Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Spotlight and Giveaway: Baseball Around the World


My boys are obsessed with baseball, so when we saw the new book Baseball Around the World by Chris Singleton and Dean Burrell, I knew we had to get a copy.  It just came out this summer and is the perfect book for every baseball lover.

 

 


We enjoyed all the interesting facts about how baseball is played in various different countries like South Korea, Japan, Australia, and more. We also enjoyed learning which famous players came from each country and when baseball was introduced in each country.  The pictures in the book are fantastic and it will most definitely be a book that your little slugger reaches for again and again.  

 


 


Learn More About the Book:

 


Baseball Around the World:
How the World Plays the Game

by Chris Singleton and Dean Burrell


Summary: "From Cuba to Japan, Australia to Italy, a diverse melting pot of countries and cultures have embraced the ole ballgame. In Baseball Around the World, you’ll take a multicultural world tour to meet the nations and players who have pushed baseball to international popularity—with a twist, of course. Find out what they eat at Japanese baseball stadiums, how a gold rush brought baseball to Australia, why South Korean games are allowed to end in a tie, and much more in this home run of a book!"

 

You can purchase your own copy of Baseball Around the World at Bushel & Peck, Bookshop, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.  You can learn more about Bushel & Peck at their website. I love that they donate books to children in need with every book purchased.

 

 

The Giveaway: 

 
Thanks to Bushel & Peck for allowing me host a giveaway to celebrate the recent publication of Baseball Around the World. One lucky US winner will receive a copy, so enter below! Please refer to my giveaway rules. Good luck!
 

 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Book Review: Kit McBride Gets a Wife by Amy Barry

Pages: 352
Genre: Adult Fiction/Romance
Pub. Date: August 23, 2022
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
 
 
Goodreads says, "The four McBride brothers have their worlds turned upside down when their precocious younger sister secretly places an advertisement for a mail-order bride. Kit McBride knows that Buck's Creek, Montana, is no place to find a wife. Between him and his three brothers--plus little Junebug--they manage all right on their own, thank you very much. But unbeknownst to Kit, his sister is sick to death of cleaning, cooking, and mending for her big brothers, so she places an ad in The Matrimonial News to get them hitched. After Maddy Mooney emigrated from Ireland, she found employment with an eccentric but poor widow. When her mistress decides to answer an ad for a mail-order bride, Madd​y is dragged along for the ride to Montana. But en route to the West, Maddy is suddenly abandoned and left to assume the widow's name, position, and matrimonial prospects.... With no other recourse in the wilderness, Maddy must convince Kit not only is she who she says she is, but she's the wife he never knew he needed."

 

It's 1886 in Buck's Creek, Montana and the McBride family live at their trading post. It's the four McBride brothers and their younger sister, Junebug. Junebug, being the only female in the house, is sick of doing all the "women's work" for her brothers, so she tries to find a wife for one her oldest brother, Kit, via an ad in the newspaper. Otherwise how else will her brother meet someone at their remote trading post in the wilderness? So, Junebug places the ad for a mail-order bride without Kit knowing. In swoops widow Willabelle Lascalles along with her Irish maid, Maddy Mooney, to answer the ad. They are here in America to start over and Willabelle thinks this ad for a bride will be the solution to all of her problems. Except things don't go smoothly at all. Willabelle decides to not go through with it once in Montana and leaves Maddy behind. Maddy is pretty much abandoned and then due to a series of awkward moments, Maddy assumes the identity of Willabelle, so Kit thinks that she is the mail-order bride. Kit, at first reluctant, starts to have feelings for Maddy, vice versa, but how can they have a relationship based on lies and an incorrect identity? Kit McBride Gets a Wife by Amy Barry is a fun romp through Buck's Creek, Montana and a destination I'd love to visit again when I need an escape to the McBride family and the Montana wilderness.

Junebug is the real star of the show in Kit McBride Gets a Wife. She is hilarious, witty, snarky, outgoing, and everything you could want in a feisty heroine.  She's much younger than her brothers, but readers can still appreciate her predicament as being the only young girl in a house full of men. She is juxtaposed by her strong and silent type brother, Kit. I really enjoyed his character and appreciated his love of books. He was too good to be true at times, but that's why we read romance right?

Maddy is another character in Kit McBride Gets a Wife who my heart went out to. She isn't just a maid looking for a better life in America. She is running from her past life and some of the trauma she went through. So, Maddy is a complex character for sure and while I wanted her to be honest with Kit, I could see how once she got caught up in this plan, it was hard to get out of unscathed. Plus, she is in a tough spot since she was abandoned by her employer in a new country.

