Monday, October 31, 2022

Nonfiction November 2022: Week 1 - My Year in Nonfiction

It's that time of the year again - Nonfiction November!  I debated not taking part this year, since my nonfiction reading has really taken a dive, but it's become such a fun tradition that I knew I couldn't miss it!  Week 1, hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey, is all about our year in nonfiction.  I've read 6 nonfiction books this year, and for the most part, they have been fantastic!

Like most years, my nonfiction reading in 2022 has been pretty varied - from 9/11, to a celebrity memoir, to an iconic structure.  I think my favorite has been The Day The World Came To Town, which is an older book that I just, for some reason, felt a pull to read this year.  September 11 was a terrible day, but I was so touched by the heartwarming stories that came out of Gander, Newfoundland, Canada that I cried through most of this book!

What I hope, as is usually the case with Nonfiction November, is to find more powerful and interesting nonfiction books to add to my TBR and to connect with other readers about people, places, eras, ideas, etc.  As much as I love reading fiction, I'm hoping to reignite a spark for nonfiction reading.

What's been your favorite nonfiction read of the year so far?

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Friday, October 28, 2022

Mini-Review: The Wedding Ringer

Kerry Rea
Published November 9, 2021
A woman who wants nothing to do with love or friendship finds both in the unlikeliest ways in this hilarious and heartwarming debut by Kerry Rea.

Once upon a time, Willa Callister was a successful blogger with a good credit score, actual hobbies, and legs that she shaved more than once a month. But after finding her fiancé in bed with her best friend, she now spends her days performing at children's birthday parties in a ball gown that makes her look like a walking bottle of Pepto Bismol. Willa dreams of starting fresh, where no one knows who she used to be, but first she needs to save up enough money to make it happen.

Maisie Mitchell needs something too: another bridesmaid for her wedding. After a chance encounter at a coffee shop, Maisie offers to pay Willa to be in her bridal party. Willa wants nothing to do with weddings--or Maisie--but the money will give her the freedom to start the new life she so badly desires.

Willa's bridesmaid duties thrust her into Maisie's high-energy world and into the path of hotshot doctor Liam Rafferty. But as Willa and Maisie form a real friendship, and Liam's annoyingly irresistible smile makes her reconsider her mantra that all men are trash, Willa's exit strategy becomes way more complicated. And when a secret from Maisie's past threatens to derail the wedding, Willa must consider whether friendship--and romance--are worth sticking around for. - from Goodreads
Willa Callister, former blogger and lifestyle reporter, is trying to recover from a devastating breakup - all she needs is a little cash to help her get out of town and back on her feet.  Cue Maisie Mitchell - she barrels into Willa's life at a coffee shop, begging her to pretend to be her friend so her fiancé doesn't find out her secret.  The next thing she knows, Willa is agreeing to be a bridesmaid in Maisie's wedding, because the cash Maisie is offering is like a lifeline to her.  However, the more time Willa spends with Maisie (and her family and friends, including handsome doctor, Liam), the more she finds this fake friendship might be turning into something real.

Why is it that reviews for books you love seem to be so hard to write?  For me, when I love a book, it's mostly about the feeling I get when I'm reading it, which can be so hard to describe and also tells someone reading the review absolutely nothing about the book!  So bear with me, this is going to be one of those reviews!

Within just the first few pages, this story enveloped me.  It felt like a warm, comforting hug, which is weird, because it starts with our heroine Willa having a breakdown at a children's birthday party.  I felt immediately connected to Willa - I wanted to know how she got to this awkward place and how she'd get out of it.  

I loved Rea's writing - it was so readable.  I know, what does that mean?  I guess it means it was the perfect tone for the context of the story - nothing too high-brow, no purple prose.  It felt like Willa was having a conversation with me, and I didn't want to stop listening.

The story, which was paced perfectly, and the characters felt so refreshingly real.  This felt like a story that could happen in real life, except for maybe one situation that felt a little too convenient, and the characters were so well-drawn, especially Willa and Maisie.  Maisie is so kind and charming, it made me want to know more about why this woman didn't have any close friends and needed to hire a bridesmaid.  And Willa - she was recovering from a betrayal of epic proportions, so it was easy to understand why she was so guarded.  As the story inches closer to the wedding, I just got the warm and fuzzies seeing Willa and Maisie grow closer and actually form a real friendship.  Because even though there's hints of romance between Willa and Liam, this is much more a story about friendship and personal growth, and I was here for all of it.

4.5 stars

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Blog Tour + Excerpt: Play Smart


Play Smart, an all-new enemies to lovers rockstar romcom from Aly Stiles, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!

Nash Ellis knows music. Producing, performing, writing—if it involves the creative process he’s there for it. He knows nothing about copy machines. Or financial reports. Or anything related to the stuck-up business world his best friends have been chasing since they were kids. But Nash also needs money, so when his roommate gets him a paid internship at Reedweather Media, he reluctantly agrees. At least his know-it-all intern competitor is kind of cute in a nerdy-librarian sort of way—especially when she’s being tormented by an angsty rocker she can’t stand.

The only thing Paige Andrews hates more than failure? Nash Ellis. She has little patience for incompetence and zero tolerance for indifference. He clearly doesn’t belong in their corporate world, so why does he insist on ruining her dream job? And the worst part—he’s not what he seems. In fact, it’s all the things he’s hiding behind those electric blue eyes that make him straight-up captivating in an ironic-slacker sort of way.

But their smoldering friction bursts into open flames when the feuding interns are forced into a high-stakes mission that requires intimate knowledge of the music industry. Yep, what could go wrong when the least-qualified candidate to ever walk the halls of a major corporation becomes their only hope of success?

'Play Smart' is a full-length contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #5 in the Work For It series, Educated Romance World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

Grab your copy today!

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Amazon CA:

Amazon AU:



Turning around, he stops in his tracks when he sees me. His face falls, and I don’t know how to read the mix of emotions that filters over him. He clearly doesn’t know what to do next, so I close the gap and grab his wrist.

“Let’s dance,” I say.


“Dancing.” I wave behind me at the sea of bodies demonstrating this ancient ritual.

“You… wait. You want to dance with me? You’ve been turning me down all night.”

I nod. “Yes. Because I don’t dance.”

“But you do now?”


“I don’t understand. What’s changed?”

“My internal—and a few external—organs.”


His brow scrunches, and I notice for the first time how much I like the image of his silver piercing when he does that. I reach up and brush my finger near it, then let my touch drift down the side of his face. My gaze settles on his lips and a sharp wave of desire surges through me.

“I turned you down because you’re extremely attractive tonight,” I explain. “Dangerously so.”

“Wait, you’ve been turning me down because you wanted me too much?”

I nod again, forcing my attention back to his entrancing gaze. “Yes, and since we agreed we can’t have what we want, it felt like a terrible idea to indulge in a sample of the forbidden fruit.”

His confusion morphs into amusement. “Do you always have to say stuff in the weirdest way possible?”

I narrow my eyes at him. “Do you always have to be a jerk when I’m trying to be nice?”

“This is you being nice?”

About Aly Stiles

From angsty and dark to snort-laugh funny, Aly writes romance from her soul to yours.

Find Aly Stiles online




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Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Can't-Wait Wednesday: A World of Curiosities

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

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns in the eighteenth book in #1 New York Times bestseller Louise Penny's beloved series.

It’s spring and Three Pines is reemerging after the harsh winter. But not everything buried should come alive again. Not everything lying dormant should reemerge.

But something has.

As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the Sûreté du Québec investigators’ lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered. Now they’ve arrived in the village of Three Pines.

But to what end?

Gamache and Beauvoir’s memories of that tragic case, the one that first brought them together, come rushing back. Did their mother’s murder hurt them beyond repair? Have those terrible wounds, buried for decades, festered and are now about to erupt?

As Chief Inspector Gamache works to uncover answers, his alarm grows when a letter written by a long dead stone mason is discovered. In it the man describes his terror when bricking up an attic room somewhere in the village. Every word of the 160-year-old letter is filled with dread. When the room is found, the villagers decide to open it up.

