L-L-L-Little Reviews #57: December 2023

Posted December 23, 2023 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 2 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. I had hoped to get all my 2023 reviews wrapped up here, but I think a few will probably wait till a January L-L-L post just because I already have my last week of December full with my Top 10 posts and I want to go ahead and post this now since I had a week with hardly any posts.

If The Shoe Fits (Meant to Be #1) by Julie Murphy
L-L-L-Little Reviews #57: December 2023If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy
Series: Meant to Be #1
Narrator: Jen Ponton
Published by Hyperion Avenue on August 3, 2021
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Length: 09:51
Source: Audible, Purchased
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: four-half-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

If the shoe doesn’t fit, maybe it’s time to design your own.
Cindy loves shoes. A well-placed bow or a chic stacked heel is her form of self-expression. As a fashion-obsessed plus-size woman, she can never find designer clothes that work on her body, but a special pair of shoes always fits just right.
With a shiny new design degree but no job in sight, Cindy moves back in with her stepmother, Erica Tremaine, the executive producer of the world’s biggest dating reality show. When a contestant on Before Midnight bows out at the last minute, Cindy is thrust into the spotlight. Showcasing her killer shoe collection on network TV seems like a great way to jump-start her career. And, while she’s at it, why not go on a few lavish dates with an eligible suitor?
But being the first and only fat contestant on Before Midnight turns her into a viral sensation - and a body-positivity icon - overnight. Even harder to believe? She can actually see herself falling for this Prince Charming. To make it to the end, despite the fans, the haters, and a house full of fellow contestants she’s not sure she can trust, Cindy will have to take a leap of faith and hope her heels - and her heart - don’t break in the process.
Best-selling author Julie Murphy’s reimagining of a beloved fairy tale is an enchanting story of self-love and believing in the happy ending each and every one of us deserves.

My Review:

I adored this one. And it has made me re-evaluate my YA novel I wrote that was my own Cinderella retelling where her name was Cindy. I loved how in this one our stepmother and stepsisters were not wicked, but good people. I loved that the triplet’s names were I believe the same names as the mice in the Disney Cinderella movie. And I loved how the actual shoe was checked to fit at the end, how that was even flipped. The reality tv show aspect was perfect as well. I personally have always wanted to see more shows with normal people. Not all the glamorous movie-star looking women only. So I would watch the heck out of a show like this. My only complaint was that she didn’t check with him about why he would pick the way they said he might at the end. That she kind of left him in a way others in his life had. But this book had me with tears at the end, and I loved how it was also resolved without a lot of hateful words or drama once everyone had some time. Now I need to read the others in the series which I know are by other authors!

The Getaway by Lamar Giles
L-L-L-Little Reviews #57: December 2023The Getaway by Lamar Giles
Narrator: Karl T. Wright, Imani Parks, P.J. Ochlan
Published by Scholastic Audio on October 4, 2022
Genres: YA Science Fiction
Length: 10:15
Source: the library
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: four-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

10 hours, 15 minutes
Welcome to the funnest spot around . . .
Jay is living his best life at Karloff Country, one of the world’s most famous resorts. He’s got his family, his crew, and an incredible after-school job at the property’s main theme park. Life isn’t so great for the rest of the world, but when people come here to vacation, it’s to get away from all that.
As things outside get worse, trouble starts seeping into Karloff. First, Jay’s friend Connie and her family disappear in the middle of the night and no one will talk about it. Then the richest and most powerful families start arriving, only... they aren’t leaving. Unknown to the employees, the resort has been selling shares in an end-of-the-world oasis. The best of the best at the end of days. And in order to deliver the top-notch customer service the wealthy clientele paid for, the employees will be at their total beck and call.
Whether they like it or not.
Yet Karloff Country didn’t count on Jay and his crew--and just how far they’ll go to find out the truth and save themselves. But what’s more dangerous: the monster you know in your home or the unknown nightmare outside the walls?

