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ARC Review: Bend Toward the Sun by Jen Devon

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Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Bend Toward the Sun releases August 9, 2022.

Cover of "Bend Toward the Sun" by Jen Devon

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Jen Devon’s Bend Toward the Sun is a gorgeous, emotional love story about taking unexpected paths, accepting loss, and finding strength in the transformative power of love.

Rowan McKinnon believes love isn’t real. Armed with a PhD in botany, two friends who accept her social quirkiness, and some occasional no-strings sex, she has everything she needs. What she doesn’t share is that she hides deep wounds from the past—by an emotionally negligent mother, and by a fiancé who treated her like a pawn in a game. The only love she’s ever known came from her grandmother Edie, who taught her to care for all things that grow. After a chance encounter at a future winery, Rowan is captivated—by the beauty of the land, the challenge of the vineyards’ restoration, and by the warm and inviting family that plans to run it. They’ll offer her a job. She’ll eventually accept it.

And try not to think about Harrison Brady.

Harry Brady is a doctor. Was a doctor. An obstetrician profoundly struggling after the unexpected loss of a patient, Harry no longer believes he is capable of keeping people safe. Reeling from the loss and his crumbled four-year relationship, Harry leaves Los Angeles to spend time emotionally recuperating at his parents’ new vineyard in Pennsylvania. He’ll work to get the place ready to open, and try to pick up the pieces of his heart. Because if there’s one thing Harry Brady knows how to do, it is love deeply, fiercely, with his whole heart.

As soon as he meets Rowan McKinnon, sunlight begins to crack through the dark cloud smothering Harry’s soul. He wants to explore the compelling pull between them. Rowan just wants to keep things casual—she’s spent a lifetime protecting herself against feeling anything, for anyone.

But even Rowan can feel their extraordinary connection tilting the axis of the world they both thought they understood.

A moving, powerful novel about the ways love can irrevocably change your life, Bend Toward the Sun is a cinematic, unforgettable romance.

 

REVIEW: Bend Toward the Sun was an emotionally charged story with an electrifying romance that was painful, exhilarating, and deeply personal.

This story wears its heart on its sleeve as Rowan and Harry struggle to reconcile with their pasts in the wake of the instant attraction and affection they feel for one another.

The main characters had polar opposite upbringings. Rowan is socially awkward and understands plants far better than people. She had her beloved grandmother Edie who fostered Rowan’s love for nature – which led to Rowan becoming a botanist – until age 12 when she was then left in the uncare of her estranged mother. Meanwhile, Harry is one of six in a very close and loving family. This major difference is one of many roadblocks in Rowan and Harry’s relationship.

But I love how these two lost souls find their way again through love. It’s a painful journey and several times you’ll question in chest-tightening worry if their chance at true love and happiness will burn away.

Past intimate relationships have not gone well for either (an understatement). So to have such strong feelings feels right, wrong, and terrifying all at once. Plus, they both can be very, very, very stubborn.

I felt those months and months worth of time skips, which made their back and forth will-they won’t-they arguments seem redundant and a tad frustrating. Post-read, Rowan and Harry’s romance is really well fleshed out with all the necessary growth, drama and angst you’d want in an enthralling love story. Time just dragged some.

In the end (oh my goodness!), Rowan and Harry filled my heart with such joy and fondness. The chemistry between them was sizzling, the banter endearing and funny, and a satisfying conclusion worthy of a standing ovation.

I had a good feeling I would end up truly enjoying Bend Toward the Sun, and I did! I loved the story and all of the characters. Rowan was my favorite because I could relate with her and she’s unexpectedly hilarious. Jen Devon wrote a wonderful, heartfelt romance. I highly recommend this novel.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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#SixForSunday: Bookish Resolutions

Six for Sunday

Six for Sunday is a weekly blog post by Steph @ A Little But A Lot where you share 6 books that to share to go with that Sunday’s prompt. To learn more, click here.


Do you have any bookish resolutions this year?

A while ago, I listed all my bookish resolutions in my January Happenings post. I wasn’t teetering on whether to do a Six for Sunday post as well. But I like doing these posts, so I’ll just list the top 6 that are imperative for me to accomplish.

