Top Ten Tuesday: Vampires, Shifters, and Witches... Oh My!

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.


This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic:
Vampires, Shifters, and Witches... Oh My!
Books I've read with Paranormal/Fantasy Creatures

You all know that contemporary romance is my thing. And 99% of the time that's what I want to read. But once in a blue moon (or should that be once in a full moon?), I decide to leave my comfort zone and dip my toes into something different. And sometimes that includes a taste of paranormal/fantasy where some decidedly non-human characters are featured.

Here are some of the books I've enjoyed that include vampires, demons, dragons, witches, 
shifters, and more.



City of Heavenly Fire - Cassandra Clare
The Cruel Prince - Holly Black
Grace and Glory - Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Awakening - Nora Roberts
Wicked - Jennifer L. Armentrout
Haven - Mary Lindsey
Wild Country - Anne Bishop


Have you read any of these books?

The Sunday Post #264 | October 24, 2021

  

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news: a post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books,
 and share what's coming up on your blog in the week ahead.


It was another draining week at the office and I wasn't alone in those feelings. By Friday it seemed as if everyone who came into my office looked drained. The general consensus seemed to be: "I'm doing absolutely nothing this weekend!" I heard that on more than one occasion. LOL

My mom has been sick with cold symptoms for a full week and we finally convinced her to go for a Covid test on Friday. She's fully vaccinated but with all the breakthrough cases you just never know. Results are supposed to be posted sometime today (it's currently Saturday afternoon). That means I haven't seen her in the last week and she's kept to herself at home. She lives alone and I know it's been hard for her, so I'm hopeful we get an all-clear later today. 

Last month The Husband participated in a car show in a small town about an hour from home and won the People's Choice award. One of the prizes was a gift card to a clothing/gift shop in that town. On Saturday we decided to take a drive up there, check out the shop, have some lunch, and just have a little day trip. It was a seriously small town and a shock to my system. I live in a large city (about 900,000 people) and this was practically a blink-and-you-missed-it town. It was a cute shop, though, with lots of specialty items and I used the gift card to buy several Lilly Pulitzer items as Christmas gifts for my mom and sisters.

This week's 80's music fix is Don't Stop Believin' (1981) by Journey. This song takes me right back to junior high. And if you are of a certain age (ahem) you can belt out every lyric. :)






Tuesday, October 19

Thursday, October 21

Friday, October 22




    

Heard it in a Love Song by Tracey Garvis Graves - ★★★★
Needing Him (Bishop Brothers #2) by Kennedy Fox - ★★★★




    

Reading:
Stone Princess (Tin Gypsy/Clifton Forge #3) by Devney Perry

Listening:
Chasing Him (Bishop Brothers #3) by Kennedy Fox




AUDIO BOOKS:


Getting Real by Emma Chase






HOW WAS YOUR WEEK? 
I'D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT!

Review: Heard it in a Love Song by Tracey Garvis Graves

Tracey Garvis Graves
Publication date: November 2, 2021
Genres: Women's Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Format: Trade Paperback (ARC)
Source: St. Martin's Press
4 STARS
Layla Hilding is thirty-five and recently divorced. Struggling to break free from the past—her glory days as the lead singer in a band and a ten-year marriage to a man who never put her first—Layla’s newly found independence feels a lot like loneliness.

Then there’s Josh, the single dad whose daughter attends the elementary school where Layla teaches music. Recently separated, he’s still processing the end of his twenty-year marriage to his high school sweetheart. He chats with Layla every morning at school and finds himself thinking about her more and more.

Equally cautious and confused about dating in a world that favors apps over meeting organically, Layla and Josh decide to be friends with the potential for something more. Sounds sensible and way too simple—but when two people are on the rebound, is it heartbreak or happiness that’s a love song away?


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BOOK DEPOSITORY

Thirty-five-year-old music teacher Layla is struggling to come to terms with the dissolution of her ten-year marriage. Her early 20’s were spent as a full-time musician, the lead singer for a local rock band. When she married Liam, a successful salesman always reaching for bigger and better, and the band started to stall, Layla quit music and began teaching and giving private lessons. Liam’s drive for status and wealth, and his penchant for living beyond his means, were a constant source of stress in the marriage. Now divorced, Layla is adrift and searching for who she is and what she wants next.

Married right out of high school, Josh spent the next twenty years with a woman who now felt like a stranger. Separated, and sharing custody of his five-year-old daughter, Josh is living alone trying to figure out what this next stage in his life will look like.

