Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Authors I Discovered in 2023


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

This Week's Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2023
I actually read about 15 (or so) new-to-me authors in 2023 so I had several to choose from. Some were good, some didn't work for me, and a couple became new favorites. Here's mix of all of the above. 😀

Jennifer Hartmann | Giana Darling | Emily Rath | Abby Jimenez

Brighton Walsh | Sharon Sala | Ali Hazelwood

Q.B. Tyler | J.T. Geissinger | TJ Klune

What author did you discover in 2023?

The Sunday Post #356 | January 28, 2024


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 January already? That is boggling my mind. 😲

On Tuesday I attended a book signing with Emily Rath (of Pucking Around/Jacksonville Rays fame). She's a local author and had collaborated with a local indie bookstore for the re-release of Pucking Around. (It was self-published last year but has now been re-released by Kensington.) The store (Femme Fire Books) is one I'd not been to before and it was adorable. And the people who showed up were so kind and so friendly. One young woman had made friendship bracelets that had character names or meaningful words/phrases from the book and was sharing them with everyone in line. Readers really are the best people. 😊


My 78-year-old mother has Covid... again. It seems much milder this time around, like a bad head cold, and she's already feeling much better. I wish she were more cautious, but after almost 4 years of advice and reminders, I've given up. She's going to do what she wants to do. *eyeroll*

File this under "I can't make this up": Hidden Valley Ranch and Burt's Bees have collaborated to produce Ranch lip balm. Has anyone else seen this? My only question is WHY? I mean, I like ranch dressing as much as the next person, but do I want to taste it in my lip balm? 😖 So the question is: would you use ranch (or carrot or celery or buffalo sauce) lip balm?? 

This week's throwback song is Birdhouse in Your Soul (1990) by They Might Be Giants. Enjoy! (Love the song but the video is truly bad. lol)


Tuesday, January 23

Thursday, January 25


eARC: Ready or Not by Cara Bastone - 4.25★



Audio: Pucking Wild by Emily Rath


The special edition of Pucking Around is so pretty. You can't tell from the photo, 
but the title is sparkly. 😍 And the art print and sticker (not pictured) are cute. I also
nabbed a physical copy of the prequel novella, That One Night, while at the signing.



Review: The Women by Kristin Hannah

by Kristin Hannah
Pub: 2/6/2024
St. Martin's Press
480 pg.

From the celebrated author of The Nightingale and The Four Winds comes Kristin Hannah's The Women—at once an intimate portrait of coming of age in a dangerous time and an epic tale of a nation divided.

Women can be heroes. When twenty-year-old nursing student Frances “Frankie” McGrath hears these words, it is a revelation. Raised in the sun-drenched, idyllic world of Southern California and sheltered by her conservative parents, she has always prided herself on doing the right thing. But in 1965, the world is changing, and she suddenly dares to imagine a different future for herself. When her brother ships out to serve in Vietnam, she joins the Army Nurse Corps and follows his path.

As green and inexperienced as the men sent to Vietnam to fight, Frankie is over- whelmed by the chaos and destruction of war. Each day is a gamble of life and death, hope and betrayal; friendships run deep and can be shattered in an instant. In war, she meets—and becomes one of—the lucky, the brave, the broken, and the lost.

But war is just the beginning for Frankie and her veteran friends. The real battle lies in coming home to a changed and divided America, to angry protesters, and to a country that wants to forget Vietnam.

The Women is the story of one woman gone to war, but it shines a light on all women who put themselves in harm’s way and whose sacrifice and commitment to their country has too often been forgotten. A novel about deep friendships and bold patriotism, The Women is a richly drawn story with a memorable heroine whose idealism and courage under fire will come to define an era.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Audible 


Frankie McGrath lived a privileged life on the golden shores of California’s Coronado Island. The Vietnam War felt as if it was a world away. When that sheltered life was shaken to its core and she enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps, her life would be forever altered.


Thrust into the harsh reality of a combat nurse in Vietnam, Frankie struggled to adapt to all that entailed. Wholly unprepared, she was unmoored and grasping for stability and normalcy where there was none to be had. The extreme situation meant bonds were forged quickly and she developed strong friendships with her fellow nurses, allowing them to lean on one another and hold each other up. There were other relationships formed as well, a flirtatious but ultimately platonic romance with a surgeon, and a passionate affair with a pilot. Both left lasting scars.


