Thursday, February 29, 2024

the books I read in February

 


Happy Thursday, and happy bonus blog post day! I have decided that I'll always write these posts on the last day of the month, no matter the day, and no matter whether or not I've already shared a post that day. Tis the season for bonus blog posts, I suppose. I don't mind if you don't! I read some great books this month, and I feel like I'm on an upward trend with the books I've picked. Maybe this will bring you some reading inspiration! As always, click on each picture and you'll be redirected to Amazon.


First up was this one that I didn't love.



Contrary to what her parents think and want for her, Alexis doesn't need glory or fame. Her parents do not understand why she won't give her ex boyfriend another chance, but she stands her ground. What she never expected was to find someone in a small town that she was traveling through; imagine her surprise when she found out he was ten years younger than her! This doesn't bother Daniel, but it bothers Alexis. Even so, she keeps going back for visits...


I'm stopping there, because I did some major skipping in this book. It is rated R, so I skimmed a bunch to get to the meatier parts of the story, but it still fell way flat for me. This is interesting since another of Jimenez's books was a close favorite for me last year. This one felt so different that I was surprised; I don't know if I'll try another of hers again, just based on this one. Mwah mwah.


This next one redeemed that first one.



It's no secret that I adore Pamela Kelley's writing. Her books are so cozy to me, and they are everything I am always looking for. In this book, it starts out with Sophie making a trip to Manhattan to stay with her great aunt. She's been laid off from her job, and she needs to figure out what exactly she wants to do with her life. When her great aunt invites her to stay with her for a while to try out living and working in the city that she loves most, it's impossible for Sophie to resist. So, against her parents' wishes, she does just that, and she moves into her aunt's beautiful old apartment. Sophie tries her hand at different jobs while she's there working with a temp agency, but she finds a job that she loves: realty. She's just the front desk girl, but when her boss notices that she has an eye for sales, she makes a decision to start a different path. While working toward that, she meets some great people along the way: Max, her handsome author neighbor, and Caroline and Tessa, whom she will grow very close to in the coming months. Sophie deals with loss, roommate and coworker drama, and bold choices that take her out of her comfort zone. 


I loved this book! I love the familiarity of Pamela's writing, and I love the cozy scenes she creates with writing. I appreciate that she always shares about good food, different types of wine that she likes, and having routines with people you love most. The other thing I love about Pamela is that she corresponds with her readers, and she puts her books on Kindle Unlimited all of the time, meaning that if you have that, you can read them for free or very inexpensively. This book is $5.99 right now as a Kindle book!


Additionally, I read the short story that accompanied this book, and I am definitely counting that as my second book of the month. 


My next book of the month was this one by a new author.



Sloane lives a routine life; she lives in a small town, she's a bit of a loner, she works a job as a librarian. When grumpy Arthur McLachlan walks into the library one day and she has her first interaction with him, her life changes forever. He loves bickering with her and she loves giving some of that attitude back to him, as only she can. Her coworkers are all slightly terrified of him. When a few days go by and she realizes he hasn't been in the library for a while, she gets worried about him and oversteps the lines between librarian and patron of the library. But she has to check on him, doesn't she? What she finds is shocking, and he seemed almost relieved to see her; when she loses her job and has nothing else to do with her time, she becomes a regular visitor at his house and the idea of starting a book club is born. This one thing changes the path of her life forever and it turns out that everyone has a special book in their heart, and a reason to get lost within the pages.


My honest thoughts about this book are that while it does indeed sound like a wonderful book, it  fell tragically flat for me. I only gave it a three star rating, and only that because I kept reading it until it was finished. But I did a lot of skimming in this one...


Next up was this one that I paid full price for, but I can never resist her books!



Sadie never saw what was coming...literally. One minute she's celebrating the biggest achievement of her life by placing as a finalist in the North American Portrait Society competition, and the next she's lying in a hospital bed, diagnosed with a "probably temporary" condition known as face blindness. She can still see, but she no longer sees faces, only the puzzle pieces of them all jumbled together. How is she supposed to paint her portrait for the art show in a few weeks if she can't see? As Sadie struggles to cope, she discovers some new things about herself and life that she never expected. In the meanwhile, she accidentally falls into like with her new vet when he saves her dog's life, only to turn around and also start dating the endearing neighbor next door at the same time...the one she never even liked to begin with. If only her life were a little more focused, she could find her true way, but perceiving anything clearly right now seems impossible. She learns that people show up when you least expect them, and that when you look for good things in life, they're to be found everywhere. 


