March Reading Review Round-Up

Today I’m sharing a round-up of the books I read during March. Scroll on to find out which one was my favorite. Click the images below to read my reviews for each novel.

       

Books Read in March 2017

Books listed below in the order they were read

  1. New Attitude by Kathryn R. Biel
  2. Playing House by Laura Chapman
  3. See You Soon Broadway by Melissa Baldwin
  4. Perfect Girl by Michele Gorman
  5. Defining Her by Samantha March
  6. Wait for the Rain by Maria Murnane
  7. Bridges by Maria Murnane
  8. Plan Bea by Hilary Grossman

My favorite book read during March was…

All of them! I loved all of the books I read this month, that I can’t possibly pick only one favorite! They were all 5 star reads in my book, so I’m choosing not to pick just one.

What books did you read last month that you loved?

 

 

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Review – Bridges

Wishing a very happy release day to author Maria Murnane for her latest novel called Bridges, the second in the Daphne White series. Check out yesterday’s blog post if you missed my review of the first book in the series called Wait for the Rain and then scroll on to read about her new book called Bridges. Cheers to having a new novel available to enjoy!

Bridges by Maria Murnane

My Review:

Bridges is the second story in the Daphne White series. This time we find Daphne on a trip to visit Skylar in New York and The Three Musketeers are together again. The three best friends have another fun adventure together, and there’s tons of love and laughter to be had along the way.

There’s more to these ladies than what appears on the surface, and they each have major changes and sources of anxiety to overcome at this point in their lives. Daphne battles the fear of not being good enough, not being the person she wanted to be or thought she would be when she began as a driven young woman. Skylar and KC both have major changes happening in their lives, situations that they never thought they would find themselves in, but ultimately they have the potential to be good changes.

Age is just a number and these gals in their early forties are prime examples to drive home that sentiment. Bridges was a wonderful second book in the series and I can’t wait to see where life takes these gals next.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

I received a complimentary review copy via the author. All reviews 100% reflect my honest opinion.

About the Book

Title: Bridges

Author: Maria Murnane

Published: April 4, 2017

Book Blurb: It’s a piece of news Daphne never expected to hear: Her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan—Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it.

Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own—the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path?

What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend KC are also holding something back, but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears.

And laughter. And love.

The fun-loving trio readers fell for in Wait for the Rain is together once more. Here’s to the power of friendship!

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

About the Author – Maria Murnane

Author Bio:

Maria’s road to becoming an author is a little crazy. She used to work in high-tech PR but hated it, so she quit and ended up playing semi-pro soccer in Argentina for a year. While she was down there she decided to write a novel, which was something she’d always dreamed of doing. Fast forward a few years and a LOT of perseverance, and she’s now the best-selling author of Perfect on Paper, It’s a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. Her next book, Wait for the Rain, will be released in Feb 2015. And yes, she still plays a lot of soccer!

Learn more and sign up for her monthly newsletter at www.mariamurnane.com

If you like her books, please tweet @mariamurnane.com!

 Arielle Joy

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February Reading

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I can’t believe we’re already half-way through March and I’m only just now recapping February! Today I’m sharing a round-up of the books I read during February. Scroll on to find out which one was my favorite. You can also click the images below to read my reviews for each.

lift-and-separate lean-in we-just-clicked love-in-an-elevator talking-as-fast-as-i-can criminal-confections

Books Read in February 2017

Books listed below in the order they were read

  1. Lift and Separate by Marilyn Simon Rothstein, 4/5 stars
  2. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, 5/5 stars
  3. We Just Clicked by Sophie Childs, 5/5 Stars
  4. Love in an Elevator a Romantic Comedy Anthology, 5/5 Stars
  5. Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham, 4/5 Stars
  6. Criminal Confections by Colette London, 4/5 Stars

My favorite books read during February were…

Honestly, this month was hard to pick a favorite, so I picked two. My two favorite books read in February were Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and Love in an Elevator a romantic comedy anthology.

 

february-2017-books-read

 

What books did you read last month that you loved?

 

 

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Review – Summer at Rose Island

Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin

summer-at-rose-islandPublished: May 13, 2016

Book Blurb: Darcy Davenport is ready for a fresh start. Determined to leave a string of disastrous jobs and relationships behind her, she can’t wait to explore White Cliff Bay and meet the locals.

When Darcy swims in the crystal clear waters of the bay, she discovers the charming Rose Island Lighthouse. But it’s not just the beautiful building that she finds so intriguing…

Riley Eddison doesn’t want change. Desperate to escape the memories of his past, he lives a life of solitude in the lighthouse. Yet he can’t help but notice the gorgeous woman who swims out to his island one day.

Darcy is drawn to the mysterious and sexy Riley, but when it seems the town is trying to demolish his home, she soon finds herself having to pick sides.

She’s fallen in love with White Cliff Bay. But is that all Darcy’s fallen for?

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

My Review

I loved this continuation of the White Cliff Bay series. Darcy, the main character in this novel, is a marine biologist and shark lover. Her passion links her to the coastal town, and also helps her connect with a young socially withdrawn child in the town. I liked the way Darcy began to build her life in the small town and I enjoyed both her background story that led her to where she was. I enjoyed the growing attraction and relationship between Darcy and a particularly handsome man in town. I loved the way the characters are connected throughout this story and prior ones in the series and the way that the townspeople band together to fight for what matters to them. 

‘Don’t let anyone tell you your dreams aren’t good enough.’ One of the main themes in this novel is working together to fight for something important. You shouldn’t let anything get in the way of working to accomplish your goals, even if you face setbacks along the way. It’s important to fight for what is right, especially if it’s something near and dear to your heart. You might not achieve your goals, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.

4/5 Stars for this wonderful charming story

I received a complimentary review copy from the author via NetGalley. All reviews 100% reflect my honest opinion.

About the Author – Holly Martin

Author Links: Blog | Twitter | Website

Holly MartinAuthor Bio: Holly lives in sunny Bedfordshire in a house with round windows. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by an even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Arielle Joy

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Review – The Christmas Cake Cafe

The Christmas Cake Cafe by Sue Watson

the-christmas-cake-cafePublished: October 14, 2016

Book Blurb: As the Prosecco chills and Bing Crosby croons, Jen Barker just knows that her long-term boyfriend is about to propose.  But instead of a diamond ring nestled in her champagne flute, Jen finds cold flat rejection.  Her once perfect life and dreams of a husband and family seem even further from reach.

A working holiday to the Swiss Alps with her younger sister Jody might not be the Christmas Jen had it mind, but it offers her the chance to recharge her batteries and recover from heartbreak.

When Jen meets handsome ski instructor Jon Zutter her hopes for a happy-ever-after seem within her grasp again. Jon is kind and gorgeous and as they bond over Sachetorte at the picturesque Cake Café, Jen thinks he might just be her perfect man. But a relationship with him comes with a catch – and there are some things even cake can’t fix.

As the snow falls and Christmas approaches, could this be the place that restores Jen Barker’s faith in love?

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

My Review

I absolutely loved this novel, because it conjured up a magical white Christmas for me. Sue Watson never fails to make me laugh, fall in love with her characters, and make me hungry for something sugary and delicious. I like that she tends to write about women in their late thirties/early forties at a point in their lives that they didn’t expect and never thought they’d be at at their age.

I loved watching Jen find herself and slowly learn what life is all about. One of the main themes of this novel is the idea that it’s never too late to be true to yourself and find someone that doesn’t try to change you. ‘I laughed, but what she’d said struck a chord. She was right –I was always trying to take photos, frame the moment, but now it was time to live in it.’ Living in the moment instead of constantly worrying about creating the perfect moment is one of the important lessons jen learns and it’s something we can all learn from. Yes, it’s fun to document fun moments with photos but life isn’t about creating the picture-perfect moment in order to be able to take a photo. It’s about finding those moments organically and embracing them while they’re happening. 

5/5 stars for this delightful Christmas confection!

I received a complimentary review copy via the author. All reviews 100% reflect my honest opinion.

About the Author – Sue Watson

Website | Amazon | GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

sue-watsonAuthor Bio: Sue Watson was a TV Producer with the BBC who combined motherhood and family life with a busy career. However, one day it dawned on Sue that Cosmo magazine may have been telling porkies about ‘having it all,’ and her life had become a slightly crazed juggling act.

So after much soul searching (and comfort eating) Sue abandoned her TV career, bought a pink laptop and wrote a novel. ‘Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes,’ tells the story of Stella Weston, whose life is a constant struggle with a nasty boss at work, the weighing scales and being a mum, wife and daughter.

Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Worcestershire. When she’s not toiling over her latest novel, Sue bakes (and eats) cake and enjoys very large tubs of Caramel Chew Chew ice cream all to herself while watching ‘The Biggest Loser USA.’

 

Arielle Joy

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Review – Coffee, Tea or Me

Coffee, Tea or Me by Rich Amooi

coffee-tea-or-mePublished: September 21, 2016

Book Blurb: Susie opens a tea shop next to Jack’s coffee shop and the war begins.

Jack Robbins has a booming coffee business, an eighty-year old customer who can’t keep his clothes on, and a rescue Chihuahua named Chimichanga that likes to kiss on the mouth. Life is good until the new business next door takes a bite out of his sales.

Susie McKenna has the new tea shop everyone is talking about, an over-protective brother, and a stubborn, good-looking neighbor who is trying to steal her customers.

Things really start to percolate when Jack and Susie both volunteer to help plan the downtown festival. They have to work together and soon Jack won’t be able to get by without his daily fix of Susie. But can a coffee lover and a tea devotee put their competition aside to get their happily ever after?

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

My Review

As a coffee lover, the title and subject of this novel hit home for me (as I’m sure it will with many others!). I’ve never been a tea drinker, though I know many that enjoy it. When Susie opens a Tea shop right next to Jack’s coffee shop, you know you’re in for an entertaining story. While Jack and Susie battle it out on the business front, they begin to develop a professional rivalry and working relationship. Written in the classic Amooi style, Coffee, Tea or Me is downright hilarious and will literally make you laugh out loud while you’re reading it.

I loved this story and thoroughly enjoyed the humorous dynamics written throughout the whole novel. If you’re looking for a fun, quick read, then this is the perfect book for you! Reading this story put me in the mood for a delicious cup of coffee and yummy scones!

Another fabulous romantic comedy from Rich Amooi.

5/5 Stars

I received a complimentary review copy via the author. All reviews 100% reflect my honest opinion.

Connect with the Author – Rich Amooi

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Amazon | Goodreads

Rich AmooiQuirky Romantic Comedies from a Guy’s Perspective.

Rich Amooi is a former Silicon Valley radio personality and wedding DJ who now writes romantic comedies full-time. He is happily married to a kiss monster and has a hairy golden retriever/lab mix that likes to eat carrots, tuna, and Manchego cheese imported from Spain.

He believes (Rich, not the dog) in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.

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Arielle Joy

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Review – THREE & OUT

Today I’m thrilled to tell you about a new book that was published this week by one of my favorite authors, Laura Chapman. Scroll on for information on her new novel Three & Out, my review, an excerpt of the novel, AND a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card!

THREE & OUT by Laura Chapman

New from Laura Chapman, the third installment of her fantasy football romantic comedy Queen of the League series . . .

threeout

After rushing to the altar and moving across the country, Harper Duquaine (or is it MacLaughlin, now?) is in uncharted territory. What once seemed like a promising opportunity to advance her husband’s career while giving her some much-needed independence and adventure has proven to be a bust. By the time fall rolls around again, she’s back in a boring job by day and overstocking her inventory of crocheted scarves by night. Not even the prospect of a new football season holds much excitement.

At least that’s what she thought. Harper suddenly finds herself the manager of not one but two fantasy football teams—each with its own set of drama. Between the added pressure of her new marriage, an unexpected career prospect, and the hiccups created by people from her past and present worlds, Harper quickly finds herself going from bored to over-whelmed.

Can she hold up under the pressure, or will Harper learn the hard way that the turf isn’t always greener on the other field?

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

My Review

threeoutbook

Three & Out Recap: Team Chapman pens another winner!

I loved the continuation of Harper and Brook’s story. This novel finds them newly settled in Seattle after moving for Brook’s new coaching job. Things start off slow for Harper and as fantasy football seasons progresses, she finds that she’s got too much going on to handle it all. She continues to grow in her relationship with Brook, and although they have their drama and situations, they always work it out in the end. That’s part of what being married is all about, being on the same team, supporting one another, and working together to make it work.

J.J’s role in this novel adds a comical layer and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at some of the situations the characters manage to get themselves into. This story was entertaining and funny and captured my attention from the first page to the last. I doubt I’d ever be interested in being on a fantasy football team, but it was fun pretending to immerse myself in it by living vicariously through Harper for a few days while reading this novel. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series to see where life takes them next!

5/5 for another win from Team Chapman

I received a complimentary Advanced Review Copy from the author. My review reflects my own opinion 100%.

Connect with the Author – Laura Chapman

laurachapmanLaura Chapman is the author of First & GoalGoing for TwoThree & Out, and The Marrying Type.  Her holiday novellas Making Christmas and What Happens at Midnight will be released on November 8, and are now available for pre-order. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Connect with her online on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube and on her website at www.laurachapmanbooks.com.

Read an Excerpt from Three & Out

“You have to talk some sense into J.J. He’s freaking out about this whole redraft thing.”

I roll my eyes at the irritation in Wade’s voice. How like sweet, lovable, but basically helpless Wade to want me to save the day and soothe everyone else’s nerves. Even though I’m two time zones away. It’s my own fault. Back when we all worked together at the car dealership in Lincoln, that’s what I did. I fixed things. Not to brag, I was good at it. Too good, apparently.

I start the brisk walk toward campus. After looking around town, we’d settled on a tiny walk-up a few minutes from campus rather than going for something more spacious in the suburbs. What we pay for in extra rent, we make up for in gas and time savings. Plus, every work day starts and ends with cardio, which is how I’m able to rationalize skipping the gym. I’ve always been bad about going, but now I can do it guilt-free.

“What are we going to do?” Wade asks. “He’s out of control.”

“In his defense, it was a pretty big pain in the butt to find a time when we were all available to draft in the first place. Things are complicated now that we’re on the West Coast and Gio is on the East—”

“It’s not a matter of time zones.”

I imagine myself flipping Wade the bird. “No. I suppose it isn’t.”

“You’re not here every day. You don’t get it.”

Now I have to fight the urge to throw my phone into the street. The only reason I don’t is because I don’t want to have to replace it. Especially not until I back up my music and photos. I have a bunch of pictures of Blitz and my latest crocheting projects on my phone. I can’t risk parting with them in a wave of misplaced fury. I take a deep breath and remind myself that I like Wade. Most of the time. Plus, I have to be patient with him. He’s married to Brook’s sister now, so he’s family.

“What else is going on?”

“It’s hard to explain.”

“Try.”

“Well . . .” Then Wade launches into something that’s a mixture of rant and useful information.

Apparently, J.J. hasn’t been handling the changes to his environment well. First, Brook and I moved in February. Aside from the few months he spent playing in an arena league, J.J. hasn’t been away from his former practice squad wide receiver since they were freshmen in college. Then in May, Gio transferred to the flagship store in Schenectady, New York, so the owners of the dealership—the Donaldsons—could enjoy early retirement and a second honeymoon.

With his most stable influences gone, J.J. spent the summer in a free-for-all binge. There’s more drinking. More one-night stands. More shoving matches with strangers in bars. More illegal substances. It’s all of J.J.’s vices, only on a bigger level. He’s Deluxe J.J.

“Why are you just telling me this now? If it’s been going on all summer, why—”

“I thought we could take care of it. Contrary to what you might think, I usually try to handle things on my own.” I can almost imagine Wade tussling his cropped brown hair on the other side of the line. “But this morning, after we got our messages about the botched draft, J.J. lost it. He threw a chair at one of the cars in the lobby.”

I gasp and nearly run into a woman walking her dog in the other direction. Recovering quickly, I dart an apologetic grin and mouth, “Sorry.” “What did Anderson do?”

“Nothing.”

I stumble again. “He did—”

“Well, not nothing really. He told J.J. to cool down and check our Internet sales. He said it in that voice of his that scares the crap out of you.”

I’m all too familiar with it. “That was it?”

“Well . . . then he asked Dylan to take the car back to maintenance.”

It makes sense. He’d want to make sure there wasn’t any damage to the body. He’d also want to take care of the dents with as little fuss as possible before ripping J.J. a new one.

“Then he asked you to call me? So I could set J.J. straight.”

“Pretty much.”

That figures. It all does. However, understanding the source for this request doesn’t give me any clear ideas on what I’m supposed to do to help. It’s not like I can hop on a plane and smack some sense into J.J. I’m already flying back in October, and I can’t take off that much time from work. A phone call will only do so much. There’s also the chance I could say the wrong thing and make it worse.

It’s not a good situation.

“Look, Wade, I don’t know what I can—”

“Just think of something. Anything. Give him a call and talk some reason into him. He listens to you.”

“Yeah, right. You mean he listens to Brook.” Which is who Wade should have called, come to think of it.

“Brook is my next call if you won’t help. But you’d be surprised by how much stock J.J. puts in you. I know I’m asking a lot—”

“You’re asking for a miracle.”

“Maybe, but please.”

The way he says it—his voice so wistful—is more than a request. It’s a last-ditch plea. Like Princess Leia telling Obi-Wan he’s her only hope. And, man, I need to make some less nerdy friends if that’s the first analogy to come to mind. I’m practically a female version of any given member of the league these days. My heart pings as I think about those guys. They’re more than my buddies. They’re my family. Not just the one’s I’m related to by blood or marriage.

Family comes through when you need them.

“Okay. I’ll talk to him.”

~~~

*** BARGAIN ALERT *** To celebrate the new release, for a limited time, you can pick up the first two stories in the series for only 99 cents each. E-Books First & Goal and Going for Two are available for only 99 cents each. ***

chapman

In Laura Chapman’s Queen of the League series, Harper Duquaine joins a fantasy football league to prove she can hang with the guys. Only problem: she doesn’t know a sleeper from a keeper (or any of the other lingo thrown her way). Her competitive streak soon emerges, and she catches the interest of her top two competitors. With a slew of conflicting advice in her real and fantasy worlds, Harper must figure out how to play the game and come out a winner.

First & Goal CoverFirst & Goal
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Click the photo to read my review!

 

 

Going for TwoGoing for Two
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Click the photo to read my review!

Enter the Giveaway HERE for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card!

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Arielle Joy