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Review: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Posted February 21, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 35 Comments

Review:  P.S. I Like You by Kasie WestP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Series: Standalone
Published by Point on July 26th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 330
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 5 Stars

Signed, sealed, delivered…
While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!
Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

I really wanted another book that would engross me and force me to pull an all-nighter and I got just that with P.S. I Like You. West was a new to me author, but I have heard some really amazing things from blogger friends about her, so I wasn’t afraid to throw myself fully into the book from the start.

What I got was an adorable, fluffy, heart fluttering, young adult novel about two very unlikely teens who become pen pals through shared interest and the boredom and chemistry class.

It was super sweet. Lily was so awkward and her humor amused me throughout the book. I found her to be someone I could relate to from my days in high school.(and not just with that fact that she has my name ya’ll) When Lily writes the lyrics of her favorite song, in pencil, on her chemistry desk she never expected for someone to reply to her. Nor did she expect to start exchanging letters with this anonymous teen. I enjoyed reading the exchange and how to letters started about music and eventually, with words, the two hit much more meaningful subjects that hit close to home and expose different layers of themselves. I loved that they could use words on paper to express a different part of each other, especially since Lily feels like she is more awkward in person.

I don’t think it was meant to be a secret as to who the boy that she was writing to be. Even though Lily isn’t aware of who her pen pal is for a while, the readers catch up on what is happening fairly quickly. What we do witness is how writing, interesting and music peals away layers and builds a strong relationship at a deeper level.

This entire book had such a positive vibe to it. I loved that even though Lily has a big family that drive her crazy at times, that they provide such a great support network. I adored that the parents were so awesome and not evil like some Young adult books paint them to be. There was no absent parent, no tantrum over not understanding, just positive, healthy relationship that tugged on my heart strings. Lily’s relationship with her friend was also a joy to read, because I loved how it prevailed in the end and how close to two girls really are.

The one thing I did not understand was the need for the mean girl stereotype. I get it, they do exist, but I felt like West could have gone away with maybe a little less of it. It bothered me that she kept getting away with it, meanwhile in one scene Lily get’s in trouble for the other girls actions

I loved this book and its characters so much I found myself saying aww a lot, it has been just so stinking cute, I never wanted it to end. I also really wished we got the other POV. I would have loved the boy’s side of the story as well. I felt like he revealed a lot of layers of himself to Lily and it kind of made me want to know more about him. I don’t feel like we got that from just witnessing Lily’s POV. The story would have been even more compelling.

Overall, this book totally rocked my world and I am glad I picked it up. It was exactly what I was looking for and the storyline was fun and excited. I adored the dialogue and the characters and thankful for the humor thrown in

 

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Review: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Posted February 15, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 18 Comments

Review:  Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise GornallUnder Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
Series: Standalone
Published by Clarion Books on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Health
Pages: 320
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:half-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

At seventeen, Norah has accepted that the four walls of her house delineate her life. She knows that fearing everything from inland tsunamis to odd numbers is irrational, but her mind insists the world outside is too big, too dangerous. So she stays safe inside, watching others’ lives through her windows and social media feed.
But when Luke arrives on her doorstep, he doesn’t see a girl defined by medical terms and mental health. Instead, he sees a girl who is funny, smart, and brave. And Norah likes what he sees.
Their friendship turns deeper, but Norah knows Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can walk beneath the open sky. One who is unafraid of kissing. One who isn’t so screwed up. Can she let him go for his own good—or can Norah learn to see herself through Luke’s eyes?

A story about a seventeen year old girl named Norah and her take on living with agoraphobia, OCD and anxiety.

This was interesting. As someone who hasn’t read a lot of books featuring mental health, I jumped into this unsure what to expect. What I didn’t expect was to read a book from Norah’s point of view. Under Rose-Tainted Skies takes us for quite a ride when we enter Norah’s head and get a taste of what it is to experience everything she is going through, and at times it wasn’t pretty.

Gornall’s debut novel was well written. It wasn’t suppose to be pretty, and we get to know Norah pretty personally.

