Friday, May 31, 2019

A is for Author by Brenna Jacobs

I know it's been forever, but I simply haven't had much time for reading. Yesterday I had a meltdown and decided I was done being an adult. So, I grabbed my kindle and hid on the back porch for hours to read. So, here we go!

From Goodreads:
Emma Lindsor writes beautiful books adored by literary critics, even if readers don’t exactly line up for them. Aidan Maxwell writes heart-pounding thrillers with explosions and car chases. And thanks to his handsome face, readers line up for blocks to buy his novels.

Aidan Maxwell stands for everything Emma loathes, and when professional circumstances throw them together, sparks fly—angry ones. But as their paths keep crossing, will they see past their own hardwired ideas to star in a love story all their own?


My Take:

This is my first book by this author. I read a snippet at the end of a different book and decided to buy it. I'm glad I did. There were great characters I could relate to, believable challenges, and of course a great payoff at the end.

This was a clean romance with great chemistry but nothing that should remain behind closed doors.

I'm giving this one a full 5 stars (which is rare for romance from me) because it was well edited, nothing jerked me out of the story, it was believable while still being sweet. Plus, I read it in a day.

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

Monday, March 25, 2019

Spring for Best Friends by Eliza Boyd

From Goodreads:

They’ve been best friends since third grade. Can they overcome their fears and truly find love together?

Olivia Sutton, the owner of Blushing Bridal in the small town of True Love, made a bet with her friend. Her friend paid up, so it’s now Olivia’s turn. It’s time for her to confess to Ryan how much she’s loved him since high school. And she has to ask him to the annual Spring Fling party at the inn—as more than just friends. But when a new woman in town beats her to it, she closes her mouth, not wanting to interfere with Ryan’s potential happiness.

Ryan Hedgewick is getting tired of everyone in town asking about his relationship with Olivia. They’ve always been best friends—that’s it. He’s convinced she’ll never see past his dorky high school phase and love him for the man he is today. That ship has sailed. So when the opportunity to date someone else arises, he takes it, hoping it’ll silence the chatter about him and Olivia. However, when he doesn’t immediately fall in love in a town obsessed with it, he begins to wonder if he already did—with his best friend.

With Ryan’s new relationship making her heartache, will Olivia choose to move away from True Love to find it somewhere else? Or will Ryan and Olivia figure out that true love does exist for them in their small mountain town?

My Take:
I just read the book before this one and enjoyed it so I picked this one up from Book Sprout as an early reader copy as well. This means I got to read it before it's release on March 28th!

Eliza Boyd has an easy to read style and she does a good job introducing her characters and making them real and likable. It did take me a moment to ground myself though because I haven't read the first book in the series and Penelope has a couple of nicknames that I had to get used to real quick. But, moving on...

Olivia and Ryan are the perfect couple who just keep getting in their own way. They've both had feelings for each other at various times over the years and pushed them away out of fear of ruining their friendship. Olivia has finally taken a dare to speak up when a new girl in town asks Ryan out. A lot of people will complain about how spineless and too nice Olivia seems. They will say she should have said something right away. They'll say there are multiple times she could have told him how she felt and she was stupid for not speaking up. Even if it's true, the truth is, there are more women in this world who would make the same choice Olivia does. They would want the man they love be happy, even if it's not with them.

Having said that, I did want to throw the book across the room at one point. Mini spoiler maybe? Ryan decides to make a move. He's done all the things right, but Olivia doesn't know it. He goes in to kiss her, she stops it and kicks him out because she thinks he has a girlfriend. Olivia doesn't even let him explain. That was stupid. And didn't make any sense to me.

In the end, it's the new girl in town that finally get them together. This is one of the things I really enjoy about Boyd's stories. The 'other' woman in both of the ones I've read have not been vicious witches. I appreciate that a lot.

I give Spring for Best Friends a 4 with 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

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Winter of Second Chances by Eliza Boyd

From Goodreads:

Chastity and Chase were high school sweethearts.
Then their marriage crumbled under pressure and Chase left town.
Now that he's engaged again, he returns to True Love with one mission: To finally get a divorce.
But True Love will make sure they get a second chance.

My Take:
This was a cute story about a town with mystical powers that just wouldn't give up on two people when they'd given up on themselves. I enjoyed it and actually read it all in one day. There were a few typos, but that could be because I had an advanced reader copy. Hopefully, they will be fixed once the book is released on February 28th (just 2 days!) on Amazon.

Okay, let's dig in. What I liked about this book:
Ten years have gone by, but Chastity has moved on with her life. Mostly. She's bought her own business and is doing her best to make it succeed. It's a struggle, and she hasn't written that book yet, and she isn't dating, but she doesn't seem to be wallowing in missing Chase. It's obvious she was heartbroken and still thinks of him, but she didn't quit her life. She continued to grow and move on the best she could. When Chase shows back up she's sucker-punched with the surprises that come one after another. I won't tell you so as to avoid the spoilers.

The second thing that I like was that when the time came for Chase to cut the ties with Jessica (his fiance before returning to True Love) it went well. Although she sounds and looks likes she's going to be one of those women, she's not. I appreciated that Boyd didn't completely follow that trope.

I loved that it didn't just fall into place as soon as Chase said goodbye to Jessica. Marjorie is one smart woman! A little bit of time to calm down and think was needed, even if it felt like the end of the world all around. Okay, that is close to being a spoiler.

Here's the nitpicks:
I got tired of all the "I'm feeling something/thinking something that I don't want to right now, so I just won't feel/think it." Several times I just wanted to say, sit down and figure it out already! You know what you want, you know what's going on, just face up to it and own it.

And Chastity was WAY too nice. It all makes sense because that's her personality. However, she only blew up and yelled at him once. I felt she deserved a little more than that, but what we got was satisfying.

I give Winter of Second Chances by Eliza Boyd a solid 4 with 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

Monday, February 25, 2019

Dating Do Over by Sally Rose

There isn't a Goodreads page for this yet since I picked up an Advanced Reader Copy on Booksprout.
Here's the blurb:

Two friends. One disastrous date. Is it too late for a do-over?

Emily Phillips is an aspiring artist, but she’s barely had time to put brush to canvas since inheriting the pottery painting shop in scenic Gold Creek.

Emily’s long hours and hard work are finally paying off. She’s turned the shop from a sleepy pottery studio into a thriving party destination. When she’s not hosting birthday parties for the kiddie crowd, her shop is filled with the squeals, laughter and love stories that accompany bridal showers. As much as she enjoys making each soon-to-be bride’s party special, the gatherings are a constant reminder that Emily’s own happily ever after is nowhere in sight.

When an offer to buy her shop arrives unexpectedly, Emily decides it’s time to give up on dreams of love, and take a chance on the dream she’d all but forgotten.

Ben Nichols, an outdoor adventure guide, hasn’t taken his eyes off Emily since the day they met. Unfortunately, a disastrous date two years ago plunged him deep into the friend zone. When he learns about Emily’s plan to sell her shop and study art in Paris, Ben realizes he’s not ready to say goodbye—and that his feelings go much deeper than friendship.

With time running out before Emily packs her bags, can Ben win a second-chance date and convince Emily that everything she’s dreamed about is in Gold Creek.

My Take:
First, I might be in a reading vortex because nothing lately has been a "knocked it out of the ballpark" read for me. So, take this with a grain of salt.

There were things I liked about this story, but I found myself skimming to get to the end. I felt the story could have been improved with a lower word count and less, um stupidity on both character's part. From the very beginning, I knew the problem between these two was Ben's inability to open his mouth and say what he thought and felt. Emily wasn't any better though. The man waited two years after their first disastrous date to try again, while Emily ignored the fact she thought there was a connection between them but dated another man instead.

The entire book was filled with them not talking about the important things. Ben tried so hard to be supportive and not keep Emily from her dreams that he never talked about his hopes, dreams, plans, or the surprise bombshell that affected both of them. Ben felt like he had to have all the answers before talking to Emily about major life changes.

Now, this sadly is true to real life for many men, but I don't want it to drag on for so long in a story that's meant to help me forget day to day issues. Women who know their men have this problem call them on it and remind them they need to talk. Emily is all too willing to let it go and let him go. Then we get to the end and when he apologizes and spills the beans all is forgiven with very little effort or heartache on either part. At least I didn't feel it. In real life, these two would be doomed to repeating these same mistakes and they'd both be miserable.

BUT, here's what worked in the story. Ben was a good guy who wanted Emily to be happy. He was always there to help no matter what even before they started dating. I also liked that he didn't waver at all when the ex-girlfriend shows up with her manipulative ways. He was stupid for eating dinner with her, but other than that he sent her packing right away.

I really liked that Emily grew stronger in her confidence as the book went along. She felt she was taking a back seat in her own life even though she wasn't. As time passed she started to recognize her own accomplishments and the joy it had brought to her life.

The cast of supporting characters was good. It's easy to see where the next books in the series might come from.

All in all, the writing was clean, there was no bad language and no smut. I give Dating Do Over a 3.75. It falls short of the 4 only because I felt annoyed most of the time. Granted this could be me and not the actual story.

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

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Paramedics Second Chance by Elana Johnson

Looks like it might have been renamed Love in Lavender (which makes more sense actually). It is still searchable by The Paramedics Second Chance as well.

From Goodreads:
A widowed florist, her ten-year-old daughter, and the paramedic who delivered the girl a decade earlier... Love's second chance on the beach!

Paramedic Andrew Herrin delivered Gretchen Samuels's daughter on the side of the road when she and her husband couldn't make it to the hospital in time. When their paths cross again in small-town Hawthorn Harbor, she's a widow and the baby is ten-year-old Dixie.

Dixie gets along great with Drew, and Gretchen finds herself falling in love with the man who's rescued her twice now. But when Drew's ex-girlfriend comes back to town, Gretchen's trust issues rear their ugly head. Can she and Drew find their way toward finding love in the lavender?

This is a full-length sweet/clean contemporary beach romance in the vein of your favorite Hallmark movie by USA Today bestselling author Elana Johnson.

My Take:
This is a sweet read filled with lots of emotion as Gretchen tries to figure out what she wants, what she can handle, and how it will affect her daughter. Drew has his own issues to work out which makes this feel like real life.

I did get frustrated with Gretchen. She took not asking for help to the beyond ridiculous level making the grand gesture at the end necessary. In a way, it kind of ruined the real-life feel of the story for me. I wish she had given in more gradually and accepted Drew's love naturally. After all, he let her help him. Thank goodness for Dixie and her wish making!

I give this story something between a 3.5 and a 4. I enjoyed it while reading, finished, moved on and sort of forgot about it.


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

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