Friday, November 27, 2020

To Have and to Hold by Betsy St. Amant, Becky Wade, and Katie Ganshert {Review}

To Have and to Hold by Betsy St. Amant, Becky Wade, and Katie Ganshert

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published August 30th 2016 by Zondervan (first published 2015)  
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were voluntarily given

Love Takes the Cake: A September Wedding Story by Betsy St. Amant

Charlotte Cantrell is always the baker; never the bride. When Will, a regular at Charlotte’s bakery, catches her attention, she can only hope that he is the reliable man this single mother has always hoped to find. The problem is that he’s regularly stopping in to buy cookies for another girl. But when Charlotte is hired to bake a host of wedding goodies for a difficult bride and finds out Will is the best man, she has the perfect opportunity to get to know him better—and find out how serious Will is about this other girl in his life.

The Perfect Arrangement: An October Wedding Story by Katie Ganshert

Amelia Woods is a small-town wallflower and the proud owner of Forget-Me-Nots, a quaint flower shop. Her love life has always been a bit lackluster—until she ends up in an embarrassing fender-bender with handsome Nate Gallagher. Meanwhile, Amelia’s younger brother, William, has proposed to his girlfriend. Amelia would be excited except she has evidence that the fiancée is not who she says she is. It seems Nate is the only one available for any advice-giving, and he’s good at it—and pretty fun to talk to, too. As Amelia works to craft the perfect flower arrangements for other people, she begins to wonder if real love is better than the dream. And if it is, will Nate still be interested when he learns who she is?

Love in the Details: A November Wedding Story by Becky Wade

When Josh returns to his hometown of Martinsburg, Texas, to help his best friend get married, he didn’t intend to run into church wedding coordinator—and ex-girlfriend—Holly. He can’t help but pine after the girl he never got over. Holly broke up with Josh years ago in an attempt to ensure his future success. But she loved him then and still loves him now. As she helps him plan his best friend’s wedding, she longs to be with Josh but doesn’t feel worthy of his big-time lifestyle when she is more comfortable in her small-town world. Will Josh and Holly be able to keep things as they are when their true feelings threaten to surface at every turn?



My Review: 4 Stars

Weddings are magical and I loved reading about these darling autumn celebrations. Each one was set in a small town and had a sweetness that was quintessential. 

My mouth was watering in LOVE TAKES THE CAKE. Charlotte bakes up the best desserts and her interest in Will was captivating--especially when a surprise discovery was uncovered. The romance was as light and fluffy sweet as whipped frosting and I especially loved the influence of the secondary characters.

THE PERFECT ARRANGEMENT had YOU'VE GOT MAIL vibes and I adored the way Nate and Amelia connected through email, using classic movie titles as their subject lines. Their meet cute was a literal bang and their connections were a bit messy and twisted, but that's what added a delightful element to their instant attraction.

Second chances at love is where it's at in LOVE IN THE DETAILS. Sometimes the timing might be off with the one who got away and a wedding and some heartfelt communication can put things back on track. I loved Holly and Josh and adored watching their past connect with their future.

Content: mild romance; mild religion

Thursday, November 26, 2020

It Started in Budapest (Romance on the Orient Express) by Julie Daines {Review}

It Started in Budapest (Romance on the Orient Express #1) by Julie Daines

Paperback, 184 pages
Published August 10th 2020 by Covenant Communications 
Source: Library
Molly Cooper is haunted by one simple fact: it is her fault her twin brother, Matthew, has spent his life trapped in a frail body while she has thrived. Deep in her heart, she knows he can’t hold on much longer . . .

In her desperation to save her brother, Molly finds inspiration in an unlikely source: the newly published novel Dracula. When her family embarks on the Orient Express to seek treatment for Matthew in Bulgaria, Molly is prepared to set her plan in motion: she will sneak away from her parents and journey alone to Transylvania, where she will seek a vampire, whose blood can make her brother immortal. Molly’s rash plan is going flawlessly—until she encounters Percy Hunt, a handsome American traveler running from the shadows of his own past. When he discovers Molly’s plan, Percy’s concern for the naive young woman leaves him no choice but to accompany her on her strange quest. But neither Percy nor Molly is prepared for the feelings that quickly grow between them or for the death-defying escapade that awaits.

My Review: 5 Stars
I just might have convinced my family to take a "small" detour to Forks, WA on our road trip to the Pacific Northwest several years ago, so I could completely relate to and understand Molly's desire to use the book Dracula as a roadmap and Bible to seeking treatment for her sickly twin brother. Their connection was extremely endearing.

Not only was the journey spent on the Orient Express exciting, but the secret disembarkment that began a dangerous, yet romantic, trek was thrilling. Percy, a new American acquaintance, just happened to turn up where ever Molly was and after a messy first meeting, their friendship began to blossom. Percy is great, accommodating Molly's fanciful whims, while watching out for her. I enjoyed the give and take of their relationship.
While the plot in this gothic romance is very compelling, I loved the parallels to real life that were conceived and drawn. The first book in the series is full speed ahead!

Content: mild romance; mild violence/danger

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

All for You (de Piaget #12) by Lynn Kurland {Review}

All for You (de Piaget #12) by Lynn Kurland

Mass Market Paperback, 303 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Berkley Publishing (first published January 1st 2012)  
Source: Audiobook

Peaches Alexander is thrilled to receive an unexpected invitation to a weekend party given by the handsome, eligible Duke of Kenneworth. The only problem: Stephen de Piaget, a stuffy medieval studies scholar who seems determined to get in the way. Peaches has absolutely no desire to get involved with Stephen, until a quirk of Fate sends her hurtling through time…


Stephen de Piaget has been leading a double life: respectable professor by day, knight-in-training during holidays and summer terms. When Peaches goes missing, Stephen knows he’s the only one who can rescue her from medieval peril. Little do they know that the greatest danger they’ll face won’t be the business end of a sword, but their own unruly hearts….

My Review: 4 Stars
The mystical elements of time travel are present in this wonderfully sweet opposites attract story. Peaches and Stephen don't immediately click, but when a rescue to the past is in order, things change.
Peaches is such an interesting choice of names for such a go-getter type of character and I enjoyed watching her figure out her spot in life when things go awry. Her trek to the past was very entertaining, especially when Stephen arrives. I loved the way they worked together on his medieval work and most definitely liked it when the sparks and jealous darts started to fly. Stephen, although a bit stuffy, is fascinating and manly. It was a joy to watch him spar and fend off the flirtatious women chasing him.
Kurland always weaves a magical tale, full of love, romance, and danger and this one was especially lovely.
Content: mild Bible swears; mild violence; mild+ romance   

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Snowed In For Christmas by Kimberly Krey {Review}

Snowed In For Christmas by Kimberly Krey

Kindle edition

Published: November 24, 2020

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given


Three things are to blame for the chaos:

Easton lost a bet.
Ivy wants a promotion.
And Denver was hit with the biggest blizzard its seen in years.

Now, they're stuck in a hut for Christmas with nothing but the fire to warm them. Unless, of course, they can warm up to each other.


My Review: 5 Stars

I have yet to meet a Kimberly Krey book that I haven't loved! When Easton loses a bet to his baby sister, he finds himself roped into the latest bachelor-finding-love on TV series. He's the manliest man ever and thrives in the great outdoors. Ivy has to interview him before heading home for the Christmas holiday and will do anything to get that interview--including renting a 4x4 SUV and driving through a blizzard. The magic of Christmas snow allows for a steamy clean chemistry to develop and I was frozen in my spot, devouring this one as fast as a batch of delectable fudge.

Although Easton and Ivy know each other for a very short time, they instantly click into place. They slide into an easy relationship of sarcasm, useless facts about random things, and balancing out their opposite pasts, and I loved every minute of being snowed in with them. I was transported right into their yurt, absorbing their sweet and spicy connections with big gulping breaths.

Of course, there has to be some drama, but it was perfectly written, allowing for some soul-searching character growth. I adore the way Krey writes her romances. The underlying swoon is present throughout the entire story, but it isn't sickly sweet. There are some wonderful moments of loyalty, family ties, and insecurity, which even out to be an incredibly fun and swoony story. This one is perfect for the Christmas romance lover.

Content: mild+ romance (steamy clean kissing, some innuendo); very mild moments of danger/peril

Monday, November 23, 2020

On the Second Day of Christmas by Deborah M. Hathaway {Review}

On the Second Day of Christmas by Deborah M. Hathaway

Kindle Edition
Publication: November 21st 2020 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given 

Slipping on the ice is bad enough—being treated by the physician she rejected years ago is simply unbearable.

Belles of Christmas: Frost Fair
Sweet, Regency Christmas Romances
Five Christmas romances and the Frost Fair that started them all

Headstrong and independent, Miss Lucy Lincoln wishes to find a husband who shares her taste for adventure. Until then, she is determined to live her life without regrets. Well, except for the one she already has—humiliating poor Benjamin Kent after his unwanted marriage proposal years earlier. After an accident at the Frost Fair draws that same insecure gentleman to care for her injury, she finally asks for forgiveness. But Dr. Kent, now a respectable gentleman and physician, is unwilling to accept her apology.

Benjamin Kent wants nothing more than to live out his days in peace and seclusion away from London Society—and away from his memories of Lucy Lincoln. But when his conscience forces him to treat the woman, he cannot pass on the opportunity to finally let her know that she no longer has him under her spell.

Rather than being relieved with Benjamin’s indifference, Lucy struggles to accept the fact that little, shy Benjamin now shows irresistible confidence—and an unsettling apathy toward her. When sparks smolder between them, though, Benjamin must fight to keep his old feelings in the past, and Lucy must realize before it’s too late that either Benjamin has changed…or her own feelings have.

This is the fourth book in the clean and sweet Regency romance Belles of Christmas: Frost Fair series.
Although this second chance romance is a stand-alone novel, the books are best enjoyed when read in order.

My Review: 5 Stars
Have you ever done something that you regretted? Lucy can definitely relate. Years ago, she rejected Benjamin's proposal and now there are sparks igniting against her will, though it seems he no longer cares for her. 
I loved watching Lucy recognize her impetuous behavior, especially as it relates so oppositely to Benjamin's solid, deliberate, and contemplative nature. As this opposites-attract couple interacts and continue to run in to each other, they clash and tumble into something that resembles tolerance and friendship...and maybe even more.

A second chance at love during the Frost Fair, along with an adamant and meddling old aunt, gave way to a marvelously entertaining story with heart. Hathaway does a phenomenal job of bringing the reader right into the pages and I was swept away, much like some of the characters literally were. This is definitely a Regency Christmas story not to miss!

Content: mild romance; mild moments of peril

Friday, November 20, 2020

Christmas at Holly Berry Cottage by Jennifer Griffith {Review}

Christmas at Holly Berry Cottage (Sugar Plum Falls Romance #1) by Jennifer Griffith

Kindle Edition, 170 pages
Published November 17th 2020 by Stewart Plaid 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
A dreaded holiday wedding, Christmas duets, and dating the off-limits crush.

Chelsea Sutherland is a wreck this Christmas. Not only is she reeling from the world’s cruelest breakup, now her ex-boyfriend is marrying her meanest cousin. At Chelsea’s childhood home. And there’s no way Chelsea can skip it. No matter how deep she buries herself into the number-crunching at work, this wedding will not go away.

Wyatt North has been handed a career-making opportunity. If he gets it right, he’ll be able to steer his banking firm toward its roots of helping the local community again. If not, he’s a blot on the family name—which he already jeopardizes by spending all his time with the Sutherland family, singing with Chelsea and her brother in Christmas Tree-O.

When Wyatt learns of Chelsea’s dreaded wedding problem, the solution is clear—take Wyatt as her significant other. Since the trio has become a duet, long-suppressed feelings between them are heating up. But a romance could endanger the friendship and their singing group’s dynamic—not to mention risk both families’ disapproval.

My Review: 5 Stars
Griffith never fails to deliver a charmingly sweet romantic comedy that's heavy on the swoon and considerably funny. Add to that, a delightful story of a brother's best friend turned fake fiance during the Christmas season, and it's tastier than a decadent holiday treat.

Chelsea and Wyatt are part of a singing group, along with Chelsea's brother, and a tricky family wedding situation lands them smack in the middle of an unlikely, yet believable, fake relationship. As that's one of my favorite tropes, I was in heaven! I adored how playboy Wyatt and math-whiz Chelsea interacted. Their scrabbles games, flirting, and spot-on duets were worthy of a Hallmark movie. 
The setting of this new series is adorable. With a tight-knit family and all things Christmas, the small town allure made me want to pack up my bags and move. 
Content: mild romance (cheating, kissing)

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Home Sweet Holiday (Holiday Harbor #2) by Michele Paige Holmes {Review}

Home Sweet Holiday (Holiday Harbor #2) by Michele Paige Holmes

Kindle Edition, 425 pages
Published September 22nd 2020 by Mirror Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
Nearly four years have passed since Anna Lawrence fled her hometown the same day her best friends broke her heart and she was left at the altar. She’s hardly looked back since, while forging a new and solitary life in Seattle. When duty calls her home, she reluctantly returns to take care of the family store while her parents are away.

Eli Steiner is visiting his late great-grandfather’s estate in Holiday, Alabama, for the first and last time—to see the place he’s inherited and meet the other benefactor of his great-grandfather’s will before turning everything over to her. When the woman he meets is both the same, and very different, from the one in his grandfather’s letters, Eli’s intrigue leads him to stay longer, to uncover the mystery of Anna Lawrence and possibly heal her heart. 
My Review: 5 Stars
This book isn't fluff. It's full of real-life problems, gut-wrenching heartache, and a journey to forgiveness, but this path is anything but easy. However, with as much as I love fluff, I enjoy a story with meat to it and this one delivered that full-course meaty meal, along with a side dish of a very sweet romance.

