I’ve been reading a lot lately and it’s been a wonderful respite from daily life. A book is always a big comfort item for me!
Last weekend, I attended an author event at the Christiana, Delaware B&N and it was absolutely lovely! I was so excited to meet Dylan Allen who is just the sweetest person and such a wonderful hugger! She’s been on my unicorn list forever!
Have you read Dylan Allen? My recommendations from her books are the following:
ALL OF THEM!
ok, ok, here’s a few to get you started, but do read all of them!
Next, I had the pleasure of meeting C.B. Noy. C.B.Noy is a new author with two books under her belt with one releasing in March. In preparation of this signing, I borrowed both book 1 & 2, Coming Home and Finding Home and was absolutely over the moon obsessed with this series. These books are insta love and insta love isn’t my first choice, but these books are pretty damn perfect. They are insta love, burn the world down for her, romantic suspense at it’s finest. An absolutely gem of a find for me!
I also saw Bryn Asher again after meeting her in Philly for the first time! She runs some kind of rabbit holes and calls them book series apparently. 😂 Seriously, I fell hard for both The Killers Series and The Montgomery Series! She’s simply amazing in person!
It’s been a while since I posted! I’ve mentioned before that’s I’m in school and that has taken a bit of my time as well as my reading time, however, I’m will be starting my last semester in January. YAY!!
During my break from school, I’ve read some fabulous books, both holiday and non holiday romances. I’m going to share some of them here. These are worth a re read if you have them, or, if you don’t add them to your holiday bookshelf. Some of these authors are new to me and, well, they are on my must read list from this day forward!
A new to me author, Sara Madderson, has taken me over like a storm. This author writes smart books with adult characters. I’ve read a Christmas book by her after reading her contemporary romance, The Rest is History. The title of the Christmas book is A Manny for Christmas. Molly and Max have quite a complicated back story. This is a second chance romance, and the best part is that they were together for years and apart for many more. How they arrive to their HEA, well, there are bumps and conversations and it’s all very adult and reasonable, and while it’s not a smooth road, they arrive and it’s such a great story. Please don’t skip this one!
Heat level 4/5
Triggers: bullying scene at child’s school and conversations about bullying.
length: 360 pages (print version)
Part of a series? Yes, book 3 in the Sorrel Farms Series, but I’m reading out of order. (You know me!)
Next up is debut author Tegan Hart! It’s been a busy year for Ms. Hart, there have been 4 releases by her in the fall: three Christmas books and one New Year’s book in the Hope Island Series, with more planned.for 2023. Personally, I have read book 1, Deck the Headlines and book 2, Sleigh Ride or Die. These have both been a delight to read! I have book 3, A Christmas for Carol and book 4, Auld Lang Mine on my TBR list for this week. The setting, Hope Island, is one that you’ll wish you could move to. These are excellent and I hope you’ll try them!
Next up is Meet Me in Los Feliz by Kelly Reynolds. This is a debut author and what a great story. This was a novella and it has me giddy with excitement to read what’s coming next from the author. As a tall girl, I loved that Nora, one of the main characters, was a tall girl and taller than her love interest, Bowie. The novella has a lot packed into it and reads like a novel; it’s a complete story and I promise you’ll love it to bits.
Spice level 4/5 (toys ya’all)
Length: 148 pages (print version)
Part of a Series: I sure hope so.
Next up to round up some of my favorite holiday books is My Big Fat Fabulous Christmas by Lyndsey Gallagher. Do you like rock stars? This book features a famous rock star as a main character. The story has a snippet at the beginning that is a life changing moment for both our main characters. Being that this is a second chance romance, the two main characters meet again and rekindle their relationship, but there are misunderstandings and hurts, but, honestly, it’s a great story but there is a pretty big twist. I will say if this ever goes to audio I will snatch it up. The bulk of the story takes place in Ireland and the two main characters are Irish.
This will be book 1 in a series and I’m very stoked about this series.
Spice level 4/5
Triggers: fatal car accident, loss of parents
Length: 356 pages (print edition)
Part of a series: YES, this is book one!
Ok, that’s my holiday update! I hope you had the best holiday and wishing you a happy 2023! Enjoy a photo of my cat Gizmo, who really enjoys unmade beds. 😂
When I step out of romance, I never really step out, because this has a little romance vibe happening!
Nettle and Bone by T. Kingfisher was a book club read and it was very good. This book is sort of a fairytale retelling and leans into Little Red Riding Hood meets D&D I think.
Our main character is Marra and she is the youngest of 3 princesses of a small kingdom. There is a large kingdom to the North and South and her oldest sister was in an arranged marriage with the Prince of the Northern kingdom. When her oldest sister mysteriously dies, the second sister is then sent to marry the prince. Marra, at this point, is at a convent dressing and functioning as a nun, but has not taken vows.
Marra slowly discovers the abuse being doled out by the Prince to her middle sister and vows to kill the prince. What results is a rag tag group of magical people, a demon chicken and Bone Dog, whom Marra created by putting together dead dog’s bones.
The topics touched on in this book are modern and relevant making this a feminist retelling. I enjoyed the writing and the adventure. My only complaint is that the first few chapters made it difficult to know what was going on, but once I got past those, it’s an incredible journey.
If you are in the mood for something a little different, may I suggest Unfurled by Elodie Hart? Elodie Hart is a new pen name for author Sara Madderson.
Unfurled by Elodie Hart
Triggers: Catholicism (rigid beliefs, zealot parent, Catholic education), virginity, club scenes with religious theme.
Unfurled is a unique read and explores a young woman’s deep seated religious ideologies, her virginity and the challenges of Catholic doctrine as it relates to one’s virginity.
As a person who was raised in the Catholic Church I’ve heard “your virginity is the greatest gift you can give your husband or your wedding day.” This is such a loaded statement, and, honestly incorrect according to what I know of the doctrine of the church. This myth and idolization of virginity is allowed to continue, but more so, the church teaches that when you marry, it is a vocation and the vows are that you are dedicating you entire self, mind, body and spirit, to your spouse, and physically dedicating yourself is part of this. Does the doctrine encourage chastity? Yes, but, the act of dedicating yourself fully, therefore giving the gift of yourself, holds more weight.
In the topic of virginity, this is a more complicated topic because of the twists and turns in the Bible and church doctrine. Virginity and celibacy are tightly woven into the doctrine, historically, one must be a virgin to dedicate themselves to the Church, however, you can not be a virgin, but practice chastity and celibacy and be allowed to join an order dedicated to the church. It’s all very complicated and relies on who is controlling the narrative.
Onto my review!
I loved this book, as always, this author has a great talent for telling a story, and while Unfurled focuses quite a bit on Bella’s sexuality, the love story between Bella and Rafe is sweet one.
Bella’s parents go on a 3 month summer vacation and Bella moves into their beautiful, posh apartment during that time. Bella meets her parent’s new neighbor Rafe who resides in the penthouse. Rafe is sex on a stick and Bella is very attracted to Rafe and Rafe to her. The interesting part of this is that Rafe is attracted to Bella immediately and contemplates Bella’s innocence and is, in fact, initially attracted to her for her lack of experience, however, Rafe does not identify her as a virgin but as someone with minimal sexual experience.
One thing leads to another and Bella’s friend uncovers Rafe as being an owner of a sex club with a program for virgins. Bella has wanted to experience sex and lose her virginity and she’s purses Rafe with questions about the club’s program for virgins. What followed is steamy, steamy, steamy!
Now, this story does have an HEA and I can’t wait for the next book in the series! I highly recommend this book!
This was an enjoyable book to listen to. The audio is too notch and the narrators are perfect.
Caiden was forever changed as a teen when his love Mia disappeared after her mother was killed. Believing Mia was dead, Caiden changed his life course, entered the military and joined Raptor as an IT/cyber operative after he was discharged from the military.
Caiden sees Mia, or who he thinks is Mia and they are, cautiously and slowly reunited after an emotional first meeting.
This story has all of the great elements of a classic romantic suspense and I truly enjoyed this story.
Yesterday I attended Indies Invade Philly! This signing takes place in center city Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Arch Street.
