I read this as an ARC! I picked it out because it was supposed to be reminiscent of The Scorpio Races. It did have some things that reminded me of that book (namely, the magical horses). I really enjoyed this one.
Winterwoodby Shea Ernshaw
As my second Ernshaw book, I just don’t think the stories and I mix. I once again found myself a bit bored and waiting for something to happen. The romance needed more umph too.
Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ Audience: Contemporary Romance Length: 400 pages Author: K.A. Tucker Publisher: Self-published Release Date: February 18th, 2020 Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
From the internationally best-selling author of The Simple Wild comes the continuation of a woman’s journey to Alaska and a life she never imagined for herself.
Calla Fletcher returns to Toronto a different person, struggling to find direction and still very much in love with the rugged bush pilot she left behind. When Jonah arrives on her doorstep with a proposition she can’t dismiss, she takes the leap and rushes back to Alaska to begin their exciting future together.
But Calla soon learns that even the best intentions can lead to broken promises, and that compromise comes with a hefty price—a log cabin in interior rural Alaska that feels as isolating as the western tundra.
With Jonah gone more than he’s home, one neighbor who insists on transforming her into a true Alaskan, and another who seems more likely to shoot her than come to her aid, Calla grapples with forging her own path. In a world with roaming wildlife that has her constantly watching over her shoulder and harsh conditions that stretch far beyond the cold, dark, winter months, just stepping outside her front door can be daunting.
This is not the future Calla had in mind, leaving her to fear that perhaps she is doomed to follow in her mother’s fleeing footsteps after all.
Thank you to the author and Social Butterfly PR for an eARC. All opinions are my own!
I stayed up way too late to finish this book because I was on cloud nine that I received an ARC for this book. One of my most highly anticipated books of 2020 and it did not disappoint.
I know some people won’t love this second book because it’s not the angst filled romance that The Simple Wild was. This is what made me love this book in its own way. Watching Calla and Jonah having to work together and actually get a chance to be a couple. I was waiting for this book to destroy me and I had my throat in my heart so many times as I read this.
Calla was still a great character. I loved her arc from book one and really loved this one too. She had a lot to go through moving to Alaska and being by herself (yes, Jonah is there, but it’s still far away from family/friends) for the first time. I really felt and understood her emotions. Jonah was still my favorite gruff bush pilot. Yet I got to see a whole new side of him. He was much more open and had more emotions on the surface that I was SO HERE FOR. I love both of them opening up about their struggles of figuring out life in the wilderness together.
There’s not the romance in this book that you’re expecting. Don’t worry. There’s plenty of steamy moments, but it’s one of a couple expressing love to each other and holding on to the connection they know they share. What I love about them though is that there was actual COMMUNICATION between them. They both would hold on to emotions and thoughts too long (as we all do), and after an outburst would actually have a constructive conversation about what was happening. I desperately was holding onto the fact that I knew there must be a happy ending by the last page. I wanted more Calla and Jonah throughout the book. The lack of Jonah at times made the conflict resolution that much more satisfying.
The Roy story line seemed a bit random at first to me. I didn’t know quite where it fit into everything else until close to the end as I got to know the entirety of the background behind him. I can’t help but love grumpy old men who are softened by something. Calla was that something. Her tenacity to just be there for him made their tentative friendship something strong.
I am obsessed with the writing about Alaska. To me, it really is a mythical place and somewhere I had never considered visiting. The description and love of their home that is depicted through all of the characters makes me want to visit someday (though I can’t say I would ever get into one of those tiny planes, NOPE). The flow of the story kept a steady pace. I liked that it would move through months at a faster pace yet the chapters never seemed rushed.
That ending was everything I didn’t think I needed. I love the sweet tenderness between Jonah and Calla. Love that Calla had really given Alaska a chance and were becoming a true part of the community. I felt wholly satisfied with the conclusion and am so thrilled we got this sequel.
