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.
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. 😉
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.
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. 😍
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. 💗
Quotes… “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.
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…
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.
*I refuse to believe they are dead. All the lore surrounding her necklace, okay? Send help.
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.)
The Mandalorian and the Widow (Din/Omera)
(Please appreciate with me for two seconds how much that looks like a Narnia title.)
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. 😂😉
There you go! Tell me about your favorite Star Wars ships, doomed or otherwise. I love hearing different perspectives. 😉
“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. 😉
The best books and movies are ones I think about days (or months, looking at you, Avengers: Endgame) afterward. Usually it’s noticing something new about the themes, a line of dialogue, or something as simple as a costume choice. Some of this is due to the communities I run in (nerdy Facebook groups, nerdy Goodreads friends, nerdy, nerdy lovely family), but it also has to do with how deeply I enjoy stories. I am a writer after all. 😉 It is my job to notice, to love, and to set those things I love before others.
One of the things I love most in a story is a great romantic relationship. I don’t read/watch much in the romance genre because my favorites are often a side plot to something greater. A happily ever after after the hard won battle, a friendship in tough times turned quite sweet, a duo against the world and rarely against each other. Friendship, loyalty, banter, and teamwork are recurring themes with my favorite fictional couples. 😉
This post was inspired by Katie Hanna’s blog post about her OTPs. (You can find it here. I don’t agree with a couple ships, but what else is new with shippers? XD 😉 ) I love what she says here about why we collect OTPs, and I couldn’t agree more.
“But for all its excesses, I firmly believe OTP discourse (if I may coin a term) serves a vital purpose: allowing young people, particularly girls, a safe space to thrash out what we believe romance is supposed to look like, using concrete examples.”
So basically, I can hereby say this post is “for science”. 😉 Here are my OTPs (One True Pairings), my ships to end all ships, ranked with a couple honorable mentions. 😉
Beware, spoilers ahead, and I don’t endorse every aspect of these relationships and their stories. If you’re interested in one specifically, I’d be happy to give you a content advisory. 😉
1. Aethelbald and Una, Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
This ship destroys me, and it has one advantage above the others that automatically rockets it to number one. It’s allegorical. The book is dark, shows the darkness of our sin, and how broken we are and how broken we make things, and the storyline of rescuing and redeeming Christlike love is the spot of light. It is amazing and helped me feel more deeply than ever how much we are loved by God.
2. Dawsey and Juliet, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie
I’m not sure I would have always ranked this fictional couple as first, but I just rewatched this movie (long-distance with the amazing Kaitlyn!) and was struck by its beauty again. Two people whose hearts and minds seem to know each other even before they met, who share the same goals, and deep, deep respect for each other. I loved their honest, down-to-earth interactions, and their honorable handling of the situation they found themselves in. For me, this movie is about finding home, and it brought tears to my eyes when they discovered home in each other’s hearts.
3. The Doctor and Rose, Doctor Who reboot, series 1-4 and a special
It takes literally one picture on Pinterest to send me spiraling into missing these two. He’s the broken, haphazard adventurer who needs to save everyone, she’s the ordinary girl with the big laugh and even bigger heart who wants to save him. Every time they almost lost each other, every word unspoken, every time they saved the world, all bound together into a strong friendship and a deep love they almost didn’t realize. I love them so much. ❤ Also, they are really flirty, and it’s hilarious to watch. XD
3 (Also). Mr. Knightley and Emma, BBC Emma 2009
I really don’t know how to properly describe this one. They definitely have the banter down since they’re fiercely witty Austen characters, after all, but the things that stands out to me is how they are always there for each other, how they forgive and forget, how Knightley is not afraid to point something out to Emma and how she is eventually willing to take his advice. They are also one of the slowest of slow burns and I adore those, so… 😉 Also, kudos to the actors and makers of the show for making them feel like real people.
If you’ve read any of the books in this series, you probably agree with me, they’re that fantastic. A super smart and clever team that always has each other backs and always makes each other laugh. Seriously, I could read an entire story about just the two of them serving coffee and talking for hours on end, no adventures needed, though I love those dearly too.
(If you haven’t read the latest book, yeet yourself to Amazon. It just gets cuter.)
4. Fitzsimmons, Agents of Shield TV show
From the moment these two came on screen, complete with a prepackaged ship name—a smashing of their last names Fitz and Simmons—I knew. I knew they were the reason I was watching the show, and I knew that even if I didn’t want to finish the show (I didn’t, for reasons), I still wanted to find out what happened to them. These two have been so close since they were geniuses in college together (hence the name smashing), they basically share a brain. They also happen to be the only two British team members, so they share that little world too. I love the loyalty between them, the inevitable growth to realizing that they love each other, and how their relationship makes it through anything.
5. Reese and Carter, Person of Interest TV show
Don’t touch me, I’m emotional. Since I finished this show about a year ago, every three months I want to rewatch it for several huge reasons (it’s my favorite sci-fi, splits my brain, has a huge value on life, Jim Caviezel plays the main character, etc.) but also for this one. Every vigilante (Reese) has a police officer (Carter) hunting/studying them, and these two did that for a while before teaming up in the team up to end all team ups. Seriously epic. I love their trust and respect. ❤ If you’ve seen this show, you know just how tragic it is, but it’s absolutely worth it.
I love it when characters complete each other so much it’s just like, yes, YES. These two spend a lot of time in the cute, shy stage of friendship, and they’re literally always there for each other or at least inspiring each other when they can’t be. The ending of the trilogy makes me sob for 100 reasons, and these two are 80 of them.