As usual, this signing was amazing and full of all the beautiful goodness, happiness and joyful moments of readers meeting readers, readers meeting authors, and readers meeting narrators. I cannot express how much I enjoyed this signing.
I won’t single out too many moments, but meeting Brynne Asher was wonderful. She was a new to me author and I absolutely consumed her books over a three week period: I fell down the hole and did not wish to climb out!
I met so many more authors and Chelle Sloan, who is TikTok famous was so fun to meet!
The narrators table was utterly beautiful and they were absolutely wonderful humans! I didn’t take any photos, but the experience will be a lifelong memory! ❤️
I met many other authors and enjoyed it so much! All in all a wonderful event! If you ever get a chance to attend, I hope you will. It’s a wonderfully run event and the organizers and volunteers are amazing.
I loved this story! I did not read/listen to book one in this series, but I would like to. Troy is working through a lot in his life. He’s in the military and is pretty scarred as well as having some childhood trauma and losses. Troy’s Dad, who is a salt of the Earth gentleman, suffers a great loss and Troy steps up to help him in his time of need.
Megan is very special. She has abilities that have her wondering what path to pursue in life. She’s a caretaker and works as a fireman. After rescuing Troy’s Dad she steps in to help in a big way.
The attraction between these two is amazing, but they have a bumpy road.
This is a great romance that’s not quite run of the mill. Excellent characterizations and a very solid plot line make this book a 5 star listen. The narrator did an excellent job.
I’m an absolute fall down the rabbit hole reader for holiday books! This is a debut novel by Teagan Hart and I was honored to have an ARC. This book has all the things I love to read about in a rom com, quirky small town, or island in this case, a cast of interesting characters, and lots of story elements that work and entertain the reader.
This book is all about the Hellidays on Hope Island, Ella, a recent journalism graduate who isn’t loving the fact she had no choice but to return to Hope Island and Cal, who is looking for an escape.
There are hijinx in this book and there’s banter and general fun all around! I don’t do spoilers, but I offer my advise to put Deck the Headlines on your holiday TBR!
The Shell and the Octopus was unexpected. I went into this book blind because I enjoy memoirs when I know none of the details about the author or the author’s story. I knew the basic premise of The Shell and the Octopus.
The Shell and the Octopus was a story of Rebecca Stirling’s unconventional childhood growing up on her Dad’s boat with her sibling but also during her parents turbulent marriage. Eventually the marriage is over and Rebecca stays with her father on the boat as a first mate of sorts. This book leads us into Rebecca’s adulthood as well.
This memoir has a fluid timeline, so it does move around a bit as you are reading. The story exams a lot of things that include women’s perceived abilities in sailing, Rebecca’s desire for a life away from the water and her eventual return to the water and everything that makes up a life in between.
This is a wonderful memoir and takes you all over the world as well as examining complicated relationships within a family.
I gave this book 4 stars; it’s written well and the story is engrossing.
To celebrate Pride month, my book club read You & Me by Tal Bauer. This is a story that includes MM, friends to lovers, bi-awakening, single fathers and written in own voices.
This story is told entirely in first person POV and it’s perfect. I will be honest and say that I normally struggle with 1st person POV, but this book is so masterfully written that all if the emotions come through.
Our two main characters are Landon Larson and Luke Hale. The story is told from Luke’s point of view. Landon and Luke meet at a high school football practice as they are fathers to two boys who are stars on the varsity football team.
There are some very real emotions in the story and you get invested in the story. Ultimately, this is as much a story about fathers and sons as it is about finding true love.
Luke is very lonely at the beginning of this story and he’s hurting and a bit stuck. He and his son Emmet are in a bad place. It’s heart wrenching and it got me as the parent of a 15 year old boy; yes, I shed some tears and wished I could give Luke a big hug. Landon is big as life, he’s an amazing guy, very successful in life but has an interesting religious back story.
Overall, this is a story you’ll want to read over and over, it’s a comfort read in so many ways but also a journey of self discovery and starting over. I’ll never be over them, this story is written with so much depth, you’ll be a little sad when it’s over. I am reading this author’s latest release and will be working on his back list all summer.
This is 5 trillion star book, and I give it the highest recommendation; seriously, move Me & You to the top of your TBR!