Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

Before We Were StrangersBefore We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m not quite sure what to say about this book. I put off reading it for so long because I thought Renee Carlino had lost her mojo. Her last novel, After the Rain, was total garbage. TOTAL. GARBAGE. I loved Sweet Thing, but after the train wreck that was After The Rain, I was convinced that I would be wasting my time with Before We Were Strangers.

I don’t know that I can put into words how much I loved this novel. It’s so far my favorite read of 2016. It was a super gut-wrenching story of two college lovers who lose track of each other and are brought back together by a chance encounter.

The book reminded me a lot of True Love Story by Willow Aster, but almost a “light” version. It didn’t hurt my heart as much to read Before We Were Strangers. True Love Story tore up my insides and then did a shoddy job of stitching me back together. Before We Were Strangers is much more satisfying. It still touches your soul and makes you ache for its characters, but it doesn’t torture you with angst, uncertainty, and lack of resolution.

This book is magical. It felt magical while I was reading it. You should read it too.

Stroked (Stroked, #1) by Meghan Quinn

Stroked (Stroked, #1)Stroked by Meghan Quinn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

ARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this my best go, but I’m going to have to DNF at 51%. Since I made it more than halfway, I’m going to let myself rate it too.

The first couple of chapters of this from Bellini and Paisley’s POVs were super funny. Bellini is out of her mind and Paisley is super sassy. I loved them. They were very entertaining. I also enjoyed the relationship between Paisley and Jonathan. I always enjoy a good M/F platonic friendship.

This went careening downhill when Paisley and Reese met. Literally all Reese has done since he was introduced is wax poetic about how great and hot Paisley is and how he wants to stick his P in her V. It’s revolting. I can’t count how many times I’ve rolled my eyes.

This book doesn’t seem to have much of a plot, well it does, but no time is spent on its development. 87% of the book from when Paisley and Reese met is them having sappy conversations, texting each other like 7th graders in puppy love, or doing “it.” I am so bored and over them that I can’t even put it into words.

I absolutely loved The Mother Road, but I don’t think I’ll be reading another of Meghan Quinn’s novels.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Since You've Been GoneSince You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Morgan Matson’s books are a weird kind of quandary to me. I’m never particularly entertained by their plot or their romance. I’m never on the edge of my seat wanting to know what happens next. However, something pulls me forward. Something about Matson’s writing style or subject matter compels me to finish the book and feel satisfied when I do.

This book isn’t any different that the other Matson novels I’ve read. I was a little bored reading it, but now that I’m done a strange sort of satisfaction has come over me- like I’ve completed some right of passage.

I think it’s that her characters appeal to the 17 year old girl stuck inside of me. Their experiences and motives and solutions hit me somewhere deep inside and I know that if I were reading this book 12 years ago, I’d be deeply affected by it. I’d relate to it on some other level that adult Allison can’t grasp.

So that’s why this book gets 4 stars. Because something about it touched who I was as a teenager. When I was uncertain and insecure and hopeful. When my best friend was the most important person in my life, but I worried she didn’t like me as much as I liked her. When I had the biggest crush on a boy who I didn’t think could possibly like me back. Until he did!

So even though I felt like this book dragged on a little, I was rooting for Emily to be better the whole time. I was hopeful that things would work out for her. Reading this book was a little like being a teenager that way. I desperately wanted it to end, but now that it has I’m more than a little nostalgic for it.

A Brit on the Side COVER REVEAL!!!!

Hello, faithful readers!

I don’t do cover reveals or release day blitzes very often on this blog because I won’t promote anything I don’t love here. You all know that Brenda St. John Brown is one of my favorite (top 3, at least!!!) authors so I was glad to participate in her cover reveal today! Without further ado:

A Brit on the Side_final cover_AMZCover Design: Sarah Hansen/Okay Creations

Release Date: August 15, 2016



Bea’s English escape plan:
• Work in a real British castle
• Quality time with bestie
• Figure out what spotted dick really is
• Fall for bestie’s older brother. Hard.

Bea Gillespie would rather do anything than teach summer school math two classrooms down from her ex-fiancé. So when her best friend, Scarlett, invites her to England for the summer to work in her family’s castle-turned-hotel, she jumps at the chance.

Now Bea’s an ocean away from her problems at home, but she’s got a bigger one. A British one. Scarlett’s older brother, Jasper, is at Castle Calder for the summer, too. And he’s as sexy and smart as Bea remembers. Two years ago Jasper came stateside, and he and Bea shared a hot weekend. But that’s all it was — a weekend. One she purposely didn’t tell Scarlett about.

It didn’t feel like much of a secret until now. As Bea falls for Jasper, what started off as a fling begins feeling more and more like the kind of thing you’d gush about to your best friend. If you hadn’t been lying to her all along.







One of Five ARC’s for A Brit on the Side


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About the Author

I’m a displaced New Yorker living in the UK. I lived in London for nearly six years, but now I’m living in The North, in a tiny English village. There are sheep everywhere! Sheep!! (This is so strange to me I always have to say it twice. With multiple exclamation points.)

My novels are about teens and twenty-somethings kissing. I especially love writing sweet moments that end with a sizzle. For more info on all of my books (including one you can read for FREE), visit my website at

I like running and Doritos, not necessarily in that order. I also like libraries, old churches and Paris. One day I’m going to write a novel set in Paris, which will necessitate lots of trips for “research.”


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