BOOK REVIEW: Speaking of Summer by Kalisha Buckhanon

This review is going to cover Speaking of Summer by Kalisha Buckhanon, who is also the author of Upstate. I received a finished copy in lieu of galley from Counterpoint Press. It was released on July 30th.

This was a more difficult book for me to read, not the page turner I was expecting from cover to cover. Although, this book did pick up speed for me as I went on.

Buckhanon tells the tale of Autumn Spencer, whose twin sister Summer has gone missing, and nobody really wants to look for her. Autumn is also dealing with the grief of her mother’s death at the same time.

As the book continues on, Autumn has more and more trouble coping, turning to her sister’s boyfriend, alcohol, and drugs. She also starts researching other murdered women, and their killers, imagining whether they also killed her sister.

Although the book started out slow for me, it did speed up about mid-way through and kept a steady fast pace from there. It spoke to several current social issues, such as race relations, alcohol and drug abuse, and mental health. It’s a hard hitter that will keep you thinking afterwards. I hope some of you head out and pick up a copy!

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

This review is going to discuss Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center. Before I received this ARC, I had never read anything by Katherine Center, and I am so glad that I received the opportunity to read this book because I absolutely loved it right from the beginning. I received an ARC copy through the #thingsyousavebook early reader campaign. 

This book focuses on Cassie Hanwell, a young woman who also happens to be the only female firefighter in her firehouse in Texas, but also one of the best firefighters. Cassie deals very well with other people’s problems treating them like her calls to a fire or medical emergency. However, she doesn’t handle her own trauma anywhere near as well.

When she was just a girl her mother abandoned her and her father. Being a girl, but the only child of a now single dad, Cassie grew up excelling at sports, and she pursued her interest in firefighting. But now, Cassie’s mother is ill, and asks Cassie to move across the country outside of Boston to be her caretaker. She doesn’t want to go, but between her father asking her to go and a scandal at the firehouse it’s the only way that Cassie can continue to work as a firefighter.

Boston is completely different from her Texas firehouse and it is difficult for Cassie to adjust to the sexism, but she does her best to prove to her new house that she is brave and capable even though she is a woman. In Texas, Cassie lived the life of a nun, never dating, and focusing on her career. That’s still the plan, but there is one very tempting guy that could make her resolve buckle.

I thought this book was written very well, and that the heroine had the right mix of personal issues to handle, as well as the romance. I never really felt like one half of that was ignored, but that they worked together very well. Things You Save in a Fire comes out TODAY 8/13/2019 so get out and find yourself a copy and enjoy Cassie’s story of courage, love, and forgiveness.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate

In this review I’ll be taking a look at Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate. I received this book as an eARC through NetGalley and its release date is July 30, 2019.

This book focuses on the relationships of Natalie Groves–including family relationships, work relationships, friendships, and past love. It covers quite a few heart aches between all of those and looks at how Natalie will handle and get through each hurdle. Although she is the main protagonist, we also see the story through the eyes of Jeremy “Jem” Walters–the ex-fiance of Natalie. To complicate matters more we also meet his sixteen-year-old niece Lili and her family.

Jem left Natalie months before their wedding was to take place and pursued a degree and his dream job. He arrives back home with a 9-month-old son in tow and runs into Natalie who just lost her job. She’s trying to take care of her parents so she works as a nanny for Jem and all sorts of old drama comes out. As they work together closely and care for his son, sparks fly between the two. Will they come to terms with their past?

One thing I liked about this books was that although Natalie was working an internship and chasing a dream career in ministry–the book didn’t force it, and allows the reader to see that there may be a different plan laid out for you. There isn’t just one path to success, and sometimes priorities change.

I don’t often read Christian Romance, so this was a nice change of pace for me to read. I usually don’t like anything that gets too preachy about religion, and I think the author did a good job of including religious elements without trying to change the reader’s views.

I also liked that the book clearly demonstrated that Christians aren’t perfect and that they lead real lives too. I often feel they are portrayed only in good light and this book highlights mistakes made and dealing with the consequences in the aftermath.

I didn’t really care for all of the teen drama with Lili’s situation (I don’t really want to spoil that here so go read the book for that plot line!). Although I understand her decisions, up to a point, I found her character completely self-absorbed and annoying.

Happy Reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Hummingbird Dagger by Cindy Anstey

I recently finished reading The Hummingbird Dagger by Cindy Anstey. This book was released in April 2019 by Swoon Reads and I picked it up in my local Barnes & Noble Store.

I absolutely love reading historical fiction so when I saw the gorgeous cover of the Hummingbird Dagger I had to read the book.

The Hummingbird Dagger is set in 1833 England and follows the story of Lord James Ellerby, his younger sister and brother, and “Beth”. Beth is a young woman that was in a carriage crash near Ellerby’s land. She has many injuries, and is the only injured party in the crash. When she finally wakes up we find that she has amnesia. She becomes Lord Ellerby’s sister Caroline’s companion while trying to figure out who she really is.

