Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Mini-Reviews: LAYLA, AFTER ALL, and GOOD AS GONE

A collection of mini-reviews, quick thoughts, and books worth mentioning. Check them out!


LAYLA by Colleen Hoover
Publication Date: December 8, 2020
Pages: 301
Source: Purchased
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I love that Colleen Hoover is taking her writing beyond contemporary romance into these new and unexpected places especially with this paranormal romance.

This book scared me and freaked me out way too many times. There were moments when I could feel the change in my breathing and my raised shoulders from fear and anticipation.

And even though I picked up on the paranormal reasoning fairly early on, not because it was easy to figure it out, but I HAD TO figure it out, it still had the intended effect of messing with my mind.

I loved it!



AFTER ALL by Heidi McLaughlin
Publication Date: March 24, 2020
Pages: 334
Source: Author Gift | Purchased Copy
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I was more than ready to get swept away in the first book of Heidi McLaughlin's new Cape Harbor series. I really enjoyed this contemporary romance that has it all - forced proximity, enemies to lovers, and second chances. And the small town setting is always a favorite - especially when it's set at the beach!

I loved this story filled with secrets and regrets and family and friendship. It was great to meet all of the people of Cape Harbor and discovering the importance of their relationships and how their lives are intertwined. I'm excited to read the next book, Until Then, and hope that there's more to come.



GOOD AS GONE by Amy Gentry
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Pages: 273
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

About a year ago, I learned about GOOD AS GONE from another reader on Instagram (I can't remember which one) and I added it to my TBR list. I decided to listening to the audiobook and once I started, I didn't want to stop. I immediate was caught up in this mystery and loved that when I thought I knew what was going on I realized I didn't. The constant switching of perspectives enhanced the telling of this story of a young woman who returns home years after being abducted.

I enjoyed reading the family dynamics but was heartbroken for Julie in all that she suffered in the years that she was missing. In the midst of reading, I shared this title with my book club becasue I know that it was something that they would really want to read. Readers who like mystery and suspence and family drama will want to read GOOD AS GONE.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Review: SANDCASTLE BEACH by Jenny Holiday

 


SANDCASTLE BEACH
by Jenny Holiday
Publication Date: March 9, 2021
Publisher: Forever
Pages: 409
Source: Publisher

Synopsis

From the USA Today bestselling "master of witty banter" (Entertainment Weekly) comes a hilarious and heartwarming romance about two enemies whose feud turns red-hot.
Maya Mehta will do anything to save her tiny, beloved community theater. Put on musicals she hates? Check. Hire an arrogant former-pop-star-turned-actor? Done. But what Maya really needs to save her theater is Matchmaker Bay's new business grant. She's got some serious competition, though: Benjamin "Law" Lawson, local bar owner, Jerk Extraordinaire, and Maya's annoyingly hot arch nemesis. Let the games begin.

Law loves nothing more than getting under Maya's skin, and making those gorgeous eyes dance with irritation. But when he discovers the ex-pop star has a thing for Maya, too, Law decides he's done waiting in the wings-starting with a scorching-hot kiss. Turns out there's a thin line between hate and irresistible desire, and Maya and Law are really good at crossing it. But when things heat up, will they allow their long-standing feud to get in the way of their growing feelings?

Includes the bonus novella Once Upon a Bride!

MY THOUGHTS

"Hooboy!!!"

Reading this book made me so happy. It was fun spending time with Law and Maya as they fussed with each other and antagonized each other because "Everyone needs hobbies." I loved this enemies-to-lovers story without the angst, but with all the heat. 


When Sandlecastle Beach began with the meddling matchmakers, just one of the town's charming trademarks, I knew that I was going to be in for a real treat. Just as in the other books of this series, I looked forward to their antics. There were several the town's elders brought Maya and Law together, but it was the Dunk Tank Debacle (as I call it) that was my favorite. When Pearl says, "Oh shoot," . . . "I think I double-scheduled this shift," I cackled with glee.  ๐Ÿ˜„ 


And I LOVED that Maya kept track of the See Benjamin's Chest Days. 


