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REVIEW: The Bookworm and the Beast by Charlee James

The Bookworm and the Beast Book Cover The Bookworm and the Beast
Charlee James
Entangled Publishing (Bliss)
December 4, 2017
E-ARC
140
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
November 13, 2017

When quiet, bookish Izzy Simon accepts a two-week assignment as an assistant for an author of children’s books, it seems like the perfect way for her to make some much-needed extra money, but the grumpy author claims he doesn’t want or need her services. He might be as handsome as a storybook prince, but his prickly personality and resistance to all things Christmas are sure to make for a chilly holiday season.

Derek Croft never agreed to the cheery temp his staff arranges for him while they’re on vacation. Izzy is his polar opposite, but Derek soon realizes she could be the perfect solution to his interfering family…if he can get her to agree to pretend to be his live-in girlfriend. Before long Izzy’s sweet disposition and unflappable optimism has him decorating a tree and looking forward to late night hot cocoa, but he’s all too aware their time together can’t last.

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my TWELFTH contribution and… I miscounted, so watch for a BONUS Christmas book review TOMORROW!

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

Hands down, this is my favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling. Okay, I think I’ve only read one other, but this one was a total winner in my book.

You have Izzy, the very determined woman who accepts a job through a temp agency working for Derek. Then you have Derek, the man who never wanted a temp, but thanks to his meddling staff (whom he’d given the holidays off) he now has.

Derek was dark and brooding, full of backstory. Izzy was bright and optimistic, with her own sad backstory as well. They were fleshed out enough that they weren’t JUST characters in the book, they had layers and personality.

You know how in the original Disney version of Beauty and the Beast where suddenly he starts to warm up to her and if you blink you miss that moment where annoyance turns to admiration? I saw that little spark in this book.

This book adds and extra layer with a little plot twist in which Izzy is asked by Derek to pretend to be his girlfriend in order to get his stepmother to stop trying to set him up with every girl she can think of. It was great!

For me, this was the perfect holiday romance slash (modern) fairy tale adaptation.

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

Why couldn’t the client have been a sweet old man, or bald and frumpy? Instead, she had to trail a dark featured version of Thor, who had the disposition of a porcupine, around the endless mansion while tying to avert her eyes from his backside.

 

He’d tried to get rid of her less than an hour ago, and now he was asking her to stay as his mock girlfriend? There was no way she’d add another layer of frosting to the towering cake of implication currently baking inside the castle’s curved walls.

 

Gosh he was good-looking. And salty—he looked very, very salty.

 

It was the ugliest sandwich she’d ever seen, and it made her grin ear to ear. Maybe part of Derek did care, after all.

 

The castle, the dashing good looks, the spirit of the holidays swarming in the air, those kisses that lit her soul on fire. It wasn’t so cut and dry for her. When she was committed to something, it was one hundred percent. Had she found the one shed dreamed of her entire life in Derek? Or was it just that—a dream that would evaporate in less than two days, no matter how hard she fought to hold on to the edges of it?


My (Writing) Life

I’m writing this in the past (last night) and scheduling this to post in the future (right now!).

I just survived hosting Christmas for my family. It was a lot of fun, a lot of food, and plenty of presents for my parents seven grandchildren.

Tomorrow…er, today… is Christmas Eve and I’m at work. If you’re reading this the day it posts, I’m probably currently folding laundry. Or maybe eating left over pork loin covered in bacon (because how else would you eat pork loin???) Tomorrow is Christmas and I fortunately do not have to work! I get to spend the day with family, enjoying more food and cookies and gift giving.

And then life returns to morning, just with more clutter in the house.

I don’t really have a point to any of this. I’m exhausted and rambling. So I’m going to end this now so that I can play a bit of Long Live the Queen before I crash for the night.

Merry Christmas, everyone! (And if you don’t celebrate, happy Sunday!)

REVIEW: Fallen Crest Christmas by Tijan

Fallen Crest Christmas Book Cover Fallen Crest Christmas
Fallen Crest High #5.25
Tijan
Contemporary, New Adult
Self
December 15, 2015
Kindle
32
Amazon
12 Books of Christmas
December 18 - 20, 2017

This is a very very short novella consisting of one scene that has three parts, and an additional bonus scene. This was written to be a FREE gift to any Fallen Crest readers! And with that said, Happy Holidays from Tijan. (If it is not free, please refrain from purchasing. I am working on making it free.)

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my ELEVENTH contribution and I’m excited to share my final review tomorrow!

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

This was actually the last book I started for my 12 Books of Christmas (but not the last review I’m posting). A couple that I’d started were DNF’s for me, so I didn’t want to count them for this challenge. That left me with less than a week to grab another book and finish it. As luck would have it, I found this one on my Kindle!

So, this is actually a book meant for fans of this series. I’ve never read the series, so this is a review from an outsider’s perspective.

