I thought I would share 10 bookish facts about me, so we can get to know each other a little bit more!

  1. My favorite genre: Contemporary romance with a close second to memoirs.
  2. My “best book” of 2019/2020/2021 (so far) are the following (in order): the Dinner List, the Boys Club and the Midnight Library.
  3. A character I aspire to be like: Dannie from In Five Years, the power of loyalty and friendship during unexpected times is who I strive to be in friendships.
  4. My favorite authors: Rebecca Serle (no surprise), Abby Jimenez and the dynamic duo, Christina Lauren.
  5. My favorite memoir: Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden or No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny (or anything Nora writes).
  6. My favorite children’s book was: If You Give a Pig a Pancake. Which, if you invite me to a baby shower, you will get this book.
  7. Books that changed me: See all my books from line two!
  8. Books that make me laugh: Red, White and Royal Blue + the Bromance Book Club series…the banter y’all, we need this!
  9. Books that remind me of home: The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany
  10. The book I’m most looking forward to this year: This is simple, what did I pre-order?…The Soulmate Equation, Life’s Too Short, People We Meet On Vacation, The Heart Principle and The Fastest Way To Fall. It’s a full out RomCom year for me!

What are some “bookish” facts about you?

Love,

A

You can learn more about me + why I’m here in the About Me page.

Review Policy + Rating System

Want me to read a book?

I love new books! If you are a publisher or author and would like me to review a book, I will provide my honest opinion. Please email me with the information in the contact section. Timeline is dependent on current “to be read” pile, but I should be able to give feedback within 1-2 weeks unless requested otherwise.

Where do I review books?

My blog (right here!)

Instagram (@allinwitha)

NetGalley (if applicable)

Goodreads (@allinwitha)

Genres I love and will review:

Romance

Adult Fiction + Women’s Fiction

Non-Fiction + Memoirs

What formats should they be?

Physical copy (preferred)

Ebook + PDF

Ratings:

Everyone has their own rating system. If you are going to follow this blog, I think I should probably tell you what my rating system is and if/when I DNF (do not finish) a book.

DNF: This is a totally personally and sometimes mood based decision. I try to give a book until page 50, by then I feel I have a good grasp on things. If I am teetering, this is when I would go and look at reviews to see if other people feel the same way. Sometimes, it gets better and other times it does not! I will not rate a book I DNF.

You do you, books should bring you joy, if it isn’t bringing you joy…it can go.

Two Star: This book is not for me. Most likely there were problems with character development, content or writing style. It’s rare that I truly give this rating because normally I DNF books before I get to that point. I would also give this rating if I’m disappointed by the characters life choices/their internal monologue is frustrating (just being honest). This is not a book I’d generally recommend.

Three Star: This is a solid middle ground, the book wasn’t amazing but it also wasn’t bad. These books tend to keep my attention, like decent tv but it’s not winning any awards. These books are ones where maybe the characters could have been more developed, there were some minor problems with content or it was just “okay” to me. I would recommend these with comments.

Four Star: This is a normal rating for me for a good book that I enjoyed. It kept my attention, I liked the ending, it had good character development and overall was well written. I would recommend to people and will do a full review. Depending on the book, I will buy it and add to my shelves.

Five Star: This is my gold, the book really left me thinking or it was perfectly wrapped up. I leave these books really satisfied or with a book-hangover (it’s a thing). This isn’t a rating I give out often but if I do I’m going to keep telling you to read it. If we know each other in real life, this book will show up at your doorstep.

*Please note that all of these are my own personal opinions and they may not match your own.

Professional Reader

Book Review: How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

“The opposite of racist isn’t “not racist”. It is “anti-racist”.

Rating: 4/5

Genres: Non-Fiction, Anti-Racist, Social Justice, Memoir, History

Warnings: Racism

Book Description (from Goodreads): Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. In How to be an Antiracist, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.

In this book, Kendi weaves together an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science, bringing it all together with an engaging personal narrative of his own awakening to antiracism. How to Be an Antiracist is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society. 

Review: I really struggled to write this review because I had mixed feelings about the book. I did appreciate this book talking about the concept of being antiracist or racist, there is no non-racist. This book tried to do a lot at once; a history of racism, race and gender, law, how-to-guide and the authors of own mindful journey of learning about racism as a black man in America. If you are looking for more of a memoir/history in your antiracism journey, this may be your book! 


