Book List 2017

Holiday Round-Up: Journey Back to Christmas by Leigh Duncan

36382858.jpgTitle: Journey Back to Christmas

Author: Leigh Duncan

Genre: Holiday Romance, Time Travel, Romance

Summary: WWII is finally over, but Hanna’s husband, Chet, didn’t return home. She puts on a brave smile during the day while nursing her hospital patients, but at night, she grieves the loss of her love. 

Then the Christmas Comet appears for the first time in over seventy years, and Hanna’s caught in a snowstorm and knocked unconscious. She wakes up in modern times, and much to her confusion, her small town has changed. A local cop takes pity on her and invites her to stay with his family over the holiday.

As she searches for her place in this familiar yet different town, Hanna discovers that even small acts of kindness impact lives…and that the true meaning of Christmas is timeless. Now, she hopes to find her way back to her own time…and this year’s comet may lead her to a Christmas miracle. 

Review: 

This is the last book that I read in 2017, which is interesting. I did not watch the Hallmark holiday movie, though it is waiting for me on my PVR.

This book seemed to be a romance novel from the first couple of chapters, but it really was about something more. It’s about all that can be forgotten over time, as the years pass by and how sometimes getting rid of traditions is not the best thing.

Hanna is a lovely woman, trying to be positive after moments of feeling sorry for herself.

Sarah is stubborn, but interesting in her own right.

The family that comes together, both blood related and otherwise, in this book is one of love, compassion and a need for a new way to relate to each other which they do find in this.

This is a Christmas tale, and yes, it is a bit cliche, but isn’t that what makes it good? I think so. Good, quick reading, filled with warmth.

Received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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Book List 2017

Holiday Round-Up: A Gift for Santa by Beth Carpenter

36234160.jpgTitle: A Gift For Santa

Author: Beth Carpenter

Genre: Holiday Romance, Romance

Summary: It’s the season for giving…and starting over? 

A reindeer farm without Santa wouldn’t be Christmas in Marissa Gray’s Alaskan hometown. Luckily Chris Allen’s there to pinch-hit, although for Marissa, seeing her ex-fiancé again brings back memories of what might have been. 

Ten years after their breakup, the feelings between the wildlife biologist and blue-eyed fisherman are stronger than ever. Only now there’s a foster kid in the mix, as well as the shocking crime that cost Marissa her job and her family’s security. She and Chris need to find their way to a meeting of minds and hearts to make this truly a season for second chances…

Review:

I am a sucker for a holiday romance. Seriously. I am also a sucker for a good Harlequin romance. I don’t know why, but ever since I was a kid and would sneak them away from my mum’s collection I’ve been in love with that damn diamond symbol.

This book is lovely. It’s got scandal, past love, classic love that lasts a life time, loving families and cute little kids.

It’s got Santa in it.

That is all I needed to know, to know that I needed to get my hands on a copy of it. It’s a good book to read by the fire if you’ve got one, or one of those space heaters that looks like it’s got a fire in it if you don’t.

Do not set things on fire to read this book by. A blanket for warmth will do, because this book will provide the rest. I’m not kidding. This is your fire safety message kids.

Kids also maybe you shouldn’t read this book.

I’ve gotten a little loopy as we approach the end of the year so please forgive me. It’s five hours and counting.

This book is a good way to spend some of those hours because Marissa is awesome. She is smart and hurt, and I could kick some ass on her behalf if I could. Chris is also awesome.

This book is just awesome, the setting is Alaska, the town is basically the North Pole and Beth Carpenter’s writing is spot on. At no point did I feel like this book was overly contrived, nor was I rolling my eyes at any of the plot points.

Received a free copy of this in exchange for an honest review. 

Book List 2017

Holiday Round-Up: A Cosy Candlelit Christmas by Tilly Tennant

36542793Title: A Cosy Candlelit Christmas

Author: Tilly Tennant

Genre: Holiday Romance

Summary: 

All Isla wants for Christmas is to be left in peace, but in the Alps there’s potential for romance in every snowflake that falls… 

It’s the week before Christmas and Isla McCoy has just received an unexpected gift: a letter announcing she is due a life-changing inheritance, but only if she’s willing to make peace with the father who abandoned her. 

