Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Cuban Heiress

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
 
Chanel Cleeton
Expected publication date: April 11, 2023
In 1934, a luxury cruise becomes a fight for survival as two women’s pasts collide on a round-trip voyage from New York to Havana in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton's page-turning new novel inspired by the true story of the SS Morro Castle.

New York heiress Catherine Dohan seemingly has it all. There’s only one problem. It’s a lie. As soon as the Morro Castle leaves port, Catherine’s past returns with a vengeance and threatens her life. Joining forces with a charismatic jewel thief, Catherine must discover who wants her dead—and why.

Elena Palacio is a dead woman. Or so everyone thinks. After a devastating betrayal left her penniless and on the run, Elena’s journey on the Morro Castle is her last hope. Steeped in secrecy and a burning desire for revenge, her return to Havana is a chance to right the wrong that has been done to her—and her prey is on the ship.

As danger swirls aboard the Morro Castle and their fates intertwine, Elena and Catherine must risk everything to see justice served once and for all. - from Goodreads

 

Monday, March 20, 2023

Michele's Monday Picks #10

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! 
 
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Vacation Wars

By Meghan Quinn

Expected publication: April 18, 2023


From Goodreads:

From USA Today and Amazon Charts bestselling author Meghan Quinn comes a fun, sexy story about the family dynamics that can stand in the way of rekindling a romance.

Prepared for a good time, Tessa is thrilled to spend the weeks before her sister’s wedding at their family’s favorite vacation spot: Santorini. Sandy beaches, stonewashed houses, attractive men—it’s heaven.

But Tessa’s idea of a girl’s trip comes to a screaming halt when her sister thinks it’s high time Tessa finds some love herself. Unfortunately, Tessa forgot about the deal she made back in high school: she has to find her soulmate before her sister’s wedding. Or else.

As she dodges suitors and her sister’s pranks, Tessa finds an ally in the oh-so-dreamy Myles, her childhood crush who just so happens to work at the resort. But Myles is dealing with some family conflict of his own. He’s elated at being reunited with Tessa, but his father’s refusal to acknowledge his interest in the family business and relegating him to only grunt work casts a dark cloud.

As Tessa and Myles help navigate their way through their families’ antics, they begin to realize that their past feelings may have a future—if only they can turn their island fantasies into something real.


I just started getting into Meghan’s books and this one sounds fun!

Do you think you’ll be picking this one up?

Friday, March 17, 2023

Henry's Shelves #4

 

My little bookworm continues to love his stories!  I've been choosing a theme for each month and grabbing a good mix of library books and things from our own shelves.  I keep all of our monthly reads in a bin by our comfy reading chair, and Henry definitely lets me know which ones are his favorites!  Here are some of the ones we've enjoyed over the last few months.



 


  


  



Have you read any of these?


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

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: My Spring TBR

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is our spring TBR!  Some of these books have been on my TBR for quite awhile, so I'm hoping that listing them here will give me the motivation I need to finally get to them!



What will you be reading this spring?

Friday, March 10, 2023

Quick Reviews

My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows (2022)

The author trio is back with another series, this time focusing on famous Marys of history and literature.  Their first offering retells a period in the life of Mary, Queen of Scots.  Although technically Queen of Scotland, Mary spent most of her life in France, betrothed to the dauphin, Francis, and this story looks at the time when Mary and Francis are wedded and soon after become rulers in their own right, although this Mary is hiding a big secret.  The Lady Janies was such a fun series, so I was happy to dive into this new book, which brings the whimsy and charm I've come to expect from the trio.  It also has some ties to the first Jane book, and it was great to revisit that world.  In this story, Mary has her flaws, but she's also determined to be a great leader, and she and Francis make a good pair.  I like how the authors make the "adults" in these books seem a little ridiculous and over-the-top while still somewhat staying true to the historical record.  They do take a lot of liberties (obviously, the real Mary, Queen of Scots did not have the ability to change into a mouse), and while I like that mostly everyone gets a happy ending here, the conclusion was a little jarring knowing how things really ended for Francis and Mary.  4 stars

The (Half) Truth by Leddy Harper (2019)
 
