Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Love, Holly

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Emily Stone
Expected publication date: September 26, 2023
A young woman tries to heal a rift in her elderly pen pal’s family in time for Christmas, all while falling in love—and maybe even reuniting with her own family—in this dazzling romance from the author of Always, in December and One Last Gift.

Sometimes it takes a stranger to bring you back to yourself.

Ever since a car accident tore her family apart, Holly has been part of a lonely-hearts holiday letter–writing club. Each December, she writes to a stranger who is also spending Christmas alone, and receives a letter from another lonely person in return. 

Usually, the letters go unanswered. That’s the point—the letters are anonymous, and the senders write whatever is in their heart. But this year, the letter Holly receives is different; not only is the letter full of a grief she knows all too well, but its writer, Emma, mentions a place that Holly has visited. When she realizes that she might actually be able to find the letter’s author, Holly becomes determined to reunite Emma with the estranged grandson, Jack, with whom Emma is desperate to reconnect.

When Holly finally tracks him down, she remembers that she’s met Jack once before . . . and the connection was electric. The spark between the two of them is still there—until a misunderstanding risks their burgeoning romance and his strained relationship with Emma, too. But Holly is determined; if she can fix Emma’s family, she might also be able to fix her own. Though as it turns out, Holly might have less time to put things right than she thought. - from Goodreads


Monday, August 28, 2023

Michele's Monday Picks #25

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 Katharine Schellman
Expected Publication: September 19, 2023

From Goodreads:
Perfect for fans of Deanna Raybourn and Ashley Weaver, when a body is found shot to death after an unexpected snowstorm, Lily Adler quickly realizes that some people will stop at nothing to bury their secrets this holiday season.

Regency widow Lily Adler is looking forward to returning to Hertfordshire to spend time with the family of her late husband. She is also excited that Captain Jack Hartley, her friend and confidante, will be visiting his own family after a long voyage at sea. With winter quickly approaching, Lily is most excited at the prospect of a relaxing and enjoyable Christmastide season away from the schemes and secrets she witnessed daily in London.

At a neighborhood ball, she soon becomes reacquainted with a friend of her late husband, Peter Coleridge, a wealthy man who not only manages Irish investments, but also a fund that most of the locals of Hertfordshire take part in. There, she also learns Jack’s sister, Amelia, is the subject of much of the neighborhood gossip—although Amelia refuses to explain if there is any truth to it. For a brief moment, Lily wonders if she ever really left London.

When a snowstorm forces several guests, including both the Adlers and the Hartleys, to stay the night, Lily quickly deduces that all is not well this holiday season. In the morning, a maid discovers the body of a guest in the poultry yard, shot to death—and he is the same man that is scandalously linked to Amelia.

Lily accepts the offer to assist in the investigation, but will she find more than what she bargained for the more she digs? Or will she herself be buried deep within the snow?

This Regency murder mystery series is such a gem - do you think you’ll be picking this one up?

Friday, August 18, 2023

Blog Break!


Summer is winding down, so I'm going to take a short break from the blog next week!  Thanks for stopping by, and we'll talk books again soon!

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Armor of Light

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Ken Follett
Expected publication date: September 26, 2023
The long-awaited sequel to A Column of Fire, The Armor of Light, heralds a new dawn for Kingsbridge, England, where progress clashes with tradition, class struggles push into every part of society, and war in Europe engulfs the entire continent and beyond.

The Spinning Jenny was invented in 1770, and with that, a new era of manufacturing and industry changed lives everywhere within a generation. A world filled with unrest wrestles for control over this new world order: A mother’s husband is killed in a work accident due to negligence; a young woman fights to fund her school for impoverished children; a well-intentioned young man unexpectedly inherits a failing business; one man ruthlessly protects his wealth no matter the cost, all the while war cries are heard from France, as Napoleon sets forth a violent master plan to become emperor of the world. As institutions are challenged and toppled in unprecedented fashion, ripples of change ricochet through our characters’ lives as they are left to reckon with the future and a world they must rebuild from the ashes of war.

