Archives

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.

Deja Revu – 12.17.17

Picture
Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.
Picture

Meme

Spotlight

Reading Challenge

 

Picture

Contemporary

Non-Fiction

Paranormal

 

Picture

Contemporary

Romance

 

Picture

Contemporary

General Fiction

Horror

Mystery

Romance

 

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!

Beat The Backlist 2018 + 2017 Recap

2017 is nearly over and it’s time to start thinking about all the wonderful reading challenges 2018 has in store for us… or if you’re like me, you’re going to swear off ALL reading challenges for 2018, only to cave under the peer pressure from your blogger friends.

So here I am, declaring myself a member of the Story Bard team for Beat The Backlist 2018. Last year the challenge was really intense and I did really well for most of it, but I fell off the wagon toward the end. I had a hard time keeping up with what I had submitted and what I hadn’t. I mean, if you follow my blog at all, you know how behind I am at posting my reviews! I’m much quicker at reading than writing up and posting my thoughts! (They’re coming though, I swear!)


2017 Recap

So, first things first. Let’s see how I did in 2017. (I know the year isn’t over yet, but I quit submitting my reviews for points.)

I had a list of print books I wanted to work my way through, and I did pretty awful.

My print book list contained 24 books.
Of those 24 books I read 5 and have started and set aside another 4. So…. that’s not great, but not awful.

Ebooks I think I did a little better with. I didn’t “declare” any ebooks back at the beginning of the challenge, but I did read quite a few. Total #BeatTheBacklist books read for 2017 (including print) came to… 16.

Wait…. 16 total? I take it back. I did awful. I do have at least one more review to post that was a backlist, but still. I did awful.


2018 Goals

I’m getting clarification of the rules, but I had planned to do some re-reads in 2018. I’m nearly done with Twilight right now and want to re-read the entire series. Same with The Mortal Instruments, Vampire Academy, and Bloodlines. I haven’t reviewed most if any of those books, so if those count, I’m set to do well!

I’m still going to try to work my way through the rest of my 2017 list.

That means I’m looking at, for print books:

From the 2017 list….

Switch by Douglas Davey

– Goodreads win. It’s YA. It fits the LGBTQ reading challenge I took on. Also looks like it might be a relatively short read.

The Other Boy by M. G. Hennessey

– Goodreads win. Very short middle grade. It might bore me, but it might not. It’s about bullying. I might give it to my 4th grader to read when I’m done. Also an ARC…. I probably should have read sooner. I’m the worst.

The Black Sheep by Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout

– Pretty sure this was a Goodreads win. One of the very few YA’s I’ve won. Plus it looks super cute with reality TV and teen romance mixed in.

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier

– Goodreads win. MG I believe. Might be a good one to read with/to my kids. Been on my TBR list since I won it. Another ARC I feel guilty for not reading sooner!

Silence by Michelle Sagara

– Goodwill find. I paid money for it, I damn well better read it! Pretty cover.

The Wizard, The Witch & Two Girls From Jersey by Lisa Papademetriou

– Friends of the Library buy. I paid money for it, I damn well better read it! If the book is as good as the title I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.

Legacy: A Private Novel by Kate Brian

– Friends of the Library buy. I have a feeling I won’t like this one about rich boarding school girls, but I paid $1.50 for it so I have to at least try.

Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix

– Friends of the Library buy. I’m iffy on this one. But it was cheap. And there are girls in tiaras. I like princesses.

The Best “Worst” president: What the Right Gets Wrong About Barack Obama by Mark Hannah

– Goodreads win. Fabulous cover. I need to read more about politics. And I love the Obama family. Big book with small print though…

The Courtship Basket by Amy Clipston

 

– Goodreads win. I’ve been trying to win an Amish romance since forever. Now I can find out if I even like Amish romances!

Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin

– On loan from a friend. From at least 3 years ago! EEP! Better read and return. Hesitant because it’s chick lit and my luck with that genre has been meh. (I DID START THIS ONE! But I set it aside so I’ll have to start again.)

A Night With Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday

– Goodreads win. One of my FIRST wins. Keeps getting pushed back on the list because I haven’t had much luck with chick lit. Beautiful cover though!

Something Blue by Emily Griffin

– See book 1 for all reasons. If I hate Something Borrowed I will not be reading Something Blue.

Cat With a Clue by Laurie Cass

– Goodreads win. Cozy mystery. Cats. Sounds good to me! Was going to read summer 2016 but it got shuffled aside. 🙁 (I started this one! It didn’t hook me so I’m not very commuted to this one. Sorry Cat.)

A Boy in Barcelona by R. W. Mitchell

 

 

– Goodreads win. Meets 2 other reading challenges (LGBTQ & Tour of Europe). Main character is quitting social media? I must see how this plays out, I couldn’t do it!

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

– Goodreads win. I’ve heard good things about this one. I like libraries. And magic. It was an ARC and I feel guilty for not reading/reviewing yet! (BONUS: Counts for my European Reading Challenge!)

Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins

– Given to me by a friend to keep. I read most of the Lucky Santangelo series before this one. The first one, Chances, I thought I’d hate. But my friend insisted and boy am I glad I did! SO ADDICTING! I need to double check that I am up to date before starting this one, but I’m pretty sure I have at least one more to read first. Despite being HUGE books, these are totally addicting page turners. It’s good to have a little Jackie Collins in your life.


NetGalley / First Reads

I’m a bad little reader and here it is December and I have a number of books from NetGalley and First Reads that still need to be read. Sometimes I get a little greedy with the request / guarantee clicks….

First Reads:

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi
– In my defense, I did START this one. I might have even finished the first chapter. Unfortunately it’s trapped on my old phone, and I’m not even sure where that is at the moment. I will read it though.

Ramses The Damned by Anne Rice & Christopher Rice

– I love Anne Rice so I really am looking forward to this. Unfortunately I have it in my head that I have to re-read the first book, The Mummy, so I’ll be doing that first. This one is also trapped on my old phone.

 

NetGalley:

The Girl in the Glass Box by Andi Adams

– It’s a fairy tale retelling. Hopefully a good one!

Doctor Who: Myths and Legends

– It’s The Doctor. Of course I need to read this one as soon as I can!

Begin Again by Mona Kasten

– I read a review of this on another blog and had to have it. I requested, they approved. I will read it probably in January. Pretty sure it’s a NA romance?

Artemis by Andy Weir

– I have no good excuse for not reading this yet! I LOVED The Martian so I’m sure Artemis won’t disappoint! I’m going to blame the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge I’m doing right now! I guess it’s appropriate that I read this for BTB 2018 since I read The Martian for BTB 2017!

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

– I won a print ARC of this one as well as the NetGalley copy and honestly, I’m not crazy about it. I’ll probably force myself to finish it. Maybe it gets better?

Beautiful Bodies by Kimberly Rae Miller

– I don’t remember what this one is about. I think it’s a memoir? It looked good though, the fiction books just keep getting priority from me.

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

– Started this one, but the formatting made it really wonky to do text to speech, so I have to read it when I can commit to reading with my eyes, not just listening.

Nessie by Nick Redfern

– Started this one, but took a loooong break. Might just have to DNF.

Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

– I’ve started this book at least twice now, but the formatting is SO awful I may have to DNF. I’m not sure yet.

RoseBlood by A. G. Howard

– This one was started and set aside. I may come back to it, otherwise I’ll have to list DNF and report that to the publisher.


Others

I have some other books that need reading that I purchased ages ago and just never got around to….

Lost in Limbo by Angela Roquet

– In 2013 my friend had me buy this boxset of books 1-3 of the Lana Harvey, Reapers Inc. series, and I just never read it. Let that sink in. This book has been lingering for over 4 years now, just waiting for my attention.

Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead

– They had an awesome sale on this series this past year so I snagged it. I unfortunately kept grabbing NetGalley books so I haven’t had a chance to dive in yet. But I will, because Richelle Mead is my spirit animal. I want to be her when I grown up. I did actually read the graphic novel of the first book, and though it was very anemic (graphic novels just aren’t the same as novels! Sorry graphic novel lovers!) it gave me a taste of the story and I want to read more with all the details!

Vampire Girl by Karpov Kinrade

– A friend of mine is addicted to this book. She told me I HAD to read it, and since it was only 99c I bought it. I just haven’t found the time to start it yet!

 

….Everything else on my Kindle.

– I have so many books on my Kindle it’s not even funny. Seriously, it’s ridiculous. I’m hoping once I have my NetGalley list under control (hahaha! Funny, right?) I’ll be able to read one from my Kindle library for every 2 NetGalley/First Reads book. Doable? Maybe. We’ll find out won’t we!


So what about you? Are you participating in any reading challenges? If you’re taking part in this one, what team are you on? (If you’re not a Story Bard, best of luck, but don’t do better than my team please. haha!)

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.

 

Deja Revu – November 19, 2017

Picture
Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.
Picture

Original

Meme

Picture
Picture

Fantasy

Picture

Contemporary

Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Horror

Paranormal

Romance

Picture

Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Romance

Picture

Horror

Non-Fiction

Romance

Picture

Romance

REVIEW: Royal Guard of Draga by Emma Dean

Royal Guard of Draga Book Cover Royal Guard of Draga
Draga Court #0.5
Emma Dean
Sci-Fi Romance
August 3, 2017
Kindle
174
The Author
Jillian Ashe
July 2017

In a galaxy far from our own in a faraway future humans have settled among the stars, altering their genetics to create a more peaceful society where dominance and rank are known instinctually. Princess Adelina of the Draga royal family seeks love before political gain and her guard is the only male her eyes see. Alpha is the most beautiful man she's ever laid eyes on and ever since he came back from his training Adelina can't get him out of her mind.

The strength and dominance Alpha has tests her will and all Adelina wants to do is submit to him, but she has duties required by the crown. When her father becomes ill her life, and that of her siblings are turned upside down. Can Adelina find love with her royal guard before it's too late and the choice is taken from her?

My Review

This is a prequel to the new Draga Court series by Emma Dean (pen name of author Jillian Ashe).

So, right off the bat, the heroine of this story, Adelina, is kind of hard to like, at least for me. This epic, sci-fi universe takes place in the far distant future and people have been genetically altered so that they are born with a natural “dominance” level. Princess Adelina is at the bottom of that chart, being very submissive. She can come across as a push over and weak at times. Do NOT let that turn you off. Keep reading.

This story is a short little introduction to this new world. It’s descriptive, interesting, and very sexy. This particular story, as I said before, is a prequel and takes place before the events of book 1. You don’t have to read it to know what’s going on in the series, but you’ll understand the events referenced later a little better having read this.

Basic gist – the princess has feelings for her personal guard. He shares those feelings. You have to read on to find out what, if anything, becomes of that.

I also feel like this isn’t too heavy on the sci-fi so anyone who enjoys steamy romance, who is open to non-contemporary genres, can enjoy this series. It is VERY steamy at times.


Quotes

How one was born was reflected in their personal, natural scent. It broadcasted their abilities to everyone around them and created a safe environment where those who were dominant protected those who served. She always knew who to defer to and how to act thanks to protocol. As a royal she should have been more dominant.


Alpha didn’t move for a second. His whole body tensed and then it was like he let go of everything holding him back. His arms went around Adelina’s waist and held her close. Alpha’s touch was soft and gentle – barely there – but he kissed her back with force.

REVIEW: A Shadowed Beginning by Alice J. Black

A Shadowed Beginning Book Cover A Shadowed Beginning
Demon Hunter #1
Alice J. Black
Teen Paranormal
Fire & Ice Young Adult Books
November 14, 2017
Unedited Manuscript
280

Ruby Dawson is about to discover a whole new world—one of demons and devils.

Following the death of her father four years ago, Ruby is sure her life can't get any harder. Living in a care home for girls, struggling with the last two years of school and working part time at an employment agency seem almost too much at times.

And then she sees the man with the crescent scar. He's a memory from her past and one that she knows will have answers. He's the last link to her dad.

Ruby goes looking for answers but only ends up with more questions as everything she thought she knew was real is turned upside down and her own life becomes all too connected with a world she didn't know existed.

My Review

Wow. This story is everything I love about teen fiction. The badass heroine who doesn’t really want the life that’s been thrust upon her. The smoking hot love interest full of chaste sexual tension. And demons.

Ruby thought her dad died of a heart attack, but years later when a man she recognizes from her fathers funeral walks into The Agency where she works, she takes off on a whim, following him into the streets. It’s there that he reveals that all is not as it seems. He’s a demon hunter working for The Agency… and so was her father.

Things get weirder when Ruby begins seeing things, and she is attacked by shadows. With the help of Vaughn, the son of her father’s former partner, she must train in order to fight the demons and save her town.

This was such a well-written story, all of the pieces weaved together beautifully, giving all the information the reader needs without info dumping or getting boring. The plot moves, information is slowly revealed, and some things the reader may initially read as just scene setting information, only to later discover it was actually crucial to the plot.

The chemistry between Ruby and Vaughn was realistic. The sparks flew. There was so much sexual tension between them, I just wanted them to KISS ALREADY! But do they? Hmm… I can’t tell you that. I can tell you before the end of the book I was mad crushing on Vaughn and shipping R/V.

And what teen book would be complete without the mean girl? This one is no different. She’s not the villain of the story, but she’s certainly not someone the reader is meant to like.

There are 6 more books in this series and I ended this one BEGGING the author to send me the next one!

 

NOTE: I am an acquisitions editor for this publisher and also the cover designer for this book. This in no way changes my opinion of this book. I would not contract a book I didn’t believe in and enjoy myself. In short, this book is AMAZING.


Quotes

“Sheila wants you in the family.”

“You make it sound like the mafia.”

“Not quite. But close…..”

And then finally a picture of Vaughn formed in my mind where I lingered. A smile creased my lips as I remembered what he’d said to me, the way he pressed his number into my hand and the way he looked at me. Tingles spiralled out from my stomach diffusing some of the tension there. Maybe today hadn’t been all bad.

When he came at me, lunging quick as a feral cat, his arms cradled my waist and I was knocked backwards. My arms flailed above my head as I fell to the mat. Vaughn came to rest just on top of me, slightly out of breath and a cheeky grin on his face. His eyes met mine and we stayed there for a moment, his eyes lingering just that second too long, searching for something. 


 


My (Writing) Life

I’ve been MIA from the blog for quite a while and I apologize for that. I’m still reading and have a HUGE list of books that need reviews posted! I’m hoping to really get on that this upcoming week.

I’ve also been making a huge dent in my 12 Days of Christmas reading list. 8 books read, 2 yet to start, and 2 to finish. I still have to review at least half of them though.

In the writing world I’ve been (failing) NaNoWriMo. If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s where crazy people like me attempt to write a 50k novel in one month. I was doing really well for about a week, then I fell off the wagon. At this point I need to write about 2055 words per day to reach goal. I’m not panicking yet, and I’m still really proud to have written over 20k this month so far. I’m hoping next week to have a couple REALLY good day where I can pound out 3-5k and really bridge the gap.

This upcoming week I have a very light work schedule at my hotel job, and I’m basically caught up for the year with my publishing job. I just have a few tasks to complete in the coming weeks, and then everything else I do is for 2018. My resolution for 2018 is to NOT let myself fall behind at ALL!

I also sent my first reviewer inquiry for PEACE IN FLAMES. (If you’re a fellow reviewer and up for reading and reviewing an upper-YA contemporary romance novella, hit me up!)

So yeah, that’s what’s going on with me! I’m happy that things are starting to settle down a bit here.

Is life slowing down or getting more hectic for you?