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 45: CHECK ME OUT by Becca Wilhite



Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite
ISBN: 9781629723273 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781629735467 (ebook)

ISBN: 9781538488096 (audiobook)

ASIN: B0787CTHTX (Kindle edition)

Publication date: February 3, 2018 
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing


Greta loves her job as assistant librarian. She loves her best friend, Will, the high school civics teacher and debate coach. She even loves her mother despite her obvious disappointment that Greta is still single.

Then she meets Mac in the poetry section of the library, and she is smitten. Mac is heart-stoppingly gorgeous and showers her with affection, poetic text messages, and free hot chocolate at the local café where he works. The only problem is that he seems to be a different person in his texts than in his face-to-face conversation.

When the Franklin Library is threatened with closure, Greta leaps into action. She arranges for a “battle of the bands” book jam, hosts a book signing by a famous author, and finally, stages a protest that raises more than a few eyebrows.

Through it all, she slowly realizes that it is Will, not Mac, who she turns to for support and encouragement. Mac has the looks; Will has the heart. How can she choose between them?

Check Me Out is a contemporary romance–with just a hint of Cyrano de Bergerac–that reminds us that it is what’s on the inside that matters most.



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Greta has worked for the Hamilton library since she was fourteen years old. It was the part-time work at the library that helped her to decide upon her career in library science. After obtaining both her undergraduate and graduate degrees, she’s happy to be back in Hamilton township and working at the Hamilton library as the assistant librarian. The only thing missing from her life is a boyfriend and then voila, in walks Mac and he appears to be everything she’s everything wanted in a man. After checking her out, and a book, he hands her a card indicating he’s her 24th birthday present (kind of, sort of, almost, maybe) from her best friend Will. Greta wishes she could say her relationship with Mac is perfect, but it isn’t as he never seems to ask her what she wants when going out on dates and just takes her to his favorite places initially (Greta doesn’t do well with the Indian restaurant, but he took her out so points to Mac). Mac never says much when they’re together and he always has his phone out, which Greta finds annoying, but he sends her the best text messages ever. Then she finds out that the library may be closed unless a local bond issue passes and Mac just doesn’t seem to get it. He tries to be there for her, but she’s always turning to her bestie Will for advice, help, etc. Greta does everything she can think of to try and bring the library into the spotlight including a literary-themed battle of the bands, bringing a favorite children’s author, and more but it seems like the bond issue is dead before the election day. Then she finds out the Mac isn’t who he seems to be and that Will may have had a hand in the situation? Cutting off Mac doesn’t seem to be so bad but can she sever ties with her best friend? That seems bad enough but then Greta does something that puts the future of her job on the line. 

Check Me Out is a quick, romance read and the first I’ve read by Ms. Wilhite. I found the subject matter to be quite timely because my local library system was dealing with a local bond issue a few years ago and it was unclear if it would pass or not until the last few hours of election day (thankfully, it did). I enjoyed the meet-cute story with Greta and Mac, as well as the best-friend to lover quandary that she finds herself in with Will in the end. Obviously, this is a romance with an HEA, so all ends well but it how Ms. Wilhite gets there that’s important. I don’t know what it says about me, but one of the most enjoyable parts of the storyline were the somewhat snarky tweets that Greta sent out on behalf of the library with the hashtag SaveTheLibrary (which is the exact same hashtag my library system used when it was fighting to secure funding). There’s a bit more than the meet-cute romance set-up, friends-to-lovers angle, and save the library in this story, there’s also an interesting story about the history of the town and one person in particular that Greta gets a chance to meet and befriend. For all of you romance readers that enjoy library-themed reads, you’ll want to grab a copy of Check Me Out to read. For those of you that enjoy library-themed reads and aren’t quite sure about the romance angle, go ahead and get a copy of Check Me Out to read. You’ll enjoy the library action and history in the story and, hopefully, get a laugh or two from the tweets.


Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher 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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2017 Book 386: LIES JANE AUSTEN TOLD ME by Julie Wright




Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright
ISBN: 9781629723426 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781629735580 (ebook)
ASIN: B075TR2TGM (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 7, 2017 
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing


Ever since Emma read Pride and Prejudice, she’s been in love with Mr. Darcy and has regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So naturally, when Emma falls for Blake Hampton and he invites her home to meet his parents, she is positive an engagement is in her future. After all, Blake is a single man in possession of a good fortune, and thus must be in want of a wife.

But when it turns out that what Blake actually wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious. She throws herself deeper into her work as CMO of Kinetics, the fastest growing gym franchise in the nation. She loves her work, and she’s good at it, which is why she bristles when her boss brings in a consultant to help her spearhead the new facilities on the East Coast. Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake’s younger brother, Lucas.

Emma is determined not to fall for Lucas, but as she gets to know him, she realizes that Lucas is nothing like his brother. He is kind and attentive and spends his time and money caring for the less fortunate.

