• Mini Book Reviews for May and June

    Hello friends! Happy June Show Us Your Books! I just can’t stop won’t stop with my constant reading so I have a lot to share and many that I’ll just share over on my Goodreads instead. In fact, I think I’ve been doing more reading than reviewing and life took over a little bit in May so I missed the link up and have included a few of those books here too!! Here are my thoughts on the books I’ve read lately and be sure to drop over to Steph and Jana’s pages for the others in the link up!

    Hope you’ve had a good reading life lately too – can’t wait to see everyone else’s posts πŸ™‚

    Books I’d Highly Recommend:

    Book LoversBook Lovers by Emily Henry
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    This is a book I want to pick up and hug every day for the rest of my life.

    Long story short: I will happily recommend this book for years to come. It will be one of my top books of the year. I am so honoured to have received a copy for review in multiple formats. I will be giving this book to other book lovers, lending out my copy, and watching it succeed all year. This book is exceptionally narrated by Julia Whelan but the writing itself is idyllic as well.

    1. Incredible characters and admirable, readable character growth
    2. HIlarious small town setting that delights the reader (both the residents and the names of places)
    3. Sweet, loving, and ever-evolving sister relationship
    4. Profound love for New York City as a bit of a background “character” in itself
    5. Great dialogue and chemistry and banter so many lines to highlight and revisit
    6. Emotional depth in regard to past/family matters/identity/character development
    7. Smart female characters who know who they are
    8. Relatable situations
    9. The ability to feel seen as a fellow book-lover
    10. An ending to remember πŸ™‚

    Charlie is my new favourite Emily Henry male lead and I loved Nora and her sister and gahhh what a perfect book.

    Every Summer AfterEvery Summer After by Carley Fortune
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    5 huge stars!!! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    Have you ever read a book and felt like it was almost physically painful to put it down and go on with the rest of your life?? This doesn’t happen to me often, but it did while I was reading this book. Carley Fortune has written the ultimate perfect summer reading book, but I just know I’ll be revisiting these characters in another season too.

    Here are a few of many things to love about this book:

    1) Two timelines – now and then…then being YA age/young love, now being over a decade later. This pace worked so well for me as a reader and I devoured every word.

    2) An instantly perfect summer setting at a cabin on a lake in Canada – I loved the Canadian-ness in this book!!!

    3) A feeling of nostalgia, an uncertainty about what happened in the “then” timeline, and beautifully written prose and relationship building moments that were swoonworthy

    4) Themes of love, family, friendship, growing up, growing together and apart, and forgiveness. Percy and Sam and Charlie were just so special.

    I absolutely loved this book so much that I had to run out and buy my own copy to have forever. Something about it reminded me of the final episode of Dawson’s Creek, which I’ll admit makes me cry just thinking about. It was so wonderful.

    Thank you to Penguin Canada and Berkley Publishers for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Set on YouSet on You by Amy Lea
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    This book was so much better than I even expected – I absolutely loved the way the story was told, and felt very closely connected to the wonderful characters and their budding relationship.

    Crystal was an easy character to relate to – especially as someone who enjoys social media and has had ups and downs with body love over their lifetime. She was positive and inspirational but she also came in to her own and made some powerful realizations about who she wanted to become. I loved her storyline and her relationships with her friends and family.

    Scott was one of the better male leads I’ve read in ages – there was basically nothing wrong with him, which we all know is SO MUCH FUN to read in fiction πŸ˜‰ and I really, really loved how supportive he was of his family and Crystal’s career path and all of that.

    I spent most of my time reading this book with a huge grin on my face but also teared up once or twice – it really gave me a wide range of emotions and there’s nothing more I ever want in my reading life so kudos to Amy for that. πŸ™‚

    The banter and chemistry in this book was fantastic and it was written so well – I can’t wait for more books by this wonderful, sweet, Canadian author.

    Thank you to the author for the travelling ARC copy in exchange for an honest review!! It was so fun to be apart of and I loved holding a book that so many other book lovers had enjoyed as well πŸ™‚

    Lessons in ChemistryLessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    I went into this book not knowing too much about what it was about, but it was utterly delightful and tugged at my heart strings considerably more than I expected it to. By the end of it, I truly felt that it deserves no less than 5 stars and the interview with the author on the audiobook version really tipped that scale for me as well.

    Elizabeth Zott was a pioneer in her time and just such a fascinating character to spend a bit of time with – despite having a very different life, I found some of her thoughts and feelings so relatable, especially pertaining to motherhood and all of the feelings that come with that. I do so love a tenacious character to root for, and that was her.

    This book is historical fiction due to being set in the 1960s but it felt refreshing to hear what I’d consider to be modern-day language overall and it also felt a bit jarring to see how much some aspects of life have not changed since then — UGH. I was delighted by Elizabeth & Calvin’s life choices and I absolutely loved all of the very important and impressive side characters in the novel including Harriet, Mad, and Six Thirty <– the best.

    The way this book was written was snappy and compelling and it was hard to put down. I loved it and would recommend widely.

    The Winners (Beartown #3)The Winners by Fredrik Backman
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    I don’t even know exactly where to start with a review of this book. Maybe I’ll start by noting that I had been anticipating this book since the second I finished Us Against You in 2018 – and to have it land in my email inbox a few months before publication was a highlight of my reading year. I quickly reread Beartown and Us Against You on audio (which was SUCH a good idea, I had forgotten a lot of small intricacies in the last few years) and was ready to dive right in and pick up with these beloved characters in Beartown.

    Every reader dreams of a favourite book that just never ends. Isn’t that what we say about books we’re loving? That we don’t want them to end? I felt this tenfold while reading this extremely lengthy book. I didn’t want it to end, partially because I knew this was the conclusion to a beloved trilogy, and because Backman has a way of tying all the pieces together to build to an elevated conclusion in his books and I was hesitant of the emotional journey. Fortunately, despite my speed-reading-need-to-find-out-what-happens tendencies, this book was very long and the language and way it was written absolutely forced me to savour it more than I usually do with books I’m loving. Backman is a literary genius – the way he can make the reader simultaneously follow and care for 20+ “main characters” is mind-boggling and this book at times felt a bit like a choose your own adventure book with all its paths taken (except the choice was the author’s, not ours). There were so many things hinted at throughout the book and as soon as I’d start to wonder about one thing, we were back at another group of people or a different situation. It was intense and flawless in its execution.

    In regard to the actual content and plot of the story, there is not much I want to say without spoiling any of the story, but as expected, this storyline continues with the heightened tension between the communities of Hed and Beartown, particularly after a disastrous storm causes one of the communities to lose its ice hockey roof and practice in the other rink. We catch up with many of our beloved favourite characters from the first two books including Maya, Amat, Benji, Peter and Kira, Bobo, Zackell, Alicia, Sune, and Anna. Of course, there’s some hockey. As usual, there is some political drama and scheming and there are tensions between couples and there are heartwarming moments and heartwrenching moments. I laughed and smiled and cried and choked up and gasped and all of that. It was exactly the experience I expected.

    Diehard fans of the series will likely savour every single page of this magnificent conclusion to where we began in Beartown – don’t let the length daunt you because this was worth every single second of my reading time and more. I was beyond sad to say goodbye to these characters but also so grateful for my many hours spent with them over the years.

    Thank you so much to Arielle Fredman, Atria Books/Simon and Schuster and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    The Murder of Mr. WickhamThe Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    As a HUGE Austen fan, I’m not sure why I didn’t read this book the second my fellow Austenite @kaleys23 told me it was good. I think it’s because I’ve read a few Austen mystery retellings that just didn’t quite work for me – I’m not a purist and I love a good retelling/adaptation but I want it to be romantic and not a mystery…overall.

    Important info about this book!!!

    This book takes characters from all of Jane Austen’s major works and puts them in ONE HOUSE PARTY TOGETHER with a few newbies in the next generation (for one thing, there is a DARCY Jr.) This is basically the most fun thing I can imagine…Emma and Elizabeth Bennet chit chatting over dinner? Can you even imagine?!

    If you are an Austen fan, this book is beyond fun to read and I really, absolutely, devoured it with a grin on my face the whole time and loved every single second of it.

    4.5 stars for the pure joy it brought me – such a good story and such great reimagined characters.

    Thank you to the publisher for the finished copy in exchange for a review!! I ended up listening to most of it on audio and it was exceptionally narrated. I also really love the cover of the book and the author’s note too!

    Adult Assembly RequiredAdult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    A few years ago, I fell in love with Abbi Waxman’s book The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and I’ve read the majority of her other books now and loved them too. This new release HAS NINA IN IT and I somehow had missed that until I started reading this book so you can only imagine my delight. There are also a few characters from her book The Garden of Small Beginnings, which was fun too.

    I absolutely loved every second of this book and it reminded me so much of my experience reading The Bookish Life of Nina Hill with a huge smile on my face even though this book is markedly different. There are a few similarities in tone – a cast of quirky characters, a character learning more about her own mental health and how to work through some of that, some found family, a sweet love interest, and some fabulous friendships and camaraderie.

    This book is also a bit of a continuing love letter to LA, which is so fun because I’ve never been there and don’t have any immediate plans to go, but I always love to read about it. It is a perfect spring read with a garden and flowers and vegetables featured throughout the pages.

    I’m always a sucker for a good character development arc and Laura’s growth and ability to stand up for who she wanted to become in this book was lovely and fun to read. I really enjoyed following her storyline in which she stands up to those who were not accepting of who she wanted to become.

    Thank you for this wonderful cozy book that felt like a happy hug from some wonderful characters, Abbi. This genre is my sweet spot and this one was fantastic.

    See You YesterdaySee You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I absolutely loved this and I just have not been let down by Rachel Lynn Solomon yet – I think i have enjoyed every single one of her adult and YA books!! This book had such a fun concept – two college freshmen relive the first day on campus over and over and over a la groundhog day and I just could not flip the pages fast enough to see if they ever moved on to September 22!!
    Of course, there is a bit of romance and some great friend and family storylines in the book as well, but it just felt so fun to consider what this might be like and there were emotions all over the place and so many things I hadn’t even thought of that would be amazing about reliving a day and oh so frustrating too!
    If you can suspend belief and you don’t mind a YA cast of characters (these two are very fresh out of high school), I would recommend this one. There are a few content warnings – bullying in high school and rehab are the two that come to mind first.

    Thank you so much to the publisher for sharing an E-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Someone I Used to KnowSomeone I Used to Know by Paige Toon
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I had put this book off for far too long partially because it was not readily available anywhere at the library or on subscription sites in Canada but then when a friend sent me a copy because she is the sweetest human being ever, I knew I had to get to it ASAP and now, having finished it, I know I need more of this author’s writing in my life.

    This story, told in two timelines, had some hard-hitting and gut-punching moments about children in the foster system. Leah is the only birth child of her parents, but they have fostered many, many children over the years and one in particular stays long enough to basically be considered a son. Others are there for short periods of time and some for longer, but her parents treat them all with undying respect and keep in touch with many of them into adulthood. The book truly opened my eyes to what this type of living arrangement could look like and the effects it could have on a biological child as well as on the marriage, finances, and intense chaos of the home. It was amazingly well written and the present day storyline is sad but ultimately hopeful and redemptive.

    I definitely recommend this one if you are a fan of Lia Louis or Beth O’Leary or Mhairi McFarlane. Something about it just reminded me of those types of authors (also British).

    Good OVERALL:

    Bloomsbury GirlsBloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I absolutely loved Natalie Jenner’s debut The Jane Austen Society in 2020 and I was eager to read her new release as well! Bloomsbury Girls is a historical fiction novel set in post-WWII London in a sweet-sounding bookshop. The cast of characters we encounter in this story took me a second to keep track of, but I really ended up enjoying all of them! Grace, Vivien, and Evie (who was in The Jane Austen Society) all come from different backgrounds; the former two women have worked at Bloomsbury Books for years and Evie begins working in the rare books section as this novel begins. I loved reading (hearing – I listened to the audiobook mostly) about how these women’s relationships evolved with each other and with other employees or those involved in the bookshop. Above all, it was fun to encounter characters us literary fans may know of: Daphne Du Maurier, Doubleday, Peggy Guggenheim, and Ellen Doubleday <– of Doubleday Publishers.

    The ending to the story was so satisfying, and I won’t spoil it, but I *loved* the way these women came together and came out on top. It was fun and felt a bit like a heist got pulled off or something and I loved that.

    Another gem from a Canadian author!! If you enjoy historical fiction that is NOT set in a war and follows a timeline of several different characters, I think you’d like this one as I did. The audiobook narrated by Juliet Stevenson was really just the icing on the cake. Thank you to @macmillan.audio and @stmartinspress for the gifted copy of the audiobook and ebook in exchange for an honest review. I recommend this one and The Jane Austen Society!!!

