The Sunday Post #351 | September 24, 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.


How is it the last week of September already? Where did this month go? 😲

Our home office makeover continues. My desk arrived this week and The Husband got it put together and set up for me. Loving it. His desk is scheduled to arrive tomorrow so we should be able to pull it all together soon.

I had lunch with my sister yesterday, just the two of us, which is something we haven't done in ages. We met up at a Newk's Eatery and sat there for three hours, talking about anything and everything. Such a good time. 

It will be a short work week for me as we're headed up to NC to visit my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Our last in-person visit with them was pre-Covid so it's been far too long.

I'm reaching back a little further than normal with this week's throwback song. Those of us who were around in the 70's remember this one. Couldn't Get It Right (1976) by Climax Blues Band. Enjoy! 


Tuesday, September 19

Thursday, September 21


Kindle/Audio: Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros - 4.75★

I finished it yesterday (that twist on the last page... gah!) and all I can say is,
the hype is well deserved. So, so good.


Kindle: The Stars Are On Our Side by Jennifer Hartmann

Technically, I'm not reading anything right now. I just finished Fourth Wing
yesterday afternoon and I need a minute to catch my breath and reacclimate
to the real world. LOL But sometime today I'll be starting an ARC of 
The Stars Are On Our Side.


 Advance Listening Copy: I'm Your Guy (Hockey Guys #2) - Sarina Bowen



Short Take Reviews: Camden | Coming Home


by Sawyer Bennett
Series: Pittsburgh Titans #8
Pub: 8/1/2023
Format: Kindle
4.25 stars

Camden was one of the Lucky Three - the trio of Pittsburgh Titans players who was not on the plane with his teammates when it crashed, killing all on board. Telling himself that he has dealt with the trauma and put it aside, Camden is just hiding it well... until he isn't. Forced encouraged by his coach to attend a grief support meeting, he reconnects with Danica, the widow of his former friend/teammate. While  stepping in to help Danica, Camden must confront his grief and guilt, while also reconciling his growing feelings for Danica.

I've inhaled each book in this series and had been looking forward to Camden's story. I loved watching Camden reconnect with Danica and become an important part of her life and that of her son, Travis. Danica, while obviously still missing her husband almost a year after the crash, had worked through her grief and was able to be there for Camden, helping him navigate his own in a healthy way. At the same time, they had an ease to their relationship, having known each other for years, and I liked the way they were able to make such a natural feeling shift from friends to more. Their chemistry was off the charts, and their physical relationship provided plenty of steam. The support of Camden's teammates, and his relationship with Travis were true highlights. Another solid entry in a series that I don't want to end.

Tropes: friends to lovers, single parent

CW (highlight to view): grief, PTSD, death of a spouse

by Shelley Shepard Gray
Series: Woodland Park Firefighters #1
Pub: 11/29/2022
Format: Audio
3.5 stars

Anderson and Chelsea were high school sweethearts and had no doubt they would be together forever. But when Anderson joined the Army after graduation, and one reckless night at college changed everything for Chelsea... their lives took very different turns. Almost ten years later, Anderson is back in the small town of Woodland Park. Bearing the scars from his military service, both physical and emotional, he works as a paramedic. Seeing Chelsea again, and her son Jack, makes Anderson yearn for more - if only Chelsea will trust him enough to give them a second chance.

Shelley Shepard Gray is new to me but when I saw Rachel @ Waves of Fiction review the second book in this series recently, I was interested enough to grab the first book from my library. While this was far from my usual type of read, I enjoyed my time with Chelsea, Anderson, and the other residents in the small Colorado town. There was no drama or angst, the characters were genuine and kind, and it was easy to just sit back and let the story unfold. The secondary plotline featuring the burgeoning relationship of two older characters (in their 60's) was just as sweet and engaging as the central story. Coming Home was like a breath of fresh air and I won't hesitate to continue the series.

Tropes: small town, single parent, second chance

CW (highlight to view): PTSD, house fire

violence/death (mostly off page), physical abuse (off page)

Have you read these books?

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall 2023 TBR


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

This Week's Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Fall TBR
Me and TBR lists have never been friends. I'm too much of a mood reader to ever read by design. But I'll also never turn down any reason to make a list, so here we are. 😉 Whether these books actually get read this fall is up in the air, but I am looking forward to them all. Plus, just seeing all these gorgeous covers together makes me want to read All The Books right now!