It wasn’t a bad story, and though it was a little confusing at times, it was not enough to pull me out of the story.

Short stories can suffer from lacking plots due to not enough time to build them up, but this wasn’t the case. I was able to dive right in and the author did a wonderful job showing me that Sam’s mom has been….. awful. I’m guessing some kind of abuse, if not physical than emotional, but they don’t really say. I was definitely intrigued and this short story left me wanting to know what happened in the previous book(s) in the series.

Most Christmas stories are happy, or at least have a happy ending, but this one, being more bonus content than a story on its own, left things up in the air. There was no happy ending, but there was a resolution of sorts.

I did notice a few editing things that turned me off toward the writing, but nothing to pull me out of the story. Just enough to bother this reader, but possibly others won’t even notice or care. It also wasn’t enough to make me NOT consider reading this author in the future.

All that said, I think this series might be a bit too gritty for me. I think readers who want to sample this authors reading style and who prefer grittier stories would enjoy this read and might go on to read the previous book(s). There might be spoilers in this to the previous book(s) but I really couldn’t say. You know, because I haven’t read them myself!


Quotes

“You’re going to have to leash the asshole and you’re going to go somewhere else because this is my home. If, and that’s only if, Sam needs someone to step up for her, I’ll get the pleasure of kicking someone out of my home.” She emphasized the ‘my’ before walking away with Logan. Before they were out of earshot, Sam heard Malinda say, “You just got here and I already feel like another drink.”

 

Samantha stared at her mom for a moment. She looked different this night compared to the other times Analise stopped by the house. There’d been a desperation clinging to her mother, but this mother, she looked composed. Calm. Almost serene, in a small way.

 

“…There’s a vast difference between peace and having a relationship. You cannot ask for a relationship. Not with your daughter. Not with your fiance’s sons. You cannot force something we will not give.”

“So what am I supposed to do?”

“Nothing.”

 

All three were silent for a moment, and in that shared quiet, it was three of them versus Analise. But it was more. It went deeper. It was them versus anyone who tired to hurt one of them. It was like this before. It was like this now, and it would be forever.


My (Writing) Life

Literally NO time for an update.

Family will be here for a party in less than 4 hours.

So much to do!!!

Catch ya later!

REVIEW: Married Till Christmas by Christine Rimmer

Married Till Christmas Book Cover Married Till Christmas
The Bravos of Justice Creek #9
Christine Rimmer
Contemporary Romance, Christmas
Harlequin
November 21, 2017
E-ARC
224
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
December 2017

An impulse wedding...

Strong, sexy Nell Bravo won't be fooled again. After all, Declan McGrath already shattered her heart into pieces--not once, but twice. When alluring CEO Deck sweeps Nell off her feet in Las Vegas, though, she tumbles headlong into an "only in Vegas" fling with her first love. But Nell sure didn't bargain on a Vegas wedding

...a lifetime of love?

It's taken a long time for Deck to finally capture the one who got away. And this time, he's charmed her straight to the altar. But Nell will stay married to him only until Christmas Day--unless Deck can prove that this time, it's for keeps. With the clock ticking, can Deck convince Nell that he truly is her one and only...or has Mr. Love-'Em-and-Leave-'Em broken a Bravo's heart for the last time?

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my TENTH contribution and I’m excited to share my final four reviews over the next couple days.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

Right off the bat, I had some problems with this book. Who the hell goes to Vegas and ACCIDENTALLY marries someone? I don’t care how drunk or buzzed she was, Nell knew exactly what she was doing.

Aside from that impulsive choice she tried to pretend she didn’t make… I liked Nell. She was strong and tough and didn’t put up with Deck’s bullshit.

And speaking of Deck, what an alpha male ass. I did not like anything about him. I think he had a sweet side, but it was buried deep, deep down.

Because of my disbelief of the whole plot conflict and my dislike of Deck, I didn’t love this book. There were plenty of lines and scenes that I enjoyed and made me laugh, but this is one that I won’t be remembering. There was also a LOT more sex in this book than anything else.

On a whole, average as best IMO. I think the author probably has better books out there and I just picked a dud to introduce myself to her writing, which style-wise I had no issues with.

So…. take that however you will.

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

After a month or so of turning up just about everywhere she went, he’d called her again and asked her straight out for a date. She’d said, “Absolutely not and do not call me again.”

 

She met those eyes and felt as light as a sunbeam, fizzy as a just-opened bottle of Don Perignon. It had to stop. She needed to remind him that they’d said goodbye last night. And then she needed to leave.

 

“You wont get away, Nellie,” he whispered. “I wont blow it this time. You and me. That’s how its supposed to be.”

“Don’t go there.” She made her voice as low and rough as his. “Or I’m leaving.”

They glared at each other, a battle of wills. And then he gave her that slow, dangerous grin.

