Author: Sarah Hogle

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle | Book Review

Posted March 25, 2021 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 4 Comments

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle | Book ReviewTwice Shy by Sarah Hogle
Published by GP Putnam's Sons on April 6, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
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5 Stars

Can you find real love when you've always got your head in the clouds?

Maybell Parish has always been a dreamer and a hopeless romantic. But living in her own world has long been preferable to dealing with the disappointments of real life. So when Maybell inherits a charming house in the Smokies from her Great-Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start.

Yet when she arrives, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the house falling apart around her, but she isn't the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who's as grouchy as he is gorgeous—and it turns out he has very different vision for the property's future.

Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than the other dying wishes Great-Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley's scowls, and as the two slowly begin to let their guard down, they might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one's comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.

Ok. Everyone knows that I REALLY loved You Deserve Each Other. And everyone also knows the worry that comes with loving an author’s debut so much: will they be able to keep up that momentum? Will they end up being a one hit wonder? How can they possibly do it twice? Well. Sarah did it. Sarah wrote another hilarious, heartwarming, happy, swoony, super romantic, feel-good book that tackles deeper situations. Another amazing couple has jumped from her mind to my heart. I can’t pick which of her books I love more. I’m a fangirl. Take my money, Sarah. Just take it all. Give me all the books. I have put off writing this review as long as I possibly could because I have too many feelings! My head is in the clouds! What even is a book review? What are words? How do I do this again? As always, my main points are bolded.

1. Maybell is precious and anxious and visits a special cafe that exists only in her mind because it’s where she feels safe in stressful times. She’s so pure and sweet, and she has the biggest dreams. I loved her quirky personality so much. Her desire to take on the world made me smile so much.

2. Wesley is the grumpiest teddy bear and I want to cuddle up with him on the couch and watch a movie together. And it’s not even necessarily for romantic reasons (although. I’d love a romance with Wes, thank you), it’s because I see so much in him that reminds me of myself. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t elaborate on this but Wesley’s character will make so many people feel seen and understood in this world. Oh my goodness, he’s just. I can’t even explain him. He’s a sweet little cinnamon roll with so many layers and a story and is so sweet I can’t even handle it. He is definitely one of my favorite characters ever. 

3. I loved the setting: a charming, fixer-upper mansion that Wesley and Maybell both inherited. There’s bickering on who gets their way on what becomes of this house, which is so fun. I love bickering. But the house and the surrounding grounds are perfect and so whimsical sounding. And magical.

4. There is mental health representation in this story and it is done SO WELL. 

5. SO. Many. Feelings. I have so many and I don’t know what to do.

6. Sarah’s sense of humor is my sense of humor’s soulmate. And her writing is a balm for the soul. 

7. Maybell and Wesley are so good for each other. The romance just made my heart soar. The way they see each other and speak to one another and help accommodate each other’s needs was perfect. I love them so much together that I don’t want to steal Wesley for myself. And that’s saying something. We can just be friends, Wesley. Best friends.

8. Loch Ness. Nessie. One of my favorite subjects ever. Sarah clearly wrote me my own book. Thank you, Sarah. I guess we can let others read it as well.

So… this review proves that I can clearly come up with words when I don’t have any. But… what do all these words mean? I know I’m being vague about so much, but it’s because you need to read it to fully appreciate anything else I could possibly say! Bottom line, read this. This is just the book we need right now while the world is on fire. Allow yourself to escape to the Smoky Mountains and float around in the pure sweetness of this story and the lives of these two characters. I’ll just be over here basking in the sunlight of it all and eagerly waiting for Sarah’s next book.

5 Stars

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle | Book Review

Posted April 2, 2020 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 5 Comments

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle | Book ReviewYou Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
Published by GP Putnam's Sons on April 7, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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5 Stars

When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.

Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They're preparing for their lavish wedding that's three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.

Naomi wants out, but there's a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they're finally being themselves--and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.