7. Steve (Captain America) and Peggy (Agent Carter), Marvel Cinematic Universe
I will never get over how much these two built each other up and inspired each other, even when their storylines diverged. Peggy saw beyond his overly skinny, unhealthy frame to the heroic heart inside and loved him even before he was “suped up”. When he wasn’t sure of his place, she encouraged him to go on his first mission, and even later (I just watched Civil War) her memory reminded him to always stick to what he believed in and be the man she knew he was. He in turn respected her at a time when she usually had to fight for it, and she named SHIELD after his famous symbol. I get emotional every time I think about the end of their story, and I don’t believe it could be any more perfect. ❤
8. T’Challa (Black Panther) and Nakia, Marvel Cinematic Universe
Can we just appreciate how everyone on the royal staff and in the royal family has a joke about how much of a crush The Black Panther has on Nakia? It’s really quite heartwarming how a man so magnificent and in control of his emotions loves her so much. I especially love their honest conversations and the deep respect they have for each other’s opinions. They’d probably be even higher on this list if I had more content on them, so here’s hoping Black Panther 2 is fabulous. ❤
And folks, I’ve got Funko Pops of them. 😉
Aaaaannnd, honorable mentions. These are ones even less canonical but I couldn’t skip for obvious reasons.
Sherlock and Molly, BBC Sherlock 2010-2017
I hesitate (for mere seconds 😛 ) with this one since it starts out a bit toxic and she’s not even a character from the original books, but I love where it ends up. At the beginning, Molly is irrevocably in love with Sherlock and he either barely notices her or uses that affection to get her to do things for him. As the show progresses, this aspect begins to mend, and while Molly is still fiercely loyal, she’s not afraid to stand up for herself or give him what for when he hurts himself and others, and I honestly think Sherlock begins to truly value her in return, at least as a friend. (It’s all part of his brilliant character arc.) I’ll be forever grateful for that one episode where they solve crimes together. It’s adorable. 😉
Scott and Kayo, Thunderbirds Are Go
(It’s a screenshot, hence the mouse and thing in the bottom corner…)
Yes, I know it’s a children’s show, but it’s a very good one, and I’m highly invested, okay? XD This one I don’t ship very hard, they’re perfectly fine platonic (again, kids’ show), but they also have a very great dynamic and similar goals and are always looking out for each other especially. Also, no one said they had to stand thatttt close together.
So, there you go, those are my OTPs that inspire me and my writing and give me something to occasionally happily sob over. XD This list is subject to expansion, and I hope you enjoyed Kate’s brain. ‘Tis a silly place. 😛 😉
“Upstate New York, 1930. Thirteen years ago, Abbey Evans was persuaded to break off her engagement to a penniless soldier headed to the front lines of the Great War. A daughter of one of America’s wealthiest families could never be allowed to marry so far beneath herself. But Black Tuesday changed everything. With her family’s prominence now little more than a facade, Abbey faces the loss of her childhood home. As if that weren’t enough, the only man she ever loved has returned after making his fortune – and he wants nothing to do with the young woman he courted before the war. With the past forever out of reach, the time has come for Abbey decide her own fate, before it is too late…” (from Goodreads)
The setting in this was very strong and quite interesting. The characters were wealthy enough not to feel the Depression too much, but there were constant reminders. It was also neat to see how World War I and the slowly brewing second world war affected everyone so much. I sometimes forget that these huge historical events were so close together, and this book made that very real.
Abbey (love the spelling) was a great character, loving, sturdy, and capable, and accurately nervous about some things without being over the top. 😉 And when she made up her mind, it was for sure made up. Her delight over her business with Sam was very fun to see. I loved Freddy as well. He never seemed to fall into the “moody just because” cliche some romance guys do, and it was neat to see him slowly, tentatively thaw. Rosaline and the Mitchells were nicely complicated characters, and I loved Hudson.
The themes in this were less strong than I’m used to, but I liked seeing the story play out and the hints of God working through their circumstances were nice.
Just a note, a sideplot included SPOILER ALERT! murder, blackmail, and lying. There was also one instance of someone saying God’s name either as an exclamation or in address to Him, but it was unclear.
Best quotes: Abbey relaxed, grateful not only that someone had thought to throw a party for her, but that she had been able to escape attending.
The house that had once been like a family member was now a stranger. Her heart broke, in the way a child’s heart does when he realizes his imaginary friend is just that. Losing this place felt like losing her foundation.
“Home from college for the summer, Shay Williams has many plans. Crossing paths with her childhood crush was not on the list. Yet when Daniel Rogers, a young mute man, reappears in her life, the friendship that once blossomed between them is rekindled. Daniel is mesmerized by this sweet girl who has a heart for deaf and mute children. But is it wrong of him to want to know her better, considering his inability? The last thing he wants to become is another charity case. Follow these two young people through a summer of discovery as they learn valuable truths about friendship and love – a love that speaks not from the lips but from the heart.” (from Goodreads)
I’ve been interested in this story for a while, and I was super excited to finally get to read it. It was just as sweet (and refreshingly pure!) as I was expecting. Daniel and Shay had an adorable friendship as evidenced by their BANTER and super cool service projects. 😉 I loved the ASL theme in this story, and it made me want to track down more fiction including that element.
Because this was a short story, there were a couple things I was surprised to see resolve so quickly or drop out of the story completely, but it wasn’t a huge deal.
Just a note, there was a scene of intense verbal and physical bullying.
Best quote: Shay didn’t answer, just watched him. Maybe words weren’t as important as he used to think.
Altogether, this was a great story (I “accidentally” stayed up late to read)! I look forward to trying more from this author. 😉