Monday Reads:

Oh wow. I only read two books in two weeks. What is going on with me???

This is why I don't give myself a reading goal for the year, though. Because I don't want to feel pressured to read a certain number of books. So when life gets busy and I don't have as much time for reading, I don't feel all the guilt.

the last time we say goodbye.jpg

Anyway... I read THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE by Cynthia Hand. I wasn't sure I was in the mood for this kind of book. It's about a girl who is trying to get over her brother's suicide. But the book pulled me in. The character development was excellent, the struggles and actions of the MC so real and raw. The only thing I didn't like was there were times when the book got a bit descriptive about things that didn't matter. There were paragraphs of the MC describing how a casserole was made or how their playhouse was built. Who cares? One or two sentences: good. Paragraphs: bad. Also, not very realistic for a child to know exactly how her dad built a playhouse. In general though, it was a great book and I totally bawled at the end.

kindred.jpg

Then I read KINDRED by Octavia E. Butler... also not the lightest of books, but WOW. What an incredible book. It's about a black woman married to a white man who time travels (against her will) to the antebellum south in the early 1800s. She even takes her husband back with her once. I can't even describe this book, it's just so good. The story is moving, to see what the characters go through, how the MC has to struggle with her time and the past, with the many and horrible racial injustices, the decisions she makes... it's all perfection. There's not much I can say but, read it!

So I've been wracking my brain, positive that I read something in between these two books. I think what I'm missing is I did a final read-thru of The Pemberley Journals for the authors before they published on the Austen Variations book page. I mention it because this time travel story where the modern-day MC switches places with Elizabeth Bennet is so fun! It's a great read, and free at Austen Variations so check it out if you're a Pride and Prejudice fan!

 

Monday Reads: Late As Usual

One of these days I'll get my act together.

Unfortunately, today is not that day.

Anyway... as of last Monday Reads, I had just gotten three books from the library that I was really excited for. Here they are:

I can tell you right now, THESE BOOKS DID NOT DISAPPOINT. All were 5-star reads for me.

WARBRINGER was fun to read. It was a bit hard at first to get used to this different origin story when I'm so used to the movie, but I didn't enjoy it any less. I especially found the minor characters to be totally compelling and I loved the insight into Diana's life on Themyscira.

WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI was such a fun contemp and I love reading from another (diverse) perspective. It's so interesting to learn where other people are coming from, to learn their differences, and to also see our similiarities and where I could totally relate despite my different religion. I thought this story was so cute. I've heard criticism about Dimple as an MC, but I didn't mind her at all. While I didn't always agree with her choices, I still found them honest and true to her character. Also, Rishi was totally adorable.

MOXIE. Wow, MOXIE. This really deserves five billion stars. It was such a great story about feminism, friendships, first love, and did I mention feminism? I bawled at the end, I found the story so moving, and yet it wasn't one of those super hard to read books you never want to read again because they were disturbing or whatever. This book was an excellent mix of relationships and real issues. I'm definitely owning this one. I mean WOW. A million times WOW.

After those three, I decided to finally finish up a series I've had sitting on my shelf for forever. So I read THE HEIR and THE CROWN by Keira Cass. I enjoyed the first three Selection books. These I didn't like as much... the MC Eadlyn is such a massive brat in the first book it was hard to read sometimes. But the books were still fun, had some great romance and laugh-out-loud moments, and she finished up the series quite nicely. Both 4 stars.

So that was a lot of YA... What did you read this week?

Monday Reads: A Whole Lotta Romance

I'm not the kind of person who can only read one genre. Heck, I don't even like to read the same genre back-to-back. I tend to switch it up usually. 

Except for the past couple of weeks when it seems all I read was Romance.

There were some differences though. I went from country romance to billionaire romance to historical, then retelling, then YA, plus non-fic. So. 

