Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books | Second Half of 2023


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

This Week's Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Most Anticipated Books | Second Half of 2023
This one is a little tricky for me. The vast majority of what I read are indie romances, which means that publish dates aren't set months and months in advance. I recently received notice from a traditionally published author that I follow announcing a book that is releasing in eight months. That's just not the case with indie/self-publishing. Indie/self-publishing generally moves a lot faster than traditional publishing, so often there's a lot less advance notice of new releases. 

I also shared a few upcoming release in last week's TTT post about my summer TBR. And since I don't want to repeat those releases from just a week ago, my list is pretty abbreviated this week - just five most anticipated releases in the second half of 2023.

Rebecca Yarros
July 2023

When Izzy Astor gets on a plane to go home, she isn’t expecting much. It’s the usual holiday travel experience: busy, crowded, stressful.

Then she spots her seatmate, who is anything but ordinary. Nate Phelan sports dark hair, blue eyes, and a deliciously rugged charm that Izzy can’t resist. Their connection is undeniable. Izzy never believed in destiny before, but she does now.

Just ninety seconds after takeoff, their plane goes down in the Missouri River.

Their lives change. They change. Nate goes on to a career in the military while Izzy finds her way into politics. Despite a few chance encounters over the years, the timing never feels right.

Then comes a high-stakes reunion in Afghanistan, where Nate is tasked with protecting Izzy’s life.
He’ll do anything to keep her safe. And everything to win her heart.

Alexis Hall
October 2023

Sam Becker loves―or, okay, likes―his job. Sure, managing a bed and bath retailer isn't exactly glamorous, but it's good work and he gets on well with the band of misfits who keep the store running. He could see himself being content here for the long haul. Too bad, then, that the owner is an infuriating git.

Jonathan Forest should never have hired Sam. It was a sentimental decision, and Jonathan didn't get where he is by following his heart. Determined to set things right, Jonathan orders Sam down to London for a difficult talk…only for a panicking Sam to trip, bump his head, and maybe accidentally imply he doesn't remember anything?

Faking amnesia seemed like a good idea when Sam was afraid he was getting sacked, but now he has to deal with the reality of Jonathan's guilt―as well as the unsettling fact that his surly boss might have a softer side to him. There's an unexpected freedom in getting a second shot at a first impression…but as Sam and Jonathan grow closer, can Sam really bring himself to tell the truth, or will their future be built entirely on one impulsive lie?

Catherine Cowles
August 2023

He hadn’t always just been my brother’s best friend. There was a time when he was mine, too. Until he disappeared from our small town when I needed him the most.

Now, Caden’s back. With his cocky smirk and infuriating nicknames. And I’m struggling to ignore his presence.

When my ex refuses to leave me alone, Caden steps in, suggesting that it will get my ex and Caden’s calculating father off both our backs if we just pretend to be madly in love.

There’s just one problem… Nothing I feel for Caden Shaw is fake—even when I thought I hated him. And there’s no denying how the touch of his lips sparks a flame I’ll never be able to extinguish.

As those pretend moments start to turn oh so real, someone’s watching. They’re not happy about Caden’s new role in my life. And they’ll do anything to rip me away from him—even burn us all to the ground.

Sawyer Bennett
November 2023

I loved playing for the Arizona Vengeance but I’m stoked to be part of the legacy the Pittsburgh Titans is building. A team that has risen from the ashes, I’m eager to help them achieve their goal of winning a championship. I’m also looking forward to becoming part of a new hockey family. A night out with my new mates introduces me to the little sister of our goalie, Drake McGinn, and I’m powerless to resist her.

Keira and I have an instant and insatiable attraction and it doesn’t take long before we find ourselves tangled up in one another. While Drake has declared his sister off limits, I’m not deterred because I always go for what I want. I refuse to heed Drake’s warnings and take great pleasure in goading him every chance I get. It’s become one of my favorite hobbies, outside of making his sister scream my name.

As things with Keira get hotter, feelings start to develop making it a little more complicated than we intended. But a bucket of ice-cold water is tossed on our relationship and we’re forced to reprioritize everything. Neither of us were looking for more than a hot fling but fates get twisted all the time. Faced with tough decisions, Keira and I know that no matter what choices we make, our lives are never going to be the same.

Corinne Michaels
December 2023

Corinne Michaels brings you an epic small-town, fake dating romance. Addison Davis is ready to love again, and needs a date to a wedding, refusing to go alone. What she wasn’t ready for was the terrible selection pool. Grady Whitlock needs a date for his business parties, so they team up and agree to fake date each other, their broken dreams might mend in a way they weren’t prepared for.

