Monday, December 4, 2023

Isn't It Romantic - The Time Travel Edition

This Spells Love
 by Kate Robb
Published by The Dial Press on December 5, 2023
Age/Genres: Adult, Fiction, Romance

A young woman tries to heal her heartbreak by casting a spell to erase her ex from her past, but she wakes up in an alternate reality where she’s lost more than she wished for in this witty, whimsical friends-to-lovers debut.

What if one little wish changed everything?

When Gemma gets dumped by her long-term boyfriend, she reacts the way any reasonable twenty-eight-year-old would: by getting drunk with her sister, kooky aunt, and best friend, Dax. After one too many margaritas, they decide to perform a love- cleansing spell, which promises to erase Gemma’s ex from her memory. They follow all the instructions, including a platonic kiss from Dax to seal the deal.

When Gemma wakes up, she realizes that this silly spell has worked. Not only does it seem that she never dated her ex, but the rest of her life is completely unrecognizable. The worst part: Dax has no idea who she is.

To reverse the spell and get back to her old life, Gemma must convince her once-best-friend-now-near-stranger to kiss her. But as she carries out her plans, she finds herself falling for him—hard. Soon, Gemma begins to wonder whether she even wants to go back to the way things once were. What if Dax was The One all along?

Following her break up, Gemma did a "love cleanse" where she wished the relationship had never happened. The following morning, she found that her wish had propelled her to an alternate reality where her apartment was not so great, but many other parts of her life were. However, Gemma discovered that changing her own path affected other people's trajectories. Now, she must decide if she should stay or return to her original timeline.

I loved every second of this book! We have all read books like this before where a character ends up in an alternate timeline, but I have to commend Robb on how well she utilized this plot device. Seeing her alternate life had Gemma reexamining the life choices she made in the past and how she allowed her ex to have so much influence on her life. Not only did she see many of her decisions with a fresh pair of eyes, but she also reflected on her relationship with her ex, how her need for stability limited her, and her friendship with Dax.

That last one, the friendship with Dax was one of my favorite things. I loved them both so much, and I wanted Gemma to take a chance on Dax, take that friendship to the next level, and experience a rich romantic life. Friends-to-lovers is a top trope for me, and I especially adore when the two people involved have a deep friendship, amazing chemistry, and just simply belong to each other.

I had recently read another book where the main character had a similar experience and was faced with the same decision - should they stay or should they go back. The pros and cons list was a complicated one here, but I held onto hope because Gemma had learned so much from this journey. If she went back, she would carry those lessons with her, and I was confident she would be able to find her happy despite her choice.

I don't want to say too much about how it all worked out, but I was delighted with the outcome. You can't see it, but I have a big, sappy grin on my face because I was so happy for everyone involved.

Overall: This Spells Love was a wonderful and heartwarming rom-com. It was a reminder that taking chances can result in great things, and that we can learn from our mistakes. The fantastic friends-to-lovers romance was the cherry on top of a story that had me captivated from beginning to end.


The Deja Glitch
 by Holly James
Published by Dutton on August , 2023
Age/Genres: Adult, Fiction, Romance

To break out of a 24-hour time loop, all Jack needs is for Gemma to fall in love with him in a single day. All Gemma needs is to remember him first . . .

Gemma Peters is doing fine. She’s making a name for herself in the L.A. music biz as a radio producer. She’s got a ride-or-die best friend in Lila, and she gets to come home to Rex, her loving Labrador, every night. But ever since her rock star ex-boyfriend used her to get a record deal from her rock legend dad, she’s made a “no musicians” rule when it comes to dating that’s becoming more like a “no dating” rule, period.

So, when Gemma crashes (literally) into Jack one Thursday morning, at first she feels like fate might finally be doing her a favor. After all this guy is cute and, wait, is she imagining it, or is he staring a little too deeply into her eyes? And how does he know her name? Even harder to explain is the funny feeling of déjà vu she gets every time she looks at him. It’s not at all like Gemma to kiss a man and forget him completely, so then how can she explain the dreamlike memory of his lips on hers?

The truth is this is no ordinary Thursday. Not for them. In fact, they’ve lived this day over and over for months. And while Gemma has been totally oblivious to the time loop, Jack has been agonizingly aware of every single iteration. Luckily, Jack has a theory to bring his own personal Groundhog Day to an end. And it’s simple. Before the day is over, he just has to get Gemma to fall in love with him.

Jack had lived this day 147 times, but he may finally have found the key to escaping this loop.

The Deja Glitch was a lot of fun. This was an interesting use of a time loop, in that the story only really takes place in one day. It starts on day 146 with just a peek at Jack and Gemma's interaction. The bulk of the tale took place the following day when Jack thought he found the solution to breaking out of this loop, and that solution was Gemma.

This may sound a lot like a story about Jack, but Gemma was really the one who needed to get unstuck. Her career and relationships were all stunted as Gemma let her fears and pain from her past dictate too many of her life decisions. She was unhappy, even if she didn't acknowledge it, and Jack and his temporal anomaly were there to give her a shove towards the future.

I must admit, I am surprised by how many readers found this to be instalove. Jack was interacting with Gemma for 147 days - over 5 months. She may not have remembered all the time spent with him, but Jack sure did. And like with many time loop books, Gemma experienced that deja vu thing where Jack and events seemed familiar. Maybe she didn't remember all the details, but the feelings remained from those five months. I was ok with it.

Overall, I had a wonderful time with Jack and Gemma as they attempted to get the universe unstuck. I found it easy to root for them both and to root for love to help them through their personal turmoil and see them to a better tomorrow.

Would you do a love cleanse?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. I'm going to have to check these out! They sound good and I recently decided I'm a fan of time travel in romance. Never thought I would say that. Great reviews.

    1. Look at that! It's an element I have been reading more and more of, and the authors are doing such great and varied things with the plot device.

  2. Both of these are new to me but time travel/time loop romances are fast becoming favorites of mine so I'm excited to read both!

    1. Either I didn't notice them before or there just are more these days, but I love the manipulation of time plot device. I have read so many good ones this year.