  1. Read more books I own (before buying a boat-load more!)
  2. Go to the library more often (because it’s my happy place)
  3. Be a more active blogger (because talking about books is fun)
  4. Donate books (and share the joy of reading)
  5. Finish that first draft of WIP I keep talking about (because if not now then when?)
  6. Read more back-listed titles (and not push them back again and again)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


As Always, Happy Reading!!!
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Recent Additions to My Kindle That Prove I Have No Shelf Control

Another day, another opportunity to willingly be bespelled by books.

One recent addition was from my wish list (always a plus) at the tantalizing price of 99 cents and the rest were free kindle titles that piqued my interest as well. My latest additions are:

  • The Bachelor Bargain by Maddison Michaels (historical romance)
  • Manners and Monsters by Tilly Wallace (historical paranormal romance/mystery)
  • Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Kait Nolan (adult contemporary holiday romance)
  • The Vampire Heir by Juliana Haygert (paranormal romance)
  • A Vampire Bewitched by L.E. Wilson (paranormal romance)

What I like most about these books is how different they are and that their genres are ones I want to read more often (historical fiction and vampires). If I remember correctly, The Bachelor Bargain I discovered via another book blogger (one of the best kinds of ways to discover new books) and the others were casual browsing finds through recommended/read-alike lists.

Anyway, thank goodness it’s Friday plus a three-day weekend from work. I’m hoping to catch up on a lot of reading and get a jump-start on next week’s work. This weekend I’d also like to try baking a funfetti cake for the first time, so that’ll be…interesting.

Enjoy your weekend!


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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TBR At A Glance – January 13, 2022

TBR At A Glance

Hello, hello! I’ve been busy with work lately. It’s been a slow start to the new reading year so far. I have three books going at once and I have at least two others I need to finish by the end of January. I’ll make it work somehow. All things considered, I am loving what I’m reading and am super nervous but excited for how things will end.

CURRENTLY READING

  • Bend Toward the Sun by Jen Devon (arc)
  • No Gentle Giant by Nicole Snow
  • Starlight by Olivia Wildenstein

 

READING NEXT

  • Just Right Jillian by Nicole D. Collier (arc)
  • The Iron Sword by Julie Kagawa (arc)

 

RECENT REVIEWS

 

REVIEWS COMING SOON

  • TBA

AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Quote of the Day (from Under the Whispering Door)

quote from "Under the Whispering Door" by TJ Klune

Today’s quote comes from my co-number one favorite read from last year, Under the Whispering Door: “The first time you share tea, you are a stranger. The second time you share tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share tea, you become family.’”

 

Like this quote? You can find more here!

AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Book Review: A Home Again by Colleen Rowan Kosinski, Illustrated by Valeria Docampo

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Cover of "A Home Again" by Colleen Rowan Kosinski, Illustrated by Valeria Docampo

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Book
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: After the last brick is laid, a family moves into a brand-new house. As the family grows, the house delights in the sound of laughter echoing in its halls and the pitter-patter of little feet traversing its floors and realizes it is no longer just a house. It has become a home—their home. One day, the family packs up, and with tears in their eyes, they say goodbye. The house doesn’t know if it can ever be happy again until two men appear. It begins to feel a sliver of hope about this new family…perhaps it can become a home once more.

Told from the perspective of a house, this story’s heartfelt text and beautiful illustrations convey a warmth of feeling as two families change and grow at different times within the same four walls.

 

REVIEW: A Home Again is a cozy story about how a house becomes a home that warmed my heart.

I love that this story is told from the perspective of the house. The people, the laughter, the smells, the sounds, the personal touches all work in concert to create a beautiful, loving home.

I felt every emotion the house was feeling: from happy to confused, from sad to joy and love again. The house’s journey is mesmerizing and well developed.

I really loved this book! The rich vocabulary and smooth, bright illustrations made the story come to life. Things ended so satisfyingly hopeful. I would certainly recommend A Home Again!


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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#SixForSunday: Sequels I Can’t Wait For

Six for Sunday

Six for Sunday is a weekly blog post by Steph @ A Little But A Lot where you share 6 books that to share to go with that Sunday’s prompt. To learn more, click here.

