Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Bookish Memorable + Romantic Moments in Unique Locations

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!

Today’s official topic is TTT Rewind, to pick an older topic or one missed. I’m doing my own spin on a bookish list of romantic moments and picking three fun locations these scenes take place: in the grocery store, on a boat, and on a train. A little more about my list…

My family and friends know I get just as excited about going grocery shopping as any other kind of shopping (especially if it’s a new-to-me store!). It’s no surprise I’ve noted a few grocery store scenes as remarkable while reading. I also love trains, and think they’re romantic in and of themselves. Trains are another unique spot on my list. I know I have read many stories with coastal settings or scenes on boats, but in thinking about a third place to add to my list, the first one I thought of was Courtney Walsh’s Nantucket series. So, boats round out place number 3.

These scenes *MIGHT* spoil a few moments of some of these stories, so I want to give you a head’s up if any of these are still on your TBR.

10 Bookish Memorable + Romantic Moments in Unique Locations

In the grocery store…

The Off Limits Rule by Sarah Adams | review | Chapter 26, Cooper walking the aisles looking for Lucy

This is an ADORABLE exchange between Cooper and Lucy shopping with her son, Levi. There’s opportunity for little boy shoulder rides, a little parenting 101, flirty banter, and even a kiss in an unexpected outside-a-bathroom setting. It’s pure fun.

Stay With Me by Becky Wade | review | Chapter 16, while grocery shopping…

This moment between Sam and Genevieve is the culmination of a LOT of tension and seriousness between them ***spoiler: he initiates a kiss!***. And it happens in a grocery store just in front of the coffee beans! A sweet little old man makes an appearance here, too, and it’s delightful and hilarious.

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay | review | July 6 entry (epistolary format)

Sam and Alex share a tiny moment of honesty and remembering in this scene. It’s less romantic and more heartfelt as his encouraging comment sparks a focus on good memory of Sam’s fraught childhood. Also, it involves OREOS, and it has always stuck in my brain as a pivotal growth scene for Sam.

On a Train…

The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall | review | Chapter 7, a train trip from Maine to Boston in the private Everstone car

This chapter is a chance for Vance and Violet to share vulnerability and work out tentative family reactions to their marriage of convenience + talk about Vance’s past and Violet’s hopes. It’s a tension-filled private moment for them, and it fits nicely in the story to see their tenderness for each other start to grow.

The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews | review | Chapter 15, Justin and Helena on a train to London

They have an honest conversation about their worries for something they’re about to face in London, and the romantic moment happens when Justin reassures her of his commitment and support as her husband. It’s a sweet moment because, as fitting with his personality, simply voicing his emotions in that manner is unexpected.

Written on the Wind by Elizabeth Camden | review | Chapter 17 overlooking a moonlit field from a caboose.

In this scene, a cross country train trip turns very personal as Dimitri holds Natalia and confesses his deepest personal reservations about a relationship. Theirs is a wholly unique opposites/friends-to-lovers dynamic that’s groundbreaking in its depiction. I ❤ them so much!

On a Boat…

Beyond the Tides by Liz Johnson | review | Chapter 16, on a night watch on a lobster boat in the harbor

Meg and Oliver have an enemies to lovers situation happening, and in this chapter and scene, Oliver shares a great deal of his past with her, revealing the reasons his actions caused their “enemy” dynamic. It’s a touching scene, and one that ends with a sweet embrace while Meg realizes just what he endured as a young man.

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes | review | Chapter 34

Several great friendship-building moments occur between Annie and Jeremiah in boats, but a touching moment happens when he takes her to a secluded sea cove in a canoe to see some special microorganisms that tie in with the theme of Light and Darkness and embracing the waves. It’s poignant and sweet because it reinforces how he *sees* her.

Is It Any Wonder by Courtney Walsh | review | Chapter 23 training in a sailboat for the regatta

While Lou and Cody share a few significant moments on boats, including a rescue and a regatta, the most significant scene, I think, is when Lou experiences a panic attack and Cody talks her through it. Their guards are down, and it’s a sweet moment for her to realize the electricity still between them (second chance romance trope!).

A Modest Independence by Mimi Matthews | review | Chapter 8, on a steam ship bound for Malta

While Tom and Jenny could’ve fit into the TRAIN moments category, this scene early on in their journey to India captures an unguarded moment of attraction between them as Tom tends to Jenny while she’s seasick. It’s a classic sickbed scene that shows his tenderness for her while they trade a little banter and good conversation.

Best of 2019: Novellas & Audiobooks

Welcome to my annual “best-of” celebration! Like last year, I’m separating the categories of my yearly best-of lists over a few days. It’s going to take me a few to talk about all the stories I loved in 2019!

I have exceeded my reading goals for 2019 according to my Goodreads reading challenge! That makes me happy. I have read SO MANY good books this year, which I will attribute to knowing how to better choose my genres and preferences, and even being “picky” when it comes to review-book choices. So, I have decided to limit my best-of lists this year to a max of 10 books. If you’d like to see all of my 5-star reads and extensive reviews, just check out my completed Goodreads challenge or browse my blog archives.
Each day leading up to New Year’s Day you’ll get a new post about my 2019 favorites:

  1. Best of 2019: Novellas & Audiobooks
  2. Best of 2019: Contemporary Fiction
  3. Best of 2019: (General) Historical Fiction
  4. Best of 2019: (Inspirational) Historical Fiction
  5. Best of 2019: Film & TV
  6. Best of 2019: Happy New Year #OnTheBlog

The rules: because sometimes I need to keep things brief, I’m choosing to share 3 things that describe each of these stories along with a link to Goodreads and my review.

Today’s post is all about Novellas + Audiobooks! The audios are all 5 star reads I’m considering “bonuses” on my lists because I listened to their fabulous audio productions AND loved the stories!

Best of 2019: Novellas & Audiobooks

From The Christmas Heirloom novella collection:

Because of You by Becky Wade | Review

Booknerd hero. Friendship. Serving

Gift of the Heart by Karen Witemeyer | Review

Second chances. Humor. Tender hearts.

The Royally Yours Novella Collection | Review to come!

Literary love notes. Small town charming traditions. Whimsy.

From the Finding Ever After novella collection:

Between Stairs and Stardust by Pepper Basham

Whimsical. Cinderella. Swimming.

Entanglements by Rachel McMillan

Hairpins. Chess. Music.


Something New by Joanne Bischof |Review

Dreams. Restoration. Hope.

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright | Review to come!

Identity. Forgiveness. Worth beyond the surface.

The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews (reread)| Review

Trust. Delicious accents. Capacity to love.

Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green | Review

Sacrifice. Healing. Purpose.

Welcome to Wishing Bridge by Ruth Logan Herne | Review

Hope. Sisterhood-friendship. Sacrifical love.

Best of 2018: Historical Books

Welcome to my annual “best-of” celebration! I’m changing it up a bit and separating the categories of my yearly best-of lists over a few days. All of this is to celebrate their distinction and spend a few more days talking about all the wonderful entertainment of 2018.

Day 1. Best of 2018: Novellas

Day 2. Best of 2018: Historical Books

Day 3. Best of 2018: Contemporary Books

Day 4. Goodbye 2018 & Looking Ahead

Today is all about HISTORICAL BOOKS. While I dearly love historical fiction, I have read less of it this year. At any rate, these are the favorites from my list!

The rules: sometimes I have to make boundaries for myself when it comes to talking about books because we would all be here a long time if were able to ramble on. SO, I’m sticking to my format of last year and choosing to share 3 things that describe each of these stories along with a link to Goodreads and my review. In no particular order…

Best of 2018: Historical Books

Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan | Review

Jazz. Grace. Friendship

Impossible Saints by Clarissa Harwood | Review

Suffrage. Romance. Purpose.

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof | Review

Brotherhood. Atmospheric. Poignant.

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz | Review

Liberty. Honor. Love.

The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews | Review

Arrangements. Mystery. Forgiveness

A Heart Revealed by Josi S. Kilpack | Review

Worth. Growth. Kindness.

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge by Pepper Basham | Review coming in January!

Family. Tenderness. Hope.

Your turn! What were your favorite historical reads of 2018? Have you read any of these?

Mini Review: “The Matrimonial Advertisement” by Mimi Matthews

Happy Monday!!!! Today I’m sharing a little review of a Victorian historical romance I devoured over the weekend. (MANY thanks to my author friend Rachel McMillan for always introducing me to lovely stories.) This one is for fans of Jane Eyre and the like, complete with a mansion in disrepair, horse rides on the beach, rainy nights, and mysteries surrounding the past of the hero and the present situation of the heroine.

 

About the Book:

The Matrimonial Advertisement.jpgShe Wanted Sanctuary… 

Helena Reynolds will do anything to escape her life in London, even if that means traveling to a remote cliffside estate on the North Devon coast and marrying a complete stranger. But Greyfriar’s Abbey isn’t the sort of refuge she imagined. And ex-army captain Justin Thornhill–though he may be tall, dark, and devastatingly handsome–is anything but a romantic hero.

He Needed Redemption… 

Justin has spent the last two decades making his fortune, settling scores, and suffering a prolonged period of torture in an Indian prison. Now, he needs someone to smooth the way for him with the villagers. Someone to manage his household–and warm his bed on occasion. What he needs, in short, is a wife and a matrimonial advertisement seems the perfect way to acquire one.

Their marriage was meant to be a business arrangement and nothing more. A dispassionate union free from the entanglements of love and affection. But when Helena’s past threatens, will Justin’s burgeoning feelings for his new bride compel him to come to her rescue? Or will dark secrets of his own force him to let her go?

 

My Thoughts:

A wonderfully atmospheric Victorian tale, this story presents a complicated marriage of convenience situation with absolutely endearing characters. This book was recommended to me as a “redemption” of the Rochester archetype — wherein Justin Thornhill exhibits a burdened past yet a presently noble hero without the deceptions of Bronte’s character. Helena, the heroine, brings a complex mystery to the situation that unfolds slowly and shines a light on a real-life historical issue of the time. While Justin and Helena navigate the dictates of the era, they grapple with lessons of worth, forgiveness, and even the capacity to love — all while the romantic tension is PALPABLE and wonderfully maintained through the story. I enjoyed this story from Mimi, a new-to-me-author, and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future!

Content note: this is overall a clean read, especially concerning the romance element, but it does have (very) mild expletives throughout.