Month: March 2021

Top Ten Places In Books I’d Love to Live

Posted March 29, 2021 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 17 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic is Places In Books I’d Love to Live! I’m feeling very stir crazy right now, so this topic is perfect for me. There are so many places in books that I’d love to escape to, even if only for a little while. Living in these places would be an absolute dream! I’d give anything to get away right now!

Moose Springs, AK (from the Moose Springs, Alaska series by Sarah Morgenthaler)
I love this sleepy, quirky town in Alaska! They have moose (duh) and other wildlife, beautiful scenery, and such wonderful locals!

Frozen Falls Resort in Lapland, Norway (from Christmas at Frozen Falls by Kiley Dunbar)
This resort sounds amazing. It’s a series of luxurious cabins with lots of windows and skylights to view the Northern Lights. There’s a spa and husky puppies and a reindeer farm… some sexy men… It’s a magical place, with fresh clean air and beautiful scenery. I’d love to pack up and move right now.

Cruise ship (from The Gem Thief by Sian Ann Bessey)
This fancy cruise ship travels the Mediterranean! I’d love to live in the lap of luxury while my floating home took me to Italy and Greece and anywhere else I chose. Cruising is the best way to see the world.

Tuscany (from Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch)
I’ve been to a couple cities in Tuscan Italy, and it’s a beautiful area. And there’s so many places I want to see and revisit. A little villa in the country would be a great place to call home.

The Night Court (from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas)
Rhysand. Need I say more? Also, it sounds beautiful.

Snow Crystal Resort (from the O’Neil Brothers trilogy by Sarah Morgan)
Another resort with cozy cabins that’s beautiful in the snow! Does it come with an O’Neil brother I can fall in love with?

Florence, Italy (from Love, Lucy by April Lindner)
I know I already said Tuscany up above, but I’d also love to live in the heart of Florence: one of my favorite Italian cities!

Cinque Terre, Italy (from Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae)
I just love Italy, ok? And I’ve never visited Cinque Terre, but the pictures are gorgeous and I would LOVE to live there and explore for a few years.

The undersea world of Marin (from Captivate by Vanessa Garden)
It is gorgeous and colorful and sparkling and so unique! The city has rivers and gondolas and a modern colosseum where people go to watch criminals get thrown to the sharks in a big aquarium-like tank. When the look up to the sky they see the ocean instead. Their world is lit and warmed by light crystals that sparkle, and oxygen is brought down to them through air shafts. There’s a garden and a park with real grass. I could go on and on. I’m in love with this place.

Spindle Cove (from the Spindle Cove series by Tessa Dare)
I believe I’m a lady with a delicate constitution who needs some sea air and a romance with a visiting male suitor…


Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle | Book Review

Posted March 25, 2021 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 4 Comments

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle | Book ReviewTwice Shy by Sarah Hogle
Published by GP Putnam's Sons on April 6, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
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5 Stars

Can you find real love when you've always got your head in the clouds?

Maybell Parish has always been a dreamer and a hopeless romantic. But living in her own world has long been preferable to dealing with the disappointments of real life. So when Maybell inherits a charming house in the Smokies from her Great-Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start.

Yet when she arrives, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the house falling apart around her, but she isn't the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who's as grouchy as he is gorgeous—and it turns out he has very different vision for the property's future.

Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than the other dying wishes Great-Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley's scowls, and as the two slowly begin to let their guard down, they might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one's comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.

Ok. Everyone knows that I REALLY loved You Deserve Each Other. And everyone also knows the worry that comes with loving an author’s debut so much: will they be able to keep up that momentum? Will they end up being a one hit wonder? How can they possibly do it twice? Well. Sarah did it. Sarah wrote another hilarious, heartwarming, happy, swoony, super romantic, feel-good book that tackles deeper situations. Another amazing couple has jumped from her mind to my heart. I can’t pick which of her books I love more. I’m a fangirl. Take my money, Sarah. Just take it all. Give me all the books. I have put off writing this review as long as I possibly could because I have too many feelings! My head is in the clouds! What even is a book review? What are words? How do I do this again? As always, my main points are bolded.

1. Maybell is precious and anxious and visits a special cafe that exists only in her mind because it’s where she feels safe in stressful times. She’s so pure and sweet, and she has the biggest dreams. I loved her quirky personality so much. Her desire to take on the world made me smile so much.

