Recent Reads Vol. 4

Welcome to another installment of Recent Reads! I have been reading up a storm during my blogging break, especially since I have started listening to audiobooks while working out and doing other tasks.

Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett is a book that I have been meaning to pick up for a long time, and when I was looking for another cozy mystery to listen to while working out, I decided to finally give it a try. In this first book, we follow Tricia Miles, who lives in the small town of Stoneham and runs a mystery bookstore called Haven’t Got a Clue. Business is doing well, except for the fact that someone is hiding pamphlets for a nudist commune in her books, and her sister has just come into town. However, a fire breaks out at a neighboring bookstore that kills the owner, and the police suspect that Tricia is the culprit. In order to clear her name she sets out to find who the real killer is. I liked this introduction to the series, although it was a little slow at times, and I found there to be a lot of focus on size and fatphobia. There is also use of the r-word in reference to someone with Downs Syndrome, which really rubbed my the wrong way. However, there was something about it that, despite these two glaring flaws in the story, made me want to continue with the rest of the series – I think I wanted to find out what happens to the characters, except Tricia…honestly she kind of annoys me.


Right after I finished listening to Murder is Binding, I started listening to the next book in the series Bookmarked for Death. This time, Tricia is hosting the author, Zoe Carter, however things become disastrous when Tricia finds her dead in her own store, and once again she must find out who the culprit is in order to clear her name. I liked this installment a bit better than the previous one, however I still found Tricia to be judgmental especially about people’s sizes. I enjoyed the mystery and I enjoyed getting to know Mr. Everett, Grace and Jenny (or Ginny?), as well as watch the relationship between Tricia and her sister, Angelica, start to change in a positive way. The author does a good job of making the reader keep guessing until the reveal of who the culprit is, and while it seemed slightly out the blue, it also made sense.

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In between listening to the abovementioned, I physically read The Sea in Winter by Christine Day. This was a touching middle-grade that follows Maisie Cannon, an aspiring ballerina who recently suffered an injury and how she tries to cope and remain strong on the outside, even though inside she feels a tumult of emotions. When her family goes on a midwinter trip to visit sites near the Makah community that her mother grew up in, she starts to feel even more alone and isolated, despite her family’s support and encouragement, especially when her injury starts to flare up again. I really appreciated how the author broached different topics such as blended families, injuries, mental health, as well as the recent history of Native Americans. I feel like I learned quite a bit about some of the communities, as well as their struggles, especially their recent struggles as far as being oppressed by outsiders who don’t understand their way of life, or refuse to understand. Along with this, is Maisie’s struggle to feel like she belongs and not knowing what her place is in the world, since so much of her identity has been in dancing for so long. I think this is a great book, and in some ways an important book that many should read, if anything just read from someone’s perspective and background that is different from one’s own.


Next, I listened to Bookplate Special by Lorna Barrett and I will say that the series seemed to finally get better with this book. In this mystery, Tricia Miles has just kicked out her former college roommate who has been crashing on her couch after she steals money from her. However, shortly after their interaction, Pammy is found dead in a dumpster in the alley behind Booked for Lunch, Tricia’s sister, Angelica’s restaurant. In order to have a piece of mind, as well as clear her name, Tricia tries to find out who could possibly have wanted her “friend” dead and why. Like I mentioned before, this third installment in the series solidified my wanting to continue on with this series. Sure, Tricia is still as flawed and judgmental as ever, but I also appreciated how those closest to her put her in her place when she makes snide remarks. Also, I enjoyed learning more about Freegans, my only knowledge of Freegans up until this point was the passing comment made in an episode of Parks and Rec of one of the characters being a Freegan Vegan. I felt like the author did a good job of explaining it and showing it in a way that wasn’t derogatory, as well as some of the reasoning behind why someone would want to be a Freegan. It was fascinating and an interesting addition to the overall mystery!