My picks for today’s prompt are sequels I can’t wait to read that I haven’t talked much about or at all. Some of these I’ve been trying to read for years but kept pushing off. I really want to finish/catch up on these series in 2022.

The books I chose are:

Husband Material by Alexis Hall (Boyfriend Material #2) (August 2, 2022)

In BOYFRIEND MATERIAL, Luc and Oliver met, pretended to fall in love, fell in love for real, dealt with heartbreak and disappointment and family and friends…and somehow figured out a way to make it work. Now it seems like everyone around them is getting married, and Luc’s feeling the social pressure to propose. But it’ll take more than four weddings, a funeral, and a bowl full of special curry to get these two from I don’t know what I’m doing to I do.

Good thing Oliver is such perfect HUSBAND MATERIAL.

This Summer 2022, you’re invited to the event(s) of the season.

 

Endure by Sara B. Larson (Defy #3)

At last, Alexa and King Damian are engaged to be married. But their lives are far from safe. The kingdom of Antion is under siege, and Rylan is a prisoner of the enemy. Even worse, Alexa remains at the mercy of the evil Dansiian Rafe, who controls her mind and can force Alexa to kill or harm Damian at any moment. Despite this, Alexa is determined to rescue Rylan, which soon leads her far from Damian and deep into enemy territory.

When she arrives, what awaits her is deadlier than anything she could have ever imagined: an army of black sorcerers and a horrifying plot to destroy the world as Alexa knows it. Will she be able to gather the strength to free herself, protect the love of her life, and save the land? Will there ever be true peace?

 

Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega #6)

In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It’s as if the people picked up and left everything they owned behind. Fearing something supernatural might be going on, the FBI taps a source they’ve consulted in the past: the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. But Charles and Anna soon find a deserted town is the least of the mysteries they face.

Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous — and it has met werewolves before.

 

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #2)

It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…

 

Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen (The Malediction Trilogy #2)

Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.

Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.

To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted.

 

Jorundyr’s Path by Duncan M. Hamilton (Wolf of the North #2)

Jorundyr’s Path is walked only by the brave. It is survived only by the strong.

As Wulfric pursues Adalhaid’s Blood Debt, he soon learns that the path to revenge is never easy, and the desires of men and the will of gods rarely meet. Aethelman seeks answers to questions long ignored. Rodulf chases power and wealth.

From the streets of Elzburg to the dry plains of Darvaros, Wulfric walks Jorundyr’s Path and encounters a world larger than he could ever have dreamed of: filled with friends, enemies, and danger–the crucible from which heroes are forged.


Is there a series you started that you’ve been meaning to continue for forever?


As Always, Happy Reading!!!
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📚🎁 A (sort-of) Christmas Book Haul 🎁📚

Christmas 2021 book haul

Happy First Friday of 2022! How has your year been going so far?

It’s been a bit topsy-turvy at work this week due to rising cases and weather. At the moment, my area is at high risk. So we are doing our best to keep calm and stay safe.

I haven’t made much progress in my current reads. One I’m really enjoying so far and the other I haven’t started but it’s all good. Trying not to rush getting reading done.

I got new books around Christmas and with Christmas money. The last of the books finally arrived yesterday, which put a big smile on my face.

Pictured above are all the physical books. I got:

  • Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo (volumes 2-6), and
  • Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce

A few ebooks I got (not pictured):

  • Dark Alpha’s Caress by Donna Grant
  • Fire & Flood by Demitria Lunetta
  • Archangel’s Kiss by Anna Santos, and
  • The Watchmaker’s Daughter by C.J. Archer

You can surely guess how happy I am to have more books to add to my bookshelf and kindle.

Spy x Family – I hope to have time to set aside to binge read soon. Lady Knight – this is one of my all-time favorite books by one of my all-time favorite authors so a reread is incoming! Dark Alpha’s Caress – I’ve been meaning to get back to this series for a long time and when I saw the ebook was 99 cents I HAD to get it. Archangel’s Kiss – a freebie that was recommended in another author’s newsletter. Fire & Flood and The Watchmaker’s Daughter – other freebies that sounded interesting enough for me to want to try.

That’s it for today. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Stay safe! 💙


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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