Thursday, December 1, 2022

Month in Review: November 2022


First, I just want to apologize for being so behind on blog hopping and replying to comments - we have been so busy and work has been crazy, I barely have a moment to do anything else right now!  Hopefully I can catch up soon.  Now, onto November!

Like I mentioned, it has been a busy month!  I went to the office twice this month - one day for a luncheon for a partner's 50th anniversary with the firm and another to take part in an after-hours painting party, so I just worked there all day.  Our nephew turned one, so we went to his birthday party.  Tom and I finally got a chance to see Black Adam, and that was fun!  Of course I loved the post-credits scene.  Henry learned to crawl at the beginning of the month, and a few days later, I woke up to see him on the monitor, with his arms slung over the top rail and his head poking up.  So, the crib mattress had to be lowered immediately!  Now he is moving all over the place!  My brother and his family were supposed to come in December for Henry's birthday party, but some stuff came up, so they came in November instead.  It was so great to see them, as we hadn't seen them since last Christmas.  Among other things, we went to the Liberty Science Center.  We celebrated Henry's first Thanksgiving, and he actually ate some turkey and mashed potatoes, ha!  (Eating solid food has been a daily battle in our house.)   Later that weekend, we went on a Christmas train ride with a huge family group.  And lastly, we celebrated Henry's first birthday!  Thank you to everyone for your warm wishes!

The Books

The Posts and Reviews

How are you doing?

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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Yours Truly

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Abby Jimenez
Expected publication date: April 11, 2023
A novel of terrible first impressions, hilarious second chances, and the joy in finding your perfect match from "a true talent" (Emily Henry, #1 New York Times bestselling author).

Dr. Briana Ortiz’s life is seriously flatlining. Her divorce is just about finalized, her brother’s running out of time to find a kidney donor, and that promotion she wants? Oh, that’s probably going to the new man-doctor who’s already registering eighty-friggin’-seven on Briana’s “pain in my ass” scale. But just when all systems are set to hate, Dr. Jacob Maddox completely flips the game . . . by sending Briana a letter.

And it’s a really good letter. Like the kind that proves that Jacob isn’t actually Satan. Worse, he might be this fantastically funny and subversively likeable guy who’s terrible at first impressions. Because suddenly he and Bri are exchanging letters, sharing lunch dates in her “sob closet,” and discussing the merits of freakishly tiny horses. But when Jacob decides to give Briana the best gift imaginable—a kidney for her brother—she wonders just how she can resist this quietly sexy new doctor . . . especially when he calls in a favor she can’t refuse. - from Goodreads


Monday, November 28, 2022

How My Reading Has Changed Since Becoming A Mom

It's hard to believe, but Henry is turning ONE today!  This past year has been a blur, filled with trying times but so many more joyful moments of smiles, laughs, hugs, and new achievements.  Of course, I knew our life would change once we became parents (and it has, in so many ways), but since this is a book blog, let's talk about how my reading has changed since becoming a mom!  I think most of these are fairly obvious, but that's ok!

  1. I'm reading less.  I think this is a given - babies take up a lot of your time, so most of my reading comes after Henry goes to bed.  And since my bedtime has also gotten earlier, this doesn't leave a ton of time each day for reading.  But honestly, I'm reading more than I thought I would!  I expected maybe a book a week, and I'm probably around two a week, most weeks.  
  2. I ADORE children's books.  I've always enjoyed buying books for my nieces and nephews, but now that I'm paying even more attention to them, I've found I really love children's books - the charming text and rhymes, the simple but important messages, the cute illustrations.  It is such a joy to read with Henry every day because even if he doesn't totally understand what we're doing all the time, I love it and I hope that's coming across to him.  And as much as I love books, I never really thought I'd be the mom doing all the voices and making all the animal sounds, but here we are!
  3. Henry's TBR is just as important as mine.  I'm constantly on the lookout for new books for him, whether they are new or old, and I've created a wishlist for him on our library's website.  I choose a theme or two each month for our reading, and at the beginning of the month I peruse our wishlist, check out several books from the library, and pick a few from his shelf.  He loves touch-and-feel and lift-a-flap books, so I always try to make sure those are mixed in.  We reread each book many times during the month, but I also want to keep things new and exciting for him.
  4. My identity as a reader is expanding.  At the daycare, I'm known as Henry's mom, but also the "reading mom," and Henry is the infant room's "little bookworm."  Whenever something about books or literacy comes up at school, they often show a picture of him, with his little books, and I love that!  He proves that you're never too young to enjoy books.  The director and I chat about books quite often, sending each other recommendations for Henry and the other kids.  Although I would never want to force a hobby on my child, I know how important it is to expose him to all types of books, and so my identity as a reader has expanded from a solo activity to also being somewhat of an advocate for children's literacy.
  5. I'm planning for the future.  My hope is that as Henry gets older, we will continue to enjoy reading together (and maybe that will include less chewing on books).  Several of the books on his TBR are meant for older children, so that's a start!  My sister is inspiring me in this area, too - her daughter Luna is 6 and loves to read, and Michele is reading and compiling a library of books for Luna to read when she's older, mostly YA books she thinks she'll enjoy.

