Saturday, July 13, 2024


This is a debut??? 

The author and editor showed all the way up making this one of the best tightly constructed stories, especially since there are time jumps and character pov changes happening frequently!, I've read for a while. 

Hoping the second half lives up to the first and Bonnie's journey doesn't end in total heartbreak

2024 Reading Romance Challenge

I decided to add another challenge to my list this 2024 and  That's What I'm Talking About (Twimom227) posted about this on Mastodon, and I'm going for it! 

As it goes on all year, there is still time to signup (Sign-up Post). 

You all know I can't say no to a bingo game :)  Join us!

5th Bingo!

Clicking on book title takes you to my review

STEM/Bluestocking - Principles of (E)motion by Sara Read

Animal on Cover - The Bright Spot by Jill Shalvis

Sports - Undecided by Julianna Keyes

TBR over 1 year - Gold Ring of Betrayal by Michelle Reid

SciFi/Fantasy - Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson

Fake Relationship - Her Adventures in Temptation by Megan Frampton

Celebrity - When Grumpy Met Sunshine by Charlotte Stein

Blue Dress on Cover - The Blackest of Hearts by Emma V. Leech

Waterfront on Cover - The Summer Book Club by Susan Mallery

MC name starts with "S" - Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston

Witch/Warlock - Heartless Hunter by Kristen Ciccarelli

Small town - Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer

LGBTQ - Here We Go Again by Alison Cochrun

Medical Profession - After Hours by Cara McKenna

Necktie on Cover - You Should Be So Lucky by Cat Sebastian

Single Parent - Simple Jess by Pamela Morsi

Food on Cover - Love, Lies, and Cherry Pie by Jackie Lau

Royal MC - A Shadow in the Ember by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Non US/UK setting - Don't Look Back by Rachel Grant

Arranged/Marriage of Convenience - Viscount in Love by Eloisa James

Borrowed from Library - A Novel Love Story by Ashley Poston

Review: A Novel Love Story

A Novel Love Story A Novel Love Story by Ashley Poston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.7 stars 

I had a great time reading this with Wanda, for thoughts and comments: Novel Love Story Buddy Read 

A woman trying to get over heartache ends up in her favorite romance series 

Loved the magical realism aspect of winding up in your favorite romance series town and seeing the characters in their element. 
Loved the highlighting of romance tropes and the commentary on why romance books are special to readers but also how it's important to keep perspective on real and fictionalized. 

This definitely has romance but at times it's in that lit fiction vein and probably not first or second for what I loved about this the most. Ending has a little bit of rushed feeling but really enjoyed reading this one.

View all my reviews

Monday, July 8, 2024

Reading Update: 10%


Traveling the globe this Monday 

Bonnie's pregnant at her mother-in-law's house in Switzerland when the radio reports a body found in the waters by Geneva. The women of the house fear it's Mansour, as he hasn't contacted anyone for weeks while on his band tour. 

Not wanting to believe it, Bonnie sets out to find out what happened. As Bonnie travels the globe in 1969, the story glides around to other timelines and povs of the other women in Mansour's life. 

It's an intimate look at intercultural relationships, dreams, pasts, people, places, times, and how one person can connect and affect so many different lives. 

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Reading Update 10%

Alone. In a rainstorm. In a no-name town in the middle of the woods. Without cell phone reception. 

Liking the vibe feel, light Gothic?, of how this one is starting off 

Buddy reading with Wanda over on GoodReads if anyone else wants to join!

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Review: The Au Pair Affair

The Au Pair Affair The Au Pair Affair by Tessa Bailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.7 stars 

I received this book for free, this does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review 

A nanny job should be a cakewalk, right? 