Heard it in a Love Song is what I call a Quiet Book. It focuses on character over plot and, while there is the promise of a romantic relationship throughout the novel, it is not a romance. The real story is Layla’s journey back to the woman she once was, only stronger.

Graves created such down to earth characters in Layla and Josh and I loved the slow evolution of their relationship from acquaintances, to friendship, to friendship with potential. These were two people who were battle worn and weary after the breakdown of their marriages. These weren’t two fresh-faced kids rushing headlong into love. They were both gun shy and taking the smallest of steps outside of their comfort zones. They doled out small pieces of themselves at a time, getting to know one another slowly and organically.

Told in both present time and in flashbacks of both Layla’s and Josh’s pasts, Heard it in a Love Song is raw and achingly realistic, told with Graves’s signature depth and warmth. A novel of resilience, second chances, and the healing power of music, this latest release from Graves delivered a vulnerable story with plenty of heart. ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Disclosure: I received a complimentary advance copy of this book for review. This does not impact my opinion of the book or the content of this review. I received no compensation and my review is voluntary.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tracey Garvis Graves is the New York TimesWall Street JournalUSA Today, and international bestselling author of contemporary fiction. Her debut novel, On the Island, spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into thirty-five languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. She is also the author of Uncharted, Covet, Every Time I Think of You, Cherish, Heart-Shaped Hack, White-Hot Hack, The Girl He Used to Know, and Heard It in a Love Song. She is hard at work on her next book.

Tracey loves to interact with her readers and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Review: The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell
Publication date: September 7, 2021
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Format: Audiobook
Source: Overdrive
5 STARS

2017: 19 year old Tallulah is going out on a date, leaving her baby with her mother, Kim.

Kim watches her daughter leave and, as late evening turns into night, which turns into early morning, she waits for her return. And waits.

The next morning, Kim phones Tallulah's friends who tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a party at a house in the nearby woods called Dark Place.

She never returns.

2019: Sophie is walking in the woods near the boarding school where her boyfriend has just started work as a head-teacher when she sees a note fixed to a tree.

'DIG HERE' . . .

A cold case, an abandoned mansion, family trauma and dark secrets lie at the heart of Lisa Jewell's remarkable new novel.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BOOK DEPOSITORY


In The Night She Disappeared, Lisa Jewell masterfully weaves together three timelines to tell the story of Tallulah Murray, a young mother who disappears from her small village without a trace, along with her boyfriend Zach.

Some fifteen months after the disappearance, mystery writer Sophie moves to the same village with her partner Shaun, the new headmaster of a boarding school. While exploring the woods behind their cottage on the school grounds, Sophie finds a chilling sign attached to a tree: Dig Here. Sophie unearths evidence that leads to more questions about what became of the young couple. She is drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery and becomes consumed by what became of Tallulah Murray.

I loved the structure of The Night She Disappeared. The alternating timelines kept me fully immersed in the story, both past and present. Jewell provided Tallulah’s point of view in the months leading up to her disappearance, which made it obvious that all was not as it seemed in the life of the young woman. In present day (2018), we have the points of view of both Sophie and Kim, Tallulah’s mother.

Kim is frantic when Tallulah fails to return home after a night out with Zach. What could have happened to her beautiful girl? Tallulah is a devoted mother who would never abandon her child. Kim’s frustration grows when she contacts Zach’s mother, a woman who is seemingly unconcerned and believes the two kids took off to escape the stress of parenthood. Kim learns that Tallulah was last seen at the rambling country estate of a new college friend, Scarlett Jacques. When confronted, Scarlett claims she barely knows Tallulah. But what of the others who were at the house that night – do they know more than they are telling?

Jewell brilliantly created a mounting sense of unease as the story progressed. By the night of the disappearance there was a simmering tension, intensified because, as the reader, you know that by morning something will have happened, and Tallulah and Zach will not be seen again.

The Night She Disappeared was a riveting, character-driven, slow-burning suspense that kept me completely enthralled. With intricate details, people and events not truly as they seem, and information parsed out bit by tantalizing bit, Jewell fashioned a story that was utterly compelling and totally immersive. I was listening at every opportunity and was utterly captivated by the narration of Joanne Froggatt. Her voices were distinctive, I always knew which character was speaking, and the nuances she gave to each voice, particularly Tallulah’s, brought each character to life and had me envisioning every scene in vivid detail.

I have been reading Lisa Jewell’s novels for almost twenty years and I am confident in saying that The Night She Disappeared is her best yet. This one is not to be missed. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐




Lisa Jewell is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of nineteen novels, including The Family Upstairs and Then She Was Gone, as well as Invisible Girl and Watching You. Her novels have sold over 5 million copies internationally, and her work has also been translated into twenty-eight languages.



Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Women's Fiction Novels

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.


This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic:
Favorite Women's Fiction Novels

I wasn't feeling this week's actual prompt so I'm going rogue again. 
Instead I'm going to share some of my favorite women's fiction books.

Before I do, here's a quick run-down on the difference between women's fiction and romance:
  • In a romance, the central theme is the romance/romantic relationship between the main characters. 
  • In a romance, there is a happily ever after (HEA) or happy for now (HFN) ending.
  • Women's fiction is about more than a central romance. The focus is more on the journey of the main female character. It is about a woman - or group of women - navigating life and overcoming challenges.
  • Women's fiction might have romantic elements - the heroine may have a love interest - but it is not the central theme of the story.
Now on to some of my favorites that fall into the women's fiction genre...



Always, in December - Emily Stone
Home Front - Kristin Hannah
Mrs. Everything - Jennifer Weiner
That Summer - Jennifer Weiner
The Girl He Used to Know - Tracey Garvis Graves
Forever, Interrupted - Taylor Jenkins Reid
Summer Sisters - Judy Blume
All We Ever Wanted - Emily Giffin
The Glass Lake - Maeve Binchy
Before I Saw You - Emily Houghton


Have you read any of these books?


The Sunday Post #263 | October 17, 2021

  

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news: a post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books,
 and share what's coming up on your blog in the week ahead.


It was such a busy week at the office. By Wednesday I was over it. And by Friday I was ready to drop. It's been a while since I've felt so mentally drained by a work week. My plan for the weekend: as little as possible. :)

I only blog when I feel like it, hence the scarcity of posts over the last week or two. Forcing myself to post when I'm not in the mood sucks every bit of joy out of it for me. I didn't feel like doing a Sunday Post last week, I wasn't feeling the TTT prompt (and next week isn't looking so great, either)... but I did manage a review post on Thursday, so go me. :) 

Hockey is back! The 2021-2022 NHL season started this week and I've been so happy to have it back. My Lightning have won one and lost one so not a bad start. (I'm writing this before their game on Saturday night so by the time you read this hopefully they have another one in the Win column.)


Friday night I was having family over for a super casual dinner. They're all fully vaccinated now (woo hoo) and these small gatherings are now possible. But then my mom called and said she couldn't come because she was coming down with a cold. Then my younger sister called and they couldn't come. The dinner was dwindling fast so I just postponed it. The Husband and I went from expecting a gathering of eight, to the two of us grabbing subs from the Publix deli (a grocery store) for dinner. LOL

This week's 80's music fix is... not actually from the 80's. I could have sworn Kiss Them for Me (Siouxsie and the Banshees) came out in 1989 but Google is telling me it's 1991. But it's a great song so I'm going with it. Enjoy!






Thursday, October 14





It was a mixed bag this week: one disappointment, one good, and one fantastic.
I read Down Too Deep by J. Daniels earlier this year and absolutely loved it. So I decided to pick up Four Letter Word and... I couldn't believe it was written by the same author. Man, did I struggle with this one. I started another Kennedy Fox series this week and the first book, Taming Him, was a good one. Loved the lack of unnecessary drama. And then there was The Night She Disappeared. I'm working on my review but I will say that I consider it Jewell's best book to date and it will definitely be among my top picks of the year!

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell - ★★★★★
Taming Him (Bishop Brothers #1) by Kennedy Fox - ★★★★
Four Letter Word (Dirty Deeds #1) by J. Daniels - ★★★



   

Heard it in a Love Song is one of my most highly anticipated books of the year. (I almost hesitate to say that because it sets up such incredibly high expectations, but it's still true.) I adore Tracey Garvis Graves and this synopsis really grabbed me. I've had the arc for at least four months but I've been holding off, enjoying the anticipation. But the time has come and I'm so happy to be diving in. Page three - what do I see? A character named Tonya. Different spelling, but I'm totally taking it as a good omen. :)

Reading:
Heard it in a Love Song by Tracey Garvis Graves

Listening:
Needing Him (Bishop Brothers #2) by Kennedy Fox




PHYSICAL BOOKS:


No Tomorrow by Carian Cole

KINDLE BOOKS:


Fearless Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

AUDIOBOOKS:



eARC FOR REVIEW:


One Christmas Wish by Brenda Jackson






HOW WAS YOUR WEEK? 
I'D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT!