Review: BeartownTitle: Beartown
Series: Beartown #1
Genre(s): Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Pages: 432
Source: Library
For: Book Club
Sexual Content: 0.5 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys. Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

My Thoughts

My IRL book club chose to read BEARTOWN for our March book and it’s my second Fredrik Backman book. I’m glad we chose to read it because it’s a thought-provoking story that deals with hard subjects like toxic masculinity, winning at all costs, and consent.

BEARTOWN was a very hard emotional read. The story’s sad but hopeful, and extremely maddening. At times, it was difficult to keep reading. Even though my heart hurts, it was worth the pain and sorrow. I absolutely had no idea that a book about hockey (but not really) would make me feel the way I did.

Humanity has many shortcomings, but none is stronger than pride.

If you’ve ever read one of Backman’s books, then you know his stories are as good as they are because of his characters. Not only is he a master at writing emotionally charged stories, he’s also a master at writing a whole cast of round, complicated characters. The characters in BEARTOWN are no exception. These characters were so easy to connect with because they felt like real people with real lives.

BEARTOWN is the first book in a trilogy. I totally get why Backman wrote another two novels about these characters. The story’s so complex that this first installment could only focus on so much. Backman did a great job of picking and choosing what’s most important so much so that I don’t need to rush and read US AGAINST YOU and THE WINNERS.

Ever since I finished reading BEARTOWN, I’ve been trying to decide if I want to give it 4 or 5 stars. I’m honestly still torn about it. For now, I’ve given it 4.5 stars, but I may change it to 5.

Have you read BEARTOWN? If so, what did you think about it?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for suicide, suicidal ideation, rape, loss of a parent, loss of a child, bullying, and abuse.

Review: Dating Dr. DilTitle: Dating Dr. Dil
Author: Nisha Sharma
Series: If Shakespeare were an Aunty #1
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 364
Source: Own
For: Book of the Month, Trim Your TBR Challenge
Sexual Content: 4 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

Kareena Mann dreams of having a love story like her parents, but she prefers restoring her classic car to swiping right on dating apps. When her father announces he’s selling her mother’s home, Kareena makes a deal with him: he’ll gift her the house if she can get engaged in four months. Her search for her soulmate becomes impossible when her argument with Dr. Prem Verma, host of The Dr. Dil Show, goes viral. Now the only man in her life is the one she doesn’t want.

My Thoughts

DATING DR. DIL was the February pick for my Trim My TBR Challenge. I was really excited to read it because it’s a retelling of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW by William Shakespeare and Nisha Sharma did an excellent job with the execution, creating a hot steamy romance that leaves you wanting for more.

I read DATING DR. DIL in two days, which is unheard of for me as I’m not a very fast reader. I got caught up in Kareena’s and Prem’s lives and wanted to know how their story would end. I also really loved the double POV and being in both of their heads. The enemies-to-lovers trope is one of my favorites and DATING DR. DIL did not disappoint. Kareena and Prem had so much chemistry together, including awesome bantering and amazing sexual tension.

The biggest mistake you can make is trying to interpret someone’s actions in a way that fits your definition for love.

I really enjoyed being a part of Kareena’s and Prem’s culture as I read DATING DR. DIL. I honestly didn’t know much about the American desi culture. I loved all the descriptions of the clothing, parties, and food. Oh the food! I’m now craving Indian from my favorite local restaurant. The strong familial influence, sometimes to the detriment of the characters mental health, and the pressure for Indian women to be married and having kids before 30 really resonated with me.

I’m only rating DATING DR. DIL four stars because I just can’t get past a few descriptions of Prem’s mandhood. View Spoiler » Other than that, I really enjoyed DATING DR. DIL and I’m glad I finally read it. I look forward to reading the two companion novels.

Have you read DATING DR. DIL? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for loss of a parent.

Review: This Spells LoveTitle: This Spells Love
Author: Kate Robb
Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 352
Source: Own
For: Book of the Month, Trim Your TBR Challenge
Sexual Content: 4 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis

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. 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, except that Dax has no idea who she is either.

My Thoughts

For my 2024 challenges, I decided to focus on reading my Book of the Month books because I’m sorely behind. To help me with this focus, I used BOTM books that have been on my TBR for over a year to create my Trim Your TBR Challenge list. The number for THIS SPELLS LOVE was picked for January and I’m so glad because I absolutely adored it.

I zipped right through THIS SPELLS LOVE because I couldn’t put it down. When I wasn’t reading it, I wanted to be reading it. It hooked me right from the beginning and has left me thinking of the characters and their relationships long after I finished reading.

