Tag Archive for: lia louis



Hey everyone, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Sorry I fell off the face of the earth again.  Work stayed unexpectedly busy this week and then I got bogged down with holiday planning and basically forgot all about the blog.  I started playing catch up last night though so if I haven’t stopped by to comment on your posts yet, I’ll be there soon!  Today I’m back to review the latest releases from two authors I really enjoy.  Ashley Herring Blake is an author I first encountered through her YA novels and I just fell in love with the unforgettable characters she creates. I’m now loving her adult romance series just as much as I adored her YA novels.  Lia Louis is an author I just started reading last year and she quickly became a favorite after I read and fell in love with both Dear Emmie Blue and Eight Perfect Hours.  She just writes those books that tug at your heartstrings and have you reaching for the tissues.  Anyway, I’m thrilled to be able to share my thoughts on both of their latest endeavors.


Reviews:  ASTRID PARKER DOESN’T FAIL & THE KEY TO MY HEARTAstrid Parker Doesn't Fail (Bright Falls, #2) Goodreads

Author: Ashley Herring Blake

Publication Date: November 22, 2022

Publisher:  Berkley

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.


Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail is the second installment in Ashley Herring Blake’s Bright Falls romance series.  When I first met Astrid Parker in the first installment, I’ll freely admit that I couldn’t stand her.  Blake worked her magic though and had me loving Astrid by the end and wanting to know more about her.

When the story opens, Astrid has taken over her overbearing mother’s successful interior design business.  She is struggling to make a go of it though and, desperate to bring in new business, Astrid agrees to be the designer for the renovation of Everwood Inn, a once successful, but now dated, inn located in town.  Not only will she serve as the lead designer, but the entire renovation is being featured on Innside America, a popular home improvement reality TV series.

I’ve really been enjoying the trend of incorporating reality TV series into romance books, and its use here was a winner for me as well, as Astrid’s love interest is closely tied to this renovation project. Jordan Everwood not only grew up at Everwood Inn, but she is also serving as the lead carpenter on the project. Jordan is not overly excited about this renovation because she finds Astrid’s designs impersonal and devoid of any of the charm that makes the inn such a special place.  Some of the funniest moments in the book stem from Jordan plotting to sabotage Astrid’s designs.  Talk about sparks flying! It was so much fun watching their relationship evolve from being at odds over everything to finally coming together to make things happen.

What I especially loved about Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail though is that not only did I get to know Astrid better, but Astrid also learns so many things about herself.  She realizes that most of her struggles to take over her mother’s business stem from the fact that she actually has no passion for interior design and has only taken over the business because it was expected of her.  I enjoyed this journey for Astrid as she slowly realizes that if she wants to be happy and successful in life, she has to strike out on her own and figure out what she’s truly passionate about.

Astrid’s journey of self-discovery doesn’t stop with her career and with stepping out of her mom’s shoes though.  Her journey is also one of sexual awakening.  When she and Jordan first literally run into one another, Astrid doesn’t really understand the feelings she is experiencing because she has always considered herself solely attracted to men.  Once she realizes she truly is attracted to Jordan, she reflects back over her life and realizes she has always been bisexual.  I thought Blake did a wonderful job portraying this aspect of Astrid’s personal journey in a very realistic way.

I loved the balance between the hilarious moments, witty banter, and steam that I come to expect from rom-coms coupled with the more serious elements of self discovery that Astrid experiences.  It was also just great fun to be back in this world and to see Delilah and the rest of Astrid’s friend group again.  Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail is definitely a solid installment in the Bright Falls series.  4 STARS


Reviews:  ASTRID PARKER DOESN’T FAIL & THE KEY TO MY HEARTThe Key to My Heart Goodreads

Author: Lia Louis

Publication Date: December 6, 2022

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.


The Key to My Heart is the third book I’ve read from Lia Louis and I think it’s my new favorite!

When we meet Natalie Fincher, she is just going through the motions from day to day.  Life has lost all meaning to her since she lost her beloved husband unexpectedly just over two years ago.  She goes to work and she sees her friends enough to keep them from worrying about her too much.  They all think she has been grieving long enough and should be ready to move on. I really loved how the author highlights how personal the grieving process really is and that there’s no set moment when a person should be ready to just get on with their lives. I also felt tremendous sympathy for Natalie because she was struggling so much.  It was heartbreaking to see her just going through the motions and to learn that she has all but given up one of her life’s passions, playing piano, because she’s so lost in her grief.

Aside from loving Natalie, one of the big highlights of the book for me was when someone discovers Natalie has been anonymously playing at a London train station’s public piano and they start leaving sheet music on the piano for her to find. They leave it anonymously and it’s always one of her deceased husband’s favorite songs.  I loved the little element of mystery that this added to the story and couldn’t wait to find out who was doing it and why.  It also gave Natalie a much needed distraction as she continues to process her grief.

Aside from the poignant grief story and the intriguing sheet music mystery, I was also a huge fan of the “found family” that surrounds Natalie and helps her start to find her path forward.  By the end of the story, Tom, Shauna, and several others who helped Natalie along the way, captured my heart just as much as Natalie did.

The Key to My Heart is a beautifully written story that is both heartbreaking and heartwarming as it explores grief and loss and whether it’s possible to find love and joy in life again after losing your soulmate. 4.5 STARS

Can’t Wait Wednesday – THE KEY TO MY HEART by Lia Louis


“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.  It is a meme that I have  loved participating in since I first started blogging, but as Jill is no longer actively posting, from now on I’ll be linking to Can’t Wait Wednesday, hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings, which is a spinoff of the original WoW meme.