After her fiancé dumps her, chef Tatum is still working at the same restaurant as him, along with his new girlfriend.  One day she tells a little lie that she's seeing a new guy, who just happens to be her best friend's cousin that just arrived in town.  What will happen when Tatum's lies start to spin out of control?  This is why I need to write reviews right after I finish a book, because this one has almost completely faded from my memory already.  Maybe I misread the blurb, but I expected a fake dating scenario, and that's not what happened here.  Tatum concocts a story that she's dating Jason, never cluing him in on the scheme, while also starting a no-strings-attached relationship with him.  Tatum was just the most frustrating character.  She constantly lies and her awkward, bumbling personality wasn't cute, just obnoxious.  The person I felt for was Jason - Tatum's lies meant that other people got the wrong impression about him, and his cousin just kept bringing up his player days from high school (totally ignoring the fact that he just got out of a five-year relationship, so clearly he's changed).  Overall, just a miss for me.  2.5 stars


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

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
 
Renee Rosen
Expected publication date: April 25, 2023
It’s 1938, and a young woman selling face cream out of a New York City beauty parlor is determined to prove she can have it all. Her name is Estée Lauder, and she’s about to take the world by storm, in this dazzling new novel from the USA Today bestselling author of The Social Graces and Park Avenue Summer.

In New York City, you can disappear into the crowd. At least that’s what Gloria Downing desperately hopes as she tries to reinvent herself after a devastating family scandal. She’s ready for a total life makeover and a friend she can lean on—and into her path walks a young, idealistic woman named Estée. Their chance encounter will change Gloria’s life forever.

Estée dreams of success and becoming a household name like Elizabeth Arden, Helena Rubinstein, and Revlon. Before Gloria knows it, she is swept up in her new friend’s mission and while Estée rolls up her sleeves, Gloria begins to discover her own talents. After landing a job at Saks Fifth Avenue, New York’s finest luxury department store, Gloria finds her voice, which proves instrumental in opening doors for Estée’s insatiable ambitions.

But in a world unaccustomed to women with power, they’ll each have to pay the price that comes with daring to live life on their own terms and refusing to back down. - from Goodreads

 

Monday, March 6, 2023

Michele's Monday Picks #9

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! 
 
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If Only You (Bergman Brothers #6)

By Chloe Liese

Expected Publication: April 11, 2023

From Goodreads:

Brace yourself for longing, laughter, and a swoony slow-burn in this brother’s best friend sports romance about scoring the love of your life when you least expect to.

Ziggy

I’m the youngest player on the National Soccer team, the baby of my family, and thoroughly sick of being underestimated, so I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. Which is where my brother’s best friend and teammate, the infamous Sebastian Gauthier, comes in. 
 
Seb needs to rehab his reputation. I want to give mine an edge. So I propose a fake friendship with real benefits: spending time in the public eye, my good-girl image and his bad-boy notoriety rubbing off on each other. He’s my devious, dark-haired fantasy come to life, but his destructive ways make it easy to keep him in the (fake) friend zone. Or so I thought, until I start to see the heart of gold he’s been hiding beneath that sinister surface…

Sebastian

Like any self-respecting reprobate, I’ve been spiraling downward, and finally I’ve hit rock bottom. My hockey career and sponsorships are in jeopardy, and while I’m not ready to actually reform my ways, I’m happy to pretend that I have, to secure the life I’m on the brink of losing. 
 
So when my best friend’s sister, Ziggy Bergman, proposes a public “friendship” to revamp our reputations, it’s an offer I can’t refuse. Up till now, I’ve stayed away from Ren’s sweet, shy little sister to avoid any risk of ruining my one good friendship. But I reassure myself there’s no risk in our scheme. I’ll fake a friendship with Ziggy, fix my reputation, and get back to hockey, the one and only thing I love. At least, it was, until what began as a transactional arrangement became the most loving relationship I’ve ever known.

​If Only You is a brother’s best friend, (fake) friends with benefits to friends to lovers romance about a bighearted, quietly fierce soccer star on the autism spectrum, and a thoroughly unprincipled, almost irredeemable hockey player who has celiac disease. Complete with an absurd level of mutual pining, meddling family and friends, and a spicy slow burn, this standalone is the sixth in a series of novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.