After her tour of duty, and her return to California, Frankie’s homecoming was decidedly underwhelming. Her parents were dismissive of her service, her attempts at seeking help were met with the same response – “there were no women in Vietnam” – and the country as a whole was divided and divisive. Frankie’s life spiraled as she tried to adapt to life after Vietnam. The latter portion of the book, as Frankie struggled to make peace with her experiences, provided an unflinching look at the issues faced by so many veterans upon their return from Vietnam. Brave, resilient, and courageous – and yet their sacrifices were not recognized and applauded, but instead swept under the rug, or even mocked and held in contempt.


While I was born during the Vietnam War era, I was still a child when the conflict ended, so for me it has always felt like history. Not something I had a personal connection to. Kristin Hannah changed that with The Women. This story is vividly detailed (gut wrenchingly so), with characters that virtually leapt off the page and took on a life of their own. I felt their optimism, their fear, their cynicism, and disillusionment. Hannah’s focus on the nurses in Vietnam – young women who exemplified patriotism and selfless heroism – provided another example of how women’s contributions in history are so often overlooked.


The Women was the first book I read in 2024 and it’s not hyperbole to say that I have no doubt it will be my top read of the year. It was powerful, impactful, heartbreaking and – ultimately – uplifting. And it was delivered in a way I’ve come to expect from Kristin Hannah – with realism, nuance, and heart. Utterly unforgettable. 5 STARS

Note: I was provided an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not impact my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read in 2023


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

This Week's Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Books I Meant to Read in 2023
It's the age old problem: too many books and too little time. Despite the fact that there
are only two adults in my home (no kids to be a total time suck), and that I rarely ever 
watch TV, there's still never enough time to read all the books I want to read. I mean, 
there's that pesky job, and y'know... life. So here are just a few (well, ten) of the books 
I meant to read in 2023. I'm hoping to get to all of these sooner rather than later.

What book did you not get to in 2023?

The Sunday Post #355 | January 21, 2024


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.


Since this is my first Sunday Post of the year, I guess I should say Happy New Year! It's still January... saying Happy New Year is still acceptable, right? 😀

I've been keeping busy between work-life and home-life. Last week we took a quick trip up to North Carolina. The Husband's eldest daughter was having a milestone birthday so we decided to surprise her. It was a quick-ish visit, but good to see everyone.

On Monday I finally got my car back. *tosses confetti and does happy dance* It was at the collision center just shy of seven weeks (five of those weeks was just waiting for parts) so I was actually without it twice as long as I actually drove it (I'd had the car for 28 days when I was rear-ended). So excited to have my car back... and it still has that new car smell. Haha.

We had a blast of winter weather this week and I've been loving it. It's been a chilly weekend - yesterday's high was only 45F (7-8C) - but the coming week will be back into the 70's (22C). That's Florida for you. 🌞

This week's throwback song is I'm Your Man (1985) by George Michael/Wham. Enjoy!


Nothing this week


DNF - I gave up on Karma. As much as I enjoyed Boy George's anecdotes, and 
his narration, the stream-of-consciousness narrative wasn't working for me. It felt
like it was all over the place and I found myself listening less and less.
Unfortunate, because I find him to be deliciously bitchy and entertaining. 😉



eARC: Ready or Not by Cara Bastone
Audio: Pucking Wild by Emily Rath


Nothing this week



WWW Wednesday #131 | January 10, 2024


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?

It's a chilly day here - in the 50's.
Hey, don't laugh... 50's is cold for Florida! 😁
What's it like where you are?

What are you currently reading?


eARC: Ready or Not by Cara Bastone
Audio: Karma by Boy George

Currently reading: I am in desperate need of something on the lighter side and I'm
hopeful that Ready or Not will fill that need. This will be my first by Bastone.
Current progress: 4%

Currently listening: I only started Karma this morning but I'm already a little unsure about
it. I enjoy Boy George's narration (the way he laughs and chuckles at certain parts is a 
delight), but it also feels very stream of consciousness with little structure. I'm sticking
with it for now and will see how it goes.
Current progress: 4%

What did you recently finish reading?


eARC: The Women by Kristin Hannah
Audio: From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

Recently read: Powerful. Emotional. Gut-wrenching. I'm calling it now: The Women will
likely be my favorite of 2024. 5 stars

Recently listened to: Mariana Zapata delivered another delicious, slow-burn romance, 
filled with the best snarky banter. And Ivan Lukov...   4.5 stars

What do you think you'll read next?

I never know what I'm going to read next, but 
The Memory of Us is a likely candidate.

