Tuesday, July 26, 2016


The Casquette Girls (The Casquette Girls #1)

My Review
Let me preface this by saying that I'm very hesitant to read anything set in New Orleans. Very hesitant. I've been burned before. People who write New Orleans who've never lived here tend to get sooooo much wrong that it's painful to read. 
Alys Arden is not one of those writers. She gets everything right. 
I found THE CASQUETTE GIRLS by accident. B&N had their book fair and some of their events were sort of advertised and some weren't mentioned online at all. I got there early for an advertised event (which never ever happens) and Alys Arden was doing a talk/book signing. Kismet. Fate. I'd say karma, but that'd take me in the wrong direction. Ahem.
New Orleans is beautifully done. Post-storm New Orleans at that. I could've read this for the setting alone, but, sigh, the characters... The first quarter, maybe less, of the story has a lot of character development and setting, with snippets of intrigue and a nice slow-build on the fantasy elements. We get to know Adele as she gets adjusted to post-storm living. Things start a little slowly, but when they pick up, OMG, they pick up. I lost sleep. Plenty of sleep. And I don't regret it.
This story feels so true to New Orleans, and the characters are so alive that I found myself comparing them to actual people. Even secondary characters. They are so lifelike it feels like she plucked the off the sidewalk and stuffed them between the pages. I love how she weaves history with fiction to create such a rich, nuanced story. I am DYING for the next book in this series, THE ROMEO CATCHERS, and highly recommend this book, especially to those who love YA, fantasy, and New Orleans. 
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Happy Reading,

Saturday, July 2, 2016


The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay

The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay

From Goodreads:

A young painter, Lily has reached a crossroads in her life. Her career hasn't taken off, her best friend may no longer be the trusted friend she thought, her boyfriend is a disappointment, and now she can't keep up with the rising cost of living in the city. With no one to turn to, Lily is forced to move from her beloved apartment, but while packing she comes across a piece of mail that had slipped to the back of her junk drawer: a letter detailing further action needed to finalize the annulment of a quickie Vegas wedding. Ten years ago!

Lily decides it's time to turn over a new leaf and the first item on her list of things to fix is getting the annulment... but you can't just send a reply ten years later, "Hey by the way we are still married." This is something that must be addressed in person. Lily takes to the road to track down her husband - the charming, fun, and sexy man she connected with all those years ago - Ben Hutchinson.

Ben Hutchinson left a wealthy dot-com lifestyle behind to return home to his family and the small town he loves, Minnow Bay. He's been living off the grid and the last thing he expects is a wife he didn't know he had to show up on his doorstep.

By chance, Lily arrives at the magical Minnow Bay Inn, and there she will discover not just a place to lay her head, but new friends, a thriving art community, and maybe even the love of her life.

What I thought:

This is not a genre I usually read and now I'm wondering why this isn't a genre I usually read. The big picture items here are art and small towns, of which I know very little, but I was sucked into this story about old friends and new friends and learning who to trust and who to forgive. I love Lily. We have nothing in common but I connected with her because she's so alive on the page. The second-chance-at-love trope is one of my favorites, only after the enemies-to-lovers trope, which this story sort of...straddles. Ahem. Very well done and I highly recommend it. It's five stars for me. *****

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*I received an eARC copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley