book review, New Book

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Hunger Games is a comfort read/watch for me. I really loved the apocalyptic setup author Suzanne Collins created. So when The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes came out, I snagged my copy right away.

Overall Rating: 4/6 Glass Slippers

Coriolanus Snow was born in the Capital of Panem to an old Capital family. He had the name and the prestigious penthouse to ensure all doors were open for him. But his parents are dead, leaving him and his elder cousin Tigress to care for their ailing grandmother and make sure no one knows how impoverished the once noble Snows have become.

As the 10th annual Hunger Games draw bear Coriolanus and his classmates are giving the chance to mentor a tribute. He’s given the girl from District 12, a slight against him, as it’s the poorest and weakest district. But his tribute Lucy Gray Baird is a born performer, and soon captures the heart of the capital.

While preparing for the games, Coriolanus and Lucy Gray find they have more in common than they knew, and soon they’re falling fast. From snake bites to escape plans, Coriolanus must decide if he should take of the mantle of the Capital or throw it all away in the search for love.

When I first heard about this book, I was skeptical. We know Coriolanus Snow as a villain, a sickly, evil poison or without a good bone in his body. Collins promised us a new look at the president, one that would make us think differently. I found myself reading, looking for fault in the unsure, charismatic boy who worked day and night to keep the snow family in line with the rest of the capitals elite. I was even rooting for him to come out on top, some thing I didn’t think I would do.

I was completely ready to adore this book, even though some parts were slower than I would’ve liked. But the ending made it difficult for me to love it. It was sharp and sudden, leaving so many unanswered questions that made me close the book with frustration. I know not every book is tied up in a neat bow at the end, but I have to say that I was truly disappointed.

One thing that didn’t disappoint, was the look at the formation of the capital, the way the districts interacted, and the lives of every day citizens. Before, we only knew what Katniss, an uneducated girl from District 12 knew. But Coriolanus was the son of a war hero, a scholar, someone who had an idea of how the larger world worked. Getting the extra locks into peace keepers and what led to the formation of the Hunger Games and beyond was really exciting.

Overall, I liked the book, but didn’t completely love it. Although, if Collins comes out with a new story set in Panam, I will be the first one in line to buy it.

New Book

A Good Man

I read author Rosanna Leo’s romance novel A Good Man, Handyman Book 1, when it first came out, but it’s been rereleased with some sizzling changes and a fabulous new cover.

He tears down walls for a living. She’ll tear down the ones around his heart.

Contractor Michael Zorn is one of the leading men on the successful home improvement show Handymen. He is also revered for an act of bravery he’d rather forget. The press may hound him, but all he really wants is to help couples realize their home renovation dreams.

One of these couples is Emily Daniels and her fiancé, Trent. When Emily inherits an old home in Toronto’s Little Italy, she sees it as the perfect location for her small business. The house needs a lot of work, but her appearance on the Handymen show means Michael and his contractor brothers will help her renovate at a reasonable cost.

When Michael and Emily meet, their chemistry is intense. Emily wants to stay true to Trent, but her fiancé has done nothing but disappoint her. Michael recognizes Trent for what he is—a cheater. And it isn’t long before he breaks Emily’s heart.

At first, Michael only intends to comfort Emily, but their friendship soon flares into passion. Unfortunately, Michael has secrets and wounds of his own, ones he has never trusted to another. Emily is determined to break down his walls, but can she trust her heart to a man who can’t trust himself?

Order your copy now HERE and see how one good man can make all the difference.

book review, history, New Book

The House on the Hill

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Irina Shapiro. From the first page, I know there will be heartbreak, betrayal, and a story that will twist through time. So today, I’d like to introduce you to The House on the Hill.

  • Genre: Historical Fiction and Contemporary and Historical Romance
  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️
  • Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

In the modern day, Laura has recently been widowed, having lost her husband in Iraq. She leaves their apartment in the heart of Boston for a summer of healing in an old house on the shores of Cape Cod. She’s hoping to leave her ghosts behind and perhaps find new inspiration for a book. But a ghostly visitor shows her there’s something different about the Holland House.