Overall audience notes:
Language: some strong throughout
Romance: everything from kisses to love scenes; scenes being fade to black to mildly explicit
Trigger warnings: plane crash, mentions of domestic abuse (a side character referring to their past)
K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.
She is the USA Today bestselling author of 17 books, including the Causal Enchantment, Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, and The Simple Wild. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, First for Women, and Publisher’s Weekly. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance 2013 for TEN TINY BREATHS and Best Romance 2018 for THE SIMPLE WILD. Her novels have been translated into 16 languages.
K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her family.
Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2 Audience: Contemporary romance Length: 310 pages Author: Kelly Siskind Publisher: Everafter Romance Release Date: April 23rd, 2019 Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
Falling for your surly boss is a rotten idea. Letting him saw you in half is even worse…
Beatrice Baker may be a struggling artist, but she believes all hardships have silver linings…until she follows her boyfriend to New Orleans and finds him with another woman. Instead of turning those lemons into lemonade, she drinks lemon drop martinis and keys the wrong man’s car.
Now she works for Huxley Marlow of the Marvelous Marlow Boys, getting shoved in boxes as an on-stage magician’s assistant. A cool job for some, but Bea’s been coerced into the role to cover her debt. She also maybe fantasizes about her boss’s adept hands and what else they can do.
She absolutely will not fall for him, or kiss him senseless. Until she does. The scarred, enigmatic Huxley has unwittingly become her muse, unlocking her artistic dry spell, but his vague nightly activities are highly suspect. The last time Beatrice trusted a man, her bank account got drained and she almost got arrested. Surely this can’t end that badly…right?
WHERE CAN I GET A MAGICIAN LIKE HUXLEY?
This quick romantic comedy is a hidden gem in the genre. I absolutely adored this and it took me a day to finish because of it!
Beatrice is effervescent and optimistic about most things in her life. Being betrayed by the men she’s known (including her Father) she ends up in New Orleans, single, without a job or a home. But then she meets…HUXLEY. Oh their chemistry is dynamite y’all. Sparks flying every which way it could light up a night sky.
I couldn’t get enough of their banter and flirtatious moments. It was purely them meeting and getting to know each other that formed their friendship turned romance. I usually prefer a stand-out trope (like enemies to lovers) but this worked in such a magical way I was smitten with them. I love that Huxley took care of Bea and helped her get on her own two feet. Not only that, but Bea helped Huxley see the glass half full rather than empty. These two peas in a pod really completed each other. THEY’RE JUST SO PRECIOUS OKAY? Trust me on this.
Huxley and his brothers, Axel and Fox are also what brother goals are made of. These three had an incredible dynamic too. I love the different personalities and banter that made up their daily conversations. They all kind of grew up (even though everyone is in their late 20s and 30s) as they started to take care of each other. Huxley as big brother never got a chance to take a breath and his brothers (plus Beatrice) helped him step back and enjoy the finer moments of life.
The only reason I took off a half a star was a personal preference. I didn’t love that there was a whole chapter and a half dedicated to the sex scene. It was a bit much and a bit too detailed for me. It’s easily skipped over though so if this also isn’t your scene I promise the rest of the book is gold.
I liked the plot of this as well. It was different than other rom-coms I’ve read before. I felt there was a bit more at stake and it upped the drama overall. It never over took the romance, but wove seamlessly with it.
Overall audience notes:
Language: some strong language
Romance: kissing, make outs, flirting, innuendo, Chapter 23 & beginning of Chapter 24: detailed love scene; Chapter 30: fade to black with a little detail
Violence: physical, being held at gun point
Trigger warnings: gambling addiction, gambling in general
Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2 Audience: Young adult contemporary romance Length: 271 pages Author: Jennifer E. Smith Publisher: Delacorte Press Release Date: March 5th, 2019 Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
Having just been dumped by his girlfriend, British-born Hugo is still determined to take his last-hurrah-before-college train trip across the United States. One snag: the companion ticket is already booked under the name of his ex, Margaret Campbell. Nontransferable, no exceptions.