The Au Pair Affair is second in the Big Shots series were the friends of the main couple from book one, get their time to shine. Tallulah is in a cafe across from Burgess' penthouse, when she catches a clip of the hockey player elbowing an opposing player in the nose. Even though her gut told her she could trust Burgess and really got along with his twelve year old daughter Lissa, the trauma of surviving one man who hid his true self until it was too late for Tallulah, is now resurfacing. Even when Burgess walks into the cafe and Tallulah gets those calming vibes from him, she's scared to trust herself. It's not until Burgess' scheme to pay the majority of rent to make sure Tallulah is safe with a teammate's almost step-sister, that Tallulah decides to trust her instincts and take the job. While Burgess is trying to respect the boundaries of their age difference, eleven years, and boss/employee dynamic, Tallulah is ready to act on all that steamy chemistry between them, but wants to keep it no strings. Burgess knows they have the real thing though, he'll accept nothing but hearts fully committed. 

“Give me a chance to show you that you’re safe with me.”

I had no problems jumping into the series here and liked how the story got rolling right away. Tallulah and Burgess had palpable heat right away, something that Bailey excels at and was much appreciated. Bailey also knew what she was doing when she made Burgess the one who wanted their relationship to be real and committed. Having him lay his cards out right away, his serious feelings for Tallulah, worked because it plays into his more mature age, thirty-seven, and helps take away any ick feelings to their boss/nanny relationship with giving Tallulah the decision making control. Tallulah wants to sleep with Burgess but is still working to fully reclaim her daring, live life to the fullest self after her traumatic experience (we get Tallulah telling Burgess about what happened later in the story). Burgess was never pushy but never let an opportunity to show Tallulah who he was pass-by, he says he'll be her bodyguard when she's nervous to do some daring bucket list items, like skinny dipping. It all works because he's there supporting her, while having the hots for her, and Tallulah's in the driver's seat for their encounters but always getting tempted by Burgess. 

Tallulah did a little skip as she reached him and his heart followed suit. Yeah. Yeah, she was worth trying for. 

Along with Tallulah learning to trust herself again, there's some of Burgess having angst over his age and how it's leading to the eventual end of his career and how he's having issues connecting with his daughter Lissa. There's not a lot of hockey in this, more like peripherally job shading in but how Tallulah bonds with Lissa and helps Burgess' relationship with his daughter definitely added a sweet strengthening block to their relationship. Just when Tallulah is deciding to fully go with her gut, some of the danger on the horizon hinted at comes into play and the second half has an angst moment where Lissa's preteen emotions and hopes throws a wedge into Tallulah and Burgess' relationship and when Burgess gets a serious injury, he lashes out with hurtful words, shattering some of that trust Tallulah had built up. 

He usually defended other people, but . . . she’d come to his defense? 

The third act breakup happens early enough in the latter second half, that we get a good look at Burgess actionable working for it to get Tallulah back and a believable working through her emotions Tallulah. A little forced proximity at the wedding of book one's couple, will probably delight readers of the series as they get another look at their HEA. Overall, this felt more refined than earlier works of Bailey I've read and I thought made this read even better, the hotness is still there but I believed in the emotion even more. There feels like a set-up happening between one of Burgess' teammates and the teammate's not quite step-sister that has me desperately wanting to read their book and I hope it's next in the series. This, had Burgess knowing what he wants and won't compromise for it but always supporting and protecting and Tallulah building herself back up with her own strength but only growing stronger when she leaned on Burgess' support, and hotness, don't forget the hotness.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Reading Update: Page 1

The NHL season is over, Congrats, Panthers!, but summer calls for a Tessa Bailey 

Tallulah needs the money to keep studying to be a marine biologist, so she jumps at the chance to be a live-in nanny. 

Burgess is a hockey veteran and newly single dad, whose daughter wants her parents back together, even as he tries to get back on the dating scene. 

I think we all know where this is headed! Tallulah and Burgess have that inconvenient chemistry that has Tallulah trying to walk away, and Burgess putting it on the line for his second chance 

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Reading Update: 10%

She only comes up to his shoulder, "so big he could beat her senseless" but wait, what's that smell? 
Nevermind, hots being had now 

He would gain more than a wife for his keep. He would also have a woman who was not only pleasing to his eyes, but one rumoured to be well versed in bed

Starting off with everyone winning

Review: Meet Me in Tahiti

Meet Me in Tahiti Meet Me in Tahiti by Georgia Toffolo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars 

I received this book for free, this does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review 

But Finn hadn't needed to be told: he'd always known Zoe was off-limits. 

