Monday, October 30, 2023

Michele's Monday Picks #31

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! 

Check & Mate

By Ali Hazelwood

Expected Publication: November 7, 2023

From Goodreads:

In this clever and swoonworthy YA debut from the New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis, life's moving pieces bring rival chess players together in a match for the heart.

Mallory Greenleaf is done with chess. Every move counts nowadays; after the sport led to the destruction of her family four years earlier, Mallory's focus is on her mom, her sisters, and the dead-end job that keeps the lights on. That is, until she begrudgingly agrees to play in one last charity tournament and inadvertently wipes the board with notorious "Kingkiller" Nolan Sawyer: current world champion and reigning Bad Boy of chess.

Nolan's loss to an unknown rook-ie shocks everyone. What's even more confusing? His desire to cross pawns again. What kind of gambit is Nolan playing? The smart move would be to walk away. Resign. Game over. But Mallory's victory opens the door to sorely needed cash-prizes and despite everything, she can't help feeling drawn to the enigmatic strategist....

As she rockets up the ranks, Mallory struggles to keep her family safely separated from the game that wrecked it in the first place. And as her love for the sport she so desperately wanted to hate begins to rekindle, Mallory quickly realizes that the games aren't only on the board, the spotlight is brighter than she imagined, and the competition can be fierce (-ly attractive. And intelligent...and infuriating...)

I am so excited to see what Ali Hazelwood will do with her YA debut - do you think you’ll be picking this one up?

Friday, October 27, 2023

Blog Tour: Secrets Laid To Rest by Catherine C. Hall

 Today I'm partnering with WOW! Women on Writing to celebrate the release of Secrets Laid to Rest, the first book in the Ladies of SPI series by Catherine C. Hall.  Keep reading for my review and an excerpt from the book!  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Secrets Laid to Rest (Ladies of SPI Mystery #1)
Catherine C. Hall
Published September 19, 2023
The Secrets of Sutter Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance...

Fall is in the air, the scent of autumn leaves and apple pies, and now a brand new business is opening its doors in small-town Sutter, Georgia.

But not just any business. It's the Golden Girls meet the Ghostbusters when four women find themselves in an unlikely career: Southeastern Paranormal Investigations. Ree Lane, a stylish widow, is more cynic than true believer, while her childhood chum Elle Harper has a knack for getting sensitive info with the help of her homemade pies. The preacher's wife, Betsy Jones, can't be seen with SPI unless she's in her disguise as Nora, a psychic-in-training with a gift for Tarot. And the recently-returned-home Gillian Buchanan is a whiz at technology, especially of the supernatural sort.

Their first case lands on the doorstep when neighbor Doris Tucker is sure her prized vintage dolls are haunted. But there's hardly time for ghost-hunting when the bank director's wife mistakes SPI for a private eye venture. Now they're also hot on the trail of a misbehaving husband. It's a wild ride as the sixty-something sleuths start digging into the past. But have the Ladies of SPI gone too far? And how far will Sutter go to keep its secrets dead and buried? - from Goodreads
After attending a lackluster paranormal investigation seminar, four Georgia women (of a certain age) decide to start their own business investigating paranormal occurrences.  While they do manage to land one client, another mistakes them for private investigators and hires them to tail her husband, sure he's cheating on her.  As they start digging into their clients and the past, what will they find out?

If you enjoy cozy mysteries, this is one to check out.  Set in a small town, where everyone knows everyone else, the story follows four women (a widow, a preacher's wife, a store owner/baker, and a tech wiz) as they start their own business (some a little more reluctantly than others!).  Their first case involves some potentially haunted dolls, and it was interesting to see how the ladies approached it.  Simultaneously, they work on a "cheating husband" investigation.  The writing is clean and a bit humorous.  Hall does a good job of introducing the main characters and I'd be interested to see what happens to them next (particularly Betsy, the preacher's wife, whose husband wouldn't agree with her new job).  There were also quite a few side characters introduced that were sometimes hard to keep track of but set a good groundwork for the small town setting in upcoming installments.  Although there wasn't as much paranormal activity as I was hoping for or expecting, there was a nice little twist at the end, and hopefully there are more spooky shenanigans to come!

