HSG Top Reads of 2017

Greetings Readers!

The end of the year is upon us and 2018 is only days away from arrival. I sound super upbeat, right? Well, if not… I am! I can’t wait to see what the new year brings and am anxious for better days.  To gear up for those better days all the ladies of Through Heart Shaped Glasses thought we would bring you our top reads of 2017.

Jennifer’s Top Pick of 2017: Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance

I picked up this book originally because I thought it was an American dream story: poor boy pulls himself out of poverty. Yes, it was that but much more. Fascinating and raw insight on a part of American culture that is often overlooked or pigeonholed. My attention was captured from the very first paragraph of the introduction all the way to the very last sentence of the acknowledgment page. Read this book in a weekend, which is impressive because it’s not a short or quick read. 
If you’re looking for a non-fiction read, I highly recommend
Amazon~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads

Marin’s Top Pick of 2017: Secrets of Nanreath Hall, by Alix Rickloff

I picked up this book at a publisher event at the RWA National Conference in July. I’d never heard of the author, but the book sounded interesting. I read the entire thing on the plane home from Orlando. I have since told anyone who will listen about this book–I loved it that much.

Set during WWII in Cornwall, Secrets of Nanreath Hall tells the story of a nurse who is assigned to a military hospital in her late mother’s ancestral home. Her mother had defied convention and run off with a painter and had never made peace with her estranged family. Rickloff weaves past and present in a beautifully written and complex book that explores the intricacies of family, heritage, duty, and love. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Her related book, The Way to London, just released, and it promises to be as engaging as the first.

Amazon~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads

Keri Kelly’s Top Rom Com Pick(s) for 2017:  Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Intrigued by the modern retelling of my favorite classic, Pride and Prejudice, and the literary praise for Sittenfeld, I opened Eligible with high expectations. The novel lived up to the hype. Sittenfeld stays true to the classic while incorporating twenty-first-century tidbits. Fun, lively, and light, Eligible is the perfect read for fans of Pride and Prejudice and Romantic Comedies.
Amazon~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads

Honorable Mention: My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
My Not So Perfect Life is classic Kinsella – funny, timely, and smart.
Amazon~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads

Beth’s Top Pick 2017: The Purest Hook by Scarlett Cole
The Purest Hook was my first MC Romance ever. I went into it with some trepidation. I didn’t want too much Sons of Anarchy!! But I was pleasantly surprised. The characters drew me in. The longer time frame of the story created depth, much like an old Nora Roberts novel, which I love. My reading list was short this year, so there wasn’t a ton to choose from, but I’m still a woman who loves her romance, wants something to make her heart pound, and values a good story with a Happily Ever After! Here’s to a New Year of MORE READING! Cheers!
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads

Lori’s Top Pick for 2017: A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

This book is so sweet and funny. Not sweet in the no sex way–because the slow, slow burn that this couple has is rewarded with some steamy, emotional love scenes. It’s sweet because the heroine is so earnest and giving–I think I fell in love with her along with the hero. The descriptions (setting and food, specifically) are rich and generous. And the ending–no spoilers–is right up my alley with the family hijinks and the hunky hero fighting for the less-than-sophisticated heroine. I recommend it for devout romance readers and those who are maybe making their first foray into romancelandia.

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads

Landra’s Top Pick for 2017: The Soldier’s Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian

While this isn’t the first historical M/M romance ever published, it is the first from Avon. This book was a pleasant surprise. I love historical romance, call me the head junkie of such regency fare, and I love Avon authors. So, I had to give this book a chance. Sebastian does an amazing job of writing historical romance with characters who don’t hate themselves for being LGBT. In fact, these characters accept themselves as they are, even in a challenging and difficult world. These books become more about the situations and lives of the characters, the conflict driven by class differences and not their sexual orientation. The entire series is fabulous. For a person who doesn’t typically purchase M/M, I believe Sebastian has created a fabulous, tasteful world with characters I can adore.

