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This weeks Instagram book posts, what I’m listening to today, and a thrift store surprise one year later…

This week went by super fast for me as usual but, boy oh boy, did I get to listen to & read some fantastic books while I was on the go. Right now I am currently finishing up listening to ‘Who is Maud Dixon?‘ by Alexandra Andrews (Little, Brown & Co, 3/2/21) & it is really good!

Florence Darrow is a small-town striver who believes that she’s destined to become a celebrated writer. When she stumbles into the opportunity to become the assistant to “Maud Dixon,” a celebrated-but anonymous-novelist (think: Elena Ferrante), she believes that the universe is finally providing her big chance. The arrangement feels idyllic; Helen can be prickly, but she is full of pointed wisdom on both writing and living. She even invites Florence along on a research trip to Morocco, where her new novel is set. Florence has never been out of the country before; maybe, she imagines, she’ll finally have something exciting to write about herself.

But when Florence wakes up in the hospital after a terrible car crash, and Helen is dead, she begins to imagine what it might be like to ‘upgrade’ into not only Helen’s life, but also that of Helen’s bestselling pseudonym, Maud Dixon…

The narrators do such a fantastic job of bringing this story to life & it’s very engaging. The cover is kind of boring, but that single squiggly line that makes the shape of two women’s faces kind of grew on me as I listened to the story. Definitely recommend it! (Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads.)

On Tuesday I posted about the new release, ‘Maybe One Day‘ by Debbie Johnson (William Morrow, 3/2/21). A poignant, heartbreaking, yet heartwarming story that will give you all the emotions.

In the spirit of Ruth Hogan and Adriana Trigiani, bestselling British author Debbie Johnson brings us the ultimate in “happy tears”: a heartfelt story about a woman seizing the chance to reconnect with her lost love.

The truth changes everything.
For years Jess believed that Joe—the father of her child and the only man she ever loved—had abandoned her during her greatest time of need. That belief nearly destroyed her. Seventeen years later, when cleaning out her mother’s house, Jess unpacks a box of cards and letters hidden in the attic and makes a discovery that changes everything about life as she knows it.

Shaken but empowered, Jess—and her two stalwart best friends—set out on a remarkable journey to follow a set of faded postmarks around the world. Is Joe still alive? Does he know that Jess never forgot him? Maybe their love story isn’t over.
Maybe one day they’ll find each other again…
(Click HERE for my Instagram post & HERE to add the book on Goodreads.)

Thursday’s post posted sort of late in the day & was a more personal one, giving a bit of an explanation as to why I am currently still in so much physical pain today. The post photo also features some of my lettering that I enjoy doing in the evening as a way to decompress & wind down my day. Handwriting has always been something I have enjoyed doing & I am a total “font-nerd” or typophile (a lover of printed matter or typography). I am not even sure how many different pens I own, but I would venture to say the number is around 500-600. And Lord have mercy, but I’m in a couple of “pen obsessed” groups on Facebook & they are quite a motley group of enablers, but I love it!
(Click HERE for that post on Instagram.)

Friday’s post is what I like to call #ForeverFriday when I post a book review for a Forever Publishing recent release, & this weeks book is ‘Sandcastle Beach’ by Jenny Holiday, book #3 in Holiday’s Matchmaker Bay series. This beach read is sassy, witty, sweet & sexy! All three books in the series are like $5 on Amazon & would make great additions to your seaside (or poolside) reading. You can click HERE to see the post on Instagram & for those that may ask, the cup featured in the post is by Kate Spade & was bought a couple years ago at T J Maxx (aka: the GREATEST store ever!).

About the book:
From the USA Today bestselling “master of witty banter” (Entertainment Weekly) comes a hilarious and heartwarming romance about two enemies whose feud turns red-hot.
Maya Mehta will do anything to save her tiny, beloved community theater. Put on musicals she hates? Check. Hire an arrogant former-pop-star-turned-actor? Done. But what Maya really needs to save her theater is Matchmaker Bay’s new business grant. She’s got some serious competition, though: Benjamin “Law” Lawson, local bar owner, Jerk Extraordinaire, and Maya’s annoyingly hot arch nemesis. Let the games begin.

