BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

Hey humans! I’m so excited to announce that I will be switching over to squarespace from wordpress! (click here to follow me over to squarespace!) It’s a big switch and it’s taking place SOON! I know, you can’t set your watch to “soon,” but hang in there with me. I’m also adapting my blog from “just” a book blog to include all things that interest me- from DIYs, to endometriosis, to hallmark movie ratings and of course books, books and books! I would love to have you follow me over to squarespace and subscribe to me there! I know a lot of you are fellow wordpressers so I don’t currently have your email address to move your subscription over. So don’t forget to click here to follow me over! I can’t wait to take this fun journey with you!

xoxo,
Dux

The Boss Who Stole Christmas by Jana Aston

Okay I bought this book because I REALLY wanted to reread it, only to find out that I had never reviewed it after my first read. I read this one right after Christmas last year and LOVED it. I can tell you that almost a year later it is still just as amazing as my first read through.

This book is considered a novella. I would call it a steamy romcom novella that is perfect in every way!

This is required reading for romance lovers and ALSO makes the list of required reading for travel reads!

There are so many things I loved about this book… 1: it was the successful use of a trope I typically loathe but found myself loving (sort of boss/employee). Other tropes include: small town romance, enemies to lovers. 2. It’s a Christmas book! Our main character loves christmas, loves her job and is sunshine compared to our grumpy guy lead. 3. They go to a Christmas market in Europe…this is basically my DREAM vacation.

This was on Kindle unlimited so you can read it “for free” if you have that service!

5 out of 5 stars. 3ish out of 5 steam level.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Holy crap, that was the longest book of all time. I love doing these types of book on audio and it does help that Michelle reads it herself, but wow. Not only, was it way too long, but boy do you have to speed her up! I had her at almost x2 speed! I’ve never listened to someone that fast before.

Now I know, there are going to be constant glowing reviews of this book. And that is deserved, it was really good. But seriously, it was way too long! I remember when I tried to listen to Condoleezza Rice’s book and then I decided to check it out from the library, I saw how big the book was and immediately decided not to read it. I wasn’t that interested in her life. Now, Michelle’s life I was very interested in. I honestly am not sure what I would have had her edit out. (Although I can think of one scene that features a dream…. not cool, Michelle, I thought that was real!). But all I can tell you is that it was too long! I will also tell you, that it was really interesting. It was interesting to hear what she thought of the Bidens, her impressions of Hilary, and her impressions of Trump. It was especially interesting to hear about her impressions of the Bush’s because I liked their interactions. I would also call out her time with the queen as somewhat memorable and fun to learn about- although that could be because I’m just getting excited for the next season of The Crown.

There were parts about the whitehouse life that I found to be very interesting. Like, did you know that the Obama’s paid to furnish the house with their own money? They weren’t required to do that at all, they just chose to! Did you know that each month they are provided with a bill for a breakdown of all of the food they consumed and they do have to pay for that? I know! So interesting! What… you didn’t find that interesting? Well, I did.

I liked how much emphasis she put into showing that constant love and high expectations drove her to succeed and made her feel secure enough to change paths when necessary. This is a small thing, but when Michelle would travel, she would meet with kids at school who weren’t at the top of their class, who wouldn’t necessarily get a scholarship to college- but it was those kids she wanted to inspire to keep going, and to graduate and try to get a degree. It was those kids that she would take to Oxford to look around at what they could still accomplish and impress upon them that it wasn’t too late for the students to expect something great of themselves. I just loved that! I think that story capture’s the heart of Michelle Obama that you’ll find in her book. Did I like her husband’s two books better than this one? Yes. Am I happy I took the time to finish this one even when I thought I would give up because I listened to it for like a year and half (literally)? Yes.

The Bookshop on The Corner by Jenny Colgan


🔥 or 🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more. Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling. From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

OMG, can you believe it? I listened to my first straight up fiction audiobook! I have listened to fantasy audiobooks (i.e. Harry Potter and The Books of Beginning) and loads of non-fiction books (I tend to like presidential memoirs, and celebrity memoirs), but never just straight up fiction. I posted to my instagram stories asking for suggestions of audiobooks that will make me want to drink tea. You read that correctly, I wanted tea drinking audiobooks. What can I say, when I go into a new hobby, I really commit. Anyways, this was the audiobook suggested to me.

Considering how slowly I get through an audiobook these days (constantly surrounded my kids and rarely alone), I felt like I flew through this one! It was somewhere around 9 ish hours long. And I only had to check it out twice from hoopla. I know, someone get me an award for the fastest anyone has ever listened to an audiobook! What…? That’s not actually fast? Hmm.. okay. I guess I shouldn’t mention that it took me a year and a half to finally finish Becoming by Michelle Obama on audio then….

The narrator was amazing. She does voices, and accents. I had her sped up to 1.25 and I got everything she was saying. Overall I greatly enjoyed the vibe of this book. The note from that author in the beginning was pure joy. The way the main character, Nina, loved books felt very authentic to my deep love of books and inspiring others to read. I was very sure this was going to be a high ranking book for me. And in a way, it will be, I think I’ll recommend it a lot. But in other ways I’m not sure I would’ve liked the book if I read it vs. listening to it. Nina and I definitely would not get along in real life. I found myself yelling at her a lot in my car. “Nina, for the love of God- stop making bad decisions!” I didn’t like the communication issues at the heart of both of her beau’s in the book. I hate a love triangle…and in this there were two. I felt like the climax wasn’t totally necessary, and the book could’ve ended earlier without further drama from ex-wives. Saying all of that might give you the impression that I didn’t like this book, though. And that’s totally untrue. I liked how deeply Nina felt things, she would say things like “utter loss of joy” or something that made you realize how deep in her bones she was feeling her feelings. She was so passionate about books and the journey’s they can take you on. She helped others even when it was awkward for her. She was a good friend to her BFF. So I don’t want you to give up on Nina. You may like her more than I did- I require a lot from my fictional heroines but most of all I require gumption.

Overall it was really relaxing to listen to, and I’ll see if hoopla has the next one!

The Cul-de-Sac War by Melissa Ferguson

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the ARC of this book.

This is my first book by this author, I was really into it for a solid 60% of the way through. I think that’s when it dawned on me that some of the sadder/content warning ish contents of the book weren’t really necessary for the plot. I didn’t like that aspect about the book at all. But I did enjoy the writing style. I would classify this as a closed- door low steam romance. Some might even say Christian Fiction…it didn’t feel overtly Christian Fiction to me, but it would appeal to a reader who does read within that genre, for sure. The last negative for me was how long the two main characters hung onto their respective partners…. I wish there would have been earlier-in-the-book breakups.

Content warnings: death of a loved one, pediatric cancer.

In Case You Missed It by Lindsey Kelk

Who’s ready for a super quick review? You? Oh well, perfect- I’m glad I can accommodate you!

I requested this book because I’ve heard amazing things about the author and I was so excited to be awarded an ARC. The premise sounded great to me! In the end, I ended up DNFing at 50%
The heroine was making bad choices that were stressful for me to read. She was too wistful about holding onto the past.
I really liked John and wished I would’ve gotten more scenes with him at this point.
I enjoyed the writing style a lot and found it witty! I would definitely pick up another book by the author – but overall this one just wasn’t for me.

I think if I would’ve finished it- it would’ve been a three star read for me – so feel free to pick this one up if it interests you!

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins for this advanced readers copy!

Christmas at Holiday House by RaeAnne Thayne

christmas at holiday house

 

official blurb
This New Year will bring widowed nurse Abigail Powell a fresh start in a different city. Excited about the chance to create an unforgettable Christmas for her young son in picturesque Silver Bells, Colorado, Abby has been hired to take care of her dear friend’s recuperating grandmother. But sprightly senior Winnie insists she doesn’t need looking after. What she does need is help decorating her historic mansion, Holiday House, for a seasonal town fundraiser. Abby warms to the festive task, but she’ll have to contend with her own personal Grinch: Winnie’s prickly grandson, Ethan Lancaster. Ethan Lancaster is good at a lot of things. Relationships surely aren’t one of them. His ex-fiancée convinced Ethan he was incapable of love, and he believes her…up until the moment he impulsively kisses Abby. What is it about this vibrant woman and her sweet son that knocks his world off-kilter? He knows they’re leaving town after Christmas. He just didn’t expect they’d be taking a little of his heart with them. But as he and Abby work together on the magical Holiday House through the record cold weather, visions of a different future dance in his head…one filled with warmth, love and a new beginning for them both.

 

arc review

 

3 out of 5
🔥  out of 5 steam level

This was my first book by this author. I am all about Hallmark and Christmas and this book delivered with those vibes. Instead of having a dual point of view, I was surprised to find this featured three POVs. The main two POVs you read are between Abigail and Ethan. I liked Ethan overall but found Abigail to be less appealing. There was a specific scene regarding sledding and her fear of heights. Personally, I have a huge fear of heights and don’t even like standing on a chair – but am easily able to go sledding. For this reason, that scene felt unrealistic and a tad eye rolly.
The third POV was from Ethan’s sister, Lucy. I actually found I liked her story the best even though it was featured the least.
I liked that the book featured diverse characters, from a latinx family, to a character with down syndrome.
Overall this book fell a bit flat for me, but if you’re looking for a sweet holiday read with low steam levels then this one’s for you!

Content warnings: loss of a loved one, violence (very little described on the page)