Saturday, October 30, 2021

Sunday Post #141

 

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week.

I'm currently in Oregon on vacation with the hubby. Just the two of us. There was a lot of rain right before we got here but it's been sunny with a few clouds, cold, but beautiful. Driving from the Portland airport to Willamette Valley was breathtaking! I don't think I've ever seen a more beautiful display of Fall colors! I thought we'd be a bit late, but it turns out we timed it just right. 

We're visiting the Evergreen Aviation Museum with the Spruce Goose tomorrow. I'm excited to see the plane Howard Hughes dreamed up! 

Elizabeth Chambers Cellars

Laurel Ridge Winery


Read:
Click on cover for Goodreads link

The Jill Shalvis was a collection of fun novellas. Heart of Obsidian was amazing! It's tied for favorite of the series with Kiss of Snow. Which reminds me I need to request the next one.  I adore The Wyoming Cowboy series! I've read all but the first book and loved every one! 


Received/Purchased/Library Lend:


It's been a million years since I read Patricia Cornwell, way before Goodreads. Autopsy sounded good and I'm excited to catch up with Kay Scarpetta. I noticed Ilona Andrews tweeted that the ARC for Fated Blades was up on Netgalley as "Read Now" for the first 250 readers and I was able to get a copy! Score! Of course I didn't know there were two books already published in the series, but luckily my library had both available, so I'm excited to dive in. Somehow I missed a series from on of my all-time favorite authors! They're relatively short books so I should be able to breeze right through them. 

Instagram:





How was your week?





Friday, October 29, 2021

Review: Holiday Ever After by Jill Shalvis

 

Holiday Ever After by Jill Shalvis
Publication Date: October 26th 2021 by Avon
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Rating: 

My Thoughts:
Sometimes I just want a short and sweet romance with the promise of an HEA without long drawn drama. Novellas fill this need perfectly. All three of the stories in Holiday Ever After have a bit of a forced proximity element, two are second chance romances, and one is unrequited love. All tropes I really love in a romance! With the second chance romance or unrequited love, you know the couple already have a history so it’s plausible to fall in love in a short amount of time, which fits in perfectly with a novella. I had fun with all three! Here’s a short breakdown of each story:

One Snowy Night: Rory needs a ride home for the holidays and Max, her high school crush who never noticed her, offers to take her.  Max is attracted to Rory, but her actions cost him a scholarship. Things worked out for him, but still. However, when a massive storm strands them together they’re forced to talk about the past and clear things up. Spending time together brings the simmering attraction between them to the surface. Can one dark snowy night of passion turn into forever?  

Holiday Wishes: Sean and Lotti lost their virginity together back in high school after years of close friendship led to more. Lotti hoped when she moved away they could keep their romance going, but Sean broke her heart instead. Ten years later they meet while Sean and his brother, Finn, arrive at Lotti’s family inn for Finn’s pre-wedding celebrations. Knowing they had a once in a lifetime love, Sean is determined to make the most of his second chance and woo Lotti back, and it seems he has mother nature working with him when a freak storm damages roads stranding the whole wedding party. 
I really loved this second chance romance! Lotti was hesitant, and I couldn’t blame her, but Sean was sincere and focused!

Mistletoe in Paradise: James and Hannah’s families spent every Christmas together island hoping in the Caribbean. They had a friendship that developed into more, but tragedy and circumstances tore them apart. After years apart they’re both finally going to do Christmas on the boat again. Better still, their parents miss the boat and must meet them at a later port giving these two time together to work it all out. Another sweet second chance romance with the perfect HEA.

Three fun holiday-themed romance novellas, spicy and sweet. A guaranteed quick fix for your HEA cravings!

4 Stars


Book Description:

Three fan-favorite Jill Shalvis novellas are together for the first time in this holiday anthology!

One Snowy Night
It’s Christmas Eve and Rory Andrews is desperate to get home to her family. Problem is, her only ride to Lake Tahoe comes in the form of the annoyingly handsome Max Stranton, her long-time crush, and his big, goofy, lovable dog. A long road trip in a massive blizzard might be just what they need to face their past…and one steamy, snowy night is all it takes to bring Max and Rory together at last.

Holiday Wishes
When Sean O’Riley shows up for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, the last person he expects to see is Lotti Hartford, the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago. As the weekend continues, Sean realizes he wants to leave his hook-up life behind, but can he convince Lotti to open her heart to him again?

Mistletoe in Paradise
Years after their secret fling ended, Hannah isn’t eager to see James during their families’ annual joint holiday-themed yacht adventure. But when they’re the only people who show up, James and Hannah are stuck together on the high seas for days. As the former lovers try to make the best of the Christmas snafu, they soon realize the best things in life can’t be planned, and sometimes love is sweeter the second time around.


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Review: Holly Jolly Cowboy by Jessica Clare

 

Holly Jolly Cowboy (The Wyoming Cowboy #7) by Jessica Clare
Publication Date: October 26th 2021 by Berkley Books
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads 

My Thoughts:
Holly lost her parents at seventeen and had to drop out of high school to support her thirteen-year-old sister, Polly lest she be put into foster care.  Holly’s barely scraping by even though she works six days a week at the local bar/grill.  She loves to bake and would love to find a way to make extra money doing it. Money is stretched tight with Polly off at college and Holly paying tuition so when she’s offered a job to cook for the workers at the Flat C Ranch she jumps at the chance. There’s only one problem: Adam Calhoun is one of the ranch hands, and while he’s gorgeous, he’s grade A jerk. Rude and cheap every time he visits the bar.

 
Adam left the Navy because he got tired of being away from his wife only to find out she’d been cheating on him. With nothing holding him back he left the state for ranch work in Wyoming. When Adam first laid eyes on Holly he thought she was beautiful and enjoyed her flirty service while dining, but got the impression she was only nice for tips. He felt like a fool, so since then, he makes is a point to ruffle her feathers at every opportunity, and they get off to a rotten start when she’s starts working at the Flat C Ranch.

Adam was a total jerk when this story started and even though Holly gave as good as she got, he, IMO, was mainly responsible for their petty exchanges. When a particularly nasty prank ends with Holly being devastated, Adam feels terrible and determines to make a change. Even though I wanted to smack Adam, I understood his history with his wife influenced his behavior with Holly. I was thrilled when they started to let go of their animosity and started to see the true person underneath, falling a little more in love with every dinner spent together.

I admired Holly so much with the way she worked so hard to take care of her sister and everyone else around her. She was positive had a kind spirit even if she did get a bit petty with Adam, he deserved it. I was annoyed with Adam, but he quickly won me over when it was apparent how sorry he was. His care and deep feelings for Holly came through loud and clear, she definitely deserved to have someone taking care of her for a change! I loved how desperate they were for each other, and their time together was hot!

I’ve been loving The Wyoming Cowboy series, eagerly anticipating every new installment! Holly Jolly Cowboy sucked me in from the very first page and it seemed like the story just flew by! So much to love here: A spicy enemies-to-lovers romance, delicious food, and baked goods (I was salivating throughout!) and an ending that'll leave you warm and fuzzy all over!


4.5 Stars

Book Description:

From New York Times bestselling author Jessica Clare comes a Christmas romance about a cowboy grinch and the woman who stole his heart.

Local waitress Holly Dawson needs a better paying job to cover her sister's college tuition. Given that it's Christmas and she's broke as a joke, she's feeling pretty bah-humbug. New jobs are hard to come by in a town as small as Painted Barrel, especially as the town dropout.

When Holly's offered a job at the Flat C Ranch to clean and cook for the cowboys that work there, it seems like a dream come true...except for one thing. Her nemesis, the incredibly handsome (and annoyingly arrogant) Adam Calhoun works there. It doesn't matter that he loves dogs more than people, or that he's a war veteran. No Christmas spirit can save that particular grinch.

When the rest of the ranch hands go out of town for the holidays, Holly and Adam will be forced to work closely together. No sweat. Holly can deal with Adam. And if she doesn't kill him first, she just might fall in love.