Law loves nothing more than getting under Maya’s skin, and making those gorgeous eyes dance with irritation. But when he discovers the ex-pop star has a thing for Maya, too, Law decides he’s done waiting in the wings-starting with a scorching-hot kiss. Turns out there’s a thin line between hate and irresistible desire, and Maya and Law are really good at crossing it. But when things heat up, will they allow their long-standing feud to get in the way of their growing feelings? Click HERE to add the book to your Goodreads.

Yesterday’s post was about one of my favorite books so far this year, ‘The Lost Apothecary‘ by Sarah Penner (Park Row, 3/2/21). I hadn’t planned to post about it until next week, but I wanted to encourage anyone who hadn’t made their Book of the Month selections yet to grab this one, since it was one of the March choices. ‘The Lost Apothecary‘ is such a fabulous book! I literally didn’t want it to end, that’s how much I loved it!

A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course.
Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.
Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive. (Click HERE to add the book to your Goodreads & HERE to see my Instagram post.)

Last, but certainly not least, today’s post features a fab new book, ‘When We Were Young’ by Jaclyn Goldis (Forever Pub, 2/6/21) & a splendid dose of serendipity! Have you ever discovered something you bought at a thrift store actually belonged to a family member long ago? That happened to me today!

Today began w/ me starting a new book (as mentioned above). I was really looking forward to starting this book after reading many fantastic reviews & having just finished (& loved!) ‘The Lost Apothecary’ which also has 3 amazing female protagonists & takes place in the past & present day.

As I was getting my props together, I decided to use two of my vintage luggage pieces that I bought on 2 separate shopping trips last year at a local Goodwill. The luggage belonged to the same person as was evident by personalization inside both pieces via an inked address stamper. Since this sort of stamper is meant for paper, not the silky material inside of the cases, it was very blurry, & the lettering bled so much that I never really bothered to get a closer look at the name. I could only see a nearby city fairly well & really the name didn’t matter to me that much…until today.

Today I put on my readers, used my camera’s magnifying glass, & I was absolutely flabbergasted. Now I know why the first piece appealed to me so much & why there was a second piece at the shop a week later, as if waiting for me to reunite it w/ it’s partner at home: the luggage belonged to my Grandfather’s brother, my great Uncle! Holy serendipity! My great uncle passed away at the age of 97 in 2014. All this time & I had no idea they had belonged to him.

The book, ‘When We Were Young’, spans 3 generations & is a page-turner of a debut full of family secrets, heart-wrenching drama, & second chances. My vintage luggage, now heirloom, also spans 3 generations & is all about family, too! I’m loving this book so far & think you all would, too! (Click HERE to read more about it on Goodreads & HERE to go to my Instagram post.)

Well, that’s my reading week in a nutshell. Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend & best wishes in your weeks to come! I leave you with my Friday evening lettering project, which may be hard to tell from the poor quality pic, but it’s on a shimmery pink cardstock & was done with Mildliner Clickart Pens by Zebra & Micron’s. (Ahhh, pens!💕)

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction · Romance · RomCom · WomensFiction

Book Review, chocolate cake, peppermint hot chocolate and snow flurries!

Click HERE to visit my IG post!

We made it to November, folks! Thank you @avonbooks for my gift copy of ‘Tools of Engagement’ by Tessa Bailey! (pub 9/22)

In Tessa Bailey’s latest rom-com, two enemies team up to flip a house… and the sparks between them might burn the place down or ignite a passion that neither can ignore! 

Hair, makeup, clothing, decor… everything in Bethany Castle’s world is organized, planned, and styled to perfection. Which is why the homes she designs for her family’s real estate business are the most coveted in town. The only thing not perfect? Her track record with men. She’s on a dating hiatus and after helping her friends achieve theirdreams, Bethany finally has time to focus on her own: flip a house, from framework to furnishings, all by herself. Except her older brother runs the company and refuses to take her seriously.