I adored everything about THIS SPELLS LOVE. I loved Gemma Wilde, her sister, kooky aunt, and her best friend Daxon McGuire. I loved the setting of Hamilton, Canada, just outside Toronto. The description of the people, shops, pubs, curling lanes, and the waterfront of Lake Ontario had me ready to book a plane ticket so I could experience it first hand.

Friends-to-lovers is hands down my favorite romantic trope and THIS SPELLS LOVE didn’t disappoint. Kate Robb’s execution was excellently written, producing a steamy fast-paced romance. The sexual tension between Gemma and Dax is amazing and leaves you wanting for more.

I also loved the lit bit of paranormal, in the form of a love-cleansing spell in THIS SPELLS LOVE. It was fun to see it flip Gemma’s world on its head, causing her to figure out what was truly important to her.

“It’s like Hot Tub Time Machine without the hot tub.”

When I finished THIS SPELLS LOVE, I waffled over rating it 4- or 5-stars. It didn’t take me long to realize that there was nothing about it that I didn’t love. Robb’s debut has a lot to live up to, but I’m definitely looking forward to reading more books written by her.

Have you read THIS SPELLS LOVE? If so, what did you think?

My IRL book club met this past Friday to discuss February’s book, which was BOOK LOVERS by Emily Henry. We met a week later than normal and on a different day of the week so there were only 9 of us that met. Here are some highlights of our discussion:

  • There was a pretty even split between who loved and liked it vs. who disliked it.
  • I was the only one who rated it 5 stars. There were a few 4 stars, two 3 stars, and several 2 stars.
  • A couple people hated the characters.
  • A couple people felt like the story was too unbelievable.
  • One person loved the banter at first, but then felt it got old.
  • A couple people felt the characters got physical way too quickly.
  • One person hated Nora’s constant reminder that the events in the book were reminiscent of tropes.
  • Those of us who loved / liked it enjoyed the banter and sexual tension. We also loved the characters, especially Charlie.

Even though BOOK LOVERS is a contemporary romance, it still garnered a pretty good discussion. We often talked over each other trying to get all our thoughts out. We had a pretty lively discussion about sex in books and what everyone’s comfort levels are. I shared how I rate sexual content in my reviews and a few people really appreciated it, but a few others were annoyed by it.

Next month’s book is BEARTOWN by Fredrik Backman. I’m looking forward to reading it. I’ve only read one Backman, ANXIOUS PEOPLE, but it was one of my two favorite reads in 2022. Hopefully, I’ll love BEARTOWN just as much.

Have you read BOOK LOVERS? If so, what do you think about my book club’s discussion?

Sunday Post and Sunday Salon are blog news memes hosted at Caffeinated Reviewer and Reader Buzz, respectively. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and other things.

I’m feeling less meh this week. I went to lunch with Corey during the week and we went to the movies a couple of times. I also hung out with my friend on Monday and attended book club on Friday.


Here’s what I posted on the blog this week:


I finished reading THIS SPELLS LOVE by Kate Robb and I also read DATING DR. DIL by Nisha Sharma. My reviews will be posting soon.

I listened to about 30 minutes of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO audiobook while I was driving this week. At this rate, I won’t finish it until the end of next year, lol.


Since I’ve been watching PRETTY LITTLE LIARS and I’ve listened to the opening song a lot lately, I thought I’d share it with you this week. It’s very short, but I still like the song.


Corey and I saw the new Dune movie in the theater twice this week. The first time was on Thursday and the second time was with some friends on Saturday. I loved the first Dune movie. I thought it was a really good adaptation. I think the new one is a fantastic movie by itself AND it pissed me off, lol. For those of you who don’t know, DUNE is my all-time favorite book. It has been since I was 17 so the movies had a lot to live up to. I really disliked how much they changed Chani’s character and I disliked what they did to the ending. I’m pretty sure Denis Villeneuve did it the way he did because he wants to make a third movie that follows part or all of DUNE MESSIAH. I’m okay if he makes another one. I just wish he would’ve finished the first book first before going into the next story.


I love Starbucks’ venti decaf iced lattes with vanilla syrup. I discovered these about six months ago. Before then, I didn’t drink coffee. Now, I’m obsessed. Whenever I need a pick-me-up emotionally, I can count on my coffee order to lift my spirits.


I want to grow my hair out. I’ve had it in a pixie cut for most of my adult life. I’ve decided I want to grow it out to my shoulders at least. Right now, however, my hair is in that unmanageable phase when you grow it out. I’m trying to resist the urge to chop it off so I don’t look like a shagged dog anymore.


I need to remind you that my friend Suey’s hosting a FAIRY TALE read-along this month. Check out her post on TheStoryGraph.

How was your week? Anything exciting happen?