I LOVED THIS BOOK. I always love her books! I always love about her books the fact that it's not just a simple love story; there is always a deeper meaning in them that you have to dig to find. I think it's why her books are usually turned into movies. Are you a Katherine Center fan? 


All of the books mentioned here today are books that have been published in 2023 and more recently as well. I don't know that it matters to anyone else, but I thought I'd let you know. 


Next up was the book Exes and O's by Amy Lea. 



This is a book in a series by this author, and while I loved the other one I read last year, I didn't feel the same about this one. This book is about a social media influencer who loves to read romance novels. One the quest to finding her true love, she decides to take time revisiting relationships with her ex boyfriends. The premise was really cute, but I didn't love the language or the rated R scenes, so I skimmed really quickly over those parts and was glad to reach the end. 


I'll mention the next three quickly, because they were fast reads.


I read Njuta: Enjoy, Delight in: The Swedish Art of Savoring the Moment....





The two above were ones I flipped through, the one about Njuta I read. 


Lastly, I read an old favorite, because I wanted to end the month on a high note.




I've read this series over and over again in the last twenty years; the last time I read them was in 2020, because the world sucked that year. This will forever go down as my very favorite series of books of all time, and you can read this for free right now with Kindle Unlimited! Sharon and Penny are two moms with kids on their way out the door, and they decide on a whim to go to Finland to meet Penny's aunt, her only living relative that she knows of. Nothing goes quite as planned, but they find themselves on a great adventure to find her Aunt Marketta and they have some life-changing moments along the way as they switch gears and leave Finland early to get back to London. This trip changes the trajectory of their lives once they return home again, and I love that the book ends with an epilogue set a few years later. 


I also love that the author has visited all of the places she uses in this series, and that she has been to each of these places with friends. That's the theme of each of the books: godly friendship. That will always be appealing to me! These books were written a while back, but I think they've been recently updated to include some more modern technology. I can't say that for sure; I'd have to check my paperback copies first, but I do know the cover is different than the one I have a physical copy of. 


I can't believe I read ten books this month! I know this trend won't last, but it was a great month of reading. I'm excited to start my first book for March today; I downloaded it last night before I went to bed! What have you read and loved lately? I'd love to hear! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! 


P.s. This is my bonus blog post today, so my original scheduled post is right under this one if you want to keep reading. 

10 comments:

  1. You read some good books. I feel like I should read a Pamela Kelly book. I need to download something onto my Kindle; perhaps I will do that today. Have a great Thursday!

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  2. I've only read a few of Katherine's books but I've really enjoyed them. I thought Hello, Stranger was really cute and such a fun/unusual concept to read about.

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  3. Maria, her kindle books are always either free or very inexpensive. If you do, start with the Nantucket Inn series! That's my favorite.

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  4. Joanne, I had the same thoughts over that book!

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  5. I feel like you didn't love Nutja as much as I did! I think it was what I needed for my mental state and maybe you weren't in the same state of mind? Ha! I think I would like Sister Chicks! That sounds like the kind of premise I would love. I agree on Hello Stranger - loved it. Can't remember the Abby Jimenez but I read it. Don't love her books if I recall?
    I think I love Pamela Kelley so I am also going to look into that one.

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  6. Amy, you made me laugh. I did like it, but I think it's just because I already do a lot of what was inside. I will say that I really, really love Fiona Ferris books, so maybe that's what I was comparing it to? She writes the ones about being chic in all the different seasons and times of life...which doesn't sound that great when I look at that sentence, but they're always so much deeper than just looking good. You should look into Pamela Kelley again! I always tell people to start with the Nantucket Inn series. That's my favorite! You should also look into the Sisterchicks books...some of them are so good and laugh out loud funny, but the message is always what's the best.

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  7. You had a great reading month! I read a Katherine Center book several years ago and need to give her another try. I also want to put Pamela Kelly on my TBR list. Thanks for the recommendations!

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  8. Tanya, I did! I'm loving that. You should give both of those authors a try!

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  9. Pamela, me too! Robin is one of my all-time favorite authors.

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