Thursday, December 22, 2022

Favorites of 2022: Mystery/Thriller, Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

 I meant to post this last night but after a crazy day at work I was falling asleep while writing it up. I just got called to come in today (someone called in sick with Covid) so I'm rushing to put this together. 

So many great reads this last year! Here are the rest of my favorites from 2022:

(click on cover for Goodreads link)

Fantasy/Urban Fantasy:

Are any of these on your list?

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Favorites of 2022: Contemporary & Historical Romance/Women's Fiction

Can't believe were at the end of 2022! For the next couple of days I'm featuring my favorite reads of 2022 starting with the Contemporary/Historical Romance & Women's Fiction.

Favorite Contemporary & Historical Romance/Women's Fiction of 2022:

Are any of these on your list?

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Review: Happily Ever Amish by Shelley Shepard Gray


Happily Ever Amish (The Amish of Apple Creek #1) by Shelley Shepard Gray
Publication Date: October 25th 2022 by Kensington
Pages: 272
Source: Publisher 
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Addie Holmes has been regarded as different and maybe a little strange by her peers. She’s quiet, lives with her grandmother and has been seen talking to her pet donkey. But she captures Daniel Miller’s attention. He’s heard the talk about Addie, but never really considered her, and on thinking finds it very unfair that she’s been labeled odd. Seeing her at a friend’s wedding and how apart she is from the crowd he decides to write her an anonymous letter telling her he sees her and finds her special and asks her to write back.

They begin exchanging letters and Addie seems to come out of her shell a bit to the point that they start running into each other in person. Daniel sees what everyone has been missing. A beautiful, kind-hearted, interesting woman, but he’s worried as soon as Addie finds out he’s her secret admirer it’ll ruin any chance he has to win her heart.

I felt bad for Addie and the way a few made her feel, how they influenced others to think her strange, not knowing the full picture or how this talk might hurt her. At first Addie thinks these letters are a joke at her expense, but they become the bright part of her week. They give her a boost of confidence knowing that someone else besides her grandmother and Snickers, her pet donkey see value in her. I liked that she had some spine, too, and didn’t let the opinion of others dictate her actions. I loved the story behind Snickers, the donkey she rescued, how much he enriched her life and brought happiness to others!

Happily Ever Amish was a sweet romance that brought joy to my heart. I’m fairly new to the Amish romances, but I like how they highlight looking at the positives in life, being kind, and thinking of others.

4 Stars

Book Description:

Addie Byler may be Apple Creek’s resident wallflower, but she knows she has a lot to offer—and much to be grateful for. Raised by her loving grandmother, she lives a life filled with good friends and hard work. Wary of romance, Addie assumes no man will look beyond her glasses and her tendency to talk to her rescue donkey, Snickers—until the day she finds a note from a secret admirer. A prank, most likely. But then, a second note arrives . . .

It’s not that Daniel Miller doesn’t like Addie, he just doesn’t want to court her. She’s too willful, too chatty, too odd. Yet when he learns she’s been teased because she’s never had a beau, he decides to send a little note of encouragement. One note leads to another. And when Addie begins replying with thoughtful messages of her own, he’s struck by her sweetness and warmth.

As chilly winter melts into spring, what began as a gesture of sympathy becomes something much deeper. Daniel fears revealing the truth, but with courage, faith—and a helping hand from their close-knit community—Apple Creek’s most unlikely couple may find their path to happiness.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Sunday Post #188


The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week.

It's been a long two weeks. I didn't post last week because we took off for Southern California as my son and DIL had their first child. A sweet baby boy! Our third grandchild. We were thrilled to welcome him to the family and things went off without a hitch for the birth. Anyhow, we stayed for the week with them. 
I flew home on Thursday while the husband stayed because I had to work on Friday and then caught a plane back down south because we were meeting our daughter, SIL and our other two grandkids in Los Angeles to attend Fresno's (friends with a player & family) football game at the brand new SoFi stadium. It was such a nice event and we went out with everyone after, stayed the night and are now finally 
driving home right now. I'm soooo tired. 

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

All great reads. Two ARCs and three audios. Listened to Best Worst Christmas after seeing it on Lucy Knows Things. It was short (less than 4 hours at 1.5x normal speed) the writing was beautiful and it was alternately funny and emotional. It's also part of Audible's Plus catalog if you're a member. Win! I was reminded I wanted to get to more of Simone St. James backlist when I saw Kimberly's review. Loved it! Sugaring Off was after seeing it on Carole's blog. Loved it too. Another beautiful story that was YA, which I rarely read anymore. Coming of age, dealing with partial deafness, trauma and a little danger, too. Really good. 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

I'm trying to make my Audiobook Challenge so I have two short stories: The Naughty, The Nice and the Nanny, in the Audible Plus catalog, and Resting Scrooge Face, a Kindle Unlimited "read and listen for free". Hotel of Secrets is an invite I'm looking forward to as I loved Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller.


How was your week?

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Review: Coming Home by Shelley Shepard Gray


Coming Home (Woodland Park Firefighters #1) by Shelley Shepard Gray
Publication Date: November 29th 2022 by Berkley
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher 
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Anderson and Chelsea were high school sweethearts, but broke up, each going their separate ways with Anderson enlisting in the army and Chelsea going to college.  Brokenhearted, Chelsea has a one-night stand and ends up pregnant. Although Chelsea regrets the one-night stand, she doesn’t regret having her son, Jack, now nine-years-old. Chelsea loved Anderson, he was everything to her, sweet, attentive, and when they parted ways it broke her heart, but his reaction to finding out she was pregnant isn’t something she’ll forget.

Anderson is back in his hometown of Woodland Park after fighting in Afghanistan. Left with physical and emotional scars, he’s happy to be home, helping people as a paramedic/firefighter, a job he loves. The one big regret he has is how he handled things with Chelsea. He’s never forgotten her and kicks himself over ruining things. It’s been a while since he’s been back, and they have yet to properly cross paths but then he’s assigned for and in-person service for the senior living home Chelsea works at. Meeting again inspires him to try to mend things as he’s never loved anyone like Chelsea.

Oh, I do love a second chance romance and Coming Home was lovely! The regret and longing between these two were palpable so I was fully invested on seeing them get their HEA. I loved the bond that formed between Anderson and Chelsea’s son, Jack too. Jack was so eager for a father figure and Anderson felt privileged to be there for him.

There was another side story with Chelsea’s elderly neighbor, Camille. Her kids were exerting unwanted pressure to move from Woodland Park to Florida to a senior center close by them, but Camille wanted her independence and to stay in her hometown. A little romance there, too. I’m happy Camille had support and understanding from Chelsea and Frank, her fledging beau. I enjoyed it!

Coming Home was just the kind of low-drama, heartwarming second chance romance I love! The small-town setting sounded beautiful, and I enjoyed the supportive secondary characters, too. Lots of potential for future romances.

4 Stars

Book Description:

When an army vet becomes a firefighter in small-town Colorado, the flames of an old love reignite in this sweet romance by bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray

In Woodland Park, a small town nestled in the foothills of Pikes Peak, Anderson Kelly and Chelsea Davis were once the high school "it" couple--the star quarterback and the valedictorian. They broke up when Anderson joined the army and one poor decision at a fraternity party changed Chelsea's life. Now, she works long shifts in a senior center to support her nine-year-old son, Jack.

After multiple tours in Afghanistan, Anderson has changed, too--physically scarred but mentally strong--and he decides to move back to Woodland Park. Anderson and Chelsea steer clear of each other to avoid reopening old wounds, until they are forced to reconnect through the senior center. They soon discover that the love they once shared never completely vanished. But it will take a fire, a dangerous collision, and the love of one little boy to help Anderson and Chelsea see that the future they've always yearned for is in sight...

About the Author
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Winter 2022-2023 To Read List


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Artsy Reader where each week they post a new top ten list and ask fellow bookish folk to share their lists on that topic.

Books on My Winter 2022-2023 To Read List:

Lots of thriller/mysteries here, right? Super excited for the new Ilona Andrews titles. I hope to get through my list this winter but we'll see. 

What is on your Winter TBR?