I would say to definitely read The Holiday Affair first. Anna was hurt deeply and badly and has let the bitterness fester for the last four years. With her dad's health on the line, she returns home and is slapped in the face with all kinds of memories and people, which forces her to take a big look inward and step onto a path she's not sure she's ready to take. Eli is a man whom she encounters before she even begins the process and while he's attractive, he's so opposite her and almost a thorn in her side at times, yet she just can't toss him aside. This man has had a very difficult past! But I absolutely adored the reason they were brought together when they were.

I love, love, loved this small, eccentric town and all the people who live there. Holmes does a great job of encompassing the ups and downs, successes and hardships, of such a life. She also writes these characters in ways that bring their personalities, struggles, and progresses to life, allowing the reader to feel like a secondary character, while feeling all the feels. 

The book did feel a tad bit long, but I thought it did a great job of bringing Anna full circle--in all the ways--and I loved it. 

Content: mild+ romance (kissing, talk of infidelity)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

A Christmas Promise {Review}

 A Christmas Promise (Timeless Regency Collection) by Joanna Barker, Annette Lyon, and Jennifer Moore

Paperback, 320 pages
Publication: November 17th 2020 by Mirror Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given 

Roland Hastings made a promise to his father: to marry and carry on the family line. But after a year of searching, he has given up hope of finding the right woman. Anticipating a quiet Christmas with his mother, Roland is frustrated to learn she has organized an entire house party to help him find a bride. Cassandra Bell arrives for the house party with her twin sister Vivian, who has set her heart on winning a proposal from the eligible Mr. Hastings. But when Vivian grows ill, she begs Cassie to switch places with her and keep the other conniving ladies away from Mr. Hastings. Cassie reluctantly takes on the role of her poised and proper twin, but things become much more complicated when Roland begins to take an interest in the spunky and unconventional Cassie...

PROMISE ME AGAIN by Annette Lyon
Secret wedding plans. A powerful brother who will go to any lengths to stop them. Can love truly conquer all? Miriam and Jacob have loved each other for as long as they can remember. They want to wed, but Jacob's older brother Norman forbids it. Deciding to do so secretly without his blessing, Miriam and Jacob make plans to marry on Christmas Eve at a church several hours’ journey away. Despite their efforts, Norman’s long reach finds them. Miriam’s love is tested to the very limit when she is forced into a devil’s bargain with him. She agrees only to spare Jacob pain, but can their hearts find their way back to each other no matter what—or who—stands in their way?

The war is over, but Lucy Breckenridge’s plans for a perfect Christmas are ruined when Captain James Stewart brings news that her father will not return in time for the holiday. Determined to not miss yet another Christmas with her father, Lucy starts on a journey for London with her trusty maid and manservant. Learning they have gone, James follows, hoping to stop her before she discovers the true reason for Colonel Breckenridge’s absence. Along the way, the two join in local holiday celebrations and learn that families have flaws, friendship requires trust, and Christmas traditions can be created in the most unexpected places.

My Review: 5 Stars
Christmastime in the Regency era gives me a major case of nostalgia for some reason and this collection won my heart as well.
In THE TWO BELLS OF CHRISTMAS, identical twins attend a house party where one has to impersonate the other. I adored Cassie's spunky personality and anticipated the unorthodox situations she'd find herself in. The bond between these sisters was so endearing and the blossoming romance was so sweet. Although a novella, Barker does a fantastic job in creating a complete story that was easy to get lost in.
A secret wedding is in the works in PROMISE ME AGAIN. I'm of the opinion that a person can chose whom they want to marry and it was so aggravating to watch Jacob's brother try to thwart his marriage to Miriam. My heart shattered when events turned in such a heartbreaking way throughout the course of this novella. Lyon is able to create a story that runs the gamut of emotions, while maintaining a core of tenderness.
I was surprised by the depth in A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY. Lucy decides if her father can't be home for Christmas, then she'll take the beloved holiday to him. Moore does a great job of portraying the feeling of home and takes the reader on a journey right along with the characters. This was the perfect way to wrap up this set of stories about everyday, normal people in the Regency era.

Content: mild romance

Monday, November 16, 2020

Taste of Memory (Spellbound in Hawthorne #1) by Maria Hoagland {Review}

Taste of Memory (Spellbound in Hawthorne #1) by Maria Hoagland

Kindle Edition
Published November 2020 by Red Leaves Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
A baker, a pyrotechnician, and a truly magical romance.
Sweet contemporary romance with a hint of magic.

Steeped in colonial history and small-town charm, Hawthorne, Massachusetts hides its secrets right out in the open. A town where Halloween has more witches than Disney princesses, no one actually believes the Covington family has magic, and yet certain things have community members wondering—like the scone flavored by memories.

