Tuesday, November 30, 2021

What I'm Reading Next (51)


December is such a struggle when it comes to reading.  Well, at least for me it is.  It's two-fold. I want to read all the holiday books, but I never have enough time! You know how it is during the holiday season. 

However, I am starting on things a bit earlier this year, so I am *hoping* I will have more time to relax and read this year.  Maybe it's wishful thinking? What about you? Do you find time to read during the holidays?  Here's what I hope to read this month:


All the Holiday Books

All of the holiday books I mentioned in this post



Jane and the Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron

This Jane Austen mystery comes out in Febraury. I am reading it ahead of time for a blog tour. I love reading Jane Austen themed novels year round, but there's something special about reading it over the holidays.



Never Fall For Your Fiancee by Virginia Heath 

I meant to read this novel last month, but never had the chance. I hear it's a great start to a historical rom-com series.  Have you read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Just Haven't Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens

I was also hoping to read this book last month, but didn't get around to it. This novel ask the question what if you pick up the wrong suitcase in the airport only to fall head over heels with its owner? Sounds perfect for the holidays!

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

This book has been on many best of 2021 lists and it's been collecting dust on my shelf. Maybe I will find time to read it before the year ends? *fingers crossed* Have you read it?



A Man of Honor by Barbara Taylor Bradford 

This is a prequel to the bestselling novel A Woman of Substance, which came out in the late 70s. I am hoping that I don't need to read the first book in order to appreciate this historical saga.   

What books do you hope to read this month? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!


I'll be taking a blog break to spend the holiday with my family, but once I am back, I'll be sharing all the holiday reads, and hosting some great giveaways, too! I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday. 

Before I go, I want to remind you to check out the two picture book giveaways I have going on currently. One is for The Friendly Bookshelf and the other is for This Is Clare. Be sure to check them out and enjoy your long weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Blog Tour: The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery

Pages: 432
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: September 28, 2021
Publisher: HQN Books
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "The Somerville sisters believe in love, but they’ve lost faith it will happen for them. Reggie hasn’t been home since the end of the world’s shortest engagement. When her parents decide to renew their vows, she buffs up her twinkle to help with the Christmas wedding. Unexpectedly, Toby, her first love, is back too, and the spark between them shines as brightly as ever. In the spirit of the season, will they let go of past hurts and greet the New Year together?  Done waiting for the one, Dena is pregnant and on her own—on purpose. But then a gorgeous, sad-eyed songwriter checks in to a room at her inn. Micah, unable to write since he lost his wife, finds inspiration in Dena’s determination to be a mom. One snowflake-speckled kiss and he’s a goner. But Dena is afraid to believe that a rock star could fall for a cookie-cutter small-town girl like her.  As the Christmas wedding draws closer, these two sisters just might unwrap the most treasured gift of all—love."



Reggie Somerville hasn't returned to her idyllic home town since her engagement broke off.  Her sister, Dena, is a local schoolteacher, newly pregnant, and is working on a charity knitting project with her students. To top it off, Dena and Reggie's parents are renewing their vows this holiday season, so Reggie will most definitely have to return home to Wishing Tree.  Reggie offers to help her mom with her vow renewal plans and to assist Dena with her class project as Dena is suffering from morning sickness.  Dena's situation isn't a conventional one. Dena decided to get pregnant as a single mother through artificial insemination and not only is she dealing with her pregnancy by herself, she is also teaching, and she runs the local B&B.  She is, quite simply, overextended. While Reggie is helping Dena's class project, she runs into her ex-boyfriend, Toby, who has moved back home to raise his son, Harrison.  Toby has also volunteered to help with the class project, so cue the awkward situation as well as the eventual butterflies between them.  Toby hasn't had it easy either and has a lot of baggage.  Then Micah shows up at the B&B, a well-known musician, to find some rest and relaxation with the hope he can find inspiration for his next song.  He is also healing from a tragic event, but Dena catches his eye.  Even though both Somerville sisters are bridesmaids this holiday season, it appears they will have their own chance for love in The Christmas Wedding Guest

I really liked the character of Reggie in The Christmas Wedding Guest. I liked her relationship with her sister, her parents, and even her dog.  When she returns home, she has to face her past and things become even more complicated when her high school ex-boyfriend re-enters the picture.  I really enjoyed how they slowly rekindled the spark while also addressing a lot of their baggage.  Toby's story is a sad one and I did feel badly for him as well as his son.  Dena, on the other hand, is an interesting character in that she is taking things into her own hands by deciding to become a single mom.  I like her determination; however, I didn't find her story (or her love interest in Micah) to be as interesting at Reggie's.