4 stars

And now, an excerpt from Secrets Laid to Rest...

There were twenty chairs arranged in four rows and half the chairs were taken. In the front of the room, next to a scratched metal podium, stood a gentleman whose black shirt with the Ghost Trackers logo barely covered his stomach. Next to him was Hannah Worthen, one of the library volunteers, who had pulled Friday night duty. She held up her arm and waved to Elle and Ree. “Y’all come on down here to the front! There’s plenty of room!”
Elle would have happily moved to the front but Ree held the back of her mom jeans in a death grip. “We’re not flouncing up there for the whole world to see,” Ree whispered into her ear. “Or I swear I will fake a heart attack and you’ll have to leave immediately.”
Elle didn’t think her friend would fake a heart attack. Especially since Ree’s husband, William Lane, Esq., had had a heart attack on the golf course that was barely a mile from the local hospital and still managed to die in the emergency room. That had been almost three years ago, after which Ree had made her family, friends, doctors, and perfect strangers swear an oath not to take her to Sutter Memorial, particularly for any emergency of the heart variety. So it was pure theater on Ree’s part but Elle allowed Ree to pull her down to a seat in the back row. “We’re good, Hannah,” said Elle, and waved back.
“Oh, Lord,” said Ree, back in Elle’s ear. “Look who’s sitting over there. With the helmet hair.”
“Shhh! She’ll hear you!” Elle strained to see over the heads in front of her. “Oh! That’s…what’s her name? The gal who moved in with her mother? With all the cats? I see her at Cones n ‘Cue all the time. What’s her name?”
“Gillian something,” Ree whispered. “So that makes it official. We’re at the Friday Night Hangout of the Sutter Weirdos.”
“Shhh! It’s starting!”
Hannah dimmed the lights and the rotund Ghost Tracker speaker began. “It’s late at night.” He dropped his voice so low that the audience as one leaned forward. “You are home alone, watching a movie when the lights flicker. That’s odd, you think. But you continue watching your movie. Until you hear a thump over your head, followed by footsteps. It’s not possible, you’re all alone. But are you? Are you?”
“BOO!” shouted another black T-shirt clad man, jumping up from under the table. Five women screamed. Including Elle.
The rotund gentleman smiled. “That’s how we think ghosts appear, isn’t it?” 
A smattering of relieved laughter filtered through the room and the speaker nodded as he continued. “The truth is, it’s often pretty difficult for a spirit to appear in our material world. That’s where we come in, to help these souls make contact. It’s up to us to solve the mysteries, unlock the secrets, and in the end, allow the spirits to perhaps reveal themselves so that they can go home. And sometimes, we need to get them home as fast as possible!” 
The library crowd tittered, their attention riveted on the Ghost Tracker speaker. Except for Ree, whose attention was focused on the person who had just walked into the room. “Elle!” She grabbed Elle’s arm and squeezed.
“Ow! Why can’t you let me hear this man?”
“Look behind me, at the woman who just came in and sat in the chair up against the wall. Don’t be obvious, but look.”
Elle glanced over Ree’s shoulder. She spied a tall, slender woman slightly hunched over a patchwork backpack. Although it was even darker in the corner, she wore tinted glasses. The woman twirled a long strand of blonde hair, as if she hadn’t a care in the world. But Elle watched as she inched forward when the speaker launched into an explanation of poltergeist activity.
The blonde sported jeans, but they were of the vintage sort, with more than just a boot flare. Were they bell bottoms? Yes, thought Elle, bell bottoms. A peasant-style blouse with a fringed leather vest completed the outfit. It had been a while since Elle had seen a hippie in her hometown, but she knew one when she saw it. She recognized the style, but didn’t recognize the woman. “Weird,” mouthed Elle. 
“It’s Betsy Jones,” whispered Ree.
“No!” gasped Elle.
“Yes,” said Ree, with a firm nod. “I didn’t spend the last ten years heading up the high school drama department without learning a thing or two about costumes and disguises.”’
Elle’s eyes widened. “A disguise? You think?”
“I do,” said Ree. “The question is: why is the preacher’s wife out at a presentation about ghosts?”
Ree corralled Betsy Jones toward the red SUV where Gillian and Elle were deep in conversation. The rest of the crowd had dispersed as if the Hounds of Hell had chased them away and this suited Ree just fine. After all, it was not her plan to expose the preacher’s wife in a public place and she knew she could trust Elle. She wasn’t so sure about Gillian Something. Ree opened her mouth to speak but Elle turned suddenly and gasped.
“Oh my goodness, it is you, Betsy! What in the world, girl?”
They hadn’t been girls in fifty years. Betsy had just celebrated her 60th birthday and wondered had it really been thirty years ago when she’d arrived in Sutter. Elle and Ree had been best friends in the same kindergarten class back in the day and though Ree had shaken the dirt off her Sutter high-heeled boots after high school, she’d returned years later with the love of her life. And now, Elle and Ree were sixty-two (though Ree could pass for somewhere in her fifties while Elle’s friends were always telling her about great Medicare deals). Gillian was so new to Sutter that no one had a clue as to her age. But in the streetlight glow of the library parking lot, her features softened, Gillian could easily be a bona fide fifty-five.
They had good days and bad days, these four women, but no one in Sutter would describe them as living the dream. That was about to change.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Good Part

