A Field Guide to Gettysburg by Carol Reardon & Tom Vossler

A Field Guide to Gettysburg by Carol Reardon & Tom Vossler
Publisher/Year: The University of North Carolina Press, 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 454
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


A Selection of the Military Book Club, Quality Paperback Book Club, and BOMC2 Online

In this lively guide to Gettysburg National Military Park, Carol Reardon and Tom Vossler invite readers to participate in a tour of this hallowed battlefield.


  • Expert advice for touring the battlefield
  • 35 tour stops, each offering a detailed account of events
  • Orientation to key landmarks at each stop
  • Essential visual cues to help you picture the battle as it unfolds around you
  • 47 illuminating maps
  • Numerous photographs–including newly available views of the battlefield

Ideal for carrying on your trip to the park and as a comprehensive resource for the armchair historian, this book includes enlightening maps and authoritative descriptions of the action that will place you right in the heart of the conflict. Crisp narratives introduce key figures and events, and eye-opening vignettes help readers more fully comprehend exactly what happened and why. A wide variety of contemporary and postwar sources offer colorful stories and present interesting interpretations that have shaped–or reshaped–our understanding of Gettysburg today.

What I thought

Here’s a book that’s a little outside of my normal reading to share with you all today. For those that don’t know, I adore learning about history, and one era that I’m particularly interested in is the American Civil War. Gettysburg is near and dear to my heart, and I’ve been a frequent visitor since childhood. All of this is to say that Gettysburg is a topic I’m very fond of reading about.

This field guide was an eager purchase for me when it first came out, and I’m very glad to have finally gotten around to reading it. For newbies to the battlefield and veterans alike, this field guide is an invaluable resource to bring with you on your visit. Each stop is presented in a clear, concise way with pictures, maps, and helpful driving directions.

While you might wish to pair this with a more in depth history of the battle to get the full understanding of each day’s events, this field guide will still give you a comprehensive overview of the battle’s events at the various locales. I’d say this would be an excellent tool to take with you on the field–whether as a jumping point for an intro into the battle’s history or as a more in-depth, in-person look at the battle.

I, for one, am now itching to get back to Gettysburg to take this guide with me on a tour of the battlefield. I like that my copy is lightweight but sturdy, too, so I can carry it with me. If you do decide to take this with you on your visit (and you should), I will say that it will probably take you a good couple of days to “work” through the guide, so just make sure to give yourself enough time.

All in all, this is an indispensable guide to Gettysburg, and I’m more than happy to add this to my collection on the topic. A must-read for fans of Gettysburg history!

Land of Bones: 14 Tales of the Strange and Macabre by Glenn Rolfe

Land of Bones: 14 Tales of the Strange and Macabre by Glenn Rolfe
Publisher/Year: Alien Agenda Publishing, 2018
Format: E-book (Kindle)
Pages: 155
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


Demon lights, granted wishes, strange things, and brutal love at the Lucky Lounge Motel. A haunted sister, desperate parents, a little human touch, and the end of the world…

These are the stories whispered among dead leaves, the script etched bare for all to see. When the chills sink deep and your heart begins to pound…are you alone? Welcome to Glenn Rolfe’s Land of Bones: 14 Tales of the Strange and Macabre.

What I thought

This was the first work by Glenn Rolfe that I have read, and rest assured, this won’t be the last. For me, starting out with an author’s short stories can be hit or miss, but I’m happy to report that I’ve found another horror author to watch for. I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but as with any anthology, I enjoyed some stories more than others. Or rather, I should say some resonated with me more than others because I truly enjoyed all of the stories here. Anyway, here’s how I would rate each story (for me):

-“Land of Bones” ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
-“Ghosts of Spears Corner” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
-“Simon” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
-“Not Kansas Anymore” ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
-“Fire” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
-“Welcome to Paradise” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
-“Wish” ⭐⭐⭐
-“Avenging Kitten” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
-“Charley Sings the World Away” ⭐⭐⭐
-“The Fixer” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
-“The Rooster” ⭐⭐⭐
-“Too Much of a Dead Thing” ⭐⭐
-“Little Bunny” ⭐⭐
-“Death Lights” ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the talent here in this short collection. It was great for reading while packing up our house for moving. I could pick this up and get sucked into a story for a while. I also liked that while some of the stories gave me goosebumps, not all of the stories were the same type of horror. Being tied together around the theme of loss, they often hit and evoked a different set of feelings. I’d recommend this one if you’re looking to find a new, quality horror author. Land of Bones was an impressive intro to Glenn Rolfe’s works.

