Get Your (Book) Travel On

Summer is coming to an end here in the Pacific Northwest. I am ready for fall, but not quite ready to let summer go. Summer seems to be a time everyone loves to travel, so in the spirit of keeping summer going I’m going to share with you some of my favorite travel romances.

Meghan Quinn takes Bonnie (and us) along to a small Scottish town to find love and purpose.

Jen Frederick takes us along on emotional journey to South Korea to find Hara’s birthparents.

In Karen White’s book we travel to London with journalist Maddie to interview Precious about her life in London prior to WWII.

Robinne Lee takes Solène to many destinations as she embarks on a whirlwind affair with a famous, much younger musician.

There may be trouble in paradise for Chloe Liese’s characters, but visiting the Hawaiian islands is always a good time.

If you’re looking for a more magical destination, I would recommend you visit The House in the Cerulean Sea.

This one is actually set during the holidays, but there are so many fun traditions and places in Germany that Meghan Quinn’s characters visit. It would still make for some summer fun.

Summer trip to New Zealand? Kelly Siskind has got you covered.

Want a family vacation in Hawaii? It won’t be your family, but it will be entertaining.

Feeling like a crazy cruise adventure? Spend a semester at sea with Rebecca Yarros’s extreme athletes.

How about spending the summer in Rome with a friend?

Maybe family time in Hawaii wasn’t for you, but how about a fake honeymoon?

Here’s another one that visits many locations around the world.

Have you read any of these or have anymore ideas for books that will fill our travel wants and needs as fall rolls in?

Review: Totally Folked (Penny Reid)

Totally Folked
Series: Good Folk: Modern Folktales, #1
Author: Penny Reid
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Publisher: Cipher-Naught
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

One unforgettable night leads to an unlikely shared connection, and unlikely connections never go unnoticed by the good folks in Green Valley, Tennessee…

Jackson James follows the rules. He has to. He’s a sheriff’s deputy in a super small town with a super big personality. However, strict adherence to the law during the day has been enjoyably balanced by rakish rules at night. Jackson, typically happy to protect and serve (and serve, and serve), starts questioning the value of wayward evenings when getting laid starts to feel more like being waylaid. Could it be that Green Valley’s most eligible—and notorious—bachelor longs for something (and someone) real?

Mega movie star Raquel Ezra follows only one rule: always leave them wanting more. Studio execs, reporters, audiences, fans, lovers—no one can get enough of the smart, savvy, and sexy bombshell. But when “generous offers” begin to feel more like excessive demands, years of always leaving has the elusive starlet longing for something (and perhaps someone) lasting.

When Raquel abruptly returns to the quirky Tennessee hamlet, her path crosses with the delectable deputy with whom she spent one unforgettable night. Unfortunately, scandal and intrigue soon follow. Raquel and Jackson must decide which is more important: following their rules? Or, at long last, finding something real.

TOTALLY FOLKED is a standalone, contemporary romantic comedy novel and book #1 in the Good Folk: Modern Folktales series.


Never did I ever think I would need a Jackson James redemption romance, but Penny Reid obviously knows what I need more than I do. When I saw she had a free prequel novella to Totally Folked, I thought why not read Just Folking Around to see if I really wanted to read this book. Reid got me hooked on Jackson and Raquel being a thing from just that one night they spent together. I couldn’t wait to get to know both of them better in Totally Folked. And now here I am, excited to share how much I adored this book.

Totally Folked was so much fun! It’s one of those books that made me happy from beginning to end. Despite having one night together a few years ago, Jackson and Raquel’s romance was a slow burn. There were a lot of things at play before they could truly be together and, of course, some of those things included hijinks from some of our favorite Winston brothers. The way the Green Valley community was involved was pretty special.

I wasn’t a fan of Jackson James in the Winston Brothers series, but he totally redeemed himself. Getting to know him and what his thoughts were regarding his past were helpful. The soul searching Jackson had done was great, even if it wasn’t always spot on. I ended up loving his character, so that says a lot.

