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?

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Secretly Yours

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Tessa Bailey
Expected publication date: February 7, 2023
A steamy new rom-com about a starchy professor and the bubbly neighbor he clashes with at every turn...

Hallie Welch fell hard for Julian Vos at fourteen, after they almost kissed in the dark vineyards of his family's winery. Now the prodigal hottie has returned to their small town. When Hallie is hired to revamp the gardens on the Vos estate, she wonders if she'll finally get that smooch. But the grumpy professor isn't the teenager she remembers and their polar opposite personalities clash spectacularly. One wine-fueled girls' night later, Hallie can't shake the sense that she did something reckless--and then she remembers the drunken secret admirer letter she left for Julian. Oh shit.

On sabbatical from his ivy league job, Julian plans to write a novel. But having Hallie gardening right outside his window is the ultimate distraction. She's eccentric, chronically late, often literally covered in dirt--and so unbelievably beautiful, he can't focus on anything else. Until he finds an anonymous letter sent by a woman from his past. Even as Julian wonders about this admirer, he's sucked further into Hallie's orbit. Like the flowers she plants all over town, Hallie is a burst of color in Julian's gray-scale life. For a man who irons his socks and runs on tight schedules, her sunny chaotic energy makes zero sense. But there's something so familiar about her... and her very presence is turning his world upside down. - from Goodreads


Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I'd Like to Start/Catch Up On/Finish


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is series we'd like to start/catch up on/finish.  I am notoriously bad at starting series and not continuing/finishing them, so it wasn't a surprise when I went through my TBR and easily found 8 series I'm behind on (and 2 I'd like to start).  Pictured below are the books I'm up to in the series or need to start with.


Twisted Tales


The Arc of a Scythe

The Gilded Age Heiresses


Winston Brothers

The Queen's Council


Common Threads

Monday, November 7, 2022

Nonfiction November 2022: Week 2 - Book Pairings

This week of Nonfiction November, hosted by Rennie at What's Nonfiction, is my favorite every year - fiction/nonfiction book pairings!  Pairings about people, places, or time periods inspire my reading throughout the year, and here are the pairings I've featured in 2022:


What do you think of these pairings?

Friday, November 4, 2022

Romance Quick Reviews: The Meghan Quinn Edition

Huxley is a businessman who needs to find a fiancĂ©e ASAP after telling a little white lie to a potential business partner.  Lottie is jokingly trolling Huxley's wealthy neighborhood hoping to score a rich husband when the two bump into each other, and they realize a fake relationship might be able to solve both their problems.  I wanted to love this book more than I did, although it wasn't a terrible read by any stretch of the imagination.  The fake relationship trope can be a fun one, although the addition here of a fake pregnancy kind of rubbed me the wrong way - I just couldn't see how there could be anything short of a cringe ending to that.  Huxley was... hard to like.  He's cold and distant - I get that this is a "contract" between him and Lottie, but a little more warmth and friendliness could have gone a long way.  Also, I get why he bought her a new wardrobe, but why all the skimpy underwear and pajamas that no one was going to see?  Lottie has already faded from my memory, but thankfully the side characters were amazing and really added some needed fun and humor to the story.  3 stars

Royally Not Ready (2022)

Lilly is shocked to find out that she's next-in-line to the throne of a country she's never heard of, but she's willing to take a chance to learn more about the mother she lost and where she came from.  Keller is tasked with training and teaching her; neither expect the sparks between them that quickly turn into something more.  I love royalty in my romance stories, and this was kind of like The Princess Diaries for a VERY adult audience.  Quinn actually had me chuckling out loud at the beginning of the book, as Lilly really pushes Keller's buttons, trying to get him to loosen up.  There's so much lust and sexual tension between the two, and the sex scenes are often and quite graphic.  I felt like the tone of the book changed once Lilly and Keller got together.  It lost some of the humor, but I liked seeing Lilly start to take things seriously and rely on Keller.  The story is a bit predictable, but I was still rooting for Lilly and her newly-found family.  4 stars

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

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Can't-Wait Wednesday: How To Sell A Haunted House

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Grady Hendrix
Expected publication date: January 17, 2023
Your past and your family can haunt you like nothing else… A hilarious and terrifying new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Final Girl Support Group.

Every childhood home is haunted, and each of us are possessed by our parents.

When their parents die at the tail end of the coronavirus pandemic, Louise and Mark Joyner are devastated but nothing can prepare them for how bad things are about to get. The two siblings are almost totally estranged, and couldn’t be more different. Now, however, they don’t have a choice but to get along. The virus has passed, and both of them are facing bank accounts ravaged by the economic meltdown. Their one asset? Their childhood home. They need to get it on the market as soon as possible because they need the money. Yet before her parents died they taped newspaper over the mirrors and nailed shut the attic door.

Sometimes we feel like puppets, controlled by our upbringing and our genes. Sometimes we feel like our parents treat us like toys, or playthings, or even dolls. The past can ground us, teach us, and keep us safe. It can also trap us, and bind us, and suffocate the life out of us. As disturbing events stack up in the house, Louise and Mark have to learn that sometimes the only way to break away from the past, sometimes the only way to sell a haunted house, is to burn it all down. - from Goodreads


Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Month in Review: October 2022

October is generally a busy month for us, and this year was no exception!  Tom and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary and also 19 years together - that's literally half my life!  My mom officially moved to Oklahoma.  I'm not gonna lie, there have been tears at random times, but we've video chatted a few times and Henry enjoys seeing her on the screen!  My sister hosted a Sunday football party, where I just chatted and didn't watch much football.  My fantasy team is doing kind of meh this season, unfortunately.  Henry's daycare put together a field trip to a local farm and pumpkin patch, and we had a great time!  He loved sitting among the pumpkins in the field.  We also attended our nephew's baptism (Henry was so well-behaved in the church!) and took a walk around the park afterwards.  My dad and stepmom hosted their annual Halloween party, with activities for both the adults and the grandkids.  It was such a fun afternoon!  About a week later, we celebrated Henry's first Halloween!  He dressed as a skeleton in his daycare parade.  As far as new skills, he can clap, is starting to pull up on things, and is very close to crawling!

The Books


The Posts and Reviews
How are you doing?
* This post contains affiliate links; I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases, at no cost to you.