Monday, February 28, 2022

Battle of the Book Covers #7

In Battle of the Book Covers, I pick one book, compile a bunch of different international covers, and choose my favorite - and I'd love for you to weigh in, too!  (Thank you to Heather at Random Redheaded Ramblings, who put together a list of 25 book blog post ideas, for the inspiration!)
For this edition, I'm checking out the various versions of Beach Read by Emily Henry.  I thought a summer vibes cover would be a nice distraction from the winter weather!

2020 US // 2020 Serbian // 2021 Czech

2021 Turkish // 2021 French // 2021 Romanian

2020 German // 2020 Swedish // 2021 Italian

This is a really hard one!  I love that there's a good bit of consistency between many of the covers, and the illustrated cover trend (which is a favorite of mine) is really strong for this book.  I think my favorite is...

The 2021 Turkish edition!  It has the vibe of the original US version, but I like the colors a bit better.

Which one is your favorite?
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Friday, February 25, 2022

Review: On The Honey Side

On The Honey Side (Blum's Bees #2)
Staci Hart
Published February 24, 2022
No one can ever have Keaton Meyer.
Least of all me.
The brooding construction manager is a man of myth and legend, rarely seen in the wild. Once upon a time, he was the star quarterback, the smiling homecoming king, royalty in our small town. Until tragedy struck. And then he disappeared completely.
Now he’s resurfaced, and I can’t keep my eyes off him.
He’s an island surrounded by lava, bound by a desert and guarded by dragons. I don’t stand a sunshine’s chance in a hail storm.
Our siblings disagree and are out to prove it, nudging us into each other in the hopes we’ll fall. But with our town in tumult and the two of us firmly in the middle, nothing between us is easy. And when he’s faced with an impossible decision, I learn the truth of what I already knew.
No one can have Keaton Meyer.
And I have the broken heart to prove it. - from Goodreads
Thank you to the author for providing me with a complimentary ARC of this book.  All thoughts are my own. 

Daisy and her sisters want to help the homeless population of their small Texas town, so they decide to build a community center and tiny houses on their family farm.  To help with the construction, they recruit Keaton Meyer, who retreated from public life after the death of his wife.  As they work closely together, Daisy and Keaton can't fight their feelings for each other anymore, but something may be brewing that could keep them apart.
Staci Hart has become one of my go-to authors, and it's because of books like this!  I loved both Daisy and Keaton - both are hardworking and family oriented, with Daisy being a ball of sunshine and Keaton the more silent type (although the way he opens up as the story goes on is really heartwarming!).  However, there is an air of sadness around both of them.  After Keaton's wife died in a car accident and Daisy lost her high school sweetheart, both of them kind of cut themselves off from potential love for years.  That's why I was rooting for them from the start - I wanted these two to find happiness together because they so deserved it.  They are surrounded by great families who are also pretty invested in their relationship, leading to some fun and funny moments.  And Staci never disappoints with the steamy scenes - when these two finally get together, wow!

I also really enjoyed the small-town setting that Staci has created in this series.  In the last book, the characters fought off a big box retailer that was threatening the small businesses of their Texas town.  In this story, the homeless population has steadily increased, and there are mixed feelings about what should be done about it.  While of course I enjoyed the romance between Daisy and Keaton, it was also really nice to see real-life issues like this and how the community works together.

Overall, if you love sweet yet steamy romances, beautiful writing, small-town settings, and just enough drama to keep things interesting (and the characters on their toes), definitely check out this book!

4 stars

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Meant To Be

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Emily Giffin
Expected publication date: May 31, 2022
A restless golden boy and a girl with a troubled past navigate a love story that may be doomed before it even begins in this irresistible new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed and The Lies That Bind.

The Kingsley family is practically American royalty, beloved for their military heroics, political service, and unmatched elegance. When Joseph S. Kingsley III is born in 1960, he inherits the weight of that legacy. Growing up with all the Kingsley looks and charisma, Joe should have no problem taking up the mantle after his father's untimely death. But he is also a little bit reckless, and can't seem to figure out how to channel the expectations of an entire country.

