Month: August 2019

Ten Books I’ve Read That I’d Like In My Personal Library

Posted August 26, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 17 Comments

This week’s topic was submitted by Annemieke @ A Dance with Books, and I think it’s a pretty fun one! I’m talking about ten books that I’ve read and loved so much that I want a physical copy for my bookshelf. These books were either read as digital review copies, or were borrowed from the library or friends/family. And it’s actually a really hard list for me to write because I’ve already gone and bought SO many that I loved so there’s not many left! I’m eager to see which books you loved enough to donate valuable bookshelf space to!

Dating By the Book by Mary Ann Marlowe
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
I Temporarily Do by Ellie Cahill
The Gem Thief by Sian Ann Bessey
The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis-Graves
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout
Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Captivate by Vanessa Garden

Which books did you love enough to want to own a coy for your bookshelves?


Top Ten Favorite Tropes

Posted August 19, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 20 Comments

Hi guys! I’m back! Remember how I was sick the last two weeks and didn’t post my lists? Well, I finally went to the doctor last Thursday and my flu had turned into bronchitis, a throat infection, a sinus infection, and an ear infection. So I’m glad I went to the doctor and found out what was wrong so that I could get better. And I’m feeling way better! I’m so relieved. I legit thought I’d be sick forever.

Ok, so this week’s topic is on my favorite tropes in books! What’s a trope? Well, it’s basically a commonly used story element that is easily recognized because it’s so common. If you’re still not sure, here are some examples of tropes. I’m excited to see some of the tropes you enjoy reading!

1. The Fauxmance

Probably my favorite trope is the fauxmance. I love it when characters have fake relationships to get themselves ahead, and then those relationships become real! Maybe a girl hires a boyfriend to go home with her for Christmas. Maybe it’s a publicity stunt. Maybe a man can only claim his inheritance if he’s married, so he talks a woman into fake marrying him. I’m here for ALL of it.

2. Friends to Lovers

I love best friends turned lovers. These could be childhood best friends that grow up and fall in love, college roommates that start out as friends and turn into more, etc. They’re so sweet, and usually have some more depth to them because the characters have a history and a solid foundation. I also enjoy watching them stress over whether or not a relationship will ruin their friendship if/when they break up.

3. Survival Situations

I love it when characters are stranded in the wilderness. Maybe they get lost while hiking, there’s a plane crash, a boat sinks, etc. If you throw in a murder… like maybe a group of people gets stranded in the mountains during a huge storm and someone kills someone and OH NO. OH YES!!

4. Snowed In

I love it when two characters (hopefully romantic interests) get snowed in at a hotel or a cabin or even on the side of the road in their car and then have to trek to safety. I also love the common storyline that goes a little something like this: a group of people are staying in an isolated hotel when a blizzard comes. There’s no power, there’s no way out, and there’s a murderer in their midst. Isolation due to weather is SO much fun!

5. Small Town Romance

I love the cute, quaint little towns where everyone knows each other but they actually like each other and aren’t gossiping and causing each other problems. These kinds of towns have 4th of July BBQs and Christmas tree lightings with hot chocolate and fall festivals. And there’s commonly a friends to lovers romance, so two tropes for the price of one!

6. International Travel

I love cruises, plane trips, train trips, international destinations… All of it. I love traveling through my books.

7. Spy/Espionage Thrillers

So exciting!

8. Heists

Gem thieves, art thieves… all of it. It’s so much fun.

9. Bookish Themes

I love it when the heroine is an author or a voracious reader or a bookshop owner. I love books set in bookshops and libraries. I love bookish references and identifying with characters who love books as much as I do.

10. Plain Jane Gets the Successful Hottie

I love reading about realistic heroines, like me, who get the super sexy and successful guy like it’s no big deal. Modern society has made us feel like the pretty (but not gorgeous/sexy), average-sized (but not thin and jiggle-free) women can’t get a super sexy man. Like, so many romance novels feature women who are thin, tight, blonde heroines with perfect skin, flowing hair, perfect clothes, perfect jobs, etc. I love seeing normal, real-sounding women (who are allowed to eat food and wear sweatpants) get the dreamboats we know we’re so capable of getting. It’s empowering!

