Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Two quick recommendations...


The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

It was the 1890s circus setting that first made me want to read this one, because I've always been drawn to circus/carnival stories. And this one did not disappoint. I loved Charlie Lionheart, the lion tamer, and his faith, and the sacrifices he made to keep his little niece safe. And I loved watching Ella's cautious friendship with him grow into something deeper. This is a heartwarming and sweet romance. (Thank you, Ashley, for recommending this one!)

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow

First lines:  "It is a sad fact of life that if a young woman is unlucky enough to come into the world without expectations, she had better do all she can to ensure she is born beautiful. To be poor and handsome is misfortune enough; but to be penniless and plain is a hard fate indeed."

Who knew Mary Bennet could be so interesting? She's one of Jane Austen's duller, less memorable characters, but Hadlow has done an excellent job of turning her into a very sympathetic heroine of her own story. (Thank you, Cath, for your review, which made me want to read this one in the first place.)

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme:  WATER.

I had fun with this one. See if you can guess my watery theme. 

Ingo by Helen Dunmore

The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler

Goddess of the Sea by P.C. Cast

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore

Wake by Amanda Hocking

Fish Out of Water by Mary Janice Davidson

The Last Mermaid by Shana Abe

Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 26, 2023

The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley by Courtney Walsh

 "The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you."  --Ritu Ghatourey

Things to know about Isadora:
  • She's super smart.
  • She works as a university researcher.
  • She's also an introvert...and a bit socially awkward.
  • Her last boyfriend broke her trust...and her heart.
  • She doesn't have many friends.
  • She's lonely.
  • And she just turned 30.

A random magazine article titled "Thirty-One Ways to Be Happy" inspires Isadora to conduct her own personal research project and try out each item on the list to see if they really result in that promised happiness. She's sure she'll end up disproving the entire article, justifying her own unhappiness. And at first, nothing she tries makes her feel any different. Especially not those yoga classes! But then some new people enter life, including her 10-year-old neighbor, Delilah, and Cal, the new (and handsome!) psychology professor at work. As her experiment continues, her quiet, lonely life starts to change for the better. Is it possible the magazine article was right and she's found happiness after all?

I loved this book! Isadora's journey of self-discovery was both poignant and humorous. There were times her past heartaches and self-doubt made me cry. But the way her boisterous neighbor barged into her life totally made me laugh. And Cal's cute flirting, kind compassion, and unwavering support of Isadora made me like him so much. This is a very charming and heartwarming romance! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

The One by John Marrs


Do you believe in soulmates? That there's one perfect person out there just for you? In The One, finding your soulmate is not only possible, but easy. All you have to do is take a simple DNA test and then wait to be matched. But for Mandy, Jade, Christopher, Nick, and Ellie, getting matched with their soulmates may bring instant attraction, but there's no guarantee it will lead to true love or a happy ending. For any of them.

My thoughts: This novel is both entertaining and engrossing. Told through five POVs, the chapters are very short, which made this book read very fast. And I quickly got drawn in to each of these characters' journeys to connect with their soulmates. They're all very different, though in the very beginning it was a bit of a struggle to keep them all straight. But then the plot picks up and secrets start being revealed. And all the unexpected twists along the way are so good! None of these characters' stories played out like I thought they would. And that's what made this book so fun. But it makes it hard to talk a lot about the plot, because I don't want to give anything away. It's best to go in not knowing too much so you can just enjoy the ride. Which I did. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Melody and I read this one together, so be sure to check out her review, and her questions to me below. 

Happy Reading!

Melody's question to me...and my answers:
1) Do you think this Matched DNA concept has any similarity to "love at first sight"? After all, some people do find an instant attraction to someone whom they haven't met. Do you believe in love at first sight? 

I kind of do believe in love at first sight...that unexpected spark of recognition and attraction you sometimes feel when you first meet someone. (I've even felt it once.) But I also believe that feeling doesn't mean it's going to turn out to be a forever kind of love; it might, but it might not. I think real, lasting love requires more commitment and work than just one glance. 

2) Which couple's story did you enjoy reading the most? Do you think their life would be any different if they've not been matched? 

I think Nick's story ended up being my favorite because his match with Alex was so completely unexpected for both of them. And their relationship NEVER would have happened if they hadn't been DNA matched like they were. I also liked Jade's story a lot, and how she and her match both tried to put someone else's happiness above their own. I was glad she got her happy ending with her match at the end. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme is a FREEBIE.

So, I decided to go with Paranormal Cozies because I've never done a list with any of these books before. I've read the first three series, but none of the others.

