Genres: cozy mystery, mystery, fiction, books about books
Rating: 4 stars
Recommend to fans of: books about books, feel good books with an intense edge, strong smart business women
Foodie Vibes: soothing cup of tea and a sack lunch brought to you by a new friend and fellow business woman
Addie Greyborne loved working with rare books at the Boston Public Library—she even got to play detective, tracking down clues about mysterious old volumes. But she didn’t expect her sleuthing skills to come in so handy in a little seaside town . . .
Addie left some painful memories behind in the big city, including the unsolved murder of her fiancé and her father’s fatal car accident. After an unexpected inheritance from a great aunt, she’s moved to a small New England town founded by her ancestors back in colonial times—and living in spacious Greyborne Manor, on a hilltop overlooking the harbor. Best of all, her aunt also left her countless first editions and other treasures—providing an inventory to start her own store.
But there’s trouble from day one, and not just from the grumpy woman who runs the bakery next door. A car nearly runs Addie down. Someone steals a copy of Alice in Wonderland. Then, Addie’s friend Serena, who owns a nearby tea shop, is arrested—for killing another local merchant. The police seem pretty sure they’ve got the story in hand, but Addie’s not going to let them close the book on this case without a fight . .
I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Kensington Publishing and Lauren Elliott for an ARC copy of the book. As always, an honest review from me.
What better than a book about books? Not much in my opinion. Murder by the Book centers around Addie who recently moved back to town and opened a bookshop. Previously she was in the business, along with her family, of selling, tracking down and authenticating rare books. Now she’s venturing out into business. The reception of her new shop is mixed. Some people are happy to welcome her to town, like Serena her new door neighbor, fellow business owner, and new friend. Other locals aren’t so happy to see her.
Addie doesn’t have much time to dwell on that when there’s a rash of break ins at her shop, home and also other crimes about town. There’s something strange going on and she’s determined to get to the bottom of it.
I like that Addie investigates based on her hunches but also allows the police to do their job investigating initially. She’s not just going about town willy nilly, searching for clues. The book retains its cozy mystery vibes while still being authentic and modern. A perfect mix.
I wish there was more about Addie’s assistant. I think it would be a lovely heartfelt storyline that could definitely be explored more in a future book.
Overall, a wonderful cozy but modern mystery featuring a great mix of small town and big city vibes. I definitely recommend it.
Recommend to fans of: feel good romance, realistic romance
Foodie Vibes: coffee and chocolate croissants
In the quaint mountain town of Windamere, North Carolina, the three Sargent sisters are determined to make their hotel and winery, Chateau Jolie, a success. And one by one, they’re finding that nothing pairs better with new beginnings than unexpected love…
The downside of living in a charming small town is that it’s impossible for Brooke Sargent to avoid anyone. Especially someone as big, handsome, and friendly as Trevor Bradley. At his brother’s wedding, they flirted and danced…before Brooke recalled that she’s not ready to trust any man after her divorce, let alone one who’s the competition. Her family’s struggling chateau is planning to host the local senior prom—without the Bradley family’s renowned Honeywilde Inn muscling in and stealing the glory.
Trevor has thought of no one else since the night he and Brooke connected. Even though she shot him down—hard—he’s seen the warmth beneath her guarded facade. Working together, they could give the high school students a spectacular prom. Navigating the rough terrain of Brooke’s business, while proving himself to his own siblings, won’t be easy. But Trevor loves a challenge—especially one that could win him the woman he can’t stop wanting . . .
Thank you to NetGalley, Lyrical Shine and Heather McGovern for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.
No One Like You is a sweet and sexy contemporary romance story that features an iconic moment in a teen’s life the high school prom. Except the main characters aren’t in high school anymore. They own hotels and wineries nearby and are begged to host the local prom after their venue couldn’t anymore. Trevor and Brooke end up planning the event together, despite some ups and downs.