As the bricks are removed, Gamache, Beauvoir and the villagers discover a world of curiosities. But the head of homicide soon realizes there’s more in that room than meets the eye. There are puzzles within puzzles, and hidden messages warning of mayhem and revenge.

In unsealing that room, an old enemy is released into their world. Into their lives. And into the very heart of Armand Gamache’s home. - from Amazon

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Can't-Wait Wednesday: A Thousand Heartbeats

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Kiera Cass
Expected publication date: December 6, 2022
#1 New York Times bestselling author of The Selection series Kiera Cass is back with her most epic novel yet—a sweeping enemies-to-lovers standalone romance.

“Love has a sound. It sounds like a thousand heartbeats happening at the same time.”

Princess Annika has lived a life of comfort—but no amount of luxuries can change the fact that her life isn’t her own to control. The king, once her loving father, has gone cold, and Annika will soon be forced into a loveless marriage for political gain.

Miles away, small comforts are few and far between for Lennox. He has devoted his life to the Dahrainian army, hoping to one day help them reclaim the throne that was stolen from them. For Lennox, the idea of love is merely a distraction—nothing will stand in the way of fighting for his people.

But when love, against all odds, finds them both, they are bound by its call. They can’t possibly be together—but the irresistible thrum of a thousand heartbeats won’t let them stay apart.

Kiera Cass brings her signature sparkling romance to this beautiful story of star-crossed lovers and long-held secrets. - from Goodreads


Monday, October 17, 2022

Blog Tour + Excerpt: Not Since Ewe


Not Since Ewe, an all-new heartwarming second-chance romance from Susannah Nix, is available now in Kindle Unlimited! 

Tess McGregor doesn’t need anyone. 

So what if she doesn’t have any close friends or family anymore? Her successful consulting business keeps her so busy she barely has time to be lonely. She’s got her life organized exactly the way she wants it. 

Until the daughter she gave up for adoption 30 years ago tracks her down. 

Tess doesn’t know anything about being a mother, but now that she’s met Erin, she’ll do anything to stay in her life. 

Even if it means facing the life-ruining jerk who got Tess pregnant in high school and broke her heart. 

Donal Larkin would do anything for a second chance.

He’s divorced, his kids hardly talk to him, and he works so much he barely has time to eat. But when he’s united with the daughter he never had a chance to know, he vows to make up for past mistakes. 

Step one is proving to Tess he’s not the same unreliable kid she knew 30 years ago. 

And maybe if he’s lucky he can win back the heart of the girl he never got over…

Not Since Ewe is a full-length contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #4 in the Common Threads series, Seduction in the City World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

Grab your copy TODAY!

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Amazon CA:

Amazon AU:




“I’m just nervous.” Admitting that to Donal took a lot of effort. “Opening up to people isn’t exactly my strong suit, and I’m taking my insecurity out on you.”

He surprised me by pulling me into a hug.

Wow. The man really knew how to give a hug. I wasn’t generally a big hugger, but just like the other night when he’d held me in his arms, I didn’t hate it.

In fact, it felt amazing. A few more hugs like this, and I’d be a dedicated convert to the holy sacrament of hugging. I’d be going door to door proselytizing on the spiritual benefits of embracing physical embraces.

“I promise I’m on your side.” Donal’s voice was low and rough, his breath a warm caress against my hair. “I’m not going to say or do anything to damage your relationship with Erin. You’ve got to trust me on that.”

It was difficult to talk with my heart lodged in my throat and my face pressed against his astonishingly firm chest. “I want that for you too. I’ll try to be a better teammate.”

He pulled back to look at me, and my stomach did another one of those unsettling flips under his up-close scrutiny. “We’re really bad at this, aren’t we?”

I was so flustered, I thought he was making fun of my poor hugging skills and stiffened. “I—what?”

“Being friends.”

Oh. There went my heart, right into my throat again. “Is that what we are?”

“I’d sure like us to be.” His eyebrows notched up a few millimeters. “Wouldn’t you?”

