The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair

The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair
Pub. Date: June 4, 2019
Source: ARC + finished hardback via publisher (Thank you, Minotaur Books!)
Summary: In a London slowly recovering from World War II, two very different women join forces to launch a business venture in the heart of Mayfair–The Right Sort Marriage Bureau. Miss Iris Sparks, quick-witted and impulsive, and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge, practical and widowed with a young son, are determined to achieve some independence and do some good in a rapidly changing world.

But the promising start to their marriage bureau is threatened when their newest client, Tillie La Salle, is found murdered and the man arrested for the crime is the prospective husband they matched her with. While the police are convinced they have their man, Miss Sparks and Mrs. Bainbridge are not. To clear his name–and to rescue their fledging operation’s reputation–Sparks and Bainbridge decide to investigate on their own, using the skills and contacts they’ve each acquired through life and their individual adventures during the recent war.

Little do they know that this will put their very lives at risk.
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Historical Fiction, WWII

Back in January I mentioned this book in a recently added post where I highlighted three upcoming releases I was beyond excited about. I might have pestered the publicist a bit, but in the end this book landed in my hands and spoiler alert, I now have my third 5-star read of 2019 (out of 89 books so you know this is a good one)! There, done, review over, right? What more needs to be said?

London was devastated by the war and those left behind are slowly picking up the pieces and attempting to return to something akin to normal. Though buildings are little more than ruins and few families escaped without a loss, the world continues to turn and life must go on. The war saw the death of her beloved husband Ronnie, and when her grief became too much, Gwen found herself committed to a sanatorium. Her in-laws immediately sought custody of Gwen’s six-year-old son and, though she now lives in their sprawling manor, she knows the roof over her head is not there out of love. One wrong move and the indomitable lord and lady will ensure Gwen never sees her son – their heir – ever again.

Iris doesn’t talk about her role in the war. She can’t. Oaths, vows of secrecy, a chain of command, the whole works. While she might seem carefree and aloof on the outside, Iris desperately wants to find love. Sure, affairs and flings are a grand old time, but how could she expect to stay with a man when he refuses to be seen with her in public? Iris has a trail of failed relationships and broken engagements in her wake, the latest one had everything to do with her part in the war effort, and because of that, she wasn’t able to explain. Instead, she had to watch him walk out of her life assuming the very worst about her character.

Though these two ladies couldn’t be more different, their friendship came fast and fierce. Now, mere months after their initial meeting, they’re the proud owners of The Right Sort, a marriage bureau. For a fee (and after a lengthy questionnaire) they play matchmaker, selecting just the right husband for a young woman.

Their personal lives might be turned upside down, but their business is moving along swimmingly…until their latest client is found murdered in an alley. And the man charged with the crime is the man Iris and Gwen chose for Tillie. While they are both dismayed and shocked at the news of Tillie’s death, there’s just no way Dickie did it. Gwen and Iris might be the only two in London who believe he’s innocent, and they’re determined to clear his name (and their reputation).

First thing’s first: I went into this book assuming Gwen was much older. Because she had been described in the summary as practical and a widow, in my mind I took her to be an elderly woman. Nope! I can’t recall if her age was ever stated, but Iris is 29 and the two are around the same age.

As for the story, I loved it. I ate it up and tore through The Right Sort of Man in a sitting. The setting, the time period, their backstories, the secondary characters (more of Sally please!), everything about this book was a pure delight and I highlighted several passages and snippets of conversations because they made me laugh so much.

Cozy mystery readers will feel right at home within these pages. I don’t believe the book is being marketed as such, but it gave off some serious cozy vibes from the total amateurs taking matters into their own hands to the light-hearted style (as light-hearted as a city wrecked by war and a murder can be).

There were a few twists and turns throughout the book, some I saw while other caught me by surprise (surprises are always welcome when it comes to mysteries) and I flipped the pages at a breakneck pace. While I was absolutely absorbed in the crime and whodunit, Gwen and Iris were the real stars of the show. Their friendship, their banter, I adored them and wish the book was twice as long just so I could spend more time with these ladies. I cared about them and even now after having finished the book, I find myself thinking back to them and wondering what’s going to happen next in their lives. Book two doesn’t even need a murder to solve, that’s how eager I am to read more about these fantastic characters. I might enjoy books and happily discuss them, but I save my over-the-top praise for the truly special ones. And this book, the third this year out of the 89 I’ve read so far to receive the coveted 5-star rating, is a truly special one.

