The Sunday Post #265 | October 31, 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.

T H E   W E E K   I N   R E V I E W 
We're finally experiencing some fall weather! It's been in the 70's all week (and the low 70's this weekend!) making me a very happy girl. 

Monday marked my 30 year anniversary at my company. In a way it seems like I've been there forever (uh, because I have?) and in another I feel like how in the world can it have been 30 years?! I've held several different positions over the years: receptionist, HR, Contracts, and for the past 15 years have been the Executive Assistant to the Board of Directors. My bosses (the Board) had flowers delivered and it was a special day with lots of congratulations and well wishes.

Interesting fact: I had my first date with The Husband and my first day at my company in the same week, way back in 1991. Here we are 30 years later and I still have both. :) 

Thanks for all the concern last week for my mom. So many of you left the kindest comments hoping for the best. I'm happy to say her Covid test was negative! Apparently it is/was a bad head cold and one that lingered for a long time. She's not 100% but is feeling much better.

I took the day off on Friday and ran several errands in preparation for a family dinner on Friday night. There were nine of us in total and it was just a casual get-together at home. Cost of admission: be fully vaccinated. :) I've missed those gatherings and it was great to see everyone.

This week's 80's music fix is I Got You (1980) by Split Enz. I always liked this one and remember it being one of the earliest videos I saw on MTV. Enjoy!

O N   T H E   B L O G
Tuesday, October 26

Friday, October 29
Short Take Reviews:

W H A T   I   R E A D

Chasing Him (Bishop Brothers #3) by Kennedy Fox - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Stone Princess (Tin Gypsy/Clifton Forge #3) by Devney Perry - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

C U R R E N T L Y   R E A D I N G

Keeping Him (Bishop Brothers #4) by Kennedy Fox
My Twist of Fortune (The Greene Family #0.5) by Piper Rayne

N E W   A D D I T I O N S


Christmas in Rose Bend by Naima Simone

I was very much in the mood for some holiday reads this week and ordered these two on a whim. They are both new-to-me authors so I'm hopeful I will enjoy them.


Main Street Dealmaker by Brighton Walsh

T O T A L L Y   R A N D O M


Short Take Reviews: Four Letter Word | J. Daniels & Only One Kiss | Natasha Madison


Published: October 4, 2016
3.25 stars

Fate. Hate. Love. Lies.

Which four letter word will change their lives forever?

Sydney Paige was never so mortified to hear the words "wrong number" in her life. She meant to tell off the guy who broke her best friend's heart but unleashed her anger on a perfect stranger instead. And now her world is turned upside down by the captivating man who wants to keep her on the line.

Brian Savage is living a life he's quickly come to hate-until Sydney's wild rant has him hooked and hungry for more. Soon the sexy woman on the phone becomes the lover in his bed. But Brian has secrets, and the closer he lets Syd get, the harder it is to shield her from the devastating mistakes of his past.


I read the fourth book in this companion series earlier this year and absolutely loved it. This one... not so much. Was this actually written by the same author? The books were published 3 or 4 years apart so I can only guess that her writing changed (improved?) over those few years.
What I Liked:
- A meet-cute that began with a wrong number.
- I appreciated the way Sydney and Brian's relationship started and progressed through their phone calls. They shared more than they might have face to face and it created a strong connection.
- Brian's back story and the mantle of guilt he carried made him sympathetic. His need for atonement was admirable and felt realistic.
- Sydney and Tori's friendship was something special. These were true ride-or-die friends.
But Not So Much:
- Brian's dialogue was always so choppy and it felt like he spoke in half-sentences. The speech patterns and syntax were so awkward and I never got used to it. I wanted to yell at Brian: Why are you dropping the pronouns from every sentence? Speak in complete sentences! It was an odd choice for the author to make and absolutely did not work for me.
- Sydney told Brian she wanted babies with him less than 48 hours after their first face-to-face meeting. I had no words. 
- Sydney constantly referred to Brian as "my boy" ("this boy was so sweet, "I had the best boy"). I cringed every time. Unless they were both twelve, she was dating a man, not a boy. Ugh.


Natasha Madison
Published: September 1, 2020
3.25 stars

Being traded to Dallas was a dream come true. I had everything I wanted, my game had never been better, and my wife was due to have our baby any day now.

What could go wrong?

I was now raising our baby on my own. After hockey practice and games, I didn't have time to sleep, let alone make sure my social media was up to par.

I never thought I'd get a second chance at love.

When my hotshot brother was drafted in the NHL, he didn't have time to do his social media, so I took over for him. Little did I know it would become my career.

My plate was full with over fifty NHL players, and I wasn't taking on any new clients.
Yet when he showed up on my doorstep with the cutest little girl in the whole world, I couldn't say no.
I was just helping, but it turned into more than that. He's the man I've been waiting for.
All it takes is one touch, one night, one chance, and only one kiss.

What I Liked:
- Ralph's absolute love and devotion to his daughter. As a single father, he worked so hard to be there for Arianna but still felt as if he was failing every day. It was easy to empathize with him.
- Candace was a smart and savvy woman who ran her own business coordinating the social media accounts for NHL players. I appreciated that she was hard-working but also very family-focused. She was open and loving to those in her inner circle.
- Even though Ralph and Candace got serious quickly, I still felt their chemistry and was invested in them.
- With not one but two epilogues, I was in HEA heaven.
But Not So Much:
- In the beginning Ralph was totally sending mixed signals. He made a production out of telling Candace he couldn't date her, as if she was the one pursuing him. Huh?
Madison’s writing style was overly detailed and repetitive. For example, the number of times I read about Ralph (or Candace) making a bottle for the baby was crazy. Literally, every other page. (For funsies, I searched the word “bottle” in Kindle and it came up with 120 uses. Granted, that included the few times someone grabbed a bottle of water but still… it was a lot.)
- Call me shallow, but it's hard to feel swoony over a hero named Ralph. *cringe*
- When the main conflict came, Candace acted like a total drama queen. Her reactions were so over the top and out of proportion to the situation that it didn't even make sense.


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 - ★★★★


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

Chasing Him (Bishop Brothers #3) by Kennedy Fox


Getting Real by Emma Chase


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
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?


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.


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.