Damn the man for being so likable. How was I supposed to protect myself when he kept being all vulnerable and appealing?

And handsome. Don’t forget the handsome.

Shit, did I really want to be friends with Donal Larkin again?


Even with our poor track record, I wanted that. Maybe it could be different this time. We were both mature adults now. Surely we could handle it. We wouldn’t make the same mistakes.

“I’d like that too.” I sounded out of breath, like I’d just done a hill ride on the stationary bike.

“Good.” Donal’s shoulders sagged in relief. “Can we go sit down and eat now? Because I was too nervous to eat much at lunch, and I’m seriously hangry.”

About Susannah Nix

Susannah Nix is an award-winning author of contemporary romances featuring smart women and swoony men, including the Chemistry Lessons series of romcoms about women who work in STEM fields and the Starstruck series of movie star romances. 

Susannah resides in Texas with her husband, two ornery cats, and a flatulent pit bull. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, knitting, watching stupid amounts of television, and getting distracted by Tumblr. She is also a powerlifter who can deadlift as much as Captain America weighs.

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Friday, October 14, 2022

Paranormal Romance Quick Reviews

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston (2022)

Florence is a ghostwriter for a famous romance novelist, which is a little awkward because she no longer believes in love.  Her meeting with her new (and hot) editor is cut short when Florence is called home after her father's death, but she's surprised when the editor's ghost greets her in her small hometown.  I have seen such glowing reviews for this story that my expectations were really high, and unfortunately, I didn't seem to love this one as much as others have.  I think the "romance" elements of this book didn't work as well for me.  Florence and Ben, the editor, only have two brief encounters before his ghost appears, and their rapid closeness afterwards just felt a bit odd (and also a bit juvenile, which kind of makes sense since this is Poston's first adult novel after a string of YAs).  However, I did enjoy Florence's journey through grieving her father and spending time with her family after being away for so long.  All the happy (and sad) family dynamics came through so strongly, and I was really hoping for one last meeting between Florence and her dad, considering her gift for seeing ghosts.  Also, all the bookish references were really fun!  3.5 stars

Reborn Yesterday by Tessa Bailey (2020)

Ginny, a funeral home director, is surprised but not scared when the body she's about to start preparing for its funeral suddenly sits up and starts talking to her.  It's soon revealed that Jonas is a vampire, and while he should wipe her memories of this night, the instant connection between the two (as well as a disturbing problem Ginny is dealing with), brings their worlds together.  Honestly, I wasn't quite sure what to make of this book!  I couldn't tell if the author was serious about the story or if it was more of a tongue-in-cheek look at the paranormal romance genre.  I'm going to go with the latter, because that makes for a much more interesting read for me!  The story was basically Twilight for a slightly older audience (human girl falls for vampire boy, someone is trying to kill human girl, there's a hidden but very powerful vampire hierarchy).  Ginny is super naive and innocent, but I admired her devotion to Jonas, and the way he cared for her was actually pretty swoon-worthy.  The side characters inject some much-needed humor.  I won't be continuing with the series, but this was good for a quick, light read.  3.5 stars

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

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Can't-Wait Wednesday: A Very Merry Bromance

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Lyssa Kay Adams
Expected publication date: November 1, 2022
'Tis the season for a Bromance Book Club matchmaking mission! This time, they're pulling out the mistletoe for everyone's favorite country music star, Colton, and his second chance at love.

Country music’s golden boy Colton Wheeler felt the most perfect harmony when he was with Gretchen Winthrop. But for her, it was a love him and leave him situation. A year later, Colton is struggling to push his music forward in a new direction. If it weren’t about to be the most magical time of year and the support of the Bromance Book Club, he’d be wallowing in self-pity.

