Saturday, January 28, 2023

The Valentine's Do-Over by Michelle Lindo-Rice

(Thank you to Harlequin for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book: (summary from Goodreads)

Sworn off love, they’ll soon discover
As valentines, they’re into each other!

When radio personalities Selena Cartwright and Trent Moon share their Valentine’s Day trauma stories and why they’ve sworn off love, the gala celebrating singlehood is born! Planning the event has Trent and Selena seeing—and wanting—each other more than just professionally. But if they’re found out, it could ruin their reputations and careers. As the gala approaches, can they overcome past heartache and possibly discover that Trent + Selena = True Love 4-Ever?

my thoughts:

A friends to lovers romance that delights and satisfies your romantic sweet tooth. The Valentine's Do-Over by Michelle Lindo-Rice is a treat to read. I enjoyed spending time with Selena and Trent, a therapist and radio personality who find themselves working together on a Valentine's singles gala. Both have sworn off love, so it's definitely a pleasant surprise when the sparks begin to fly between the two. Except, if anyone finds out that Selena and Trent are falling in love, well, it could ruin their reputations and their gala. Yikes! What to do? Will they choose love over professional success? Or will they let their love rule?

Talk about fun and entertaining romance. I would happily recommend The Valentine's Do-Over to fans of love stories - you are going to fall in deep with this one. Make sure to check it out!

Thank you to Harlequin for providing me with a copy of this book!

Friday, January 27, 2023

Perpetual West: A Novel by Mesha Maren

(Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book: (summary from Goodreads)

​“Stunning . . . A forceful addition to the literature of the U.S.-Mexican border and its ongoing history of tragedy and joy.”
—Jennifer Clement, The New York Times Book Review 

“Suspenseful, seductive . . . A thrill ride from cover to cover.”
Oprah Daily, “The 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2022” 

The riveting new novel by the acclaimed author of Sugar RunPerpetual West is a brilliant and evocative story of borders—between countries, between lovers, and between facets of the self.

When Alex and Elana move from smalltown Virginia to El Paso, they are just a young married couple, intent on a new beginning. Mexican by birth but adopted by white American Pentecostal parents, Alex is hungry to learn about the place where he was born. He spends every free moment across the border in Ju├írez—perfecting his Spanish, hanging with a collective of young activists, and studying lucha libre (Mexican wrestling) for his graduate work in sociology. Meanwhile Elana, busy fighting her own demons, feels disillusioned by academia and has stopped going to class. And though they are best friends, Elana has no idea that Alex has fallen in love with Mateo, a lucha libre fighter.

When Alex goes missing and Elana can’t determine whether he left of his own accord or was kidnapped, it’s clear that neither of them has been honest about who they are. Spanning their journey from Virginia to Texas to Mexico, Mesha Maren’s thrilling follow-up to Sugar Run takes us from missionaries to wrestling matches to a luxurious cartel compound, and deep into the psychic choices that shape our identities. A sweeping novel that tells us as much about our perceptions of the United States and Mexico as it does about our own natures and desires, Perpetual West is a fiercely intelligent and engaging look at the false divide between high and low culture, and a suspenseful story of how harrowing events can bring our true selves to the surface.

my thoughts:

Wow. What a terrific book! I LOVED Perpetual West by Mesha Maren. A gripping story about borders - physical and emotional, this is a read that will grab you by the heart and shake you awake. Eye-opening and thought-provoking, this is one unputdownable book. A definite must-read. 

Elana and Alex are a young married couple who decide to relocate to El Paso where Alex is attending grad school. Elana is an undergrad who waits tables. The two are best friends, but seem to be disconnected. Alex is obsessed with discovering his roots in Mexico where he was born - he was adopted by a family in Virginia as a baby. So, he immerses himself in the world of lucha libre (Mexican wrestlers) in Juarez, which is just across the border. He meets Mateo, a Mexican wrestler. The two fall in love. Meanwhile, Elana is trying to figure out her life when she gets called away for a family matter. She has no idea what is transpiring between her husband and Mateo. In fact, when she returns home to El Paso she finds Alex gone. Convinced that something bad happened to her husband she goes to the police for help, but they dismiss her worries. And so, Elana sets out to figure out where her husband is and what happened to him. Along the way, she discovers the secrets he's been keeping from her. And, that is all I will write about this awesome story - you need to read it for yourself to find out what happens to both Elana and Alex. 

