Welcome to another TTT! Today I’m inviting you to share which authors you have fun following on social media! I had a VERY hard time coming up with my list, and I realized that I tend to not follow many authors on social media. Sometimes I don’t really want to know everything they have to say, because I worry that it will affect my opinion of the books they’ve written that I love so much. Back in the olden days, authors were not accessible at all. If we loved an author, we could snail mail them or email them through their website. Responses were rare. Today, though, we’re all connected and that’s SO COOL. I’ve made some great author friends, one of my favorite musical artists follows me on Twitter, TV personalities have responded to my tweets… and it’s awesome. I love that part of social media. However, some authors use social media as their own personal soap box to spew their own, sometimes controversial and hurtful, opinions and agendas. I try to separate the person from the book, but it can be hard sometimes when they post something that cuts so deep. This happened a lot on Twitter a few years ago, and it kind of tainted my love of reading for a while.
Luckily, I choose who I follow on social media very carefully now and I have no problems muting hashtags, buzzwords, or accounts to keep my feeds a happy and an emotionally healthy place for me. The following six authors are absolute joys to follow on social media. They keep things fun and bookish and interact with their fans. They feel like friends!
1. Christina Lauren (@ChristinaLauren on Twitter and Instagram)
They’re just so sweet! And they ask lots of fun questions and start cool discussions on their Instagram posts.
2. Jay Kristoff (@MisterKristoff on Twitter)
I have never read a book by Jay (I’m scared of him, to be honest, because I know some people have been emotionally destroyed over some of his books!), but his tweets are hysterical. I wish I had saved some of them because I have cracked up following him over the years.
3. Jenn Bennett (@Jenn_Benn on Twitter)
Jenn always tweets back, and it’s lots of fun to talk to her. She’s also got some funny things to say. She’s very open and shows us other things she’s up to, like handmade projects of various types. Oh, and she retweets funny things and cute animals and food. So there’s that.
4. Sarah Hogle (@witchofthewords on Twitter)
I just started following her a few weeks ago, and she’s got my kind of humor. I literally laugh out loud at some of her tweets. Like this one from today:
ever think about how our great great grandkids are gonna learn about their ancestors by reading our dumb tweets
Happy Tuesday, and welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic is books with single-word titles, and was submitted by Kitty from Kitty Marie’s Reading Corner. Long, wordy titles with lots of nouns and adjectives are pretty popular right now, so I thought it would be fun to talk about the simplest titles. The words “The” and “A” don’t have to count if you don’t want them to! I chose to focus on books I’ve read and would recommend.
It’s kind of crazy how many fantasy and sci-fi books are in this list. I guess, at one point, short titles were popular for books of these genres! Now there’s so many A ____ of ____ and ____ or The Daughter of ____ and ____ titles that I can’t even keep track of them anymore! There’s just something nice about a short, simple title.
Which books did you include on your list this week? Have you read and any of these? What did you think of them?
When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he's stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless string of resort visitors who couldn't interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way…
Two weeks in Alaska isn't just the top item on Zoey Caldwell's bucket list. It's the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she's smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham's world, she may just find there's more to the man than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.
ALERT! ALERT! New favorite book! I love Alaska, and was so excited when I saw that this rom-com with the cutest cover ever takes place there! I’ve really been gobbling up rom-com books lately. They’re so much fun and allow me to escape with sweet characters. The Tourist Attraction did just that for me. As always, my main points are bolded.
1. Moose Springs is the quaintest, cutest little town. I love that Sarah Morgenthaler was able to keep those cute town vibes while also allowing us to spend time at an exclusive resort that the locals (aka Graham) refer to as “the big house”. Yeah… the locals don’t like the resort at all. They feel it’s ruining their small town and driving business away, not to mention bringing in tons of unwanted tourists and destroying the natural beauty of Moose Springs. I tend to agree with them. I’d be much happier of the resort was a bunch of cute little bare bones cabins (Alaska has my heart and I want it to stay as wild and untouched by consumerism as possible), but we never would have met Zoey and Lana if they were!