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

Sophie Cousens
Expected publication date: November 7, 2023
By the New York Times bestselling author of Just Haven't Met You Yet, a downtrodden twenty-six-year-old wakes up to the life she's always wanted, but is it really a dream come true?

At twenty-six, Lucy Young is tired. Tired of fetching coffees for senior TV producers, tired of going on disastrous dates, and definitely tired of living in a damp flat share with flatmates who never buy toilet roll. She could quit her job for a better living, but she's not ready to give up on her dreams. Not just yet. After another diabolical date lands her in a sudden storm and no money for bus fare, Lucy finds herself seeking shelter in a tiny shop, where she stumbles upon a curious wishing machine. Pushing her last coin into the slot, Lucy closes her eyes and wishes with everything she's got: Please, let me skip to the good part of my life.

When she wakes the next morning to a handsome man, a ring on her finger, a high-powered job, and storybook perfect little boy and baby girl, Lucy can't believe this is real--especially when she looks in the mirror, and staring back is her own forty-something face. Has she really skipped ahead to the future she's always wanted, or has she simply forgotten a huge chunk of her life? And as Lucy begins to embrace this new life and new relationships, she'll have to ask herself: Can she go back, and if so, does she want to? - from Goodreads

Monday, October 23, 2023

Guest Post - Indie Bookstore Spotlight: Northshire Bookstore

 Michele is here today to share about an indie bookstore she recently visited!


I recently took a road trip to Vermont with my husband and daughter to visit my parents and take Luna to the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory.  Spoiler alert: she loved it.
While we were up there, my stepmom suggested we visit Northshire Bookstore in Manchester.  I am so glad she did because it was probably the best independent bookstore I’ve ever been to.  According to its website, “Northshire Bookstore is a family-owned, independent, community bookstore dedicated to the art of bookselling and the highest standard of service. With locations in Manchester Center, Vermont, and Saratoga Springs, New York, Northshire is proud to offer one of the finest and largest collections of new, used and rare books in New England, with over 300,000 titles in each location. Additionally, we offer a curated collection of vinyl records, stationary, gifts and home goods, with a focus on featuring the work of local artisans.” 


It may look small from the outside, but the inside is three levels of bookish goodness.  Every genre is represented, as well as household items, crafts and games.  New releases (even those from smaller publishers that I wouldn’t have expected to see in an indie bookstore) were plentiful and there were lots of staff recommendations scattered throughout the store.  They also had cozy little reading nooks and a cafĂ©.

If you are ever in the Manchester, VT or Saratoga Springs, NY areas, I would highly recommend checking out Northshire!

Do you have a favorite indie bookstore?

