Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Release Day! Last Circle of Love: A Novel by Lorna Landvik ~ My Thoughts #LastCircleOfLove

Happy Release Day!

Congrats Lorna
on the release today of
Last Circle of Love!

Last Circle of Love: A Novel by Lorna Landvik 
Contemporary Fiction, 288 pages
Published December 6, by Lake Union Publishing

A funny, heartwarming story about a feisty group of women who shake, spice, and heat things up with a “recipe” book for romance, from the bestselling author of Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons.

Newly installed at All Souls Lutheran, Mallory “Pastor Pete” Peterson soon realizes that her church isn’t merely going through turbulent waters, but is a sinking ship. With the help of five loyal members of the Naomi Circle, the young, bold minister brainstorms fundraising ideas. They all agree that the usual recipe book won’t add much to the parish coffers, but maybe one with all the ingredients on how to heat up relationships rather than casseroles will…

Pastor Pete has her doubts about the project, but it turns out the group of postmenopausal women has a lot to say on the subject of romance. While Charlene, the youngest member at fifty-two, struggles with the assignment, baker-extraordinaire Marlys, elegantly bohemian Bunny, I’m-always-right Velda, and ebullient Edie take up their contributions enthusiastically. After all, their book is really about cooking up love in all its forms.

But not everyone in the congregation is on board with this “scandalous” project. As the voices of opposition grow louder, Pastor Pete and these intrepid women will have to decide how hard they’re willing to fight for this book and the powerful stories within—stories of discovery, softened hearts, and changed lives.

My thoughts about Last Circle of Love ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first lines.)

First lines—"Let it be known, there was resistance—and bodily injury. But Edie, understanding that her bloody nose was not due to any maliciousness on her friend's part, accepted Marlys's apology."

I've been a fan of Lorna Landvik's books ever since I read Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons. Love that title! Last Circle of Love reminded me of that book of hers—a group of women who come together to fill a need in their lives. And oh, what a ride those crazy women take the reader on. 

I loved all of the characters in this story. They're mostly older women, who as you may or may not know, sometimes lose their filters. That's where the fun comes in! They decide they want to 'spice up' their traditional fundraising church cookbook. 

I'm pretty sure I read this entire book with a smile on my face, as I so enjoyed the antics of this group of church ladies. I could totally see myself being a part of this hilarious pack. What a hoot!

Give Last Circle of Love a try for an fun, entertaining, and uplifting time. You will not be disappointed. 

I received Last Circle of Love via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion of the book.

About the author

Lorna Landvik is a mother of two and wife of one. She is the author of eight novels, including the best-selling Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, Patty Jane's House of Curl and Oh My Stars

Also an actor and playwright, Lorna has appeared in many stage productions. She is a new and passionate neophyte to the practice of yoga, which is a fine antidote to her long established practice of lounging. ~ Goodreads

Connect with Lorna


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Release Day! So Long, Chester Wheeler by Catherine Ryan Hyde ~ My Thoughts #SoLongChesterWheeler @cryanhyde

Happy Release Day!

Congrats Catherine
on the release today of
So Long, Chester Wheeler!

So Long, Chester Wheeler by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Fiction, LGBT, 304 pages
Published December 6, by Lake Union Publishing

Unlikely road trip companions form an unexpected bond in an uplifting novel about the past—lost and found—by the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.

Lewis Madigan is young, gay, out of work, and getting antsy when he’s roped into providing end-of-life care for his insufferable homophobic neighbor, Chester Wheeler. Lewis doesn’t need the aggravation, just the money. The only requirements: run errands, be on call, and put up with a miserable old churl no one else in Buffalo can bear. After exchanging barbs, bickering, baiting, and pushing buttons, Chester hits Lewis with the big ask.

Lewis can’t say no to a dying wish: drive Chester to Arizona in his rust bucket of a Winnebago to see his ex-wife for the first time in thirty-two years—for the last time. One week, two thousand miles. To Lewis, it becomes an illuminating journey into the life and secrets of a vulnerable man he’s finally beginning to understand. A neighbor, a stranger, and a surprising new friend whose closure on a conflicted past is also just beginning.

