Genre: Contemporary


Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher | Book Review

January 18, 2018 Book Review, Young Adult 10 ★★★★★

Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher | Book ReviewStolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher
Published by Chicken House on May 4, 2009
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought it!
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5 Stars
It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist--almost.

I’ve always had a weird fascination with kidnapping stories. I enjoy reading the stories of the survivors because I find them to be hopeful and inspiring. I sometimes get bogged down in my own life and forget to be thankful for what I do have. These stories remind me that I’m safe and I’m loved. And if these victims can survive and bring good from their experience (I’m thinking of people like Elizabeth Smart), then I can survive my own life too. Stolen really made me think, and I think that that’s what I loved most about it.

Stolen is a very unique take on the typical kidnapping/crime novel. The entire book is written as a letter from Gemma to her captor after her rescue, and I loved that about it. She actually talks to him, telling him her entire story as if he wasn’t there. We get to read her thoughts and her interpretations and her feelings about everything that happened while they were together in the Australian Outback. We know exactly how everything impacted her, and we get to see the evolution of her going from fight mode to complacency mode to sympathetic mode. We get to watch her as she goes from hating him with everything she had to almost loving him. I’ll admit, it even happened to me. I had to get real with myself and say, “Jana… he kidnapped her. He isolated her. He took away her freedom. Why are you hoping a romance blooms? That’s nuts!” And it is nuts! What Ty did to her was wrong, awful, traumatizing, despicable. I was frustrated with myself for falling into the same kind of trance Gemma did. It was all very real and emotional and so beautifully written. This book was real enough and sneaky enough to make me develop a little Stockholm Syndrome with her. If I didn’t believe that words had power before, I do now.

I don’t want to say much more, as this is a book you truly need to read and take in on your own in order to really understand it. I think it’s important to note, however, that Ty did nothing of a sexual nature to Gemma. There’s no rape, no sexual abuse, not even any touching. I know this happens more often than not in real life stories like Stolen, and that many captives are not a fraction as lucky as Gemma is. This would have been way too upsetting for me to read, though, so I am grateful that this was not a part of Gemma’s story.

All in all, this is a powerful, beautiful, emotionally confusing and enthralling read. I can see why it is recognized as a Printz honor book. It’s unique and really makes you think. I’d recommend it to pretty much anyone.


Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham | Mini Book Review

January 15, 2018 Adult Fiction, Book Review 3 ★★★★

Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham | Mini Book ReviewMr. Kiss and Tell by Jennifer Graham, Rob Thomas
Series: Veronica Mars #2
Also in this series: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line
Published by Vintage Books on January 20, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
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4 Stars
The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman's story.

The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses. The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why?

In my raving review of The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line I explained how much I love Veronica Mars. And I’m going to pretty much ditto everything I said there in this review (so maybe go read that review as well?). Mr. Kiss and Tell is another great Veronica Mars mystery novel, although I did not love the mystery as much as I did the first one (although it’s very close to Veronica’s heart because of her own past). But that’s ok because Veronica and Logan!!! He wasn’t really around in the first book, save for some Skype calls (he’s in the military), but he’s here now and he brought all of wit and banter with him! This is what we marshmallows have been waiting for.

I don’t have much else to say because I don’t want to take away from anyone’s reading experience. I TOTALLY recommend this book and the first to fans of Veronica Mars.


The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham | Book Review

January 12, 2018 About Me, Book Review 10 ★★★★★

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham | Book ReviewThe Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Jennifer Graham, Rob Thomas
Series: Veronica Mars #1
Also in this series: Mr. Kiss and Tell
Published by Vintage Books on March 25, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 324
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
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5 Stars
Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person's case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

I absolutely love Veronica Mars. I discovered the TV show a few years ago when my friend, Jess, sent me the complete DVD set as a gift after finding out I’d never seen it. And a huge fan was born! Even though I knew the TV series would end, I was still soooo sad when it did. Then I discovered that the writers of the show also wrote two books and I was elated. I was not disappointed. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. This book is definitely a gift to Veronica Mars fans. I’m sure you’d enjoy reading it if you’ve never seen the show, but I can’t imagine why you’d want to. This book takes place years after the series and the movie, so it really goes without saying that you’ll be happier and love it more if you watch all of those first.

2. The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line reads like an episode of the show, and I LOVED that about it. Veronica’s inner monologues are still golden. Her snark is perfection. I was all smiles.

3. Veronica is back in Neptune, and so are all of our favorite characters (Mac) and not-so favorite characters (Sheriff Lamb).

4. The mystery is actually really amazing. I was invested not just because I love the characters and the world, but because I was legitimately curious about how the mystery of the missing girl would be solved. It was exciting and filled with twists and turns.

5. The writing was awesome. There’s a lot of books out there that serve as sequels of or extensions to TV shows or movies, and I can’t imagine that any of them were as well done or pleasant to read. Nothing was missing for me. I wasn’t wishing I was watching it instead of reading it. I just loved it, and that seems crazy to me!

Overall, if you loved the show you will love this book and then re-watch the TV series as soon as you’ve finished it. I loved being back in Neptune with the gang, tagging along on one of their cases again.