The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan

The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan
Pub. Date: May 7, 2019
Source: e-ARC via netgalley (Thank you, Minotaur Books!)
Summary: The way Jazz Ramsey figures it, life is pretty good. She’s thirty-five years old and owns her own home in one of Cleveland’s most diverse, artsy, and interesting neighborhoods. She has a job she likes as an administrative assistant at an all-girls school, and a volunteer interest she’s passionate about—Jazz is a cadaver dog handler.

Jazz is working with Luther, a cadaver dog in training. Luther is still learning cadaver work, so Jazz is putting him through his paces at an abandoned building that will soon be turned into pricey condos. When Luther signals a find, Jazz is stunned to see the body of a young woman who is dressed in black and wearing the kind of make-up and jewelry that Jazz used to see on the Goth kids back in high school.

She’s even more shocked when she realizes that beneath the tattoos and the piercings and all that pale make up is a familiar face.
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery

Back in January I first highlighted this novel in a recently added post. The premise instantly appealed to me: the main character trains Human Remains Detection dogs… aka cadaver dogs. Fun fact: a few summers ago, right after we adopted Bay, I was looking into requirements for cadaver dogs (make Bay earn her keep, you know ha!) Turns out a major part of the job involves being in a car for extended periods of time. Well that ended Baylor’s fantasy cadaver dog career real fast!

By day, Jazz Ramsey works as an administrative assistant at St. Catherine’s, an all-girls’ school. In her off time, however, she trains dogs in human remains detection. When Jazz puts Luther through the paces in an abandoned building (she lets him do his thing, carefully watching while he searches for the tooth Jazz hid), she’s more than a little surprised when he lets out three barks, his signal for a find. The tooth Jazz hid was on a third floor, much too far away for Luther to have detected.

Instead it’s a body. A body Jazz recognizes. Though she’s dressed like something out of a horror film, Jazz knows the girl is Florie Allen, a former St. Cat’s student. What follows is a search to discover who killed Florie, unfortunately Jazz’s investigation only leads to more questions. Why was she dressed like a Goth kid from Jazz’s high school days? Did Florie’s own high school rivalry carry on after graduation? Why is an ad for a divorce attorney found among her belongings? And why does the lead detective on the case have to be Jazz’s ex?

I’m beyond delighted to say The Scent of Murder was just as entertaining as I had hoped! While the tone is a bit darker than Kylie Logan’s cozy series (League of Literary Ladies, Button Box, Ethnic Eats, and Chili Cook-Off), it nonetheless retains that easy readability that makes tearing through the novel a breeze – and don’t forget the hallmark of all cozies: the main character who decides to start her own investigation!

Other readers have mentioned the lack of dog scenes, particularly when the dogs are such a driving factor of the series. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until after I finished the book and was reading reviews that it even crossed my mind – and that right there should say something about how intriguing and enjoyable this novel was! I came for the cadaver dogs, but ultimately stayed to solve the mystery behind a young woman’s death.

One thing I want to point out is that the blurb mentions Jazz is 35. I’m not sure that’s right unless I missed something! Florie graduated two years prior to the novel and one of her classmates mentions that Jazz isn’t much older than them, no more than five years. While reading I was under the impression Jazz was in her mid/late 20s. Not a huge deal, but something I noticed!

The Scent of Murder is a fantastic start to a new series that I will certainly be continuing! A main character who trains cadaver dogs is not a premise I’ve come across before in my reading and I was hooked from page one. Dogs and a captivating mystery made this a book I couldn’t put down!

April 2019 recap.


Cars & Coffee officially started back up for the season – and our favorite coffee shop busted out the Easter drinks! The Chubby Bunny was deelish ♥

• We got new furniture! By far a highlight of the month. It was so overdue and we couldn’t be happier.

• April was a fairly quiet month, certainly not one for blogging – eek!

• In April I read 20 books: 8 physical, 1 audiobook, 11 e-books. Of those 20, my favorites included The Girl He Used to Know, A People’s History of Heaven, and the first volume of I Hear the Sunspot.

ALSO ON INSTAGRAM: Bookmail (1, 2,3 | a library haul (see the post below for more details about the books!) | my sweet girl | my two favorite reads of the month: x & x


THE GIRL HE USED TO KNOW BY TRACEY GARVIS GRAVES was an absolute gem and is deserving of every ounce of praise it’s received – and will continue to receive. That the book’s release fell on World Autism Awareness Day was hardly a coincidence; Annika is on the spectrum – very high-functioning, but unable to understand social cues or tolerate certain clothing fabrics, for example. This lovely novel is presented in a past (1991) present (2001) format that I adore, though I will admit one crucial part of the plot totally caught me off guard and had me ugly crying.

