What I read: The Boy with the Bookstore by Sarah Echavarre Smith
Why I picked it up: There was a category of “books about books” on Libby last week where I found an audiobook last week and this one that I read in one day.
How I read it: On Kindle this afternoon/evening.
What it’s about: A bakery owner and her bookstore owner neighbor end up figuring out they’ve both been dying to ask the other one out for 18 months – now they’re sharing a small space in the back of the building while their old ones are renovated. Lots of misunderstandings, inabilities to talk about their feelings, and family drama take place – not to mention the “sharing a small work space” thing.
What I liked: I appreciated all of the family history with Joelle. Her family is really important and who they are as Filipinos was celebrated and never dismissed. It was so sweet – and also I want to try an ube latte.
What I disliked: Max has a lot of hurt in his past – and I wish there had been even more healing for him.
Genre: Books about books, abuse, open door romance.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I think it’s worth the read.
What I read: Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle
Why I picked it up: I’ve liked her other books so I put her new one on hold when it came out.
How I read it: On paper over the weekend.
What it’s about: Bettie is a stereotypical social media influencer who also has way too much money, but she lost her money plus her influencer reputation months ago. Now the day before her family is expecting her for Christmas, Hall E. Day shows up to move her from a 1.4 on the happiness scale to a 10!
What I liked: There’s an element of finding out what’s important in life and valuing that instead of money and fame.
What I disliked: I just didn’t like Bettie.
Genre: Christmas, finding oneself, closed door romance.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and not really.
What I read: Truth or Date by Portia MacIntosh
Why I picked it up: I read two of her most recent books last week and really liked them, so when I found a few more on Libby I grabbed them to read this week.
How I read it: On kindle.
What it’s about: Ruby is a mess, her life is full of matcher dates and drinking and hangovers and being late to her coffee shop job. Also her roommate drives her insane, until she starts having sexy dreams about him and is driven insane in a different way. So she decides she wants to date him – her methods are unorthodox and ridiculous.
What I liked: Almost nothing – there are a couple of times when Ruby isn’t trying to be ridiculous or steal Nick from his girlfriend where she seems like a kind person.
What I disliked: But also she’s awful, her best friend is too, Nick isn’t a handsome romance hero either – I disliked all of the people in this book and kept reading only because I was 30% in and I’ve got nothing else to do this week.
Genre: Rom com, closed door.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️ and no, I do not.
What I read: Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha
Why I picked it up: This was on a list somewhere a while ago and I finally accepted the available hold and listened.
How I read it: On audio at 1.75x speed.
What it’s about: It’s about a reluctant homesteader in rural North Carolina with a mix of escaping an abusive relationship, financial issues, motherhood, teaching, chickens and eggs, and goat farming with cheese making.
What I liked: I appreciated the window into this life that is so different from my own, and that it was set almost in my backyard (hours away, but same state).
What I disliked: I wanted more about her cheese making adventures – the goats seemed to come in late in the book, but were still a delight.
Genre: Memoir, homesteading, abuse,
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I think it’s worth the listen!
What I read: Second Chance Pass by Robyn Carr
Why I picked it up: I’m working my way through the Virgin River series!
How I read it: On paper over a couple of days.
What it’s about: So many things happen in this book, babies born, couples getting together, tragedies occur! It’s an entire series of events.
What I liked: I appreciated how many stories were told, and how many of these characters we’ve been introduced to before came up here again.
What I disliked: The incident with Nicki was so odd and randomly tragic. It didn’t need to be and then everyone else jumped to the worst conclusions of Paul.
Genre: Small town, open door, grief, Virgin River.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes, but I think you might need the others in the series for this one to make sense.
What I read: Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
Why I picked it up: I loved it the first time I read it so I decided to listen with one of my favorite narrators.
How I read it: On audio at 1.75x while walking, cooking, sitting around, and everything else the past 24 hours.
What it’s about: Evvie’s husband died about a year ago, but that’s not the biggest thing that’s happened that needs grieving. Dean rents her spare apartment, and they help each other grieve.
What I liked: I love the period of time they spend apart, it says a lot about what it takes to heal.
What I disliked: Nothing, this book is a delight.
Genre: Grief, closed door, love story, healing.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and absolutely!! Great on paper and on audio.
What I read: Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
Why I picked it up: I was looking for an available audiobook on Libby and this came up and looked interesting.
How I read it: On audio at 1.75x.
What it’s about: Amy Anne loves to read, and her favorite book is suddenly no longer available at the school library because it’s been “removed” – which is code word for banned. A mom didn’t like the content and now not only that book, but lots of books are being “removed” from her elementary school library. She and her friends start the “Banned Books Locker Library” and work together to fight this injustice.
What I liked: It was a story about fighting for what’s write, freedom of speech, a love for reading, and read by a narrator I really like!
What I disliked: It was hard reading the parts where her family tends to not see her, and almost ignore the uniqueness of her character.
Genre: Middle grade, books about books, justice.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and definitely!
What I read: My Great Ex-Scape by Portia MacIntosh
Why I picked it up: I read a book by her last week and decided to use up my monthly Hoopla credits with another since I enjoyed it so much.
How I read it: On audio at 1.75x.
What it’s about: Rosie is handed two tickets to a game show her boss can’t attend and ends up winning the whole 50k prize when her boyfriend acts as the lifeline for her final question. But before he answers the question, he dumps her … at least she got a nice consolation prize. Then some flowers show up from an ex and she decides to visit her past ex-boyfriends to figure out which one wanted a second chance. This leads her to a cruise to NYC involving a lot of shenanigans.
What I liked: I appreciated the humor of her relationship with Eli throughout, he ended up being a very good friend to her!
What I disliked: Maybe there could have been a little more development with Josh while she was on the cruise the first time, but it was okay as it was.
Genre: Closed door romance, rom com.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and sure, I’m going to continue to read this author!
What I read: A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr
Why I picked it up: Since I finished my other very long series, I decided to continue on my way with this one.
How I read it: On hardback.
What it’s about: Macie and Bobby knew they were meant for each other when they met at 14, then he came home from Iraq injured, and she cared for him for three years. Now, a year later, she’s still searching for the guy who saved his life, maybe he’s in the mountains near Virgin River.
What I liked: She helps him find his way back to himself, and while he’s struggling with a lot of trauma, the kind man he is remains.
What I disliked: I had a hard time with the timeline. In the book before this Vanessa has her baby, but then she shows up still pregnant in this book. It’s like this takes place simultaneously with book #3.
Genre: Small town, slightly open door romance.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and sure, and I think it could be a stand alone Christmas novel (maybe that’s why the timeline doesn’t really add up or count).
What I read: Happy Singles Day by Ann Marie Walker
Why I picked it up: Hoopla’s algorithm again, and I’m not mad about it!
How I read it: On audio for the first 35% or so and then I finished with the ebook.
What it’s about: Paige started her business as a way to get over her heartbreak, and three years later she’s being forced on her first vacation. The quaint inn on a small island in North Carolina is nothing like she imagined, but once she breaks the shell of the handsome inn keeper, things change quickly.
What I liked: There’s an adorable little girl in this book who could have her own story some day. Precocious children are some of my favorite characters in books and in real life.
What I disliked: I just wanted more.
Genre: Grief, closed door romance.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and absolutely!