She spends most of her days at home, afraid to leave her house. She builds stuff out of food and spit, watches junk TV, surfs the web and has to attend therapy at least once a week. Than her life takes a different turn when a boy named Luke moves in next door and he becomes instantly fascinated with her.

I found that I couldn’t put this book down and devoured it fairly quickly with a day with a lack of sleep. Gornall’s writing really pulled me in and immersed me in a story that was both fascinating and not always an easy read. But I love the way Norah prevails everyday despite what she finds herself going through. The snarky tone of the book does make this a lighter read. I adored Norah’s personality and her spunk.

The romance was an interesting twist, but I did find myself wondering how realistic was it really? Luke was a seventeen year old boy, and despite me absolutely adoring the relationship they form and how he sends her letters through the mail slot – I wasn’t completely sold on the romance.

I think my favorite part of the book is the relationship between Norah and her mother. The support she gets from her is moving and the closeness they share just squeezes my heart. It is so good, so refreshing to find wonderful, caring adults in Young Adult fiction and not painted into someone who doesn’t get it, and is downright evil. It was good, it was more of a realistic feel.

The only thing that bothered me about the relationship is when her mother goes away for a few days on a business trip. I didn’t know if it was also really realistic for a mother to leave Norah, given her situation, alone like that when she has so many things going on inside her head and can panic at any given moment. I felt that maybe she would have gotten her like a caregiver or a neighbor to check on her more often?

The ending was also a bit different. The wrench that the author threw into the mix did not make sense unless she intended it to be a way that Norah finally moves forward with her treatment. The ending was a bit open and basically left me wondering what was next. But, I really enjoyed the writing, it was really good. I enjoyed the humor. I was heartbroken by some of the more difficult moments and found myself really connecting and feeling for Norah.

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Review: Highland Vixen by Mary Wine

Posted February 13, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 7 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  Highland Vixen by Mary WineHighland Vixen by Mary Wine
Series: Highland Weddings #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on February 7th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance, Scotland
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:three-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Fierce Highland war chief seeks comely lass for fun, frolic, and marriage
Marcus MacPherson is every inch the fearsome Highlander. He's used to men averting their eyes and women cowering before him. He thinks he'll eventually settle down with a nice, obedient bride. Instead, he gets Helen Grant... Stubborn as the day is long, fearless and dedicated to raising as much hell as possible, Helen is definitely going to challenge Marcus. And challenge him some more. And then some.
It's anyone's guess who'll win this battle of the heart...

I didn’t actually know what to expect from this book. I wanted something Highlander, and Mary Wine’s book jumped out at me. I have not read her before, and she is a new to me author who has pleasantly surprised me.

Highland Vixen jumped into a story leading from book one, so if you haven’t read book one, like me, I strongly suggest starting from there so you don’t have to face the same confusion.

The book opens up with Helen and Brenda Grant escaping the MacPherson Castle and looking for shelter at Court. Helen was a captive in the MacPherson castle because Marcus took her as a prize, but her life wasn’t bad by any means. The last thing Helen wants to do is sit around and wait for the Laird to marry her off.

Helen and Brenda end up at court, where they are immediately called to Earl of Morton’s attention. Morton is a regent of Scotland, and seems to think he can wield power over the Highlanders. So when Marcus shows up at Court in order to bring Helen back, he is stuck under Morton’s claws, who wants Marcus to marry a girl barely 14 to strengthen alliances. Disturbed by the prospect of sleeping with a 14 year old girl, Marcus refuses, ends up in chains and Helen comes to his rescue with the prospect of marriage to her in order to save them.

This was an interesting read. Once I was able to get used to the writing and the dialect, I found myself fully immersed in the story. It did take some time to put the pieces together, since I have not read the first book, but other reviews helped with that.

I really enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t just a romance novel, there was a lot going on, there was a full storyline with the Earl of Morton trying to cause trouble for Helen and Marcus, bringing in other clans into the fold to try and get in their way.

