Meant to Bee by Storm Shultz // Review

Meant to Bee by Storm Shultz // Review

Can accidentally becoming a beekeeper lead to love?

Single mom Cordy Brown can’t catch a break. Not only does she lose her job, but the quaint English cottage she pools her savings to purchase is the very definition of a money pit. To top it off, a delivery man appears on her doorstep with a shipment of bees and announces she’s their new caretaker! Could life get any more complicated?

Ronan Thomson is only in England for one reason: to drag his underage brother back to Ireland for end-of-year exams. He quickly learns, however, that nothing about this will be simple and he finds himself holding a baby goat on Cordy’s doorstep. Falling for a beautiful American is easy. Ronan’s problems lie in the overabundance of animals, his stubborn brother, and the unexpected guest from Cordy’s past.

Can Cordy and Ronan overcome all the obstacles standing between them? After all, some things just feel meant to bee. (from Goodreads)

My Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book… *sighs happily* From the cover inward, the cozy British town vibes were perfectly blended with the story of a woman struggling in life. I rooted for Cordy, grew frustrated with her at times, hung on every word of her learning beekeeping and other skills, delighted with her over Poppy, and waited with bated breath to see how she would handle forgiveness.

(Which, the forgiveness storyline was a breath of fresh air! It acknowledged boundaries and left no room for disrespect/abuse while encouraging to forgive. I haven’t seen another book quite this nuanced.)

The romance was super sweet. The story pacing did seem to speed up halfway through, but I grew used to it and loved every moment. I especially enjoyed how respectful yet honest they were with each other, and I was hardcore rooting for them.

Don’t get me started on how much I loved the pro-life after birth themes and the supportive side characters. 👏👏

CW: harassment, lying side character, judgemental local. Some kissing.

I can’t wait to read more of this author’s work, and I love the heart you can clearly see shining through every page. 💛

Manuscript for Murder by Chautona Havig // Review

Manuscript for Murder by Chautona Havig // Review

Alexa Hartfield. Author, local celebrity, fashion connoisseur. She chose Fairbury for its close proximity to Rockland, its small town atmosphere, and its low crime rate.

Then someone made her life a literary cliché. A mysterious accident with a light bulb sparked an interesting idea for her latest novel—and for Fairbury’s new serial killer. The first replication infuriated her. The second left an even worse taste in her mouth. The third blasted more than her self-confidence, and the fourth beat her down so far she’s considering giving up writing completely.

Who is killing Fairbury’s citizens, and furthermore, why and how are they using her novels to do it? (from Goodreads)

My Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Is there a way to sue for sleep loss? This book was too good, too suspenseful, and too intriguing for me to stop reading, and I must protest by reading the rest of the series. 😤😉

Only Chautona Havig could take a quirky, unique character living every author’s secret dream and imbue it with such deep themes while making it still quite fun. My heart broke as each new layer of Alexa’s backstory and complicated relationships was revealed. I enjoyed the detailed fashion and writing moments, everything about Joe, and how open-hearted Alexa was despite people’s opinions of her.

The mystery was both haunting and fascinating (hence the stolen sleep), and there was one moment that really, really shocked me.

I’m not usually one for series, but I’m hoping to try the other books in this one. 😉

CW: stalking, child neglect, chronic illness, negative family interactions, infertility and a hard backstory to it. Murders happen throughout the book in various ways, including an explosion, but with no graphic details.

My Top 5 Books for Black History Month

My Top 5 Books for Black History Month

Happy Black History month, y’all! I thought I’d share some of my favorite books that have exposed me to culture and history through the power of story. 😉

And as a person with Jewish heritage, I know what it can feel like to have all the available stories reduced to your greatest historical traumas, so I tried to include little-known time periods or books centered on Black joy for a breath of fresh air. 😉

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker

I really enjoyed Hidden Figures (and researched the true story afterward), so I was delighted to come across this beautiful picture book biography of Katherine Johnson. I enjoyed the look into her childhood, the amazing illustrations, and the timeline in the back that shared even more details of her life than either the book or movie could fit. I think this is a great introduction to an American hero and inspiring woman. 😉

The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA by Brenda Woods

This was my first introduction to WW2 history outside of European wars, resistance fighters, or homefront stories. The racism and challenges Black GIs faced after coming home from war shouldn’t have shocked me but set in this “idyllic” little town from the perspective of a privileged main character, everything was put into stark perspective. This was definitely a tougher read, but I credit it with “gently” introducing me to less well-known Black history and making me realize there was a lot more I needed to research.

