Review: Outlawed, Anna North

Outlawed was the queer feminist western novel I didn’t know I needed in my life. I really enjoyed watching Ada come into her own.

The women of the Hole in the Wall Gang are what really pulled me into the story. Each had their own unique skills and background, but none of them allowed the shame cast on them by society to stop them.

I do feel that the pace of the story dragged a bit and was hoping for a bit more on Ada’s life at the end, but all in, this was an enjoyable read.

Review: Act Your Age, Eve Brown

(Out 3/9/21. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.)

Eve Brown is by far my favorite Brown sister. Her boldness, vulnerability, and empathy made me fall completely in love with her. Jacob was grumpy, loveable, and completely and utterly perfect.

The slow-burn and enemies to lovers aren’t usually my favorite tropes, but Hibbert wrote this book so brilliantly that I wanted to savor every second of Eve and Jacob.

Now, I want a series with Mont and his sisters. That would be incredibly fun.

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.

Finding Balance in Chaos … or Not

Holy mackerel, y’all. It’s been a freaking year.

What’s that? It’s only January 15?

Yes, I’m aware, but I swear each day since January first has been a month long.

We started the year with my son in virtual school, which is super fun with kindergartners (as I am sure many of you know) and my husband and I working from home. Last week, we added in a quarantined toddler.

Not to mention the domestic terrorist attack on our Capitol. Not that I was incredibly surprised by what happened, but it was surreal to watch it unfold.

I’m not quite sure I’ve ever been as stressed as I am now.

I can’t focus on writing or reading. My patience is thin and short. I have no motivation to work out, and all I want is coffee, cookies, and wine … and a nap or ten.

If I learned anything in 2020, it was that nothing is consistent anymore. There is no such thing as a routine or expected outcome.

One thing I haven’t learned yet is how to handle the consequences. My kids have both been in various stages of sleep regression since March. No one is getting enough sleep and we’re all stretched thing. We’re cranky and tired of each other.

And, I think, that’s okay. None of us know how to operate in a global pandemic. Or how to handle watching in insurrection unfold.

It’s important to admit that sometimes, we don’t have the answers. I know as adults and parents, we’re expected to know how to react in every situation, but some things you cannot plan for.

It’s okay to be wrong. It’s okay to make mistakes.

As long as you know when it’s time to apologize or ask for help.

We’re all humans and we’re doing the best we can.

Looking to 2021

Do you set yearly goals? What’s your big, hairy, scary goal for 2021?

Aside from getting back to focusing on my health, I’m also putting a big emphasis on my creative health.

Mine? I’ve got one book set for release in June (SURPRISE 🎉) and am planning to possibly dip my toes back into the querying game. That one is TBD.

I also plan to get back into a consistent writing habit.

I’ll share my reading goals in a few days.

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!