    I Kissed Shara WheelerI Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    3.5 stars – I liked this book, and found it very nice to listen to on audio. The friend groups and evolving friendships and relationships and nuances were my favourite part of the book and I enjoyed the way the plot unfolded scavenger-hunt type style with an ending I didn’t quite see coming. Overall, I appreciated the writing and *certainly* appreciated the deeper meaning and messaging behind the plot, but her other two books were much more in the realm of favourites for me (And fair enough, since I was more the target audience for those ones).

    Thank you to MacMillan Audio and St Martins Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed the audiobook narration!

    As Seen on TVAs Seen on TV by Meredith Schorr
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    As intended, I’m sure, this book reminded me a lot of a Hallmark movie – both in its pace and its characters and conflict and meet cute etc. It was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed the characters and the challenges they faced and OF COURSE, the ending. A small town setting is always fun – especially a small town that is a bit unexpected in its “charms”. πŸ˜‰ Finn and Adina and Kate & Adina’s mom – really just loved them all and the dialogue and banter and steam in this book worked really well.

    Now I want to go back and read Meredith Schorr’s self-published works because they seem delightful too!!
    Thank you so much to Forever and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    Never Coming HomeNever Coming Home by Hannah Mary McKinnon
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This was such a uniquely crafter thriller – reading from the villain’s point of view is not something I’ve done frequently and I found it utterly readable and hard to put down!!
    Lucas Forrester had a lot of layers to him as a character and this is where Hannah Mary McKinnon seems to really shine for me – some thrillers are much more plot based but hers tend to deep dive into the characters and their pasts and relationships which lead to the plot points. I don’t want to say too too much about the story because I do think that this type of thriller is often best read without too too much information, but if you enjoy domestic multi-layered thrillers, this one would be a great summer pick.

    There were several story elements I definitely didn’t anticipate and the ending was quite satisfying. Furthermore, my copy of this book included a little glimpse into the plot of Hannah Mary’s NEXT book which sounds amazing too!!

    Thank you so much to Mira and Harper Collins for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    A Rip Through Time (A Rip Through Time, #1)A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    This book held my interest throughout and I really really enjoyed its unique premise: it was fun to watch a woman from our time (2019) try to adapt to Scotland in 1869. The vocabulary is so different, so many events hadn’t happened yet, and the mystery/magical realism aspect of the story was intriguing.

    Overall, I felt like the book was a bit of a smidge too long and convoluted at times, but I have high hopes of reading the next in the series and continuing on with these characters happily.

    An Old, Cold Grave (Lane Winslow #3)An Old, Cold Grave by Iona Whishaw
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I couldn’t resist (partially) listening to this book excellently narrated by Marilla Wex and I loved both storylines!!

    In An Old, Cold Grave, another dead body is found in Kings Cove, and lo and behold, Ms. Winslow is involved yet again. πŸ˜‰ I enjoyed the storyline with past ties to the British Home children and I am on the edge of my seat awaiting further character relationship progress so book 4 is on my immediate horizon!

    I’d describe this series as a bit of that Three Pines feel I love from Louise Penny but historical and not contemporary. I so love a smart female lead character who knows who she is and what she stands for. I love small towns in books, especially this one set in BC close to Nelson. Overall I find these books excellently written, well researched, and enjoyable, particularly on audio.

    Thank you to Touchwood for the finished copy!! I will be lending it to my mother and grandmother πŸ˜‰

    I would Probably Pass on this:

    Half-Blown RoseHalf-Blown Rose by Leesa Cross-Smith
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    I really, really loved This Close to Okay despite some mixed reviews from friends. I should have absolutely done a bit more reading about what this book was about before I started it though because the infidelity storyline (even if it is grey as in this book) does not typically work for me and something about it just rankled me at times EVEN AT THE SAME TIME as I was loving the writing and the prose and the chemistry with the new partner.
    Overall, I would say I really appreciated some of this writing, and found the story well-told at times, but the ending of this book absolutely did not work for me and it did not satisfy me as a reader – from reviews I can tell I am not alone in that feeling but it was still a bit of a bummer.

    Thank you to Libro.FM for the advanced listening copy of this book. I will still continue to check out this author but this book just didn’t work for me as well as I had hoped it might.

    TL;DR – You have to read Book Lovers, Every Summer After, Lessons in Chemistry and The Winners (if you have read the others). I would also highly recommend See You Yesterday to YA fans and The Lovelight Farms series to romance fans. If you enjoyed The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, you absolutely have to read Adult Assembly Required. Cozy historical mystery fans should check out Lane Winslow starting with Book 1.

    Currently reading too many books to list but almost done Flying Solo which is out today!!!

  • Recent Books I’d Like to Rave About

    Happy April, friends!! It is occasionally feeling like spring here, but not every day, so hopefully soon. I can’t believe it’s already Easter this weekend – I feel like I blinked and a couple of months disappeared on me, but that’s how life is sometimes. I’ve been reading up a STORM lately – lots of audiobooks walking the energetic doggy but also just lazy nights reading – zero complaints about that!! Happy to link up with Steph & Jana today to share some quick (ish) reviews of what I’ve been reading for their Show Us Your Books link up!


    Looking For JaneLooking For Jane by Heather Marshall
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This debut historical fiction novel was extremely well written and the weaving of the characters over three generations was impeccable and captivating. I had no difficulty following along with the various timelines on audio and I really enjoyed all of the female characters and their storylines.
    This book describes an aspect of Canadian history that I’ll admit I maybe knew about in passing but not in nearly the detail as this book goes into. It is always fascinating to learn more about something that is just legal and (for many) more normalized now. The sacrifices that the characters in this book made to provide safe choices for women are mind-boggling and the characters are so brave and tenacious and skilled. I really enjoyed the author’s note in which she mentions that the book is about motherhood and how it looks from all sides of the coin – so true and I hadn’t considered it that way.
    Overall, I really appreciated this story and I definitely look forward to anything this author writes in the future. I think it will make a great book club chat book later this month.

    Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. I mostly listened to this audiobook and really enjoyed the narration.

    The Honeybee EmeraldsThe Honeybee Emeralds by Amy Tector
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    I had not heard of this book or author at all, and was quite interested in the synopsis of the book when the publisher reached out to ask if I wanted to read and review it. Fortunately, I was also able to acquire the audio copy via Netgalley so I alternated between formats while reading this book. I loved this!! I would classify this as dual-timeline historical fiction, though it is primarily based in the present day with some flashbacks and stories from the past when describing the history of the honeybee emeralds necklace. It feels like a bit of a historical treasure hunt to find out the mystery of a necklace found in a green jacket in the basement of a expat magazine office in Paris.

    There is a large and vast cast of characters in this novel but I didn’t find it too difficult to keep track of who everyone was once I got into the story. A few of them are friends, but a few others aren’t known to each other and yet they all come together to find out more about the necklace and write a dazzling magazine article about its history. It was fun hearing the different accents on the audiobook (well performed, in my opinion!) and learning more about each member’s background and past relationships and how that related to their approach to the mystery unfolding.

    By the end of this novel, I couldn’t quite turn the pages fast enough as past secrets were revealed and there were a few bonus star-inducing tender moments near the end that I absolutely loved.

    I don’t know if this book will be for absolutely everyone, but if you enjoy that whole treasure-hunt-for-an-item-from-the-past idea of comaraderie, honestly, I can’t recommend this story enough. So fascinating and enjoyable to read.

    Thank you so much to Turner Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and ALC in exchange for an honest review.

    Better Luck Next TimeBetter Luck Next Time by Kate Hilton
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    A good book friend that I trust (hi Kaley) posted about this book when it came out and I filed it away as one I would probably enjoy – then I promptly kept putting it off and while I regret that a little bit, when I finally picked up this book and absolutely loved it, it was probably the exact right time.

    Better Luck Next Time made me laugh harder than another book I can remember in recent years. Something about this writing was just totally hilarious and I love a good family drama book but this one was next-level in terms of the hilarity and shenanigans. It took me a few minutes to keep everyone straight since this book is about two different nuclear families/one big extended family (a brother and sister and their children – so a lot about the first cousins in the second generation). There were some absolutely heartwarming moments, a few OMG I can’t believe that actually happened moments, and overall this book was one that I found impossible to put down and delighted the entire time I read it.

    The book tackles feminism, divorce, new relationships and dating, LGBTQIA relationships, rehab, friendship among cousins, and a a teen finding his father. If that all sounds like a lot, it really wasn’t during the pages of this well-written and sharply comedic book. Fans of family drama like Parenthood or This is Us or Brothers and Sisters on TV will enjoy this book! I’m off to check out her backlist now!

    The Spanish Love DeceptionThe Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I absolutely loved so much about this book – and I waited way too long to read it. It is maybe one of the closest books I’ve found to The Hating Game vibes and I don’t say that lightly. Catalina and Aaron were so fun to read about, the slow burn romance was definitely unreal, and the trip to Spain (though a bit short for me), was fun to read about. I really admired Catalina’s tenacity and devotion to her job and I also really appreciated the ending of this that established her as a respected woman in her field.
    I will say that this book is a bit longer than its counterparts in the contemporary romance genre but I didn’t mind – it didn’t feel too slow or boring though I’m sure it could have been shortened a bit at times. I’ll be sure to check out future books by this author, absolutely.
    A favourite quote:

    β€œMy eyelids eventually fluttered shut, but right before darkness engulfed me, I thought I heard Aaron whisper, β€œYou feel complete in my arms. You feel like my home.”

    If you’ve read this too, I’d love to hear your thoughts!!!

    The Diamond EyeThe Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I think I’m going to go ahead and label this one as my second-favourite book by Kate Quinn following the absolutely breathtaking The Rose Code last year. This book was exceptionally narrated by Saskia Maarleveld and I will forevermore be listening to Kate Quinn’s books while reading along here and there – it’s the perfect way to experience her unique form of historical fiction, in my experience.

    This story (based on a true story of a real person!) is told in a unique way – through Mila sharing her “official” and “unofficial” memoir detailing her time in the war and afterwards. Mila is not hard to instantly root for – she’s a bookworm, just like us, but that’s about where the similarities end. She cares fervently for her only son and her parents. She is loyal, brave, and a leader. She is also a Russian sniper with over 300 recorded official kills to her name. She is patient and determined. I was instantly fascinated with her and fell for all the other characters too.

    The ending of this one didn’t hit me with quite the same intense punch as her other books but I was still completely impressed with the remarkable writing and unparalleled storytelling present in this book.


    Falling for You (Sapphire Springs #3)Falling for You by Barb Curtis
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I have really enjoyed reading this series in Sapphire Springs! I’m sad to say goodbye to the characters (I think!) but excited to read whatever Barb Curtis writes next.

    In this third book in the trilogy, it was extremely easy to sink into a story of a not-yet-ready-to-settle woman who inherits a desireable historic mansion in Sapphire Springs and begins to discover a decades-old mystery about her ancestors. She runs into Rob, a newly single dad and brother to a character from the first book in this series. Rob wants the house Faith has inherited, but he decides to settle for working on its renovation.

    There was a lot to enjoy in this story – friendships, business connections, adorable children, yoga, a fun doggy, good food, and the aforementioned brief historical/family mystery. There are some heightened emotions around Rob’s custody battle/divorce as well as Faith’s family history and connection to Sapphire Springs. I had no problem sitting with this and spending time with these characters – it was time well spent.

    Thank you to Forever for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    The Bright Side Running ClubThe Bright Side Running Club by Josie Lloyd
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This book hooked me instantly – especially the audiobook with exceptional narration and though there were a few mildly frustrating moments (come on, character! this is how it is!), I ultimately really, really enjoyed this story about a mother of 3 diagnosed with breast cancer and how she journeyed through her treatment while balancing all of the other aspects of life. It is SO very British, which, as I’ve mentioned a time or ten, I absolutely love. I find when I’m in a phase of listening to British audiobooks I tend to adopt some of their colloquialisms and my husband looks at me like I’m crazy and isn’t that a fun thing to do in 2022??

    Long story short, this was worth a listen – some definite heart to the storyline and not as desperately sad as some cancer stories (not to spoil anything, but personally, I prefer to know the sadness level before starting a cancer book).

    Thank you to the publisher & Netgalley for the advanced listening copy in exchange for an honest review.

    What Strange ParadiseWhat Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This book has been shared widely lately because it won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2021 and then was one of the finalists for Canada Reads in March. I was drawn to the synopsis and the cover. I alternated between the audiobook and hardcover while reading this, which I think was helpful because the pacing threw me off a little bit at times.

    This fictional story about the migrant/refugee crisis in the world certainly tugs at the heartstrings and I found it easy to connect with Amir and Vanna. The alternating timelines (before and after) simply made me feel a little bit like I wanted more of the before. The timelines were in such stark contrast to each other in the way the story was told, but my interest was certainly piqued as well too.

    One of my friends who read this also pointed out a YouTube video of the author speaking about this book at the Ottawa Writers Festival and that was also well worth the time if you have a chance to read it.

    Trigger warnings: child death, xenophobia, racism, violence

    Long story short – I do recommend this, but I can see how it might not be everyone’s cup of tea in their reading life as well. This topic and writing is important and eye-opening to consider though.

    Everything for You (Bergman Brothers, #5)Everything for You by Chloe Liese
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Oh, I just love Chloe Liese’s Bergman family. This book was no exception – it included one of my favourite tropes: a sunshiney main character and a grumpy main character who is a softie deep inside. GAH. So fun. Oliver and Gavin’s story held my attention from the first second and I just loved the way they came to relate to one another after some earlier misunderstandings. I loved all the soccer in the book and the way the sport was described – which is saying a lot since I am not a DIEHARD sports fan (though I do love a good sports book when done well, like this one was).

    There were a few absolutely hilarious moments in this book as well as a lot of heartwarming/awww I really feel for them/wow I believe this is all going to work out but I’m not 100% sure how moments. Chloe’s writing is impeccable and she has a wonderful talent for making her characters just so real.

    I can’t wait for the two remaining books in this series though I know I will be crushed when we make our way through all the Bergmans.

    Thank you so much to the author and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    Kamila Knows BestKamila Knows Best by Farah Heron
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I really loved this audiobook narrated by Soneela Nankani. It’s not a secret that I am a huge Austen fan and I also love retellings but I haven’t read many Emma retellings. This one was very well executed in a modern Toronto setting and I really, really fell in love with the characters including all the dogs (Potato! Darcy! love love love)!!! The end really tugged at my heartstrings much like Emma always does ❀ Farah Heron writes fabulous characters and I love her Toronto/Ontario settings – it just feels so refreshing to read a Canadian romance set in Canada.

    There were a few appropriately cringey moments (a la Emma as well, so I could totally appreciate that), but there were also some absolutely lovely heartwarming moments including Kamila’s relationship with her father, Rohan cooking, Bollywood nights with friends, and so many delicious food descriptions of dishes I’ll have to get my hands on sometime.

    It was helpful for me to switch between the audiobook and the ebook while reading this to familiarize myself with the spelling of names and dishes and Indian words and the pronunciation of those same words and names. πŸ™‚

    Thank you so much to Hachette Audio and Forever for the ALC and ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    In a New York MinuteIn a New York Minute by Kate Spencer
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This book made me laugh so much. I loved the characters’ hilarious meet cute 🀣🀣 #SubwayQTs, funny self-talk, awesome friends and supporting characters, and, of course, one of my favourite book settings. I am dying to go back to New York and visit all the bookish places I didn’t get to the last time and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and be with my husband there. Hopefully someday!

    These characters were a delight from page one – I got some major Mr. Darcy vibes from Hayes (shy! Unsure how to easily socialize! Means well but doesn’t always say the exact right thing!). It’s not a retelling by any means, but I do so love a male lead in that vein. Franny and her group of friends were lovely and I’d love to read a book about the others – fingers crossed!!

    I definitely recommend this one and I really enjoyed the dual audiobook narration from @amandandolan and @neilhellegers. The narration was very well done and it is fun to have a voice for Franny and Hayes as their POV shifts through the book.

    Thank you to Forever and Hachette Audio for the ARC and ALC of this one.

    MigrationsMigrations by Charlotte McConaghy
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I’ve heard amazing things about this book for years and it mostly lived up to that hype for me. I’ve never really read anything like this – set in the not-so-far-away future when almost all animals in the world are extinct. It took me a little while to grasp the switching timelines and perspective and I will admit at times I had to pause and think about what was going on, etc. but it was so well done in terms of the writing and the very compelling story. Furthermore, the audiobook was extremely well performed and I was utterly entranced while listening. I’ll definitely be seeking out other books by this narrator.

    The characters in this book were complicated, many of them had dark pasts that weren’t shared immediately, and above all I really enjoyed Franny and the band of fishermen she meets as the story progresses. There is a particular scene in Newfoundland that hit home for me (even though it’s not home at ALL ha).

    This is literary fiction and some might find it slow but it also isn’t exceptionally long and it has definitely stayed with me since I finished it. Highly recommend if it sounds like something you’d like – I think fans of Where the Forest Meets the Stars and Emily St. John Mandel would enjoy this one (or even non-fans of ESJM) lol.

    Ten Trends to Seduce Your BestfriendTen Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend by Penny Reid
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    EEEEK I was so delighted to receive an ARC of this book from the author and publicity team. I positively devoured 2 Penny Reid series (KITC and The Winston Brothers) a few years ago and was itching to read a standalone adult romance by her again. This one didn’t disappoint!! Winnie and Byron are some of my favourites I’ve read this year and I always, always connect with a romance in which there are marvellous friend groups and Penny does this so well.

    The basic premise of this book is an enemy-to-lovers, and finding out more about the two main characters, as always, made the book for me. Sensory processing disorder is handled in what felt like an authentic way, and the two main characters also had traumatic young adulthoods that really influenced the way they view and expect a romantic relationship to be like. I really, really liked reading about these two main characters working on a fun 2022-relatable TikTok challenge to get more followers because it was delightfully fun to picture all of their romance challenge posts.

    I highly recommend checking out this book if you enjoy a slow burn with wonderful characters. It was a bit long, which I knew to expect, but I do think it’s good to go into it with that realization!

    One Italian SummerOne Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I listened to this book in less than a day (it’s 6 ish hours on audio and narrated by the amazing Lauren Graham aka Lorelai Gilmore). I’ll admit it wasn’t my all-time favourite story ever but I definitely needed to keep listening to the end to figure out just what exactly was going on and it was a fun one if you’re experiencing wanderlust or coming of age or what does life mean anyway etc. The only thing I found a bit hard to reconcile, and ironically this was a bit strange for me on Gilmore Girls too (even though this book is nothing like the show at all), is the nature of the mother-daughter relationship in this book. I did enjoy watching it shift throughout the story, and I loved the ending, but it was strange at times.

    Overall I’d say this one is worth taking on summer vacation or to the beach!

    (Trigger warning: death of a parent)

    The Younger WifeThe Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I’ve read and enjoyed a few books by Sally Hepworth – this genre of domestic suspense with a twist or two is just too much fun to read. The Younger Wife was no exception and I found a lot to love about this novel. It was easy to get to know the characters and root for the two sisters in this novel as well as their mother and entire situation. It was well written, and there was a sense of foreboding throughout. I found it hard to put down and devoured the whole thing in a matter of otherwise busy days.

    There are a few trigger warnings to be aware of: domestic abuse, rape, miscarriage, alcoholism, murder, child abuse — some of these to greater extents than others and not really a spoiler when considered generally.

    I did feel that the ending lacked a little something but I was still wholly satisfied with the way it all wrapped up and the “future” we could see of these delightful characters and their families.

    Thank you so much to St Martins Press and MacMillan Audio for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    A Guy Like HimA Guy Like Him by Amanda Gambill
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    A friend of mine is always recommending this author, and since I’ve followed her on Instagram I have always meant to check out her three books and this was a great start!! I will admit that there is one aspect of this book that I found very difficult to read, but overall the chemistry between the two main characters and the main male lead MORE THAN MADE UP FOR that one little niggling thing. This couple was just such a delight. There were so many fun moments in the book as well as a grand gesture or two and a coming-of-age identity type of shift with some strong character development. I’d absolutely read another book with Dean in it though – and I can’t wait to read her other books.


    Accomplished: A Georgie Darcy NovelAccomplished: A Georgie Darcy Novel by Amanda Quain
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    If you’ve followed my book thoughts for longer than 2 minutes you’ll know I love me a good Austen retelling and I’d never read one from Georgiana’s point of view so I jumped at the chance to read this one as an ARC!

    This book is extremely YA, which I knew but had kind of forgotten about, and that isn’t always my thing anymore but there was still a lot to like about this story. The retelling was fun overall – Georgie in a private high school, “Fitz” in college nearby, Wickham up to no good as always, and some fun friends and a Lizzie Bennet sighting or two along the way. I think in general I prefer P&P retellings that focus on my beloved Mr. Darcy and Lizzie but this one was fun to picture them from another person’s potential point of view.

    Overall, not a bad way to spend a weekend evening but I could have done with a bit less focus on what it might be like to be “accomplished”. πŸ™‚

    The Family You Make (Sunrise Cove, #1)The Family You Make by Jill Shalvis
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    I’ve read a Jill Shalvis book here and there and I never mind spending the time with her characters, but they don’t always stay with me forever and that’s OK too. Because really, they’re put on the page to stay with each other forever πŸ˜‰

    Though I enjoyed the little love story in this book, above all I loved the secondary love story and the FRIENDSHIP as well as the wacky family. It was definitely a fun one to curl up with on a cold night and passed the time so nicely.

    The SpectacularThe Spectacular by Zoe Whittall
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    3.5 stars. This book was multi-generational, and it was a sharp look at motherhood and what it might be like to change your mind about wanting to be a mother. Though I found the plot interesting enough, I didn’t quite connect with any of the three characters as much as I’d hoped to, and I found the shifting perspectives a bit confusing at times.

    TL;DR – highly recommend The Diamond Eye, Looking for Jane, The Honeybee Emeralds, and Better Luck Next Time but almost all of these were great!!

    Currently Reading: The second Lane Winslow book, Watch Out for Her, and might start the new Beth O’Leary tonight!

  • The Books I’ve been Reading Lately and What I thought of them

    Happy International Women’s Day!! Today I am happy to link up with two of my favourite book-loving women Steph and Jana to share the books I’ve read lately – which, coincidentally, are all written by women! lol. Happy Show us Your Books day!!!

    Books I’d Highly Recommend

    BluebirdBluebird by Genevieve Graham
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    It is hard to put my feelings about Genevieve’s writing into words. While I love historical fiction as much as many, books by this author in particular draw me in immediately in a way many in this genre do not. I love learning about small tidbits of Canadian history through her writing. I also love that the characters are easy to like (except the bad guys lol) and it feels like you are reading about a friend.

    All of that aside, the plot of this book was also extremely interesting, with a sweet and tender war romance and a discovery many many years into the future. It is a dual timeline book, but as a reader I felt myself drawn to the historical time period, so it was a relief that much of the book focused on those characters. Adele and her friends and family and Jerry and his brother wormed his way right into my heart and will stay there for years to come. It was wonderful to read about a woman in that time period who felt compelled to maintain a job as a nurse even after the war.

    I knew next to nothing about prohibition after the first world war besides the very bare minimum so it was fascinating to read a bit about what that might have actually looked like day in and day out for the people in that business.

    I also appreciate that while there is some sadness in this book (as you’d expect from any historical fiction), and I did tear up once or twice, I wasn’t a complete emotional wreck while reading it and that is just kind of refreshing when reading this genre too. πŸ™‚

    Long story short, I highly recommend checking this book out when it comes out April 5 πŸ™‚ Thank you to Simon and Schuster and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    Mr. Wrong NumberMr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This book was so easy to get into and at times LOL hilarious. I loved the main characters, especially Olivia, whose outlook on life is positive despite some hardships and comparison to her successful siblings. I found myself picturing exactly how everything looked in the shared condo in this story, and it was easy to picture what the characters looked like and maybe want to be friends with them, which is my favourite thing in a book.

    The romance storyline was so fun too – I love reading banter in texts (hello, My Favourite Half Night Stand) and I know I’m not alone in delighting in the mysterious “no idea who I’m texting” storyline, which wasn’t as predictable as you might expect.

    Mostly I think I just want a comfy purple bed like Colin’s and some cozy nights in what seems like a fun city. I will definitely be pursuing everything this author writes in the future because these types of books just really work for me and don’t we all need a book that puts a smile on our faces these days??

    Thank you to Berkley and Edelweiss for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    This book had been on my TBR for years, basically since it came out, but I need to be in the right mood for an intense 27 hour heavy world-building fantasy book and it turns out I was in the mood right before the second in this series finally came out!! I will happily admit that some of these stories by SJM go a tiny bit over my head because I miss this and that connection (my brain just isn’t built to adequately ANALYZE fantasy fiction) but in some ways that doesn’t matter because the details make the ride so worth it.
    These books certainly are not for everyone – you definitely have to want to immerse yourself in an urban fantasy, but I’d say there is a possibility that this series could outshine ACOTAR for me and I love those books so much.
    This one takes a bit of the book to really get SUPER INTO the action but the last little bit was mind-boggingly good, in my humble opinion, and I jumped right into the second one immediately!!!

    House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City, #2)House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Thoughts: I absolutely loved this book, this world, these characters, all of the action-packed scenes and many layers in this book.
    I’d also say simultaneously that I definitely do not understand all the intricacies of this story and will require a more devoted fan to explain it all to me. LOL

    The Chai FactorThe Chai Factor by Farah Heron
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I really liked the pace of this book and the fact that it took place over a short number of weeks with all of the characters in close proximity to each other. SO FUN! There was more than one bed but just one basement apartment, if you know what I mean (wink, wink). Farah Heron had already impressed me with Accidentally Engaged and I knew I’d have to go back and read this book that precedes it, and it was well worth the read! Amira and Duncan and all of the boys in the barbershop quartet were fun to read about, but there is some very real depth here and issues of racism, sexism, and discrimination against sexual orientation are all addressed. I loved learning more about Amira’s culture and how it could look so different for Amira vs her best friend who is featured in Accidentally Engaged. Excited to follow this Canadian author for years to come!