So Long, Chester Wheeler is an uplifting novel about looking deeper into the heart and soul to form bonds with the last people we’d expect—only to discover that they’re the ones who need it most.

My thoughts about So Long, Chester Wheeler ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first lines.)

First lines—"The first thing I need to say, and the most important thing you can know, is that for most of the time I was forced to know him I despised Chester Wheeler."

Chester Wheeler is a character you'll love to hate. Which is exactly how Lewis Madigan felt about his spiteful, mean next door neighbor from the very first time they exchanged words. So then, how did the two of them end up embarking on a 2000 mile road trip, in an RV, no less? 

The journey they took was enlightening for both of them in so many way. And I loved every minute of it! What could be better than a crotchety, dying old man with nothing to lose pitted against a young gay man who has no other options? The predicament they found themselves in and the barbs they threw each other had me in stitches, while at the same time, had me seeing the world through both of their eyes. 

As always, Catherine Ryan Hyde has taken a tough but very real situation and turning it into a heartwarming story that we can all learn from. She is one of my must-read authors, even if I don't know what the story is about, because I know after reading one of her books, I want to be a better person from the lessons I learned from the story. I highly recommend So Long, Chester Wheeler. I loved it!

I received So Long, Chester Wheeler via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion of the book.

About the author

Catherine Ryan Hyde


I'm an avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, and have released my first book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.

I am co-author, with fellow author and publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF-HELP GUIDE.

My novel PAY IT FORWARD was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. Simon & Schuster released PAY IT FORWARD: YOUNG READERS' EDITION in August of '14. It is suitable for kids as young as eight. A special Fifteenth Anniversary Edition of the original PAY IT FORWARD was released in December of '14. ~ Goodreads

Connect with Catherine


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Monday, December 5, 2022

Book Blitz! Resting Grinch Face by Alina Jacobs ~ Excerpt & #Giveaway! #RestingGrinchFace @AlinaJWrites @XpressoTours


Resting Grinch Face by Alina Jacobs
Publication date: November 17th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance

I might not be able to ruin his life, but I will ruin his Christmas.

Yeah, I’m totally a grinch. But I come by it honestly.

Because of Oliver Frost, I flamed out at Harvard in the most humiliating way possible. Now I’m back in my small town—just in time to suffer through a display of small-town Christmas cheer so festive it will make you puke your eggnog. But who cares about being home for the holidays when you live with your family like a loser and have to share one bathroom with seven other people?

I plan to spend my Christmas purgatory being tsked at by elderly residents and passive aggressively prodded by my mom’s friends about what I plan to do with my life.

I don’t know, Deborah, work in the Christmas market and get screamed at by tourists because I didn’t put enough sprinkles on their little brats’ coffees? Seriously, who gives five-year-olds that much caffeine anyway?!

See? Like I said. A grinch.

I hate Christmas.

I set a nativity scene on fire.

Got in a fistfight with an elf—I lost, by the way.

And threw a vat of Snowman Surprise all over Oliver. Don’t ask. Small-town Christmas insanity.

Sleigh what? Oliver is here???

The man who humiliated me and ruined my life?

Ho ho ho, fuck no.

He doesn’t deserve a quaint small-town Christmas.

He doesn’t deserve a fancy Christmas tree from my family’s farm.

And he certainly does not deserve to win a bottle of whiskey in the daily Christmas market raffle.

Goddamn, I needed that drink.

He should be haunted like Ebenezer Scrooge by the Ghost of Christmas Past. Or at least the Ghost of Hookups Past.

Momma’s gonna have herself a very merry Christmas revenge.

Swapping the salt and sugar so his Christmas cookies are ruined? Be still, my shriveled little heart.

Spying on him so I can gather recon to ruin his holidate? Damn, I forgot how ripped his chest was.

Sneaking down his chimney to steal all the presents under his tree? Amateur hour.

Until I get caught…

Guess I’m spending Christmas in jail.

But when he sees I’m not wearing a bra under my ugly Christmas sweater, Oliver smiles like Santa has come early.

Crap! I knew I should have worn my good underwear.