What she can’t understand is why Lucas continues to try to push her back into Blake’s arms when he so clearly has fallen as hard for her as she has fallen for him. It isn’t until Lucas reveals to Emma that he was adopted into the Hampton family that she begins to understand his loyalty to Blake as well as his devotion to the child April-she is Lucas’s biological niece.

Emma opens up to Lucas about the feelings of abandonment she has harbored ever since she was a child and her mother left the family. As she helps Lucas deal with his past demons, she is able to exorcise some of her own.

Realizing that her love life is as complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must find a way to let Blake know that it’s time for him to let her go and to let Lucas know it’s time for him to love her back.  



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Emma Pierce is fierce when it comes to her marketing job. She appreciates her team and is able to pull what is needed from them without hovering, which is probably why she was named chief marketing officer for her company. If only her romantic life was as easily managed as her career. Her boyfriend, Blake Hampton, had invited her to San Diego for a quiet weekend to meet his parents and she had begged off due to work. When one of her coworkers talks her into leaving work and meeting up with Blake, she arrives in San Diego only to find that Blake is entertaining a coworker…a female coworker. Emma had already decided that her hero, Jane Austen, was a liar when it came to romance and this just proves it to her. Fortunately, Blake’s younger brother Lucas comes to her rescue and drives her to the train station as she storms away from the Hampton home estate. Sadly, she returns to work on Monday with her team expecting to find an engagement ring and she has to disappoint them. She’s further disappointed when an East Coast consultant is brought in and it’s Lucas Hampton, who begins to plead his brother’s case during lunch and every spare moment they’re together. A scouting trip to the East Coast with Lucas results in Emma being massively confused and torn between her attraction to Lucas and previous feelings for his brother Blake. What’s a girl to do?

I’m obviously in an Austen frame of mind at the moment (trust me, it’ll make sense when you see my next review), and I found Lies Janes Austen Told Me by Julie Wright to be a fast and engaging read. I liked the characters, especially Emma and Lucas. Emma Pierce is, at least to me, an amalgamation of Emma Woodhouse, Elinor Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennet, and Fanny Price. Lucas seems to be a little bit Edmund Bertram and Edward Ferrars with dashes of George Knightley. There aren’t really any bad guys in this story (hey, it’s a romance and pseudo-coming-of-age story), just lots of misunderstood situations, jumps to conclusions, preconceived prejudices, and romance. Emma is initially disillusioned with reality versus the fictional world of Jane Austen, but once she becomes more self-confident she’s able to trust her feelings and decisions when it comes to romance. If you’re a romance reader, then you’ll definitely want to add Lies Jane Austen Told Me to your TBR list. If you’re looking for something a little different to read, grab a copy of Lies Jane Austen Told Me to read. If you take today’s suggestion along with tomorrow’s suggestion (trust me on this one my friends), your weekend reading has been planned and you’re welcome!


Disclaimer: I received a free print review copy of this book from the author/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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Lies Jane Austen Told Me: A Proper Romance

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Lies Jane Austen Told Me

Book 275: HEART OF GLASS Review

Young, successful and alone…these words describe both Kate Donovan and Daniel Flannery. Kate is a successful journalist and Daniel is a successful builder. They should be happy and enjoying life, but the past keeps intruding into the present in Heart of Glass by Christy Hayes.

Kate Donovan used to be known as Kat Fordham. She was spending the summer in South Carolina at the request of her sister, Julia. The intention was for her to be the unpaid nanny to her twin nieces. Kat didn’t exactly fit Julia’s idea of a well-bred young woman. Julia wanted Kat to hang out with people from the country club, wear the right clothes and be seen with the right people. Kat wanted to enjoy herself as much as possible and even got a job on the “wrong side of town” at a local bar. To make matters worse, she developed a friendship then a romantic relationship with one of the construction workers on Julia’s new home, Daniel Flannery. Danny was definitely not Julia’s idea of the right type of boyfriend.

Weeks pass and Julia forces Kat into making a heartbreaking decision, she either leaves Danny or Julia will see to it that Danny gets fired from his job and never has the opportunity to succeed with his green building ideas. Kat loves Danny but sees no way to protect him from her sister so she leaves.

Fast forward six years and now Kat Flannery is Kate Donovan. Kate has learned that her past was all a lie. Julia had deceived her for her entire life. Kate has broken ties with Julia and dedicates herself to her career as a journalist. Danny is now a partner in an eco-green building company and Kate has been assigned to write an article about their company. To say that sparks fly is a massive understatement. Will Kate be able to explain to Danny why she left? Will Danny be able to forgive Kate? Can they build a new relationship without trust even if there is love?

