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Bookishly Ever After, by Sarah Monzon

This was my first story of Sarah Monzon’s.. but it will definitely not be my last. I’d been wanting to try this author for quite a while, and her other books have now been bumped waaaaaay up on my TBR list. That’s how much I loved this novella. 

I could relate in some ways to Emory, the main character.. and — what can I say? — I wish Tate were a real live person. He reminded me somewhat of Gilbert Blythe. And.. if you know me, to say that that is quite a compliment coming from me is a major understatement. (Gilbert is my permanent Book Boyfriend, in case you don’t know me.)

Tate convinces Emory to let him plan weekly activities that give her the opportunity to live out some of the things she’s otherwise only ever read about. Each activity is based on a book that she’s been reading. Emory adds her own side to the bargain, making Tate promise that he will send one of his songs to an agent for each book-inspired outing they complete. She also reads things into his plan that are pretty far off from her friend’s intentions. There’s so much more to it, but that’s as much as I will say. 

Bookishly Ever After. A truly lovely and adorable little story that sucked me in instantly. It made me forget that it’s not a full length novel. There is so much depth here, and love that is True. Yes, with a capital T. This is one of those rarities that I could turn right back to the beginning and start again immediately. 

This one is the equivalent of a nice cup of chai. Something cozy and beautiful and.. just right. Savorable. 

I. Love. This. Story. šŸ™‚ 

 

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Posted by on June 22, 2018 in Fiction, Friendship, Romance, Sarah Monzon

 

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Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs is unlike any other book I’ve ever read. And.. Maisie is unlike any other detective I’ve ever read about. She is the epitome of rising above stereotypes and circumstances, and an inspiration to me. 

The mystery in this first Maisie Dobbs novel is interwoven with a heartachingly told tale of love found and snatched away by the cruelty of war. It tells of Maisie’s early years and how she comes from an impoverished family… and doesn’t let anything stop her or stand in the way of learning everything she can. Her background story is told bit by bit as it fits into the mystery storyline. A voracious reader, hard worker, and loyal friend, Maisie Dobbs uses her uniquely perceptive approach to detective work to solve nontraditional cases. 

This book was my first by Jacqueline Winspear, and I really found it a delight. Rita Barrington was an excellent choice for the reading of the audio book; she occasionally switched accents/dialects in the middle of what someone was saying, which I found a little confusing, but I would listen to more books read by her. 

I would liken this book to a cup of tea. Sweet, but not overly. There’s a lot of hard in this story, but it’s beautiful at the same time. 

 

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The Noble Servant, by Melanie DickersonĀ 

The Goose Girl is a lesser-known fairy tale for me, but I have loved The Prince and the Pauper since I was little. The Noble Servant combines the two in a sweet story of friendship, growing love, and courage to do what is right no matter what the cost. 

Melanie Dickerson paints picturesque scenes with her words and creates characters who make you want to cheer them on. This book is no exception. 

Reading the first two books in this series will give you the big picture, but they are each able to stand alone without causing you to not enjoy the story. 

I listened to the audio version, which was read by Jude Mason… she continues to be one of my all time favorite audio book readers. 

I really loved The Noble Servant, and I think I’ll liken it to a chocolate-filled pastry. Something European-esque. šŸ™‚ Just a delightful treat. 

 

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Head in the Clouds, by Karen Witemeyer

Karen Witemeyer was a new-to-me writer. She had been on my TBR list for a while, and I chose this particular book of hers to for my first because of a recommendation from a friend. We both love Anne of Green Gables, and this heroine reminded her of Anne.. thus prompting her to recommend it to me!

I really enjoyed the unexpectedness that I found in Head in the Clouds. It included threads of both British and Texan culture, romance, suspense, and fancifulness, all woven into a creative story that kept me guessing. While there were some dark elements and difficult times in this story, overall it was pretty light, and the headstrong heroine, Adelaide, did in fact remind me of Anne too. 

The storyline is a bit complex to summarize without saying too much… but not complex in a confusing way. There’s just so much good story…

Nicole Poole did a great job on this audio book, and I really enjoyed her — except for her voice for Bella.. but honestly, I think it’s got to be difficult trying to mimic a child’s voice for a recording.

I would like to compare this book with jalapeƱo cornbread. Comfort food with some spice. šŸ™‚ 

 
 

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If I Live, by Terri BlackstockĀ 

Terri Blackstock did such an amazing job with this trilogy. If you haven’t read the first two books (If I Run and If I’m Found), please read those before you pick up this one to read. You’re going to want to have all three on hand once you begin though.. because that’s the best way to read these – straight through! 

