- Hope Gibbs
The new year is off and running, and this past month I’ve been busy writing, reading multiple books, working on my new adventure with Bookish Road Trip, and, most importantly, sitting on some very exciting news. I’m thrilled to FINALLY announce that WHERE THE GRASS GROWS BLUE has a release date—May 16, 2023! It will be available in paperback, eBook, and audio. Mark your calendars! In the next few weeks, I will be able to share another big announcement…my book cover reveal! Yay!
January was indeed a busy and thrilling time in our home. At the beginning of the new year, I celebrated my one year "Birthday" on social media—Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. It's been an amazing journey connecting with you, and I appreciate all the support. If you’re not following me on those platforms, click here. Let’s connect!
Then, I was able to let out a big sigh of relief. Though I'm not a huge "Dawg" fan myself since I prefer "Cats," I was so relieved the University of Georgia captured another National Football Championship. As the wife of a UGA grad and, more importantly, the proud momma of a current Bulldog, this means I will have peace and happiness in the house... until the fall, when the sky will once again be falling. Go Dawgs! Besides, Harley looks handsome in red.
Three days later, I hosted my first Author Take the Wheel interview for Bookish Road Trip with award-winning, Amazon Kindle best-selling author Karen E. Osborne. She was an absolute delight, and I adored her book, RECKONINGS. If you missed the interview, you can watch it again on Bookish Road Trip's Facebook page. Also, if you haven’t had the chance to join, you’re in luck. You can join here!
On February 9, 2023, I will be interviewing The Paper Lantern Writers to discuss their anthology, UNLOCKED. I have scheduled some talented authors with fabulous books for 2023. Stay tuned.
A week later, I joined a reading challenge. Do you participate in them? If so, I have just the one for you—the 2023 Bookish Road Trip Reading Challenge! Start your year off by joining one that will have you shouting, "BINGO!" each and every time you finish a book. Go to https://bookishroadtrip.com/reading-challenge-bingo/ and start your card today!
And finally, when I had free time, I worked on my second novel, ASHES TO ASHES. I’ve made it to the last chapter, and I’m pushing hard to finish before my line edits come back for WHERE THE GRASS GROWS BLUE. So, like I said, it’s been a busy but wonderful month.
New! Three things that I’m obsessed with in the month of January:
1). HBO's The Last of Us – This show has me intrigued. I love a good apocalypse story (just ask my poor husband, who must deal with my fascination with the genre), and this one has a hook that I can’t resist. Plus, Pedro Pascal is one of my favorite actors. This is a must for any television junkie.
2). Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup – I’ve made this several times in the month of January. Nothing warms your body and soul like it. Fresh thyme and chopped Italian parsley are my key ingredients. Maybe I’ll include my recipe in my next blog.
3). Pickleball – Don’t tell my husband or my tennis friends, but I’ve played it a few times this month and it’s kind of addictive. Plus, it brings our family together. My daughter and husband won a tournament on New Year’s Day.
Oh, and did I mention I read six books this month? I stumbled across some incredible ones in January. Each was different, fascinating, and I couldn’t put them down. Click on the tabs below for my reviews.
THE SIXTH WEDDING by Elin Hilderbrand
Of course, I wanted to start off my new year with one of my all-time favorite authors! Count me in for any opportunity to "spend" some time in Nantucket. THE SIXTH WEDDING is a follow-up to 28 Summers, which is one of the best Elin novels (in my opinion). If you haven’t read it, put it on your list immediately.
Set over Labor Day in 2023, Jake, Fray, Leland, and Cooper are all back on Nantucket for the weekend. Of course, there’s plenty of drama and twists along the way, not just from these four but from the "next" generation as well. This is a fun and fast read, which is perfect for Elin fans.
SPARE by Prince Harry
Throughout the years, I’ve kept up with the British Royal Family. As a nine-year-old, I watched in awe, through sleepy eyes, as Lady Diana walked down the aisle towards her prince. And with those same eyes, decades later, I shed tears when I heard of her death. But I didn’t just cry for the princess—but for the boys she left behind. From that moment on, I’ve been sympathetic to both Prince William and Prince Harry.
After reading SPARE, my heart breaks even further for Harry. Though he has many flaws, which he openly and honestly shares with the reader, he is above all else a human being. Unlike what the British press and some unkind "royal experts" have said, he doesn’t throw members of his family under the bus. His father, the King, comes off much better than I thought he would, and Harry says nothing unkind towards the late Queen. He is most critical, and rightly so, of the British press, the paparazzi, and the scheming palace insiders who leak false stories about one royal in order to take the heat off another. Harry details how unfairly his wife has been treated in comparison to other Royals, particularly Kate. Google avocados if you don’t believe me.
SPARE isn’t about Harry’s grievances or exacting revenge upon his family. Far from it. This is the story of the emotional implications of a child losing his mother at such a critical age and how that follows you throughout your life. This is one man's journey, often bordering on self-destruction, to break free from his fears and toxicity and into a more peaceful existence.
SPARE is going to stir up emotions, and this review will not be popular with everyone. However, I urge you, regardless of how you feel about Harry and Meghan, to read it with an open mind.
WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD by Lisa Roe
Wow! Wow! Wow! This "mom-com" (a new genre that I didn’t realize existed) blew my socks off. I read it in one day because I couldn’t put it down.
When the newly-married Ginny Miller and her eleven-year-old daughter, Harri leave their tiny apartment in Queens for the peaceful suburbs of New Jersey to live with Ginny’s new husband, Jeff, it seems too good to be true. Their new home sits on a beautiful street near a top-notch school, and it has a tight-knit community of neighbors surrounding it. Fresh air and a new start—it sounds perfect.
But before the two can even settle in, they’re thrust into this strange world full of queen bees, both mothers and daughters, expensive luxury cars, McMansions, and botoxed faces. It’s quite a change for the duo since they prefer a more laid-back, artsy lifestyle. But Ginny's determined to fit in with her husband’s neighbors, especially with the woman who calls the shots on Elderberry Lane, Margot Moss-Marks.
WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD is a stunning debut from Lisa Roe and it will have you laughing, crying, and your blood boiling all within the same chapter. It’s a mix of the Real Housewives of any city and Mean Girls. Though the year is young, I know this book will be in my top 2023 reads.
THE FAMILY GAME by Catherine Steadman
Harriet Reed is a successful author, coming off her wildly popular debut thriller. She’s recently moved to New York after leaving her home in England, and she’s fallen in love with the man of her dreams, Edward, the son of a well-known family whose long history stretches back to the Gilded Age. Just when Harry’s life can’t get any better, Edward proposes at the skating rink at Rockefeller Center. Naturally, she says yes. But there’s a hiccup in their fairytale romance—meeting Edward’s family.
Soon, Harry is thrust into their world of money, power, and strange games. If she’s going to become a Holbeck, she’ll have to play along, no matter how odd or dangerous they can be.
THE FAMILY GAME is full of twists and turns. It’s fun, exciting, and a downright bizarre read at times that will have you on the edge of your seat. It’s a mix of SUCCESSION and READY OR NOT. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
RECKONINGS by Karen E. Osborne
Aspiring playwright Roxy Quinton is a loving wife and devoted mother of four. She holds down a full-time job at her family’s beauty salon while trying to launch her first play, The Monday Night Murder, for her town’s community theater. She dreams it will become a success, maybe ending up on Off-Broadway one day.
But Roxy’s life is more complicated than meets the eye. Her seventeen-year-old daughter, Jewel, is pregnant and wrestling with adoption or keeping her baby. But her daughter’s problems aren’t the only thing troubling Roxy’s mind and heart—she has some dark secrets from her past, the ones her husband isn’t privy to, that she’s tried to bury. If they come to light, they could rip her life and budding success apart.
RECKONINGS is a fast-paced family drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Karen E. Osborne takes you on an emotional journey while tackling some hot-topic issues of our time. From the start, you'll root for Roxy. She’s strong, inspiring, and sometimes infuriating. This is a story full of dark secrets, complex relationships, and, most importantly, a woman’s need to fight for her voice and reclaim her power.
THE GOLDEN HOUR by Beatriz Williams
World War II
Lulu Randolph, a society magazine writer, arrives in the Bahamas in 1941, tasked with writing about the governor and his wife, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Underneath the glamor and notoriety that comes with the couple, Lulu unearths not only dark secrets but possible treason.
In the early 1900s, Baroness Elfriede von Kleist is recovering in a Swiss clinic after battling a debilitating bout of depression. While there, she meets Wilfred, a fellow patient and military man. Through conversations and music, the two bond and fall in love. But there are obstacles in their way—Elfriede’s husband and child.
THE GOLDEN HOUR takes you on a sweeping journey through the lives of these two women from different eras. This is a complex story written in three different timelines, going back and forth throughout. This is not a quick read. I started it back in November on a recommendation and because I absolutely loved Ms. Williams’ THE LOST SUMMERS OF NEWPORT, which was one of my top reads in 2022.
From London to Florida to Scotland to Germany, if you enjoy historical fiction, THE GOLDEN HOUR is the perfect book for you.
Until next time…