What upcoming release are you most excited for?

The Sunday Post #340 | June 25, 2023


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.


Still having AC issues at the office which is beyond annoying. It's impacting my office in the executive suite and the offices on the floor above us (Accounting). I walk over to HR a couple times a day and just sit in their lobby area to cool off. Supposedly (ahem) some new part has been ordered and it will be fixed by Tuesday. We shall see.

I am so over this lingering cough.😖 I finally bought some cough medicine just so I can get some sleep at night. Where has this stuff been all my life? Finally got a few good nights of sleep and I'm coughing much less during the day. Someone tell me why I waited two weeks before getting this?

For those that go to fast food restaurants (inside or drive-thru), have you noticed a serious decline in service over the last couple years? I know during the height of the pandemic there were staffing issues. But at this point, wouldn't you think that would have resolved? I rarely step inside a restaurant (fast food or otherwise) but I do use drive-thru's and the service is usually so sub-par. Chick-Fil-A continues to set the standard: fast/accurate service, friendly and polite employees, and it's always a good experience. McDonald's is okay. Beyond that... it's almost always disappointing. There are a few places we've just quit going to because of the terrible service (long waits, orders are wrong). I don't know if everyplace is short-staffed, are employees under-trained, or is it poor management? If Chick-Fil-A can hire good people, why can't other chains? I don't get it. Is it the same in your area? 

For those that love books with a bookish setting, BookBub shared a list of romances set in bookstores and libraries. What's not to love about a setting like that?

This week's throwback song is A Different Corner  (1986) by George Michael. Enjoy!


Monday, June 19

Tuesday, June 20

Thursday, June 22



Kindle: Hendrix by Sawyer Bennett - 4★

Audio: Beautifully Broken Redemption by Catherine Cowles - 4★



Kindle: Twice in a Lifetime by Melissa Baron

Audio: Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan


Not a thing.



Short Take Reviews: Fireball | River's Guilt


by Abbi Glines
Series: Smoke #2
Tropes: age gap, alpha male, mafia/organized crime, TSTL heroine

Buckle up, buttercups, because we’re back for another ranty review. Fireball is the sequel to Smokeshow and you can read my reviewfor that craziness here.

When we last saw our dimwitted heroine, she had learned some shocking/disturbing news about her a-hole boyfriend, Blaise, and taken off on her own. A few weeks have now passed and Maddie (aka our dimwit heroine) returns to Blaise. Of course she does. Because Maddie has no backbone, zero agency, and just passively does whatever she is told what to do. Everyone around her is shady AF and she is consistently kept in the dark. Then Dimwit manages to get kidnapped… again. That’s right, folks, she gets kidnapped in both books. I swear, I don’t know how this girl gets through the day without walking into walls. But okay, I’m hanging in there… until the train really jumps the track. Because Dimwit wants to stay with her kidnapper. YOLO, right? There are Reasons, but whatever, I’m so over her at this point. Dimwit is rescued/sent back home and then makes excuses for the person who betrayed her and helped her abductor. I’m sorry, what? *shakes head trying to comprehend* Then Blaise builds Dimwit a big house so she can decorate it. The end.

There you have it, friends, that’s Fireball in a nutshell. Now you don’t have to read it. You’re welcome.  2.5 stars
by Monique Orgeron
Tropes: motorcycle club, enemies to lovers, single parent

Based on the reviews and average rating (4.47) at Goodreads, this is obviously a case of it’s-not-you-it’s-me. The synopsis made it sound like this would be right up my alley. I mean, I seriously love a pining hero. Unfortunately, I was left wanting.

Regina’s husband Aiden, a member of the Crescent Kings MC, was killed six years ago, leaving her to raise their young son. Aiden’s father, the president of the MC, has been there for them, as has Aiden’s best friend, River. After six years Regina is desperate to move on but the one man she wants is River, the man who is there for her son but clashes with Regina constantly. Meanwhile, River is tormented by his love for Regina, but will not betray his fallen friend. This means both of them are (outwardly) denying their feelings and continuously lash out at each other. That’s well and good… up to a point. But this went on for 300+ pages and felt so repetitive. The payoff happened way too late in the story – as in the last 5% of the book. They bickered, said horrible things, and hurt one another over and over. Rinse and repeat. And then, in the last chapter, River comes to his senses, and all is well. Sure, I love pining, and I love a good slow burn, but there had better be a big payoff at the end. And this one just didn’t deliver. 3 stars 

Have you read either of these books?

