Book Recommendations

Sunday Book Recommendation

Don’t you just love a lazy Sunday when you’ve cleared your schedule of all the boring stuff and decide to spend the day taking care of your soul, doing the things you want to do, instead of the things you should do? I know, I know, we’re grown-ups and adulting is required, the laundry won’t wash itself etc, but sometimes, after a loooooooooooong work weak or a busy weekend with lots of guests and activities, I allow myself to ignore the messy kitchen, order pizza instead of cooking, and indulge.

I’ll make a pot of tea, or grab a cold soda and sit by the fire. I’ll shop for books online, crochet, listen to music, or read. Mostly, I read, and on a lazy non-adulting day like this, I want to read more than one book. I want to make my way through the virtual equivalent of a tall stack of books, and that means short stories (I’m a fast reader, but not so fast I can get through more than one 300+ page book per day). You know I love short stories in general, but on my lazy reading Sundays, I crave them more than usual.

I’ve had two lazy days like this pretty recently, and I read a handful of lovely stories I want to tell you about. All of them get five glowing stars and my warmest, I-want-to-shout-from-a-rooftop-how-great-they-are recommendations.


I read December Beginnings when I’d had a particularly gruesome work week and I needed a book that would be the equivalent of a warm, tight hug. You know by now that I’m a huge K.L. Noone fan, and while I pretty much pre-order all her books, I don’t necessarily read them immediately upon release. No, I save them for when I need a book that I can be sure is fantastic, that I know will leave me with a smile on my face, and that will make me swoon. December Beginnings was exactly that. Matthew and Dylan are so freaking cute, and definitely made me feel better.

I read Batshit Bassel on the same day. While I scheduled the guest post for Holly on my blog, I read the excerpt and was immediately sucked in. I was going to buy it, but Holly was kind enough go give me an ARC, and after I’d finished December Beginnings, I threw myself on Bassel. I freaking adored it. Bassel is a quirky character with a huge heart, I love him to death, and his soups managed to warm my frozen soul even though they aren’t real.

A few weeks later, I’d had a jam packed weekend full of people and happenings, and I needed a quiet day, where I communicated with the hubby via texts instead of talking. I also needed a bunch of short stories to recharge me, and that’s when I read the next three books.

In Lines of Light, another K.L. Noone book, is a beautiful, poetic, sci-fi story. I don’t generally read sci-fi; my mind tends to wander when I encounter extensive world building or excessive techno-babble, but this had none of that. The sci-fi parts were light and easy, and used to enhance the story and highlight Tam and Val’s budding relationship. And the language! Gawd, ms. Noone sure knows how to write!

The Long Game is probably my new favorite Ellie Thomas story. I don’t always like stories about an established couple because I like my HEAs to be happily ever afters, not happily-until-the-author-decides-to-eff-up-their-happiness-for-the-sake-of-drama, please and thank you. But sometimes, an author manages the perfect tale of an established couple, and whatever drama happens doesn’t seem contrived or silly and in the end, the couple is even closer than when the story started. The Long Game was that book and it left me with a smile on my face.

And finally, I decided that since I’d had such luck with In Lines of Light, I might as well try another sci-fi, especially since it was written by Kim Fielding. I haven’t read anything by her that I haven’t liked, and Once Upon a Dance was no exception. It’s a cinderella re-telling about Dom, an aging house android, and this short tale made me feel angry, sad, melancholy, and romanced off my feet in seventy short pages. It’s the perfect example of why I love short stories so much

Buy links

December Beginnings :: Batshit Bassel :: In Lines of Light :: The Long Game :: Once Upon a Dance


December Beginnings
Stunt double Matthew Reid is in love with actor Finn Ransom but Finn’s getting married to someone else. Matthew’s good at hiding emotions while rehearsing with Dylan Li, their show’s star. Dylan’s adorable, optimistic, hardworking, and Matthew likes making him smile. But Matthew’s in love with Finn. Right? When Dylan’s injured on set, Matthew realizes what he truly wants if he isn’t too late.

Batshit Bassel
Some people perform miracles, others serve soup. Bassel is a psychic with no control over his powers. He’ll never work wonders, but he can serve soup. Thor lost his sister and became the guardian of his nephew, but his life doesn’t have room for a cub. Bassel aches for the little boy cloaked in grief and the growling bear he lives with, but will soup be enough to ease their sorrows? 

In Lines of Light
Federated Planets ambassador Tamlin Rye is headed home, having just finished a successful negotiation. Tam’s looking forward to some rest … but the beautiful mysterious captain of his courier ship is more tempting than restful. Captain Valentine Perrin doesn’t sleep well. He might be young, but he’s seen his share of difficult missions. His starship’s observation deck offers solitude on those nights … until his new passenger interrupts. And, on this starlit night, Tam and Val will both find exactly what they need.

The Long Game
In 1760s London, Joshua Jones, a young working man of colour, is balancing his art studies with his shifts at a gambling hell in exclusive St. James’. Last year at the club, he met and fell in love with Frank Bartlett, an older man and a diplomat. Now Joshua fears their budding relationship is faltering. Can he convince Frank that they have a future together?

Once Upon a Dance
Dom is an aging house-android, toiling away for the cruel and ungrateful owners of an inn. He secretly dreams of freedom, friendship, and love. When an inn guest offers him the chance to attend a grand masquerade ball, Dom jumps at the opportunity. For a few precious hours he enjoys a level of independence he had never imagined—and the company of a handsome and kind prince of industry. Until the clock strikes midnight.

Book Recommendations

Sunday Book Recommendation

A week or so before Christmas, I was grumpy because I couldn’t find anything to read. I’d spent a ridiculous amount of time scrolling through the many Facebook book groups of which I’m a member without finding a single thing that spoke to me. The current popular tropes (fake boyfriends, sports romances, daddy/boy age play) aren’t tropes or themes I tend to gravitate toward, and it felt like it was the only thing I saw in my feed.

So I complained in the group chat I have with Ally and Ofelia, and Ally, my favorite Ally in the whole wide world, wrote “You like letters, don’t you? I thought this as fantastic. The writing is brilliant” and linked to a book.

And since I love epistolary novels (letters), I decided to download a sample. I loved the sample so I bought the book, and then I stayed up waaaaaay past my bedtime to finish it. At 1:46 am I wrote in the chat “Good lord Ally, that book you recommended wrecked me. I just finished it, I couldn’t put it down.”

It was one of the best books I read all last year. Maybe even the last few years? It is so good that I had to buy a physical copy, too. I need to have it in my bookshelf. And today, it arrived.

My feelings are — too vast to speak

Quote from A Land So Wild by Elyssa Warkentin


In 1845, the HMS Vanguard, under the command of Captain William Caulderson, departed England on a voyage of discovery to find a Northwest Passage through the perilous arctic waters separating the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It was never heard from again. 

Five years later, Captain David Maxwell of the Serapis sets sail to attempt to recover the Vanguard and determine the fate of his former commander. 

Naturalist Embleton Hall is running from demons of his own. He doesn’t expect to find himself drawn to Captain Maxwell–but the two men form a bond that will become essential to their survival.

Together, they’ll brave the elements on a long and harrowing voyage to discover the fate of the lost ship Vanguard. But they’ll also learn that some secrets are best left frozen in ice.

Amazon :: Goodreads

His face. His face. I see it with my fingers. I feel it on my tongue.

David, I was wrong about writing our own story. We are not writing at all, but rather learning to read it in the darkness.

Quote from A Land So Wild by Elyssa Warkentin

This book is probably not for everyone. You really have to love the epistolary format since the book is told entirely in letters, telegrams, journal and log entries etc. It’s also a historical story and the quite slow moving, which I appreciated but know not everyone does. I also read a few reviews that said that the readers didn’t connect with the romance just because it was told in letters and journal entries, but I vehemently disagree with that opinion. I read the MCs’ journal entries about each other and I ached. The romance hit me extra hard right in the gut just because the way it was written was so raw and real. Some parts I read underneath my duvet because I was sobbing and I didn’t want to wake up the hubby.

The plot about the missing ship was absolutely riveting and toward the end I could hardly breathe. The Arctic setting was so well described I had to put on warm socks because I was freezing along with the crew.

I loved every single thing about it. It was heart-breaking and awe-inspiring and so, so beautiful.

I need Embleton as I need air in my lungs.