I was confused about why Helen and Brenda went to look for safety in Court, mainly since the two seem to be aware of Earl of Morton and just how despicable and awful the man is. It seems to me the entire situation could have been avoided. I also still am not entirely sure who Brenda is to Helen and how Helen did not come to help her friend after the escape. Especially now that they know what Morton is capable off as he tried to derail Marcus and Helen at every turn.

The romance itself was actually pretty good. I loved that there was some resistance from Helen at first considering the rocky start the two had, but I loved Marcus and his patience. He wasn’t really good at charming his new bride by any means, considering he is the War Chief of clan MacPherson and his wooing skills are zilch next to nothing. The bickering and the growing attraction were a major plus in this book amidst all the danger and excitement thrown their way.

I liked the secondary characters and their storylines and wonder how this series will progress. Well, now I am finding myself invested and hope to learn what will become of them in the future and how it will play out. Especially since the issues with the Earl of Morton have still been unresolved.

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Review: The Christmas Ranch by RaeAnne Thayne

Posted February 7, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review: The Christmas Ranch by RaeAnne ThayneThe Christmas Ranch by RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Cowboys of Cold Creek #13
Published by Harlequin on November 18th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Pages: 224
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Hope Nichols has never felt as if she belonged anywhere, except her hometown of Pine Gulch. So, when she hears that her family's property, Christmas Ranch, is set to be shut down forever, a determined Hope heads home. She refuses to let the Grinch steal her holiday—this will be the most memorable ranch Christmas ever! And, thanks to hunky former navy SEAL Rafe Santiago and his adorable nephew, she might just pull off that miracle.
Rafe is undeniably drawn to Hope and her passion for rebuilding her family home. But he knows more about Hope's tragic past than even she herself could imagine. And though she doesn't know it, she owes him her life. And all he wants in return is for her to spend it with him…

I think I might be a little obsessed. After finishing the last book in the Nichol’s sister trilogy, I came to a surprising realization that somewhere along the way, I did not read the first book. That was unacceptable, so I had to remedy that quickly. I was pleasantly surprised I already had the book on my kindle and dove right in it.

Guys, I cannot believe I somehow put off reading these books. I am totally kicking myself because I just love them so much. I fell in love with all the characters and I find that I truly am going to miss them. I am glad Thayne wrapped everything up on high note and even gave us a glimpse at what’s in store for the sisters.

The Christmas Ranch is actually the first book in this awesome, romantic and sweet series. It features Hope, the middle sister. Hope watched her father get shot at a rescue mission that went terribly wrong. Rafe Santiago was a rookie, who felt responsible for not being fast enough to save the young girl’s father. The last thing Rafe expected was to end up running into Hope Nichols, the girl he pulled away screaming into the helicopter and the guilt that came attached after. Hope doesn’t remember him, but after his nephew puts a nice hole in her car window with a rock, Hope finds a way into his life.

This was super cute. I loved Rafe in the other books and needed to know how it all began. Rafe is so much different than the other men in this series. He is an ex Navy Seal, he rescued Hope and her sisters from the people that held them hostage, and he carries a lot of guilt.

The romance was just what I expected from Thayne, it was sweet, clean, slow, and just what I needed in the past few gloomy and rainy days.  I just can’t seem to get enough of her writing.

I adored Hope and how she wanted to restore The Christmas Ranch despite the fact that her sister’s at first were so against it. The ranch was failing, there wasn’t much money made out of it and most of it was falling apart. Until Hope comes along, and tries to breath life back into the place that has been a staple in the community. With the help of Rafe and his nephew, it might just happen after all.

Rafe was amazing, and I loved watching him try to become a father figure to his nephew. He doesn’t tell Hope at first who he is and she doesn’t remember him. So it was interesting to see how it would all unfold.

I was confused by Faiths response to him when she sees him. She’s angry, but thankful to him at the same time? It was a bit confusing.

Overall, it’s a great beginning to a wonderful heart-touching, heart-melting, cozy romance series that will stay with me long after.

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Review: The Holiday Gift by RaeAnne Thayne

Posted February 6, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 16 Comments

Review:  The Holiday Gift by RaeAnne ThayneThe Holiday Gift by RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Cowboys of Cold Creek #15
Published by Harlequin on November 22nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Pages: 224
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A COWBOY FOR CHRISTMAS
With two kids and an active life, widow Faith Dustin only wants peace and quiet for Christmas. But her snowy Pine Gulch ranch is nothing but chaotic. All that keeps Faith going is her helpful neighbor, cowboy Chase Brannon. He's always been "good ol' Chase," her faithful friend. Until he kisses her under the mistletoe…
Years ago Chase blew his chance with the woman he's loved since childhood. Now he's determined to step out of the friend zone…and into the role of husband. But the scared and stubborn Faith won't let herself fall. With Christmas just days away, Chase will need all the magic of the season—and the help of her two matchmaking children—to unwrap a second chance at love.

The Holiday Gift is the third and last book in the Nichols sister’s, this time featuring Faith Dustin, who is the oldest of the trio.

Faith has had a rough life. First, her parents die when the girls were really young, than her husband dies in a tragic accident, leaving her with a ranch that was failing and in debt. The only constant in her life, her rock, has been her best friend Chase Brannon.

Chase has always felt like he has been on the sidelines looking in, waiting for the perfect moment to swoop in and tell Faith how he felt about her. In love with her ever since the sisters arrived in town, Chase was never given an opportunity to express his feelings, especially after his best friend married the girl he was in love with.

Now, years after his death, Chase wants the opportunity to show Faith how much she really means to him.

Cute story. I really enjoyed it. I love Thayne books. Every time I pop one open it’s like coming home to curl in next to a warm fire with a cup of chocolate. Her Christmas/Holiday books make me so happy, that I can read them at any time of the year.

I am sad that this trilogy has come to a close. Faith was the oldest sister, and she didn’t know how to deal with the fact that suddenly her best friend wants to take her out on the date when he is the one thing in her life that seemed so there and so solid, is suddenly shaking things up.

I loved Chase. I loved how much he cared for Faith and I was so sad that he got put on the sidelines like that. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard it would be for someone to watch a person you love fall for someone else, get married, have children, be happy. It must have hurt.

I loved that he wanted Faith to see that there is so much more to him than just her friend.

I struggled with Faith at times. It appears that she is the only one in the family that did not know that Chase has been in love with her forever and news of that comes as a shock for her. Plus, she kept trying to force the new girl Elle onto Chase even after she came to know about his feelings. At 80%, I was finding myself annoyed when she made another attempt to push the two together and in the process, hurt the other woman’s feelings because she was so inconsiderate.

I do get it. Her husband dies, she has just learned that the only man in the world that has been her rock and did so much for her, wants a relationship and she doesn’t want to lose him. Plus, she is afraid that something will happen to Chase and she will watch another husband pass away. I get her resistance, it just got a bit much at times.

Otherwise, this was a really charming, slow, clean romance story. Thayne’s writing is just so good, so amazing, I never found a dull moment. I found myself finishing the book in one day, even if it took me almost all night. I was so unable to put down their story.

“I wasn’t even involved with the show and I still have people stop me in town to tell me they hope we’re doing it again,” Faith offered.

“That’s because you’re a Nichols,” Hope said.

“Right. Which to some people automatically means I burp tinsel and have eggnog running through my veins.”

Celeste laughed. “You don’t?”

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Review: Wicked Cowboy Charm by Carolyn Brown

Posted February 3, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 14 Comments

Review:  Wicked Cowboy Charm by Carolyn BrownWicked Cowboy Charm by Carolyn Brown
Series: Lucky Penny Ranch #4
Published by Forever on January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Heat:two-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.



