September 2023 Book Recommendation: Follow the Swallow Home by Annette Bower

For those of you who want the opposite of last week’s book recommendation. Follow the Swallow Home by Annette Bower falls solidly in the gentle romance genre.

Published: 2023 Soulmate Publishing

Categories: Contemporary Romance / Small Town Romance / Gentle Romance


At a crossroads, Keanna Dixon packs her car and hits the road. She stops in the small town of Regina Beach, where she pitches her tent after deciding to stay awhile. At twenty-five she’s ready to put down roots and this little town may be the perfect place to do it.

Keith Campbell, at thirty, is happy with his independent life. Computers are his playground, racquetball his sport, and his thoughts are not concerned about love or family. But with the unexpected responsibility of caring for his five-year-old deaf nephew, he finds himself on a ranch, because of a pony.

Keith knows all about apps and blogs, and he hopes his research will assist him in showing Keanna that he is her home.

My Thoughts:

The story revolves around Gerry, a young boy who has lost his hearing and who is grieving the loss of his father. When his mother is called back into service and sent overseas, his Uncle Keith steps in to look after him. He meets Keanna, who has experience within the deaf and hard of hearing community, when his nephew starts to feel overwhelmed and she offers to help them adjust to new circumstances.

The main characters, Keanna, Keith and Gerry are well developed and you really get to know who they are. Keanna and Keith have different approaches to solving challenges. But they listen to each other and they find a way to work together. The quaint resort town of Regina Beach is the perfect setting and a lovely look at life in a rural Saskatchewan. You are introduced to many examples of this as Keanna and Keith get to know each other.

Follow the Swallow Home fits perfectly into the gentle romance genre. You find tenderness in the timely arrival of a little teddy bear that gives Keanna someone to talk to as she searches for connection within the small town. You find it in sticky notes Keith places around their rooms to help his little nephew. You find it the baking of cakes, and the offering of apples to horses, and in all the little things this community does to take care of each other. It’s what you find within the pages of an Annette Bower book. Gentle stories about real people connecting with each other and their surroundings. Definitely recommend.

Until next time…

It’s the first day of fall! Who’s happy to see the season change? I’m definitely looking forward to slightly cooler temperatures.

September 2023 Book Recommendation: When I’m Dead by Hannah Morrissey

I haven’t read many thrillers lately. But I was offered this ARC from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press and because I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump I decided to mix it up.

*This isn’t my usual book recommendation. This is definitely a thriller/mystery. It involves an investigation into a teenager’s murder. So, if that’s not your thing…

Published: October 31, 2023 by St. Martin’s Press

Categories: Thriller / Suspense / Mystery


One girl murdered…another one missing…and a medical examiner desperate to uncover the truth in When I’m Dead, the latest Black Harbor mystery by acclaimed author Hannah Morrissey.

On a bone-chilling October night, Medical Examiner Rowan Winthorp investigates the death of her daughter’s best friend. Hours later, the tragedy hits even closer to home when she makes a devastating discovery—her daughter, Chloe, is gone. But, not without a trace.

A morbid mosaic of clues forces Rowan and her husband to question how deeply they really knew their daughter. As they work closely to peel back the layers of this case, they begin to unearth disturbing details about Chloe and her secret transgressions…details that threaten to tear them apart.

Amidst the noise of navigating her newfound grief and reconciling the sins of her past, an undeniable fact rings true for Rowan: karma has finally come to collect.

My Thoughts:

I was immediately absorbed by this atmospheric page turner. Holy Moley. Black Harbor reminds me of Gotham City. It has that kind of vibe. The story is told from three points of view: Rowan who’s the medical examiner; Axel, a homicide detective and Rowan’s husband; and Libby, the awkward teenager who lives next door.

The night of the high school play, a teenage girl is found murdered. Rowan and Axel are called to the scene only to find the victim is their daughter’s best friend. Things escalate when they realize their daughter is also missing. What follows is a desperate search along a twisted path for their daughter as well as answers to unexpected revelations that come to light.

This book never lets up. Rowan and Axel are thrown into crisis mode and become unreliable narrators of sorts. That’s where Libby comes in. You never know what’s up with her but her perspective gives you a different take on the action and gives you a break from the turmoil enveloping Rowan and Axel.

Overall, it’s a gripping thriller with lots of dark twists and turns. The setting sets the tone. The well done characterizations bring the drama. It’s the perfect book to read come October 31st. Definitely check it out if it’s your jam.

Until next time…

What is it about fall that makes you want to read something a little more atmospheric?

September 2023: What I’ve Been Watching

Romance Book Movie Adaptions

I’ve actually been in a reading slump lately and I can’t seem to find my way out of it. I don’t think it’s so much the books as it is my ability to concentrate. That’s because the writing is going well and when that happens I don’t really have room in my head for anyone else’s story but mine. Which is a could thing. That’s part of my process. I’ll likely switch from reading romance to something entirely different. Until then I did watch some movie adaptions of romance books in August.

Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center. I LOVED this book, which means, you guessed it, I did not love the movie. I liked the movie. But compared to the book, it’s just okay. Of course, there was no way to bring all the book had to the screen but they tried. It’s a nice, easy watch. You can find it on Netflix. But definitely pick up a Katherine Center book if you haven’t already. She’s my new auto buy author.

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston. Another very popular book. I knew Amazon Prime was making the movie so I decided to read the book first. Confession: I didn’t finish it. Not because it wasn’t a great book but because it’s very much got a new adult feel to it and that’s just not my jam. But I enjoyed the movie version. Definitely check it out, if you’re interested.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. So…another new adult story. I didn’t bother trying to read the book this time. Also, I remember when it came out in 2011, some had problems with the nature of the main characters’ relationship.Travis was a real jerk and Abby kept forgiving his bad behaviour. I’ve read that the movie version makes significant changes that improve their relationship’s dynamic. I have to say, it worked. I really enjoyed it. Out of the three movies I’ve listed, it’s my favourite when I expected the opposite. Both the main actors did a great job. It was funny. Sometimes, cringingly. But it had some serious moments too. I would recommend it. Amazon Prime.

Here’s to romance book movie adaptions! We need more of them while we wait impatiently for Bridgerton Season 3.

Until next time…

What’s everyone else been watching? I need recommendations!

July 2023 Romance Book Recommendation: Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Not gonna lie, I read it because of the hype. Never would have picked it up otherwise. But I’m so glad I did.

Fourth Wing, Book 1 The Empyrean series by Rebecca Yarros

Published: May 2023

Categories: Young Adult / Fantasy Romance


Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.

But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away…because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them.

With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter—like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.

She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.

Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom’s protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.

Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda—because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die.

My Thoughts:

Look, if you’re looking for pure entertainment and escapism, this is the book for you. The action starts on page one and doesn’t let up until the last page. Also be warned, it ends on a cliffhanger. There will be five books in this series with the next one coming out in November this year. Thank goodness!

I loved it. I wish I could erase it from my memory and have the chance to read it again for the first time. I’ll probably read it again anyway. And I don’t do that often. There’s just something about this damn book. I don’t read young adult or new adult at all anymore. I avoid books written in first person point of view. (I’ve got to narrow things down somehow. There’s a lot of books out there.) This book is both those things. Like I said, I read it because of the hype.

But I love Violet. She’s smart and kind. She doesn’t blindly follow the rules. She doesn’t break them without cause either. Xaden. He’s ruthless. But he’s fair. And he’ll do anything to protect the people entrusted to his care, which is the sexiest thing ever. Also, anyone who knows me well, knows my favourite trope is enemies to lovers. Check. Violet and Xaden don’t like each other, they don’t trust each other. For very good reasons. But their chemistry is off the charts.

The dragons. There’s nothing kind or gentle about them. Their loyal to each other first. The place second. Their rider third. If the rider manages to earn it. If they don’t, they die. But there are a lot of ways to die in this book. Too many to count. Just like the tagline states: Ride…or die. It’s got strong Hunger Games and Divergent vibes. So, if you don’t enjoy that kind of thing…well, this might not be the book for you. But if you want to take a chance and have a summer fling with a book you might not normally read, this would be the book to pick. If you can find it. It’s selling out all over the place. Highly recommend!

Until next time…

What’s a book you’ve read because of the hype?

July 2023 Book Recommendation: Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

Because…we can all use a book about a grieving, grumpy heroine who finds happiness in the most unexpected of places.

Published: March 2015

Categories: Romance / Action Adventure / Comfort Read / Women’s Fiction


Could she change the story of her life?

It was time. Helen Carpenter knew that. Thirty-two and divorced for a year, Helen knew it was time—past time—to pull herself together. She needed to do something wild and adventurous and completely out of character. Which is why she signed up for a wilderness survival course in Wyoming.

Thus begins the strangest adventure of Helen Carpenter’s well-behaved life: three weeks in a remote mountain range where she will survive a summer blizzard, a group of sorority girls, rutting season for the elk, and more than one infuriating man. Yet, despite the hardships and the indignities, the mountains bring their own wisdom to Helen’s life, somehow teaching her the very things she needs to learn. Like how to stand up for yourself. How being scared can make you brave. How the things you hold on to become the story of your life. And, maybe most of all, how sometimes you just have to get really, really lost before you even have a hope of being found.

