Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

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Time for another book review. I’d classify Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella as a romantic comedy. It’s actually part of a larger series featuring Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood). All of the books are laugh-out-loud funny and this story was no exception. I recommend this series if you need an escape and a good laugh.

Description:

’Tis the season for change and Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is embracing it, returning from the States to live in the charming village of Letherby and working with her best friend, Suze, in the gift shop of Suze’s stately home. Life is good, especially now that Becky takes time every day for mindfulness—even if that only means listening to a meditation tape while hunting down online bargains.

But Becky still adores the traditions of Christmas: Her parents hosting, carols playing on repeat, her mother pretending she made the Christmas pudding, and the neighbors coming ’round for sherry in their terrible holiday sweaters. Things are looking cheerier than ever, until Becky’s parents announce they’re moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch—unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocados—and ask Becky if she’ll host this year. What could possibly go wrong?

Becky’s sister demands a vegan turkey, her husband insists that he just wants aftershave (again), and little Minnie needs a very specific picnic hamper: Surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old boyfriend–turned–rock star and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear. But as the countdown to Christmas begins and her bighearted plans take an unexpected turn toward disaster, Becky wonders if chaos will ensue, or if she’ll manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas after all.

What I love

I could not pass up Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. I’ve read every Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) book since Book 1. Becky is charming and sweet and nice and means really well. Even when she gets herself in a ton of trouble.

This was a feel-good story set during the lead-up to Christmas. Becky’s husband, Luke, is such a charmer and crazy about Becky. He just can’t get mad at her. It must be true love.

As usual, Becky is up to her normal hijinks and can’t seem to keep herself out of trouble, whether it’s attempting to join an exclusive male-only club (those scenes were laugh-out-loud funny) just to enter a raffle to hunting for a tofu turkey for Christmas dinner in a village that doesn’t sell them. Everything that can possibly go wrong goes wrong.

I was at the edge of my seat from curiosity wondering how Becky was going to manage to fix her one million problems. Don’t worry, the book ends in a very satisfactory way. I actually got a bit teary-eyed. If you read it you’ll know why.

What I don’t love

I’m a bit fatigued by her antics…

Have you read this book or any of the Shopaholic books?

xoxo, Jane

Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown

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Description:

Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown

Burke Basile is a cop with nothing left to lose. Haunted by his partner’s death, the end of his marriage, and the destruction of his career, he targets his nemesis, a flamboyant attorney who helps killers evade justice. Burke’s shocking revenge centers around kidnapping Remy, the lawyer’s trophy wife.

But Burke hasn’t planned on the scorching desire he’ll feel for this desperate woman, who rose from the slums of New Orleans to marry a man she can never love. Nor can he predict the fierce duel that will explode as the clock ticks toward midnight on Fat Tuesday when all masks will be stripped away — and Burke will be forced to confront his own terrifying secret.

I’ve been on a Sandra Brown kick lately. When I borrowed Fat Tuesday from my library I thought it was a romance novel. But it’s more of a noir police procedural set in New Orleans. By the time I finished a few chapters, three characters had died gruesome, brutal deaths. Also, the book is called Fat Tuesday because the events lead up to one big showdown during the Mardi Gras season.

What I love

Well, once I got over my initial disappointment that this book is not a romance, I enjoyed reading it because:

  1. It isn’t boring.
  2. It’s a fast paced thriller.
  3. The POV changes frequently between the good guys and the bad guys, which makes the story flow nicely.
  4. The heroine, Remy, is sweet and likable. She is stuck in an awful marriage for a very important reason. (Hint: women always suffer and put themselves last to help out their loved ones.)
  5. The hero, Burke, is flawed but kind and sexy.
  6. It’s interesting to get inside the mind of Burke. He is complex and initially not easy to understand.
  7. The bad guys are so bad that it’s entertaining. They are really, really bad.

What I don’t love

I have a lot of thoughts. Here is what I didn’t like:

  1. This book is totally a product of its time, the 1990s. There are a number of stereotypes and gross generalization about gay people and sex workers.
  2. The male characters (the bad ones) overuse certain words that have derogatory meanings for women and sex workers. I thought it was overkill.
  3. I didn’t like it that Remy kept referring to Burke by his last name. That’s so unromantic. I don’t go around calling my husband by his last name, but maybe I should. 
  4. I know I need to get over it, but this story is more thriller than romance. I think this might have been the time period that Sandra Brown switched from writing romance to writing thriller fiction.

Would I read another police procedural type book? Probably not. But I love to immerse myself in different worlds and Fat Tuesday did the trick.

Thanks for stopping by.

xoxo, Jane

July, August & September 2019 Wrap-Up Part II

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Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard

I didn’t realize that the majority of my reading for this last quarter were romance novels until I reviewed this list. Sometimes I feel like I need to read something else on purpose, but the truth is that I love romance novels the bestest.

Rachel Lee made a career out of writing a book series set in fictional Conard County, Wyoming and the series is addictive. Rugged country, rugged men, sweet heroines, good neighbors… and she always, always writes these really dreamy heroes who make you swoon. Who doesn’t like swooning when reading romance novels?

But Rachel Lee’s Conard County series became so formulaic that you know exactly what to expect: woman in grave danger, abusive ex-husband, special forces hero who kills or puts ex-husband behind bars. And this was exactly the premise for Her Hero in Hiding but I truly did enjoy reading it. I wrote about it here.

Another Rachel Lee book I read was What She Saw. I didn’t enjoy reading this one at all. It was almost as if someone else wrote it. Rachel Lee’s novels are usually packed with emotion and action. The action scenes seemed to be written in a stilted manner and there was zero chemistry between the hero and heroine, Buck and Haley. It took everything I had to keep reading this book.

A Conard County Homecoming by Rachel Lee contains two stories, Miss Emmaline and the Archangel and Ironheart. I enjoyed reading them both very much. They were written in the early days of Rachel Lee’s writing career and it’s these early stories that made me fall in love with her Conard County series.

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Then I read a bunch of early books (from the 1980s) by Sandra Brown. Shadows of Yesterday is one of my favorites from the bunch. The hero, Chad Dillon, was super nice and romantic and practically perfect. In other words, he was not even one tiny bit a jerk (because they usually are in the 80s romance novels). But the story is not realistic at all. The premise is that Chad finds Leigh, the heroine, stranded on the highway, about to give birth to her child. So he delivers her baby, then they fall in love and then they marry. It’s pure fantasy, although that’s not a bad thing. We all pick up a book to escape reality.

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The other two books I read by Sandra Brown are Honor Bound and Led Astray. Really romantic and well-written. I think Sandra Brown doesn’t write romance anymore. She is strictly thrillers/suspense now, but I love those earlier novels best of all.

And this wraps up my third quarter reading. Feel free to share what you’ve been reading too. 🙂

xoxo, Jane

{Also, July, August & September 2019 Wrap-Up Part I}

The Gown by Jennifer Robson

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The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson is a historical fiction set in Canada and England. This is the first novel I’ve read by this author. The story centers around three women, two from the past and one in our present day.

Description:

London, 1947: Besieged by the harshest winter in living memory, burdened by onerous shortages and rationing, the people of postwar Britain are enduring lives of quiet desperation despite their nation’s recent victory. Among them are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Together they forge an unlikely friendship, but their nascent hopes for a brighter future are tested when they are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honor: taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown.

Toronto, 2016: More than half a century later, Heather Mackenzie seeks to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers, a legacy from her late grandmother. How did her beloved Nan, a woman who never spoke of her old life in Britain, come to possess the priceless embroideries that so closely resemble the motifs on the stunning gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding almost seventy years before? And what was her Nan’s connection to the celebrated textile artist and holocaust survivor Miriam Dassin?

With The Gown, Jennifer Robson takes us inside the workrooms where one of the most famous wedding gowns in history was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, she introduces readers to three unforgettable heroines, their points of view alternating and intersecting throughout its pages, whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship, and the redemptive power of love.

All three main characters are lovely, but I connected the most with Frenchwoman Miriam. Miriam is a survivor of Ravensbrueck, a concentration camp for women. (If you want to learn more about this concentration camp, then visit this page on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website.) It is clearly obvious the author did her research and she did it very well. Miriam reminded me of my mother who also survived the Nazis (though unlike Miriam, my mother was not sent to a concentration camp).

Even though Miriam was kind, well-spoken, a diligent seamstress and never gave anything away about her past (at least initially) I could sense her sadness and despair. I really bonded with Miriam as a character. This is what makes Jennifer Robson such a good author.

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What I love

I love the history and background about the Queen’s wedding dress. We (the reader) are literally in the sewing studio, watching the seamstresses hard at work. I was able to visualize every stitch. The author got everything right because she interviewed one of the four seamstresses who worked on the actual royal wedding dress. Again and again, it becomes obvious that serious research went into this story. But in a seamless way, which made this book so enjoyable to read.

There is one scene, where Heather, the modern-day character, spends an afternoon shopping at Fortnum & Mason. This really made me smile as I love Fortnums and was happy it played a small part in the novel.

What I don’t love

There is a rape scene. It’s not graphic or detailed, but it’s a major reason why one of the characters ends up on a different path in life. Had I known there was a rape scene in this book, I probably would not have read it. I’m really sensitive to scenes where women and children get hurt. In the end, I’m glad I didn’t know about it, because I’m happy I read The Gown. It was heartwarming and touching and I will be thinking of the characters for months to come.

I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but all three women have their happy ending. I guess I just want to throw that out there in case you think the subject matter is too sad. It was a phenomenal book and the months-long library hold was worth it.

Will you be reading The Gown?

xoxo, Jane

First image of the novel and a peek of my own wedding dress by me. Second image via Pexels.com

 

Secret Prince’s Christmas Seduction by Carol Marinelli

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Description:

Claimed by the prince

For Christmas or forever?

Sicilian chambermaid Antonietta prides herself on her discretion, so she’s mortified by her inappropriate reaction to her hotel’s newest guest! Antonietta has no idea Rafael is the notorious prince of Tulano. All she knows is that his touch lights her up more brightly than a Christmas tree.

Their unexpected connection floors cynical Rafe. All he can offer is a temporary festive seduction before resuming his royal duties. But unwrapping the precious gift of Antonietta’s virginity changes everything. Rafe must choose—his crown, or Antonietta…

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What I love

Secret Prince’s Christmas Seduction by Carol Marinelli is set in romantic, pictouresque  Sicily. I love that this book is a Harlequin Presents. In a Presents novel, the stories are set in glamorous locations and have these unbelievably romantic alpha male heroes. This story checks all of those boxes for me.

After standing up her groom on her wedding day and running away from home, Antonietta is back to try and make amends with her family. Her parents have shunned her after she refused to marry in an arranged marriage to a cousin!! (methinks she did the right thing by running away) who was not very nice, for better lack of words. Chaos ensues at the wedding. After running away, a fight breaks out at the church. (As an aside, the book’s fight scene reminded me of the fight scene the extended members of the Spanish Royal Family had at the wedding of the current king, King Felipe.)

Unfortunately, her parents refuse to accept the olive branch, even though it is the Christmas season. Instead of leaving town again, Antonietta takes a job at a luxury hotel where she works as a cleaner while training as a therapist. She feels lonely and surrounds herself with her co-workers and makes them her family. I love that this book has a little bit of a Cinderella theme.

Antonietta hopes her parents will come around. In the meantime, she is hard at work. This is where she meets one of the guests, Rafe, who is recuperating after an accident. He seems to be annoyed with everyone except for Antonietta who has no idea of his royal identity. Rafe notices that she doesn’t seem to be enamored with his status and title (but that’s because she doesn’t know his true identity) and he finds her intriguing.

In his own way, Rafe begins to court her. Even though he has a bit of a grumpy demeanor, I found Rafe sweet and romantic. I love how he swept Antonietta off her feet.

I’ve read Carol Marinelli’s books before. Her scenes are so descriptive that I can almost hear the crashing of the ocean waves during Rafe’s walks.  And in one scene, when Antonietta applies red lipstick, I pictured a MAC lipstick.

Rafe is supposed to marry a lady of his family’s choosing, someone with noble blood. This is the obstacle they must overcome. It was heart-wrenching to read these scenes because Antonietta gives up on love and on Rafe and thinks herself destined to be without him. But just when we think that’s the case, Rafe defies his parents and goes after the woman he loves. It is quite a roller coaster of emotions.

What I don’t love

I wish it had a longer, more detailed epilogue. I just wasn’t ready to leave this Harlequin Presents world behind.

A copy of this book was provided to me by NetGalley, but opinions are entirely my own. Since I love to read and then write about what I read, I thought it would be nice to sign up for NetGalley. Thank you so much for reading my blog.

First image via Pexels.com. Second image via Harlequin.com. 

July, August & September 2019 Wrap-Up Part I

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I love this painting. I wrote about it here.

It’s time for a (late) quarterly wrap-up. I read way more than I expected to read, which is great for my reading life, but not so great for my writing career.

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Lessons from Madame Chic

This is the first book in a three-part series. I really love this series because it inspires me to organize, clean the house, explore the arts and do some self-care. It’s easy to put self-care on your to-do list, but difficult to execute when you have a full-time job and a household to run, so it’s really nice to read this book for inspiration. My original review is here.

Fortune’s Homecoming by Allison Leigh

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love romance novels best of all. I used to be embarrassed to be caught reading them because people were so judgmental and made rude comments to me. While reading on the metro or in the lunch room at work, I’d hide the cover with something else, like an envelope. But I’m now at an age where I don’t give a fudge what people think. It’s incredibly liberating. So, yes, I read this novel in public, during my commute. It was a perfect read about a nice cowboy and a nice girl who fall in love with each other and live happily ever after. My original review is here.

Naturally Tan by Tan France

Tan France is such a cutie. He seems to be a geniounly nice guy. This memoir recounts his early life in England, how he got into his line of work, how he met his husband and how he ended up on the hit show Queer Eye. I finished it in record time because I was enjoying myself so much. My more in-depth review is here.

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Dave Barry Does Japan by Dave Barry

This was a silly, fun read. Dave Barry is a good writer and a great columnist based in Miami. He wrote this book after traveling in Japan for three weeks. The book is from 1993, but it doesn’t feel dated at all. It’s a laugh-out-loud book. My original review is here.

Hopefully you’ve been reading a great stack of books too!

xoxo, Jane

 

The Home Edit by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin

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I borrowed The Home Edit from my local library. I had to wait for it as it had a months-long wait list. Once I had the book, I was allowed to keep it for only two weeks due to the high demand. That said, I don’t understand the big deal about this book. It was fun to read and esthetically pleasing, but the concepts were nothing new. Nothing I didn’t know about before.

The book is divided in three sections: The Edit, The Assembly and The Upkeep. Each concept is clearly explained, down to giving step-by-step instructions.

The photography is truly gorgeous. We even get a peek inside Gwyneth Paltrow’s children’s uber-organized play room.

If you love to own decor-type books, then this book will look very good on your coffee table because each and every page is glossy and chic. But if you are like me, (a bit mystified) you may want to borrow it from the library first.

I’m not sure why I didn’t fall in love with this book, but please don’t let my opinion hinder you because I’m pretty sure my opinion is in the minority.

Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo, Jane

Naturally Tan by Tan France

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Naturally Tan by Tan France is a memoir that’s both funny and heartwarming. I am so touched by this memoir. I don’t often read memoirs and was not expecting to feel so touched. This one really tucked at my heart strings.

Description:

In this heartfelt, funny, touching memoir, Tan France tells his origin story for the first time. With his trademark wit, humor, and radical compassion, Tan reveals what it was like to grow up gay in a traditional South Asian family, as one of the few people of color in South Yorkshire, England. He illuminates his winding journey of coming of age, finding his voice (and style!), and marrying the love of his life―a Mormon cowboy from Salt Lake City.

From one of the stars of Netflix’s runaway hit show Queer Eye, Naturally Tan is so much more than fashion dos and don’ts―though of course Tan can’t resist steering everyone away from bootcut jeans! Full of candid observations about U.S. and U.K. cultural differences, what he sees when you slide into his DMs, celebrity encounters, and the behind-the-scenes realities of “reality TV,” Naturally Tan gives us Tan’s unique perspective on the happiness to be found in being yourself.

Who is Tan France? Tan is a British-born designer, made world-famous because of his role in the Netflix show Queer Eye.

I picked up this book because I was incredibly curious about how a gay British (and Muslim) man ended up with a gay Mormon in Utah. It’s an intriguing story, at least to me. And I am so, so glad I read this memoir. Tan France seems like the nicest of men. And it left me thinking, Good for you, Tan. Good for you!

What I love

Oh gosh, what don’t I love is more appropriate as I was truly touched by everything. Tan begins his memoir where all good memoirs begin, with stories of his youth in England. He was born in the UK and grew up in a religious Pakistani family in England.

Unfortunately, this means that his youth was spent combating racism and enduring punches from the boys who weren’t keen on ethnicity (for lack of better words on my part). This really made me teary-eyed. Either I’m overly compassionate or it brought back memories of my own volatile youth in Germany. My hard-working parents were foreign guest workers in the German automobile factories. This means that while they were hard at work bringing back the West German economy, I was frequently beat up (yes, really!) by German kids because, well, I don’t know really know why. Maybe because my skin was a bit tanner or maybe because I had an accent when speaking German or maybe because I always smelled like garlic. I don’t really know, but I can still feel that forceful tuck of my long braid at the hands of the bullies. And maybe that’s why this portion of Tan’s memoir captured my heart forever and ever.

But the book is not as dire as it sounds. Most parts are laugh-out-loud funny, like the time his father, who was forever competing with his brother (Tan’s uncle), bought Tan a Barbie house just because Tan’s uncle bought his daughter a Barbie house. Tan was secretly overjoyed at his new Barbie house, but had to act nonchalant about it.

It’s also really obvious that fame and fortune has not gotten to Tan’s head. He doesn’t spend his money in a frivolous manner and still lives in Salt Lake City with his husband.

Tan also gives the reader a super valuable clue: celebrities don’t live like celebrities. Meaning, even they don’t spend their money on the designer clothes and jewelry for events. It’s all loaned to them or given to them for free. This really hit home for me because so many of us try to keep up with the Joneses when the truth is that the Joneses don’t spend their money on luxury goods.

I also really love that he ignored the messages and Facebook requests from all those mean people who reached out to him after he became famous. I would have done the same thing. Good for you, Tan.

What I don’t love

I think all the times he had to endure racism in England and here in the US (those unprofessional Border Patrol workers at the US airports, don’t even get me started!), that’s what I don’t love.

Tan’s story tucked at my heart strings and I’m so happy he found his happily ever after.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Do you read memoirs?

If you’re off today because of Labor Day, enjoy! I hope you have a great day with some good books and a nice cup of tea! xoxo, Jane

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This post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to use the links. Thank you for supporting my book-loving blog. xoxo, Jane

September Reading List

I love books and writing about books, so just for fun I present to you four books you should read this September.

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Awful picture by me.

Sherlock Holmes

When I think of fall, I think of detectives, locomotives and old-timey London. (Yes, I really do think of all of those things during the fall months. I have an overactive imagination that never rests.)

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Another awful picture by me.

Fairy Tales

Sometimes, it’s just really nice to sit down with some fantastical stories that can be read and enjoyed in one sitting. Perhaps by the fireplace. With a big cup of tea. Do you agree?

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.

For me, fall is for fresh starts. This book could kick-start you in getting organized, whether it’s that one desk drawer or the hall closet. My advice? Start small. Don’t tackle the entire apartment. You might run out of steam and give up completely. But I really do think it’s the most incredible feeling to declutter a little and organize something that needs organizing.

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Naturally Tan by Tan France

Tan France’s memoir is funny and sweet. It’s also brutally honest and heartwarming. It can’t be easy growing up as a brown Muslim boy in a predominantly white neighborhood in the UK. He was beaten up a lot and had to hide his true self from his strict Muslim family. But somehow he got through it all, stayed true to himself, became uber successful and ended up happy and in love in Utah, USA. And he managed to write about it in a funny and heartwarming way in this memoir.

Your turn! Which books would you recommend for some cozy fall reading?

xoxo, Jane

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to use the links. Thank you for supporting my book-loving blog. xoxo, Jane

Fortune’s Homecoming by Allison Leigh

It’s time for another romance novel review. Why? Because I love them best of all.

Description:

Celebrity rodeo rider Grayson Fortune is seeking a reprieve from the limelight. So as his sweet real estate agent, Billie Pemberton, searches to find him the perfect home, he struggles to keep his mind on business. With his famous (philandering) Fortune father, Grayson is sure he’s not cut out for commitment. Roping young, innocent Billie into a fling would only break her heart. But Billie is convinced that love and family are Grayson’s true birthright…

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What I love

Well, the first thing I love about this book is that it’s a romance novel. I repeat, I love romances best of all! Fortune’s Homecoming by Allison Leigh packed a lot of romance and emotion. Even though it’s part of a series, I didn’t have any trouble at all reading it out of order.

I like that Grayson and Billie are friends at first. Slowing getting to know each other in a cautious way while spending time together during their real estate jaunts. It’s obvious that they like each other, but none can admit it to the other. Plus, Billie knows that Grayson has a reputation as a lady’s man and she doesn’t want to be another girl on his list. So she tries to guard her heart against him. (This gave me all the feels!)

Billie is very strong and likes to depend on herself. She loves what she does and does it anyway even though her mother wishes she’d gone into teaching Economics (why for heaven’s sake?). She lets Billie know this on a regular basis, thus making Billie feel perpetually guilty.

I can relate and you probably can too. Mothers have a tendency to make us regret our (very good) life choices. After high school, I wanted to return to Europe for college and I especially wanted to stay there afterwards. But my family was dead-set against it. They wanted me closer to them, where they could see me (and maybe control me?). I sure wish I didn’t let them persuade me otherwise. I suppose my life ended up just fine. I travel to Europe at least once a year and live life on my terms. But that’s why I love that Billie sticks to her guns and does what her heart tells her. I wish I was more like Billie when I was her age.

Maybe that’s why this portion of the story broke my heart. It’s obvious her mom is NOT proud of Billie’s accomplishments. Billie is so accomplished. Only 24 years old, yet holds a real estate license and a BA in Economics.

Personally, I am not the type of gal that needs rescuing and I’m pretty sure I would not like those types of romance heroines either. Billie, with her grand passion for her job and her education and gumption, is my kind of girl.

I don’t want to give away the conflict, so I’ll keep mum on that, but it involves a rodeo, a really nice mother and a truck! Intrigued yet?

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Via Pexels.com

What I don’t love

I think my only gripe is that the hero, celebrity rodeo rider Grayson Fortune, kept referring to Billie as “darlin” even when they didn’t know each other very well. I know that I’d get annoyed real fast if some random dude kept referring to me as “darlin.” But since this is a cowboy romance, it’s par for the course. Otherwise, it was a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.

What’s the next book you’re grabbing off your bookshelf?

xoxo, Jane

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to use the links. Thank you for supporting my book-loving blog. xoxo, Jane

 

Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L. Scott is the first book in her Madame Chic series. I previously wrote about the third book, Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic, and was recently inspired to re-read the first book in the series.

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Description:

Inspired by Paris, this lighthearted and deceptively wise contemporary memoir serves as a guidebook for women on the path to adulthood, sophistication, and style. Jennifer Scott’s self-published success is now a beautifully packaged and fully illustrated gift book, perfect for any woman looking to lead a more fulfilling, passionate, and artful life.

What I love

I love that the book is so inspiring and uplifting. One of the ideas Jennifer advocates for is the ten-item wardrobe, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. Core items are limited, but then you can have plenty of extras (extras are handbags, scarves, outerwear, formal wear, active wear, etc). Of course, your core items don’t need to be just ten (mine are around 30), because the point is that it helps you define your style and stops you from spending frivolously. The book walks you through all the steps needed (as does Jennifer’s blog).

If you follow the ten-item wardrobe you end up saving more money, having less clutter and having a refined signature style. I totally love this!

I also really enjoyed the lay-out of the book. Each lesson was divided by chapters with lovely illustrations throughout.

What I don’t love

Nothing, actually. It’s a fun book. It’s not judgmental either. As the reader, I decide which lessons I want to incorporate in my life. That’s the beauty of living your life. You are in charge of it!

Do you have a ten-item wardrobe? xoxo, Jane

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This post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to use the links. Thank you for supporting my book-loving blog. xoxo, Jane

April, May & June 2019 Wrap-Up

July is almost behind us and I’m only now posting my quarterly wrap-up. I hope you will forgive my tardiness. I was busy reading and writing…

The second quarter of 2019 fun-reading consisted of one short story by George Orwell, one romantic fiction by Meg Cabot (love her!), one classic (Mary Stewart), one royal history book and two illustrated books that I loved so, so much!

(The links below take you to my earlier reviews, except for Orwell’s short story and Inside the Royal Wardrobe.)

The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot.

This was a very sweet read. I think it had a touch of Jane Austen’s Persuasion because the hero and heroine were forced to let go of each other many years earlier.

You and the Atom Bomb by George Orwell. “It is a commonplace that the history of civilisation is largely the history of weapons.” 

This short story was written during a time when everyone was terrified of being obliterated. It’s always interesting to read serious pieces from the actual era they were written in. I also learned that I should read short stories more often. It was an enjoyable (if not sobering), quick read.

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Paris: Through A Fashion Eye by Megan Hess.

I don’t know why I’ve never heard of Megan Hess before. She is a wonderful illustrator and this book is a fun walk through Paree.

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Coco Chanel by Megan Hess.

This was an illustrated novel of Coco Chanel’s life. I really love this book. It is so beautiful and fun. I’ve already picked it up several times to reread. I need another Megan Hess book pronto!

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The Wind off the Small Isles by Mary Stewart.

This novella was so charming and romantic. The only complaint I had was that it ended too abruptly.

Inside the Royal Wardrobe: A Dress History of Queen Alexandra (affiliate link) by Kate Strasdin.

This newish biography is a fascinating study of Queen Alexandra through her wardrobe. She was not who I thought she was, a timid woman who cowered under Queen Victoria. No! She was a strong woman who knew her own mind and tried to live life on her terms. She was a very caring Princess of Wales and became a good queen. This book warrants its own review, coming soon.

xoxo, Jane

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to use the links. xoxo, Jane