In the 1700s, Sophie is on the cusp of adulthood, counting the days until she can marry Teddy, a boy she’s loved for years. Her book maker father has his sights set on a man with a title or some money, and forbids his only daughter from following her heart. When her hand is forced and she must make a decision to save herself, her life begins to unravel.

While Laura works to learn more about her ghostly visitor and sort out her feelings about the handsome vet she met in town, Sophie’s charmed world shatters. Both women are trapped in webs of lies and grief woven hundreds of years apart, but inexplicably tied.

Every time I read something by Shapiro, I’m instantly on edge. I know terrible things will happen, but I savor the slight feeling of apprehension. Wondering who will be the one to stab the man character in the back is something I’ve come to expect and thoroughly enjoy.

My historical specialty is European-based, so having American history tidbits was very welcome. I live on the East Coast and admittedly don’t know a lot about colonial life other than what’s taught in basic classes. I always like how Shapiro brings in facts to give her books a level of realism that inspires me to explore the themes more on my own.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to all lovers of historical fiction and romantic suspense.

book review, New Book

Try Easy

Escapism is on the top of my reading list, making a Hawaiian vacation themed romance the prefect read. I’d like to chat a bit about Try Easy by Jill Brashear, book one in the Aloha Series.

  • Heat Level: 4/6 Hearts
  • Genre: Sports/Vacation Romance
  • Overall Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers

In the late 1960’s, fledgling photographer Mary Lou Hunter has always followed the rules to get the life she wants. She plans to marry her picture perfect boyfriend, live in a picture perfect house, and have a picture perfect life. When her best friend invites her on a Hawaiian vacation, Lou and her camera get a shot at something new. But when she steps off the plane and is greeting by a man with a busted lip and the broadest shoulder’s she’d ever seen, Lou realized things aren’t always perfect.

Keoni Makai is a surfing legend on his home island of Oahu. If he could, he’d make surfing his life and reclaim the sport his ancestors created, but the born and bred Hawaiians are still treated as second class citizens in their own homes. Between working at a pineapple cannery by night and surfing by day, he’s been trying to escape his demons, the ones he comes to face with nearly every day on the water. Keoni also has a rule about never getting involved with tourists, even ones who look like Lou.

As the time to Lou’s departure flight draws near, the siren song of the Hawaiian sea entangles her and Keoni in a way neither thought possible.

Try Easy was a good read and a solid travel romance that wasn’t just a cut and dry tale of holiday lust. I curled up on my back deck over several warm afternoons and drifted along the story Brashear wove happily, really never able to guess what would happen next. Every time I thought I had the ending figured out, something else came to pass that was so wonderfully human in that messy way. There was no straight shot to the last page, which was a nice change to some books where you can guess where the story’s heading.

Keoni’s experience as a native Hawaiian was also one I found particularly interesting, from a historian’s standpoint. Hawaii’s entrance into the United States wasn’t some simple signing of papers, but an overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy started by white plantation owners. The racial issues and prejudices began years before Queen Lili’uokalani was forced off her throne and continue to this day. I liked how Brashear touched upon these ongoing issues though Keoni being barred from participating in a local surfing competition, although his white friend, who wasn’t as talented as him, was formally invited.

My only issue with this book is that there wasn’t more! The time jump during Lou’s trip to Hawaii killed me. I’m a huge deal person and thrive on really being in the moment. I would have liked to see the moments between her and Kione really fleshed out, mostly since whenever they did have a scene together, I could really feel the tension between them, which I adored.

Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who misses the feeling of sand between their toes as they’re staying safe at home.

book review, New Book

The Fae King’s Curse

I’m back to chat about The Fae King’s Curse, the second book in the Between Dawn and Dusk series. If you remember, I actually read and reviewed Between Dawn and Dusk already and it got my fantasy romance seal of approval!