    The Suite Spot (Beck Sisters, #2)The Suite Spot by Trish Doller
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    After falling in love with Float Plan last year, I couldn’t wait to read a book about Anna’s sister and niece and this one was so lovely! It was an easy read to sink into and the setting was FABULOUS and so fun – the only thing that would make this book better would be if it came with a sample of the craft beer we read so much about LOL.
    Overall, I really respected Rachel as a character and loved watching her grow as she began to stand up for herself and what she deserves in life and I loved watching her crack Mason’s shell and get to know the residents of Kelly’s Island and find a new home for herself and her daughter. My only mini complaint was that I wanted it to be a tiny bit longer because I did NOT want to say goodbye to these characters quite yet!!!

    Thank you to St Martins Press and MacMillan Audio for the ARC/ALC in exchange for an honest review.

    Not a Waste of Time but Not Over the Top Amazing

    Meet Me in the MarginsMeet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    This book fell a bit flat for me – I enjoyed the publisher setting and definitely enjoyed the mysterious editor component, but the end of it just didn’t quite tie things together as well as I’d hoped while reading. Overall though, it was a quick and enjoyable way to pass the time in a book! THank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC (this book came out in Feb).

    I also read: City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn (I do not recommend at all), the newest Veronica Speedwell by the same author (excellent as always), Amari and the Night Brothers to my children (we loved it immensely – so good), and A Wish in the Dark with the kids too (A Les Mis retelling, absolutely excellent). This month I’m plowing my way through a bunch of excellent middle grade reads for Middle Grade March and also a bunch of ARCs for MarchOfTheARCs. Zero complaints!!!

  • A few short reviews of books I’ve read so far in 2022

    After missing the January link up for Show us Your books (something I try NEVER to miss!) and missing the actual day (a few days ago) for February, I am still excited to share some brief thoughts on the excellent books I’ve read in the past couple of months!

    So far in 2022 I haven’t rated any books 5 stars but I’m sure that will change with a few of my current reads. I’ve read a lot of 4 star wonderful books though! Linking up with Steph & Jana and the reader gang – check out their posts for even more recommendations!

    Books That are DEFINITELY worth your time

    Ok this first book was one of my last in 2021 but I just need to share again that I LOVED IT:

    The Spoon StealerThe Spoon Stealer by Lesley Crewe
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    The way The Spoon Stealer is told is so unique – we, as the reader, are “listening to” the memoir of Emmeline’s life – and then when it finishes there is still a bit more story to be told. I was completely delighted by these characters and spent the last half hour of this reading experience crying partially because I just didn’t want the book to be over (but also mostly because of the incredible writing). There is quite a bit of family drama and some amazing friendship bonds and a dog that feels like a person. The book is set in the 1960s in a small town outside London UK and Pictou area in Nova Scotia.

    It is not very often that I experience a 5 star read in the last week of the year, but this one was it for me. I highly, highly recommend it – especially if you happen to be a Nova Scotian because those nuances hit home for me just a little bit more!!! I can’t begin to describe how much I loved this – and while part of me wishes I’d listened to my mom and grandmother and several friends and read this earlier, I know it was perfect timing for me too. I hope you also decide to check it out soon!!!

    A Place to Hang the MoonA Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    I have to admit that this genre of middle grade WWII fiction is a bit of a sweet spot/interest for me because I love learning about that time period from a children’s point of view. I’ve loved books like Number the Stars and The War that Saved my Life. This book in particular blew me away completely though and I cannot WAIT for a) more books from this author and b) to read this one to my children. The audiobook was exceptionally narrated, the child characters were phenomenal – funny, smart, hopeful, book lovers who cared so much about each other and were such real people. This book made me tear up though it wasn’t as devastatingly sad as some WWII fiction. It also made my heart soar – I felt so connected to these 3 children that it was hard to say goodbye when I finished the book.

    Well worth a read and as I said, excellent on audio if you like that format πŸ™‚

    Weather GirlWeather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    This book was absolutely delightful to read. I loved Ari and her workplace. I loved watching her grow as a character and stand up for what she wanted in her career. She had such an INTERESTING and unique job – it’s very rare to read about a TV meteorologist.

    This book represents someone who has family difficulties and has battled clinical depression off and on since her teens and I appreciated reading about that – though the character did not represent what everyone with depression goes through, understandably, I found her story well-researched and well-portrayed (not having gone thorugh anything too similar myself). Her relationship with her family was fraught at times but I loved her relationship with her brother. When Ari then gets to know her co-worker Russell a bit better, I found the story moved in a quick and fun way from there and this was really hard to put down. I read most of it with a huge smile on my face but I also teared up once or twice too. Rachel Lynn Solomon knows how to pack an emotional punch and her writing just absolutely works for me somehow. Russell’s past also felt “new” in this genre and I SO appreciated his daughter and that relationship as well. This author is definitely an auto-buy for me now after I also loved her book The Ex Talk last year…and I just really can’t wait for more from her. Contemporary romance fans who like something just a bit deeper in their characters are sure to enjoy this one.

    The MaidThe Maid by Nita Prose
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I was instantly hooked on this story with absolutely delightful, multi-faceted, unique characters, a fun setting, and a plot that was utterly captivating. Readers will fall in love with Molly, a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel who was primarily raised by her grandmother and is old-fashioned in the way she speaks and literal and matter-of-fact in the way she approaches the world. I really, really enjoyed the way this story was told and it wrapped up perfectly. It’s been a while since I read a mystery with characters I enjoyed as much as these (dare I say, since my last visit to Three Pines with Louise Penny?). This isn’t quite a thriller – it did not leave my heart in my throat the entire time, but it was still very hard to put down and the writing was absolutely exquisite. Well done, Nita!! Can’t wait to see this one on screen someday too!!

    (Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review).

    When You Get the ChanceWhen You Get the Chance by Emma Lord
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This book was so much fun! Having loved her previous two novels, I was delighted to get my eyes (and ears!) on advanced e-book and audiobook copies of this YA novel (also set in NYC!). I am happy to report that I loved this one too! 

    This book (swipe for synopsis) reimagines Mamma Mia a bit with a single dad character and a teenager completely obsessed with (and striving for a career on!) Broadway. Millie was so fun to read about, and I loved her cast of friends and the way this whole plot unfolded. This book was the perfect read to brighten my spirit a bit in the days before heading back to work post-Christmas vacation – so if you need your January to be a bit less blue, I’d recommend it to you as well!! πŸ™‚ 

    Like all of Emma’s novels, I really adored the NYC setting of this book and I had to dig out this old photo of Times Square for the novel. I love musicals despite never really being into drama or theatre much besides the orchestral side of it a little bit in high school. Immersing myself in this teenage world of stardom as well as a side plot of geocaching in the city was just so.much.fun and I didn’t want this story to end (although I loved the ending!!) This is the kind of YA novel I need in my life and I’ll read all of her future books too.

    Utterly Compelling Books I found Hard to Put Down

    Our Little SecretOur Little Secret by Roz Nay
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    After enjoying Roz Nay’s book Hurry Home and then The Hunted last year, I’ve been meaning to read this book since I picked it up in a used bookstore in August 2020. Oops!! I could even tell that it wasn’t super long and would probably be highly engaging…and it just didn’t happen. Then one night right after new years, my eyes passed over the book when I was feeling supremely bored/unsettled/locked down and low and behold THIS BOOK UTTERLY CONSUMED ME for the next…2 hours and then another 2 in the morning after sleeping for 8 hours. So yes, it was good. The way it was written was incredibly unique. It read a bit like a YA romance at times as well as a thriller at other times. It was definitely a bit of a coming of age story. A likable character turned a bit unlikable for me…or actually, rather, this happened with 2 characters.

    I don’t want to say too too much about what this is about because I think it’s best to go in without any spoilers, but I will say that this book was exactly what I needed to reignite that reading bug, and I highly recommend it if you’re feeling the same way – or even if you’re not! It is well worth the time.

    Reminders of HimReminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I’m not a stranger to Colleen Hoover’s books, but I don’t allow myself to read them TOOOOO frequently because I know I will endure emotional heartbreak while doing so. Her characters and love stories in books also don’t always completely work for me from an insta-love point of view, but I do try to keep in mind that these types of intense situations might lead to intense relationships that aren’t indicative of many people’s real-world experience.

    The moral dilemma presented in this book punched me in the gut right from the get-go as a mother but I enjoyed watching the story play out and I found this book utterly impossible to put down. You’ve got to love a good story that really forces you to consider what you would do if ever faced with that situation…it’s just a fun reading experience (if you think it’s fun to cry over a story, that is. LOL).

    When the Stars Go DarkWhen the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I absolutely loved listening to this lyrical, poignant story on audio. This was my first book this author and a lot of friends loved it, so I expected it to be good and it sure was. I’m not even fully sure how to categorize this book, because there is certainy a firm mystery component but there’s also a lot of stuff about life and family and trauma too. I really enjoyed the mystery component, found parts of it to be very sad but other parts very compelling – the writing was fantastic and reminds me a bit of Nalini Singh’s mysteries as well as maybe a bit of Long Bright River or that type of book. Definitely recommend and the audio was excellent but there are a few trigger warnings worth checking out too.

    A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, #1)A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I’ve been meaning to read this book for eleventy million years after so many loved it and since I loved Karen McManus’ YA thrillers and the Truly Devious series, I knew this would be good too genre-wise. It was very well done! I really had no inkling of the way they would solve this mystery until very close to the end and I really enjoyed the format and the characters. Super sad outcome OF COURSE – murder mysteries involving young people can definitely be sad, but very well written and excited to read the second in the series asap.

    Josh and Gemma Make a BabyJosh and Gemma Make a Baby by Sarah Ready
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This book caught my eye on Netgalley (mostly because the title is so blunt and direct, lol), and I wasn’t too sure what to expect. First of all, I will say that I don’t think this book will sit well with those who have trigger warnings around infertility, IVF, endometriosis, or similar types of life circumstances, so it’s something to be aware of before considering this book. I feel that the way this scenario (undergoing IVF as a single person) is handled in the book is a bit unrealistic in its timeline and ease of access to medical care, but I could be wrong about that in the US etc.

    Aside from all of that, I did find the story HILARIOUS at times, and full of some good romantic angst, and it had a super super swoony ending and a lot of heartfelt/character growth type moments that were fun to read. It was definitely an enjoyable story that pulled at my heartstrings, had unique family points, had hilarious banter and narrative, and was fun to discuss afterwards. It does require some suspension of belief in reality BUT I think that was part of the fun too, and that’s what fiction is for. Would this exact romance story happen to anyone in real life? Maybe not likely, but that’s fine. I also have a bit of a soft spot for the brother’s best friend trope so that helped too πŸ™‚
    I didn’t absolutely love the female lead character and some of her decisions but it also made sense why she was like that – and I loved the male lead enough to counteract that in my rating.

    Long story short – this one is worth considering if you want a total escapist type romance and those triggers don’t ring alarm bells for you!

    Fun Series I enjoyed Continuing

    Running Wild (Wild, #3)Running Wild by K.A. Tucker
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    After passing it by for many years, 2020 was the year I dove into the entire series of The Simple Wild, and I had no regrets! These romance novels set in Alaska were so compulsively readable and I just fell in love with all the characters. I was delighted to hear that Tucker was writing a new story featuring Marie, a vet who is a side character in the other Wild books. I read this book in a little over a day and enjoyed so many things about it. It was fun learning about the Iditarod (yes, I had to look up how that is pronounced), which is a world-famous dog sled race. It also felt super fitting to read a book set in chilly temperatures during our chilly January. I loved “getting to know” Marie better and a little mini “reunion” with Calla and Jonah from the first 2.5 books. And Tyler, the new character (also new in town!) who raises and trains magnificent dogs, was so multi-layered and interesting as a lead male character. The angst and tension sprinkled throughout the book as well as a bit of family drama with Marie’s immediate relatives held my interest throughout the book. And, as always, the ending worked great πŸ™‚ I definitely think fans of the Simple Wild, Wild at Heart, and Forever Wild will enjoy this one a lot…and though I do think it can stand alone (new characters, mostly!), it might be more fun to read the others first.

    Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead (Finlay Donovan, #2)Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Finlay Donovan Is Killing It was one of my most delightful bookish experiences last year, so I was eagerly anticipating this second book in the series and excited to read an early copy of it thanks to Minotaur and Edelweiss. In some ways, I think I maybe liked this one even a bit more than the first – it’s always fun to “know” the characters a bit already and see what kind of shenanigans occur πŸ˜‰ Vero and Finlay have a few more wild adventures solving another (dangerous!!!) mystery with a few overlapping characters from book 1. This was an easy book to sink into and escape with – and smartly written. I’ll definitely continue with this series and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a bit of ridiculousness and some super fun characters to root for in their novels πŸ™‚

    Other Books I’ll Leave You to Decide On Yourself πŸ™‚

    The ReboundThe Rebound by Catherine Walsh
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    There’s something about books set in the UK (or in this case, Ireland) that just make me love them from the first few pages. Maybe I’m living in the wrong place or something, I don’t know. An author that can transport me to the countryside in one of these countries just wins me right over. Abby’s return to her very small village after her company imploding and losing everything (apartment, fiance, job, investments) was a great start to this story about starting over and reconnecting with the past. I loved a lot of the side characters, the setting and small-town events (so fun), and ultimately, the way this story resolved. It might not be a book that stays with me forever, but I enjoyed it immensely while reading. Fans of Sophie Kinsella (which I am not, overall)/Mhairi McFarlane would likely enjoy as well πŸ™‚

    The Sugar QueenThe Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    3.5 stars

    This was my second or third book by this author. She writes very sweet contemporary fiction with a touch of magical realism and I fell right into this story no problem. Parts of it were a bit predictable and also far-fetched but I truly enjoyed the characters and the plot and it cleansed the palate perfectly after some more difficult or intense books.

    The Last House on the StreetThe Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    I’ve read and enjoyed several books by this author, but for some reason, it does often take me quite a while to get into the books and sort out the dual timelines and what exactly is going on. This one was no exception that way but I’d say it took me even longer than usual to catch the thread of the story. It was also extremely sad from the get-go, which I suppose is the case with a few of her other books as well but it hit me hard and I didn’t feel a strong desire to pick it up and immerse myself in the story. I blazed through the second half on audio on a long car ride, and I am ultimately glad I read it, but my experience with it wasn’t as gripping as it would be for some people.

    A Brush with LoveA Brush with Love by Mazey Eddings
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    This book started off really strong for me, and I absolutely loved the characters’ meet-cute, work/school environment (super unique being in dentistry school!) and representation of grief, mental health, and anxiety. I enjoyed reading the book a lot and will read future books by the author, but at some point the pacing or flow of the plot just lost me a little bit. I did feel like Harper’s character was fascinating to read about especially in regard to her growth and understanding of how her past was affecting her present day life – I just wanted a little bit more resolution of that at the end or something.

    Still worth checking out if you enjoy contemporary romance though – it had a great group of secondary characters and passed the time just fine, but just wasn’t over the top incredible for me by the end.

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

    The Poet XThe Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This book was great on audio and accompanied me on several dog walks around the neighbourhood. πŸ˜‰ I found it easy to sink into the plot and the characters, but I really felt for X while listening and some parts of it were a bit difficult to get on board with – which of course, is the point. Excellently written, not my favourite from this author but cemented the fact that it is still absolutely always going to be worth picking up her books for the writing and perspective she creates.

    Currently reading: The first Crescent City book, Bluebird by Genevieve Graham (out in April), City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn, and A Wish In the Dark (Newbery winner!) with the kiddos.

  • A List of the Best Books I Read in 2021 (based on how they made me feel)

    Hi Friends!!

    Even though we’re now a couple of days in 2022, I can’t let the end of 2021 pass me by without acknowledging what a phenomenal year of reading it was! I read 200 books, 100 of which were audiobooks. This doesn’t surprise me at all because I basically stopped taking public transit for most of 2021 due to the pandemic & listened to audiobooks on my drive to work. I also spent hours walking our puppy and listening to audiobooks. All good!! πŸ™‚ I’m sharing quite a few books in various categories. Some of these are favourites that I will come back to again in the future and others were just there at the right time. πŸ™‚ Some made me cry, many made me laugh, and some were FANTASTIC to talk about with others. I hope to get to a smidge more non-fiction in 2022.

    The Romances that made me swoon the most in 2021 were Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon (comes out next week), The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood (an excellent STEM debut) and People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (loved it). I also enjoyed The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston was AMAZING and blew my mind a little bit.

    For contemporary fiction, This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross Smith was more than okay for me though it isn’t universally loved, Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angelline Boulley is a book that I absolutely want everyone to read (it is marked YA but does not feel that way AT ALL), and Astra by Cedar Bowers which tells the story of a very fascinating woman’s entire life through 10 people who know her.

    Fantasy books that really allowed me to escape into a world unlike my own included Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer and the entire Keeper of the Lost Cities books by Shannon Messenger.

    Historical Fiction that made me cry or smile or learn something included Letters Across the Sea by Genevieve Graham, The Rose Code by Kate Quinn, Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson, Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan (so good), The Riviera House by Natasha Lester, and A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus (middle grade that I cannot wait to read aloud to my girls).

    Many books made me cry – particularly Come Away With Me by Karma Brown (CANNOT RECOMMEND ENOUGH), The Spoon Stealer by Lesley Crewe (intense sobbing but so worth it), and, surprisingly, a 30 page short story called The Houseplant by Jeremy Ray. Float Plan by Trish Doller brought on a few waterworks too and I expect the sequel to do the same this year.

    The best surprise of my entire year is when I discovered the short story The Guy At the Wedding by Katherine Center, which is the story of how two of my favourite characters from Happiness for Beginners met. It was an amazing 45 minutes of audio joy.

    Project Hail Mary was delightfully narrated and a strong story from Andy Weir (not quite the Martian but better than Artemis).

    I was delighted when an ARC of July 2022 release The Bodyguard by Katherine Center landed in my inbox and binged it so fast I barely did anything else. It’s maybe taken my second favourite spot of her books under Happiness for Beginners and it was so delightful in every way.

    I’m not sure that I will ever forget how I felt reading State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Clinton – there were moments that felt so intense I was shaking. It was excellent. Louise Penny’s Madness of Crowds (#17 Gamache series) was wonderful too and the first book that I’ve read that was set mid-covid.

    I read quite a few Christmas books and my favourite was a novella by Chloe Liese called The Mistletoe Motive. It was swoonworthy and amazing and I will never forget it.

    I read aloud 13 books to my girls this year: notable highlights included Anne of Green Gables, Tilly and the Bookwanderers (all 4), and a few more Vanderbeeker books, one of which made all three of us sob uncontrollably and hug each other (Brian wasn’t home, lol). It was amazing sharing so many great stories with my children and having these memories forever. They also binged the Keeper of the Lost Cities books so we’ve been chatting about those constantly.

    Can’t wait for more great reads in 2022!! Here’s to the first of 12 great chapters πŸ™‚

  • Some Christmas books, Some Powerful Fiction, and a few unexpected gems I read this month

    Happy last official Show Us Your Books for 2021 – besides the “best of 2021” post in a couple of weeks!! This has been a great reading year. I’ve definitely done more audiobooks than ever before mostly due to driving to work instead of taking the bus, but I’ve enjoyed so many of them.

    Here’s what I’ve read since the last link up with Steph and Jana and what I thought of these books:


    It’s super mean to recommend this first one because it doesn’t come out until July 2022, but hop over to Netgalley and request an ARC! I loved it!!!

    The BodyguardThe Bodyguard by Katherine Center
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    I read a couple of chapters of this book, then got a bit distracted for a few days, and then binged the rest of it in one sitting. I’ve loved all of Katherine Center’s books (my forever favourite is Happiness for Beginners and this one was no exception. It was wonderful! So well written, so emotional at times, funny at other times, it made my heart clench and soar and it just felt like a cozy hug coming home to brand new but somehow still familiar-feeling characters. How does she manage to accomplish this through her writing?!

    In this book, we quickly meet Hannah, who works as an executive protection agent (aka a bodyguard). She mainly works with oil tycoons in Texas but a new assignment is thrust upon her in the form of protecting WORLD FAMOUS actor Jack Stapleton from a crazy stalker woman while he is home in Texas with his family. Hannah is a strong and admirable woman (with such a cool job that she does so well!) but there are a lot of layers to her character. She and Jack end up having more fun than either of them expects and the story takes off from there.

    I loved the way this story played out and like I said, I found it really easy to connect with all of the characters. I know this will be a big hit for this author next summer and I can’t wait to witness all of this book’s success. πŸ™‚

    Thank you so much to St. Martins Press and Netgalley for the VERY early ARC πŸ™‚ I appreciate it so much because this book made my entire month πŸ™‚

    The Mistletoe MotiveThe Mistletoe Motive by Chloe Liese
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    After absolutely falling in love with Chloe Liese’s Bergman Brothers series in the last year, I was delighted to hear that this Christmas book was coming and just as delighted to receive an e-ARC from Valentine PR and the author via Netgalley. Thank you!!
    I always read a bunch of Christmas romances around this time of the year and I think of all I’ve read, this is one of my definite favourites. I *so* loved everything about this book: the characters, the pace of the plot, a few interesting twists, the SETTING (in a bookstore at Christmastime!), and of course, the love story. It feels like it has been a little bit since I connected with characters the way I did Jonathan Frost and Gabriella Di Natale – the way these characters’ traits and insecurities and thoughts just jumped off the page made me want to head to the bookstore and sit and talk to both of them about Jane Austen while sipping candy cane hot chocolate with Gaby. The friends and side characters were fun too and Chloe Liese always makes those side characters funny in some way, which is so enjoyable for the reader.
    If you are looking for a shorter (under 200 pages) book to devour this Christmas season, I can’t recommend this one enough.

    Once Upon a WardrobeOnce Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Last week, I spent several incredibly perfect hours listening to this book. As a lifelong lover of the Narnia world, it was lovely to be immersed in this fictional story. In this book, we meet teenager Megs, who has an ailing 8 year old brother named George who reads the recently published The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and becomes remarkably obsessed with the Narnia world. FOrtunately, Megs attends Oxford where C.S. Lewis works as a professor and she succeeds in asking him about how Narnia came to be so that she can report back to her sick brother at home. Everyone involved learns a little something about the power of story magic in this book, and it was powerful to witness. Megs and George and Padraig all warmed my heart immensely as did C.S. Lewis and his brother. This story was magical, and it felt so real to honour this prolific writer and his imagination that has reached so many readers worldwide for years and years.

    The audiobook was absolutely beautiful as well and if you’re a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia, I urge you to check out this new release and go live in C.S. Lewis’ world for a little bit – I am certain you won’t regret your time spent in these chapters πŸ™‚

    FUN FACT: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is actually one of the first books I really remember – my grade 2 teacher read it aloud to us and it stayed with me all these years.

    We Are Not Like ThemWe Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I binge-listened to WE ARE NOT LIKE THEM recently and was thoroughly hooked on this incredible story of two friends and those in their lives affected by various events surrounding race and policing. It was interesting to read a book jointly written two IRL friends – one Black and one white. I also loved chatting with the authors on Zoom and hearing about how this book came to be!

    The way this story was told made it nearly impossible to put down and it raised a lot of questions for me and my (and many of our) role as a white ally. Though purely contemporary fiction, there is oodles of very poignant reality in these pages and I expect this one to be very popular and well received in book clubs everywhere. The narration of the audiobook was excellent as well with a cast of narrators including Marin Ireland. I won’t say too too much about this book’s plot for fear of spoilers but I highly implore everyone to check this book out.

    Hang the Moon (Written in the Stars, #2)Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I absolutely loved Alexandria Bellefleur’s first book and this one was JUST AS GOOD IF NOT BETTER. I just so enjoy these characters and the setting of Seattle and the banter and cute moments. These romances remind me a lot of what I have enjoyed in past Christina Lauren books, if you’re looking for a bit of a comparison read to guage the steam & plotline. Brendan and Annie were a fun couple and though the entire book felt very quick in terms of the timeline of the plot, it was real and emotional and well written too. Highly recommend these books, which do standalone but would be more fun read in order. Can’t wait for the third!

    AstraAstra by Cedar Bowers
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I recently spent an enthralling 9 hours (4.5 on double speed, actually) listening to Astra – which had been on my list for a few months after several friends loved it. This was QUITE the story and told in such a unique way – I am blown away by Cedar Bowers’ debut. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the story, but once I got the hang of the format (a life story about a girl/woman named Astra told from the point of view of 10 people in her life), I was really quite intrigued about the character as well as all those close to her.

    Despite not loving all of the subject matter, I did truly feel that the writing in this book was absolutely exquisite and it was fascinating to imagine what one’s life could be like after being raised the way Astra was (by her father who was not the best father figure overall on a commune in BC).

    This story is unforgettable and the way it was told was so unique – definitely recommend for fans of literary fiction. It’s hard to believe this one was a debut!