When a television producer gets wind of the Castle sibling rivalry, they’re invited on Flip Off, a competition to see who can do the best renovation. Bethany wants bragging rights, but she needs a crew and the only member of her brother’s construction team willing to jump ship is Wes Daniels, the new guy in town. His Texas drawl and handsome face got under Bethany’s skin on day one, and the last thing she needs is some cocky young cowboy in her way.

As the race to renovate heats up, Wes and Bethany are forced into close quarters, trading barbs and biting banter as they remodel the ugliest house on the block. It’s a labor of love, hate, and everything in between, and soon sparks are flying. But Bethany’s perfectly structured life is one kiss away from going up in smoke and she knows falling for a guy like Wes would be a flippingdisaster.

So, I wanted to use my cute, little pink tool bag in my pics, but then I remembered I gave it to my daughter when she moved out, so heads up, Santa…mama needs a new, pink tool bag set! Instead in my pic you get a peak at my home office along w/ my lunch of homemade sugar-free, gluten-free chocolate cake & hot cocoa.

About the book, first off, can I just say how much I love the name of the fiction competition show: ‘Flip Off’. ‘Tools of Engagement’ is Bailey’s 3rd book in her Hot & Hammered series, but it can be read as a stand-alone. The book is flipping hilarious w/ it’s witty banter, but it also is heart-tugging w/ emotions at times, romantic, & swoony, & filled w/ enough blush-worthy steam to warm you up during these chilly Nov days! (We actually are getting our first snowflakes right now as I write this!)

The whole Hot & Hammered series is wonderful, reality escapism at it’s romantic best & I highly recommend them all! Fans of HGTV’s house flipping & remodeling shows will love this latest installment!

Click HERE to add this to your Goodreads list!
Click HERE to add this to your Goodreads list!
Click HERE to add this to your Goodreads lists!

Be sure to visit my Instagram account & give my post some LIKE love! Click HERE to go there now!

New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey aspires to three things. Writing hot and unforgettable, character-driven romance, being a good mother and eventually sneaking onto the judging panel on a reality show baking competition. She lives on Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter, writing all day and rewarding herself with a cheese plate and Netflix binges in the evening. If you want sexy, heartfelt, humorous romance with a guaranteed happy ending, you’ve come to the right place.

Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Fiction · Romance · RomCom · WomensFiction

Blog Tour and Pub Day for e-book ‘Why I Held Your Hand’ by Augusta Reilly

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Happy Pub Day & Thank You to @getredpr #booktour & @augustareillyb for my e-copy of ‘Why I Held Your Hand‘ by Augusta Reilly!

Here’s an e-book release that will surely get your blood pumping! There’s a little sugar & a lot of spice in this fairly short, rom-com, available today in e-book form…

Laura Delaney loves her small mountain hometown of North Powell with its quaint charm, stately Victorian homes & surrounding hiking trails. Unfortunately, when it comes to attracting travel dollars, it can no longer compete with the flashy hot springs & ski slopes of nearby competitors.

That’s why she hires a hotshot marketing team to figure out how to inject the old magic back into North Powell’s sagging tourist trade. What she doesn’t expect is for the team to include David Harper. Smart, funny, handsome, & amazing in bed, he’s the perfect man. All she needs to do now is keep their relationship under wraps until the project is over.

But that’s easier said than done when she’s assigned to work with Spence Markham, the company’s offbeat “idea man” & David’s professional nemesis. When Spence suggests hosting a Dickens Festival to revitalize the town’s once-booming holiday season, Laura is thrilled. She’s even more thrilled when Spence falls in love with Powell House, the dilapidated Victorian that Laura hopes to renovate & turn into a town museum. But is Spence falling in love with her as well?

As the Festival nears, Laura’s feelings for both men intensify. Her relationship w/ David has only gotten better—& hotter—& yet she finds herself counting down the days until she can see Spence again. Soon, what started as a simple assignment becomes a tale of two possible futures. But which one will Laura choose?

Why I Held Your Hand‘ is a quick, charming, festive rom-com with small-town atmosphere (that worked well for this small-town girl), & enough romance, spice & steam to keep the heat of summer hanging on! (Seriously, you may need to turn the A/C on for this one!)