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
Publisher/Year: Forever, 2019
Format: E-book (NetGalley)
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


A “deliciously hot, sweet debut” (L. J. Shen, USA Today bestselling author) contemporary romance between a stubborn, sassy woman and the sexy firefighter who melts her heart.

Kristen Petersen doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen–especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.

The Friend Zone will have you laughing one moment and grabbing for tissues the next as it tackles the realities of infertility and loss with wit, heart, and a lot of sass.

What I thought

ALL THE STARS for this one, folks. Hands down, this will be one of the best books of 2019. If you like your romances steamy with tensions running high, a side of laugh-out-loud humor, and (let’s not forget) a good ole gut-wrenching punch to the feels, look no further–The Friend Zone has all of this and more.

Once I started reading this one, it was pretty much physically painful to put it down. And here I am, days after finishing, unable to get it off my mind. It absolutely blows my mind that this is a debut novel because I loved everything about it. Josh and Kristen were incredibly well-written characters, and I loved reading their alternating perspectives. I think this was what made the push-and-pull between them less frustrating to read because as a reader, I was able to understand their choices and mindsets. My heart swooned over Josh, and my heart broke for Kristen. I loved that everything about their relationship felt real–from having period talk to getting through life’s many difficulties together. Sometimes feelings are complicated things, so it was nice to see how Abby brought that in–the story became just that much more relatable.

Not only that, but there were some more difficult subjects (infertility, grief, mental health) that Abby was able to compassionately shed some light on, and I know readers will appreciate that. Again, that added depth is part of what makes this story feel so real. Along those lines, for as often as this book had me crying, it also had me laughing out loud at some of the banter between characters, especially Josh and Kristen. For example:

“I cocked my head curlers shifting. ‘When did you stop drawing penises on stuff?’
He snorted. ‘What?’
‘Like, how old were you when you stopped drawing penises on stuff? I was just thinking about how great a guy roommate would be and I realized the only downside would be finding penises drawn in the steam on the bathroom mirror.’
His dimpled smile made me grin.
‘I just drew a penis on Brandon’s truck the other day.’
I laughed. ‘So men never outgrow it. Nice.'”

All in all, a truly good book can’t get much better than this. The Friend Zone is not some fluffy romance (which I’m okay with, now and then). This book will run you through a full gamut of emotions. You will laugh, you will cry, you will cheer, you will want to throw things. I’m not kidding, friends–you DO NOT want to miss this seriously impressive debut. It releases on June 11th–pre-order now and prepare yourself for one of the best books you will read in 2019!

**Note: I received a free e-ARC of this book via NetGalley from the publisher Forever in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.

The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister

The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister
Publisher/Year: St. Martin’s Press, 2019
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 311
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Erica Bauermeister, the national bestselling author of The School of Essential Ingredients, presents a moving and evocative coming-of-age novel about childhood stories, families lost and found, and how a fragrance conjures memories capable of shaping the course of our lives.

Emmeline lives an enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them. As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world–a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and imagination.

Lyrical and immersive, The Scent Keeper explores the provocative beauty of scent, the way it can reveal hidden truths, lead us to the person we seek, and even help us find our way back home.

What I thought

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for including me as a stop on the blog tour for this wonderfully inventive novel! All of these thoughts and opinions are my own, and I mean it when I say I LOVED this one & want to push this book into ALL readers hands!

It has been quite some time since I’ve fallen in love with a story like I have with The Scent Keeper. Emmeline won me over from the very beginning and I got lost in the gorgeous, lyrical writing. Friends, this is one 2019 release you will not want to miss!