2. Zoey, our heroine, has been saving up for YEARS to visit Alaska. When the opportunity arises in the form of crashing on her rich friend Lana’s couch in her luxury suite while she’s there on business, Zoey can not pass it up. She lives a very simple life and doesn’t get around much, which I loved. It makes her all the more excited when she arrives and sees what Alaska has to offer. She’s got everything planned out to the dollar, and carries all of those dollars around in her sparkly green frog coin purse. She’s kind of awkward, glasses slipping down her nose a million times a day, and quirky in a very endearing way. Adorkable, really. I loved her. She’s so relatable and down-to-earth. She is easily excited and wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s also got a good head on her shoulders and a spunky personality that really shines through when she’s pushing back against someone who has done her wrong. She won’t take crap from anyone, but is also emotional and feels a lot of things. I really saw a lot of myself in her.
3. Graham opens a greasy spoon diner called “The Tourist Trap” as a joke, but this place has become a right of passage for anyone who visits. It’s even in the guide books. People line up before the place opens, and insist on experiencing it even though it’s notorious for having the worst service ever. Graham is known for kicking everyone out at a moment’s notice because he’s just tired of the noise or the people or wants to go home. He’s known for not opening on time (or at all) because he’s got better things to do. But the people still come! It was so fun to read about how things at the diner work, and what Graham thinks about it all.
4. Zoey and Graham get off to a bit of a rocky start. I’m not even kidding. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say that it lands the both of them in jail. Hysterical. Graham is a rugged, sarcastic, grumpy, surly, blunt artist who just so happens to own a diner and is in a pretty serious relationship with a moose that likes to lick windows and loves the smell of fresh baked bread. When he’s not at the diner, he’s carving wood pieces with a chainsaw in his shipping container out back. If I didn’t know this book took place in Alaska, I’d think Graham was a cowboy. He’s got that smooth cowboy swag and calls Zoey “Darlin'”. He’s got a very laid back attitude, but will turn into a grizzly bear if you hurt him or anyone he cares about. He’s kind of the town troublemaker, but not even close to a bad boy even though I think he secretly hopes that’s what people see him as. He loves his moose and his sweet blind dog named Jack, and he hates tourists. Well, except Zoey. He will do anything for Zoey, including making a fool of himself and bringing her the biggest cinnamon rolls known to man.
5. I love all the banter between Graham and Zoey. They flirt and joke, but they also talk about deeper things that mean a lot to them. They’ve shared pain over what they’ve gone through. They’re there for each other, and I felt like their relationship was very sweet and meaningful for the short amount of time they’ve known each other.
6. I loved the locals, and had so much fun getting to know them. If you’ve ever seen Northern Exposure, I got those kinds of vibes from some of the people. Easton in particular is amazing.
7. There are narwhals in this book. NARWHALS. And whales. WHALES.
8.The Tourist Attraction is so funny! I loved everything, from the locals vs. the big house shenanigans, to the run-in with a whale, to the moose that’s left footprints on Graham’s heart and dents in his truck, to the silly touristy things Graham does with Zoey because he’ll do anything for her, to the hangovers and the jail debacle. There’s so much to love here.
Sarah Morgenthaler has done a wonderful job writing a rom-com that has so much depth and heart. I was swooning and laughing my way through it. A charming, sparkling debut. I’ve been forcing everyone I know to either read or pre-order this book, and I’ve already pre-ordered the paperback of the next book in this series! It’s a Christmas book called Mistletoe and Mr. Right, and it comes out in October 2020. This time Lana, Zoey’s best friend, will have her shot at romance. From the sounds of it, it’s going to be just as a wonderful as The Tourist Attraction. I can’t wait!
Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic was submitted by Tilly at The Biblioshelf, and is about characters I’d follow on social media! I thought this sounded like a really fun topic, and I’m breaking it down by social media platform!
1. Naomi Westfield from You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
I’d follow Naomi on Twitter because she says some of the funniest things and is such a good storyteller! I think she’d be very entertaining.
2. Graham Barnett from The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler
Graham owns a greasy spoon diner called The Tourist Trap. The service and the food are pretty crummy. He’s been known to just kick everyone out because he wants to go home, yet this place is a right of passage. People line up outside before the place opens because it’s THE THING to do. I’m sure he has some crazy stories about tourists that come through, so I’d love to follow his twitter account and read his random musings. He’s also an artist and carves things out of wood using his chainsaw. I’d love to see an Instagram of all his pieces.