Click HERE to order this now on Kindle.
Click HERE to add this to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to visit my Instagram post & give it some LIKE love! (maybe even share it in your stories…*hint hint*)

Augusta Reilly has been writing for women’s magazines and literary publications for two decades. In her earlier years, she was a prolifically (if not proudly) published pulp fiction author whose anonymous literary masterpieces included ‘I Had The New Year’s Baby With Santa!’, ‘Prom Night in the County Morgue!’, ‘My Husband’s Sperm Were Kidnapped and Held For Ransom!’, ‘My Son the Pimp!’, and countless other titles, all of which ended in an exclamation point. She is a graduate of McGill University and lives in beautiful Douglas County, Colorado with her husband, three cats, and way too many kids.

BeachReads · Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Booksparks · Fiction · Romance · RomCom · WomensFiction

Online Book Tour for ‘Kiss My Cupcake’ by Helena Hunting

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QOTD: Do you have a sweet tooth? (I totally do!) Well, have I got a book that will get your taste buds tingling & your heart swooning!

Thank you @booksparks & @readforeverpub for my gifted copy of Helena Hunting‘s latest rom-com, ‘Kiss My Cupcake‘! This book published on 8/11 by Forever Publishing.

*As two neighborhood shop owners battle for business, they prove opposites attract in this outrageously funny romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of ‘Meet Cute, ‘The Good Luck Charm‘ & over a dozen other novels.

Blaire Calloway has planned every Instagram-worthy moment of her cupcake & cocktails shop launch down to the tiniest detail. What she didn’t plan on? Ronan Knight & his old-school sports bar next door opening on the very same day. He may be super swoony, but Blaire hasn’t spent years obsessing over buttercream & bourbon to have him ruin her chance at success.

From axe throwing (his place) to frosting contests (hers), Blaire & Ronan are constantly trying to one-up each other in a battle to win new customers. But with every clash, there’s also an undeniable chemistry. When an even bigger threat to their business comes to town, they’re forced to call a temporary time-out on their own war & work together. And the more time Blaire spends getting to know the real Ronan, the more she wonders if it’s possible to have her cupcake & eat it too.

We actually have one of those axe throwing bars in the next town over & I am still dumbfounded by the very fact that axe throwing while consuming alcohol exists! Cupcakes & adult bev’s, on the other hand…now THAT I am down with!

I just received ‘Kiss My Cupcake‘ a couple days ago & I started reading it that same night! I will probably finish it later today, but so far I am LOVING it! It is hilarious, charming, sexy & very engaging! Hunting does such a great job of creating a sense of place, you can practically smell the buttercream frosting (& bourbon)! I can’t wait to get back to reading it this evening! (& the flavors of cupcakes Blaire whips up in the book will make you drool with confectionery delight!) ‘Meet Cute‘ is also a super engaging, romantic, fun read that I definitely recommend & I will be reading ‘The Good Luck Charm‘ soon, too!

Kiss My Cupcake‘ & Helena’s other books are available now. Look for it at your local indie bookstore today!
(PS: Did you know this Sat is National Independent Book Store Day? What better way to help them celebrate than to support your local (or an online) indie bookstore! You can use BookStoreLink to locate indie bookstores. (PS…Today is the last day to enter the Murderino Monday giveaway on Instagram. Click HERE to go to that post.)

Click HERE to read more about ‘Meet Cute”
Click HERE to read more about ‘The Good Luck Charm’

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. She writes all things romance — contemporary, romantic comedy, sports and angsty new adult. Helena loves to bake cupcakes, has been known to listen to a song on repeat 1512 times while writing a book, and if she has to be away from her family, prefers to be in warm weather with her friends.

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction · OwnVoices · Romance · RomCom · YAbooks

Book Review: ‘Dating Makes Perfect’ by Pintip Dunn (pub 8/18)

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Thank you @entangledteen for my gifted copy of ‘Dating Makes Perfect‘ by Pintip Dunn! (pub date 8/18)

QOTD: Do you like reading YA fiction or rom-coms? Which one’s did you love the most & recommend? (Please leave a comment. I love to see other readers recommendations!)

