Member Reviews

I thought it was charming and well written. In my opinion both the main characters are trying to find themselves ant that relatable. I must admit the sister-in-law aspect of it did creep me out.

Thank you NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books.

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Oh I love a good road trip book so when I read the synopsis, I knew I’d enjoy it! The two main characters, Emma and Lucy, are both struggling to find their way forward in life and I found that relatable.

Their paths crossed years ago but only briefly and through some twists of fate they end up together in a Westie travelling across the country. Emma is running from her deeply unhappy marriage to Lucy’s brother and Lucy is hoping to find something worth staying for as she travels to Portland.

As they travel across the southern states they get into some predicaments and fun and get to know each other (intimately). Honestly the whole sister-in-law situation was a little odd to me. Felt like it would definitely make for some uncomfortable holiday dinners in the future but I decided to let it go and just go for the drive. In the end you are rooting for these two and happy they find their happily ever after. I especially enjoyed the ending where each woman found their voice and advocated for themselves and then found each other. The prologue was also a highlight as we get to find out what happened later which is always a bonus. I love the idea that these two drove off into the sunset together and are out there road tripping still.

The book is filled with well written and complex characters, lots of queer representation, love and lust and happy endings.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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If you want to read a book about falling in love with your brother's wife, after being hijacked in the van you just brought off of him, then this book is for you!

I wanted to get into this book because it gave off Thelma and Louise-type vibes with the runaway wife-type situation, and some of it was good, but then some of it just... wasn't. I found myself having to re-read paragraphs to make sense of it. I found it confusing who was saying what to whom and it just didn't really flow well for my brain.

Some of it was a bit concerning, like the Plantation jokes. I didn't find it funny considering it was a bunch of rich people getting married in it and laughing about it afterward. I found there wasn't any huge tension between the two before they eventually had sex like it was rushed in a way they hadn't formed that connection yet. A

But what I did love about it was that Emma was brave and stood up for herself. She needed it after the controlling bs of a husband.

Thanks to Netgalley and Boldstroke Books for a copy of the ebook. This review is left voluntarily.

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DNF at the end of Chapter 2.

I had been a huge fan of Jenna Jarvis since her debut sapphic dragon fantasy book, Digging for Heaven. This is Jarvis’ second publication, a contemporary romance between Lucy and Emma that blossoms on a cross-country road trip from Florida to Portland.

While I don't think it's inherently problematic, I am giving this book a major side eye. For one, this book is basically the FMC cheating with her brother's wife. For another, I do take issue with some of the contents of this book. My biggest questions are - Was writing certain points necessary? Did these portions of the book really need to be written in for a full effect to be reached? Was the author the correct person to write certain aspects into the book and if not, did it go through a diversity or sensitivity reader or team?

From what I know of the author, she is a queer white woman from Glasgow, Scotland. The moment I read certain passages in the prologue, I did reach out to Jarvis and ask if there was a sensitivity reader hired and she said there wasn’t as the budget in the book didn’t allow for one. I was buddy reading this with a friend of mine and when she, too, ended up reaching out of her own volition later, Jarvis confirmed that her editor is a Southern non-person of color who looked over the book. As Jarvis mentions in the acknowledgements “Barbara, thank you for making me a better writer all over again. Thank you for putting up with my constant mistakes about the United States and how real people living there speak. I also need to thank my wonderful friend Caro, who was my go-to point of reference throughout this process.”

In the prologue, we open with the FMC, Lucy, as she attends her brother's wedding to a girl named Emma, that just so happens to be taking place on a plantation. While Lucy does muse how tasteless the wedding is, the wedding pushes through and Lucy goes on with her life. The prologue ends and skips to Lucy getting back to her apartment with her planning the road trip on chapter 1 and 2. I do believe the goal of adding a plantation scene was to show that her family and her brother (the groom) were horrible people, but I don't think it was quite a necessary detail to show how horrible a family could be without potentially triggering Black readers.

Joanna groaned as she brushed down her satin dress. “For God’s sake, it’s just an old private estate that was available quickly enough for them.”
“You’re telling me you’d risk a wedding this haunted?”
Eventually, Mick spoke up again with what sounded like deep regret. “This is a plantation, isn’t it.”
“They called it a family estate on the invite.”
“Absolutely a plantation, you were right.”
“Thank you.”
“Bride was hot, though.”

In chapter 1 we find Lucy starting on her road trip and as soon as she gets in a van she got from her brother and discovers someone hiding in the back seat of her van when all of a sudden she gets threatened.

“All right.” The voice was low and a little shaky but frighteningly certain. “Stop driving and switch seats. I’ve got a gun, and there is no way I’m driving around in the back seat of my own fucking van.”