  • Genre: Fantasy Romance
  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️❤️❤️
  • Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

The firstborn children of all Fae king are blind and can only regain their sight when they meets their fated mate, or soul mate. If they do much as kiss someone else, they will remain blind forever. Kirian, the prince of the Night Realm is no exception. Though he wishes he were as soon as he meets Quinn, a human girl who saves his life when he’s just a child.

Quinn is twelve when she meets Kirian, an odd boy she fishes out of the water. He promises to come back through the timed portal and see her the next day, but a day in the human world is a year for a Fae and she nearly doesn’t recognize him. This continues for years of daily meetings for her and centuries of yearly meetings for him until Quinn is eighteen.

Quinn’s loved him since childhood and fears one day he won’t appear in the woods near her house and he’ll be off with his true fated mate. Before she’s set to leave for college, she tells him she can’t meet him anymore. Loving him and knowing he will one day leave her forever kills her. Then, Kirian does the worst thing possible…he kisses her.

With one kiss, the pair is woven into a tapestry of curses, stardust, and fate.

This is what I was missing in Between Dawn and Dusk. I adore first meetings and Schlosser gave me a good one when a lavender eyed Fae prince and a small town girl in overalls met beside the river and felt sparks. The slow burn was perfect.

I love, love, loved this book and I’m not a huge fantasy romance fan, usually steering more towards the JRR Tolkien vein of elves and dwarves. But the way Quinn and Kirian’s relationship developed and the small quirks they each have had me swooning. I literally read it it one siting with a single break to make whipped coffee and turn on a light. It was funny and heartwarming, but steamy and dark all at the same time.

Congrats, Jamie Schlosser, you just created a fantasy romance fan.

kids, New Book

The Princess and the Dragon

Now that my daughter’s reading, I’m constantly looking for new books to add to her already massive library. Today I want to show you a new release by author Mary Settle, The Princess and the Dragon!

We all know the story of Cinderella but what if she encounters a dragon? Come along on an adventure of a classic story with a modern twist, but be warned. Things are not always what they appear!

You can order you copy of The Princess and the Dragon on Amazon HERE!

New Book

Circle of Hurt

It’s release day for Lauren Campbell with her newest book, Circle of Hurt. A story of marriage, betrayal, and pain that reviewers are calling “completely engaging and just beautiful to read.”

For years, infertility followed me like a cloud.

But finally, the sun has risen.

Finally, I am pregnant.

Except now a new storm rages in the distance–one I have no choice but to pass through.

I have no idea if the child I’m carrying belongs to my husband … or to the man I’ve betrayed him with–a man I’ve come to love but whose name I don’t know.

What I do know is that I’m a cheat. A liar. Undeserving of this baby inside me.

I don’t know how this will end. But I do know it won’t be without casualties, because this is a story in which a true happy ending cannot exist.

A story of how my love for one grew into three but must end with only two.

Order your copy now wherever ebook are sold HERE

audiobook, book review, New Book, review

The Broken

My favorite time hopping series is back in audiobook form. That’s right, I’m talking about Echoes from the Past by Irina Shapiro. Today, I’d like to discuss the series’s grand finale, The Broken. As always, I will try to keep my review relatively spoiler free, but if I surprise you, remember this amazing series is on book eight!

  • Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers
  • Genre: Historical and Contemporary Romance and Drama
  • Heat Rating: ♥♥

In 2015 Dr. Quinn Allenby is called to inspect the skeletal remains of an infant for the hit TV show Echoes from the Past, a program that “solves” old murders and deaths from centuries ago. A mother herself, the work is especially difficult, as the remains have been tampered with and the skeleton is new enough that, for the first time, the family might be still alive. But with the help of a broach found with the baby, she’ll work to put a name to the remains.

In 1955 nurse Helen meets David, who sweeps her off her feet. At first, their courtship is secretive, as Helen’s mother despises the thought of her only child being whisked away. And once they’re allowed to wed, Helen believes herself to be the luckiest woman alive. But when a chance discovery in her mother’s bedroom threatens not only her marriage, but her immortal soul, Helen will have to decide if the truth is worth her happiness.