Hold on to your stockings because the eggnog is spicy and mostly booze. This is a fuck-second-chances, Santa-stalker, holiday-revenge romantic comedy. Featuring Christmas-hating heroines with poor decision-making skills, ripped guys who will leave a very large package under your tree, and adorable corgis dressed up as reindeer, this standalone book has a happily ever after, guaranteed!

Goodreads | Amazon



I slid like a squirrel straddling the roof peak, scooting along the ridgeline to the massive brick fireplace. I pried the round ceramic top off and stuck my head inside.

The Victorians liked their fireplaces.

While my parents’ wood-burning fire was more of a stovepipe, this house had been built to hold a massive fire.

I swung my feet over and shimmied into the chimney. Below me, Max must have figured out what was up because he was barking, the noise echoing up the chimney shaft.

“Dang, I can’t believe I fit,” I marveled. The cold air whipped my face, and I had a moment of clarity.

“Maybe this was a bridge too far,” I said and tried to hoist myself back up.

The chimney rim was slick with ice. My hand slipped. Then I fell down into the sooty black tube.

I stopped abruptly, my teeth knocking together.

“Help,” I squeaked.

I was stuck in the chimney, my arms wedged up above my head. Every time I let out a breath I slid farther down. My skirt was wedged under my boobs, and my sweater was wrapped around my head and neck.

“Help!” I rasped, kicking my legs. “Max, get help.”

The dog’s frantic barking changed to excited yips.

A pair of strong arms wrapped around my soot-covered thighs.

In any other scenario, I would have been really put out that Oliver was finally touching me only after I had flaked on working out the past year and developed a layer of winter flab. But I just wanted to be free. It was difficult to breathe.

“Save me,” I forced myself to whisper.

“Shit,” Oliver said, giving a solid tug on my legs.

I wedged down farther.

“I think you’re stuck in there.” His hands disappeared.

“Don’t leave me,” I begged.

His hand was back, his thumb stroking me reassuringly on my ankle.

“Don’t worry. I’m going to call the fire department. We’ll probably have to dismantle the chimney. I’m sure my neighbors will complain to me about it.” I heard the eye roll in his voice. Then his phone emitted beeps.

I kicked my feet. “Don’t you dare, Oliver Frost. Don’t you dare call the fire department. My mother will find out. I’ll be the talk of the town for years. Decades. It will be on my tombstone.”

“I can’t leave you here,” he said, voice echoing up the shaft.

“Oh, yes you can. I insist. I’ll be dead and done rotting in about three weeks. Then we can all just pretend this never happened.”

“Are you insane?”

Oh God. I had a horrible thought.

He can probably see straight up my crotch.

Was I wearing my nice underwear? Did I even own any sufficiently nice underwear?

“Please,” I begged. “My life is shit. Please just try pulling me out one more time?”

“I’m afraid to make you more stuck. Embarrassment won’t kill you.”

“It literally will,” I shrieked with my remaining breath.

Oliver muttered something that sounded like “God save me from this woman.”

“Fine,” he grumbled, moving the logs and the metal grate out of the way. “I’m giving this one shot. Then we’re going to host the fire department for the second time in as many days.”

After a rustling of fabric, his large hands slid up my bare legs.

“Sorry for manhandling you like this.”

His bare arms circled my waist, and I squawked as he wrapped them around my bare torso, connecting my body with his.

I could feel his bare chest against my thighs.

His head was somewhere in crotch vicinity, and he squeezed me tight.

Maybe I could just tell him to eat me out and then die happy.

Oliver gave a sharp hard tug. My sweater slipped up.

He adjusted his grasp and pulled, grunting hard.

“I think I’m moving,” I called.

He gave one more strong tug. My sweater ripped, and then I was free, tumbling down in a heap of ash and yarn on top of him.

He was covered in black soot. It was all over his pale skin, turning his hair a dark gray and making his eyes a startlingly bright blue.

“See,” I said, spreading my arms. “I knew you could do it. And you wanted to call the fire department.”

He didn’t say a word. He was staring at me, or more specifically my boobs.

I looked down.

“Elf balls.”


About the author

If you like steamy romantic comedies with a creative streak, then I'm your girl!