I like that there’s some history between the two. They had met at a wedding months prior and there was some obvious attraction. So it’s not some brand new whirlwind romance. It took some time and is built off mutual trust and understanding. My kind of novel. The locales don’t hurt either. Gorgeous wineries, hotels, and gardens set the scene for a lovely romance. I especially like the couple. They’re both private people by nature. Also the actual planning of the event was really fun to read about.
However, their family’s backstory at times was a bit vague and confusing. With it being such an important part of the book, I wish it was a bit more figured out. But with a romance it’s easy to overlook those aspects as a reader.
Overall a lovely romance that I would love to read more of, in the series. A serious but feel good read.
Genres: Christmas, holiday, short stories, contemporary fiction
Rating: 4.5 stars
Recommend to fans of: feel good holiday reads, the true meaning of the season, short stories for a bad day
Foodie Vibes: mulled wine, homemade Christmas cookies
With Christmas just around the corner, Asa Coleman has his hands full keeping up with his young son Noah’s rambunctious spirit. Whether he’s playing Santa or keeping a furry surprise under wraps, the joy Asa feels in Noah’s delight is all he could ask for as a single father. His best friend Maddie Carlson has been more than helpful throughout the season’s sometimes overwhelming rush of activities, and she can’t help but see how well she fits into their lives. But as always, something holds Asa back from accepting the happiness he deserves. Except this year, when it’s time to open gifts, something special might surprise them all . . .
Thank you to NetGalley, Zebra, and Nan Rossiter for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.
Christmas in Cape Cod is the perfect short book to curl up with after a stressful day during the holiday season. The story takes place on Christmas Eve and Day. It’s such a perfect feel good holiday read, that you can’t help but be in a better mood after reading. The author shows us the true meaning of the season with these characters. Filled with all the quintessential holiday activities: baking homemade cookies, mulled wine, leaving food for Santa, going to church, exchanging gifts, and decorating the Christmas tree, you can’t help but enjoy yourself. So I say get a cup of hot cocoa, a few Christmas cookies and curl up with this great book on a chilly night.
A big heartfelt thank you to Laura Spoonie, who nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award.
She runs an amazing blog, Laura Spoonie Blogs, about her journey through chronic illness, filled with content that inspires, educates and makes you feel a little less alone in the world.
Definitely do yourself a favor and click here to check out her blog!
The requirements for this award are as follows:
• Thank the blogger that nominated you
• Write a post to show your award
• Give a brief story of how your blog started
• Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
• Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to
• Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them, and provide the link to the post you’ve created
My blog focuses mainly on books, along with other positive lifestyle content. Lately I’ve been making an effort to make it more well rounded and focus on quality content. Look out for Self Care Sundays and Friday Fun, coming soon …
But onto the reason I started my blog.
I created my blog, because I felt I had something to contribute to the bookish community and the world. A unique voice that I hadn’t read in other blogs. Not that I’m some super special unicorn of a person. However, there’s so many unattainable lifestyle posts and I wanted to bring something a bit more realistic. Also I’ve found very few people who read the unique set of genres that I do. I was constantly having people tell me, on Twitter and Goodreads, that I was introducing them to books they hadn’t heard of before. So that’s when I knew I had a unique voice among book lovers.
I also am a lifelong learner and love sharing new information with others. A blog seemed like a great way to do just that! Blogging and instagramming is also a fun but goal directed creative outlet. I’ve so enjoyed getting to know so many wonderful like minded people since starting my blog earlier this year.
While I still consider myself a newish blogger …
When does one consider themselves a seasoned blogger? …
When you’ve put enough thyme into it?
Okay, that was a bad cooking joke, but I’m kind of loving it anyways.
Here’s my advice to new bloggers
1. Be yourself
The best content I’ve read is always authentic. Even if it’s a topic I’m not super interested in, the authenticity will always shine through, making the writing so much more captivating. There are so many blogs out there already, why not be yourself? Also I’ve found the writing process to be so much easier when I’m being authentic. And bonus, more people have commented, liked and in general been receptive to my most authentic, vulnerable posts.
