Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Title: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating
Author: Christina Lauren
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Audience: Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Todd Haberkorn & Jayme Mattler
Length: ~7 hours (309 pages)
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Source: Library (Libby app)

SYNOPSIS

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

MY THOUGHTS

This was a super fun and adorable rom com. I found Hazel to be instantly hilarious and relatable. She is quirky, weird, wild, and a bit of hot mess, but she is 100% unapologetic about who she is and does not tolerate anyone who tries to dull her shine.

Josh and Hazel had a near perfect friends to lovers arc (refreshing after reading so many enemies to lovers). They cared so deeply about each other and had such great chemistry! The disastrous series of blind dates they set each other up on had me literally laughing out loud, and they made it so obvious that they only belonged with each other.

I totally thought this would be a five star book for me; however, I did not love the ending. I think the big twist felt inappropriate and took away from the story overall. It didn’t seem like the right way for the characters to get together, and it also felt very rushed. I did think that the epilogue was perfect, but I wanted more time to savor Josh and Hazel finally getting together without unnecessary complications.

Teacher Thoughts: The Book Whisperer

Welcome to a new series on my blog! If you did not know, I am a middle school English teacher. Of course, my job influences some of my reading, whether it is something I’m reading for professional development or a text I’m using in my classroom. My Teacher Thoughts might not appeal to the audience of my regular book reviews, and that’s okay! But I thought it was important to make a space for the teacher side of me on my book blog.


Title: The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child
Author: Donalyn Miller
Genre: Nonfiction – Education
Audience: Teachers
Format: Paperback
Length: 227 pages
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Release Date: March 16, 2009
Source: School District
Recommended for: Reading/English teachers, education professionals

SYNOPSIS

Known for her popular blog, “The Book Whisperer,” Donalyn Miller is a dedicated teacher who says she has yet to meet a child she couldn’t turn into a reader. Her approach, however, is not conventional. Miller dispenses with the more traditional reading instruction of book reports and comprehension worksheets in favor of embracing students’ choices in books and independent reading. Her zeal for reading is infections and inspiring –and the results are remarkable. No matter how far behind Miller’s students may be when they enter her 6th grade classroom, her students read an average of 40 books a year, achieve high scores on standardized tests, and internalize a love for books and reading that lasts long after they’ve left her class. Travel alongside the author as she leads her students to discover the ample rewards of reading and literature.

Her secrets include:
Affirming the reader in every student
Supporting students’ reading choices
Carving out extra reading time
Modeling authentic reading behaviors
Discarding time-worn reading assignments
Developing a classroom library with high-interest books

Rich with classroom examples and practical advice and stitched together with the thread of Miller’s passionate voice, this book will help teachers support students of all levels on their path to reading success and points a way out of the nation’s literacy crisis. The book also includes an invaluable list of books that students most enjoy reading.

MY THOUGHTS

I read this in December for a book study at my school district where I co-led the discussion group for The Book Whisperer. Not only did I read the book for my own professional development, I created a list of discussion questions for each chapter (shared below). My discussion group was small but diverse: it included a few ELAR teachers, elementary and alternative school administrators, a reading specialist, a life skills teacher, and even a coach who wanted to encourage his players to read.

Donalyn Miller promotes a reading classroom with choice, independent reading at its core rather than as an add-on. Several obstacles prevent teachers from implementing an independent reading program that meets the needs of all readers: time, testing, money, and teacher turnover, to name a few. Even though choice IR has been shown to have the greatest impact on reading ability and attitudes toward reading, teachers and districts are reluctant to shift the instructional focus from generating high test scores to creating empowered readers. However, if students are reading a lot of what they want on an appropriate level for them, they will become better readers, and the test scores will follow.

Donalyn Miller is an avid reader herself, and she clearly understands who her students are as readers. She works hard to match each student with the right reading material, and she never gives up even on her most reluctant reader. The core of her IR program is a 40 Book Challenge, and while not every students meets the goal to read 40 books in the school year, most do, and every student reads more in her class than they did in previous years.

Reading about how readers develop in her classroom is truly inspiring. She shares several activities she does in her classroom to promote reading, and even outlines several alternatives to traditional reading assignments. I do wish we got a better sense of what a typical day in her classroom looks like. I would have loved to see a lesson plan that shows how she teaches reading skills and what her daily instruction looks like, not just a description of what independent reading time looks like.

I really liked the Self-Reflection Activity included on pg. 111 (linked below). To be an effective mentor of students’ reading, you must understand who you are as a reader and be willing to model best reading practices, and those questions help make sense of that. Teachers make lots of excuses for why they don’t have time to read, but reading teachers have to be readers themselves. Practice what you preach!