Expert baker Keira Covington could use some of that family magic. If only it could be acquired like following the steps of a recipe: Take 1 great-great grandma with mystical powers, add 1 ceremony under a full moon, let simmer for 13 years, and kaboom, you’ve got special powers. If it were that easy, she wouldn’t have to stress that she’ll never get the chance to take over the café when her aunt retires. But burning half the customers’ orders and mixing up the other half seems like a terrible recipe for a successful business.

Riding his motorcycle on his bucket-list vacation, pyrotechnician Brant Whitbeck can’t seem to leave the charming small town of Hawthorne, Massachusetts. No, literally—the town won’t let him go. Not until he remembers what is truly important in life. The problem is he doesn’t have a single memory from his childhood.

When Keira stumbles upon an ancestor’s scone recipe, they start to recognize the chemistry between them, but when someone double-crosses Keira, their burgeoning romance explodes like a firecracker.

My Review: 5 Stars
I loved the combination of a pyrotechnician striking up a relationship with a baker. Brant and Keira are an unlikely match, yet their connection is electrifying and magical...and so much fun. The literal magic was what really made this story stand out. Keira finds an old family recipe for some pretty basic and bland scones, but what happens when she mixes up batch after batch is out of this world.
Memories are treasures in my life and it was fun to watch Brant remember his and open a connection to his past. I think having these memories strengthened his relationships. He's a smart and interesting character, while Keira is a joy. She's not perfect, which makes her relatable, and it was fun to laugh at her antics and mishaps.
This charming small town is the home of many quirky characters and I loved being a part of the holiday traditions that were rooted in their lives. It was enjoyable to experience Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Christmas season with these residents, as well as dabble in magic and mystery, with a healthy dose of sweet romance. Hoagland has written a definite winner with this opening book in what is sure to be an exceptional series!
Content: mild romance 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The 2020 Swoony Awards

 Welcome to the 2020 Swoony Awards! 

The Swoony Awards are a Reader’s Choice Award recognizing excellence in clean secular, wholesome romance. We wanted a way to show our appreciation to these awesome authors who write the kind of books that we love. It’s also a great way to find new books and a good go-to when looking for something fun to read.

As you may know, last year we switched up the voting process. Some loved it, while others did not. Now, don't hate us, but the voting is going to be different again this year. We've loved that it's been a surprise the last couple of years and we wanted to continue having it be a surprise. We think we've figured out a way to engage everyone from our Goodreads list as well as our Google list.

How are we going to do that? Well, we are going to be doing TWO voting rounds this year.

For the FIRST round, if you're on Goodreads you can vote for your favorite books on our 2020 Swoony Award list. Here's the link: You can vote for up to 100 books. 

If you're not on Goodreads, you can vote through our Google Form. Here's the link: If you're using the Google Form, all you'll need to do is enter in the title and author. There's no limit to the amount of books you can vote for.

For the SECOND round, we will be taking the top FIVE books from each category and adding them to a NEW Google Form. You will be able to vote for up to THREE books in each category. We know some of you did not like voting via the Google Form last year, but we think it was because you had to physically type in your votes under specific categories, which was probably overwhelming. This year, we're trying to make it easier for everyone. All you'll need to do is choose from the books already listed.

Voting for ROUND 1 is OPEN and will END on December 5, 2020. Voting for ROUND 2 will START on December 12, 2020 and END on December 31, 2020. 

Winners will be announced the first part of January 2021.

The eligibility has not changed. But to refresh your memory...

-ONLY books PUBLISHED January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020 are eligible.
-Books must be published OR have arc reviews before nomination. Since the award is based on readers having actually read and enjoyed the book(s) they are voting for, the book has to have been published or arcs read in order to receive votes.
-Intimacy: No sex, no/low closed door/fade-to-black, no/low innuendo, nothing crude or crass. G-PG13.
-Language: None/mild (No F words or other explicit language) nothing overly crude.
-Violence: Mild/low.
-Page Count: 100 pages or higher, anthologies are okay. No short stories. No collections.
-Age: Only Young Adult, New Adult and Adult. NO children’s or middle grade.
-Religious: No Christian fiction, some *very mild* religious elements may be allowed.

We're all looking forward to the Swoony Awards this year and hope you are as well! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Happy voting!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

One Fake Fiance by Jennifer Youngblood {Review}

One Fake Fiance (Romeo Family Romance #) by Jennifer Youngblood

Kindle Edition
Published November 2nd 2020 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
He dreams of owning a ranch. She needs a fiancé pronto. Can the cowboy and the debutante find common ground? Or will their shot at happily-ever-after get stomped to smithereens before it even has a chance to begin?

Lucas Romeo has no time for love. He’s been down that road before, and it didn’t end well. When his sister Lexi fixes him up on a blind date with her friend Magnolia, things take a disastrous turn. Lucas has no intention of ever going out with Magnolia again—not if she were the last woman on earth. Forget that she’s stunningly beautiful. She’s also spoiled and entitled, the kind of woman who wouldn’t last a day on a ranch.

Then, Magnolia makes Lucas a deal he can’t refuse …

My Review: 5 Stars
I love the Romeo family and briefly met Magnolia in the last book, One Singing Bachelorette. Lucas is a grumpy, stubborn cowboy and when his sister matches him up with her friend, Magnolia, fireworks immediately explode--but not in the way one would expect. This explosive connection was fiery and entertaining, especially because it jump starts a delightful tale that captivated me.
I love the way Youngblood writes these characters. Their dynamic personalities light up the pages and all though there are some prickly and crusty exteriors, hearts of gold are beneath the surfaces--and that goes for both of them.
This enemies-to-love match was intriguing, especially with their secret background and the interesting reason for them coming together. With Christmas magic, a rigid grandfather, an eccentric and colorful woman, an ex-boyfriend...and don't forget a heart was taken on a remarkable journey and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Content: mild romance

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Friend Zone to End Zone by Judy Corry {Review}

Friend Zone to End Zone by Judy Corry

Kindle Edition, 226 pages
Published November 3rd 2020 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
I don't suck at dating.
I suck at getting over the girl who friend-zoned me back in college.
But I have a plan: Let her set me up. Bomb the dates.
Then she can be my dating coach and I can finally prove I'm the one for her and not that jerk boyfriend she's always crying on my shoulder about.

I've had the same boyfriend for three years, which practically makes me a relationship expert.
So when my famous best friend asks for my help, I know turning him into boyfriend material will be a piece of cake.
I'll tell him to get a haircut, maybe open a few doors here and there and the guy will be golden.
I mean, with all those muscles and jaw-dropping good looks, it really should be no problem.
There's just one thing I didn't expect: To want him for myself.

My Review: 5 Stars
The friendship that Cole and Arianna shares is golden, but not without its complications. Arianna has a boyfriend and Cole has a secret thing for his best friend. I'm not opposed to a love triangle with a dash of a fake relationship, and maybe that's because that may or may not have been how my husband and I got together years ago. 😬
Corry does a fantastic job of writing likable characters and believable relationships. No emotion is spared and I was swept away in this romantic drama. Cole is an amazing friend and support to Arianna, and I'll never look at pineapple quite the same way. Arianna is slightly naive, which leads to some major eye-opening experiences in both her private and public life, as she is a social media influencer.
The romance is like a wave--subtle and sneaky at first, but then knocked me off my feet, leaving me breathless. Corry writes in a way that skirts the line, flirting with some innuendo, but stays sweet and swoony. I adore this author and can't wait for more!
Content: mild+ romance (mild innuendo, kissing/making out, teen rebellion)

Monday, November 9, 2020

Lighthouse on Tortola by Dale S. Rogers {Review}


Lighthouse on Tortola by Dale S. Rogers

Kindle Edition, 1st, 162 pages
Published March 27th 2020 by Touchpoint Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
Lighthouse on Tortola, also available in paperback, concerns Andra Phillips, a photojournalist on assignment to Tortola--a British Virgin Island. Enamored with the locale, she soon meets Michael--an American who is on the island to start a tour business. But as they spend time together and get to know each other, she learns that he's connected with the theft of a famous diamond necklace. Pulled into his life of intrigue, Andra faces dangers she'd never before thought possible.
My Review: 4 Stars
I would like to think that I could endure anything on an island in the Caribbean--even danger. But...I'm not that brave. Andra and Michael find themselves entangled in a dangerous situation, yet the romance by the sea is what caught my interest. 
This story is full of intrigue, romantic suspense, and danger and I think that's what really drove Michael and Andra's relationship forward. I loved the setting and enjoyed the way these characters relied on their individual faith. There were funny little random tidbits thrown in out of nowhere, which always threw me for a loop, wondering how they fit in, but that aside, it was an enjoyable read.
Content: mild romance; moderate religion; mild danger

Friday, November 6, 2020

Another Chance to Dream (de Piaget #1) by Lynn Kurland {Review}


Another Chance to Dream (de Piaget #1) by Lynn Kurland

Paperback, 432 pages
Published December 1st 1998 by Berkley Publishing 
Source: Audiobook
With neither title nor land, Rhys could not win the hand of Gwennelyn of Segrave. But he would always have her heart. The two are kindred souls...Rhys, a knight with far too many notions of chivalry for his own good. And Gwen, a lover of minstral tales, waiting to be swept away. But Gwen is betrothed to another man, and Rhys fears he will lose her forever. Until a surprise offer comes his way—bringing Rhys and Gwen a second chance at love...
My Review: 4 Stars
A tale of a dashing knight and his beautiful lady is bound to be perfection and I absolutely adored parts of this story. I was hoping that with their kindred hearts and instant, deep love, Rhys and Gwen would slay dragons to be together and do whatever it took to find love and happiness, but alas, that would have been too easy. Instead, the sacrifices they each had to endure were almost heart wrenching and it was hard to understand at times why they put themselves in that situation. 
There is so much longing and angst, but with some solid secondary characters, I was hooked--precocious Robin, the Viking Twins, Montgomery, and the grandfather, to name a few. Rhys is chivalrous and all that I imagine a knight to be, but Gwen wasn't the lady I imagined her to be. She was very headstrong, but also demanding and entitled, which made it hard for me to endure her at first. I enjoyed watching the characters mellow and grow, but it was occasionally a long, arduous journey to get there.
I listened to this story and although there were parts that bothered me or dragged on, I couldn't stop listening and did enjoy it. I've read other books in this series and it was fun to get to the roots of the family and see their tale unfold.
Content: moderate romance (talk of infidelity, fade-to-black scenes--not graphic); mild+ violence (some abuse/mistreatment, fighting); mild language

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Only Her Amnesiac Fake Fiance (Mystical Lake Resort #6) by Cami Checketts {Review}


Only Her Amnesiac Fake Fiance (Mystical Lake Resort #6) by Cami Checketts

Kindle Edition, 164 pages
Published October 2020 
Source: Kindle Unlimited
A famous actor with amnesia; his feisty executive assistant who will protect him at all costs.

Bennett Pike has loved one woman his entire life. Unfortunately she’s his agent, manager, and best friend who pushes him to date and pose with a different woman each night.

Sariah Bohme has been blackmailed since she was eighteen. If she keeps paying her stepdad each month and proves that she’s not in love with Bennett she can keep him safe.

When Bennett gets knocked out with a tire iron and wakes up with amnesia will it be their chance to finally fall in love or will the monster waiting in the shadows destroy them both?
My Review: 4 Stars
I love a good love story that packs a punch. Bennett and Sariah have an undeniable chemistry that exudes swoon, but there are secrets that keep them as best friends. I loved the relationship, both working and personal, that they shared. But...Checketts never disappoints in adding an element of danger and suspense that kept me riveted to this adorable story.
I can't imagine having amnesia and Bennett handles his case well, acting as charming and flirtatious as ever, which made their fake engagement seem real. That whole announcement scene was so cute, but when the perilous situation escalated, I was on the edge of my seat.   
I love the formula in this story, with great characters, a beautiful setting, plenty of swoon, and a snippet of conflict and danger, but I wanted a more. I guess I wanted a little more development because I wasn't ready for it to end yet. This is the perfect morsel for an afternoon of reading.
Content: mild romance; mild elements of danger/violence/suspense 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The Lady and the Highwayman (Proper Romance Victorian #1) by Sarah M. Eden {Review}


The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden

Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Shadow Mountain 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
Elizabeth Black is the headmistress of a girls’ school and a well-respected author of “silver-fork” novels, stories written both for and about the upper-class ladies of Victorian society. But by night, she writes very different kinds of stories—the Penny Dreadfuls that are all the rage among the working-class men. Under the pseudonym Mr. King, Elizabeth has written about dashing heroes fighting supernatural threats and dangerous outlaws romancing helpless women. They contain all the adventure and mystery that her real life lacks.
Fletcher Walker began life as a street urchin, but is now the most successful author in the Penny Dreadful market, that is until Mr. King started taking all of his readers--and his profits. No one knows who King is, including Fletcher’s fellow members of the Dread Penny Society, a fraternity of authors dedicated to secretly fighting for the rights of the less-fortunate.
Determined to find the elusive Mr. King, Fletcher approaches Miss Black. As a fellow-author, she is well-known among the high-class writers; perhaps she could be persuaded to make some inquiries as to Mr. King’s whereabouts? Elizabeth agrees to help Fletcher, if only to insure her secret identity is never discovered. 
For the first time, Elizabeth experiences the thrill of a cat-and-mouse adventure reminiscent of one of her own novels as she tries to throw Fletcher off her scent. But the more time they spend together, the more she loses her heart. Its upper-class against working-class, author against author where readers, reputations, and romance are all on the line.
My Review: 5 Stars
I love learning a bit of history in a fiction setting. I hadn't ever heard of  "penny dreadfuls" before and this unique book combined many enjoyable elements into a complex story that was very entertaining from the start. Just in case you don't know what penny dreadfuls are either, they were sold for a penny and told tales of adventure, pirates, highwaymen, crime, and detection. In this book, the reader is treated to not only a love and adventure main story, but as Fletcher and Elizabeth are both authors, books they're each writing also make appearances, including penny dreadfuls. I love how Elizabeth uses one of her stories to try and throw Fletcher off the trail.
Eden does a great job in portraying a fairly accurate (in my opinion) view of Victorian social life, including issues. While the story goes back and forth, a cat and mouse game emerges and kept me eagerly flipping the pages. I thought this book was very well-written and engaging and look forward to more of this Proper Victorian line.
Content: mild romance; mild violence/danger

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The Gentleman and the Thief (Proper Romance Victorian #2) by Sarah M. Eden {Review}

The Gentleman and the Thief (The Dread Penny Society #2) by Sarah M. Eden

Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 3rd 2020 by Shadow Mountain 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
A gentleman scribes penny dreadful novels by night and falls in love with a woman who is a music teacher by day—and a thief at night.


From the moment Hollis Darby meets Ana Newport, he’s smitten. Even though he’s from a wealthy, established family and she isn’t, he wishes he could have a life with her by his side. But Hollis has a secret: the deep coffers th
at have kept his family afloat for generations are bare, so he supports himself by writing penny dreadfuls under a pseudonym. If not for the income from his novels, he would be broke.

Ana Newport also has a secret. Though she once had a place in society thanks to her father’s successful business, bankruptcy and scandal reduced his fortune to nothing more than a crumbling town house. So Ana teaches music during the day, and at night she assumes the identity of the “Phantom Fox.” She breaks into the homes of the wealthy to reclaim trinkets and treasures she feels were unjustly stolen from her family when they were struggling.

When Hollis’s brother needs to hire a music tutor for his daughter, Hollis recommends Ana, giving him a chance to spend time with her. Ana needs the income and is eager for the opportunity to get to know the enigmatic gentleman. What neither of them expects is how difficult it will be to keep their respective secrets from each other.

When a spree of robberies rocks the city, Ana and Hollis join forces to solve the crimes, discovering that working together deepens the affection between them. After all, who better to save the day than a gentleman and a thief?
My Review: 4 Stars
This series is a lot of fun and to get the full effect, I would recommend reading them in order. I love the little "penny dreadful" stories wrapped up in the middle of this book, and along with the main story, the reader is treated to two penny dreadfuls. A "penny dreadful" is a story that costs a penny and was full of adventure, danger, crime, and romance. These clever little diversions are an amusing part of the book.
A secret society is created to help those who need help and to rid society of evil and I'm enjoying the adventure of getting to know different characters in more depth. There are all kinds of personalities, backgrounds, and professions in this group, but that's what makes it work so well. Eden always does a great job of creating likable characters in entertaining situations.
Ana and Hollis are great characters and I loved the mysteries and mild suspense surrounding their interactions. It's especially fun to watch what happens when they join forces. It's apparent a lot of research has gone into this series and it's refreshing to read a bit of history written in such unique way. 
Content: mild romance; mild adventure/violence/danger

Monday, November 2, 2020

Love, Lies and Mistletoe by D.E. Malone {Review}


Love, Lies and Mistletoe by D.E. Malone

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: October 30th 2020 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given 


One stolen kiss. A little Christmas magic. And the snowy inn where love stands a chance.

Interior designer Layla Dean can’t believe her good fortune at snagging the holiday decorating gig at Blueberry Point Lodge. And even though her fledgling business has a growing list of happy clients, her personal life isn’t filled with the same Christmas magic. She needs a man in her life like she does coal in her stocking. But tell that to Brant Johnsson.

Brant is known as the Twin Cities’ Master of Lights and Luminaria for good reason. His company oversees most of the downtown’s outdoor displays every season. But when a professional snag sends him reeling, he’s ready to quit the business. Until he runs into Layla again. Forgetting their awkward mistletoe kiss last year just isn’t possible, but she doesn’t share the pleasant memory. Now that they’re decking the halls together for the newly opened inn’s first Christmas, Brant hopes for a replay of their first encounter. And something more.

When a misdirected text message pairs them together for a fundraising event, Brant and Layla find they have more in common than just a flare for holiday decorating and one mistaken kiss. If Layla can overcome her sour first impression, Brant might get his very merry second chance.

My Review: 5 Stars

Can you imagine kissing the wrong person under the mistletoe? I would seriously wish for the floor to open up and swallow me whole. And that's not the only case of mistaken identity between Layla and Brant. Although Layla is quite frosty towards Brant, his warm charisma melts the ice...somewhat...and I adored this Hallmark-type of Christmas romance. 

Malone creates a darling story set during the holidays in Minnesota, but the warmth is better than a mug of steaming, sweet hot chocolate. I loved the small town feel, uncomfortable misunderstandings, and the oozing chemistry. The complementing businesses was the marshmallows on the mug, as Brant decorates with lights on the exterior, while Layla spruces things up on the interior. With the quirky, lovable side character Marybelle, awkward encounters, and the magical atmosphere of Christmastime, this one was a winner for me. 

Content: mild romance