What are you reading today? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Book Releases | First Half of 2024


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

This Week's Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Most Anticipated Releases in the
First Half of the Year
I read way more indie authors than traditionally published authors, so publication dates
aren't set months and months (or even a year) in advance, like with the big publishing
houses. Often there is little notice when an indie author drops a new release. So I'm
 surprised I actually managed to come up with ten choices for this week's topic!

Ashes of You - Catherine Cowles (Feb 6)
Stay With Me - Brooke Montgomery (Feb 7)
The Five Year Lie - Sarina Bowen (May 14)
The Trail of Lost Hearts - Tracey Garvis Graves (Mar 26)
Mona of the Manor - Armistead Maupin (Mar 7)
The Memory of Us - Dani Atkins (Feb 15)
Boone - Sawyer Bennett (Jan 16)
Blitz - Devney Perry (Mar 7)
Crossroads - Devney Perry (Jun 4)
This Could Be Us - Kennedy Ryan (Mar 5)

What upcoming release are you most excited for? 

Review: The Lily of Ludgate Hill | Mimi Matthews


Fortune favors the bold—but is a confirmed spinster daring enough to loosen the reins and accept a favor from the wicked gentleman who haunts her dreams?

Lady Anne Deveril doesn’t spook easily. A woman of lofty social standing known for her glacial beauty and starchy opinions, she’s the unofficial leader of her small group of equestriennes. Since her mother’s devastating plunge into mourning six years ago, Anne voluntarily renounced any fanciful notions of love and marriage. And yet, when fate puts Anne back into the entirely too enticing path of Mr. Felix Hartford, she’s tempted to run…right into his arms.

No one understands why Lady Anne withdrew into the shadows of society, Hart least of all. The youthful torch he once held for her has long since cooled. Or so he keeps telling himself. But now Anne needs a favor to help a friend. Hart will play along with her little ruse—on the condition that Anne attend a holiday house party at his grandfather’s country estate. No more mourning clothes. No more barriers. Only the two of them, unrequited feelings at last laid bare.

Finally free to gallop out on her own, Anne makes the tantalizing discovery that beneath the roguish exterior of her not-so-white knight is a man with hidden depths, scorching passions—and a tender heart.

A scorching kiss over fabric samples makes me question all my choices. But is it too late to change my entire life to get more of them?


Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Apple Books | B&N Nook | Google Play | Kobo

Goodreads | BookBub

Anne had been her mother’s loyal companion and dutiful daughter since the death of her father six years ago. It was a role she did not begrudge but at the same time many aspects of her life had stagnated over the years. When she feared for her friend’s safety and was determined to journey to her and rescue her if needed, she approached Felix Hartford for help. Six years ago, Felix broke her young heart and despite her lingering feelings for him, her disappointment in him stoked the fire of their now antagonistic relationship.


Felix, the second son of an earl, was viewed as something of a bon vivant, always up for a good time or a wager on a curricle race. Privately, Felix was shouldering heavy responsibilities that he took pains to keep secret. Continually viewed as frivolous by both his family and the genteel society, Felix was actually noble, loyal and kind. His pursuit of Anne was positively swoon-worthy and I adored both his witty flirting and his grand gestures as he courted the only woman he’d ever loved.


Female friendship continues to be a theme in this series, and I enjoyed seeing the connection between the women (the Four Horsewomen) evolve. Grief and family loyalty are also explored, and both added such humanity to the main characters and made their actions all the more believable. Anne’s devotion to her mother was admirable, even while her mother’s grief had become toxic and manifested in the tight control she maintained over Anne.  


I loved the character growth in both Anne and Felix and watching as they made peace with their past. Their interactions were filled with snarky banter, with Anne’s intelligence and sharp wit always evident. As their relationship began to evolve and their exchanges grew more serious, I melted each time they laid down a part of their past and laid bare their true feelings. Felix was more free with both his words and his actions and the way he showed his care for Anne, in small ways and large, was the epitome of romance. I’m a sucker for pining and yearning and there were epic levels of both here.

There is much to love in this second chance romance: a mother with a familiar spirit named Dmitri, snappy banter, a temperamental kitten, a hero with an entrepreneurial spirit, a bombastic nephew, shared secrets, toe-curling kisses and swoony embraces, friends to frenemies to lovers, and a climactic scene at a holiday house party that was written to perfection.


Whether you’ve already enjoyed the prior books in the Belles of London series or not, The Lily of Ludgate Hill can easily be read on its own and is one I highly recommend.  4.5 STARS

Note: I was provided an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not impact my opinion of the book or the content of this review.