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads 

Honorable Mention: Say Goodbye to Hollywood by Jenny Trout

This is a fabulous first person POV (which I am normally not a fan of) and a fine take on some satire with a little BDSM sprinkled in. It’s a good story that pokes fun at all the hubbub and crazy that came with 50SOG and not the least bit preachy. I’ll be re-reading this one for sure.

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads

Nicola’s Top Pick of 2017: Year One by Nora Roberts

This was a late-in-the-year read for me, but I absolutely loved it, and it kept me totally engrossed right to the end. I love books that mix up the genres, and Year One definitely does that. It tells the story of “The Doom” a deadly pandemic disease that decimates the human race and is somehow tied to magic, both dark and light. It’s told from multiple POVs, and while not a romance, there were several romance strands threaded through out the book. I can’t wait for book 2!

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads 

About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

Merry Christmas!

If you aren’t finished with your shopping, you might be in trouble.

But there is something poignant and exciting about heading out that last day. It makes me think that the unexpected can happen. It makes me think of old movies… holiday surprises… and romance.

Silly, I know.

I think of Cary Grant in An Affair to Remember. Or, David Duchovny in Return to Me. Romantic characters who raced to get to The One.

It makes me think of chance meetings at old diners in the city…

And Fate.

Let the magic of Christmas and the spirit of Love overwhelm you this year!

Smile at a stranger. Put an extra quarter in that bucket. Call a friend. Leave an extra tip.

Shed light in a dark world!

With Love,

PS Don’t miss out on my next books! Visit my webpage to find me online and to sign up for my newsletter. <3

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

How to Cope With Holiday Frazzle

I’m so stressed. On top of the holidays, I’m preparing for a sale next month of my first book, Infamous, and the release of the first book in my Viva Las Vegas trilogy in February. Compounding that, all three books will be released within four months.

I’m stressed.

But, then I realized we’re all stressed right now. The holidays are enough to push anyone over the edge. Presents to budget for (and then wrap–who has the time?), holiday dinners to make or attend, family members who maybe aren’t people you’d really rather deal with. The list is as long as Santa’s naughty list.

So, instead of just complaining about it (which I totally just did–sorry!), I thought I’d compile a list of things to instead of obsessing about what to buy your Uncle Mike.

  1. Color–Everyone seems to be doing it now. Adult coloring books are all the rage. If I had to recommend one, it would be Jenny Lawson’s You Are Here. She’s fabulous, her books are enlightening (though she drops the f-bomb more than a couple of times), and her drawings are enough to draw you in and make you forget for a moment that you. are. so. stressed. Plus, the American Art Therapy Association says that while it doesn’t replace therapy, it can reduce stress effectively.
  2. Practice gratitude–It’s so easy for us to succumb to the mountain of worry that the holidays bring. But, there are good things, too. We know that, of course, but knowing it and getting it are two different things. Say thank you or start a gratitude journal wherein you write down two or three things you’re grateful for each day. It really can make a difference.
  3. Live in the moment–At the end of the day, this is a time for family and memories. Don’t be so busy recording or taking pictures that you forget to just take a deep breath and enjoy the moment. Just bask in the warmth of the fire, or your kids not arguing, or baking with a family member. Just… let it wash over you.

I’m no expert, but for me, these are ways to let go of some of the anxiety I experience about the myriad of things I need to do. I hope they help you out, too.

P.S. If you’d like to know about sales or release dates, sign up for my newsletter here.

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

The End is Near…

Sounds so ominous right? But honestly, I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by. As soon as Thanksgiving hits, I immediately find myself in panic mode because it signals the end of the year is just around the corner. And every year it seems to come faster and faster. As I reflect back on the year I’ve had, I’m pleased with what it has brought me. I packed up and moved my boys and I to a small town in Utah and it has made a positive impact on all our lives. I mean, just look at that scenery…gorgeous!

I released a new book that I am in love with that is set around the holidays and introduces readers to my new fictional town of Serendipity, Texas. The characters in this series really speak to me and I can’t wait for the second book to come out.

I adopted two little fur babies and gave them a forever home. Kona was my first and she brought so much joy that when the opportunity to take in a another, I brought home Maui. They are a handful but so much fun!