 

But sometimes, even though you don’t believe it could ever happen when life is crappy, things do get better.

 

He just sat there, looking infuriatingly drool worthy with his bed-messy hair and his scruffy, square jaw, his broad, muscled heat and that mouth that could kiss her like no other mouth ever had. He just sat there and said, “I’ve always loved you.”

 

“How about this, Ma? You tell me that you’re sorry.”

“Why? We both know I’m not.”

 

He left the flower shop grinning. His guess? Nell hadn’t told anyone in her family that shed married him in Vegas. Should that bother him? Probably. But he couldn’t help thinking that he might use that information to his advantage. A better man would do no such thing. But he’d never claimed to be any kind of saint.

 

He flashed her a look—annoyed, but maybe a little abashed, too. Being Deck, he went with annoyed. “You’re pissing me off.”

“Welcome to married life. It’s called compromise, Deck. And we’re both going to be doing a lot of it—oh, and as for your fabled need for control? You’ll have to let some of that g, I’m afraid.”

 

He was branded on her heart, the one shed loved and lost and somehow miraculously found again.

 

“I believe I am mildly offended.”

“Only mildly? Good. I can work with that. This could be hot.”


My (Writing) Life

I literally spent my entire day away from the computer until after 10 pm.

Grocery shopping 3 days before Christmas… with both kids.

Cleaning, and attempting to get the kids to help clean… followed by cookie baking. I figured cookies might take 2 hours? HA! Try 4.5 hours.

Once the kids were in bed it was back to cleaning.

I think we’re nearly ready for the party tomorrow. I hope….

REVIEW: The Christmas Holiday by Maxine Morrey

The Christmas Holiday Book Cover The Christmas Holiday
Maxine Morrey
Contemporary Romance
HarperCollins
September 22, 2017
Digital ARC
384
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
November 19 - 26, 2017

Fall in love this winter on a romantic trip around the world ending in a fairy-tale winter wedding!

As winter comes to London, journalist Mia Walker is desperately hoping for her big break as a travel writer, dreaming of exotic locations and sun-soaked beaches. When she’s invited to write a romantic travel piece that ends in a huge winter wedding in London, she jumps at the chance. The only trouble is, the photographer is renowned adventure-junkie Hunter Scott, who Mia last saw five years ago when she ended their engagement.

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, and Mia knows she’d be mad to say no – even if it does mean spending weeks traveling round the world with the one man she never wanted to see again! But as the wedding approaches, and the magic of Christmas begins to take hold, Mia can’t help looking out for mistletoe – and wishing she hadn’t cancelled her own engagement after all…

 

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my NINTH contribution and I’m excited to share my final three reviews over the next couple days.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

Imagine getting your dream assignment. And then finding out that you’ll be partnering with your ex. The ex whose heart you broke years ago. That’s what happens to Mia, a journalist, when she’s tasked to write about her boss’s daughter’s pre-wedding trip around the world—while her ex, Hunter, photographs the whole thing.

While billed as a Christmas romance, this felt more like a travel romance. Christmas does occur during the book, as well as Thanksgiving, but most of the story is spent with the characters traveling the world.

I loved Mia. She was sweet and funny and easy to like. Hunter was a little more difficult to like because he came off very Alpha male-like in the beginning. As the story went on, and I learned what had happened to him between his breakup with Mia and the books events, I warmed up to him. Despite his alpha-qualities he was charismatic.

The supporting characters were also great, I really enjoyed Liv (who was a nicely developed sub character) and even Sandeep (though he wasn’t as developed, mostly because the story is told through Mia’s POV and she never spent alone time with him.)

Really, the only negative I can say is that this didn’t feel like a holiday romance… which isn’t a negative unless you really had your heart set on a holiday romance. But it was a very enjoyable romance and I had a lot of fun traveling the world through these characters.

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

“Let’s go and sit down. Making a scene in front of a client isn’t my usual style.”

“You started it.”

“Real mature, Mia.”

Shit. Since he put it like that, it did sound childish and that wasn’t how I’d meant to sound at all. Double shit.

 

“Well, he clearly doesn’t want you dead, so that’s a start.”

“Right.” I wasn’t sure that the fact he didn’t mind if I was alive was a whole lot to grab on to but I dint have much else.

 

“Sorry if I spoiled your plans to take your friend.”

“Are you?”

“No. Not in the slightest.” And with that I silently congratulated myself as he’d suggested, pulled out the SkyMall magazine and began window shopping.

 

 

Hunter pulled one leg across the other knee. “Darling Liv is under the impression that if a woman doesn’t want to sleep with me, then it’s because I don’t have the right… let’s say, equipment. Which, although incredibly flattering, is somewhat far from the truth.”

 

The sarong was about the same size as a men’s large handkerchief and pretty much sheer so it was definitely more for show than purpose. But if show was the purpose, it was doing its job spectacularly.

