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Tag Archives: Romance

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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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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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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Then There Was You, by Kara Isaac

Every time I start reading a Kara Isaac book, I think I can’t love this writer’s books any more than I already do… I’ve been dragging my feet to finish reading this one for several reasons. For one thing, I didn’t want the story to end. I wanted to relish it. For another, finishing this book meant that I’m all out of Kara Isaac books to read until she publishes another! I could read her books nonstop because they have it all– they have real life struggles but still make me laugh, and even when there are difficulties present these stories still have an overall lightness to them that is just… right. These will be rereads for me many times over.

Then There Was You by Kara Isaac is unlike any book I’ve read before, and I’m struggling with how to describe it. It tells Paige’s story, of how she lives her life feeling stuck – in a job she hates, with a boyfriend who doesn’t even care, etc – because of her need for perceived safety. Suddenly she’s thrown all of that away to stay with her cousin, Kat (who you’ll recognize if you’ve read Close to You and Can’t Help Falling… if you haven’t, don’t worry, you can always read them after this one!) on the other side of the world. She takes a job at a mega church (one of her worst nightmares) and finds herself looking for reasons to detest it. When she crosses paths with Josh, the leader of a world-touring worship band, they are determined to avoid contact as much as possible. They could both use some grace for their past regrets and peace in their lives. 

This book is truly real life subject matter. Everyone has regrets, everyone could use some grace.. some hope and peace.  

This book, for me, is a spritz cookie. Addictive and engaging, drawing me in, begging for more. Kara Isaac has this trademark trait in her novels — her characters allude to something in the past, they keep giving just little clues about it, and as the reader you are compelled to read another page.. and another, and another, as the pieces fall into place and reveal the bigger picture. 

Thank you, Kara Isaac, for another beautiful book! I can’t wait to see where you take us next! 

 
 

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A Viscount’s Proposal, by Melanie DickersonĀ 

Reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice, A Vicount’s Proposal has relatable characters who change and grow over the course of the story. 

Melanie Dickerson never disappoints. Her stories are both imaginative and engaging. With every book I read by her, I find myself wanting to be friends with the characters… and Leorah in A Viscount’s Proposal is no exception. Her headstrong ways, her compassionate heart, and her refusal to conform to aristocratic society’s expectations make her stand out. They make me admire her. 

Following Leorah’s story as she stands up for others and seeks to make a difference in the world around her made me smile. I was on the edge of my seat with the suspense and mysterious happenings.. including attempted murder by an unknown person. 

I enjoyed both the story of this regency era romance and the reading performance of it, as I listened via Audible. Anna Parker-Naples is always entertaining to listen to; her voices make the characters truly come to life in her narrations. 

Although this is book two in The Regency Spies of London series, and reading the first book would give more insight, context, and backstory, each story focuses in on a different character, and they would each be still very much enjoyable on their own. (Just a warning, reading out of order would give you some spoilers though.)

I would compare this mystery to a delightful chocolate cake… one with a surprise filling to go along with the mystery and spy aspect. 

 

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