Friday, October 20, 2023

Haunted House Quick Reviews

 She is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran (2023)

Jade's father is restoring a historic house in Vietnam and she travels there to spend five weeks with him in exchange for tuition money.  She soon realizes that the house is not what it appears to be - she suffers from sleep paralysis, there are bugs everywhere, food is rotting for no reason, and oh yeah, there's a ghost or two trying to give her a message - or something worse.  Jade will do just about anything to save her family from the haunted house.  This was just a "meh" read for me.  I think it suffered a lot from overwriting and could have used a good editor.  I felt like it was trying too hard to be cerebral or something, and it just ended up confusing.  It may have been because I ended up skimming a lot, but I felt lost - was the house the problem?  The ghosts?  There were also issues of race, identity, sexuality - it was just too much in one book.  2.5 stars
How To Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix (2023)
After her parents are killed in a car accident, Louise travels back to her childhood home to deal with the situation.  She's not looking forward to working with her brother to get the house ready for sale, especially not after strange things start happening.  Some paranormal force is at work, and Louise and Mark will have to overcome their differences to get rid of it.  I've enjoyed a few of Hendrix's books - to me, they're a good mix of horror and, strangely, humor.  This one featured the main element of a haunted house, although the manifestation of that haunting may be a deal breaker for some!  Spoiler alert - it's dolls and puppets.  Super creepy!  Hendrix's writing is straightforward and easy to read, although it certainly does get very gory and very graphic, so if you're not into that, you might want to avoid this one.  In addition to the haunted house, there is also a focus on family and relationships.  Mark and Louise have a very complicated relationship, and the tough conversations they have are achingly relatable and honest.  It's funny how two people who grew up in the same house have such different memories of it.  I think the story dragged on a little too long for me, but overall, another great addition to the horror genre from Hendrix.  4 stars

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

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Blog Tour + Excerpt: Meet Your Matcha by Nanxi Wen


Meet Your Matcha, an all-new opposites attract romance from Nanxi Wen, is available now in Kindle Unlimited!

“It’s my life to ruin!”

Pippa Fleming is a woman who always has a plan… until she finally secures a coveted promotion and her dream job suddenly feels worse than getting caught under the sun as a redhead with no sunscreen. Exhausted and confused, Pippa seeks an escape by signing up for a reality dating show. Everyone is allowed one identity crisis, right? And where better to recharge than on a beach sipping cocktails with little umbrellas?

As long as she remembers she’s only here to have fun, not lose her heart…

“She was a walking red flag, so far out of my league that I couldn’t even see what league she was in.”

August Weather is laid back and content with his quiet life. But when his sister nominates him for a reality dating show, he sees it as a chance to experience the world outside of his small town. What he didn’t expect was to fall for someone like Pippa. She’s his complete opposite – prickly, vivacious, full of adventure and big dreams… and despises him on sight.

Except, he can’t stop thinking about her and finding out what lies beneath her guarded surface…

When the whirlwind of the show throws them together, Pippa and August discover how wrong first impressions can be. But, can their newfound connection survive the real world? Or will their differences sweep their love match out to sea?

‘Meet Your Matcha’ is a full-length contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #7 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:




“What about you? I find it hard to believe you have trouble finding a date. So, what diversion did you need from your life?”

“Dates are easy.” I shrugged. Or rather, as much as being slumped on the floor would let my shoulders move. “Would you believe me if I said I was a hopeless romantic buried under this drunken mess?”

“Is it true?”

The gentleness with which he asked made me almost wish I could tell him the truth: I had spent too much time chasing a career and living a supposedly perfect life that along the way, I got lost. The desire to confess to August was due to tequila. Right?

With the earlier dizziness and churning stomach gone, I became more aware of the absurdity of having a conversation while I lay like a dead body. On the bathroom floor. If only my regular party crew could see how much I’d fallen, literally.

Though, did it matter if August saw me like this? It wasn’t as if I was trying to impress him.

But it wasn’t as if I wasn’t trying to impress him. That made sense.

Sort of?

I sucked in a breath to rein in any foolish confession and straightened my elbows to sit up. “Nah, I’m more of a jaded grump than romantic. My best friend, Tia, encouraged me to sign up. She’s a hopeless romantic who’s living in a world of soul mates and orgasms. I don’t believe in soul mates. However, I do have a lot of free time nowadays. I left my law firm in February and have been traveling around, trying to figure out what to do.”

“Have you found your answers?”

