July Reading Wrap Up

Hi everyone!

July is always a busy one for me, and the last couple weeks had me busy with preparing for (virtual) poetry therapy programs!

This activity meant that I hadn’t done a lot of reading for July. I read only 7 books. I had an enjoyable time reading them though!

July Reading Stats

Pages Read: 1,518
Genres: 4
1 Historical Fiction
3 Children’s Fiction
1 Contemporary Romance
1 Fiction
1 Non Fiction
Book Formats
5 paperbacks
2 ebooks


July Wrap Up
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. Link: https://i0.wp.com/i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1552334367l/44318414.jpg?w=620&ssl=1

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (Historical Fiction)

A revealing novel about siblings holding on to the past. Click here to read my full review!


July Wrap Up
When Life Gives You Mangos by Kereen Getten
Link: https://i1.wp.com/i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1581973469l/51342422.jpg?w=620&ssl=1

When Life Gives You Mangos by Kereen Getten (Middle Grade)
Review coming in mid August


The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Link: https://i1.wp.com/i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1562890148l/464260._SY475_.jpg?w=620&ssl=1

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (Non Fiction)
Re-read for research


Owl Diaries: Eva Treetop Festival by Rebecca Elliott
Link:

Owl Diaries 1 & 2 by Rebecca Elliott (Children’s Fiction)
An adorable book series…my niece will love them!


The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva
Link: https://i1.wp.com/i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1578508930l/50068110._SY475_.jpg?w=620&ssl=1

The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva (Fiction)
Absolutely intense and emotional. Click here for my full review!


July Wrap Up
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Link: https://i2.wp.com/i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1572990974l/49976087.jpg?w=620&ssl=1

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
I just finished reading this book, and will have my review up soon. I’ll just say that I enjoyed it!


What books did you read this month? Feel free to share down in the comments!



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Blog Tour: The CEO, The Puppy, and Me by Jennifer Faye | Review

Thank you to Prism Book Tours for allowing me to take part in this book tour! Feel free to click on their link for more information!

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The CEO, the Puppy and Me
(The Bartolini Legacy #2)
By Jennifer Faye
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook
256 Pages
June 1st 2020 by Harlequin Romance

Has the search for her past…guided her toward her future?
Gia Bartolini’s determinedly searching for her real father. First stop on the enchanting Italian island of Lapri? A mysterious abandoned mansion…where, rescuing a trapped puppy, she falls straight into the arms of alluring Riccardo Moretti! Her passion for the all-business CEO burns bright, leaving Gia with a question: In uncovering her true roots, has fate led her to true love?

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | iBooks | Kobo | PRINT

My Thoughts

I found The CEO, The Puppy and Me to be a lovely, endearing story! This is the second book in the Bartolini Legacy series. After some surprising information, Gia embarks on a journey to find her real father. Along the way she meets Ricardo, and their adventures turn into one that shifts into romance! I enjoyed the interactions Gia and Ricardo have with one another, and there is a puppy that keeps their ties strong!

This story is equally warm and emotional, as Gia learns shocking secrets in her journey to discovering her lineage. Her siblings also maintain their strong ties with each other, despite the surprise of their lineage is thrown at their feet. Having Ricardo at Gia’s side make things equally enjoyable, especially since he is on his own journey to healing his personal life. I highly recommend Gia and Ricardo’s love story for those seeking a sweet, lighthearted read!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.



Go to Jennifer’s Contact Page HERE and order your bookmark(s)!

Other Books in the Series

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The Prince and the Wedding Planner
(The Bartolini Legacy #1)
By Jennifer Faye

Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook
256 Pages
March 1st 2020 by Harlequin Romance


When different worlds collide…sparks fly!

With her family name on the line, wedding planner Bianca Bartolini needs this royal wedding to go perfectly—she can’t afford distractions. Too bad the bride’s dashing brother has other plans! Duty-bound Crown Prince Leo has mere weeks to announce his own engagement, but none of the candidates measure up to Bianca. They’re the most unlikely match, but might that just make them perfect for one another?

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | iBooks | Kobo | PRINT

And coming in September…



The Italian’s Unexpected Heir(The Bartolini Legacy #3)
By Jennifer Faye
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook
256 Pages
September 1st 2020 by Harlequin Romance

Her baby surprise proves…that one night will never be enough!

Reeling from the secrets that have torn his heritage apart, Enzo Bartolini is set on selling his family’s Tuscan vineyard and trying to forget the impulsive, dazzling night he and best friend Sylvie shared in Paris. While the sale moves forward, the thrilling awareness between him and Sylvie is harder to move past…especially when she upends Enzo’s world by revealing she’s carrying his baby!
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | iBooks | Kobo | PRINT


About the Author

Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming contemporary romances with rugged cowboys, sexy billionaires and enchanting royalty. Internationally published with books translated into nine languages. She is a two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, named a TOP PICK author, and been nominated for numerous other awards.
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube | BookBub | Newsletter

Tour Schedule

June 8th:
Launch
Rockin’ Book Reviews – Review (print)
Bookish Jottings – Review (ebook)
Woven From Words – Review (print)
Splashes of Joy – Review (print)

June 9th:
Historical Graffiti – Review (print)
Book Lover in Florida – Excerpt
reviewingbooksplusmore – Review (ebook)
Books and Zebras – Review (print)

June 10th:
Christy’s Cozy Corners – Review (ebook)
La libreria di Beppe – Excerpt
Baroness’ Book Trove – Review (print)
Red Headed Book Lady – Review (print)

June 11th:
Pause for Tales – Review (print)
Peaceful Pastime – Review (print)
Harlie’s Books – Review (ebook) & Excerpt
Locks, Hooks and Books – Review (print)

June 12th:
Teatime and Books – Review (print)
Reading Excursions – Review (print)
EmpowerMoms – Review (print)
Hallie Reads – Review (print)

June 13th:
Grand Finale



Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of THE PRINCE AND THE WEDDING PLANNER, winner’s choice of print (US only) or ebook! Open internationally. Ends June 17, 2020
ENTER HERE



What are your thoughts on ‘The CEO, The Puppy, and Me’? Feel free to share in the comments!


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‘Beach Read’ by Emily Henry/A Review

Beach Read by Emily Henry
Publisher: Berkley
Length: 384 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Purchased through Book of the Month
Release Date: May 19, 2020

My Thoughts

Getting your writing ‘mojo’ back after traumatic life experiences is such an challenging learning journey. This is the struggle January Andrews faces in ‘Beach Read’: accustomed to penning several successful romances, January faces the biggest challenge of her career upon losing her relationship and her father, while discovering unsettling truths about her family. She spends the summer in Michigan in a friendly competition of sorts with Gus Everett, a former classmate, rival author, and neighbor. Both Gus and January go to great lengths to show the secrets of their writing genres, while getting into some adventure (and sharing more than writerly advice) along the way!

‘Beach Read’ has many humorous moments, and I found myself laughing at the awkward moments January found herself in with Gus while getting accustomed to their new status as neighbors. Meeting other community members in the small Michigan community also came with its share of unexpectedness! In addition to getting acquainted with others, Gus and January’s constant banter was pretty engaging, especially when they shared tips about bettering their craft.

I also felt a lot of empathy for January, as she is faced with the quandary of making a deadline for writing the next bestselling novel while trying to sort out her complications. For the first time, January fails to see a ‘happily ever after’ in her life. She is in an uphill battle in finding peace within herself, as the perfect bonds in her regular life are shattered. Re-learning how to trust is not an easy thing to do, and Emily Henry does nice work in showing the difficult process to trust in others again.

I recommend ‘Beach Read’ to those searching for a light-hearted romance with the added twist in a character rediscovering their life’s purpose. It was very enjoyable!

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

What do you think of Beach Read? Would you want to add this book to your TBR? Feel free to share!

