Top 5 Tuesday: Series I Will Finish in 2023

Happy Tuesday, book friends! I can’t believe today is the last Top 5 Tuesday of January 2023 already. Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Bionic Bookworm, now hosted by Meeghan Reads. If you’re interested in participating, check out their blog to get the details and the prompts for each week!

This week’s topic is series that you’ll finish this year. As I mentioned last week, I don’t read too many series these days, so this one might be tricky for me. Let’s see how we do!

The Witches of Thistle Grove Series by Lana Harper

Technically, there will be a fourth book in this series after the newest installment, Back in a Spell. But since reading this one will mean I’ve read all of the available books in the series to date, I’m going to count it.

Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery Series by Mia P. Manansala

I don’t read a lot of mystery, but I’m always looking to branch out to different genres. I read Arsenic and Adobo, the first book in this series, a while ago and thought it was a fun read. It’s not a sure thing that I’ll finish the series, but I do want to at least pick up the second book, Homicide and Halo-Halo, this year.

Winner Bakes All Series by Alexis Hall

These books are romances set on a Great British Bake Off-style baking competition show. I was a little let down by the first book, Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake, but I love Bake Off too much to resist reading the second book in the series, Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble.

The Verifiers by Jane Pek

I’m not sure when the sequel to The Verifiers will come out, as Goodreads lists the release date as January 1st 2023, but the book isn’t actually available as far as I can tell. But I am definitely going to read this one as soon as I can, so I’m including it with the hopes that the next book will be out this year for me to read.

Those are the only series I could find that I’ve started and have any interest in finishing at this point in time, and I’m honestly surprised I got up to four out of five! Hopefully, they’ll all be winners and I’ll discover some new series to love this year, too!

Revisit the Classics with “The Rom-Com Agenda”

(Full disclosure: This post uses affiliate links. I received a complimentary review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review). 

As a lover of rom coms, there’s no way I could resist a book with a title like The Rom-Com Agenda. Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the digital review copy of this one.

The Rom-Com Agenda tells the story of Eli and Leah. Eli gets shot down when he proposes to girlfriend Victoria right before she jets off to Italy, but he’s determined to win her back when she returns. Leah is working multiple jobs and saving up to leave town, now that she is no longer her foster mother’s caregiver. When she gets roped into helping Eli learn how to be a romantic hero, sparks fly. 

With a synopsis like that, of course I had to give this one a go. In all, this was a cute story with a lot of great rom com references. Let’s get into the specifics. 

What I Liked

The small town setting was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed seeing the punny names of the different businesses in the tourist town. This book takes place in the off season, and that was interesting to see, as well. 

There are a lot of good characters in this one, as we get to know Eli’s friends and watch them welcome Leah into their lives. 

The rom-com and pop culture references were a lot of fun, as well. There’s some Gilmore Girls references as well as plenty of nods to the romantic comedies Eli has to watch as part of his makeover. 

What I Didn’t Like

Unfortunately, I found the whole makeover premise a bit hard to buy. Rom coms are meant to have silly setups like this, but somehow this one just wasn’t believable. None of Eli’s friends believed he should be with Victoria, so why were they trying to get him to change so much to win her back? 

The second half of the book also felt a bit slow to me. After a certain point, there wasn’t a lot of tension to keep me reading, and I was expecting things to wrap up a bit quicker than they did. 

Like other readers, I didn’t love how clueless Eli was about clinging to his intentions to win Victoria back long after he clearly had feelings for Leah. It didn’t bother me a ton, but it did make things feel a bit repetitive after a while. 

Overall, I enjoyed the first half of The Rom-Com Agenda but felt my interest waning in the second part of the book. It was a cute love story and had a nice bit of a found family angle as well, but something about it just didn’t quite hit the spot for me personally.

I recommend this one to fans of classic 80s rom coms, to those who enjoy a makeover storyline, and to folks with a fondness for small town settings. 

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