If you are looking for more practical, application based books I would suggest; So You Want to Talk About Race? by Ijeoma Oluo or Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho. I also loved, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, a memoir by Austin Channing Brown.

I do still think this is an important book to read, Kendi shares important information and I look forward to reading his other book.

Love,

A

Week in Review: 3.8-3.15

My week, in review. This is a short and sweet weekly update with ratings and blurb. If they are getting their own review, I’ll share it there!

This past week was a bit of a slow one and the TBR before library due dates is only getting larger!

The Kindest Lie – 3.5/5 I really wanted to love this one, I kept going back and forth but overall they tried to put too many big topic issues in a small space.

Much Ado About You – 4/5 This one was super cute and I reviewed the whole book here.

It’s Been a Pleasure Noni Blake – 4/5 I have talked to so many people who DNF’d this one and I nearly did as well. It took a bit to get into but I really ended up liking the ending.

Float Plan – 5/5 Can’t say enough good things about this one and it will probably we in my Top 20! Read my full review here!

See you next week!

Love,

A

Book Review: Float Plan by Trish Doller

Sometimes you have to lose your way to find what you’re looking for.

Rating: 5/5

Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, and Mental Health

Warnings: Suicide

Review: I first want to start off by saying that I purchased this book, in the middle of reading it…this may not sound like a big deal but as an avid library reader, I don’t buy books unless I LOVE them. I loved this book and it was exactly what I needed.

Highlights for me:

It started in Fort Lauderdale (where I grew up)

sailing around the Caribbean (all the sailing memories)

and

a cute Irish guy…what’s not to to love?

This book captured my heart, Anna is mourning the loss of her fiancé Ben who committed suicide and decides (rather abruptly) to pick up an leave to go on a solo sailing trip they where supposed to take together. After the first leg of the trip, she realizes she is in no way prepared to make a solo trip with her skill set then enters Keane (in a really funny meet-cute). Keane, an Irishman and former professional sailor, lost one of his legs in a tragic accident who’s trying to find his way.

Both Keane and Anna are grieving in very different ways (the loss of her love and the loss of his dreams) and together they help each other find the joy of life, eventually falling in love. We are here for the love part!

This book felt really personal to me, the writing was genuine and heartfelt. As someone who’s lost a few people close to them by suicide…It was nice to see representation of life after that death. Grief comes in many different forms, it’s a process that leads to healing and a special type of empathy.

Things I loved: The adventures of island hopping, connecting with other humans + strangers, and people healing & showing it’s an imperfect process.

Things I didn’t care for: The brief negative interactions between Anna and her former (almost) mother-in-law…It really wasn’t needed and didn’t add any value to the story.

Enjoy this gem of a book, available now!

Love,

A

Book Review: Much Ado About You by Samantha Young

The Holiday meets Gilmore Girls

Rating: 4/5

Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, and British Literature

Warnings: Mentions verbal/psychological abuse and alcoholism

Review: This book was so sweet! Small seaside town in England, a bookstore, small town life (all the busybodies) + sexy farmer…this gave me all the feels.

Thirty-something Evie is done with her life, the only thing holding her in Chicago is her best friend….therefore the obvious answer is to move to England, swear off men and to rent an apartment above a bookstore. If the Holiday + Gilmore Girls had a baby, it would be this town!

Evie is quickly welcomed by the town especially by Roane, a very attractive local farmer who is enchanted by the beautiful American who saves his dog…only thing is Evie is determined to just stay friends, yeah that’s not likely. Can a holiday romance turn into forever?

Things I loved: The sweet relationship Evie devolved with Roane’s cousin, the banter, bookstore/baking talk and the small town relationship vibes with the locals.

Things I didn’t care for: They totally not needed scene where some random girl inappropriately touched Roane in a bar. My brain screamed, just why?This added no value to our story overall for me.

There was also some sort of long term feud between two former high school sweethearts that translated to their children’s generation + issues regarding an interracial relationship and racism in the community…while I did like these characters, this didn’t really add to our protagonists and in turn, didn’t give proper weight to those important issues and those characters representing those issues.

Overall, it was an easy + delightful read that kept my attention. What did you think? I’ve heard a mix of things!

Love,

A