Sunday, April 9, 2023


One Last Gift
 by Emily Stone
Published by Dell on October 11, 2022
Age/Genres: Contemporary, Fiction

When a young woman finds herself lost and at a crossroads, one last gift from her brother just might give her another chance at life and at love in this epic holiday romance from the author of Always, in December

Sometimes the best gifts in life are the ones you don't expect.

Cassie and Tom lost their parents at a young age and relied on each other--as well as a community of friends--to get through it. Especially Tom's best friend, Sam, who always made sure Tom and Cassie were surrounded with love. But now, twenty years later, Cassie has lost Tom as well. And in a way, she's also lost Sam; over the years they've drifted apart, and now the man she always had a crush on is someone she doesn't even recognize anymore.

She's never felt more alone.

Then she finds an envelope with her name on it, written in Tom's terrible handwriting, and she knows immediately what it is. It's the first clue in the Christmas scavenger hunt Tom made for her every year; he'd promised her for months that this year's would be the grandest one yet. At first, she's too scared to open it--what if she can't figure out the clues without his help? Or what if she does figure them all out, and her last connection to Tom is gone?

Tom's clues set Cassie on a heart-wrenching and beautiful journey that will change her life--if she lets them. And as she travels from London to the Welsh mountains to the French countryside, she reconnects with old friends, rekindles a lost love, and most importantly, rediscovers herself. But once she's solved the final clue, will she be brave enough to accept the gift her brother has given her--and the love it's led her to?

Another touching, heartbreaking, and heartwarming story from Emily Stone.

Cassie and Tom were very close given the loss of their parents at a young age. Though he was not much older than Cassie, Tom attempted to fill that void. One of the most wonderful family traditions he started was the Christmas scavenger hunt with rhyming clues that sent Cassie searching for her present. Tom passed away shortly before Christmas, and Cassie was wrecked and lost. She thought there would be no more hunts, but he had left her one last gift. Me -> 😭

This. This was the part of the story that owned me. Tom left this one last scavenger hunt for his sister, and it was as epic as he promised. He was no longer of this world, but he left behind tasks to guide Cassie. This hunt gave her purpose and helped her work through her grief. She began to live again and even took a chance on love.

This was a very lovely story about family, loss, grief, and healing. This “epic” scavenger hunt took Cassie to many destinations, and as she searched for the next clue, she learned things about Tom and herself as she began to move from grieving her brother to celebrating the life they shared together. I laughed, I cried, there were all sorts of tears. It was an emotional roller coaster, as expected, and I was grateful for the ride.

Built to Last
 by Erin Hahn
Published by St. Martins Griffin on October 18, 2022
Age/Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Shelby Springfield has spent the last ten years trying to overcome her past, sanding it away like she does the rough spots on the vintage furniture finds she makes over. But as a former child star, it’s hard to forget a mediocre pop career, a meltdown widely documented by the paparazzi, and a huge public break with her former co-star Lyle Jessup. It’s also hard to forget her other co-star and childhood sweetheart, Cameron Riggs -- the one who got away.

Anytime Shelby has called, Cameron has come running… And then he runs right off again to chase stories around the world by making documentaries, too scared to admit what he really wants. But when Lyle stirs the pot, getting the two back in the spotlight with a home renovation show, Cameron can't help but come on board.

There's something in it for everyone -- almost. Cameron wants to come home and set down some roots. Shelby wants to prove to the world she's not the messy party girl anymore. And Lyle wants to twist the screws on his two childhood friends who had more chemistry than he could dream of with anyone. Sparks and sawdust fly as Shelby and Cameron film the pilot for "Homemade" and battle Lyle’s shenanigans at every turn.

Erin Hahn’s sparkling rom com debut, Built to Last, is a second chance romance sure to have readers falling in love fast.

Two childhood sweethearts find a second chance at love in this adult romance debut from a critically acclaimed young adult author.

“Two childhood sweethearts find a second chance at love.” From this one sentence, I knew I would adore this book. This is the stuff of my dreams, and Hahn did it so well. She gave me sweet peeks into Shelby and Cameron’s past, let me watch them fall in love as kids, and then allowed me the privilege of seeing them fall in love again. Do you hear that? It’s the sounds of my heart exploding.

I have zero complaints about this couple. They had amazing chemistry, I loved their banter, and Cameron was a swoon worthy hero. A big part of their story was how they had changed since they first met and fell for one another, but the sparks were still there. Now it was time to fall in love with the grown-up versions of each other. I am a sap, and the idea of this couple growing together is one I adore.

The story was elevated with a stupendous supporting cast. Shelby was able to find a great circle of friends in Michigan. They, along with her father, formed an amazing support system for her as Shelby attempted to leave her past behind and embark on a new future. Cameron also had some great friends. It was so much fun spending time with them all, and I am positive that there were allusions to returning to this world. If this is true, I say, YES PLEASE!

Overall: Fun, sweet, and throughly entertaining. I reveled in every minute of this book!


Have you ever rehabbed or up-cycled any old furniture?
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