FAME ADJACENT BY SARAH SKILTON was enjoyable while it lasted, but ultimately forgettable, much to my disappointment. This book was practically written for me and my generation: Holly peaked at 11; she was one of the stars in a Micky Mouse Clubhouse-esque variety show. After the series ended, the rest of her cast members skyrocketed to superstardom, while Holly…didn’t. When the novel opens she’s doing a stint in rehab for Internet addiction – constantly refreshing her Reddit AMA and checking the alerts she has set up for news about her former friends. There’s an anniversary reunion for the show and, when Holly doesn’t receive an invite, she decides to crash the taping instead. This could have been such a fun, campy, gossipy Hollywood novel. Sadly I never cared for Holly as a character.

APRIL MINI REVIEW ROUND-UP featured an assortment from genres and time periods. Dear Mrs. Bird was a TacklingtheTBR pick – and once that should have been a guaranteed winner, only to fall show. A second-chance romance and a ghost story (with cursed buried treasure!) were both DNFs. I finally discovered the Veronica Speedwell series (with book 4, whoops) and devoured it – don’t be surprised to see me picking up the earlier three novels soon! Trophy Life was an easy, breezy novel that should have been total braincandy: a trophy wife learns her husband got into bad business and they lost everything; now she’s headed for the Bronx where she has to work (!) as a teacher at an all boys’ school. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! Finally, A People’s History of Heaven. What a delight and easily in the running for a top read of the year.




April mini review round-up

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce | July 2018
Dear Mrs. Bird was my second read in my Tackling the TBR project (following the fantastic The Cinderella Deal). This WWII-era novel instantly appealed to me the moment I heard about it: a woman accepts a position as an advice columnist. A secret advice columnist. That, combined with some majorly high praise from friends and bloggers I trust had it firmly on my To Read shelf. One day I noticed it was available through my library as an audiobook and I was sold – audiobooks are the best way to pass a workday!

I’m not sure what happened here. Clearly it was a case of it’s not you, it’s me since everyone and their brother loved this book. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, I supposed I went in expecting a different novel than the one I got. I thought it would be more campy with all its talk of secret advice-giving. Instead, the column seemed to take a backseat to other plotlines…some I admittedly didn’t care about at all. I’m so sad Dear Mrs. Bird didn’t turn out to be a book for me, when I went in fully expecting to leave with a new favorite. Here’s to hoping the next Tackling the TBR read is better!

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon | April 30, 2019
I love Jennifer McMahon. Don’t Breathe a Word was my very first review on the blog waaay back in 2011. Since then, I’ve reviewed multiple books of hers and ever featured her in a GoodReads Recommends post. She’s an auto-read author for me – though by auto-read I mean, ONLY during the day when Matt and both dogs are in the house AND every single light is on…and chances are I’ll still jump at the tiniest sound. She’s that good. So naturally when I heard about her upcoming novel, I jumped at the chance to read a review copy.

Helen and Nate give everything up – their high-paying jobs, their comfortable home, their circle of friends – to build a dream house in the woods of Vermont. It’s only after construction begins that they learn of a local legend: Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who owned their property a century ago, was deemed a witch by the townsfolk and viciously murdered. Though Hattie lived in the woods, her family had been the richest in town, and it was said Hattie buried her fortune. Since then, treasure seekers and kids on dares have taken to the woods looking for gold – or Hattie’s spirit.

I wish this wasn’t the case (and I certainly toughed it out far longer than I would have had it been any other author), but The Invited was a DNF. I don’t know how a story full of ghosts, witches, and possibly-cursed treasure could be so boring, but it was a struggle to get to 67% and by then I had to call it quits. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it ended up being one of the biggest disappointments.

A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn | March 12, 2019
Book one in the Veronica Speedwell series, A Curious Beginning, has been on my To Read list for several years now. And how could I not want to read about a Victorian adventuress who hunts butterflies and has the occasional romantic tryst? It wasn’t until a publicist offered a copy of A Dangerous Collaboration – the FOURTH book – that I finally (!) discovered just what I had been missing.