Law and Maya didn't always need the matchmaking meddlers. They did quite well all on their own.  ❤ And to quote Maya "Hooboy" oh how the tension made it all that more exciting. 


There is so much joy and laughter in this book that I wouldn't have objected to another hundred pages. I loved catching up with Eve and Sawyer and Jake and Nora and spending moments in the Pink Room of the Mermaid Inn. 


A Favorite Quote:

"So is this a 'friends with benefits'thing? Nora made the air quotes with her fingers."Because I think it's well established by now that those don't work in this town."


If you asked me which couple from Matchmaker Bay is my favorite? I couldn't answer and you can't make me choose. They're all my favorites! This series will be my go-to recommendation when friends are looking for a fun and entertaining summer read - at the beach, by the pool, or just a cozy stay-cation.


I loved it.



Disclaimer: I received this promotional copy from the publisher for review consideration. Thoughts and opinions are my own.


Thursday, March 25, 2021

Cover Reveal: WANTED WED OR ALIVE by Willow Aster & Laura Pavlov


๐˜๐จ๐ฎ ๐š๐ซ๐ž๐ง'๐ญ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ง ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐๐ฒ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฆ๐ž๐ž๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐†.๐ƒ. ๐“๐š๐ฒ๐ฅ๐จ๐ซ๐ฌ!


๐…๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐›๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐š๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ซ๐ฌ ๐–๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฐ ๐€๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐‹๐š๐ฎ๐ซ๐š ๐๐š๐ฏ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฏ ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ซ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐›๐จ๐จ๐ค ๐ข๐ง ๐š ๐ง๐ž๐ฐ ๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ-๐œ๐จ๐ฆ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ฌ.


โ„™๐•ฃ๐•–๐• ๐•ฃ๐••๐•–๐•ฃ โ„๐•–๐•ฃ๐•–: http://mybook.to/WantedWedOrAlive


๐ด ๐‘Ÿ๐‘ข๐‘›๐‘Ž๐‘ค๐‘Ž๐‘ฆ ๐‘”๐‘Ÿ๐‘œ๐‘œ๐‘š. ๐ด ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘ข๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘  ๐‘›๐‘’๐‘–๐‘”โ„Ž๐‘๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ. ๐‘‡๐‘œ๐‘œ ๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘ฆ ๐‘ ๐‘’๐‘ฅ๐‘ข๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘™๐‘ฆ ๐‘“๐‘ข๐‘’๐‘™๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘Ÿ๐‘ข๐‘›-๐‘–๐‘›๐‘  ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘ ๐‘๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘˜ ๐‘œ๐‘“.

 

Mya...

I came to New York for a fresh start.

A new job. A new apartment. A new life.

The last thing I’m looking for is a man. 

Been there.

Done that.


Jesse…

I flee for my life when I leave Chicago. 

Escaping a lifetime of misery.

But from the moment my eyes land on Mya Whitfield—I’m done for. 

And don’t even get me started on watching her play the cello. 

I’ve never envied anything the way I envy that enormous piece of wood between her legs. 

Move over, cello…

There’s a new man in town. 


Goodreads: http://bit.ly/WantedWedOrAlive-GR


Cover created by:

Jena Brignola, Bibliophile Productions


 Expected publication: April 22, 2021



Thursday, March 11, 2021

Review: FLOAT PLAN by Trish Doller




FLOAT PLAN
by Trish Doller
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Publisher: St.Martin's Press
Pages: 272
Source: Publisher

Synopsis

Heartbroken by the loss of her fiancรฉ, adventurous Anna finds a second chance at love with an Irish sailor in this riveting, emotional romance.

After a reminder goes off for the Caribbean sailing trip Anna was supposed to take with her fiancรฉ, she impulsively goes to sea in the sailboat he left her, intending to complete the voyage alone.

But after a treacherous night’s sail, she realizes she can’t do it by herself and hires Keane, a professional sailor, to help. Much like Anna, Keane is struggling with a very different future than the one he had planned. As romance rises with the tide, they discover that it’s never too late to chart a new course.

