L-L-L-Little Reviews #51: June 2023

Posted June 30, 2023 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 18 Comments

Here are the books I read and/or finished this past month that were not part of scheduled tours or requests from authors/publishers. Although technically the first one I finished right at the end of May, but didn’t have time to add it to last month’s post.

The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren
L-L-L-Little Reviews #51: June 2023The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren
Narrator: Jonathan Cole, Cindy Kay
Published by Simon Schuster Audio on May 16, 2023
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance, Adult Romantic Comedy
Length: 10:52
Source: Audible, Purchased
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: five-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

Sparks fly when a romance novelist and a documentary filmmaker join forces to craft the perfect Hollywood love story and take both of their careers to the next level—but only if they can keep the chemistry between them from taking the whole thing off script.
Felicity “Fizzy” Chen is lost. Sure, she’s got an incredible career as a beloved romance novelist with a slew of bestsellers under her belt, but when she’s asked to give a commencement address, it hits her: she hasn’t been practicing what she’s preached.
Fizzy hasn’t ever really been in love. Lust? Definitely. But that swoon-worthy, can’t-stop-thinking-about-him, all-encompassing feeling? Nope. Nothing. What happens when the optimism she’s spent her career encouraging in readers starts to feel like a lie?
Connor Prince, documentary filmmaker and single father, loves his work in large part because it allows him to live near his daughter. But when his profit-minded boss orders him to create a reality TV show, putting his job on the line, Connor is out of his element. Desperate to find his romantic lead, a chance run-in with an exasperated Fizzy offers Connor the perfect solution. What if he could show the queen of romance herself falling head-over-heels for all the world to see? Fizzy gives him a hard pass—unless he agrees to her list of demands. When he says yes, and production on The True Love Experiment begins, Connor wonders if that perfect match will ever be in the cue cards for him, too.
The True Love Experiment is the book fans have been waiting for ever since Fizzy’s debut in The Soulmate Equation. But when the lights come on and all eyes are on her, it turns out the happily ever after Fizzy had all but given up on might lie just behind the camera.

My Review:

I LOVED this one! It was so good! It started out with a perfect thing about her not being able to write her romance books anymore for the same reason I feel like I can never finish any of the ones I start! I also loved this dating show, even though I am not normally a fan of them. I still wish, just like I did with the connected book, The Soulmate Equation, that there was an actual DNA dating service like this. So many funny parts, the Bart Simpson tattoo, the love of the pop music group, the banter, all of it was so good! I could go on and on, but just know this will be one of my favorite books of the year!

The Q by Amy Tintera
L-L-L-Little Reviews #51: June 2023The Q by Amy Tintera
Published by Crown BFYR on November 8, 2022
Genres: YA Dystopia, YA Science Fiction
Length: 08:24
Source: the library
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: four-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

Two teenagers from opposite worlds must fight their way through a vast walled quarantine zone in a dystopian America toward their only chance for survival.
Seventeen-year-old Maisie Rojas has spent her entire life in the Q—a post-pandemic quarantine zone that was once Austin, Texas. Born and raised behind the high security walls that sealed their fate, she's now a trusted lieutenant for one of the territory's controlling families.
Lennon Pierce, the charismatic son of a US presidential candidate, has just been kidnapped by his father's enemies and dropped out of a plane into the Q with nothing but a parachute strapped to his back. Lennon is given a temporary antidote to the disease and crucial intel for his father, but Maisie must get him out of the zone within forty-eight hours--or he will be permanently infected and forced to remain.
With unrest brewing both inside and outside the Q, reaching the exit is a daunting and dangerous task. But if Maisie and Lennon fail, it could mean disaster for the entire quarantine zone and its inhabitants—and could cost Lennon his life.

My Review:

This was one I listened to for the Gateway committee I’m on. I really ended up enjoying it! It was an interesting concept, although some of it I don’t quite get how or why things were the way they were. But it had to be to fit the story. One of the characters’ names was Hadley, which is my niece’s name, and not as common, so that made me smile every time I heard it. I’d wanted to read this author for a while, and I know now I will probably read others in the future!

