Saturday, April 29, 2023


The Backup Plan
 by Jill Shalvis (Sunrise Cove #3)
Published by Avon on January 17, 2023
Age/Genres: Contemporary, Fiction

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis returns to Sunrise Cove with a heartwarming tale of three people who are bought together when they're bequeathed an old Wild West inn that has the potential to pull their lives apart, but instead turns into the gift of a lifetime.

When Alice receives a call about an unexpected windfall, she's stunned to learn the gift is a falling-apart-at-the-seams old Wild West B&B she once considered home--and she's inherited it along with two strangers. Except they weren't always strangers. Once upon a time, they were friends. One is her ex-BFF Lauren. The other is Knox, the only guy to ever break her heart, all while never even knowing she existed.

It turns out their lives are unknowingly entangled because they once separately helped the same woman without expecting anything in return. Years later, Alice, Lauren, and Knox are broken in their own way, with their own history--and secrets-- causing them to start out on the wrong foot with each other. But according to the will, they must renovate and be partners in the inn for one year or else lose their inheritance.

Stuck together, they make a list of rules to keep the peace--rules that end up doing the opposite, but by some miracle they find what they didn't even know they were looking for--acceptance, true friendship, and in a case (or two!), true love.

I have read thirty-nine Jill Shalvis books, and The Backup Plan is a great example of why.

Following Eleanor’s death, Knox, Alice, and Lauren are summoned back to the inn to claim their inheritance. Though Eleanor was not there in person, she was there in spirit, meddling. I really enjoyed how Eleanor orchestrated their reunion, and it was a joy to learn about her. This woman who meant so much to them had secrets, many of which were related to all the uncredited kindnesses she doled out, but more importantly, she had a plan for those she held dear.

Lauren, Knox, and Alice all had baggage. They were weighed down with guilt and the pain of loss. Being back in Sunrise Cove allowed them work through their past and begin to heal. Each step they took toward healing was one closer to each other as well. I adored this trio from page one, and it was beautiful seeing their hearts and relationships mend as they mended the inn.

Shalvis always includes some romance in her books, and this one was fantastic. It was adorable the way Knox and Alice danced around each other. Great banter and undeniable chemistry made it easy to want this union to happen, but I think it was their past connection that solidified it for me. I will never tire of seeing past crushes turn into something real, and these two were just so right together.

This story was packed with humor, lots of friendship/found family, storylines of healing, and a side of romance. And as expected, it hit my trifecta of laugh, smile, and swoon, but also left my heart brimming with happiness.

The Reunion
 by Kayla Olson
Published by Atria on January 17, 2023
Age/Genres: Contemporary, Romance

When two former teen stars reconnect at the reunion for their hit TV show, they discover their feelings for one another were not merely scripted in this charming and heartwarming novel perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne.

Liv Latimer grew up on TV.

As the star of the popular teen drama Girl on the Verge, Liv spent her adolescence on the screen trying to be as picture perfect as her character in real life. But after the death of her father and the betrayal of her on-screen love interest and off-screen best friend Ransom Joel, Liv wanted nothing more than to retreat, living a mostly normal life aside from a few indie film roles. But now, twenty years after the show’s premiere, the cast is invited back for a reunion special, financed by a major streaming service.

Liv is happy to be back on set, especially once she discovers Ransom has only improved with age. And their chemistry is certainly still intact. They quickly fall into their old rhythms, rediscovering what had drawn them together decades before. But with new rivalries among the cast emerging and the specter of a reboot shadowing their shoot, Liv questions whether returning to the past is what she needs to finally get her own happy ending.

She was a girl on the verge of everything, but when her breakthrough show ended, Liv chose a quieter life. Now, she’s back where it all began, and not only must she make a major decision about her career, she must also decide if she is willing to open her heart to love again.

This was my first experience with Olson’s work, and I really enjoyed it. For starters, this book featured my favorite trope, second chance romance. I am trash for past loves reigniting their flame. I especially adore when childhood sweethearts return, older and wiser, to renew their bond. As far as the romance between Liv and Ransom, I was wholly on board. There were definite sparks at their reunion, but my desire to see them together grew as bits of their past were revealed to me. There is a light that never goes out, and it was the love between these two which resulted in some swooning for me.

As with most Hollywood romances, there was a lot of drama that came from external sources. It was expected, and I enjoyed the bursts of this via social media and blog posts which were often very amusing. The behind the scenes stuff was interesting, and I enjoyed the friendships that were highlighted as well.

But like I said, it was all about Ransom and Liv for me. Every smile, every glance got me more and more excited for these two to finally act on their feelings after such a long time. I would have loved to have had more time with Liv and Ransom as a couple, but I can say that the time I did get was wonderful. A strong ending featuring a super sweet grand gesture made a big impression on me. It had me feeling that bliss I chase with every romance I read and left me with a happy heart.


Which show do you wish had a reunion special?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. It's not the first time that I am saying it but I must read one of Jill Shalvis's books!

    1. I always enjoyed her books, but these later books have been the best for me. Maybe me and Jill Shalvis are growing old together with our changing tastes.

  2. I am surprised that I have not read a Jill Shalvis book yet. I think I may even own a few! This one sounds like a perfect escape read. I am glad that both of these were such winners for you!

    1. It's interesting to see how her stories have evolved. Earlier books are romantic suspense, and there are also a lot of contemporary romances. Her recent series have all leaned women's fiction with strong romances, and I love them. Hope you get a chance to check out some of her work.

  3. Oh I wish Quantum Leap had a reunion special or Buffy and Angel -- so the ending of Angel could be redone lol! Ransom and Liv's read sounds wonderful and heartfelt <3

    1. All good choices (I loved Buffy and Angel!) It was heartfelt, and I was so happy they got their second chance to act on those feelings from their complicated youth.

  4. I struggled with Alice in The Backup Plan, but I always struggle with prickly characters. I started The Sweetheart List yesterday and am really enjoying it.

    1. I struggle if I don't understand why. Shalvis was able to make me understand her, and I appreciated her growth. YEAH! I am glad to hear you are enjoying Sweetheart List. I did love it. I was a bit surprised by one storyline, but I thought Shalvis did a good job with it. The brothers crack me up, and I simply adore that family

  5. The Reunion sounds super cute, but the cover of The Backup Plan is really calling to me. Glad you enjoyed both of these!

    1. That cover actually captures Alice who is very mechanically inclined