“No. The only thing that I feel sure about is that I haven’t found it—whatever it is. Minus not working, it hasn’t been all that different, hopping from place to place. Unlike you, I have no deep roots. I’ve never belonged anywhere.” I bit my tongue, wishing I could claw back the words. What was it about August that made me spill as if I were chugging truth serums?

“Maybe the answer is me moving to a cabin in the woods and eating pizza all day.” Playing off my previous confession as a joke, I tried to find my way back to safer ground. “I’m open to whatever comes my way. I don’t think I’ll find my happily ever after on a TV show where people signed up for social media followers. But I’ll take a fun summer.”

“Not everyone is here for social media,” August countered. “I don’t have any.”

“Yeah, you’re completely different,” I responded, with full honesty.

“In a good way,” I amended, feeling shy when his eyes lit up with surprise. 

About Nanxi Wen

Nanxi Wen thought she was going to write the greatest historical novel. Turns out, her characters decided that they want to be in the 21st century with modern plumbing, online shopping, and reality TV shows. 

She lives in New England with her husband and two young kids. When she is not despairing over word count, she enjoys reading, snacking, drinking coffee, sitting by the fireplace, hanging out with friends, and daydreaming.

Find Nanxi Wen online







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Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Weather Events in the Title


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is books with weather events in the title or on the cover.  I went with titles and was actually able to find quite a few on my shelves!  The rest came from my Goodreads "read" list.  Just a note, the book titled Five Days at Memorial is subtitled Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital - it's a little hard to read!

What books did you find this week?

Monday, October 16, 2023

Michele's Monday Picks #30

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! 

Never Met a Duke Like You

By Amalie Howard

Expected Publication: October 17, 2023

From Goodreads:

Clueless meets Bridgerton in this spicy historical romance retelling by USA Today bestselling author Amalie Howard.

Lady Vesper Lyndhurst is beautiful, clever, and popular. Afforded every luxury as a duke’s daughter, she fills her days with friends, intrigues, and a self-professed knack for matchmaking. She may have sworn off love for herself, but she is rather excellent at arranging it.

Faced with an insolvent estate, the Duke of Greydon has no choice but to return to England in a final attempt to revive his family’s fortunes. He’s been gone for years, happy to have escaped his mother and the petty circles of the ton. To his dismay, not much has changed, including the beautiful and vexing heiress next door.

But when an accident of fate traps the friends-turned-enemies in an attic together, the explosive attraction between them becomes impossible to ignore and even harder to resist. They are total opposites and their lives don’t align in the slightest, but fate, the ultimate matchmaker, appears to have other plans . . .

I loved the first book in this series and can’t wait for this one - do you think you’ll be picking this one up?

Friday, October 13, 2023

Guest Blogger: Most Anticipated Middle Grades #1

 Michele is back today to talk about middle grade books!


Over time, our reading tastes change and evolve and I will soon be going into my Middle Grade Era. My daughter, Luna, is just about 7 ½ and I can see her moving towards this level of books in the next year or two and I am super excited to read them with her! I am now on the lookout for fun and interesting books that will challenge her but also, hopefully, enhance her love of reading. Here are a few of my most anticipated books, all by authors that I have enjoyed adult and YA books from in the past:
Morgan Matson
The Penderwicks meets The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street in a story about a young girl who gets to know her mom’s side of the family and hunts for hidden treasure over the course of one chaotic summer.

For as long as Ryanna Stuart can remember, her summers have been spent with her father and his new wife. Just the three of them, structured, planned, and quiet. But this summer is different. This summer, she’s received a letter from her grandparents—grandparents neither she nor her dad have spoken to since her mom’s death—inviting her to stay with them at an old summer camp in the Poconos.

Ryanna accepts. She wants to learn about her mom. She wants to uncover the mystery of why her father hasn’t spoken to her grandparents all these years. She’s even looking forward to a quiet summer by the lake. But what she finds are relatives… so many relatives! Aunts and uncles and cousins upon cousins—a motley, rambunctious crew of kids and eccentric, unconventional adults. People who have memories of her mom from when she was Ryanna’s age, clues to her past like a treasure map. Ryanna even finds an actual, real-life treasure map!