I have loved every book in this series so far and Chloe Liese is one of my favorite authors - do you think you’ll be picking this one up?

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Month in Review - February 2023

 

February was a short month, but a lot happened!  Readers, we have a walker!  Henry had his last physical therapy session and during it took some short, unassisted steps!  Since then, he's been gaining confidence and taking longer walks around the house.  He's doing so great and it's so exciting!  Now I just have to figure out how to get him to wear shoes...

Unfortunately, we caught the stomach bug that's been going around; thankfully, only Tom and I got it, but it was not a fun weekend.  My boys spoiled me on Valentine's Day and I'm trying to make my candy last as long as possible!  My dad and stepmom came over to watch Henry while Tom and I went to a movie and lunch one Saturday.  We saw Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania - while not the best Marvel offering, it'll be interesting to see how this kicks off the next phase of movies and tv shows.


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.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Quick Reviews

 Something Wilder by Christina Lauren (2022)

Lily would love to own her own ranch, but she's stuck taking tourists on treasure hunting adventures, using her late father's maps.  She's surprised one day to see her former love as a guest on her trip, but she barely has time to acknowledge him before it all goes wrong.  This book was quite different from the other Christina Lauren books I've read - the romance is definitely there, but it doesn't take center stage.  That would be the adventure, a fake-turned-very real treasure hunt with far-reaching consequences.  I liked how Lily and Leo worked together and still seemed to know each other so well, despite their love affair being so short and then being apart for so many years.  The authors do a great job of setting the scene, making the reader feel like they are taking this trip along with Lily and the guests.  I will say, though, this story has been described as laugh-out-loud funny and hilarious, and I found it anything but.  There are some very serious things that happen on this treasure hunt, and so I think this book is a bit mischaracterized.  4 stars
 
Runaway Groomsman by Meghan Quinn (2022)
 
Sawyer has a breakdown while serving as a groomsman at the wedding of his ex-fiance to his best friend.  He runs out in the middle of the ceremony and ends up in a small town, where he just might find the peace and love he's looking for.  I have really been enjoying Meghan Quinn's books, but this one was a big miss for me.  The story starts off with such a bang, but it just fizzles out after that.  In a small California town, Sawyer stays at a family-run cabin business and meets Fallon and her grandfather, Sully.  Fallon is helping Sully renovate and run the cabins, as he is now suffering from Alzheimer's.  Sawyer starts to help out around the camp and falls for Fallon in the process.  Both Fallon and Sawyer felt extremely unrealistic and immature as characters.  Their relationship is so slow-burn, it often felt like nothing was happening (I guess it doesn't help that Fallon had a boyfriend for most of the book).  I don't mind sweet, slow-burn, almost completely closed-door romances, but this was just a slog.  The dialogue is also very cringey and doesn't sound like how real people would talk (too much description, words/phrases that people don't actually use).  The one thing that saved the book for me was Sully.  I thought his portrayal as a man with Alzheimer's, still trying to go about his daily life, was very realistic and also heartbreaking.  I loved seeing all the characters rally around him.  3 stars


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

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Bear With Me Now

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

Katie Shepard
Expected publication date: April 25, 2023
Two people are ready for their lives to get a little wilder in this romantic comedy by debut author Katie Shepard.

After being hospitalized for panic attacks two years after his mother’s death, charitable foundation executive Teagan van Zijl is dragged by his sister to a wilderness therapy retreat in Montana. Lost in the woods, Teagan nearly gets eaten by a bear but is saved by an angel in muddy hiking boots—the program’s handywoman, Darcy Albano, that is. After spending the summer with Darcy, Teagan realizes he doesn’t want to return to New York without her. He hires Darcy as his sober companion—a position he doesn’t actually need filled and for which Darcy is completely unqualified—hoping she can help him figure out how to move forward. But once they get to the city, all Teagan can think of is how to confess the truth while keeping her in his life.

Darcy Albano thought she was going to work as a wilderness guide when she was hired on the camp staff, but ended up a handywoman instead—only the latest screwing-over she’s endured since her ex stole her car and her parents ruined her credit score. But Teagan van Zijl is the silver lining she didn’t expect to appear—clearly going through something but willing to commit to Darcy’s unique brand of wilderness education as the cure for what ails him. They form an unlikely bond based on the unexpected support they provide each other. Darcy never imagined staying in the city, but with Teagan’s unshakeable belief in her abilities, anything seems possible. - from Goodreads


Monday, February 20, 2023

Michele's Monday Picks #8

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!

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By Martha Waters
Expected publication: April 11, 2023

From Goodreads:
The Regency Vows series that is “sure to delight Bridgerton fans” (USA TODAY) returns with this story about a viscount and his irascible new wife who hopes to chase her husband from their shared home so that she can finally get some peace and quiet—only to find that his company is not as onerous as she thought.

Viscount Penvale has been working for years to buy back his ancestral home, Trethwick Abbey, from his estranged uncle. And so he’s thrilled when his uncle announces that he is ready to sell but with one major caveat—Penvale must marry his uncle’s ward, Jane Spencer.

When the two meet in London, neither is terribly impressed. Penvale finds Jane headstrong and sharp-tongued. Jane finds him cold and aloof. Nevertheless, they agree to a marriage in name only and return to the estate. There, Jane enlists her housekeeper for a scheme: to stage a haunting so that Penvale will return to London, leaving her to do as she pleases at Trethwick Abbey. But Penvale is not as easily scared as his uncle and as their time together increases, Jane realizes that she might not mind her husband’s company all that much.

With her trademark “arch sense of humor and a marvelously witty voice” (Entertainment Weekly), Martha Waters crafts another delightful romp for all historical romance fans.

I have loved this series so far and am really excited about this new addition!

Do you think you’ll be picking this one up?

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: "Love"ly Picture Books For The Little Ones In Your Life

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is a love/Valentine's Day freebie.  I haven't featured children's books in awhile, so today I thought it would be fun to share a few cute picture books about love and Valentine's Day for babies and toddlers!  Henry and I have read some of these, and the rest are on our TBR!

  


  


 


 


For an even bigger list of picture books, check out my list on Bookshop.org here!

Happy Valentine's Day!


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

Monday, February 13, 2023

Michele's Monday Picks #7

 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!

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By Liana De la Rosa
Expected Publication: April 4, 2023

From Goodreads:
A forbidden love between a Mexican heiress and a shrewd British politician makes for a tantalizing Victorian season.

Ana María Luna Valdés has strived to be the perfect daughter, the perfect niece, and the perfect representative of the powerful Luna familia. So, when Ana María is secretly sent to London with her sisters to seek refuge during the French occupation of Mexico, she experiences her first taste of freedom far from the judgmental eyes of her domineering father. If only she could ignore the piercing looks she receives across ballroom floors from the austere Mr. Fox.

Gideon Fox elevated himself from the London gutters by chasing his burning desire for more: more opportunities, more choices. For everyone. Now as a member of Parliament, Gideon's on the cusp of securing the votes he needs to put forth a measure to abolish the Atlantic slave trade once and for all--a cause that is close to his heart as the grandson of a formerly enslaved woman. The charmingly vexing Ana María is a distraction he must ignore.

But when Ana María finds herself in the crosshairs of a nefarious nobleman with his own political agenda, Gideon knows he must offer his hand as protection...but will this Mexican heiress win his heart as well?

I love historical romance and this one seems very unique - do you think you’ll be picking this one up?

Friday, February 10, 2023

Quick Reviews

 An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons #3) by Julia Quinn (2006)

The illegitimate daughter of an earl, Sophie is basically a servant to her stepmother and two stepsisters.  One night she sneaks into the Bridgerton family's masquerade ball, and her connection with Benedict Bridgerton is swift and undeniable - until she disappears at midnight.  A couple years later, she once again enters Benedict's orbit - but she's a housemaid and he doesn't recognize the maskless Sophie.  Now, Benedict is torn between the woman of his dreams and the woman right in front of him, not knowing it's the same person.  I really loved this story!  The initial meeting between Sophie and Benedict is so dreamy, swoony, romantic - all the feels!  When they are brought back into each other's lives, I just wanted Sophie to be honest with Benedict, although I understood her hesitance.  They have such great chemistry, even when they're bickering.  I loved all the scenes with the extended Bridgerton clan, too - there is so much cheeky humor!  4.5 stars