Synopsis

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

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Book Review: Love, Art & Other Obstacles by Sadira Stone

Love, Art & Other Obstacles by Sadira Stone
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Length: 354 pages
Book 3 in Book Nirvana series
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 18, 2020

My Thoughts

**I received a copy of Love, Art & Other Obstacles, for exchange of an honest review**

When I began reading Love, Art, and Other Obstacles, I thought it was going to be another novel heavy on romantic content and not much else. I was pleasantly surprised at what I discovered! This story follows the tale of Margot and Elmer, two people competing for a top prize at an arts contest in Oregon. While they are in direct competition for this generous prize, they are also navigating the realm of relationships! Elmer is very flirtatious, yet his heart is thrown into a tailspin after his wild trysts with Margot. Meanwhile, attachment is the last thing on Margot’s mind as she is in a complicated long-distance relationship with her girlfriend Darcy (who’s equally interested in playing the field herself).

While this book is heavy on the romance, there is also the theme of a found family with both Margot and Elmer. Both people suffered difficult childhoods, and each found a respected community to thrive. Through the vibrant art community in Oregon, Margot is also introduced into an artistic community that allows her freedom that her upbringing wasn’t offering.

I also loved how it was the female character in this story that had a very difficult time making a decision on commitment! In many books the male character has a hard time getting tied down, yet it’s Elmer who tries his all to make Margot have eyes only for him. It was a journey seeing Margot’s struggle as she tries to resolve what she needs for her own happiness, while fighting the demons of her past.

I found Love, Art, and Other Obstacles to be a sexy, engaging read! I recommend this book for those who like having a twist thrown in to romantic stories!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis

Shes a free spirit. Hes a one-woman man.

Rejected by her family for her bisexuality, graphic artist Margot DuPont yearns for a life with no fences, no limits, and no family ties. Between college, work at Book Nirvana, and an art competition, she barely has time for her part-time girlfriend much less a flirtation with her competitor.

Dumped into the foster system at a young age, ceramics artist Elmer Byrne craves a big, loving family of the heart. His artist family almost fills that need, but something is missing…until Margot. But when he offers his heart, her thorny defenses shatter him.

Thrown together in an art competition that could jump-start one artist’s career, but not both, their irresistible attraction forces them to reconsider the meaning of success.

What do you think of Love, Art, & Other Obstacles? Feel free to share in the comments!

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Friday Reads: April 24

Today I’m starting on Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. I’ve had this on my book shelf forever, so I’m going to start this before the month is over!



I’m also going to be reading Formula for a Perfect Life by Christy Hayes. I received this digital ARC from Prism Book Tours!





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‘Get A Life, Chloe Brown’ by Talia Hibbert/A Review

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Publisher: Avon Books
Length: 368 pages
Genre: Contemporary/Romance
Purchased through Book of the Month
Release Date: November 5, 2019

Synopsis:

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost but not quite dying, shes come up with seven directives to help her Get a Life, and shes already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.


But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…


My Thoughts:

There are so many reasons why I enjoyed Get a Life, Chloe Brown! Now, I normally enjoy many of the books I read (It’s hard for me to find anything distasteful about reading!), but there are special reasons why I particularly enjoyed this novel.

For one thing, Talia Hibbert covers the journey of emotional healing wonderfully! Both Chloe and Red are traveling their own journeys to recovery. Chloe is attempting to heal after fibromyalgia severely effected her social life, while Red is trying to resurrect his art career after personal setbacks flawed his journey. The experiences between Chloe and Red is the perfect ‘hate-to-love’ trope, as each feel strong feelings toward the other, yet the past colors their perceptions into frequent ‘worst case scenarios’. Their road is very steamy (there are plenty of ‘sexy-time’ scenes in the book!) yet their emotions are put to the test frequently, and it was a joy to read.

There is a healthy amount of diverse representation in the book as well! Chloe and her family are African-American, and they take a leading role in the novel. Chloe makes many moves to live independently (moving to her own apartment, self-employed), not letting medical conditions deter her path.

The banter between all of the characters in the book is very humorous! Talia Hibbert brings Chloe and her family to life with their constant quips and sarcastic remarks that reflect immense love!

