4 star, adult

Review: The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.

When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.

Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.

Romance is most certainly dead… but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.

A disillusioned millennial ghostwriter who, quite literally, has some ghosts of her own, has to find her way back home in this sparkling adult debut from national bestselling author Ashley Poston.



Love was putting up with someone for fifty years so you’d have someone to bury you when you died. I would know; my family was in the business of death.

The Dead Romantics showcases a different side to Ashley Poston’s writing and I’m totally here for it! I loved her YA sci-fi books but this paranormal, contemporary romance was something I didn’t even know I needed from her.

First off, the prose is everything. There were so many quotable paragraphs I found myself highlighting more than I usually would. There’s just something so flowery and magical in the writing. Words fit together so smoothly and transition like water gently flowing over stones in a shallow creek. I’m not normally this poetic or sappy about how words are strung together, but it definitely set the mood for a small town in South Carolina our protagonist, Florence, finds herself going back to for the first time in a decade.

It’s not just how the words fit together but also the way Poston was able to make Florence’s voice so distinctive and personal. She’s emotional and stubborn, loving but also hardened by life’s betrayals. I saw myself in Florence’s struggles to love herself and find worth looking inwards instead of to those around her. Reading her narration reminded me of the voiceovers in the early 2000s shows that brought both witty and sarcastic commentary to the story. I absolutely loved it.

Though the writing was oddly refreshing and wholly different than I anticipated, it’s also the story itself that made everything such a wild ride. I don’t cry very often when I read books and I wasn’t expecting to in this one, but boy, did the waterworks just start going at certain points. This book is also one about grief, though the author doesn’t drown us in it so much as reminds us it’s there as Florence faces the burial preparations for her dear father. The balance of funny moments with the reality of death and grief was one I thoroughly enjoyed. It doesn’t take away from the seriousness of the topic, but it allows for different processing and I think that’s what worked for me. Florence mourned her father’s passing and the time she lost spending it with him in person, but their love and memories still remained.

“There’s nothing like the sound of the sky rattling your bones, you know?” [my dad] once told me when I asked why he loved thunderstorms so much. “Makes you feel alive. Reminds you that there’s more to you than just skin and blood, but bones underneath. Stronger stuff. Just listen to that sky sing, buttercup.” …

I hoped that when they eased Dad into the ground, the dirt would part for the thunder. I hoped the sound would rattle his bones still, make them dance, like they did mine. I hoped that, when the wind was high, blown from some far-off shore, I could hear him singing in the storm, as loud and high and alive as all the dead I’d ever heard singing.

Florence’s self-inflicted isolation from her family all comes to a head when she’s forced back home to face the demons she ran away from. Her family, the town, and her backstory that led to her run to NYC was fleshed out very well. I will admit that the first half of the book moved quite slowly, setting up the foundation for the latter half. I almost wanted to give up but I’m so glad I stuck it out. So this is why I can’t give it top rating but the latter half more than made up for the slow pace.

But the waterworks didn’t only come from dealing with grief. The majority of this story is also one of romance. From the opening proclamation that Florence believed love was dead, a ghostwriter for romance novels, I knew this would get interesting. When her hot(!) but suddenly dead editor who wouldn’t give her an extension on her book pops up in town, you know this isn’t your ordinary meet cute kinda story. I grew up reading the Mediator series by Meg Cabot so I immediately knew this hot ghost love interest would make me happy and sad simultaneously. And wow, was I sure right.

Can I just interrupt this to say I love how meta this romance book felt? Ashley just name dropped all these big names in the publishing community, authors and books we hopefully should all know of, and I felt like only someone in the time period I grew up in with the kind of books I read could truly appreciate how cool it is to feel Florence’s reading and writing inspirations were mine too.

Back to Mr. Hot Editor, Benji Andor. He’s the perfect cinnamon roll, helping Florence through the roughest week of her life when she should be the one trying to help him move on. The chemistry was so on point, and the tension was agonizing because, well, he’s a ghost and they can’t actually touch.

Mostly, I’m a huge fan of character development. And Florence had her issues at the beginning. While the course of everything at home and with her dad’s death obviously changed her, it’s ultimately her shift in perceiving love that’s the winner for this book. We always think of love as romantic love first, but we gotta remember, love also exists in multiple forms beyond the one.

[Love] was something in between, a moment in time where two people existed at the exact same moment in the exact same place in the universe. …

Love wasn’t a whisper in the quiet night. It was a yelp into the void, screaming that you were here.

The Dead Romantics will leave you feeling mushy inside, trust me. Or at least, if you have some kind of a heart. It’s the perfect blend of paranormal romance with the contemporary struggles we can all relate to. This is probably Ashley’s best book yet and that’s saying something as I’ve really enjoyed most of her writing so far. Please do yourself a favor and pick this one up ASAP.