After I finished reading The Sea in Winter I decided to pick up a graphic novel that I had heard about recently on BookTube called Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken and illustrated by Leigh Dragoon and Kit Seaton. This is a graphic novel based on one of Alexandra Bracken’s first books that she originally wrote for middle-grade readers, but when it got adapted into a graphic novel, they decided to target Young Adult Readers. We follow Syndelle Mirabel who is a talented weaver, and one day she meets a young wizard named North, who is being followed by an army that does not want him to get a message back to the queen of his kingdom. She joins him on his journey to help him find the city, as well as mend his magical cloaks that help him perform magic. On the way they encounter strange weather and a traitorous wizard that will do what he can to stop them. Overall, this was just okay, the illustrations were pretty decent, but I felt that there was too much dialog in each panel, I think it could have easily been increased by a few pages, as well as maybe cutting out some more of the dialogue by showing instead of telling the reader. I liked the concept of the story, but it felt rushed and somewhat cliched at times. I know part of that is because it is the graphic novel, but I can imagine that the actual novel wasn’t any better.


Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

Hope Between the Pages Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Hope Between the Pages

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: April, 2021

Uncover the Story Behind a One-Hundred-Year-Old Love Letter

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint of the man’s identity in her great-great-grandmother’s letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts 

Hope Between the Pages is the first book I have read by Pepper Basham, and it did not disappoint! I really enjoyed this novel in which we follow Clara in the present day and her great-grandmother Sadie in 1915 and 1916. I enjoyed getting to know both women and how their lives are connected, especially since Clara knows very little about her great-grandmother Sadie except that she opened the bookstore that she now works in. I enjoyed discovering along with Clara more about her past and her family’s history, especially how things are not what they seem. 

I also enjoyed watching Sadie’s story unfold and I was satisfied for the most part with how her story concluded, although it was bittersweet. But I love how there was so much depth to her besides what Clara already knew. I also enjoyed getting to know Clara, but I wish more background information had been given for her. However, I did enjoy the sweet romance that she gets to be apart of. 

My only complaint is that the ending felt a bit rushed, especially with why a certain character does the things that he does to the point of hurting his own family (I’m not going to elaborate because it could potentially be a spoiler). I felt like he was left one-dimensional and I would have loved to know more of his motives behind his actions. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book which was part mystery and part romance and part historical fiction. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, clean romance, a little bit of mystery and any one who enjoys dual timelines. I will be sure to check out more of Pepper Basham’s books in the future! 

About the Author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.


More from Pepper

Books are a uniquely portable magic – Stephen King

Appalachia is known for having a high illiteracy rate. A place of beautiful scenery and rugged landscapes, the people of the mountains developed stories through oral storytelling much more than “book learning”. As a young girl growing up in this world, I loved hearing my granny share tales from up to five generations ago, filling in the narrative gaps between a birth date and a death date on a tombstone – giving flesh and breath to the stone-etched names.

It’s no surprise then, with a heart cultivated from rich oral stories, I fell in love with reading. Books became that “portable magic” that took me places my little Appalachian community couldn’t provide. I fell in love with the Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew. Wept through the end of Bridge to Terabithia and Old Yeller. Traveled to the plains with Sarah Plain and Tall and fell in love with horses with The Black Stallion. But when I was in seventh grade, I read my very first “British” novel, The Secret Garden. In that one introduction, my world expanded into mysterious English manor houses and British classics. Before long, I’d consumed Jane Eyre, Austen’s classics, some Dickens, Dracula, Frankenstein…and the list goes on! And then…I found Tolkien and Lewis – and the ‘real’ world swelled into OTHER worlds.

I’m grateful for true stories of book-loving pioneers traveling into the world of Appalachia to provide books and literacy training to “my people”, because I know some of those books made their way to my tiny elementary school library…and not only brought me the chance to discover stories, but to write them too!

Isn’t it amazing how books can do that?