Ignite by Melanie Harlow (2022)

Dex is a 30-something firefighter and single dad just getting over a divorce; Winnie is a 22-year-old event planner who isn't looking for anything serious - sparks fly when these two move in next door to each other.  This was kind of of a "meh" read for me.  I like the single dad aspect (the kids were really cute, and I don't often like kids in books), although I felt bad for his ex.  The age gap could have been more fun, but Winnie was very immature (her love for Wendy's Frostys came up way too many times).  I did appreciate that Winnie is actually pretty self-aware, knowing that she falls too hard and too fast in love, so she tries to keep this thing with Dex casual.  I didn't realize when I started the book that it was part of a series/universe, so there are a LOT of side characters to keep track of.  Like, too many - why did we need all these other people?  It's like the story wasn't long or strong enough on its own.  Also, there were parts that were so unrealistic - like, Winnie is offered a dream job that I'm not sure she was actually qualified for, and Dex is able to take on a pretty serious side gig despite his crazy firefighter's schedule.  In the end, a predictable romance with a couple steamy scenes.  2.5 stars


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

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Audrey Hepburn Estate

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

Brenda Janowitz
Expected publication date: April 18, 2023
When Emma Jansen discovers that the grand Long Island estate where she grew up is set to be demolished, she can't help but return for one last visit. After all, it was a place filled with firsts: learning to ride a bike, sneaking a glass of champagne, falling in love.

But once Emma arrives at the storied mansion, she can't ignore the more complicated memories. Because that's not exactly where Emma grew up. Her mother and father worked for the family that owned the estate, and they lived over the garage like Audrey Hepburn's character in the film Sabrina. Emma never felt fully accepted, except by the family's grandson, Henry—a former love—and by the driver’s son, Leo—her best friend.

As plans for the property are put into motion and the three are together for the first time in over a decade, Emma finds herself caught between two worlds and two loves. And when the house reveals a shattering secret about her own family, she’ll have to decide what kind of life she really wants for herself now and who she wants to be in it. - from Goodreads


Monday, February 6, 2023

Michele's Monday Picks #6

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!

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By Sally Hepworth
Expected Publication: April 4, 2023

From Goodreads:
Get ready for a thrilling, addictive novel about marriage, betrayal, and the secrets that push us to the edge in Sally Hepworth's The Soulmate.

There’s a cottage on a cliff. Gabe and Pippa’s dream home in a sleepy coastal town. But their perfect house hides something sinister. The tall cliffs have become a popular spot for people to end their lives. Night after night Gabe comes to their rescue, literally talking them off the ledge. Until he doesn’t.

When Pippa discovers Gabe knew the victim, the questions spiral...Did the victim jump? Was she pushed?

And would Gabe, the love of Pippa’s life, her soulmate...lie? As the perfect facade of their marriage begins to crack, the deepest and darkest secrets begin to unravel.


I have really enjoyed Sally’s past thrillers - do you think you’ll be picking this one up?

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Month in Review: January 2023

 

Happy new year!  It's not too late to say that, right?  January was a total blur for me; we had a big deadline at work, so I was way busier than normal and ending up working some nights and on the weekend, too.  It was stressful, but hopefully by the time this post goes live, I will be back to my normal schedule!  Our niece's birthday was this month, so I took her out to lunch (at her favorite restaurant, Panera, haha!) and then we went shopping for some new clothes.  Tom was approved to work from home two days a week until the end of April.  It's nice not being home alone every day, although it is distracting to have someone else (and all the noise they make) around.  

Obligatory Henry update: he isn't walking unassisted yet, but he uses his walker a lot and has also been cruising along the furniture.  He is always in motion!  He loves to clap and also learned to blow kisses this month.  Although, I've tried to get him to do it a few times when I drop him off at daycare and he just gives me a look like I'm totally embarrassing him and he refuses to do it back.  I guess at 14 months, he's too cool for me already!

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.