Monday, February 28, 2022

Blog Tour: Review of Edward and Annie by Caryn Rivadeneira

Author: Caryn Rivadeneira
Illustrator:  Katy Tanis
Publisher: Thomas Nelson 
Publication Date: March 1, 2022
Hardcover: 32 pages

Join famous penguins, Edward and Annie, the viral sensations, as they waddle through Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium in this funny and surprising adventure story.

When no one comes to visit the aquarium, penguin pair Edward and Annie wonder, Where did everyone go? This colorful romp through Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium from author Caryn Rivadeneira takes children and their families on an adventure of wonder through the marine world. As Edward and Annie explore the unknown parts of their aquarium home and meet the other wonderfully strange creatures living there, these penguin friends discover that the world is much bigger and more interesting than they ever knew. After much excitement and many surprises, they return to the penguin habitat for the best end to any day: a cozy rest at home.
Edward and Annie teaches 4 to 8-year-olds that
  • great discoveries and new friends can come from life’s biggest changes
  • the best adventures start with trying something new
  • a community is made of individuals who are each different, beautiful, and amazing
In this funny read-aloud picture book, children will
  • meet the real-life rockhopper penguins, Edward and Annie, who made a splash on social media
  • learn about the other sea animals that live at Shedd Aquarium, including Wellington the penguin and Annik the baby beluga
  • have fun learning fascinating science facts during family reading time or as part of preschool and elementary STEM lessons in marine biology
  • laugh at the penguins’ curious questions and silly antics
Your family will fall in love with these sweet, energetic penguins as together you discover that the world is a wonderful and surprising place–a place that is even better when explored with a friend by your side!

My Thoughts:

Edward and Annie is an adorable book about two of the real life penguins from the Lake Michigan Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.  During the 2020 pandemic shut down, the caretakers at the aquarium took these two as well as other penguins on adventures throughout the aquarium in order to provide enrichment activities and exercise.  The Shedd Aquarium has short videos of these adventures on YouTube.  I highly recommend looking for them.  They are too adorable.

In this book, we follow both Annie and Edward, as well as their caregiver Kai, as they explore and meet new friends. Throughout the adventure, Annie remarks that things are different.  Edward helps her learn that different doesn't always mean a bad thing.  Different can be exciting and fun.  At the end of the book, there is a section explaining about the real aquarium and how the animals are cared for.  The book is beautifully illustrated with colorful drawings that will give young readers a lot to look at and explore.  I highly recommend this one.  It would be a wonderful addition to any library.

About the Author and Illustrator

Caryn Rivadeneira writes stories that spark wonder, fuel curiosity, and craft worlds that help kids find their place in this one. She is the author of books for children and adults, including the Moonbeam Award–winning Helper Hounds series, Grit and Grace: Heroic Women of the Bible, Edward and Annie: A Penguin Adventure, and Saints of Feather and Fang: How the Animals We Love and Fear Connect Us to God. Caryn lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, three kids, and two rescued pit bulls.

Katy Tanis is an illustrator, explorer, and children’s book author. She lives and works at the Jersey shore. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in biology through Miami University in partnership with Wildlife Conservation Society. She spends most of her days chasing deadlines but occasionally wanders to far-off places, like Madagascar, where she chases primates instead. Her work is inspired by specific ecosystems and the wonderful webs of life that they contain. She has a soft spot for the weirdos of the animal kingdom, and she’s never met a color she didn’t like.

Wednesday, February 23rd: @celiamcmahonreads
Wednesday, February 23rd: @lovemybooks2020
Friday, February 25th: @bookshelfmomma
Saturday, February 26th: @biblio.jojo
Sunday, February 27th: @midnightbooklover
Monday, February 28th: @nerdybookmama
Tuesday, March 1st: @storytimewithshelbs on TikTok
TBD: Monday, February 21st: @secretreadinglife
TBD: Tuesday, February 22nd: @girlsinbooks
TBD: Thursday, February 24th: @idahogirlreads
TBD: Thursday, February 24th: @alphabetsandaudiobooks