It’s hard for immigration attorney Gretchen not to feel a little Scrooge-ish about the excess of Christmas when her clients are scrambling to afford their rent. So when her estranged, wealthy family reaches out with an offer that will allow her to better serve the community, she’s unable to say no. She just needs to convince Colton to be the new face of her family’s whiskey brand. No big deal…

Colton agrees to consider Gretchen’s offer in exchange for three dates before Christmas. With the help of the Bromance Book Club, Colton throws himself into the task of proving to her there’s a spark between them. But Gretchen and Colton will both need to overcome the ghosts of Christmas past to build a future together. - from Goodreads


Monday, October 10, 2022

Henry's Shelves #3

Henry and I have been having so much fun together reading (even if he thinks reading includes putting the books in his mouth)!  Here are some new pictures of him with his books:

And here are some of our recent favorites!

The Tiny Traveler: Egypt // Doggies // Welcome Little One

Little Blue Boat // I Love You So // The Wide-Mouthed Frog

Have you read any of these?

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Friday, October 7, 2022

Quick Reviews

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill (2022)

Four strangers are seated at a table in the Boston Public Library reading room when they hear a woman scream.  Friendships are formed from the shared experience, but could one of them be hiding a deadly secret?  I'll say this to start - the blurb for this book is kind of deceiving, but in a good way!  I went in pretty blind and was surprised by the direction the story went in, right from the beginning.  The format is so unexpected but really kind of genius, and I love the wild ride it takes the reader on.  In a way, you're getting a traditional murder mystery, but it's so much more than that.  I don't want to say too much and spoil the surprise!  I feel like we got to know the four strangers pretty well, although they each have their secrets, and the subtle pushes from the author towards one character or another will keep you guessing the whole time.  For a short novel, the pacing did drag in places, but you'll definitely want to keep reading!  4 stars

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse (2021)

Detective Elin Warner is visiting a former sanatorium turned five-star hotel to celebrate her brother's engagement when her brother's fiancée goes missing.  A massive storm traps Elin and the other guests at the hotel when it becomes clear that a killer is among them.  I was really in the mood for a mystery/thriller, and I was hoping this atmospheric story would fit the bill - while I enjoyed it, there were unfortunately also a lot of issues.  The sanatorium/hotel itself was a fantastic setting - minimalist, with a tragic history, and located in the middle of nowhere.  It really added a sense of great tension and eeriness.  Elin, however, was a bummer.  Apparently this is the start of a series focusing on the detective, so Pearse really went for it on the character development; however, Elin's baggage was just so heavy and overwhelming that it made reading a slog sometimes because it seemed like she could barely function.  The story also could have been about 100 pages shorter, and the killer's reveal was a bit... underwhelming?  It just didn't make a ton of sense.  3 stars

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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Two Wrongs Make a Right

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Chloe Liese
Expected publication date: November 22, 2022
Opposites become allies to fool their matchmaking friends in this swoony reimagining of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, Much Ado About Nothing.

Jamie Westenberg and Bea Wilmot have nothing in common except a meet-disaster and the mutual understanding that they couldn't be more wrong for each other. But when the people closest to them play Cupid and trick them into going on a date, Jamie and Bea realize they have something else in common after all—an undeniable need for revenge.

Soon their plan is in place: Fake date obnoxiously and convince the meddlers they’re madly in love. Then, break up spectacularly and dash their hopes, putting an end to the matchmaking madness once and for all.

To convince everyone that they’ve fallen for each other, Jamie and Bea will have to nail the performance of their lives. But as their final act nears and playing lovers becomes easier than not, they begin to wonder, what if Cupid’s arrow wasn’t so off the mark? And what if two wrongs do make a right?
- from Goodreads

Monday, October 3, 2022

Month in Review: September 2022

I honestly can barely think of what happened this month!  The biggest thing going on right now is my mom's upcoming move.  She planned on retiring next year and moving to Oklahoma (where my brother lives), but she accelerated her plans over the summer and is now leaving in October.  So, this month was filled with garage sales, packing, and purging.  We've lived a mile away from her for 5 years now, so it's going to be a big adjustment for us!

Other than that, it's been pretty quiet. I'm glad the fall weather has arrived!  Henry and I have been going for lots of walks.  He's still going weekly to physical therapy and his helmet comes off soon!  He's making lots more sounds, some that actually almost sound like words (finally babbling "mamama"!).  Pretty exciting stuff, haha!

The Books

The Posts and Reviews
How are you doing?
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