Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The House on Biscayne Bay

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 9, 2024
As death stalks a gothic mansion in Miami, the lives of two women intertwine as the past and present collide in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton’s atmospheric new novel.

With the Great War finally behind them, thousands of civilians and business moguls alike flock to South Florida with their sights set on making a fortune. When wealthy industrialist Robert Barnes and his wife, Anna, build Marbrisa, a glamorous estate on Biscayne Bay, they become the toast of the newly burgeoning society. Anna and Robert appear to have it all, but in a town like Miami, appearances can be deceiving, and one scandal can change everything.

Years later following the tragic death of her parents in Havana, Carmen Acosta journeys to Marbrisa, the grand home of her estranged older sister, Carolina, and her husband, Asher Wyatt. On the surface, the gilded estate looks like paradise, but Carmen quickly learns that nothing at Marbrisa is as it seems. The house has a treacherous legacy, and Carmen’s own life is soon in jeopardy . . . unless she can unravel the secrets buried beneath the mansion’s facade and stop history from repeating itself. - from Goodreads

Monday, March 25, 2024

Michele's Monday Picks #42

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 Sylvie Cathrall
Expected Publication: April 25, 2024

From Goodreads:
Dive into the curious correspondence of Sylvie Cathrall’s delightful debut novel, A Letter to the Luminous Deep.

A beautiful discovery outside the window of her underwater home prompts the reclusive E. to begin a correspondence with renowned scholar Henerey Clel. The letters they share are filled with passion, at first for their mutual interests, and then, inevitably, for each other.

Together, they uncover a mystery from the unknown depths, destined to transform the underwater world they both equally fear and love. But by no mere coincidence, a seaquake destroys E.’s home, and she and Henerey vanish.

A year later, E.’s sister Sophy, and Henerey’s brother Vyerin, are left to solve the mystery of their siblings’ disappearances with the letters, sketches and field notes left behind. As they uncover the wondrous love their siblings shared, Sophy and Vyerin learn the key to their disappearance – and what it could mean for life as they know it.

Perfect for fans of A Marvellous Light and TJ Klune, A Letter to the Luminous Deep is a whimsical epistolary fantasy set in a mystical underwater world with mystery and heart-warming romance.

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

Friday, March 22, 2024

Quick Reviews

The Minders by John Marrs (2021)

In the near future, one country thinks it has figured out a foolproof way to prevent its important information from being hacked - put it in the brains of 5 humans and then send them out into the world, anonymously.  It all sounds good until someone figures out who they are and starts hunting them down.  John Marrs always has the most interesting (and even somewhat plausible) sounding scenarios, especially when you think about technology and where it might go in the future.  In this book, several countries around the world are being targeted by hackers/terrorists, and the United Kingdom comes up with a unique plan.  The story takes place in the same universe as a couple of Marrs' other books; if you haven't read them, it's probably not a huge deal, but it would add a great deal of context as the events of those books are heavily referenced here.  We follow four main characters (plus another woman, whose role is somewhat nebulous for awhile), all of whom are given the choice to leave behind their old lives and start anew, while holding the entire knowledge of a nation in their heads - they're now privy to state secrets, conspiracy theories, and coverups.  The short chapters keep the story moving at a frantic pace, sometimes ending on a cliffhanger.  There are some great twists and reveals (and some not-so-great ones), but Marrs isn't ever afraid to try something.  Overall, another great thriller from this author!  4 stars

The Family You Make by Jill Shalvis (2022)

Trapped on a ski lift during a terrible snowstorm, strangers Jane and Levi are convinced they are going to die.  When Levi calls his mother, she hears Jane's voice; in that moment, he wants his mom to be happy and so tells her that Jane is his girlfriend.  When they survive the ordeal, Jane and Levi decide to continue the ruse for a little bit longer - but when Jane's feelings turn real, will she allow herself to experience the happiness she's always craved?  I've been meaning to read this author for a long time, and I'm so glad I finally did!  Levi and Jane are the perfect complements to each other - Levi has always been surrounded by a big family and poor Jane had a hard family life growing up, although she wants to reconnect with her grandfather.  It's obvious from the beginning that Levi's feelings are real (and he was maybe a little TOO perfect at times), so the bulk of the story is about Jane finally admitting, to herself and Levi, that she wants this relationship, this family, this stability.  There's a secondary storyline about Jane's friend Charlotte starting a relationship with Mateo, a fellow doctor - while I enjoyed the friendship between Charlotte and Jane, I could have maybe done without so much of this second romance and just focused on Jane and Levi.  There are some true moments of humor and hints of spiciness, and overall a lot of heartfelt connections.  4 stars

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

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on 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.  I have one book left over from my winter TBR (The Villa) that I included here, and then I tried to pick some books that have been languishing on my TBR (and shelves!) for far too long.