 

I give him a sweet smile and he gave me a look like he wanted to use me as alligator bait.

 

“I swear to God, Mia. If you hit me one more time, I’m absolutely going to turn around, pick you up, and throw you in.”

“I’m not doing it on purpose!”

“I will absolutely be doing it on purpose.”

 

 

“I’d rather you didn’t speak to me right now, if that’s OK with you,” I snapped at Hunter, keeping my eyes on the horizon. “An bearing in mind there’s a two-hundred-foot drop right there, you might refer not to as well.”


My (Writing) Life

Super quick update! I’ve got to get this post set up super fast so that I can go fold some laundry before working this afternoon.

I’ve got a couple reviews left to write… and 10 pages left of my last Christmas book to read! I should be able to get all that done at work tonight.

If it’s as slow as I’m anticipating/hoping, I’m going to start plotting BLOOD & MAGIC. If you haven’t heard me talk about that project yet, here’s the short story. I wrote it in 2013 for NaNoWrimo. I’ve toyed with it multiple times since, but it’s not where I want it to be. I feel the best thing for me to do is tear it apart and rewrite from scratch. It should be easier than writing a brand new story because I already know the characters and I mostly know what happens. But I want to plan for a long game and make this a long series, or at the very least, a trilogy. I also have to decide if I want to write/market it as PNR or Urban Fantasy. I also might age up my character a bit, she’s currently just turned 18 but maybe she’ll just turn 19.

So yeah, that’s the scoop!

I hope everyone who celebrates is done with their Christmas prep and able to relax and enjoy their holiday! (Tomorrow my kids are off school so it’s going to be a baking/last minute grocery shopping day before the party we’re hosting on Saturday with my parents/siblings/nieces & nephews!)

REVIEW: Just a Little Christmas by Janet Dailey

Just a Little Christmas Book Cover Just a Little Christmas
A Cowboy Christmas #3
Janet Dailey
Contemporary Romance
Zebra
September 26, 2017
E-ARC
320
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
September 21 - December 7, 2017

Believe in second chances this Christmas . . .
 
Ellie Marsden couldn’t wait to shake the dust of Branding Iron, Texas, off her heels and chase after bright lights, big city, and a wealthy husband. Now she’s come home, divorced, a little disillusioned, and a whole lot pregnant. Leave it to her one-time high school sweetheart, cattle rancher Jubal McFarland, to point out that citified Ellie is as out of place in small-town Texas as her teacup poodle. So why is there something about being back—and being with Jubal—that feels surprisingly right?


Jubal’s eight-year-old daughter, Gracie, needs a mother, but he hasn’t found the perfect woman. Or maybe the problem is that he did find her, and had his heart broken when she left town. Gracie’s already falling hard for Ellie and that ball of fluff she calls a dog. And no matter how hard the rugged cowboy tries to resist, there’s no denying the appeal of first love and sweet new beginnings—especially when there’s a little Christmas magic in the air . . .

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my EIGHT contribution and I’m excited to share reviews for twelve holiday books over the next coming weeks.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

Just a Little Christmas was a cute, if not very memorable, holiday romance.

Honestly, it’s been awhile since I read this one. I really should have written this review sooner. So I’ll try my best to conjure up some thoughts and feelings for this story.

So basically this is a girl leaves her small town for the big city and breaks her boyfriends heart in the process story. She comes back, divorced and pregnant, and basically it’s a second chance romance.

The characters were mostly not very memorable for me. Except Jubal’s name. It’s not one I’ve heard before and I cringed every time I read it.

The author did a good job of including a kid but not making this a book with an annoying kid in it.

Honestly, I don’t have much else to say about this one! If you’re in the mood for a cute little Christmas romance this could the book do the trick, but for this reader at least, it did not leave a lasting impression.

 

I received an advanced release copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


QUOTES

But come tomorrow morning, the whole town would know that Ellie Rae Marsden, daughter of perfect parents, high school honor student, cheerleader, homecoming queen, and big-city sophisticate, had fallen off her pedestal and landed hard on her butt.

 

It really was Ellie Marsden, or whatever her name was now. Elegant, citified, and—Jubal’s stomach lurched as his gaze moved downward—pregnant. Lord help him, she was as round and ripe as an October pumpkin!

 

Ellie kissed him back, the joyous tingle surging all the way to her toes. The colored lights on Main Street swirled in her head. Carols sang in her ears. For the first time since coming home to Branding Iron, she felt like Christmas.

 

Ellie faced nothing but an uncertain future here. Could she really build a life in a place where she’d never wanted to be, with a man who still had every reason to turn his back on her?

