Monday, July 31, 2023

Michele's Monday Picks #23

Angela is so generous to let me pop in with my 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!

The Blonde Identity

By Ally Carter

Expected Publication: August 8, 2023

From Goodreads:

A fast-paced, hilarious road trip rom-com about a woman with amnesia who discovers she's the identical twin sister of a rogue spy... and must team up with a rugged, grumpy operative to stay alive.

It's the middle of the night in the middle of Paris and a woman just woke up with no memory.

She only knows three things for certain:

1. She has a splitting headache.

2. The hottest guy she has (probably) ever seen is standing over her, telling her to run.

And oh yeah...

3. People keep trying to kill her.

She doesn't know who. Or why. But when she sees footage of herself fighting off a dozen men there's only one explanation: obviously. . . she's a spy!

Except, according to Mr. Hot Guy, she's not. She's a spy's identical twin sister.

Too bad the only person who knows she's not the woman they're looking for is this very grouchy, very sexy, very secret agent who (reluctantly) agrees to help her disappear.

That's easier said than done when a criminal organization wants you dead and every intelligence service in the world wants you caught. Luckily, no one is looking for a pair of lovesick newlyweds on their honeymoon. And soon they're lying their way across Europe--dodging bullets and faking kisses as they race to unravel a deadly conspiracy and clear her sister's name.

But with every secret they uncover, the truth shifts, until she no longer knows who to trust: the twin she can't remember or the mysterious man she can't let herself forget...

This sounds so fun - do you think you’ll be picking this one up?

Monday, July 24, 2023

Michele's Monday Picks #22

 Angela is so generous to let me pop in with my 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 Rachel Griffin
Expected Publication: August 1, 2023

From Goodreads:
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Nature of Witches and Wild is the Witch comes a lush romantic fantasy about forbidden love, the choices we make, and the pull between duty and desire.

Tana Fairchild’s fate has never been in question. Her life has been planned out since the moment she was born: she is to marry the governor’s son, Landon, and secure an unprecedented alliance between the witches of her island home and the mainlanders who see her very existence as a threat.

Tana’s coven has appeased those who fear their power for years by releasing most of their magic into the ocean during the full moon. But when Tana misses the midnight ritual—a fatal mistake—there is no one she can turn to for help…until she meets Wolfe. 

Wolfe claims he is from a coven that practices dark magic, making him one of the only people who can help her. But he refuses to let Tana’s power rush into the sea, and instead teaches her his forbidden magic. A magic that makes her feel powerful. Alive. 

As the sea grows more violent, her coven loses control of the currents, a danger that could destroy the alliance as well as her island. Tana will have to choose between love and duty, between loyalty to her people and loyalty to her heart. Marrying Landon would secure peace for her coven but losing Wolfe and his wild magic could cost her everything else.

This sounds so unique - do you think you’ll be picking this one up?

Friday, July 21, 2023

Little Free Library Sightings: Prolonging The Nap Edition

It's always fun to see a Little Free Library "out in the wild!"  I love to spot them, browse their selection, leave a book if possible, and then look them up on the official website, because sometimes they have great stories to go along with them!  There's also an app you can download to find local Little Free Libraries - you can even "check in" to keep track of the ones you've visited.  Recently, we were driving out to my dad's house, and our trek fell during Henry's nap time - in order to make the drive last longer and let him get a good nap in, I decided to map out a few LFLs and make some stops not too far from our route.  Here are the ones I came across!

#145786 (Jennifer's Little Library) - According to the website, this owner loves books and loves sharing them with others.  They offer a mix of children's and adult books.  I left a book and grabbed a book by Jenny Colgan, an author I've been wanting to try for awhile!
#130894 - How cute is this Little Free Library?!  It's located in a very upscale neighborhood and offered a good selection of YA books.  I left a book but didn't take any.
#60225 - A local Girl Scout built and donated this library as part of her Silver Award project, and they encourage anyone who needs books to check it out!  I initially drove right by this one; I thought it was on the grounds of a Jewish temple, so I drove around the parking lot for a little, thinking it was closer to the building.  Then, as I was leaving, I saw it out on the street, beyond the fence.  I have to admit, getting to it was a little dicey - it's on kind of a major road and there is no good place to park.  I just pulled off as far as I could.  I left a book but didn't take any.  It was well-stocked, though, with lots of big name authors!
#105892 - This LFL is located a beautiful, quiet neighborhood.  It had an amazing selection of children's books, so I grabbed a Biscuit the dog book and a book by Sandra Boynton for Henry!  I left a book, too.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: One-Word Titles

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is books with one-word titles.  I love a good one-word title - it's succinct and powerful.  So, here's a list of my top-rated books with one-word titles!