Empowered: How God Shaped 11 Women’s Lives by Catherine Parks

We’ve all heard about Joni Eareckson Tada, Corrie Ten Boom, and Elizabeth Elliot, women of faith who’ve made a great impact on the world and our history, but this collection of short biographies took it even further, including and focusing on Black and Asian women whose stories often go untold. I really enjoyed reading about their lives and how God worked so powerfully through them. I also found all tough topics to be addressed respectfully and age-appropriately, so this is definitely one that could be great for young readers.

The Trouble With Love by Toni Shiloh (and sequels)

I discovered this romance novel mainly through the adorable covers and a desire to read more diversely. I fell completely in love with this swoony, creative world, the strong female friendships that took center stage (sometimes even over the romance!), and the deep spiritual themes that were naturally included. Let’s just say I binged the series as it released and am now a forever fan. 😉 *has one of her newest books sitting on my shelf and another pre-ordered* 😉

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

I found this book totally by accident when I stumbled upon the author’s Instagram and completely fell in love with the aesthetic. The second book was just releasing, so I of course hunted down the first and gobbled it up. It’s seriously cute and completely lives up to the nerdiness of the cover. A writer MC? With a soft, baker boy love interest? Sign me up! The representation of her anxiety actually helped me recognize and accept my own, so I’ll be forever grateful for that. I have the second book her from the library, and the author’s latest has me severely tempted. 👀

For more book recommendations, check out Toni Shiloh’s Instagram reels and this blog post by Nadine Keels.

Do you have any favorite books about Black history or Black joy? Recommend them in the comments. 😉 My TBR thanks you.

A Proxy Wedding by Toni Shiloh // Mini Review

A Proxy Wedding by Toni Shiloh // Mini Review

Saying I Do was more than they bargained for.

Carly James values loyalty and friendship above all. So when her best friend calls asking her to be a proxy bride, she says, ‘yes.’ How hard can it be to say ‘I do’ so that her best friend can be with the one she loves? Only, Carly never counted on the feelings that began to swirl around with the proxy groom.

Damien Nichols likes life lined up from A to Z, but when his best friend calls in a favor, disorder begins to reign. Instead of taking a quick flight to the proxy wedding, he has to take a road trip with the proxy bride. Carly’s free-spirit attitude bumps heads with his meticulous approach to life. As Damien discovers the woman underneath the carefree façade, his emotions become involved. (from Goodreads)

My Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Not gonna lie, the concept of a modern proxy wedding (??!) drew me in immediately, and I knew my favorite author could pull off something fabulous. It ended up being so cute and sweet with a surprising amount of character development, arc, and relationship testing in such a short novella. I really enjoyed it. 😉 Definitely like a Hallmark movie, in all the best ways.

CW: Mentions of relational trauma from a family of origin and an ex-spouse. The main characters have strong chemistry that is often in their thoughts but it is handled well and never crosses a line.

Five Fall Favorites // Top 5 Books of 2022

Five Fall Favorites // Top 5 Books of 2022

Yes, it is wrap-up and announce the giveaway winner day! 😭😍🧡

Thank you so much for attending! It’s been so fun getting to know you all, and I hope you’ve found some new favorite books (and bloggers!) to celebrate fall with. 🧡 You all have done some serious damage to my TBR, that’s for sure. 😉

If you would like a PDF of all the books recommended so far, check out Katja’s blog. There’s also a (incomplete) Goodreads list available too. 😉

A few of us are sharing our top 5 favorite books of this year (so far!), but be sure to catch up on everyone’s blogs and let them know how much we appreciated their bookishness!

🍁 Katja recommends beloved classics and newer indie books. She’s also an indie author herself with three perma-free books available!

📚 Abigail recommends thrilling reads and military fiction (which her debut novella happens to be!). She also just launched a bookish boutique.

☕️ Kelsey recommends whole-hearted classics and has made her Jane Eyre-inspired novella free today!

🍂 Lillian recommends a wide range of middle-grade fiction and has published two books of her own.

🧣 Sarah recommends encouraging Christian fiction and is a prolific multi-genre indie author!

🥧 Bella recommends a variety of genres and has published an allegorical short story.

☕️ Jana recommends a wide range of amazing fiction and hosts the #SpellTheMonthInBooks link-up!

🧣 Ryana Lynn recommends historical and indie conservative fiction and has a free ebook for those who email her.

📚 Mac is brand new to the blogging world and chose this party as her first order of business.

🍁 Sophia Ellen recommends indie fiction and plans to join the community as an author someday.

📚 Heaven recommends a wide variety of genres in a way that makes you want to read everything she mentioned.

🥧 Hannah recommends indie fiction (among other genres) and is currently writing many books herself as well as offering writer services.

🍂 Mikayla recommends Christian fiction and often writes poetry on her blog.

And I’m a multi-genre reader and author who absolutely loves an opportunity to share about my favorite books. 😉 I also have a novella free today!

My Top 5 Favorite Reads of 2022

2022 has been quite the year, and while it’s not over yet, I’m looking back at some of the books that have meant the most to me. 🧡

1. The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd

My first book by this author. Hauntingly beautiful. 🧡 Changed my perspective about ghosts in stories. 😉

// My Review //

2. Ignite by Jenna Terese

Got me back into the indie book world. Clean and meaningful superhero novel. A new favorite author.

// My Review //

3. Kate’s Informant by Sarah Holman

A terrible twist in the series. Gorgeous themes. Even more heart-filled than usual. 🧡

// My Review //

4. Apprentice by Kristen Young

First Enclave book I’ve read. Meaningful sci-fi. A new trilogy to love.

// My Review //

5. Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

Cute and sweet. Opportunity for me to experience more culture. Helped me understand my anxiety.

// My Review //

And now for the winner of the Grand Prize giveaway…

Congratulations, H! I have contacted you to confirm your entry and get your shipping information. 😉

Grab on Amazon! (and the rest of the series is on sale 👀)

Thank you all for coming, and happy fall and reading!

What do you think, should we do this again next year?

Five Fall Favorites // Top 5 Romance Books

Five Fall Favorites // Top 5 Romance Books

Here we are at Day 4 of Five Fall Favorites! Phew, so many books, so little time. 😉 (I did the math, and y’all are getting up to 70 recommendations every day, and wow.)

Love is in the air, bookish love to be exact. 🧡 Whether these recommendations are full-on romance novels or a story with a wonderful romantic sideplot, prepare yourself to fall in love. 😉

Today we’re sharing our top 5 romantic books… (With some bloggers choosing an alternate genre. 😉 )

Get your inner shipper ready! 😘

Katja 🍁 // Abigail 📚 // Kelsey ☕️ // Lillian 🍂

Sarah🧣// Bella 🥧 // Jana ☕️ // Ryana Lynn🧣// Mac 📚

Sophia Ellen 🍁 // Heaven 📚 // Hannah 🥧 // Mikayla 🍂

My Top 5 Favorite Romance Loves

1. Wings of a Dream by D’Ann Mateer (previously Anne Mateer)

I am not a swooner, but if I had to choose one that brought me closest to swooning… it’s this one. Mikayla gave me a copy, and I gobbled it up then turned right around and read it aloud to a younger sister. World War I and the 1918 flu epidemic were a time period and setting I knew very little about, so I was caught up in the historical elements to the point where I went on a research dive afterwards. 😉 The romance and the found family aspects are just the sweetest. 🧡 (Read my review.)

2. The Trouble With Love by Toni Shiloh

I picked this book up in an effort to diversify my reading, and I couldn’t be happier I found it. 🧡 The storylines are fabulous, the representation gorgeous, and the Biblical themes inspiring but really honest to life. I especially enjoyed how the female friendships in this series are just as (maybe more) important as the romantic relationships. (Read my review.)

3. Matched by Ally Condie

I apologize in advance for my screeching. I ACCIDENTALLY HAVE THREE COPIES OF THIS BOOK. I didn’t realize I was that much of a fan of these books (especially since I’ve always been shy about loving straight-up romance) until recently, and I am not ashamed to say it. 😉 Especially since the boy is soft and kind and the story is full of poetry and family and thinking for yourself and managing your emotions, and I generally love those things. Okay? It’s all adorable and relatively clean. 😉 (Read my review.)

4. Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

So this book is downright spooky (especially if you’re sensitive to Spiritual warfare themes), and not something I would have usually read, but it is FOREVER in the annals of books that changed my life and the Spiritual allegory is the most beautiful thing. It’s also unofficially the book my characters Kiera and Brennan share. 😉 (Read my review.)

5. The Scourge by Jennifer Nielsen

I absolutely adore this strange blend of dystopian and medieval (read: two of Kate’s favorite genres), and I’m also a fan of how plucky the main character is. When I found out the mild, sweet romance was based on the song 500 Miles, I immediately adopted these cuties forever. 😉 (Read my review.)

Grand Prize giveaway!

Most books are contributions by participating authors. Ships to contiguous US only. Winner will have 48 hours to respond after being contacted.


Grab on Amazon!

(Did you remember to enter the giveaway? 😉 )

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant // A Review

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant // A Review

Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She’s rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. The only place she’s a true leading lady is in her own writing—in the swoony love stories she shares only with Caroline, her best friend and #1 devoted reader.

When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she’s excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just…gone. Fortunately, Caroline has a solution: Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own. And she’s ready with a list of romance novel-inspired steps to a happily ever after. Nico, the brooding artist who looks like he walked out of one of Tessa’s stories, is cast as the perfect Prince Charming.

But as Tessa checks each item off Caroline’s list, she gets further and further away from herself. She risks losing everything she cares about—including the surprising bond she develops with sweet Sam, who lives across the street. She’s well on her way to having her own real-life love story, but is it the one she wants, after all? (from Goodreads)

My Review ⭐⭐⭐

You might never guess it, but I actually quite love a good fluffy novel, and I’m always on the lookout for one that will fit my tastes.

I immediately fell in love with the aesthetic and concept of this book, and you better believe I “blind-bought” a copy from Target as soon as I could. 😍 (I love you, Target books section.)

I don’t think I was properly prepared for what this book was going to be like, and I was mostly reading it so I could get to the second, but wowza.

THIS BOOK IS STRESS, Y’ALL. I probably found it that way because I’m not used to this genre, but I have another theory I’ll get to later.

I related to Tessa in some big ways, but I especially appreciated the ways I cannot. The everyday experiences of being a Black woman, creative, and sister to a disabled sibling were naturally woven through the story, and I need more of this in my reading life.

I related to Tessa’s imposter syndrome and writer’s block (*cries in two year long dry spell*), but the anxiety rep was the best I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I’ve understood what my anxiety does to me, beyond the occasional panic or often overthinking, but this story showed how its icky tendrils can spread throughout our lives affecting every conversation, decision, etc. I think this book made me feel more stressed than your average reader because it’s so close to how my brain works. I haven’t been dealt the same hand in life (or as debilitating anxiety symptoms), but this portrayal made me feel seen.

I’ve mentioned it before, but the aesthetic of this book is really the cutest, down to that muffin on the front cover. ❤️ Seriously, every food Sam baked had me drooling or at least curious what it would taste like.

My hands-down two favorite scenes were THAT declaration of love and her lunch date with Mom. I literally cried my eyes out. 😩😍

Best quotes: “Well, then it will come back. You don’t just lose something that you love like that,” he says softly. I don’t know how he can sound so sure about something that definitely isn’t.

Sam scoffs, scrunching his nose. “Sounds like a stupid line to me.” “Yeah, well, who cares? Maybe I want to be someone who guys say lines to. Is there anything wrong with that?” It comes out harsher than I intend.

CW: Mentions of sex, anatomy, innuendos, some lying. The main character experiences multiple micro-aggressions and bullying that may be distressing to some readers. PG-13 language, including multiple F-bombs.