Before I'm Gone - Heidi McLaughlin
Shadows of You - Catherine Cowles
In the Likely Event - Rebecca Yarros
Bain - Sawyer Bennett
I'm Your Guy - Sarina Bowen
The Lovely Return - Carian Cole
Lotus - Jennifer Hartmann
Ravensong - T.J. Klune
A Winter in New York - Josie Silver

Are any of these books on your TBR?

The Sunday Post #350 | September 17, 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.


It's been a busy week, but a good one. Got a lot accomplished at the office, had some medical testing done that came back all clear so that was a big relief, and had lunch with my bosses on Friday for my birthday - which is actually not until tomorrow, but we celebrated early.

Another thing that made it a good week is that I was lucky enough to win Kimberly's (Caffeinated Reviewer) blogoversary giveaway! I received an Amazon gift card (best gift ever LOL) and can't wait to put it to use. Thank you so much for your generosity, Kimberly! 😘

The Husband competed in another target shooting tournament this week and scored two more perfect scores! He's now ranked #10 in the state! Very, very excited for him. 😁

We've decided to update our home office and spent much of yesterday browsing (online) for inspiration and desk options. Currently we have two of the same desk which are set up back to back, so we face each other, but the desks are too large for my liking and I no longer love the set-up. I can't wait to get new desks and start updating the room. I do love a good design/decor project. 😊

Today's throwback song is When Smokey Sings (1987) by ABC. Enjoy! 


Tuesday, September 12

Friday, September 15



Kindle: Camden (Pittsburgh Titans #8) by Sawyer Bennett - 4★
Audio: Coming Home by Shelley Shepard Gray - 3.5★


It's finally happening!
Kindle/Audio: Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros


Not a thing.       



Short Take Reviews: Sutter Lake Series | Catherine Cowles


I previously reviewed Beautifully Broken Pieces and Beautifully Broken Life. Here are my thoughts on the rest of the series. 😊

Beautifully Broken Spirit
by Catherine Cowles
Series: Sutter Lake #3
Pub: 10/22/2019
Format: Audio
4 stars

Jensen had always shared a special bond with her brother’s best friend, Tucker. They’d been in each other’s lives since they were children, and he was a constant in her life that she could always depend on. She squashed any other feelings she might have for him, feeling that after two disastrous prior relationships, she obviously could not trust her own judgement. Tuck had wanted Jensen for as long as he could remember, but his own family issues had him convinced that she deserved better.

I’d been waiting for Tuck and Jensen’s story and it did not disappoint. Jensen had a huge heart and took care of those around her – her son, her employees and friends, and her beloved rescue horses. The romance that developed between Jensen and Tuck was so natural and his bond with Jensen’s son warmed my heart. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Catherine Cowles novel without some sinister goings-on and it came from more than one direction, which amped up the tension. This was a solid addition to the series and delivered all the feels.

Tropes: small town, romantic suspense, single mom, friends to lovers

CW (highlight to view): violence/death, addiction (secondary character)

Beautifully Broken Control
by Catherine Cowles
Series: Sutter Lake #4
Pub: 2/18/2020
Format: Audio
4 stars

When Kennedy’s father was convicted in a Ponzi scheme, the backlash against her family was so extreme she changed her name and went into hiding. She was determined to live a different life – one of service and gratitude – anything to alleviate the guilt she felt over her father’s crimes. After a tragic loss, Cain has shut down almost all personal connections, determined to keep others at a distance. But he can’t deny his feelings for Kennedy. When she is injured and he steps in to help, their closeness only amplifies his feelings for the young woman who guards her privacy and her past so strongly.

There were times when Cain’s protectiveness of Kennedy (while sometimes overboard) and his care for her made my heart positively melt. Even so, I struggled with both characters at times. Kennedy’s overwhelming guilt was so misplaced and I wanted her to recognize her father’s crimes were not her own. And with Cain, his unwillingness to share any of his past with Kennedy (while digging into her past to learn what she was hiding) was hypocritical and hurtful. Both of these issues did resolve and I was fully onboard with their relationship. Seeing Cain finally open up about his loss (with a positive focus on therapy) and be able to embrace a healthy relationship with Kennedy was totally satisfying. The bad guy(s) in this one weren’t too difficult to figure out, but that didn’t detract my enjoyment at all. Another solid romantic suspense from Cowles!