Architect by day, writer by night, I love matcha green tea, chocolate, and books! So many books…

Sign up for my mailing list to get the free novella, After His Peonies, along with special bonus content, giveaways, and more!

Connect with Alina

Mailing List | Website | Goodreads | Facebook

Twitter | Instagram | Bookbub

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? December 5, 2022 #IMWAYR


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's an opportunity to visit other blogs and to comment on their reads. And ... you can add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are! 


Thanks for stopping by. I hope you all have a good week. 
Happy reading!

What I'm currently reading

The Circus Train
by Amita Parikh
Pub date ~ December 6

Before Ever After
by Samantha Sotto

Vendetta in Death
by J.D. Robb
Narrated by Susan Ericksen

What I recently finished

Last Circle of Love: A Novel
by Lorna Landvik
Pub date December 6

So Long, Chester Wheeler
by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Pub date December 6

What I am going to read next

Love and War
by Ashley Farley
Pub date ~ December 27

I really love my reading life!

What are you reading this week?


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Sunday, December 4, 2022

No Names to Be Given by Julia Brewer Daily ~ My Thoughts #NoNamesToBeGiven @JBDailyAuthor @booksforwardpr

No Names to Be Given by Julia Brewer Daily
Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction, 334 pages
Published August 2021, by Admission Press Inc.

Today’s young women will not understand how our families made us feel shame so intensely; we surrendered our first-born children to strangers. - Faith Reynolds, No Names to Be Given

The widely anticipated debut novel by Julia Brewer Daily is a glimpse into the lives of women forced by society to gift their newborns to strangers. Although this novel is a fictional account, it mirrors many of the adoption stories of its era.

When three young unwed women meet at a maternity home hospital in New Orleans in 1965, they are expected to relinquish their babies and return home as if nothing transpired. Twenty-five years later, they are brought back together by blackmail and their secrets threatened with exposure—all the way to the White House.

Told from the three women’s perspectives in alternating chapters, we are mesmerized by the societal pressures on women in the 1960s who found themselves pregnant without marriage.

How that inconceivable act changed them forever is the story of No Names To Be Given, a novel with southern voices, love exploited, heartbreak and blackmail.

My thoughts about No Names to Be Given ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first lines.)

First lines—"Men loved Sandy's body. She didn't have the option of leading with her wit or intellect. Her looks arrived first. It was both a blessing and a curse."

I was immediately intrigued by this story from the very first page. I'm not sure what it was that drew me in but I was totally captivated by these three young women. It was a different time for unwed women, back then in the mid 60's. There were not a lot of options available for them. After these women gave up their precious bundles, they were expected to go on and live their best lives. 

We follow Sandy, Becca, and Faith as they continue forward, watching them try to get over their sadness and get back to 'normal'. We also see them come together 25 years later for a bit of healing. That is until someone starts to blackmail them to reveal their secrets. That drama and intrigue made the storyline take an exciting turn. 

No Names to Be Given is an amazing debut novel that will stick with me for a long time. I fell in love with the three women and the heartbreaking stories that they all lived. The writing was a pleasure to read and flowed off the pages into my imagination, making this a story that I got lost in. I highly recommend it!

I received No Names to Be Given from Books Forward and this is my honest opinion of the book.

About the author

Julia Brewer Daily is a Texan with a southern accent. She has a B.S. in English and a M.S. degree in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi.

She has been an educator, Communications Adjunct Professor at Belhaven College, administrator, and Public Relations Director of the Mississippi Department of Education and Millsaps College, a liberal arts college in Jackson, MS.  She was the founding director of the Greater Belhaven Market, a producers’ only market in a historic neighborhood in Jackson, and even shadowed Martha Stewart.

As the Executive Director of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi (300 artisans from 19 states) which operates the Mississippi Craft Center, she wrote their stories to introduce them to the public. She is an adopted child from a maternity home hospital in New Orleans.

She searched and found her birth mother and through a DNA test, her birth father’s family, as well.  She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband Emmerson and two Labrador Retrievers, Memphis Belle and Texas Star.

Connect with Julia

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram


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