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My selection for this week is THE KEY TO MY HEART by Lia Louis.  I really enjoyed Dear Emmie Blue and Eight Perfect Hours, so I’m eager to read more from Lia Louis.  Everything about the synopsis of this new book speaks to me too.


Publication Date: December 6, 2022 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books

From Goodreads:

A heartwarming novel about hope after loss as a young widow receives mysterious messages of love from the “must-buy author” (Jodi Picoult) of Eight Perfect Hours.

Sparkly and charming Natalie Fincher has it all—a handsome new husband, a fixer-upper cottage of her dreams, and the opportunity to tour with the musical she’s spent years writing. But when her husband suddenly dies, all her hopes and dreams instantly disappear.

Two and a half years later, Natalie is still lost. She works, sleeps (well, as much as the sexually frustrated village foxes will allow), and sees friends just often enough to allay their worries, but her life is empty. And she can only bring herself to play music at a London train station’s public piano where she can be anonymous. She’s lost motivation, faith in love, in happiness…in everything.

But when someone begins to mysteriously leave the sheet music for her husband’s favorite songs at the station’s piano, Natalie begins to feel a sense of hope and excitement for the first time. As she investigates just who could be doing this, Natalie finds herself on an unexpected journey toward newfound love for herself, for life, and maybe, for a special someone.

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your CWW selection for this week. 🙂



It’s the start of another new week and I’m finally sharing the last of my September ARC reviews.  I’m closing out with two great ones too, especially if you’re a fan of women’s fiction and romances of the slow-burn variety.


Reviews:  EIGHT PERFECT HOURS & THE SWEETEST REMEDYEight Perfect Hours Goodreads

Author: Lia Louis

Publication Date: September 28, 2021

Publisher:  Atria Books / Emily Bestler Books

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Eight Perfect Hours is a charming and heartwarming story about the power of fate and about living your life to the fullest.  This was my first time reading a novel by Lia Louis and it was just delightful from start to finish.

The story follows Noelle Butterby, a young woman who is headed home from an event at her former college when she finds herself trapped on the interstate because a blizzard has closed the roads.  Noelle has no food, no water, her phone is dead and so is her phone charger.  She desperately needs to phone her very anxious mother and let her know that she’ll be later getting home than expected, but has no options. That is, until a handsome stranger named Sam knocks on her car window and offers to lend her his charger.  Noelle is hesitant to agree since he’s a stranger but her desperation finally gets the better of her and she takes him up on his offer.  Sam and Noelle end up chatting and bonding for the next eight hours until the roads finally open up.  They part ways without exchanging numbers, never expecting to see each other again since Sam lives in America, while Noelle is in the UK.

Fate apparently has other ideas though and Sam and Noelle keep bumping into each other in the most random of places.  Noelle is a romantic so she starts to feel like this is fate’s way of telling her Sam is the one.  I thought both Noelle and Sam were adorable together so I of course was rooting for fate to keep on pushing them together so that something could happen between them.  It’s a slow burn romance though.  Both Sam and Noelle are dealing with a lot of things personally, including parents who are getting older and starting to struggle physically and mentally, so in a lot of ways, a romantic relationship is just in the way.  Fate doesn’t care though and through every twist and turn of their lives, somehow Sam and Noelle keep finding each other.  I swear it was so cute every time it happened. They got to the point where they would just grin and shake their heads, and I would just find myself sitting there grinning right along with them.

There are definitely some more serious moments, especially as Noelle is still working through some painful memories that the school event had returned to the forefront of her mind.  Overall though, Eight Perfect Hours is just the sweetest and most heartwarming story and I highly recommend it to all of the romantics out there!  4.5 STARS


Reviews:  EIGHT PERFECT HOURS & THE SWEETEST REMEDYThe Sweetest Remedy Goodreads

Author: Jane Igharo

Publication Date: September 28, 2021

Publisher:  Berkley Books

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

I really enjoyed Jane Igharo’s debut novel Ties That Tether. In that book Igharo delivered a heartfelt, thought-provoking, and dramatic story about a young woman caught between following her heart and meeting her family’s expectations. I was eager to get my hands on a copy of her newest book, The Sweetest Remedy in hopes of getting another equally compelling story to fall into, and I’m excited to say that Igharo delivers big!

The Sweetest Remedy follows Hannah Bailey, a young woman who is the product of an affair between her white mother and a Nigerian man.  Hannah only met her father once, when she was 9, but then he never came back.  Hannah has therefore lived her live feeling like a piece of herself was missing and wondering what was wrong with her, that her father didn’t want to be part of her life. When he passes away, Hannah is therefore pretty shocked to receive an invitation to come to Nigeria to attend his funeral and meet the family she never knew she had, including several siblings. And what a life changing trip it turns out to be.

For those going into this story looking for a romance, it’s there and while it’s lovely, it does take a backseat to Hannah’s journey.  Her journey is all about discovering and embracing her Nigerian roots, learning about her culture, and bonding with her siblings.  I really liked Hannah and felt bad for her growing up feeling like her father had abandoned her, so I enjoyed this journey for her because she got to fill in so many pieces she had always felt were missing from her life.

That’s not to say that the journey was all smooth sailing.  Some members of her father’s family were far more welcoming to Hannah than others, and there were a couple that were downright hostile, blaming Hannah for ripping their lives apart because they never knew she existed either and hated feeling like she had come to Nigeria to steal what was rightfully theirs.  It’s hard for them to believe that their father was simply trying to right what he saw as the biggest wrong of his life, leaving Hannah alone and also keeping his children apart, living as strangers.  I’m a sucker for a good family drama, so I was glued to the pages watching Hannah navigate these emotional minefields and try to win over everyone in her new family.

 If you enjoy emotionally-charged stories about family, love, and finding oneself, I highly recommend The Sweetest Remedy4 STARS