Meet Me in Tahiti is the third book in the Meet Me series about four childhood friends that experienced a traumatic car accident in their senior year that has left lasting marks on each one in different ways into their adulthood. Zoe was the rich girl fairy princess that her parents and everyone in town coddled, this only increased when she became a paraplegic after the accident. Finn was the boy who had to drop out of school to work three jobs to help his ailing mother, but for a summer where they both worked at a restaurant together, Finn and Zoe recognized and were drawn to something in the other. For two years they danced around each other until after Zoe's accident has Finn finally making a move, only to be rejected harshly by a Zoe who was hurt and in pain about her new circumstances. Now, when they meet twelve years later, they're still drawn to each other but that old pain is still there too. 

He wanted time with her. 

This had a sweet and lightness to it, with a first half that had Finn just absolutely sick for Zoe that captured my heart. I'm serious, when Zoe shows up at his hotel resort, oh yes, kid from the wrong side of the tracks Finn does good and is now an owner of six hotel resorts, he's supposed to fly out the next day. He keeps making up excuses, and it will have you almost feeling sorry for the guy because of how helpless he is over her. We get some reminiscing flashbacks to Zoe and Finn during that summer together and then the two years and ultimate breaking point of when Zoe was harsh with him. The angst is all about Finn during his younger years staying away because he didn't feel good enough for Zoe and how that has carried over to him as an adult. Finn staying at the resort with Zoe though, is all about him wanting to show her that he's good enough for her now, so he's pretty much all-in from the beginning. Zoe for her part, felt too young and unexciting for the two years older Finn when they younger and now as an adult, still won't believe that he could ever like her like that. So, we have two people who are both wanting to get together, Zoe finds adult Finn even more attractive and definitely wants to start something with him, so why is this book three hundred pages? Well, we do get that sweet yearning and tension in the first half but the second half drags out with multiple rinse and repeat moments of stop, go, and misunderstanding. 

She laughed. “Are you only interested in one thing?” There was the smile, the glow, the heat, that promise. 
“Depends how you classify one thing.” 
One thing. The one thing was her. 

When they meet back-up as adults, Zoe is twenty-eight and Finn thirty, they do have some younger feel to them, especially Zoe with her “giggling” and covering her face whenever she's flustered, if the giggling hadn't been repeated so many times, it wouldn't have tripped me up as much, because these two did have a sense of reverting to their when-we-met younger selves that, mostly, worked tone. They share some kisses in the second half but the door is firmly closed in this one, they're headed to bed and then Zoe's waking up in the morning with a quick mention that they did sleep together. 

And it was at that precise moment that Zoe fell in love. 

I really enjoyed how Zoe's disability wasn't an element of the story but rather a part of her character, she's a travel writer and while she obviously acknowledges, lives, deals with other people's missteps, and thinks about accessibility, it wasn't forced but simply the fabric of her life. Having Finn growing up with a mother who taught him a lot in this regard and then him, obviously, thinking about Zoe when working to design the resort in Tahiti, really laid down a strong foundation building block in their relationship. All the secondary characters played their parts and helped to fill out the world and add to different dynamics of our two main characters. There's not a lot of the series connection friends in this but they share phone calls for some appearances. As the vast majority of the story takes place at the island resort, you'll also get some great tropical setting with descriptions of food, flowers, and some boat rides. I lost my heart to Finn and how much he just wanted to be around Zoe in the first half but there were a bit too many stop and repeat moments in the second that wore me out some. There's a grand gestures ending, covert by Finn and overt by Zoe, that will make you smile and if you're looking for an island setting and a sweet, trembling but trying couple, you'll want to pick this one up.