3. Nari from Christmas at Frozen Falls by Kiley Dunbar
Nari is a travel blogger, and is always jet-setting to exciting and exotic places. I want to follow her blog as well as her Instagram so I can see some of the amazing things she sees!
4. Veronica Mars from The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Jennifer Graham and Rob Thomas
I’m kind of cheating with this one… but I’d TOTALLY follow Veronica’s blog or the Mars Investigations Facebook page/Twitter to keep up with Veronica and her dad.
5. Thomas Cresswell from the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco
He’s SNARKY, plus I’d be interested to know what he’s learning and the kinds of autopsies he performs. Morbid curiosity? Yes. If he had a Twitter account, I’d be all over it.
6. Lucien Vanserra from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas
I need eye candy. Where is this guy’s personal Instagram? I could easily spend time scrolling through pictures of him and his beautiful city.
7. Lina from Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Lina lives in Florence! I want to follow her Instagram and see pictures of Italy because I LOVE ITALY.
8. Anna from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
If I need Lina’s Insta, I also need Anna’s. I want pictures of Paris and food and her school. I want to see it all!
9. Bria from Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Bria travels all through Central America and I want to hear all about it! Yes to her Instagram.
10. Carrie from Carrie Goes Off the Map by Philippa Ashley
Carrie spends over a month road tripping through the English countryside with Matt, and it sounds like it was beautiful. I clearly use Instagram to armchair travel. lol. My Instagram is full of beautiful locations.
I’m pleased to welcome to Karen Odden, author of A Dangerous Duet, to the blog today to talk about the next book in her Victorian Mystery series, A Trace of Deceit! I love art (I minored in art history during undergrad), so this entire post is just fascinating to me. Read more about Karen and A Trace of Deceit below, and enter to win a copy of your own!
Christie’s Auction House, Art, & A Trace of Deceit
by Karen Odden
On my 29th birthday, November 11, 1994, I was standing in the main sales room at Christie’s auction house in New York City. The elegant room was crowded for the rare book auction scheduled to begin at 10 o’clock. On an elevated stage at the front stood Stephen Massey, the head of the Rare Books department, behind a podium. I stood along one wall surveying the rows of chairs, filled with potential buyers and some gawkers. On the opposite wall was a bank of tables draped with black fabric, with phones for other Christie’s employees who’d be taking the bids of people calling in. The star of the auction that day was Leonardo Da Vinci’s Codex Hammer, one of his notebooks, 32 pages, written right to left, in his mirror handwriting, and featuring the famous image of the Vitruvian Man, among others.
People who attend Christie’s auctions are generally well behaved. They speak in soft tones, if they speak at all. No one shouts out or flaps their paddle around. But that day people could not stop murmuring. Rare manuscripts, signed copies and first editions sold as expected. But everyone was waiting for the Da Vinci notebook.
As usual the auctioneer started the bidding below the presale estimate. Between buyers in the room and on the phones, the bid began to climb: 6 million, 6.5, 7, 7.5 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 20. Soon it became a duel between two bidders, one in the room and one on the phone, and the employee at the phone bank just kept raising her hand. Eventually the hammer came down at 28 million dollars to a phone bidder whose identity was kept confidential. Later, I heard one of the Christie’s employees say, “It went to someone named Cates.” His friend replied, “Not Cates, Gates. I think he does something with computers.” Back in 1994, Windows 95 was still months away, and Bill Gates wasn’t a household name yet.
That morning was the first time I felt down to my bones the way suspense and story could swirl around art.
I wasn’t at Christie’s because of my art expertise. I was a media buyer, purchasing print ad space to support sales of everything from paintings and photographs to silver, coins and Faberge eggs, Chinese and Latin American art, and antique furniture. I placed ads in publications such as the New York Times, New Yorker, Architectural Digest, Art and Auction, and ArtNews. Because I was buying ad space, I had to read these publications in order to know what art to advertise where, and for the first few weeks of my job, I sat in my cubicle and read magazines. It was fun. (My dad always said, you’re never going to find a job that pays you to read! Ha!)
