2019 Book #55 – The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

51SWKLzVjxLTitle: The Book Charmer
Author: Karen Hawkins
Date finished: 8/4/19
Genre: Contemporary romance, women’s fiction, magical realism
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Pages in book: 368
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Dove Pond series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I finished this book for ARC August 2019! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because this year they have a bunch of fun games and challenges, including one of my favorite things, reading bingo! This book will be checking off my “Start one series” box since this book is the first in a new series by this author.

I haven’t read anything by this author before, I was intrigued enough by the description and the cover to give this a read! I love books with magical realism and this one was really just such a magical read. I loved the story building and how the author wove different pieces of magic into the story. The thing I found kind of frustrating was how unresolved the ending was. We spent so much time delving into Sarah’s character, which I understand was necessary to understand the whole book talking and saving the town thing, but I was super bummed that we didn’t get resolved on Sarah’s story at the end of this book. I usually prefer to read series consisting of stand alone novels for that reason, I like the connection but I like for things to be resolved at the end. I’m excited to read Sarah’s story though, whenever it may come! Also I thought there was a lot of build up to the Apple Festival and then the actual event only ended up taking up like a page, which left the event feeling a little anti-climactic to me. I loved all the tension and plot building, then when it was wrapped up so quickly it felt a little rushed. There were so many emotions in this book though, I loved it. I laughed, and I cried a bunch. There were so many touching scenes in the book. All of the characters were charming and I loved how much of a family was formed by the various town members. I’d definitely recommend this book.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2019 Book #54 – A Highlander Walks into a Bar by Laura Trentham

51tkiNhStZLTitle: A Highlander Walks into a Bar
Author: Laura Trentham
Date finished: 8/1/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Pages in book: 311
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Highland, Georgia series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

The timeless romance, soaring passion—and gorgeous men—of Scotland come to modern-day America. And the rules of love will never be the same…

Isabel Buchanan is fiery, funny, and never at a loss for words. But she is struck speechless when her mother returns from a trip to Scotland with a six-foot-tall, very handsome souvenir. Izzy’s mother is so infatuated by the fellow that Izzy has to plan their annual Highland Games all by herself. Well, not completely by herself. The Highlander’s strapping young nephew has come looking for his uncle…

Alasdair Blackmoor has never seen a place as friendly as this small Georgia town—or a girl as brilliant and beguiling as Izzy. Instead of saving his uncle, who seems to be having a lovely time, Alasdair decides he’d rather help Izzy with the Highland Games. Show her how to dance like a Highlander. Drink like a Highlander. And maybe, just maybe, fall in love with a Highlander. But when the games are over, where do they go from here?

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I finished this book for ARC August 2019! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because this year they have a bunch of fun games and challenges, including one of my favorite things, reading bingo! This book will be checking off my “Finish 1 ARC that DOES NOT have a picture of a girl on the cover” box since the cover only features one brawny looking Scotsman.

I’ve read a few books from Laura Trentham’s Cottonbloom series in the past and I have enjoyed them, so I was excited to see she had a new series coming out. I enjoyed this book, it was cute and sweet. The relationship development between Alasdair and Isabel I thought was really well done. I was really engaged in their relationship and also their banter was hilarious. Isabel was precocious and charming and Alasdair sounded handsome and funny. The rest of the story line fell a little flat for me – there wasn’t anything overtly exciting about it – but it was a solid story. There was also an interesting lead in into the next book. The townspeople were a great asset to the story since they were all so funny and added to the overall charm of the story. I’d recommend this for a sweet and quick read!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

ARC August 2019 – Update #1

arc-august-2019The first few days of ARC August 2019 were pretty successful! I got some good reading done on vacation and then also at home while I prepare to dive back into my work day tomorrow. Anyways, so here’s where I stand right now:

MY PROGRESS

July & August 2019 ARC’s 

-Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
-The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
-The Arrangement by Robyn Harding
-A Highlander Walks Into a Bar by Laura Trentham – Read Week 1 – Review to be posted
-The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney
-The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
-The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
-Outfox by Sandra Brown
-To the Stars and Back by Camilla Isley

Books Read August 1st – 3rd

51tkiNhStZL

A Highlander Walks Into a Bar by Laura Trentham – 3.5 stars – Review to be posted soon!

Plan for Upcoming Week

This week is going to be hectic, that’s for sure. I was off all last week for vacation so I’ll have a lot to catch up on at work. I’m just going to try and push through and keep at it – I’ve so far been mostly successful at balancing my productivity between work and reading and other over the last month so I’m hoping I can keep balancing and keep reading a lot this month! Happy reading everyone!

ARC August 2019 Reading Challenge Sign Up Post

arc-august-2019

Woo Hoo! ARC August is here again, and I can’t wait to dig into some of my backlog and my upcoming releases. I still have wayyyyy too many ARC’s from the past three years that I never got a chance to read, plus I missed the “deadline” for 12 additional ARCs so far in 2019. PLUS I have 6 ARCs scheduled to be read in August. SO you could say I have a lot of reading to accomplish! For those of you that don’t know, ARC August is a month-long reading challenge hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat. and the only participation requirement is reading ARC’s! I participated in this reading challenge for the last four years (20152016, 2017, and 2018), and every year this reading challenge has been super successful and productive. I hope to continue the productivity with this challenge this year since I have so much to read! I’ll be on a family vacation during the first few days of August and should be able to get a jump start on my reading for the month!

So here is the list I’m going to be working off of for this year’s challenge:

July & August 2019 ARC’s 

-Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
-The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
-The Arrangement by Robyn Harding
-A Highlander Walks Into a Bar by Laura Trentham
-The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney
-The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
-The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
-Outfox by Sandra Brown
-To the Stars and Back by Camilla Isley

I’m hoping to also possibly get to some backlog ARC’s from previous years, but I’m in the midst of a series right now so between that and the ARC’s I might not be able to make it to previous years’ backlogs. I’m looking forward to a lot of the books I have lined up for August though – I can’t wait to get to reading!