Through the decades, a secret has been kept, one buried in the garden of an unassuming London home.

As always, I was immediately drawn into the story in a way I’m normally not when it comes to most books. Falling back into Quinn’s complicated life with her messy, extended family is always fun, as is following her into the past to untangle the life of someone who’s only left bones behind. Her tale is one of back stabbing siblings, unreliable parents, and a marriage stronger than most I read about. She has to fight for the shreds of normalcy like packing her daughter Emma’s lunch for school and setting up coffee meetings with her boss in between fact checking her visions.

Since this is the last book in the series, I’ll miss it greatly. The way Shapiro is able to weave the past and present together to form a seamless story is something I’ll always admire. She ended the series in a strong, yet organic, way where most storylines are tied up, and while the future is uncertain for some of the cast, they’ve all more or less ended up just where they needed to be.

Overall, and as always, I recommend this book, and all of Echoes from the Past to all contemporary and historical fiction fans who are looking for their next six glass slipper read.

book review, New Book

Temporary Wife Temptation

I’ve been so busy with work and my family, my poor TBR pile has been sadly neglected. But new author Jayci Lee drew me in with her first novel Temporary Wife Temptation, book one of Heirs of Hansol series. I settled onto my couch one quiet morning after school drop off with a cup of coffee and my dog. Before I knew it, I had finished the book and already craving book two.

  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Tropes: Billionaire Romance/Fake Relationship
  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️❤️❤️
  • Overall Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers

Garrett Song is rich, handsome, and poised to take over his family’s fashion empire, Hansol. He can walk on the wild side, but knows his duty as the heir to the proverbial throne. When his grandmother wants to play matchmaker to join the Song family forces with another influential family, comes up with a plan. He hates the idea of marriage and plans on being a lifelong bachelor. But then he decides to handpick his own wife, one he knows would benefit from their marriage just as much as he would. If only he can get her to accept.

Natalie Sobol is having a rough time. She’s been working for Hansol for a while, and has her eye on a position that could validate her career choices and set her up for life. But the death of her sister and brother-in-law leave her the guardian of a little girl, her life goes into a tailspin. She needs a promotion and money for her niece’s medical issues and schooling. She hadn’t planned on being a parent just yet, but when Garret offers her a way to get everything she wants, it’s hard to say no…only there’s a catch, one that makes her question everything.

In the beginning, the deal is clear. They marry so Garret gets the CEO position and Natalie is promoted to the VP of Human Resources and is able to fully adopt her niece. They’ll attend parties, go out to dinner, and appear on the outside as a perfectly devoted pair. After enough time passes, they’ll simply annul their marriage. After all, they don’t plan on actually ever consummating it…right?

Temporary Wife Temptation is basically what happens when The Proposal, The Wedding Date, and Crazy Rich Asians combine forces. Sexy, funny, and interesting, the story sets off at a run from page one, not leaving any room for unnecessary filler or fluff. You dive right in to Garret and Natalie’s story, getting both points of view from the beginning.

I really enjoy fake relationship romances and anything with fabulously wealthy people. The world Lee created is the perfect blend of luxury living and real life issues. There’s enough reality to keep you grounded as you follow the romance, but more than enough champagne living to sweeten the deal. It also wasn’t terribly predictable. There were enough twists and turns between the romance to make you wonder if Garret and Natalie would make a real go of their relationship or just start counting down the days until they could split for good.


free book, New Book

What Happens in the Castle

It’s finally here, release day for the final installment of The What Happens Series! Readers have watched an American girl fall in love with the unobtainable laird, the broken heiress find forgiveness and romance, and now it’s time for a NYC based midwife to meet her match…too bad that match lives in the Scottish Highlands.

What Happens in the Castle is available wherever books are sold!

PS. What Happens in the Highlands is currently FREE HERE!