She has absolutely no intention of making amends, but who could resist an all-expenses-paid trip to the French resort of St Martin-de-Belleville? 

There she meets smooth-talking Justin and nerdy glaciologist Sebastian; two very different men, with two very different agendas. Torn between her head and her heart, Isla finds herself utterly lost in a winter wonderland of her own feelings. 

Surrounded by twinkling candles and roaring log-fires, Isla’s resolve finally begins to melt. But will she learn how to reconnect, not only with a whole new family, but with herself and her heart? 

Review:

Do you live in a place that’s so cold that it hurts your face? I do and my remedy for the coldness, the goosebumps, the sniffles etc is to curl up with a good romance.

This is a good romance. A really good romance. With really good and bad characters within it. Not badly written characters. Just spoiled brats.

It makes me happy to end the year with a couple of books that I have genuinely enjoyed, and can recommend to those who follow this blog.

Tilly Tennant (whose name I love btw) has hit it out of the park for me with this book. Isla is a strong willed character, and stubborn to boot, but willing to give in if it means getting answers.

Sebastian is just a doll. I fell in love with him immediately. I couldn’t help myself. Give me a slightly bumbling, awkward, smart guy any day over an overly butch macho muscle head. I’d fall all over myself for him. Plus I may have a love of glaciers myself, and English men.

Dahlia is another character I couldn’t help but be enamoured with. She doesn’t have a single mean bone in her body, and her kindness from the get-go utterly charmed me. If such a place, with such a caretaker exists as her business I would not hesitate to go there in a moment.

The setting of this book is nicely written, and I could close my eyes a picture a rather different, more picturesque version of snow than what I’ve had to deal with recently. It’s a reminder that seasons do help create beauty, and that warmth can be found in the people around you.

This is a lovely read I would recommend to anyone.

Received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

 

Book List 2017

Review: Holiday Affair by Annie Seaton

36613210Title: Holiday Affair

Author: Annie Seaton

Genre: Romance, Beach Read

Summary: 

Unadventurous Lissy McIntyre believes choosing the right man should be based on common sense. She would never pick a rolling stone like Nick Richards for long-term love. But a red-hot, tropical romance? Yes, please. He’s got a swoon-worthy body and his kisses leave her senseless. A tropical holiday romance might be what she needs…

When Nick moves to his new job in a small country town, he’s stunned to discover that his no-nonsense neighbor and co-worker is the beautiful woman he spent a memorable night with on a tropical island. He’s unaccustomed to staying in one place for long, but he just can’t seem to stay away from the intriguing woman. Nick doesn’t do forever but having Lissy around has him thinking maybe he could…

Review: 

This book was not to my taste. I will admit that. There was nothing strictly wrong with the writing but as someone who has been reading in the genre for a while there were certain aspects of the book that were quite predictable, though I won’t name those here as I do not believe in spoilers.

Lissy as a character, and if she were a real person, would not be someone that I like at all. There is a sense of manipulation about her as she plays games with Nick and he does the same in turn. She is many different people all at once, hiding behind masks and using her mother’s relationships as a reason to keep behaving the way she does.

The secondary characters were interesting, especially Tomas, who I would’ve liked to learn a bit more about.

All in all this is a quick read, a quick romance and good for those that like something other than slowburn. I would’ve preferred a more in depth look at their work lives as it was quite quickly explored.

Received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Book List 2017

Holiday Roundup: Christmas at Hope Cottage by Lily Graham

36058757Title: Christmas at Hope Cottage

Author: Lily Graham

Genre: Holiday, Magic, Romance

Summary: In the little village of Whistling, with its butterscotch cottages and rolling green hills, snow is beginning to fall. Christmas is coming, and Emma Halloway is on her way home.

When thirty-year-old food writer Emma Halloway gets dumped then knocked off her bike, she’s broken in more ways than one, and returns to her family’s cosy cottage in the Yorkshire Dales. Emma hasn’t been back in some time, running from her crazy relatives and her childhood sweetheart, Jack Allen.

Emma’s grandmother is determined to bake her back to health and happiness, as the Halloways have done for generations. Surrounded by old friends and warm cinnamon buns, Emma starts to believe in her family’s special talents for healing again. But then in walks Jack with his sparkling hazel eyes, stirring up the family feud between them. 

As the twinkly lights are strung between the streetlamps, Emma remembers just why she fell for Jack in the first place… and why a Halloway should never date an Allen.

The infuriating new lodger, Sandro, doesn’t believe anyone should have to choose between love and family. With a little bit of Christmas magic, can Emma and Jack find a way to be together, or will Emma find herself heartbroken once more?

Review: 

This book was definitely magic, and definitely not what I was expecting it to be. That is awesome, because I love being surprised, and this was a very pleasant surprise.

Emma is different. I don’t really know how to explain but she lacks the sameness that a lot of romantic protagonists have and it’s not a bad thing. She is stubborn, and vulnerable and perhaps a little fractured but without being too overly melodramatic. Something about her just hit all the right notes for me.

Sandro is lovely. He is smooth as butter and he seems to know it too. He is charming but not without flaws and isn’t overly macho.

Her aunt’s are interesting, each with their own individual personality, but all of them on Emma’s side in a way that made me cheer them on, even though I sometimes didn’t agree with some of their manner of showing it.

The plot of this novel was so delicately put together, and I was enraptured with the way Lily Graham writes about these characters and settings. It is vivid, and warm, and at times not without bitterness. The fantasy side of the plot was not heavy handed, and was an enjoyable thread linking the plot together.

This is not really a holiday novel, not in the sense that most holiday books are, oversaturated with Christmas, in fact I would say this could be read throughout the year and I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself picking it up again. This is a book worth reading, and re-reading again.

<b>Received a free copy in exchange for an honest review</b>

 

Book List 2017

Holiday Roundup: Winter at Cedarwood Lodge by Rebecca Raisin

36572008.jpgTitle: Winter at Cedarwood Lodge
Author: Rebecca Raisin
Genre: Romance, Mystery, Holidays
Quick thoughts: Good for someone who loves a warm, mysterious winter romance with surprisingly slow build which is not something you get in a lot of romance novels these days.

Summary:

This winter it’s time to fall in love at Cedarwood Lodge…

After years of dreaming, Clio Winters is finally fulfilling her childhood dream of renovating the gorgeous old Cedarwood Lodge in Evergreen and turning it into the perfect destination for celebrations, weddings and extravagant birthday parties. The huge property used to be a bustling holiday camp, now Clio wants to bring it back to its halcyon days – which will be a lot of hard work!

Returning back to the small town of her youth she’s glad to have one of her best friends still around to lean on, Micah who is just as solid as he used to be. But with her own secrets pushing her to run from her glamorous life in New York, she’ll have to tread carefully, especially when the far-too-handsome-for-his-own-good contractor, Kai, shows up on her doorstep…

Sure she’s here in Evergreen to change her life, but there is no way she’s falling in love!

Continue reading “Holiday Roundup: Winter at Cedarwood Lodge by Rebecca Raisin”

Book List 2017

Review: (Un)Masked by Anyta Sunday and Andy Gallo

Un-masked-fTitle: (Un)Masked

Authors: Anyta Sunday and Andy Gallo (self-published)

Genre: M/M paranormal romance, magical realism, new adult

Buy it here

Summary: 

Jay Walker has two wishes: to perform the play of his dreams alongside his best friend at Wellington’s Tory Street Theatre, and to meet that special someone. Someone he’d go to the ends of the earth for. Someone who might only exist in fairy tales.

When Jay meets accordion busker Lethe Cross, it’s like living a dream come true. Lethe’s music captivates Jay, and he resolves to meet the man who plays so beautifully. But then he discovers Lethe’s life is more like a nightmare. The phrase “down on his luck” can’t begin to cover it. Determined to help, Jay does some snooping for answers—and winds up on the wrong end of a centuries-old curse. The good news is there’s a way to break it. The bad news is it might cost Jay his life

Excerpt:

His music sailed over me, beautiful, seductive; the call of a siren—and I went willingly.

He stood on a concrete wall dividing the beach and pavement, cutting notes into a thousand beautiful fragments that the air caught and whipped around me.

His hips twisted and his fingers slid over the accordion keyboard as he commanded the bellows.  Like magic, the disappointment that had clung to me all morning dulled, and I sank against a pylon across and watched him. Watched, and wished the lip of the hoodie he wore would lift so I could see his face.

He swayed with the music, and I glimpsed blond hair and a scar splitting one brow.

Nearer and nearer, I inched, until I stood before him.

His song ended abruptly, and he stared down at me with haunted, tired eyes.

I opened my mouth to ask him to play again, to tell him he was truly talented, but he jumped onto the beach and fled.

My soul prickled, and I knew I would never be the same again.

One never was, when death lurked nearby.

Continue reading “Review: (Un)Masked by Anyta Sunday and Andy Gallo”

Book List 2017, Reviews

Review: A Snow Country Bride by Linda Lael Miller

a snow country brideTitle: A Snow Country Bride

Author: Linda Lael Miller

Genre: Romance

Summary: It’s a Christmas affair to remember as a Hollywood mogul discovers his inner cowboy—and the woman of his dreams—amid the rugged beauty of Wyoming.

Raine McCall would take snow-covered mountains over a star-studded premiere any day. But when hotshot movie executive Mick Branson arranges dinner on Christmas Eve to discuss a work opportunity, she’s intrigued—by the offer and the man. She’s a no-makeup, no-frills single mom, who’s happy with her quiet life. Sharing chili cheeseburgers and sizzling kisses with Mick is sure heating up her holiday, but country girl and power player don’t mix…

It’s not just work that’s brought Mick back to Mustang Creek. Since he first visited to oversee a documentary, free-spirited graphic designer Raine has been in his head. Her approach to life is as unconventional as her quirky holiday ornaments. Their attraction is undeniable—and so are their differences. Putting down roots in the Wild West wasn’t in the script. But there are some Christmas gifts you can’t walk away from, even when they turn your whole world upside down…

Review:

Warmth.

That is the word that comes to my mind whenever I am reading a book by Linda Lael Miller. I can’t even tell you how long her writing has captivated me for but it has been quite a while, which is why I was so happy to get my hands on a copy of this book, especially with the coming holidays.

This book and its characters made be delighted to be reading it. Raine is not your run of the mill romantic heroine, and Mick is definitely not your typical cowboy. In fact he’s rather laughably not one at all. But man are they both awesome characters.

Raine is an artist, interested in the beauty of the world around her, and despite living in Hollywood Mick is much the same.

The two of them come together in a really sweet way, friends of friends, I suppose you could say, and it makes it all the more magical.

The cast of characters includes Raine’s daughter, their dog, Sampson, and their colourful, amusing cat who doesn’t seem to realize how large he is.

This is the type of book that you should read before the holidays, to incite those warm, loving fuzzy feelings within yourself. Or all year long when you need a little bit of Christmas magic.

This book feels indulgent, it’s an escape from a world that has gone a little bit chaotic, even for a little bit.

Received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Book List 2017, Reviews

Review: Eliza and her Monsters


64Title: 
Eliza and Her Monsters

Author: Francesca Zappia

Genre: Romance, contemporary, YA

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea.

Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community, and has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fan fiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

With illustrations from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums and snippets of Wallace’s fan fiction, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

Review: 

This book. This freaking book. This wonderful book. These characters. Please just take a chance on this if you have ever considered yourself a nerd, or a geek, or for a time or even now find the online world a more comfortable place to be than the real world. You need to go to your local book retailer, or your library, or online and get a copy of this book.

I will start out by saying that I bought this book two days ago and started and finished it in one sitting. I devoured the words on the page, and the illustrations and I adored the meta within.

The setting is standard, a girl’s bedroom, her computer, her art, her whole life encompassed in one room and school the interloper in that life.

It’s possible I felt an affinity for this character because she reminds me so much of myself when I was younger. I often felt more comfortable online, behind a computer screen, only instead of drawing I would write feverishly, words flowing out about my favourite characters in TV, movies and books. My friends, encouraging me from around the world.

I was never a big name though, but did seek comfort from my anxiety in that world. Sometimes I still do.

This book is reminiscent of Fangirl, which is one of the things that appealed to me about it. It is a familiar world in this genre now and I am not complaining as it does remain set apart, without seeming to copy Rowell’s work. Eliza’s journey is individual, and wonderful on its own without the comparison.

