Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"In a London slowly recovering from World War II, two very different women join forces to launch a business venture in the heart of Mayfair--The Right Sort Marriage Bureau. Miss Iris Sparks, quick-witted and impulsive, and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge, practical and widowed with a young son, are determined to achieve some independence and do some good in a rapidly changing world.

But the promising start to their marriage bureau is threatened when their newest client, Tillie La Salle, is found murdered and the man arrested for the crime is the prospective husband they matched her with. While the police are convinced they have their man, Miss Sparks and Mrs. Bainbridge are not. To clear his name--and to rescue their fledging operation's reputation--Sparks and Bainbridge decide to investigate on their own, using the skills and contacts they've each acquired through life and their individual adventures during the recent war.

Little do they know that this will put their very lives at risk."

My Thoughts:

The Right Sort of Man was an absolutely delightful beginning to this historical mystery series!  I'm finding more and more that I just enjoy historical mystery series.  There is something about the historical details in books like this and added to it a mystery that I just can't get enough of.  This book is set after World War II which made it all the more interesting to me.  The details that the author included of what life was like after the war ended - well, I just couldn't get enough of them!  I fully immersed myself in the pages of this book and this time period.  I just have to tell you how much I enjoyed this book and the two main characters.  Iris and Gwendolyn are as different as you could possibly be from one another.  But they have formed this matchmaking type of business together and are committed to making it successful.  When one of their clients is killed, they decide that they simply must investigate in order to clear the name of their business which is being run through the dirt by the newspapers.  I adored each of these characters for so many different reasons but mainly because their differences complemented one another.  Iris has a secret history to her that is alluded to at times but it is this history that gives her an edge when it comes to investigating the murder.  Gwendolyn on the other hand is someone who is just really starting to get her feet under her and find her inner strength after her husband's death.  Both women are characters that you can't help but root for and want to get to know more of.  I'm so glad that this book is just the beginning to this series because I want more!  More books featuring these two characters and more books like this in general!  

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and am left so excited about this series and author!  The historical details alone would have me coming back for more.  But then add in two great main characters and a compelling mystery and you have the perfect combination in my opinion.  This was also one of those books that I just didn't want to set down.  I found myself at one point trying to read ahead because I was so curious to see what would happen with that particular storyline (no worries though - I managed to stay where I was and just read on).  This book truly read like a standalone - I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that this is actually the beginning to a series.  I'm so excited to revisit these two characters in the near future and see what other trouble they will find themselves in!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line: An absolutely delightful beginning to this historical mystery series! I need more books like this in my reading life!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher - honest thoughts are my own.

Spoiler Section (Stop here if you haven't read book):

Okay so one of the things that I really liked about this book was that Iris was a spy before opening her business with Gwendolyn.  It gives her past a bit of mystery to it as you wonder exactly what she has gone through and what else she has done.  I'm speculating here but I've got to think that her background will play a bigger part in future books.  I also liked how the ending seemed wrapped up but it ended up with Iris and Gwen solving two separate mysteries. They managed to find the real killer and solve the mystery of what was really going on with Tillie before she was murdered. I thought going into it that those two things would be one and the same but they weren't which left me quite pleased with the ending. I love when a mystery keeps my guessing until the end and this one definitely did that!  Have you read this book yet?  If you have and want to discuss, just send me a message! All I need to remember with this book really is read book two!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Summer of Sunshine and Margot by Susan Mallery (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"As an etiquette coach, Margot teaches her clients to fit in. But she’s never faced a client like Bianca, an aging movie star who gained fame—and notoriety—through a campaign of shock and awe. Schooling Bianca on the fine art of behaving like a proper diplomat’s wife requires intensive lessons, forcing Margot to move into the monastery turned mansion owned by the actress’s intensely private son. Like his incredible home, Alec’s stony exterior hides secret depths Margot would love to explore. But will he trust her enough to let her in?

Sunshine has always been the good-time sister, abandoning jobs to chase after guys who used her, then threw her away. No more. She refuses to be “that girl” again. This time, she’ll finish college, dedicate herself to her job as a nanny, and she 100 percent will not screw up her life again by falling for the wrong guy. Especially not the tempting single dad who also happens to be her boss.

Master storyteller Susan Mallery weaves threads of family drama, humor, romance and a wish-you-were-there setting into one of the most satisfying books of the year!"

