Book Review: The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart

Publication Date:  Sept. 7, 2021 


A romance develops as a detective partners with a lonely-hearts columnist to solve a murder mystery.

London, 1885

Amelie Hampton is a hopeless romantic, which makes her the perfect columnist to answer lonely heart letters in The Marriage Gazette. When Amelie plays matchmaker with two anonymous lonely hearts, she also decides to secretly observe the couple’s blind date. To her surprise, the man who appears for the rendezvous is Harold Radcliffe—a grieving widower and a member of Amelie’s book club.

Police detective Michael Baker has been struggling ever since his best friend and brother-in-law died in the line of fire. Because he knows the dangers of his job, he has vowed never to marry and subject a wife and family to the uncertainty of his profession. But when he meets Miss Hampton, he is captured by her innocence, beauty, and her quick mind.

When a woman’s body is pulled from the river, Michael suspects the woman’s husband—Harold Radcliffe—of foul play. Amelie refuses to believe that Harold is capable of such violence but agrees to help, imagining it will be like one of her favorite mystery novels. Her social connections and clever observations prove an asset to the case, and Amelie is determined to prove Mr. Radcliffe’s innocence. But the more time Amelie and Michael spend together, the more they trust each other, and the more they realize they are a good team, maybe the perfect match.

They also realize that Mr. Radcliffe is hiding more than one secret, and when his attention turns toward Amelie, Michael knows he must put an end to this case before the woman he loves comes to harm.

My Review:

This book was a delight! From the beginning with it’s romantic advice to the interactions of the romantic pairing, this book had me laughing. It also had a villain with a dastardly plan that needed to be thwarted. I highly recommend this book.

I received an ARC and wish to thank Shadow Mountain and the author for bringing us such an awesome story.

Let’s Chat

When I said this book was a delight. I do mean it. I had started reading this other detective book first, because it had caught my eye and the Detective shared my first name and seeing it in books is rare. The reviews had been good. However, the language was leaving much to be desired. As the book progressed, the swearing (f bombs) got worse. I don’t like being bombarded like that. (I can’t wait for the day that there is a filter you can use on an ebook reader that will black out certain content and you can simply click on it with your finger if you want to see it or not.) After a few chapters, I had had it and opted to ditch that book and picked up The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart.

This was just what I needed it. I read long into the nights as I drank in this marvel. I even filled my husband in on the story was we spent time together before he had to to go work.

The leading lady is Amelie Hampton. She is a romantic at heart, and dreams big. She lives in a happy optimistic bubble regarding romance and love. She writes romance advice. Michael Baker is a cynical detective, and Amelie chips away at his shield as she helps him solve a murder. I won’t say much more than this: read this book! The advice the opens many a chapter will surely delight you as the main event unfolds.

Book Review: XOXO by Axie Oh

Release Date: 13 Jul 2021


Jenny’s never had much time for boys, K-pop, or really anything besides her dream of being a professional cellist. But when she finds herself falling for a K-pop idol, she has to decide whether their love is worth the risk. A modern forbidden romance wrapped in the glamorous and exclusive world of K-pop, XOXO is perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Maurene Goo.

Jenny didn’t get to be an award-winning, classically trained cellist without choosing practice over fun. That is, until the night she meets Jaewoo. Mysterious, handsome, and just a little bit tormented, Jaewoo is exactly the kind of distraction Jenny would normally avoid. And yet, she finds herself pulled into spending an unforgettable evening wandering Los Angeles with him on the night before his flight home to South Korea.

With Jaewoo an ocean away, there’s no use in dreaming of what could have been. But when Jenny and her mother move to Seoul to take care of her ailing grandmother, who does she meet at the elite arts academy she’s just been accepted to? Jaewoo.

Finding the dreamy stranger who swept you off your feet in your homeroom is one thing, but Jaewoo isn’t just any student. Turns out, Jaewoo is a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world. And like most K-pop idols, Jaewoo is strictly forbidden from dating anyone.

When a relationship means not only jeopardizing her place at her dream music school but also endangering everything Jaewoo’s worked for, Jenny has to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love. XOXO is a new romance that proves chasing your dreams doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your heart, from acclaimed author Axie Oh. 

My Review

Delightful book.

To me, it showed that what truly matters is universal. It crosses cultural boundaries. These are: Family. Friends. Hope. Love. Themes that I love in books.

The story is fast past, and does give you enough to feel complete. But it also makes you want to read about the other characters.

I received an ARC from the publisher. (Thank you!)