2. Wesley is the grumpiest teddy bear and I want to cuddle up with him on the couch and watch a movie together. And it’s not even necessarily for romantic reasons (although. I’d love a romance with Wes, thank you), it’s because I see so much in him that reminds me of myself. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t elaborate on this but Wesley’s character will make so many people feel seen and understood in this world. Oh my goodness, he’s just. I can’t even explain him. He’s a sweet little cinnamon roll with so many layers and a story and is so sweet I can’t even handle it. He is definitely one of my favorite characters ever. 

3. I loved the setting: a charming, fixer-upper mansion that Wesley and Maybell both inherited. There’s bickering on who gets their way on what becomes of this house, which is so fun. I love bickering. But the house and the surrounding grounds are perfect and so whimsical sounding. And magical.

4. There is mental health representation in this story and it is done SO WELL. 

5. SO. Many. Feelings. I have so many and I don’t know what to do.

6. Sarah’s sense of humor is my sense of humor’s soulmate. And her writing is a balm for the soul. 

7. Maybell and Wesley are so good for each other. The romance just made my heart soar. The way they see each other and speak to one another and help accommodate each other’s needs was perfect. I love them so much together that I don’t want to steal Wesley for myself. And that’s saying something. We can just be friends, Wesley. Best friends.

8. Loch Ness. Nessie. One of my favorite subjects ever. Sarah clearly wrote me my own book. Thank you, Sarah. I guess we can let others read it as well.

So… this review proves that I can clearly come up with words when I don’t have any. But… what do all these words mean? I know I’m being vague about so much, but it’s because you need to read it to fully appreciate anything else I could possibly say! Bottom line, read this. This is just the book we need right now while the world is on fire. Allow yourself to escape to the Smoky Mountains and float around in the pure sweetness of this story and the lives of these two characters. I’ll just be over here basking in the sunlight of it all and eagerly waiting for Sarah’s next book.

5 Stars

Top Ten Punny Historical Romance Book Titles

Posted March 22, 2021 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 15 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic is Funny Book Titles, but I decided to tweak it a little for myself and chose to do “punny” historical romance novel titles instead! I love a good pun, and the historical romance genre is filled with so many titles with puns in them. And every time I see one, I laugh with delight. There are some authors out there that seem to use more puns in their titles than others. Sarah MacLean, Shana Galen, and Victoria Roberts kept popping up in searches!

A Scot Mess by Caroline Lee
It’s Getting Scot In Here by Suzanne Enoch
Third Son’s a Charm by Shana Galen
X Marks the Scot by Victoria Roberts
The Earl Next Door by Amelia Grey
My Brown-Eyed Earl by Anna Bennett
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean
A Rogue By Any Other Name by Shana Galen
How the Duke was Won by Lenora Bell
And the one that made me laugh the hardest… Kill or Be Kilt by Victoria Roberts

Can you think of any other punny romance book titles out there? 
Or any titles that should exist? 


Top Ten Books On My Spring 2021 To-Read List

Posted March 15, 2021 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 25 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! Is everyone recovering from Daylight Saving Time? I’m not. lol. Can you believe Spring starts this weekend? It’s insane how fast this year is moving and how slowly it’s dragging. But the books keep rolling out and there’s so much to be excited about. I love seasonal TBRs even though I rarely stick to them. I just love sharing which books I’m the most excited about!

Any Rogue Will Do by Bethany Bennett
One of my friends has shouted her love of this from the rooftop so much lately that this will actually be my next read! She said it made her an instant Bethany Bennett fangirl, so that’s all the endorsement I need!

Must Love Cowboys by Carly Bloom
I do love cowboys, thank you. But fake dating and a bookish heroine? Duh.

The Virgin Romance Novelist Chronicles by Meghan Quinn
I just got this on audio (hello, Andi Arndt!), and it sounds like so much fun. A virgin romance novelist is encouraged be her friends so gain some experience by going on a bunch of interesting dating adventures.

Date Me Like You Mean It by R.S. Grey
Ok, I love fake dating. It’s my favorite trope. And I love R.S. Grey, so I’m very excited about this one!