The western vibes in Kit McBride Gets a Wife are really on point. I felt like I was at a remote trading post in rural Montana. It's been so long since I read a western, so it was great to get caught up in Buck's Creek, the lifestyle, the quirky citizens, and the McBride's adventurous family.

While Kit McBride Gets a Wife is a clean romance for sure, I still enjoyed being wrapped up in the McBride family and their life in Montana.  It's the start of a new series and one that I think I will continue with when I need an escape to another time.

So, is Kit McBride Gets a Wife on your TBR list or have you read it yet? Do you like Westerns? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Friday, September 23, 2022

Blog Tour: Snowed in for Christmas


Happy Fall! It's here! The last few years I started to read holiday novels as we get closer to Thanksgiving and I've already started to compile my list of fall and holiday reads. One of the holiday reads that caught my eye is Snowed in for Christmas by Sarah Morgan. Today I'm part of HTP's blog tour to celebrate the novel's recent publication and share an official excerpt. Let me know what you think!

 

 

Learn More About the Novel:

 


 

Book Summary, "What happens if the only Christmas celebration you want to attend is one you haven't been invited to? USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan delights with this hilarious and heartwarming Christmas cracker of a novel! The Miller family Christmas is legendary – it’s the kind of perfect festive gathering that advertising exec Lucy has only ever read about. Until now. Because this year, she needs to get Ross Miller on board with a new contract, and he’s not taking her calls. So she has no choice – she’ll gatecrash the Miller Christmas, get Ross’s signature, then disappear before her envy at their epic family celebrations gets too much. The Miller sisters couldn’t be more different – tough cookie doctor Alice despairs of soft-hearted nanny Clemmie – but they are united by two things. A wish to see their disreputable older brother Ross settle down, and horror at their parents’ well-meaning interrogations every Christmas! Especially this year, with both women hiding life-changing secrets they do not want dissected over the Christmas turkey. So when a woman shows up on their snowy Highland doorstep, asking for Ross, and their grandma mistakes her for Ross’s new girlfriend, an opportunity presents itself. Before she knows it, Lucy has been invited to stay for the holidays, as the newest Miller plus-one. Her ‘boyfriend’ is furious, but the chemistry between them is as tempting as it is surprising. It’s shaping up to be either Lucy’s worst Christmas of all, or the best mistake of her life…."

 

You can purchase your own copy of Snowed in for Christmas at Bookshop, Harlequin, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Books-A-Million.  Also, you can learn more about Sarah Morgan by visiting her website and connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.   




Read an Excerpt From the Novel:


“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Maya helped Lucy pack boxes of the Fingersnug into a bag. “Isn’t there a risk that turning up at his house in Scotland makes you look like a stalker?”

“I can see why you might be concerned about that and I’m not going to say it didn’t cross my mind, but no. Firstly because I’m in Scotland anyway, doing a photoshoot for the Fingersnug along with reindeer and several influencers, and secondly because this is what Zoe told me to do. I’m simply following her advice. And it’s not as if I haven’t tried every other route first.” Maybe she was overstepping a little, but sometimes you had to take a risk to get ahead.

Ever since Arnie’s health scare she’d been working flat out to put together ideas for Miller Active. She was excited about her plan and desperate to get her proposal in front of Ross Miller before the competition snagged his attention. She was willing to take the chance that the whole thing could explode in her face. What was the worst that could happen? He’d slam the door on her, which wouldn’t be pleasant but at least she’d be able to limp home knowing that she’d done everything she could to help Arnie and protect people’s jobs.

“Who is Zoe?”

“Ross Miller’s personal assistant. She’s great. She’s organized, and she knows everything. We went to that new wine bar near the river last night, and—”

“You went to a wine bar with Ross Miller’s assistant?”

“Yes.” Lucy tucked some of the festive “props” she’d bought into the bag. “We’ve been talking every day for the past week, and we’ve become friendly.”

Maya shook her head in disbelief. “How do you do it? If someone stands still for long enough, you befriend them.”

“It wasn’t hard. I like her. I took my proposal over to the office and we got chatting. Turns out she’s from Scotland, too, and she knows Ross from school.”

“And he gave her a job?”

“Why not? She’s brilliant. And who knows, maybe she threatened to reveal all his secrets if he didn’t employ her.” Lucy added two boxes of fairy lights to the bag. “They’re obviously good friends. Sounds as if they have one of those fun relationships full of banter where she scolds him, and he pretends to do as he’s told. Can you pass me the snow globe?”