Let’s Chat Books

Now I’m going to bring up other books. (After all, this is a book blog. You might want to check these out too! ) This book reminded me of some other books I’ve read. For one, for a girl who is into classical music who runs into a successful pop star, there is Buxton Peaks by Julie Spencer. In XOXO, Jenny Go is an aspiring cellist. The pop star is Jaewoo. Just like in Buxton Peaks, Jenny has no knowledge of who the celebrity is. Yet, during the course of meeting him, and falling in love with him, she’ll come to know and love his music. This is probably a common theme in celebrity romance novels.

As for Kpop/Kdrama books, I thought of Jennie Bennett’s charming romances. In XOXO, Jae Woo runs away for a moment and meets our female leading lady In Runaway Pop Star, we have the same thing happening. And I enjoyed how this book made me think of other good books I have read.

For traveling to Korea, and a short whirlwind romance, I also thought of Flower Boy Tour Guide by Shannon Kent.

Again, these are delightful books. If you like Axie Oh, you’ll enjoy these too.

Remember, LOVE is UNIVERSAL! It transcends cultures. It is a powerful uniting force.

Georgana’s Secret


1811, HMS Deborah

A Regency romance on the high seas.

As a young girl, Georgana Woodall dreamed of beautiful dresses, fancy balls, and falling in love. However, when her mother dies, she cannot face a future under the guardianship of her abusive grandmother and instead chooses to join her father on his ship disguised as his cabin boy, “George.”

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication to His Majesty’s Royal Navy claiming his full attention. Determined to prove himself to his new captain, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. When he sees the captain’s cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he immediately puts a stop to it and takes the “boy” under his wing. After discovering a number of clues, Dominic deduces that George is really a woman. Knowing that revealing the cabin boy’s secret would put her in serious danger from the rowdy crew, Dominic keeps silent and hides his growing affection for her.

Georgana is quickly losing her heart to Dominic’s compassion and care but is convinced nothing can come of her affection. She cannot continue to live her life on the sea, and having already missed too many seasons in London, her chances of being welcomed back into polite society and finding a suitable husband have slipped away.

Georgana’s Secret is about two hearts yearning to find a safe harbor, and possibly, a lasting love.

My Review

Loved this book, from the beginning to the end.

This book has it all, adventure, romance, mystery, and intrigue. And best of all, it has a happy every after.    I’ve found a new author to watch.

Thank you Shadow Mountain for the ARC.

Review: Kit and Elizabeth





I enjoyed the relationships Elizabeth  had with Lady Walmsley and Kit.


I received an ARC via netgalley.


Snowflake Kisses (A Kpop Romance)

Vee was too sensible to believe in love at first sight. Attractive guys and great personalities were not mutually exclusive…until she met Yangbin. Maybe it was his dimples, or his broad shoulders, or maybe it was simply that he was adorable. Whatever it was, Yangbin stood out to Vee like no one ever had.

She tried to brush him off. Forget about their one meeting and pretend she wouldn’t care if she never saw him again, but when he showed up working at the hotel where Vee was spending Christmas vacation, she couldn’t help but think fate had played a part.

She still didn’t want to believe in love, but life had other plans.


My  Review:

Snowflake Kisses is an enjoyable romantic comedy about first love, with the promise of lasting love. It has a nice fairy tale with a happy ever after feeling.

And it has Christmas as it’s backdrop, which is why I am featuring it today.

As Kpop grows in global popularity, I think we can expect to see more books like this. Although improbable, it is not impossible to think you might meet a Kpop star in the United States. So grab your copy today, sit back, pull up a chair, and prepare yourself for a delightful afternoon of reading.

And don’t forget the hot chocolate.

Maybe even listen to some Kpop.

All Hearts Come Home for Christmas


Christmas at Falstone Castle – Sarah M. Eden – The Dowager Duchess of Kielder eagerly anticipates spending Christmas with her son and his family. Though their relationship has been strained, the duchess is determined to heal the chasm. Even with the help of the widowed local vicar, her plan will take a Christmas miracle. But during this magical season, anything is possible . . . even two second chances for love.

The Heart of Christmas – Anita Stansfield – When a chance meeting brings together a gentle seamstress and a widowed banker, each lonely soul finds a first hint of hope. As their lives become entwined, it will take Christmas spirit to guide a broken family to love and healing.

’Tis the Season to Be Daring – Esther Hatch Elizabeth – Davenport has had quite enough of the London Season. Determined to evade a parade of unsuitable suitors, she seeks help from the one gentleman who has no regard for Society’s rules. All of Society knows Lord Hawthorne is not interested in marriage, yet he cannot deny Miss Davenport’s unique charm. And as the Christmas season works its magic, their charade begins to feel less like playacting and more like love.