Sunday, October 24, 2021

Sunday Post #140

 

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week.

I'm up in Northern California right now. Left on Thursday and should be on my way back home in a couple of hours. I haven't posted much since it's been really busy at work and I just didn't have the energy when I got home. Plus, I had two books in a row that were disappointing and it's hard to want to post on a book you don't love, right? Thankfully I'm now reading two books I'm loving!

The Fall colors up here have been stunning, but right now it's storming. I guess it's a huge weather system that's supposed to dump a bunch of rain. Should make our drive home super fun. We should be out of it half way home, but then it'll land where I live just in time for my commute to work tomorrow!! I love the rain, and it's a gift in California, but Californians seriously do not know how to drive in the rain and so usually it's a mess! Here are some pictures of the Fall colors and now our current weather:

Gorgeous, right? No filters!


Hard to tell, but it's windy and pouring here.


Read:
Click on cover for Goodreads link:


It Happened One Summer was sooo good! I'm a huge fan of Schitt's Creek and Piper was so much like Alexis, maybe not quite as clueless. The Christmas Village was a sweet holiday romance, and An Inquiry into Love and Death was the perfect for this time of year. Spooky, atmospheric ghost story with a bit of romance! 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:



Love, Lists & Fancy Ships and The Love of My Life are new to me authors, and they sound good.  I hope to love them. I've been collecting physical copies of books that I love for my shelves. I love the Verity Kent series, and the book covers are so lovely! I have two more in the series and it'll be complete for now. 

Instagram:

Fall vibes.



Watched:


Very much like A Quiet Place, but I really liked it!




What about you? How was your week?


Friday, October 22, 2021

Mini Review: Well Matched by Jen DeLuca

 

Well Matched (Well Met #3) by Jen DeLuca
Publication Date: October 19th 2021 by Berkley
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Loved Mitch and this was unexpectedly hot in places, but April was frustrating, and not only with Mitch. 

I can understand being a little hesitant about the age difference, especially if she was worried about Mitch eventually wanting kids, but ten years isn’t hardly anything especially when he’s thirty and you’re forty. I didn’t like that April was so closed off, even with her family and the other women she was in book club with. And come on, you can’t stock beer in the fridge for the guy helping you renovate your house? That really got to me because it was such a small thing to show gratefulness and she wouldn’t do it.

I sounds like I didn’t enjoy the story at all, but there was a lot to like as well: Mitch and April in a fake romance that was clearly more, and they were deliciously hot together! Fun times at the Ren Faire, seeing Emily and Simon happy and in love. 

3.5 Stars




Thursday, October 14, 2021

Review: Aspen Crossroads by Janine Rosche

 

Aspen Crossroads (Whisper Canyon #1) by Janine Rosche
Publication Date: August 24th 2021 by Berkley Books
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Rating: 

My Thoughts:
Jace Daring has come to Whispering Canyon to start up a farm-to-table restaurant employing women who’ve been rescued out of trafficking or other at-risk situations. The company behind this set-up is committed to helping women get on their feet financially while providing mental and emotional support as they work towards their goals. For this, Jace needs to find a counselor to work with the women, and even though he feels an inconvenient attraction to Haven, she fits the bill perfectly.  

Haven Haviland shut down her counseling practice after a mistake that makes her question her judgement. So far, she’s had no luck finding other employment, until she sees the ad for Aspen Crossroads. Haven would love to help these women who’ve gone through so much, struck by all the hardships they’ve had to endure, but it’s no easy task. She also worries over her attraction to Jace hoping it won’t complicate her position.

Jace was reluctant to come to Whispering Canyon because his mother’s history in the town, and it’s a painful mystery to unravel for him. He was a sweetheart through and through and my heart broke for all that he and his mother went through.  He was a bit unreasonably committed to moving onto the next job and leaving, but as this is a romance, I knew the situation would somehow work out.

