Cole Goodman was – simply put- gorgeous. He could give a woman a speeding ticket and get a thank-you in return.


Happily married to her college sweetheart, Poppy lived a blessed life with the husband of her dreams. Then everything changed. She is no longer a wife. She is no longer the envy of her single friends. Now, people look at her with pity as they whisper a single word behind her back.


Years after her husband’s tragic death, years of pain and sorrow and wishing for the life she’ll never get back, Poppy decides to finish Jamie’s birthday list. She’ll do the things he wanted to most. Because maybe, just maybe, if she can complete his list, she can start to live again.

Poppy expects going through the birthday list will be hard. She expects it to hurt. But what she doesn’t expect is Cole. Could the man who delivered the news of her husband’s death and shattered her heart be the one to help her put it back together again?



The author has kindly provided an ARC but it has no influence whatsoever on my always honest review.


4 sweet stars


I want to change things with this review (you have to shake the coconut tree from time to time to keep things interesting) and will give you five reasons why you should read The Birthday List.


The Birthday List is the book made for you if you love:


  • Perfect hero.

And when I mean perfect it is REALLY perfect. You know in every book with great male characters they do stupid thing at one time or another. Be it in not telling their secret to the main female MC sooner, deciding something for her own good without consulting her beforehand, kissing someone else while drunk …. ANYTHING that makes you want to shake some sense in him and shout: Stop being a dumbass or you’ll lose her!

Well not Cole.

Cole is just perfect. Handsome perfect with chocolate brown hair and light green eyes paired with perfect white teeth. Tall and ripped. As a cop he loves doing the right thing and will be hard with seasoned criminals but forgiving with stupid young guys speeding * he will give them a once*. Smart, kind and really understanding. He will follow Poppy’s pace never pressuring her but not letting her forget him either. He will repair your truck, carry you on his back for miles while on a hike in a park, follow you everywhere to help accomplish your bucket list.

See? P-E-R-F-E-C-T.


  • Sweet and brave heroine

Poppy is the epitome of sweet girl but with a graceful and strong mind. She will love you with all her heart. She was madly in love with her husband and was crushed when he died. Utterly crushed. But she is resilient. She will fight one moment at a time. She will live minute by minute. She will realize his dreams and will become a restaurant owner. She is visiting her late husband grand father every week to spend some quality time with him. She will save teenagers in distress. She will …make Cole wait a little too long for my taste but two can’t be perfect in one story.


  • Bucket list stories

OK this is called The Birthday List but it truly is a bucket list. A list Jamie, Poppy’s late husband wrote to accomplish at every birthday. To honor his memory, to let lose and to heal Poppy will do every item on the list.

I wondered how Devney came with some of these ideas. If skydiving is a pretty common wish swimming in Jell’O is not something I would have thought of. Eeek! I’ve never eaten jell’o being non American but I can’t imagine swimming in something green and slimmy. Just to come out of the pool looking like a leprechaun or Hulk depending on your frame.


  • Emotional *but not too much* low on angst stories

That’s one of Devney’s trademark: she is on the sweet emotional side. Not on the *I grip you by the guts put your emotions through the grinder* kind of stories. No. If you don’t like extreme emotions, extreme angst, incredible highs and abysmal lows this is your perfect read.

You will shed some tears as it’s about grief and guilt. You will laugh sometimes specially when two old grumpy men will battle with pink paint or go for stupid bets. You will swoon and blush because of Perfect Cole. You will worry when you’ll wonder how to help a teenager in a bad place. In short you will read it quickly because it flows effortlessly.

To use another comparison: it’s like rafting at level 2. Very enjoyable.


  • Stories with lovable side characters

The key word here being side characters. In some stories you have side characters with personalities so imposing they should be called main characters. Often they get their own book later to our utter delight. Devney wrote a story filled with good sidekicks. They give substance to the book but don’t overpower the main characters. They help create the background of the story. Who are the main characters friend with? Who are their parents? Who help them to sort their emotions? Who kicks you out of your own restaurant to rest because you are dead on your feet? Etc.

You’ll like them all and it will give the book a “family” feel.



Reading The Birthday List was like eating chocolate ice cream topped with whipped cream: effortless. You barely began that it’s already finished and you are wondering how you gobbled this all without feeling overstuffed.



Now for my friend Melanie here is my “stars summary”:


Male MC: *****              (even if I doubt someone as perfect exist in real life but news: this is fiction! Duh!)

Female MC: ****            (brave, sweet and ginger)

Angst: ***                         (you have grief but no real angst)

Emotions: ***/2              (sweetness, some tears and “Oh Poppy! Poor Poppy” thoughts but not overwhelming)

Heat: ****                        (instant attraction but very delayed gratification! Cole compensated by his overflowing pheromones dripping through my Kindle)

Trigger: ?                           (maybe if you recently dealt with grief)

Plot: ***/2                        (straightforward with some light twists here and there to keep things interesting)

Writing: ****                   (flows effortlessly)


Have you read it or any Devney Perry’s books?

Thanks for reading!


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  1. I haven’t read any of Devney’s books but this one sounds right up my alley! I love the bucket list plot line and a brave heroine is something I always look for, so might pick this up soon. I liked this review, Sophie!

  2. I haven’t read any of Devney’s books, but I’ve definitely been eying them for some time now Great review. Maybe I’ll read it just to see that pink paint scene