Over the course of one unforgettable summer—filled with s’mores and swimming, adventure and fun, and even a decades-old mystery to solve—Ryanna discovers a whole new side of herself and that, sometimes, the last place you expected to be is the place where you really belong.
Heather Fawcett
With hints of magic and plenty of adventure, this seaside story of siblings on a hunt for treasure is just right for fans of The Penderwicks and The Vanderbeekers.

Not many kids have an island in their backyard, but suddenly, the Snolly sisters have three. They're staying at Granddaddy's seaside property for the summer, which includes the mysterious Fairy Islands: Fairy, Little Fairy, and Ghost. The people in Misty Cove call them "in-between places," and say they're full of magic--a magic that gets inside you.

But ten-year-old Bee Snolly doesn't believe in magic--she just wants to help her ill Granddaddy. And if she and her sisters can unravel the mystery of the Fairy Islands in time, they may discover a long-buried secret that could help them all.
Bumps in the Night
Amalie Howard
The middle grade horror debut from USA Today bestselling author Amalie Howard in which a girl stays with her grandmother in Trinidad for the summer and discovers that she comes from a long line of witches.

Thirteen-year-old Darika Lovelace is in big trouble. The kind of trouble that means she’s being sent off to her grandmother in the Caribbean. She should be grateful, but instead she’s angry. Angry at her dad and step-mom for sending her away for an entire summer. Angry at her mom who went away and never came back.

But the island is definitely not what she remembers! The minute she steps off the plane, strange things start happening, including being stalked by a baby iguana. When she meets a ragtag group of children on her Granny’s estate, she knows they are not what they seem, but after they promise to take her to her long-lost mom, she leaps at the chance.

Thrust into an incredible adventure involving strange monsters, a supernatural silk cotton tree, and a mysterious maze, soon the truth about her unique magical roots comes to light. She’s the island’s only hope, but unless she learns to believe in magic, all will be lost.

Have you read any middle grade books recently? Any recommendations?


Thursday, October 12, 2023

Blog Tour + Excerpt: Ewe Complete Me by Susannah Nix


Ewe Complete Me, an all-new forced proximity romance from USA Today bestselling author Susannah Nix, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!

Love defies logic when two polar opposites attract.

Chloe and Brandon have nothing in common. She’s a spontaneous, people-loving fiber artist; he’s an uptight, introverted law student. The only thing they agree on during their blind date is that they hope to never see each other again.

Except they do have something in common—Brandon’s mother Dawn, who happens to be Chloe’s boss and dear friend. Which is how they end up stuck with each other for a six-hour road trip to Dawn’s destination wedding.

But as they get to know each other better, their mutual irritation morphs into an inescapable connection. Maybe these two opposites aren't so mismatched after all. Could Brandon be the yin to Chloe’s yang? The peanut butter to her jelly? The rock to her roll?

Or will their differences tear them apart when they return to their normal lives at the end of the wedding weekend?

'Ewe Complete Me' is a full-length contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #6 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 didn’t know why I kept bothering with online dating. I could be at home in my favorite sloth pajamas right now crocheting in front of the TV instead of sitting on this uncomfortable faux-industrial stool sipping a watered-down margarita.

Why did I keep setting myself up for disappointment? I’d even curled my hair and taken extra time with my makeup this morning. Not that you could tell after eight hours of hauling inventory around at work. I’d also worn my cutest bra today, which happened to be my least comfortable. The underwire had practically fused with my ribs. I’d probably need to have it surgically removed.

And for what? To be stood up by a stranger named Bran.

So much for my perfect match.

To be honest, I’d had my doubts about his perfection from the moment the notification from FindUrPartner hit my inbox. For starters, his name was Bran. Not only did it bring to mind high-fiber laxatives and regular bowel movements, it sounded like the kind of one-syllable name favored by too many of the douchebags I’d known in high school. What was it about guys with names like Brock and Bryce and Beck that they seemed to grow up into entitled jerks?

On top of that, Bran was a law student, and every law student I’d ever met was a competitive, self-absorbed overachiever. Which was the exact opposite of what I wanted in a boyfriend. Not to mention, my father was a lawyer, so…yeah. I had some not-good feelings about men who wanted to be lawyers.

