Practicing Shelf Care: a book blog focused on rom coms, mysteries, and YA novels

Hi! My name is Anne and I am a college student & book nerd 🤓 I decided to start a book blog during the COVID-19 pandemic so that I can share reviews of all the amazing books I have been reading! Thanks for coming on this journey with me :)

My primary interests are: reading (rom com books!), drinking iced tea or hot chocolate (depending on the season), and going on long walks with my puppy, Layla. Prior to quarantine my yearly book goal was 52. I am currently at 60 books and counting...

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My 5 Star Reads

My top book recs!

Beach Read by Emily Henry

This book is a must read for fans of Daisy Jones & The Six! This novel tells the story of January and Gus, both award winning novelists (she writes romance, he writes literary fiction), who are out of ideas and need to write a book. January shows up to her late father’s beach house heartbroken and no longer believing in true love. She believed her parents had a perfect love story: from a unique meet cute to growing even closer through her mother’s struggle with cancer. January grew up believing in fate, but when secrets are revealed at her father’s funeral, her whole belief system is shattered. Now, she cannot imagine writing a romance novel-- since she no longer believes in love. Gus, however, had a tumultuous childhood that left him with a more cynical outlook on life. His books are gritty and he is known for killing off his characters before the book is over. When his old classmate and former crush January shows up next door to his lake house on Lake Michigan, he is shocked. A bet between the two of them will set them off racing to finish their next book-- but it is still up in the air if they will be able to overcome their writers block and if they will be able to finally get the push they have needed to get together, years after leaving university.
Emily Henry balances a dark and grim reality of relationships and the world (with discussions of being a single parent, infidelity, and cults) while also keeping the book light with humor and second chances at love. This book is a raw and honest story that feels so real. By the end of the book, the reader will be rooting for January and Gus-- two ordinary people who are stuck in a rut at their jobs and trying not to fall in love with the girl/guy next door. This book is a true masterpiece that you will want to devour in one sitting. As someone who is an avid reader but not a writer, I knew nothing about the writing/editing process and how authors work with publishers. I really enjoyed seeing this side of the book universe in the book and I know I gained a greater appreciation for authors all over. I cannot wait to see what else Emily Henry writes, because after reading Beach Read, all of her books will be an auto-buy for me. 5/5⭐️

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

I absolutely loved this book. This is now my top recommendation for anyone asking me for romance recommendations! This novel tells the story of Tiffy and Leon, who share a flat but have never met. Tiffy uses the flat at night and Leon uses it during the day because he works nights. *There is a trigger warning for abusive relationships* The slow burn of Tiffy and Leon’s relationship is full of funny mishaps and near misses. Beth O’Leary crafts a wonderful romantic comedy full of funny moments with friends and unfortunate mishaps, while still managing to tackle important and deep issues. A truly wonderful story about second chances in love! I cannot wait to read Beth O’Leary’s next book, The Switch when it comes out next month! ​​5/5⭐️

Not Like the Movies by Kerry Winfrey

I have been looking forward to reading Chloe and Nick’s story since the moment I finished Waiting for Tom Hanks. While I thought Waiting for Tom Hanks was a cute story, the background chemistry between Nick and Chloe caught my eye more than the awkward dynamic that Drew and Annie maintained for most of the book. That being said, Not Like the Movies did not disappoint. This book was full of playful banter (my favorite type of dialogue) between Chloe and Nick. As we have come to expect from Kerry Winfrey, there were also a plethora of romantic comedy movie references and classic rom com tropes included. The biggest romantic comedy tropes here were: friends-to-loves, opposites attract, grand declaration of love, kissing in the rain, and the heroine has a whimsical job (baker/barista).
I think this is one of those rare instances where the sequel was better than the first book! I loved the way the reader was slowly getting to learn more and more about the mysterious Nick Velez. I also found Chloe to be extremely relatable (she is notoriously always busy and always reluctant to ask for help). Perhaps my favorite part though is the way both characters matured so that they could be together. Chloe and Nick could not work if Nick continues to bottle up his feelings and Chloe continues to keep everyone in her life at an arm's length. Watching the two of them grow together makes this book a wonderful read. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a short and sweet romantic comedy! 5/5⭐️

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Boyfriend Material is one of the best books I've read this year. I stayed up all night to finish it! Luc and Oliver are the definition of opposites attract. Their relationship was cute, sexy, and healing for both of them. This book has wonderfully written characters, lots of wit, and plenty of heartache. I laughed, I cried, and I went "awww". 5/5 ⭐️

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Another 5 star read! This romantic comedy will truly make you laugh out loud, and then cry as you slowly fall in love with the characters. This story is the definition of a slow burn romance but boy does it pay off in the end. Josh and Kristen are so adorable together! Josh is honestly book boyfriend goals and so so easy to fall in love with. Kristen is a firecracker for sure: she is a boss, she always has a witty comeback, and she is so strong-- even when it is to her own detriment.
Perhaps my favorite part of this story is how REAL it is. Kristen and Josh are so honest with each other. Kristen struggles with heavy periods and she and Josh talk about it-- just like a normal couple would! So many books gloss over female menstruation, even though this is something that is so common for women. I also really appreciated how the conflict of the story is not something Kristen or Josh does (ie there is no “big fight” or apology needed). Rather, the circumstances of their lives are what is keeping them apart. I loved this book and I cannot wait to read The Happy Ever After Playlist, the next book in this universe. 5/5⭐️ ​

Daisy Jones & The Six

This is the definition of a 5 star book in my mind: unique storytelling angle, fascinating characters and an addictive read. This book truly left me speechless and with a serious book hangover. This book transports the reader back into the world of rock and roll in all aspects: the sex, the drugs, and the music. The way Taylor Jenkins Reid tells the story through multiple points of view provides gripping insight into the characters lives. The story is so tragic yet so hopeful. The lives of these characters are truly surreal. 5/5 ⭐️

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus is a FIVE STAR read! This book will keep you up all night racing through the pages to find out who killed Simon. The 4 main characters are all high school stereotypes: brain, beauty, criminal, and athlete. So who killed the outcast? There is so much more to each of these characters than meets the eye. The twists and turns shocked me as I tried to piece together the mystery. With a romantic subplot, this book is a true masterpiece.

Honeymoon Alone by Nicole Macaulay

Honeymoon Alone has it all: personal growth, an unexpected romance, and a shocking crime. I enjoyed the slow burn romance, and I was pleasantly surprised with whom Lucy chose. The story has twists and turns that kept you guessing until the very end. I really enjoyed how the characters main growth was not overshadowed by her love story or a result of her relationship with anyone. At its heart, this novel is truly a book about learning to love yourself. All of the amazing things that Lucy experiences are a result of her self-discovery. Additionally, the beautiful descriptions of London make me want to go on my own trip there! When I finished the book, I realized that nobody was who they seemed to be at first glance. So, that begs the question, who is Lucy? Read to find out...