REVIEW: Can’t Miss Christmas by Miranda Liasson

Can’t Miss Christmas Book Cover Can’t Miss Christmas
Mirror Lake #3.5 (stand alone novella)
Miranda Liasson
Contemprary Romance
November 7, 2017
E-ARC
74
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
November 2017

Here comes a charming standalone Christmas novella by Amazon bestselling author Miranda Liasson. Fans of both Mirror Lake series will recognize familiar elements and people along the way.

It’s two days before Christmas and bestselling children’s author Grace Alberts needs to fulfill a promise—to make it to a book signing for the kids at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the place that did so much for her during a very rough time. But the weather’s getting awful and all flights are cancelled out of Boston, where she’s wrapping up her book tour. Then in walks her annoying but extremely sexy ex-husband, who (as usual) thinks he’s got all the answers.

Graham Walker just stopped by to get a book signed for Grace’s biggest fan, his niece, and wish Grace a Merry Christmas—why not? But he soon finds himself troubleshooting her dilemma. He’s got a Range Rover that can plow through a hundred-year Nor’easter. He’s even headed home to Philly. Trouble is, Grace's and his past is a disaster, something he has no intention of reliving while driving through a winter storm, no matter how much he once loved her. And maybe still does.

Bad weather has a way of bringing out the best and the worst in people, and when a run in with some deer antlers leads them to a forced stop in Mirror Lake, Connecticut, anything can happen, naughty or nice. Maybe a bit of enforced alone time and some Christmas magic can be just what it takes for them to face their past—and each other—once and for all.

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my SIXTH contribution and I’m excited to share reviews for twelve holiday books over the next coming weeks.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


My Review

When I started reading this story I had no idea that A. It was a short novella, and B. It was a part of a series (Mirror Lake).

I have a love hate relationship with novellas because sometimes they’re just too light on plot or substance, but that wasn’t the case with this story.

This ended up being a perfect second chance romance with a holiday theme as a bonus. Graham and Grace used to be married, but their marriage fell apart after the premature birth and death of their son. Neither knew how to handle the grief and pushed the other away. Years later, on a joint cross-state car ride, their feelings are rekindled and they’re forced to deal with all of the old feelings they never talked about between their sons death and their divorce.

The characters were likable. Graham was a business owner and Grace was a children’s book author, which added to their interest.

Toward the end they wind up in the town of Mirror Lake, and at that point very minor characters were suddenly name dropped and I realized this was part of a bigger series. Readers of the Mirror Lake series will love it, but me as an outsider, I was thrown a bit at first. That said, I kind of want to go read the rest of the Mirror Lake series and see what other stories those characters have!

A mild content warning: The subject matter may be triggering for those who have lost children. Also, 99% of this book is clean, but there is one sex scene.


SHOULD YOU READ IT?
This is a sweet story of love lost and found. If you want a contemporary romance holiday story, but don’t have a lot of time, this might be worth the read.

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


QUOTES

All it would take was one of them reaching out to the other, to tear down the barriers between them. Everything that had happened to them since he’d walked into the bookstore yesterday—maybe it had all happened for a reason.

 

Being with him was like being covered by a soft blanket, or wearing a comfy pair of jeans—unlike anything she’d felt before, except with him.

 

He wanted to be a part of her world too, and for the first time, he felt like it was possible to leave their past behind and start again. If he could just convince her to believe it.

REVIEW: The Ghost of Christmas Past by Rhys Bowen

The Ghost of Christmas Past Book Cover The Ghost of Christmas Past
Molly Murphy Mysteries #17
Rhys Bowen
Historical, Mystery
Minotaur Books
November 14, 2017
E-ARC
272
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
November 2 - 12, 2017

Semi-retired private detective Molly Murphy Sullivan is suffering from depression after a miscarriage following her adventure in San Francisco during the earthquake of 1906. She and her husband, Daniel, are invited for Christmas at a mansion on the Hudson, and they gratefully accept, expecting a peaceful and relaxing holiday season. Not long after they arrive, however, they start to feel the tension in the house’s atmosphere. Then they learn that the host couple's young daughter wandered out into the snow ten years ago and was never seen again. Molly can identify with the mother's pain at never knowing what happened to her child and wants to help, but there is so little to go on. No ransom note. No body ever found. But Molly slowly begins to suspect that the occupants of the house know more than they are letting on. Then, on Christmas Eve, there is a knock at the door and a young girl stands there. "I'm Charlotte," she says. "I've come home."

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my FOURTH contribution and I’m excited to share reviews for twelve holiday books over the next coming weeks.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


REVIEW

I snagged this book from NetGalley because I was determined to do this 12 Books of Christmas series of reviews. I wasn’t too discriminating because I was desperate for holiday books. I like mysteries and I mostly like historical, so I was optimistic about this book.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t realize this was the 17th book in this series! I had a hard time connecting with the characters and I imagine part of that is because most readers who pick up this book will have already had 16 mysteries solved with Molly Murphy.

The pacing was my biggest problem. The beginning was very slow for me, introducing characters. By the time they reached the destination where the mystery occurs I was contemplating DNFing this book. I stayed with it and by 30% I’d solved part of the mystery and my theory on “whodunit” proved right as well.

All that said, once the ball got going I did find myself enjoying many aspects of the story. I was still a little disappointed that I figured it out so early, but by that point I was determined to keep reading in the hopes of it being a red herring.

Part of my problem with this book might be the fact that everything sounded so stiff. It’s historical, so it fits, but I struggled with it in this context. Other readers of historical’s and mysteries might not have the problems I had.

 

SHOULD YOU READ IT?  While you can jump into this book not having read any other Molly Murphy Mysteries, this reader would advise starting at the beginning if you enjoy historical mysteries with strong female leads.

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

“What on earth could a bunch of women find to talk about until after eleven?” Daniel asked, going over to the basin at the washstand to shave.

“Plenty,” I said, “We were scheming and plotting all evening how to disrupt the workings of the government in New York. We thought we might kidnap the mayor.

He turned back to me, a horrified look on his face. “You can’t be serious!”

 

“I think you should leave it, Molly. A good detective relies on facts, not flights of fancy and not besmirching characters without any modicum of proof.”


My (Writing) Life

It’s the holidays so life is hectic. Lots going on. Trying to keep my head above water. The usual!

I downloaded a new task manager app. It’s pretty awesome because it’s part task manager/part game. It’s called Habitica and if you don’t complete your tasks your little 8-bit character loses health. When you do complete your tasks you gain XP. As you level you unlock more items/features. The Husband and I both have it and we’re going to set the kids up with it soon as well. Maybe this will entice them to get their every day things done!

As far as writing, I’m going to start sending PEACE IN FLAMES out to reviewers SOON. So that’s exciting. The February release will be here before I know it! I’m also doing really well on SUMMER OF PEACE. I’m in the 18k range with a target goal of at least 20k, so that’s good. We’ll see what can be added/fluffed and fixed in the first round of edits soon!

My other writing projects are benched for the moment while I work on getting SUMMER completed. I’m hoping I’ll be able to dive back into SOMETHING I’M GOOD AT shortly after the new year. I’ll probably take a little break after that book to go back to my urban fantasy BLOOD & MAGIC, which needs to be completely restructured and rewritten. I’m both excited for and dreading that! Mostly I’m excited though.

So yeah, that’s what’s going on!

REVIEW: Holiday Baby Bombshell by Karen Booth

Holiday Baby Bombshell Book Cover Holiday Baby Bombshell
Little Secrets #5, The Locke Legacy #2
Karen Booth
Contemprary Romance
Harlquin Desire
November 7, 2017
E-ARC
224
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
September 12-13, 2017

From Rivalry to Revelry…to Romance?

Competitive swimmer turned real estate magnate Michael Kelly is tastier than a Christmas cookie. But now Charlotte Locke's sexy former lover is her top business rival…and the father of her unborn child. Determined to keep her professional cool, the hotel heiress hides her delicate condition from her family—and from her commitmentphobic ex. Until Michael moves in next door, exposing a desire left unquenched and Charlotte's pregnancy secret.

Michael may not be daddy material, but losing Charlotte and their baby isn't an option. He'll close the deal at any cost—even if it takes a Christmas miracle to prove this playboy is reformed for good!

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my THIRD contribution and I’m excited to share reviews for twelve holiday books over the next coming weeks.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


My Review

Okay, I’m not going to lie. When I saw this book I thought it was going to be all fluff and zero substance. With a title like that, how could it not be? In all honesty, I only requested this book from NetGalley because I got it in my head that reading 12 books before Christmas for this blog series was a good idea and totally doable with the million other things that I have to do. <<That was sarcasm.>>

I was in for a helluva shock though when I actually started reading this book and fell in love. This little holiday book was friggen adorable!

Charlotte is pretty much the family screw-up. She hasn’t found her calling in life and is trying really hard to prove to her brothers that she can be successful. This is doubly important to her right now, because a few months ago her boyfriend, Michael, broke her heart and she ran off to Europe to lick her wounds… only to discover that she’s pregnant with his baby.

So, Charlotte returns home and tries to pick up where she left, in her latest career venture as a real estate agent. Her family owns a luxury hotel and her brother has converted the unused top floors into luxury apartments for sale. She asks for the listings and her brother gives her half… the rest of the listings going to none other than her ex and baby daddy, Michael.

Sparks fly between the pair as they compete to sell their half of the listings first. Charlotte is early enough in her pregnancy that she’s able to hide it, promising to tell her family and Michael once she’s proved she can sell the apartments.

Of course, this being a novel, there is some conflict. Michael is a bit of a diva at times, but he and Charlotte both grow as individual characters and couples.

In the end, I was absolutely delighted with this adorable holiday romance.