In Trish Doller’s unforgettable Float Plan, starting over doesn't mean letting go of your past, it means making room for your future.

"The perfect escape. Fresh, funny, and romantic. I wish I could sail away with this book." - Meg Cabot, New York Times bestselling author of The Princess Diaries and Little Bridge series

MY THOUGHTS

I’m beginning to believe there are no coincidences. Books come to us we need them and for me that has happened, yet again, with FLOAT PLAN. 


I often focus on the emotional and sad elements in romance books because that’s where I am and that’s what I connect with the most. So before I get into all of that, I need to emphasize that this book is not one big book of sadness. FLOAT PLAN is a story of adventure and love and friendship and community and loss. It’s about Anna finding herself and new beginnings. It is all of these things and more, and anyone who reads it will find exactly what they need from it. Even if that is simply to be entertained. 


I loved going on this adventure with Anna and meeting the people that she met and seeing the places she visited. I loved watching her become self-reliant and problem solve during the days she sailed solo. 


And I loved Keane and how he proved there are men like him out there. I know. I married one of them. 


And I loved watching Anna and Keane fall for each other and feeling the joy they felt together.


My heart ached time and time again for Anna for her loss of Ben. When the life you have, or the life you think you’re going to have, is ripped from you, nothing is familiar. Even yourself.


THIS DID ME IN:

“I cried until my eyelashes hurt, because there is no longer a we and I’ve forgotten how to be me without Ben.” Then I got out of bed and started packing.“


FLOAT PLAN cracked me open and set off a chain reaction that led to the realization that I’m ready for more. I’m ready to live and create new memories. There were many thoughts that led me to that point and they all circled around and were jumbled up, but ultimately I’m ready to take some chances and I NEED to do the LIVING that I’ve wanted to do.


JUST THIS:

“. . I’m starting to understand how sadness and happiness can live side by side within a heart. And how that heart can keep on beating.” 


I’ve said this many, many, many times. Love and grief can exist in the same space.They have to or we can never fully live because grief never goes away. 


Reading FLOAT PLAN was a therapy session (or a few) for me, and it’s definitely a book that will stay with me. I needed this book more that I can even put into words. The power that books can have truly amazes me as they continue to guide me through this life. 


I loved it.





Author bio:

TRISH DOLLER is the author of novels for teens and adults about love, life, and finding your place in the world. A former journalist and radio personality, Trish has written several YA novels, including the critically acclaimed Something Like Normal, as well as Float Plan, her adult women's fiction debut. When she's not writing, Trish loves sailing, traveling, and avoiding housework. She lives in southwest Florida with an opinionated herding dog and an ex-pirate.


Buy link: https://read.macmillan.com/lp/float-plan/


Social Links: @TrishDoller on Instagram and Twitter

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from the publisher for review consideration. I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. I've also purchased a finish copy for my personal library. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Review: CANDY COLORED SKY by Ginger Scott

 


CANDY COLORED SKY
by Ginger Scott
Publication Date: February 26, 2021
Pages: 279
Source: Wordsmith Publicity

Synopsis

Jonah Wydner has been in love with his neighbor Eleanor Trombley for years. He has watched her life play out from the sidelines—homecoming dances, football parties, and first dates. Her life seemed easy…simple…perfect. The complete opposite of his own.

But when Eleanor’s younger sister goes missing and the national media sets up camp in the middle of their street, the girl with the seemingly perfect life shows up in Jonah’s garage in search of a place to hide from the hurt and chaos. What begins as one night becomes many filled with unexpected surprises and unveiling, healing truths about Jonah’s own messy past.

Soon, Jonah gets to know the real Eleanor, and discovers all the ways they’re the same. Friendship blossoms into more, plans turn into promises, and hopes and dreams become shared under the warm glow of the fading Midwestern sunsets. But how far can a kiss under a candy-colored sky take them? And what happens when the clouds close in?