My Thoughts:

This was such an enjoyable and page turning read!  I feel like this is another book that would be perfect spend reading on the beach or during a long, hot summer afternoon.  This is actually only my second or third book (I tried checking Goodreads but she has written so many books that I couldn't tell for certain) that I've read by this author but I really enjoyed them both so much.  Mallery has a knack for creating characters that you can't help but root for and enjoy reading about.  Sunshine and Margot were both so very different, and yet they were twins and also wanted the same things out of life.  It was just the case that neither of them thought that they would ever find true happiness thanks to their family history. can you not want happiness for characters when they feel that way?  I just instantly found myself attached to them both and the two storylines that the author was telling us.  I loved when the two storylines intertwined but really I enjoyed it all.  I didn't even have a preference of one sister over the other - I wanted both of them to find true love and happiness with their lives.  I also really enjoyed the fact that neither of them were perfect or completely had her life in order.  Margot was definitely more on the I've got my stuff together side of things but she still had her issues that she was dealing with.  Sunshine on the other hand is just now going to college for the first time and trying to really make changes with her life.  While that isn't where I'm at in my own life, I related. to her and the struggles that she was dealing with because of the choices she made when she was younger.  I'm telling you guys - this book was such a winner for me because of these two characters and how relatable they both felt.  The pages of this book just flew on by and I was finished before I even knew it.  

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book immensely!  It just felt like the perfect read for these early summer days and I soaked it all in!  I'm not sure if I would classify this one more as contemporary romance or women's fiction but it has vibes from both genres.  I would classify it as a winner though and a book that I will be recommending to readers of either genre!  This book was also a great reminder that I would like to work on catching up with some of this author's backlist as well.  So many books and so little time!  Also, how gorgeous is this cover?  It's even better in person, I've got to admit!  This book was the perfect change of pace from the mysteries and thrillers that I read so often.  I always say to myself that I'm going to work on mixing my reading up more but books like this are why I want to make that happen so much!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A great summer read that I can't help but recommend!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a TLC book tour.  Honest thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Summer on Mirror Lake by JoAnn Ross (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Summertime is the best time to lose yourself in the romance of Honeymoon Harbor…

When he lands in the emergency room after collapsing at the funeral of a colleague and friend, Wall Street hotshot Gabriel Mannion initially rejects the diagnosis of an anxiety attack. But when warned that if he doesn’t change his adrenaline-fueled, workaholic lifestyle he could end up like his friend, Gabe reluctantly returns to his hometown of Honeymoon Harbor to regroup.

As he adjusts to the sight of mountains instead of skyscrapers, Gabe discovers advantages to this small Pacific Northwest town he once couldn’t wait to escape. But it’s irresistible librarian Chelsea Prescott who, along with the two foster children she’s taken under her wing, makes slowing down seem like the best prescription ever.

Over the course of their summer romance, Gabe gets a taste of the life he might have had if he’d taken a different path. But with his return to New York City looming on the horizon, he’ll have to choose between the success he’s worked tirelessly for and a ready-made family who offers a very different, richly rewarding future…if he’ll only take the risk."

My Thoughts:

Summer on Mirror Lake felt like the perfect read to start off my summer reading!  I don't read nearly enough contemporary romances or small town romances - books like this always leave me wondering why.  There is just something so comforting about them and it almost reminds me of the feeling I get with the cozy mysteries I read.  I love the small town vibe, getting to know all of the characters, and the descriptions of the town itself.  I always feel like with books like this that these towns feel like real places that I could actually go and visit which is fun in itself!  In this book, Chelsea is the head librarian in the town's library and is just focused on living up to her mentor and former head librarian's expectations.  Gabe has come back to his hometown from the summer needing a break from the stress of his job.  These two meet and the sparks fly almost instantly.  I usually don't care for romances that happen super fast but it was different with this book.  Gabe and Chelsea decide to have a summer fling rather than a committed relationship and I think that worked for me.  It felt more like a fun thing than the insta-love that I cannot seem to get behind.  My favorite part of this book though were the two young foster girls that Chelsea becomes caught up with.  There was just something about these two girls that tugged at my heartstrings.  I was almost more focused on them getting their happy ever after compared to Chelsea and Gabe.  I do say almost there because really isn't it all tied up into one thing in the end?  My one and only complaint with this book was that I had a hard time keeping track of all of the characters.  I'm thinking that this is my fault though as I didn't realize that this was the third book in a series.  Looks like I've got a few books to catch up on now!  I did finally get a hang of the who's who by midway through the book which helped.  And overall, I was satisfied by the way that things played out in the end.  It was exactly what I was hoping for which left me feeling content and happy when the book was finished.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book and am looking forward to reading the previous books in this series.  This book has a summer vibe to it that I couldn't help but appreciate.  I feel like this book would be the perfect binge read while spent on a hot day at the beach.  Or curled up with during a late night baseball game on a summer evening like I did!  That definitely worked as well.  I think that fans of contemporary romance and just romance in general would enjoy this book.  You don't have to read these books in order necessarily (I sure didn't) but it may help you keep track of the characters better if you do.  And books like this are just the perfect type of read for this time of year in my opinion!  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A great summer read and romance!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley as part of a TLC book tour.  Thoughts are my own.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Sunday Post #57 (Spoiler Edition)