Heard It in a Love Song by Tracey Garvis Graves
I just got this as an ARC in the mail, and I am so excited!!! I’m a major Tracey fangirl, and this should be so good. It’s about a man and a woman, both recently divorced/separated and weary of the world, who decide to be friends with the possibility of something more.

Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas
This will be my first Lisa Kleypas and I am very excited! I’ve heard great things about her work for YEARS.

A Place in the Sun by R.S. Grey
Since I can’t go on vacation again this spring, I’ll go to Italy through this book!

The Awakening by Nora Roberts
One of my friends sent me this as a thank you for hosting #TBTBSanta, and I’ve been saving it for the perfect time. I can’t wait!

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
YES CLO.

Much Ado About You by Samantha Young
“The cozy comforts of an English village bookstore open up a world of new possibilities for Evie Starling in this charming new romantic comedy…” Sounds so perfect!


Ten Books I Recently Cleared off My Shelves to Make Room for More

Posted March 8, 2021 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 19 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic is a spring cleaning freebie, which you can interpret any way you would like. I chose to focus on books I’ve recently cleared off my shelves to make room for more. These books are either ones I lost interest in, or I just didn’t feel like I need to own them in my actual collection. I only have so much room! I’m excited to see how everyone spun the topic this week!

1. The Second Chance Plan by Lauren Blakely
I love Lauren Blakely, but I felt very meh about the first two books in this series and don’t expect to read this one of the next one.

2. The Escape Room by Megan Goldin
This sounded AMAZING. I love forced proximity-type thrillers. But then I read some reviews and heard from some friends that this one is pretty boring. And I also read that it jumps back and forth between past and present-day, which I really don’t like in books like this. It takes the tension and excitement completely away.

3. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Have you SEEN the content and trigger warnings on this book? I had no idea until I sat down to read it for book club with some friends. Luckily I was able to return this on Amazon and get something else.

4. The Orphan of Cemetery Hill by Hester Fox
This author broke my trust by describing a very violent act of animal cruelty in a previous book (luckily I found out before I got to it and was able to DNF the book), but once an author does this I can’t read any more of their books moving forward.

5. Warcross by Marie Lu
I’ve just kind of fallen out of interest with sci-fi books. Maybe someday I’ll find something that intrigues me again, but for now I don’t think so.

I’ve also started to prefer adult contemporary romances over YA ones because I feel I identify with the main characters and their life situations now than I used to. So that’s my reasoning for the other five books I’ve chosen to clear off.

6. Stealing Home by Becky Wallace
7. Famous In a Small Town by Emma Mills
8. Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone
9. My Life Uploaded by Rae Earl
10. Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn

So! There you have it.
If you could save one of these and force me to read it, which one would you pick?


Top Ten Book Characters Whose Job I Wish I Had

Posted March 1, 2021 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 13 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! How is it March already!? We’re coming up on a year of COVID, which feels like it began both yesterday and 35 years ago. What is time right now?

Anyway, this week’s topic is Characters Whose Jobs I Wish I Had. This could seriously be spun in any direction, so I hope people get really creative with this! Maybe you want to be a Duchess because of a historical romance you read and loved. Maybe you want to be a guardian of gifted, magical children or a pirate or a rock star. Maybe you want to be someone’s cool co-worker or the enemy of that hot guy in marketing in the enemies-to-lovers workplace romance you just finished. Or perhaps you read a memoir that mentioned a cool sounding job. Whatever the case may be, forgot about working from home and masking up and being socially distanced and pick some fun jobs or workplace environments you’ve read about and would like to become a part of.

1. Bailey, Dr. Russell’s surgical assistant (from Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey)
Dr. Russell is a dreamboat, so…

2. Heidi, the receptionist at an audiobook recording company (from Heidi’s Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara Sivec and Andi Arndt)
Bookish environment, celebrity narrator encounters, free reading material, and tons of really cool workplace stories to share with friends? Yes.

3. Liv, amateur documentary director and Atlantis hunter (from Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch)
I don’t think this needs much of an explanation, but I’d be happy exploring Greece and looking for Atlantis, all while dressing people up, staging scenes, and falling in love with the cameraman.

4. Henley, cruise line marketing manager (from Shipped by Angie Hockman)
Yes, I’ll go on a cruise of the Galapagos in order to find inspiration to develop a new campaign for the company and hopefully get a promotion, boss. Even if it means I have to work alongside a smokin’ hot social media manager fighting for that same promotion.

5. Stacey, Renaissance Faire actress (from Well Played by Jen DeLuca)
Renn Faire sounds like so much fun, but to dress up in period clothing and play a role? Yes. Plus, I’d get to fall in love with a man in a kilt which is really not a bad thing, in my opinion.

6. Angel, chef at a research station in Antarctica (from Whiteout by Adriana Anders)
I’m solely interested in this job because I’d love to go to Antarctica! And think of the people she met and the things she learned!

7. Victoria, scientist aboard a research vessel in the Mariana Trench (from Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant)
I can’t say I’m excited about the idea of going on a voyage where imminent death by murder mermaids is what I’m looking for in my life, but I would like to go on a ship to visit this location and learn about the sea life there. It just sounds so interesting.

8. Nani the travel blogger (from Christmas at Frozen Falls by Kiley Dunbar)
I just want to travel, ok? I want people to pay me to travel and write about it. Ideal job right there. THAT’S the dream.

9. Maddie, owner of adorable book store (from Dating By the Book by Mary Ann Marlowe)
I love book stores, and owning one sounds amazing. I’d love to talk books with people, host fun events, and flirt with the cute regulars.

10. Gracie, jewelry designer in NYC (from The Gem Thief by Sian Ann Bessey)
What a cool job!! AND when a beautiful piece she designed was replaced with a forgery, she has to go on a mission with her rich client and that rich client’s sexy FBI agent grandson to solve the mystery. She gets an all-expenses paid vacation around the Mediterranean! What a hard job… I’ll take it.

Which jobs have you read about in books and wish you had?

 


Lovebug by Erin Mallon | Book Spotlight

Posted March 1, 2021 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Spotlight / 2 Comments

Lovebug by Erin Mallon | Book Spotlight

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Lovebug by Erin Mallon, hosted by Social Butterfly PR.! Erin is one of my very favorite audiobook narrators ever, so it’s fun that she’s started writing her own books as well. Lovebug is the second book in the standalone contemporary rom-com series, Natural Selection. Read more about the book below, and see what others are saying about it! I’m currently in the middle of it myself, and am excited to see how it turns out. Mabel is super quirky and unbelievably sweet! She’s definitely a character to root for.

Lovebug by Erin Mallon
Series: Natural History #2
Published by Erin Mallon on February 24, 2021
Genres: Adult Fiction — Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
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Amazon Kindle | Amazon Worldwide | Apple Books | Nook | Kobo | Amazon Paperback | Audible Audiobook

My name is Mabel, the girl who “wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Of course I wouldn’t.
I’m an entomologist for goodness’ sake.
I work in a nature center.
Bugs are my jam.

It’s the humans in my life who are starting to get me down. I’m used to them calling me sweet and innocent. I can even handle them calling me naive. But when they lie and keep secrets from me? That’s when my proverbial pincers want to come out.

Trouble is, I’m not the girl who fights back.

Not until a handsome groundskeeper with a dirty mouth and secrets of his own shows up and lights all sorts of fires in me.

In the bug world, the female is always the fiercest. The praying mantis doesn’t worry about being a “good girl.” Nope, she follows her instincts no matter how crass or crude they may seem to others.

Turns out I could learn a thing or two from her.

I’m not necessarily looking to tear anyone’s head off, but after decades of being nice, it’s high time for me to return to nature and unleash my wild side.

Excerpt

I check to make sure all kids and counselors are settled safely and the craft is underway, then start a slow walk to where the man is crouched down and working with a wrench.

I have absolutely no idea why I choose this approach, but I whip around the water fountain in a sort of sneak attack, and shout, “Hi!”

His body jerks as though I’ve startled him. Because clearly, I have. I smile and wave. Even though he’s right in front of me.

He turns and looks behind us as if he’s unsure I’m actually speaking to him. I’m noticing this happens a lot when I greet people. Calliope told me once that I approach strangers with “unearned familiarity,” and it freaks them out. Friendliness freaks people out? I’m not sure what to do with that information.

“Yes you, silly!” I say.

His full attention is trained on me, but he doesn’t say a word. I’m starting to think the kids were right, and this guy actually doesn’t speak.

“Hey you,” I breathe.