My Thoughts


After just a few pages of CANDY COLORED SKY, I began to wonder: What have I gotten myself into? I was lured into this book by it’s beautiful cover and the idea of the story of being in love with the girl across the street (and that it's by Ginger Scott). But it’s a story of a missing child. How can this possibly end well? I wasn’t ready to feel everything so deeply and so quickly, but I did and it was perfection. I fell in love with this story of falling in love.


Favorite Moments:

The photographs mentioned throughout and how they add to the story

The pancake breakfast challenge - Immediately, I had a craving

Grandpa Hank’s wisdom and poker nights

The moment when Eleanor broke out into a driveway cheer


The friendship and comfort that Jonah gave Eleanor is, for me, what made CANDY COLORED SKY so special. He recognized the ways that she may need him, and his love for her let him be her person - in whatever ways that meant - because he’d been through it too.


Ginger Scott’s has written a story of love and loss that is so sweet and so tender and pure and true making CANDY COLORED SKY one of my top reads of 2021 so far.



Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from Wordsmith Publicity as a participant of a blog tour. I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, February 26, 2021

New Release: CANDY COLORED SKY by Ginger Scott

 

 

NOW AVAILABLE


๐—–๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐˜† ๐—–๐—ผ๐—น๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฆ๐—ธ๐˜† by Ginger Scott is LIVE! This is a coming of age love story, stand alone. One-click your copy and take a peek inside below!


Wordsmith Publicity

PURCHASE

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/CandyColoredSky 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08VTTWXLP/

Apple: https://books.apple.com/.../candy-colored-sky/id1553932714 

BN: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w?ean=2940162507444

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/candy-colored-sky 

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=aG0ZEAAAQBAJ


Add it to your TBR: 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56553619-ccs


“This book is coming of age PERFECTION. You’ll see pieces of yourself, of your heart and your soul in this story. This is a top read forever for me. There aren’t enough stars. HIGHLY recommend!” - Bestselling Author Dylan Allen


Blurb:

Jonah Wydner has been in love with his neighbor Eleanor Trombley for years. He has watched her life play out from the sidelines—homecoming dances, football parties, and first dates. Her life seemed easy…simple…๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ต. The complete opposite of his own.


But when Eleanor’s younger sister goes missing and the national media sets up camp in the middle of their street, the girl with the seemingly perfect life shows up in Jonah’s garage in search of a place to hide from the hurt and chaos. What begins as one night becomes many filled with unexpected surprises and unveiling, healing truths about Jonah’s own messy past. 


Soon, Jonah gets to know the real Eleanor, and discover all the ways they’re the same. Friendship blossoms into more, plans turn into promises, and hopes and dreams become shared under the warm glow of the fading Midwestern sunsets. But how far can a kiss under a candy-colored sky take them? And what happens when the clouds close in?


EXCERPT:

 “You know, it’s an excellent time to climb up on the roof and watch the sun go down.” Her fingers slip away as she makes the suggestion, and I find my hands frozen in place for a moment all on their own. I shove them back into my pockets.

“Is it really that late?” I lift a brow.

“It’s almost four.” She winces and I join her.

“I don’t think I’ve slept this late since I had the flu sophomore year,” I admit.

She laughs at my response, then hits the button for the garage door.

“This used to be a regular Saturday morning occurrence for me,” she says.

“I’m pretty sure you can’t call it morning,” I add.

She spins on her heels as she moves out of the garage and points at me.

“You are probably right.”

We cross my driveway to the very dead grass in our side yard. Eleanor leaps up to grab the eave but her fingers slip at her first attempt. She crouches to jump again but stops, spinning to face me as she points over her shoulder with her thumb.

“You been sunset watching without me?” she asks.

The ladder is still out. I haven’t touched it since the last time we went up there.

“That would sound a lot better than admitting I’m too lazy to put it away, but sadly, I’m a lazy ass.” I mush my lips together and shrug.

“Well, my muscles are not feeling it today, so let’s just say you were planning ahead.” She marches to the ladder and scales it two rungs at a time. Even at her laziest, she’s got me beat.