So like many things in my life I came to art through reading. And while I enjoy art, it’s the stories around art that captivate me. The precious manuscripts smuggled out of Wartime Germany by an American soldier, only to be found by his grandchildren forty years later, after his death. The art heists and dramatic thefts out of museums. The Renaissance painting by Cimabue that a 90-year-old Frenchwoman had hung over her kitchen stove for years because she thought it was a knock off. The painter who fell in love with his subject and then couldn’t bring himself to sell the painting to her husband. So when it came time to write my third book, I had a whole backlog of interest in stories about art.
I write mysteries set in Victorian England, specifically the 1870s, largely because I wrote my dissertation at NYU on British literature from 1850-1890. It’s my happy time and place. (My son, who is called upon to help me with my iPhone teases me that I belong there.) But if I wanted to write another novel about a young woman in 1870s London, I needed to find a place for her to study. Fortunately, the Slade School, now world-renowned and part of the University College London, was opened in 1871, after a bequest by a very forward-thinking gentleman named Felix Slade, who wanted a school where men and women could study art together. This was met with resistance from the men. Still, women entered with the first class, and early students included Kate Greenaway who became famous for her exquisite illustrations for children’s books.
At the time I began to write, I was thinking a lot about memory—how memory isn’t static, like a painting. You can’t come back to it and see the exact same image. Memory changes with time; and sometimes we unconsciously suppress memories or alter them, depending on the kinds of stories we want to tell about ourselves or people we love or our lives. I also wanted to write about how talent or genius can sometimes be a burden, or even something that is put to use by parents of the gifted child.
With this, Annabel’s story started taking shape. She has an older brother named Edwin, an outrageously talented painter, and his father started to push him, hard, when Edwin was seven. As a result Edwin became a troublemaker and rebellious. He went to school at age 12, and when he returned he had deeply changed. Troubled and angry, he visited opium dens down by the Thames, forging paintings to support himself. He stumbled home more times than Annabel can remember, swearing he was going to do better. This cycle of what we would now call addiction and relapse recurred again and again, until he was arrested for forging and thrown in prison for a year.
As the book begins, Edwin has been out of prison for four months. He has sworn to Annabel that he is going to stay away from opium and to live within the law. When Annabel and Edwin meet, he appears on time; he’s clear eyed; he talks responsibly about his paintings and his work. Slowly Annabel begins to trust him. Besides, he is her only family, and she wants desperately to believe in him.
In the first chapter, Annabel is at her easel at the Slade. Her work finished for the day, she retrieves her umbrella from the stand and ventures out in the rain. At the terraced house where Edwin rented rooms, she climbs the stairs to the top floor, and sees the door open. That’s odd, she thinks. Odder still is the sight of two strange men riffling through Edwin’s paintings and papers. She bursts out, “What are you doing? Where’s Edwin?” They turn, and she sees the truncheon that one of them carries. She realizes they’re plainclothes detectives, and Annabel feels her heart sink, for she assumes that Edwin has fallen back into his old patterns. Unhappily, she sighs and asks, “What has Edwin done now?”
But in fact, Edwin has been murdered.
Within hours, Annabel discovers that a priceless painting of Madame de Pompadour, by the French master Francois Boucher, has gone missing from her brother’s studio. Edwin was cleaning it in preparation for an auction to take place in two weeks, at Bettridge’s, an up-and-coming house trying to compete with Christie’s and Sotheby’s, both of which were established in London in the eighteenth century. The painting I’ve described is fictional—but Boucher painted nearly a dozen of Madame de Pompadour, who was King Louis XV’s mistress from 1745-1751. In my novel, this Boucher painting is the star of the auction—like Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex—but then its true owner appears, claiming the original was destroyed a fire in 1874.
So the questions begin. Was the painting that Edwin was cleaning a forgery? Had Edwin made the forgery? Was he murdered because his past had caught up to him? But even more important than learning why Edwin was murdered, Annabel longs to discover the truth about who her brother was before he died. Was he lying to her about reforming, or sincere? She wants to fix his character in her mind, render it as something stable, the way she paints her portraits and small scenes, so she can find some closure and peace. But what complicates Annabel’s inquiry is that in the process of investigating Edwin’s past, she comes to recognize a general truth: that there is a trace of deceit in many of our memories, both our happiest ones and our most painful; and that memories are not like paintings. They shift and sideslip, depending on the stories we want to tell ourselves—and the ones we want to conceal. Annabel learns that her memories both enable and limit what she can know about Edwin. Indeed, the closure and peace she seeks won’t come through fixing her brother’s character as in a portrait, but in weaving together her brother’s story and her own, and accepting—and grieving—that there are pieces missing. But that perhaps a sincere effort to understand, founded in love, is enough.
About Karen Odden
After writing her PhD dissertation on Victorian railway disasters, Karen became trapped in the era. (Her teenage son, who helps her with tech, teases that she belongs there.) Before turning to fiction, Karen taught at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and her essays on literature have appeared in numerous academic journals and books. Her three novels, set in 1870s London, feature young women who solve mysteries with personal stakes. Her first, A Lady in the Smoke, was a USA Today bestseller; A Dangerous Duet won best Historical Fiction at the New Mexico/Arizona book awards; and A Trace of Deceit (Harper Collins) was published in December. She lives in Arizona with her family and beagle-muse Rosy. Visit www.karenodden.com, or find her on twitter: @karen_odden and instagram: @karen_m_odden.
A Trace of Deceit by Karen Odden Series: Victorian Mystery #2 Other books in the series:A Dangerous Duet (#1) Publisher: William Morrow Genres: Adult Fiction — Historical, Mystery
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
A young painter digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder…
Edwin is dead. That’s what Inspector Matthew Hallam of Scotland Yard tells Annabel Rowe when she discovers him searching her brother’s flat for clues. While the news is shocking, Annabel can’t say it’s wholly unexpected, given Edwin’s past as a dissolute risk-taker and art forger, although he swore he’d reformed. After years spent blaming his reckless behavior for their parents’ deaths, Annabel is now faced with the question of who murdered him—because Edwin’s death was both violent and deliberate. A valuable French painting he’d been restoring for an auction house is missing from his studio: find the painting, find the murderer. But the owner of the artwork claims it was destroyed in a warehouse fire years ago.
As a painter at the prestigious Slade School of Art and as Edwin’s closest relative, Annabel makes the case that she is crucial to Matthew’s investigation. But in their search for the painting, Matthew and Annabel trace a path of deceit and viciousness that reaches far beyond the elegant rooms of the auction house, into an underworld of politics, corruption, and secrets someone will kill to keep.
Welcome to another TTT! What’s a book hangover, you ask? Well. Urban Dictionary provides us with two definitions that I think fit perfectly.
1. The inability to start a new book because you are still living in the old book’s world
2. The inability to function at work/school because you were up all night binge-reading
So… today’s topic is to share the last ten books you’ve read that have done either of these two things to you! Should be fairly easy, right? I’ve had a few book hangovers over the last year as I figure out the kinds of books I love to read, but before that they were few and far between. Some of these books on my list today were read years ago because I’ve struggled to love books for a while. I actually got to the point where I thought I’d fallen out of love with reading, which killed me! I’ve talked about my falling out with YA a lot lately and how confused it made me, but I think I’m finally figuring things out again! So yay! Bring on all the book hangovers!
1. The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler
Romantic contemporary comedy set in Moose Spring, AK starring a silly Zoey and a swoony, sarcastic Graham. There’s narwhals, beautiful scenery, a close call with a whale, a rinky dink diner, and a moose that likes to lick windows.
2. Christmas at Frozen Falls by Kiley Dunbar A beautiful, festive contemporary romance set in Lapland. You’ve got Sylvie who is supposed to be on her honeymoon, Nari the best friend and travel blogger, Stellan the sexy Finnish ex that owns reindeer and husky puppies, and Niilo the unique guy with a strong connection with his ancestry and the land he calls home. You’ve got an isolated, cozy cabin setting, Northern Lights, so much snow, sled dog rides, and so many swoons!
3. You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
This one. You guys. It’s SOOOOO wonderful. Naomi and Nicholas are engaged, but they hate each other. HATE. But neither one of them wants to end the engagement because then they’ll be stuck with the bill. So they make each other’s lives a living Hell to try and get the other one to end things. I don’t want to give anything away because it’s so special, but feelings. So many feelings.