Most of the educators in my discussion found some ideas to immediately implement in their classrooms, but there was still pushback against adopting her entire philosophy and devoting so much instructional time to just reading, which can be difficult to monitor. We had some great conversations, but I don’t think one 2-hour meeting with 12 people is enough to transform the reading culture in our district without any kind of follow-up. I myself am a writing teacher, so I am not able to implement her strategies in my classroom like I want to.

I do recommend this book to reading and English teachers, and I would recommend reading this as a department so can get on the same page with your colleagues. Ultimately you can only control what goes on in your classroom, but I think you need to get more teachers on board if you truly want to have a lasting impact on student reading.

Discussion Questions

Ch 1: There and Back Again 

How did you approach teaching reading/English as a first-year teacher? How has your approach changed since? Reflect on your successes or failures.

Ch 2: Everybody Is a Reader 

What are you currently doing to meet the needs of your developing readers? Your dormant readers? Your underground readers?

What obstacles prevent you from implementing a reading program that engages and meets the needs of all readers?

Ch 3: There’s a Time and a Place

How do you set high expectations for students? How do you model positive reading for students? Do you make time for reading in your own life? How do you create an environment that promotes reading? How can we make library time more purposeful? What are some struggles with library time? What are some possible solutions?

Ch 4: Reading Freedom

How do you facilitate honest discussions about reading? How do you help students find the right book? Challenging books? Harness peer pressure to reading? How do you teach genre?

Ch 5: Walking the Walk

What does reading mean to you? How many books did you read this year? How do your attitudes toward reading influence your teaching? What is your reading improvement plan?

Ch 6: Cutting the Teacher Strings

Where do you stand on the whole class novel debate?

How do you assess reading? Is it the best method for students? 

What activities from the chapter would you like to implement in your classroom? Make a plan.

Ch 7: Letting Go

What are your primary goals for teaching reading? Why is it important to instill a lifelong reading habit?

Appendix A: The Care and Feeding of a Classroom Library

 How do you stock/organize/manage it? When do students have time to explore it? Is it necessary?

Discussion Questions & Self-Reflection Activity (pg. 111)

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆1/2
Title: The Hating Game
Author: Sally Thorne
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Audience: Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Katie Schorr
Length: ~11 hours (365 pages)
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: August 9, 2016
Source: Library (Libby app)

SYNOPSIS

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

MY THOUGHTS

This book just wasn’t for me, and it’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly why. This book was so hyped and recommended, but it just didn’t do it for me.

It started off strong. I instantly loved the banter and animosity between Lucy and Josh and I couldn’t wait to see how it developed into a romantic relationship…which is where my problems began.

I was very confused by the dynamic between Lucy and Josh as the story progressed. I almost DNF this book because I just couldn’t get into their weird vibe. I like a clear hate to love story, but this was very ambiguous. Lucy had such a strong understanding of her goals and desires, so I couldn’t buy that she was so frustratingly oblivious to her true feelings for Josh. Their interactions as the story progressed just didn’t seem natural or believable to me.

There were some really great moments toward the end at Josh’s brother’s wedding, and I was rooting for them as a couple by the end, but it didn’t make up for how long it took me to come around to support the story and the relationship. We can’t love every popular book, and this one was not for me.

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Title: It Ends With Us
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Audience: Adult
Format: Paperback
Length: 376 pages
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Source: book swap
Triggers: domestic abuse

SYNOPSIS

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up
— she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

MY THOUGHTS

This book was heartbreaking and beautiful. I knew it was about an abusive relationship, but I was not prepared to feel such a connection to Lily! She was so hopeful and optimistic. I loved the way she went for her dreams and managed to stay strong no matter what life threw at her.

This book is so powerful and personal, and it raises awareness for the realities of domestic abuse, showing how women find themselves in abusive relationships and why so many women stay, even if they previously thought they would never put up with that. It’s hard to view forgiveness as a weakness. As a society, we need to stop blaming women for staying in abusive relationships and start holding abusers accountable. We need empathy.

This book had several scenes that were hard to read, but it was so important. The story was so well-written and compelling, I couldn’t put this book down. I was constantly drawn back into the story to see how Lily would navigate her future while dealing with her past and her present.

February 2020 Wrap Up

We made it through another month! Here’s all the books I read in February.

PHYSICAL BOOKS

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover ☆☆☆☆☆
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas ☆☆☆☆☆
The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup ☆☆☆☆
Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples ☆☆☆☆

EBOOKS

The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg ☆☆☆

AUDIOBOOKS

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams ☆☆☆☆
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing ☆☆☆☆
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne ☆☆1/2
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord ☆☆☆☆☆
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren ☆☆☆☆
The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski ☆☆☆☆


2020 READING GOAL PROGRESS

At the beginning of the year, I shared my 2020 reading goals. When I post my wrap up at the end of each month, I also want to reflect on the progress I’m making toward reaching my goals.

Read 75 books: 22/75 (10 books ahead of schedule!)