Raquel was the perfect addition to the Green Valley world. I liked her ties to Sienna and Jethro and how being a Hollywood starlet shaped the plot. I loved the discoveries she made about herself, her family, and what she wanted out of life. Green Valley was a great place for her to grow. I also enjoyed how the chapter titles related to Raquel’s Hollywood status.

Like I said before, Jackson and Raquel’s romance was sort of a slow burn thing. They got to get to know each other better, while the chemistry and passion they had in the novella was an undercurrent in the background. I loved the way they bonded and strengthened their emotional connection. It was sweet. They were sweet.

I’ve mentioned the Winston brothers, but there were a lot of other townspeople who came out to support Jackson and Raquel. I loved Jackson’s family and their part in the story. Raquel’s bodyguards were surprisingly fun. Out of everyone, my favorite was Charlotte. She was a good friend to both Jackson and Raquel. I’m so excited that she gets her own story in the next book!

Totally Folked was a big win for Penny Reid. She managed to take a character most of her readers aren’t fond of and make him a star. I was super impressed by this and it has reignited my love of her books (not that she ever lost it, but more just reminded me why she’s such a special author).

P.S. If you’re curious about Jackson and Raquel and aren’t sure if you really want to read Jackson’s book or not, check out Just Folking Around. It will have you racing to read Totally Folked.

Review: Hitched to the Gunslinger (Michelle McLean)

Hitched to the Gunslinger
Author: Michelle McLean
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Publisher: Entangled: Amara

Genre: Historical, Western Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

Gray “Quick Shot” Woodson is the fastest gun west of the Mississippi. Unfortunately, he’s ready to hang up his hat. Sure, being notorious has its perks. But the nomadic lifestyle—and people always tryin’ to kill you—gets old real fast.

Now he just wants to find a place to retire so he can spend his days the way the good Lord intended. Staring at the sunset. And napping.

When his stubborn horse drags him into a hole-in-the-wall town called Desolation, something about the place calls to Gray, and he figures he might actually have a shot at a sleepy retirement.

His optimism lasts about a minute and a half.

Soon he finds himself embroiled in a town vendetta and married to a woman named Mercy. Who, judging by her aggravating personality, doesn’t know the meaning of her own name. In fact, she’s downright impossible.

But dang it if his wife isn’t irresistible. If only she’d stop trying to steal his guns to go after the bad guys herself.

There goes his peace and quiet…


It’s not very often I stray from contemporary romance, but lately I have been in a reading funk so I decided to branch out. Historical romance sounded like a fun change, and I was excited to try a new author.

Hitched to the Gunslinger was a fun read. Gray was a stubborn, grumpy gunslinger who was looking forward to retirement when he stumbled into a fake fiancé situation with Mercy. Mercy was a determined, strong woman who was trying to hold onto the land she and her father loved so much. Gray was her fake fiancé before Mercy even knew what she was saying. There was a bunch of enemy-like banter for the first part of the book that was highly entertaining. Things didn’t start getting romantic between the two until about the middle and then their relationship was full of a different kind of fire. Mercy and Gray were actually kind of sweet together.

The drama in this book revolved around Mercy’s land and a man who wanted it. It was a predictable kind of drama that added entertainment and not stress. It made the Western part of this historical romance shine. I loved how the entire town was involved and all of the characters in the town. It was a special mix of people, setting, and even bad guys.

My only real complaint about this book was that it was written in third person. I’m not a big fan of the third person, and it took me a while to get into. I wasn’t sure if it was the third person or just a slower start. Other than that, Hitched the Gunslinger was nothing but a good time.

The Last Ten Books Tag

When I read this tag Dini did on Dinipandareads, I knew I had to do it. It was just too fun to pass up. The original tag was created by booktuber Marc Nash. I hope you enjoy reading my answers.

THE LAST BOOK I GAVE UP ON

I felt bad not finishing Tryst Six Venom. I knew going in it was a bully romance, but I just couldn’t stomach the slurs. 

