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.

Blurb:

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

Book Recommendations

Sunday Book Recommendation

I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately. I find nothing interesting, all blurbs sound like blah-blah-blah to me and it makes me sad and frustrated. Back before we moved to Malaysia, my day job made me so stressed I completely stopped reading, I didn’t read a single book for years and years. It sucked, and I don’t want that to happen again. So I’m re-reading old favorites. I’m re-reading Harry Potter fanfics I love, just to keep up with the reading habit because reading is important to me. It’s a big part of who I am.

I’m also reading ARCs generously provided to me by author friends, or throwing myself on new releases by favorite authors. Which is how I stumbled upon these two gems that I’m going to talk about today.


When I was younger, I dreamed of becoming an actor. Not in movies, no my love was in theatre. I was a part of a theatre group, living and breathing theatre, and even applied to acting schools. I wasn’t accepted, and now I’m happy about that because I’m not cutthroat enough for that business. But I haven’t lost my love for the theatre, so when my dear friend Ally said she was writing a story set in the world of theatre, I made grabby hands and said GIMME!! And because she’s Britishly nice and polite, she obliged and kindly gifted me an ARC 😀

Out of Focus Book Bingo. If you have Welsh theatre on your bingo sheet, look no further!

”Oh bollocksy bollocksy bollocksy bollocks. Fuck-shit-wank.”

Quote from Out of Focus by A.L. Lester. Possibly the best quote in the world?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll most likely say it again, but I simply adore the quiet, understated romances Ally writes. There are no flowery, over-the-top gestures, no sentimental drivel, only down-to-earth characters that feel like real people, struggling to find love. And yes, maybe sometimes reading is about escaping the real world, maybe it’s a moment of hanging out with shifters and vampires instead of regular people, but I have a huge soft spot for regular people. And Ally writes those characters so well.

I read this book in one sitting, unable to put it down, and when I finished, I messaged Ally and demanded more books set in this fabulous Welsh theatre world. I was promised that more books are forthcoming, and I can’t wait. But until they are released, I warmly recommend this book. And I’ve added it to my list of favorites to re-read if the reading slump doesn’t let up.

So to sum it up: Britishness, Welsh Theatre, a quiet romance, and regular guys. Oh, and I almost forgot: tea! What else is there to do than give it five stars?? 😍

(Read the blurb at the bottom of the post)


I don’t have to tell you that K.L. Noone is one of my favorite writers, right? So it won’t come as a surprise that the second book I’m going to recommend is written by her, right? 🙂 She also teased me terribly on Facebook with excerpts from the book before it was published, so the moment it was released, I one-clicked it so hard my phone almost broke.

He told himself that. He told Finn’s ring that. They were both cold and scared, sitting in a hospital waiting area.

Quote from Tempests in April by K.L. Noone

Tempests in April is the fourth book about established couple Wes and Finn, and I’ve read them all, and mentioned them on the blog. October by Candlelight was the first one and I raved about it here. I read the second one, December with Peppermint, in December when I was sick for five weeks (not covid, people apparently still got regular flus) and it was a soothing balm for my poor achey self. I read the third one, February Sugar, by the kitchen fireplace, and it made me crave chocolate.

And now I’ve read the fourth one, Tempests in April. It’s possibly my favorite one, and it made my heart ache. Poor Finn is hurt and Wes is panicking, and I was panicking right along with him. When Wes was crying, I was crying. It made me feel so much, and it was exactly what I needed at the time when I read it. I felt as though there were no more good books in the world, and then I found this darling book. It saved my soul. (Yes, yes, a slight exaggeration. But you know what I mean!!)

Go buy it. It’s an order.


Blurb Out of Focus (17500 words / MM Contemporary)

Alex has never quite believed he’s good enough. Not as a person and not as a lighting technician. He hates that however hard he tries he can’t get his boss, Luke, to like him. In the two years he’s been in the job it’s become a Thing with him and he’s got a huge crush on the man. He needs to move on for his own sanity and his career and he’s just about to accept a job at a bigger theatre when one of the volunteers he’s bedded and dumped pushes him off a ladder.

Luke likes Alex a lot and has done since the day he walked through the door of Theatre Fawr two years ago. He doesn’t date his staff though, or do casual—and Alex is the epitome of casual. So Luke keeps his distance despite Alex’s constant flirting.

Will Alex’s injury give Alex and Luke the push they need to open up to each other? Or will Luke’s inadvertent discovery that Alex has a secret job offer push them further apart?

Blurb Tempests in April (14305 words / MM Contemporary)

The weather might be terrible, but Wes is having a good day. He has a boyfriend he adores, Finn’s acting career’s going well, and Wes just might be making plans to ask a certain question very soon.

But when an accident leaves Finn injured, none of Wes’s plans can help. There’s nothing he can do, and he’s afraid it was his fault. Even worse, Finn’s the one comforting him when Wes falls apart.

Wes wants to be strong for the man he loves. But he’s scared he isn’t doing enough. And there’s something Finn isn’t telling him.

With love and checklists and cinnamon-walnut scones, Wes will try his best … and hope he and Finn can weather rainy days and tempests together.

Book Recommendations

Reading by the Fire

If you’ve followed me for a while, you’re well aware of my love for the two fireplaces I have in my house, especially the kitchen one. I love a crackling fire when cooking, while eating breakfast, or after a long day at the office. I enjoy sitting by the fire with a cup of tea in the morning, or relaxing with a glass of wine in the evening.

And I absolutely adore reading by the fire. I prefer short stories (don’t I always) by a trusted author that I know I’m gonna love. Or re-reading an old favorite. Best of all is reading the old-fashioned way; a physical book instead of my phone.

Here are five books I’ve read and/or re-read by the fire lately. They are all fabulous and I give them my warmest recommendations. (Buy links are below the quotes).

February Sugar – because K.L. Noone is as good for the soul as a crackling fire

Finn tasted like sugar, like chocolate and sweetness, like everything Wes wanted, forever.

February Sugar by K.L. Noone

Wes wants to give his boyfriend a perfect Valentine’s Day. And that’s a lot to live up to, since Finn’s a movie star. Even worse, it’s all going wrong. Wes has a prestigious conference on Valentine’s weekend. The rain won’t let up. And Finn’s legs hurt in cold damp weather. Wes is afraid he’s ruined Valentine’s Day, but Finn has a plan to make it perfect after all.

Budding Hopes – a gentle giant and a grieving doctor in the 1950s 😍

He extended his leg at the same time, their knees barely touching. Later, he could blame it on the wine or the food, but right now it was more important to be exactly where he was.

Budding Hopes by Vivien Dean

For eight months, Dr. Mark Vance has been visiting Sheehan’s Nursery to buy flowers for his mother’s grave, and every week, Hal Sheehan slips an extra lily into the bunch. Mark would love nothing more than to get to know the gentle giant better, but in 1954 Baltimore, a man just doesn’t ask another man out. At least, unless Valentine’s Day intervenes.

As the Crows Fly – because nothing goes with a fire like Britishness and tea

“Help yourself,” he said, putting his tea on the red-tiled hearth. “I’ll light the fire, hang on.”

As the Crows Fly by A.L. Lester

Paul Webster has come out the army with a trick hip and no idea what to do with his life. He takes a few weeks walking along the Welsh coast to get his head on straight. Kevin Davies is getting lonelier and lonelier in his cottage on the edge of the sea, kept company by his cats and a friendly flock of crows. What happens when the two men hunker down together to wait out a wild March gale?

When Skies Are Gray – because age-gap, stubbornness and drama-queenery

The first touch had lit a fire inside him hot enough to burn his sense away. The first time they’d kissed, Madoc had known what it was like to be whole.

When Skies Are Gray by Ofelia Gränd

Levi Campbell made a huge mistake. He asked too much of his boyfriend, and when Madoc told him no, he rushed off and enlisted in the army. The army! Madoc Griffiths did the right thing when he let Levi go, he knows he did, but if it was the right thing, then why can’t he move on? When he hears Levi will be in Northfield on a two-week leave, he can think of nothing except seeing him again.

Pretend You Are for Five More Minutes – because I don’t even like the fake boyfriend trope, but I loved this book

“My fiancé?” Not that the idea didn’t make Henry warm and fuzzy all over. It did. Henry just didn’t know how this was going to work. Did Luke expect to pretend to be engaged all night long? And then keep the charade going even after tonight?

Pretend You Are for Five More Minutes by K.S. Murphy

Henry Kato needs a date for his office party and asks his best friend, Luke, who he just happens to be in love with, to be his plus one. What Henry doesn’t expect is for Luke to blurt out to one of Henry’s annoying co-workers that they’re engaged. Do they have what it takes to convince everyone that they’re engaged or will they burn up in smoke before the night even gets started?

Book Recommendations

Favorite Books of 2021

According to my Goodreads statistics, I read and listened to 140 books in 2021. That’s not the whole truth, because as usual I’ve read tons of fanfic – almost everything I read in December when I was sick was fanfic – so a conservative estimate is probably double that number, but likely even more.

I’ve read a few really bad books, lots of average ones, and a few fantastic ones. And it’s the fantastic ones I want to talk about today. Below is ten of my favorite reads this year. It’s not all of them – K.L. Noone’s books could probably fill an entire top ten by themselves – but it’s the best of the best. My five-star reads that should’ve gotten six or more stars if possible.

The books wasn’t necessarily published in 2021; the criteria is that I read and loved them last year. (The book titles below are links to Amazon, should you want to buy any of them)

E-books

  • I’ve yet to read a Roan Parrish book I don’t like, but Raze might be my favorite (gushed about it here). I both read it and listened to it, and the narration really did the book justice. I love the main characters, I love how deeply emotional the book is, I love everything about it. Ten stars.
  • A Mended Man is number 4 in the Men of Halfway House series (I wrote about it here). It’s funny how the blurb didn’t speak to me at all, and then it ended up being my second favorite book of the series.
  • One Night in London is fabulous, there’s no other word for it. One night, three couples, lots of drama. I freaking adored it, as evidenced by this blog post.
  • If you like ordinary guys falling in love, if you like quiet romances, Britishness, and tea, Eight Acts is just the book for you. I love all those things, as I told you about here.
  • Change of Plans might have been my most anticipated book of the year (here’s the proof) and it didn’t disappoint. More drama for the poor princes, but I think they definitely have their HEA now.
  • The Dragon Next Door is a very contemporary, dragon-free story despite its name. It’s quirky and lighthearted and it made me smile (read more here).

Audiobooks

  • I started listening to Let There Be Light because it was available in my audiobook subscription app, and I’m really happy I gave it a try. It’s beautifully written and I adored it, despite it being sports related (I wrote about it here).
  • NR Walker is one of my favorite authors, and I freaking loved Upside Down. If not even miscommunication between the characters can get me to dislike the book, nothing can! (read more here.)
  • Without You was another one of the books that I listened to because it was available in my audiobook subscription. And I can listen to it on repeat because the narrators. The narrators!! (I gushed about the narrators here)
  • And finally Ranger. A book I’d already eyeball read and liked well enough, but when I learned that one of my favorite narrators narrated the audiobook, I decided to spend an Audible credit on it, and I am not sorry. John Solo elevated that book from good to stellar (and made me cry when going to work) and if you’re gonna read this book, I really, really recommend the audio version.

That was my ten favorites of 2021. Tell me about something great you read last year!

Book Recommendations

5 Books to Look Forward to in December

December is right around the corner and I actually have a bunch of days off from the Day Job around Christmas, so I’m in the process of filling up my virtual book shelf so I have something to read when I can spend my days on the couch in front of the fire, drinking tea immersed in a good book.

There are five upcoming JMS Books releases I have my eye on, and I thought I’d share, if you’re also on the lookout for something to read.

  • The Scent of Pine is Holly Day’s 12th release this year (wohoooo, such great work my friend) and it sounds like a lot of fun, and the MCs sound like they’re the kind of quirky characters Holly writes so well.
  • December with Peppermint is a sequel to October by Candlelight that I read and loved and gushed about here. And you know I’m a huuuuuge fan of K.L. Noone so I can’t wait to get my greedy hands on this one.
  • The Music Box by Kassandra Lea is a re-release that I’ve read and loved before but I’ve never spoken about it because it was released by Dreamspinner Press. As you may know DSP has a history of not paying their authors, so I’ve been reluctant to promote them. So I’m extra happy to see this book being released by another press so I can finally talk about it, because it’s awesome.
  • I’ve had the good fortune to read an early version of Yule Be Naughty by my dear friend Kris T. Bethke. It’s a tale of kinky shifters, something we definitely need in December as opposed to all the wholesome family fun we’re supposed to engage in 🙂
  • Ellie Thomas is rapidly making her way into my list of favorite authors, so I really look forward to A Midwinter Night’s Magic. She had me at “the guests are expected to take part in a recital of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Christmas Day” in the blurb, because I adoooore A Midsummer Night’s Dream. So adding this to my cart is a no-brainer.

Doesn’t that sound like a lovely stack of books to read on my lazy days off in December?

Tell me, what releases are you looking forward to?