2. Interact with other bloggers and people in general
With so many people creating content, most people aren’t going to just stumble across your blog. Put yourself out there. Get on social media. Interact with other people. Type in a hashtag that related to your blog content. Comment on people’s photos, tweets, etc. Start a genuine discussion. Even if it doesn’t drive a ton of people to your blog, you’ll make some meaningful connections and have fun. That really is the most important part of blogging, anyways!
Also if you’re in a blogging slump, interacting with others might just pull you out of it.
My Nominees for the Blogger Recognition Award
There are so many wonderful bloggers out there, I wish I could nominate all of you. Here are just a few of the amazing people, whose content you should check out. Thanks for brightening up my day, lovelies.
I hope you all learned a little more about me and my blogging story, motivations and goals. If you want to join me on my journey for lifelong learning, books, self care and some fun positivity sprinkled about, subscribe to my blog. Thanks for reading this, all you lovelies.
Counseling Insights: Practical Strategies for Helping Others with Anxiety, Trauma, Grief, and More by Vicki Enns
Published: August 21, 2018
Publisher: Achieve Publishing
Genres: non fiction, psychology
Rating: 4 stars
Recommend to fans of: informative books about mental health, therapists, psychology students
Foodie Vibes: a relaxing beverage of your choice
As helpers, caregivers, and counsellors, there are times when we need support to be able to help the people we are working with. Hearing from others in similar roles is a key way of finding inspiration and guidance.
This book offers practical strategies for supporting people of all ages who have a variety of issues, whether psychological (anxiety, trauma, depression), based on life circumstances (loss and grief, oppressive societal attitudes), or due to harmful ways of coping with these or other life stressors (self-injury, substance use, suicidality).
Each chapter begins with an examination of a different psychological issue or situation. Case examples of both youth and adults are included for each topic to illustrate both the impact of the issue and the helping process. Authors share insights they have gained from research, counselling experiences, and the unique wisdom of the people they have encountered.
This book is written not only for clinical counsellors, but also for the multitude of frontline helpers who work to support those seeking help and guidance. It is a resource for anyone who identifies as a care provider, including those in the social service, health, education, spiritual care, and social work roles.
I won this ebook for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Vicki Enns, and Achieve Publishing for a copy. As always, an honest review from me.
The book’s summary is very close to the title. A book to help, mainly therapists or health professionals help their clients through different aspects of life. The book covers depression, anxiety, self injury, suicidal thoughts, trauma, substance use, LGBT2SQ+, grief and more.
Each chapter starts with an in depth explanation of the topic and potential struggles a person may deal with. Then 2-3 example patients are introduced with their unique stories, as they relate to the topic at hand. The rest of the chapter alternates between giving information and then partial example sessions with the patients to demonstrate the information being applied. I found this to be very helpful. Also each chapter was written by a different professional in the field. Based on the summary I thought the book would apply more to me, as the caregiver of a family member. While incredibly interesting and informative, I’m probably not the intended audience. Psychology students, mental health professionals and even others who work with these patient populations would probably benefit from this informative book.
I would like to point out that the section on self injury is very insightful. From my experiences in psychology courses in college, many times the information is glossed over quickly or out dated. Not so in this book. A great resource for people looking for accurate information on the topic of self injury.
Overall, a very informative, user friendly book about a variety of mental health topics. Perfect for those in the field looking for additional information.
Recommend to fans of: the Roanoke Girls, unsettling families, books about houses that take on a story of their own, twin mysteries
Foodie Vibes: apricots fresh off the trees
Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.
Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.
Who is the child and what really happened that day?
One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.
I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Berkley Books, and Emma Rous for an ARC copy. As always, an honest review from me.
The Au Pair is an almost other worldly tale of a family who lives at Summerbourne, the massive infamous property. One summer they hire Laura to be the au pair to Edwin, their young son. We soon learn that there is something odd about the family. Twins are common at Summerbourne, but twins never last. Myths, creepy stories, and tall tales are spread by the towns people about the happenings at the house. It makes for a creepy, suspense filled and almost cultish read. I love it! The property and strong family matriarch, Vera, set up the entire story. There is a certain undeniable, almost indescribable feel to the book. It gets under your skin and doesn’t let up, forcing your to keep turning the pages.