What made me most uncomfortable about this van hijack situation, as a person of color, was reading the scene where they joke about cops. I think it tried to make this situation lighthearted and funny but I honestly didn't find it funny at all. It made me quite uncomfortable instead.

“You know, I doubt the cops would see it that way.”
“What, about it being a van?”
“No,” Lucy said, crossing her arms childishly. “About me being the car thief. Van thief. I bought this from your husband. The dipshit even wrote me a receipt. I’m sure that’d be good enough for any Florida police cruiser driving by.”
“Are we really calling being held at gunpoint an inconvenience?”
“Haven’t shot you yet, have I?” There was a squirming look in Emma’s eye. Guilt, maybe, but also like she felt bad for finding some of this funny.

At the beginning of chapter 2, the terrorist attack of September 11 was brought up in casual conversation as a way to refer to the type of country songs they were listening to. While I understand that this is a term to used to indicate the shift of country music into the more patriotic style that emerged after this historical event, it seems to be of use more in the analysis of country music and not something that is dropped in casual conversation. As no country music examination was done in chapter 2, I do believe that the use of the term “pre-9/11 country songs” could’ve easily been changed to 80’s or 90’s country music without taking away the meaning of passage. Instead Jarvis and her Editor chose to use a term that referenced a massive terrorist attack that shook the nation and led to a surge in Islamophobia and a resurgence of anti-Muslim hate crimes. This, in light of current political events, with the spike of anti-Muslim crimes, especially towards Palestinian-American children, feels even more tasteless.
“They’d just finished their fourth cassette tape, another made up primarily of pre-9/11 country songs, when she spoke up for the first time.”

The writing on its own is quite muddled and confusing. I had to reread portions of it over and over to truly understand who was who and which passages were referring to which characters. I’m not sure why this book was so different from the wonderfully written Digging For Heaven but it honestly makes me worried about picking up anything else from this author in the future.

To go back on the references of the Plantation Wedding, while I did DNF this at the end of chapter 2, I did skim for all other references of the world plantation and it seemes to be was used as the butt of many jokes.
“Hmm. Good point.” Reluctantly, Lucy started hunting for her shorts. “Or we could go have another visit to a plantation house.”
Emma’s eyes flashed in warning, but this felt like one Lucy didn’t want to leave alone.
“Actually,” Lucy felt compelled to continue, “she’s my brother’s wife.”
“You dumb fuck,” Annie breathed, shaking her head at Lucy fondly.
“You remember that wedding you refused to be my date for?”
“The plantation wedding?”
Emma groaned as Annie continued shaking her head.
Annie leaned back in her chair and finally acknowledged Lucy’s arrival by blinking sweetly.
“This one here didn’t let me know it was a family thing until the day of. Or the plantation of it all. Coffee’s in the pot, Lu.”
“It…it was a plantation, wasn’t it?”
“No doubt.”
“Babe, that place was so fucking cursed.”

Again, I only did read until the end of chapter 2 so someone who might have read the whole thing might not have the same issues I do. But I do believe three chapters are enough for me to know that I am not the right audience for this book.

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This story held some promise and I was hoping for a smooth ride. Sadly it was anything but for me.

I could not get into the story and felt no connection to the MC's. The writing was good but the vibe was off for me. Some parts went too fast for me and other parts dragged on. I felt no desire to devour this book and maybe I was excpecting a bit too much.

Lucy embarks on a road trip in an old VW van her brother just sold her for a good price. Little did she know she'd be harbouring his wife in the process to get out of the marriage. There were some funny bits and some sad bits but none of them spoke to me.

Maybe it was the fact that they were sister in laws that hel me back from really liking their story or failing to see their connection I am not sure. But this story did not capture me in the ways I had hope it would.

An ARC was provided to me via Netgalley in return of an honest review.

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A forbidden romance steeped in family drama and a complex discussion of abuse.

Lucy does not get along well with her family, least of all her entitled brother Jordan. She’s spent her life working as far away from them as possible. They’ve always seen her as someone who lacks direction without a serious career. But that’s not who Lucy is and she’s ready to try and settle down. Lucy has one last road trip across the US planned and the vintage VW bus her brother is selling is perfect for it. There’s just one problem, the bus really belongs to his wife Emma and she’s not ready to give it up. So, Emma decides to kidnap Lucy in her own bus and drive across the country together.

There is a lot of family drama in this novel and much like real life most of it is not resolved. I assumed that most of the tension would come from Lucy developing a relationship with her brother’s wife but this was almost an afterthought compared to the other family drama. There should be a trigger warning for domestic abuse and gaslighting as this was an important plot line throughout. It’s a challenging topic but I thought it was well handled. In particular, the gas lighting that Emma experienced and her reasons for going back were believable.