Overall Recommendation

The Dead Romantics blends wit and humor into a powerful story about grief and love. While that may sound like many books out there, what’s unique about this one is the ghostly boyfriend vibes a la Mediator style and the way the author lets us process Florence’s emotions and grief over her dad in a way that’s not suffocating. I LOVED the gorgeous prose that made the atmosphere of the small town and vivid emotions come alive off the pages. It’s truly a book to experience though the first half may test your patience as it sets up for the climax. With plenty of tears running down my face, I can honestly say this book in it’s entirely is sure to tug at your heartstrings and make you believe in love again too.

4 star, YA

Review: Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart #1

How far would you go for happily ever after?

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings . . . until she learns that the love of her life will marry another.

Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic but wicked Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.

But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game—and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after or the most exquisite tragedy. . . .



Before I dive into my thoughts about this book, I had the pleasure of buddy reading this book with Leslie @ Books are the New Black. You can find her lovely review of this book here.

Whimsical and full of the magic that has propelled Stephanie Garber as a must-read author for many, this new companion series featuring a certain villain we all love and a girl who believes in happy fairy tale endings was everything I could’ve asked for. And I had pretty high expectations.

Continue reading “Review: Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber”
5 star, adult

ARC Review: A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin

A whip-smart debut that follows the adventures of an entirely unconventional heroine who throws herself into the London Season to find a wealthy husband. But the last thing she expects is to find love…

Kitty Talbot needs a fortune. Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. Left with her father’s massive debts, she has only twelve weeks to save her family from ruin.

Kitty has never been one to back down from a challenge, so she leaves home and heads toward the most dangerous battleground in all of England: the London season. 

Kitty may be neither accomplished nor especially genteel—but she is utterly single-minded; imbued with cunning and ingenuity, she knows that risk is just part of the game. 

The only thing she doesn’t anticipate is Lord Radcliffe. The worldly Radcliffe sees Kitty for the mercenary fortune-hunter that she really is and is determined to scotch her plans at all costs, until their parrying takes a completely different turn…

This is a frothy pleasure, full of brilliant repartee and enticing wit—one that readers will find an irresistible delight.



**A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting comes out July 12, 2022**

Thank you Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

Witty and filled with charming banter between our love interests, A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting was unputdownable and had me smiling and cheering all the way through.

If you love period pieces or in general a fan of writing in the Regency era, look no further! I loved the way the author wrote because it felt like transporting back in time. It wasn’t written in a contemporary style and often used words that were definitely more common in that time period than today. Don’t you just hate it when the book is meant to be of another time but the language itself and the conversations don’t really reflect that? It felt like Jane Austen could’ve written this and I absolutely ADORED that.

The story follows Kitty Talbot, the oldest of 5 girls, who is left to fight for her family with the massive debt her parents left behind after their passing. Putting on charm like armor and utilizing a mind that could strategize like the best of the men, she set to work to offer herself up as a wife to the richest men London society could offer. If only she could pave the way of making their acquaintance.

I loved Kitty’s tenacity and her wit. It takes a lot to go from unnoticed naive girls setting foot in London for the first time to becoming established in Society (yes, with the capital S) well enough to please not only the men she’s trying to catch but also the mothers who must give their blessing to such a union. She often times had to give up her own wants and happiness to provide a better future for her younger sisters and that made me feel for her all the more.

However, her character is very much challenged, especially when going toe to toe with Lord Radcliffe who immediately catches onto her plan. He was the best kind of love interest, total Darcy material if I do say so myself. Initially cold and overprotective of his family, he and Kitty butt heads from their very first meeting. But the slow burn of their ensuing partnership – or I suppose blackmailed allyship – that turns these enemies to lovers was the very best this trope can offer.

Their dialogue was some of my favorite things in the book. They both have such sarcastic and sharp tongues when they let their guards down and allow someone to truly see them. Underneath all the armor and glam shown to the rich and the privileged, these two didn’t truly fit into the rules and the scheming the Society was known for. Together, however, something magical happens and watching the slow transition in their relationship was the absolute best. As character development goes, they each challenged the other to become more of who they wanted to be, not the version they showed the world or the comfortable rut they did not want to leave. If that’s not what a great relationship does, then I don’t know anything about love.

The secondary characters were also fabulous. We only get to know one of Kitty’s sisters well as Cecily travelled to London with Kitty to help her find a wealthy husband. I would’ve loved to read more about Cecily and her own experiences among the ton as she’s more bookish and distracted by intellectual ideas more than what’s going on right in front of her. Although she wasn’t looking for it, I was super glad to see romance was in the cards for her too. It’s a shame we don’t get to see more.

With so much to offer transporting us back to such historical times filled with lovable characters to root for, A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting is something surely everyone should look out for as a next read.

Overall Recommendation:

If you’re looking for a great Regency story with the best slow burn romance, A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting is YOUR book! From a smart protagonist to a totally swoon worthy love interest, the romance is worth rooting. I appreciated the author writing in a style with vocabulary that transported me back to the 1800s as that added an extra layer of authenticity to this world. A great debut that will surely bring me back to anything Sophie Irwin publishes next.