She waits at the roof’s edge for me this time, and I’m a little embarrassed because I climb ladders the same way my grandfather does—like one wrong move might break a hip. I crawl onto the shingles as she stands and holds a hand out for me.

“I can’t run and leap over there like you do,” I say, waving my hand just out of reach. It’s like I’m about to shake on a deal and I want to make sure I know the terms.

Eleanor leans her head back and the sound of real laughter pours out with the rasp that I’ve missed.

“It’s fine. I’ll go slow,” she says, taking my hand and helping me to my feet.

I sway a little, only half joking that I’m searching for my balance. I notice that she walks along the rooftop on her toes, almost like a ballerina making her way to center stage. I move with the grace of a Clydesdale.

We settle in the ridge this time and I lower myself carefully, dividing my weight over both sides of the roof. Eleanor seems to collapse into a sitting position, her legs knotted together as she perches at the apex facing me. I breathe out a laugh at how different we are.

“What?” she asks.

“Just, you can tell you do things like gymnastics and stuff. It’s pretty clear I work out math equations.” I shrug.

“You’d think that would make you more confident up here, being able to compute the exact angles and all that junk,” she argues.

“Huh,” I say, taking her reasoning to heart. I glance to my left and then my right, but before I can fully take in the angle of the descent behind me I grip the roof’s surface beneath my thighs.

“Nope. There’s no math logic for this,” I say.

She giggles, an actual giggle. It’s the best sound, like a children’s birthday party with a petting zoo kind of glee.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Mini-Reviews: THE TOURIST ATTRACTION, LEO, and BIG BAD COWBOY

 

THE TOURIST ATTRACTION by Sarah Morgenthaler
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
Pages: 352
Source: Netgalley | Purchased
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

THE TOURIST ATTRACTION is a book that'll take you places when you're staying home and can't travel. This story allows readers to travel to Moose Springs, Alaska and become a tourist in this town that is full of an unbelievable amount of charm. The people, the views, the wildlife - the storytelling makes you feel a part of it all. There's adventure, there's danger, and there are many, many moments of laughter. 

What I loved:
+The romance - Graham and Zoey are perfection 
+Zoey and Lana's friendship- from different backgrounds but they're fiercely protectitve of each other
+Jake the dog
+The town as a character and the locals in the town

THE TOURIST ATTRACTION gave me exactly what I wanted in a romantic comedy - all of the silliness and many heated kisses (and more). I loved it!



LEO by Jay McLean
Publication Date: August 11, 2020
Pages: 470
Source: Purchased
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

With each new Jay McLean book that I read, it makes it difficult to claim a favorite book and stick with that choice because the new book then becomes the favorite. That's exactly how I feel about LEO. This story of young love - first love and second chances, is incredibly special because their forever love never really went away.

Favorite Moment:
"But it's the sky that leaves me breathless ...
the darkness that enveloped us only minutes ago is replaced with all the hues of reds, pinks, and purples stretching beyond what the eye can see.
It's endless.
Infinite.
"It's as if the world's being split in two," I breathe out.
"I know." He pauses a beat. Then: "It reminds me of you."

Mia and Leo's love story is tender and delicate. It's about both of them finding their voice and really use it to protect themselves and the ones who they love.

One thing that I realize is that I need to read Lucy's story sooner rather than later. As Leo's older sister, she provides a voice of guidance and she adds humor when moments get intense.

LEO deserves all the stars and all of the love.




BIG BAD COWBOY by Carly Bloom
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Pages: 368
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐. 5
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

BIG BAD COWBOY was a book that I read along with my book club. We love to mix up our selections and include books on the sexy side and this one definitely delivered. I loved the play on the story of The Big Bad Wolf and how the main characters "meet" at a costume party and how this allows for a secret identity element. This enemies to lovers romance is a fun read - I loved the back and forth, the hate to love between Maggie and Travis. And I loved how much my friends and I laughed as we talked about the book. BIG BAD COWBOY is a great book to escape into.

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