    Escaping ChristmasEscaping Christmas by Marie Landry
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I’ve enjoyed a few of Marie’s other books so I was delighted when she sent me an early copy of this book to read. Escaping Christmas was such a fun and delightful (and steamy! and heartfelt!) Christmas romance. Joss and Liam were easy to love, and any book with an incredible polite child in it automatically wins me over.
    One thing I love about reading romance is that it is predictable (and so comforting!) to know that the main characters will end up together, but sometimes in the middle of a book you really have no idea quite how they’re going to sort all of that out – and this book was quite satisfying that way at the end. It made me smile and laugh and want a mug of hot chocolate, so I think this book definitely did its intended job in bringing about some Christmas spirit.
    There are also a few more serious issues here (TW: cancer, alcoholism) and those were well handled and so well written.
    I definitely recommend this one for your holiday reading list!!

    Why She LeftWhy She Left by Leah Mercer
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    When I started this thriller, I was pretty sure of how it all ended up – but I was definitely in for a surprise. I enjoyed these characters and the setting and the way the plot unfolded. It wasn’t earth-shattering, but it definitely held my interest and would recommend for fans of the domestic/family secret/not gruesome or terrifying type of thriller.

    Thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    The Party CrasherThe Party Crasher by Sophie Kinsella
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    This light-hearted comedy was typical Sophie Kinsella and it was fun to listen to, especially on a heavier emotional week while spending a lot of time in the car. Overall, it was a little bit silly – considering the entire book takes place over one weekend-long house party, but there were a lot of hilarious moments and it was pure entertainment too.

    Magic Lessons (Practical Magic, #0.1)Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    It took me forever to read this book, which was partially me and not the book, but I just felt the pace was not for me and maybe I need to be a bit more in love with/familiar with the whole Practical Magic story to really connect with the characters.

    However, I still enjoyed the plot overall and will likely pursue the others at some point when I’m in the right mood!! It was interesting to follow along with the history of this magical family and I have a feeling the others will sit with me a bit better.

    Never Fall for Your FiancΓ©e (The Merriwell Sisters, #1)Never Fall for Your FiancΓ©e by Virginia Heath
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    The premise behind this book was hilarious – an earl lies to his mother about a fiancee named Minerva and then when his mother decides to come back for a visit, he has to magically make a Minerva appear. Pure historical romance gold in that premise – and it was well executed despite being the typical predictable type of storyline. All of the extraneous characters provided a lot of comic relief and I am happy to see it will be a series because the writing is on the wall for some of the other characters and I’d be curious to read about them too.
    THank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    Duke, ActuallyDuke, Actually by Jenny Holiday
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I’ve enjoyed many of Jenny Holiday’s previous novels and this one was no exception. I enjoyed it much more than her 2020 royalty Christmas novel because these characters just felt a bit more relatable and enjoyable to me. Max and Dani were fun and the friends to lovers aspect felt real. We had a chance to chat with Jenny Holiday on zoom for book club and that was SO FUN to hear about why she wrote this in a particular way – I loved it. There is a third book to come with these characters too and I’ll be checking that one out for sure.

    The Christmas EscapeThe Christmas Escape by Sarah Morgan
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Is it even Christmas time without reading Sarah Morgan’s newest Christmas fiction book?? I’ve enjoyed one of hers every year for the past few years now. In The Christmas Escape, there is a “marriage improvement” storylineΒ and a second-chance storyline for romance and both of these were really well done and entertaining to read. There is also some family history afoot and an adorably busy child which (like I said earlier this week), is really just always the icing on the cake for me.Β 

    Of all of hers I’ve read, this one was not my number one favourite (I really REALLY loved The Christmas Sisters and I still have A Wedding in December on my list), but if you’ve enjoyed her other holiday books I think this one would bring about some Christmas spirit this year. Thank you to HQN andΒ @this_is_edelweiss for the ARC! πŸ™‚ I actually listened to most of this viaΒ @hoopladigital and it was well narrated!Β 

    Miss Moriarty, I Presume? (Lady Sherlock, #6)Miss Moriarty, I Presume? by Sherry Thomas
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    For years now, I have enjoyed Sherry Thomas’ Lady Sherlock series. This series, which reimagines Sherlock Holmes (And Moriarty and Watson etc!!) as a female Charlotte Holmes is smart, captivating, funny, and enjoyable. The most recent addition to the series didn’t move along quite as fast as the previous 5 for me, but I still appreciated the story and the characters.Β I also think I need to remind myself that I strongly prefer this series on audiobook & I will not request an e-ARC next time around πŸ˜‰

    In this book, Charlotte comes face to face with Moriarty and becomes somewhat intertwined in his family life. At times, the book felt a little bit disjointed, but it all came together nicely in the end and left us fans patiently awaiting the next book in the series which could be more than a year away.Β I’m unsure what will happen with these characters but I’m definitely invested in the series 100%!

    Currently reading Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire to my kiddos, an ARC of The Maid, and Meet Me Under the Northern Lights on audio πŸ™‚ Will try to maybe squeeze in one more Christmas book before 2022! We’ll see! πŸ˜‰

    What are you reading? Have you read any of these?!

  • 16 Great Ways To Access Audiobooks (Free and Paid!)

    If you’ve known me for longer than 2 seconds, you know that I love audiobooks. This wasn’t always the case – I think I first listened to Pride & Prejudice via Librivox in about 2015 and then shortly after listened to The Martian on Audible and I was so so so hooked. I’ve evolved a lot as an audiobook user too – and the way I access them has changed too, so I’m happy to share today!! This post is pretty comprehensive, but if you have any questions I’d be happy to answer them.


    My favourite price is free – isn’t yours? I absolutely love browsing my Library website for audiobooks & putting them on hold or adding them to a list for the future. There are basically three main ways to get audiobooks from your library, and I believe that MOST libraries have these options.

    Library CDs

    Many libraries buy a CD set of a book and you can take these out just like you would any other print book and listen in a CD player. This isn’t my preference because I like to listen to audiobooks at at least 1.5x speed, but it has worked well for some hard-to-get/older books or for my kids, who aren’t speed demons for audiobook listening. πŸ˜‰


    Most libraries offer e-books and audiobooks via Overdrive or Libby. These are basically the same thing, but Overdrive is the website for finding and checking out these books and Libby is the main app to read or listen to them. If you have a Kobo in Canada, you can read e-books via Overdrive as well. I know that’s a bit confusing but here’s how it looks on my Halifax library page. I accessed it via this e-library tab here:

    As you can see, you put in your library card and then you’ll have access to the catalog:

    Once you add in your library card, you can search and put items on hold or take things out right away. I think the default setting allows you to have them for 14 days, but you can change that to 21 days in the settings like this:

    To listen to audiobooks or read e-books from this overdrive catalog, you can do so right in your internet browser, or download to the Libby app on your tablet or phone (free app). Libby is THE SAME as Overdrive.


    Not all libraries have Hoopla, but most do now. Also, not all Hooplas are created the same, as I’ve learned speaking to my Ontario/US book friends, but this is still a great option. With Hoopla, you access the website and create an account using your e-mail address and link it to your public library card. After that, you get a certain number of credits to use in one month (at our Halifax library, we get 5, but many libraries get more!). You are able to keep the books for 3 weeks, and you get them immediately (no holds!), but you only get that number per month, even if you return them. The credit number resets on the 1st of every month though, so you could get 5 books on November 30 and 5 more on December 1. Hoopla does carry a lot of new releases, but you can’t rely on it having absolutely anything you want, necessarily. It also doesn’t always have all of the books in a certain series, which can be frustrating – but it’s GREAT for when you just need an e-book or audiobook immediately without having to stop by the library or wait on a holds list. I do find it a bit glitchy for e-books in terms of keeping your place. It also has movies and TV shows and music! To use Hoopla for audiobooks, you can listen right from an internet browser or via the Hoopla app, which is available for free on iOS or Android.

    Librivox and public domain alternatives

    If a book was published more than 50 years ago, it is considered to be in the public domain and these books are easily accessible on the internet. This mostly applies to the classics, obviously, and Librivox is a great site with volunteer readers. I’ve never used the app, but there are many, many recordings of classic text so this would be great if you are in an English lit class or something like that (personally, I wish I’d listened to Shakespeare in 2005 instead of reading it, ha ha). Many classics are on YouTube or Spotify or as podcasts too – just something to check out!


    With all of these, you own the books after you use a credit to buy them.


    I’m sure anyone seeking out audiobooks has heard of Audible, which is connected to Amazon. Audible costs $14.95/month and gives you one credit for that price. You can exchange the credit for one audiobook. Audible, by far, has the most audiobooks of almost all of these services and there are also a lot of Audible Originals/Exclusives meaning that some books are only available via Audible. I usually save my credits for those ones. Audible has also recently introduced the Plus catalog which is included in that $14.99 and would allow you to listen to any other books in that catalog that you’d want. They do have a few sales a year too in which you can purchase audiobooks directly for less than the price of a credit and they have a free month (one credit) trial which you can often access about once a year. One great thing about Audible is they let you return audiobooks so if you bought something and then were able to access it elsewhere for free, you could return it for a new credit.


    This works much like Audible, and also has great availability of audiobooks from all the publishers. The best bonus of Libro.FM is that some of your money spent on monthly credit goes towards supporting an Indie bookshop of your choice. It is a little bit pricier at $14.99 USD (so more if you’re Canadian), but they do also offer a one month trial / one credit. Libro.FM has sales on particular books often too that you can purchase without a membership. They offer you the ability to easily cancel or put your membership on hold and skip a few months, which is nice.

    Kobo Books

    Kobo offers a one month trial as well, and is credit based as well. It is the least expensive of these credit-based subscriptions at $12.99/credit but it doesn’t have QUITE the availability of the others. However, it is very easy to use, and they also often have sales on specific audiobooks.


    This site has a good availability of audiobooks and right now I saw that you can get 4 audiobooks in your trial, so it’s well worth giving it a try! After that month, like the others, it is $14.95 USD for a credit that you exchange for a book that you get to keep, and one VIP book (from a limited choice) per month.


    This site was new to me while I researched this post, but it seems to work much like the others above and you get one credit a month for $12.99 USD. However, you can also rent the occasional book for much less (it seems like about $1.99/rental) throughout the month too. There’s no free trial, so I’m not in a huge rush to check it out, but it is a bit less expensive!


    The following sites are a bit like Netflix for books. Often, you can listen to as many books as you want in a month (though there are some limits) but you never own the books. I love this model because I don’t *often* re-read books and I sometimes feel immense pressure when choosing how to spend a credit.


    I’ve used Scribd on and off for a few years now and you can get a free 60-day trial here by clicking my affiliate link (full disclosure, I get a free month if you use my link, but if you don’t use an affiliate link from anyone, you only get a 30 day trial). I’ve been very lucky to have family and friends gift me this service. Scribd has a LOT of new release audiobooks and it has e-books and other documents as well. It claims to be unlimited, but I’ve found that if I listen to a few popular audiobooks in a month, all of my saved list can become “unavailable” until the next billing cycle. For that reason, I usually only use it for a book that has a long holds list at the library or that I need immediately, and I try to limit myself to the most important/urgent books first. You can download the books to your device or stream over Wi-Fi. I’ve really enjoyed having access to so many new audiobooks via this service. After the trial is up, it’s $8.99 USD/month, which still feels very inexpensive considering you can usually listen to at least 3 new releases. The downside is that you don’t own the books after cancelling, however.


    Anyplay works like Scribd except that it claims to be completely unlimited. I tried the 7 day free trial and listened to 3 books in that time frame, but I did find the app to be a little bit glitchy. Their availabilty is a bit different from Scribd, but still really good, and it is $11 (CAD)/month after the trial. It’s worth a try for the trial, at the very least – assuming you can finish an audiobook in that time since you don’t get to keep it afterwards. Of the two, Scribd has more available books just because they also have so many e-books, but it can be frustrating if you run into the limitations from listening too much/too quickly.


    GooglePlay Books

    Google Play has audiobooks, and they have a wide variety, but this is by far the least cost-effective way to purchase an audiobook for streaming unless you find one on sale or maybe if you have a specific gift card to use.

    Apple Books

    Apple Books would be the same as above but for use on Apple devices – again, I can’t really recommend this method of accessing audiobooks unless you find a sale or have a gift card to use.


    This site is a bit different from the above two because you sign up for a Flexpass monthly membership for 7.95 USD which gets you one book at that price and can then purchase as many books as you want after that. So it’s a bit of a less expensive way to buy books directly in which you aren’t limited by a number of credits, but it’s still maybe not the most cost effective.


    This site seems like a great way to get some books at incredible prices (less than a price of an Audible or Libro.FM credit) but I’m not sure if the overall subscription would be worth it. A great site to browse for sales, though!!


    Here is another place to purchase audiobooks directly using cash or a gift card – again, I don’t think this is the most cost-effective way to purchase most books, but always worth a browse.

    In summary, my favourite way to access audiobooks by FAR is via the library apps (Libby/Overdrive and Hoopla), but I also LOVE Scribd and I think Audible does a great free trial to try an Audible exclusive.