Eager to secure a specimen of an extremely rare butterfly, Veronica accepts an invitation to be attend Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party. Once all the guests are in attendance, however, it becomes clear something isn’t quite right. Each guest has a connection to Romilly’s wife who disappeared on her wedding night three years earlier and hasn’t been heard from since. With ghosts taking shape and threats appearing, Veronica and Stoker race to discover just what happened to the young woman who vanished all those years ago.

A Dangerous Collaboration was an absolute delight and I’m kicking myself for not reading the series earlier! Unfortunately, because I came into the story with book four, certain events have been spoiled, but that’s totally my own fault and I look forward to diving into the series at the beginning.

A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian | March 19, 2019
I recently shared my thoughts about this one on Instagram. A People’s History of Heaven was a random library grab and – wow. What a read. Heaven is a tight-knit community, a ramshackle slum in Bangalore, India. Girls grow up without ever owning a single new item of clothing, handed off from their mothers to their husbands into (hopefully) a better life where their only job is to birth sons. Five girls live in Heaven and their stories drive this book. Padma, determined to get an education and do the unthinkable: go to college. Joy, finally living as a girl after a childhood spent in the wrong body. Deepa, the outside world might view her blindness as her downfall but she’s the best dancer in her class, the best cook, and loyal to a fault.

This wasn’t the type of book I normally go for, but something about it spoke to me (that beautiful cover, perhaps). There are so many quote-worthy passages and the characters practically leaped from the page. My time spent with this one was all too brief, but absolutely wonderful while it lasted.

Trophy Life by Lea Geller | April 9, 2019
When her husband doesn’t show up for their weekly couple’s massage, Agnes knows capital-S Something happened. In an instant, life changes for Agnes. It turns out her husband’s investment gig wasn’t exactly on the up-and-up and he owes people money. Lots of money. Unable to pay for the mansion, the designer clothes, even their nanny and maid, Agnes is sent across the country – infant daughter in tow – to a place where she’s to hide out until her husband takes care of business. For the next few months (fingers crossed), an all-boys boarding school in the Bronx will be her home.

The cutesy cover caught my eye and I decided to take a chance on this book. I expected a light-hearted, chicklit-y read about a trophy wife who suddenly has to get a job. And while I DID get that, I also got a novel that was surprisingly uplifting with a really sweet message. Think of any feel-good movie where a new teacher is in way over her depths with a rowdy group of students (in this case, the school is a last-ditch effort for these boys) and miraculously makes a breakthrough and all lives involved are changed. That’s Trophy Life.

The Promise of Us by Jamie Beck | April 9
I’m ending things with another DNF – I had some FANTASTIC reads in April, but apparently more duds than I thought! The Promise of Us sounded like it would have been an enjoyable contemporary romance: Claire, once the victim of a mass shooting that instantly ended her promising tennis career, has hit a bump with her home design business. Logan, the brother of Claire’s former bestie, just so happens to be looking for someone to redo his multi-million dollar New York condo.

…unfortunately, I only made it three chapters before calling it quits with this one. I’m fine with drama – it makes for a compelling read. But I have my limits. The Promise of You was nothing BUT drama and tragedy, each character one-upping the other with their sob stories. There’s Clare with the mass shooting AND she was dumped by her boyfriend for that former bestie…who is battling breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy, but was ultimately dumped herself once she became sick. The third bestie in their group was the victim of an assault. No thanks.

my latest library haul 4/20

In February roughly a million holds all came in at once at my library and I decided to do a library haul post. I had so much fun with it that, in March, I shared another haul. Since then I’ve been pretty good about getting a handle on my requests, but now I’m back with a new edition of a feature that’s quickly becoming a favorite of mine!

Over the Fence by Mary Monroe
It turns out this book is a sequel to last year’s One House Over, which I haven’t read and I’m hoping that won’t hurt my enjoyment! 1930s, Depression-era South. Milton and Yvonne found a better life via bootlegging. Gone are their days in poverty – now they’re in a respectable middle-class neighborhood…with a very interesting couple next door. It turns out Joyce and Odell aren’t as perfect as they’re letting on and in order to keep his own secret hidden, blackmail is looking mighty tempting to Milton.

The Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr
“A post-mortem photographer unearths dark secrets of the past that may hold the key to his future.” Um, yes please. This one is being compared to Wuthering Heights and The Thirteenth Tale – as if I wasn’t intrigued already!

The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters
I hadn’t heard about this one until I was browsing upcoming titles in my library’s online catalog. The SECOND I saw it, my eyes flew to the word raven and I pounced. Edgar Allan Poe as a teen in a world where muses exist as terrible creatures that ultimately lead artists “down a path of ruin and disgrace”. YES YES YES.

Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
“In the moments after the bicycle accident, Professor Chandra doesn’t see his life flash before his eyes, but his life’s work.” Having just missed winning the Nobel Prize (again), Professor Chandra wants nothing more than to jump right back into his work – but his doctor has other ideas: if he doesn’t want the stress of his work to kill him, Professor Chandra needs to take a break. I am all for curmudgeons and this Professor Emeritus in Economics is calling my name.

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Totally random grab here. I rarely read YA and even less Fantasy YA. At the Medio School for Girls, young ladies are trained for one of two roles: upon graduation they will either run their husband’s household or raise his children – both promising a life of luxury. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student…as long as no one finds out her life is a lie. Identification papers were secretly forged so she could rise from her lowly station and now, with graduation drawing nearer, Daniela has to fight to keep the truth hidden or risk being thrown back into a life of poverty.

Ungovernable: The Victorian Parent’s Guide to Raising Flawless Children by Therese Oneill
I really enjoyed Therese’s debut, Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners, and now she’s back with a new book detailing what comes after the marriage: raising children the Victorian way.

The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield
I love WWII novels and went on a bit of a spree recently. During that mini-binge I came across this 4-book collection: a fictitious diary written by a disaster-prone lady in the 1930s. She details her attempts at keeping her house from falling into chaos, there’s her grumbling husband and mischievous children, and don’t forget the servants who always manage to one-up her. Originally published in the 30s, I’m so excited to dive into this highly-rated collection!

Fame Adjacent by Sarah Skilton

Fame Adjacent by Sarah Skilton
Pub. Date: April 9, 2019
Source: e-ARC via netgalley (Thank you, Grand Central!)
Summary: Holly Danner has a complicated relationship with fame. It’s not easy being the only cast member of a 1990s song-and-dance show who didn’t become famous. When she was eleven, she used to do anything for a laugh (or at least a laugh-track) on “Diego and the Lion’s Den.” If she talked about it–which she almost never does–Holly might explain how her childhood best friends came to dominate the worlds of pop music, film, and TV while she was relegated to a few near-misses and a nanny gig for her niece. She’d even be telling the truth about making peace with the whole thing years ago.

But when she finds out there’s a 25th anniversary for the show planned–a televised reunion, clip show, and panel–and she wasn’t invited, it’s time for an impromptu road trip to crash the event and set the record straight. Three problems: she’s currently in Internet Rehab (perhaps she’s not quite as well-adjusted as she believes…), she has no cash, and the only person who can get her across the country in time is Thom Parker, a handsome, infuriatingly level-headed patient who doesn’t think she should confront her famous ex-friends.
Genre: Contemporary

Holly Danner peaked at 11. Cast as the plucky, funny one on a Mickey Mouse Club-esque children’s show called Diego and the Lion’s Den (it was never explicitly stated whether or not the children actually lived at the zoo, but it was a theory fans clung to fiercely), Holly’s star shone brightly for those few precious years. After the show ended, things only seemed to get better for her co-stars: boyband fame, record deals, starring roles in television dramas. But for Holly? Well, she was almost in a tv show…until they recast her part one episode in.

Understandably Holly was a bit bitter. Especially because her house was where they would flock to hide from the rest of the world. Her family took each one in and allowed them to simply be themselves away from the prying eyes of cameras and millions of adoring fans. And now the Diego cast is back for a 20th reunion show – without Holly. It was bad enough to have her friends cut her off, but to not get an invite to the reunion show??

Holly is determined to get her revenge. First up: Holly hosts a Reddit AMA, dishing all the behind-the-scenes details and gossip. What Holly didn’t count on, however, was to become so addicted to the Internet – refreshing Reddit and her email, constantly checking her alerts for any word on the cast members – and it’s the opening chapters of Fame Adjacent that introduces the reader to Prevail!, a rehab facility where Holly is currently doing a 6-week stint.

I was born in 1988; I grew up in the midst of the 90s boyband craze, the start of the Internet turning teens into instant sensations, campy kid’s shows that somehow became cult classics. And to hear the story of someone who lived through the fame – and DIDN’T come out on top? Fame Adjacent practically screamed my name. While I did enjoy it and read it in a sitting, now that it’s over I’m not entirely sure I loved it. It certainly wasn’t as gossipy and fun as I anticipated.

