What I Read This Week

This week would have been a good reading week, even if all I finished was the first book on my list, What You Wish For. It was just such a good reading experience that I found myself excited for the read. Still, I read four books, and found them all very enjoyable!

Samantha Casey is a school librarian at a small private school in Texas. When her employer suddenly dies, the school board votes to bring in an outsider, Duncan Carpenter, as their new principal. Samantha knows Duncan from an earlier school that they both worked at, and feels like his sense of fun, whimsy and adventure are perfect for the non-traditional, creative vibe of the school. Only, when he gets there, he is not the same Duncan she remembers from working with him. Instead, he has turned into a tough, security-conscious, rule-abiding, douchebag employer that everyone at the school dreads having to deal with. Is the Duncan she knew still there? What made Duncan change? Can she bring that Old Duncan back?

This book was a truly delightful read, and could possibly make my top ten list for 2020. (It’s hard to say at this point because I have read a lot of really good books.) I immediately loved both Samantha and Duncan. They are both characters who have been through trauma, but they’re still fighting and attempting to move towards joy. We get to see a real clash in opinions and philosophies, and we get to see that both philosophies are motivated by genuine love and care for the children of the school. The side characters all sparkle, and I found reading this one a true joy. I felt empathy and found that parts of both main characters strongly appealed to me. That’s probably the best that I can hope for out of a romance.

Robert Parrish is a writer, and his inspiration to begin writing was a series of books that he and his father read together when he was a child. However, when asked about his inspiration, he always lies about the books he loved as a child. Why? His dishonesty is causing his relationships to fall apart, and he feels propelled to dive into his childhood and probe the books, their authors, and the mystery that he never solved as a child.

This book is one that makes me gush like a fangirl because I felt like it was so beautiful. There were layers of plot, and it made me feel truly nostalgic for the Trixie Belden books that were so integral to my youth. This is probably not a five-star book because it has a slow start. The first fifty pages or so are a little disjointed as new characters and perspectives are introduced. I decided to trust Lovett and not abandon the book, and I am glad that I did.

Lyssa is a busy at-home care nurse in London who is often traveling its busy streets caring for others. When she sees a 15-year-old boy fall victim to a hit-and-run accident, she begins to suffer post-traumatic stress from the incident. In an effort to help Lyssa recover, her hospital mandates that she change places for three months with Cormac, a nurse in a far away rural part of Scotland. As Cormac and Lyssa trade places, they find themselves having difficulty adjusting to each others’ lives, friends, and homes. They communicate with each other via text and email to help smooth their paths, commiserating over their shared experiences. . . .

This was a really good women’s fiction with just a touch of romance. I enjoyed both Cormac and Lyssa’s transitions into their new environments, and really found myself rooting for Lyssa in her journey of healing. The spark of romance also makes complete sense to me, and I really found it believable (for the most part). In my head, I kept comparing this to the town mouse and country mouse because their environments and experiences were so different.

This is the third of the Scottish bookshop series, but you don’t have to have read the first two to enjoy it. I’ve only read the first one, The Bookshop on the Corner, but I wouldn’t have needed it to have enjoyed this book. That said, I really did enjoy seeing the reappearance of characters from the first book in the series.

Ewan has been searching for Grace for twenty years. Grace and her brothers think Ewan wants to kill her. Instead, Ewan wants to love her. The Grace he finds is not the Grace he expects to find. Instead, the girl he used to know, has become a magnificent woman, a woman who is unsure that she can trust (or even wants) Ewan to be a part of her life.

This is the third of the Bareknuckle Bastard series, and this book is really a redemption story for Ewan (Duke Marwick). That was satisfying. It was also satisfying to see Dahlia as a business woman and to peek inside the business that she has built. This book also was open door and had some really smoking hot scenes. Loved that!

I would have liked to have seen a stronger moment of forgiveness from Grace to Ewan. I did like when Grace and her brothers really understood the pain that Ewan had been through and the sacrifices he had made for them. That was a powerful and very touching moment.

This book would be more meaningful if you read the first two of the series before this one, even though it does stand alone. I think you can appreciate the characters of Devil and Beast more after seeing their love stories, and I think you understand better why they are so against Ewan if you’ve read the first two books in the series.

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