Explore more genres: I read my first physical contemporary romance book, first Nordic noir, first ebook in awhile, lots of new authors

Buy fewer books: I broke my book buying ban this month. I got my first BOTM add-on since October, bought two books for myself, and bought one Kindle book. But I avoided the Book Outlet sale!

Finish more series: I finished The Winner’s Trilogy!

Reread more: I reread ACOMAF

Read at least two classics: Not yet

Read one graphic novel each month: Saga


I read more than I realized this month because I got through so many audiobooks. I didn’t read as many physical books as I usually do, but two of them were 500+ pages. I actually read the same number of books in February as I did in January, so I am on track to exceed my reading goal for 2020!

How did your month go? What was the best book you read in February?

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Title: My Lovely Wife
Author: Samantha Downing
Genre: Thriller
Audience: Adult
Format: Audiobook
Length: ~10 hours (374 pages)
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 26, 2019
Source: Library (Libby app)
Recommended for Fans of: Gone Girl, domestic thrillers

SYNOPSIS

A couple’s fifteen-year marriage has finally gotten too interesting…

Our love story is simple. I met a gorgeous woman. We fell in love. We had kids. We moved to the suburbs. We told each other our biggest dreams, and our darkest secrets. And then we got bored.

We look like a normal couple. We’re your neighbors, the parents of your kid’s friend, the acquaintances you keep meaning to get dinner with.

We all have secrets to keeping a marriage alive.

Ours just happens to be getting away with murder.

MY THOUGHTS

This was so good and twisted. Looking for a dysfunctional anti-romance story? Look no further than this married couple who spend “date night” plotting and committing murder.

Were most of the major twists difficult to predict? No, but I really enjoyed seeing how all my predictions played out, and there were a few shocking surprises at the end I did not see coming.

Despite the slight predictability of this thriller, Samantha Downing is a talented storyteller. I appreciate how she makes the reader feel sympathetic for the husband, even though he is nowhere close to innocent! I also feel so bad for the kids. They really got messed up for life, and they have no idea the full extent of what both their parents are capable of.

It did take a few chapters to get into the story and the pacing. There were a few flashbacks that I found confusing to follow, but that have been because I listened to the audiobook.

I also wanted to know more about Millicent, her background, and her motivations. I would’ve liked a better look inside her head to understand how she thinks and what she wants.

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Title: The Bromance Book Club
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Series: Bromance Book Club #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Audience: Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Andrew Eiden & Maxwell Caulfield
Length: ~9 hours (352 pages)
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Source: Library (Libby app)

SYNOPSIS

The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

MY THOUGHTS

This was SO CUTE! As much as I love romance books about new relationships, my favorite thing about this book was that it shows what comes next. Relationships are hard work. This book is about a married couple in a relationship at its breaking point, where both parties have to decide if it’s still worth the effort.

I like that Gavin is a successful, professional athlete, but he feels so grounded and real. He has fears and insecurities. He isn’t the stereotypical confident jock.

Thea lost herself in her marriage and her children. She wants to recover the spontaneous, passionate artist she used to be, but she’s not sure there’s room in her marriage for her to be who she wants to be.

The book club was HILARIOUS. The premise was absurd, but I appreciated the effort all these “alpha males” put into understanding women and improving their relationships, and their antics had me laughing out loud.

This was a sweet and realistic second-chance romance. It showed how people change and fake it in relationships, but that creates an opportunity to either call it quits or try to fall in love again.

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Title: Aurora Rising
Authors: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Aurora Cycle #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrators: Kim Mai Guest, Johnathan McClain, Candace Moll, Lincoln Hoppe, Donnabella Mortel, Jonathan Todd Ross
Length: ~14 hours (473 pages)
Publisher: Listening Library
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Source: Library (Libby app)
Recommended for Fans of: The Illuminae Files, Stargate, Six of Crows

SYNOPSIS

It’s 2380 and the graduating students of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Tyler Jones has been a star pupil who hopes to recruit the squad of his dreams but ends up with a mixed and volatile crew.

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem – that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

Vividly told in the seven voices of the team members, this is fast-paced, action-packed, wickedly humorous and fabulously entertaining. Described by one online fan as ‘a mystery with tons of action. A kind of thriller on steroids with a fantasy feel.’

MY THOUGHTS

I LOVED THIS CREW SO MUCH! Squad 312 is my favorite troupe of misfits and outcasts since Six of Crows. Each character felt like a real, rounded, complicated, unique person, and I loved how the alternating POVs in this book gave each character a clear, strong voice.

The storyline was so rich and mysterious. I loved the subtle, futuristic sci-fi take on Sleeping Beauty, and it reminded me of a YA version of Stargate. The conflict is so complex; this book only scratches the surface of the truth about Auri, her abilities, and her connection to the force that threatens the entire galaxy. This story was a roller coaster adventure with a shocking and heartbreaking ending that left me begging for book 2!