 

So, should you read it? If you enjoy romance novels I don’t think this book will disappoint you. I know I’ll be watching for more from Karen Booth in the future!

 

* Big thanks to the author and publisher for providing a e-copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

Charlotte nearly blew steam from her nostrils. “First of all, I don’t remember asking for your sage life advice. And second, you have a lot to learn about women. I never wanted you to solve my problems. I wanted you to listen.”

 

She hated Michael. Or at least she was trying very hard to.

 

Love had always been Charlotte’s drug of choice. She’d wanted it more from Michael than she’d wanted it from any other man.

 

He was so arrogant it made her want to scream. And kiss him.

 

“I know you and that’s a let’s-have-sex kiss.” Good god, it really was a let’s-have-sex kiss. And she was mad about it. “That was not a reunion. What were you thinking anyway?”

“I was thinking that you’re beautiful and I wanted to kiss you.”


My (Writing) Life

I finally feel like I might be getting into a solid groove here, you guys!

I’m not currently falling behind on anything in my life. (Except dishes and other housework….but we won’t talk about that. HA!) Today I’m trying something new to keep myself on task. I have a notebook to my left and my phone to my right. Every time I start a new task I start the stopwatch on my phone. When I end said task, I stop the stopwatch and jot down the task and time spent in the notebook. I feel like I’m accomplishing more and because I’m basically competing with myself I feel more inclined to work faster and stay focused. There’s probably an app for this, but I haven’t found it yet.

We’ll see how long this lasts!

Alas, I’m digging into my time right now by writing this up. I’ve got tons left on my to do list so I’ll catch you all later with my next book review!

REVIEW: Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

Dashing Through the Snow Book Cover Dashing Through the Snow
Debbie Macomber
Contemporary Romance
Ballantine Books
October 6, 2015
Paperback
272
12 Books of Christmas
September 28 - October 1, 2017

Savor the magic of the season with Debbie Macomber’s newest Christmas novel, filled with warmth, humor, the promise of love, and a dash of unexpected adventure.

Ashley Davison, a graduate student in California, desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: Every flight is full, and there’s only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead.

At first they drive in silence, but forced into close quarters Ashley and Dash can’t help but open up. Not only do they find they have a lot in common, but there’s even a spark of romance in the air. Their feelings catch them off guard—never before has either been so excited about a first meeting. But the two are in for more twists and turns along the way as they rescue a lost puppy, run into petty thieves, and even get caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Though Ashley and Dash may never reach Seattle in time for Christmas, the season is still full of surprises—and their greatest wishes may yet come true.

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Enjoy the second holiday book I’m contributing for the 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


My Review

The hotel I work for received a new shipment of books for the lobby. This book was one of them, so, seeing that I needed a few more holiday books to meet my 12 Days of Christmas book quota, I snagged a copy, devoured it in about 4 days, then returned it to work.

This book is pure fluff. If you are in the mood for a cheesy, over the top, unrealistic, anything-that-can-go-wrong-does with a happily ever after, this is your book.

The heroine, Ashley, is immature beyond words. She has a good heart, but sometimes I had to shake my head at some of the questionable things she said and did. Meanwhile the hero, Dash, went from Grade-A jerk to…. well, someone I could like. Together they had great chemistry, I’m guessing the author was going for a “they balance each other” thing, but I really don”t see how they could possibly work with how immature she was and stoic he was.

Ultimately, if you’re in the mood for a super fluffy, light, rom-com you might enjoy this book. (FYI, it’s also a Hallmark movie. Which I haven’t been able to find no Netflix to stream. Boo!)


Quotes

“…There’s only one car left in the entire lot and we’re both headed to Seattle, and, well, I thought if I talked to his mother I’d feel better about sharing a ride with a perfect stranger.”
“Trust me, my dear, my son is far from perfect.”

 

“Besides, you’re not my type.” She didn’t really have a type, but if she did, he’d be at the top of the list, not that she’d tell him that.
“Oh really?” he said. He snorted a laugh as if to say the opposite sex found him irresistible.

 

“Do you know you roll your eyes a lot?” she asked.
“I didn’t before I met you.”

 

He frowned. “I worry when you get overly accommodating. It’s like when a woman says, ‘Correct me if I’m wrong…’ Trust me, most men know never to make that mistake. It’s a trap.”

REVIEW: My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff

My New Crush Gave to Me Book Cover My New Crush Gave to Me
Shani Petroff
YA Contemporary Romance
Macmillian / Swoon Reads
October 31, 2017
E-ARC
224
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
August 25 - 27, 2017

Charlotte Charlie Donovan knows exactly what she wants for Christmas: Teo Ortiz. He s the school s star athlete, in the National Honor Society, invited to every party, contributes to the school paper (where Charlie is co-editor), and is about to be featured as One to Watch in a teen magazine basically, he's exactly the type of guy Charlie s meant to be with. The only problem he barely knows she exists.