All in all, it has been quite a successful year and I am thrilled to be where I am. It’s taken a long time for me to get to a point where I could say that. So tell me, how was your year? Share your proud moments…your accomplishments…your little thrills.

About Kinsey Corwin

Kinsey Corwin, a contemporary romance author who really is drawn to small town stories, beaches, and cowboys (I know, that is quite a mix). She is a single mom of amazing boys, a fan of kitchen experiments, a lover of country music, and a dreamer.

My Grown-Up Christmas TBR List

Hi, all! Jennifer here.

I don’t know about you, but I love READING Christmas books almost as much as I love WATCHING Christmas movies on TV this time of year! It just gets me in the spirit for the holidays.

There have been so many great choices of Christmas books I’ve seen on Goodreads and Instagram it’s hard to choose. But choose I did. Some of these books I bought in paperback and some are on my Kindle now waiting to be read.

So just in case you want to know what’s on my Christmas To-Be-Read List, I’ll share it with you now!

  1. Coming Home for Christmas by Jenny Hale — this is actually a Hallmark movie now. I haven’t watched it yet. I waiting to read the book first!
  2. Holiday Wishes by Jill Shalvis— this was recommended to me by one of our fellow authors here, so I downloaded it. Can’t wait!
  3. A Bramble House Christmas by CJ Carmichael— Ok, so this is a Hallmark movie too. But one I already watched and loved so I HAD to go and buy the book. 🙂
  4. An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne— love a good friends to lovers romance so I bought.

And if you happen to be looking for yet another holiday read, don’t forget to check out my book:

Wrong Brother, Right Match

Matchmaking guru Kennedy Pepperdine’s life is perfect. Perfect job. Perfect friends. Perfect boyfriend. Except…when she gets trapped in an elevator with a handsome stranger, she accidentally confesses a secret: maybe her perfect boyfriend, Justin, isn’t so perfect for her after all. But a matchmaker should be able to successfully match herself, right? Thankfully, she’ll never see the handsome stranger again. Until she heads home with Justin for the holidays and learns that the sexy stranger is none other than Justin’s older brother, Matt.
Matt Ellis is trying to be on his best behavior for his mother—it is Christmas, after all. But when he recognizes the beautiful woman from the elevator—the one he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about for months—his best behavior is being held by a thread. Matt’s always sacrificed for his family, and nothing is more important than their happiness, but the more time he spends around Kennedy, the more he wonders if her supposed “right match” might just be the wrong brother.

What Holiday books are on your To-Be-Read list?

 

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. 🙂

Tis the season… for thanks

The start of the holiday season as arrived, Heart Shaped Glasses Readers! It’s the peak time for shopping, stuffing oneself with delicious food, and gathering with loved ones. I’m already in the full swing and have consumed at least four different turkey dinners, pie (Pumpkin and Apple), and a variety of holiday themed side-dishes. I was told multiple times by my children that this is their favorite time of year and they begged and pleaded with me to hold off on unleashing the Christmas music until the day after Christmas.

If you’ve read my earlier posts through the year, you know that 2017 hasn’t been a fantastic year of celebration for me. It’s been a bit challenging, from the daily life and writing life perspectives. I’ve fought depression blues and learning a family member has dementia. That’s why I want to use this post to mention a few things I’m thankful for. There’s an plus in the small things:

  • My health
  • The ability to read
  • Friends, like my fellow authors on this blog and members of the Passionate Critters Critique Group.
  • Netflix – Stranger Things is something I’ve enjoyed immensely. Now, after binge watching both seasons in the course of a weekend I can finally check out the rest of it.
  • Afterglows Publishing – For giving my first full-length contemporary romance series a shot.
  • Red Robin – I’m a huge fan of their Tavern Tuesday special.

What are you thankful for?

Tell me in the comments and be automatically entered to win a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Anything counts, from being able to always find matching socks or celebrating 2 days. It’s the season of thanks and giving!

*Note: Contest only available to residents of the USA. Contest ends November 30th at 11:59pm PST and winner will be contacted via email to claim their prize.

About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

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