Tropes: small town, romantic suspense, heroine on the run, forced proximity

CW (highlight to view): grief/loss, violence/death

Beautifully Broken Redemption
by Catherine Cowles
Series: Sutter Lake #5
Pub: 11/9/2021
Format: Audio
4 stars

Anna’s trust in someone was betrayed when she was just a teenager and it cost her her freedom. Having started over in the small town of Sutter Lake, and now running a homeless shelter, she is slow to trust and keeps others at a distance. When tragedy strikes and she is suddenly the caregiver for her beloved niece and nephew, she is determined to keep them safe and give them the childhood she never had. To her surprise it is Mason, the successful businessman and frequent volunteer at the shelter, who steps in and offers Anna a solution: a marriage of convenience to bolster Anna’s chance of gaining full custody of the kids.

Anna had overcome so much and was not accustomed to accepting help from others, having learned the hard way that trust could be betrayed in the worst ways. Mason had suffered his own loss and was such a stalwart, generous man. His willingness to step in and make such an extraordinary offer to help Anna and the children was only the start of his devotion to them and his commitment to doing whatever it took to protect them all. This was a slow burn romance even though Anna and Mason’s chemistry was obvious from the start. While I missed the Cole family, the family who has formed the base for most of the other books in the series, I enjoyed their inclusion as secondary characters. This was a solid end to the series and was filled with Catherine’s hallmark emotion, suspense, and happily ever after.

Tropes: small town, romantic suspense, marriage of convenience

CW (highlight to view): violence/death (mostly off page), physical abuse (off page)

Have you read this series?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Families


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

This Week's Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Favorite Families
This week's prompt is about character relationships. I'm focusing on families - both biological and the found variety (because who doesn't love a found family aspect?). 

Here are some of my favorite fictional families...

The Bennett family (Wolfsong/Green Creek series) - I adored the Bennett family and those select few that were welcomed into their inner circle. 

The McKallister family (Cake series) - The McKallister's had been through tragedy and come out the other side, but they were each changed for it. The way they closed ranks when needed, and always had each other's backs, was something I admired.

The Marked Men series - This group of tattoo artists and their friends were the epitome of found family. They were a tightknit group who saw one another through every high and low.

The Parkerson family (Willow Creek Valley series) - These siblings banded together to overcome the fallout of their family. It was so satisfying to see them each work past obstacles to find happiness.

The Greene family (Greene Family series) - I love the big, blended Greene family. Each sibling got their HEA over the span of nine books. There was plenty of meddling in each other's lives, and I enjoyed their closeness.

The Hartley family (Lost & Found series) - Catherine Cowles writes family relationships so well, often with complicated dynamics. 

The Calloway/Hale family (Addicted/Calloway series) - Between the Calloway's and the Hale's, there is a lot of family drama. But the core group is always solid - lending support and being one another's biggest cheerleaders.

The Clifton Forge series - This group of a disbanded motorcycle club, and those allowed into their lives, was a great example of found family. These characters offered support and acceptance unconditionally.

The Hello/Goodbye series - Josh and Caleb escaped from a cult, leaving the only home they'd ever known. Reconnecting with another former cult member who had escaped years previously, they began to develop a new kind of family. Their story brought on all the tears.

The Hades Hangmen series - The men of the Hades Hangmen may operate on the wrong side of the law, but that doesn't diminish their sense of loyalty, brotherhood, and family. 

Have you read any of these books?

The Sunday Post #349 | September 10, 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.


It seemed to be a busier than normal week, hence the single post I managed this week. Labor Day was good, with an outing to one of my favorite lunch spots (Chicken Salad Chick) with my mom, one of my sisters, and The Husband.

The Husband was out of town on Wednesday to attend a shooting competition (target shooting) and came in first place! He shot three targets and had *perfect scores* on two of them. So excited for him. 😊

I had a yearly check-up on Thursday and as much as I get worked up and overly-anxious at medical appointments, this one went so well. I loved my provider (a nurse practitioner). She was kind, listened, asked questions, was patient, and I never felt rushed. Got positive feedback on my recent lab work, and scheduled a few specialty appointments. All good stuff. The Husband and I went out for a late lunch afterward and my lunch may look and sound basic, but sometimes the simple things are the best things. Turkey, bacon and cheddar on rye. And the fact that it came with tater tots put it right over the top. So yum. 😋

Feeling rather mellow today so in keeping with the vibe, this week's throwback song is Oh No (1981) by The Commodores. Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 6



Audio: None of This is True by Lisa Jewell - 4.5★
Kindle: Crux Untamed by Tillie Cole - 4.25★



Kindle: Camden by Sawyer Bennett
Audio: Coming Home by Shelley Shepard Gray


Not a thing.       