Heart of Glass is a fast-paced romantic read. Kate and Danny’s relationships have their normal ups and downs. They have their misunderstandings, some small others huge, and ultimately must face an issue of trust. In this respect the story was very realistic. Julia Fordham is someone we despise for her actions and then pity because of the repercussions she suffers as a direct result of these actions. There are issues of deception, secrets, and trust at the core of this story and these are deftly woven to create a sensitive and romantic tale. If you’re looking for a good romantic read, then Heart of Glass may just be the read for you.

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author. 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 209: REVERB Review

James had a relatively happy childhood with plenty of loving memories of his mother and step-father. His parents nurtured his musical talents. Music became his escape after his mom and step-father’s death and then became his life. What follows is an odyssey into self-discovery filled with suspense and romance in Reverb by J. Cafesin.

James has never been close to his father or half-brother, even though he lived with them after his mother and step-father’s deaths. He left his father’s home in the UK as soon as he could in order to explore his musical talents and work the way he wanted. He has built a successful career as a composer and musician, but he knows that he’s living life on the edge. He slows down just enough to attend his half-brother’s funeral. However, his father suspects that he is abusing drugs just like his brother and may wind up dead. In an effort to “save” his son, he plants drugs on him and arranges for him to be arrested at the airport and sent to a rehabilitation facility. Unfortunately this was possibly the worst thing he could have done. James is attacked in the rehab facility. He fights back to defend his own life and winds up taking a life. Again an unfortunate turn of events because this was the son of a judge, who in turn sentences James to a mental hospital. James spends two years being tortured and abused before escaping, leaving the UK and returning to the US. He eventually makes it to the Greek island of Corfu where he plans to live a life of solitude and simplicity.

Elizabeth is a young widow with a young son. Her husband was killed in Israel. She knows she could return to the US and the support of her family but she escapes and winds up on Corfu, renting a cottage on property owned by James. Elizabeth and her son Cameron wind up coaxing James from his shell and help him to overcome some of the psychological scars that remain from his incarceration. Elizabeth has her own psychological battles to overcome as she struggles to reconcile her past with her present, focusing on Cameron and James. Can James and Elizabeth build a new life together and will the ghosts from their pasts continue to haunt them? Will James ever truly be free since he is considered an escapee?

Ms. Cafesin provides a fast-paced psychological thriller with a hint of romance in Reverb. James has lead a pretty selfish and insular existence even though he was an acclaimed composer and musician. Elizabeth wasn’t so much selfish as she was a follower, subjugating her desires and needs for those of her deceased husband. Although she is selfless in wanting what is best for her son, she has also come to realize that she needs to focus on herself in order to be a better parent to Cameron. Both Elizabeth and James cause a rebound or reset in one another’s lives, and that is precisely the meaning of the term reverb in its purest sense.

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author. 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 176: SHOE STRINGS Review

One of the absolute best things about reading is the discovery of new-for-me authors. Sometimes these discoveries happen by chance and others by introduction. I was recently introduced to Shoe Strings by Christy Hayes and I’ve got to say I’m glad I had this opportunity.


Angelita Barros is an up-and-coming shoe designer from Atlanta. Her business started under unusual circumstances when she was only a teenager. Since then her business has grown, she has a business partner and a booming retail storefront. Things are looking up when her business is spotlighted in a local magazine. Angelita considers her business partner her family and has not had a relationship with her father, Davi Barros, for many years. Although she is scheduled to go on vacation after a business meeting, she opts to go to the mountains of North Carolina rather than the beaches of Florida. She’s hopeful that the beauty, peace and quiet will afford her an opportunity to catch up on designing and return to Atlanta refreshed and stress-free. All is going well until a near-naked man exits her rental cabin’s bathroom. What a way to meet a man? The man is Jesse Bloodworth, the son of the cabin’s owner and a business owner. Both Jesse and Angelita are fighting demons from their past. Angelita’s father is intruding into her life and trying to force her to make him a business partner of sorts to save not only his job at the Brazilian Consulate in Atlanta but perhaps his life. Jesse is trying to mend broken bridges with his ex-wife, Kerri Ann, his son Ty, and his father Cal. 


Kerri Ann is dealing with her own set of issues and is in love with the town’s resident lawyer, Bryce Jenson, but she doesn’t think she’s good enough for him since she got pregnant as a teenager. Jesse had left his wife and young child after his mother’s death because he knew that his marriage was a mistake and he needed to break free. He returned home when he realized what he had left behind and has been working on strengthening his bonds with his son and his father. Unfortunately his father couldn’t understand Jesse’s decision and can’t understand or accept that Kerri Ann has forgiven him for his actions. Meanwhile Angelita is fighting her own inner demons. She is attracted to Jesse but doesn’t feel that a relationship can progress so quickly after only a week or so and she doesn’t trust her feelings.