ONE BLIZZARD, ONE BUNKHOUSE,AND A WHOLE LOTTA TROUBLE . . .
Josie Dawson is new in town, but it doesn't take a local to know that Deke Sullivan is trouble--in a smokin' hot package. He's sweet, sexy, and has charmed just about every woman in Dry Creek, Texas. Well, Josie won't be next. She'll keep her distance, even if he is great with babies and makes a mean cup of homemade hot chocolate. Deke Sullivan really is a one-woman type of guy. He just had to do a lot of looking to find that one woman. Now he thinks he's found her and he won't let a strong, sassy gal like Josie slip away. Just when he's wondering how to convince her he only has eyes for her, they get stranded in a tiny cabin during a major blizzard. If Deke can melt her heart before they dig out of the snow, he'll be the luckiest cowboy in Texas . . .
The Lucky Penny Ranch Series: Wild Cowboy WaysHot Cowboy Nights Merry Cowboy ChristmasWicked Cowboy Charm

With all my trusted bloggers fussing over Carolyn Brown and her writing, I knew I had to give in and give this author a try. I am glad to say that this is my first read by this author and although I wasn’t in love with this story, particularly, I did really enjoy and really, really, liked her writing.

This is book four in Lucky Penny Ranch series and I believe it’s the last book in this particular series, so shame on me for starting here – we get Deke and Josie’s story to tie it all up.

Deke is a cowboy who loves his women and he isn’t shy about it, spending lots of time in bars and picking up his one night stands. Josie is Jud’s sister, who seems to think she has a prickly exterior and isn’t looking for romance, but cannot deny the sudden attraction she feels towards Deke.

When the two hit the road to pick up a couple of bulls and horses (in Josie’s case), the two never imagined that a big snowstorm was going to merge their paths together and get them stuck on the same farm when both were supposed to be miles apart.

It was a cute story, a bit of destiny tied into it. I did enjoy it, it was a soft read with what seems like perfect romance, a bit too perfect in this case. Nothing really goes wrong for Josie and Deke until like 70% into the book when they get home and hit a bit of a hick-up – but even then it felt like Brown was trying to stir things up a little. It didn’t last long, but it felt unnecessary.

The book moved a bit slow for me, especially the first part. I couldn’t wait for Deke and Josie to leave the bunkhouse. I usually enjoy snowed in plots, but this just felt a little monotonous for me, nothing really happens for the two until late in the 70% and by 90% I was just reading it as quickly as I could to move on.

What I did really like was Deke, I liked that he was such a HUGE animal lover and that was what warmed me up to him most. He was so swoon worthy. I wanted him to be more believable in his role as a woman’s man, but he seemed to settle into settling down for one woman fairy quickly without much anxiety and that did not feel believable – but then I have only just met Deke – so maybe my opinion will change when I visit the rest of the series.

Josie seems to think she has a prickly exterior, I didn’t get that vibe from her. She cares about her family, she was very quick into going into business with Deke instead of fighting out over the bulls with him, and overall she just seemed like an easy going, sweet person. She did take that one indiscretion with a solid skin though.

This overall was a really sweet story.

The writing, though, I really liked the style and I think I would enjoy the first few books in the series so I am definitely giving them a try. This book did not deter me from trying more of Brown’s books, in fact, I cannot wait to read the other ARC’s that are waiting for me on my kindle as well as some other backlist titles that have caught my eye.

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Review: Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis

Posted January 26, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review: Accidentally on Purpose by Jill ShalvisAccidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay, #3
Published by Avon on January 24th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:three-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

There’s no such thing as a little in love…
Elle Wheaten’s priorities: friends, career, and kick-ass shoes. Then there’s the muscular wall of stubbornness that’s security expert Archer Hunt—who comes before everything else. No point in telling Mr. “Feels-Free Zone” that, though. Elle will just see other men until she gets over Archer . . . which should only take a lifetime . . .
There’s no such thing as a little in lust…
Archer’s wanted the best for Elle ever since he sacrificed his law-enforcement career to save her. But now that she’s earned happiness and success, Archer just wants Elle 24/7. Their chemistry could start the next San Francisco Earthquake, and Archer doesn’t want to be responsible for the damage. The alternative? Watch her go out with guys who aren’t him . . .
There is such a thing as…
As far as Archer’s concerned, nobody is good enough for Elle. But when he sets out to prove it by sabotaging her dates, she gets mad—and things get hot as hell. Now Archer has a new mission: prove to Elle that her perfect man has been here all along…

Ever since I met Elle and Archer in the last book, I knew I needed their story. I think with the explosive dynamic between the two, they were hands down easily my favorite two characters to fawn over.

Discovering Elle and Archer’s history wasn’t easy, it was both heartwarming as it was heartbreaking. Archer basically saved Elle when she was younger and got mixed up with some bad people thanks to her sister. After being attacked by her sister’s boyfriend for stealing something of his, Archer had to blow his cover in order to save the young girl and with that Elle has since believed that she owned Archer for not only saving her life, but for getting him kicked out of the police force.

What Elle didn’t know for a long time, that after that night Archer never really strayed too far away from her life.

I adored their story. I adored Archer so much and his protectiveness. I felt that they had such a wonderful connection, especially after being bought together by such unfortunate events. Elle holds a bit of a grudge against Archer, because when he saved her, she thought he wanted sex as a payment and he just laughed at her.

I never really fully understood why the two took such a long time getting together. There was a bit of angst, perhaps a bit more than it was necessary. Their back and forth fighting was also starting to get repetitive but I was glad when Shalvis knew when to move on in the story. I felt that both Elle and Archer had an alpha complex, both were too stubborn, too proud, but I did love everything Archer did for her.

It was a great book, I loved the story and the secondary characters were amazing. Archer’s men are funny and awesome and I hope they get their story as well. I enjoyed the humor and the romance, Shalvis writes just felt so familiar and warm. I did notice over time that she likes to use the same phrasing over and over again. I haven’t read enough of her books to find it annoying, but Timbaktu comes up a lot as well as climbing him like a tree.

I was also grateful for Morgan, Elle’s sister showing up when she did. Not only did she add to the story and substance, but also moved the story away from the back and forth between Elle and Archer. It was getting frustrating when she kept telling him to stay away, but returned constantly herself. Half the time, I didn’t understand her anger towards him. But, the story between the two sister’s was also a bit sad. What Morgan did at the end of the book might have been stupid, but it was selfless and I feel like she too will get her own story, because it fell a bit open ended there?

Overall, I am glad I read it. I did adore these two. Still don’t like Willa.

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Review: A Cold Creek Christmas Story by RaeAnne Thayne

Posted January 14, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 13 Comments

Review:  A Cold Creek Christmas Story by RaeAnne ThayneA Cold Creek Christmas Story by RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Cowboys of Cold Creek, #14
Published by Harlequin on November 17th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Pages: 233
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sparkle In The Snow Leads To So Much More 
Celeste Nichols has always preferred to keep to herself in her hometown of Pine Gulch, Idaho…until she becomes an instant celebrity! When one of her children's stories becomes a major success, she's suddenly the talk of the town. Celeste should be gloriously happy…but something, someone, special is still missing from her life. Could the return of her childhood crush be the answer?  
Flynn Delaney has moved back home for his daughter's sake. Yet all the millionaire's resources can't help the little girl heal from the tragic loss of her mother. Shy librarian Celeste and her stories do hold some indefinable magic, though. Flynn came home looking for support—can he find that, and true love, in the one who got away?

I was so delighted when I found this book on my kindle while searching for something good to read and equally disappointed that I have not read it yet. Reading Thayne book now feels like coming home to me. It’s always filled with magic and warm fuzziness that stays with me long after I am done with the book and A Cold Creek Christmas Story was no exception.

The book follows Celeste, who lives in the comfort of Pine Gulch Idaho, with a very sad past, who writes children’s books for a living. Her recent hit is about a reindeer named Sparkle that seemed to have touched both children and parents alike across the country like a sweeping storm. She had a major crush on Flynn, a boy who would come to Pine Gulch every summer to visit his grandmother. The boy has grown up and is back in town in order to clean out his grandmother’s place after her passing, so he could put it up on the market. Flynn has a daughter, who doesn’t speak after she watched her celebrity mother get shot by her mother’s boyfriend in front of her and almost dying herself. Flynn is hoping that their stay in Pine Gulch would give his daughter a break from their fast paced life in California and away from the spotlight.