The Christmas Dress – Joanna Barker – Seamstress Nell Addington is thrilled when her childhood friend Jacob Hammond commissions a dress for his sister. But when Nell realizes her feelings for Jacob run far deeper than friendship, an unexpected snowstorm—and some holiday cheer—may convince them both that love is worth fighting for.


My Review:

What a lovely collection of stories. It can sometimes be hard to find a collection of short romance stories that are free from vulgarities, so it was with delight that I saw this. A must read for a wintry Christmas night.

I was given an  ARC from the publisher via netgalley.

The Candy Cane Caper

The theft of a friend s priceless, family-legacy Christmas ornaments brings amateur detective and culinary expert, Sadie Hoffmiller, back on the case in a new standalone cozy mystery.

This Christmas, Sadie Hoffmiller Cunningham is making a list and checking it twice. For the first time since she and Pete married five years ago, their combined families are gathering for the holidays in Fort Collins, Colorado, for a party that would make Santa and Mrs. Claus proud.

She just has to bake the famous Cunningham Candy Cane Cake, make sure the looming snowstorm doesn’t derail everyone’s travel plans, and oh, yes, solve one teensy-tiny mystery before the big day.

At ninety-four and nearly blind, Mary, Sadie’s friend and neighbor, knows this will be her last Christmas. When Sadie learns that someone has stolen antique Christmas ornaments from Mary’s tree, she vows to find the thief, no matter what. The ornaments had been appraised at more than $40,000, but they were worth even more to Mary, who had intended to bequeath them to her great-granddaughter, Joy, as a final gift.

With Pete in Arizona wrapping up a case of his own, it’s up to Sadie to question the residents of Nicholas House, where Mary lives, and deduce who had the means and the motive to steal heirloom ornaments during what should be the most wonderful time of the year.

When stories of other thefts surface, Sadie feels like she’s creating a “naughty” list that could rival Santa’s. Identifying the thief, recovering the ornaments, and restoring them to Mary’s tree in time will take a Christmas miracle and maybe a few extra-special cookies.

My Review:

This little gem is a cozy mystery that I was given an ARC via Netgalley from the publisher.

If you want a little mystery with your Christmas cheer, check out this book. It will have you laughing. It will have you crying. This is a book about family, faith, and love.

Review: Waiting for Fitz

Addies loves nothing more than curling up on the couch with her dog, Duck, and watching The Great British Baking Show with her mom. It’s one of the few things that can help her relax when her OCD kicks into overdrive. She counts everything. All the time. She can’t stop. Rituals and rhythms. It’s exhausting.

When Fitz was diagnosed with schizophrenia, he named the voices in his head after famous country singers. The adolescent psychiatric ward at Seattle Regional Hospital isn’t exactly the ideal place to meet your soul mate, but when Addie meets Fitz, they immediately connect over their shared love of words, appreciate each other’s quick wit, and wish they could both make more sense of their lives.

Fitz is haunted by the voices in his head and often doesn’t know what is real. But he feels if he can convince Addie to help him escape the psych ward and get to San Juan Island, everything will be okay. If not, he risks falling into a downward spiral that may keep him in the hospital indefinitely.

Waiting for Fitz is a story about life and love, forgiveness and courage, and learning what is truly worth waiting for.

My Review:

With the recent posts on social media about mental health, and especially what OCD is and what it isn’t, I thought I would revisit this book. I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley.

This book took me awhile to get into.  I almost gave up. I’m glad I didn’t. This book is worth the read, especially after I learned more about what OCD is. OCD isn’t the simple disorder people joke about.  (You like to keep your pens grouped by color? Paperclips organized by size and color? That’s not clinically OCD if it’s because you like things organized to a fault. But if you organize it every day in your office as a ritual before you work because if you don’t calamity will befall you or the office, that is OCD. )

Addie has OCD. Part of why this book was hard for me to get in to was you really get into Addie’s head. It’s very internalized.  Dealing with mental illness in your family is difficult enough. You often feel like you are walking on eggshells, not wanting to trigger them. Seeing it from the patients side was also hard for me.  It gave me new understanding and renewed empathy.

Now, other aspects might be hard to believe.  But this is a work of fiction, and is also a coming of age story about Addie.  If you can suspend your disbelief about children being able to escape the hospital,  it’s worth it.


Monsters and Mythical Creatures from around the World

monsters and mythical creatures


Monsters and Mythical Creatures from Around the World will be available November 28, 2019.


I received an ARC via Netgalley.