Guest Post: Laura Childs – HAUNTED HIBISCUS

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Hello, my fellow bibliophiles. I hope that everyone is safe, warm, and dry given the ever-changing weather happening worldwide these days. Unlike many of my family and friends, I’m not a coffee drinker although I used to be. I don’t know what happened, but about 20 years ago I could no longer stand the smell or taste of coffee and immediately switched to loose-leaf tea. I began to research the history of tea, grabbing every book I could find and stumbled across The Tea Shop Mystery series by Laura Childs and was hooked. I began to eagerly await each new release in this series and tried to guess what tea or herbal tisane might be featured. My ex-husband’s family is from the Middle East and loves drinks made with hibiscus so I figuratively jumped for joy at the chance to feature the newest release in the Tea Shop Mystery series, Haunted Hibiscus, and then literally jumped for joy when I found out Laura Childs would be providing a guest post. (Hey, book diva here!) So sit back, enjoy your beverage of choice (today mine is a nice cup of hibiscus herbal tisane, of course!), and enjoy today’s visit by Laura Childs as she talks about recipes. Thank you, Ms. Childs, for all of your delightful books and for visiting with us today. The blog is now yours.

Let There Be Recipes!

by Laura Childs, New York Times bestselling author

of Haunted Hibiscus, a Tea Shop Mystery

Okay, who doesn’t love a recipe? I for one am constantly scrambling to clip recipes out of magazines and newspapers – especially if they sound irresistible, are a special new treat, or simple to prepare. Yup, I’m big on easy-peasey. Which is why I make sure all the recipes featured in my twenty-two Tea Shop Mysteries are quick and affordable with easy-to-source ingredients. Oh, you don’t want to trip from grocery to co-op hunting for star anise or licorice root? Me neither.

I also can’t carve out an extra hour in the day for prepping ingredients and then cooking them. Nope, I’m a hurry up, get it done kind of cook. And I promise you that the recipes in Haunted Hibiscus for Charleston Apple Pudding, Best Banana Bread Ever, Chai-Flavored Cupcakes, Pumpkin Soup, Crab and Avocado Tea Sandwiches, Southern Peach Crisp, and several more are a snap to fix.

I’d rather you spend that extra hour taking it easy. Reading a book (any book), sipping some tea, and kicking back. As you well know, this is the time for self-care. We’ve all been through a whirlwind this past year. It’s been exhausting, fruitless, and very trying.

So before you drain your energy trying to bake a tricky Tarte Tatin Flambé, why not just drain a can of peaches and make Southern Peach Crisp.

Sound good? Here’s the recipe:

Southern Peach Crisp

3 cups canned peaches (drained)

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 cup self-rising flour

1 cup sugar

1 egg

6 Tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place peaches in baking dish and sprinkle with lemon juice. In medium sized bowl, mix flour, sugar, and egg together – mixture will be lumpy. Spread mixture over peaches, then pour melted butter on top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Yields 4 servings. (Hint: May be served with whipped cream or ice cream.)

Wishing you all my best,

Laura Childs

Haunted Hibiscus (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs

About Haunted Hibiscus

Haunted Hibiscus (A Tea Shop Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
22nd in Series
Publisher: Berkley (March 2, 2021)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489691
ISBN-13: 978-0451489692
Kindle ASIN: B089S6MFBH

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Google Play | IndieBound

Tea maven Theodosia Browning brews up trouble in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

It is the week before Halloween and Theodosia Browning, proprietor of the Indigo Tea Shop, and her tea sommelier, Drayton, are ghosting through the dusk of a cool Charleston evening on their way to the old Bouchard Mansion. Known as the Gray Ghost, this dilapidated place was recently bequeathed to the Heritage Society, and tonight heralds the grand opening of their literary and historical themed haunted house.

Though Timothy Neville, the patriarch of the Heritage Society, is not thrilled with the fund-raising idea, it is the perfect venue for his grandniece, Willow French, to sign copies of her new book, Carolina Crimes & Creepers.

But amid a parade of characters dressed as Edgar Allan Poe, Lady Macbeth, and the Headless Horseman, Willow’s body is suddenly tossed from the third-floor tower room and left to dangle at the end of a rope. Police come screaming in and Theodosia’s boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley, is sent to Willow’s apartment to investigate. But minutes later, he is shot and wounded by a shadowy intruder.