"The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme"

Good morning everyone!  I hope you've all been well and are enjoying the warmer weather!  While summer is probably my least favorite season - I am appreciating the warmer weather after all of the rain that we were getting there for awhile.  It's another busy weekend over here but I've been mulling some thoughts over for awhile now and wanted to get everyone's opinion.

Okay so here's the deal.  Last week (or the week before) I started reading No Mercy by Joanna Schaffhausen which is the second book in a mystery series.  According to Goodreads, I finished reading the first book back in December of 2017.  So it had been awhile and honestly when I started this book and the author referred to events that had happened in book one....well, I was a bit lost.  I couldn't remember the ending of that first book and how everything went down.  I ended up searching Goodread's reviews for spoilers so I could refresh myself on that first book.  Honestly, this isn't the first time that's happened especially as I read so many different series.  I also try to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible which means I don't end up giving a lot of details on the plot.  Here's where I need your opinion.  I'm thinking that I'm going to change the way that I write my reviews of books.  I'm going to write up my thoughts like I normally do - and then in a marked paragraph I'm going to discuss my thoughts with spoilers and as many details as I like.  I'm thinking that I will post this paragraph at the very end so that those who don't want to see spoilers can just read my thoughts and skip that section.  The only times that I won't do this is if I'm reading/reviewing a book as part of a blog tour.  Blog tour books are for people to actually visit my blog and read my thoughts on the book so I don't feel like I should include spoilers in that kind of post.  But I want to really be able to remember what I read so for other books, why shouldn't I discuss everything or anything I want to?  What are your feelings on all of this?  How do you remember the details from all of the books that you read?  Or don't you....I sure don't!

Reading wise, I'm chugging right along at about the same reading pace as I have been all year.  I have a bunch of books that I need to write up my thoughts on so I'm really looking forward to your thoughts on the above.  My review copies have really been stacking up lately so I'm trying to focus almost entirely on them in June.  I did this in April and felt like it helped make the stack a bit more manageable.  That hasn't stopped me from putting WAY too many books on hold at the library or checking too many out.  Because some things never change and I AM a mood reader through and through.  In the past week (or so), I've finished the following two books:

Deadly Obsession by April Hunt - This is the beginning to a new romantic suspense series and I really enjoyed it.  I love romantic suspenses but there is a fine line between what works for me in this genre and what doesn't.  I'm hoping to write up my thoughts on this one soon but I will definitely say that I'm planning on reading more in this series!

Summer on Mirror Lake by JoAnn Ross - This is a small town contemporary romance that I read for an upcoming TLC book tour.  My thoughts on this one will be up later this week.  I will admit that I'm confused on if this is a part of a series or not - I need to research that further.  There are a lot of characters to keep track of but I found it an enjoyable read perfect for summertime.

I'm now currently reading the following:

I'm also reading this for an upcoming TLC book tour later this month.  It has been awhile since I read one of this author's books but I'm really enjoying it so far!  I'm sensing a need for a thriller or mystery next after these three books.  I'm also considering starting Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land to read alongside my current book.  We are into June already and I have yet to pick up any nonfiction - I REALLY wanted to read more nonfiction this year so this is something I need to focus on more.  Especially as I'm constantly adding nonfiction books to my TBR list but then never reading them.  I don't usually read two print books at once but I'm thinking I might change things up a bit with a nonfiction book instead of my usual e-book.

I'm writing this early because plans for today include baseball games.  If we aren't at the fields all day then I'm going to work on laundry and getting the house ready for the week.  I've been watching the Harry Potter movies this weekend as my husband and daughter are away at a softball tournament.  I'm not a huge television nut but I always love marathoning the Harry Potter movies (and not feeling bad when I make my husband watch them for the umpteenth time)!  I'm off to enjoy my Sunday and this beautiful weather!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!