The Sunday Post #360 | March 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.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

It's been about three weeks since my last Sunday Post. Either I was too busy to create a Sunday post, or I couldn't be bothered. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Even so, I've managed a few posts each week, including a couple of reviews, so I haven't been a total slacker. lol

Here's what's been going on in my world the last few weeks:

  • Celebrated my mom's 79th birthday
  • Booked a getaway for some R&R in late April/early May
  • Had a second follow-up with my doctor about the lingering cough from last summer. I have a referral to a specialist to see if my asthma has shifted from chronic to more acute. Good times.
  • The pollen is off the charts and even my daily allergy meds don't always do the trick. It irritates my throat and makes my voice gravelly and raspy. So attractive. 
  • The Tampa Lightning are *this close* to clenching a wild card spot and I am so ready for Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Husband and I hit up a local food truck for lunch on Friday and while the food was tasty I was a little taken aback at the cost. I get that food prices have gone up across the board, but $28 for two sandwiches and tater tots? Is it just me?

Yesterday morning we tried a breakfast spot we've not been to before - Holey Moley Bagel Bar. We both got sausage, egg, and cheese on an asiago bagel. *chef's kiss* Big hit and we'll definitely go back.
The interior wall of the restaurant

This week's throwback song is Boogie Wonderland (1979) by Earth, Wind & Fire. The Husband and I saw them in concert 5 or 6 years ago and what a show they put on. Those guys were all in their mid-60's at the time and they went nonstop. So many of their songs are on the soundtrack on my life. ๐Ÿ˜Š Enjoy!


ON THE BLOG


Tuesday, March 19

Wednesday, March 20

Friday, March 22


WHAT I READ


Audio: The Lady in Glass by Anne Bishop

I didn't read the whole book, only the couple of stories that were 
tied to The Others series.


CURRENTLY READING

      

Kindle: Stay With Me (Sugarland Creek #2) by Brooke Montgomery
Kindle/Audio: Tangle of Need (Psy-Changeling #11) by Nalini Singh

NEW ADDITIONS


Nothing this week.


TOTALLY RANDOM



HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?

Review: The Trail of Lost Hearts | Tracey Garvis Graves


The Trail of Lost Hearts
by Tracey Garvis Graves
Pub: March 26, 2024
Source: St. Martin's Press/NetGalley
4.25 stars


Thirty-four-year-old Wren Waters believes that if you pay attention, the universe will send you exactly what you need. But her worldview shatters when the universe delivers two life-altering blows she didn’t see coming, and all she wants to do is put the whole heartbreaking mess behind her. No one is more surprised than Wren when she discovers that geocaching―the outdoor activity of using GPS to look for hidden objects―is the only thing getting her out of bed and out of her head. She decides that a weeklong solo quest geocaching in Oregon is exactly what she needs to take back control of her life.

Enter Marshall Hendricks, a psychologist searching for distraction as he struggles with a life-altering blow of his own. Though Wren initially rebuffs Marshall’s attempt at hiker small talk, she’s beyond grateful when he rescues her from a horrifying encounter farther down the trail. In the interest of safety, Marshall suggests partnering up to look for additional caches. Wren’s no longer quite so trusting of the universe―or men in general―but her inner circle might argue that a smart, charismatic psychologist isn’t the worst thing the universe could place in her path.

What begins as a platonic road trip gradually blossoms into something deeper, and the more Wren learns about Marshall, the more she wants to know. Now all she can do is hope that the universe gets it right this time.

________________________________________________________________


When I pick up a book by Tracey Garvis Graves, I already have certain expectations: realistic and flawed characters, a multi-layered story, and an emotional aspect that will engage my heart as well as my mind. The Trail of Lost Hearts delivered on all fronts.
 
Wren is 34, engaged, and a successful social media manager when the rug is pulled from under her. The sudden death of her fiancรฉ leaves her floundering. Feeling unmoored and lacking confidence, she treks from Ohio to Oregon for a geocaching trip. When it becomes apparent that hiking solo is not the best option, she teams with fellow hiker/geocacher Marshall for the remainder of her trip. Marshall is thoughtful and kind – the perfect traveling companion – and she finds herself opening up to him and sharing her heartache and confusion. While the attraction between them is apparent, it is just as obvious that Marshall is not being as forthcoming with Wren. Determined to no longer settle for less than she deserves, Wren returns home to Ohio - confused and, yet again, heartbroken. Her life very quickly takes another unexpected turn and she is forced to adjust, even while Marshall is never far from her thoughts.
 
One of my favorites aspects in a Tracey Garvis Graves novel are her characters. They are not cookie cutter archetypes, but people who feel as if they were plucked from the real world: your friend, your coworker, your neighbor. People who are dealing with the messiness of Life – sometimes struggling, sometimes overcoming, but almost always doing the best that they can. Wren and Marshall were so genuinely likable, and I wanted the very best for them – both separately and together. I had so much admiration for Wren as she found her footing and made steps to reclaim her life. Her bravery and her determination to do the right thing had me cheering her on. At the same time, my heart ached for Marshall and I wanted nothing more than for him to find peace.
 
The Trail of Lost Hearts is a story of love and loss, healing and second chances. Filled with heartache, humor, adventure, and romance, this latest novel from Graves is one I will not hesitate to recommend.
 4.25 stars







WWW Wednesday #133 | March 20, 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?


Winter may barely be over, but in my area the weather is already
switching between spring and summer. Yesterday was it was 62 F (17 C)
and last Saturday it was 85 (30 C)! I would say it's crazy weather, 
but it's actually pretty typical for this time of year.
What's it like in your area?


What are you currently reading?

      

Kindle: Stay With Me (Sugarland Creek #2) by Brooke Montgomery
Audio: Tangle of Need (Psy-Changeling #11) by Nalini Singh

Currently readingI haven't had as much time to read as I would like the last couple days
so I'm not very far into Stay With Me, but I'm happy to back at Sugarland Creek with the 
Hollis family. 
Current progress: 20%

Currently listening: I've let too long go between Psy-Changeling books so I'm excited to 
jump back in. This is the first book in the series that I have read on audio and it's an 
adjustment. There are some long pauses in between sentences and I'm hoping that as I get
into the story I'll stop noticing them.
Current progress: 5%


What did you recently finish reading?

      

eARC: The Trail of Lost Hearts by Tracey Garvis Graves
Kindle: The Dandelion Diary by Devney Perry

Recently read: The Trail of Lost Hearts - A strong, thought-provoking story dealing with 
love, loss, and healing. Another solid story from TGG4.25 stars

Recently read: The Dandelion Diary - This was such a lovely wrap-up to the Maysen Jar
series. This novella was packed with charm. 4 stars


What do you think you'll read next?


never know what I'm going to read next but This Could Be Us is a strong possibility.


What are you reading today? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR | 2024

 

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


This Week's Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Spring TBR
 
Any time a TTT prompt includes a TBR I giggle my way through compiling the list. I know even as I type the list that it's not likely to happen. I cannot plan what I'm going to read. Kudos to those who make weekly or monthly TBR's and know exactly what they're going to be reading at any given time. But that's not me. I'm 100% a mood reader and I love the feeling of possibility after I finish a book and know that I can choose anything at all to read next... it all depends on what I'm feeling in the moment.

So that being said, take this list with a grain of salt. lol Sure I want to read every book I've
included, but are they actually going to read this spring? No idea! ๐Ÿ˜


The Five Year Lie - Sarina Bowen
The One I Left Behind - Piper Rayne
Blitz - Devney Perry
Mind Games - Nora Roberts
Whiskey & Sin - Emily Rath
Mona of the Manor - Armistead Maupin
Boone - Sawyer Bennett 
This Could Be Us - Kennedy Ryan


Are any of these books on your TBR? 

