Tag Archive | Contemporary Romance

REVIEW: Breaking The Ice by Julie Cross

Breaking the Ice Book Cover Breaking the Ice
Juniper Falls #2
Julie Cross
YA Contemporary Romance
Entangled Teen
December 26, 2017
E-ARC
341
NetGalley
Beat The Backlist 2018
January 21-23, 2018

The second book in the Juniper Falls series from NY Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Julie Cross, perfect for fans of Miranda Kenneally and Abbi Glines.

Haley Stevenson seems like she’s got it all together: cheer captain, “Princess” of Juniper Falls, and voted Most Likely to Get Things Done. But below the surface, she’s struggling with a less-than-stellar GPA and still reeling from the loss of her first love. Repeating her Civics class during summer school is her chance to Get Things Done, not angst over boys. In fact, she’s sworn them off completely until college.

Fletcher Scott is happy to keep a low profile around Juniper Falls. He’s always been the invisible guy, warming the bench on the hockey team and moonlighting at a job that would make his grandma blush. Suddenly, though, he’s finding he wants more: more time on the ice, and more time with his infuriatingly perfect summer-school study partner.

But leave it to a girl who requires perfection to shake up a boy who’s ready to break all the rules.

My Review

This is my third YA hockey book, though the content of this one feels more like a NA book. I don’t even like hockey, but all of these fabulous hockey themed books make me wish I did!

This is very much a hate to love romance. Fletcher just wants to be left alone and Haley just wants to pass her summer school class. Haley wants to use Fletcher for his smarts, while Fletcher resigns himself to trying to help his cousin, who’s got a huge crush on Haley, get some face time with her. Somehow this unlikely couple falls in love.

Haley is a pretty straight forward character. You love her or you hate her. Fletcher is frustrating because he’s very secretive and harbors animosity toward his town due to rumors about both his parents and grandparents. He has a top secret job, which will keep you guessing the entire time until the job is revealed.

Overall this was an incredibly fun, sweet, and sexy book which I devoured. I will absolutely be looking for more books from Julie Cross in the future.

Due to some of the sexual content in this book I would recommend this one for upper-teen and adult readers.


Quotes

What do I know about Haley Stevenson? Probably not nearly as much as she assumes. First off, she really did shove Cheerios up my nose when we were three.

 

So Fletcher Scott is nice to look at. Big deal. Pull yourself together, Haley.

“We’re corrupting a fifteen-year-old. Maybe we should go to church.”

I’ve only practiced with varsity for a total of eight days now, but I’ve already figured out that Coach is hardest on the most talented players. I’m not on his hate list. And I need to be. Somehow.

Before I have a chance to absorb the fact that I’ve just signed up to spend extra time with the world’s most infuriating girl, I focus on a plan of action—two birds with one stone and all that shit.

“I’m gonna go in there…” I point a finger at the door. “And I’m going to talk to your cousin because you’re right, I do like helping people. But as far as the project goes, you don’t get to do it by yourself. You’re stuck with me. Consider it your punishment for being an asshole.”

I fight the urge to throw my phone across the playground. He’s got the brooding-asshole act down a little too well. And yet, part of me wants to prod him some more, if only to get another glimpse of Other Fletcher—the one without so many walls.
How can someone be so infuriating and interesting at the same time?

Jamie skids to a stop and takes in both of us. “What the hell is going on?”
“Fletcher’s pregnant,” Haley says, straight-faced.
I nod. “I am.”

Falling for Haley? How is that possible? We haven’t done anything except make out. Twice. Of course, there’re all the times I wished we were kissing, wished we were doing more than kissing. And right now, we’ve been apart for twenty minutes and I already want to see her again.
Jesus Christ, I’m screwed.


My (Writing) Life

It’s been a crazy month you guys. If you read my previews review you may remember that I was hired for a new job. This is on top of my work for indie press Melange Books, and my job as a hotel front desk agent. So basically I have three jobs now. If you count being a mom, that’s four. And keeping my house from falling apart, that’s five. So yeah, I have like 8,000 jobs right now. Life is crazy.

To add to all the stress of too many jobs, the day I STARTED my new job, I had to bring my van in because it was misbehaving. The next day I got word that my transmission is shot. So yeah, I started a new job and basically the same day learned that my mode of transportation was gone. My parents are amazing though, so I was able to borrow my dad’s car for two full weeks. That’s how long it took me to find a replacement vehicle (because there’s zero sense in putting a new transmission in a 2004 minivan!) So yeah, I have a new (used) car and I’m sort of in love. It’s a 2012 Kia Sorento. The color is “White Sand Beige”, which I hated in the pictures… hated a little less when we test drove it… and now that it’s mine the color is growing on me. Now I have my first ever car payment. ((sobs))

In the writing world I’m trying to get back into writing (almost) daily. Now that Peace in Flames is out for public consumption, and Summer of Peace is up for preorder, all of my writing energy is going into Something I’m Good At. This YA romance is so much fun. When it’s ready (summer? I hope?) I hope everyone loves my hero, Kane, as much as I do. (It’s totally normal to a little crush on your own character, right? …RIGHT???)

So, in short, my schedule is jam packed. And because I now have a car payment, I can’t exactly quit my hotel job yet. (Plus I like the discounted hotel rooms!) I have a ton of reviews to post and write. My reading has slowed down a little, but not horribly so. Hopefully I can get into the swing of carving time to post at least weekly if not more often. Anything’s better than this once a month crap, right????

So if you made it through all that, you should go buy/preorder my Peace Novellas. ((wink))

 

Spotlight Tour: BUSTED by Gina Ciocca + GIVEAWAY

Busted Book Cover Busted
Gina Ciocca
YA Contemporary Romance
Sourcebooks Fire
January 2, 2018
E-ARC
352
NetGalley
December 13 - 16, 2017

Catching cheaters and liars is a lucrative hobby—until you fall for one of the suspects. Perfect for fans of Veronica Mars, this new novel from the author of Last Year’s Mistake will steal your heart!

Marisa never planned to be a snoop for hire. It wasn’t like she wanted to catch her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. But as her reputation for sniffing out cheaters spreads all over school, Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

And her next case? It’s for ex-frenemy Kendall. She’s convinced her boyfriend, TJ, has feelings for someone else and persuades Marissa to start spying on him. But the more Marisa gets to know sincere and artistic TJ, the more she starts to fall for him. Worse yet, the feelings seem to be mutual. Marisa knows she needs to give up her investigation—and the spoken-for guy who may just be the love of her life. Then she uncovers new secrets about Kendall and TJ, secrets that take “cheater” to a whole new level…

Review

I loved this book! It’s been far too many books since I’ve had a YA in front of my eyes, and I’m so glad this was the one I picked up at this time.

Marisa, Charlie, TJ and even Nick were all great characters to read about. They all had their negative character traits and their positives, which made them feel very real. By the time I finished the book I was glad to have gone on this journey with them, but also sad to be saying goodbye. I want a sequel to read more about Marisa, but I don’t want any more bad to come to her, so… I guess I don’t want a sequel?

I loved how there were so many layers in this book. Anything could be a clue as to what the hell is ACTUALLY going on, and you just don’t know until you get to the end and realize the significance something you read earlier has.

I even loved Marisa’s parents. They were very cool and trusting parents.

It’s been… a few years… since I was in high school, and I just hope that not all high schools are full of such shitty boys like the two schools in this book! The good guys in this book certainly seemed to be the exception to the rule.

I would absolutely recommend this to teens and adults alike who are looking for a fun contemporary with a touch of romance and mystery. Nice work Ms. Ciocca, I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!


Quotes

If I hadn’t been in line behind—what the hell was his name? Greg? George?—my double order of Sexual Chocolate (yes, really) and I would be on our way to Charlie’s house for a Saturday movie, gossip, and anti-nutrition night like so many other Saturday’s before.

 

Outing a scumbag felt more badass than anything I’d ever done—especially when I told her how I’d gotten the picture, and she looked at me like I’d parted the Red Sea.

 

And that’s when the bubble of positivity I’d been floating in since reconnecting with Kendall Keene in the parking lot bust like a microwaved marshmallow all over the room.

 

“I don’t know, Kendall,” I sighed into my cell phone. “This is different from what I’ve done before. You’re not asking me to follow him for a night or two. You’re basically asking me to stalk him. This feels… sneaky.”

“How is it any sneakier than trespassing on private property and aiming a camera inside someone’s living room?”

She had a point.

 

The word okay came out of my mouth, but in my mind it sounded a hell of a lot more like oh shit.

 

“When you care about someone, you don’t sneak around and do things that would hurt her if you did them o her face. You care about how your actions affect her.” I took a step toward him. “You don’t worry that the grass is greener in every goddamn yard but our own. You put her first once in a while instead of think about yourself all. The. Fucking. Time.”

 

He’d been rubbing his chin—which he still hadn’t shaved, and I wondered if i was specifically to drive me crazy.


Marisa’s Top 5 Tips For Sleuthing:

Hey there. Marisa Palmera, Private Eye here. Okay, so I don’t actually call myself that, and neither does anyone else. In fact, I never meant to become a sleuth-for-hire. But spend one night scaling your best-friend’s boyfriend’s house to take incriminating pictures, and suddenly everyone wants you to be something you’re not…and when they’re willing to line your sadly lacking pockets for it, it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

So, should you find yourself an unwitting Girl Friday (or even a witting one… Is “witting” a thing?) like I did, here are some tips that just may save your butt:

  1. Always have a camera handy. Whether it’s your cell phone, or the fancy camera you borrowed from your school’s yearbook club, you never know when you’ll need to snap an evidence shot. Just, um, make sure you turn off the flash if said camera is aimed through a window into a dark living room. I may have learned this the hard way.
  2. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Sounds ominous and dramatic, I know. But if someone gives you the vibe that they shouldn’t be let out of your sight? GO WITH IT.
  3. Think fast. Suck at lying? Me too. Get over it, because you’ll be fudging the truth a lot.
  4. But know when to say no. Weave enough white lies, and suddenly they’re a sticky, tangled web with you trapped inside. Know when it’s time to run, and do it like the flames of hell are licking your feet.
  5. Don’t fall for the person you’re investigating. You’re just gonna have to do as I say and not as I do on this one. Oops.

Excerpt

My eyes darted from TJ’s dark, furrowed eyebrows to the logo on the left breast of his shirt and I sat up straighter.

“Um, where’d you get the Maple Acres shirt?”

His expression didn’t change. “Maple Acres.”

I fought the urge to roll my eyes. “Right. I meant, do you work there?”

“Yup.” He sat back in his chair and pulled at the logo, stretching the white cotton away from his chest before turning his attention back to the computer screen. “Long time now.”

As soon as he said it, my memory was triggered. I’d always thought he looked familiar but could never quite place where I’d seen him. As I thought back to every trip I’d taken to Maple Acres, twice a year since I was two years old, the image of a boy with dark curls stuffed beneath a knit cap and a heavy flannel coat that made him look like Paul Bunyan clicked into place. The farm stretched over two hundred and fifty acres, selling pumpkins and cider and offering hayrides and a corn maze in a fall, then Christmas trees that you cut down yourself in the winter. The place had a storybook quality to it that I loved, and I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to figure out TJ was a part of it.

“We go there for our tree every year. I think I’ve seen you.”

TJ kept his eyes on the screen. “Probably. I’m usually bundling the trees or in the checkout area. Sometimes I drive the tractor for the hayrides.” He glanced over long enough to shoot me a half smile. “Maybe you’ve seen the back of my head.”

That would’ve been an occasion I definitely hadn’t noticed him. The one and only time I’d taken a hayride had been the lone trip I’d made without Charlie or my dad, both of whom are allergic to hay. I’d gone with Jordan. Superman himself could’ve been driving the tractor and I would’ve been too busy drooling over Jordan in his plaid button-down with the sleeves rolled up around his gorgeous forearms to notice.

Vom, vom, vom. I pushed the chunks down and forged ahead. “So, that thing you didn’t want to do the last time we talked, is that… still an issue?”

“Uh, no. That fell through, so my article should be good to go on Monday.”

He’s not making this easy for me, that’s for sure.

“Take your time, really. I hope you didn’t cancel your plans because of me.”

He glanced over and gave me a wry smile. “No.”

“So, um, the tree farm. I go all the time.” I mentally slapped myself. Twice a year is all the time? “Do you live nearby?”

“You know the green colonial across the street behind the barn?”

“Uh huh.”

He smiled again. “That’s my house.”

“Wait, I thought the owners lived there.”

“They do. We have for my whole life.”

“Your family owns Maple Acres?” I blinked a few times, dumbfounded by my own dumbness.

“Well, co-owns. Have you seen the guy with the white hair who sneaks free gourds to all the little kids at Halloween? That’s my Uncle Roger. He’s there all the time, but my dad does more of the financial stuff.”

My face lit up. “That’s awesome! I love that place! I took a picture of the white barn from the top of the hill once and tried to sketch it. All the trees had snow on them, the sky was this amazing gray color and the pond was reflecting it” – I remembered mid-babble that I’d veered off course and reigned myself back in – “anyway, let’s just say it was magical, but drawing isn’t my strong suit. So, um, if you didn’t move, then why did you switch schools?”

TJ’s eyes slid back to the computer screen and his shoulder tensed ever so slightly, as if I’d brought up something he didn’t really want to talk about. Now I was getting somewhere.

“Our property is right at the intersection of three town lines. Technically, I could’ve gone to any one of the high schools.” He stabbed a few keys with his pointer finger, eliciting three clipped clicks. Maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me, but I swore his jaw tightened. “I left Templeton because it was time for a change of scenery.”

“It must’ve been hard, though, transferring for your senior year.” And pretty odd, in my opinion. “I’m sure you had a lot of ties there.”

TJ’s fingers paused in mid-air over the keyboard and he looked at me. “Not that many.”

This time when he turned his attention back to the screen, I knew our conversation had ended. He ran a hand through his hair in a gesture that had a definite undertone of irritation. Whether it related to my question or some memory pertaining to the school, I couldn’t tell. But when I caught sight of the leather bracelet on his wrist, my desire to exclaim OMG THAT’S GORGEOUS WHERE DID YOU GET IT almost overruled my desire to ask what the hell his comment was supposed to mean. I’d been baiting him to say, “Yeah, my girlfriend goes there.” He hadn’t. What did that mean?

Maybe nothing.

But damn it all to hell, I suddenly had to know for sure.


The Author

Gina Ciocca graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in English, but in her mind, she never left high school. She relocated from Connecticut to Georgia, where she lives with her husband and son. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her taking long walks around the lake in her neighborhood. Gina can also be found online at writersblog-gina.blogspot.com, on Instagram as gmciocca, and Twitter as gmc511.


Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


My (Writing) Life

First things first….. PEACE IN FLAMES is available for preorder! I’m totally psyched about this because it’s my first solo release and the first completed project I’ve been proud of! Now I just need to finish my read through of the follow up novella, SUMMER OF PEACE, and send it off to my editor. That one will be available for public consumption in April.

Otherwise I’m working on a NA PNR, but I’ve hit a bit of a wall, so I may flip over to my YA contemporary romance instead. We’ll see. I’ve got a lot to ponder plot wise on both. (I’m still working on mastering that whole “outlining” thing. LOL)

In other news, I’m working on catching up on writing my last couple reviews from 2017. I’m hoping to post them ALL before the months end. I’m also at least halfway through two separate backlist titles for 2018 and the #BeatTheBacklist reading challenge, then I’ll jump into my NetGalley pile.

Until next time, happy reading!

 

REVIEW: Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Mr. Miracle Book Cover Mr. Miracle
Angelic Intervention #10
Debbie Macomber
Contemporary Romance, Christmas
Ballantine Books
October 7, 2014
Paperback
227
Hotel Lobby
12 Books of Christmas
October 17 - December 23, 2017

Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber celebrates the most wonderful time of the year in this heartwarming Christmas novel of romance, hope, and the comforts of home—coming soon as a Hallmark Channel original movie!

Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track—and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college in Tacoma, Washington, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store.

After trying to make it on her own, Addie has returned home to Tacoma for the holidays, but this time she plans to stay for good, enrolling in the local community college to earn her degree. What she doesn’t plan to do is run into Erich Simmons.

Addie and her next-door neighbor, Erich, are like night and day. Growing up, he was popular and outgoing while she was rebellious and headstrong, and he never missed an opportunity to tease her. Now she intends to avoid him entirely, yet when they’re suddenly forced to spend Christmas together, Addie braces for trouble.

Perhaps it’s the spirit of the season or the magic of mistletoe, but Addie and Erich soon find they have more in common than they thought—and that two people who seem so wrong for each other may actually be just right. With a little prompting from a certain angelic teacher, the two are in for a holiday miracle they’ll never forget.

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my THIRTEENTH (Bonus!) contribution and the end of 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


Review

I have now read two holiday novellas by Debbie Macomber and I think it’s safe to say that I am not her target reader.

It was a chore for me to finish this book. I started reading this book on October 17…. and didn’t finish until December 23. That’s over 2 months reading this book.

Where do I even start… I guess I’ll go with character development. Or lack thereof. There were so many characters crammed into this little book and at the end I’m left not caring about a single one of them. Addie and Erich could have been really interesting characters, except Addie was an immature brat. Erich was stubborn and sullen. I was given no reason to like either of them, and I honestly don’t know why they fell for one another either.

To add confusion to this hot mess, there are two storylines sort of connected. Based on the blurb I thought this would be a romance between Addie and Erich with the angel helping push them together. And it is. Except half the book is following the angel, who is on earth posing as a college literature professor named Harry Mills. For an angel who is only God knows how old, he sure had no idea how life on earth worked. I know that experiencing isn’t the same as observing, but it was ridiculous how dumb he was at times.

Writing this review just makes me more annoyed at this book so I’m not going to say much more. In conclusion I’m left with underdeveloped characters I don’t care about and two storylines, neither of which was compelling.

I don’t remember the last time I was so happy to finish a book. I would only read another book by this author if it was recommended by a friend with similar book tastes… and probably only one who has also read and hated this book. Apologies to the author, she’s very popular for her Christmas novels, so maybe she just ran out of inspiration by the time she wrote this one?


Quotes

He’d heard about angels like this, ones who were given an earthly assignment and lost their heavenly perspective. Sadly, they got caught up in the temptations of Earth. That wouldn’t be a problem for him, of course.

 

Grinning like the cat who’d found a bowl of cream, Erich slowly shook his head. “You were jealous.”


My (Writing) Life

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

This post is scheduled in advance, so if you’re reading this on Christmas day, I’m busy spending time with my family.

Until next time!

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: 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: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe Book Cover Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe
Melissa de la Cruz
Contemporary Romance, Christmas
St. Martin's Press
October 17, 2017
E-ARC
225
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
October 31 - November 2, 2017

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe from New York Times bestselling author, Melissa de la Cruz, is a sweet, sexy and hilarious gender-swapping, genre-satisfying re-telling, set in contemporary America and featuring one snooty Miss Darcy.

Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her family.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32-years-old and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

 

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my FIFTH 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 don’t know why I keep reading retelling of Pride & Prejudice. None of them live up to the original story and this book was no different.

First, I need to preface this by saying I’ve tried to read exactly one other book by Melissa de la Cruz and I hated it and quit after about two chapters. I am clearly not her ideal reader. That said, this sounded like a cute Christmas story and perfect for my 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge. If you’ve enjoyed the author’s other work, you may fall in love with this story.

So, we’ll start off with the good things. I love that the author chose to do a gender swap, it’s always nice to shake things up a little bit that way. I also really liked the sub-characters, specifically Bingley and Luke’s brother… who’s name I can’t even remember anymore. I like that the author chose to include a same-sex couple, that really helped to modernize the classic tale. Darcy was a self-made woman who left home all on her own to live the life she wanted, not the one her parents wanted for her, and I love and respect that.

Unfortunately my list of dislikes far surpassed my likes. Most importantly, I hated Darcy. While I loved that she was self-made and successful, she was just so immature. I hated almost everything about her and the way she behaved. I didn’t like how Luke acted either half the time. Neither of them held the charm that Lizzy and Mr. Darcy from the original tale possessed, and unfortunately they came across as unlikable and their actions were unredeemable in this reader’s eyes.

Honestly, this book just left a bad taste in my mouth. Darcy and Luke’s lack of communication with one another and their personal hang ups and immaturity made them perfect for one another, because I’d hate for anyone else to be saddled with them.

At least I can say that my time reading this is over, and I know to never pick up another Melissa de la Cruz book in the future.

So, should you read this? I wouldn’t recommend it to my friends, but if you’re a fan of the authors previous work you may fall in love with this one.


Quotes

See, it is an assumption universally made that any beautiful, brilliant, single woman who is rich as hell will be in want of a husband. She’d heard it time and time again.

 

Wanting to be near family and actually being near family were two completely different things.

 

There had been a part of her that thought maybe, after all these years, there was no way he could still be so mad, or so hurt, whichever it was.

 

Mr. Fitzwilliam’s wishes for his daughter were twofold, and the second fold involved her doing what a truly good and honorable woman would do: give birth to children and dedicate her life to raising them.

 

From their very first kiss until now, his kissing technique had evolved in no way whatsoever. It had always been good, sure, but not incredible. It was nice, practiced, wholesome, almost regulated. He had reliable rhythm and predictable moves.

 

 

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!