Timothy begs Theodosia to investigate, and shaken by Riley’s assault, she readily agrees. Now, she questions members of the Heritage Society and a man who claims the mansion is rightfully his, as well as Willow’s book publisher and her fiancé, all while hosting a Sherlock Holmes tea and catering several others.

But the Gray Ghost holds many secrets, as do several other key suspects, while this murder mystery plays out on the eve of Halloween.

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

About Laura Childs

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links:
Website – http://www.laurachilds.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31

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March 2 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
March 2 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
March 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
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March 5 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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Book Spotlight: EGG SHOOTERS by Laura Childs

  Egg Shooters

(A Cackleberry Club Mystery)

by Laura Childs

About Egg Shooters

Egg Shooters (A Cackleberry Club Mystery)

Cozy Mystery

9th in Series

Publisher: Berkley (January 26, 2021)

Hardcover: 304 pages

ISBN-10: 0425281744

ISBN-13: 978-0425281741

Kindle ASIN: B085BVYLKY

A murder in the local hospital is raising everyone’s temperature in the latest book in the New York Times bestselling Cackleberry Club series.

Suzanne Dietz co-owner of the Cackleberry Club Café is visiting her fiancée, Dr. Sam Hazelet when a masked gunman bursts into the emergency room. He shoots two people and would probably have done more damage had Suzanne not brained him with a thermos full of chili. Still, the gunman manages to escape.

Now the ladies of the Cackleberry Club are determined to find the killer before he finds them.

Purchase Links: Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play IndieBound
 
 

About Laura Childs

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

Laura’s Links:
Website – http://www.laurachilds.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31
 
 
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January 28 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

January 29 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW

January 29 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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January 31 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW

January 31 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

February 1 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW

February 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

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February 3 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

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2020 Book 231: PARTY OF TWO by Jasmine Guillory

Party of Two, Wedding Date Series #5, by Jasmine Guillory 
ISBN: 9780593100813 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780593100820 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780593100837 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780593214534 (audiobook)
ASIN: B0842XN95M (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B081Y3TT9C (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 23, 2020 
Publisher: Berkley Books



A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking.

Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can’t resist–it is chocolate cake, after all.

Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble–not just some privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Because of Max’s high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?





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Jasmine Guillory has returned with book five in the “Wedding Date Series” with Party of Two. If you read The Wedding Date, then you’ll probably remember the brief appearance of Olivia Monroe, sister to Alexa. Then Olivia was working in New York, but she’s now returned to California and is the process of setting up her own law firm with her good friend, Ellie Spencer. Olivia isn’t exactly averse to starting a relationship, but her intention is to focus on building her new law firm. Her plans change when she meets the smart and attractive Max, who turns out to be Senator Maxwell Stewart Powell III. Not only is Max one of the youngest senators in Congress he’s also one of the “hottest” bachelors. Olivia isn’t exactly poor, but she is somewhat conservative and has a tendency to think, okay over-think most decisions, especially those that may impact her professional career. She’s learned to curb her impulses and not always say the first thing that comes to mind and that’s exactly what Max seems to do, even if it sometimes gets him into some trouble he always finds a way to come through untarnished. Olivia and Max are true opposites and initially take their relationship very slow, but then once they realize they’re “in love” the decision is made to “go public.” Olivia is somewhat hesitant about what this may mean for a White man dating a Black woman but she’s willing to give their relationship a chance. Until Max puts Olivia in a bad position by bringing up something from her past at a public event without her foreknowledge or permission. For Olivia, this is one blow too many from their relationship and she’s simply not sure if she can handle Max’s impulsive nature. Can opposites attract and if so, can they stay together for the long haul? Will true love reign supreme or is it truly over for Olivia and Max?

