I am really excited to bring you these three reviews and while I’m sorry they’re late, I’m also really delighted to tell you that if you’re interested in any of these books, you can already pick them up! First up, we have Off the Map by Trish Doller, which was so emotional, but I really enjoyed it! Then we have Just My Type by Fallon Ballard, which I also enjoyed. Do I need another word? And then finally, The House on Mulberry Street by Jeannie Chin, which was perfection and I adored it. So let us dive into the actual reviews, shall we?
Off the Map by Trish Doller
Do you ever just want a really emotionally romance read? Because sometimes I get in this mind space where I desperately want to read a book where someone is going through something hard, but I know that at the end, they’re going to have love and are going to be okay. And that is precisely the mood I would recommend picking up Off the Map in.
Carla is Anna’s best friend and she flies to Ireland to be there for Anna’s wedding. Eamon picks her up at a local pub and the two have this pretty immediate spark of connection, but Carla is incredibly opposed to getting into a relationship and Eamon is definitely still getting over his ex. But like, in a weird way. (His continual bringing up of his ex is the only reason this book is a 4 star and not a 5 star.) Anyway, Carla and Eamon turn out to have quite a lot in common. But Carla’s also dealing with the fact that her dad, Biggie, is suffering from dementia and he’s told her that she’s not to come home because he doesn’t want her to deal with him at the end of his life. Carla and Eamon wind up talking about so much while taking the very long way to Anna and Keenan’s wedding and they have all of these incredible adventures and just get to know one another so well.
I really love Doller’s writing. I love the way this book handles grief and longing and just… having people come into your life at both the exact perfect moment and at what also feels like not quite the right time. I love the way it considers people pleasing and so close to everything about it. I need to read book two in this series, but I’m already anxious to see what Doller writes next.
Just My Type by Fallon Ballard
Just My Type is a contemporary fiction/romance blend that has a woman finding herself plot with the very present backdrop of her first love is back in town and now they’re competing for the same job AND they have to do a lot of activities together because their boss is a manipulative and meddling human. I love Ballard’s writing so much, I fell into this book so easily and so quickly and just devoured it. I really appreciated the therapy in this book, I loved the way Lana really does come into her own, while having the realization that actually, she’s always been capable of standing on her own two feet. In general, everything about this is both fun and emotional in a way that I really loved.
I do feel like there were just a couple of characterization pieces that needed to be smoothed out a little and to some degree, I would have appreciated having Seth’s point of view. I also wanted there to be more at the end because things went from being really hard and really stressful to just sort of falling into place in a way that felt really abrupt in some ways. I just wanted a little more from the ending. Overall though, if you love a list of activities and second chance romance is your vibe, I would recommend this one so highly!
The House on Mulberry Lane
by Jeannie Chin
I am really struggling to put into words my feelings about this book, so I’ve decided to default to a quick plot synopsis and bullet points because sometimes that’s just the best way to make things work. Or something.
Long story short, Elizabeth and Graham are best friends for a really long time and also roommates. Graham is in love with Elizabeth, but he’s bought a house because he “knows” that there will never be anything between them romantically and he needs to move on. Elizabeth is hurt by this whole Graham moving out thing. Also, Elizabeth has decided to put on an arts festival and there are a lot of side characters who are necessarily involved. The family dynamics in this book are excellent on both sides, also I loved the side characters a lot.
Why I Loved This Book:
– The characters feel real. All of them, honestly. Even the “villain” felt like a real person in a small town.
– The small town vibes.
– The dysfunctional family aspect on both sides
– The found family in the form of the friendships
– The siblings
– The way Elizabeth feels so messy and like everything about her is both somehow too much and not enough.
– The romance: specifically, I really love the way Graham and Elizabeth love one another.
I mentioned this in my short place-holder review, but genuinely, if your favorite of Kate Canterbary’s Walshsiblings are Erin or Shannon, you should definitely read this book. Like… truly. So good. Amazing. I loved this so much.
All in all, an extremely successful set of book that I was lucky enough to read and get a chance to tell you about! If you’ve read any of these books, what did you think? If you haven’t, are you planning on it? Let me know!