Short Take Reviews: Pittsburgh Titans series | Hendrix, Bain, Van2

 

by Sawyer Bennett
Series: Pittsburg Titans #7
Pub: 6/6/2023
4 stars

Hendrix Bateman was considered one of The Lucky Three, among the trio of players that were not with the team when the plane crashed. Hendrix was possibly the most well-adjusted of the three and was grateful for his good fortune and second chance. After ending a bad relationship that had run its course, an encounter with a feisty bartender had Hendrix ready to take a chance again.
 
Bar-owner Stevie was tough as nails and could handle her own with her sometimes raucous clientele, but being abandoned by her mother as a child had left its mark. Desperate for a connection with her mother, Stevie allowed herself to be manipulated by her time and time again.
 
Hendrix was an absolute sweetheart and so supportive of Stevie. Unfortunately, Stevie’s continued need to forge a relationship with her mother created a lot of drama and came close to ruining her relationship with Hendrix. As usual with this series, the camaraderie among the teammates is always a highlight for me, and it was great to see Stevie pulled into the fold of the Titans family.

by Sawyer Bennett
Series: Pittsburg Titans #8
Pub: 11/3/2023
4.25 stars

Bain was recently traded to the Titans and was excited to be a part of the team that had overcome such adversity. Meeting the goalie’s sister at a team event set off instant sparks and, since neither was interested in a relationship, they embarked on a no-strings-attached fling. Naturally, both refused to admit they were catching real feelings so when faced with a serious situation they pulled apart instead of pulling together.
 
This entry in the series packed an emotional punch and it was hard to see both characters suffer. Despite all their protests it was obvious that they had something real and their mutual denial that it was anything other than physical was pretty funny. I especially appreciated the way Bain’s teammates rallied around him when he was struggling. 

by Sawyer Bennett
Series: Pittsburg Titans #10
Pub: 11/30/2023
3.5 stars

Retired from his hockey career, Van had settled in Vermont for a quiet life with his wife Simone, hoping to start a family. When a book was published based on the diaries of his serial-killer father, filled with salacious lies meant to hurt Van, he reacted by pushing Simone away. Convinced that the stigma would damage not only Simone but their future children, Van quickly signed a new contract with the Titans and left Simone. Unwilling to let Van’s emotional reaction to the book derail their future, Simone followed Van to Pittsburgh, determined to save their marriage.
 
As much as I love this series, I’m sad to say that I struggled with this one. I understood Van's fears and his (misguided) reasoning, but the way he was intentionally cruel to Simone was hard to get past. I admired Simone’s tenacity and her desire to make Van see reason, but his cutting remarks, meant to hurt her and drive her away were hard to take. There is no good reason to inflict such pain on someone you love. My disappointment in Van’s actions meant this was a low point in the series for me. 


Do you read hockey/sports romance?

Top Ten Tuesdays: Books I Want to Re-Read

 

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


This Week's Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Books I Want to Re-Read
 
There are some books that I would love to experience again. Maybe because I want to 
revisit the characters, maybe the story was particularly impactful, or maybe it evoked a 
particular feeling that I would love to recapture. I don't often make time for re-reading, 
but if/when I do, these are some of the books I would love to pick up and enjoy all over again.


Keep This Promise - Corinne Michaels
Tied - Carian Cole 
Kulti - Mariana Zapata
Cake - J. Bengtsson
We Own Tonight - Corinne Michaels
Tattered Stars - Catherine Cowles
Everything Under the Sun - Jessica Redmerski
Once We Were Starlight - Mia Sheridan
Pucking Around - Emily Rath

Do you re-read favorite books?

Review: Iron Flame | Rebecca Yarros

IRON FLAME
by Rebecca Yarros
The Empyrean #2
Pub: 11/7/2023
Entangled: Red Tower Books
884 pg. (Kindle version)

Everyone expected Violet Sorrengail to die during her first year at Basgiath War College—Violet included. But Threshing was only the first impossible test meant to weed out the weak-willed, the unworthy, and the unlucky.

Now the real training begins, and Violet’s already wondering how she’ll get through. It’s not just that it’s grueling and maliciously brutal, or even that it’s designed to stretch the riders’ capacity for pain beyond endurance. It’s the new vice commandant, who’s made it his personal mission to teach Violet exactly how powerless she is–unless she betrays the man she loves.