Do we have any picks in common?
Do you have any books to recommend that have one/some of my favorite tropes?
What are your favorites?


Dating by the Book by Mary Ann Marlowe | Book Review

Posted August 14, 2019 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 4 Comments

Dating by the Book by Mary Ann Marlowe | Book ReviewDating by the Book by Mary Ann Marlowe
Published by Kensington Publishing on June 25, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Is love just something you find in books?

Six months ago, writer and bookstore owner Maddie Hanson was left at the altar. Since then, she’s had zero interest in romance—despite the fact that she runs a book club full of sexy eligible bachelors. But when her latest novel is panned by an anonymous blogger who goes by the name Silver Fox—and who accuses her of knowing nothing about passion—she decides to prove her nemesis wrong by seeking a romance hero in real life . . .

There’s the smoldering rock musician, the bookish college professor, and her competitive childhood friend who may want to steal her bookstore more than her heart. Even Silver Fox is getting in on the action, sending Maddie alarmingly—and intoxicatingly—flirtatious emails. And that’s not all. Her ex wants her back.

Now Maddie is about to discover that like any good story, life has twists and turns, and love can happen when you least expect it—with the person you least expect . . .

I love books about bookish people, so when I discovered that Dating by the Book is about a woman who is an author and owns a quaint little bookshop I was immediately excited to dive in. The fact that she hosts a book club was icing on the cake for me. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. This is just a happy book. It’s so light and happy and sweet. It reads like a Hallmark movie, and we all know how much I love those. It also reminds me of the movie, You’ve Got Mail, with the cute bookshop and the mysterious emailer and the big competitor wanting to buy out the little guy. It all felt very familiar in a comfortable way.

2. Maddie is super relatable. She was left at the altar, and is anti-romance right now. She did one of those bad things authors aren’t supposed to do, and read online reviews for one of her books. I don’t know why she got so bent out of shape over a 3-star review, but she did and she let it fester and fester until she wrote to the author of the review and let him have it. A big no-no! But since this is a happy, fluffy, sweet book the two form a bit of a friendship. Luckily he doesn’t go and subtweet about her on Twitter! He claims her book wasn’t good because she doesn’t know real romance, real passion, and she sets out to prove him wrong. She’s human. She makes really dumb mistakes and has a bunch of men after her. I loved her and hated her.

3. I loved the mystery of the Silver Fox, and his emails back and forth with Maddie. Their flirtations and deeper conversations were really fun to read. I was dying to figure out who he was!

4. I found the book club discussions to be rather boring and drawn out, but not enough to detract from the book. Maddie’s book club reads and discusses the classics, and since I’ve read very few of them I kind of felt like one of those kids who sits at the dinner table with their chin in their hand, bored to death by the grown-ups having grown-up conversations that they have nothing to add to. It’s just no fun listening to people talk about something you have no knowledge/interest in, and that’s how I felt skimming through their book chats. Luckily they didn’t last too long!

5. Mary Ann Marlowe is a great writer! Everything flowed nicely, and I was very comfortable while reading. I didn’t get tripped up by details, and I followed everything. I loved the humor and the way she wrote her characters.

All in all, this was a win for me! I loved everything about this book, and would love to go and visit these characters (particularly a few of the minor ones) to get their stories. There’s a bookish professor who I’d love to see get his own love story. Highly recommended!


Top Ten Tuesday Link-up – Book Characters I’d Love to Be Besties With

Posted August 12, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 15 Comments

Hello! Welcome to another TTT! Sadly, like last week, I’m sick. It’s been 14 days of being super sick, and I’m going to the doctor because this is getting ridiculous. So unfortunately it’ll just be another link-up from me. I’m hoping next week I’ll be back for real! Thanks to Michelle from Pink Polka Dot Books for such a fun topic!

Which book characters would you be best friends with?


The Governess Game by Tessa Dare | Book Review

Posted August 8, 2019 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 1 Comment

The Governess Game by Tessa Dare | Book ReviewThe Governess Game by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #2
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal
Published by Avon on August 28, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 373
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson.

The accidental governess.

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart... without risking her own.

The infamous rake.

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling... and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

I love Tessa Dare. Her witty banter, strong heroines, and swoony heroes are unparalleled. Unfortunately, her new Girl Meets Duke series doesn’t seem to be as magical for me as her Spindle Cove and Castles Ever After series were but that doesn’t mean I didn’t thoroughly enjoy this book! I had so much fun reading it, and really liked all the characters. I think The Governess Game is Tessa’s first book (that I’ve read, anyway, which is a lot) that includes children as main characters. I nearly always shy away from books that include kids, which I suppose is kind of weird… but I don’t see children as romantic. lol. But it’s Tessa Dare! So I read it. Anyway… As always, my main points are bolded.

1. Alexandra is a strong, bookish lover of astronomy. She was raised by her dad alone, on the decks of a ship. This makes her unique in my book. Women during this time period were not into the sciences, nor were they typically brought up in such a rough and unrefined way. She’s spunky and stands up for herself. She takes no crap, and has no problems calling Chase on his idiocy. She shows up to Chase’s home to do one job, and accidentally becomes the governess for these two wild girls. She has no idea what she’s doing, but at least she’s got better ideas than Chase! I really liked her! Her unconventional teaching methods were refreshing.

2. Chase is nothing extremely special in the beginning. I suppose it’s honorable for an unattached, playboy of a bachelor to bring in two little orphaned girls because nobody else in his family would take them, but I felt bad about how he treated them. He had no interest in showing them any love or compassion. He wanted Alexandra to come in and train them so they would be accepted into society and become someone else’s problem. I love kids, so this made me sad. He spent his days furnishing and decorating his man cave for optimal sexytimes with a revolving door of women, rather than making sure the girls were happy. I struggle a lot with heroes in books that are notorious playboys. I don’t find those kind of men attractive. He was pushy with Alexandra, and really left a lot to be desired. But he does melt and become a better person as Alexandra works her magic on him along with the girls, and I grew to understand what she saw in him.

3. Daisy and Rosamund are sweet, odd girls. I can’t remember which girl this is, but one of them has a very morbid curiosity with death. She has a doll named Millicent, and every morning this doll dies of something new like consumption or internal bleeding or a bowel obstruction and the girls drag Alexandra and Chase in for a very formal funeral. Chase has to perform a different eulogy every morning while holding hands with the girls and mourning Millicent’s death. It’s actually quite sweet and was one of the reasons I grew to like him so much. I actually really liked these girls and their antics, which surprised me since I’m not usually a fan of children in romance novels like I mentioned above.

4. I loved all the astronomy talk and the telescope.

5. The romantic chemistry between Alexandra and Chase wasn’t as swoony as I would have liked. It felt more like lust and less like love, which is not what I’m used to from Tessa Dare. Maybe this is less the author’s fault and more back to the fact that I don’t like playboy heroes. Alexandra just seemed like another notch on Chase’s bedpost at first. He had a hard time convincing me that he thought of her as different than all the others. They do have some great banter, though!

All in all, this was another fun Tessa Dare book! I always like reaching for one of her titles when I need a pick-me-up and some light fun. While it’s not a favorite, I still enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys unique, strong heroines.


Top Ten Tuesday Link-Up – Cover Redesigns

Posted August 5, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 13 Comments

I tend to really dislike cover re-designs. It’s not necessarily the designs themselves (although sometimes it is!), but the fact that they’re changed in the first place. lol. As a graphic designer, I just feel that it should be done right the first time and then not messed with again (unless the books are really old and need new designs for whatever reason). A book cover is a book’s brand! It’s how it’s recognized out in the world. So when it gets changed it just makes me mad. lol. BUT. There have been some I like over the years. I wish I could have done this topic, but I’ve been very sick with some flu-like thing for the last week and don’t have the energy to put together my post. I’m sorry! Hopefully I can do some posts on covers soon once I’m better.

Please tell me in the comments what you think of cover redesigns! 
Which have you liked? Which have you hated? Or do you even care? Let’s chat.
I’m sick and need contact with the outside world.

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