My Thoughts:

I loved The Bodyguard by Katherine Center. Read my review here. I noticed that they were making one of her early books, Happiness for Beginners, into a Netflix movie and I wanted to read it before I watched it. There is so much to love about this book. The characters, both main and secondary. Oh my gosh, Duncan, the younger brother! The setting. Hello wilderness camping, which I would never do. The healing and the humour. It tugs at the heartstrings and makes you laugh in equal measure. And the older heroine, younger hero is one of my favourite tropes. I’m guessing there are very few us who haven’t felt like we’ve been figuratively lost in the wilderness. Or who’ve found ourselves feeling one step behind or feeling out of step while everyone is marching forward. It’s sweet and funny, but it’s the depth of story that makes it a winner. Highly recommend.

We’ll see if the movie gets it right…

Until next time…

What’s everyone else reading?

July 2023 Book Recommendation: Hunt the Stars by Jessie Mihalik

There is something about looking at summer night skies that makes me prone to wondering and wanting to read science fiction! I remember back to camping when our children were young and staying a regional campground out in the middle of nowhere beside a small lake with very little light pollution. The sky at night was stunning. So much happening up there, which always make a person wonder…

Published: February, 2022

Categories: Romance / Action/Adventure / Science Fiction / Space Opera


Octavia Zarola would do anything to keep her tiny, close-knit bounty hunting crew together—even if it means accepting a job from Torran Fletcher, a ruthless former general and bitter adversary. When Torran offers her enough credits to not only keep her crew afloat but also hire someone to fix her ship, Tavi knows that she can’t refuse—no matter how much she’d like to.

There’s just one catch: with so much money on the line, Torran and his crew insist on joining the hunt. Tavi reluctantly agrees because while the handsome, stoic leader pushes all of her buttons—for both anger and desire—she’s endured worse, and the massive bonus payment he’s promised for a completed job is reason enough to shut up and deal.

But when they uncover a deeper plot that threatens the delicate peace between humans and Valoffs, Tavi suspects that Torran has been using her as the impetus for a new war. With the fate of her crew balanced on a knife’s edge, Tavi must decide where her loyalties lie—with the quiet Valoff who’s been lying to her, or with the human leaders who left her squad to die on the battlefield. Because this time, her heart is on the line.


If you loved the show Firefly, definitely dating myself here, you’ll love Hunt the Stars. This story is the kind of enemies to lovers story I love. They’re on opposite sides but mutual respect is present in any and all types of communication. Being enemies doesn’t mean the two main characters have to be antagonistic towards each other all the time. I mean, it can! And those stories are great too. But when they respect each other’s abilities and put the job first and actually act like adults to get the job done, then that’s my catnip. My other catnip is badass heroines who are kind and nurturing. They know how to win a fight and then some, but they’re good at other things too. You don’t have to chip away forty layers of pent up hostility to find out they have a heart.

And then there was the world building. It pulled me right in and gave me a complete picture of what the world looked like for this story. So many much needed details about how everything functions. I could picture it perfectly.

There’s plenty of action/adventure, lots of steamy romance, and centers around another of my other favourite tropes – close proximity. It’s clever and it’s entertaining and I definitely recommend it.

Until next time…

What’s everyone else reading?

Five Summer Book Recommendations for June 2023

Here are five book recommendations to add to your summer reading list! They all have a little something different to tempt you into picking them up.

My Five Book Recommendations For Summer 2023

Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn. My review found here.

Contemporary small town romance. I can not say enough good things about this book! It is one of my favourites from this year.

Bluebird by Genevieve Graham

Time slip romance. WWI. Historical Romance. Canadian author. Canadian setting. I loved this story. Genevieve Graham is one of my go to authors!

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

Contemporary Romance. Romantic Comedy. Big Ranch vibes. Totally fell for this one. Read by review here.

Heated Rivalry by Rachel Reid (Book 2 Game Changers series)

MM Romance. Contemporary Romance. Hockey Romance. Canadian Author. I adore this whole series! Seriously, it’s the best.

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

Contemporary. Plus Size Heroine. Reality TV Romance. This one was entertaining and inspiring! Read my review here.

Until next time…

Leave your summer book recommendations in the comments! I’m always looking for my next read!

May 2023 Book Recommendation: Hallows End by Kristen Proby

I’m reading a lot of books with magic in them these days.

Hallows End (Book 1 of The Curse of the Blood Moon series) by Kristen Proby

Published: October, 2022

Categories: Contemporary Romance / Paranormal Ghost Romance / Witches and Wizards Romance / Small Town Romance / Romantic Suspense Romance

The Blurb:

Returning to her beloved home of Salem after a trip away, Lucy Finch can’t shake the feeling of anxiety that suddenly plagues her. Nor can she shrug off her third eye’s urging that she has a mission she must undertake—a secret she must uncover.

As a green witch, Lucy has always felt strongest and the most at home in the forest, surrounded by nature. But when a disturbing dream wakes her and sends her fleeing into the woods, she isn’t prepared for what she finds. She expected her element. Perhaps a message from spirit. She didn’t expect to cross paths with a sexy-as-sin man, straight out of a movie scene.