Over thirty years ago, Ken Follett published his most popular novel, The Pillars of the Earth. Now, with this electrifying addition to the Kingsbridge series we are plunged into the battlefield between compassion and greed, love and hate, progress and tradition. It is through each character that we are given a new perspective to the seismic shifts that shook the world in nineteenth-century Europe. - from Goodreads


Monday, August 14, 2023

Michele's Monday Picks #24

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 Chloe Liese
Expected Publication: October 10, 2023

From Goodreads:
Childhood enemies discover the fine line between love and loathing in this heartfelt reimagining of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.

Katerina Wilmot and Christopher Petruchio shared backyards as kids, but as adults they won't even share the same hemisphere. That is, until Kate makes a rare visit home, and their fiery animosity rekindles into a raging inferno.

Despite their friends' and families' pleas for peace, Christopher is unconvinced Kate would willingly douse the flames of their enmity. But when a drunken Kate confesses she's only been hostile because she thought he hated her, Christopher vows to make peace with Kate once and for all. Tempting as it is to be swept away by her nemesis-turned-gentleman, Kate isn't sure she can trust his charming good-guy act.

When Christopher's persistence and Kate’s curiosity lead to an impassioned kiss, they realize "peace" is the last thing that will ever be possible between them. As desire gives way to deeper feelings, Kate and Christopher must decide if it’s truly better to hate than to never risk their hearts—or if they already gave them away long ago.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series so I have high hopes for this one - do you think you’ll be picking this one up?

Friday, August 11, 2023

Quick Reviews

The Social Graces by Renee Rosen (2021)

High society, the Gilded Age, a feud between Caroline Astor and Alva Vanderbilt - so much to enjoy in this book!  Caroline Astor has been at the top of society for decades, but now Alva Vanderbilt is on the scene, intent on breaking into the upper echelons.  Alva, having come from nothing but now wanting for nothing, doesn't understand why she can't be accepted by the other wealthy women.  It was so interesting to learn about the social norms of the time, the distinctions between old and new money, etc.  I've always enjoyed reading about the Gilded Age, and Rosen does a great job of bringing the time period, and the characters, to life.  There wasn't perhaps as much interaction between the two women as I was maybe expecting, but I did learn more about each one, especially all the heartache Caroline Astor endured in her life.  The story petered out a bit at the end, but it was still an enjoyable read.  4 stars

Dear Henry, Love Edith by Becca Kinzer (2023)

Edith is recently widowed and biding her time before leaving for a volunteer position in South Africa.  She rents a room from what she assumes is an elderly man, who also assumes she's an elderly woman.  While they never see each other in the house, they leave notes where they get to know each other, unbeknownst to the fact that they actually keep running into the other in town, forming a growing bond.  I thought this book was adorable!  I love the mistaken identity aspect and kind of wish it had gone on even longer in the story, where it then moves to a fake dating trope and a little bit of opposites attract.  Edith did not have a great marriage, so I was rooting for her from the beginning to open herself up to love again, although I also liked the idea of claiming her independence and doing something for herself.  Henry was super charming and I loved his devotion to the family business.  The small town setting is very fun, although a little ridiculous with how fast (and wrongly) rumors spread.  A sweet, clean romance, I didn't realize it was Christian fiction at first.  It didn't really hamper my enjoyment of the story, but it can be nice to know these things ahead of time.  4 stars

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Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Chalice of the Gods

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!
Rick Riordan
Expected publication: September 26, 2023
The original heroes from The Lightning Thief are reunited for their biggest challenge yet: getting Percy to college when the gods are standing in his way.

After saving the world multiple times, Percy Jackson is hoping to have a normal senior year. Unfortunately, the gods aren’t quite done with him. Percy will have to fulfill three quests in order to get the necessary three letters of recommendation from Mount Olympus for college.