No one ever expected anything of Cate, on the other hand. She, too, grew up in a single-parent household--just her and her mom scraping by in their small apartment. As a teenager, though, Cate is discovered for her looks. Modeling may be her only ticket out of the cycle of disappointment that her mother has always inhabited. Before too long, her face is everywhere; though she is always aware that she'd be a pariah in her social circles if anyone knew her true story.

When Joe and Cate's paths cross, their connection is instant. What remains to be seen is whether their relationship will survive the glare of the spotlight that follows Joe everywhere. And just as they find themselves in the make-or-break moment, the tragedy that seems to run in Joe's family right alongside all that privilege will repeat itself.

In a beautifully written novel that recaptures a gilded moment in American history, Emily Giffin tells a story of a love that may or may not have the power to transcend circumstances that seem arrayed against it . . . and the difficulty of finding your way to the place you belong. - from Goodreads

Emily Giffin is an auto-buy, auto-read author for me - I preordered this the minute I heard about it last year!  Her books always deliver, so I can't wait to get my hands on this one!

Monday, February 21, 2022

Down The TBR Hole #23

Down the TBR Hole is a feature created by Lost in a Story (although the blog seems to be down).  I've seen it on a few other blogs and thought I would try it out myself!  It seems like a really good way to cull your TBR of those books you're no longer interested in.  So, how does it work?

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
Here are the books I'm looking at this time:
If She Were Dead by J.P. Smith
An author having an affair with a married man becomes obsessed with him and his wife, blurring the lines of reality.  Not the most original of premises - pass!

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
This book is about a Norwegian village where the men have perished and the women are facing the threat of a witch hunt from an outside force, in the 1600s.  It's based on real events and sounds really interesting - keep!

Winter World by A.G. Riddle
In the near future, the human race faces another ice age.  NASA launches a mission to explore an object in space that may be somehow causing the climate change.  I really enjoy sci-fi stories, especially ones that have a space component - keep!

No Man's Land by Wendy Moore
A nonfiction book about two female doctors who treated soldiers in France during WWI and later opened a hospital in London.  I'm always on the lookout for interesting nonfiction - keep!

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore
A small Texas town is poised for a boom when oil is discovered, but prosperity is not the only thing that finds this town.  This sounds a little too dark and heavy for me right now - pass!

Have You Seen Me? by Kate White
A woman in a fugue state loses two days of her life, and she must piece together what happened during those days and how a trauma from her childhood may be resurfacing.  This premise is kind of intriguing, but I'm just not fully into it - pass! 

Have you read any of these?


Friday, February 18, 2022

Romance Quick Reviews

The Highland Fling by Meghan Quinn (2021)

Two American friends, Bonnie and Dakota, answer an ad to run a coffee shop in the Scottish Highlands.  Will Bonnie's run-ins with the local handyman, Rowan, lead to love or make her flee the country?  I really loved this book!  First, the Scottish Highlands setting was amazing and now I want to book a trip ASAP.  The story was the perfect mix of rom-com and deeper topics.  Bonnie was just hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud at her no-filter antics.  But, she was also facing some tough issues, especially feelings of unworthiness and lack of purpose.  I thought these things made her very relatable. Rowan was the quintessential grumpy hot guy.  His family issues, particularly near the end, shed a lot of light on his character.  Rowan and Bonnie together were just fire - so much chemistry!  Add in their amazing circle of friends (Bonnie's relationship with Dakota was particularly inspiring) and it all made for a winning story!  4.5 stars

Wild Card by Lila Monroe (2018)

Olivia is a matchmaker - the kind that fixes up billionaires with "dates" to events (basically, fake relationships).  Her newest client, Ryan, needs someone to accompany him to business venture meetings, and it turns out she's the perfect fit - as long as he'll pretend to be her boyfriend at her father's wedding to a much younger woman.  Business turns to pleasure as they realize they're actually pretty perfect together.  I really enjoyed both of these characters - Olivia is a hard-working straight shooter, and Ryan is a former football player trying to launch a new business.  There was so much chemistry between them that I couldn't wait for them to get together.  Although I wasn't crazy about the events that nearly broke them up (Ryan was totally immature about the whole thing), there were so many other things to enjoy about this book.  The antics surrounding the wedding added a lot of humor, and Monroe's trademark steam was in abundance.  4 stars

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

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Hacienda

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Isabel Canas
Expected publication date: May 10, 2022
Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca in this debut supernatural suspense novel, set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, about a remote house, a sinister haunting, and the woman pulled into their clutches...

In the overthrow of the Mexican government, Beatriz’s father is executed and her home destroyed. When handsome Don Rodolfo Solórzano proposes, Beatriz ignores the rumors surrounding his first wife’s sudden demise, choosing instead to seize the security his estate in the countryside provides. She will have her own home again, no matter the cost.

But Hacienda San Isidro is not the sanctuary she imagined.

When Rodolfo returns to work in the capital, visions and voices invade Beatriz’s sleep. The weight of invisible eyes follows her every move. Rodolfo’s sister, Juana, scoffs at Beatriz’s fears—but why does she refuse to enter the house at night? Why does the cook burn copal incense at the edge of the kitchen and mark its doorway with strange symbols? What really happened to the first Doña Solórzano?

Beatriz only knows two things for certain: Something is wrong with the hacienda. And no one there will help her.

Desperate for help, she clings to the young priest, Padre Andrés, as an ally. No ordinary priest, Andrés will have to rely on his skills as a witch to battle the malevolent presence haunting the hacienda.

Far from a refuge, San Isidro may be Beatriz’s doom. - from Goodreads

This blurb grabbed my attention from the beginning with the references to Mexican Gothic and Rebecca - this sounds amazing!

Monday, February 14, 2022

Guest Blogger: New-To-Me Author January

A few weeks ago, I shared the new-to-me authors I read in 2021.  Today, my sister Michele is back on the blog to share the new-to-her authors she read in January!

I decided to start off 2022 reading some new-to-me authors. My thought was this could be a good challenge to start a new year and also to clear some authors and books that had been accumulating on my TBR! I did have a few DNFs (which I won’t share here) but overall, I enjoyed most and now have some new authors to stalk follow!

Julie Olivia – In Too Deep

Meghan Quinn – That Second Chance

India Holton – The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels

Jacob Chance – Honeymoon Hitman

Evie Alexander – Highland Games

Willa Nash – The Bribe

Jenny Bunting – Fool’s Gold

Kylie Scott – Repeat

SL Scott – Head Over Feels

Ashley Winstead – In My Dreams I Hold a Knife

Elsie Silver – Off to the Races

Catherine Cowles – Beautifully Broken Pieces

Have you read any of these authors? Or have you read any new to you authors lately?


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

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Woman in the Library

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Sulari Gentill
Expected publication date: June 7,2022
In every person's story, there is something to hide...

The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman's terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who'd happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning―it just happens that one is a murderer.

Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling read with THE WOMAN IN THE LIBRARY, an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and shows us that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all. - from Goodreads

This sounds so unique and unexpected!  And I love the library setting!

Monday, February 7, 2022

Blog Tour + Review: The Door-Man

Thank you to Trish Collins at TLC Book Tours for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour for The Door-Man by Peter M. Wheelwright!  I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Peter M. Wheelwright
Publication date: February 1, 2022
In 1917, during the construction of a large reservoir in the Catskill hamlet of Gilboa, New York, a young paleontologist named Winifred Goldring (1888-1971), identified fossils from an ancient forest flooded millions of years ago when the earth's botanical explosion of oxygen opened a path for the evolution of humankind. However, the reservoir water was needed for NYC, and the fossils were flooded once again, along with the doomed town. 
A mix of fact and fiction, The Door-Man follows three generations of interwoven families who share a deep wound from Gilboa's last days. The story is told by Winifred's grandson, a disaffected NYC doorman working near the Central Park Reservoir during its decommissioning in 1993. 
The brief and provisional nature of one's life on earth – and the nested histories of the places, people and events that give it meaning – engender a reckoning within the tangled roots and fragile bonds of family. - from Goodreads
In The Door-Man, Peter M. Wheelwright takes the true story of what happened in the town of Gilboa, New York and interweaves it into a multi-generational story while also reflecting on the fleeting nature of life and where we all come from.  While I did have some issues with this book, there were also things to enjoy.

In the early 20th century, the town of Gilboa was chosen as the site of a new reservoir that would feed into the water system of New York City.  Fossils of an ancient forest were discovered during the construction, but it wasn't enough to stop the reservoir and the town was ultimately flooded, forcing the relocation of many families.  The story follows three generations of local families as their histories intermingle and secrets are discovered.

While I enjoyed Wheelwright's writing, the story was quite a bit more "literary fiction" than I typically read.  There were several places in the narrative where I felt like the commentary was too much for me to understand or detracted from the story.  There were hints of secrets and mysteries and I think for me the story could have worked much better if those angles were played up a bit more.

I enjoyed the way Wheelwright mixed fact and fiction; the book made me want to know more about what happened in Gilboa.  The parts of the story that took place there were really interesting.  There were a lot of characters to keep track of, but it was intriguing to learn about the different families, how they interacted with each other, and how their identities were revealed.  I also liked how the story moved back and forth in time; it added a little bit of suspense.

3 stars

Purchase Links: Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Links: Website , Instagram, and Twitter

Friday, February 4, 2022

Romance Quick Reviews

Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison (2021)

In an effort to save her Christmas tree farm from financial ruin, Stella may have told a little white lie on a contest application - that she and best friend Luka were actually a couple.  However, when they decide to go ahead with the fake relationship, it gives them the chance to explore feelings they've both hidden for years.  While this wasn't a perfect read for me, it had a lot of really wonderful things going for it.  I felt like there was a little too much going on at times, too many plot threads that weren't necessary.  While I liked Stella's backstory and the history she and her mom had at the tree farm, the drama with her dad felt tacked on and the fact that it totally disappeared in the second half of the book made me think the book could have done without it completely.  But, I loved a lot about this story - the fun secondary characters, the small-town setting, the relationship between Stella and Luka.  Their close, touchy-feely friendship made the leap to romance so believable and natural.  And Borison's writing is just amazing - so lush and detailed that I could picture each scene in my head as I was reading.  Definitely a must-read for fake relationship and friends-to-lovers romance fans!  4 stars

Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker (2017)
When single mom and waitress Catherine saves the life of NHL star Brett Madden, she's worried about the attention it will bring to her life.  But, her connection with Brett is overwhelming, and Catherine will have to decide what she wants.  The author wrote this book as a sort of modern-day fairytale, and I can definitely see that in the story.  Catherine and Brett are from two completely different walks of life, but their chemistry is undeniable.  I really liked Catherine; she has not had an easy go of it for several years.  A scandal during high school made her the subject of town gossip, and now she's trying to create a better life for her and her daughter.  As a character, she was so well-rounded and I really rooted for her.  Brett was a little less successful for me; he was just too perfect, but I can also see how he works well as the "prince" character.  The pacing of the story felt off to me.  I wanted more of Brett and Catherine's relationship, more of how they overcome their differences and outside forces together.  A lot of time was spent just getting them to the point of being together.  However, the writing was wonderful and I thought the story had a good mix of romance and drama.  4 stars

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Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Month in Review: January 2022

How are we already done with January?  The month seemed to fly by, despite the fact that I rarely left the house for most of it!  Tom went back to work, but his company had pushed back their reopening plans, so he mostly worked from home.  He had to "punch in" two days a week, but since there's a location only a mile from our house, he would go there, punch in, and come right back home.  I had a couple doctor's appointments, so it was nice that he was home and could watch Henry.  
Speaking of Henry, he's now two months old - I can't believe it!  The changes in him seem to come so fast - literally one day he no longer fit in newborn diapers and clothes.  He really focuses on us when we're talking to him and will follow a toy from side to side.  The best part has been the "real" smiles and giggles.  He also likes to try to mimic us when we make animal noises at him!  I'm trying to introduce more books to him; he's obviously still too little for most things, but he's enjoyed looking at the pictures of animals in his black-and-white board books.  

We were able to spend some time with family this month, too.  All the grandparents came for visits, and we saw my mom several times.  It's been so nice having her close; she can see Henry practically whenever she wants!  We also celebrated my niece's birthday with a small party.  We took a trip to Barnes & Noble and she picked out some new books.  It's hard to believe she's 6 already!  She held Henry for the first time and it's so cute to see how gentle and loving she is with him.

The Books

The Posts and Reviews
How are you doing?
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