Review: Here With Me by Brooke Montgomery #NewRelease

From small-town romance author, Brooke Montgomery, comes a family saga series based in the fictional town of Sugarland Creek set in the Mountains of East Tennessee. Readers who love steamy romances will enjoy Here With Me: a forbidden age-gap romance.


A forbidden age gap stand-alone from small-town romance author Brooke Montgomery about a daring horse trainer and her off-limits ex-boyfriend’s dad… 

When we met at the rodeo, I only knew his first name. 

Sparks ignited between us, and we spent an unforgettable night together. It's not until the morning after when I recognize his last name do I realize who he is. 

So I do what any rational woman would and make the walk of shame while he sleeps. It's not like I'll ever see him again or have to explain why I left. 

But I'm proven wrong when he shows up at my family's ranch as the new farrier. 

We can't be more than friends—for many reasons. He's twice my age, workplace relationships are off-limits, and he moved back to rebuild a relationship with his son—the one I used to date. 

Getting involved would ruin everything. 

As we struggle between right and wrong, our connection deepens even though his traumatic past makes him doubt he deserves a second chance. 

But it doesn't matter when everything's against us, including a rival who's out to get me and my ex who's determined to win me back. 

After a riding trick goes wrong on his watch, he insists on taking care of me. Even though the odds are stacked against us, we keep the truth to ourselves. 

But secrets don't stay hidden for long in a Southern small town. 

Here With Me is book 1 in the Sugarland Creek series. Contains 20+ year age gap, ex-boyfriend's dad, workplace romance, opposites attract, and secret relationship vibes. Each book in this Southern, small-town series is a stand-alone and ends in a happily ever after. Please read the content warning before the prologue.

Buy Now

Add to Goodreads Here

I feel as if I've been waiting for this book for ages. When Brooke Montgomery shared the synopsis, I was thrilled. When I read the prequel (Come With Me), it only amped up my excitement. So finally having Here With Me in my hands had me positively giddy. And it did not disappoint

Noah is a horse trainer at her family's ranch and retreat. She meets Fisher at the rodeo and the attraction is instant. Figuring out that he's her ex's father the morning after has her hightailing it out of there, certain she'll never she him again - until he shows up at the ranch where he's been hired as the new farrier. What follows is a delicious push and pull between Noah and Fisher as they try to keep their distance, but are drawn to one another again and again. 

Here With Me was one of those books that I flew through because I couldn't bare to put it down. I was so invested in Noah and Fisher, in the side characters, and the minor suspense element. Montgomery has created a small town in Tennessee that makes me want to drop everything and go visit. From the small town setting, the Hollis family ranch, Noah's rowdy brothers, her loving parents... this first book in what is sure to be an addictive family saga was right up my alley. 

Fisher's back story was utterly heartbreaking and he carried a mantle of guilt and grief. I admired his determination to reconnect with his son and the patience he had when Jase did not always welcome his return. The acceptance he found with Noah led to such healing and I loved his journey. 

The romance was simply... *chef's kiss* The chemistry, the banter, the spice - it was all done so well. Noah was sassy and a total adrenaline junkie. Fisher was older, more settled, with a rodeo career already behind him. Despite all the obstacles they faced, they had a connection that was undeniable.

Fair warning: the prologue is a bit intense and Montgomery does provide a message stating that sensitive readers can easily skip it as the content is covered briefly in other parts of the book, but in less detail.

Unless it's not already obvious, I loved this first full-length novel in the Sugarland Creek series. The epilogue provided a perfect set-up for next book, and the bonus epilogue melted my heart. All that's left to say is: I want more!

Rating: 4.5

Tropes: age gap, small town, family saga, ex's father

Content warning (highlight to view): suicide attempt, loss of a child, grief, depression


About Brooke Montgomery

Brooke has been writing romance since 2013 under the USA Today Bestselling author pen names: Brooke Cumberland and Kennedy Fox, and now, Brooke Montgomery. She loves writing small-town romance with big families and happily ever afters! She lives in the frozen tundra of Packer Nation with her husband, wild teenager, and four dogs. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, watching ASMR and reading vlogs on YouTube, or binge-watching a TV show she's most likely behind on. Brooke's addicted to iced coffee, leggings, and naps. She found her passion for telling stories during winter break one year in grad school—and she hasn’t stopped since.

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