I love the way these books were written, with the parts relevant to each individual book wrapping up at the end of that installment, while the big picture story draws you into the next book effortlessly. 

I don’t want to say much about the story. It’s too easy to give away important information with this series. The story of Casey is continued in If I Live, as she remains on the run, the false accusation that she murdered her friend close on her heels. 

The ending was, for me, kind of bittersweet. I wasn’t disappointed at all, but… now this trilogy is over.. and even though I will be rereading these books, it’s just not the same. 

Comparing this book/series with food, I think I’ll go with scrambled eggs. Scrambled eggs have substance, yet are quick to make and eat. These books are quick reads but they aren’t fluff. They have substance. 

 

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A Dangerous Engagement, by Melanie DickersonĀ 

Melanie Dickerson is one of my go-to favorites. She dominates both my Audible library and a good portion of my physical bookshelf. 

I like to think that the heroines in her Recency Spies of London series and those in Jane Austen’s novels would be great friends. I can just picture Lizzy Bennett or Catherine Morland running around with Felicity, Julia, and Leorah, and getting caught up in all sorts of suspense and intrigue. 

A Dangerous Engagement is such a fast-moving book. This whole series keeps me on the edge of my seat in anticipation and… what’s the word?… almost holding my breath, if that gives you a good idea. I sit there reading (or listening), and it’s as if I’m in the room spying with the characters and just waiting for someone to discover what we’re doing. 

This story captured my attention completely, and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. It was beautifully written with spunky, fun characters. Anna Parker-Naples did a fabulous job reading it. I always am excited to see her name on an audio book. 

What food best describes this book? Probably a deep, rich chocolate cake. Something that you want to savor yet can’t wait to take another bite. 

 

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The Writing Desk, by Rachel HauckĀ 

*I’m starting with what I didn’t care for, so please don’t write off this story due to these first couple paragraphs. 

I had very mixed feelings throughout reading this book. Having read several others by Rachel Hauck that I loved, I was surprised to have a hard time with this one. I wanted to love it… and in some ways I did.. but in other ways it felt to me like there was a little something missing.

Before I go any further, I should say that after much contemplation on this book and how I felt about it, I think my disappointments largely stem from listening rather than reading it myself. While there were some things in the story itself that got to me, for the most part I would have been able to overlook them… I think I might be able to listen to Windy Lanzl read another book (maybe one set in the semi-south… with no British or New York-ish characters…) and enjoy it more. One thing that bothered me was her attempt at voices/accents.. because her voices weren’t consistent. 

So.. what did I love about Rachel Hauck’s The Writing Desk? I loved the creativity found in this story. I loved that this writer knows how to create unique characters with layers and grow them throughout the story, letting the reader get to know them more deeply as the pages turn. I loved the intricacies of the dual timelines and how Rachel Hauck wove them together to create one story. 

The modern part of this book follows Tenley, a best-selling writer struggling to come up with her second book.. she’s pretty caught up in the excitement of her fame but in her heart she is seeking more depth, even though she doesn’t quite know what she’s looking for. Tenley finds herself passing up a trip to Paris with her “sort of fiance” to care for her estranged mother as she goes through chemo. She’s not very empathetic toward her mother (disappointing but realistic, considering everything) but the fact that she’s there at all says a lot.. especially after Tenley and her dad were abandoned by Blanche (as Tenley calls her) when Tenley was only 9. I enjoyed seeing their relationship grow in hesitant ways as they got to know each other. I also enjoyed how Tenley’s friendship with Jonas, a neighbor/longtime friend of Blanche’s sprouted as he accepted Tenley where she was. It’s super sweet.

The other half of this dual timeline book begins during the gilded age, and it’s about Birdie, a rich heiress who has more heart than care for wealth and fame. She dreams of being a published author, and of marrying for love… hopefully to Eli, who’s captured her heart but doesn’t have her parents’ approval. Her parents have other ideas though and have made business-type arrangements with a different suitor. 

Birdie and Tenley’s lives end up intersecting, although they never knew each other. There’s much bittersweet in this book. I’m still not quite at rest with the culmination but I think I’d like to try actually reading it in book form. I think that would help me. 

This book is comparable to… a can of soup. I have a certain line of canned soup that I love but can’t eat much anymore. There’s just something that I can’t quite put my finger on that’s missing, and I’ve had a hard time eating it since chemo. 

 

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