Enter the new Margaret C. (Mae for short), an aspiring filmmaker with big dreams. After finding Hugo’s spare ticket offer online, she’s convinced it’s the perfect opportunity to expand her horizons.
When the two meet, the attraction is undeniable, and both find more than they bargained for. As Mae pushes Hugo to explore his dreams for his future, he’ll encourage her to channel a new, vulnerable side of her art. But when life off the train threatens the bubble they’ve created for themselves, will they manage to keep their love on track?
PURCHASING A TRAIN TICKET ASAP.
This was really cute! It was a surprisingly very short book too. It was clever and fun, and I was sad the ending was so abrupt. Though I do feel like I need to take my husband up on his offer to take me on a train ride (he’s only been asking me the entire time we’ve been together…)
I adore Hugo. He was sweet, tender-hearted, and a truly well meaning person. Hugo had a wonderful character arc over this fast paced book as he got to seek out what would make him happy. I think it’s a bit coming of age because we are all seeking to find what path we want to take after high school and Hugo was able to do that with the help of a stranger, Mae.
Mae had to grow on me. I didn’t love her personality at first, but I think Hugo truly brought out the best in her. And her Nana. I love her Nana! Such a spunky and loving character. Her support for Mae provided her the opportunity to figure out that it’s okay to open your heart up. I loved watching Mae work on her new movie and thought it was a unique concept that gave a different perspective to everyone who participated.
I love the train traveling concept and wish the time could have been spread out more. I think that’s why it was a short book though, a train ride is only so long. It was a growing up kind of experience for both Hugo and Mae. The ending stopped way before I thought it would and would have loved a bit of an epilogue to know how this couple is doing.
Rating: ☆☆☆☆ Audience: Young Adult Fantasy Length: 368 pages Author: Danielle L. Jensen Publisher: Tor Teen Release Date: May 7th, 2019 Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.
A PIRATE WITH A WILL OF IRON
Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences.
A SOLDIER WITH A SECRET
Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world.
A DANGEROUS QUEST
When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.
THIS SERIES WILL ONLY GET BETTER.
The author hosted an Instagram read-a-long on her page and I took advantage of reading it during the last month. She posted questions each week and responded to so many of us. It made me really have a lot of appreciation for her as a fan.
Dark Shores is filled with allllll things Roman. A lot of the way the governments are set-up, the world-building and more were drawn from this ancient civilization. It was AWESOME. I am fascinated by all things Roman and loved how this played out. There were wicked senators, ship sailing, gods fighting each other, conquering and a dash of romance.
I am obsessed with Marcus. He was my favorite POV and I wish the book was focused more on him. I love him + his soldiers. They were some of my favorite side characters. I found them funny, endearing and thought they all needed a hug. And I wouldn’t mind giving them said hug.
Teriana was fine, she’s one of my reasons for lowering to four stars. I found her a bit annoying/whiny at times and wasn’t as interested in her chapters. There was lots of talk but she never pulled out any tricks, so I’m curious where that goes during book two. I did enjoy Marcus and Teriana together though. I like the relationship and am waiting for all heck to break loose when things start to spiral.
This had great world-building and I found that it was a lot more creative of a book plot overall than I have read in a hot minute. I couldn’t easily guess what was happening next and that’s always a good sign of a great fantasy. My only other issue with it was that it was a little slow at times. I found myself wanting to scan ahead to dive into the next scene.
Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ Audience: Contemporary New Adult Romance Length: 388 pages Author: K.A. Tucker Publisher: Atria Books Release Date: August 7th, 2018 Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.
She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.
Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.
THIS. WAS. STELLAR.
Tear-shedding (yes, one scene totally had me shedding a few tears), heart-stopping, and utterly devastating, this book took me to some high highs and some low lows. I’m still speechless thinking about it.
I started off really not loving Calla. She was materialistic, vain, selfish and more. I dearly hoped she would have a turn around in this book, and I’m so happy she did. Calla became more lovable as a character to me and all I wanted to do was give her a hug. She went through a lot in 400 pages.