The first line of You Deserve Each Other‘s synopsis had me hook, line, and sinker. “When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé…” How could you not be intrigued by this kind of book? Lovers… to enemies… to lovers. This is pretty much never done in the book world (at least that I’m aware of). Contemporary romances tend to fall under a lot of the same tropes and storylines, so I was immediately excited to read something unique. And I LOVED it. Brand new favorite, pre-ordered the moment I finished it. If this book is not on your radar, adjust your radar. You’ll thank me later. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. This book begins right in the nitty gritty of Naomi and Nicholas’s relationship. There’s no meet-cute, no getting-to-know-you, no twitterpated glances across a crowded room. That’s all already happened. We are thrown into a relationship that is seriously on the rocks. It was so refreshing to see a real relationship from a different angle. Rather than starting at ground level and moving up, we’ve got a relationship that’s already been up there and is quickly plummeting downwards. I loved reading about these two characters, and their theories of how they got to this point.

2. I will admit that this book took a little time to hook me. The hatred, mostly on Naomi’s side (since she’s our narrator and her point of view is the only one we get to read), was so SO heavy. But once it took hold, I was fully invested in this story. If you find yourself bogged down or struggling, keep going!

3. Sarah Hogle did a really awesome job of keeping this completely hilarious while also bringing deeper issues to the forefront. When you really think about the premise of this story. it’s actually very sad. These two people, once very much in love, have pushed each other to the brink of ruin. They’re able to so perfectly and effectively push each other’s buttons because they used to avoid pushing them at one point. I laughed at Naomi’s inner ramblings of how much she couldn’t stand Nicholas. I laughed at their antics and their immature acts of sabotage. And then I felt sad for them because this is a relationship that is about to flat-line at any minute! But the entire time I also felt such a strong sense of hope for them. I’d see a glimmer of love here and there, and it’d make me yell: “STOP IT CHILDREN! Can’t you see how much you love each other!?” Naomi and Nicholas do a lot of reflecting and go through a lot of emotional baggage throughout the story and even though I mentioned the strong hate vibes, it was never too much for me. It felt very real and raw. I felt them longing for each other as often as I felt them resenting each other. It quickly becomes obvious that the money one of them would lose if they cancel the wedding is not the soul reason they haven’t called it off.

4. Naomi took some time to worm her way into my heart, but Nicholas got there almost immediately. He made a pretty dumb decision in the beginning of the story that had me side-eyeing him, but by the end I realized it was the absolute best decision he could have made for their relationship. The gears in his brain are constantly working on ways to save them. Yes, he’s really good at the emotional warfare but I never felt like he pushed things too far. Naomi seemed to be the one who had nothing to lose, and I felt like she hit below the belt more. Nicholas seemed to be reacting. He was protecting himself and retaliating more than instigating. I really felt for him, especially once I learned how sentimental and romantic he can be.

5. Many of the pranks and shenanigans were hilarious. Nothing felt abusive. These two are actually very passive aggressive, which readers will quickly learn is the bud of the issue. They bottle up their resentment and never talk about it with each other. Passive aggressive people can be super entertaining, though, and that’s why things worked so well in this story.

6. The emphasis on communication and working through your issues was strong in this book, and I really liked that message. You can’t ever stop working on a relationship. It’s not always easy. This message is not usually presented to readers in contemporary romance, and I really appreciated that Sarah Hogle was able to do this without sounding preachy. It was done in a very lighthearted way.

7. The writing is very sharp and smart, and I still can’t believe how Sarah made me feel so many things all at the same time.

8. The characters are so well done! Even our side characters are amazing. Naomi works at this quirky little shop and has some great friends. Her boss is the biggest teddy bear. Nicholas’s mother is the definition of a momzilla. You will LOVE how the momzilla situation goes down.

9. For those concerned… there is a way happier ending to this book that I expected.

I left out a lot of my feelings because this really is the kind of book you need to read and experience and form your own opinions about. I love Naomi and Nicholas. I loved watching their relationship. I loved all the fall vibes and the cute little cottage they lived in. I loved the lake in the back and the coveralls and the feelings. You Deserve Each Other is a sweet, real, hopeful story. I loved it.

5 Stars