Any book in Kristen Painter's Nocturne Falls series...
(except maybe don't start with the first one; it's my least favorite.)

Annable Chase's Spellbound Series ... another fun one!

Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye by Victoria Laurie

It Takes A Witch by Heather Blake

A Charmed Death by Madelyn Alt

Deeply, Desperately by Heather Webber

Southern Spirits by Angie Fox

Poison, My Pretty by Amity Allen

Spells and Shelves by Elle Adams

Any Witch Way You Can by Amands Lee

Pumpkin Pies & Potions by Polly Holmes

Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Haiku Reviews...


Life's Too Short by Abby Jimenez

She  brings him joy. He's 
her calm in the storm. It's love--
but she might be dying.

Romance .... 350 pages .... 4.5/5 stars.
(Poignant and funny. I loved Vanessa's and Adrian's relationship!)

Roots of Wood and Stone by Amanda Wen

A historic home,
an old diary, and faith
lead to love and family. 

Romance .... 280 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(I really enjoyed Garrett's and Sloane's relationship, and the whole family history aspect of this one. Thanks for recommending this one, Cindy.)

High Country Justice by Nik James

Marlowe straps on his guns
to save Doc and his daughter from
a group of outlaws.

Western .... 272 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(Sometimes I'm just in the mood for an action-filled Western where the good guy wins.)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 17, 2023

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

This is a thoughtful and poignant novel about how books and reading can provide help, healing and hope, bring people together, and create lasting friendships. And I loved it.

It begins with Mukesh Patel, a lonely and grieving widower, whose wife loved books; Mukesh wants to connect with his granddaughter, Priya, but doesn't know how. An overdue library book of his wife's leads him to the local library where he meets Aleisha, a lonely teen working at the library for the summer who doesn't actually read much, and who has no idea what book to recommend to Mukesh. 

But then she's given a list of eight books with the heading: "Just in case you need it," and she starts to read them...and recommend them to Mukesh. And these books help Mukesh connect with his granddaughter, and with Aleisha, and pushes him to socialize more; they also help Aleisha connect with her mentally ill mother, and with a boy she meets on the train. Many other lives are touched in this book because of this one reading list. 

The Reading List is a captivating novel that touched my heart and kept me reading all day long. I loved the characters. And the ending totally made me cry. It's a good one...and another book that's perfect for Susan's Bookish Books Reading Challenge.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Murder on the Red River by Marcie R. Rendon


This is the first book in a series centered around Renee "Cash" Blackbear. It's set in the 1970s in the Red River Valley between Moorhead, Minnesota, and Fargo, North Dakota. Cash is nineteen and Native American. She works as a farm laborer driving truck, and hustles pool at night. Growing up, she was bounced around from one white foster family to another. The only constant figure in her life was the local sheriff, who still watches out for her. 

When a man from the Red Lake reservation turns up murdered near the Red River, Cash helps Sheriff Wheaton find out who the man was, and why he was killed. Because they both know no one on the reservation will talk to a white policeman. And Cash has other skills: she can spirit walk, and she sometimes has dreams about the dead that turn out to be true. 

I really liked Cash, which is good because this is a very character-driven novel. And I thought Rendon did an excellent job of capturing the feel of the 1970s, and showing the racism and sexism that existed for a woman like Cash. The mystery was also interesting. My one complaint is Cash's excessive drinking and smoking. The amount of time the author spends on Cash's habit of buying Marlboros, lighting up, smoking, stubbing out butts, sharing cigs, running out, buying more, etc. got old fast and ended up being very annoying. I hope she tones that part down in the next book. Because I definitely want to read the next few books in this series. 

Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 13, 2023

August's Bookish Art...

Georges d'Espagnat -- Woman Reading in Garden

"Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life."
--Mortimer J. Adler

Thursday, August 10, 2023

His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

 "Elikem married me in absentia; he did not come to our wedding." 

From the blurb:  "Afi Tekple is a young seamstress in Ghana. She is smart; she is pretty; and she has been convinced by her mother to marry a man she does not know. Afi knows who he is, of course--Elikem is a wealthy businessman whose mother has chosen Afi in the hopes that she will distract him from his relationship with a woman his family claims is inappropriate. But Afi is not prepared for the shift her life takes when she is moved from her small hometown of Ho to live in Accra, Ghana's gleaming capital, a place of wealth and sophistication where she has days of nothing to do but cook meals for a man who may or may not show up to eat them. She has agreed to this marriage in order to give her mother the financial security she desperately needs, and so she must see it through. Or maybe not?"