The story itself, focusing a lot on her Dad left me crying y’all. I know I already mentioned it, BUT IT HAD TO BE SAID AGAIN. I don’t generally cry reading. Granted, it was 2 AM so being really tired probably contributed, but still. There was one scene in there that I *can’t* handle. I loved watched Wren and Calla figure out each other and actually open up. There wasn’t heavy drama between them. It really focused on remembering how important family is and soaking up any time you get to have them. The awkward first encounters turned into deep conversations where they had a chance to know about each other’s lives.
Now, we know I have to talk about the romance. OHEMGEE. Jonah. My rugged space cowboy Jonah. I was totally impressed with how this was done. There was so much angst I could barely stand it. It was amazing. Fantastic banter that left me chuckling (and a few good pranks that made me squeal). Sweet, loving moments where all the emotions came out. All of it. Tucker turned the span of a few weeks into this magical romance that makes me so happy I picked this book up.
While I still don’t want to fly on tiny planes. This book also gave me major wanderlust. I wanted to be in Alaska. Seeing these gorgeous sites in my mind wasn’t doing it justice. The beautiful writing made it feel like I was really in this small towns and rugged landscapes.
Overall audience notes:
New adult contemporary romance
Language: some strong language
Romance: kisses, make-outs, a mildly detailed love scene and others more glossed over
Violence: plane crash
Trigger warnings: divorce, terminal illness (cancer), loss of a loved one
For Top Ten Tuesday this week it’s an Audiobook freebie! I’ve thought all week about what I wanted to do and finally this idea popped into my head.
Some people are wary of audiobooks (I totally was too), but now I see how much other stuff I can do while listening to one! It’s multi-tasking at its finest. Put an audiobook on and get down to whatever business you need to.
So here’s a list of 10 things that you can do while listening to an audiobook!
I’m one of those weird people who enjoys laundry. I love an empty basket and all the clothes put away (even if it only lasts a few hours, okay who am I kidding, 5 minutes). My favorite thing to do is play an audiobook while folding clothes! Makes everything go by much faster.
May be crazy sounding, but I figured out if I put my phone in a certain spot I can hear it well AND shower! Taking me time to a whole new level. Or better yet if you have a waterproof speaker you can easily listen that way.
Insomnia (Or whatever is keeping you up late)
Maybe it’s been a long day, but your mind won’t rest. Maybe you’re a parent who needs to rock a child back to sleep. This is a great chance to pop in some headphones and listen softly to a favorite audiobook. I used to do this when I was nursing our little one and loved it!
This was one of the first ways I utilized audiobooks. I run a lot (or did – as I’m still in a boot *sigh*). I digress, this was a great way to spend the time! If I’m feeling it, I’ll listen while I lift weights or do some yoga.
Road trippers unite! My husband travels a lot for work and I convinced him to try out audiobooks and he really enjoyed it. I do as well, especially because it means no commercials. Get in the car, put on a book, an be on your way.
A new way I’ve been adding listening to my day is to do so while I’m taking Instagram photos (or scrolling forever). I’ve also added in listening while I’m blogging. Since I don’t have to be super focused on these tasks I can easily take in both!
I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but occasionally my eyes/head will hurt from all the reading I’ve done (especially if I have read a lot in one day). What’s great about audiobooks is that you can close your eyes, let your head relax and still get reading done!
Sometimes I listen to music while making dinner, but if not, I’ll put a book on! It’s a great way to spend the time and make cooking not seem like a chore (for me it can be some days).
If you’re into jigsaw puzzles as much as I am, this is a great opportunity! Or coloring in a book, sewing, stitching, whatever you’re good at doing! Even better, learn a new craft while you’re listening!
Since I’m a stay-at-home Mom right now, my job consists of keeping a tiny human alive. I try to keep the TV off for most of the day, so I’ll play a book we can listen to while playing! At your office (or other environment) you could listen while on break, or lunch, or even while working!