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR


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

This Week's Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Summer TBR
We all know that I don't make TBRs. I am 100% a mood reader and never know what I'm
going to read from one book to the next. So TBRs are kind of pointless for me. But I also 
love a good list, and making a list of possible summer reads is fun, even if I have zero 
expectation of it actually happening. 😉

And since we're doing a summer theme, enjoy a summery 80's tune. 🌞

Ten Books on My Summer TBR

In the Likely Event - Rebecca Yarros
Glimmers of You - Catherine Cowles
Ravensong - TJ Klune
Camden - Sawyer Bennett
Here With Me - Brooke Montgomery
Forbidden Hearts - Corinne Michaels
None of This is True - Lisa Jewell
Grace Note - J. Bengtsson
The Breakaway - Jennifer Weiner
Fourth Wing - Rebecca Yarros

Are any of these books on your TBR?

Review: Beautifully Broken Life | Catherine Cowles

by Catherine Cowles
Series: Sutter Lake #2
Publication date: 6/25/2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Libby
4.25 Stars

She’s on the run…

Tessa has finally found a safe haven in Sutter Lake, hiding in plain sight—just as long as no one asks too many questions.

He can’t escape…

Liam knows better than anyone how one wrong word, a single whisper can ruin a life. After seeing the darker side of fame, he's desperate to retreat and find his voice again.

Two people from opposite worlds, brought together by a connection neither expected.

But the forces they’re both running from still lurk in the shadows…

And you never know when they might strike.

Liam has found great success as a singer and songwriter but dealing with the cutthroat business side of music has dulled the shine of his fame. That, plus an obsessive fan, has him leaving L.A. for a quiet respite in Sutter Lake, the town where his friend Taylor recently found a new start. His growing interest in quiet and closed-off Tessa seems to be going nowhere since she shuts him down at every turn, even while being around her is breaking his writers block and inspiring him to write new music. Tessa has been hiding in Sutter Lake for over a year, on the run from an abusive ex. Always fearful, always on-guard, she is ready to flee at the first hint of danger. Liam is the first person that makes her want to lower her walls and form a connection, but opening herself up could also mean putting her life at risk.


Sometimes I think I will run out of ways to gush about a Catherine Cowles book because she is just so, so good at delivering what I love. Tessa was instantly a character that was easy to empathize with. I wanted so much for her to push her boundaries of loneliness and allow others in, even while I understood her fears. Then there was Liam. Loved him! This man was so patient, so kind, and took such care with Tessa that it melted my heart. Even before he knew her story, he understood she was fearful and reticent, and he showed such tenderness to her, and respect for her boundaries. (When Liam said to Tessa, “What can I do to make you feel safe?” I thought I would expire then and there.) One of my favorite aspects of the story was seeing all the small ways Liam tried to help Tessa regain her power and control over her life. That kind of selfless caretaking really did it for me. The suspense didn’t really ratchet up until the very end, but it provided a truly satisfying wrap-up. Once again, I’ll be diving right into the next book in the Sutter Lake series.

Tropes: small town, romantic suspense, heroine on the run, famous hero
Content warning (highlight to view): domestic violence, stalking, suicide (discussed, not on the page)

Have you read Beautifully Broken Life?

The Sunday Post #339 | June 18, 2023


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.


This is my first Sunday Post in three weeks and it feels good to be checking in again. Our getaway in early June was botched by sickness (me, not The Husband). I'm still dealing with a nasty cough (I am so tired of sounding like I am hacking up a lung) and fatigue, but overall am doing much better.

My appetite dwindled to almost non-existent while I was sick and my diet for about two weeks was so random. One day I wanted nothing but a banana and animal crackers. Another day it was scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes (not at the same time lol). I've since moved on to small kid meals and The Husband has been bouncing from one restaurant to another getting me take-out kid meals from different places. I am now well versed on who has the best chicken fingers. 😉

The Stanley Cup playoffs are over and I was thrilled to see the Vegas Golden Knights win. I was more than a little disgruntled to see the Florida Panthers make it all the way to the finals. I just wanted someone - anyone - to take them down. Any self-respecting Lightning fan has no love for the Panthers. Big inter-state rivalry. So, way to go, Golden Knights! LOL

This week's throwback song is Do Anything (1991) by Natural Selection. Loved this one when it came out. I remember thinking it was Prince at first. :) Enjoy!


Wednesday, June 14

Friday, June 16



Kindle: Damnable Grace by Tillie Cole - 4.5★

Audio: Beautifully Broken Control by Catherine Cowles - 4★



Kindle: Hendrix by Sawyer Bennett

Audio: Beautifully Broken Redemption by Catherine Cowles


I added several physical copies this week which is not something I do often.
First up was a special edition of Corinne Michael's new release, Forbidden Hearts.
Then a physical copy of Damnable Grace. I am so hooked on that series

Next up was a physical copy of Still Beating. It's sure to be among my favorites of the year.