Monday, February 28th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, March 1st: @megsbookclub
Wednesday, March 2nd: @wonderousreads
Thursday, March 3rd: Stranded in Chaos and @sarastrand9438
Thursday, March 4th: @laurasnextchapter
Monday, March 7th: @literannie
Wednesday, March 9th:
Thursday, March 10th: @parksidereads
Friday, March 11th: @wereadlikethat
Friday, March 11th: @detroitmomsonthesamepage
Monday, March 14th: @celiamcmahonreads
Tuesday, March 15th: @nissa_the.bookworm
Wednesday, March 16th:
Friday, March 18th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, March 21st: @karen_runwrightreads

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Books I DNF'd in February

Woman Last Seen
: Once I figured out what was going on, I ended up putting the book down.  I am not a fan of this sort of book because I'm not a fan of cheating. The main character never seemed like she would take accountability for her poor choices.  I honestly didn't care what happened to her in the end. I did peek at the ending and am glad I didn't finish it.  Not a fan of endings like that.

A Lullaby for Witches:  I found this book really boring.  The main character in the present time was dull and forgettable.  The sections in the past were frustrating.  Why wouldn't a character who keeps saying she knows how to prevent things like pregnancy not do it with for herself?  She knew the consequences. I just wasn't enjoying my time with it, so I gave up. 

Heartbreak Incorporated:  I made it about 60% in with this book.  I ended up DNFing it once the reveal of what was going on with Misha happened.  The were conversations that were just weird and pandering.  I feel like this book didn't know what it wanted to be.  I just couldn't get behind Evie being OK with everything that was happening or she would still want to be involved. Skip this one.

No Exit: 
I really wanted to love this one.  I know that it is the favorite of a lot of people.  I honestly, didn't love it and was bored.  The main character kept making really stupid decisions.  I will admit that saw a spoiler for one of the twists.  I had already called it early on. It wasn't the book I was hoping for.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Blog Tour: Excerpt from Last Duke Standing by Julia London


Author: Julia London
ISBN: 9781335639868
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
Publisher: HQN Books
When Crown Princess Justine of Wesloria is sent to England to learn the ropes of royalty, she falls under the tutelage of none other than Queen Victoria herself. She’s also in the market for a proper husband—one fit to marry the future Queen of Wesloria.

Because he knows simply everyone, William, Lord Douglas (the notoriously rakish heir to the Duke of Hamilton seat in Scotland, and decidedly not husband material), is on hand as an escort of sorts. William has been recruited to keep an eye on the royal matchmaker for the Weslorian Prime Minister, tasked to ensure the princess is matched with a man of quality...and one who will be sympathetic to the prime minister’s views. As William and Justine are forced to scrutinize an endless parade of England’s best bachelors, they become friends. But when the crowd of potential grooms is steadily culled, what if William is the last bachelor standing?

Buy Links: 

Enjoy this excerpt:



When Justine was fourteen, her father took her to the mountainous north country of Wesloria. He said he was to meet with coal barons because they were restless and in need of appeasing. Why? Justine had wondered.

“Because coal barons are always restless and in need of appeasing, darling,” he’d said, as if everyone knew that.

She’d imagined large, heavily cloaked men, faces covered in soot, pacing their hearths and muttering their grievances. But the coal barons were, in fact, like all well-dressed Weslorian gentlemen with clean faces.

They peered at her with expressions that ranged from disgust to indifference to curiosity.

“Don’t mind them,” her father had said. “They are not modern men.”

Justine and her father were housed at Astasia Castle. It was a fortress that jutted out forebodingly from a rocky outcropping so high on the mountain that the horses labored to pull the royal coach up the steep drive. It was purported to be the best of all the accommodations in the area, afforded to Justine and her father by virtue of the fact Justine’s father was the king of Wesloria, and she was the crown princess, the invested heir to the throne.

Justine said the castle looked scary. Her father explained that castles were built in this manner so that armies and marauders could be seen advancing from miles away, and runaway brides could be seen fleeing for miles.

“Runaway brides?” Justine had been enthralled by the idea of something so romantic gone so horribly awry.

“Petr the Mad watched his bride run away with his best knight, and then watched his men chase them for miles before they got away. He was so angry he burned down half the village.” Her father did not elaborate further, as the gates had opened, and the castellan had come rushing forward, eager to show the king and his heir the old royal castle he proudly kept.

Sir Corin wore a dusty blue waistcoat that hung to his thighs, the last four buttons undone to allow for his paunch. His hair, scraggly and gray, had been pulled into an old-fashioned queue at his nape. He kept a ring of keys attached to his waist that clanked with each step he took.