The book starts out in 2017 right after the adult childrens’ father has died. After some strange happenings and unanswered questions Seraphine, the daughter, decides she will get her answers about her mysterious family once and for all. The chapters alternate between present day and 1993, right before Seraphine and her twin brother are born. It’s an effective way to tell the story.
However between the changes in time and confusion about identity, I had a bit of trouble distinguishing between a few non central characters. Eventually I figured it out, but it was frustrating. Also, I wish Laura was a more well defined character. She’s meant to be a more submissive personality, compared to all the Summerbournes. However, Laura plays such a vital role in the story that she needed more depth and influence.
All in all, the intensity, suspense, and family secrets make The Au Pair an undeniably good read.
If you could have a home anywhere in the world, where would it be located?
Be sure to answer my question at the bottom of the page!
Please and thank you, loves
Imagine Us Happy by Jennifer Yu
Published: October 23, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genres: young adult, mental health, contemporary fiction, contemporary romance
Rating: 4.5 stars
Recommend to fans of: realistic young adult novels, books about mental health, great friendships
Foodie Vibes: pizza
Stella lives with depression, and her goals for junior year are pretty much limited to surviving her classes, staying out of her parents’ constant fights and staving off unwanted feelings enough to hang out with her friends Lin and Katie.
Until Kevin. A quiet, wry senior who understands Stella and the lows she’s going through like no one else. With him, she feels less lonely, listened to—and hopeful for the first time since ever…
But to keep that feeling, Stella lets her grades go and her friendships slide. And soon she sees just how deep Kevin’s own scars go. Now little arguments are shattering. Major fights are catastrophic. And trying to hold it all together is exhausting Stella past the breaking point. With her life spinning out of control, she’s got to figure out what she truly needs, what’s worth saving—and what to let go.
Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin Teen and Jennifer You for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.
Imagine Us Happy tells the story of two teens who are navigating life, high school, relationships and family life while dealing with depression. Stella and Kevin meet at the beginning of the school year. They end up dating for the whole year. We know its not going to end well, and the book is the story of their lives the past year.
I like that the author portrays depression and therapy in a realistic manner. That it’s a process, not a magical cure that will fix everything in a few sessions. Stella is doing better because of therapy but she has to keep working on herself. It’s not easy. The book portrays the challenges of dating or any extra stress when you’re dealing with mental health issues. No that it can’t be done, but both people have to be taking care of themselves in healthy ways.
A super realistic look at depression, dating and friendships. I think this is going to be a very popular young adult book for years to come!
If you could give advice to characters/people dating with mental health issues, what would you say?
Dispatches from the Heart: Transplanting One Heart and Transforming Many Others by Ed and Paige Innerarity
Published: June 6, 2018
Publisher: River Grove Books
Genres: non fiction, memoir, medical
Rating: 3.5 stars
Recommend to fans of: using faith to get through a difficult time, heartfelt stories, inspiring reads
Foodie Vibes: healthy foods that protect your heart
Ed Innerarity was a regular guy: He liked to fly fish, ride his bike, and laugh with his family, and he attended church every Sunday. He also had a heart condition called cardiomyopathy and needed a new heart. Ed refused to even consider a heart transplant until his doctor gave him two options: Get a heart transplant or check in to a hospice care facility. He didn’t want to die.
Dispatches from the Heart is a compilation of emails from friends, family, and the authors themselves describing Ed’s journey through the heart transplant process. Full of compelling, inspiring, and often witty insights into this life-changing event, Ed and Paige share the challenges and triumphs they both faced before, during, and after Ed’s life-saving surgery.
This book is a tribute to those who helped make a second chance at life possible, an invitation into the intimate inner dialogue of a family ever changed, and a beacon of hope for those who may be part of a similar journey.
I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, the author and publisher for the ebook copy. As always, an honest review from me.
