Monday, December 17, 2018

Halloween at the Graff by Sinclair Jayne

From Goodreads:

Starting over at thirty-two is never fun, especially in a town the size of a postage stamp. Chasing that with having to beg for a job she’s wildly over-qualified for and Walker Wilder’s pride is really burned. But now that she’s the new events director for the historic Montana Graff Hotel, she’s tasked with creating buzz and traditions to fill rooms during the off-season. Halloween may not scream touristy, but hiring a spirit-hunting TV crew will definitely grab some headlines... But when the sexy spirit hunter shows up, he haunts more than her dreams.

Calum Quest is done. He’s created an entertainment empire by chasing something he’s never seen and is tired of asking questions with no answers. His life has been defined by ghosts he needs to exorcize, yet, when a red-haired, grey-eyed beauty with a body that melts his mind pours him a double shot of Laphroaig whiskey and challenges him to one more round, how can he say no?

My Take:
Where to start? This had so much potential but the story got lost in the words. It's like the author didn't trust me to get what Walker or Calum were thinking/feeling so she told me every other page. Instead of the story moving along, we kept rehashing Walker's past, how hot Calum looked in all black, and how gorgeous Walker was and that's why Calum kept putting off telling her he was done with the show.

There really isn't any ghost story either.  Just kissing, running away, kissing, "oh he's hot!", run away, sigh. I really wanted to like this story but it just irritated me.

Sorry, I wish I could have brought you a good book to add to next fall's reading list, but I'd skip this one.

I'll give it a 2.5 rounding up to a 3 simply because I did finish reading it. PG rating because it felt like the physical attraction was the only thing keeping these two together. I don't remember them thinking about anything else.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.
PG-14—somewhere between PG-13 and R. Not erotica, but at least a paragraph of on-screen sex
R--swearing (F-bomb, on “screen” sex, sometimes feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot, but not always

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Librarian and Her Beast by Laura Ann

From Goodreads:

Welcome to Middleton Prep, a place where fairy tales and modern day collide. Where fair maidens spend their time developing lesson plans and valiant knights do battle with unreliable wifi signals; all in the hopes of finding True Love.

Librarian Piper Belmont’s world turns topsy turvy when new football coach Nash Wilde joins the staff at her school. Tall, dark and handsome, he’s every girl’s dream...until Piper realizes he only speaks in grunts and nods. Determined not to judge a book by its cover, Piper agrees to go out with him.

Just as they are getting to know each other, a family emergency forces Piper to leave town. Will she ever get the chance to learn the secrets behind Nash’s silence? Or will the staff’s reigning beauty queen catch Nash’s interest before Piper gets back?

The Librarian and Her Beast is the first book in the Middleton Prep series. Each book is a stand alone story, but the series is best read in order. Every installment is a loosely based, contemporary retelling of a favorite fairy tale, full of swoon worthy kisses and, of course, a Happily Ever After.

My Take:
It's been a while since I read this one. I really should start reviewing right away but I'll do my best. I remember this one to be cute. A good modernization of Beauty and the Beast. Laura Ann set this series in a school with teacher, which I love! There's even a character that sort of acts as the fairy godmother to all these couples (I think she's an office secretary?) Anyway, she's an awesome character that I kept wanting to learn more about.

Piper and Nash are cute together. I do think Nash should have started talking more as they dated. Real relationships require more than nonverbal communication, even if the nonverbal is wonderful. There is a good reason why Nash doesn't talk a lot but this never would have worked in real life. Good thing I read to escape from real life. ;)

I give this one a Clean and 3.5 rating because I've read other B&B stories that worked better for me. This was still a well written story, just too fantastic for a contemporary retelling.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.
PG-14—somewhere between PG-13 and R. Not erotica, but at least a paragraph of on-screen sex

R--swearing (F-bomb, on “screen” sex, sometimes feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot, but not always

Friday, December 14, 2018

Teapots & Treachery by Donna K Weaver

From Goodreads:
An Anthology
A SAVAGE GHOST
Lia Savage reluctantly puts her dream of opening a dessert boutique on hold to help her dad remodel a castle he’s inherited in Washington State. Soon, a specter targets her younger sister.

Lia enlists the help of strapping Coop Montgomery, the head gardener and her former crush. As they search together for a way to rid the castle of its ghost, the romance she used to dream about with Coop kindles. But Lia’s gentle giant means to stay in Washington while she’s determined to return to California. She must find the courage to face both the ghost and her future. With Coop. Or without him.

WAVES OF DECEIT
Twenty-six-year-old Shelby Nash wants to break free of her controlling, billionaire father. With the completion of one more project for his company, she can branch out on her own. However, her ex-boyfriend’s been appointed as the new lead architect. She has to find a way to protect her heart from him while avoiding whoever’s making anonymous threats.

Wade Masters did a poor job handling the news about the identity of his girlfriend’s father. Shelby walked out of his life without another word. Finally, four years later, Wade has a chance to win her back. As long as whoever’s targeted her doesn’t get her first.

My Take:
Both of these stories were short and quick reads. They were almost too fast. I liked the characters but didn't have time to connect with them.

The ghost story was cute. I loved all the layers and multiple ghosts--one that needed help, and one that stayed to help. The best part was Lia finding what was the most important to her.

The suspense story was even better. Shelby and Wade fall right back into their attraction but try to fight it. The suspense element is good as are the surprises around Shelby's father.

All in all, good stories I wished were longer.

These get a Clean rating and probably a 3.5-4 range only because they were too short for me. The writing was great though.


1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.
PG-14—somewhere between PG-13 and R. Not erotica, but at least a paragraph of on screen sex

R--swearing (F bomb, on “screen” sex, sometimes feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot, but not always


Friday, December 7, 2018

Recent Books

I need to make a list of books I've read recently but not reviewed so I can remember to come review them. :)

A Christmas Groom by Taylor Hart
Up on the Housetop by Liz Isaacson
The Paramedics Second Chance by Elana Johnson
Marrying a Cowboy by Anne-Marie Meyer
Halloween at the Graff by Sinclair Jayne
My Antisocial Billionaire by Katie Evergreen
The Librarian and her Beast by Laura Ann
Teapots & Treachery by Donna K Weaver

I may not get to these until January and some of them may require a second read to remember. Sorry I've been reading but not reviewing. Life is busy, but I'm going to catch up!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Christmas with the Recluse by Victorine E Lieske

From Goodreads:

When Charley gets sent by her father to appraise a mansion full of antiques, she gets a surprise when she arrives and the owner is cold and mean, and doesn’t want anything to do with Christmas. And even worse? It’s not really an appraisal job at all. He just wants her to clean out his mountain of junk from his garage. But Charley makes it her goal to show him that Christmas is a special time of year. And as time goes on, she sees his frozen heart start to thaw.

Alexander has been dealing with the guilt from his wife’s death for two long years. It’s time to move past, so he hires someone to help rid his garage of his wife’s memories. But when she arrives, she’s not at all what he was expecting. And even though she’s a bit crazy, she helps him find his Christmas spirit once again.

My Take:
*sigh* I really enjoyed this one. It had a faint Beauty and the Beast feel to it without being Beauty and the Beast if that makes any sense. Alexander is mean and grumpy because he's been alone too long, but Charley knows how to light up a room with her positive outlook on life.

Lieske did a great job rounding out her characters personalities so they felt real. The supporting characters were also wonderful. One of the things I really appreciated is that Alexander didn't change overnight. During the ten days they spent together he made progress, but he did slip up. This is realistic. People don't completely change years of habit simply because they want to. And he did want to.

I loved Charley's spunk and forgiving nature.  She was sweet and caring, hiding the hidden depth of her understanding behind her age.

I give Christmas with the Recluse a 4.5 and Clean rating.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.
PG-14—somewhere between PG-13 and R. Not erotica, but at least a paragraph of on-screen sex

R--swearing (F-bomb, on “screen” sex, sometimes feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot, but not always

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Love, Snow, and Mistletoe: Four Sweet Christmas Novellas

Since this is a collection, I'll post the blurb from Goodreads in black, and my comments in red for Christmas!

From Goodreads:

Her Fake Christmas Date BY VICTORINE LIESKE

Jennifer uses an old friend as an excuse for why she can’t go on a blind date. She doesn’t know he’s been secretly in love with her since grade school.

This was fun and cute. Jennifer doesn't know how much she hurt Shane years earlier, all she remembers is the good times they had and how nicely he's grown up.

A Holiday Rescue BY TAMIE DEAREN

Despite her fame as an author, Amy is all alone at Christmas. Stranded in a snowstorm, she's rescued by a handsome stranger. Can shared cocoa lead to love?

There was a lot going on in this short. It all works, but it could have benefited by several thousand more words to wrap up/round out some of the side plots. Enjoyable, but I wanted to know if the photo Amy stared at on her laptop that she paid $35 for was really Max or just someone who looked like him, and why was Damon so nasty crazy then perfectly fine? It's like a lot of drama was built up around him for no reason. And why was the Matt guy from NetShows so set on getting the contracts signed so fast? If he was SPOILER ALERT related to Max, it seemed like he would have been a nicer guy, so was it all Damon? 

Anyway, the romance part was sweet, with both of them fumbling around thinking the other one had a significant other, or no interest, or whatever, but some of the other stuff pulled my attention away from the romance. Cady was awesome though. 

A Second Chance for Christmas BY MICHELLE PENNINGTON

Grace planned to spend December moving into her new apartment and getting ready for Christmas with her daughter, not falling for her neighbor, Sam--whose heart she broke years ago.

I loved that Grace was so stubborn about trying to do things on her own, but also smart enough to realize she couldn't. Sam was a dream come true. Even though he could have turned his back on Grace he didn't. This story probably had the most heart-twisting moments for me. Grace had been through the wringer, making it hard to think there might be a happily ever after available for her. I liked that we could see her struggling with it. 

The Billionaire’s Perfect Match BY ANNIE HOUSTON

Heading up large corporations is tough on your love life. A trip home throws high school friends Aurelia and Lander together and sparks fly. They each have everything, except love.

This was a cute twist on the billionaire trend. We get not one, but two billionaires! I love that Aurelia is successful and rich in her own right and has the same concerns about people dating her money that Lander does. But most of all, I love how after years apart, they fall right back into being best friends with the extra bonus of chemistry. 

This was a fun, fast Christmas read. I enjoyed all the stories and felt the characters were all well-developed. I'd definitely recommend it this season.

I give this collection a solid 4 and Clean rating.

Rating Guide
1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.
PG-14—somewhere between PG-13 and R. Not erotica, but at least a paragraph of on-screen sex

R--swearing (F-bomb, on “screen” sex, sometimes feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot, but not always

Friday, November 16, 2018

Stone Cold Sparks by Cami Checketts

From Goodreads:
A stone cold firefighter, lifelong secrets, and the vivacious woman who won’t give up. Abi Newell is feisty, fun, beautiful, and has date offers every night of the week. She gave her heart away to Stone Ryland when they were teenagers and that was the stupidest decision of her life. Though Stone is the perfect fit for her—kind, patient, and steady—he’s also shut himself off to everyone, including her. She’s accomplished best-friend status with her dream man, but winning his heart may be a hopeless quest.

Stone has been deemed Stone Cold by his firefighting buddies for good reason—he has the remarkable ability to put his feelings on the shelf while dispassionately dealing with the situation at hand. Too bad Stone’s buddies don’t know the truth. A truth Stone will fight tooth and nail to keep hidden. Abi is his one weakness, but Stone can’t let anyone into his heart or his well-protected secrets will be discovered and destroy not only Abi, but his deceased wife’s memory as well. Can Abi break through the ice surrounding Stone Cold’s heart, or will she be forced to give up on her lifelong love?

My Take:

This was a quick easy read that only took a couple hours one day. Checketts takes us back to Park City for another one of the firefighter's stories. Stone has a reputation for being cold as ice, but Abi knows better. She can see through to his pain even if she doesn't know the true source. Abi thinks Stone still hasn't gotten over the death of his wife seven years earlier. He'd only been married for six short months, but he lost his wife and their child in a car accident.

What Abi doesn't know could also ruin Stone's chance of finally being with the one woman he's always loved. No spoilers, because the reader knows fairly early that Stone married their mutual friend Virginia to save her from her father's wrath because the fourth friend in their group, Jace, abandoned her when he learned she was pregnant with his baby. All his misguided attempts at doing the right thing, at keeping promises for the dead for the sake of integrity almost drives away Abi for good.

I loved Abi's persistence, but I also felt her heartache. Every time she tried to save herself by walking away but returned because she couldn't live without Stone in her life. Stone's pain is real too, even if you want to smack him up side the head.

Checketts does a wonderful job tugging at emotions until you finally get to exhale with the happily ever after. A wonderful journey through the pain of love.

I give Stone Cold Sparks a 4 and a Clean rating.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.
PG-14—somewhere between PG-13 and R. Not erotica, but at least a paragraph of on screen sex

R--swearing (F bomb, on “screen” sex, sometimes feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot, but not always