In Hope Between the Pages, I wanted to bring the same awe and discovery I felt as a child (and continue to feel as an adult reader) to the story of two people whose words had seemed small. Stories stretched their worlds, but the stories also gave them wonderful imaginations and positive perspectives. It’s still amazing to me that ink-and-paper words can make such a lasting impact on hearts and minds. They can lead us to dream, teach us new things, encourage our hearts, help us to think outside the box, swell our imaginations, broaden our horizons, and encourage our hope.

Books are not a replacement for real adventures and relationships, but they certainly provide a beautiful “door” into other lives and worlds that we may never have a chance to experience in real life. Sadie, my historical heroine, and Clara, my contemporary heroine, both have kept close to home but traveled greatly through books…and BOTH are given the opportunity to reach beyond the bindings to discover real-life adventures. I’d like to think that their love for stories helped them have the courage to step away from the page and into their own tales even more prepared than they would have been without stories.

What are some of your favorite books you read as a child? Did any of them influence you to become a more avid reader?

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, April 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 24

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 24

Worthy2Read, April 24

Texas Book-aholic, April 25

Reviewingbooksplusmore, April 25

Christian Bookaholic, April 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 25

She Lives To Read, April 26

Books and Everyday Life, April 26

For the Love of Literature, April 26

For Him and My Family, April 26

Wishful Endings, April 27

Bigreadersite, April 27

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 27

deb’s Book Review, April 27

Inklings and notions, April 28

Connect in Fiction, April 28

Writing from the Heart Land, April 28

Blogging With Carol, April 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 29

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 29

Life of Literature, April 29

Pick a good book, April 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 30

Betti Mace, April 30

Kathleen’s Blog, April 30

lakesidelivingsite, May 1

Connie’s History Classroom, May 1

Fiction Book Lover, May 1

Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 1

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 2

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 2

Godly Book Reviews, May 2

Mary Hake, May 2

Older & Smarter?, May 3

Genesis 5020, May 3

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 4

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads , May 4

Blossoms and Blessings, May 4

sodbusterLiving, May 4

Splashes of Joy, May 5

Where Faith and Books Meet , May 5

Simple Harvest Reads, May 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Through the Fire Blogs, May 5

Pause for Tales, May 6

To Everything There Is A Season, May 6

Remembrancy, May 6

Lights in a Dark World, May 6

Live.Love.Read., May 7

Karen Sue Hadley, May 7

Amanda Tero, blog, May 7

The Write Escape, May 7


To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

The Workout Diaries – March 1st – March 12th

Photo by cottonbro on

It’s been a while since I posted my last installment of this series. But before we get into that, I want to share the first five milestones that I want to achieve over my journey to get fit.

Milestone 1: Be able to workout on the elliptical for 25 minutes

Milestone 2: Do a mile on the elliptical

Milestone 3: Be able to workout on the elliptical for 30 minutes

Milestone 4: Do a mile on the elliptical for 30 days (excluding weekends).

Milestone 5: Start alternating between the elliptical and HIIT workouts.

These are just the physical and workout-oriented milestones I have. I don’t really have an overarching goal except to just be able to go for long walks and hikes without feeling like I am going to collapse after 5 minutes. Another goal is to increase my lung capacity so I can breathe better while wearing a mask since wearing one is still a thing for the forseeable future. And a lowkey goal is to lose weight. I will say, I have noticed that my breathing has already started to improve while wearing a mask, so I’m slowly achieving this goal, which is good!

Day 16 – Monday, March 1st

This morning I woke not feeling like working out, but I knew I had to. I think part of it is that when I am still waking up the thought of doing exercise sounds awful, but after the first 45 minutes of being awake, I was ready to go. I only intended to do about 15 minutes at first, and I thought I would need to stop and take a break at the 10 minute mark. However, when I tried to take a break, my right leg was shaky, and I decided to keep going because I felt more stable if I kept my legs moving. And when the 15 minute mark came, I felt like I was close enough to the 0.75 mile marker so I kept going until I hit it. And once I hit that, I was 2 minutes away from 20 minutes so I decided to just keep going. Once I got to the 20 minute mark, I considered trying to keep going to a mile, but since my legs were already feeling shaky when I stopped moving, I was a little worried that if I kept going I would fall trying to get off the elliptical, and since I was alone I knew that wouldn’t be a good thing. Overall, I’m happy with what I was able to do today. We shall see if I can keep it up for the rest of the week.