Maren has written a compelling story about identity, politics, family, and love. She's created characters that are unlikeable and unreliable - the perfect kind to love/hate. Her story unfolds in a tense and slow-burn manner that is addictive. I couldn't stop reading! And, her writing is top notch. All in all, she has created an unforgettable story. 

I would definitely recommend Perpetual West to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read - make sure to check it out!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!

Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Blackhouse: A Novel by Carole Johnstone

(Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book: (summary from Goodreads)

From the author of the “dark and devious...beautifully written” (Stephen King) Mirrorland comes a richly atmospheric thriller set on an isolated Scottish island where nothing is as it seems and shocking twists lie around every corner.

A remote village. A deadly secret. An outsider who knows the truth.

Robert Reid moved his family to Scotland’s Outer Hebrides in the 1990s, driven by hope, craving safety and community, and hiding a terrible secret. But despite his best efforts to fit in, Robert is always seen as an outsider. And as the legendary and violent Hebridean storms rage around him, he begins to unravel, believing his fate on the remote island of Kilmeray cannot be escaped.

For her entire life, Maggie MacKay has sensed something was wrong with her. When Maggie was five years old, she announced that a man on Kilmeray—a place she’d never visited—had been murdered. Her unfounded claim drew media attention and turned the locals against each other, creating rifts that never mended.

Nearly twenty years later, Maggie is determined to find out what really happened, and what the islanders are hiding. But when she begins to receive ominous threats, Maggie is forced to consider how much she is willing to risk to discover the horrifying truth.

Unnerving, enthralling, and filled with gothic suspense, The Blackhouse is a spectacularly sinister tale readers won’t soon forget.

my thoughts:

Whoa! What a fantastically creepy story! I absolutely LOVED The Blackhouse by Carole Johnstone. Talk about a riveting read. 

Maggie is five when she declares that a man has been murdered in a place she has never been. The reason she knows this to be true - she was that man. Yep, Maggie was the reincarnation of Andrew - a man who drowned in the 1990s. Say what? I know, it's eerie and unbelievable. Anyhow, Maggie's declaration stirs up media attention and drama amongst the locals in the town where Andrew was murdered. Talk about supernatural disbelief. Fast forward twenty years later and Maggie is on a mission to find out what happened to Andrew and whodunit. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned and soon Maggie is having to contend with some pretty scary threats. In fact, she begins to wonder if maybe the truth is better left in the past. 

Crikey! What a thrilling read. Chock full of mystery and spookiness, this riveting read will hook you right from the start. You'll be so engrossed in the story that you won't even see the clock turning midnight. I know that I loved reading this book late into the night - helped add even more of a spooky mood to the read. I enjoyed getting to know Maggie and the town's history - made for quite an exciting story. I'm not going to lie, the book is slow going, but somehow it doesn't feel like it. It just sweeps you away with its Gothic atmosphere and fascinating characters. It's such a great book. 

I would happily recommend The Blackhouse to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read - make sure to check it out!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

One Duke Down: A Rogues to Lovers Novel by Anna Bennett

(Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book: (summary from Goodreads)

The next delightful novel in Anna Bennett's Rogues to Lovers series!

"Tantalizing...readers will be swept away." - Publishers Weekly

Miss Poppy Summers is determined to keep her family’s fishing business afloat. Her poor widowed father has fallen ill, and her foolhardy brother has moved to London, leaving her precious little time to read or pursue her own dreams. But she’ll do anything for her family, so she cheerfully spends mornings in her rowboat, casting her nets. The very last thing Poppy expects or wants to find tangled in them is a dangerously attractive man. Especially one with a head wound—who’s convinced he’s a duke.

Andrew Keane is the Duke of Hawking, but he’s having the devil of a time convincing his fiery-haired rescuer of that fact. The truth is he came to the seaside resort of Bellehaven Bay to escape his life in London. Unfortunately, someone in Bellehaven wants to kill him—and he intends to find out who. He implores Poppy to tend to his injuries and hide him on her beach, reasoning it will be easier to find his attacker if that man assumes Keane is already dead. She wants no part of the scheme but can’t refuse the generous sum he offers in exchange for food and shelter while he recovers. It’s a mutually beneficial business arrangement…nothing more.


