June 1, 2020

Review: Of Literature & Lattes by Katherine Reay

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Yay for a new Katherine Reay story! I anticipate the next one just as soon as I finish the last one and this time was no different. I love all the literary references she casually (and not so casually) weaves into her plot. I love how her writing flows along and draws me in immediately (especially when I’m “only going to read a couple chapters right now” and suddenly two hours have flown by ;). I love how her characters are always complex and real, they feel like friends by the end. In short? I just really love Katherine Reay books!

This one drew me in like her previous ones. I was intrigued by Alyssa’s problems and wanting so badly to make her relationship with her mother all better. After growing to know and love Janet dearly in The Printed Letter Bookshop, I was hoping for everyone else around her to be witness to her awesomeness and growth. However, it is perfectly understandable that a fraught relationship is rarely healed overnight. Thus no matter my impatience at times, I truly appreciated the nuanced and natural feel of how they began to slowly understand one another again. I do think their relationship was my favorite among all the possibilities within the story! I also rather enjoyed Jeremy’s relationship with his daughter, Becca. I was not expecting things to end up the way they did and my heart ached for all the emotions he had to process through. But what a beautiful lesson that came out of it! Seriously. Like I said, I love how Ms. Reay so skillfully handles complex characters and gives their story arcs such depth and feeling.

I will have to confess to feeling some slight disappointment, however. As much as I have adored all of Ms. Reay’s books thus far, this is the first one which I closed with a tinge of bittersweetness. This has nothing to do with her writing, more it has to do with where a couple plots ended up going. Ms. Reay has beautifully written a story in which choices were made which I did not enjoy as much as I wanted. Also, while I liked getting several different perspectives on scenes, the multiple points of view got a tad overwhelming at times, since I never knew when I'd jump into someone else's head suddenly. However! These choices are not enough to make me wish I hadn’t read it. To the contrary, I especially loved a certain conversation between Luke and Chris which just made me grin. The fact that they had this same basic conversation again at the end of the book only made my grin bigger! (On that note, Ms. Reay. I’d REALLY love to see the results of those convos played out in an epilogue of sorts! Pretty please? ;)

So! The bottom line? Katherine Reay is quite skilled with the pen and I think you should absolutely read her books! Though this one isn’t perfect, it still has some good lessons to be learned and imperfect characters with whom to fall in love. And! Did I mention all the literary references? You should be intrigued for those alone. What are you waiting for? Go read her books and be entranced as much as I!

**I received a complimentary copy via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.





May 26, 2020

Cover Reveal :: One Bad Apple by Rachel Kovaciny

Hello, my lovelies! I am SO pleased to be sharing the wonderful cover of Rachel Kovaciny's newest book coming out very soon! Ms. Kovaciny has been slowly writing an intriguing series of books based on fairytales set in the old west. She is a good (real life!! :) friend of mine, but is also a wonderful author in her own right. So it pleases me to share her awesomeness with the world. :)

So! Without further ado, let's get to the pretty, shall we?


Ooooo! Isn't it gorgeous?! I love the color scheme and all the small details that you notice as you really look at it. I actually didn't catch this until I looked a second time, but the apple has the look of a skull. Coupled with the title, the general creepiness makes it clear this isn't going to be a happiness and rainbows type of story. It just intrigues me! Doesn't it you?? :)

In case you need a synopsis to intrigue you further...
Fourteen-year-old Levi Dalton feels numb. Hands tied behind his back, he's about to be hauled away for poisoning a beautiful girl and her kind father. The woman pointing her finger at him and accusing him of murder is the very same woman he hoped could teach him to heal illnesses, not cause them. The woman he idolized. The woman he trusted. Levi knows he should be scared for his own life. But all he can think about is how graves always come in pairs.
The book releases on 07/28/20, so it'll be in our anxious hands soon! And you can add it to Goodreads if you care to. Ah the anticipation! :)




May 25, 2020

Review: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

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Naturally, any book to do with Jane Austen catches my eye, so I was intrigued when I saw the synopsis for this one. There is so much to love about this story, friends. I mean, the fictionalization of how the Jane Austen Society began? And such a mix of characters! Ms. Jenner is quite talented at bringing all her different storylines together into one cohesive big tapestry.

Okay, so I admit that I didn’t love every character. Certainly I didn’t start out loving all of them! A few are easier to love, a few make choices that I didn’t like, still others made me smile every time their point of view appeared again. Yet it was their genuine love of Jane Austen which endeared even the unlikeable ones to me.

My absolute favorite bits of all? Were the moments when they began to come together and each discovered the genuine joy of discussing and analyzing books with likeminded friends!! I get that, I understand that, I LOVED that! Whether it’s Jane Austen or whatever other books we love or hate, discussing the whys and wherefores with someone else who loves to read….there’s just nothing like that feeling. It brings people of all kinds together. And these characters are all so very different! Which is why I loved it when they found they had so many more things in common through discussion of Jane Austen. Jane is so good at bringing people together, don’t you think?

The other thing about this story that kept me turning the pages is how each character, so very different from the others, interprets Austen. How each one reads her stories and sees different things. Which is true of all of us today, just as much as it would’ve been true in the 1940s when this takes place. We all read her books from our own perspective, with our own biases and backgrounds and history playing a part in how we interpret what we read. (This is true of any story we read.) Yet the focus of all these different perspectives coming together and how they learn from each other, how they fall in love, how they grow, how they make choices, both good and bad…it’s all intricately and beautifully woven together.

This isn’t a perfectly written story, as any book isn’t. There were parts that I skimmed over due to not particularly enjoying them, I cannot deny this. Yet watching these characters stumble their way through life and find joyous reason to keep going through Austen’s stories and each other, I could reread those bits without any problem! And will do so, let me tell you. Even just writing this review makes me want to go back and reread the book! I loved all the introspective analysis the characters did which caused me to do the same. They opened my eyes to new perspectives and made me want to reread Austen herself! So I would absolutely recommend this one to all Austen lovers out there. Perfect or not, it is a wonderful homage to the timelessness and beauty of her stories and how she brings so many of us onto common ground together.

**I received a complimentary copy via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

"He was becoming quite worried for Mr. Darcy. It seemed to Adam that once a man notices a woman's eyes to be fine, and tries to eavesdrop on her conversations, and finds himself overly affected by her bad opinion of him, then such a man is on the path to something uncharted, whether he admits it to himself or not."



May 13, 2020

Review: The Joy of Falling by Lindsay Harrel

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I admit that what pursued me throughout this story was the grief journey. What is it about experiencing such a significant life situation such as losing a loved one that draws us to the stories which speak about such? Is it not wanting to know we’re alone? Is it the hope that often infuses them? Is it just the connection, of knowing someone else clearly gets it? Whatever the reasons (probably it’s a lot of all of them, right? :), I was totally down for reading this one. And Ms. Harrel did not disappoint me!

Grief is such a personal, crazy, upside down, twisty, hopeful, and piercing sort of journey to experience. It truly is one of those things that one must experience in order to “get it”. Well, Ms. Harrel clearly gets it. Her story is absolutely full of all the chaoticness that grief brings a person. Yet its hope grounds these characters and this story, the hope that entwines every single chapter, that dances along all the heartbreak and confusion, that wondrous Hope which never gives up! That hope kept me turning the pages during paragraphs when Angela or Eva frustrated me. I confess that there were several moments in the first half of the book that I didn’t really like them. They were both so caught up in their un-processed grief that I struggled to connect with them. But that’s also what worked! Because real life, real people, we’re like that. Losing a loved one is HARD, and you don’t just “get over it”, nor is it pretty because we humans can behave pretty harshly to each other sometimes, especially when we’re hurting. So even while I was frustrated, I trusted Ms. Harrel to take both of them (as well as me! :) into beautiful new places if I only had the patience. And I was rewarded!

Both Angela and Eva have a lot of growing to do over the course of their journey. And I rather enjoyed watching them grow weaker in order to realize the strength that was already hovering within them, waiting to be noticed. This story is about more than just them. Angela’s children, both of the gentlemen that wreak havoc on said women’s emotions, and of course Sherry (I LOVED Sherry and her words of wisdom at just the right moments!), all the secondary characters took on life around our two main ladies and brought so many different dynamics into play. Certainly they were proof that our personal grieving affects all those in close proximity to us, especially those we love.

Oh, I could go on, there are so many thoughts about grieving and loving and life after that are spinning through my mind! But I think I ought to let you discover this gem of a story for yourself. It’s not an easy journey to make, grief never is. But the end result? Is a beautiful tapestry of wonder, delight, and HOPE. So I think you should totally find a copy real soon for yourself. :)

**I received a complimentary copy via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

"But what if the ultimate muse is really God, and he's got this amazingly full and creative life waiting for you, if only you'll step back into it? Is it possible to allow all the pain and the beauty of life to inspire you? To allow God to inspire you--not to creative, but to live?"

"Stability is overrated. Trusting God to catch you...that's what life was really about."



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