I should have swiped left based on the law student thing alone, but I’d been lured in by Bran’s profile photo. He’d had a nice smile and kind-looking eyes, so I’d given him a shot. That would teach me to judge a book by its cover. Actual kind eyes never would have stood me up. That probably wasn’t even him in the picture. Those were likely some stock photo model’s kind eyes that I’d been suckered into meeting for a drink.

Deciding I’d waited long enough, I clambered off my stool and turned to make my escape…only to find myself face-to-face with the very pair of eyes I’d been ruminating over, along with the dark hair, chiseled cheekbones, and square chin I recognized from Bran’s profile photo.

Wowza. Definitely not a stock photo. 

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.

Find Susannah Nix online



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Twitter: @Susannah_Nix 


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Monday, October 9, 2023

Michele's Monday Picks #29

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 Unmaking of June Farrow

By Adrienne Young

Expected Publication: October 17, 2023

From Goodreads:

A woman risks everything to end her family’s centuries-old curse, solve her mother’s disappearance, and find love in this mesmerizing novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Spells for Forgetting.

In the small mountain town of Jasper, North Carolina, June Farrow is waiting for fate to find her. The Farrow women are known for their thriving flower farm—and the mysterious curse that has plagued their family line. The whole town remembers the madness that led to Susanna Farrow’s disappearance, leaving June to be raised by her grandmother and haunted by rumors.

It’s been a year since June started seeing and hearing things that weren’t there. Faint wind chimes, a voice calling her name, and a mysterious door appearing out of nowhere—the signs of what June always knew was coming. But June is determined to end the curse once and for all, even if she must sacrifice finding love and having a family of her own.

After her grandmother’s death, June discovers a series of cryptic clues regarding her mother’s decades-old disappearance, except they only lead to more questions. But could the door she once assumed was a hallucination be the answer she’s been searching for? The next time it appears, June realizes she can touch it and walk past the threshold. And when she does, she embarks on a journey that will not only change both the past and the future, but also uncover the lingering mysteries of her small town and entangle her heart in an epic star-crossed love.

With The Unmaking of June Farrow, Adrienne Young delivers a brilliant novel of romance, mystery, and a touch of the impossible—a story you will never forget.

I love Adrienne Young’s books and this cover is beautiful - do you think you’ll be picking this one up?

Friday, October 6, 2023

Historical Fiction Quick Reviews

 The Last Lifeboat by Hazel Gaynor (2023)

During WWII, widow Lily is faced with a terrible decision - keep her children in dangerous London with her or evacuate them to Canada, alone.  She eventually decides to send them on the boat, where they are chaperoned by Alice King.  When their boat is struck by a torpedo, a single lifeboat attempts to make its way back to shore.  This book introduced me to an aspect of WWII history that I was unaware of - I knew British children were evacuated from London to the countryside, but I didn't know they were also sent to other countries.  The tragedy in this book is based on a real life event, which Gaynor brings to life in the most heartwrenching of ways.  Reading about Alice, the children, and other passengers clinging to life in the Atlantic while Lily desperately tries to find out what happened to her children was riveting.  Definitely a must-read for WWII historical fiction fans.  4.5 stars

The Beach at Summerly by Beatriz Williams (2023)

Winthrop Island has two kinds of people - year-round residents and wealthy summer vacationers.  Emilia is caught between the two worlds - her father is the caretaker for the home of the Peabody family, while she counts the Peabody sons as her closest friends.  This summer, the first after WWII, a mysterious new woman stays at the Peabody's house, an aunt who has lived a fascinating life.  As she pulls Emilia into her orbit, Emilia's life as she knows it will change forever.  Beatriz Williams is one of my go-to authors, so I was excited to read her newest book.  Although not one of my favorites, this was still a solid read.  It's told in dual timelines, one a summer on the island and the second almost a decade later, as Emilia comes face to face with the Soviet spy she helped put in prison.  It's an interesting time period and brought to life well, although it took too long to get to "the point" and was slightly disappointing in that regard.  4 stars

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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Burnout

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

Sophie Kinsella
Expected publication date: October 10, 2023
Sasha has had it. She cannot bring herself to respond to another inane, “urgent” (but obviously not at all urgent) email or participate in the corporate employee joyfulness program. She hasn’t seen her friends in months. Sex? Seems like a lot of effort. Even cooking dinner takes far too much planning. Sasha has hit a wall.

Armed with good intentions to drink kale smoothies, try yoga, and find peace, she heads to the seaside resort she loved as a child. But it’s the off season, the hotel is in a dilapidated shambles, and she has to share the beach with the only other a grumpy guy named Finn, who seems as stressed as Sasha. How can she commune with nature when he’s sitting on her favorite rock, watching her? Nor can they agree on how best to alleviate their burnout ( manifesting, wild swimming; drinking whisky, getting pizza delivered to the beach).

When curious messages, seemingly addressed to Sasha and Finn, begin to appear on the beach, the two are forced to talk—about everything. How did they get so burned out? Can either of them remember something they used to love? (Answer: surfing!) And the question they try and fail to ignore: what does the energy between them—flaring even in the face of their bone-deep exhaustion—signify? - from Goodreads

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Reading Goals for the Rest of 2023


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is reading goals we want to accomplish before the end of the year.  I didn't set any reading goals this year in an attempt to keep the pressure low (my reading is down a lot since having my son), but there are a few things I want to get done before the end of 2023!

  1. Finish the Arc of a Scythe series.  I've had The Toll, the third book in the series, on my shelves for way too long.  I'm still interested in reading it; now I just need to make the time for it.
  2. Read all my 2023 preorders.  For some reason, I tend to put off reading my preorders.  They are books I'm obviously super excited about, but maybe that also means my expectations are really high and I'm scared of being disappointed.  I've had really good luck so far this year with them, though, so I want to make it a priority to finish them.  I think I have two more - one just came out and another comes out in early November.
  3. Write more reviews.  I used to have reviews up every week, but now it's only once or twice a month at best.  So, I want to get into a better habit of reviewing more of what I'm reading.
  4. Read a few more books from my unread shelf.  I've been pretty good about reading my own books this year, but between borrowing stuff from my sister and buying new stuff myself, it looks like I've hardly made a dent.  I'm not going to put a specific number on it, but I want to at least get a few more out of the way before next year (when inevitably more will be added).
And since 10 goals was way too many for me to come up with, Michele has added a few of her own, too:
  1. Complete my Goodreads 2023 Reading Challenge.  My goal this year is 300 books and I’m a little over 60 away, so I’m confident I’ll reach it.  I also started a Goodreads account for my daughter – she’s only in second grade but I did a goal of 100 books for her this year and it’s helping her to stay excited about reading!
  2. Catch up on my book hauls.  I tend to read my purchased books in the order I haul them in and it was getting to the point where it could be almost a year before I got to the book.  If I am excited enough about a book to purchase it, I definitely want to read it sooner than that.  This year I have put a lot of effort into reading the books on my shelf and I’ve gotten it down to about 10 unread books.  Hopefully by the end of the year I will be reading a preordered or purchased book within a week or so of when it becomes mine.
  3. Get more current with my Kindle Unlimited titles.  I did some serious culling of my Kindle Unlimited Want to Read list on Amazon this year.  I love my Kindle Unlimited subscription but the possibilities to read are just endless.  I pruned my list down to the books I am most excited about and will move forward from there.  Like my book hauls, I want to try to read these books as close to their release dates as possible and I think I’m making good progress.  

What do you want to accomplish before the end of the year?

Monday, October 2, 2023

Month in Review: September 2023


September was a pretty quiet month, if you can't tell by the amount of books I was able to read!  One of my brothers had a Labor Day BBQ, so that was a fun afternoon spent with family.  Henry's daycare had their "first day of school," and they had the most adorable balloon arch to welcome the kids back after a week break.  It rained a lot this month, but at least the hot weather finally went away!  Henry is learning new words all the time, although his favorite is still "no." (Like literally, he says no to everything, whether he means it or not.)  He loves reading books, playing with blocks, and exploring our yard.

The Books

The Posts and Reviews
How are you doing?
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