The secondary characters were just ok in The Christmas Wedding Guest. Reggie and Dena's mother is a bridezilla. The worst. I am not kidding. There's no way as a grown adult I would have put up with her. I mean this is a vow renewal not a wedding at Windsor Castle.  Relax.  The stuff she put her grown daughters through is bizarre. I really didn't care for that part of the story or her antics.

Be forewarned that The Christmas Wedding Guest can be rather dark for a holiday novel. There's some issues throughout the novel that pop up that can be considered serious, so that took me by surprise a bit; however, it was balanced nicely by the possible love matches and the upcoming wedding.

The thing I liked the most about The Christmas Wedding Guest was the adorable town of Wishing Tree, Washington.  I loved the Stars Hollow vibe, the friendly neighbors, and their adorable traditions around Christmas and the first snowfall.  I thought it was very well done and reminiscent of a Hallmark movie. Who doesn't love when a charming town comes together to celebrate the holidays?

So, are you a fan of Susan Mallery? Is The Christmas Wedding Guest on your TBR list? Do you enjoy holiday reads? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 


Monday, November 22, 2021

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

This year I am hoping to feature more holiday books than ever before. I never really got into holiday books until last year. I gravitated towards them during the pandemic and haven't looked back!  Sometimes they are a nice escape where everyone get a happy ending (most of the time!), the snow always falls at the right time, and there's always something heartwarming about to happen.  Here are the holiday books I've had my eye on for this season:


1.  The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery
This is the start of a new series and it's all about the Somerville sisters and their chance at love.


2.  Christmas in Peachtree Bluff by Kristy Woodson Harvey
I love that Harvey has continued the Peachtree Bluff series with a holiday tale. 




3.  Celebration at Christmas Cove by Carrie Jansen
This novel is a a New England holiday romance and the start to a promising  new series. 

4.  The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews
I am usually a fan of Andrews's summer novels, so I knew I had to get a copy of her holiday novella about Christmas magic and second chances. 



5.  The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan
Jenny Colgan always writes such heartwarming reads and this one is set in Edinburgh. Don't you love the cover?



6.  Meet Me in London by Georgia Toffolo 
A pretend engagement set in London during the holidays. Yes, please! 



7.  An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer
Nantucket at Christmastime sounds like a win. I love Thayer's beach reads and read Let It Snow a few years ago, so I am looking forward to this one.




8.  Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini
I am so intrigued by this holiday read inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "Christmas Bells." This book has been on my TBR list for awhile!  I adore the cover, which initially caught my eye.

I don't think I will get to them all, but this is my very hopeful TBR list. What holiday books do you hope to read this year? Are any of these books on your list?  Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Friendly Bookshelf

I love giving away picture books, but today's giveaway is extra special, because I love the message in this book.  I've partnered with The Children's Book Review and Blossom Children's Media Group to celebrate the publication of The Friendly Bookshelf by Caroline and Katherine Brickley.  The Friendly Bookshelf was written to build self-confidence and to promote inclusivity, which is so important and should start with the very young. Who doesn't love a picture book that reinforces kindness?



Learn More About the Book:

The Friendly Bookshelf is written by Caroline and Katherine Brickley, illustrated by Daniela PĂ©rez-Duarte.   Ages 3+ | 32 Pages  Publisher: Blossom Children’s Media Group | ISBN-13: 9780997782714

Publisher’s Synopsis: "Meet Bibli, a brave little library bookshelf in search of a story about someone like him . . .Once upon a time, in a library like any other, there lived a little bookshelf named Bibli who carried a BIG question on his shelves: “Could there be a story somewhere about a bookshelf like me?” Bibli is told that bookshelves are supposed to hold stories, not have ones of their own. But everything changes when he meets Cassie, a girl longing for a friend just as much as Bibli longs for a story to relate to. Bibli learns that with kindness, confidence, empathy, and friendship, even your biggest dreams can come true—and that everyone has an important story worth sharing. The Friendly Bookshelf is a social-emotional learning (SEL) research-based book and the first-ever picture book about a bookshelf. Written to build self-confidence and self-esteem as well as encourage inclusivity, Bibli’s story empowers children to be brave, be a friend, and always be your-shelf! Readers will be inspired to go beyond the final page of the book and share their own stories, as well as be the pioneers of a kinder, more inclusive world where everybody (and every bookshelf!) belongs."

You can purchase a copy of The Friendly Bookshelf at Amazon and Bookshop.  To learn more about the book, visit the website.  

Enter the Giveaway:

Thanks to The Children's Book Review and Blossom Children's Media, I am hosting a giveaway for a copy of The Friendly Bookshelf.  Seven winners will receive a copy of The Friendly Bookshelf and a copy will be donated to the library of your choice.  The giveaway ends December 16, 2021 at 11:59 P.M. MT.  

Good luck,

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