Book Talk Tuesday: SAILING AT SUNSET

SAS

This is the first romance I’ve read that featured sailing as the “vehicle” to get the hero and heroine together. It turned out to be a fun one.

Danae is focused and driven and organized. So she’s more than a little thrown when her boss tells her she’s taking her marketing team on a week long team-building cruise on one of the company yachts. The captain has been hired and he’ll also be their tour guide around Martha’s Vineyard.

Josh got off the corporate hamster wheel and is perfectly content taking chartered cruises out on his own ship, or hiring himself out for other events. The current job looks to be a pain, because the gal in charge keeps emailing him with changes in the agenda.

This is a romance, so we already know the ending, but getting there was very fun. I’ve never been to Martha’s Vineyard, but I feel like I’ve visited it. Madsen did a great job with her setting and her characters. Danae and Josh both had to overcome what they thought they wanted in life, in order to be open to the possibility of something more.
I enjoyed this one a lot and I recommend it!

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I received a free advance electronic copy of this book from the publisher, but that did not induce me to review it, either favorably or not.

Book Talk on a Thursday: Christmas in Bayberry

Wes has been chasing career success. So has Kate. They just have very different definitions of what that looks like. For Wes, it’s a title, a corner office with a view of Manhattan, and not having to move every year. For Kate, it’s having her family’s Vermont candle company survive another year.

CiBWhen Wes comes to Bayberry, Vermont to analyze the Bayberry Candle Company’s financials and issue a recommendation on its future, he’s flooded with memories of the year his family lived there when he was fifteen. And the girl he wanted to invite to the annual Candlelight Dance on Christmas Eve. But his dad got a new job and they moved before he got the chance.

Kate moved to Bayberry when she was fifteen and her parents were killed in an accident and she was taken in by her aunt. Her aunt is preparing to retire and Kate wants nothing except to keep the family candle business running exactly as it has been for the last three generations.

As Wes and Kate work together, sometimes on divergent paths, they fight their growing attraction. After all, his life is in New York City and hers is in Bayberry. Right?

I enjoyed this new release from Hallmark Publishing. Besides being a taste of Christmas in July (and I live in Central California where 100+ degree days are common, so descriptions of snowball fights and hot chocolate are very welcome!), I enjoyed this sweet romance and its glimpse of two people on two different trajectories and how they were brought together by a failing business, an improbable Santa, and Spirit of Christmas.
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I received a free e-copy of this book from Hallmark Publishing but it did not induce me to leave a review, favorable or not.

Book Talk Tuesday: IN OTHER WORDS, LOVE

I’m not reading as much as I expected, seeing as I spend pretty much all day, every day inside. We are starting to go out for walks and that helps. But I just can’t seem to keep focused on a book for very long. I’m playing a lot of games on my tablet and catching up on the DVR.

But I did read a few books and this one was especially enjoyable.

IN OTHER WORDS, LOVE by Shirley Jump is another romance from Hallmark Publishing.

IOW.LKate is a ghostwriter, barely making ends meet. She’s offered a new job, for an amount with a lot of zeroes, to ghostwrite a memoir for a busy CEO. Only the exec turns out to be the college boyfriend who broke her heart.

Trent is a driven man, focused on his business and its upcoming IPO. He’s procrastinated writing that blasted memoir and now the deadline is looming and he doesn’t have enough hours in the day. His staff convinces him to hire a ghostwriter who will sign a non-disclosure agreement, so no one has to know he didn’t write the book himself. It feels dishonest, but he doesn’t have much choice.

Of course, as soon as Kate and Trent meet again there are all kinds of complications, not the least of which is the return of their easy friendship. And all the developing feelings, from each of them.

Kate continues to peel back Trent’s layers as she fleshes out his outline and yellow sticky notes. Trent is amazed as this older Kate turns out to be far more adventurous than he thought fifteen years ago.

There are complications along the way to their Happily-Ever-After, of course, but I wouldn’t dream of spoiling the journey for you.

IN OTHER WORDS, LOVE is a sweet romance that I enjoyed and recommend!


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but that did not induce me to review it.

 

Book Talk Tuesday on a Thursday: Courageous World Changers

Courageous World Changers: 50 True Stories of Daring Women of God

I could not love this book more!

CWCEach profile is short and easily read in a few minutes. It has enough information to make the person come alive in my mind. There’s a nice variety of historical and contemporary figures. There are women from all walks of life and all ethnicities, proving that being a Christian isn’t exclusive to middle class white Americans.

I’m going to gift this copy to my two 3rd grade granddaughters. It’s perfect for them. The illustrations capture the essence of the story and the person. The vocabulary will be just challenging enough to encourage them to think about what they’re reading without being so far above them that they’ll lose interest.