He was a student of history, he’d said, and could answer any question they might have about Astasia Castle, and proceeded to exhibit his detailed knowledge of the dank, drafty place with narrow halls and low ceilings. A young Russian prince had died in this room. An ancient queen had lost her life giving birth to her tenth child in that room.

Sir Corin showed them to the throne room. “More than one monarch’s held court here.”

Justine was accustomed to the opulence of the palace in Wesloria’s capital of St. Edys. This looked more like a common room of a public house—it was small and dark, the king and queen’s thrones wooden, and the tapestries faded by time and smoke.

Another room, Sir Corin pointed out, was where King Maksim had accepted the surrender of the feudal King Igor, thereby uniting all Weslorians under one rule after generations of strife.

“My namesake,” her father said proudly, forgetting, perhaps, that King Maksim had slaughtered King Igor’s forces to unite them all.

They came upon a small inner courtyard. Stone walls rose up on three sides of it, but the outer wall was a battlement. Sir Corin pointed to a door at one end of the battlement that led into a keep with narrow windows. “We use it for storage now, but they kept the prisoners there in the old days. Worse than any dungeon your young eyes have ever seen, Your Royal Highness.”

Justine had never seen a dungeon.

“Is this not where Lord Rabat was beheaded?” her father asked casually. To Justine, he said, “That would have been your great-great-uncle Rabat.”

“Je, Your Majesty, the block is still here.” Sir Corin pointed to a large wooden block that stood alone, about two feet high and two feet wide. It looked to have been weathered by years of sitting in hard sun and wretched winters.

“Oh, how terrible,” Justine said, crinkling her nose.

“Quite,” her father agreed, and explained, with far too much enthusiasm, how a person was made to kneel before the block and lay their neck upon it. “A good executioner could make clean work of it with a single stroke. Whap, and the head would tumble into a basket.”

“If I may, Your Majesty, a good executioner was hard to come by. More miners in these parts than men good with broadswords. Fact is, it took three strikes of the sword to sever Rabat’s head completely.” Sir Corin felt it necessary to demonstrate the three strikes with his arm.

“Ah…” Justine swallowed down a swell of nausea.

“Three whacks?” her father repeated, rapt. “Couldn’t get it done in one?”

Sir Corin shook his head. “Just goes to prove how important it is to keep the broadsword sharp.”

“And to keep someone close who knows how to wield it,” her father added. The two men laughed roundly.

Justine looked around for someplace to sit so that she could put her head between her legs and gulp some air. Alas, the only place to sit was the block.

“Steady there, my girl. I’ve not told you who ordered the beheading,” her father said.

Sir Corin clasped his hands together in anticipation, clearly trying to contain his glee.

“Your great-great-aunt Queen Elena!”

Queen Elena had beheaded Lord Rabat? “Her husband?”

“Worse. Her brother.”

Justine gasped. “But why?”

“Because Rabat meant to behead her first. Whoever survived the battle here would be crowned the sovereign.”

“Ooh, a bloody battle it was, too,” Sir Corin said eagerly. “Four thousand souls lost, many of them falling right off the battlement.”

Justine backed up a step. A quake was beginning somewhere deep inside her, making her a little short of breath. Her knees felt as if they might buckle, and her skin crawled with anxiety, imagining the loss of so many. “Could she not have banished him?”

“And have him slither back like a snake?” Her father draped his arm around her shoulders before she could back up all the way to St. Edys. “She did the right thing. Why, minutes before, she was on the block herself.”

“Dear God,” Justine whispered.

“But at the last minute the people here saved her,” her father said. “She sentenced her brother to die immediately for his insurrection and stood right where we are now to watch his traitorous head roll.”

“Well,” Sir Corin said. “I wouldn’t say it rolled, precisely.”

The two men laughed again.

“Don’t close your eyes, darling,” her father said, squeezing her into his side. “Look at that block. Elena was only seventeen years old, but she was very clever. She knew what she had to do to hold power and rule the kingdom. And she ruled a very long time.”

“Forty-three years, all told,” Sir Corin said proudly.

“Queen Elena learned what every sovereign must—be decisive and act quickly. Do you understand?”

“I don’t…think so?” Justine was starting to feel a bit like she was spinning.

“You will.” Her father dropped his arm. He wandered over to the block to inspect it. “We almost named you Elena after her. But they called her Elena the Bi—Witch,” he said. “And your mother feared they might call you the same.”

