Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Paris Apartment

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Lucy Foley
Expected publication date: February 22, 2022
Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.

The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.

The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge

Everyone's a neighbor. Everyone's a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling. - from Goodreads

I haven't been reading a ton of mysteries/thrillers lately, but I can't resist the Paris setting and I've enjoyed Foley's books in the past!

Monday, November 22, 2021

Guest Blogger: Cover Love

Michele is back with another guest post, and today she's talking cover love!  As a self-proclaimed cover snob, I'm definitely all about this topic!


Cover trends in the publishing industry are constantly changing and evolving. So too do our own personal tastes in book covers. Today I thought I would share some covers that I am really loving lately.


I used to definitely gravitate more towards the illustrated character covers for romance novels. But now, I really love when real models are used. Melanie Harlow’s Cloverleigh Farms all have really dreamy and beautiful covers. The covers for Karla Sorensen’s Ward Sisters series are also really fantastic. 

Fun fact – the cover models on Kristen Granata’s Someone You Love and Kandi Steiner’s Close Quarters and Say Yes are all couples in real life!

Illustrated – with a Twist

There are authors who design their own book covers, including Penny Reid and Staci Hart. Staci Hart’s covers are very fun and quirky, but Penny Reid put a crafty twist on hers. Her Winston Brothers series includes covers with cross-stitched bearded guys and the Solving for Pie series features string art.

The Stay a Spell series from Juliette Cross caught my eye immediately with their slightly gothic but still colorful, fully illustrated look.  Before it was relaunched as the Clifton Forge series with new covers, Devney Perry’s Tin Gypsy series all had striking covers that you would not normally associate with the romance genre.

What types of covers are you drawn to? Do you have any favorite covers?
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Friday, November 19, 2021

Quick Reviews

This book actually turned out to be a collection of three romance novellas, all of which take place in Moonbright, Maine, a town that loves fall and Halloween, and have ties to a local beloved bakery.  Each story had a different romance trope - love at first sight between two chefs, although one is only planning on being in town temporarily; a sort-of enemies-to-lovers, in which a woman has her sights set on one man but eventually sees that the man in front of her is a better match; and two people who knew each other in high school and now work together in local government, years later.  I loved the small-town autumn vibe of each novella, and the stories are low drama with sweet romances and surprising steam at times.  My issue with novellas is that the story often doesn't feel fleshed out enough or things are wrapped up too quickly, and those both definitely happened here, but overall, these are charming stories that are perfect for autumn reading.  4 stars

Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price (2021)
A Pride & Prejudice retelling where the characters are caught up in a murder mystery.  Lizzie Bennet wants to be a lawyer, and she gets a chance to prove herself to her father when she's brought on by Bingley to prove his innocence in his brother-in-law's murder.  Darcy is the lawyer-in-training officially handling the Bingley case.  I generally love P&P retellings, but this one missed the mark for me.  I didn't really understand the author's need to keep the story in the original time period, when she had to take serious liberties both plot and character-wise.  Just put this in a different time when it would have made more sense for a woman to train to become a lawyer.   I also didn't understand why Lizzie had to be so young (17) - also totally unrealistic.  Lizzie was supposed to be so smart, but her logic was flawed and very simplistic at times.  That all being said, I did enjoy seeing where the author stayed true to the original text and where she made adaptations.  The identity of the killer was also something I didn't guess, so that's always fun in a mystery.  Overall, a good idea for a P&P retelling, but lacking in the execution.  2.5 stars

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

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Can't-Wait Wednesday: One Night on the Island

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Josie Silver
Expected publication date: March 29, 2022


When Cleo's editor requests that she marry herself on a remote island for her dating column, she envisions skinny-dipping in the crystalline waters and revelling in the blissful quiet.

But when she arrives at Otter Lodge, Mack, a grumpy, yet undeniably handsome American, insists that her cosy cottage is actually his. With no beds to spare and a storm fast approaching, they're trapped.

Can what began as a disastrous double-booking turn into something more? And might this one night on the island change both of their lives forever?

An uplifting and immensely moving love story for fans of The Holiday, The Flatshare and Nicholas Sparks. - from Goodreads

I was literally thinking to myself one day that I hadn't seen anything new from Josie Silver in awhile, and then this book popped up!  I was so happy because I loved her two previous books, and this also sounds incredible!

Monday, November 15, 2021

Nonfiction November 2021: Be The Expert - Iconic Buildings

It's Week 3 of Nonfiction November!  This week, hosted by Veronica at The Thousand Book Project, is Be/Ask/Become the Expert.  This year I'm going to attempt to be the expert.  I was a history major in college and worked as a historian for a few years after.  The firm I worked at did a lot of architectural history and I always loved learning about different buildings and why they were important or special.  Even though I no longer work in the field, I still enjoy reading about iconic buildings, so today I've put together a list of some of my favorite nonfiction books about famous buildings.