Under Poppy’s care, Keane regains his strength—and a sense of purpose. As they work together to solve the puzzle of his would-be murderer, he’s dazzled by her rapier wit and adventurous spirit; she’s intrigued by his mysterious air and protective streak. Though Poppy’s past gives her every reason to mistrust someone like Keane, the seawalls around her heart crumble in the storm of their passion. But when clues hint at the prime suspect in Keane’s attempted murder, Poppy must decide where her loyalties lie. Torn between the world she’s always known and the one she’s always dreamed of, she’ll need true love for a shot at her fairytale ending.

my thoughts:

Sexy historical romance novels are my new favorite! I just finished reading Anna Bennett's latest book in her Rogues to Lovers series, One Duke Down, and it was fantastic! 

Poppy's family has fallen on tough times and she is determined to keep their fisherman business from shutting down. So, she finds herself in a rowboat casting nets each morning. However, on one of these outings she winds up catching more than fish - she finds a handsome wounded man who's convinced he's a duke. Poppy takes him into her care in exchange for a generous sum. The man's name is Andrew and he is convinced that someone is trying to kill him. He wants Poppy to take care of him and keep him hidden, so that he can figure out who wants him dead and why. Talk about unwanted problems. Suffice it to say, Poppy and Andrew find themselves falling for one another.  Of course, loyalties are tested when the truth comes out about Andrew and his enemy. And, did I mention that the sparks between him and Poppy are off the charts - cue music as steamy love scenes ensue. All in all, One Duke Down is a fun and spicy read that you will fall in LOVE with. 

I would happily recommend Anna Bennett's novel, One Duke Down, to fans of her books and to anyone looking for their next sexy read. Make sure to check it out! 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

The Love You Save: A Memoir by Goldie Taylor

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book: (summary from Goodreads)

"A deeply inspiring, must-read memoir about the transformative power of books to heal and unite us."—Gabrielle Union

Acclaimed journalist and human rights activist Goldie Taylor shares the harrowing yet deeply hopeful story of her troubled childhood in East St. Louis—a memoir of family, faith and the power of books
At age eleven, Goldie Taylor is out riding her bike when she is raped by a young man from the neighborhood. Unable to cope, her mother sends her to live with her aunt in East St. Louis.
Aunt Gerald takes in anyone who asks, but the conditions are harsh. Goldie sleeps on the living room floor, amid cousins who abuse her. But in her trauma and pain, Goldie discovers a secret. She can find kinship among writers like James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. She can find hope in a nurturing teacher who helps her find her voice. And books, she realizes, can save her life. 

Goldie Taylor's debut memoir shines a light on the strictures of race, class and gender in a post–Jim Crow America while offering a nuanced, empathetic portrait of a family in a pitched battle for its very soul.

Profoundly moving, exquisitely rendered and ultimately uplifting, The Love You Save is a story about hidden strength, perseverance against unimaginable odds, the beauty and pain of girlhood, and the power of the written word.

my thoughts:

Wow. Just, wow. The Love You Save: A Memoir by Goldie Taylor is a beautifully written book that is brutally honest and intensely authentic. This is a story about a young girl who endured horrors in her childhood and still managed to find hope for her self and her life. In fact, she wound up becoming an acclaimed journalist and activist. She is the epitome of the magic of hope, strength, faith, and determination. 

Taylor has written the story of her childhood in an honest and unflinching tone. She shares and shares, and the more she shares, the more your heart breaks for this little girl. We read about rape, abuse, and violence. And we read about books, the written word, talent, friendship, and hope. We read about a young girl who discovers her voice and finds a way to use it to create a better future for herself. Talk about a heartrending read. 

The Love You Save is an important story. It's a thought-provoking, eye-opening, and powerful read. It's the kind of book that reminds you that no matter what, "hope is the thing with feathers." 

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone - make sure you get your hands on a copy! Make time to read this must-read story. 

Thank you the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!