Jonas Morley isn’t like the other residents of Hallows End. He knows the town’s secrets, as well as Salem’s, and it has been his honor and duty to protect them for as long as he can remember. But the gorgeous witch who graces the town’s hidden border shakes him and makes him second-guess his directive. She calls to him like no other. But can he save his home and those under his care and still make her his? Or will their union mean danger and destruction for not only them but also those who live within the town’s borders?

Curses don’t discriminate, and the curse of the blood moon is the most determined and dangerous of all.

This book weighed in heavier on the suspense/plot side of the story then the character development side, which some will enjoy and some will not. I’m actually here for it. It was a palate cleanser. I’m all for character development and deep emotional dives and a reasonable amount of angst, but sometimes I just want to read a book about witches and magic and time travel and have it just be about breaking the evil curse while a couple fall in love.

Having said that, let the suspension of disbelief begin, because sometimes that’s the funnest part. Three friends. Three witches. They live in Salem. Because of course they do. Where both non-magical people and witches live in harmony. A nightmare sends the heroine, Lucy, into the woods where she meets the hero, Jonas, a male witch capable of time traveling, sort of. He needs to break a spell he cast to shield Hallows End from the infamous witchcraft trials happening in Salem in the mid 1600s. And now Hallows End exists in the 1600s but not in contemporary times.

A colourful, quick read about three friends navigating past hurts, lasting friendships and banding together against an evil entity. It that’s your sort of read, give Hallows End a chance and see what you think.

Until next time…

What’s everyone else reading?

March 2023 Book Recommendation: The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

March is flying by, the sun continues to shine, and I have a book recommendation. I think the cover made me think of spring!

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

Published: MacMillan, July 19, 2022

Categories: Romance / Contemporary /

The Blurb:

My Thoughts:

I picked up this story for three reasons. 1) It got a lot of attention last year. 2) I was looking to end my reading slump. 3) It was available at the library. Usually I don’t pick books written in first person point of view. Or books that are rom-coms. Or books with yellow covers. But I’m so glad I did. It was delightful and just what I needed. It was heartwarming. A bit ridiculous. So sweet. And, at one point, I laughed. Like out loud. Definitely recommend. Especially if you prefer reading romances without sex scenes.

Until next time…

What’s everyone else reading?

February 2023 Book Recommendation: Daughters of the Deer by Danielle Daniel

One of my reading goals for 2023, actually my only reading goal, is to read more Canadian authors who’ve written stories set in Canada. Particularly when it comes to the romance genre, which is my favourite for obvious reasons. But I’m also looking for that criteria in general fiction too. Which led me to Daughters of the Deer by Danielle Daniel.

Daughters of the Deer by Danielle Daniel

Published: Penguin Random House, March 8, 2022

Categories: Historical Fiction / Fiction / Canadian History / Canadian Setting /

The Blurb:

1657. Marie, a gifted healer of the Deer Clan, does not want to marry the green-eyed soldier from France who has asked for her hand. But her people are threatened by disease and starvation and need help against the Iroquois and their English allies if they are to survive. When her chief begs her to accept the white man’s proposal, she cannot refuse him, and sheds her deerskin tunic for a borrowed blue wedding dress to become Pierre’s bride.

1675. Jeanne, Marie’s oldest child, is seventeen, neither white nor Algonquin, caught between worlds. Caught by her own desires, too. Her heart belongs to a girl named Josephine, but soon her father will have to find her a husband or be forced to pay a hefty fine to the French crown. Among her mother’s people, Jeanne would have been considered blessed, her two-spirited nature a sign of special wisdom. To the settlers of New France, and even to her own father, Jeanne is unnatural, sinful—a woman to be shunned, beaten, and much worse.

With the poignant, unforgettable story of Marie and Jeanne, Danielle Daniel reaches back through the centuries to touch the very origin of the long history of violence against Indigenous women and the deliberate, equally violent disruption of First Nations cultures.

My Thoughts:

Set in the 1600s, Daughters of the Deer is a very moving and heart wrenching story of how Indigenous women were stripped of their humanity and culture under colonization. Daniel writes of Marie, an Algonkin woman, who is forced to marry a French settler, whose religious ethics clash with Marie’s Algonquin beliefs. She details Marie’s life and gives us a thought provoking look into an Indigenous woman’s experiences with early settlers that few people have heard or been taught. Daniel’s ability to intertwine those harsh realities with the details of everyday life for Marie and the community make for a very compelling and thought provoking read. This book is going to stay with me for a long time. Definitely recommend.

Here is an interview with Danielle Daniel on CBC’s The Next Chapter about her real life connection to Marie and Jeanne.

Until next time…

What’s everyone else reading?