I love books that are set in libraries, bookshops, or publishing houses, as well at books with librarians, authors, bookstore owners or publishers as characters. The Littlest Library and Booked on a Feeling fit this theme as well as having romance, community and new beginnings. Both of these books were provided to me upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

The Littlest Library by Poppy Alexander, Karen Cass (Narrator)

Published July 19th 2022 by HarperAudio

4.5 Stars:

Jess Metcalf lives with her grandmother and works at the local library. When her grandmother dies and she loses her job, she knows she needs to make some changes. She sells her grandmother’s home and pack up all her books, purchasing a small cottage in a charming country village. When she moves in she finds out a couple of things, one is that there is a bat colony living in her attic and she owns the old red telephone box on her property. After a discussion with her new friend and counsellor, she decides to turn it into a library, the littlest library around. It soon becomes a catalyst for the community to borrow books, talk books and come together. Of course all good things are not easy, and as Jess becomes welcome in the village, she has to deal with lots of things before she finds herself at home in her new surroundings.

This was such a fun, charming story. I love books that deal with libraries and bookstores, so this one hit the spot. Jess was a delightful character. I loved seeing how she dealt with people and the problems that came with them. She is dealing with grief and jumped right into a major change in her life, which is not always the best choice. Aiden, her neighbour, was a bit of a jerk when the story begins. As they got to know each other, their relationship changes to friends, then a romantic relationship. Aiden’s daugher, Maisey, was a delight. She helped to bring Aiden and Jess together as she liked her and they spend a lot of time together. The secondary characters are all wonderful, some just a bit quirky, and add so much to this story. Of course I always love the referenced to books that are in these stories. Themes in this book include friendship, new beginnings, community, grief, environmental issues dealing with bats, and love and healing power of books. If you enjoy virtual travel to a small village, escape into The Littlest Library. Karen Cass narrates this wonderful audiobook and I really enjoyed her performance. I recommend this story to those who enjoy women’s fiction, books about books, community and new beginnings.

Booked on a Feeling (A Sweet Mess #3) by Jayci Lee

Published July 26th 2022 by St. Martin’s Press

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Booked on a Feeling is an enjoyable contemporary romance!  Although this is the third book in the “A Sweet Mess” series, I read it without reading the previous books and had no problems. Lizzie and Jack have known each other since they were little and Lizzie’s family vacationed in Jack’s hometown. They are best friends and know each other better than anyone else does. Jack has been keeping a secret, he has been in love with Lizzie for years, but is afraid it will ruin their friendship if he tells her. When Lizzie has a major panic attack during a trial, she takes a leave from work, and goes to spend three weeks in the place she was happiest, Jack’s hometown. With him there, she will have someone to support her and help her figure out what she really wants out of life. While she is there, she volunteers in the small, local bookstore and is happier than she has been in years. Working with Jack on her special project and spending time with him, she realizes that what she feels for Jack is more than just friendship. With both of them at a crossroads in their lives, they have some serious decisions to make.

Lizzie and Jack have a great friends-to-lovers romance. Being friends for so long, made it easy to slip into something more. The chemistry was amazing and as their relationship grows the steam picks up a notch. Both of them had feelings toward the other before they revealed it as they were both afraid to ruin a wonderful friendship, but love wins out. Just when it seems like things are going well, they have to make decisions about their future that seem to work against their relationship. I liked both of these characters and felt bad for all they were dealing with. Both of them have career issues they need to figure out. I was not impressed with Lizzie’s mother. She didn’t care if Lizzie was happy, she just wanted her to follow the path she had chosen for her. Jack’s family didn’t pressure him, but he always felt that they needed him and he couldn’t let them down. They were actually very close and supportive, but Jack didn’t necessarily see that. This story is very realistic and the characters very relatable. I was rooting for Lizzie and Jack to work things out. I loved that Lizzie was happiest working in the bookstore, as that would be my dream job. Themes include following your dreams, standing up for yourself, the importance of communication, family relationships, friendship and romance. Overall, Booked on a Feeling is a sweet contemporary romance with great characters, themes and a bit of a steamy romance.