What are some of your favorite books about iconic buildings?
* This post contains affiliate links; I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Quick Reviews

The Player Next Door by K.A. Tucker (2020)

Scarlet and Shane spent one magical summer together before their senior year of high school, but then he broke her heart and she left town.  Now, 12 years later, she's back and living next door to her former flame.  Can they overcome their past and his current situation to find love again?  I enjoyed this book because of how real it felt.  I sympathized with Scarlet and how she wrestled with her attraction to Shane and the hurt feelings from her past.  I liked the addition of Shane being a father and how they had to navigate the complicated relationship with his ex.  It felt so true to life.  Tucker's writing is just so good - it's so readable and I felt swept up in the story, wanting to know how it would end for the characters.  I did have a couple issues, though - I didn't like the way Shane blamed Scarlet for their issues years earlier, and the storyline with Scarlet's mother felt a little out place and had such a strange ending. But overall, a sweet and steamy second-chance romance!  4 stars

Shipped by Angie Hockman (2021)
Henley is totally focused on her career as a marketing manager for a cruise line and she's ecstatic to find out she's been shortlisted for a promotion - until she finds out her competition is her workplace nemesis Graeme and they'll both be going on a cruise to the Galapagos Islands in order to put together their proposals on how to boost bookings.  What will Henley do when she realizes she's been wrong about Graeme all along?  I really enjoyed this story, although honestly, the romance took a backseat for me when compared to all the other themes of the book.  I liked that Henley saw a different side to Graeme once she met him in person and he was so sweet to her, considering they were in competition with each other.  But more than that, I loved being able to travel to the Galapagos Islands (or at least, an area inspired by them).  The cruise itself sounded amazing!  I liked watching Henley form her eco-tourism proposal and the realizations she came to about her career.  Plus, she was super proactive when faced with some serious workplace issues, and I really admired her for that.  4 stars

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

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Magnolia Palace

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Fiona Davis
Expected publication date: January 25, 2022
Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue, returns with a tantalizing novel about the secrets, betrayal, and murder within one of New York City’s most impressive Gilded Age mansions.

Eight months since losing her mother in the Spanish flu outbreak of 1919, twenty-one-year-old Lillian Carter’s life has completely fallen apart. For the past six years, under the moniker Angelica, Lillian was one of the most sought-after artists’ models in New York City, with statues based on her figure gracing landmarks from the Plaza Hotel to the Brooklyn Bridge. But with her mother gone, a grieving Lillian is rudderless and desperate—the work has dried up and a looming scandal has left her entirely without a safe haven. So when she stumbles upon an employment opportunity at the Frick mansion—a building that, ironically, bears her own visage—Lillian jumps at the chance. But the longer she works as a private secretary to the imperious and demanding Helen Frick, the daughter and heiress of industrialist and art patron Henry Clay Frick, the more deeply her life gets intertwined with that of the family—pulling her into a tangled web of romantic trysts, stolen jewels, and family drama that runs so deep, the stakes just may be life or death.

Nearly fifty years later, mod English model Veronica Weber has her own chance to make her career—and with it, earn the money she needs to support her family back home—within the walls of the former Frick residence, now converted into one of New York City’s most impressive museums. But when she—along with a charming intern/budding art curator named Joshua—is dismissed from the Vogue shoot taking place at the Frick Collection, she chances upon a series of hidden messages in the museum: messages that will lead her and Joshua on a hunt that could not only solve Veronica’s financial woes, but could finally reveal the truth behind a decades-old murder in the infamous Frick family. - from Goodreads

Fiona Davis is a go-to author for me, and I always love seeing which iconic NYC building she's going to feature next!

Monday, November 8, 2021

Nonfiction November 2021: Book Pairings

It's Week 2 of Nonfiction November and this week I think is my favorite of the whole event - fiction/nonfiction book pairings!  This week is hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey.  This topic inspired me so much during my first time participating in Nonfiction November that I now regularly plan reviews like this during the year.  During 2021, I've done four fiction/nonfiction book pairings:

Friday, November 5, 2021

Blog Tour + Excerpt: Before And After You


Before and After You, an all-new heartfelt small town romance from Hope Ellis, is LIVE in Kindle Unlimited! 

Leigh D’Alessandro is a fighter. She fought to escape her dysfunctional family, to end a soul-killing marriage, and to build a new life in a small Tennessee town.  When the fate of the community hospital she works for is threatened, she’s primed and ready for battle. What she can’t fight any longer is her unshakable attraction to her best friend’s brother, who has a notorious reputation and triggers all her worst fears about trust and betrayal.

Walker Leffersbee is a lover. At least that’s the reputation he’s built in his hometown. Scion of a prosperous Tennessee banking family, he’s a known ladies’ man and a confirmed bachelor. His hands are full as he juggles competing demands from his family’s bank and his growing property renovation business. The last thing he needs is to give in to his long-standing craving for his sister’s headstrong and hot-tempered best friend. Especially because she’s the only one who knows the secret that threatens to upend his life.

