Monthly Archives: October 2021

Review: The Party Crasher by Sophie Kinsella

Book cover Party Crasher by Sophie Kinsella

I’m a longtime reader of Sophie Kinsella. I recognize she is not everyone’s cup of tea but in general, I find her books to be fun. Unfortunately, the last title she wrote just didn’t work for me. But, I am very pleased to say that The Party Crasher reminds me of classic Kinsella in all the good ways!

Effie is on the outs with her family after she refuses to attend the house leaving party that her father’s girlfriend is putting on. She cannot stand Krista and she is still mad at her parents for getting a divorce to begin with. (I know this all sounds kind of juvenile, but bear with me.) However, when Effie learns that her beloved Russian nesting dolls may not be forgotten, she “stealthily” sneaks into the family part. Only, it is far from stealthy. Her sister, her brother, and Effie’s ex-boyfriend all know she is there. It becomes a comedy of errors as Effie tries to search for the dolls and avoid detection by her father and Krista.

The bulk of this story takes place over the course of one evening and into the morning. Though Effie starts off as a rather juvenile twenty-something, I really connected with her by the end of the book. I thought she matured rather nicely honestly. She learns quite a bit about her family as she attempts to avoid being found. Both her sister and her brother, who Effie considered herself fairly close to, have secrets, interests, and dramas of their own. Effie begins to see that even the perfect marriage she imagined between her father and her “Mimi” (not her birth mother) was far from idyllic.

There is a sweet love story as Effie reunites with her ex-boyfriend and discovers some of his personal demons. This is not the main part of the story by any means but it is a sweet romance nonetheless. I always find Sophie Kinsella in general balances just enough romantic elements with the rest of the story to keep me intrigued and that remains the case with this book.

As I said, Effie definitely begins the book as someone it would be easy to scorn. She seems like she only wants the rose-colored glasses version of the world which as readers know, is not always possible. On the other hand, sometimes wounds from family are the most difficult to heal, especially when Effie thought she was so tight with her family. She has a lot to learn and I really liked the place she found herself in by book’s end. Her connections, especially with her siblings, felt much more genuine. Less of trying to hide behind a façade and more like they finally are willing to share even the hard stuff with each other.

Also, Krista is not the person Effie first believes either. I was glad Sophie Kinsella did not make her the stereotypical younger woman dating an older man. There was a bit more to Krista than meets the eye!

If you enjoy Sophie Kinsella’s books, this book is a winner. It’s one of her best efforts in recent books. It has the comfort re-read quality that I associate with a few of Kinsella’s titles (My Not So Perfect Life is my most recent favorite of her books). The Party Crasher could be a fun introduction to Sophie Kinsella for new readers too as the book is fast-paced and quirky but with relatable family dynamics and drama.

Thank you to the publisher for an early galley of this book. Party Crasher is available now.

Review: Affliction by J.L. Stray


Honestly, I wanted to like this book. Instead, I just found it really rather boring. I did not find the voices of Mia and Terry particularly distinctive. While the two characters have decent chemistry, I just did not find their love story compelling hard as I tried. There is a suspense angle built in but it left me feeling very meh. I do not put the fault of this on the author. I’ve just been in a reading funk and I think this book hit that particularly badly right now. I’m sure there is an audience for this story. Though I do stand by my thoughts that the voices of Mia and Terry really could have been one viewpoint given how little they stood out as different characters to me.

Affliction is available now! Maybe this is a book you’re willing to take a chance on. And if it’s available in Kindle Unlimited, I say give it a shot.



Release Date: October 10


~He wants me to remember and I want to forget he ever existed. The past holds too much pain.~




He left me with a simple, “I’m sorry I can’t.”




Now he’s back. And he’s everywhere. Showing up in all the places that we frequented, and invading the newly created normal I made for myself when he left me. His expertise has even been sought at my company, Shoegasm. Making it impossible to breathe without thinking of him and what could have been.




Terry should have stayed gone, I can’t be with him. Ghosts from the past, who afflicted so much pain, are back. And I can’t go down that road again, knowing Terry could end up hurt. This time it’s me who has to protect him.


Grab Your Copy Here!
Meet J.L. Stray
J.L. Stray has always enjoyed reading books and writing stories.
Finally, she gathered up enough courage to publish one herself. 
A former Policy Specialist and current Consultant, she spends any extra moment she has writing, outlining and scheming her next book. 
Raised in a small town in Pennsylvania, she graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Public Policy. Most days she uses one of those degrees in either her career or dealing with her children. 


J.L. lives with her husband in that same small town, where they raise their three very active children, who always have them at a diamond, field or court.
She is a lover of books, shoes, beaches, and a strong drink. 
Connect with J.L. Stray
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Cover Reveals! The Reindeer Falls Collection volume 2 by Jana Aston



Are you ready to head back to Reindeer Falls?

Jana Aston is putting the ho ho ho back in Christmas with her return to Reindeer Falls with 3 all new stories coming this November!!! Check out these magical covers and get your hot cocoas ready to get lost in a Christmas wonderland!






Release Date: November 4th




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My name is Ryan Sheppard and I don’t care about Christmas. I’m only returning to my over-the-top Christmas-themed hometown to sell the house I inherited from my late uncle so I can get back to the city and the promotion I’m chasing at work.

Unfortunately, there’s a flaw in my plan.

Because according to the town Christmas cop, there’s a moratorium on selling houses during December. She says it’s bad for the aesthetic. She’s also slapping an alarming number of tickets on my front door. For being in violation of holiday décor. And I swear on Rudolph himself, one is for ‘unsportsmanlike Christmassing.’

To top it all off, this Christmas cop looks like a red-headed elf.

A sexy red-headed elf…






Release Date: November 11th




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My name is Jake Sheppard and I’m ambivalent about Christmas and the Christmas-themed town I grew up in. But when I find out my late uncle left me an old barn and acres of land, the decision to return home to build my dream golf course is an easy one.

Imagine my surprise when I arrive and find out I have a squatter.

An incredibly sexy squatter, with wavy blonde hair, green eyes, a free spirit… and a herd of goats.

Lexi hates my guts. Apparently evicting a non-paying non-tenant and her goats weeks before Christmas is grounds for war.

Except Lexi’s version of war includes flinging her clothing at me and, as it turns out, I might be in way over my head with this girl…





Release Date: November 18th




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My name is Carter Sheppard and I actually like Christmas and my Christmas-themed hometown of Reindeer Falls. In fact, when I learn I have to return home in order to collect an inheritance—my uncle’s dog—it puts life into perspective for me.

Sure, playing professional baseball is great. But it won’t last forever and every player needs a long-term game plan.

And I just found mine. Wrapped up in the feisty, bespectacled package of the town librarian.

Unfortunately, she thinks I’m a player in all aspects of the word, but I’ve got a plan to win her over. Starting with a fake engagement…





About the Author:

Jana Aston likes cats, big coffee cups and books about billionaires who deflower virgins. She wrote her debut novel while fielding customer service calls about electrical bills, and she’s ever grateful for the fictional gynecologist in Wrong that readers embraced so much she was able to make working in her pajamas a reality. Jana’s novels have appeared on the NYT, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists, some multiple times. She likes multiples.



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