“You said she was a good queen.”

“She was an excellent queen. But sometimes it is difficult to do the things that must be done and keep the admiration of your people at the same time.”

The spinning was getting worse. She gripped her father’s arm. “Why?”

“Because people expect a woman to behave like a woman. But a good queen must sometimes behave more like a king for the good of the kingdom. People don’t care for it.” He shrugged. “No king or queen can make all their subjects happy all the time.” He suddenly smiled. “You look a bit like Queen Elena.”

“The very image,” Sir Corin piped up.

Later that day Justine saw a portrait of Queen Elena. She wasn’t smiling, but she didn’t appear completely unpleasant. She simply looked…determined. And her dress was elegantly pretty, with lots of pearls sewn into it.

Later still, when her father and his men had retired to smoke cigars and talk about coal or some such, Justine returned to the courtyard alone. No one was there, no sentry looking out for marauders or runaway brides. She looked up at the tops of pines bending in a relentless wind, appearing to scrape a dull gray sky. She walked up the steps to the battlement and gazed out over the mountain valley below the castle. She spread her arms wide, closed her eyes and turned her face to the heavens.

That was the first time she truly felt it—the pull from somewhere deep, the energy of all the kings and queens who had come before her, rising up to the crown of her head, anchoring her to this earth. She felt the centuries of warfare and struggle, of the people her family had ruled. She felt the enormous responsibilities they’d all carried, the work they’d done to carve a road to the future.

Her father had often said that he could feel the weight of his crown on his shoulders. But Justine felt something entirely different. She didn’t feel as if it was weighing her down, but more like it was lifting her off her feet and holding her here. She didn’t believe this was a conceit on her part, but a tether to her past. She would be a queen. She knew that she would, and standing there, she felt like she should be. She felt born to it.

A gust of wind very nearly sent her flying, so she came down from the battlement. She paused just before the block and tried to imagine herself on her knees, knowing her death was imminent. She imagined how she would look.

She hoped she would appear strong and noble with no hint of her fear of the pain or the unknown.

Being queen was her destiny. She knew it would come.

But she hadn’t known then it would come so soon.

Excerpted from The Last Duke Standing by Julia London. Copyright © 2022 by Dinah Dinwiddie. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

Author Bio: 
Photo Credit:
Kathy Whitaker

Julia London is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels of historical and contemporary romance. She is the author of the popular Highland Grooms series as well as A Royal Wedding, her most recent series. Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. She lives in Austin, Texas. Visit her at

Social Links:
Author Website
Facebook: Julia London
Twitter: @JuliaFLondon
Instagram: NA

Friday, February 25, 2022

Blog Tour: Excerpt from The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery

Author: Susan Mallery
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: March 15, 2022

One woman discovers the beauty in chaos in this poignant and heartwarming story about the threads that hold family together from #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery.

With her divorce settlement about to run out and a mortgage she can’t afford, Robyn Caldwell needs a plan for her future. She nurtured her family and neglected herself. But how’s she supposed to think when her daughter has become the most demanding bride ever, her son won’t even consider college, her best friend is on the brink of marital disaster and her ex is making a monumentally bad decision that could bring everything crashing down on Robyn’s head? So when her great-aunt Lillian invites her to Santa Barbara for the summer, Robyn hops on the first plane.

But it’s hard to run away when you’re the heart of the family. One by one, everyone she left behind follows her across the country. Somehow, their baggage doesn’t feel as heavy in the sun-drenched, mishmash mansion. The more time Robyn spends with free-spirited Lillian, the more she sees the appeal in taking chances—on dreams, on love, on family. Life is meant to be lived on purpose. All she has to do is muster the courage to take a chance on herself

We have excerpt #5 for you today.  Check out the tour schedule below for more from this book.

His tone made him sound like he was eight instead of eighteen. If only that were true, she thought, remembering how easy things had been when he’d been younger. Austin was a go along to get along kid. He was even-tempered, thoughtful and affectionate. Unfortunately he was also stubborn, so when he’d said he wasn’t going to college and instead would work for his dad, no amount of chiding, persuading or threatening had changed his mind.
She inspected the refrigerator contents. “Grilled cheese and coleslaw?”
“Yes, please.”
“Even though dinner’s in two hours?”
“Like I won’t be hungry then, too.”
She collected three kinds of cheese, along with butter and bread. She’d made the coleslaw that morning. Jase wouldn’t approve, but she would grill vegetables along with the chicken so he could eat those and ignore the creamy goodness of her coleslaw.
She sliced the cheese, then buttered the bread before heating a pan.
“I’m moving out Saturday,” Austin said as she assembled the sandwich.
“You’ve mentioned that.”
“Into my own apartment.”
She pressed her lips together to keep from saying he was too young. He would point out that he was eighteen now, an adult. Working for his father gave him a nice paycheck. He could afford an apartment and had decided he was ready to be on his own. But being the right age was not the same as being a mature adult. Not that telling him that would make a difference.
She also wasn’t going to mention that she wasn’t ready for him to go or that she liked having him around, although both were true. Guilting her kids had never been her thing.
She used a spatula to lower the sandwich into the pan. “What are you doing about furniture? You have your bedroom set, but what about other stuff? A sofa? A table and chairs?” She mentally ran through the contents of the house, wondering what she was willing to give up. “Are you renting a moving van or something?”
“I don’t need anything, Mom. The place is furnished.”
“What? Why would you rent a furnished place? It’s so much more expensive.”
“I didn’t want to deal with moving stuff back and forth. It’s only for four months.”
She pressed down on the sandwich. “Four months? The move is temporary?”
“Sure. Come on, Mom. I’m barely eighteen. I’m not ready to adult full-time. I’m getting a place for the summer so I can have a good time with my friends before they go off to college. You know, like a four-month party. The rent’s cheap because it’s not the tourist season. I got a great deal, and it’s going to be awesome.”
She narrowed her gaze. “You think you can just move in and out at will? Is this a hotel?”
The charming grin returned. “Oh, Mom, don’t play like you’re mad. You love having me around. Plus, you think I’m too young to be on my own, so this is good news.”
She flipped the sandwich. He wasn’t totally wrong, but she wasn’t going to admit that.
“Why didn’t you tell me this before?” she asked. “You let me think you were gone for good.”
“I didn’t want you to try to change my mind.” His expression turned serious. “I really do have a plan, Mom.”
So he’d said several times—something she would believe if he would tell her what the plan was.
“College in the fall?” she asked hopefully, sliding the sandwich onto a plate, then slicing it in half. “You could do a year of community college, then transfer to—”
“Have a little faith in me.”
“I want to. I love you.”
“I love you, too,” he mumbled around a bite of the sandwich. When he’d chewed and swallowed, he said, “Does the chicken means Jase is coming over for dinner tonight?”
“No.” She leaned against the island. “Tomorrow. Austin, do you have a problem with Jase?”
“He’s fine. I just like to know when he’s coming for dinner.”
He looked at her, then away. “When he’s over, I feel like I’m in the way.”
“Sweetie, no.” She sat down next to him. “Austin, this is your home, and you’re always welcome.” She smiled. “Until you move out on Saturday. Then I’m getting the locks changed.” She let her smile fade. “Is it something he’s said or I’ve done?”
“No.” He finished the first half of his sandwich. “Sometimes I think Jase doesn’t approve of me.”
She tried to make sense of that. “He’s never said that. I think he likes you a lot.”
“Maybe. I don’t know. Until I move out, I’ll be elsewhere while your man friend is here.”
“I’m not convinced this is okay.”
He smiled at her. “As long as you like him and he treats you okay, then I don’t have a problem.”
She stood and kissed the top of his head. “You’re very sweet.”
He glanced at the refrigerator. “Did you use that healthy citrus marinade?”
She laughed. “It’s not that bad. I’m going to grill corn, and I made blue cheese potato salad.”
“You’re the best, Mom.”

SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship and romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations," and readers seem to agree—forty million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.
Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She's passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two Ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as Mo

Excerpt Tour Schedule:

Monday, February 21st: Books Cooks Looks  1
Tuesday, February 22nd: Reading Reality 2
Wednesday, February 23rd: SusanLovesBooks 3
Thursday, February 24th: Kahakai Kitchen 4
Friday, February 25th: From the TBR Pile 5
Friday, February 25th: View from the Birdhouse 6
Sunday, February 27th: Subakka.bookstuff 7
Monday, February 28th: Laura’s Reviews 8
Tuesday, March 1st: Bookchickdi 9
Wednesday, March 2nd: The Bookish Dilettante 10
Thursday, March 3rd: What is That Book About 11
Friday, March 4th: The Romance Dish 12
Sunday, March 6th: The Cozy Book Blog 13
Monday, March 7th: Girl Who Reads 14
Tuesday, March 8th: Bibliotica 15
Wednesday, March 9th: Helen’s Book Blog 16
Thursday, March 10th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers 17
Friday, March 11th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy 18
Sunday, March 13th: Novel Gossip 19
Monday, March 14th: Books and Bindings 20

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Marrying the Lady by Daisy Landish


: Daisy Landish
Narrator: Harry Frost
Length: 1 hour 11 minutes
Publisher: Daisy Landish2021
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Lady Series, Book 3
Release date: Dec. 2, 2021

Synopsis: Marrying The Lady is the third stand-alone regency romance story in The Lady series.

Constance Wellington has just launched her first charge into society. Weeks later, Arabella Allington and her new husband, Viscount Pommeray, are off on their honeymoon while Constance's employers are touring the south of France. She's barely started enjoying this peaceful reprieve when another charge is thrust upon her. If she thought Arabella was a handful, preserving Miss Penelope's virtue might very well make her reconsider the nunnery!

Buy Links for Audiobook #3
Buy on AmazonAudibleiTunes

My thoughts:

Marrying the Lady is the third book in this series.  This one is Constance's story.  I enjoyed this one more than the last one.  There was a little mystery as well as the hint of a romance.  Once again, I would have loved to have it be longer to see the love grow between Constance and William. But what we do see is really sweet.  I have been enjoying the narration in this series.  Definitely give this one a try.

About the Author: Daisy Landish

When she’s not writing romance books, Daisy Landish enjoys hiking at dawn and riding into the sunset on her trusted steed, Rosebud.

About the Narrator: Harry Frost

Harry Frost is an English voice actor specialising in audiobook narration and production. He’s passionate about the power of the audio medium to bring literature to life in every sense; to turn books into true companions for life as it is lived, rather than things one must escape the world and defer responsibility to read. His studio is in rural Leicestershire, he has recently found an unlikely love of Economics, and he mixes a really good Manhattan.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Blog Tour: Review of Dadbod by Kayt Miller


Author: Kayt Miller
Release: February 22, 2022
Genre: Single Dad Romance/Romantic Comedy
Romeo "Rome" James is a single father in need of a nanny. He's got the perfect person in mind, the thing is, all he's done since he met Elizabeth Duncan is picture her in his home, in his bed. Now he's got the chance for at least one of those things. Will he be able to see her there and not want to more?
Very doubtful.
Buy Links: Kindle Unlimited
Amazon US:
Amazon CA:
Amazon UK:
Amazon AU:

My thoughts:

Dadbod is a sexy single dad romance coupled with the dating the boss trope.  This is Beth and Rome's story.  I thought this book was OK.  The couple did have good chemistry and their romance was kind of a slow burn.  My biggest issue was that the couple really lacked communication.  Rome drove me crazy because he had a tendency to overreact at situations.  Honestly, I think that Beth kind of gave him one too many chances.  I'm not sure the guy would ever learn to "read the room".  What I enjoyed more than the romance was the relationship that Beth had with the two kids.  I loved how she helped them both heal from the loss of their mother.  That is what saved the book for me and is why I would recommend picking this one up.

Author Bio:

I grew up in the midwest with a loving family including three brothers, one sister, and my parents who always fostered my creative side. I earned my bachelor's degree at Iowa State University, then I was off to the Savannah College of Art and Design for graduate school. After that, I returned to Iowa for work which led me, once again, to ISU for my master's degree in education.
I love to read and one day I was searching for a book. A book about a certain type of woman and a specific kind of man and I couldn't find it so, I wrote it. I called it Game Changer and it couldn't have been a more appropriate title. It changed my life in many ways. While my real job is teaching young people, my fun job is conjuring up characters and situations to write about. 
My goal, as a writer, is to write stories that relate to all of us, to make readers laugh and maybe cry sometimes. I hope my readers can escape into a fantasy, one that's actually possible. Sure, some of the stories could be dubbed "Insta-love" stories but that's okay. I fell in love with my husband pretty damn fast and with my daughter the second I saw her. So, it's a thing, I swear.
Social Media Links:

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt from Light in the Dark by Kate McWilliams


Moon Harbor, Maine was supposed to be the fresh start Alex Benning was looking for. As she settles into her new life, not only does she reconnect with her first love, Sam Waters, but also uncovers a family secret that threatens to change everything. Fans of the Indigo Ridge series by Devney Perry will devour Light in the Dark by Kate McWilliams, a steamy small-town, romantic suspense.
Read Now!
A woman in search of a place to belong.
A man finally getting his second chance.
And a lingering secret that threatens to change everything…
Alex Benning has never known a true home. After inheriting her beloved aunt’s cottage in the small coastal town of Moon Harbor, Maine, she finally gets a chance to start over and leave the life of solitude behind. But she never expects to find herself face to face with her first love—the first man to ever break her heart.
Sam Waters stopped looking for love a long time ago. With a job he enjoys and people he cares about, he’s finally learned to be content with things just as they are. Until the one who got away comes back into his life and makes him crave more. The flame between Alex and Sam reignites and the sparks between them are brighter than ever.
But as Alex settles into her new home, she begins to uncover the truth about her family and the tragedy that changed her life all those years ago. With more questions than answers, Alex and Sam set out to discover what really happened. And the closer they get, the closer danger lurks.
Will Alex be able to survive the unraveling of old family secrets before it’s too late? Before she loses Sam forever.
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My thoughts:

Light in the Dark is first book in the Moon Harbor series.  It's a nice second chance romance involving Alex and Sam.  As you know it's one of my favorite tropes.  I enjoyed this one.  Sam and Alex have nice chemistry. I also liked that they had a history and were able to talk about what happened fairly early on.  It saved a lot of angst. The epilogue was very sweet   I also loved the secondary characters and how they became Alex's chosen family.  What I wasn't expecting was the bonus mystery.    It had me guessing and on my toes.   This is a great start to the series.  I look forward to reading Sara and Theo's story next.  

Copyright 2022 @Kate McWilliams
Alex fucking Benning. One of the most beautiful girls I’d ever been with, and one of the most beautiful memories I had in my life. Sitting thirty feet away from me right now. I hadn’t seen her since I broke her heart twelve years ago. I broke my own that day too, but I was too young and stupid to realize that at the time.
Her hair was a bit darker now. She was a little taller maybe. Her features were softer back then, but the carved look of them now was stunning. It took me a minute to recognize her because of that but now that I did, it felt like I had been looking at her our whole lives. What was she doing here again?
Carol. Shit.
I knew Carol Baldwin had passed away last month but I’d been out of town sourcing new lumber. I got distracted and was ashamed to admit I hadn’t thought about Alex visiting. Or maybe it was that I tried my best to not think about her at all. Any time I did, which was far too often that I would have liked to admit, I was faced with the failure of my youth. And the one who got away.
“Alex who?” I heard Rafael question from behind me. I still didn’t take my eyes off her, but she wasn’t paying me any attention. Had she recognized me?
“Alex…Alex. Wait, Alex?” Theo’s voice now rang in my ears and a chill went through me. Yeah. The very one. My first everything. First love. First fuck. First heartbreak. I stood up but couldn’t get my feet to move from the spot next to our table. From what felt like a distance, I vaguely heard Theo filling Raf in on my teenage romance with Alex. It felt inadequate to explain it that way though. And I had spent the past twelve years doing my best to forget her. But my traitorous heart never wanted to do such a thing.
I got my feet moving before I could think twice about it. She was here, no changing that. I needed to talk to her. And I sure as hell needed to get her away from Johnny the bartender. I approached her from the side but she didn’t notice at first. She was reading something on her phone and I didn’t want to startle her so I sat down at the bar, one stool away, and waited.
A moment later, she looked over. And then did a double take. So maybe she hadn’t recognized me before.
“Sam Waters.”
“Hey, Alex.”
About Kate McWilliams

A writer, poet, and essayist, Kate McWilliams loves letting loose by writing steamy, heart-melting romances mixed with mystery and suspense.
Growing up in a “reader” household, she gets her love of mysteries from her mother and her love of steamy romance from being a triple Taurus. An avid reader, she loves most genres, though her favorite books usually come from her fellow indie romance authors.
Kate is mom to the best kid in the world, who rightfully turns her nose up at anything romantic. Together they live in New Jersey with their crazy corgi, Nova.

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