When a home renovation project brings them too close for comfort, they both struggle to withstand the growing heat. As they grow closer helping each other navigate family minefields, Walker learns that love is not a four-letter word, and Leigh realizes that some battles are meant to be lost. 

But Walker’s secret is the one thing that could keep them apart, unless they both decide to fight for the love they never looked for but now can’t live without.

‘Before and After You’ is a contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #2 in the Leffersbee series, Green Valley Chronicles, Penny Reid Book Universe.

Grab your copy TODAY!

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Amazon CA:

Amazon AU:


Start the Leffersbee series of standalones TODAY!

Been There Done That is now available in KU!


I stopped in my tracks, my breath catching in my throat.

Walker Leffersbee.

Damn it.

Indecision glued my feet to the floor, halting my progress as I stared at his frozen profile. I briefly considered turning the opposite way and retracing the same route I’d used coming down.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see him.

That wasn’t the case.

Well, not exactly.

But there were several reasons why his sudden appearance was damned inconvenient.

First, Walker was the older brother of my best friend in the world, Zora Leffersbee. But I didn’t consider Walker to be my brother, not by any stretch of the imagination. Through all the years we’d known each other, our relationship had continually evolved. He was as supportive of me as he was of Zora. But we both knew he didn’t think of me as a sister.

 Which led to the second problem.

Walker Leffersbee was sexy. Sexy as hell. The kind of sexy that always took my brain captive with the grimy bass line of a 90s R&B song and thickened my blood for the heat of inevitable battle. We were always locked in some kind of mental combat, our traded barbs and jabs never quite masking the powerful current of attraction between us. He would have been easy to ignore if my attraction to him were based solely on his physicality. I’d bounced on more than one pretty man in my day and managed to keep my brain cells unscrambled. But he was hot as hell with all those intriguing layers. Damn it. I didn’t have brain space to deal with Walker right now.


I stiffened, surfacing from my thoughts. Walker straightened and ambled closer. He moved with the lumbering grace exclusive to big men, a very slight bowleggedness lending his walk a kind of deliberate, sexy swagger. Advancing, he squinted slightly as if trying to make me out in the muted lighting of the hospital’s basement floor. He stopped only three feet away from me.

I disciplined my eyes, sternly instructed them away from the just-right fit of Walker’s huge shoulders in his white broadcloth shirt. I did not allow my eyes to notice how the tip of his conservative navy tie arrowed the path to his tapered waist and the slightest imprint of powerful thighs just visible in his dark slacks. I refused to dwell on how beautifully his perfectly sculpted dark goatee contrasted with the deep mahogany of his skin.

My fingers clenched against the empty wish for a cigarette.

He wasn’t nearly as circumspect, making no effort to disguise the frank assessment in the gaze that slowly crawled upwards from my clogs in slow degrees. I didn’t miss the banked heat in his eyes when his stare finally met mine.

“Golden Boy,” I said, feeling a perverse pleasure at having launched the opening salvo and earning the answering curl at the corner of his lip. He hated that name, I knew. Hated it whenever I reminded of him of who he was. Son of the richest man in the county, heir apparent to a growing banking empire in Tennessee. Why this bothered him, I’d never know. It was hardly a secret, not with him and his father on billboards advertising his family’s bank around Knoxville and Nashville. But that didn’t make it any less fun to pick at him.


I feigned surprise. “What, have you exhausted all the Disney villains? We’re into the Harry Potter lexicon now?”

His answering smile was sharp and wicked. “You know, there are just so many names for the devil. I don’t think I’ll ever come up empty-handed when it comes to you.”

“Good to know. What are you doing here?” I flicked a pointed glance at the doorway to Radiology he’d evidently just come through, and I noticed the orange paper had somehow disappeared into his pocket by the time he greeted me.

And … cue the third complication.

Walker Leffersbee and I shared a secret, and seeing him here had just made it much more, well, complicated.

About Hope Ellis

USA Today bestselling author Hope Ellis is a health outcomes researcher by day and writes romances featuring sexy nerds by night.  She hopes to one day conquer her habit of compulsively binge-watching The Office.

Find Hope Ellis online





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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Month in Review: October 2021

October was a fun month!  Tom and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary with some takeout at home.  We stuck with our tradition of giving each other traditional anniversary gifts (this year was pottery).  My dad and stepmom hosted a Fall Fun Day/Halloween party later in the month.  They had a bunch of fun activities for kids and adults alike.  The weather was good so we were able to stay outside most of the time.

Tom's return to work was pushed back again, to November, and I'm still working from home, although my firm has announced that everyone will have to start coming in on designated days of the week starting in November.

Most of the month was taken up with baby stuff!  We were so lucky to have various family members come over to help us put together furniture, strollers, etc.  I spent a lot of time washing and organizing clothes, sheets, and blankets and ordering more stuff we'll probably need.  The ladies I work with threw me a virtual baby shower, which was so sweet of them.  We also took a virtual childbirth/parenting class, which just made me even more terrified.  Thank you all for your kind words last month on our little announcement!

The Books

The Posts and Reviews
How are you doing?
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