The central theme to Shoe Strings seems to be that everyone has feelings of inadequacy to overcome at some point in their lives, or in the words of one of my friends “everybody got issues.” Will Kerri Ann be able to overcome her feelings of inferiority and accept the love being offered to her? Can Angelita see her father for who he really is before forcing her to do something that is wrong for her business and possibly dangerous if not illegal? Will Jesse be able to make amends with Cal? Can he get Angelita to see that love isn’t an either-or situation?


I truly enjoyed reading Shoe Strings (could have been better if there were pictures of the shoes included . . . just kidding). Angelita and Kerri Ann are strong, independent and savvy women. Their inner weaknesses aren’t as masked as they would like and make for some interesting exchanges between themselves and others.  Bryce and Jesse are lightly flirtatious but Southern Gentlemen to the core. Jesse is not as carefree as he initially appears and is remorseful for his past mistakes. He realizes that you may not be able to go back in time and change things but you can definitely work to make things better from each day forward. Although classified as a romance, and yes that fits, it is slightly more in my opinion. Shoe Strings is a great and quick read filled with romance, a little bit of intrigue and a touch of fun.


Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author. 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 152: RELEASING GILLIAN’S WOLVES Review

There are many cliches that can be applied to crooked politicians and their antics, such as politics makes for strange bedfellows or, my personal favorite, “in politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” The sad truth is that politicians (business moguls, professional athletes, and other celebrities) often think that they can do whatever they want, especially if it’s illegal or immoral, and no one will ever know or say anything. When the dirt comes out, whether its about fiscal improprieties, adultery or both, the question arises as to why the wives stand by their men. Isn’t that taking “for better or worse” a little too far? That is the question that Tara Woolpy asks, and answers, in Releasing Gillian’s Wolves.


Gillian Wolf Sachs is a 49-year-old socially inept (her words) wife, mother, grandmother and artist. Her husband is a 53-year-old Congressman running for reelection, Jack Sachs. Due to Gillian’s social ineptitude she usually hides behind food, no not eating herself into oblivion, but providing food to others. Gillian is a nurturer at heart. She has put up with her husband’s escapades for years and tolerated it because she didn’t want to cause a media frenzy. She also thinks that she’s protecting her children . . . her grown children. Her daughter Aurora no longer even has a relationship with her father because of his sexual escapades. Her son John is a little more forgiving and even comes home to help with the reelection campaign. This is when things get dicey. John falls for a campaign intern that is younger than he is and apparently this intern had a relationship with his father. When this is confirmed, John has a meltdown and Gillian decides to leave town. The truly sad part is that Gillian’s friends and even Jack’s mother, Gillian’s mother-in-law, are all advocating her divorcing Jack and moving on with her life.


Releasing Gillian’s Wolves seems to be about self-discovery and discerning one’s self worth. Gillian must find that she is worthy as an individual, not only of love and affection, but simply as a human being. That might sound simple when you’re relatively young, but it is often a difficult message to grasp when you’re more than 40 and have never worked outside of the home. Ms. Woolpy’s characters are all too believable in that none of them are without human faults and insecurities. All of the characters are searching in their own way to find happiness or to hold onto it for as long as possible. It is this all-too realistic struggle that provides one possible answer as to why these women stay . . . and better yet, why they may leave. Look for Releasing Gillian’s Wolves to be released in August 2011.


Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from author. 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 137: THE PEACH KEEPER Review

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and reviewing for various review sites and decided to take a few hours to read a book from my personal TBR stash. Tonight’s choice was The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen…

Everyone has secrets but this secret is in the form of a body buried beneath a tree. The residents of Walls of Water, North Carolina are being forced to deal with their secrets. Willa Jackson is learning to accept who she is while acknowledging she never really knew or understood her grandmother or even her father. Her grandmother is in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer’s and her father died a tragic death several years earlier. She always felt that she let them both down but is now learning that these feelings were caused by her own feelings of inadequacy. Just as Willa is learning to cope with who she is and what she wants out of life, Paxton Osgood is learning that she doesn’t have to live up to other peoples or even her parents’ expectations. Her twin brother Colin is learning that is okay to go home again.


The Peach Keeper appears to be a story of self discovery and acceptance as well as a discovery into the importance of friendship. Willa and Paxton discover just how far two friends are willing to go for one another when learning about their grandmothers’ pasts. It is through this process that they learn to cherish one another and the value of true friendship. Sarah Addison Allen has imbued The Peach Keeper with a sense of whimsy and intrigue while providing a captivating reading experience. For those readers that loved Garden Spells, you’ll be happy to note that Claire Waverley and her niece Bay make a cameo appearance. For me this was simply a book that I couldn’t put down once I started reading. I ignored phone calls (isn’t that why we have voice mail?) just so I could finish reading The Peach Keeper uninterrupted. This is the perfect book for a lazy weekend or evening reading session, but you may want to turn the ringer off your phones so you can enjoy it without interruptions.