Review: Memorial, Bryan Washington

A beautiful exploration of self, relationships, family, and place.

Memorial was a raw, honest look at the lives of Benson and Mike, two men who struggle to communicate their feelings. Neither man is happy, but neither seem to be capable of having that honest conversation with each other.

I found myself completely drawn to the characters and story, especially the relationship between Benson and Mike’s mother, Mitsuko. She was thrown into an impossible situation with her son’s boyfriend, whom she barely knew. Through food and close proximity, Mitsuko seemed to unlock a warmth in Benson.

I connected a bit less with Mike and his father, but their relationship and growth was equally beautiful.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Go read it, now!

Review: Home is Where You Are, Melissa Grace

When it comes to all things music and Nashville, I’m obviously biased. I accept and embrace this. I’m also super judgmental about how my city is portrayed in books.

Home is Where You Are captured the Nashville vibe perfectly. The love for Berry Hill (if you know, you know), and The Loving Pie Company, who did have the BEST Mac and cheese in Nashville, and all things music.

Melissa Grace nailed it.

And I adored Jax & Liv and all the Midnight in Dallas boys. Seriously, the most down to earth musicians.

If you’re looking for a perfect rom com with music and a COVID-free tour of Nashville, you need to pick up this book.

And of course I had to showcase my favorite Nashville artist, @cleverclogsart, in this photo.

Review: A Promised Land, Barack Obama

It took me two months, but I finished A Promised Land yesterday. The audiobook was phenomenal. Hearing his voice and eloquence was like the warm hug I didn’t know I needed.

The book is heavy on policy, which I love. My undergrad minor was in political science and I almost went for a masters in it (I went with a boring MBA instead). I’m a politics junkie.

One reason I love political memoirs so much is that you get an inside look into the thought process and reasoning behind decisions, legislation, and international dealings.

We do get a bit of his origin story and the insights into his campaign, but the bulk of the book deals with this first term in office.

This was a fantastic read and very insightful. He admits when he failed or didn’t do enough, something I think we’re missing right now.

I’m already looking forward to volume 2.

Review: Rebel, Laura Pavlov

Thank you to the author for the gifted copy.

Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE the fake lovers trope? It’s like that breath I didn’t know I was holding.

I think it’s because I love how one character always realizes it before the other and it becomes this sweet, tortured when will they finally see it? moments and I live for those.

Rebel did not disappoint in this. Monroe and Jack were so fun to watch … and hot. Very, very hot. I love a good slow-burn, steamy book.

Rebel is out 1/5 and is one of the potential picks for the January Indie Book Club!

NEW! Indie Author Book Club!

In addition to the 12 Days of Indie Giveaway on Instagram, I am so excited to announce a new Book Club initiative!

Indie Authors are the hidden gems of Bookstagram. There are so many amazing books by incredibly talented writers and storytellers. Unfortunately, they often get lost in the sea of Trade publishing releases.

The Indie Author Book Club kicks off in January and YOU, yes YOU, get to help select our first book!

We’ve got three amazing new releases from Laura Pavlov, Eve Kasey, and Kali Brixton to choose from.

Click here to vote!

After you vote, be sure to head over to Instagram to enter the 12 Days of Indie!

Winter Street Series, Elin Hilderbrand

I did it! I finished the whole series, and I LOVED it. I’m going to attempt to review these without spoilers.

I adored the Quinn family. I first met Margaret in the final book of the Paradise series and was immediately drawn to her. I’d already had the Winter Street books on my shelf (I spent all year hunting for the full set).

Margaret and Jennifer were my favorites, but the others grew on me as I read through the series. Mitzi & Ava were the two biggest surprises for me. I loved the way they grew and changed over the series.

The last book gutted me. I can’t dive into why without giving a lot away, but there was a crucial storyline that hit very close to home for me.

As always, Elin Hilderbrand did not disappoint. She’s the queen of complicated plots, relationships, and families.

Editing to Add: I’m aware of the recent issue with this author and reviewers. While I do not agree with what she did, I am leaving my review here (which was conveniently posted the day before Bookstagram blew up with the controversy).

A Million Reasons Why, Jessica Strawser

(out 3/23/21) Thank you to @stmartinspress and @netgalley for the free copy)

This book as a deep, emotional journey. Both Sela and Caroline felt so vulnerable, real, and raw. I’m still processing that twist and everything that happened, but this was a fantastic book.

I literally just sent of my AncestryDNA kit, and the whole time I read this, I put myself in Caroline’s shoes. What would I do? It added an interesting perspective.

From the Publisher:
Jessica Strawser’s A Million Reasons Why is “a fascinating foray into the questions we are most afraid to ask” (Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author)–the story of two women who discover a bond between them that will change both their lives forever.

Reviews … Playing Catch Up

Written in the Stars, Alexandria Bellefleur

(thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy)

Ugh. Y’all. This book. Perfection.

Steamy. Sweet. Full of hope and quirkiness.

Please get it and read it and devour it like I did.

The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks, Julie Valerie

(Thank you to the author for the gifted copy)

Julie Valerie did it again! I don’t know what it is that I adore about Holly Banks, but she’s such a mess and so relatable and a kindred spirit. Now that my son is in kindergarten, I feel like I can relate to Holly even more than I did in the first book.

Julie’s wit and humor shine in this book, as do the various characters of Primm. And, did I mention Struggle, the Banks family dog, has a co-starring role? Yup.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown, Tallia Hibbert

Talia Hibbert writes the most engaging, relatable, and real characters I’ve ever read. I loved Chloe and Dani, and I cannot wait to meet Eve.

I also apparently love fake relationship books, or maybe it’s just Zaf and Dani that I loved so much. Literally everything about this book was perfect. Perfectly steamy. Perfectly full of wit and humor. Perfectly full of hope and valuable lessons like we’re all worthy of love.

Review: Troubles in Paradise, Elin Hilderbrand

Sometimes, when you read a series the books start to falter midway through and then disappoint.

Winter in Paradise is NOT that kind of series. I loved how seamlessly these books flowed. As soon as I picked up Troubles in Paradise, I was sucked right back into the story.

I love how well everything was wrapped up, and how all the characters came together in the end.

I’m sad it’s over, but I’m looking forward to picking up The Winter Street series next month.

Review: Florence Adler Swims Forever, Rachel Beanland

(thank you to Netgalley & the publisher for the free eARC)

I am a sucker for both historical fiction and deeply-layered family drama. Boy, did this book deliver!

I loved the different POVs, especially Anna and Stuart. Despite each only receiving limited page space, these two were the stand out characters for me. They were the most authentic.

Esther and Joseph were admirable as the family matriarch and patriarch, but I didn’t agree with the decisions they may. And Isaac was just a giant POS.