Top Ten Book Titles That Sound Like Crayola Crayon Colors

Posted April 12, 2021 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 14 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic is all about color. For those unfamiliar with Crayola Crayons, they’re the best crayons ever and they come in a huge box that was, and still is, every child’s dream to own. Crayola has come out with special ones that were fun to collect, like fluorescents, magic scents, metallic, pearlescent, colors of the world, and even ones with glitter in them. Some of the colors were boringly named like Red, Forest Green, Light Blue, etc. But there have also been some pretty unique and creative-sounding ones like Mountain Meadow, Wild Strawberry, Fuzzy Wuzzy, Tropical Rainforest, Sunset Luau, Winter Gala, Cerulean Frost, Twilight Lavender, Confetti Sunset, Fire In the Sky, and so many more (here’s a list of them). Do any book titles sound like a color to you? Get creative with this one. Your picks don’t even need to have an actual color name in them. Just imagine your titles as colors and see what you come up with. I’m going to include what the color would look like in my list just for some extra fun.

Oh, and a note on last week’s topic: I did not mean I’d literally throw a book in to the ocean! I saw multiple posts and comments where people were mortified at the idea, so rest assured I would never throw a book into the ocean. It was all figurative!

1. Fluffy by Julia Kent
I’m picturing a roly poly little kitten with long fur that gives them a halo when the sun backlights them. So this color would be some kind of grey.

2. A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James
This sounds a purplish-blue sky full of stars that very faintly light up the faces of a couple in love. So maybe indigo with a silver sparkle in it!

3. In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
This sounds like the very perfect Christmas red with a bit of shimmer to it that really pops.

4. Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
I’m picturing the sky right before the street lamps come on and a normal, quiet street that is totally fine by day, but gets eerie and has you looking over your shoulder once night begins to fall. So the color would be a slightly greyish/periwinkle/royal blue color.

5. Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely
Immediately, my mind falls to my hot pink suitcase that has traveled the world with me and the hot pink toenail polish I apply before going on a summer vacation.

6. Paradise Cove by Jenny Holiday
This is definitely a pristine turquoise. I can see it!

7. Holiday Spice by Samantha Chase
I’m picturing the chewy, warm brown molasses cookies I make at Christmas time that make the house smell of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. A feast for the nose and the tummy!

8. Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
Doesn’t this sound like a very deep, dark wine red to you?

9. Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
I’m picturing deep ocean water blue with rays of sun that hit it and shimmer. So… dark blue with a teal shimmer.

10. Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Can you put a fire into crayon form? I’m picturing a reddish orange with gold glitter that sparkles in the light.

I don’t know if it’s the artist in me or what, but I found this topic to be very therapeutic.
It was so fun to let my imagination go.
And I’d love to color with all these crayons.
Which book titles sound like colors to you?

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Top Ten Books I’d Gladly Throw Into the Ocean

Posted April 5, 2021 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 12 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic was submitted by Beauty & Her Books, and is going to be a fun one! You can want to throw a book into the ocean for a number of different reasons, both good and bad: you didn’t like it and DNFed it, you kept reading it hoping it would get better and it never did, you wish the ending had been different, it made you feel too many feels, there was a love triangle (or maybe said love triangle ended with the main character ending up with the person you didn’t them to end up with), it ended on a cliffhanger and you’re dying, there was a plot twist that messed with your mind, you thought you had figured out how things would end and the author outsmarted you, something made you mad, a character made a bad choice, etc.

If your reasons are all negative ones, that’s ok! We’re allowed to not like books! Part of a reader’s journey is not liking some of the books they read. Just please be careful with spoilers! Funny thing is, almost all of my picks for this prompt were read years ago when I predominately read YA. I don’t have these kinds of reactions to the adult books I read now, and I wonder why.

1. Caribbean Cruising by Rachel Hawthorne
This excerpt from my review had me laughing because I literally mentioned throwing the book into the ocean.
“When I wasn’t downright annoyed at this book, I was bored. I’ve been on cruises. MANY. There is SO much more to write about than this. I can list countless numbers of interesting cruise ship plots. This one just made me want to throw it overboard.”

2. Kissed by An Angel Trilogy by Elizabeth Chandler
I read this as a paperback bundle of all three books and was liking it until the last 100 or so pages (so this was probably in book 3). Then, all of a sudden animal abuse was thrown in. It was totally unnecessary to the storyline, and made me so unbelievably sad and mad that I threw the book away and blacklisted the author. If an author does this once, they could easily do it again.

3. Holiday Spice by Samantha Chase
Don’t advertise this as Christmas and then not give me any Christmas!! I need Christmas carols, lights, trees, a Hallmark movie on paper.

4. Lost Girls by Merrie DeStefano
The book has so much depressing content. If you want the big spoiler that I wish I’d known before I’d read it, read my review!

5. Love Her Madly by M. Elizabeth Lee
I’m a very character-driven reader, and I HATED the two main characters. They are awful awful people and have the most toxic, creepy friendship.

6. The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill
This book is riddled with inaccuracies about cruising. AND the animal smilies made me want to die. Here are a few:
“…shiver like a drowned chihuahua.”
“…parrot caught in a hairdryer.”
“…cat caught in a washing machine.”
“Like cats tap dancing on a chalkboard.”
Someone was compared to a “coked-up gorilla”.

7. Hello, I love You by Katie M. Stout
I was excited to learn about and experience a new culture, new scenery, new music scene, and new people. The author had an amazing opportunity to shine a positive light on the Korean culture, but instead made a mockery of them, not to mention Americans and our knowledge of cultures other than our own.

8. Just One Year by Gayle Forman
This was not the sequel ANY of us wanted to Just One Day! A novella fixed it some, but that novella should have been free after what this book put us through. lol. (But I LOVED that novella… so…)

9. Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper
I wanted more magic and no whaling descriptions.

10. Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Purple prose. The plot takes a back seat to the overwritten details and descriptions. This is also a total knock-off of Twilight. Swap out vampires for the angels and change the paranormal being from guy to girl and you’ve got this book. Instead of sparkling, the angels glow. Bethany even takes the train in to the city (Port Circe) to search for prom dresses, but found nothing she liked. Can we just call it Port Angeles, call Bethany Bella, and move on? This book made me write my very first super negative review ever (almost 10 years ago originally, when I wrote it for The Broke & the Bookish), and will live on in infamy in my mind as being the first book I got really mad at. LOL

Do you feel differently about any of these?
Which books have made you want to fling them into the ocean?

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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…

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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
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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? 

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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

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!

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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?

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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?


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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.


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.


“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?”


“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.”


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.


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
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A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer | Book Review

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

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer | Book ReviewA Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Cursebreakers #1
Published by Bloomsbury YA on January 29, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 484
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
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5 Stars

Fall in love, break the curse.

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she's pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what's at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

You thought I’d quit YA, huh? Me too. lol. I’ve struggled to identify with YA characters as I’ve gotten older and have kind of made the shift to adult romance, but then a group of friends pushed this on me and we read the series together and OH MY GOSH. I had always loved YA fantasy, but hadn’t found one in a very long time that held my attention long enough to even finish it, much less binge a series back to back to back. I’m about a third of the way through the second book, A Heart So Fierce and Broken, right now and it’s amazing. I’m #89 in line for A Vow so Bold and Deadly at my library so hopefully things hurry along. Anyway, I loved the world and the characters and the writing, and I’m so excited to continue my journey reading through these books! As always, my main points are bolded.

1. Harper had me worried at first. Well, the whole book did because it started off very sassy teen and I wasn’t sure I was in the mood for it, but then I grew to really love her! And I loved the disability rep. Harper has Cerebral Palsy and walks with a limp. The people in the magical alternate dimension don’t understand this kind of disability and find her to be weak or injured, but she has no problems sticking up for herself and proving that she can do anything. She’s sweet, caring, empathetic, and really turns the castle upside down. This girl definitely isn’t like all the other girls who have been kidnapped by the prince’s guard commander to try and break the curse.

2. Grey is my favorite character in this book. He’s the guard commander, and I LOVE him. He’s honorable and protective and such a great guy. He’s the romantic of the two male main characters, and he coaches the prince on how to not be a cold, unfeeling jerk. If we’re likening the characters to Beauty and the Beast, which this book is a retelling of, then Harper is Belle, Rhen is the Beast, and Grey is Lumiere. Also, was he named after the grey stuff? As in “try the grey stuff, it’s delicious!” I’m convinced of this. I need to write to the author. Ok, I just did. Anyway, he’s also pretty swoony sounding.

3. Prince Rhen? He’s fine. I actually really liked him, but he was a bit broody and intense and… pouty? for my liking. He’s the typical royal personality you find in fantasy, and I guess he’s a really good Beast because he’s got that “I hate everyone, now love me so I can be human again” attitude down. I hope I get to see more of his personality in the second book, because right now he’s pretty flat.

4. The supporting characters are great. Harper, Grey, and Rhen end up at a little inn and I love the characters they meet. And as they find people to join their army against a rival queen, they encounter some really interesting people with stories that I loved.

5. The romance is pretty minimal, but I didn’t even care. 

6. Oh my gosh, this is a very overwhelming book to try and review. 

7. I love the world! And I loved the spin Brigid put on Beauty and the Beast. Curse has the bones of Beauty and the Beast, but Brigid has added so many interesting and amazing details that make it so different. The enchantress is a recurring character in the story, there’s another kingdom threatening invasion, there’s… traveling between dimensions, the beast (or monster, as they refer to it in the book) surfaces every season and Rhen can’t control it (think of a werewolf and a full moon). It’s all so good and fresh and unique.

8. The writing! I love Brigid’s use of words and descriptions of scenery and feelings.

9. I finished and immediately needed more. This doesn’t happen to me often. Usually I need a break, but I am plowing on through and can’t read fast enough.

I’ve read a LOT of Beauty and the Beast retellings, and I thought for sure nothing would ever satisfy me to the point that Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses did. I still love ACOTAR more than anything, but I also really, really loved Curse. Like, I can’t pick just one and that makes me really happy. Maybe there is room in my life for more B&B retellings and maybe I do still love YA fantasy (it was heartbreaking to decide I didn’t anymore). Anyway, I’m not sure I’m making sense. Bottom line, A Curse so Dark and Lonely has made me realize that perhaps I gave up on a genre I once loved too soon because I thought there was nothing left for me there. So, now I’ll venture back and see what else there is for me. I highly recommend this book, and cannot wait to see what happens next!

5 Stars
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