It seems a bit strange, but for those of you that are unaware, June is Migraine Awareness Month and this month I’ve had more than my usual number of severe migraine days. Yes, I get a migraine headache every day, but I can usually push through them, but this month I’ve spent at least half of the month in bed with the lights off, phone ringer off, and no reading. You know it’s bad when I’m not reading folks. So I was a bit late to the party in reading my review copy of Party of Two (yes, I know that’s an incredibly bad pun and yes it was intended). If you’ve been following my blog for any time now (and I hope you have), then you’ll know that I’ve read and loved all of the previous books written by Ms. Guillory. Each time, I think there’s no way they can get any better, but amazingly they do. Each book pulls me and I read them in one day, often in one sitting and it was no different with Party of Two. I read it yesterday evening without any food/beverage breaks or other interruptions. I enjoyed the developing relationship between Olivia and Max in addition to the conflicts that arose. I enjoyed Olivia’s friendships in her new hometown, as well as getting reacquainted with Alexa and Drew. And FYI, there is a HEA but you’ll need to read the book to find how the problems are resolved and how they arrive at their happy-ever-after. Seriously, if you’ve read any of the previous books in this series The Wedding Date, The Proposal, The Wedding Party, and Royal Holiday, then you’ll want to grab a copy of Party of Two as soon as possible. If you haven’t read The Wedding Date, The Proposal, The Wedding Party, or Royal Holiday and you’re a romance reader you are seriously missing out on a fantastic series. Take a long weekend or your staycation and read all five books, you can thank me later. For this reader, migraine headaches permitting, I plan to spend the next weekend re-reading the entire series. 

Happy Reading y’all! 💕


(NOTE: To give you an idea about how serious I am about this series and author, last summer I drove over 210 miles one-way from WV to OH to see the author and get my copies of her books signed. And I took my then 84-y.o. mother along with me. My mom decided she had to read the books after the discussion in the bookstore and she’s now hooked on this series as well. So don’t just take my word on it that this series is great, take the word of an almost 86-y.o. woman that’s a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother!)



Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

2020 Book 5: YOU WERE THERE TOO by Colleen Oakley



You Were There Too  by Colleen Oakley 
ISBN: 9781984806468 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781984806475 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780593151150 (audiobook – digital)
ASIN: B07RLY8RM6  (Audible edition)
ASIN: B07QPKR9YH  (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 7, 2020 
Publisher: Berkley


Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story about a woman who must choose between the man she loves and the man fate has chosen for her in a novel that reminds us that the best life is one led by the heart.

Mia Graydon’s life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too — unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of them, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he’s been dreaming of her too.

Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if?





Purchase Links:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Audible  |  Barnes and Noble  |  B&N NOOK Book  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  Books-A-Million eBook  |  Downpour Audiobook  |  eBooks  |  !ndigo  |  Kobo Audiobook  |  Kobo eBook  




Mia and Dr. Harrison Graydon seem to have the perfect marriage. They’ve been married for a number of years and the only true tragedy they’ve had to deal with are several miscarriages. They’ve recently relocated from Philadelphia to a small, rural town and Harrison is working at a local hospital. Mia is still focused on her art work, but has yet to find a job. They’re both looking forward to having a child as Mia is currently pregnant. Then tragedy strikes again and Mia has another miscarriage. Mia is emotionally distraught over losing another baby and eagerly latches onto her OB/GYN’s advice to see a specialist for an evaluation. It’s at that point that Mia and Harrison encounter their first true marital hurdle. Harrison is at a point where he wants to give up on the notion of having kids and Mia wants to continue no matter what. While Mia is dealing with the emotional overload from the miscarriage and Harrison’s apparent change of mind in terms of having a child, she also runs into her “dream man.” Oliver is someone that Mia has dreamt about for a number of years and to finally see him in this small town makes her begin to question everything. When Harrison takes Mia over to dinner at Oliver’s sister’s house, things get even more strange because Oliver indicates that he has been dreaming about Mia for quite sometime as well. As Oliver and Mia explore the possible meaning of their linked dreams, Mia and Harrison begin to pull apart. Are Oliver and Mia meant to be together or is it supposed to be Harrison and Mia?

I’ve only read one other book by Colleen Oakley, but I enjoyed it so much that when I had the opportunity to read and review You Were There Too, I jumped at the chance. I’m so glad I did! This is not your typical romance story, nor is it a typical story of two married people growing apart. What it is about is growth in relationships, self-discovery, and change. I enjoyed all of the characters and especially the interactions between Mia and Harrison, Mia and Oliver, and Mia and her girlfriend Raya. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mia’s sister’s name was Vivian. (Hey, I love finding my name in fiction as long as the character isn’t a homicidal maniac!) Yes, there’s a lot going on in this story, marital stress, work-related stress, the stress from having a miscarriage, the stress from not finding a job, the stress from not having your art appreciated or sold… basically a lot of normal adult stress. There’s also a lot of joy, joy found from being with family, friends, and lovers/mates. There’s also sadness, some from the miscarriage and some from a totally unexpected twist near the end of the story (and no, I won’t tell you what it is, read it for yourself!). You Were There Too is a story about love, family, friendship, marriage, joy, heartbreak, and above all, possibilities. For those of you that have read anything by Ms. Oakley in the past, I probably don’t have to tell you to add this book to your TBR list, but I will anyway. For those of you looking for realistic fiction that incorporates family dynamics, marital life, bits of romance, and more, then I urge you to add this to your TBR list. Something tells me that this is one of those books that I’ll be rereading in the near future. I enjoyed reading You Were There Too and I only hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Happy Reading!


Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

2019 Book 203: WAITING FOR TOM HANKS by Kerry Winfrey

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey 
ISBN: 9781984804020 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781984804037 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781984890467 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07HLP2MN3 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 11, 2019 
Publisher: Berkley


A rom-com-obsessed romantic waiting for her perfect leading man learns that life doesn’t always go according to a script in this delightfully charming and funny novel.

Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.

When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days…can he?





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To say that Annie Cassidy is obsessed with romantic-comedy films is somewhat of an understatement. She majored in film in college and has studied all things romantic-comedy. She has a picture of Nora Ephron in her bedroom beside a picture of her parents. Her ideal man is the actor Tom Hanks, well Tom Hanks as the characters he portrayed in romantic-comedies from the 1990s. This is partially due to the fact that some of Annie’s best memories are linked to watching romantic-comedies with her mother as well as the fact that her mother constantly told her that she and her father had the kind of forever love portrayed in films. Sadly, Annie’s father died before she was born and then her mother died while she was in high school. Now it seems that Annie is stuck living vicariously through film. Her best friend Chloe is determined to find her real man, but no one can live up to Annie’s idealized and fictionalized Tom Hanks. 

Annie is a late twenty-something still living in her parental home in Columbus, Ohio with her mother’s brother, Don. She works writing articles for the internet and dreams of finishing her own romantic-comedy loosely based on her BFF’s sort of, kind of, almost, love life. Her uncle works part-time at a gaming store and plays Dungeons and Dragons with his friends and attends gaming and other cons. Annie’s friend Chloe works part-time in the neighborhood coffee shop, attends college full-time, and lives in the garage apartment at Annie’s house. When a Hollywood film comes to town, it is thanks to Chloe and Uncle Don that Annie gets hired as the assistant to the director. After a disastrous run-in with the film’s male star, Drew Danforth, Annie is sure that her time on this film is going to be the worst experience of her life. Although Annie and Drew have plenty of misunderstandings, there do seem to be sparks. They only get to spend two weeks together but their non-relationship relationship may just be the real deal until the “great catastrophe” occurs. Is it possible for Annie to rectify the situation and apologize to Drew before it’s too late or has she lost her real life “Tom Hanks” forever?

The only thing better than a straight romance or a romantic-suspense read for the summer might be a romantic-comedy. I read Waiting for Tom Hanks in just a few hours over the course of a night and late afternoon (darn you migraine headaches) and thoroughly enjoyed it. One of the reasons for my enjoyment was the mention of one of my favorite indie bookstores (hey, Joseph-Beth Cincinnati), along with all of the great romantic-comedy films that I’ve watched and loved over the years. I especially enjoyed the interaction between Annie and her friends in the coffee shop: Chloe, Nick, Tobin, and Gary. And the date with Barry was hilarious (trust me when you read the book you’ll more than understand). I enjoyed the push-pull relationship between Annie and Drew and their constant struggle to understand one another. Waiting for Tom Hanks is a bit more than a romantic-comedy in my opinion, it’s also a little bit of a coming-of-age story, a story about self-awareness and self-realization, a story about family secrets, and yes, romance. For my romance readers, if you’re looking for a fun romance read then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of Waiting for Tom Hanks. For those of you looking for a light-hearted read for your vacation or staycation, then I recommend you grab a copy of Waiting for Tom Hanks to read. Seriously, Waiting for Tom Hanks is the type of story that has a little bit of something for everyone (did I mention Wookies?). Happy Reading! 📖



Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

2019 Book 156: THE WEDDING PARTY by Jasmine Guillory

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory 
ISBN: 9781984802194 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781984802200 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781984890528 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07JL42SQ6 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 16, 2019 
Publisher: Berkley Books


As seen on The Today Show

The new exhilarating romance from The New York Times bestselling author of The Proposal, a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick! Maddie and Theo have two things in common:

1. Alexa is their best friend2. They hate each other

After an “oops, we made a mistake” night together, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking, agreeing they would end it once the wedding is over. When it’s suddenly pushed up and they only have a few months left of secret rendezvouses, they find themselves regretting that the end is near. Two people this different can’t possibly have a connection other than the purely physical, right?