The back cover says it’s for ages 8-11, but it could be read aloud to younger girls. I’m quite a bit older than 11 and I learned a lot and loved it.

I’m excited to share this book with others!
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. It did not influence nor induce me to review it.

Book Talk Tuesday: Meant to be Yours

It’s no secret I love Susan Mallery’s books. I love her women’s fiction. I love her Fool’s Gold series. And I love her Happily Inc stories, too. This is book #5 set in Happily Inc, a wedding destination town in the California desert.

MtbYRenee has been working for Pallas at Weddings out of the Box for a while now. We haven’t gotten to know her very well in previous books. Same with Jasper Dembenski, a veteran with PTSD and a bestselling thriller writer. Neither is looking for a relationship, so it seems perfect for them to agree to a “friends with benefits,” arrangement. Especially since Jasper needs helping writing a feminine point of view for his newest book.
Of course, this is a romance, so it isn’t long before feelings get tangled up. Mallery does a great job dropping hints about Renee’s past hurts and struggles without making us wait toooooo long for the details.

And of course, we know, just like one of the characters tells him, Jasper isn’t nearly as broken as he thinks he is.

I loved how both Jasper and Renee had to learn some things about themselves and each other as they traveled the road to happily ever after.
I’m already looking forward to the next installment in Happily Inc!


I received a copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review, just give my opinion. Which I gladly did.

Book Talk Tuesday: THE HANDSOME MAN’S DELUXE CAFE

In 2018 I worked to catch up on several series I’d fallen behind on. It’s odd how authors kept churning out books, even though I wasn’t reading!

9780804169905_handsomemansdeluxecafe-350x540One of the most prolific writers working today is Alexander McCall Smith. He’s perhaps best known for his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books, but he has several other series as well. Isabel Dalhousie and The Sunday Philosophy Club is the other series I enjoy as well. It’s set in Scotland, and having been there once, I love revisiting Edinburgh and its environs.

Anyway, back to Botswana, Precious Ramotswe, and Grace Makutsi in THE HANDSOME MAN’S DELUXE CAFE. I felt an earlier book in this series, THE SATURDAY BIG TENT WEDDING PARTY, which was the story of Grace Makutsi and Phuti Radiphuti’s wedding felt rushed and not edited and disjointed.

I’m happy to say that one was an anomaly, and the following books were back to his usual high standard, including THE HANDSOME MAN’S DELUXE CAFE.

Grace and Phuti have married, built their new home and have their son. Grace has decided she wants to own her own business, like her husband and her business associate, Mma Ramotswe. Grace opens a restaurant.

Mma Ramotswe takes on a case of a woman who doesn’t know who she is. And Mr. JLB Matekoni is forced to let one of the apprentices go from the garage.

As usual, Grace’s shoes have a bit of wisdom for her, that she ignores. Grace and Charlie disagree about … well, nearly everything. Precious and Mma Potokwane share some fruitcake and discuss a case and human nature.

I love this series and THE HANDSOME MAN’S DELUXE CAFE is a worthy addition. I’m continuing in my quest to catch up. There are 4 more and I’ll be current. They are fairly quick reads, so I’m confident 2019 will see me all caught up. I’m still behind on my several of my other favorite series, but I’m working on it.

Stay tuned!

BOOK TALK ON A THURSDAY: Not Quite Over You

We’re back in Happily Inc for another visit! I love Susan Mallery’s small towns, quirky characters, real life emotions, and fun plots.

In NOT QUITE OVER YOU, Silver Tesdal, owner of AlcoHaul (a portable bar that can be towed to wedding and party venues) wants to expand. Her high school boyfriend wants nqoyto invest in her business. And maybe in her life. The only problem is a secret she’s been keeping from him for a few years.

One thing leads to another and pretty soon they’re partners in business and in bed.

Silver knows she has to come clean and when she does, Drew takes the news hard, but comes around pretty quickly.

Drew’s family has been grooming him for a career and there are certain expectations. Those are part of the reasons Silver broke up with him after high school and not much has changed more than a decade later.

NOT QUITE OVER YOU employs some common romance tropes, but in Mallery’s capable hands they don’t feel overused or stale. I enjoyed Silver and Drew’s wrong-side-of-the-tracks story and I recommend it! Especially if you love fun and funny stories!


I received a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for a honest review. I honestly loved it.

 

Book Talk Tuesday: WHY NOT TONIGHT

It’s so much fun to go to my mailbox and find a new book. Whether it’s one I ordered from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or an Advanced Reader Copy from an author I review, or a gift from someone else. I love getting books. I love reading books. I don’t care if they’re hardbound, paperbacks, or electronic versions. I love them all.

It was a sweet day indeed when I found a copy of Susan Mallery’s latest, WHY NOT TONIGHT in my mailbox a couple of weeks ago. It’s the latest addition to Mallery’s new Happily Inc series.