Day 17 – Tuesday, March 2nd

Today was another good day. I managed to do another 20 minutes on the treadmill, but I had to go a little bit slower because my right leg was feeling stiff. However, I did manage to make it 0.7 miles before I stopped my workout. However, I my legs felt trashed after I got done.

Day 18 – Wednesday, March 3rd

I debated whether to exercise today because I felt awful, it started last night and my joints ached, I felt fatigued and nauseous. I think it was due to eating more junk food yesterday than I should have. I decided to get on the elliptical and try and do as much as I could. It hurt and the last five minutes were brutal. Once I hit the 15 minute mark, I stopped. I managed to do 0.5 miles, but I was in a lot of pain (not exercise related). It didn’t help that I had leftover pizza for lunch. The main thing that hurts is my back, all over, which makes me think that I need to work on improving my posture, and also I need to work on losing weight because I know that the extra weight I’m carrying is not helping, but I also know that it is going to be a slow process.

Day 19 – Thursday, March 4th

I was feeling a lot better this morning. I hopped on the elliptical hoping to do a 20 minute workout. However, once the 10 minute mark hit, my legs started hurting. After I hit 15 minutes I got off, intending to just finish there, but after about a 10 minute break I decided to hop back on and at least get in another 5 minutes. I did it, however I also saw I was close to completing a lap (0.25 miles) and decided to keep going until I completed it. At the 7 minute mark I completed the lap, and I completed my workout. Altogether I worked out for 22 minutes and did 0.75 miles in that time. I think for the time being, in order to get to a full 20 minutes, I might need to take a break at some point during my workout for a few minutes and then continuing with my workout. Overall, I felt pretty good afterwards.

Day 20 – March 8th

Elliptical – 20 minutes, 0.55 miles

Walk – 21 minutes, 0.8 miles

Day 21 – March 9th

Elliptical – 21 minutes – 0.6 miles

Day 22 – March 10th

Elliptical – 26 minutes – 0.75 miles

Day 23 – March 11th

Elliptical – 21 minutes – 0.6 miles

Day 24 – March 12th

Elliptical – 26 minutes, 0.75 miles.

Previous Installments:

The Workout Diaries Week 1

The Workout Diaries Week 2

The Workout Diaries Week 3

Recent Reads Vol. 3

I have been a fan of Marissa Meyer ever since I read the Lunar Chronicles, however I never got into the Renegades series, so I was curious to see how her latest novel appealed to me, especially since it is her first foray into contemporary romance. Instant Karma follows overachiever, Prudence, who after an accident finds she has the ability to inflict “karma” on everyone around her. However, the only person it doesn’t seem to work on is slacker Quint Erickson, who during the school year was her lab partner and who she is trying to get to redo their final project. She discovers that he volunteers at a marine animal rescue center and volunteers there too, in order to get him to redo their project, and maybe figure out a way to bring more funding. I liked this one, I felt like Marissa Meyer did a good job with setting up the story and the romance. However, I did feel like Prudence’s karmic power wasn’t really necessary to the story line because it had a minor part in the overall story, even though it was used for main conflict in the plot, it still seemed unnecessary and the book would have still been good without it! I did enjoy the romance and getting to know the people of Fortuna Beach, and I hope there will be more books set in this town, especially since I want to see a book featuring Prudence’s best friend Ari, and maybe even her twin brother, Jude.


After finishing Instant Karma, I started several other books, but I also prioritized reading Avatar the Last Airbender – The Promise Parts 1, 2, and 3 since it was due back at the library soon. It is a three-part comic book (graphic novel ?) story arc that starts almost immediately after the end of the tv series. Zuko, Aang and the Earth King are trying to figure a way to usher in peace into the Earth kingdom now that the Fire nation is no longer at war with the rest of the world. One of the ways to bring more peace is to get rid of the Fire Nation colonies that are scattered throughout the Earth Kingdom. They come up the Harmony Restoration Movement which will forcibly remove the colonies and return them to the Fire Nation. Everything seems to go well, until a year later when Zuko realizes that the situation is a lot more complicated than simply moving the colonists, and he puts an halt on the movement, which also pits him against Aang. I found this story arc interesting, and it was great to see what happened after the end of the tv show. I liked how the conflict was due to a situation that no one had considered when coming up with the plan, and how the Fire Nation colonies have been there for several generations and they’ve made roots, and have established families and relationships with the Earth Kingdom inhabitants in the area. I thought it was a good follow-up, however I did find that the main conflict was resolved to easily and quickly.


If you’ve been following my Workout Diaries series, you might have seen that I’ve started listening to audiobooks while I workout on the elliptical. The first audiobook I picked up was Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price, which was an audio galley that I received from Netgalley and HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. The novel is a murder mystery take on Pride and Prejudice, where Elizabeth Bennett works for her father’s law firm, Longborn and Sons, and longs to be promoted to the position of solicitor. Her father tasks her with solving a case using logic and he will seriously consider it. She soon discovers that there has been a murder and the victim is Mr. Hearst, the brother-in-law of Mr. Bingley, who is accused of the crime. She sets forth to solve the crime, while bumping heads with the aggravating Mr. Darcy, who is a solicitor for the competing law firm, Pemberley and Sons. She also has to deal with bumbling Mr. Collins and some other characters as she tries to figure out who is truly responsible for the murder. I thought this was an original take on Pride and Prejudice, that had all the elements of a mystery novel, but also keeping a lot of the elements of the source material. It definitely had a feminist undertone, with Lizzie striving to be a solicitor (which, as the author note states, would not have been done in the time period), but it wasn’t overbearing and seemed to fit really will with the plot and the character. I loved the unraveling of the mystery, and who the culprit is, it was kind of surprising, and, maybe I’m just not observant, but it did surprise me a little bit. I won’t say anything more plot-wise because I don’t want to spoil the mystery. I also liked Mr. Darcy and that we get to see a different side of him. My only complaint is that at random points in the book, especially near the end, it would lift lines from the source material which just didn’t seem to fit well, and seemed unnecessary. That being said, I really enjoyed Pride and Premeditation, and I’m looking forward to what the next book in the series accomplishes (unfortunately it only comes out next year :().


I also picked up Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, which received a lot of buzz last year. It follows a young African-American Emira who babysits the daughter of influencer Alix Chambers. However, one night, after called in to emergency babysit, Emira takes her charge to a grocery store, where she is accused of kidnapping. After the incident she just wants to go on with her life, but her well-meaning employer wants to make it up to her, and someone who was there an caught the incident on tape, wants to see justice served. Meanwhile, Emira needs to find a job that offers benefits. I found Such a Fun Age was an interesting read, it held my attention for the first half and then it kind peetered off. I appreciated the message it was trying to convey, however all the characters were unlikable. Emira doesn’t apply herself, even when those around her try to help her find another job, and she has passed up on a lot of opportunities. In some ways I have a lot of empathy for her, but at the same time it is difficult knowing that she has had opportunities. And then there is Alix Chambers, who at first I had a hard time understanding why what she did back in high school was horrible (I’m still unsure about that), but the fact that she constantly violated Emira’s privacy by looking at her phone was awful. She had a weird obsession with Emira that is kind of creepy. And then there is Kelley, who is just as performative as Alix, and he keeps trying to push Emira to get revenge for what happened at the grocery store. Overall, it was a mostly good story, and I can see why a lot of people love it, it just wasn’t for me, and that could have also have been due to when I read it. The ending left me dissatisfied and some of the dialogue was cringey.