This was likely an issue with the ARC but I did also find myself distracted trying to figure out where they were headed. Early on it was mentioned that Emma was going to LA but then there was a reference to a job opportunity in SF for Lucy.

Overall, this contained some complex storylines that I thought were well done but it was not what I was expecting from the blurb.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC!

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I absolutely loved this book! Some of my favorite tropes were executed nicely. This book even made me (briefly) contemplate the van life.

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I really enjoyed this!! I was giggling and kicking my feet half the time.
I started this with zero expectations, and ended up pleasantly surprised. The characters are flawed, but lovable and tackles some serious themes, without them seeming to be there just for the plot.
Even the side characters were super cool and I wish there were books on them too.
Can't wait to see what Jenna Jarvis come up with next.

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A road trip vacation turns into a strange kidnapping situation when Emma, the sister-in-law Lucy hardly knows, decides to take back her life (and her van) and run away. This story has humor, spice, romance, and adventure. Jenna did a wonderful job weaving together the heavy and light-hearted parts of this story to create a beautiful journey about friendship, love, finding yourself, and starting over.

Lucy has expertly kept her distance from her wealthy and pretentious family - living and working in other countries, traveling the world, and using her background in law to help make the world better instead of pad her pockets. Finally ready to plant some roots, she decides to take a classic American road trip when she finds out her brother, Jordan, is selling an old VW van.

The problem is - the van doesn’t belong to Jordan. It’s his wife, Emma’s, most treasured possession. Tired of living a life she never really wanted and furious with Jordan for selling her van, she hides out in the van prepared for a good ol’ fashioned hijacking. Except other than getting some cash and clothes - she didn’t really think this plan through. So she strikes a deal with her practically stranger sister-in-law.

Emma has a lot of things to work through both from her childhood and marriage - and she isn’t ready to talk about any of it. Especially not to Lucy whom she hardly knows let alone trusts. But as the two women take off on this strange cross-country road trip, they begin to connect on a deeper level. And it doesn’t take long for the sparks to start flying. But talk about a predicament! Your husband’s sister? Your brother’s wife? Surely it could never work or be anything more than a road tip fling… Right? As time goes on, and decisions have to be made, it gets harder and harder to think about their time coming to an end.

This was a fun and wild ride that kept me hooked from page one! I loved the pining, the banter, the shenanigans, the intimacy, and literally everything about Emma’s and Lucy’s connection.

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Lucy, returning from working abroad, purchases a vintage VW bus from her brother. She plans to use it for a cross country trip before she settles into a new job. Little does she know that it actually belongs to his wife Emma whom she has only met once before. And Emma decides to take this opportunity to flee her marriage.

I couldn’t quite decide if this is supposed to be funny or emotionally growing. But neither character was easy for me to understand or connect with. I got glimpses of their histories and how they viewed things but other big things got skimmed over. A big deal is made out of something Lucy’s brother did and then it turns out to not be important in the long run. I don’t want to give other examples as I don't want to spoil the story. And then there is the ick cheating factor that is the elephant in the room. The cover is very cute and I did like how everything ends.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for the ARC and I am leaving a voluntary review.

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Fun and very emotional!

Emma ends up kidnapping her estranged sister-in-law Lucy, when her husband Jordan sells it to Lucy for her road trip. Desperate to get out of her marriage, Emma takes this opportunity rediscover who she was and wants to be, but it’s not the only thing she learns about herself on the way.

This was so much fun! From the first moment to the very last, Emma and Lucy shared a complicated adventure that was more than just a road trip. Everything was explored, from emotions, to connections, to music, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of their trip. Jenna very cleverly embedded a level of humour that was present at all times, even when things got a little more serious to keep the mood light and remind me that this was a journey, not just for Emma and Lucy. It was free-spirited and in so many ways empowering. Both Emma and Lucy were rooting for their own freedom, taking opportunities and chances, and eventually discovered they shared more than just a need for self-discovery.

Emma, naturally was stressed and a bit more agitated throughout the story, whereas Lucy was calm and chilled, creating a nice balance. Right from the start she understood Emma, and you could just tell that they were going to end up falling for one another because of the situation they found themselves in. For both of them it was a bit more of a surprise, but their connection just felt natural at all times and I loved how they supported one another. I expected Lucy to find things more difficult once she developed feelings for Emma because of the dynamic and family relationship they shared through marriage but she really didn’t. When things seemed tough, she was still making clear decisions and knew what she really wanted.

I was smiling so much while reading this, unable to put it down for the thrill of all the fun and excitement of their adventure. And when things got more serious, I felt so emotionally connected to them both, I just really hoped they’d make it work because after everything they both really deserved it.