The first quest is to help Zeus’s cup-bearer retrieve his goblet before it falls into the wrong hands. Can Percy, Grover, and Annabeth find it in time?

Readers new to Percy Jackson and fans who have been awaiting this reunion for more than a decade will delight equally in this latest hilarious take on Greek mythology. - from Goodreads


Friday, August 4, 2023

Quick Reviews

It Had To Be You by Georgia Clark (2021)

Liv and her husband Eliot ran a New York City wedding planning business until his unexpected death - upon which she found out he was cheating on her and left his half of the business to his mistress, Savannah.  Now, the two are reluctantly working together.  Surrounding them are several other couples, both old and new.  I enjoyed the Love, Actually style of the book, as we get to know all of these characters and couples and see how they're all connected in some way.  Each couple features a unique trope - two musicians faking a relationship (or maybe it's real), a celebrity dating a waitress, a gay couple deciding if they should get married, a woman questioning her sexuality.  That was all interesting to me - however, the writing left a lot to be desired.  It felt like basic and uninspired.  I also thought Liv and Savannah worked through their troubles too easily, or maybe too much of it happened off-page.  Either way, you'd think there would have been tension for way longer between the two.  So, overall, cute premise, but lacking in execution.  3 stars
Vacation Wars by Meghan Quinn (2023)
Tessa, her sister, and their two best friends are spending a couple weeks in Santorini in the lead-up to her sister's wedding.  The three other women decide that Tessa needs to let them help her with her love life, when the one person she really wants to be with is Myles, whose family owns the resort they're staying at.  Ugh, I wanted to like this so badly - Meghan Quinn is so good at steamy romances and fun banter - but this was a rough one for me.  None of the characters acted like the 30-year-olds that they were - they acted like petty, immature teenagers.  Tessa's sister's and friends' insistence on finding her a man, based on some contract from their high school years, could have been fun, but just felt embarrassing, especially when the men they were setting her up with were totally inappropriate.  I didn't find Tessa to be charming or quirky - her rambling awkwardness was kind of annoying.  I liked the idea of her and Myles together after so many years of crushing on each other, but their conversations were so cringey and the last 25% of the book felt so out of left field that I almost felt like I was reading a different book.  3 stars


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Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Month in Review: July 2023


July was a month of highs and lows.  My stepfather Frank passed away this month - although he had been declining for awhile and it was somewhat expected, it was still a shock to me.  He and my mom had been married for 24 years, so he has been in our lives for a long time and while things started off rough, in the last several years, we had forged a better relationship.  My mom has been doing as well as can be expected.  She's generally a very strong person, emotionally, so even though this will be a big adjustment for her, she is handling it well.  They had moved to Oklahoma last year, but the services were up here in New Jersey, so I have been busy helping her with that (I apologize for my lack of blog hopping in the last couple weeks!).  Where my mom is strong, I am way more emotional and it's been a hard time personally.  The day we laid him to rest was a beautiful day and we couldn't have asked for better.  I will always remember the way he loved Henry, from the moment he met him - he loved to sit on the couch and hold him, talking to him quietly and gently.

After the funeral, my mom stayed in New Jersey for a couple weeks.  She stayed with us a for a couple days before going down to my sister's house.  I'm glad she didn't have to be alone during this time.  Then we all went up to the Finger Lakes in upstate New York for my cousin's wedding (my mom watched Henry and our niece because it was a no children allowed event).  It was a lovely wedding and we got to catch up with my dad's side of the family, which was nice because we don't get to see them often, as everyone is spread out all over the country.

Henry is doing great - he's learning so many new words!  Hearing his little voice say "bye bye" is probably the cutest thing I've ever heard!  He is definitely in the toddler stage of pushing boundaries, though - while he is generally a good listener, I have had to employ time outs quite often lately.  

The Books

The Posts and Reviews

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