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While I was reading the previous two books, I also started reading Eat Joy edited by Natalie Eve Garrett, which is a collection of 31 essays written by 31 authors and their experiences and memories with food and the comfort and joy that certain foods bring with them. Each entry also included a recipe for the dishes mentioned in the essays, although I have not had a chance to try and make any of them. I liked this collection, although I’ll admit there weren’t really any stand out essays that stuck with me – but that is just me…I can be weird like that. I do recommend it for food and cooking lovers!


Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

Where I’ve Been (A Life Update)

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

Over the last month or so I have been sorely neglecting my blog by not posting much except for blog tour posts and my First Line Friday posts which are scheduled way in advance. So where have I been? What have I been up to?

For those of you have been following my little space of the internet for a while will know that I have been in grad. school for a while. I have been working on getting my Masters in Library and Information Science, and over the last few months I have been working on my final project for my degree. At first it was easy to keep up with posting regularly, but then my mental health took a bit of turn and as a result I got behind on my schoolwork. Once I finally kind of made it to a good headspace again, I had a lot schoolwork to do and a deadline looming on me that seemed impossible to meet. I decided to take a break from posting for a while because some posts that I enjoy writing do take a lot of time to write up, and I needed to use that time for my schoolwork. The only posts I continued doing were the blog tours, and that is because I had made a commitment for each of those months ago, and it is important for me to uphold my word and my commitments.

But now that grad school is done, I’m back. I am still trying to figure out what it is that I want to do with my blog. I love reading and I want to keep posting about books! And I also want to keep posting my workout diaries, which took a hiatus during my blogging break – although I am happy to report that I have still been working out consistently even though I have not been posting updates. I also have quite a few reviews on the back burner that have yet to be published but needed some slight edits before they went out into the world, but now that I have the time, they will make it out, it’s just going to take a while. There is a lot I want to do now that I have to do it, but it also depends on when I finally get a job…I have no idea when this will be, but I do hope it is soon!

So, what can you expect from The Meanderings of a Bookworm in the near future? A lot of blog posts! Right now I am sticking with my posting schedule of Monday, Wednesday and Friday with some extra posts if I have blog tours scheduled for another day of the week. I have a lot of reviews to post, and several recent reads posts too that have yet to be posted! (I have been reading a lot, especially in the evenings before bed.) First Line Fridays will continue as scheduled. And The Workout Diaries will be coming back, except I think I am going to post those every other week, just because I have so many other posts I would like to post too.

Anyway, that’s all I really have to say for now. Thank you for reading, and for following my blog!

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

Matchmaker’s Best Friend Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Matchmaker’s Best Friend

Author: Kari Trumbo

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: March 30, 2021


“You’re just like a brother to me. I don’t like you in that way.”

When they dated ten years ago as teens, it almost destroyed their friendship. So Pen Reese did the only logical thing. She lied about how she felt—and still feels—about him.

She’s still paying for that lie.

A brilliant plan to set Mike and a friend up and get over him has one problem.

It’s breaking her heart.

When Pen pushed him away, Mike Gaines assumed she just didn’t understand his faith. People like her persnickety aunt even claim he’s part of a cult—ridiculous, but it’s true. Still, if she wants him to play the part of a big brother, fine. At least he can stay close this way.

At first, Pen’s attempt to set him up with one of her close friends hurts. But what if it’s the perfect opportunity to show her what she’s missing if she sees him with someone else?

In this friends-to-more-meets-second-chance romance, The Matchmaker’s Best Friend continues the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

I’ll be honest, I didn’t like this installment in the Independence Island series, even though I wanted to! There were several aspects of the novel that I just did not like, and maybe it has more to the fact that a couple of those things I have personally experienced and I know how much it can hurt. So my dislike for this book is just because of me and some of my personal experiences, I’m sure if I didn’t have those experiences I would have loved this book. 