My thoughts:  This is such a well-written and compelling book. I had a lot of sympathy for Afi and her situation. She's a bit naive when she first arrives in Accra, and she tries so hard to be a dutiful wife. But it's hard when Eli is never around; then when he does come around and Afi starts to fall in love with him, there's still the problem of the other woman. But Afi has spunk and an inner strength that I applauded. I loved how she defied everyone to find her own success and happiness. One of the other things I loved about this novel was being immersed in the culture and traditions of Ghana and getting to see the roles that women are still expected to fill there. It was very eye-opening, and sometimes sad. But Afi's story is full of heart and hope. 

Happy Reading!

Similar reads:

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Two Quick Rom-Com Recommendations...

Practice Makes Perfect by Sarah Adams

"I am convinced dating was created by an evil villain to torture humanity. Dramatic? Not in the least. For introverts like me with social anxiety, the process of dating is equivalent to waxing your bikini line."

So begins another one of Sarah Adams' delightful romances. I love her books. She creates such engaging characters. The spark and romantic tension between Annie and Will in this one was so fun; I loved their humorous interactions and honest heartfelt conversations. Good kissing scenes, too. And Annie's love of pirate romances totally made me laugh.  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood

"All throughout middle school, my Halloween costume was the duality of light. .... It seemed like a winning idea. And had me wondering if I, too, could contain two--no, a whole multitude of Elsies. Each one would be crafted, custom tailored, carefully curated with a different person in mind. I'd give everyone the me they wanted, needed, craved, and in exchange they'd care about me. .... Funny how my physics career and my people-pleasing career started around the same time."

I love the academic angle in Ali Hazelwoods' STEM romances. And Elsie is such a funny, quirky, and relatable character. She's a theoretical physicist by day, and a fake-girlfriend-for-hire by night. I loved how Jack could see through all her guarded layers to the real Elsie, and how he challenged her to risk being her true self. Their relationship was humorous, charming and deliciously sexy.  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Shutter by Ramona Emerson

The plot:  Rita Todacheene is Navajo. She was raised by her grandmother on the reservation, and grew up loving photography; she also grew up seeing ghosts. Too bad her supernatural gift is taboo in Navajo society. As an adult, Rita now works in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as a forensic photographer. She photographs crime scenes, and her gift sometimes helps her see clues the police miss. Though she tries very hard not to let any of the ghosts around her know that she can see them. It doesn't always work. And her latest case just brought a very angry ghost into her life, one who was murdered and who is determined to make Rita find her killers. 

My thoughts:  What a spellbinding read! Rita is such an interesting character. I loved how the author interweaves her childhood and all her first ghostly experiences with her present day life. The well-drawn New Mexico backdrop along with Rita's detailed camera skills ground the novel and give it a real sense of authenticity, which contrasts nicely with all the supernatural elements. And Emerson does an excellent job of creating tension and suspense. I was drawn into Rita's life, and her job, and the mystery surrounding the angry ghost. I really hope Emerson is planning on writing a sequel.  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 2, 2023


I'm so glad it's August, because we're finally getting a break from all the triple digit heat. July was a long string of 100+ days which I did not enjoy. But this week it's looking like we'll be in the low 90s, and maybe even drop into the high 80s. We might even get rain! Keep your fingers crossed. 😎

 So, I finally got around to reading this one: 

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson had been sitting on my shelf gathering dust for at least three years, but I can now check it off my TBR list. And while I didn't end up loving it, I did like it, and am glad I read it. Cussy Mary Carter is an interesting and sympathetic character, and the novel is rich with historical detail. But because of the time period and setting  (Appalachia, Kentucky, 1936) lots of very sad things happen in it. 

Books I checked out of the library for August:
(These are all books that other bloggers recommended to if you see a book on this list that you loved and reviewed, you're the reason I'm reading it now.  Thank you!)

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Lost in Darkness by Michelle Griep
Roots of Wood and Stone by Amanda Wen
The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow
The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof
A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie
Murder on the Red River by Marcie Rendon
The One by John Marrs
The Stand-In and The Comeback by Lily Chu

Just add books to this list and you have me in a nutshell:

Happy August...and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme is Forgotten Backlist Titles.

Here are ten twelve books I love that no one really talks about any more, but that are definitely still worth checking out. 

On Bear Mountain by Deborah Smith

Green Rider by Kristen Britain

Words by Ginny L.Yttrup

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib

Drenched in Light by Lisa Wingate

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

Coastliners by Joanne Harris

The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel

The Passion Dream Book by Whitney Otto

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott

Happy Reading!