My Review:

This was another possible book for next year’s Gateway Award nominees. I finally got the audiobook from the library. Now, it started out kind of slow and I couldn’t quite see where it was supposed to be going exactly. Also the narrator wasn’t the best, so it might have been one better reading. However, about 20% of the way in it started getting really interesting. And as it went on it really got dark, but had a lot of crazy stuff happening. Things just kept snowballing and getting worse, and it was really keeping me listening at that point, wondering what in the world was going to happen. And if things were really like that outside the area, or if it was like that one book by Meredith Peterson Haddix that M. Night Shymalan stole the idea for his movie. The ending got a little crazy and some things were maybe sped past in any explanations, but I really did like it overall and I could see it being a good contender for the award list next year.

Oops, I’ve Fallen by Max Monroe
L-L-L-Little Reviews #57: December 2023Oops, I've Fallen by Max Monroe
on March 27, 2021
Genres: Adult Romantic Comedy
Pages: 328
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
My Rating: four-half-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

If my time with Ryan Miller were a hit track on the radio, I imagine the lyrics would go something like this…
“We’re so different, but they say opposites attract. Oops, I’ve fallen, and my heart doesn’t want to come back.”
But, holy bingo night, is my attraction to the sexy, broody businessman so much more complicated than the chorus of a song.
His dad lives right next to my mom, and after the two of them suffered an unexplained accident while taking down holiday decorations, both Ryan and I were forced to become the only thirtysomething residents of Sunny Creek Village Independent Senior Living Community.
Temporarily moving in might seem like overkill for a fractured tailbone and a severely pulled groin muscle, but believe me, when your mom is as wild as mine and your dad is as cantankerous as Ryan’s, they need supervision to ensure they stick to doctor’s orders.
Constantly thrown together by the antics of our crazy parents and the tough-as-nails community enforcer, Betty Matthews, Ryan and I formed an alliance for the sole purpose of survival.
But I never expected to be so interested in finding out what he was hiding beneath his grumpy, serious demeanor. More than that, I never dreamed what I found would be the kind of man women sell their souls to the devil for.
Unfortunately, our little one-hit wonder on the airwaves has more to say before it comes to an end.
Although, finishing the outro to this song is a real doozy...
Tell me…what lyric rhymes with Oops, I’ve fallen for my future stepbrother?

My Review:

I started this one back in September as part of my TBR challenge. I’d bought it from the authors at the last Book Bonanza I got to go to in 2022. I only read it either a bit before bed in between review books, or during lovely soaking bubble baths. So that’s why I didn’t get it done sooner. It had a lot of laugh out loud moments, steamy bedroom scenes, and just overall a fun story. It was pretty easy to jump back in and out of like I did, so that makes it a good read for me.

The Office: A Day at Dunder Mifflin Elementary by Robb Pearlman, Melanie Demmer (Illustrations)
L-L-L-Little Reviews #57: December 2023The Office: A Day at Dunder Mifflin Elementary by Robb Pearlman, Melanie Demmer
on September 29, 2020
Genres: Childrens Picture Book
Pages: 40
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: four-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & Noble

Filled with fan-favorite characters and hilarious references to the acclaimed TV show, this storybook is an age-appropriate way for fans of The Office to share their love with the whole family, just in time for the series' 15th anniversary!
Michael Scott is Line Leader at Dunder Mifflin Elementary! It's a very big job, but Michael is sure he can live up to the "World's Best Line Leader" title printed on his water bottle. There's just one problem--Michael doesn't know how to lead the line. Filled with colorful, detailed illustrations and brimming with Easter eggs and nods to iconic moments from the show, this hilarious reimagining features a pint-sized cast.
The story will introduce The Office to a whole new generation and will teach them that everyone needs to ask for help sometimes. Even Line Leaders.
The Office is a trademark and copyright of Universal Content Productions LLC. Licensed by Universal Studios 2020. All Rights Reserved.

My Review:

I bought this a while back, couldn’t help myself. I keep buying all the fun cute picture books for favorite shows or movies. This was a cute, quick read. Nothing too fancy, but had a lot of little things that a fan of the show would recognize in the behavior of the kids. A good message about getting help from your friends for kids I guess.

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