What's on your spring TBR?

Friday, March 15, 2024

Little Free Library Sightings

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 interesting stories to go along with them!  There's also an app you can download to find local Little Free Libraries where you can even "check in" to keep track of the ones you've visited!  Here are a couple I've visited recently that actually aren't mapped in the app, but we came across them anyway!

This Little Free Library, called Raritan Library, is located at the edge of a park, just beside an elementary school.  We've passed it a couple times when going to the playground with Henry.  It was built and installed as part of an Eagle Scout project in 2021.  It currently has mostly adult books in it, but I've grabbed a book for Henry from there, too!
#123610 - We came across this LFL just outside a big public playground that we took Henry to for the first time recently.  It was installed by a Girl Scout Troop for a project in 2021.  It has an official LFL charter number and sign but for some reason is not on the official LFL maps.  In any event, the first time we saw this library, it was actually empty.  I made a mental note to bring some baby books we were looking to unhaul the next time we visited, but of course I forgot!  But, it was nice to see some books in there the second time!  And since they're all "adult" books, there are some choices for parents, too!

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Just For The Summer

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

Abby Jimenez
Expected publication date: April 2, 2024
Justin has a curse, and thanks to a Reddit thread, it's now all over the internet. Every woman he dates goes on to find their soul mate the second they break up. When a woman slides into his DMs with the same problem, they come up with a plan: They'll date each other and break up. Their curses will cancel each other’s out, and they’ll both go on to find the love of their lives. It’s a bonkers idea… and it just might work.

Emma hadn't planned that her next assignment as a traveling nurse would be in Minnesota, but she and her best friend agree that dating Justin is too good of an opportunity to pass up, especially when they get to rent an adorable cottage on a private island on Lake Minnetonka.

It's supposed to be a quick fling, just for the summer. But when Emma's toxic mother shows up and Justin has to assume guardianship of his three siblings, they're suddenly navigating a lot more than they expected–including catching real feelings for each other. What if this time Fate has actually brought the perfect pair together? - from Goodreads

Friday, March 8, 2024

Quick Reviews

 She Wouldn't Change a Thing by Sarah Adlakha (2021)

Maria is a 39-year-old wife and mother, totally overwhelmed by her job and family - until the day she wakes up as her 17-year-old self, unsure of how she got there or how to get back to her family.  She comes to realize that she has a chance to change history, but the change will prevent her from meeting her husband or having her children in the future - how does she make this impossible choice?  I love time travel stories and I was so taken with the premise of this one, but unfortunately, I was left with more questions than answers and it hindered my enjoyment of this book.  We find out that a certain event propels Maria into the past, where she learns she isn't the only one this has happened to.  She then discovers she has been sent back for a "purpose," which to me wasn't super clear - like, if you couldn't figure out this purpose, what was the point?  And also, there's basically no going back, but completing your purpose will change the future you thought you knew.  So, why these people?  Why this purpose?  And since you can't go back to your old life, what is the point of you reliving your life, albeit very differently?  Would certain things still happen, regardless?  And should you (or could you) try to change those things, too?  I didn't care for the bit of insta-love that was thrown in as well.  I did enjoy the connections between the characters and trying to figure out how it would all work out.  Incredible premise, but the execution didn't work well for me.  3 stars

Icebreaker by Hannah Grace (2023)
When a college hockey team and ice skating team are forced to share a rink, sparks fly between the captain and the star skater.  Anastasia doesn't have time for a relationship, but will she make room for a new partner?  I have to admit, I'm not quite sure what to think about this one - it's definitely going to end up being 3 stars for me, though.  There were parts I liked - the college setting is one I don't read often, so it was nice to revisit that.  It was way spicier than the cover might make you think (although sometimes it felt like the sex scenes were taking over the story).  The timeline is realistic (no real insta-love here).  But, I did have issues with it.  First off, there were WAY too many side characters to keep track of and after awhile I just stopped caring.  The book is at least 100 pages too long (it's well over 400 pages, there's a lot of repetition in the forming of the relationship between Anastasia and Nathan, and there were plot points that could have been omitted entirely while important ones were totally glossed over).  While it makes sense than Anastasia would be deeply in touch with her emotions after many years of therapy, I felt like the characters were a little too self-aware (and mature, maybe?) for their ages, and there's so much talking at the expense of actual plot.  And don't get me started on that epilogue!  3 stars