  • Recent Short Book Reviews of ARCs and Audiobooks (Show Us Your Books Link Up!)

    Steph mentioned this on her Instagram stories the other day and I agree – where did this month of reading go?! It feels like we were all just here chatting about books for Show Us Your Books with Steph and Jana. I also feel like I’ve read nothing – which is far from true, but my reading life has been a bit helter skelter lately. I still read plenty of books but not gonna talk about all of them because some aren’t worth sharing πŸ˜‰ What have you been reading lately?! The good news is that I DID finally catch up on my Goodreads goal, but we’ll see how November and December shake out! πŸ™‚

    GO check out the link up and see what everyone else has been reading!!

    Books I loved Lately:

    The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, NewfoundlandThe Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This book was absolutely delightful. I laughed a few times and teared up at other times. It was so fascinating to read this story about a part of 9/11 that isn’t often discussed (besides the musical COME FROM AWAY). The book basically shares a lot of small stories about all of the flights that got re-routed to the small town of Gander, Newfoundland after no planes were allowed into the US following the terrorist attacks. The residents of the town opened their homes and their lives to these stranded passengers and it was just amazing to read about. The audiobook was phenomenally narrated.

    The Comfort BookThe Comfort Book by Matt Haig
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This little book was just as excellent as I expected it to be and I definitely need to go through and write down a bunch of the actual little quotes to remember often. Matt Haig has such a way of making others feel seen.

    The Fastest Way To FallThe Fastest Way To Fall by Denise Williams
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I really loved this book a lot – I’m not surprised – I also loved the first book by this author earlier this year. This is contemporary romance at its best – multi-dimensional and realistic characters, a unique and different “meet-cute”, not a LOT of extreme angst but enough character conflict to keep things interesting, and best of all, happiness at the end (hope that’s not a spoiler – isn’t that we expect in this genre?) πŸ™‚

    In this book, we are introduced to Britta, a journalist who is trying to advance her career and hopes to do so by taking followers along on a health journey on an app. I could relate to this having pursued a similar app myself – it was very relatable and the approach taken to health felt right to me. Britta meets Wes, her coach on the app, who she is inspired by and grows close to — but there are some real life conflicts of interest that neither of them are quite aware of, and that’s about all I’ll say!!! The way this evolves was super fun to read – I especially enjoyed all of Britta’s social media posts about her journey on the FitMe app. There were some appearances from Jake & Naya from the author’s first book and I enjoyed that a lot.

    State of TerrorState of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    This political thriller was excellent – so captivating and hard to put down and quite a pageturner.

    (also, #SorryNotSorry but I don’t intend to stop posting book pics with our deck view anytime soon – I can’t be the only one obsessed with it 😍).

    STATE Of TERROR is a political thriller (i.e., a bit of a departure from Three Pines for Louise Penny) about a fictional female Secretary of State, Ellen Adams, under a new government in the US post the unbelievably inane fictional 4 years of the “Eric Dunn” administration. I think this book will appeal to the masses, especially if you enjoy a fast-paced story line (the characters in this book don’t spend any of the pages sleeping LOL) and it reminded me of a James Patterson book or the feelings I experienced while reading The Da Vinci code almost 20 years ago. At one point I had goosebumps and my heart was racing, though I am finding myself very immersed in my reading life lately πŸ˜‚

    Fans of the Gamache series will also enjoy some parts of this book near the end 😊😊

    The audiobook narration was excellent but I needed to own the paperback as well. I loved this one so much and would highly recommend it.

    The Love HypothesisThe Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    I sat down to read this book, read the first 50% of it without even realizing it, went to sleep and then woke up and finished the rest. These characters were so fun to be with and the premise of this story (fake relationship in an academic setting) felt so original and different and nerdy and well done. I loved it. In some ways, it gave me a few similar vibes to The Hating Game and Christina Lauren books but it was very much its own book. Adam and Olive and their lovely friends were great to spend time with between these pages and if you are a fan of contemporary romance I believe you’ll find this among one of the best in the genre this year much like I did.

    PS – if you’re wondering what my 10 year old daughter thinks of the cover as she saw it lying around, the answer to that would be “ick”. πŸ˜‰

    Books I Really Liked Very Much:

    The Forgotten GardenThe Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    My dad often buys us books for Christmas and he bought me this Kate Morton book in about 2009 and I finally got around to reading it! I’ve read a few of her books but they are such a time commitment (for some reason) so the audiobook helped me get through it. Her writing is excellent and her stories always come together in a magnificent way but I do find her books daunting.

    The Forgotten Garden was truly great though – I really liked it and would recommend if you enjoy historical fiction with dual timelines… Just know that you’ll have wished a few excerpts were maybe edited out. I definitely enjoyed the characters and a few of the twists.

    My favourite of hers is still The Secret Keeper!

    November 9November 9 by Colleen Hoover
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I binged this book in less than a day and found it utterly impossible to tear myself away from. I really enjoyed that the audiobook had two narrators – it was good! While there were parts of this book I didn’t COMPLETELY love, the story itself was absolutely captivating and the writing was very good. It was hard not to fall completely for these two damaged characters. I’m sure I’ll think of them every Nov 9 from now on πŸ˜‰

    The Witches of New YorkThe Witches of New York by Ami McKay
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I finished this book on audio recently but was very glad of my hardcover to read along with as well. The audiobook is exceptionally narrated by my Julia Whelan and it added to my enjoyment immensely. It took me quite a while to engage properly with these characters but this book is wonderfully written and it is obvious that a great deal of research and attention to detail went into it. This is my first book by Amy McKay who is American born but lives in Nova Scotia. It won’t be my last! It was perfect to listen to leading up to Halloween. If you enjoy historical fiction & some witchy history, this would be a good choice!

    The Certainty of ChanceThe Certainty of Chance by Jacquelyn Middleton
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    I really, really enjoyed the characters in this book (both the main characters and the friends and family) – they were delightful and sweet. The setting was perfect – London around the holidays sounds amazing and it was so fun that one of the characters does tours so we all kind of got to experience this (I really want to go visit!!!!). Ultimately, it was a fun holiday read that I found hard to put down.

    The Brightest Star in ParisThe Brightest Star in Paris by Diana Biller
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I adored Diana Biller’s first book and this one was quite good as well. I did find one of the main characters in this book a bit less likeable and though I enjoyed the Paris setting, I missed the rest of the Moores for the majority of the book. I found this to be a great read for this time of year with the ghost elements, and all of the ballet info was quite good as was the sister relationship portrayed in these pages. Ultimately, however, this book just didn’t make me FEEL quite as deeply as the first and it was hard to really invest in the love story in the same way as I did with Widow of Rose House, so it lacked a little something.

    I will definitely still pursue all of her future books though!!

    Books that Were Totally Fine:

    Heard It in a Love SongHeard It in a Love Song by Tracey Garvis Graves
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    I really enjoyed the audiobook narration of this book, but overall, the plot felt a little discombobulated at times and I didn’t connect with it nearly the way I would have liked to.

    The Ex HexThe Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    This book was allllllll over Instagram and I desperately wanted to read it, especially after a couple of my other witchy type books didn’t pan out very well. While I enjoyed much of the plot, I did NOT enjoy the audiobook narration, so that was my bad for continuing it. I really did like the characters though and look forward to continuing this series with the next book! It was highly unbelievable at times, of course, but what else is fiction for?!

    I also continued The Keeper of the Lost Cities series, read the first in Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories series for my kiddos, and read the 4th Pages and Co book as a read-aloud to them (and a few other middle grade books). It was great!

    What are you excited to read this month?! I am going to start 11/22/63 – WISH ME LUCK! πŸ˜‰

  • Thankful for Books, Book Friends, and Book Chats. Happy B-day to the SUYB link up!

    Hi friends! It was Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend and we had a wonderful long weekend. The weather was 20 deg C all weekend and the leaves are out and ugh it was just such a happy and relaxing and lovely time. I also got a lot of reading in this past month and I can’t wait to share today!! Happy birthday to Show Us Your Books and thank you SO MUCH to Steph and Jana for all the years of fun link ups and all the book recommendations and chats. So lovely to be here with this amazing crew. Hop on over to their blogs for a giveaway to celebrate!!

    I’ve read a few books this month that blew me away, and a few less so, but overall, not disappointed with my reading life lately πŸ™‚ My attention span is picking up speed a bit which helps a lot LOL.

    Books I really loved:

    Under the Whispering DoorUnder the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    First of all, I’m not sure why I requested this e-ARC when I knew deep down I’d want to listen to this book on audio. Secondly, I am pleased to report that this is the second excellent T.J. Klune book I’ve read.

    This book is about a man named Wallace Price who dies, becomes a ghost, meets an incredible group of people including a grim reaper, a ferryman, and some other ghosts, and the plot evolves into all that conspires in his afterlife. Wallace was not a pleasant or well-loved man in his life, but he comes a long way in the afterlife. YES, this is fantasy, and no, it’s not a creepy ghost story. Wallace’s human-ness is quite obvious throughout, except for, you know, the fact that most people can’t see or hear him and he can’t do normal human things.

    I was DYING to know how this story would wrap up as it unfolded and the ending was tear-jerking, heartwarming, and so perfect for the rest of the story. The setting of Charon’s Crossing tea shop was so cozy and inviting and unique and powerful. I just loved this story and all of its nuggets of wisdom and subtle reminders to enjoy this one precious life we’ve been given.

    Thank you to Tor Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review – this book is out now! πŸ™‚

    Defy the Night (Defy the Night, #1)Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    I absolutely loved @brigidkemmer’s Cursebreaker series (A Curse So Dark And Lonely + the others) so I was delighted to have an e-copy of her new release, DEFY THE NIGHT, from @Bloomsbury and @this_is_edelweiss. This utterly compelling and difficult-to-put-down book was SO GOOD. At a certain point, I sat down with it and did not stop until I was done reading it – it was just that good.

    Defy the Night is the first in a new series (I think! And hope!) and is a loose retelling of Robin Hood/Prince of Thieves. It is not high fantasy – I think it would be a great fantasy book for those who don’t love the genre but want to dip their toes in. In this amazing book, a fictional kingdom is being ravaged by a deadly disease and the cure (moonflower petals) is lacking in supply and not shared fairly – there’s not enough for everyone in all the sectors to have it in abundance. As the story unfolds, we meet both the King and his brother the prince, who is called the King’s Justice (aka, he basically does a lot of the king’s dirty work). We also meet strong-willed Tessa and her best friend Wes, who risk their lives each night stealing the moonflower, mixing it into the elixir, and administering it to the poor. The plot evolves quite quickly and there are a few moral dilemmas that arise as well as a few surprises and I won’t say much more about it but I will say I will not soon forget this book or the pleasant fictional escape it provided me with. Five stars from me πŸ™‚

    HIGHLY recommend checking this out if you are at all a fan of YA fantasy and if you need someone to talk to while you’re reading it PLEASE PICK ME πŸ™‚

    Eight Perfect HoursEight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Ahhhh I need to give this book a big hug. It hooked me immediately and it will stay on my mind for quite some time. Lia Louis has a gift for taking readers on quite a ride of character struggles and development with a happy ending in sight but not guaranteed without some ups and downs.

    Noelle and Sam meet in an unusual circumstance – both are stranded on a motorway during an unexpected March snowstorm. Noelle needs to charge her phone to get in touch with her mother, who is not used to being alone, and Sam offers the warmth of his newer (rental) car and charger. 8 hours pass in which they talk and get to know each other and they part ways. without any plans to keep in touch. Life goes on and they meet again in unlikely ways. Some of the kismet of this story feels a bit unrealistic but I was totally there for it – that’s what fiction is for!!!!

    All of the characters were so heartwarming and they feel like friends of mine. Lia Louis’ writing is incredible – the way she describes certain situations and feelings feels unparalleled to me and I teared up several times reading this book. There are some tricky issues that happen in this story and a bit of a love triangle situation that I didn’t love but did understand the way it was portraryed. Overall, this wasbeautiful story of fate and finding oneself and learning to live life after loss and what that looks like. (Also, an important note that this is NOT a Christmas book despite what the cover portrays).

    Here is just one snippet of the magnificent writing:

    β€œMy life has started. I’m in it. It’s not something I’m waiting for anymore. I’m here. And whatever I wanted for my life, was it this?” Was it this? Was this what I wanted for myself? And what is it that I wanted? Am I still waiting?

    I’m a sucker for a book with fate/romance/meet cutes/character grows up and changes and discovers what they want out of life similar to Mhairi McFarlane’s books (this one did remind me a LOT of Just Last Night in some ways including an Ed LOL). so if you enjoy that type of book as well, I definitely think you should read this one and tell me what you think of Sam and Noelle and Charlie and Theo and Frank and Dilly. πŸ™‚

    The Reading ListThe Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I adored this sweet story about an older Indian man living in the Wembley area of London UK who makes an unlikely friend in a college student working at the library for the summer. Mukesh lost his wife a couple of years prior to the book’s timeline and she was an avid reader who loved to talk about books, visit the library, and share books with her family and friends. Mukesh much preferred (and still does prefer) watching National Geographic and Planet Earth on TV. One day, he comes across The Time Traveller’s Wife in the bedroom and wanting to think of his wife and see what she saw in the book, he sits down and reads it. He is so immersed in the story that he decides to visit the library and find some other books.