The story unfolds with each anticipatory word, skillfully written, and each artwork, beautifully rendered. There is immense growth within the characters, and a bleak, hopeless moment or two that had me clutching my eReader, half panicked.

It is not without flaws, sometimes the characters seem a touch pretentious, but then don’t we all when we’re teenagers, thinking we know everything? Their self-absorption is as real as the words on the page, but so is their character development and their gaining strength.

It is a real, and sometimes upsetting portrayal of anxiety that really impressed me in this, the symptoms and the feelings of that vivid, and possibly triggering.

Favourite Quotes:

“That computer is my rabbit hole; the internet is my wonderland. I am only allowed to fall into it when it doesn’t matter if I get lost.”

“Monstrous Sea is mine.
I made it, not the other way around.
It’s not a parasite, or an obligation, or a destiny.
It’s a monster.
It’s mine.
And I have a battle-axe waiting for it.”

“I do have friends. Maybe they live hundreds of miles away from me, and maybe I can only talk to them through a screen, but they’re still my friends. They don’t just hold Monstrous Sea together. They hold me together.
Max and Emmy are the reason any of this exists.”

What I plan to read next by this author:
The Children of Hypnos
Made You Up

Book List 2017, Reviews

Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

63.jpgTitle: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Author: Mackenzi Lee

Genre: Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA+

Summary: 

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

Review: 

This book is an insane amount of frustrating fun. I know that sounds like one of the weirder descriptions that I’ve given a novel but it’s true. The language in this book is flourishing and imaginative without being too descriptive which you all know is my Achilles heel when it comes to reading.

The plot is over the top in one of the best possible ways and to be honest it is not a book I would have chosen for myself. Which is why I am so glad it was included in an Owlcrate box which allows me to step outside of my comfort zone a little more and pick up a book I might otherwise have not read. There are pirates, there is alchemy, mystery, scandal and intrigue.

Olivia Pope would have her hands full with the Duke of Bourbon, that’s all I’m saying, y’all. That’s all. Because he is a mess, and not even a hot one.

The frustrating part of this novel comes with the knowledge that although the ignorance of some characters is contextual for the time, it is still a piss off. The racism made me grit my teeth and growl in frustration, so did the ablelism and the misogyny. When I say grit my teeth I mean for a moment, until I found myself ranting, alone, in my bedroom at about…1 in the morning. If this review does not make sense that would be why. Please forgive me.

How dare they treat my darling wonderful Percy in such a manner? And Felicity as well? Monty stop talking and start thinking. And Scipio. ❤

Characters:

Monty is the main character and he will piss you off, and make you love him in equal turns. He is one of those people who could be smart. He could be. And in the end he is (Thank God). But along the route to his character growth, and he does grow, you will want to smack him upside the head (gently) or rail against the attitude he gives the world (with reason). But he is wonderfully written, and I have a real soft spot.

Percy. Oh Percy. He is a character that could do with a bit more backbone, and yes, he does get it thankfully. More serious than his best friend, he fleshes out the pages and gives the book more humanity, and humility where it’s needed most. He also experiences quite a bit of growth over the course of the novel.

Felicity is tenacious with a capital T and has brains in spades, hidden behind fake dust-covers. She is badass. So freaking badass and definitely deserves a tale or two of her own.

The Duke. Oh the Duke. A true asshat. A real villain. I don’t like him at all.

Scipio is a character I need more of. He’s trying so hard to suppress his cinnamon roll side and it’s not really working for him. But make no mistake, I think he’s at least thinking about killing you.

Favourite Quotes:

“Just thinking about all that blood.” I nearly shudder. “Doesn’t it make you a bit squeamish?”
“Ladies haven’t the luxury of being squeamish about blood,” she replies, and Percy and I go fantastically red in unison.”

It’s beginning to feel like he’s shuffling his way through the seven deadly sins, in ascending order of my favourites.

I have lived most of my life as a devotee of the philosophy that a man should not see two sevens in one day…

Other Thoughts:

Take a minute before opening this book and enjoy the cover design because it is gorgeous and deserving of a second, third and fourth look.