I’ll be honest: I didn’t care about Holly. She was bitter, yes, but not in a snarky, witty way that drew me in. The center’s counselor was wildly unprofessional. The cast members were dull. Thom, the love interest, had his moments, but it was hard to root for a relationship to happen when Holly nearly assaulted him one night, all but forcing him to sleep with her despite his protests. I can’t help but think that, had Holly been the one saying no, readers would definitely NOT cheer at their happily ever after.

The entire novel hinged on Holly crashing the reunion. And when that moment finally happens, instead of a big, building climatic scene, it simply fizzles out. She had harbored such hurt and anger at her cast mates for the past twenty years, and when she finally lets them have it…it seemed like it was all for nothing. They seemed to all make up in a matter of minutes (a commercial break during the taping, if I’m remembering correctly), and that was that.

I will say though, that the one thing about Fame Adjacent I enjoyed was the format. Throughout the narrative are bits of the script from scenes of Diego and the Lion’s Den and Holly’s AMA. I really liked these bits and, honestly, would have rather read an entire book in this format instead.

Although Fame Adjacent was a speedy, easy read, I can’t say I truly liked it. It was entertaining while it lasted, but made no great impression – and it certainly not a book I would pick up again. There were moments where Holly’s character all but ruined the book and when her big moment arrives, it left me wanting far more. I appreciated the fun format though – the chapters of scripts and Holly’s AMA were a delight in an otherwise dull and disappointing read.

March 2019 recap!


• I might be the only one who finds this exciting, but Matt and I bought new cookware! Apart from two new (aka nice) pots, the cookware we had was pretty old and WELL-loved ha. There was a pretty amazing deal that was just too good to pass up – we got a high-ish end brand for 60% off! Not too shabby!! & it looks beautiful too, always a plus.

Birthdays! My mom celebrated her birthday in March and my big boy turned 2 (& check out that pretty sweet cake)! That little puppy isn’t so little anymore. #cryingforever

• Matt and I had a day date! We hit up the movies at 9:00am to see Us. …and were a bit disappointed.

• The family got together for brunch one weekend and my blueberry cinnamon roll bake was a HUGE hit!

• I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a big tv person, but American Gods came back in March and What We Do in the Shadows premiered! I loved the WWDitS movie and finally convinced Matt to watch it with me AND check out the show – he’s hooked!

Also on Instagram: I found my first 5-star read of the year! What’s World Book Day without some Roald Dahl love? (on a related note, be sure to check out my earlier Roald Dahl love). I found my second 5-star read of the year! I went a little overboard with my library requests. Is there a better pairing than coffee + books? Bookmail 1, 2, 3. Lastly, some love for The Parting Glass and Hard Loving Cowboy.

• In March I read 19 books: 17 print/ebooks, 2 audiobooks. Apart from the two already-mentioned 5-star reads, I also loved A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers, A Dangerous Collaboration, and Farmhand Vol. 1.


GRACIE’S SECRET BY JILL CHILDS was a book that was hard to peg: the blurb makes it sound very thrillery with it’s talk of a little girl in a terrible car accident and the shocking story she tells afterward. In actuality, it came across as more of a Christian fiction novel, though I wouldn’t want to necessarily call it that either. I did enjoy this one though, it’s like a Saturday made-for-tv movie. Just enough substance to keep the pages turning, but nothing that will stay with me.

AMERICAN PRINCESS BY STEPHANIE MARIE THORNTON was the second of my two five-star reads of March! This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year – if you know me, you know I’m a HUGE Teddy Roosevelt fan and this one was all about his eldest daughter, Alice. She was an absolute firecracker and I lapped up every minute spent with her.

THE PARTING GLASS BY GINA MARIE GUADAGNINO packed a punch in less than 300 pages. All I know going in was that it took place in the 1800s and dealt with a love triangle between a young heiress and two Irish-immigrant siblings. Um yes please. I got that and SO much more: forbidden romance, secrets, betrayals, violence, upstairs/downstairs dynamics, an LGBT main character, real historical elements. This was a good one.

HARD LOVING COWBOY BY A.J. PINE instantly caught my eye: a bad boy cowboy and a fake relationship. Sign me up! Matt kept making me of me for how into my ~cowboy romance~ I was haha! I’ll admit I did find a few things problematic with the way Walker’s recovery was handled (he’s three months out of a stint in rehab for alcohol addiction), but overall I had SUCH a great time with this one – and I definitely need to get to know the other Everett boys!