What are some of your favorite one-word titles?

Friday, July 14, 2023

Guest Blogger: My Favorite Audiobooks #1

 Michele is back today to talk about audiobooks!

Up until a few years ago, I had never even considered audiobooks as a way to increase my reading – but then my husband started working for a major audiobook publisher and I got hooked! Now I listen to them all the time – getting ready in the morning, in the car, exercising, at my daughter’s swim lessons, you name it. Audiobooks are fantastic for when you can’t physically hold a book and I have listened to some really fantastic performances. Here are some of my recent faves:

Cara Bastone – Love Lines series and Love at First Psych. These books are all audio originals, so they are written specifically for that medium. They are quick and fun and have full casts.


Cat Sebastian – Page & Sommers series and The Queer Principles of Kit Webb. Entertaining historicals with the fantastic Joel Leslie narrating.

Randall Munroe – What If series and How to. Narrated by the fantastic Wil Wheaton, these are fun, quick reads for those of us who are science nerds at heart.

Do you listen to audiobooks? Do you have any favorites?

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Can't-Wait Wednesday: A Twisted Love Story

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Samantha Downing
Expected publication date: July 28, 2023
From the bestselling author of My Lovely Wife comes a reckless, delicious thriller about a young couple that gives a whole new meaning to the dangers of modern dating.

Wes and Ivy are madly in love. They've never felt anything like it. It's the kind of romance people write stories about.

But what kind of story?

Because when it's good, it's great. Flowers. Grand gestures. Deep meaningful conversations where the whole world disappears.

When it's bad, it's really bad. Vengeful fights. Damaged property. Arrest warrants.

But their vicious cycle of catastrophic breakups and head-over-heels reconnections needs to end fast. Because suddenly, Wes and Ivy have a common enemy--and she's a detective.

There's something Wes and Ivy never talk about--in good times or bad. The night of their worst breakup, when one of them took things too far, and someone ended up dead.

If they can stick together, they can survive anything--even the tightening net of a police investigation.

Because one more breakup might just be their last… - from Goodreads


Monday, July 10, 2023

Michele's Monday Picks #21

 Angela is so generous to let me pop in with my 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 Jessica Joyce
Expected Publication: July 11, 2023

From Goodreads:
Two high school enemies must reunite for a road trip inspired by their grandparents’ broken engagement in this electric debut romance.

Noelle Shepherd is unemployed, living with her parents, and grieving the loss of her beloved grandmother when she discovers decades-old photos of Gram and a smitten man, tucked alongside a love letter. She creates a TikTok to search for the mystery man, which goes viral, and she’s shocked when his grandson responds—a man who happens to be her high school nemesis, Theo Spencer.

Noelle refuses to let Theo’s annoying accomplishments in adulthood—or his sexy smirk—stand in the way of meeting his grandfather and unlocking the secrets he knew about her gram as a young woman. When she learns that their plans to elope were thwarted, Noelle decides to take the honeymoon road trip they planned but never got to carry out. There’s a catch, though: Paul, Theo’s grandfather, asks to come with her, and he insists that Theo join them.

It’ll be a miracle if they make it through the trip without Noelle throwing Theo out of the moving car—or the bed they end up sharing. As the miles tick by, the tension simmers hotter between them…until she discovers that Theo’s hiding a secret that could cause their tenuous relationship to end before it can restart.

This sounds like such a fun debut - do you think you’ll be picking this one up?

