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Books We Can’t Wait to Share
     
 

Review by Michaela

Few authors have touched the lives of others to the extent that Dr. Elaine Aron has. Her ground-breaking research in the 1990s led her to identify the personal trait of high sensitivity, which she described in her classic international bestseller, THE HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON. Highly sensitive people feel things more deeply than others, may feel overwhelmed by excessive noise or activity, and need to balance time with others with time alone. Their high sensitivity enables them to quickly empathize with the feelings of others and live a rich emotional life. As parents, they can use their special trait to advantage in dealing with their children, with other parents, and with teachers—if they know how. Dr. Aron’s newest book, THE HIGHLY SENSITIVE PARENT, fills the need with thoughtful suggestions based on research and case histories.

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Review by Jackie

If you are a fan of historical romance, then Sabrina Jeffries needs no introduction. She is the reigning queen of the genre and she keeps getting better and better. If you aren’t a fan of historical romance or have never tried it, Sabrina’s Duke Dynasty series would be a fabulous place to start. It has everything: family drama, mystery, gorgeous period details, witty dialogue, and of course, plenty of romance. The series follows the children of an often widowed aristocrat in Regency England who are all searching for information about their fathers while learning to be a blended family in adulthood after having spent their childhoods apart. It has family drama of every stripe for every reader and it adds a lot of depth to the larger romances that we see in each book.

In The Bachelor, we get the story of Gwyn, a twin, and the daughter of the family. Hiding a secret, she has long been sheltered away at the family’s estate left longing for a season in London. When she is finally ready to make her debut in society, some past drama (you’ll have to read it to find out what!) causes fear that she won’t be safe in London, so the family’s groundskeeper, Joshua, a returning veteran of the Napoleonic Wars with demons of his own, is hired to protect Lady Gwyn in London. They already have some history and this bodyguard role soon turns to something more. But before they can find a happily ever after there are mysteries to be solved! Scandals to avoid! Demons to conquer! All this and more with Sabrina’s trademark wit and heart. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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Review by Lauren

Elves, magic, and mysteriously charming thieves…this book has EVERYTHING I love! How to Love Your Elf was an action–packed fast read that had me flipping the pages almost faster than my eyes could read the words. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but only a little one. This book is perfect for readers who want to get wrapped up in a fantastical world full of magic, and a big dash of romance that will take your breath away. Sorcha is a capable, stubborn, and strong Princess with a healthy dose of warrior attitude that makes her leap off the page. I’m always a sucker for a stubborn heroine who meets her match in a maybe not all–too–trustworthy scoundrel that can’t decide if he’s infuriated or infatuated by her antics. If you’re looking for something that will have you entertained from start to finish, this is absolutely the book for you.

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Review by Elizabeth

Who doesn’t love a good bodyguard romance—not to mention one set in Regency England amid glamorous balls and charming scenery? Sabrina Jeffries’ latest in her Duke Dynasty series brings us smoldering hot tension between Lady Gwyn Drake and her protector, Major Joshua Wolfe. When a former suitor of Lady Gwyn’s threatens to go public with their scandalous affair from years ago, independent Gwyn knows she must take matters into her own hands to save her reputation and that of her family. The trouble is: how to pay off the rogue without her family knowing, and in the midst of the tumult of her London debut, no less? Not to mention, she’ll have to find a reason to dodge Major Joshua Wolfe, assigned by Gwyn’s duke brother to protect her from the very scoundrel Gwyn is determined to handle on her own. A conundrum indeed, especially as it becomes clear that the more time Gwyn and Joshua spend together, the harder it is to deny the attraction between them.

I loved Gwyn and Joshua’s repartee and the way that their delight in tormenting one another slowly reveals itself as real emotion and longing. Jeffries employs her many talents to create a sparkling heroine and a ruggedly captivating hero who are each also struggling to overcome their own personal demons. The intrigue of Gwyn’s malevolent former suitor brings a further thrilling element that will keep you turning the pages. Add in a sensual archery lesson and evocative love scenes, and I dare you to resist The Bachelor.

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Review by Norma

Author Christin Brecher made my cozy editor dreams come true with her debut novel Murder’s No Votive Confidence, the first in the Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery series.

I’d wanted to read a cozy mystery series set in a candle shop for the longest time, and Christin’s delightful (pun–intended) take on the genre surprised me in the best possible way with its humor, heart, and handy candle making tips. Her follow–up Murder Makes Scents is no exception, as candle maker and Wick Flame store owner Stella Wright uncovers a murder mystery centered on a missing vial of perfume. I hope cozy fans have as much fun reading Stella’s adventures as I did editing them!

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Review by Kristin

Reading Hart’s Hollow Farm feels like opening a book and closing the world around you (no small feat on a New York City subway). As soon I stepped into the pages of Kristen’s world, I was immediately transfixed with how connected I felt to her character. A mom who couldn’t save her only child, a woman who hasn’t let her heart feel again since, Kristen’s journey to healing goes as deep as the soil of Hart’s Hollow Farm.