Was that my voice I just heard? I don’t say “hey you” in that shouty way people do when they’re trying to get your attention outside the grocery store for leaving your cart abandoned in the lot instead of in the assigned cart area—not that I would ever shout at someone or leave a cart abandoned in a lot. No, the “hey you” I give him is that breathy sort. That shy, smiley sort. The kind of “hey you” people say when they know you so deeply and truly that they almost never say your actual name because they don’t need to. Who else could they possibly be speaking to at that moment except… you. You. You. Wonderful, precious, irreplaceable you. Not that I’ve ever been the recipient of such a “you.”

“Did you need something?” he asks.

He speaks! Oh wow, he speaks!

His voice is… gruff. That’s the only way to describe it. Is he annoyed? Nah, it’s probably just his voice. I’ve heard of perpetual bitch face. Maybe he has a perpetual bitch voice? But he’s a guy, so I guess to be accurate, it would be called a perpetual bastard voice?

“Before we begin, let it be known that I don’t think you’re a bastard. Or a bitch.”

“Excuse me?”

“I was just thinking that you sound like a bastard, but I bet that’s just the way your vocal cords operate. They’re probably just prone to a gruff, bastardy tone.”

“No. You had it right the first time. I am a bastard.”

“Gotcha! So. How are you? Your name is ‘The Wall’? I mean, they call you ‘The Wall’? What is that short for? Walter? Walton? Wallmeranian?” I rattle off some suggestions.
“Wallace,” he huffs.

“Gotcha. Big fan of Wallace and Grommit?” I ask.

“No.”

“Gotcha. Can I call you Wally?” “No.”

“Gotcha. Hey, do you think I say gotcha too much?”

“Yes,” he says definitively.

“Gotcha. Thanks for the feedback. I’ll work on that. Hey, wanna hear something silly?”

“No.”

“Cool, here I go. My kids… not my biological kids—though I do hope to have some of those one day, how about you? Sorry, don’t answer that. That’s an invasive question. See those teenagers over there who are completely unrelated to me?” I point in April and Dante’s direction where they are decidedly not focused on their kids and are instead “hiding” behind a pavilion post watching my flailing interaction. I wave to them. “Hey, guys!” They ignore me and look off in random directions as if they’re suddenly fascinated by all the glorious nature around them. “I’m training them as CITs this summer. That’s right, I’m chief of staff this year! I mean head counselor. And well, the thing is, they’re… well… they’re afraid of you.”

Silence.

He goes back to working on the fountain as if he’s giving up on his conversation with me.

“Isn’t that ridiculous?” I start giggling uncontrollably. “Fine by me,” he says.

“What’s fine by you?”

“That they’re afraid of me.”

“Oh.” I feel my head jerk back. “Really? But if they’re afraid of you, they’ll keep avoiding you and making up stories about you instead of taking the time to really get to know you.”

“Perfect. Love that plan,” he says and swipes some sweat off his brow.

“Oh.”

I’m not sure how to respond to this man.

“Besides,” he continues, “you’re afraid of me too.”

What others are saying about Lovebug

“Erin Mallon has a fresh and authentic comedic voice in her writing that completely immersed me with giggles!”
— Amy Daws, Amazon bestselling author

“A pitch-perfect rom-com and that manages to create a swoon worthy romance with substance.” – Books On Stereo

“Lovebug was a quirky and outlandish romcom with great characters and a storyline that wasn’t just all laughs.” – Reading Til the Break of Dawn

“I am still chuckling hours after finishing this book. Mabel and Wallace’s story is a complete breath of fresh air.” – A Bibliophile’s Desire

“This story is full of so many wonderful themes, great characters, warmth, witt and heart that it was a complete winner and oh so much fun!” – Patricia on Goodreads

About Erin

Erin Mallon‘s debut romantic comedy novel, Flirtasaurus, releases in July 2020. She is an award-winning narrator of over 450 books and an accomplished playwright and producer in New York City. She has written over 40 plays, which have been produced Off-Broadway and all over the country, including These Walls Can Talk, a raucous theatrical love letter to the romance audiobook community. She lives in a little yellow house on the outskirts of NYC with her husband and Three J’s.

Find her: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads |  Bookbub
Stay up-to-date with Erin, sign up for her mailing list.