The YA- Lucky in Love by Kasie West- was the only book I awarded 5 stars to, and actually it was more like 4.5 because it drove me crazy how the MC spent her lottery winnings. But I rounded up instead of down because the character was 18 and we can't expect an 18-year-old to spend their newfound millions wisely. Otherwise, another supercute story from Kasie West and I loved the love interest, Seth!

Two of these books were retellings: Persuaded by Misty Dawn Pulsipher, and Find Me In Paris by Alix Nichols. Although I think the author played it a little loosey-goosey with the word retelling for Find Me In Paris. There were very few similarities with Pride & Prejudice, but the book was entertaining nevertheless. I also enjoyed Persuaded as I do most things Persuasion, although I've started to find that I'm extra picky with Persuasion retellings. It's when I find other authors doing things I did that my beta readers/CPs pointed out to me as problematic that I then changed- that's when I get picky. Can't help it.

Chasing Charlie was cute, though way too rushed and lacking character development. My Fair Gentleman was really good and I only had a few small nitpicks with it. I also read When Love Hurts: A Woman's Guide to Understanding Abuse in Relationships. This was a research read for my latest WIP and it was very informative. Because of it, I know of a few changes I'll need to make to the WIP because I've got things wrong or just not right enough, if that makes sense.

I'm super excited for the three books I just got from my library over the weekend: all YA, all new(ish), and all popular which means anticipated. We'll see how they go... 

 

Terrifical Travels, Part Two: PARIS

I still can't believe I actually went on the trip of my dreams. 

Paris. I've been there. It still seems unreal.

I've always wanted to go to Paris. Not sure why, except I would guess it's the mix of the romanticism, plus taking French Immersion since Grade 1. (Which means from Grade 1 on, most of my classes were in French- the teacher spoke in French, we spoke in French, all assignments were in French. Hence- immersion.)

Nearing the trip, I was actually kinda worried that the trip wouldn't live up. I mean, it's PARIS. I had this inflated notion in my head of romantic walks and decadent meals and opulent apartments. 

So did it live up? Absolutely. I mean, it wasn't Paris in a movie. The weather was horrible, the food was expensive, and everyone smoked. "La Vie En Rose" did not serenade me as I walked down along the Seine. I wasn't perfectly make-upped or wearing heels and a swishy skirt (did I mention the horrible weather?). But it STILL LIVED UP. It was incredible and I loved every minute. The architecture, the macarons, the art, the language, the pastries. 

I went with the hubs and two other couples and they mentioned how they don't really want to go back but I don't feel that way at all. I could go back and back and back again- although I would like to see the coast next time. I think one of the big things that connected me to it, that really made me love it, was my handle on the language. I couldn't speak fluently, and I couldn't understand everything, but I did pretty good, if I do say so myself. Because of that, I felt a connection to the place. 

If I'm ever stinkin' rich one day (ha, yeah) then I totally want to own an apartment in Paris so I can spend time there anytime I want. So I guess, Paris is still a dream to me.

Monday Reads... a day late

I could've sworn I did a post about recent events or a Monday Reads post, but... nothing. So either I'm going crazy or I dreamt it or I don't know. Life has been crazy and sometimes sucky but also okay and I feel like a mix between I got this and a total failure. So here I am on a Tuesday, weeks since I've posted with a list a mile long of books I've read. Which makes me realize two things: one, I've gotta keep this post short and how the heck am I going to remember my thoughts on some of these books? And two, at least I've been reading through life's craziness.

So here's what I've been reading:

Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, and The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen were all five-star reads for me. The rest were 4-star, so still solid. I can't remember why I gave Jesse's Girl and A Little in Love 4 stars instead of five because I remember enjoying them both (but there must have been something). Eliza and Her Monsters got 4 because there were certain minor things that bugged me about the MC. This Is Where It Ends got four because I felt the antagonist could have been developed more fully, otherwise it was a gut-wrenching read. The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy was 4-star because it started slowly for me, but about 100 pages in the story really took off. 

Eight very different books but all solid, entertaining, and well-written reads. I'd recommend them to anyone.

