Up in Smoke by Annabeth Albert: Review and Exclusive Excerpt

Book Information

About the Book

Three Men and a Baby meets Backdraft with explosive chemistry and heartfelt feels.

Freewheeling smoke jumper Brandt Wilder thrives on adrenaline. He’s never met a parachute he can’t repair or a dangerous situation he couldn’t wrangle his way out of. He’s popular and fun-loving and not at all looking to settle down or form lasting relationships. It’s a lifestyle that’s served him well…right up until the day he finds a baby on his doorstep.

Shane Travis is used to putting his country music career—and his own happiness—on hold after his sister rolls through his life. Like last spring when she convinced him to try skydiving for his birthday—and she walked away with the hot parachute instructor.

Now he gets to deliver the piece of news that will upend Brandt’s carefree life: he very well might be a dad.

Shane’s niece is safe in Brandt’s strong, capable hands, but too many questions remain unanswered. Co-parenting while they sort it out leads to late-night talks, and soul-bearing confessions lead to a most inconvenient attraction. Still, Shane can’t leave this makeshift family behind—even if it means playing house with the one man he can’t resist.

Hotshots

Book 1: Burn Zone (available now!)

Book 2: High Heat (available now!)

Book 3: Feel the Fire (available now!)

Book 4: Up in Smoke (coming April 27)

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Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

Darcy has been giving anonymous advice to her fellow private school students for awhile, and it’s a great source of income for her since she’s a scholarship student whose mother works at the school. But when she agrees to help Alexander Brougham, it sets off a series of event that changes everything.  

Darcy specializes in relationships, and her advice is actually useful, focusing on setting boundaries and different attachment styles. But she ends up breaking her own rules in several different ways—this affects her relationships with her friends and loved ones, including her best friend Brooke, who Darcy has been pining over for years.

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Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman

Like many families, the Gogarty clan of Ireland has their fair share of problems: Millie, the grandmother, has a penchant for shoplifting. Kevin, Millie’s son, faces a mid-life crisis when he struggles to find a new job. Aideen, Kevin’s daughter, doesn’t understand why she’s being sent to boarding school.

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Admission by Julie Buxbaum

Chloe is a high school senior living in Los Angeles. Her mother starred in two popular television shows as well as Hallmark movies. Her mother also engaged in an elaborate scheme of cheating and bribery in order to help Chloe get into college.

The narrative alternates between Then and Now, exploring the dual perspectives of the events that preceded Chloe’s mother’s arrest as well as what she and her family do after being implicated in the scandal.  

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Cobble Hill by Cecily Von Siegesar

I enjoyed the Gossip Girl novels in my youth—although I never got into the TV show—so I was intrigued by the prospect of a new novel by Cecily Von Siegesar.

Cobble Hill features an eclectic cast of neighbors, who meet and mingle in the titular Brooklyn neighborhood. Their shared narrative unfolds via a multitude of perspectives; quite frankly, I lost count of the number of POV characters, but there are four married couples and three children, most of whom have at least one POV scene.

One might think that it would be difficult to keep track of all these characters, but fortunately, they all have well-developed personalities and motivations, so they all stand out in their own ways. The author has infused these characters with quirky little details to help make them memorable.  

As for the plot, not much happens. But also, a lot of things happen. Much like Seinfeld, the focus is on these amazing characters and how they interact with their environment and with each other. On the other hand, much like Gossip Girl, there are *some* juicy secrets, like the fact that one of the characters pretends to have MS in order to gain attention and sympathy from her husband, which left me anxiously waiting for the fallout from this duplicity. Yes, some of the events do beggar belief, but then again, truth is stranger than fiction.

I would absolutely recommend Cobble Hill. This book is engaging and fun, and held my interest amidst all the chaos going on in the real world. Von Siegesar has once again given us a glimpse into the world of a select group of New Yorkers. This time, we’re dealing with Gen-X Brooklynites rather than UES Millennials, but the commonalities are astounding. I would love to see Cobble Hill turned into a limited series on Netflix.   

I received an ARC of this book from Atria Books/Netgalley.

Recommended for You by Laura Silverman

Shoshana loves working at Once Upon, an independent bookstore at her local mall. She’s always loved reading, but lately, it’s become a place of refuge for her because her two moms are fighting a lot and her car needs expensive repairs that she can’t afford. But when Jake Kaplan starts working at Once Upon, Shoshana’s beloved bookstore becomes full of tension, and not because Jake is a total hottie.

Okay, maybe because he’s a total hottie, but he’s also a bit of a jerk who doesn’t even read, and when the owner announces a holiday sales competition, Shoshana is determined to win.

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The Mall by Megan McCafferty

New Jersey: 1991

Cassie Worthy’s senior year spring did not go as planned—she got mono and missed prom and graduation and a bunch of other stuff. But now she’s better, and she’s starting her job at the America’s Best Cookie store with her amazing boyfriend of two years. They’re going to spend the summer working at the mall together, and then head up to NYC together for college.

And then almost immediately, everything goes wrong. Cassie finds herself dumped, jobless, and wondering what happened. Our intrepid heroine has pick herself up, find something to do all summer, and most importantly, realize that plans can only go so far.

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The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

I loved The Royal We, so I was very excited to find out there was going to be a sequel and even more excited to receive an ARC of The Heir Affair.

NB: If Royal Family alt-history interests you, but you have not read The Royal We, I suggest you proceed with caution because it’s almost impossible to properly discuss The Heir Affair without mentioning key details from The Royal We.

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Again Again by e. lockhart

Adelaide Buchwald is a “fac brat” (child of a faculty member) at a boarding school. She has just broken up with her boyfriend and is spending the summer walking dogs, and she is going to spend her summer walking dogs. On her third day at the park, she meets a boy.

The narrative splits into three different possibilities (accentuated by bold text) of how the conversation could proceed, before the real possibility plays out.

To say much more would be delving into spoiler territory, but needless to say, this is a summer where anything can happen. This book is so much more than the classic tale of “girl meets boy”.

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