Book Reviews

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“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”

– James Baldwin
Latest Posts:
  • Book Review — The Naughty or Nice Clause by Kate Callaghan

    I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book from Netgalley and Callaghanwriter. This has not impacted my rating and this review is voluntary.

    • Genre: Fantasy Romance
    • Published by: Callaghanwriter
    • Publish date: November 08, 2022
    • Number of pages: 258 pages
    • Author’s website: https://www.callaghanwriter.com/
    • Support local! Buy the book on BookShop!

    Being Naughty Has Never Been So Nice!


    When Lyla’s father retired as CEO of the toy company which has been in their family for generations, she was meant to receive his shares. Instead, she discovers the company is bankrupt and her father has given her shares to Mason Klaus, an investor known in the corporate world for his cold and callous nature. Much to Lyla’s frustration, her only option is to run the company with him, despite their evident loathing for one another.


    When Mason cancels the annual Christmas party, Lyla throws it anyway – only for the event of the season to result in a terrible fire. With the offices and Lyla’s credibility ruined, Mason offers her a deal: he’ll forget her part in the disaster, but she must join his family for the twelve days of their Christmas holidays.


    Taken to a fantastical winter wonderland, Lyla hopes that she might discover some of the secrets Mr Klaus is hiding, and maybe even a way to get her company back. However, when Mason introduces her to the secret village as his fiancée, she is horrified to realise she has no choice but to go along with the pretence – because the cost of bringing an outsider to their magical land is far too high.


    Can Lyla resist the devilishly handsome Mr Klaus and the enchanting village to win back her company, or will she give into temptation?

    Rating: 3/5

    Happy belated pub-day (yesterday) to The Naughty or Nice Clause. This book was a romance/fantasy-lite novel, think The Santa Clause or probably more similar is The Santa Clause 2. You have the magic of Christmas but in a world where that magic is real.

    This is a cute enemies-to-lovers romance that takes place in the charming, secretive village, Yule. Without giving away more than already is in the synopsis, this was a quick read that had really fun banter between the characters and some heartwarming moments. The ending was super rushed and didn’t feel complete to me, but it is what it is! Btw, smut factor is low if that’s something you look or don’t look for in a romance.

    Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to know!

  • Book Review — Holiday Romance by Catherine Walsh

    I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book from Netgalley and Bookouture. This has not impacted my rating and this review is voluntary.

    She’s meant to be catching flights, not catching feelings…

    Molly and Andrew are just trying to get home to Ireland for the holidays, when a freak snowstorm grounds their flight.

    A totally gorgeous and escapist friends-to-lovers festive romance with a swoon-worthy hero. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Mhairi Macfarlane, and Christina Lauren.

    Rating: 4/5

    Ahhh this was such a fun rom-com! I think it will be perfect for anyone who states they have a grinch heart but really watches Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies to get into the holiday spirit.

    The story took me a bit to get into because it is told over the course of holiday flights over the past 8 years. The jump in timeline frustrated me at first because I didn’t feel like I got enough from each character. This soon changes as the description of past flights get longer and the characters begin to develop.

    Fairly predictable turn of events, but adorable nonetheless. This will get you into the holiday spirit!

    Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to know!

  • Book Review — The Villa by Rachel Hawkins

    I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press. This has not impacted my rating and this review is voluntary.

    • Genre: Gothic, Thrillers, Suspense
    • Published by: St. Martin’s Press
    • Publish date: January 03, 2023
    • Number of pages: 288 pages
    • Author’s website: https://www.rachelhawkinsbooks.com/
    • Support local! Buy the book on BookShop!

    As kids, Emily and Chess were inseparable. But by their 30s, their bond has been strained by the demands of their adult lives. So when Chess suggests a girls trip to Italy, Emily jumps at the chance to reconnect with her best friend.

    Villa Aestas in Orvieto is a high-end holiday home now, but in 1974, it was known as Villa Rosato, and rented for the summer by a notorious rock star, Noel Gordon. In an attempt to reignite his creative spark, Noel invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce’s girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. But he also sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Mari writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composing a platinum album–and ends in Pierce’s brutal murder.

    As Emily digs into the villa’s complicated history, she begins to think there might be more to the story of that fateful summer in 1974. That perhaps Pierce’s murder wasn’t just a tale of sex, drugs, and rock & roll gone wrong, but that something more sinister might have occurred–and that there might be clues hidden in the now-iconic works that Mari and Lara left behind.

    Yet the closer that Emily gets to the truth, the more tension she feels developing between her and Chess. As secrets from the past come to light, equally dangerous betrayals from the present also emerge–and it begins to look like the villa will claim another victim before the summer ends.

    Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the Manson murders, and the infamous summer Percy and Mary Shelley spent with Lord Byron at a Lake Geneva castle–the birthplace of FrankensteinThe Villa welcomes you into its deadly legacy.

    Rating: 4/5

    I really loved this book. The mood, the vibes, and the setting were just so on point. The juxtaposition of a summery, Italian villa with its notorious dark past mixed with characters who hold the same mystery– beautiful women who hold storms inside.

    This story felt like something Taylor Swift would write about in her songs a la Folklore and Evermore. But it also alludes to the notoriety of bands staying in a haunted home to write their hit album.

    I was hooked by how this novel alternates between the past and current mysteries. Rachel Hawkins crafts a narrative where you are intrigued yet suspicious of everyone. I blew through this novel.

    Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to know!

  • “Guide to Smart Wedding Planning” Blog Tour!

    Photo credit: the authors and Author Marketing Experts

    Welcome to Musings by Michelle’s leg of the Guide to Smart Wedding Planning Blog Tour! In this blog post, you’ll find some information on this book as well as a little Q&A from the authors. Finally, you’ll find a link to a giveaway to win a copy of this book and other goodies!

    The Real Deal Wedding Insiders® Guide to Smart Wedding Planning gives you practical and
    actionable steps to take control of your wedding planning, make the best decisions, and keep your sanity along the way.

    You’ll learn how to:

    • Navigate stressful relationships
    • Create a vision that represents you both
    • Understand and build a realistic budget
    • Choose the right venue and vendors
    • Stay present and enjoy your wedding day

    via Amazon

    For information on the giveaway, please see my Instagram post below!

    Interview:

    How did you do research for your book?

    Being in the business of weddings for years, our work was our research! We also interviewed our clients to ask them what information they wished they had known at the start of their planning journey.

    Do you have another profession besides writing?

    Yes! Edna is a wedding planner, designer and brander. Jeri is a floral designer. We have decades of experience in the world of weddings. We’ve collaborated on many events and even won some national awards. 

    What is your next project?

    Currently, we’re working on a companion workbook for Guide to Smart Wedding Planning. We also have other planning tools in the pipeline so stay tuned!

    What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing your book?

    The challenges- writing while also running a business full time. The biggest reward is holding the book in our hands and having people tell us that the information made a difference in their wedding planning experience. 

    In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like?

    The road was steep and winding! 

    What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?

    Just keep at it. No matter how long it takes

  • Book Review — Drunk on Love by Jasmine Guillory

    I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book from Netgalley and Berkley Books. This has not impacted my rating and this review is voluntary.

    Margot Noble needs some relief from the stress of running the family winery with her brother. Enter Luke: sexy, charming, and best of all in the too-small world of Napa, a stranger. The chemistry between them is undeniable, and Margot is delighted that she lucked into the perfect one-night stand she’ll never have to see again. That is, until the winery’s newest hire, Luke, walks in the next morning. Margot is determined to keep things purely professional, but when their every interaction reminds her of the attraction still bubbling between them, it proves to be much more challenging than she expects.

    Luke Williams had it all, but when he quits his high-salary tech job in Silicon Valley in a blaze of burnout and moves back to Napa to help a friend, he realizes he doesn’t want to tell the world–or his mom–why he’s now working at a winery. His mom loves bragging about her successful son–how can he admit that the job she’s so proud of broke him? Luke has no idea what is next for him, but one thing is certain: he wants more from the incredibly smart and sexy woman he hooked up with–even after he learns she’s his new boss. But even if they can find a way to be together that wouldn’t be an ethical nightmare, would such a successful woman really want a tech-world dropout?

    Set against a lush backdrop of Napa Valley wine country, nothing goes to your head as fast as a taste of love–even if it means changing all your plans.

    via Goodreads

    Rating: 3.5/5

    The newest Jasmine Guillory did not disappoint! Set in Napa Valley, we fall in love with the two main characters Margot, a co-owner of a winery; and Luke, a former programmer who has recently moved back to wine country.

    The romance in this book was a slow burn and the conflicts between the two love interests seemed realistic. Yes, there was a lack of communication (which is a trope I tend to hate in romance novels!) but the reasoning behind why a character lacked communication or rationalized their actions was less frustrating than in some other novels with this trope. Compared to Guillory’s other novels in The Wedding Party universe this one was pretty spicy! Of course, like the other novels, a few characters from the previous ones make a guest appearance!

    My favorite part of this novel was the setting. Not only does the majority of the novel take place at Noble Vineyards, the winery Margot go-owns with her brother, but there are also a lot of mentions of the local eateries. I love when novels describe drinks and food and this book does that in yummy detail! I think this might be my favorite from this author and if you felt disappointed in the last one (While We Were Dating), definitely give this one a try.

    Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to know!

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