‘Get a Life, Chloe Brown’ was such an enjoyable book to read! If you’re looking a story rich in diversity and romance, while navigating emotional relationships, then you will really love this story!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

‘The Two Lives of Lydia Bird’ by Josie Silver/A Review

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Length: 369 pages
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Format: Hardcover (purchased through Book of the Month)
Release Date: March 3, 2020

Synopsis:
Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade, and Lydia thought their love was indestructible.

But she was wrong. On her twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life–and perhaps even love–again.

But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.

Lydia is pulled again and again across the doorway of her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.

My Thoughts:
When Josie Silver’s new book The Two Lives of Lydia Bird became available for purchase, I immediately picked it up! I loved reading her debut novel One Day in December, and I was ready to enjoy another tale revolving around friendship and romance while enduring life experiences!

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird begins with loss–Lydia Bird is struggling to live without her fiance Freddie Hunter, who was killed in a car accident. One evening, Lydia discovers that she can enter a world in which Freddie still exists. The story then takes us through Lydia’s life as she lives between these two worlds. The grieving process of losing a loved on can be extremely difficult and painful, yet Lydia’s grieving is placed on pause as she continues (in a sense) to have a life with Freddie. Both worlds are vastly different, and Lydia struggles to gain a sense of who she is as an individual throughout the experience.

Lydia is also struggling to repair her friendship with Jonah Jones. Jonah is both Lydia’s lifelong friend and Freddie’s closest companion. Since Jonah was with Freddie at the time of his death, he is also enduring his own grief as he continues life without him. Both Lydia and Freddie are also grieving the loss of the bond they shared throughout their lives. They make attempts to repair the bond they previously shared, yet the personal tie to Freddie makes things doubly complicated!

There is also a delightful cast of characters in this story, as Lydia’s family and co-workers ensure that she is not alone while navigating the grieving process. There are some unexpected turns in this tale, and Lydia faces some difficult lessons while learning to discover what she truly wants for herself!

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a wonderful story of a woman seeking to find her true self while navigating the stages of grief. It is a great depiction of Lydia’s desire of wanting her fiance to be remembered, while rediscovering the meaning of life. I highly recommend it!

Rating: 5/5 Stars



‘The Light We Lost’ by Jill Santopolo/A Review

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
Format: Audiobook (purchased through Audible)
Length: 7 hrs 16 mins
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Genre: Romance/Contemporary
Release Date: 2017

Synopsis:
He was the first person to inspire her, to move her, to truly understand her. Was he meant to be the last?

Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story—their story—at the very beginning.

Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated—perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.

My Thoughts:
In case you didn’t know already, I love stories set in New York City, so when I first heard about Jill Santopolo’s debut novel The Light We Lost, I immediately wanted to grab and read it! Although the novel is set in a genre that I normally wouldn’t gravitate towards, I’m trying to broaden my horizons and be open to different styles of books.

This is a love story about Lucy Carter and Gabe Samson, two young Columbia University students who meet on September 11, 2001. Anyone who’s lived and worked in NYC on this day knows the immense tragedy this day holds, and for both Lucy and Gabe, the events mold the people they would become throughout the years.

Gabe and Lucy have a whirlwind romance that sadly ends, yet they continue to stay intertwined within each other’s lives. Both Lucy and Gabe have successful careers and budding adult lives, yet there is an invisible pull that keeps the communication alive.

This novel is told in the second person, with Lucy speaking to Gabe throughout the book. This style opens up their lives for the reader, revealing secrets and desires that both people hold. We also receive an inside look at the other people who are close in Lucy’s life, and how they influence her path as time moves on.

The one thing I felt about this novel is that all the characters hold a strong degree of selfishness. Both Gabe’s and Lucy’s desires overrule the sensible choices that would be best for them. Even when they welcome other intimate relationships, there’s that degree of ‘what if?” that constantly hangs over them. Tragedy and love can spark strong emotions in people, and Lucy and Gabe both hold onto the memory of their young love desperately.

Despite this small setback, I truly appreciated the message that Jill Santopolo conveyed in The Light We Lost: holding onto true love is powerful, and leaves a strong mark on one’s soul long after the relationship is over. It tells us to value the moments and friends we have in our lives while they are still present, since life can change in an instant.

Rating: 4/5 Stars