Quote from A Land So Wild by Elyssa Warkentin

I give this book five million stars. Thank you again for the recommendation, Ally ❤️

Book Recommendations

Sunday Book Recommendation

I’ve been in a terrible reading slump lately. Nothing sounds good to me, not #Snarry fanfics on AO3, not re-reading old favorites, nothing. So I’ve been playing a stupid game on my phone, hating it but not knowing what to do when nothing sounds interesting.

So when I scheduled the New Release post on the blog for Holly Day’s July story, Love in an Elevator (this post if you missed it) and the blurb actually sounded interesting, I more or less begged Holly for an ARC. And since she’s one of the nicest people on earth, she gifted me one.

And I really liked it.

After that, I decided to start subscribing to Scribd again (we have an on-again-off-again relationship, me and Scribd) and stumbled over Twelve Letters by Ellie Thomas. And since I’m a sucker for epistolary stories, I made a fist bump and said “Hell yeah!”, and started reading it.

And I really liked it.

So today, I’m recommending two stories by fellow JMS authors, all around nice people, fabulous authors, and friends.

Hayden Perry moved to Landown two and a half weeks ago. He was excited to get the event planning job he’d applied for, but apart from bumping into a cute guy in the elevator, things don’t pan out the way he’d hoped. His boss is an ass and his co-workers are idiots, but as much as he dislikes them, he can’t afford to quit until he has another job lined up.

Corey Hope’s school years sucked. With a crippling stutter, he was easy prey, and despite being grown up, his bullies still haunt his nightmares. After he left school, he gave up on trying to talk, and communicates solely through sign language and written text. It works great even though he wished he could say something when Hayden flirts with him in the elevator.

Hayden does his best to catch Corey in the elevator as often as he can, and he thinks they might have something, but it all comes crashing down when Corey sees him having lunch with his colleagues. Corey might be drawn to Hayden, but seeing him with his school bullies has old memories washing over him. He won’t let them hurt him ever again, and he’d rather forget about Hayden than risk Hayden hurting him.

How will Hayden convince Corey he’s nothing like his colleagues when Corey refuses to see him?

This book was just so darned cute. I love a good story with some kind of disability so I was eager to read how flirting with someone who doesn’t talk would work. But Hayden stepped up; he was persistent, he never gave up. He was borderline stalkerish, and yet not; he was just adorable in his eagerness. I admit I saw the “twist” coming a mile away, but I didn’t mind, because the way Holly resolved it was very satisfactory. The way Hayden acted was very satisfactory. Has anyone figured out that Hayden was my favorite character yet, or do you need more clues? 😀

When I finished this story, I had a huge smile on my face and I’m so grateful to Holly who got me to read an actual book and delete the stupid game from my phone.

I give Love in an Elevator my warmest recommendations.

Amazon :: JMS Books

In Regency London, Jolyon Everett is determined to dissuade his irascible friend, Captain Ben Harding, from fighting a duel. However, before commencing on the pressing business of defusing Ben’s misplaced anger, Jo writes two notes — one to Percy Havilland, his very demanding paramour, and the other to his tailor, Daniel Walters. With those trifles out of the way, he can concentrate on persuading Ben to reprieve young Edward Stephens, a newly qualified doctor, who Jo suspects has a serious crush on Ben.

But the best-laid plans can go awry, as do the letters. As well as a furious Ben, Jo finds himself at the mercy of an outraged Percy and an amorous tailor. Can he convince Ben not to shoot Edward after all? Will he soothe Percy’s ruffled feathers? And might Jo realise true love can be found under the most unexpected conditions?

You probably know by now that I like Ellie Thomas. She writes short and researched and lovely, and Twelve Letters was no exception. Even though it opens with a misunderstanding – and you all know how much I hate those – it worked. I could see it coming, but I was in a generous mood so I was willing to see where it went, and Ellie made it work and it didn’t bother me at all. Another thing I normally don’t like is more than one couple in one book, but Ellie convinced me on this point, too. It was really well written, really intriguing, and I loved it.

And isn’t that the greatest thing, when an author takes two of your least favorite tropes/themes, and writes them well, and makes you adore the story? So how could I not recommend this fabulous book?

Amazon :: JMS Books

Book Recommendations, Strike a Pose

Sunday Book Rec Special Edition: the Naked Gardeners

One of the things I was looking forward to the most while me and my fellow naked gardener authors was working on our stories, was reading the other books. I was dying to know how Ally, Holly, Amy, and Kristin would interpret the theme, what kinds of stories their brilliant minds would think up. So of course I had to read them all as soon as I was able, and I was not disappointed.

The result was a handful of very different stories only connected by the theme of being naked in the garden. I adore how different they all are, and not only how we approached the theme, but I love that we all took the theme and molded it to something that fit with our brand. And I loved all of the stories, and I want everyone to read them. So in today’s Sunday Book Recommendation blog post, I’m going to tell you about them. I started with The Death of Digby Catch, and read them in the order they follow below.

Solving a murder-mystery…at a naked gardening party

When August Catch arrives at the Arachne’s Loom estate to collect his late Uncle Digby’s things, he is thrown together with Theo Webb, the heir to the Webb family fortune. The attraction is instant. When Theo begins to suspect Digby may have been murdered, he and August will need to work together to discover the killer, and not let the thing growing between them be a distraction.

MM Contemporary // 19375 words

Admittedly, asking August to do naked yard word in front of his mother and what was easily forty strangers, was not the best start to a relationship. But then, what was?

Quote from The Death of Digby Catch by Amy Spector

There was a time in my life when all I read was murder-mysteries. In fact, I read so many, I grew tired of them, and have only read a handful the last 15 years or so. But naked gardening trumps over murder-mystery fatigue, so I started reading Amy’s book with interest.

And it sucked me right in from the first line. The rain had slowed the procession of cars winding their way to the gravesite to a mournful crawl. It was fitting. Not only because it was a funeral, but because the weather was as overly dramatic as Digby Catch had always been.

How great is that line? It definitely caught my attention, and then the book never let it go. The mystery was interesting, but it didn’t overshadow the romance, which was a definite plus for me.

I loved everything about the book, the setting, the characters, the romance. The relative lightheartedness considering it’s a mystery. It was the perfect book for a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I give it my warm recommendations.

Neighbors feuding over what to plant in the garden…naked

Everything would’ve been perfect if Grayson hadn’t been forced to share his garden with Cam. Grayson wants to grow vegetables, and he has a plan for how to do it. Cam loves flowers in perfect rows, but Grayson is incapable of growing things in lines. Most days end in conflict, at least until Grayson realizes he can shut Cam up by kissing him. But will they ever be able to agree about the garden?

MM Contemporary // 16427 words

“Come on.” He got to his feet and tugged at Cam’s hand to get him to stand. “We’ll shower, then I’ll feed you.” He pulled him toward his house.

“Grayson! I’m naked. I can’t walk through the garden naked.”

Grayson raised his eyebrows at him. “Why not? There is no one here.”

Quote from Perfect Rows by Holly Day

Okay, I’m not gonna lie; Camden was a hard character to love, but maybe that’s because I identify more with Grayson. I’m not someone who wants straight rows and perfection, I love the wildness of nature, I love an untamed garden, and I love Grayson’s idea of planting stuff wherever there’s a free spot. So it took me a while to warm up to Camden, and for half the book I kept wishing Grayson would find someone else to fall in love with, someone wasn’t as condescending as Camden could be, someone who could appreciate Grayson for who he was. But Camden managed to win me over. Eventually. 😁

A fun fact: the story opens with Grayson rushing out of the shower into the garden because Cam pisses him off, accidentally drops his towel, and ends up naked in front of Cam. My initial idea was to have the same kind of opening to my Naked Gardener story, but I changed it (and before I knew what Holly was planning). It must be a sign that great minds think alike…don’t you agree?? 😁

If you love a good enemies-to-lovers story and hard-to-love heroes, I definitely recommend Perfect Rows.

Picking tomatoes…naked

Spring 1947. England has just come through the worst winter in living memory. Peter’s been drifting since he left the army a year ago. George is lonely, despite the busy horticultural nursery he owns. Peter’s decision to take a swim in the irrigation tank presents them both with the chance to reach out and help each other. Can two misfits find a way to fit together with someone after all?

MM Historical // 16294 words

His expression was positively wicked. “And I’ll race you. Strip off. Pick a row…properly, mind, no skimping…and then race you to the water tank.” He was skinning out of his clothes as he talked, rolling them up and shoving them into one of the empty buckets stacked against the wall of the house where George had dragged them earlier. His sidelong grin at George was evil. “Last one in the water cooks supper!”

Quote from Warning! Deep Water by A.L. Lester

I know I say this every time I recommend a book written by A.L. Lester, but I absolutely adore the way she writes regular guys and quiet, understated romance, and her naked gardeners are no exception. This is a story about kindness and compassion, and it warmed my heart.

I wish more people wrote like A.L. Lester. I don’t need grand gestures or wild sex up a wall. I want to read about real people, who have real-life problems, who meet and fall in love, and live happily ever after. Just like George and Peter. Oh, and extra bonus points if there’s tea, and there’s always tea in Ally’s stories. She’s British after all. 😍

Fairytale romance…and a magical naked gardener

Charlie’s ready to start a new job and life at Aldershill Manor. As a historian, he’s thrilled to dive into the archives. And he can run from a messy break-up. And explore lovely gardens, too. Lionel does not like tourists, conversations, or social niceties. But he loves his job: helping beauty grow. When he finds the new historian caught in a storm, he offers shelter, which might bloom into more.

MM Contemporary // 16581 words

“Nothing about this has been me. Or who I thought I was. I moved to a whole different country, I haven’t even technically started my new job, I went for a walk in the rain, and I fell into bed with a magical naked gardener.”

Quote from The Hermit of Aldershill Manor by K.L. Noone

You all know by now that K.L. Noone is one of my favorite authors in the whole wide world, and The Hermit of Aldershill Manor sailed right up to the top as one of my favorite books. It’s magical, it’s beautiful, it’s breathtaking, it’s everything. I was sucked right into the story and forgot anything else existed, I read it with a permanent smile on my face and highlighted so many passages I could just have highlighted the whole thing and be done with it.

It’s the kind of book that when you’ve read it, you want to go back to the first page and start over right away. Or that you want to read and re-read when you need something heartwarming in a harsh world. It’s the kind of book that will stay with you forever.

Oh…and it has nakedness and a lovely, lovely gardener. 😀

Five World Naked Gardening Day Stories

Book Recommendations

Sunday Book Recommendation

First, it was the cover:

I mean, look at this gorgeousness 😍 I took one look at this and totally judged the book by its cover and almost one-clicked without even reading the blurb, because seriously. If this cover doesn’t win Best Cover of 2022, I’m gonna be mad.

Then, it was the reviews:

It’s all very sweet and easy.” And “This was instalove.” And “If you love totally angst-free romance, then this is definitely for you.”

If you know me at all, you know that those three review snippets are my crack. Sweet and easy? Yes. Instalove? Heck yeah!! Totally angst-free? Sign me up right now.

Finally, it was the book:

So, I one-clicked. And the book did not disappoint.

It was funny, and I had to bite my lip to not burst out laughing in the silent compartment on the train when I read it on my way home from work.

“Don’t splash too much,” Davo said. “Attracts the crocodiles.” I shrieked, and he cracked up laughing. “I’m kidding! There are no crocs here.”

“Davo.” I grabbed my dick. “I peed a little.”

It was very Australian.

Jeesh. Two nights camping off-track in the outback. With like ten of the world’s deadliest snakes and no hope on getting to a hospital in time.

And it was very, very romantic, and I’m sure I had heart-eyes when I read certain parts.

He might not have been able to say the words on the tip of his tongue earlier, but my god, when he kissed me, I sure could taste them.

It was everything I needed after a long, hard week at the day job, when all I wanted to do was lay down and die of exhaustion, but instead I picked up this book and it cheered me up like nothing else could’ve managed. It’s going on my Goodreads’ feel good, re-read shelf and I’m giving ten stars on a five-star scale.

If you’re in the mood for a funny book that feels like a warm hug, this is what you want. It’s fantastic.


When Fergus Galloway takes on a research trip to a tiny mining town in the far Western Australian outback, he’s as far from Sydney as he can get.

Which is entirely the point.

He arrives in Pannalego totally unprepared for the baking heat, unprepared for the people who call it home, unprepared for the craziness and the laughs. And absolutely unprepared for the man he meets there who steals his heart.

Davo is a mining man, as rugged as he is gorgeous. Loves his found family, loves where he lives, and loves his life. He also loves the feel of soft fabric on his skin.

What was supposed to be a short field trip changes Fergus’s life. Going to a place many call uninhabitable might turn out to be the only place he wants to live.

Buy link