I would love to attend a creative writing class that cool. 😍

Will I or won’t I read book two? 🤔 

Book Review // An Unlikely Proposal by Toni Shiloh

Book Review // An Unlikely Proposal by Toni Shiloh

“Their friendship can survive almost anything…

For two best friends,

marriage could be their greatest test yet…

Trinity Davis must not have heard firefighter Omar Young correctly. Did her handsome widowed best friend just suggest they get married? Omar needs a mom for his adorable little girls, and it’ll fix Trinity’s financial woes. But saying “I do” isn’t just business. Especially when the only vow they’re in danger of breaking is their promise to not fall in love…” (from Goodreads)

I pre-ordered this book five months in advance. That’s how excited I was for new content from this author, and she did not disappoint!

Right away, I was very happy to see some Type 1 Diabetes representation since I have a younger sister with the diagnosis. I’ve only read a handful of books with this factor, so it’s always a delight to find one. One major aspect of the T1D sideplot didn’t quite seem to line up, but the rest seemed carefully researched and honest.

I absolutely love the banter between the main characters. They have such a wholesome, amazing friendship, and right away I could feel that they had known each other for years. I was definitely rooting for them to become more. 💗

Trinity was a fantastic character, and I loved how much she threw herself into motherhood and caring for the girls. Her struggles with fear and letting herself love hit me hard. I went into this book expecting trope-y cuteness and got all of that + a good dose of spiritual truth I was needing. 😉

My only complaint is that sometimes the internal dialogue got pretty repetitive, but that was just a small downside compared to the goodness that was this book. 😉

Definitely a perfect Valentines’ read. 💗

“But what about us? How will we keep in touch?” “Funny thing.” He paused. “There’s this technology that allows you to video chat. Your face will pop up in this screen right here on my phone.” “On a phone? Get out.” His body shook with his laughter. “That’s right. And my face will appear on yours.” “You’re pulling my leg.” “I’ll pull your hair if you’re not careful.”

Traveling with kids seemed to require a lot of time and extra baggage. Every time she was out and passed another mom, she couldn’t help but give a head nod in solidarity. They’d packed the kids for an excursion and were battle ready.

CW: deaths prior to the story, medical emergencies, one character is a firefighter.

My Favorite (Ill-Fated) Star Wars Ships

My Favorite (Ill-Fated) Star Wars Ships

I wouldn’t usually consider myself a big Star Wars fan. I didn’t grow up on the movies and I have zero merch (though I plan to fix that with a Funko Pop of Rose Tico soon). 

But when Katie Hanna and Eva-Joy announced the event was for anything and everything Star Wars related, more than a few topic ideas came to mind. 😉

And that’s the beautiful thing about Star Wars. It’s such a vast, varied universe with room for something for each of us to enjoy. 💗

Speaking of enjoyment, what do shippers like myself enjoy almost as much as (or maybe more than? 😬😂) a good happily ever after?

An ill-fated, forever-doomed ship. *evil, pained grin*

Here are my favorites…


Jyn and Cassian disguised in the town scene


I love these two so much. It doesn’t help that I put myself through the torture of their movie at least twice and read the novelization…

It’s hard to portray emotional depth in such an action-packed film, but their comradery, shared commitment to the cause and growth, and silent understanding spoke volumes. I’m so glad that every step of the way they had each other. 💗

Their last moments together* are one of the most beautiful movie moments I’ve seen.

Jyn and Cassian hug as the Death Star destroys the planet they are on

*I refuse to believe they are dead. All the lore surrounding her necklace, okay? Send help.

Damerey (Rey/Poe)

Rey and Poe have an intense first meeting

Forgive me for this one. It’s been more a case of “ooo, they seem cool, where is this going?” Ever since THAT ^^ “I know” meeting scene and their shared bond with Leia in one of my favorite SW movies. 

I think I’ve mostly worked it out of my system by skimming two fanfics, obsessing over the Treverrow script, and stalking the only Damerey fan account in existence, but anything could happen. I won’t promise not to enjoy their few interactions. 😉

“You know what you are? You’re a difficult man.”