As soon as she meets 73–year–old firecracker Emmy I knew neither women would be the same. Both of their losses run deep and they know the pain they carry will never heal completely, but they also understand life is meant to be lived. Enter Mitch, Emmy’’s hunky yet sensitive son and my favorite part of this book. Kristen and Mitch are undeniably drawn to each other and the slow burn of their relationship had me hooked from the start. This book is a beautiful ode to the strength of community and the love a family can have for each other, whether that family is held together by blood or choice.

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Review by Esi

Have you ever read a book so realistic and all-consuming that you start to forget it’s not your actual life?

That’s how I felt when I read Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn. I wanted to hang out with Meg Mackworth and friends, watching movies and sharing secrets. (I would also love to hire Meg to make me a planner that would finally organize my life). Watching Meg’s relationships—romantic and non—unfold over the course of the book felt like visiting with a great friend, the kind who you can go months without talking to, but then you get together and it’s as if no time had passed at all.

Of course, the care and detail taken with the location and descriptions just build on the realism. New York City springs off the page, so be careful if you’re the kind to make impulsive travel plans (or especially if you’re hungry, because there is a falafel description that makes my mouth water even now).

The story of Meg Mackworth, handletterer extraordinaire, and the decision she makes that upends not just her life, but that of buttoned-up, reserved, deeply thoughtful (and extremely handsome) Reid Sutherland, will make you laugh and cry, yes. But it will also make you think, make you dream, make you grateful for the people around you. Visiting the little world Clayborn has created makes it clear how wonderful all of our own little worlds are.

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Review by Ann

Here’s a portrait of someone you think you know:

She told her youngest child the quarter under her bed came from The Tooth Fairy. She told her boss the project was almost done, but she hasn’t even started it. Someone in her friendship circle is a bully, but she won’t speak up. She told her cousin with the ugly dog how cute she thinks it is. She bragged to someone about her Master’s Degree — but she only has a Bachelor’s.

What do you think of this person now?

In an era of fake news and rampant lying, we hungrily clamor for beacons of integrity. We protest when we see we’re not getting the truth. We dump partners who withhold it. We insist our children practice it. We’re hurt when our friends don’t divulge it. Brands tell lies and untruths in broad daylight on social media. But when it comes to our own behavior, we transgress more than we’d like to admit. Out of diplomacy, kindness, sympathy, and privacy we don’t always tell the truth — it gets hyped, inflated, or just omitted altogether. Yet there’s an enormous value placed on integrity, trust, and honoring confidences.

These are all varying degrees of lies and deceptions — different types of lies serving different purposes, including lying to ourselves. The disconnect, author Judi Ketteler argues, is that we don’t acknowledge why we lie, the necessity of it, and how we criticize others who transgress using an entirely different set of standards.

Using her own life experiences as the launching point for a deeper discussion about the nuances and psychology of lying, Ketteler applies behavioral science research and expert advice from disciplines as varied as etiquette, evolutionary psychology, and philosophy. She shows that we need lies and are quite adept at it, while telling ourselves we are honest people and rushing to damn others with the same faults and behaviors. She breaks down our ambiguous relationship with truth and dishonesty, the white lies, the fudging, the painful “honest–at–all–costs” approach, whether secrets are lies — and unpacks some strange surprises she discovered in the world of self–deception research.

In the vein of books like Blink, The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty, The Power of Habit, and even Thinking Fast and Slow, this is a Big Think book about the motivations behind your thoughts and actions. In the end, Ketteler argues, the way to counter a deceptive world is work on becoming more honest with ourselves and aware of our own motivations. “Yesterday matters. But today is where you are. So start here.

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Review by Alex

As a self-proclaimed, obsessed, “Hamil-fan”, I’ve spent the last four years devouring documentaries and books on the Founding Fathers. The more I learned, the more I wondered about the role females played in the birth of our country.  So many women have been lost-in, and silenced-by, history. That’s where Susan Holloway Scott comes in.

A gorgeous blend of thoroughly researched fact and fiction, THE SECRET WIFE OF AARON BURR tells the story of Mary Emmons, an enslaved woman and her complicated relationship with infamous Revolutionary War hero, lawyer, and Vice President, Aaron Burr, best known for killing Alexander Hamilton one fateful day in 1804.

Strong, smart, and resourceful, Mary Emmons does what she can to survive in an oppressive world, quickly gaining the trust of her new “mistress” Theodosia Prevost. The bond between these women provides Mary with some comfort and companionship, but more importantly, ensures that Mary will continue to serve Theodosia instead of being sold to new “masters” when Theodosia weds Aaron Burr.

Burr is instantly drawn to Mary. Though the relationship between the two is complicated to say the least, Holloway has a gift for expertly depicting the dynamics of all three main characters, leaving the reader with a better understanding of how the relationships could exist in the first place. As Theodosia’s health fails, Burr and Emmons grow closer, eventually marrying in secret and having two children, who go on to have their own impact on American History.

We may never know more about the real Mary Emmons but The Secret Wife of Aaron Burr gives a voice to Mary and women like her. It’s a must-read for fans of the genre and lovers of all things Hamilton.

Speaking of which, be sure to check out I, Eliza Hamilton, Holloway’s take on the lives of Elizabeth Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton while you’re at it. Do not throw away your shot!

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