I also need to point out that the audiobook production was absolutely incredible with a full cast and sound effects that brought the story to life. Each narrator was perfect for the character he or she portrayed. I loved this book so much that I want to get the physical books, but I also plan to experience book 2 on audio when it comes out because it was that amazing.

Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Title: Red, White, & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
Genre: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ
Audience: Adult
Format: Audiobook
Length: ~12 hours (421 pages)
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Source: Library (Libby app)
Recommended for Fans of: rom-coms, enemies to lovers

SYNOPSIS

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

MY THOUGHTS

SO MANY HAPPY TEARS! This story is charming. The characters are so strong and well-written. Alex is an extremely relatable narrator as he struggles to figure out who he is and what he wants, even if we can’t relate to his particular circumstances.

Alex and Henry’s romance was so darn cute! Their enemies to lovers arc was so well done. Their shared love of Star Wars! The way they ended their love letters to each other with quotes from famous letters! They are so perfect for each other.

My only complaint is I thought it took a smidge too long before they got caught. Things went too well for them for too long, and I could’ve used a little more suspense surrounding their secret relationship. But the rest of the book more than made up for this.

I’ve seen some reviewers call this story unrealistic. I prefer to call it idealistic, depicting the bester version of what our country and and our society could be. I can’t believe this book got me so invested in imaginary politics! As a Texan, that part of the story struck really close to home, and the ending left me bawling. This book made me so happy and it left me with so much hope for what the future can look like.

Valentine’s Day Book Recommendations

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! If you’re looking for some reading to get you into the mood, I’ve got you covered. Below are my top 5 Valentine’s recommendations from each of the following genres: romance, sci-fi/fantasy, and thrillers!

Top 5 Contemporary Romance

These are some of my favorite adorable rom-coms that make me feel all the feels!

1. Well Met by Jen de Luca

Enemies to lovers at a Renaissance Faire? Yes, please! This book kept me smiling, laughing, and crying the whole time.

2. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Another enemies to lovers! This time about sworn enemies who end up on an all-expenses-paid honeymoon trip to Hawaii after the bride & groom get food poisoning. Plenty of hilarious and heartbreaking moments in store.

3. Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

One more enemies to lovers for you, this time between the First Son of the United States and the Prince of England! Their relationship was sooooo cute, and the story had me ridiculously invested in imaginary politics!

4. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

After Lina’s mother dies, she travels to Tuscany with her mother’s old journal to meet her father and learn about her past. There she finds love, gelato, and so much more. This book will have you laughing through your tears.

5. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

After Lara Jean’s old love letter to Peter Kavinsky accidentally gets mailed (as well as letters to all her former crushes), they start fake dating to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. You will fall in love with Lara Jean as he juggles her family, friends, baking, crafting, fake relationship, and very real feelings.

Top 5 Science Fiction & Fantasy

If you prefer the romance to play out in the background to an epic adventure, these are the perfect Valentine’s Day books for you!

1. A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR #2) by Sarah J. Maas

RHYSAND. Need I say more? A Court of Thorns and Roses is good, but A Court of Mist and Fury is WHERE. IT’S. AT.

2. Defy the Stars (Constellation #1) by Claudia Gray

Abel is Earth’s most advanced mech. Noemi is a soldier fighting for freedom for the planet Genesis. THIS SERIES IS EVERYTHING, Y’ALL!

3. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

A witch and a witch hunter are forced into marriage. The juxtaposition leads to some truly hilarious moments, plus this book has an interesting magic system, a great cast of supporting characters, and life-or-death stakes.

4. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Romeo & Juliet, but R is a zombie.

5. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

This series is full of relationship goals! I adore all 4 main couples in this series of sci-fi fairy tale retellings.

Top 5 Thrillers

Would you rather read about dysfunctional, messed up, twisted couples? Here are some anti-romance domestic thrillers for you!

1. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

This is one of the most out-there thrillers I’ve ever read about a woman having an affair with a man and befriending his wife, but it’s so twisted and good. The ending made my jaw drop!

2. Verity by Colleen Hoover

This book is dark, creepy, and disturbing. A writer is hired to complete the works of successful novelist Verity Crawford, who has become incapacitated. While sorting through Verity’s notes, she begins to fall for the husband and discovers some dark truths about Verity herself.

3. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Jack and Grace’s marriage is perfect from the outside, but it’s a completely different story behind closed doors. This is super dark and twisted, but it’s a favorite.

4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The model for modern domestic thrillers! When Amy goes missing, her husband Nick becomes the prime suspect in her disappearance, but there’s more to this case than meets the eye.

5. My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

If you thought Amy and Nick’s relationship in Gone Girl was messed up, wait til you see what this couple does for “date night.”


Have you read any of these? What are your recommendations for Valentine’s Day?