And finally, a special edition of Pam Godwin's Knotted. This is from the Fabled Co.
book box. It has a dust jacket but the hardcover is just too pretty to cover up. 
The foiling, the painted edges... so gorgeous!



Review: Beautifully Broken Pieces | Catherine Cowles

by Catherine Cowles
Series: Sutter Lake #1
Publication date: 2/25/2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Libby
4.25 Stars

A woman who’s lost everything.

Taylor is looking for peace and quiet away from the memories of all she’s lost. A small mountain town where no one knows her seems like the perfect escape.

A man battling the ghosts of his past.

Walker loves his life just the way it is. His town, his family, his brothers in blue. Everything simple and easy—until a chance encounter changes it all.

When Taylor’s solitude is interrupted by the rugged cop, they find that the very thing they were avoiding might be just what they both need. As their iron wills clash and passion flares…a killer lurks.

And you never know who might be caught in the crosshairs.

When I read my first book by Catherine Cowles about a year and a half ago (Tattered Stars), I connected immediately with her writing. She made me care about her characters and become invested in their stories. Now, nine books later, she has solidified herself as one of my favorite authors and I’m excited to start working my way through her backlist.

Taylor is crippled by grief from the loss of her mother. Needing a change, and time away from well-meaning friends, she spontaneously rents a cabin for a year in the small town of Sutter Lake, Oregon. Finding a job at a tea shop introduces her to Jensen Cole (shop owner) and the rest of the Cole family, including Jensen’s brother Walker, the town’s deputy chief of police. Determined to keep her new friends at arm’s length, convinced that forming bonds will only lead to more heartache, Taylor still finds herself pulled into the loving embrace of the Cole family. As Taylor slowly begins to let down her walls and explore a relationship with Walker, he is dealing with a string of missing women and the victims are getting closer and closer to home.

Everything about Beautifully Broken Pieces was right up my alley. A heroine who was damaged but had backbone, a swoony, protective hero, a close-knit family, strong friendships, a touch of suspense – it all combined to form such a “me” book. I adored the Cole family, including Jensen’s young son Noah (who started calling Taylor “Tay Tay” five minutes after meeting her), Taylor’s friend Liam who was willing to give her a dose of tough love and truth when she needed it, and the relationship that grew between Taylor and Walker. The epilogue was *chef’s kiss*, the narration by Maxine Mitchell and Aaron Shedlock was perfect, and I can’t wait to return to Sutter Lake. (Bring on Liam’s book!)

Tropes: small town, romantic suspense, law enforcement hero
Content warning (highlight to view): grief/loss, violence/death

Have you read Beautifully Broken Pieces?

WWW Wednesday #126 | June 14, 2023


WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.
Just share your answers to three questions:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you'll read next?

I've been MIA on the blog for the past two weeks. First, I was busy at the office and getting ready for our getaway. Then, the week of vacation turned into a week of being sick. Ugh. We were gone for a whole 9 hours when I realized I'd made a huge mistake (and could no longer deny that I was sick) and we went back home. I kept telling myself that I could be sick anywhere, and why not do it poolside? But the fact is, when you're sick you just need to be in your own bed, in the comfort of your own home. I'm still not quite 100% but doing much better. I hope your week is going well!

What are you currently reading?


Kindle: Damnable Grace by Tillie Cole
Audio: Beautifully Broken Control by Catherine Cowles

Currently readingI'm halfway through Damnable Grace, the fifth book in the series
This one has a slightly different feel, though I can't quite pinpoint why. Totally enjoying
it, though, and eager to see AK and Phebe both find some peace.
Current progress: 52%

Currently listening: I was concerned that I wasn't going to enjoy this one as much as
the previous books in the series because I just wasn't clicking with the main female
character at first. But I'm fully on-board now and Cain is absolutely one of my
favorite male leads in the series.
Current progress: 62%

What did you recently finish reading?


Kindle: Still Beating by Jennifer Hartmann - ★★★★
Kindle: Come With Me by Brooke Montgomery - ★★★★.5

Recently readNo idea how I will review this one. I have no words.

Recently read: I was so, so sad when Kennedy Fox announcement their split as a writing 
duo earlier this year. This solo release from Brooke Montgomery (one half of Kennedy
Fox) was so good and has me excited for what's to come. Loved it.

What do you think you'll read next?


What I read next is always up in the air, but these two are likely contenders.

What are you reading today?