Books, Romance

Review of Finally Mine: A Small Town Love Story by Lucy Score

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5 of 5 Small Town Stars

Finally Mine is the second book in a series about the couples in a small town called Benevolence. The first is called Pretend You’re Mine, which was the first Lucy Score book that I ever read. I have been fortunate enough since then to have become a member of her ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) team, and am so happy to have been given the chance to read Finally Mine!

I have to admit, I wish I could have gone back to read PYM before reading FM, but due to time constraints (not to mention the SNEAK ATTACK of this book on us unsuspecting readers!), I was not able to. (I did find a paperback copy of PYM at a used bookstore the other day, though, so a re-read is in my future.)

It had been so long since I’d read PYM, that I only had vague recollections of what happened in that book. I do remember a fun polar plunge and a very sexy office scene, and a mention of Gloria and Aldo here and there, but other than that, I could have used a refresher.

That being said, you could totally read this book as a standalone, without having read PYM. It would give you some spoilers about things that happen in PYM, but I don’t see it as a big problem. I actually loved that it wasn’t really a sequel, as it took place around the same time as the events in PYM were taking place. (Penny Reid does that with her Winston brothers series, and I really enjoy that.)

The bottom line: Aldo and Gloria have a complicated history, which is one of my favorite kinds of couples. They are both damaged, in more ways than one, and the real heart of this book is whether each of them can see past their scars (not wounds!) and allow themselves to love and be loved.

As an Army brat, I really liked the military aspect of this story. There’s also the Small Town feel that Lucy is so good at (see her Blue Moon series), as well as some very fun sexy times. Not every author writes these well, but Lucy really does! This particular book delved into some interesting issues surrounding sexy times, which I won’t spoil, but it was very well handled and I enjoyed it very much.

I will admit that I do hate that inevitable moment when the couple “breaks up,” and I *really* hate when it’s because one or the other of them is being an idiot, and that’s what happens here. But I understand that the conflict has to happen so that they can have their reunion and subsequent HEA.

Lucy Score is one of my favorite authors. She is crack-me-up funny, but oftentimes, she will hit you with a life lesson that is simple but profound. For example, “It doesn’t matter what happens to you. In the end, all we are is our ability to love. That never gets taken away or diminished.” and, “Without pain, there is no joy.” Phew. Deep!! Her writing made me tear up multiple times in this book. I love when that happens.

This may be my new favorite Lucy Score book, and I was especially excited to see that we will be going back to Benevolence sometimes next year to see Lincoln Reed meet his match!

Buy Finally Mine on Amazon, or read for free with Kindle Unlimited!
Continue reading “Review of Finally Mine: A Small Town Love Story by Lucy Score”

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Genealogy by Mae Wood

How long would you wait for love?

Title: Genealogy

Author: Mae Wood

Publisher: Atacama Books

Genre: Romance/Women’s Fiction

Release Date: October 25, 2018

Inspired by real, hundred-year-old love letters.

My great-grandmother’s name is bold across the cream envelope, now golden at the seams with age. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen graceful, purposeful handwriting with a fountain pen and not the hasty scrawl of ballpoint.

Alice Hirshhorn, Astoria Hotel, Seattle Washington.

“Letters to Great-grandma Alice,” I say with wonder, tracing my fingers over the faded postmark and foreign stamps.

December 1915. Philippine Islands.

I turn the thick envelope in my palm, slide out the tightly folded pages, and unfold the thin paper, taking care not to tear the letters that were important enough to keep for a century.

My dearest Alice

“Great-grandpa was in the Philippines?” I ask.

“Oh no. Not your great-grandfather,” answers Grammie, her eyes twinkling with her mother’s secrets. “Elliott.”

~~~

At thirty-three and with her future unclear, Ali Waller finds her way home again. A box of long-forgotten love letters written to her great-grandmother holds the unlikely key to Ali finding her new path.

As she tracks down the letter writer and his descendants, Ali learns the magic of love, hope, and resilience.

Told by three characters, and across century and an ocean, Genealogy is an enchanting story about love and loss, taking chances, and embracing the surprises that life brings.

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41039278-genealogy-a-novel

 

* FREE with Kindle Unlimited * Amazon Universal

Present day – August – Ali

She didn’t want to move, and I didn’t want her to move either. But we were doing it, together. Sifting and sorting. Shredding and donating. Culling a lifetime into piles to be packed and placed into boxes. The lucky things would end up in my grandmother’s new six-hundred-twenty-three square foot assisted-living apartment. The not-so-lucky would end up on a curb.

“These linens,” she said, pointing to the bottom drawer of the sideboard in her formal dining room. “You need them.”

“Grammie, I don’t even have a dining room table,” I said, trucking along in our project to conquer the contents of at least one room this weekend.

“You had one before and you’ll have one again. And these are Irish linen.”

I thought of my tiny kitchen table, covered in discarded mail and unread magazines, not draped in substantial creamy white. She knew I didn’t have the space. I made space for the vintage black satin peep-toe pumps of hers from the fifties and had placed those in the “Ali” pile with a smile, but linens were a different story. The tablecloths were huge. For a table big enough to seat a dozen guests.

“They were Alice’s,” she said.

The trump card played, I bent and pulled them from the low drawer. I was Alice’s namesake, but I’d always gone by Ali because Alice felt formal and traditional, two words that didn’t fit me. She was the great-grandmother who I’d never met, who died a decade before I was born, but whose existence was never far from my mind. “Ali. A-L-I,” I’d explained a million times over my life. “It’s short for Alice. I’m named for my great-grandmother.”

“Well, one good thing is that your monograms match.”

I fingered the tiny beverage napkins, trimmed in hand-tatted lace and embroidered with ALW.

ALW—I smiled. Alice Lenore Wertheimer. Alice Lenora Waller. I was flirting with becoming Alice Waller Sayer, but I was solidly myself at the moment.

“Did she embroider these?” I asked, the old fabric stiff and smooth to the touch.

“I don’t know. I don’t remember my mother doing any needlework, but I suppose all women did back then.”

“True,” I said, flattening out the material with my palm and tugging out a crease. I dragged yet another plastic bin over and began piling the linens in, amazed that they had survived the years.

“The story on one of those tablecloths is that it was a wedding present from some member of the Denny family.”

Ah, an old Seattle story. I knew it wasn’t going to be long before I got one. My ancestors were early settlers of the city and my grandmother carried the banner of native Seattleite proudly, looking down her pioneer nose at the Microsofties and the Californians who had invaded her precious land. And though she’d moved to Kansas City with my grandfather nearly fifty years ago, the city was in her DNA.

I half-listened to her prattle on about some trip to Japan to obtain plants and animals for the Woodland Park Zoo as I examined the linens and placed them in the plastic storage tub.

“Okay,” I said, looking around the room, the sideboard now empty. Something accomplished today, and it made me feel good to have one of the many small tasks that it would take to empty this big house done. I looked at my watch. “I have to leave at three to head back to the hospital, so what can we get done in an hour?”

“One drawer to go,” she said from the dining chair where she’d settled in while I’d knelt in front of the sideboard. “The bottom one.”

Her words made my chest ache but also soothed them. I hated that she was getting confused more often. It reminded me that one day Grammie would be gone, but it also convinced me that we were making the right decision to move her. No more worry about her alone in this big house.

“All done,” I said, pointing to my tub of linens.

“The bottom-bottom one, Ali. The apron is a drawer.”

“I didn’t know that,” I said, feeling sheepish that I’d thought she had been confused. “A secret drawer?”

“That’s the point,” she said. The sideboard had been in this house my entire life and I’d never known that. I tilted my head to look at the piece, not quite believing her. “It’s where your grandpa kept his favorite pistol.”

“Still there?” I said with a smile, reaching down under the lip of the cabinet.

“Well, maybe. It’s been a long time since I dug around in that thing.”

“I’m going to change your name to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” I said, giving the concealed drawer a tug. It didn’t budge. Maybe she was confused after all. “Or Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. But only if we find a Degas or pirate gold.”

“It was a statue of an angel. Leonardo da Vinci,” she corrected me. In and out. Touch and go. Here and there. I was never sure where a conversation would lead us, and based upon the swelling in her extremities, I wasn’t sure today was going to be a good day for coherent conversation. It wasn’t her head so much as her heart that was slowly killing her by refusing to pump. She needed access to round the clock medical care now, not just sitters and family at the house, and we were making that happen although no one was happy about it.

“Oh, that’s right,” I replied, the memories flooding back of the story of a headstrong girl and her younger brother running away to the Met. “What I really remember about that book was them taking a bath in the fountain.” My grandmother and I were very close. The afternoons of my childhood had been spent at her house with my brother and sister. And while my parents were at work, Grammie showered us with troves of books. She was a children’s librarian. Or she had been until she’d gotten married. Because, as she’d explained a million times to me over the years, in those days nice women didn’t work outside the home after they were married, and so she’d retreated to a life of children and tennis and dinner parties.

I gave the drawer another tug and it budged a few inches, but it didn’t slide open.

“Oh, and the sideboard is yours too. No argument. It was—”

“Alice’s?” I guessed as I wiggled the drawer open to find not pieces of eight or a sketch of a ballerina, but more table linens.

“No, her mother’s. You’ll be the fifth generation of women in our family to own it.”

I looked at the dark, heavy Victorian behemoth with new eyes, knowing it was going home with me. And knowing I had nowhere in my tiny, Ikea-furnished apartment to put it, but I spoke the truth: “Thank you. I’ll be a good caretaker.”

“I know you will, sweet pea.”

I looked down at the linens, focusing on the task rather than the meaning of the work I was doing, filling the plastic bin with more ancient fabric than I’d ever begin to use. Under the last tablecloth, I found a small, flat box. The pistol? I recognized the foil-stamped logo. Frederick & Nelson, the grand Seattle department store that now only existed on Grammie’s bad days when she’d ask me or someone else to take her there for lunch.

“Grandpa’s gun?” I asked, setting the box into my lap as I sat on the floor. I lifted the lid. “Papers,” I said, a little weary at the prospect of spending the last bit of time before I had to leave focused on her reading each paper carefully before deciding whether she could part with it.

My grandmother was a pack rat. I’d recently dropped off two decades of yellow-spined National Geographics at the recycling center and her garage was still stuffed to the gills with boxes of papers. I’d had visions of a huge bonfire while she was at a doctor’s appointment just to speed up the process.

The box resting in my cross-legged lap, I riffled through the contents. “Letters,” I said, pulling one out. At least it wasn’t receipts from the nineteen sixties, though the hospital bill from my mom’s appendicitis at age eight had been a gem. The total bill was a few hundred dollars and Mom had spent three days in a children’s ward. Most of my patients were sent home by the end of the day with a bill in the thousands.

The cream envelope was golden at the seams, the clean, cursive writing enchanting. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen graceful, purposeful handwriting with a fountain pen and not just a hasty scrawl of ballpoint on a scratch pad.

Alice Hirshhorn, the letter’s front proclaimed.

 

 

Win everything you need to snuggle up with a good read!

 

Professional sassypants and novelist, Mae Wood has been a bookworm her entire life.

She loves cheeses, complicated crafts that she’ll start but never complete, and puns.

A while ago Mae decided that she needed to give up the fear that she couldn’t write “great literature” and write what she wants to read.

And she wants romance. And laughter. And real life.

She wants heroines who are brave. Brave enough to be themselves and brave enough to fall in love. She wants men who are strong and kind.

Mae is married, and has two darling children and an old dog who naps at her feet while she writes.

Keep in touch with Mae and find bonus content at her website — www.maewood.com

 

 

 

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Review of Young Enough: The Age Between Us Book 2 by Charmaine Pauls

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5 of 5 engaging stars

I read the first book in this duet, and gave it what I felt was 5 well-deserved stars.  I wish I could take back one of those stars, because while Young Enough is very good, Old Enough is truly worth of a 5 star review.

Have you seen The Pursuit of Happyness? or Pearl Harbor? or Saving Private Ryan? You know that moment when it just seems like the main character/s get no relief from all of the bad things that are happening? There are times in Old Enough when it feels just like that. It gets pretty heavy, but it sure keeps your interest because you want to see if Jane and Brian overcome.

I can’t say enough about this set of books. They are well-written, and sexy, and interesting, and keep you on the edge of your seat. They delve a bit into some proclivities that I haven’t read too much in other books, and I felt that it was really well done.

This is the first time I’ve read a story that takes place in South Africa. Often, the author uses words or phrases that we don’t usually use (like “fell pregnant” instead of “became pregnant”), and it takes me out of the story briefly. But reading about a different culture makes it worth it.

Young Enough is Book 2 of The Age Between Us duet, so you must read Old Enough first. Young Enough is NOT a standalone. You can find the links for each book below. Thanks to #Netgalley for the opportunity to read both of these books.

Buy book 2, Young Enough

If you haven’t read it yet, here’s where you can find book 1, Old Enough.

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Kindle Unlimited Subscription sale!

Do you like books? Apparently, if your’e reading this blog, YOU DO! Have you heard of Kindle Unlimited? It’s a subscription service through Amazon where you can borrow as many as 10 books at a time. Many authors have their books available through KU. For example, you can read the entire Blue Moon series by Lucy Score, or the entire Walsh series by Kate Canterbary…the list goes on and on!

It normally costs $9.99 a month, which would probably still be worth it if you read even 10 KU books a month. BUT, between now and October 20 (my birthday, BTW!) you can sign up for a 6-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited for half the price! 6 months of unlimited books for $29.97. At first, it said you must be a NEW subscriber, but I’ve had KU in the past and was able to get the subscription for the discounted price.

KU also includes audiobooks now, which it didn’t back when I originally had my subscription. That’s pretty exciting, since I love a good audiobook! I’m a little picky about my narrators, but that’s a WHOLE other blog post!

Find out more details here!

Hope you’re able to benefit from this fantastic price. What KU books will you be reading?

Check out what Kindle Unlimited has to offer!

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Review of Old Enough: The Age Between Us by Charmaine Pauls

5 of 5 mesmerizing stars

Wow! This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s the first part of the story of Brian and Jane, a younger man and a MUCH older woman. The story takes place in South Africa, which is only relevant when certain words or phrases are used which are different from the ones we would use in the US. Sometimes it took me out of the story, but only for a moment.

It is EXTREMELY sexy, delving into some practices/proclivities that I’ve not read too much about. It is well-written and interesting. Both Jane and Brian have a complicated backstory, which I always love. Jane is also a mom, which adds a relatable element to the story for me. I’m very anxious to see how things turn out for them , which is why I’m going to jump right in and read part two, called Young Enough.

Buy Old Enough

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Review of The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

4 of 5 stars

I read an Elin Hilderbrand book every summer, and this one is different than any of her other books. It incorporates characters from earlier stories, as her books often do, but this is a bit of a murder mystery, which I don’t think she’s done before! I don’t read blurbs, generally, especially for authors I know and trust, so I had no idea what I was in for. As soon as I read the prologue, I thought, “Oooooo, this is going to be good!”

It was excellent. It did remind me a bit of the first book I’d ever read by Anne Rivers Siddons, called Colony. Makes me want to go back and read that book again, actually.

Buy The Perfect Couple

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Review of Forever Found by Allyson Charles

Forever Found (Forever Friends)3 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the Forever Friends series, about an animal shelter called Forever Home

 

What I liked:
1. All the nerdy references. LotR, Sherlock, Neil Gaiman.
2. The humor. I laughed out loud quite a bit.
3. Younger man/older woman
4. The reconciliation at the end. It was well done.
5. The retirement community storyline, including older folks finding love!

What I didn’t like:
1. The clichéd way the characters didn’t talk about their feelings for one another and “broke up” because of their lack of communication. It’s lazy.
2. Some authors are really good at writing the sexy times. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of them. The different names she uses for things took me right out of the story and it really wasn’t hot at all.
3. The dog fighting storyline

So there was more good than bad, but I was disappointed with this book because I liked the first one quite a bit. I am looking forward to Dax’s story because he’s been my favorite character since the beginning of the series. Forever Found will be released on October 9th.

Pre-order Forever Found