4. Dating by the Book by Mary Ann Marlowe
Bookish characters! Maddie is an author and gets a bad review on her book. One drunken night, she contacts this reviewer to give them a piece of her mind. They become friends! And then there’s other things. Read this!
5. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
This was so creepy and wonderful and amazing. Jules takes the job of living in a very fancy, exclusive apartment building. But something sinister is afoot and the apartment sitters keep dying! Ahhhh!
6. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
The best man and maid of honor are the only two members of the wedding party who don’t get food poisoning, so they decide to go on the bride and groom’s honeymoon and pose as the newlywed couple. Shenanigans and feelings happen.
7. The Gem Thief by Sian Ann Bessey
This is an amazing trip. Mystery, romance, intrigue, travel… jewelry theft. It’s awesome. So much of it takes place on a luxury cruise ship, jumping from destinations that include Venice and Greece.
8. I Temporarily Do by Ellie Cahill
Another fake romance (I love these)! Emmy and Beckett both go through a series of unfortunate events that leave them homeless and at college. So why not get married so they can share an apartment in married student housing? I loved watching them “fake” this relationship and catch some feelings for each other.
9. Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My favorite romantic suspense ever. It’s just. So. Good!
10. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Dracula has always been a very intriguing story for me, and I loved Kerri’s take on this mystery. I loved the setting and the characters. I loooooove Thomas. It’s such a twisty story! I have a hard time speaking in complete sentences about this book. lol.
Happy love week at Top Ten Tuesday! Valentine’s Day is Friday, so I thought it would be fun to focus on love this week. I decided to share ten books from my TBR that have the word “love” in the title. There’s 260 books listed on my goodreads shelves that have “love” in the title, so I had a lot to choose from!
Welcome to another TTT! The Book Dutchesses came up with this topic one week when they didn’t like the prompt I provided, and I thought it sounded like so much fun that I stole it! There’s so many books I’m excited to read, but then there’s the ones I’m REALLY EXCITED TO READ!!! These books are the ones I’m expecting will be 5-star reads for me, and I’ll be sharing those titles with you today!
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
This book has popped up in many of my TTTs over the last few months because I’m SO excited to read Riley’s next book! I loved Lock Every Door so so much, and this one takes place in a creepy building just like that one did!
My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh
Bookish heroine, a nerdy scientist who gets a makeover to be suave, and a fake romance. This has the makings for perfection!
Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Christina Lauren blurbed this and said it was their new favorite feel-good novel, and that on its own would be all I needed to know. BUT it also sounds adorable and unique. Romance and a Renaissance Faire!
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
Ok, here’s another thriller set in a creepy building! I’ve never read a book by Lisa Jewell before, but if this one goes well I’m excited at the prospect of finding a new author to love!
True Gold by Michelle Pace
I love romantic suspense, and this one takes place in Alaska! Also… I’m kind of a sucked for a book with the Northern Lights on the cover.
A Dangerous Duet by Karen Odden
This is a historical mystery involving a determined pianist who wants to study at the Royal Academy, but can’t afford tuition. In an effort to save money, she starts disguising herself as a man and sneaks out at night to play at a music hall and stumbles across a deadly crime ring.
One Summer’s Night by Kiley Dunbar
Kiley wrote my most recent favorite book, Christmas At Frozen Falls. I’m so excited to read this summery romance of hers, about a woman whose in a rut and decides to get out of it by becoming a tour guide Stratford-Upon-Avon.
The Northern Lights Lodge by Julie Caplin
Remember what I said about the Northern Lights? I also love books set in wintry locations and this lodge is in Iceland, surrounded by hot springs and glaciers and all the snow!
Ten Things My Cat Hates About You by Lottie Lucas
Cat. I don’t even know what this book is about. lol. Just kidding. It’s a rom-com about a cat who somehow makes meet-cutes happen. This will pretty much either be a 5-star read or a 1-star read.
Save the Date by Carrie Aarons
A best friends marriage pact! I love this, and hope I love the book!
What books do you think will be 5-star reads for you?
Even though I’m the one to write up/select weekly topics all year long for TTT, even I get annoyed when I see that I’ve come to a freebie week. lol. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to think that much! So I took to Twitter and asked for cover suggestions for this week’s cover freebie prompt, and my friend Paige suggested illustrated covers! The thought had entered my mind already, but when she suggested it too I figured it was meant to be! I am so in love with the current illustrated cover trend in romancelandia (that the UK has been doing for eons and I love it), so today I’m sharing my top ten favorite ones!
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
Christina Lauren blurbed this one, so I would have been excited about it even if the cover were covered in refried beans. I finished reading it a few days ago, and it’s a new favorite! PERFECTION. Pre-order it now!
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
One of my favorite books ever, and I’m obsessed with this bright and cheery cover.
Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
I’ve been iffy about this book because I don’t see Tom Hanks as… someone to wait for? lol. But I do love the cover! I love all the hot pink and the cute curvy designs. Has anyone read this one? Is it good?
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
Look at the cute little lobster holding on to the “r”!! This book sounds fun, but I’m worried about lack of romance. And too many sads. Anyone read this?
Coming Up Roses by Staci Hart
I love all the roses and the font treatment and the cute little couple. I’ve heard iffy things on this one, so please let me know your thoughts if you’ve read it! It seems to be a gender-swapped Pride & Prejudice retelling, which sounds fun.
Love Like Fire by D.E. Malone
This book is part of 4-book series, and all the covers are adorable. I love this one the most, though, because of the burgundy and the snow-capped evergreen trees. It looks so cozy!
The Northern Lights Lodge by Julie Caplin
Here’s another cozy cover. It’s a dream of mine to see the Northern Lights someday, and this cover is just perfection.
The Summer Getaway by Tilly Tennant
Put a cute illustration of the French Riviera on a cover and I’m yours.
My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan
I’ve loved this cover since the moment I saw it. I love the bridge and the skyline and the little boat in the water.
Well, there you have it! This was hard, because there are
SO many cute covers out there and I want to own all of them! Which one of these is your favorite? Or do you love one I haven’t mentioned today?
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of... lucky.
I read The Unhoneymooners almost a year ago, and I loved it so much that I didn’t want to review it because it’s hard to review a book that you love EVERYTHING about and hate NOTHING. I didn’t even dislike anything. I instantly added this book to my favorites list and put it on my wishlist to own a physical copy for my bookshelves. It was just so perfect. BUT I’m reviewing it because it deserves to be reviewed. And I’ve talked about it so much on Twitter and here on the blog, so it’s time to explain my love of it (or at least list out the reasons why I love it). As always, my main points are bolded. :)
1. Right off the bat, that synopsis sold me. I know this author duo well enough to know that they would do this story so well. I mean, the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from a bad seafood buffet at the reception and the ONLY two people who came out of it unscathed (because of an allergy and an aversion to buffets) go on the bride and groom’s honeymoon because why let it go to waste? So, even though they hate each other (or so they think) they dash off to Hawaii together. And hilarity ensues.
2. Why does hilarity ensue? Because they have to PRETEND they’re the bride and groom because the trip was non-transferable. Enter the fauxmance, which is my favorite trope as I’m sure you know. So these two people who hate each other have to be all mushy and lovey dovey and do all these coupley things (like a couples massage) in order to not get in trouble. It’s so perfect and hilarious, because there’s definitely tension there and a mutual attraction but they avoid it all costs because they hate each other.
3. Olive is amazing. She’s spunky and smart and capable. She’s also totally comfortable with herself and has so much confidence. She also has the worst luck ever. I want to be her friend and I want her to teach me how to not care about what anyone thinks.
4. Ethan is pretty swoony. Where Olive is high-strung and emotional Ethan is level-headed and soothing. He’s also pretty snarky and never calls Olive by the right name. They’re such a great match!
5. Their chemistry is explosive, and they can argue like nobody else. There is so much snark and contempt between the two of them, but as they spend more time together they realize there’s something more there.
6. Olive’s family is wonderful. I love her twin sister, Ami (the bride), and their bond. They are so devoted to each other. The entire family is awesome.
7. The writing *Italian chef finger kiss*. I hope these two never quit writing, Their rom-coms give me life.
All in all, read this. Read. This. Book. It’s the perfect romantic comedy with all the tropes I love. Christina Lauren can do no wrong.