Six Months in Montana by Pamela Kelley Publisher/Year: Piping Plover Press, 2013 Format: E-book (Nook) Pages: 147 Rating: ⭐⭐ Goodreads
Molly Bishop loves living in Manhattan and managing a boutique luxury hotel. She’s about to be promoted to her dream job of General Manager, the roles she’s been striving for her entire career.
There’s only one thing standing in her way.
The will of her childhood friend, Christian Ford’s grandfather. She hasn’t even seen Christian in over ten years, but a recent run-in with his grandfather during a rare visit home, resulted in a new condition to the will. Christian will only inherit the ranch he’s been running and the real estate development business that he has expanded if he marries Molly and stays married for at least six months…
What I thought
Another Nook freebie that just didn’t do it for me. The only thing it did do was make me hungry. It was cute and simple enough, but in the end, I just thought it was okay. I’m sure there are others who would enjoy this one–it just wasn’t my cuppa tea.
Closing the Deal (Brides of Blossom, Texas #1) by Lenora Worth Publisher/Year: The Tule Publishing, Inc., 2019 Format: E-book (Nook) Pages: 158 Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Goodreads
Can discovering her past create her future?
Sarina Gabriel recently inherited a Victorian money-pit of a mansion. Logic dictates that she sell it, but, still grieving her grandmother’s death, she longs to keep something from her mysterious past. As she explores the house, she discovers some family secrets that just might put the historic mansion on the Hill Country map and give Sarina the roots she’s always wanted. But can she trust Drake Dunmore who promises to help her restore the mansion to its former glory, or will he break her trust and her heart?
Drake Dunmore knows a good deal in houses, and in women. He wants to buy Sarina’s historic mansion and develop the property. Confident, he sets out to charm and persuade the beautiful new owner, Sarina, to sell it to him. Funny thing happens. He falls for Sarina and volunteers to help her restore the mansion and discover her heritage. His father and his ex-girlfriend stand in their way. Can he prove to Sarina that he has her best interests at heart?
What I thought
This was a sweet, easy-to-read, clean romance that I could easily see being made into a Hallmark movie. I really loved Sarina and her friends, and I just love a good small-town setting. My only complaint is that since this was more of a novella, I wished the story felt a little more fleshed out. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing–I enjoyed the story enough that I wanted more! With that said, I’d certainly continue with this series. I can’t wait to read Kayla’s and Mona’s stories!
A Change of Fortune (Ladies of Distinction #1) by Jen Turano Publisher/Year: Bethany House Publishers, 2012 Format: E-book (Nook) Pages: 239 Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ Goodreads
Lady Eliza Sumner is on a mission. After losing her family, her fiance, and her faith, the disappearance of her fortune is the last straw. Now, masquerading as Miss Eliza Sumner, governess-at-large, she’s determined to find the man who ran off with her fortune, reclaim the money, and head straight back to London.
Much to Mr. Hamilton Beckett’s chagrin, all the eyes of New York society–all the female ones, at least–are on him. Unfortunately for all the matchmaking mothers and eligible daughters, he has no plans to marry again, especially with his hands full keeping his business afloat and raising his two children alone.
When Eliza’s hapless attempts to regain her fortune put her right in Hamilton’s path, sparks instantly begin to fly. The discovery of a common nemesis causes them to join forces, but with all their plans falling by the wayside and their enemies getting the better of them, it will take a riot of complications for Hamilton and Eliza to realize that God just might have had a better plan in mind all along.
What I thought
For being a freebie, this read wasn’t too bad! This was my first read by Jen Turano, and while I didn’t love it, I enjoyed it well enough to read more of her books, especially if I was in the mood for something light-hearted. Light-hearted is the perfect way to describe this one. I figured out pretty quickly that while this is billed as an inspirational historical romance, it’s more of a romantic comedy that takes place in a historic setting, with just a dash of religion. The story basically follows these characters from shenanigan to shenanigan, making it a light and easy read. The writing style was humorous, and the mentions of religion were sweet and subtle and not too preachy. I liked how much of a spitfire Eliza was, but I did feel kind of lukewarm towards Hamilton. All in all, this wasn’t anything earth-shattering, but it was a good read for winding down at the end of the day with a cuppa.
Navigate Your Stars by Jesmyn Ward Publisher/Year: Scribner, 2020 Format: ARC – paperback Pages: 60 Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Goodreads
For Tulane University’s 2018 commencement, author Jesmyn Ward delivered a stirring speech about the power of hard work and the value of respect. Describing how she and her family have overcome challenges, Ward’s meditation on tenacity in the face of hardship inspired everyone in the audience. Now, in book form, Ward’s moving words will reach thousands of readers as they prepare for the next chapter in their lives.
Beautifully illustrated in full color by talented Gina Triplett, this unique keepsake will charm a generation of students–and their parents. Ward’s inimitable voice shines through as she shares her experiences as a southern black woman on the themes of grit, adveristy, and the importance of family bonds–a perfect gift for anyone in need of inspiration from “one of the most searing and singularly gifted writers working today” (Entertainment Weekly).
What I thought
Thank you to Scribner and Shelf Awareness for the free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
I’ll be honest, it’s not often that I find myself reading commencement speeches, especially since I’m almost ten years out of college (GAG). But this was a delightful little read! Between the stunning illustrations and Ward’s lyrical prose, I think you’d be hard pressed not to feel inspired by this slim volume. It goes without saying that this would be a wonderful gift for graduates, but I think that really anybody could use a little spark of encouragement like this every now and again. This is one you’ll want to keep within hands reach.
The Roxy Letters by Mary Pauline Lowry Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster, 2020 Format: ARC – paperback Pages: 308 Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Goodreads
She’s got spunk. She’s got charm. She’s got the goddess Venus on her side. But can she save her city and her love life one letter at a time?
Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Where’d You Go, Bernadette in this hilarious and heartwarming novel about twentysomething Roxy, an unlucky-in-love Whole Foods employee, aspiring artist, and sometimes-vegan, who teams up with her two best friends to save Austin from gentrification–and to save Roxy’s love life–in whatever way they can. The Roxy Letters is a hilarious and heartwarming novel told through the letters that the charming and hapless Roxy, a twenty-eight-year-old Austin native, sends to her ex-boyfriend (and current roommate), Everett.
Roxy is underemployed, sexually frustrated, and uninspired. Tired of her job as a deli maid at the original Whole Foods, Roxy daydreams of breaking out of her funk and finding a job that will get her creative juices flowing. She also wouldn’t mind finding love and finding herself off the brink of financial ruin–though Everett’s late rent payments aren’t helping her with the latter.
On top of it all, gentrification is slowly changing her beloved Austin in new and evilly corporate ways. When a new Lululemon pops up at the intersection of Sixth and Lamar where the old Waterloo Video used to be, Roxy can stay silent no longer.
Encouraged by her ex-deli counter comrade Annie–now assistant to the Whole Foods CEO (Chief Ecosystem Officer) and planning an animal rights revolution from the inside–and her new friend Artemis–a vivacious and mercurial man-eater with a string of personas and paramours all over town–Roxy decides to take action. But can this spunky, unforgettable millennial keep Austin weird, avoid arrest, and discover good sex, true love, and her purpose in life in the process?
What I thought
Thank you to Simon & Schuster and Shelf Awareness for the free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Oh friends, this was a wild ride of a book! I never thought I could have this much fun reading a book in 2020. Let me pause before I go any further–if you are someone who is easily offended, especially by swearing or sex, this is not the book for you. If, however, you fall into the wicked category like the rest of us kids, you will find this book laugh-out-loud funny. Initially, I wasn’t sure about the epistolary format, but once I got used to it, I enjoyed it. Roxy is one helluva gal. At first, I found myself feeling increasingly frustrated with her, but after I put my Enneagram 1/Reformer self to bed, she became so endearing to me. You can’t help but root for her. The plot is too wacky to be even remotely believable, but I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard at a book, so I just went with it and ended up having a great time. If you’re looking for something totally off -the-wall and different, but also heartwarming, Roxy’s your gal!
Point of No Return by John P. Marquand Publisher/Year: Academy Chicago Publishers, 1985 Format: Paperback Pages: 559 Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Goodreads
Point of No Return is the story of Charles Gray, an apparently successful New York banker who has come to a pivotal point in his career: he is competing for the vice presidency of the elegant private bank, a job he must win if he is to become a success in the eyes of society.
Gray travels back to Clyde, the Massachusetts town where he grew up and looks with as much objectivity as he can muster on the background which produced him. He wants to decide which way his life will go, and discovers eventually, as C. Hugh Holman points out in 20th Century American Literature, that “all the decisions had already been made without his being aware of it, and that he has passed ‘the point of no return.'”
What I thought
Initially, I was unsure what to make of this book. Here is a book written in the 1940s by an author who, by all appearances, was wildly popular during his time. So, why has this book seemingly fallen to the wayside? Well, now that I’ve finished, I can’t really say. I enjoyed this novel immensely. It wasn’t a pageturner, by any means, but I kind of liked it all the more for that. It reminded me of a book you’d curl up with under a blanket in your comfy chair next to your reading lamp to while away the hours on a dark and chilly night. (Can you tell I’m a mood reader?) It was a quiet, thoughtful read, and I very much enjoyed getting to know Charley Gray. He’s a bit of an “every man,” but that’s something that doesn’t bother me. I think Charley is a character that will stick with me for a while. Yesterday’s “rat race” might look slightly different than today’s, but in a lot of ways, it’s the same. And, at least for me, it’s something I frequently give thought to, so Charley was somebody I felt very sympathetic towards.
All in all, I thought this was an excellent book, and I truly think it is a misplaced classic. I will certainly be on the lookout for more of John P. Marquand’s works.