Most of the folks in Whispering Canyon were supportive, but here were a few judgmental people, and I felt bad that Haven was tainted by her mother’s past behavior, but I was outraged even more by the self-righteous Mayor Trent Garrison! A true villain in this story, hellbent on making Haven miserable and running Jace out of town. I loved how Jace and Haven didn’t allow him to impact their lives in any real way, however, I eagerly awaited his comeuppance!  

I don’t read Christian Romance for the most part, but I’ve read and enjoyed another story by Janine Rosche. I didn’t feel like the story was specific or preachy.

Aspen Crossroads was a heartwarming story of two people overcoming adversity, reconciling the past and falling in love. I hope we get a story focused on Haven’s brother Daniel and Lizzie next.

4 Stars


Book Description:

To protect those most vulnerable, Haven Haviland must trust her heart--and her regrets--to a mysterious newcomer in this moving contemporary romance.

Few in the community of Whisper Canyon have actually met Jace Daring, a handsome recluse who lives at Aspen Crossroads, the farm at the edge of town. But that doesn't stop the rumors about the multiple women who live with him. He must protect the truth--that his farm-to-table restaurant will provide new livelihoods for women rescued from human trafficking--or he risks the safety and futures of those relying on him. But he can't do it alone.

Haven Haviland has always been everyone's safe place to fall until one mistake closes her counseling practice and leaves her open to the town's gossip. Trusting men has gotten her in trouble before. However, accepting Jace's job offer to mentor the rescued women seems like the perfect way to right her wrongs.

When the mayor's campaign to clean up Whisper Canyon targets Aspen Crossroads, the restaurant comes under fire, dangers from the women's pasts are awakened, and Haven's sins are exposed for all to see. Jace would sacrifice himself to save Haven and the women under his care, but his efforts might not be enough. And in the end, it might not be the women most in need of saving after all.


Monday, October 11, 2021

Review: The Christmas Village by Annie Rains

 

The Christmas Village (Somerset Lake #2) by Annie Rains
Publication Date: October 12th 2021 by Forever
Pages: 339
Source: Publisher
Rating: 

My Thoughts:
Lucy Hannigan’s got hands full between handling patients as a nurse practitioner/midwife, and the upkeep on her childhood home, a mansion size Victorian house located in the historical part of town called The Village. In order to help makes ends meet Lucy decided to rent out the garage apartment but doesn’t count on her ex-fiancĂ© applying for tenancy. Miles, her first and only love broke her heart ten years ago and she’s never really gotten over it. Lucy’s not sure having him so close would be a good idea.

Deputy Miles Bruno has never gotten over Lucy either, but he ended things and now he’s pretty sure their awkward friendship is the most he can hope for. However, when Miles finds himself in need of a place to rent and Lucy in need of a renter the two find it impossible to avoid each other.

With unexpected house bills pilling up on Lucy, Miles offers to help win the “Merriest Lawn Contest” for the cash prize and soon they’re spending time over Thanksgiving leftovers, hot cocoa, and Christmas decorating. It’s hard to ignore the attraction that never really went away between them. Neither of them felt that special spark with anyone else, and I was eager for these two to work it out, especially after finding out the reason Miles ended it. Both Lucy and Miles were good people who deserved their HEA!

The Christmas Village was full of things to love: a sweet second chance romance, supportive female friends, a cat rescue, and a French bulldog. All set in a charming small town. What more could you want from a holiday read?!

4 Stars


Book Description:

Lucy Hannigan has inherited her mother's bulldog, Bella, and her childhood home, the only pink house on Gingerbread Lane. With the holidays coming up, the pressure is on to decorate the house for the annual lights competition and maintain her parent's winning streak. But Lucy already has her hands full as a midwife and a new landlord-to her ex-fiance.

When Miles Bruno is suddenly asked to move out of his rental home, he's grateful to Lucy for taking him on as a tenant. But their broken-off engagement doesn't make it easy to live next door. Sparks still fly between them, and he'd give anything to get back in Lucy's good graces. But to do that will take much more than just tree trimming and house decorating and contest winning. Will one wildly grand romantic gesture on Christmas Eve finally soften her heart?


Sunday, October 10, 2021

Sunday Post #139

 

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week.





We're in Lake Tahoe/Truckee, California right now with my daughter, SIL, their kids, and their friends with kids. The weather has been beautiful, we got snow the first morning that mostly melted by the afternoon and fall colors everywhere. With four kids all under the age of ten there's been a lot of activity. Playing crazy eights, riding around their scooters (I run to keep up, lol) and today we're supposed to go the the park, maybe get lunch and then pack up and head to the airport. We have a late flight and I have to work tomorrow. I'm tired just thinking about it, lol. Needless to say I haven't had much time for reading or blogging.

Read:
(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

Enjoyed Aspen Crossroads. I don't seek out Christian romance, but I had read one other book by this author and it wasn't overwhelming. I finished Tangle of Need book eleven of the Psy-Changeling series. The romance was good, but I found the ongoing story arc more interesting. I can't wait to start the next one! I already have the audio loaded on my phone. 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:



Love Allison Brennan's mysteries so I was excited to get The Sorority Murder. Sara Richardson is a new-to-me-author, so I'm hoping Last Dance with a Cowboy works out. I'm a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong's Rockton series so I was thrilled to get approval on the newest! Heart of Obsidian promises to be an exciting installment in the Psy-Changeling series with war on the horizon. I'm in the mood for a spooky read and saw An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James on Lark's blog so I requested the audio from my library. Downloaded and ready to go.

Instagram:

The Santa Suit was my first time reading Mary Kay Andrews. Such a sweet holiday novella! 






How was your reading week?


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

My Favorite Non-Review Books of September 2021


As a blogger sometimes writing reviews can feel like a chore so it seems I rarely write reviews for non-review books anymore. I feel bad about that, because it's not that I didn't enjoy them less than the books I review here, just that I don't have the time or energy to write a review for each and every book I read. I thought it would be nice to list my favorite non-review books each month to bring more attention to them.

Here are my September 2021 stand outs:



My husband and I listened to this on our way back from the coast after switching from one audio to the next without having any story grab us. Neanderthal Seeks Human hit the spot and my husband made me promise to wait to finish the book until we drove up to our daughter's house the next week. It was hilarious! I was laughing so hard in parts and it made our trips just fly by. Definitely recommend the audio! Jennifer Grace knocked it out of the park with her performance!





Hard to go wrong with this series (Psy-Changeling), even nine books in, but I have to say the romances where the female is the more dominant of the two are not my favorites, but Drew was only a little less dominant so it mostly worked.

To be honest, I was more interested in the ongoing story arc. I want to know how everything will play out with the Psy Council and I want to know who the Ghost is. I have my suspicions.



So good I stayed up late to finish this one! Book 10 in the Psy-Changeling seires is my favorite in the series so far. 5 Star all the way!

Been waiting for Hawke and Sienna's story for a while and it did not disappoint! As a bonus we got Lara and Walker's story and thrilling events with the ongoing story arc. What will happen to the Council and the future of the Silence now? Well, I'm well into Trinity, the spinoff, so I know, but seeing how it all came about has been exciting!

As usual the audio narrated by Angela Dawe was excellent. She narrates the series and I highly recommend the audio version.

I've been reading the Psy-Changeling series as part of Anne @Books of My Heart's read-a-long. I'm finally catching up!



I've been a fan of Loreth Anne White for a while. Her mysteries are atmospheric and captivating! I finally carved out some time to read her newest. 

A young crime podcaster starts a series of interviews with convicted killer, Clayton Pelley. A guidance counselor behind bars for killing an unpopular student he was said to have an affair with. 

However, over twenty years later Clayton claims he didn't do it. 
The podcast drags up an unpleasant past for the investigator, Rachel Walczak, and raises up unanswered questions. Could Clayton be telling the truth? It's a messy situation for this small town where everyone knows everyone. 

A riveting mystery! I think I blazed through this audio in a 24-hour period. I just had to find out how it all turned out. 

It's a Kindle Unlimited right now, read and listen to for free as part of their program. 


How about you? Did you have any non-review gems?