But Charlie is determined to be Teo's date to the Christmas ball. And she has a plan: To rig the paper s Secret Santa so that she can win his heart with five perfect gifts. But to do that she needs help. Enter J.D. Ortiz Teo s cousin, and possibly the most annoying person on the planet. He s easy going, laid back, unorganized, spontaneous, and makes a joke out of everything the exact opposite of Charlie (and Teo). But he s willing to provide insight into what Teo wants, so she s stuck with him.

Yet, the more time Charlie spends with J.D., the more she starts to wonder: Does she really know what, or rather who, she wants for Christmas?

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my first contribution and I’m excited to share reviews for twelve holiday books over the next coming weeks.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge

My Review

I was in the mood for a light and fluffy YA romance and this one from NetGalley really did the trick. It was a quick, fun, and sweet read. To top it off, it’s the end of August and I’m suddenly ready to set up my tree and string garlands and lights around my house!

The characters were all unique and fun to get to know. Charlie is a very type-A girl, she likes lists and keeping to a schedule. She’s very orderly and a little uptight. JD is pretty much her opposite, he’s more of the “creative type” and really wants Charlie to just chill a little. When she bribes him to help her win over his cousin via a rigged Secret Santa gift exchange, Charlie ends up learning a little about herself. And realizing that maybe she was judging JD too harshly.

The romance in this story very much had a Pride & Prejudice feel to it. With a little bit of Cyrano. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a retelling, but it certainly had a bit of those elements at least as far as Charlie goes (P&P) and JD (Cyrano).

The first half of the book I liked it, but I really wasn’t smitten. Something was just falling flat for me. But the more JD and Charlie interacted, the more I fell in love with the story and their chemistry. JD was the perfect yin to Charlie’s yang. There was a point when I thought they wouldn’t end up together and I was angry and crushed! That was the moment when I realized this 3 star book had hit 4 star status for me.

 

So, should you read it? If you’re in the mood for something light, sweet, and festive, I don’t think My True Love Gave To Me will disappoint!


Quotes

* All quotes taken from an advanced digital galley and subject to change prior to release.

I had my whole day planned out on my phone, which I synced to the calendar on my iPad and computer and then printed out as a hard copy every day. I even allocated time for “unplanned holdups.” It may have been a smidge obsessive, but it kept me focused and made me much more productive.

 

“You don’t get to choose your Secret Santa,” Ira reminded me. That’s what he thought. I was already formulating a plan.

 

“So,” J.D. said, with one eyebrow raised, “did you just come to spin around at my doorway or did you want something?”

 

Well, if Morgan had stellar parking karma, J.D. had the opposite.

 

The idea of kissing J.D. Ortiz was about as appealing as taking a nap on the bathroom floor.

 

I watched as she and Ira walked ahead, arm in arm, talking and laughing. I wanted a guy like that, one who was there for me, who made me laugh until it hurt, who came out to dinner even though he’d already eaten just so he could spend time with me, who ordered onion rings just because I liked them, who bought a cupcake he didn’t need because I made it.

 

“We’re glad you could come. J.D. has told us a lot about you.”
His cheeks turned a light shade of pink.
“All bad, I assure you,” he said.

 

“I was just giving you a hard time. It’s kind of fun pushing your buttons.”

 

“Getting a gift like this— does it mean you’ve been naughty or nice?”
“It’s marshmallows, not coal,” J.D. answered for me, despite my glare in his direction, “so I’d say nice.”
“Well, it’s always the nice ones you have to watch out for, don’t you?” Teo said, while J.D. groaned.

 

“Is it maybe . . .” He lifted the present above my head. “Mistletoe?” It wasn’t, but now I kind of wished it was.

 

And sometimes it’s the smaller, not as in the center of it all, less obvious choice that’s the better one. The one that will surprise you.


My (Writing) Life

My writing life has been…. interesting lately. I started strong with NaNo, but missed a few days and basically quit tracking. Even with “failing” NaNoWriMo this year, I still wrote over 30k, which is pretty awesome for me. I also explored some little side projects that were very new to me and expanded my horizons a bit.

Christmas is drawing near, hence this 12 Books of Christmas post today. This challenge, which I came up with, and Katie over at Just Another Girl and Her Books actual set up, is going to force me to post a pile of my reviews! I’ve got 10 of my Christmas books already read, most of the reviews written as well. I’m a little side tracked right now reading another book for a blog hop and re-reading Twilight just for the hell of it.

So yeah, that’s what’s going on. I meant to post this first review on Black Friday, but…. shopping happened. Then my sister informed me that her kids probably gave us lice. So then lice eradication happened. And is still happening. I’m almost done Christmas shopping and aside from wrapping, I think things are calming down.