Blue Fire by John Gilstrap

Person peeking through hole titled "Thriller"

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was so freaking good!!! This is a post-apoc story with a strong female lead, but told through multiple views then weave together to tell a heart-racing story of desperation, danger, and survival.

I was sucked into this one from page one, and I couldn’t put it down! I did realize about halfway through that this is book 2 in a series, but honestly, I was able to read this as a standalone, however, I want to go back and read book 1 now!

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Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves by Meg Long

Book Genre Tag "Fantasy" with image of fantasy world of mountains and water
Book Genre Block - "Young Adult" with 4 young adults

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Holy smokes, this book was AMAZING! I couldn’t stop reading this one!

When Sena was young, she lost her moms to the famous race that her planet is known for. That’s really all her planet has. It’s freezing cold all the time, constantly under some sort of storm, and filled with corporate gangsters. When Sena ends up in trouble with one of the gang boss’s she ends up unintentionally stealing a fighting wolf from him. On the run from the boss, she ends up doing the one thing she swore she would never do…help with the race.

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The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews

Book Genre Tag "Romance": A couple kissing

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Oh my goodness, I just loved this one!! Right from the start, I enjoyed the characters. I loved Ivy, our MC. She’s a fast-moving city girl that spontaneously buys a run-down farm house, sight unseen! What?? I loved this! I kept being like, I can’t believe you didn’t go see the house, and so many characters have the same response. Now, of course, that’s an important part of the story, as we get so many surprises…delightful and not so delightful…because of her choice.

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What Passes as Love by Trisha R. Thomas

"Historical Fiction" genre card with glasses and book photo
what passes as love cover with silhoette of woman
Book Genre Tag "Romance": A couple kissing

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was a beautiful work of historical fiction that I hope so many people pick up! The characters are well-developed and provide the reader with someone to connect with and root for! The historical timeframe was created with wonderful details that really brought me into the 1800s. I was absolutely captivated with this one, and I think so many other readers will be as well!

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People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Book Genre Block - "Rom Com" couple on bench
People We Meet on Vacation book cover with palm trees and two people on
White library with lots of stairs and "Contemporary" text

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book spoke to me. Like I am infatuated with this story. I need to own a physical copy now so that I can hug it every once in a while. It’s amazing.

This book is a friends to lovers trope, and I’m gonna be super honest here. I hate that trope. I have always been a firm believer that once you hit the friend zone, you can’t hit that romance space. I know that’s not true, but I’ve just never found a story where I’ve been convinced of the romance…UNTIL NOW.

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How Lucky by Will Leitch

Book Genre Block - "General Fiction" Person holding book
"Mystery" Genre card with dark woods and light in the distance

Rating: 5 out of 5.

First of all, this book was AMAZING! Just absolutely wonderful. Leitch’s writing makes this story such a joy!

Second of all, don’t go into this thinking it’s a thriller. That will be really disappointing for you. This is a story about life and finding joy and experiences even when you have incredibility tough circumstances. There is a mystery and there are some action scenes, but I really wouldn’t put this in the thriller category.

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The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen

Rating: 5 out of 5.
"Historical Fiction" genre card with glasses and book photo
Book Genre Tag "Romance": A couple kissing

This was a lovely trip to Italy spanning two timelines. The beautiful descriptions of Venice truly transport the reader, making a vivid, picturesque story to read!

Caroline has just had her husband leave her when she receives a letter that 90-year-old great aunt is dying. She makes it to her aunt in time for her to give Caroline her dying wish. Great Aunt Lettie gives Caroline a box, three keys, and a sketchbook, and mutters “Venice”. So off to Venice she goes to unravel a great mystery.

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Everybody Fights: So Why Not Get Better at It? by Kim Holderness and Penn Holderness

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Book Genre "Memoir" with person writing with pen
Book Cover of "Everybody Fights" with
Book Genre Block "Inspiring" with letter tiles spelling "Do Not Give Up"

This book has changed my marriage. For Real! I will literally be re-reading this book for a long time. Each chapter speaks to a different part of your relationship, and it was just amazing!

If you are not in a relationship, I STILL think you should read this book. There’s a chapter on intimate connection, but other than that, I really think this book teaches us how to listen to and interact with humans in general. Not just the one you’re married to. I’m using things I’ve learned in this book to better communicate with my kids too!

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No Pain, No Gaines: The Good Stuff Doesn’t Come Easy by Chip Gaines

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Book Genre "Memoir" with person writing with pen
Book cover with author Chip Gaines
Book Genre Block "Inspiring" with letter tiles spelling "Do Not Give Up"

Wow. Just Wow. I really, really loved this memoir! Chip Gaines wrote this book to inspire and motivate me. I know, I know…that’s not really true, but sometimes when you read a book, it feels like the author was thinking of how to motivate you, and that’s how this one felt to me.

I haven’t ever watched Fixer Upper, which is the TV show that Chip and his wife are known for, so I wasn’t drawn to this book because of the fame, I was drawn to it because of the blurb about hard work. It sounded interesting. But it’s not just interesting, it’s filled with commentary that really made me pause and think about my life and the way I am living it.

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Survival of the Thickest by Michelle Buteau

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Book Genre
Book Cover with author on cover
Book Genre Block - "Emotional" Person standing between bright earth and desolate earth

Hilarious! I laughed out loud reading this book more than I have in a long time. Michelle Buteau is hilarious. She also had the ability to create extremely emotional moments that had me bawling while I listened. This is a book that you should listen to the audio if you have the chance. Michelle narrates it, and she does an absolutely phenomenal job!

This is a memoir that will take you on a journey of Michelle’s romance situations, both absolutely hilarious and heartwarming, her friendships, her family, her job, her journey to being a mother, and her overall thoughts on life.

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The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Rating: 5 out of 5.
"Mystery" Genre card with dark woods and
Book cover flowers with corked bottle
"Historical Fiction" genre card with glasses and book phtoo

A woman helping women kill their husbands in the 1790s through her apothecary shop? That got my attention! I loved the way this story was told through present and past day! It was a beautifully written, gripping novel that I thoroughly enjoyed!

The two characters we are focused on are Nella in the 1790s and Caroline in the present day. Nella is using her apothecary shop to help women kill their husbands with poisons. She has very strict morals about this killing. It must always be men, never women. She will destroy potions and refuse service to any request that has the intent to harm another woman. I really enjoyed her character. She was smart and resourceful, but also emotionally wounded, creating a character that I was deeply invested in.

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Hadley and Grace by Suzanne Redfearn

Rating: 5 out of 5.
White library with lots of stairs and "Contemporary" text

Loved this book!!! It was very Thelma & Louise, but seriously so much better! I loved the addition of children, and how that changes the choices available to the women. This was a fast-paced, wild ride following two women and their children as they run from one danger after another.

I loved the characters Hadley and Grace. They were an unlikely and accidental partnering that created this amazing dynamic. The two bicker like sisters, and yet clearly care for each other. Their stories created wonderful character growth for each of them, which was honestly, extremely surprising. Running from the law, trying to protect their children, they somehow managed to have their own personal moments of inspiration and change.

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