Monday Reads: Series Ends and Austen Retellings

It's always great to finish up a series. It's an accomplishment of sorts. And if the books are good, it's seeing favorite characters get the endings they deserve. It's finishing with a sense of satisfaction and closure. Hopefully.

Luckily, both of these 3rd books in YA trilogies did that for me. 

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN by Jenny Han and THE ENDS OF THE WORLD by Maggie Hall. Great ends to great trilogies. 

I also read two modern Jane Austen retellings. EMMA: A LATTER-DAY Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison, and FIRST & THEN by Emma Mills.

With Emma, it was a book where the characters share my religion. I thought I'd really enjoy this modern retelling, but unfortunately it just didn't do it for me. I had a lot of issues with the book and the characters, and in fact rounded up to a 3-star rating because it's really difficult for me to give lower. I enjoyed FIRST & THEN decidedly more, although calling it a PRIDE & PREJUDICE retelling isn't quite right. The MC likes Austen, and sometimes thinks things using a regency voice, and there could be a parallel made with how she feels about the hero at the start with how Elizabeth feels about Mr. Darcy, but that's where the Austen/P&P similarities end. I did like the book though and it gave me the feels in quite a few spots. 

In all, not a bad reading week. What have you read lately?

Monday Reads

It's Monday Reads, Labour Day edition. Which basically means I'm writing this post at 6pm instead of in the AM because I was out with the kids all day. So here's what I read:

Dark Desires.jpg

DARK DESIRES by Eve Silver. I heard Eve Silver speak a couple of years ago at WHEN WORDS COLLIDE. I really connected with her story of writer struggles and how her writer heart got broken over and over and over again (like, ALOT. It made me feel better). Since then, I've wanted to read something by her and finally, I did. Dark Desires didn't disappoint. The mystery was good and I especially loved the romance and the swoony hero. I did get a bit irked by the MC at times. I can't really say why without giving the mystery away, but it was all good in the end.

PS I still love you.jpg

P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU by Jenny Han. This book was a lot of fun. I laughed out loud lots and really connected with the MC. I've heard a lot of criticism about how the MC's voice is young, but I find it refreshing. Not every teenager is going to sound jaded, mature, experienced, etc. and it bugs me when they're expected to be that way. So I've liked the two books in this series so far and onto the third!

the epic crush of genie lo.jpg

THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO by F.C. Yee. My local librarian told me to pick this one up- she loved it- so I thought, why not. And I'm so glad I did. The MC was so awesome. She was snarky, tough, mean, unapologetic, and funny. It was awesome reading about a mythology I know nothing about. And I liked the slow burn of the romance. 

the summer of chasing mermaids.jpg

THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS by Sarah Ockler. This book was on the slower side, but still good. The premise was so interesting, as was the MC and her backstory. I thought it might be difficult to read a story where the MC can't talk, but it wasn't at all. The romance was the best part for me- a great mixture of sweet and sexy and romantic.

prejudice meets pride.jpg

PREJUDICE MEETS PRIDE by Rachael Anderson. Based on the title, I assumed this was a Pride & Prejudice retelling. Um, no. It's not. Which left me a little disappointed because the book wasn't what I thought. Aside from that, I enjoyed the story, but it wasn't amazing. Just good. Good enough to finish but I wasn't wowed. 

I will not mention the book I DNF'd after two pages based on the shoddy writing, because whatcha gonna do. It happens.

*Terrifical Travels, Part One: Maui

I love to travel. If I could, I would go everywhere, and often. Unfortunately, time, money, and four children prevent that. Fortunately, I have managed to go to some pretty great places in the last year and thought I'd share some pics from the places I've visited.

Last November, I visited Hawaii for the second time. First time was a few years ago for my brother's wedding on Oahu. This time, me and the hubs plus my brother-in-law and his wife went to Maui.

Can I say how much I love Hawaii? I really do. Yes, it's expensive, but it's such a beautiful place and the weather is perfection. I was really worried it wouldn't be warm enough (for me, who hates the cold) in November but it was gorgeous. It never rained and it was never too hot.

