BOOK REVIEW: The Missing Letters of Mrs. Bright by Beth Miller.

This review will take a look at the book The Missing Letters of Mrs. Bright by Beth Miller. I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was released yesterday, January 9, 2020 from Bookouture.

At the start of the book we meet our leading lady, Mrs. Kay Bright. She has led a remarkably predictable (read boring) life thus far. Her thirtieth wedding anniversary to her dull husband Richard is approaching, and she has come to the realization that she’s done. Done with working at her husband’s stationary shop, done with never traveling, and done with marriage.

Pretty much the beginning of the book is one big–‘what if’ that has Kay in conflict with pretty much every other character in the book, and then working to resolve those conflicts throughout the book. Her biggest fight is with her daughter, Stella, with both of them blowing up at each other in reaction to Kay leaving her husband.

The story unravels in alternating points of view, learning about Kay’s story, and then Stella’s. They are also broken up by the letters that Kay sent her best friend Bear over the years. Bear moved to Australia with her family as a teenager, and since then Kay and Bear wrote letters to each other in alternating months. But something is off–Bear hasn’t replied for a few months now so with a gentle push from their other best friend Rose, Kay decides to travel to Australia to visit Bear.

Upon finding Bear, Kay gets to catch up with her best friend in person, and realizes something is wrong. Only she couldn’t figure out what exactly until Bear decides to travel to Venice with Kay. Bear insists on staying in a fancy (read super expensive) pallazo and going to an exclusive restaurant, paying all of the bills.

Kay’s time spent with Bear helps her realize what she really wants to do with her future. Once home she works to resolve the various conflicts she has with family members, and fulfilling her promise to Bear.

While Kay is traveling and finding herself her daughter is going through her own problems. We follow her through fights with her flatmates and boyfriend. She finds a new love interest in a librarian (yay librarians!), and slowly things become more positive for her.

This book was a slower start for me, since I found it harder to relate to Kay’s story because of my age. However, as the book progressed I was brought into the story and began having a deeper connection with characters and realized the connection between the letters we read, the title, and Bear. I think this was a lovely, heartfelt book and many readers will enjoy Miller’s writing.

Happy reading ๐Ÿ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson.

This review is going to focus on The Dating Charade, written by Melissa Ferguson. I received an eArc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cassie Everson’s story is an interesting one, and one I feel isn’t written very often. Though the trope of not wanting kids, and ending up with kids is done, but not normally to this scale.

Cassie has had a lot of bad dates. So many that she decides to delete her online dating profile. But not before Jett sees her profile and remembers his childhood crush on her. Jett’s charms, with the help of Cassie’s best friend, seem to be succeeding at winning the girl. Until each feels they need to keep as secret from the other.

Cassie is the director of the Haven, a program to help at risk girls. Her favorite teen is Star, who has two young sisters. After her first magical date with Jett, Cassie become aware of the abuse and neglect Star and her sisters have been hiding as she sees the police and child protective services at their apartment. She takes temporary custody of the girls while waiting to hear if there is a family member able to take them in.

Meanwhile, Jett’s sister surprises him by stopping by with his twin nephew and niece, and surprise, a newborn nephew, TJ before leaving them there with their young uncle. Jett struggles to figure out raising a newborn and two toddlers with the help of his roommate Sunny and their neighbor Sarah.

The problem is, Cassie and Jett are both thoroughly aware that each other’s dating profiles stated that the other does not want children. Afraid of scaring off the other, they try to hide the children from each other coming up with lame excuses as to why they need to cancel or cut dates short.

Though I found both lead characters admirable, I became fed up with how long they kept the truth from each other. There is more drama to this book than romance. It was an enjoyable read, but not what I was expecting, nor what I was quite looking for in a read.

I think those interested in romantic comedies, blended families, and hot firefighters would find this book worth reading ๐Ÿ˜‰ It was released on December 3, 2019, so find a copy and pick up this debut by Melissa Ferguson.

Happy reading ๐Ÿ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell.

I recently finished reading Songs from the Deep, a debut Young Adult novel written by Kelly Powell. It was a book I selected for the leisure reading collection at the academic library I work at and I was looking for something to read over our holiday break. Songs from the Deep did not disappoint.

Songs from the Deep takes place on the island of Twillengyle which has sirens off its shores. The story centers on Moira Alexander a 17-year-old who follows in her late father’s footsteps in playing the violin, and advocating for the safety of the sirens. It also follows her former best friend, 19-year-old lighthouse keeper Jude Osric. Their father’s were best friends and they grew up very close, until Moira’s father dies and she finds something in his belongings.

Once upon a time the islanders hunted the sirens. But Moira’s father helped create a ban on hunting the creatures and they haven coexisted in an uneasy way since. Many islanders have lost loved ones to the sirens, and still occasionally islanders are injured. However, most deaths come at the expense of tourists who don’t know how to best protect themselves with a piece of cold iron.

But now, a 12-year-old islander is dead, and the sirens have been blamed, but Moira doesn’t by it. She knows how sirens attack, and the cut across Connor’s throat is too clean to be made by teeth and claws. Moira and Jude reunite in order to find the true killer, while trying to protect the sirens from harm by the islanders.

I thought this book was an interesting twist on the typical murder mystery that is ever so popular in books today. The characters were believable with real problems that were handled mostly realistically. It was a good departure from reality and had me wishing sirens were real. Here’s hoping Powell’s next novel is just as good.

Happy reading ๐Ÿ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: Husband Material by Emily Belden

This review will take a look at the book Husband Material by Emily Belden. I received an eARC of this romance through NetGalley. It’s release date is December 30, 2019, and I encourage romance fans to pick it up once it is released since I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Belden’s charming story Husband Material centers on Charlotte Rosen, a 29-year-old with a secret she has worked hard to keep from literally everyone in her life. She works in data and risk analysis, and surrounded herself with learning to avoid her past. Other than her cute dog, and weekly phone calls with her mom, Charlotte has also effectively removed all contact with people in her past life from her life.

But life has a way of giving you lemons when you least want to deal with them. An unexpected package brings Charlotte crashing into her past and reeling about how to deal with its contents five years after tragedy struck. This brings her back in touch with friends and family she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years, and stirs to life past emotions that Charlotte needs to handle.

Can Charlotte learn to forgive those from her past, and move forward in life? I found this romance had so many layers to it than just your typical romance normally has. Charlotte must deal with grief, loss, love, and forgiveness, while chasing a future of happiness. It was a touching read, so I hope you’ll grab a box of tissues and read a copy of Husband Material by Emily Belden.

Happy Reading ๐Ÿ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han.

This review is going to take a look at the second installment in Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series; P.S. I Still Love You. Netflix just released the trailer for its sequel adaptation.

In this second book, Lara Jean realizes that she has fallen for Peter. The plot points at the beginning of this book take place in the first film. It begins with the viral posting of Lara Jean in the hot tub with Peter. Lara Jean feels insecure by the rumors that start flying around school and decides to stay away from Peter despite her feelings for him.

When Margot is preparing to return to college after her holiday break, she suggests that Lara Jean get a job to fill her time so that she can get over Peter. Lara Jean begins volunteering at Belleview, the local retirement home. At Belleview she meets a feisty old lady named Stormy who teaches LJ about life.

Lara Jean’s little sister, Kitty, who was just a baby when their mother passed away spends a good portion of this book trying to set up their father with their neighbor Trina.

Unlike in the film, by the end of the first book she hasn’t gotten a surprise visit from the last person she sent a letter to: John Ambrose McClaren. In the book he writes back to her and the two become pen pals. She invites him to a party of all of their old friends group from middle school when she learns that the neighborhood treehouse that they used to hang out in will be torn down. The group also decides to play a game of Assassins.

While Peter and Lara Jean are trying to make each other jealous and fighting LJ gets to know John Ambrose again, and finds out that he is Stormy’s grandson. He begins to spend more time at the retirement home and LJ takes him out in the game of Assassins.

Lara Jean and Peter eventually talk about their problems and he confesses that Genevieve’s father is having an affair and she’s having a hard time with it. Peter tells LJ that he loves her.

I enjoyed reading this book, and it was yet another page turner. I can’t wait to review the third book!

Happy reading ๐Ÿ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han.

This review will focus on To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. It is the first installment in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy and was published in 2014. If you haven’t heard of it, I recommend you dig yourself out of the hole you’ve been living in and read the book, and watch the Netflix adaptation before it’s sequel airs.

I watched the Netflix adaptation before I read any of the books. But once I started the book, I couldn’t put it down. It was a great decision of mine to buy all three books at once because I read them all very quickly.

This story centers on Lara Jean, a 16-year-old that is dealing with her older sister going away to college, being the only big sister at home for her little sister, missing her mother that passed away when she was little, and everything a typical teenage girl worries about. She typically hides her feelings, and in the case of any major crush she has had–she wrote a letter to that boy, but never sent it.

Somehow, her hatbox of letters has been mailed out and each boy approaches her about her letter. Josh, her sister’s ex-boyfriend is hurt by the letter, as he’s still grieving over the loss of his relationship with her sister. He doesn’t know what he’s feeling, but he turns on the over protective act when Peter shows up.

Peter is the first boy that Lara Jean ever kissed during a game of spin the bottle. He has had a long term relationship with Lara Jean’s ex-best-friend, but with that relationship on the rocks, Peter figures he can use Lara Jean to make his ex jealous, and Lara Jean figures she can hide from Josh this way. So Lara Jean and Peter write out a contract laying out the terms to their fake relationship.

Obviously, along the way they fall for each other, but they are both too proud to admit it, and have their own ways of hurting each other when they think it’s all for show and not real.

I really enjoyed this book, and although the characters have their problems to work out, overall it was a light, quick read. I can’t wait for the sequel to come out so I can see how it compares to the second book.

Happy reading ๐Ÿ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

This post is going to focus on The Vanished Bride written by Bella Ellis. It is the first novel in Ellis’s Brontรซ Sisters Mystery series and was released on September 10, 2019.

This book has the interesting concept of following the Brontรซ sisters in 1845 as they learn of a murder that has taken place in a nearby village. The murder has taken place in a home in which one of their friends works as a governess. But is it even murder? The woman of the house is missing, but left her room covered in blood. What other explanation could there possibly be?

Though they have yet to publish any of their works, they already have the research skills needed to become “detectors.” Ellis has done an enormous amount of research on the Brontรซ family and because of this was able to use each family member to their strengths in her plot.

Ellis also does a good job at describing a society that believes women should be at home, and seen, but not heard. They take various journeys together, and apart in following the clues they uncover under the guise of searching for the right place to open a school.

I found the plot enjoyable as I followed along the twists and turns throughout the English countryside. This book will be enjoyed by fans of the Brontรซ clan, and cozy mystery readers.

Happy reading ๐Ÿ™‚