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This was EVERYTHING. Ride with me was charming, heartwarming, endearing, hot… I couldn’t stop reading, I needed to know what happened with Lucy and Emma!! Annie’s my fav tho, I never expected to love a character so much and she’s not even on in that much!

Comfort book for sure🌷

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The book got off to a bit of a slow start for me and seemed to initially lack character development for both Emma and Lucy's roles. This made those two characters mesh a bit too much and it was difficult to distinguish them. Then they had sex very quickly after Emma kidnapped Lucy. The pace of the book slowed down a bit when they got to Texas and stayed with Lucy's friend, Annie. Resolution of the main issues of Emma's husband (also Lucy's brother) weren't addressed until late in the story. 3 stars

I received an ARC from Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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I really enjoyed this book and read it in a day. I thought it was fast paced and believable - though maybe that’s bc I have my own VW and dream of a road trip across the US!
I thought Emma would get on my nerves as she had the potential to be quite bland. Ultimately though she surprised me. I enjoyed the supporting characters as much as the mains and, even though he was barely in it, despised Jordan. A very well written book with a hint of Thelma and Louise!

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This was an okay read but the story failed to draw me in. The romance began pretty quick and without much of a foundation or chemistry. The dialogue between the two main characters was stilted and overall boring. I couldn't make much of a distinction between the characters, they mostly lacked individual personalities.

I received and ARC from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books in exchange for an honest review.

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Thelma and Louise the sapphic version and with a happy ending. Enjoy the ride!

I received an advance review copy for free and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Lucy has always been a wanderer. She spent years across the world using her human rights law degree to make things a little better. Now she is ready to return to her own country, the US. But she wants to do it her own way. When she learns her brother Jordan has a VW van for sale, she jumps at the chance. What she didn’t expect is a secret travel companion that apparently comes with the van.

Emma is very unhappy. Married to Jordan has never been easy and although she tried to make the best of it, she knows it’s time to get out. Struggling to remember who she actually is and the parts of herself she lost while playing the dutiful housewife in a Florida mansion, she does something crazy. When her husband sells her beloved VW van to get back at her for ruining a party, she sees an escape she just has to take.

There is something about two strangers driving miles and miles in close proximity that draws them together. It creates delicious chemistry. Although it takes a while for Emma to open up to Lucy, when she does you as a reader know they are going to make it. Even the fact that Lucy is technically her sister in law doesn’t deter Emma for long. When sparks fly, boy, they soar!

I’ve really enjoyed getting on the road with these two ladies. And what’s not to like about a romcom worthy ending? Get ready to swoon!

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A summer road trip turns into a life-changing journey in this cute queer romance.

Lucy is looking to find herself when she buys a van from her not-so-dear brother, but when his wife Emma hijacks the van, things get complicated.

This book is pretty well written, and I liked a lot about it. The self discovery, the trans best friend, and the detours were all great. I even love the end. When I could forget that they're sister-in-laws, it was a really good story. But that part still weirded me out. I did appreciate Emma's character arc. Overall, a solid read.

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Road trip romance has become one of my favorite tropes!

If you have read Jenna Jarvis's first book Digging for Heaven, you would understand how skillfully she has crafted her story and characters. I am particularly fond of how the book has been set up, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of it. I love how the ending came together, and I absolutely adore Emma! However, I admit that I find it difficult to continue reading through the middle of the book. The plot seems to be moving slowly, and waiting for it to move forward is frustrating. Overall, I do enjoy this book! And I can't wait to read Jenna Jarvis next works

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It felt like a bit of a slow start for the first 10%, then interactions between the mains happen. I like their banter. I really like the mains interaction, however their sex scenes came a bit out the blue. Also, after that, tension was a bit loose. The major barrier of exish husband still exists but that drama isn’t getting any tighter. I felt the plot suffered a bit from then till about 85%, when the ex husband reappeared and the plot and my interest reignited.

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Lucy returns home after being away from her rich family to settle down, but wants one last trip before she does. She buys a VW bus from her brother, unaware that it was his wife's, Emma. Needless to say, Lucy didn't know Emma was hiding in the van when she took off on her trip.

Emma hijacks Lucy's trip and they bond and get to know one another while stuck in the van. Emma realizes she made a mistake marrying Jordan, Lucy's brother and is finding herself and true love on the road.

Overall, not a bad book. but I couldn't connect with either of the characters so I was never truly invested in the story. I like Jarvis' writing and I'm hoping her next book will be better at least in my eyes. I enjoyed the first book by this author more than this one. The premise was interesting, but it fell flat for me.

I received and ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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