Although Violet’s body might be weaker and frailer than everyone else’s, she still has her wits—and a will of iron. And leadership is forgetting the most important lesson Basgiath has taught her: Dragon riders make their own rules.

But a determination to survive won’t be enough this year.

Because Violet knows the real secret hidden for centuries at Basgiath War College—and nothing, not even dragon fire, may be enough to save them in the end.


REVIEW:


I imagine the question on every reader’s mind when they pick up Iron Flame is: can it possibly live up to Fourth Wing? For me the answer is a resounding yes.

After the jaw dropping ending of Fourth Wing (hello cliffhanger), I was excited to find that Iron Flame wasted no time in throwing me right back into the action. The plot of Iron Flame expanded far beyond the walls of Basgiath, and Violet’s previous goal of simply surviving her first year at the war college paled in comparison to the even higher stakes she now faced. Violet was attempting to come to terms with her new reality and it’s fair to say that her confidence was shaken. Now plagued by nightmares, and still reeling from a heartbreaking loss, she felt unable to lean on her friends for support, and instead kept them at arm’s length to protect them. The lack of support and the fragile state of her relationship with Xaden made for a very angsty Violet.

Friendships that were formed in Fourth Wing only strengthened in Iron Flame and I loved seeing those secondary characters play important roles in the expanding plot, utilizing their own unique gifts in times of need. But, as in Fourth Wing, Tairn and Andarna were the shining stars and the highlight of every scene they were in. Someone please explain how this (almost) strictly contemporary reader became so emotionally attached to two dragons, because that is my new reality.

As much as I loved the journey, there were some bumps along the way. Violet and Xaden’s relationship (a highlight for me in Fourth Wing) floundered here and trust issues were the common theme. Violet’s insistence on “full disclosure” from Xaden smacked of hypocrisy and their push and pull throughout the book started to feel a bit repetitive. However, Violet’s push for answers has led to more background on Xaden.

Yarros delivered another thrilling, action-packed ride and there were scenes where it felt like I was hanging on for dear life. As the tension amped up to off-the-charts levels, I alternated between my heart stopping and feeling like it was about to beat right out of my chest. Yet again, another ending that had me gasping with shock and desperately wishing I knew when to expect the next installment. While I wait, you can find me online soaking up fan art and theories galore. 4.75 ★

Have you read Iron Flame?




The Sunday Post #359 | March 3, 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.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

Happy Sunday, friends! How was your week? I was busy at the office all week and got a lot accomplished. So it was tiring, but productive. I ended up working from home on Friday so that helped ease the way into the weekend.

Question: Does your reading experience vary depending on the type of book you read? 
I don't consider myself a fast reader (or a slow reader), just middle of the road. On average I read about two books a week - one ebook and one audiobook - and I typically read 8-10 books a month. But that really changes when I venture outside of the contemporary romance genre. For example, I started Iron Flame ten days ago... and I'm right around the 70% mark. Now, that's slow even for me. But I've found that when I read any type of fantasy my reading speed slows significantly. Fantasy is so outside my comfort zone and I read slowly to truly understand the world-building and take it all in. So even though I'm loving it, Iron Flame has been a slooow read for me. So out of curiosity, when you read different genres or even different formats (ebook, physical book, audiobook), does it impact how you read?

This week's throwback song is Dreaming (1979) by Blondie. I remember buying Blondie's greatest hits around 1981 or so - on cassette tape, of course LOL - and listening to it over and over. Dreaming was one of my favorites. Enjoy!



ON THE BLOG


Tuesday, February 27

Wednesday, February 28


WHAT I READ


I didn't finish anything this week... all my reading time has been devoted to Iron Flame.


CURRENTLY READING


Kindle/Audio: Iron Flame (Empyrean #2) - Rebecca Yarros

NEW ADDITIONS


From William Morrow / NetGalley:

eARC: Slow Dance - Rainbow Rowell

TOTALLY RANDOM



HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?