But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.





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The only thing that Maddie Foster and Theo Foster seem to have in common is their friendship with Alexa Monroe. Maddie thinks that Theo is somewhat of a prude given to mansplaining and touting his Harvard degree. Theo seems to think that Maddie’s job as a fashion stylist is a waste of time and bordering on the idiotic. To say that these two rub each other the wrong way is a major understatement, but all of that seems to change on the night of Theo’s birthday party. Maddie agrees to accompany Alexa and actually has a good time. Halfway through the evening, Alexa runs into Drew (read The Wedding Date to find out more about these two) and the romance that was on-the-rocks seems to be back on steady ground and Alexa leaves with Drew, leaving Maddie alone at the party. Maddie’s attempt to exit the party solo goes nowhere as she’s walked to her car by none other than the birthday boy. This walk turns into her giving Theo a ride home, a taunt about dancing, and before you know it, Maddie and Theo are tearing up the sheets. The next morning, Maddie and Theo agree that this was an aberration and will never happen again, but it does repeatedly. Before you know, Maddie and Theo are routinely texting. Maddie is cheering Theo on behind-the-scenes with his work projects and Theo is doing the same for Maddie. When Theo is injured by a protester during a campaign speech, it is Maddie that shows up at the hospital, stays all night, and accompanies Theo home ensuring he is well cared for and safe. Just when it seems like things are going great for the two of them, something happens and their relationship is over. This wouldn’t be a problem except Alexa is getting married in a few weeks and Alexa is her bridesmaid and Theo is her bridesman. Can you say awkward?! Will they be able to mend fences and admit they love one another without destroying their friend’s wedding?

I initially read The Wedding Party a few weeks ago when I was traveling to Florida for my great-niece’s high school graduation. Most of you know that I read about a book a day, so I felt it only proper to re-read The Wedding Party before writing this review. Okay, I didn’t really have to re-read the book since I had made pretty good notes, I just wanted the excuse to re-read it. I enjoy a good romance as much as I enjoy a good mystery or suspense read, and Ms. Guillory provides witty, sexy, romances to read with highly relatable characters. These characters are super-rich, but they are smart, well-educated, well-spoken, and hard-working. Maddie is a fashion stylist trying to grow her business and is addicted to reality television shows like The Great British Bake Off, Say Yes to the Dress, and more. Although Theo does initially come across as a prudish, mansplaining elitist, he isn’t any of those. He is exacting and somewhat of a perfectionist. Yes, he did go to Harvard, but he doesn’t look down on anyone that didn’t go to an Ivy-league college or college at all. Theo holds himself to higher standards than he’ll hold anyone else to and as the public relations person for the mayor of Berkley, he always feels that he must be better than anyone else and never make mistakes. Part of that is due to his insecurity issues and part of that is due to the double-standards held for people of color in many industries (yes, it is a real thing). I enjoyed the push/pull relationship between Maddie and Theo, as well as getting to know a different side to Alexa. Yes, there’s a happy ending, this is a romance! If you’ve read The Wedding Date or The Proposal then I strongly encourage you to grab a copy of The Wedding Party as soon as possible. If you haven’t read The Wedding Date or The Proposal and you’re a romance reader (I don’t know why you haven’t read either since I encouraged you to read both of them, but you still have time), then go grab copies of those two books along with a copy of The Wedding Party. Take a long weekend or your vacation/staycation and read all three, you can thank me later. Trust me, you’ll be thanking me later. I’ll probably be re-reading all three while I wait for the next book from Ms. Guillory, Royal Holiday, scheduled for release later this year. Happy Reading my fellow romance readers!


Disclaimer: I received a free print review copy of this book from the publisher along with a digital review copy via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book 422: THE PROPOSAL by Jasmine Guillory

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
ISBN: 9780399587689 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780399587696 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780525635406 (audiobook)
ASIN: B0782YRL2G (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 30, 2018 
Publisher: Berkley Books 


“There is so much to relate to and throughout the novel, there is a sharp feminist edge. Loved this one, and you will too.”–New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay

The author of The Wedding Date serves up a novel about what happens when a public proposal doesn’t turn into a happy ending, thanks to a woman who knows exactly how to make one on her own…

When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn’t come as a surprise–or happen in front of 45,000 people.