Dispatches from the Heart is the life journey of Ed, who needs and ends up receiving a heart transplant in his 60s. The touching insightful memoir highlights the importance of healthy life choices. Even if they can’t prevent illness, they can help the person live their best life during the struggles and potentially slow the progression of the health issue. Ed has cardiomyopathy, a genetic condition in which the heart gets weaker and less efficient over time. Due to his family history he got tested and knew he would eventually succumb to the same disease his mother passed away from.
The book is a unique look into the journey a lot of families go through. Knowing you need an organ transplant, but not knowing if you will get one. His story is told through different forms: passages from him and his wife looking back, emails from him or his wife, email responses from loved ones, photos, song suggestions, and occasionally short descriptions of the medical terminology. It gives an authentic look what the family was going through during this difficult time. The family looks towards their faith a lot during this challenging time, as they do throughout the rest of life as well.
I liked that he highlights the important of pre-hab while on the waiting list for a cardiac transplant. It shows the importance of strengthening your body before the transplant, so you can have the best chance for a good outcome.
While the outlook is extremely positive, it may be difficult for people who are struggling with the transplant process, because they may not see themselves in his process. While he struggled, as well as his family, it wasn’t shown that much. That’s fine. Completely his choice what he shares, but it could alienate some people who are struggling to deal with and relate.
Overall, an enlightening, inspiring book that shows Ed’s journey in the organ transplant process. A great read for someone who may know someone going through something similar and wants to know more about it.
Recommend to fans of: cozy reads, small businesses, books that remind you of the reason for the season
Foodie Vibes: hot chocolate with a fire roasted marshmallow and beautifully decorated Christmas cookies
A holiday retelling of You’ve Got Mail that will make you fall in love with the Christmas Season!
Angela Carson wants nothing more than to be the third-generation to run her family’s holiday store, Heart of Christmas, successfully. They’ve weathered over sixty tourist seasons, major hurricanes, and urban sprawl, in their old decommissioned lighthouse. But the national chain that set up shop in their small North Carolina town of Pleasant Sands may be more than Heart of Christmas can survive.
Geoff Paisley has been at his mother’s side running the mega-chain Christmas Galore for the last ten years. When his mother falls ill, Geoff promises to answer the town’s Dear Santa letters in her stead. Soon he realizes the woman he’s been corresponding with on Dear Santa is Angela. How could the woman that grates his every last nerve in person have intrigued him so deeply through those letters?
Encouraged by her niece to ask Santa for help, Angela gives in and lets the words fly in a way that, if Santa were real, would no doubt land her on the naughty list. What’s the harm when it’s just a computer-generated response?
When Geoff reveals that he’s her Dear Santa, will Angela be able to set aside their very public feud to embrace the magic of the holiday and possibly find true love?
Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Griffin, and Nancy Nail for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.
Dear Santa is a sweet heartfelt Christmas story that reminds you of the true reason for the season. Angela owns the Heart of Christmas, a one of a kind shop that’s been in her family for years. They sell high quality hand made Christmas decorations. When a new big box style Christmas store comes into town, Angela’s business takes another hit on top of her already foundering business. The book encourages us to look at what’s really important to us, our families and our communities. Will Angela get some help from Santa this year?
I loved the setting. A quaint beachside town isn’t what you first think of for a Christmasy book, but it works perfectly. The passion Angela has for her town, the history and townspeople absolutely makes the book so special. You can feel the true magic of the holidays on each page. The descriptions of her Christmas store made me feel as if I was right there, surrounded by all the twinkly lights, fresh cut trees, and handcrafted ornaments. The scent of gingerbread and peppermint mochas waft through the air. The book is such a cozy holiday read that I can’t get enough.
However, there isn’t much romance. The story focuses more on Angela’s love for her family, business, and town than a new love interest. At least until the last, maybe 20%. It’s very sweet and happily ever after, so that helps. Also there was a lot of tension and arguing in parts. Completely authentic to the story, but sometimes you don’t want to read about stress and tension. Luckily most is about the wonderful moments of Christmastime.
All together, Dear Santa captures the true magic of Christmas with all the cozy feels.