For starters, this novel has to have one of the most unique storylines I’ve read. The use of scent as a plot device was brilliant and enthralling, and it made it that much easier to sink into this story and lost track of my surroundings. I love how it encourages readers to slow down and take notice of the small details of life because when all is said and done, they’re the ones that matter. I can’t stress enough–the writing is truly beautiful and breathtaking.

I really grew to care about the cast of characters, as well. In particular, my favorites were Emmeline and Fisher, Henry and Colette. Oh, and Dodge–he was a good ole boy. Emmeline is fascinating–everything about her seemed so genuine and real, even when she goes to find herself. Fisher is the kind of boy I’d swoon over, I’ll just leave it at that. Henry and Colette are the best kind of pseudo-grandparents you could ask for–just thinking of them makes my heart swell. And I don’t want to say too much, but as for Emmeline’s parents, I love what she says of them in the novel’s opening lines: “We are the unwitting carriers of our parents’ secrets, the ripples made by stones we never saw thrown.” (And can we talk about that gorgeous writing again?!)

The last thing I’d like to mention is the ending. I’m kind of torn on it. I am personally not a huge fan of open endings, even though sometimes it is nice for readers to fill in the blanks themselves. But when it comes down to it, I think the ending really fits this novel and couldn’t have been any other way. I like to think of this ending like the tail notes of a scent, drifting away…

Anyway, this novel is fantastic! I cannot recommend it enough. Fiction at its finest, trust me when I tell you that you won’t want to miss this one! It’s release date is May 21st (right around the corner!)–preorder now, it will be one of the best books you read this summer, I promise!

**Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review featured on the blog tour for this title. This in no way affected my opinions presented here.

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble
Indie Bound

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center
Publisher/Year: St. Martin’s Press, August 2019
Format: E-galley
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about family, hope, and learning to love against all odds.

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.

What I thought

It’s been days since I finished this read, and I still can’t get it off my mind. If that’s not the mark of a 5-star read, I don’t know what is. This heartfelt novel has definitely made it onto my “favorites of 2019” list. You will not want to miss this one when it releases on August 13th!

I love women’s fiction & I read it for a number of reasons. Sometimes, I’m looking for something on the “fluffy” side, and sometimes, I’m just in the mood for a “feel-good” story. But I know I’ve found a favorite when I have a book that’s easy to sink into and hard to put down, and not only that, but one that makes me feel a whole range of emotions. And that’s precisely what I found with Things You Save in a Fire.

My heart alternately ached and soared for Cassie. I know it sounds cliche, but by story’s end, she truly felt like a friend. Center’s writing of her character (and just in general) blew me away. If you are a fan of Emily Giffin’s novels, I’d highly recommend this book. This wasn’t just a fluffy story (not that there’s anything wrong with them!)–there’s heartbreak, anger, fear, guilt, resentment…basically, depth to the story.

And back to Cassie–what a heroine! It was a joy to read along her journey and watch her grow. I won’t delve too much into that–just trust me, you’ll love her. And the rookie? You won’t be able to help being won over by him, too. The rest of the characters are wonderful, too–vivid and fleshed out. I honestly can’t get over how “real” this story felt to me, and maybe that’s part of why I can’t stop thinking about it.

I could gush about this book all day, but since I can’t force a copy into your hands, I will just highly recommend that you find a copy for yourself when this hits shelves in August!

**Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a complimentary e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! This did not affect my opinions presented here.

Searching for Paradise in Parker, PA by Kris Radish

Searching for Paradise in Parker, PA by Kris Radish
Publisher/Year: Bantam Dell, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 343
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


From the bestselling author of The Sunday List of Dreams and Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral comes a poignant, funny, and uplifting novel of a woman at midlife whose search for happiness within her marriage–and within herself–turns a whole town upside down.