Maya handed it to her. “Good friends? Or very good friends.”

“Not romantic. According to Zoe, Ross isn’t involved with anyone. He occasionally dates, but women tend to get frustrated by his focus on work. He actually forgot about his last date, left her sitting in a restaurant.” She forced the snow globe into the bulging bag. Maybe it had been optimistic of her to think she could manage with the one bag.

“Not the king of romance, then,” Maya said. “Does Ross know that his assistant is revealing his entire personal life to strangers?”

“I’m not a stranger. I’ve seen her four times this week.”

May rolled her eyes. “And no doubt by Friday you’ll be godmother to her children.”

“She doesn’t have children, although she would like to. She’s dating William, but he’s currently living in Edinburgh and she misses him horribly. William, it seems, is very slow to make a commitment so Zoe is thinking of proposing herself. We talked through a few strategies.” Lucy tried to close the bag and failed. “A little help, please?”

Maya pushed the sides of the bag together. “No offense, but since when did you become the expert on marriage proposals?”

“I know a lot about the theory.” Finally, Lucy managed to close the bag. “You don’t have to travel the world to teach geography. I’m creative, that’s my job. I know how to make an impact. Also, I pay attention to what people want and need. That’s the basis of successful selling and, in the end, that’s what we’re doing. All the time. Every day. I’m going to be selling the idea of me to Ross.”

“So where does William fit into this?”

“William works in risk assurance so it’s understandable that he won’t be given to impulse. He needs a little something to nudge him past that caution barrier. Fortunately Ross Miller closes the office for a week over Christmas, which means Zoe can go home, too.” Lucy lifted the bag. “This weighs a ton. Nothing else is fitting in there.”

“He closes the office?”

“Yes. He goes home to Scotland to spend time with his family.”
“That’s nice.”

“It is. I like it when people appreciate family.” Lucy lowered the bag back to the floor. “I feel as if I’ve forgotten something. What else do I need?”

“A whole lot of good luck and the bound copies of your proposal. You wanted two, is that right?” Maya handed them to her. “You haven’t discussed this with Arnie, have you?”

“No. He is supposed to be resting. No stress. You know what he’s like. If I even mention this, he’ll want to be involved.” She knew she’d never forget the sight of Arnie being taken away in an ambulance. For a horrible moment she’d thought she might lose another person she loved, but fortunately it hadn’t turned out to be as serious as they’d feared.

Arnie had been discharged with medication and a lecture on lifestyle.

He was keeping in touch with the office, but Lucy had given everyone strict instructions not to contact him.

The office felt strange without him there. Even the Christmas tree and the decorations couldn’t make up for his absence. But if he rested now, hopefully he’d be well enough to come back to work in January.
In the meantime she was holding the fort.

Maya gestured to the proposals in Lucy’s hand. “Good work, by the way. Clever. I think Ross Miller will be impressed.”

“Let’s hope so.” She grabbed some Christmas wrapping. “Did you see the photo Ted sent round? The baby is gorgeous.”

“They’re not getting any sleep.”

“I know. Ted says he watches the baby half the night to check she’s still breathing.” Lucy knelt on the floor, cut the wrapping paper and measured a length of ribbon.

“Ribbon?” Maya frowned. “You’re not seriously gift wrapping the proposal?”

“Why not? It’s Christmas.” She wrapped the document carefully. “Even the most hard-hearted businessman can’t help but respond to wrapping paper covered in cheerful robins, surely?”

“That’s why you’re wrapping it? To fill his hardened heart with festive joy?”

“No.” Lucy tied the ribbon and secured the label she’d handwritten in careful script. “I’m wrapping it in case something happens and I’m not able to deliver it to him personally. It’s Christmas, and they have a big family gathering every year.”
 
“Zoe again?”

“No. I read about it in that magazine feature I mentioned.” She’d pored over every page, envious of the oversize Christmas trees, the lush garlands adorning fireplaces and the curved bannister. “If I hand them a boring-looking proposal the chances are they’re going to forget about it. Who wants to read a boring document at Christmas? If I wrap it, then there is a good chance that at some point over the festive season it’s going to be opened.”

“Possibly by one very disappointed kid who is immediately going to throw a tantrum before tossing it out of the window.”

“No young children in the family, according to my research.” She tucked the wrapped parcel carefully into her laptop bag, along with the spare unwrapped proposal.

“Please tell me you’re not dressing as Santa when you drop it off.”

“I wasn’t planning to—” Lucy rocked back on her heels “—but now you’re making me think.”