It was a story of perseverance, coping with loss, moving on and finding love in the most unexpected places. I absolutely loved Celeste and how passionate she was about her books and the character she created, so passionate that she had a hard time allowing Sparkle to go big with a movie. I loved Flynn’s sweet daughter and the bond she had formed with Celeste over Sparkle that not only got her to open up, but find a way to deal with her mother’s death and return the magic of Christmas back into her life. Despite me having a few issues with Flynn, I knew it stemmed from the fact that he was just trying to do his best as a father and was only trying to protect his daughter from the world his wife and parents had been sucked into.

Everything about this book besides my annoyance with Flynn at times, was just plain wonderful. The writing, the slow burn romance Thayne is so good at, the characters, the setting – all warm and sweet. I loved it, was unable to put down the book and devoured it over the holidays. It was just a perfect read for me and I am looking forward to more of her wonderful writing.

If you are a fan of slow burn romance that focuses on the development of attachment between the characters and the community, I think you should give this one a try. Thayne always is known for mostly clean romances, but it’s so worth it.

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Review: Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

Posted January 12, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 9 Comments

Review:  Ever the Hunted by Erin SummerillEver the Hunted by Erin Summerill
Series: Clash of Kingdoms, #1
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on December 27th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 392
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.
However, it’s not so simple.
The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.

When I first picked up Ever the Hunted, I was extra excited for the book. I was very much in the mood for a fantasy, and lately there have been some very interesting YA fantasy books that I thoroughly enjoyed. My expectations coming into this book were high, but not much of them have been met.

We meet Britta, a girl whose father has died and now she is in mourning. She is forced by the rules? Religion? Of the land to be secluded only in her house until an appropriate amount of time has passed. Well, apparently during the mourning period, Britta ran out of food and was forced to hunt for it. Hunting is also illegal on kings land and Britta is found and thrown in jail where she must await her sentence. I was a little confused why hunting is illegal and punishable by death if caught, which is what happens. I did not feel like this was ever explained. But very little was explained about the world, and world building in general is very limited in this book. Given that this is a fantasy novel, world building is especially important.

Britta is then given a choice, be executed or help them track the man who killed her father – which happens to be the boy she has been fawning over for what feels like most of her life. Britta has this ability, she can tell when people are lying – so she believes what the man is telling her is the truth because apparently he believes it as well. Shocked, she takes the bargain and decided she will risk Cohen (the boy killer) life over herself and track him down for the king’s man. She is sent on this journey with three very questionable guardsmen who make her life hell on the road. If she is someone who they must protect, they did sort of a poor job of it and their treatment of her was unsettling at times especially with Tomas.

The entire book had my head spinning. Britta was suppose to be this awesome tracker, but she either missed some clues or had stuff fall onto her lap. For someone that is suppose to be able to tell when people are lying, she is also a bit thick, whiny, and overall a useless character. I wanted to like her, I wanted Britta to be strong, independent, and maybe not dense? I didn’t get that out of her. She relied on other people to do the job for her, and she had a horrible time of following simple rules that kept putting her and Cohen in danger. Like don’t touch the fire cause it burns, okay Britta?

She also has magic – which she apparently did not realize even thought her mother is a Channeller and people hate her, and she can tell who is lying or not? And she also is pretty special and defies all the rules of magic because she is just so damn special – cue eye roll here – Like the moment I found out she has magic I had a moment of oh no, here we go again here!

The biggest problem I had, despite the weak and dense female lead was the world building. I didn’t understand what was going on and it felt like it was important? There are two kingdoms, and they are at war with each other. One kingdom has these women who are Channeller’s and the other doesn’t. Somewhere along the way they decided that all of these people are evil because they have magic, but the bases on WHY they think these people are evil is vague and not well explained. So the king decides he is going to go to war with this kingdom. Right… Got it.

Also, because of Britta’s looks and where her mother was from everyone automatically hated her except her best friend Cohan who is from the same time and everything.

I did like Cohen, despite him being painted the way he was.

I also had a problem with some of the gruesome violence in this. I felt like it was a bit off in a YA fantasy, or maybe I just didn’t care for it, but there has been a scene or two a bit too detailed and cringe worthy for my taste. I wasn’t actually expecting it, nor did I really have a care for such detail. It probably could have gone away with it, as much as other details in this book that didn’t exist.

The ending was too predictable and left potential for a very cringe worthy trope in the next book.

Can I just say that all the lies that were in place by her father for her ‘safety’ where just downright cruel? I mean…. if you read the book, the thing with Britta’s mother? Like, why would you do that to a kid? You know? I can’t talk much about it because of spoilers, but I knew something was wrong and when the truth was revealed I was a bit angry on that part.

Also, at the end there? If Britta was able to tell the truth, how the hell did the one major lie get by her? Readers of this book, you know what I mean? Especially if he didn’t know that she has this ability to begin with.

I actually did not come on here to write almost a fully negative review. I felt like the world had a lot of potential here, but it lacked in building. The romance was sub-par as best, but I liked Cohan anyway. I wanted Britta to grow as the story went on, but I didn’t feel there was any progression there. But seriously, can we tone down the level of special here? and maybe avoid the ugly love triangle?

 

 

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Review: Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare

Posted January 10, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa DareDo You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove, #5
Published by Avon on September 27th 2016
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 376
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:three-flames

On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library. Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan? Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall? Perhaps the butler did it.
All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.
But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit . . . and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.
Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?

Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare was another one of those books I picked up during a reading slump on a whim thanks to oh so many glowing reviews from some of the amazing bloggers that I trusted. I never read a Tessa Dare book prior to this and am now wondering how I got away with it? Especially since I adore my share of historical romances.

We meet Charlotte Highwood, a sort of a pariah in the society thanks to her mother who is so very keen on getting Charlotte married into title that she is willing to throw in front of a coach – literally.

Charlotte swoops into the library during the Parkhurst ball in order to warn Piers Brandon, Lord Granville that she is there to save him – from herself – when the two find themselves behind one of the curtains in a middle of a scandalous lovers tryst. When Parkhurts youngest discovers the two in the same room after hearing the sounds, he is convinced that Piers is trying to murder Charlotte and she finds herself trapped into marriage to the very man she was there to save from the same predicament.

Now Charlotte is trying to discover who the lovers so she could clear her name, but Lord Granville has his own plans up his sleeve.

I absolutely adored this. I thought the book was very well done and it was so easy for me to lose myself in Dare’s writing. It’s just so breathtakingly wonderful, romantic, and just in general great storytelling.

Charlotte and Piers had both been just outstanding characters I found that I couldn’t get enough of. I loved their interactions, as they were both funny and endearing. Charlotte has been just someone I found myself relating to. She is not perfect by any means what so ever. She doesn’t see herself fit in taking care of a manor, when her own life is so chaotic. She leaves her clothes thrown all over the floor and has a small bookmark that is made from a blanket when she was a child. Her character just felt so innocent and heartwarming, I found myself a bit annoyed with her mother and everything she felt she needed to put the girl through for the sake of marriage.

Piers is just completely opposite of hurricane Charlotte. He is very clean, he likes things to be out of place and more than once has claimed that her dresses and linens have tried to kill him. He also has a top secret job, that Charlotte apparently did not have a hard time guessing.

Overall, the romance was completely swoon worthy as expected. Charlotte doesn’t want to marry Piers at first because she wants to marry for love, and thinks Piers deserves the same. Charlotte also believes that she is too young for Piers, and in a way she is – not age wise perhaps – but mentally.

She sends Piers into a complete whirl-spin and makes his life a bit more chaotic, which unsettles the man completely but makes it for an enjoyable read. I truly did adore these two and find myself missing them already.

Did I mention that the book was just so funny? Dare does a great job mixing humor into the story that had me snorting with laughter several times throughout. The interactions, the writing, and the actions were just filled with snark and all around light and amusing.

Big brownie points for Tessa Dare, her writing, her storytelling, and adoring characters. I cannot wait to explore and discover what else she has hiding for me.

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