The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed.
Until now.

In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of the dating practice that they didn’t get in high school.

In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must practice fake dating in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course—and organized based on their favorite rom-coms. ’Cause that won’t end in disaster.

The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, infuriating, and way too good-looking. Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. And her parents love him.

If only he weren’t her sworn enemy…

Told in an authentic, Thai-American #ownvoice , ‘Dating Makes Perfect is a contemporary YA rom-com that will warm your heart, make you laugh & sigh out loud, & you may even find yourself GrubHub’ing some local Thai take-out after reading some of the drool-worthy chapters! Culturally immersive, richly layered in emotion, wit, & realistic family dynamics, these complex, well-fleshed out characters will make your heart swoon! And you will adore Winnie & the rest of her sisters!

Overall, a feel-good, coming of age, family dram-com & second chances at love story that you don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy! A perfect summer read!

Click HERE to add ‘Dating Makes Perfect’ to your Goodreads TBR.
Click HERE to visit Pintip Dunn’s website.
Click HERE to visit Pintip’s Instagram page.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post some love!

What others are saying about ‘Dating Makes Perfect:

“Dunn, a first-generation Thai American, takes on the enemies-to-lovers romance trope with punchy dialogue and adorable twists while paying tribute to the culture’s prioritization of food and family. A laugh-out-loud YA romance with a smart cast.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review
 
“Sweet, spunky, witty, and wise – I feel in love with Winnie and her sisters. Pintip has a rare knack of blending action and adventure into a contemporary rom-com that keeps the pages turning.” – Abigail Hing Wen, New York Times bestselling author of LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI
 
“A witty culturally immersive romance with enthralling dialogue and captivating characters… A masterful story about family obligations, first crushes, and second chances.” – Nisha Sharma, award-winning author of MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE
  
This book made my Thai-American heart soar. Every detail–from the mouth-watering foods to Winnie’s tight-knit but strict Thai family–serve to tell a story that is authentic, layered, and rings so true.“- Christina Soontornvat, author of A WISH IN THE DARK

“A smart, funny, and endearing portrayal of budding romance, the power of sisterly love, and the pressure to be the perfect daughter.” – Farrah Rochon, USA Today Bestselling author of The Boyfriend Project 
 
“A delicious rom-com concoction that immerses readers in a Thai teen drama they’ll adore. Add a pinch of sister envy, the cute guy you love to hate, immigrant parent dynamics, a few kaffir lime leaves, and you’ll get a dish that’ll keep you entertained until the last page.” – Lydia Kang, award-winning author of Young Adult Fiction 
 
“Bubbling over with charisma and charm, DATING MAKES PERFECT is a swoontasm of adorable characters, sparkling wit, and captivating Thai culture. You will totally want to date this book!” – Darcy Woods, award-winning author of SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS
 
“An absolute feast for readers. The characters are deliciously complex, the family dynamics are rich and intense, and the tension between the main character Winnie and her enemy Mat is drool-worthy. This book will completely quench your hunger for a believable enemies to lovers rom-com!” – Becky Wallace, author of STEALING HOME and FAR FROM NORMAL

“So. Much. Fun! Pintip Dunn’s rom-com is an authentic, hilarious and irresistible love letter to Thai culture–not to mention desserts. Foodies, be warned–don’t read this on an empty stomach!” – Vanessa Barneveld, award-winning author of THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE and THE ABDUCTION 
 

A first-generation Thai American, Pintip Dunn grew up in a tiny town in Kansas. She went on to graduate from Harvard , magna cum laude, with an A.B. & to receive her J.D. at Yale Law School.
Pintip is a two-time RITA® award winner & a NYTimes bestselling author of young adult fiction. Her books have been translated into four languages, & they have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award & a Kirkus Best Book of the Year.
She’s obsessed with penguins, & her childhood dream was to marry someone whose last name was “Gwynn”―so that her name could be “Pin Gwynn.” Alas, she got stuck with Dunn instead, but her husband & 3 children are worth the sacrifice. They all visit Thailand yearly in order to stay connected with her family.