THE LAST BOOK I REREAD

The last book I reread (or actually listened to again) was Broken and Screwed 2 by Tijan. I was in the mood for a Tijan book, so I listened to the series again. 

THE LAST BOOK I BOUGHT

I read the first book in the Deanna Madden series awhile back. I never finished it, but want to. I had to purchase the third book when it was on sale for 1.99. Now, I just need the second.

THE LAST BOOK I WROTE IN THE MARGINS OF

NONE! I mostly read ebooks, but if I’m reading a physical book I don’t normally write in it.

THE LAST BOOK THAT I HAD SIGNED

I had to think hard about this one because the last signing I was at was Book Bonanza 18. I can’t be 100% certain who the last author I had sign a book was, but I think it was Jay Crownover. I had my copy of Charged I had picked up at Powell’s City of Books a couple of years prior to that.

THE LAST BOOK I LOST

I couldn’t tell you that last time I lost a book or what it even was. 

THE LAST BOOK I HAD TO REPLACE

I borrowed this book from my boss years ago. Somehow, the corner got bent. I didn’t want to return it that way, so I bought her a new copy. 

THE LAST BOOK I ARGUED OVER

Argued over isn’t really the right way to describe it, but was the closest I could get to this prompt. I “yelled” at Ari to keep reading when this book was making her mad. LOL

THE LAST BOOK I PRE-ORDERED

I don’t often pre-order, but I did for Main Street Dealmaker because it had a special pre-order price I couldn’t pass up since I want to read it anyways.

TAGGING:

Anyone who wants to do this tag.

Book Recommendations: 5 Star Romance Reads I Didn’t Review

I wasn’t feeling today’s TTT topic, so you’re getting another book recommendations post from me today. This one is for the 5 star reads I’ve read in the past couple of months that I didn’t review, but would highly recommend. 

5 Star Romance Reads I Didn’t Review

Here are ten 5 star reads that I didn’t review on my blog. 

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Maverick by Karina Halle
Break Even by Lisa DeJong
Some Sort of Love by Melanie Harlow

Fallen Jester by Devney Perry
A Kiss for a Kiss by Helena Hunting
Evening the Score by Jaqueline Snowe
More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs

Getaway Girl by Tessa Bailey
Runaway Girl by Tessa Bailey
Forbidden by Karla Sorensen
The Belle and the Beard by Kate Canterbary

The Bet by Max Monroe
Missing in Action by Kate Canterbary
Luca by Brenda Rothert
Shameless by Lex Martin

Review: The Highland Fling (Meghan Quinn)

The Highland Fling
Author: Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Publisher: Montlake

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

In this steamy tale by USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn, an American searching for her purpose escapes to a Scottish town but finds more questions than answers when she meets a brooding yet handsome handyman.

Freshly fired from her third job in a row, Bonnie St. James has lost her way. So when she and her best friend stumble upon a “help wanted” post to run a coffee shop in the Scottish Highlands, they apply on a whim. Who knows? Maybe traveling to a new place is just what she needs to figure out her next move.

When the friends arrive in the tiny idyllic town of Corsekelly, they instantly fall for the gorgeous Highland landscape and friendly townspeople. But Bonnie finds a less-than-warm welcome in Rowan MacGregor, the rugged local handyman. Busy wrestling his own demons, Rowan’s in no mood to deal with the quirky American—even if she is a bonny lass.

As Bonnie and Rowan’s paths inevitably cross, insults—and sparks—fly. Can the pair build on their similarities to help each other find purpose and direction…and maybe romance too? Or will their passionate tempers fling them apart?


Every time I see Meghan Quinn’s releasing a new book I get excited. She’s one of my auto-buy authors for a reason. I can always count on her to entertain me and make me laugh. That’s exactly what she did in The Highland Fling.

Bonnie was a ray of sunshine. She was awkward in some ways and clumsy, but normal and relatable. She tried to keep an upbeat attitude, even when things were going sideways. I loved being inside her mind. She was hilarious. Rowan was the grump. Life hadn’t been easy under the weight of expectations and tragedy. He was a good man with good intentions and a great set of friends. Bonnie and Rowan didn’t get off the on the greatest of starts, but I loved seeing their relationship go from a strong dislike to an infatuation to love. It was rocky, but so much fun! I adored them together.

The Scotland setting was amazing and perfect for this romance. The town came to life with Quinn’s descriptions. Who doesn’t like hearing little tidbits about Scotland and its history in a fun and entertaining way? I also loved Quinn’s addition of the language — I don’t know if it was correct because I don’t have experience with it, but it was fun so I’m hoping it was.

I said before Rowan’s friends were amazing and they were. I loved the twins and Isla. They built a strong base behind Rowan’s character. The rest of the small town residents added to the fun as well. I also loved how they mixed with Bonnie and her best friend, Dakota. It was fun to see Bonnie and Dakota’s interactions, too. Their friendship was such a special one. It was so supportive.

I don’t have much else to say other than I truly adored this book. Meghan Quinn has done it again! It was a good time from beginning to end. I loved every minute of it and didn’t want it to end. It’s exactly what I would expect from this author.

Review: Never Saw You Coming (Erin Hahn)

Never Saw You Coming
Author: Erin Hahn
Publication Date: September 7, 2021
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Raised by conservative parents, 18-year-old Meg Hennessey just found out her entire childhood was a lie. Instead of taking a gap year before college to find herself, she ends up traveling north to meet what’s left of the family she never knew existed.

While there, she meets Micah Allen, a former pastor’s kid whose dad ended up in prison, leaving Micah with his own complicated relationship about the church. The clock is ticking on Pastor Allen’s probation hearing and Micah, now 19, feels the pressure to forgive – even when he can’t possibly forget.

As Meg and Micah grow closer, they are confronted with the heavy flutterings of first love and all the complications it brings. Together, they must navigate the sometimes-painful process of cutting ties with childhood beliefs as they build toward something truer and straight from the heart.

In Erin Hahn’s Never Saw You Coming, sometimes it takes a leap of faith to find yourself. 


There are some books I know I will never truly do justice in reviewing and Never Saw You Coming is one of those for me. Religion is a tricky subject to cover. No two people have the exact same opinion or feel the same way about it. Some readers are bound to feel alienated by or dislike this book and what Erin Hahn is saying in it. I’m not one of those people. I thought it was beautifully written. To me, it did not come across as Hahn trying to attack religion, but more of asking us to question our own thoughts and actions relating to it. None of the religion related topics were new to me or ones that I hadn’t already thought about. I appreciated the way the story was told and how it related to the characters, especially Meg.

Meg was a young woman who has recently graduated from high school. There have been some revelations in her life that have her questioning the way she was brought up and the role religion and the church has played in her life. Meg uses the gap year she plans on taking to journey north and meet some of her family. While she’s there, she meets Micah. Micah has his own issues with his family and the church. All the soul searching Meg and Micah are doing connects them in a way that just being attracted to each other wouldn’t have. They’re a support system for each other that neither were expecting. I loved how their friendship and then relationship evolved. I loved the honesty they cultivated and the maturity they had in relation to their relationship. Meg and Micah stayed true to themselves throughout the entire book and I was impressed by that.

Along Meg and Micah’s journeys, they have a great cast of supporting character. I loved Vada being along for some of the ride as well as Meg’s family. Micah’s family and friends were my favorites in this book, though. I loved Duke and his friendship. James, Dani, and Meg’s great-grandmother were also great characters. All these characters were so thoughtfully placed in Meg and Micah’s lives.

I don’t know what else to say about this book. I don’t necessarily feel like it was a book I would have needed as a teenager, but I would have benefitted in some ways had I read it back then. I think it will be helpful to a lot of teenagers trying to find themselves and questioning their beliefs. I enjoyed reading it and being part of Meg and Micah’s journeys.

Review: The Heart Principle (Helen Hoang)

The Heart Principle
Series: The Kiss Quotient, #3
Author: Helen Hoang
Publication Date: August 31, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction

Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this heartfelt new romance by USA Today bestselling author Helen Hoang.

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.

That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand herself. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves. 


I, along with all other Helen Hoang fans, have been not so patiently waiting for The Heart Principle. After getting to know Quan over the past two books, I couldn’t wait for him to find love. The Heart Principle wasn’t exactly what I expected, but I loved it none the less.

The Heart Principle was the first book Hoang has written in first person. I loved the “I” instead of “she”. I felt it brought me closer to both Quan and especially to his new lady love, Anna. Their relationship started out as a casual thing, but I could feel their budding emotional connection from the minute they met. I loved them together and how their relationship built. This book wasn’t quite as romantic or sexy as the past books, but it worked for the characters.

Anna was a complex character going through A. LOT. A lot. Seriously. So much. Anna was overwhelmed and I was overwhelmed for her. Her family stuff was suffocating. Her mental health suffered due to all the pressure and I felt for her. I really did. I loved how Quan was able to be a support and comfort to her in that time. I loved the growth of Anna’s character throughout their relationship and this book.

There was only one way I felt let down by The Heart Principle. I was expecting Quan and Anna’s story and I got mostly Anna’s. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Anna’s story. I did. It just made this book feel more women’s fiction than romance. I just wanted more Quan. His chapters were special and included a lot of Michael (The Kiss Quotient), but it felt like the most important chapters were from Anna’s POV. I get that, especially after reading the author’s note, but I wanted more Quan.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading The Heart Principle. I loved how new and fresh it felt, while also maintaining the brand Helen Hoang has created. The move from from third to first person made me happy. Her writing is a addictive and a joy to read. I can’t wait to read what’s next from this talented author.

Review: Chasing Her Fire (Claire Kingsley)

Chasing Her Fire
Series: Bailey Brothers, #5
Author: Claire Kingsley
Publication Date: May 20, 2021
Publisher: Always Have, LLC

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Sexy firefighter Logan Bailey is an expert at putting the wet stuff on the hot stuff—on and off duty. But he just did the unthinkable, and it wasn’t trading in his tube socks. He slept with his nemesis. His mortal enemy. The crazy redhead he loves to hate. Cara Goulding.

And no matter how much he wants to lie to himself, he has to admit, it was mind-blowing.

Cara will not be tempted by the one night she spent with prince dickhead—even if her traitorous body remembers every earth-shattering moment. It was a mistake and she’s stronger than that. She’ll just keep avoiding him and pretend it didn’t happen.

But the feuding small town of Tilikum might not be big enough for the both of them. Avoiding each other isn’t working. And with every moment they’re forced to spend together, the sparks get hotter, the flames grow brighter, and the tension borders on unbearable.

Until they both reach their breaking point and their fiery relationship explodes.

Author’s note: a sexy firefighter and the sassy redhead who drives him crazy. All the banter, delicious tension, a heartwarming family, and Kindle-melting steam. Enemies to lovers is as hot as it gets and these two are FIRE.

The Bailey Brothers is meant to be read in order. Start with book one, Protecting You.


This book was so good! I loved it. Cara and Logan were fire! I loved how they were enemies until one night changed it all. The push and pull of their interactions was so much fun! They chemistry and passion was off the charts. I also adored the sweetness and soft moments between them. Sigh. So adorable.

I have to admit that this would probably be a 5 star instead of 4.5 star read for me had I not jumped into the series with this book. I loved everything about the romance, but wasn’t quite on board with the Bailey-Haven feud or hunt for a treasure. That’s probably because I don’t have the history from the first four books. So I apologize for that. Oh, and I should add that I couldn’t stand Logan’s brotastic nicknames, but maybe they would have felt more natural if I had read the first books.

I’m so happy I read Chasing Her Fire. I tried another book by this author that was good but not great for me, and I wanted to give her another try. I’m glad I did! I can’t wait to go back and read the rest of this series.