When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part–they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans…

At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up–in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…



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Nikole “Nik” Paterson thought she was spending a casual date with her boyfriend, Fisher, and his friends on his birthday. Not a sports enthusiast, Nik wasn’t really into the game when all of sudden Fisher tells her to watch something and a proposal shows up on the Jumbotron and Fisher is on bended knee with an engagement ring. To say this was a huge surprise is a major understatement since neither of them had even mentioned being in love with one another. When Nik politely rejects his very-public proposal, Fisher storms off and Nik quickly becomes the object of a viral video and a woman scorned by sports enthusiasts worldwide. Her social media blows up with taunts and threats. Fisher sends her vicious and threatening text messages. The only way Nik was able to safely leave the stadium was to be rescued by Dr. Carlos Ibarra and his sister Angela, who were sitting behind Nik and Fisher and witnessed the entire fiasco. What made everything worse was the fact that Fisher had spelled Nikole’s name wrong on the Jumbotron, not that she was interested in marriage with him in the first place. A chance encounter at Dodger Stadium with Dr. Ibarra quickly becomes a flirtation, then a romantic friendship and before you know it, Nik is meeting his best friends and his family. Can she set aside the ingrained doubts of her self-worth from previous harmful relationships and open herself up to Carlos? Is this just a rebound relationship or something more? 

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory was another delightfully fun, sexy, smart, and fast-paced read. Once again, Ms. Guillory provides an interracial relationship story without race being the primary focus of the story (Nik is Black and Carlos is Latino). A major portion of this story is obviously the relationship between Nik and Carlos, but there’s also the years of self-doubt that Nik is dealing with due to destructive negative feedback from previous relationships. I enjoyed reading about Nik’s friends, Constance and Dana and hope that we’ll be reading their stories in the future (hint, hint). I also enjoyed revisiting Alexa and Drew from The Wedding Date. Carlos and Drew are good friends and Carlos will be the Best Man at Drew and Alexa’s wedding. There’s quite a bit going on in this story, but I found one of the most interesting themes to be the female characters dealing with the after-effects of emotionally abusive relationships, especially with regards to Nik and gym owner Natalie (read the book to learn more). Nik and her friends sign up for a self-defense class after the fallout from “the proposal” and it does quite a bit to restore Nik’s self-confidence. If you’re a romance fan and you’ve read The Wedding Date then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of The Proposalto read. Seriously, this was a great romance read. I’m lending my copy to my 84-y.o. mother to read. (She wondered why I was laughing and smiling so much while reading this book at her house the other day and after I described the book she said she had to read it. Of course, she has to return it to me after she’s finished so I can reread it in the future.) If, for some reason, you haven’t read The Wedding Date and you’re a romance reader, then run out and grab a copy along with a copy of The Proposal. If you’re not a romance reader and are looking for something different to read, then I encourage you to grab copies of The Wedding Date and The Proposal to read as well. You can thank me later. Happy Reading!


Disclaimer:  I received a free print review copy of this book from the publisher. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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2018 Book 310: VOX by Christina Dalcher

Vox by Christina Dalcher
ISBN: 9780440000785 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780440000822 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780525643746 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B079WQK537 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: August 21, 2018 


Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, Vox is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial–this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end. 

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. 


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Imagine waking up one morning, going to work and being told you’re no longer eligible to work anymore simply because you’re female. Then imagine being told that you’re limited to only 100 spoken words a day, you’re not allowed to use sign language of any kind, you can’t write notes, and you’re not allowed access to cell phones, computers, or your bank account. If you’re unmarried, you must get married and if you’re part of the LGBTQIA population, you will be sent away to special camps and you’re children — biological or adopted, will be taken away from you. No this isn’t a world in the distant future, this is America in the near future and the Christian right has taken charge and nothing seems to be standing in their way. Now imagine that something tragic reportedly happens to a member of the President’s extended family and the only people that can help are two female scientists and they’re expected to come up with a vaccine to treat the problem in an incredibly short period of time. The good news is that their “counters” will be removed and they’ll be allowed to freely speak to their families and fellow researchers. The bad news is that the vaccine and the research may well be used for nefarious purposes by the government. The question becomes will they or won’t they help? Is there anything they can possibly do to stop the government from continuing to go off half-cocked?