Shame on Me (Fool Me Once #2) by Tara Sivec
L-L-L-Little Reviews #51: June 2023Shame on Me by Tara Sivec
Series: Fool Me Once #2
Narrator: Amy McFadden
Published by Brilliance Audio on May 14, 2014
Genres: Adult Romantic Comedy
Length: 04:23
Source: Purchased
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: four-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

Ex-model Paige McCarty is fed up with being just a pretty face. After her ex-husband’s gambling problem left her royally screwed and tragically shoeless, she started Fool Me Once Investigations with her best friends, Lorlei and Kennedy, to prevent other women from being similarly played and dismayed.
The job: act as bait for a cheating husband. The target: Matt Russo. The case should be as easy as getting a man’s attention—and Paige has never had trouble with that. The problem is Matt—in all his nerdy-hot glory—turns out to be not such a scumbag after all.
And when the case hits closer to home than Paige could ever have imagined—landing her in a face-off with the mob—she wonders if taking the job just to prove that she has a brain maybe wasn’t her best idea.
This second outing for the Fool Me Once team follows in the same fun, feisty footsteps as bestselling author Tara Sivec’s Shame on You.

My Review:

This one was good, although not as hilarious as the first one, Shame on You. The narrator again kind of reminded me of Sarah Michelle Gellar, but had some times her voice was a bit weird like in the sexy scenes, or else occasionally paused between lines that shouldn’t have been paused between. There also was a bit of the miscommunication that I know had to be a part of the story, but was a bit annoying. However I like the way the author handled the characters dealing with it and realizing it wasn’t done in maliciousness. Another fun story by Tara Sivec.

The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson
L-L-L-Little Reviews #51: June 2023The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow, Liz Lawson
Series: The Agathas #1
Narrator: Mehr Dudeja, Sophie Amoss, Holly Linneman
Published by Listening Library on May 3, 2022
Genres: YA Mystery
Length: 11:58
Source: the library
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: five-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

11 hours, 58 minutes
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Who killed Brooke Donovan? It’s the biggest mystery of the summer, and everyone in Castle Cove thinks they know what happened. But they're wrong. Two unlikely friends come together to solve the case in this fast-paced, fun, modern Agatha Christie-inspired thriller.
"Part Agatha Christie, part Veronica Mars, and completely entertaining." —Karen M. McManus, #1 New York Times bestselling author of One Of Us Is Lying

Last summer, Alice Ogilve’s basketball-star boyfriend Steve dumped her. Then she disappeared for five days. Where she went and what happened to her is the biggest mystery in Castle Cove, because she’s not talking. Or it was, at least. But now, another one of Steve’s girlfriends has vanished: Brooke Donovan, Alice’s ex–best friend. And it doesn’t look like Brooke will be coming back. . .
Enter Iris Adams, Alice’s tutor. Iris has her own reasons for wanting to disappear, though unlike Alice, she doesn’t have the money or the means. That could be changed by the hefty reward Brooke’s grandmother is offering to anyone who can share information about her granddaughter’s whereabouts. The police are convinced Steve is the culprit, but Alice isn’t so sure, and with Iris on her side, she just might be able to prove her theory.
In order to get the reward and prove Steve’s innocence, they need to figure out who killed Brooke Donovan. And luckily Alice has exactly what they need—the complete works of Agatha Christie. If there’s anyone that can teach the girls how to solve a mystery it’s the master herself. But the town of Castle Cove holds many secrets, and Alice and Iris have no idea how much danger they're about to walk into.

My Review

While the title never really was anything specifically named in the book, it definitely worked with Alice’s love and bit of an obsession with Agatha Christie. The mystery was one that played out perfectly, and there were a lot of twists and turns. And while I had a bit of an inkling about who it actually ended up being in the end, it wasn’t something that was just plain to see, and like I said, lots of twists and misdirections. There was a lot more than just the mystery though, the characters had lives with lots of other things to worry about. Now, one thing I think wasn’t really ever explained was just why the police department was so quick to blame the first victim. Why they didn’t really expand their case. I feel like them being corrupt is something else that needed some explaining. And maybe that happens in the second book? But I would like to read it. This was a possible nominee for the Gateway committee and I definitely could see it doing well on that list!

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18 responses to “L-L-L-Little Reviews #51: June 2023

  1. I’m glad you loved The True Love Experiment as much as I did Lisa! I can only imagine how great it would be as an audiobook!

    • Lisa Mandina

      I’ve listened to most of the Christina Lauren books I’ve read, they’re usually really good!


    Thr True Love Experiment looks very good. I am a romantic at heart..yes I know..I’m a sucker for love.

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