We stayed at a time share right on the beach, although the waves near us were massive. Lucky for me and the hubs, it was our turn to get the "good" room, and whoo did we ever. Check out this view!

IMG_4966.JPG

The trip was the perfect mix of relaxation and sight-seeing. We snorkeled, we tried some great restaurants, we shopped, drove around the island, saw a huge surfing competition (from afar) and even took a helicopter tour, which was so cool. And of course, we went to a luau. The food was iffy but the show was incredible! 

Have you ever been to Hawaii? I would love to go back again. The hubs hasn't been to Oahu and would like to see Pearl Harbour so hopefully one day...

*Is terrifical actually a word? I'm not sure if it is, but I liked the sound of it anyway. I really wanted to call these posts Travels With Trolls but thought the people I traveled with might object. *Bonus points if you know where Travels With Trolls is from. 

 

Monday Reads

It's hard to read anything after HARRY POTTER... I mean, nothing lives up, right? And maybe I was just a bit judgmental after because I found myself nitpicking a lot of the books I've read since.

the sunflower.jpg

Like THE SUNFLOWER by Richard Paul Evans. This is the first I've read by this author although I've seen some movies based off his books. But I found this story lacking. It was sweet and nice, and a quick read, but too quick I think. It didn't delve as deeply into the characters as I would have liked, so when they are having feelings, I had trouble believing them. Also, the dialogue was forced at times. A nice story though, and I did like the setting, some of the places they traveled, and the kids at the orphanage.

I see london.jpg

I SEE LONDON, I SEE FRANCE by Sarah Mlynowski. So, this was a strange one for me. I picked it up because I loved the premise and I wanted just this kind of story for a summer read. I assumed it was YA, it read like YA, and then the MC says she's 19 and already done a year in college. I was super confused. It took my probably half the book to finally get used to the younger voice compared to the age and experience of the character. There was very blase talk of sex and drugs that didn't fit for me. I did enjoy the romance part of the story though and all the places they visited. 

The Belles.jpg

THE BELLES  by Dhonielle Clayton. Isn't the cover gorgeous? I also love the premise. However, it took me a while to get into it. There was a lot of beautiful description, and I get why, but it became too much for me. Other than that though, I really enjoyed the story, was bummed it cut off so abruptly and I'll pick up the next one for sure. Unfortunately I read an ARC because the book hasn't released yet so I have a long time to wait.

On the fence.jpg

ON THE FENCE by Kasie West. Kasie West does it again. LOVED LOVED LOVED. The characters, the romance, the feels. She gets me, every time. A 5-billion star read.

Darcy's Ultimatum.jpg

DARCY'S ULTIMATUM by Jennifer Joy. I enjoyed this Pride & Prejudice variation. The addition of Darcy's father was really interesting and I loved him as a character. I also liked seeing how Darcy and Elizabeth's relationship played out in this setting, plus I got a bigger glimpse into Darcy's character. The stakes felt a bit low to me at times, but otherwise it was a great read.

So ON THE FENCE was definitely my fave but the rest were solid reads. Unfortunately I also DNF'd a book this week but I don't like to talk about those. If I finish a book, then there are definitely things I like about them, despite the nitpicks.

What did you read this week? 

 

 

On Conferences and Anxiety

This weekend I had the chance to attend a writers conference- WHEN WORDS COLLIDE in Calgary. It was my third time attending WWC and my third time attending any writers con. It was a great experience, I learned a lot, participated in some panels, and sold some books. 

But I wanted to say some things... 

Most writers are introverts. A lot of us get really nervous about attending cons. We feel awkward and insecure and lonely and weird. We worry about having no one to talk to, or about trying to talk to someone. We worry about the stress we'll feel from being around so many people. We worry about the toll it will take on our bodies and minds.

These are all worries I have personally. I get anxiety about it every single time. For at least a week leading up to WWC- or any author event, I'm sick to my stomach. I tell myself I won't go, then tell myself I will, then won't, then will, and back and forth. I feel absolute dread about the whole thing. I get sweaty and nervous before I have to appear on panels, or work the shared author table where my books are sold. I wish I was a different person who isn't like this. Who can saunter into any class or room and talk to random strangers- because after all aren't we all writers or artists of some kind? Aren't these my people? It doesn't matter what I tell myself on the drive in (nobody really knows you and you can be anyone), I still end up being mostly silent and alone and nervous and scared.

So. This isn't me trying to drum up pity. And it's definitely not me telling you not to attend writers cons. Because YOU SHOULD ATTEND WRITERS CONS. Despite all the stuff I go through before and during, despite the need to de-stress afterward, I will keep attending.

Why? First, I learn stuff. If I hadn't gone to WWC this weekend I never would have learned how to write a better fight scene, how to find influencers, and that I can pitch my book to Hollywood producers myself (no joke, you can!). I don't learn something new in every panel or class, but like I said earlier, just being around other writers is motivating. It's inspiring. It's beneficial. It's a must, especially for those of us who don't know many (if any) writers in real life.

Second, people learn about me. I haven't done many in-person events. Mostly because I don't know where/how to book them. So when I know of one, a clear chance to get my name out there and my books on a table, where I can share what I've learned about the writing process/craft/business, then I need to take it. And you do, too.

Third, I need to push myself out of my comfort zone. I know this. My therapist has told me this. I don't want my anxiety to beat me so I have to beat it. I'm hoping one day it will get easier, but I also know it probably won't. But I do it anyway because I know I should. 

20688300_505140219840994_1633644180297220096_n.jpg

To help my anxiety, I wear a fake tattoo. I started this with my first ever author appearance and it's become tradition. So when I start to get anxious or stressed or nervous or down or less in any kind of way, I look at the tattoo (usually on my wrist) and it helps ground me. So if you get anxiety about going to a con, find something that will center you. That will remind you that you are awesome and that you can do anything.

Go to that writer's con. You won't regret it.

Monday Rereads

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of when Harry Potter was first published. The 19 years later at the end of Deathly Hallows happens this September the 1st. July was also the month I visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the 2nd time (the first time in California). So naturally, it felt time for a reread.

I spent July rereading the Harry Potter series and I loved it just as much as I did the first time, the second time, the tenth time... I will always love these books. If you asked me what one book I'd want with me on a desert island, I'd answer all seven HP books. (Because you can't read one without reading the rest.)

I've often wondered why I love the books so much. There are a lot of reasons, but the main one is the world J.K. Rowling created. It just feels so real. I want it to be real. And if it is, I better not be a Muggle! I want to live in it, and get my letter to Hogwarts, and my own wand, and...

So yeah, I'm a Harry Potter fangirl. Probably always will be. I can totally picture myself at 70 years old still reading them, watching the movies, and wearing an I Solemnly Swear I Am Up to No Good shirt. 

Harry Potter? you ask. And I reply, Always. 

Monday Reads... on Wednesday!

I've read nine books since I've posted last. NINE. So I don't think I'm going to talk about each one. I've rated them all on Goodreads, but most of these books were stellar reads. POISON'S KISS, ALEX & ELIZA, SOULLESS, and of course the first two Harry Potter's were all five star reads. The rest, 4-star. So yay for that. Good books make me happy. 

Monday Reads: a YA, an MG, and an Anthology

A bit of a slower couple of weeks for reading, mostly because I had to read my novella like three times in a row and that kinda sorta cut into my reading time. But so it goes.

Anyway, I read MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick. This is a YA contemp I've had on my Goodreads TBR for forever. It's one of the first books I ever added. It was a great read, and I loved the relationship between Sam and Jase. I also really loved the family dynamics of the Garretts. You could tell the author knows what it's like to have a big family. My only complaint was the book ended too easily, and it didn't tie up some of the subplots. It left me feeling a bit dissatisfied, despite enjoying the first 300 or so pages I spent with these characters. 

THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale. I don't usually read middle grade, but this book looked good to me ever since my daughter got it in her Easter basket this year. I ended up loving it! The book was so funny, especially the postscripts and the texts Squirrel Girls sends the Avengers. Not only that but it had a great message about friends and accepting people- and yourself- for who you are.

THE DARCY MONOLOGUES edited by Christina Boyd. Obviously I'd read one of these stories already... ahem, mine. I spent the last couple of months reading through the rest. It took me long because I'd read a story in between a book I was reading, or sometimes when I was out and only had my phone on me and needed something to read. But I really liked reading it this way because it was like prolonging the enjoyment of the book. I can say with all honesty that each one of these stories is fabulous. I have my faves (not mentioning any names) but they were all so well done and it was a lot of fun reading the different takes on Mr. Darcy. I'm truly honoured to be part of such an awesome collection of stories.

 

Cover Reveal Coming Soon...

My novella is done, it's in for formatting, and I have a cover reveal coming this FRIDAY! 

CLASH is a story about Elizabeth Elliot, AKA Ava's older sister Beth from SWAY, AKA Miss Elliot from Persuasion. Beth is a snotty, sometimes mean, no-filtered, and very strong woman who was a lot of fun to write. Despite her hard exterior, she has an inner vulnerability that she doesn't like to show anyone. So when a man and his daughter enter her life... well things get a bit messed up for her. 

Here's the blurb:

Planning a party is easy, falling in love is hard.

No longer content to be a Los Angeles socialite, Elizabeth Elliot starts her own party planning business: Excessively Diverted, making dreams come true one party at a time. She even knows how to handle those unruly party guests, like Antonio Reyes, the man who drank too much, insulted the décor, and didn’t know the difference between crudités and canapés. The nerve. 

So when this same Tony Reyes demands she plan his daughter’s Sweet Sixteen, Elizabeth refuses, no matter how many dollar signs are attached to his name. That is until Elizabeth discovers her new business is in trouble. She must suck up her pride and work with Tony, despite how much she hates the man.

As Elizabeth gets to know Tony and his daughter, her clear-cut hatred starts to get muddled with feelings—the kind that could screw up the job, and her life, completely. She must decide whether risking her heart is worth it… but who has time for all that when there’s a party to be planned? 

Check out my cover reveal on Friday over at Austen Variations! And CLASH will be coming June 27th! 

Monday Reads, or rather May Reads

Wow, I haven't done a Monday Reads post in a month! Yikes! But I did take a trip to Europe so... excuses. 

So in this last month, here's what I read:

THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND by Kasie West. Loved loved loved this book! So cute and fun, like all of her books. I highly recommend Kasie West to anyone looking for cute, clean YA reads with quirky characters and great dialogue. 

BIG MAGIC: CREATIVE LIVING BEYOND FEAR by Elizabeth Gilbert. I'm not much for non-fiction but I received this book from my ex-agent as a Christmas gift and of course gave it a try. I ended up loving it! I didn't agree with quite everything Gilbert said, but it was an inspiring book about learning how to live a creative life. It's probably one I'll pick up again when I'm feeling low on creative juices.

THE PAINTED GIRLS by Cathy Marie Buchanan. I don't usually buy books I haven't read, or haven't heard good things about, or where I'm not familiar with the author, but this book was an exception. The blurb sounded right up my alley. While I did like the book, I didn't love it like I thought it would. I think because the book was darker/harsher than I expected it to be. Still a well-written and well-researched read though.

CLOCKWISE by Elle Strauss. Time-travel is one of my favourite genres (if I can call it that). I picked up this book with high hopes and was left slightly disappointed. It was a fun, easy read, and I found the author's use of the time-travel trope interesting, but it lacked something I can't quite put my finger on. :(

PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND THE PERFECT MATCH by Marilyn Brant. I love PRIDE & PREJUDICE retellings, especially moderns, and this one was excellent. Great characters, great twist on the original, and a lovely ending. I'll definitely be picking up another book by Marilyn Brant!

Six of Crows.jpg

CROOKED KINGDOM by Leigh Bardugo. This book is a sequel to SIX OF CROWS. I remember having a hard time getting into SIX OF CROWS but once I did, I loved it. With CROOKED KINGDOM, I was into it from the very start- though I had a hard time remembering who was who and what had happened in the previous book. But no matter- it was an excellent read. Twisty plot and fantastic characters. 

DREAMING ANASTASIA by Joy Preble. So my Goodreads To-Read list is endless, of course, but I've been trying to read some of the books I added at the very start. This book was one of those. I couldn't even remember what it was about or why I added it, but I reserved it from my library and then dove right in when I got it. And, oh hey, it was about Anastasia Romanov, cool! Lol. This book ended up sorta like CLOCKWISE for me. There were things I loved but it fell a little short. Bummer.

So that's basically my May reading. Can't wait to see what June brings! 

Cover Reveal: Home Field by Laurie Winter

I love taking part in cover reveals. It's such an exciting time for an author, plus I love promoting pretty covers. They say don't judge a book by its cover... but I totally do. 

So today is all about HOME FIELD by Laurie Winter. Before I show you the cover, how about telling you what the book is all about?

 An unexpected friendship offers her broken heart a second chance at true love.

One year after her husband is killed in action, Julie Ellis is back in her hometown and focused on raising her young son. Then Reagan Harrison bursts into her life—a cocky, charming linebacker who leaves her off balance.

As a successful, professional athlete, Reagan believes he has it all. But after meeting Julie, he finds every excuse in the book to spend time with her. Despite his best efforts not to fall too hard, Reagan envisions a future with Julie, along with the little boy he’s come to love as his own.

While Reagan’s protective love begins to mend Julie’s spirit, she can’t suppress her continued deep devotion to her late husband’s memory. And when a letter arrives from beyond the grave, Reagan resolves to provide her with the answers she desperately needs to heal. Now Julie must choose either to keep her heart closed off or remove the lock and fight for a future with Reagan. Can a second chance at true love be just as sweet?

Sounds like a book full of feels, right? Now how about that cover...

Gorgeous! HOME FIELD by Laurie Winter is coming June 30th! Pre-order on Amazon or Kobo.

Monday Reads... on Tuesday

I feel like I'm one thing away from a full-on brain scramble. Where there will just be so much going on in my head that it'll become mush. Or maybe it's already mush, who knows. Which is my excuse for why I'm a day late on Monday Reads.

I've seen this cover somewhere before...

I've seen this cover somewhere before...

First up is SECRETS AFTER DARK by Marie Higgins. This is one of those books where the concept is really good but the execution just wasn't. There were things I liked about the book, but things that fell flat. And I'm just going to leave it at that. 

CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber. Another book where I loved the concept. I read a lot of reviews talking about the flowery language, but I didn't feel like it was over the top. I loved the twists and turns of this book- just when I thought I knew what was happening, something else happened instead. The book always left me guessing. I also loved Scarlett and Julian as characters. While I gave it 5 stars, it's actually more of a 4.5 for me, mostly because Scarlett and Tella's dad was very one-dimensional EVIL. Also, Tella (Scarlett's sister) isn't very nice. Scarlett does everything for her, but since we see Tella very little in the book, and what we do see of her is mostly selfishness, it's hard to understand why Scarlett's main focus is on protecting Tella the whole time. Otherwise, excellent world-building and lovely story.

Last, I read MORNING STAR, the third book in the RED RISING trilogy by Pierce Brown. This book felt just like the others for me in that I wanted to know what happened, but I wanted to be done it already. I'm not sure exactly what it was- the violence maybe, or so much going on that it ended up feeling unnecessary... not really sure, but I never connected with these books like I wanted. They have some excellent characters, full plots, and big bang endings, but unfortunately I was often bored in the middle. Still, a four-star read for me like the others.

Now I'm in the mood for some fun and swoony romance.