“Well don’t think. You’ve done enough thinking.” Maya rested her hip on the desk and folded her arms. “So why didn’t he go into the family business?”

“Ross? I have no idea, and it’s not relevant. I am not there to interfere with family politics. I am simply going to ring the doorbell and hand over my gift. Merry Christmas. That’s it.”

“You should have put a copy of that marketing magazine in with the proposal. Cover girl Lucy.”

Lucy stood up and put the unused wrapping paper back on her desk. “That’s one of those awards that we are all super proud of, but no one else in the world has ever heard of.”

“But you’re the face of modern marketing. He might be impressed.”

“Or not.” Lucy glanced at her phone. “I have an hour before my train leaves.”

“The sleeper. I’ve always thought that sounds romantic. Traveling on a train through the darkness, clickety-clack, clickety-clack.”

“There is nothing romantic about having a carriage to myself.”

“Maybe it will be like one of those spy movies,” Maya said, “where the bad guy is lurking, waiting to throw you out of the window.”

“And for that comforting thought, I thank you.”

“You should have taken some days for yourself while you’re up there. Have a mini break.”

Lucy couldn’t think of anything worse. “I’ve already booked my return journey the following night. All organized. It’s a flying visit.”

Even if she had the money for it, she didn’t want to spend time in a hotel on her own at Christmas. How miserable would that be?

No, she’d spend the day taking creative photos of the Fingersnug with the reindeer herd as her backdrop, and then she’d deliver her proposal to Ross Miller on her way back to catch the train. 
As far as she could see, there was nothing that could go wrong.

Excerpted from Snowed in for Christmas by Sarah Morgan. Copyright © 2022 by Sarah Morgan. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.


So, what do you guys think? I love a good holiday novel that will make me laugh and put a smile on my face. Is Snowed in for Christmas on your holiday TBR list? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Books To Read If You Love the Royals


 

With the recent passing of the incomparable Queen Elizabeth II, there's been a lot of focus on the British Royal Family.  I've received some questions about what books to read if you love stories about royals, so I thought I would update my list, which, believe it or not, hasn't been updating since 2015! I've linked my review when possible and include a wide variety of Royal stories, not just the British Royal Family!



The British Royal Family:

 

The People's Princess by Flora Harding - This one focuses on Lady Diana and her engagement to Prince Charles.

The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull - The lesser known story of Thelma Morgan and her relationship with Prince Edward.


In Royal Service to the Queen by Tessa Arlen - The story of Queen Elizabeth II's beloved governess.

The Other Windsor Girl by Georgie Blalock - This historical novel is all about Princess Margaret, the Queen's sister.

 

 

Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words by Andrew Morton - I listened to this audio book and was totally sucked in! It's a great companion to the latest season of The Crown.

Before the Crown by Flora Harding - This novel focuses on Elizabeth and Philip's courtship.

 

HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style by Elizabeth Holmes - If you are a Royal style enthusiast, this is the go-to book filled with a ton of beautiful photographs.

 

 

Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith - A fascinating biography of Elizabeth II. I really enjoyed it!

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin - A historical novel about the intriguing life of Queen Victoria just as she arrives to the throne. If you enjoy the TV show Victoria, this is a must read!



Lady Catherine, the Earl and the Real Downton Abbey by Fiona Carnarvon -If you love Downton Abbey, you'll enjoy this book about the real people that resided there.

Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman - I adored this biography about Georgiana Spencer, the great-great-great-great-aunt of Diana.  A fascinating woman!

 

 




War of the Roses:


(Books 1-7 are from Philippa Gregory's Cousins' War series)
 

 

1.  The White Queen - This is my favorite novel of the series. If focuses on Elizabeth's Woodville's rise at court and the War of the Roses.

2.  The Red Queen - This novel is from Lady Margaret Beaufort's perspective and she is one bad ass lady.  She will do anything to put her son Henry Tudor on the throne. 

3.  The Lady of the Rivers - This book reads like a prequel to The White Queen. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Jacquetta, Elizabeth Woodville's mother, and her "second sight."

4.  The Kingmaker's Daughter - The story follows Anne Neville, who is the daughter of the Earl of Warwick, otherwise known at The Kingmaker. He uses his daughter as a chess piece, which makes for an entertaining novel. 

5.  The White Princess - This novel focuses on Elizabeth of York, who is the daughter of Elizabeth Woodville (The White Queen) and mother to the infamous Henry VIII.  It's a captivating glimpse into her life as well as her political marriage.