WNT by smRonan Mitchell is the last Mitchell brother to find his one and only. He pulled away from the family–and his brothers, including his twin–after he learned a truth about his father. His brothers are still there for him, but have tired of his continual withdrawal. Ronan and two of the others have inherited their father’s artistic talent. Except Ronan’s having a hard time creating art, and an even harder time enjoying it. He’s been hugely successful and money isn’t an issue.

Natalie Kaleta is also an artist. Part-time. She also works at the gallery that handles Ronan’s art. She’s a glass-half-full-no-heck-it’s-plenty-whether-full-or-empty kind of gal. She’s had her share of heartbreak, but has managed to retain her sunny disposition.

A freak storm and freakier incident with Natalie’s car maroons them at Ronan’s mountain hideaway. Their growing attraction makes the isolation … problematic. At least from Ronan’s point of view.

As the story progresses, the couple become a couple. Ronan responds to Natalie’s optimism. She blossoms under his belief in her talent and her art. They each have issues on their road to happily ever after, but they do make it. Come on, this is a romance, did you have doubts?

I love all of Mallery’s books, and WHY NOT TONIGHT is typical of her romances. Fun and funny and light, but with a deeper message about family and doing what you love and having to pay bills.

I highly recommend it!


I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Book Talk Tuesday: NAKED IN DEATH

I finished J.D. Robb’s NAKED IN DEATH a couple of weeks ago. It’s the first of her In Death series and one I hadn’t read yet.

An AutoChef by Any Other Name 

download (4)It’s a good introduction to the series. I loved seeing Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Roarke’s first meeting and their attraction. Some of the beloved elements in the series were also introduced. We met Mavis, Charles, Nadine, the Auto-Chef (although not called that quite yet), Feeney, and Commander Whitney. Eve hasn’t yet started hiding candy around the office, but she definitely has a predilection for the sweet stuff. And real coffee. And a cat who figures in one of her cases.

The story is about a professional prostitute (in the 2050s, prostitution is legal and regulated and they’re called licensed companions), who is murdered. She’s the granddaughter of a prominent senator. The murder weapon is a gun, something outlawed and no longer manufactured, so the weapon is an “antique,” although it was manufactured in the early twenty-first century, i.e. now. There’s a taunting note left with the body. A week later, another prostitute is killed.

Some of the clues lead Eve to Roarke, already rich and successful and gorgeous. They explore their attraction, with Eve fighting it the whole way. Of course, Eve comes into grave danger. Of course, Roarke rushes to save her. Of course, she saves herself just before he arrives. Some things never change.

Our Protagonist: Before and After

I was interested to see how Eve has changed in some ways during the series, while in other ways she didn’t. She began irritable and broken, and still shows those characteristics. There were a few details that, in my opinion, no longer apply to Eve. She noticed flowers and trees and could name them. The Eve in the later books doesn’t care enough about flowers to name them, much less notice them. The early Eve has a taste for leather and bold colors. Later, she does love a great armored leather coat, but the Eve of 2064 prefers browns and grays and only consents to color when Roarke insists. Those are extremely minor quibbles though.

Overall, I enjoyed NAKED IN DEATH. And when more of the early books join my TBR stack, I’ll gladly read them.

Do you have to start a series at the beginning or do you dive in and just start anywhere?

 

Book Talk Tuesday: Revisiting Favorites

I used to reread books all the time. I’ve read all the Agatha Christie books multiple times. Same with Dick Francis. Nancy Drew. Trixie Belden. Donna Parker. I grew up returning to my favorites like they were meatloaf and mashed potatoes. They were my comfort reads.

download (5)As I got older and found other authors I enjoyed, I reread fewer and less often. Now, I rarely reread books. I don’t have the time any more. I read books for reviews. I read books to judge for contests. Sometimes I go months without reading for purely my own enjoyment.

But before and after our Ireland and UK trip last year, I did revisit some books set in the places we’d be seeing, or had seen,  in person.

I reread a few Dick Francis books, and even read one or two of his newer titles, written with his son. They were great and reminded me why I’d been a fan for nearly forty years.

I revisited Alexander McCall Smith’s Sunday Philosophy Club series, that is set in Edinburgh and with slices of other Scottish towns.

I’ve now pulled out Liz Curtis Higgs’ MY HEART IS IN THE LOWLANDS. I read this several download (6)years ago and didn’t reread it before our trip, because I knew we were headed more to the Highlands. But I opened it up this morning because I was longing for a glimpse of the Scottish countryside.

I’m now actively trying to figure out when we can return to Scotland and visit the Lowlands this time, following in Liz’s steps.

Do you ever reread favorites? Which ones? Recent favorites or older ones? Am I the only one who thinks of them as comfort reads?