Dr. Jean McClellan is a neurolinguist and has been married for more than 18 years to Patrick, a medical doctor. Patrick is now a high ranking official in the current presidential regime, their eldest son, Steven, is a proud member of the Pure Boys movement that monitors and reports on others in area schools and within their community, and their daughter Sonia is only being taught what is deemed necessary to become a good wife and mother. All Jean wants is for things to go back to normal and she knows that although she hasn’t been able to be outspoken in the past, she must do everything possible to force a change…no matter what.

Vox by Christina Dalcher is a powerful and scary book. In some ways, it is reminiscent of both The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and When She Woke by Hillary Jordan and in others, it is very different. All three books feature dystopian societies where ultraconservative religious groups are in power and forcing their societal and moral visions on others. Adding to the drama within Vox is the notion that females should be seen and not heard and are penalized if they go over their 100 words per day with ever-increasing electric shocks via their “counters” attached to their wrists (yes, even infants and young girls). Obviously, there’s a lot more going on in this story than just the societal injustices and the silencing of females, Jean and her husband Patrick are experiencing marital problems, there’s an extramarital affair resulting in a pregnancy, and much more. I found Vox to be a fast-paced and highly engrossing read (I woke up very early one morning, began reading it, and simply couldn’t stop until the very end). I enjoyed the characters, the dialogue, the settings, and the action. If you enjoy reading about family angst and drama coupled with societal injustice with touches of dystopian science-fiction and a pinch of horror, then Vox is the perfect read for you. (This book has a little bit of something for everyone.) I highly recommend this book to everyone as I feel it is a timely and worthwhile read, hopefully, you’ll agree. For now, I’ll be setting aside Vox and hope to reread it again in the near future (yes, I enjoy rereading books!). I also look forward to reading more from Ms. Dalcher.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the




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2018 Book 38: THE WEDDING DATE by Jasmine Guillory

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
ISBN: 9780399587665 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780399587672 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780525530893 (audiobook)
ASIN: B072LT1XT5 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 30, 2018 
Publisher: Berkley Jove Books


I vow to take thee as my date, to pretend to have and to hold, from rehearsal dinner to reception end, till Sunday do us part.


A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other… 

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want… 



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Alexa Monroe is an accomplished young woman and isn’t really looking for a man or a man bringing complications into her life. She’s a lawyer and the chief of staff for the mayor of Berkeley. Dr. Andrew “Drew” Nichols is a pediatric surgeon from the Los Angeles area (miles away from Berkeley). He’s agreed to be a groomsman in his ex-girlfriend’s wedding and at the last minute, his +1 had to cancel out. After a power outage that strands Alexa and Drew in an elevator and the Fairmont, Alexa unwittingly agrees to become Drew’s date for the weekend. Alexa is not the type of person to make spur of the moment decisions especially about a man she doesn’t know, so her behavior is somewhat shocking to all who know her. But she and Drew connect over the weekend in their “pretend” relationship, so much so that Drew reschedules his flight back to LA after the wedding so he can spend more time with Alexa. What follows is a long-distance relationship that neither one of them saw coming with them hopping planes every weekend to visit one another. In between those weekend visits, they text and text and then text some more. Drew enjoys his time with Alexa and is afraid to put a label on what they have. Alexa isn’t sure where this relationship is going especially since Drew can’t even seem to introduce her to his friend as his girlfriend but simply as “Alexa” and then she learns that he has the annoying habit of politely dropping his “girlfriends” after a two-month run. Is this the end of their relationship since he can’t even admit who she is to his friends? Could they have made their long-distance relationship work without his commitment-phobic issues?

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory was a delightfully fun, sexy, and fast-paced read. It was interesting to read about the relationship dynamic between Alexa and Drew without race being the primary focus (yes, this is an interracial relationship and yes, race is discussed within the story). The story gets sexy and steamy without the author going into graphic detail and there’s plenty of romance without it being over-the-top (such as when Drew gets Alexa sweets for breakfast and makes her coffee just the way she likes it). The Wedding Date also provides political drama (Alexa does work for a politician), medical drama (Drew is a physician), relationship drama, romance, and more. For me, this felt like a  contemporary romance story containing hints of Pride and Prejudice meets Sense & Sensibilities with all of the crossed wires and misunderstandings. I enjoyed the multiple storylines, the characters, and the action and look forward to reading more from Ms. Guillory in the future. If you’re a romance fan, trust me and run out to grab yourself a copy of The Wedding Date to read. 