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

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Fate Be Changed

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

Farrah Rochon
Expected publication date: April 2, 2024
What if the witch gave Merida a different spell? This New York Times best-selling series twists Disney•Pixar's Brave into a fast-paced story in which Merida is sent back in time.

If you could change your fate, would you? Merida understands that as princess of Clan DunBroch, she has certain obligations—but that doesn’t mean she has to like it. Especially when one of those obligations means losing her freedom by becoming betrothed to a man she has never met. Merida balks at this tradition, but her mother Queen Elinor insists that Merida must do this to embrace her role as future queen.

Determined to chart her own path, Merida follows magical wisps to a witch’s cottage, where she is given a magic pastry and promised it will incite “a great transformation” in her mother. But instead of feeding Elinor the pastry, Merida eats it herself.

Merida awakens in the past, a now-teenage Elinor holding a knife to her throat and accusing her of espionage. She’s been transported to a time when the Clans MacCameron and DunBroch are bitter enemies. And it just so happens that the timing of Merida’s arrival has kept Elinor and Fergus from meeting.

Will Merida be able to bridge the rival clans, help her parents fall in love, and change her own fate? - from Goodreads

Monday, March 4, 2024

Michele's Monday Picks #41

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 Elsie Silver
Expected Publication: April 9, 2024

From Goodreads:
Rosie Belmont has been driving me wild for years. The good kind of wild. The bad kind of wild. But mostly the kind of wild that comes with wanting your best friend’s little sister and knowing you can’t have her.

After living in the city, she comes blasting back into Rose Hill like a storm. Beautiful, messy, and chaotic.

And one wide-eyed desperate plea for a job is all it takes for me to hire her.

Forbes may have labeled me the World’s Hottest Billionaire but all I care about is opening my new recording studio. Something that comes to a screeching halt when I end up face-to-face with a young girl who claims I’m her biological father.

Now I spend my days balancing business with parenting a sullen twelve-year-old all while trying desperately to keep my hands the hell off my best friend’s little sister.

I vow to keep Rosie at arm’s length. I try to stick to scowls and grumpy one-liners. But with her verbal sparring is merely foreplay—friction that turns to blistering heat.

I know damn well I shouldn’t cross that line.

But shouldn’t and can’t are two very different things.

And the only thing I truly can’t do is resist her.

If you haven’t yet started your Elsie Silver journey, here is the perfect time as she starts a new series - do you think you’ll be picking this one up?

Friday, March 1, 2024

Month in Review: February 2024


February was a fun, kind of quiet month.  I took my niece out for her birthday (which was in January), and she chose lunch at Panera and browsing around Barnes & Noble - I love that she's become such a big reader!  We had two snowstorms this month, which is practically more snow than we've gotten in the last few years combined.  One of them was totally unexpected (at least the severity of it) and we ended up getting about 10 inches overnight, which was quite the surprise to wake up to.  My siblings and I decided last year to not buy gifts for all the kids/cousins anymore, because with a family as big as ours, it just gets overwhelming.  We decided instead to do a get-together for the kids.  Last year, we went to see the Christmas lights at the zoo, and this year we decided to go to one of those indoor trampoline parks, and the kids had a blast (I'll be honest, I think the adults did, too!).  With everyone's busy schedules, it's nice that we were able to find a day to spend together.  Work has been fairly quiet for me, as the accountants are in their busy season.  I do have some added administrative tasks, which fill some time.

Henry is doing great, learning new words every day (and I've realized I have to be careful about what I say around him, because he has started to repeat EVERYTHING).  He loves to play outside - we took him to a big playground here in town, and now he is constantly asking to go back to the "big park."  He's also very into art lately - my stepmom got him his own art cart and stocked it with supplies, which came in really handy when it snowed and we were stuck inside.  We did get to play in the snow a bit, though, and Henry loved it - except he kept wanting to use our shovels, so Tom bought him his own kid-sized one!

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.