    The story is told in alternating points of view and though there are quite a few characters, I had no difficulty keeping everyone straight. The audiobook narration was excellent and though there were some very tearful and sad moments in this book I would say overall there were many more hilarious or adorable or heartwarming lovely tender moments of friendship and the power of books to connect us all.

    A must read for fans of reading (Aka all of us).

    Written in the StarsWritten in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This book was 100%, completely adorable from the very first page to the end of the last line. I loved Elle and Darcy and I LOVED that the whole book was a tiny nod to Pride & Prejudice (Yayyyy) and I really enjoyed all of the extra characters (who are in future books, which is great!). If you enjoy contemporary romance with a bit of an opposites-attract situation, this would one be a great choice πŸ™‚

    The Love HypothesisThe Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    I sat down to read this book, read the first 50% of it without even realizing it, went to sleep and then woke up and finished the rest. These characters were so fun to be with and the premise of this story (fake relationship in an academic setting) felt so original and different and nerdy and well done. I loved it. In some ways, it gave me a few similar vibes to The Hating Game and Christina Lauren books but it was very much its own book. Adam and Olive and their lovely friends were great to spend time with between these pages and if you are a fan of contemporary romance I believe you’ll find this among one of the best in the genre this year much like I did.

    PS – if you’re wondering what my 10 year old daughter thinks of the cover as she saw it lying around, the answer to that would be “ick”. πŸ˜‰

    The Charm OffensiveThe Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This was an awesome book. I’d heard great things about it but was skeptical if I’d love it as much as others since I’m not a big reality TV/Bachelor/Dating show fan as some are…however, I was quite pleasantly surprised. The Charm Offensive was uttlerly charming – there’s just no other word to describe it πŸ™‚ I absolutely loved the main characters, Dev and Charlie, and the entire plot of the book was fun to read (behind the scenes in Hollywood – there is glam and tension and everything). I enjoyed the representation of mental health and how that could/ should best be handled in an intense work environment. I adored the fact that Dev had ideal goals for his future romantic life but wasn’t quite sure how to get there. The love story here feels unexpected but so fresh and it was all just so delightful to read.

    Apples Never FallApples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I have been a fan of Liane Moriarty’s past novels but I felt the last two she wrote were not favourites of mine. However, without a doubt, I would rank this one nearer to the top of my list of books of hers I enjoyed and I found this to be an excellent read. I will say that I think it could have been a bit shorter in a few areas, but I also found the writing to be witty and I was not expecting it to end the way that it did AT ALL. I also learned a thing or two about tennis in this book and overall just really appreciated the way that Liane tangled this web of a story together and laid it all out at the end.

    I am definitely antsy to discuss this one and I appreciate those who have already helped me sort out my thoughts. πŸ™‚

    The Vanderbeekers Make A Wish (The Vanderbeekers, #5)The Vanderbeekers Make A Wish by Karina Yan Glaser
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    This series is SO WONDERFUL and it delights my children and I alike. I hope there are more Vanderbeeker stories for years and years into the future.

    Fine and Dandy:

    A Very Perry Wedding (The Perrys, #2)A Very Perry Wedding by Marie Landry
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Readers were first introduced to the Perry family in a Christmas novella in 2020 and I really enjoyed revisiting these characters in the sequel. This was a cute fall romance with lots of characters learning things about themselves and who they want to be. There were TONS of fall activities and it just felt like a perfect cozy read for this time of year. I wouldn’t mind visiting Bellevue myself and hanging out with the Perrys and all their friends πŸ˜‰

    The Book Woman of Troublesome CreekThe Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    It took me QUITE a while to get into this book and I think some of it was the pace of it. I kept wanting just a little bit more of a something but I’m not sure exactly what. However, by the end of it, I was fully on board with these characters for the most part. I did really enjoy the author’s note at the end and I found it interesting to learn more about this time period and aspect of history. Goodness gracious, a few moments were desperately heartbreaking though.

    Not a Happy FamilyNot a Happy Family by Shari Lapena
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This was my second book by this author and I was thoroughly captivated and trying to figure out the whole story the entire time. None of the characters in this rich and spoiled family were particularly likeable, and there were a number of people who could have been guilty. I enjoyed the way it all wrapped up because I did not see that coming. The very very last lines were especially excellent.

    The Night She DisappearedThe Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This book was suspenseful and I enjoyed the pace and twists throughout. It was interesting to view the situation from multiple perspectives and I was puzzled trying to figure out exactly what happened with Tallulah and Zach. It is a thrilling suspense novel with a satisfying ending and I was grateful to read it for a readalong thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada and Tandem Global Collective.

    The Holiday SwapThe Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This book was utterly delightful and I happily read it in less than a day and smiled the whole time. It is Christmassy and adorable but not over the top. There is a sweet small town, twins (one of my FAVOURITE THINGS), a swap, some manly men, some great friends, and a few “villainous” characters. What more could you want?!

    As a 10-12 year old I was obsessed with twin swap movies a la Mary Kate and Ashley’s It Takes Two and Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap so I’ve always really enjoyed the entertainment factor of identical twins swapping lives even if it isn’t always ever going to happen in real life. (Hello friends, that is what fiction is for). This book pulled this off so well (until the swap got confusing, of course!) and I just loved these two sisters a lot. They had a lot in common, but some fun differences too.

    If you enjoy holiday romances and want to feel really hungry because both of these twins work in the food industry, I highly recommend picking this one up to kickstart your Christmas reading soon πŸ™‚ It’s out today!!

    And if you, like me, already enjoyed this one…please also be like me and commit to reading these two authors’ back lists! I still have a lot of their books left for me to enjoy ASAP.

    The Perfect FamilyThe Perfect Family by Robyn Harding
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    This book had a cast of unlikeable characters but a plot that moved quickly and was difficult to ignore/put down. I definitely had no idea how it was going to end throughout the book, so that made it fun!

    Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche (Enola Holmes #7)Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    The day we got Avonlea in January, my husband and I sat down to watch a movie on Netflix with our new puppy and we landed on Enola Holmes. How had I not known about this movie as soon as it came out? I’m a bit out of the Netflix loop, to be honest, but I love all things Sherlock related and this movie was SO excellent and fun to watch. THEN I found out it was a book series!! I listened to the first one and received an ARC of the7th in the series so I skipped all the ones in between and listened to ENOLA HOLMES AND THE BLACK BAROUCHE last week. It came out August 31 and I highly recommend the audiobook – the accents were awesome.

    This book would fall mostly into a middle-grade/YA category – I’ll be happy to encourage my 10 year old to read this series in the near future though some aspects of the mystery might be a bit over her head.

    Enola Holmes is a force to be reckoned with and I can always get behind strong, fierce, female characters living in a “man’s world”, so this series is no exception and I cannot WAIT for the next Enola Holmes movie on Netflix.

    Convenience Store WomanConvenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    This book was a short audiobook with a big message but it was also strange to listen to, in some ways! It was quite a study of one person’s very unique life and there were definitely some themes about societal norms and why certain things seem to be expected of so many of us but overall the story read as in a day-in-day-out day in the life story and it just felt a bit strange at times.

    Currently reading

    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (almost done but not quite!!!), The Brightest Star in Paris by Diana Biller, and will be starting another Christmas ARC later this week or maybe tonight, who knows. LOL. What about you!?! (OH, and also reading the 4th Bookwanderers book to my kiddos).

  • Fall Into Reading With Me – I can feel the cozy blanket now πŸ™‚

    Ok, ok, it’s not QUITE fall yet…I know. I’m actually not one of those people who likes to say goodbye to summer on August 31 but this year I am definitely feeling all the fall vibes with our weather in September. There’s something so great about this month too – I love the start of school and the leaves changing and ALL THE GREAT BOOKS!! Happy to be linking up with Steph & Jana today to share what I’ve read lately! A few series so not quite as much to recommend, unless you want to start at the beginning! πŸ™‚


    The Madness of Crowds (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #17)The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    This book was just as excellent as I expected. It’s always good to be back in Three Pines, and this time in the week between Christmas and New Years! Fun!! This book is set in the present day while the pandemic is still happening, which is not what I expected but was so well written and relevant. I’ll never ever ever tire of these characters so I hope there are about 50 more Gamache books to come in my lifetime πŸ˜‰

    The Riviera HouseThe Riviera House by Natasha Lester
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    4.5 stars. I enjoyed Natasha Lester’s 2020 book The Paris Secret and I think I liked this one even more. It takes a LOT these days for me to absorb historical fiction in print (not audio), and this did exactly that. I REALLY enjoyed the art theft storyline and my heartstrings were tugged almost constantly while reading this both for the present-day characters and those living in Nazi-occupied Paris. Phew. An excellent book with a satisfying conclusion.

    Crown of Feathers (Crown of Feathers, #1)Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    4.5 Cannot WAIT to continue this series. It’s unlike anything I’ve really ever read before but then it’s also kind of similar (it feels like?!) to A Curse So Dark and Lonely with maybe a touch of a few other YA fantasy series. Excellent on audio and a Canadian author! Phoenixes are so cool.

    With You Forever (Bergman Brothers, #4)With You Forever by Chloe Liese
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I’d anticipated this instalment in the series since starting it because the two main characters, Axel and Rooney, have some past chemistry in previous books. This book did not disappoint! I loved the setting, the side characters (axel’s friends were hilarious) and the depth at which Bergman makes her characters so realistic with real world problems. She also represents neurodiversity and chronic illness in a sensitive and (to me, at least!) accurate and respectful way.

    I fell in love with these characters and I still can’t quite pick a favourite in this series… They are all so good and I’m so grateful to my friend Megan for putting them on my radar. Contemporary romance fans definitely need to take the time to read these books.

    Thank you to the author and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review πŸ™‚

    Better Than the MoviesBetter Than the Movies by Lynn Painter
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    100% one of the best YA romances I’ve read in years. So enjoyable from start to finish and THAT ENDING woooow.


    A Talisman of HomeA Talisman of Home by Annie M. Ballard
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Thank you kindly to the author for sending me an e-ARC of this novel. A Talisman of Home grabbed my attention immediately and I found it to be highly readable. Part of this is because I so rarely come across books set in the Maritimes and it delights me to read about the culture and community of “home” (though this is set in rural New Brunswick, not NS).
    A few elements of this story that I enjoyed:

    1) descriptions of kitchen parties and fiddle tunes I know and love (such as the beautiful Ashokan Farewell)
    2) Fun characters who were nosy but caring, and had a deep, deep sense of community
    3) Aspects of found family and character growth and development
    4) Excerpts of the main character’s inner voice which made it deeply personal

    If you enjoy Canadian novels, this one falls firmly in the domestic fiction category with a smattering of romance as well.

    The Heart Principle (The Kiss Quotient, #3)The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I went into this book fully knowing and expecting it to be a bit less contemporary-romance based than her previous two books. I kept my expectations in check. I did REALLY like these characters and enjoyed the representation of Anna discovering her autism spectrum disorder and what that meant for her past and future. What didn’t really work for me in this book is that I sometimes felt a little TINY bit like it was trying to be two different books. I know the author intended it that way and I appreciate the depth of what she was trying to convey (which was A LOT), but it felt just a bit like whiplash here and there. However, it was still good and I liked it. Thank you to Dreamscape & Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book isn’t *really* part of a series that needs to be read in order but I think my favourite of the three was probably the first.


    The Highland FlingThe Highland Fling by Meghan Quinn
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    Meghan Quinn books are a bit hit or miss for me and overall this one was a hit and I’m glad I read it. The setting was AWESOME, the characters were beyond fun, and I’d like to take a plane to Scotland tomorrow. I don’t think I’ll ever reread it but it’s by no means a bad book and fans of the genre will appreciate the character development and HEA in this contemporary romance. Thank you to Netgalley for offering this as a read now book for download for review!

    The Silent PatientThe Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    I’m pretty sure I am the last person on the planet to read this book & I am amazed that I’ve never encountered any spoilers about it, honestly. I went into this with pretty high expectations because I’ve heard it is many readers’ favourite thriller and I can see that, honestly, but for me it just wasn’t as thrilling as I was hoping for. I did NOT guess any of the twists so that was good but I also wasn’t EXTREMELY interested while reading it and it took me weeks instead of days to finish, so there’s that.

    I also continued the Keeper of the Lost Cities series by reading book 2 and 3 on audio, listened to Badass Habits, and read the 4th Bromantic series book (it was fine). Currently reading the new Lisa Jewell book with a bunch of bookstagram friends, The Reading List on audio, and Defy the Night (Brigid Kemmerer’s newest, out today!!)

    What are you reading?!