At night Beth has horrible nightmares. She dreams of a woman losing blood to a hummingbird dagger. Night after night she wakes the house with her screams. Slowly she begins to learn of her true identity and the friends she has made over the last several weeks aid her in her search for her family and identity.

I really enjoyed the backstory and criminal aspects involved with this book. I think the relationship that grows between Lord Ellerby and Beth is a bit more believable in their day in that they fall in love without really knowing each other. They come to trust and love each other during a dangerous situation, but I don’t think I really got the message of a true connection between the couple like I have in other stories. It was enjoyable though, so don’t take that as too much of a message to not read, because it is worth reading. I just wish there was a little bit more development of the couple.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Summer Demands by Deborah Shapiro

I was so fortunate to receive a final copy of The Summer Demands by Deborah Shapiro in lieu of galley from Catapult Publishers through Booklist Delivers Summer eblast.

This book was a good summer read, making me want to be at the lake reading it!

The Summer Demands centers on Emily who inherits a rundown summer camp in Massachusetts. She’s just about to hit milestone birthday 4-0 and post-miscarriage. So basically, Emily has a lot of trauma she’s working through and getting older isn’t helping.

At first Emily and her husband try to fix up the camp in order to make it more of a glamping resort experience, but find permits too difficult to obtain and quickly this dream fails. One day while walking the camp grounds Emily finds that they have a “guest” living in one of the camp cabins. This guest is 22-year-old Stella.

Stella lives a free life. One that Emily wishes she could have, a life away from bills, finding a job, getting over her loss. It’s simple.

Emily and her husband allow Stella to live in the cabin for the summer. They begin a friendship. A relationship that becomes many things for Emily, and could cause problems with her marriage.

Shapiro does an excellent job of giving depth to these two female characters. I felt like I really got to know them, especially Emily. My only real critique is that I felt that the ending was rushed. There was so much detail throughout to build the characters and plot and then all of a sudden it was over and we fast forward to see where they end up in the future. I’m also not a huge fan of books that do this fast forward for an ending so that probably doesn’t help, but overall it was a decent read. Not really your normal light hearted summer read, but a good one nonetheless.

This book was released at the beginning of June–have you had a chance to read it? What did you think?

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries

Sabrina Jeffries latest new series The Duke Dynasty series begins with Project Duchess released on June 25th. I was lucky to receive an eARC from NetGalley just prior to its release and really enjoyed the book.

The Duke Dynasty series will focus on a family of grown children of an often widowed mother. She married well three times, and provided heirs to each Duke she married. Project Duchess follows the story of Fletcher “Grey” Pryde the fifth Duke of Greycourt and Beatrice Wolfe, a cousin through marriage that he meets at the funeral of his stepfather.

Grey had a dark childhood and trusts no one with much of anything really, let alone his heart, but he is also immediately drawn to Beatrice because she is different from the ladies that were brought up politely in the Ton. Beatrice raises and trains dogs, walks through the woods in sturdy boots, and most importantly, doesn’t let Grey win his way in an argument easily.

Though in mourning Grey helps Beatrice and his sister prepare for their coming out parties and along the way falls for Beatrice. Though their feelings are mutual, neither fully trusts each other for most of the novel, refusing to share their past traumas with each other.

I found this a delightful read with the right amount of danger and romance. I can’t wait for the next installment of the series to come out!

Happy reading 🙂  

BOOK REVIEW: The Things I Know

Recently I finished reading an eARC of The Things I Know by Amanda Prowse which was released on June 11th. I received this eARC through NetGalley.

The Things I Know tells the story of Thomasina ‘Hitch’ Waycott who lives on a family farm outside of Bristol, England. She was born a little bit different from the ‘normal’ kids and grew up constantly made fun of, an outsider. The story line follows her growth from believing what others are saying to standing up for herself and her family and loved ones.

I found this story interesting because although there was a love story involved, the main plot was actually about Thomasina learning to stand up for herself and figuring out what she wants to do with her life. Various problems are thrown her way, from bullies, to men, family problems, and as with every other farm book, the potential sale of the family farm that has been in the family for generations. I don’t read very many English stories that aren’t regency era so it was fun to read a more modern story from England.

I enjoyed witnessing the problems and solutions unfold, each in their own time. The flow of the story happened at a good pace. I didn’t feel rushed by any of the chaos that ensued or that any of the plot lines overlapped too much. By requesting this book I was attempting to work on diversifying the types of books that I read so that I am not just reading the same exact thing over and over, and I think this novel succeeded in helping me accomplish that goal. I would definitely read another of her books.

By the way, Thomasina REALLY likes chickens 🙂

Happy reading!