Friday, July 7, 2023

Quick Reviews

 Bear With Me Now by Katie Shepard (2023)

I was so looking forward to this book - the title and cover initially drew me in, and I thought the premise sounded great.  While attending a wilderness therapy retreat with his sister, Teagan starts falling for Darcy, a guide/handywoman at the retreat, and with a little prodding from his sister, he hires Darcy as his sober companion and she returns to NYC with him.  Problem is, Teagan is not an alcoholic, and what will Darcy do when she finds out?  This started out good - I liked Darcy at the beginning; she's brash and bold and confident - plus, she saves Teagan from a bear!  But when they get to NYC, it all fell apart for me.  Darcy has absolutely no qualifications to be a sober companion or any kind of therapist.  She thinks that by listening to podcasts, she can fix Teagan.  Not only this, but she actively pursues a relationship? fling?  no-strings-attached sex? with him.  I guess since she's not a real therapist, it's not bad, but it felt so unethical and immoral.  Teagan seemed a bit obsessed with Darcy, and the way he inserted himself into her job search (actively looking for and applying for jobs for her) felt really weird.  Also, even though he's not an alcoholic, he does have some mental health issues, which were not dealt with in constructive ways (he makes the unilateral decision to go off his meds in order to have better sex).  Darcy, on the other hand, clearly has some sort of learning disability, and I felt like the author hinted at it but almost completely glossed over it.  I think an exploration of that would have gone a long way in helping the reader understand Darcy better.  3 stars

The Boyfriend Candidate by Ashley Winstead (2023)

What happens when a shy librarian decides to have a one-night stand with a handsome stranger?  Well, in this case, a freak lightning strike causes a fire at their hotel before any of the good stuff happens, and when they are photographed fleeing for safety, she finds out he's actually a gubernatorial candidate and they start a fake relationship to keep the press from gossiping.  Sounds fun, right?  And it absolutely was, as well as unexpectedly heartfelt and deep at times.  I just loved this book.  Although it took me a little while to get into it (because, life), soon I didn't want to stop reading.  I fell in love with Alexis and Logan and their unconventional journey to happiness.  Alexis was such a relatable character - she's shy, a book lover, often afraid to stand up for herself and what she wants.  But she grows so much during this book, learning to put herself first when she needs to, and discovering what she truly wants out of life.  And Logan - sigh, so dreamy!  Through just small words and actions, I could tell how much he cared for Alexis, but was scared to make it real.  There were some communication issues, and it seemed like too often they were interrupted just as a major breakthrough was going to happen, but I found myself not caring - I was rooting too hard for them!  Great writing, well-rounded characters, a little spicy but worth the slow burn!  5 stars

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

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Month in Review: June 2023


June was a very busy family-filled month for us!  Tom and I attended the graduation party of his colleague's son, which marked the first time both of us were not there for Henry's bedtime.  It was only the 4th time I've missed bedtime - LOL, is it weird that I know that?  My dad and stepmom came to stay with him, and he seemed to have a great time.  The next day, we went to a Trenton Thunder (minor league baseball) game with my family.  It was Henry's first baseball game!  He didn't really pay that much attention, but we all had fun!  Later in the month, we played hooky and met up with Henry's cousins at the Crayola Factory on a Friday morning.  We had fun coloring and running around, until Henry started to get a little out of control (tired, LOL), and we had to sit out in the hallway for awhile.  Then my dad and stepmom hosted a chocolate tasting party with some fancy chocolate they picked up on their recent trip to Hawaii (the kids taste-tested M&M colors).  Henry played at the water table and ran around with his cousins - he never seems to care that he's the youngest and can't do as much as them, he's content to just be in the middle of everything, give hugs, and giggle like crazy!

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.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Happy 4th of July!


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is book covers in the color of my country's flag.  Since I live in the United States, I'm featuring a graphic I created a few years ago:

Happy 4th of July to those celebrating today!

Monday, July 3, 2023

Michele's Monday Picks #20

 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 Ruth Ware
Expected Publication: June 20, 2023

From Goodreads:
The New York Times bestselling “new Agatha Christie” (Air Mail) Ruth Ware returns with this adrenaline-fueled thriller that combines Mr. and Mrs. Smith with The Fugitive about a woman in a race against time to clear her name and find her husband’s murderer.

Hired by companies to break into buildings and hack security systems, Jack and her husband, Gabe, are the best penetration specialists in the business. But after a routine assignment goes horribly wrong, Jack arrives home to find her husband dead. To add to her horror, the police are closing in on their suspect—her.

Suddenly on the run and quickly running out of options, Jack must decide who she can trust as she circles closer to the real killer in this unputdownable and heart-pounding mystery from an author whose “propulsive prose keeps readers on the hook and refuses to let anyone off until all has been revealed” (Shelf Awareness).

Ruth Ware writes such great thrillers - do you think you’ll be picking this one up?