First, I did not like how Pen won’t even really considering talking to Mike about anything regarding their friendship and future prospects, and honestly, Mike is just as bad because instead of going along with her plan he should have stepped up and put his foot down. But I also get why he doesn’t do that. I get that neither of them want to destroy their friendship, but in some ways they end up doing more damage to people around them. Second, I also didn’t like how Pen set her friend up with Mike just so she could get over him, especially a friend that struggles with insecurity and has never been in a relationship. Even though said friend went along with it, she still gets her hopes up. I have been in that position where I have gotten my hopes up over a guy just to have them completely dashed (thankfully I no longer have to deal with that, but being single was hard). In a lot of ways I spent my time mad at both Pen and Mike because of how the other person is treated, when I should have been growing to really like them. 

However, I do appreciate that Mike is the better character. He is upfront and honest with the other person involved, even though it takes him a while to do so with Pen. I also didn’t fully understand why there had been issues between them as teens, is it because of his faith? Or is it because of a misunderstanding and they refuse to communicate? I could never really figure it out. 

I will say, even though this was not my favorite book in the series, I did really enjoy the ending and I am looking forward to getting glimpses of what happens to all of these characters in future books. 

About the Author

Where western meets happily ever after.

Kari writes swoony heroes and places that become characters with detail and heart.
Her favorite place to write about is the place her heart lives, (even if she doesn’t) South Dakota.

Kari loves reading, listening to contemporary Christian music, singing when no one’s listening, and curling up near the wood stove when winter hits. She makes her home in central Minnesota, land of frigid toes and mosquitoes the size of compact cars, with her husband of over twenty years. They have two daughters, two sons, one cat, and one hungry wood stove.


More from Kari

Pen is Mightier than the Sword

Especially in sparkly, stacked espadrilles and pink power suit. Don’t let Pen Reese’s pink façade fool you, she’s a businesswoman to the core, with a heart of gold. She has built a party planning business from the ground up, and she’s about to create another.

Pen is one of those characters that I could just see CLEARLY as I was writing. She is about ninety percent Elle Woods from Legally Blonde and ten percent a close personal friend. I heard her voice in my head. I could hear her talking as I wrote the book. Her personality was perfect for the energetic party planner.

I’m sure if I put a character description up without context or clarity many people wouldn’t want to read the book, they would write Pen off as shallow. But she’s not. She’s heartbroken.

Do you still remember your first love? Maybe you still care for them? Pen fell hard for her first love and no matter how professional she is or how many lavish weddings she plans, she can’t forget the one wedding she’ll never get to create. Her own.

Pen things that if Mike falls for someone else, goes off and gets married, she’ll finally be able to move on. So, she sets a plan in motion. That’s when her world completely falls apart and you see the tender parts of Pen that she doesn’t show to just anybody.

She is a very complex character and I hope she touches you like she touched me.

I hope you enjoy Pen’s tale of matchmaking gone wrong.

Blog Stops

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 14

Books and Everyday Life, April 14

Labor Not in Vain, April 14

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 15

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 15

lakesidelivingsite, April 16

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 17

Rebekah Reads, April 17

Artistic Nobody, April 17 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 18

A Novel Pursuit, April 18

She Lives To Read, April 19

deb’s Book Review, April 19

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 20

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, April 20

Splashes of Joy, April 20

Aryn the Libraryan, April 21

For Him and My Family, April 21

Texas Book-aholic, April 22

Blogging With Carol, April 22

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, April 23

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 23

CarpeDiem, April 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 24

Connect in Fiction, April 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 25

Simple Harvest Reads, April 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Inklings and notions, April 26

Godly Book Reviews, April 26

Batya’s Bits , April 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 27

Blossoms and Blessings, April 27


To celebrate her tour, Kari is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

First Line Fridays #47 – Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Hello everyone,

Welcome to another installment of First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

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“Scarlet was descending toward the alley behind the Rieux Tavern when her portscreen chimed from the passenger seat, followed by an automated voice: “Comm received for Mademoiselle Scarlet Benoit from the Toulouse Law Enforcement Department of Missing Persons.””

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.