Icon Tag: Love

Review: The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

Posted October 4, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 16 Comments

Review:  The Stolen Marriage by Diane ChamberlainThe Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain
Series: standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 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.

From perennial bestseller Diane Chamberlain, a compelling new novel
In 1944, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina, a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows no interest in making love. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.
The people of Hickory love and respect Henry and see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain, especially after one of the town’s prominent citizens dies in a terrible accident and Tess is blamed. Tess suspects people are talking about her, plotting behind her back, and following her as she walks around town. What does everyone know about Henry that she does not? Feeling alone and adrift, Tess turns to the one person who seems to understand her, a local medium who gives her hope but seems to know more than he’s letting on.
When a sudden polio epidemic strikes the town, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess, who has a nursing degree, bucks Henry’s wishes and begins to work at the hospital, finding meaning in nursing the young victims. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle her husband’s mysterious behavior and save her own life?

The story

Tess DeMello was going to have the perfect life. She was going to marry the love of her life and get a nursing degree. Everything was going great, until Vincent took on volunteer work for a couple of months away from Tess and her entire world falls apart.
Unable to stop herself from feeling sad about her future husband’s long absence and a niggling feeling that he might be seeing someone else – Gina takes Tess to Washington, where a drink too many leads Tess into sleeping with a mysterious stranger and falling pregnant.

Unable to forgive herself and not knowing what to do, Tess breaks off her engagement and moves elsewhere in hopes of starting her life all over again. When the father of the child decides to do right by her and she marries the mysterious stranger and moves to his hometown of Hickory, North Caroline where she learns the struggle of racial tension and hardships imposed on the town by World War II.

Thoughts

Woah, just Woah you guys. I started this book last night, read it till the wee hours of the morning and when I woke up I had this book on my mind and had to finish it. I just finished it and still reeling from the emotional storyline.

I was so angry with Tess at first and her mistakes because it started out badly and what looked like unforgivable, but ended up mounting until the character started growing from her mistakes into this strong-willed woman that has seen and been through so much hardship and heartbreak in such a short amount of time.

This book dealt with a lot. It dealt with Tess and her loveless marriage, leaving a cloud of mystery hanging over the entire book by making you wonder what is going on the entire time. Just as I thought I had it figured out the author takes this in a completely different direction I was not expecting.

Chamberlain also weaves so much history and everything that people have gone through during this time period with racial tension, laws, World War II, Polio, the building of the Polio hospital and all the sickness and heartbreak. It just added such a punch to the entire book and made it so riveting and hard to put down.

I spent half the book feeling like Tess deserved what she got when she made the stupid choice of leaving the love of her life and the second half respecting her and everything she went through.

I loved that Tess kept pushing and defying the customs and her husband and mother-in-law with the respect that came to her nursing license. I like that she took charge of that part of her life in order to make herself happy again.

The author throws us into the action right away with the opening of the book and the book sits in two parts. The events leading to the accident and the events following the accident. You see a lot of character growth as the story goes on and it just completely blew my mind.

I was sad, I was teary, I was enthralled in the story and the characters writing. It was so well written, the storytelling was remarkable and I was so drawn and flipping through the pages that I actually had a hard time saying goodbye to these characters.

The pacing was perfect, I never felt like there was a dull moment. The author kept me glued to the pages wanting to know what was happening, what was going to happen to these characters. I loved how she incorporated this time period into these characters lives and made them feel really genuine and human, that at times I forgot that they are fictional.

If you enjoy Historical fiction, absolutely wonderful writing, an emotionally gripping story, raw characters, I strongly recommend you read this because, I just cannot express how much I loved this book and everything about it.

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Review: The Girl in the Picture by Kerry Barrett

Posted September 28, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 14 Comments

Review:  The Girl in the Picture by Kerry BarrettThe Girl in the Picture by Kerry Barrett
Series: standalone
Published by HQ Digital on September 20th 2017
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:two-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.

Two women. One house. Centuries of secrets.

East Sussex Coast, 1855

Violet Hargreaves is the lonely daughter of a widowed industrialist, and an aspiring Pre-Raphaelite painter. One day, the naïve eighteen-year-old meets Edwin; a mysterious and handsome man on the beach, who promises her a world beyond the small costal village she’s trapped in. But after ignoring warning about Edwin, a chain of terrible events begins to unfold for Violet…

East Sussex Coast, 2016

For thriller-writer Ella Daniels, the house on the cliff is the perfect place to overcome writer’s block, where she decides to move with her small family. But there’s a strange atmosphere that settles once they move in – and rumours of historical murders next door begin to emerge. One night, Ella uncovers a portrait of a beautiful young girl named Violet Hargreaves, who went missing at the same time as the horrific crimes, and Ella becomes determined to find out what happened there 160 years ago. And in trying to lay Violet’s ghost to rest, Ella must face ghosts of her own…

Please be advised, trigger warning for sexual assault and physical abuse.

When Ella and her husband decide to take the jump and move her family out of the city into a small town into a house on a cliff, the last thing Ella expected was the house to be tied to an unsolved murder case that happened 150 years ago. Upon finding a beautiful self portrait of a young woman who may have lived in the house a hundred years ago, Ella cannot help but immerse herself in the mysterious murder and the disappearance of Violet Hargreaves, especially since the girls history seems to resemble what Ella went through growing up.

East Sussex Coast, 1855

Violet is a lonely 18-year-old girl whose father is a widowed Industrialist and travels a lot. To fill her lonely days, Violet paints, despite her father’s disapproval of Violet painting – it is her escape.

She meets a handsome married neighbor next door who claims he knows artists in London that can help Violet get noticed and break out into their world. All Violet wants more than anything is to escape her small town and do what she loves most and that’s paint. But, when Violet ignores warnings about Edwin, she sets in motion the horrible set of events that had the town’s people wandering for years of what had occurred and a mystery that was never solved.

This was so interesting. It’s a historical fiction but those who are afraid of slow moving Historical Fiction don’t be. Kerry Barrett delivers a beautiful if not horrific story about two women set years apart with centuries worth of secrets. She spins a lovely tale of a girl named Violet, who just wanted something more than a lonely marriage out of life and Ella a thriller-writer who might be just curious enough to uncover it.

The entire time I was reading Violet’s story I found myself rooted to my seat, finding it completely riveting and thoroughly heartbreaking.

I wanted to know how it all ended for the young girl so naive, yet so full of passion.

The ending had me gasping, because I did not expect that to go the way it did. Not only was it completely heart wrenching, but also quite a bit horrifying. You can’t even tell that it’s coming until a certain point and at that point you get to know Violet enough to really feel for the girl and her outcome.

I wasn’t sure how plausible the ending was to be honest, but I guess I could see it happening. It felt original, unexpected and definitely creative. Ella’s obsession with Violet was strange and at times it did feel hard to believe because I did not know why she was so consumed in a mystery that happened so long ago, with not much to go on, but her prodding really paid off in uncovering the ugly truth that was hidden all these years unanswered.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys an engrossing story that builds up in tension and mystery, with characters that will stick to your heart long after it is finished.

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ARC Review: When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

Posted September 11, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 13 Comments

ARC Review:  When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew WhalenWhen We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
Series: standalone
Published by Lake Union Publishing on September 12th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 276
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 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.

When the sound of sirens cuts through a cool fall night, the small town of Worthy, Georgia, hurtles from triumph to tragedy. Just hours before, they’d watched the Wildcats score a winning touchdown. Now, they’re faced with the deaths of three cheerleaders—their promising lives cut short in a fatal crash. And the boy in the other car—the only one to survive—is believed to be at fault. As rumors begin to fly and accusations spin, allegiances form and long-kept secrets emerge.

At the center of the whirlwind are four women, each grappling with loss, regret, shame, and lies: Marglyn, a grieving mother; Darcy, whose son had been behind the wheel; Ava, a substitute teacher with a scandalous secret; and Leah, a cheerleader who should have been in the car with her friends, but wasn’t. If the truth comes out, will it bring redemption—or will it be their downfall?

I did not really know what I was getting myself in it. I picked this book up on a whim after a Youtuber I have been watching mentioned it, then I sat down to read it and I could not put this book down.

If you are looking for a contemporary book with raw, vivid characters, a heartbreaking chain of events set in small-town that triggers self perseverance in a midst of a tragedy look no further.

Worthy is a town of about 5,000 people in Georgia who basically see all and known all. It’s a small town so someone will always know someone. Worthy has one thing that they are really proud of and that is their football team who seem to be one of the best. It’s a huge thing anytime the high school football happens and the town to be involved in. Well, one night, after a big win, three teenage cheerleaders end up in a big car accident with one of the teenage boys from their school. The three girls die, the boy survives, and the event shakes the whole town.

This story was heartbreaking and it felt so real. Like the reactions, the actions, the emotions. You as a reader can just picture this happening and it doesn’t feel far from the truth in a likely event. As someone who now lives in a small town for a couple of years, I can definitely see how something like this can shake the community.

The book falls Ava, a high school teacher who is struggling in her marriage and ends up being reckless with another person that leads to some legal troubles. Leah, another cheerleader that was part of the group of girls who died, who somehow avoided the accident by not being in the car with them at the time. Darcy, the mother of the son who the town is holding responsible for the accident that took the lives of the three girls. And Marglyn , mother of one of the cheerleaders that died.

The story was well done. I did take one star off because I felt like the end did wrap up kind of quickly, but I can see in retrospect how it works anyway. The characters felt real and as a mother, I couldn’t help but feel for Marglyn and her pain. I cannot imagine losing a son or a daughter on such a note. Her story was even more heart breaking because the last time she saw her daughter, they fought and it feels like one of the worse things that can occur to anyone if that is the last time they see this person.

The writing was great. The storytelling was wonderful and emotional. The characters just stick with you. It was a really quick read for me and I found that I did not want to put the book down until I knew how it was all going to come together.

I do have to say. The mystery male in the book that Ava had a flirtation with through me off, I was not really expecting that and it only kind of makes me wonder even more about the real innocence of her character.

Overall, I highly recommend this book for anyone that loves to sit down and enjoy a contemporary fiction set in a small town. It was well done.

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Review: Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

Posted April 25, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 18 Comments

Review:  Walk of Shame by Lauren LayneWalk of Shame by Lauren Layne
Series: Love Unexpectedly #4
Published by Loveswept on April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 218
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:three-flames

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.
Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.
Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.

This was my very first Lauren Layne book and I am happy to say it will not be my last.

After seeing this show up on my goodreads feed over and over again, I decided to finally give it a shot. I was looking for a fun new romance and Walk of Shame delivered, boy did it deliver! It was fun, sassy, flirty and filled with banter, exactly what I was in the mood for.

Georgie is a socialite, who has never had to work for money in her life and spends most of her nights partying. Andrew is a cynical top of his crop, extremely smart divorce attorney her happens to live in her building. The two clash a lot, but it doesn’t stop Georgie from showing up at 5 am in the morning for a good banter fix that has been going on between her and Andrew.

This was just so much fun. I wasn’t sure if I would like Georgie. She has no direction in life, she spends most of her time partying and she is a bit too much at times. If I was to meet her in real life, there would be zero chances that her and I would connect. She does have a positive side and that is Andrew. His character seems to ground her as the book goes on and even changes the way she leads her life, even if just a little bit. She is also kind of sweet to the people around her. Georgie is a people person and everyone she meets just tends to gravitate towards her.

The tension and the back and forth relationship between the two was one of my favorite parts. I did love Andrew the most. He is a young attorney, and he is sort of a genius, having graduated from law school at an earlier age. He is also pretty terrible with emotions since he prefers to look at the logical side of things. Georgie kind of tilt’s his perfect world out of balance and in a way she is just what he needs to loosen up a bit.

I did really love Andrew. I thought he was so cute with his emotional awkwardness. At times I felt so bad with him I wanted to wrap him up and protect him.

If you are looking for fun, flirty, antagonistic romance that has great tension and build up before the sexy times – this one is definitely worth a try.

I did take a full star away only because I felt like Georgie’s character could have used more substance. She was just very flighty and had no real purpose in life I feel so at times it felt frustrating. Also, I did not particularly enjoy the scenes where she attempted to slap him, those kind of responses to anger are not my cup of tea. There might be a time and a place for that, but in no way in this case did I find it justifiable.

Overall though, I really, really enjoyed this book and super glad I read it.

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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: On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

Posted January 29, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 29 Comments

Review:  On Second Thought by Kristan HigginsOn Second Thought by Kristan Higgins
Series: Standalone
Published by HQN Books on January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Chick-Lit
Pages: 480
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.

Following in the footsteps of her critically acclaimed novel
If You Only Knew
, multi-bestselling author Kristan Higgins returns with a pitch-perfect look at the affection—and the acrimony—that binds sisters together 
Ainsley O'Leary is so ready to get married—she's even found the engagement ring her boyfriend has stashed away. What she doesn't anticipate is for Eric to blindside her with a tactless breakup he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her half sister, Kate, who's already struggling after the sudden loss of her new husband. 
Kate has always been so poised, so self-assured, but Nathan's death shatters everything she thought she knew—including her husband—and sometimes the people who step up aren't the ones you expect. With seven years and a murky blended-family dynamic between them, Ainsley and Kate have never been overly close, but their shared sorrow dovetails their faltering worlds into one. 
Despite the lifetime of history between them, the sisters must learn to put their differences aside and open their hearts to the inevitable imperfection of family—and the possibility of one day finding love again.

It’s been a really long time since I have read a Higgins book, but when this was brought to my attention, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

On Second Thought was a book that not only surprised me, but blew my expectations out of the water. To date, I think this is the best book Higgins has ever written.

The story is told from the POV of two sisters, Kate and Ainsley. Kate is the older half sister from their father’s first and current marriage, and she is also a 39-year old widow. For twenty years Kate never thought she would have a chance to marry with her bad luck and a string of bad relationships, she gave up hope – until Nathan came over into her life.

I became Nathan’s wife. One hundred and two days later, I became his widow.

Nathan was sweet, talented, came from a wealthy family and wanted to have children. They dated for a few months before quickly getting married and not too soon after their marriage, Nathan dies, leaving Kate to pick up the pieces.

Ainsley is the younger half sister, who comes from a woman that the girl’s father was actually in love with. Kate’s mother took her in, and for the longest time Ainsley felt a little alienated. She was in a relationship with Eric for 11-years, up until after he recovered from his cancer, watched Nathan die at their life party and decided to cut ties with Ainsley with a very ugly public blog post to top of the hurt.

This book was everything, it had everything. I had my reservations at first, Nathan dies getting a glass of wine for Kate and it is mentioned several times as the guilt sits heavy on her chest. At first I was a little worried that this was going to be a very to shame anyone who drinks wine, but as the story went on, it was proven otherwise and I relaxed a little.
The story pulled on my heartstrings, squeezed my heart, broke my heart and cemented it back together with love and warmth.

It was frustrating, shocking, sad, heartbreaking, but at the same time it was wonderful, full of love and just downright realistic. There were moments that made me really feel for the two women, but Higgins hands the entire situation not only with wit and charm, but with humor cleverly woven in.

The story was about death, grief, moving on after, love, heartbreak, and family all the good, the bad and the ugly. I loved how the heartbreak and the events in both of the sister’s lives bought them together and formed a stronger bond. I liked learning  about their family, and how Candy (Kate’s mother, Ainsley’s step-mother) felt about having another woman’s child trusted upon her. For a long time, I didn’t know how to feel about her, but Candy redeemed herself tenfold by the end of the book.

Kate’s story was rough. I couldn’t even begin to understand how she felt being widowed so fast, but I also had to take into the account that Kate didn’t even know her husband for a year, so the experience must have felt different to other widows who knew them for years.

I loved the romance, especially between Ainsley and her boss Jonathan. When Jonathan appeared more and more in the story, he won me over quickly. He isn’t your typical love interest, which was so refreshing. He is awkward, he doesn’t wear his feelings on his sleeve, his interaction with Ainsley is amusing. She calls him Captain Flatline for a reason, he is hard to read and she often compares him to an alien. But I loved that, I loved that Jonathan wasn’t like the rest of the alpha males in the books, it made him so much more endearing and memorable.

Daniel the hot Fire Fighter was also an awesome addition to the book, and I loved the way he treated Kate and pulled her out of her funk.

The entire story was just great, but I think I already mentioned it. It was well over 400 pages and I was sad that it was over, I will definitely miss Jonathan. I liked both of the sister’s voice and their sarcastic witty humor, I never found a dull moment.

If you want to give Higgin’s a try, I strongly recommend this book.

“Are you crying?”

“Oh…I just…I’m a little, uh premenstrual.” Shit.

He gave me a long, unblinking look. Strange pale blue eyes, like an alien. “Will that be a problem during this interview?” he asked.

“Let’s hope not. But those first two days can be murder.” I smiled. He did not. I felt my uterus shriveling, as if his disapproving gaze was bringing on menopause.

Finally, he blinked. “I’m Jonathan Kent. This way.”

Inside the grocery store, it was as cold as a morgue. Poor choice of words.

I couldn’t remember what I’d come for, Vegetables? Why not? Whole Foods did have the prettiest produce in the entire world, even if it did cost a million trillion dollars.

I was dying to know what my stick-up-the-colon boss did in his spare time. Taxidermy seemed about right.

I pulled into Kate’s driveway, once again doing the walk of shame (though damn proud of it), went into the kitchen and screamed

A very large man was there.

“Hey,” he said. “How’s it going?”

“Who are you and why are you wearing my sister’s shirt?” I yelped..

He smiled. I smiled. The cat smiled.

He had a cat!

“You have a cat!” I said. Maybe shouldn’t have had that second glass of wine. Too late now.

I could seriously go on with snips and quotes forever. Go read the book!

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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: 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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Review: Christmas in Destiny by Toni Blake

Posted December 21, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: Christmas in Destiny by Toni BlakeChristmas in Destiny by Toni Blake
Series: Destiny #7
Published by Avon on October 25th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Pages: 358
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:two-flames

“Go to Destiny. There’s something waiting there for you.”
Shane Dalton’s new life is waiting in Miami, complete with fast cars and faster women. But first, he’s heeding his father’s dying words and stopping off in Destiny, Ohio. The detour wasn’t supposed to include a busted pickup and a blizzard. But Candice Sheridan, the cute redhead who reluctantly offers shelter, could prove a pleasant diversion. Trouble is, she thinks Shane’s bad news. And he’s pretty sure she’s right . . .
Candice had her trust broken once before. Yet something about Shane won’t let her stay away. By Christmas, he’ll be gone. Until then, she’s itching to stop playing nice and safe . . . and try being a little naughty for once.
As their holiday romance heats up, Shane uncovers a shattering secret and Candice is preparing to face heartache once again. But there’s no better place than Destiny—especially at Christmastime—for two lost souls to find the gift of sweet, surprising love . . .
 

Shane Dalton is ready to face his new life in Miami, with a new job, fast cars and fast women. But first, he has to make a quick detour in Destiny, Ohio because of his father’s dying last words – that something is waiting for him there.

With now much, but the clothes on his back and a couple of dollars in his pocket, Shane finds himself broken down in Destiny in a middle of a snowstorm standing on Candice Sheridan’s doorsteps.
The last thing Candice expected was for a strange man to be pounding on her door in the middle of the night, worse? He is inviting himself to stay the night because his car has been in an accident. Candice doesn’t want a strange man staying at her home where she lives alone, but the stranger saves her cat when he runs off into the snowstorm, and she allows him to stay from the kindness of her heart.

Now Shane must find what his father was talking about, even if the only clue he has is what was in his father’s last dying breath. But it’s almost Christmas time and the town and with it’s people are slowly growing on him.

This was a really lovely romantic read for the holidays. I really adored Candice with her big, kind heart for allowing herself to get close to Shane even if she knew that there was a HUGE possibility that he was going to leave like he had planned.

I also adored all the town’s festivities they had planned for Christmas. With a Christmas wedding to a small little thing for the kids, Destiny sounded like a really cozy place.

The secondary characters were really amazing as well. I loved the way Shane encouraged Grampy to pursue his love interest, no matter what age. I did enjoy the whole air of mystery around Shane, even if it wasn’t that hard to figure out and the author hints at it really early in the book. I was really curious how it all turns out.

Overall, Blake really does an amazing job spinning the magic of the holidays with a dash of romance and a couple of really unforgettable characters with tons of chemistry.

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Review: Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne

Posted November 2, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 41 Comments

Review:  Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne ThayneSnowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Haven Point #5
Published by HQN Books on September 27th 2016
Genres: Romance, Holiday
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
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.


There's no place like Haven Point for the holidays, where the snow conspires to bring two wary hearts together for a Christmas to remember.

It's been two rough years since Andrea Montgomery lost her husband, and all she wants is for her children to enjoy their first Christmas in Haven Point. But then Andie's friend asks a favor—to keep an eye on her brother, Sheriff Marshall Bailey, who's recovering from a hit and run. Andie will do anything for Wyn, even park her own misgivings to check on her grouchy, wounded bear of a brother.
Marshall hates feeling defenseless and resents the protective impulses that Andie brings out in him. But when a blizzard forces them together for the holidays, something in Marshall begins to thaw. Andie's gentle nature is a salve, and her kids' excitement for the holidays makes him forget why he never wanted a family. If only he and Andie can admit what they really want—each other—their Christmas wishes might come true after all.

Andrea Montgomery has had it rough. Not only did she lose her husband two years ago, but she was also betrayed and almost killed by her brother’s best friend and partner – a man her family trusted.

Now she lives in Haven Point and owns a huge favorite to her friend who asks her to keep an eye on her brother, sheriff Marshall Bailey, who is suffering from a compound break after a hit and run.

Marshall Bailey is grouchy, hate feeling defenseless and doesn’t feel like he needs help from anyone, especially the lovely widow who keeps showing up on his doorstep with her two children. But as Chloe and Will bring their joy and happiness for the holidays into Marshall Bailey’s house, the kids and the widow find a way to melt and borrow their way into Marshall Bailey’s heart.

Such a lovely story, RaeAnne Thayne has done it again and again, delivering a sweet, warm Christmas romance that just tugs on your heartstrings and stays with you long after it’s done.

I love her books, her writing and her characters. They are perfect to turn to during the holidays. Snowfall on Haven Point is a slow building romance set in a cozy small town with characters that just touch your heart. I loved both Marshall and Andi and the way she and her children have managed to bridge that chasm and fix what was once broken in his life.

The only thing that I wasn’t a fan off was the whole reveal of the hit and run. I kind of saw it coming, but it made me what and huh and I could have done without that. I was expecting it to be a bit more, but because this is a book on the lighter side – it makes it understandable really. We don’t really find out what happens to that person at the end of the book either, but I think I am okay with that.

I enjoyed the pace of the book. I felt that it moved just right, especially for a holiday read as we move into discovering a secret that Marshall is hiding and how he steps up to the plate to fix his past mistakes.

If you are looking for something to read this Christmas, do not discount Thayne’s work lightly. She does an amazing job creating a clean but, wonderfully sweet romance that makes it perfect for the season. I highly recommend it.

holidayreads

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