Disclaimer: I received a free print review copy of this book from the publisher. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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2017 Book 229: ASH AND QUILL by Rachel Caine

Ash And Quill (The Great Library #3) by Rachel Caine 
ISBN: 9780451472410 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780698180833 (ebook)
ASIN: B01M5CRY9P (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 11, 2017 
Publisher: Berkley 

The unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone and Paper and Fire unite to save the Great Library of Alexandria from itself in this electrifying adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny…

Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.

Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library… 


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In a not too distant future, but a world quite unlike the one we live in, the Great Library of Alexandria and its satellite libraries or serapeums rule the world. The Library has the power what knowledge is acceptable and unacceptable, what books are acceptable and which are forbidden, and the general public will never know the difference. Well, the public might not know the difference if it weren’t for groups like the Burners and a small group of Library employees that have uncovered the truth and are willing to fight against the tyranny, injustice, and power that is the Great Library. The fight that started in Alexandria, Egypt has taken our intrepid fighters to Rome, Italy, London, England, and continues in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the third installment of the Great Library series by Rachel Caine with Ash and Quill

We were introduced to Jess Brightwell, Khalila Seif, Glain Waithen, Thomas Schreiber, Morgan Hault, and Dario Santiago when they were postulants to the library, studying under Scholar Christopher Wolfe and guarded by Captain Niccolo Santi. Since then we’ve witnessed the arrest and torture of Thomas simply because he invented a printing press, what amounts to the arrest, isolation, and attempted forced mating (i.e. rape) of Morgan as an Obscurist, and the demotion of Glain simply because she survived a training exercise along with Jess. Khalila and Dario were promoted to research Scholar positions after completing their training and they bore witness to the murder of Dario’s training supervisor simply because he asked her for assistance. Together, Jess, Khalila, Glain, Morgan, Dario, Chris, and Nic are able to get Thomas out of prison and survive another attempt on their lives and just when they think they’ve got it made, they’re “rescued” by burners and taken to Philadelphia. Philadelphia is a city that has been living under siege for over one hundred years, so resources or slim to none. Once again, our troop bands together and tries to make the best of a bad situation and negotiate their way out, but things quickly go from bad to worse and another rescue is required. This time the Brightwell “cousins” (smuggling connections, not blood family connections) step up and provide much-needed transportation out of America for the exiles. Can Jess trust his “cousins” to do the right thing for himself and his friends? Can he finally trust his twin brother and father?

I was excited when provided the opportunity to read Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine because I’ve been reading the Great Library series and fell in love with it. Good news: I’m also excited that the series is not ending with book three, yay! Bad news: Ash and Quill ends with a cliffhanger folks. (No, I’m not going to tell you what the cliffhanger is, read the book!) Once again, there’s a lot of action taking place in the book and our intrepid fighters have to deal with not only the Great Library and its supporters, but also the Burners and their supporters not to mention the Brightwell clan. The Library is after complete power, the Burners are after freedom from tyranny and oppression, and the Brightwell clan and their ilk are after wealth. How can idealism possibly win against them? Don’t despair, our team has a plan. I don’t know what the plan is, but I’m presuming it will be revealed at some point in book four or book five (yes, there are at least two more books in this series). I found Ash and Quill to be a fast-paced and engaging read. I’m glad none of the primary characters have been killed off (I hate it when that happens) and we’re introduced to a whole new cast of bad guys and pseudo-bad guys in Philadelphia and England. If you’ve read Ink and Bone, and Paper and Fire, then you know you want to read Ash and Quill. If you haven’t read this series, then let me pique your interest by saying that this is a world where there aren’t any bookstores, aren’t any local library systems, home libraries are illegal, and the great library of Alexandria has not only survived but has become a superpower that has deemed electricity forbidden. Interested? Of course you are, so get a copy of book one Ink and Bone, and book two Paper and Fire to read before grabbing a copy of Ash and Quill. Once you get immersed in this world, you won’t want to let go. I’m looking forward to the next installment in the Great Library series as I can hardly wait to see what happens next.


Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”








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