(I better move on before I spiral again.)

Rey and Poe have a lighthearted argument

The Mandalorian and the Widow (Din/Omera)

(Please appreciate with me for two seconds how much that looks like a Narnia title.)

Omera protects her daughter from raiders

How in the galaxy far, far away did a half-hour TV episode make me care about these two together so much? Mando was so at home with her and her people, while she in turn both appreciated his protection and matched it with courage and resourcefulness. 

(And they were adorable together, even with his mask. 😉 )

I’m guessing they have longer term plans in the ship department for Mando (a certain former shock trooper, mayhaps?), but I have a teensy, tiny wish that s2 would pull through on this one. 😂😉

Omera fondly touches the Mandalorian's mask

There you go! Tell me about your favorite Star Wars ships, doomed or otherwise. I love hearing different perspectives. 😉

Book Review: The Trouble With Love

Book Review: The Trouble With Love

“I, Holiday Brown, have it all. A platinum record. Multi-million dollar home in Manhattan that I share with my two best friends. Life is looking fantastic until my roommate’s brother decides to bunk in our guestroom while his house gets renovated.

W. Emmett Bell has always been the bane of my existence. He’s annoying, stubborn, a know it all, and just might be the most gorgeous man I’ve ever laid eyes on. But I refuse to fall for him. Then his sister’s threatened by a stalker and dynamics change. His unwavering faith isn’t quite as self-righteous as I’d always thought, and maybe he has a good side I’ve overlooked all these years.

Or maybe it’s all too much trouble.” (from Goodreads)

I’ve been wanting to try something by this author for a long time now (I appreciate her perspective, reviews, and just her online presence in general), and my FB reading group assured me that this was the book to start with.

They did not fail me.

I fell in love in literally just a few pages, and I can happily say that by the time I was done reading I had 98 highlights on my Kindle. XD Those highlights vary from conversations that made me laugh aloud to passages that fed my soul or warmed my heart. It’s that good.

Holliday made the book for me. She’s entirely honest, hilariously witty, and has a really compassionate heart. She also unapologetically likes food and picks her outfits out based on if they match her favorite shoes. What’s not to like? ❤ But that’s not all there is to her character either. She has some very deep hurts from long in the past that leech away joy from the present and prevent her from trusting people, and I related to that too.

I enjoyed reading about her creative process as a HANDS DOWN AWESOME popstar (wish her songs were real!); I enjoyed her hilarious sparring with Wally and her close friendships with her housemates (strong sisterhood stories for the win!); I loved the suspense storyline and I can’t wait to see what happens next; but it was the slow, subtle, painful thread that oozed with the Gospel that made this book one of a kind. It was so gentle, and so honest, and reminded me that God is faithful to be found by us when we look for Him. ❤

I highly enjoyed the romance (*smirks*) and, again, the strong sisterhood vibes, and I’ve already pre-ordered the other books because I need to know what happens to Tori and Tavia. 😀

Just a note, there are mentions of sexual tension between the romantic leads, though I very much appreciated how it never got in the way of building a real relationship or discussing hard things, and there’s a hilarious running gag about how attractive a couple male bodyguards are. A side character is quite promiscuous with a penchant for grossly younger wives, and the suspense sideplot does amp up.

Best quotes (and this is utterly insufficient, just read the book): He was arrogant, pretentious, overbearing, and…why did I feel like a thesaurus all of a sudden?

“It’s not my fault you two look alike.” “It’s our mom’s.” Tori and her brother spoke simultaneously, and I chuckled.

I didn’t date, but if I did, I wouldn’t want to be with someone like me. I got on my own nerves thank you very much.

Sing. Create music. Share my emotions with the world in a way that would connect us as they responded with their own stories.

“Treat him like you wish he’d treated you—on your own merits and not based on whether you checked off some requirements. Treat him like a person worthy of your time because you want the same from him.”

If you’re looking for a foodie book, a humorous book, a high society story, an enemies-to-lovers romance, women’s fiction, or an encouraging book with a lot of (subtle but heartfelt) Gospel, congrats! This book is all of that and more, and I enjoyed every moment. 😉