2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Sixth

February 11, 2020 Brain Dump, Weekly Wrap-Up 3

Well Bookworms, it’s been a week!

Jim just got back from a business trip. He was gone for just over a week. I didn’t mention it at the time because it’s not a great idea to plaster the internet with notifications that you’re home alone with a toddler. Sammers and I had a lot of fun, but it’s nice to be a parenting team again! We’re still potty training (it’s a process, but we’re making strides) which just made the flying solo thing a little bit harder. My hat is off to all the single parents out there who keep things running single-handedly every day- you all deserve vacations and massages.

What else? Oh, my BFF is going to be getting married in June! After my last bridesmaiding stint, I said that the only way I’d stand up in another wedding was if HJM decided to make things official with her long-time beau (I say that like my services are in demand, but in reality, I’m almost 37 and am out of friends who’d want me to stand up for them.) Welp, after 11-ish years, he put a ring on it. GAME ON. I get to give a speech too, which is cool because I’ve only been drafting it in my head FOR THE PAST 25 YEARS. Ahem. This will be my 7th (and most likely final) walk down the aisle in a matchy-matchy dress. I’m also pretty sure this is the first time that one of my bridesmaid dresses will be worn after the fact. It’s got polka dots! Eeep!

In at-least-tangentially-book-related news, I got to hang out with my book club this weekend! This is the neighborhood book club I joined years ago, and even though some of the members have moved out of our little corner of town, the book club has held strong. (You may recall Emily and Angie, the two in the center of the pic, from that time they threw me that super awesome Alice in Wonderland themed baby shower.) Every year we do something to celebrate the holidays- usually a dinner in lieu of reading a book since December is so busy for everyone, but in recent years we’ve scheduled our holiday party way after the holidays because LIFE. This year we decided to go to a dinner theater… In rural Central Illinois. I was super stoked about the idea because I thought it would be cheesy and delightful. It WAS! Well, mostly anyway. The play they put on was from the late 70s and the humor did not age well, but the food was good and the company was stellar. Look how cute we are!

This pic doesn’t have ALL of us- several of us couldn’t make it, but we had fun enough for all our missing members.


But you’re not here to hear about my life tidbits! You’re here for the books! This week I finished listening to Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn. Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgI’d seen a lot of rave reviews for it, so I was really excited to take it on. I was taking notes through the first half of the book and found myself writing things like “where is the BANTER?” and “this guy is SUPER BORING” and “I get that he’s supposed to be the buttoned up serious dude with a marshmallow center, but Reid is no Theo from The Wedding Party.” (That last thought inspired an upcoming post, so stay tuned for that.) But the longer I read, the more Reid grew on me. And yes, he gets a lot of points for noble behavior and general tenderness… But he’s still no Theo. I really liked that a major plot point involved Meg going through a rather traumatic friend situation. I have BEEN THERE and it suuuuuuuuuucks. I’ve been on both the Meg side and the Sibby side of these situations and they’re both horrible. Nobody ever really talks about how awful friend breakups and hiccups are, but I think they’re every bit as bad as romantic heartbreaks- sometimes worse. You don’t hear about them a whole lot, particularly not in romance novels, so I appreciated that. I’d also like to note that while this book clearly points out that Meg is from Ohio, the narrator doesn’t sound as Midwestern as the narrator for How to How to Hack a Heartbreak (review). Apparently I’m still not over that.

I also finished my first Beverly Jenkins novel! If you’re not aware, Beverly Jenkins is a household name in romance and has a prolific back list. Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgBut, as I’ve said before, there are a zillion different styles of romance novel. I tend toward the cheeky, rom-com style, and usually gravitate toward either contemporary or Regency England settings. Destiny’s Embrace is a much more earnest book than I’m used to (though it does have some flashes of humor) and it’s set in 1880s California. Our heroine, Mariah Cooper, leaves behind her abusive childhood home in Philadelphia to answer an advertisement and become a housekeeper to rancher Logan Yates clear on the other side of the country.  Mariah and Logan have chemistry from the start, but it’s a fiery passion that often manifests in shouting matches and, once, memorably, projectiles. Mariah eventually wants marriage and a family, and Logan has sworn that sort of thing off, so they are at an impasse. The whole love story unfolds within like a week, but thanks to my Regency romances, it hardly fazes me when characters fall in love at lightening speed anymore. All in all, Destiny’s Embrace was enjoyable, but it’s unlikely that fairly serious historical Western romances are going to become my go-to. That said, I did purchase the entire series and I’m definitely going to read the next two books. Let’s just say that book two,Destiny’s Surrender, starts off with a bang (pun absolutely intended) and things are looking promising. I may already be a little swoony over Andrew Antonio.

In addition to feasting my eyes upon the glories of Destiny’s Surrender, I’m listening to Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Virtue and Vengeance, which is a followup to Children of Blood and Bone (the eleventy billionth excellent book I read and didn’t tell you about.) It’s a young adult fantasy series inspired by West African mythology and it is EPIC.

What have you been up to this week, Bookworms? And what are you reading?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links within the above text direct to Amazon, but if you’d prefer to shop through a local, independent book store, please see the links below.*

Love Lettering
Destiny’s Embrace
Destiny’s Surrender
The Wedding Party
How to Hack a Heartbreak
Children of Virtue and Vengeance
Children of Blood and Bone



3 Responses to “2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Sixth”

  1. Rhian

    I’ve just finished The Binding by Bridget Collins which I can highly recommend.

    In other news it’s summer here which means festivals! At the moment both our Fringe and (more traditional) Arts festivals are on which means I attended four shows in five days. It’s hard to resist trying to see all the things.

  2. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Awwww, congrats to your friend, that’s awesome! I am a bridesmaid later this year and I am very nervous to do a good job of speeching. I desire to be the valedictorian of bridesmaid speeches. YAY. And thanks for the book recs — Kate Clayborn has been on my list for the longest time and I need to finally get to her romance novels.

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