After twenty-eight years of marriage to her husband Lucky, Addy Lipton feels anything but happily married. In fact, just thinking of their garage, crammed with Lucky’s useless junk collection, drives Addy dangerously close to plowing her car through it. But when Lucky wins a trip to paradise–aka Costa Rica–Addy has a faint hope they may turn things around. Or maybe they won’t. Either way, Addy never gets the chance to find out.

On the morning of their departure, Lucky fractures his back tossing their luggage into his truck. Now, with the man she feels she barely knows anymore parked indefinitely on her couch, Addy can’t see their already shaky relationship surviving much longer. It’s time to make some big changes–and some drastic choices.

With the love and support of her devoutly single sister Hell and her workout friends, the Sweat-hers, Addy begins a crusade to revive her dreams–and she takes the women of Parker along for the ride. Soon the men will realize they’ll have to step up to the plate to keep their wives and lovers happy. And Addy will have to decide if the paradise she’s creating in Parker is big enough for two…

Filled with small-town characters and big-time soul-searching, this sparkling and inspirational tale will hit you where you live–and show you that just as happiness can get buried beneath the jumble of years, it can be rediscovered…if you look hard enough for it within your heart.

What I thought

This was my second Kris Radish book, and I am so glad–I loved it! Kris Radish has a very unique writing style, and it’s not for everyone. I’m not even sure how to describe it. All I know is that it works for me, and I definitely consider myself a fan of hers now! Her writing is just witty and hilarious and biting and totally honest. It’s great.

Here I am, nearing the end of my 20s, and I was able to laugh, cry, and get angry with a group of women who are a generation ahead of me. If that doesn’t speak well for Radish as a writer, then I don’t know what will. And as frustrated as I got with Addy at times, I also know that it’s hard to stand back and objectively make decisions about our own lives. And we all tend to be a little self-focused at times, like it or not. If anything, Addy’s flaws just made her that much more relatable.

Again, Kris Radish’s writing takes some getting used to (it’s just her style, it’s different–in a good way), but if you are looking for a hilarious, heartfelt female-centric look at the relationships and differences between men and women, then I highly recommend Searching for Paradise in Parker, PA.

Barefoot Beach (Harmony Harbor #8) by Debbie Mason

Barefoot Beach (Harmony Harbor #8) by Debbie Mason
Publisher/Year: Forever, June 2019
Format: E-book
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


Can a summer of love make up for a lifetime of secrets?

Wedding fever has taken over Harmony Harbor this summer, and the local matchmakers have set their sights on Theia Lawson, a former navy pilot who’s in town for a stay at Greystone Manor. And while Theia’s got her reasons to put this small town behind her as fast as she can, there’s a certain tall, dark, and irresistible man that she can’t seem to get off her mind.

Firefighter Marco DiRossi wants to beat the matchmakers at their own game so he conspires with Theia to pretend they’ve already fallen in love. It’s only for the summer. What could go wrong? Yet as the beach season draws to a close, Marco and Theia find their pretend relationship has led to very real attraction. But when a secret from the past is revealed, jeopardizing everything they hold dear, can this unlikely couple find their way to a happily-ever-after?

What I thought

What a perfect summer time read! This was entertaining enough to keep the pages turning, but also light enough to be able to kick back, relax, and just enjoy a good story. I truly enjoyed watching Theia and Marco’s story unfold. Theia was a strong female lead, which I can always appreciate, and it was also nice to see a major hunk like Marco with a soft side. And hello–a man who not only loves to cook, but cooks well? Sign me up! I also really enjoyed all of the antics that go with getting a large family together. It felt realistic and added an extra element of depth to the story so that the whole story didn’t just revolve around Marco and Theia.

My only complaint here doesn’t even really have to do with the book. I’ve never read any of the Harmony Harbor books before, and while for the most part, this works fine as a standalone, I still think I would have liked to know more of the family history. Again, this is no fault of the book, just more of an FYI for readers.

All in all, if you’re looking for a page-turning read to take to the beach with a set of characters you can’t help but grow attached to, I’d highly recommend looking for Barefoot Beach when it releases on June 4th!

**Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinions presented here.