6.  The King's Curse - When compared to the other books in the series, I thought this book was just ok. It is from Lady Margaret Pole's perspective, cousin to Elizabeth of York, so it's interesting to see how everything played out at court through someone on the sideline's view point.  This novel also focuses on the alleged Tudor curse. 

7.  Women of the Cousins' War  - A nonfiction read about the women involved in the War of the Roses.
 
 
 
8.  The Last White Rose by Alison Weir - A book focusing on Elizabeth of York, the mother of Henry VIII. 



The Tudors:



The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory - This is one of my favorite novels from the series. It focuses on Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife.  We all know what happened, but getting it from Katherine's perspective is very interesting. 

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory - This is one of Gregory's best novels focusing on the infamous Anne Boleyn and her sister, Mary.  
 
 
 
The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory - It's all about Kateryn Parr, who is forced to marry Henry VIII.
 
Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory - This historical tale focuses on Katherine of Aragon, Margaret Tudor, and Mary Tudor.
 


The Six Wives by Henry VIII by Alison Weir - A non-fiction book, but a fascinating read! I mean does it get more entertaining and unbelievable than Henry VIII?
 
The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory - The story of Lady Jane Grey and her sisters.



Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir - Another novel focusing on Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days' Queen.

Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle - A novel all about Katherine Parr, Henry VII's last wife.

 

A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir focuses on Lady Katherine Grey, Lady Jane's younger sister, and also deals with the mystery surrounding Princes in the tower.



Other Royal Families: 

 

The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick - It's the first novel in a trilogy about Eleanor of Aquitaine, a 12th century icon.


The Accidental Empress  by Allison Pataki - This historical novel focuses on Empress Elizabeth of Austria; it's a fascinating glimpse into her life.

 

Sisi: Empress on Her Own by Alison Pataki - Book two in the Sisi series following her marriage to Franz.

 



Inspired By The Royals:


 

 
 
The Royal We and The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan - A modern day royal tale inspired by Kate Middleton and Prince William's real-life romance).

American Royals Series by Katharine McGee - A re-imagining of the United States if we had a Royal family stemming from the Washingtons.

 

 

 

On the TBR List: 

 
The Queen's Secret by Karen Harper
Elizabeth and Margaret by Andrew Morton
 
 
 

The Palace Papers by Tina Brown
The Empress by Gigi Giffis 
 

So, what do you think? Have you read some of these Royal reads? Do you have any recommendations for me? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Book Review: The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

Pages: 336
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: August 23, 2022
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
 

Goodreads says, "As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don't mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she's used to being alone and she follows the rules...with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos pretending to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously. But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and...Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he's concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat. As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn't the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn't know she was looking for...."

 

Mika Moon has lived a nomadic life, moving often, and not putting down roots. There's a few reasons for this: one, being that her parents have died, and two, she is a witch.  She doesn't want to bring too much attention to herself; however, she does dabble on the internet as a "pretend" witch by posting videos. Mika does meet every few months with another group of witches, but it's all very secretive.  One day she receives a message asking her to come to a country estate to help young witches control their powers.  Mika finds this very intriguing, so off she goes to a country estate aptly named Nowhere House. While there, she meets three young children who are learning the ropes and trying to control their magic. There are also other people that live at the estate, a caretaker, a retired actor, and a hot librarian.  Before she knows it, she has become close with not only the kids, but the other quirky people who live there as they accept her for who she is. She doesn't have to hide her magic here. But things aren't all rainbows and unicorns. There's a lawyer investigating some things at Nowhere House and this threatens there very perfect world they have built for themselves. Sangu Mandanna's adult debut, The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, is an adorable romance that is perfect for fans of a cozy fall read.

Mika is such a fun character in The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches. I loved watching her let down her walls and have real relationships with the people at Nowhere House. Each person brings something special to the story and Mika slowly let them in. It was nice to see this as she has always been on her own.  The cast of quirky characters in the novel were very well done and I especially liked the good looking Irish librarian, Jamie. Lastly, the three young witches were also very entertaining and were adorable to say the least.

My only issue with The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches was the fact that the pull to keep reading wasn't there. I liked the story, the characters were quirky, and it was an adorable romantic fantasy, but it didn't pull me to keep going. Something was definitely missing. However, if you want a fall read that is cozy and on the quieter side, give this novel a try.  It left me smiling, so, really, what more could you ask for? 

Is The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches on your TBR list? Have you read it already? Do you like a good witchy tale? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.  

 
 
Design by: Designer Blogs