Fellow parents - how have your kids impacted your reading?  Or if you don't have kids, what big events in your life have changed your reading habits?

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Bloggers I'm Thankful For


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is a thankful freebie, so I wanted to highlight those bloggers I'm thankful for.  I'm so grateful to be a part of this book blogging community - there's so much love and support, and this is just a small list (in no particular order) of some wonderful people!

Friday, November 18, 2022

Holiday Quick Reviews

 Meet Me in London by Georgia Toffolo (2021)

Victoria is an aspiring clothing designer who has hit some bumps in the road.  Oliver is the heir to a department store empire.  To make his parents think he's finally ready to settle down, he proposes a fake relationship to Victoria, but pretty soon, it doesn't feel so fake...  I thought this was a cute idea for a holiday romance, but the execution fell short for me.  The relationship between Victoria and Oliver never really felt fake, because there was such an attraction already there, so rooting for them was easy.  Victoria has a secret that could seriously affect their future, though, and that did provide a bit of a question mark for their romance.  What didn't work for me was the writing.  It... wasn't great.  So much telling, especially in awkward-sounding dialogue, not enough showing, and the characters often felt quite immature in the words Toffolo chose for them, which was unfortunate.  But, it was a quick and sometimes cute read for the holiday season.  3 stars

Always, in December by Emily Stone (2021)

Josie hasn't enjoyed the holidays since her parents passed away in an accident when she was a child, but this year, she meets Max, and the time they spend together gives her hope that things may be changing.  However, when he disappears, Josie must learn how to move forward on her own, which is difficult when Max keeps turning up at the most inopportune times.  This was definitely a heavy story, almost melancholy at times.  If you're looking for a sweet holiday romance, this is not the book for you.  But if you're willing to get to know characters who have their reasons for not enjoying the holiday season, give this a try.  Like I mentioned, Josie lost her parents at Christmas many years ago, but I was glad that she still had her grandparents and aunt to look out for her.  There's something going on with Max that I figured out pretty quickly and from then on just kept wondering how he would talk to Josie about it.  I liked the way that Josie and Max were continually brought together, and although I could understand Josie's reasons for not wanting to engage again with Max, I just wanted them to have the conversation they desperately needed to have.  As the holidays come around again, they are given yet another chance, and this is where you need to have your tissues.  Although there is so much sadness in this book, there are glimmers of happiness and hope, and for those reasons, I definitely think this is a book worth reading.  4 stars

* This post contains affiliate links; I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Hotel of Secrets

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Diana Biller
Expected publication date: March 28, 2023
During ball season, anything can happen, even love.

It’s ball season in Vienna, and Maria Wallner only wants one thing: to restore her family’s hotel, the Hotel Wallner, to its former glory. She’s not going to let anything get in her way - not her parents’ three-decade-long affair; not seemingly-random attacks by masked assassins; and especially not the broad-shouldered American foreign agent who’s saved her life two times already. No matter how luscious his mouth is.

Eli Whittaker also only wants one thing: to find out who is selling American secret codes across Europe, arrest them, and go home to his sensible life in Washington, DC. He has one lead - a letter the culprit sent from a Viennese hotel. But when he arrives in Vienna, he is immediately swept up into a chaotic whirlwind of balls, spies, waltzes, and beautiful hotelkeepers who seem to constantly find themselves in danger. He disapproves of all of it! But his disapproval is tested as he slowly falls deeper into the chaos - and as his attraction to said hotelkeeper grows.
  - from Goodreads

Monday, November 14, 2022

Michele's Monday Picks #1

Angela is so generous to let me pop in with a new little series, Michele’s Monday Picks! I’m not a blogger or bookstagrammer, but I love getting excited about new releases with the rest of you. Here I’ll be sharing new books I’m really looking forward to! 

by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka

Expected publication: January 24th, 2023

From Goodreads:

When a couple starts to feel like they're married to a stranger, a flirtatious game of pretend becomes the spark they need to reignite their relationship.

Eliza and Graham are anticipating an anything-but-sexy, weeklong getaway to celebrate their five-year anniversary. Nestled on the Northern California coastline, the resort prides itself on being a destination for those in love and those looking to find it. For Eliza and Graham, it might as well be a vacation with a roommate.

When a well-meaning guest mistakes Eliza and Graham for being single and introduces them at the hotel bar, they don't correct him. Suddenly, they're pretending to be perfect strangers and it's Eliza and Graham find themselves flirting like it's their first date, and waiting with butterflies in their stomach for the other to text back.

Everyone at the retreat can sense the electric chemistry between Eliza and Graham's alter egos. But when their scintillating game of roleplaying ends, will they still feel the heat?

I absolutely loved this duo’s adult debut, The Roughest Draft. I also love a marriage in trouble trope, so I’m hoping this one is a winner!

Is this a trope you enjoy? Do you think you’ll be picking this one up?