Public Relations by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini | Book Review

January 5, 2018 Book Review, New Adult 13 ★½

Public Relations by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini  | Book ReviewPublic Relations by Arianna Rebolini, Katie Heaney
Published by Grand Central Publishing on May 9, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
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1.5 Stars
Young PR star Rose Reed is thrown into the big leagues when her boss leaves town the day of the firm's meeting with Archie Fox, a young, hot, internationally famous British singer-songwriter. The meeting is going badly until Rose suggests a staged romance with up-and-coming, young indie star Raya. He'll do it, but only if Rose becomes his publicist.

As the faux-mance begins to rehabilitate Archie's faltering career, Rose finds his herself having unexpected, inconvenient and definitely unprofessional feelings for the crooner. But do late night texts and impromptu burrito binges mean he feels the same? In the end, Rose will have to decide whether to let her fantasy crush go, or to risk her reputation to be with the charming, handsome, scoundrel-y but sweet pop star she's grown to love.

Ever since I read and loved The Hating Game, I’ve been seeking out for workplace romances similar to it. While it was fun, I think my expectations were a little too high. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. I immediately liked Rose for her ability to stand up for herself (and not keep quiet as she was instructed) and voice her opinions during the client meeting that would inevitably change her life. Her inner monologue was very entertaining.

2. I liked Archie as well, but felt like he was very shallowly developed. He seemed like the typical celebrity cardboard cut-out character, with no real personality or unique traits. I’ve seen multiple reviewers compare him to Harry Styles of One Direction, so… it would appear that not much thought was put into his character specifically. It was all very surface level. We just never got to know him.

3. While the all the PR talk was interesting for a while, it got very old very fast. I seriously just didn’t care.

4. By the 50% mark on my kindle, I seriously felt like nothing had happened yet. Things moved very slowly. It was seriously as boring as the book’s title.

5. I wanted more romance. More swoons. Things burned so slowly that it was hardly noticeable. This book really is more chick lit than romance.

6. I really dislike stories with main characters who are celebrities. I hoped this one would be different, but I just don’t like the spoiled, lime-light seeking, entitled characters that we come across so often in stories like those.

7. I tend to really love the fauxmance trope, but I guess it comes as no surprise that a fauxmance between celebrities was not at all appealing to me. Seeing all the inner workings of how those kinds of relationships are orchestrated by publicists sitting in an office somewhere and then manipulating social media to convince the world of something was both boring and maddening. It bothered me that Rose spent her free time stalking Archie and his fans on social media, and it bothered me that her job was to lie and make hundreds of thousands of people believe it. I just don’t like the dishonesty.

8. I didn’t even realize until I was finished with the book that it was written by two authors. I commend them both for writing so seamlessly and consistently.

9. What the crap is with the cover?

All in all, this was very “meh” for me. I can totally see the appeal, but Public Relations was just not for me. I would, however, recommend it to people who enjoy reading celebrity gossip and tabloids.


Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle | Book Review

January 3, 2018 Adult Fiction, Book Review 5 ★★★★

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle | Book ReviewHold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle
Series: Search and Rescue #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on April 5, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense
Pages: 365
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
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4 Stars
In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...

As the captain of Field County's ice rescue dive team, Callum Cook is driven to perfection. But when he meets new diver Louise "Lou" Sparks, all that hard-won order is obliterated in an instant. Lou is a hurricane. A walking disaster. And with her, he's never felt more alive...even if keeping her safe may just kill him.

Lou's new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she's determined to make it on her own terms...no matter how tempting Callum may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who will stop at nothing to silence Lou-and prove that not even her new Search and Rescue family can keep her safe forever.

I am a huge fan of romantic suspense, and I’ve been on the hunt for amazing ones all year. When I asked for recommendations on Twitter, Quinn suggested I give Katie Ruggle a try. I flew to Amazon and read the synopsis for Hold Your Breath and immediately became very excited. Each book in the Search and Rescue series focuses on a different branch of the search and rescue team in Field County, Colorado. Hold Your Breath features the dive team, and I think setting a story about a dive team during the cold Rocky Mountain winter was the best choice ever. I also just love wintry settings for romantic suspense because they seem so much more exciting to me. Less daylight, colder temps, quieter nighttimes. And search and rescue? YES. I went in with high hopes and wasn’t disappointed one bit. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. Lou and Callum were very fun to read about. She’s spunky and hilarious, with a bright personality and he’s quiet and surly. He’s also very loyal and intuitive and caring. Such a sweet guy, and I fell in love with him a little as I read this book. The mixture of the two of them was pretty funny. I picture her bouncing off the walls and him sitting there glaring for being disturbed. But the chemistry and heat between these two is amazing. Such a fun couple!

2. The banter between Lou and Callum is wonderful and will make you giggle. He’s just so grumpy and she’s so sunshiney!

3. Hold Your Breath is quite a page-turner. So much action and excitement! Lou becomes the target of someone, and Callum moves in to her remote cabin to protect her. We get to jump inside the head of her stalker, and oh my creepy. I’m already scared of having my curtains open after dark, but even more so now.

4. The book is written in dual perspectives, which I enjoy if done right. And it was done right! I liked hearing from both Lou and Callum and getting their takes on the situation.

5. So swoony! So romantic! 

6. Not only does each book in the series center on different rescue units in the county, but there’s a mystery that appears to flow from book to book. Lou discovers a body in this one, but the mystery continues in the next book and so-on. I think it’s a fun way to set up a series, but I’m slightly worried I will forget important elements as I read other books in between.

For fear of giving too much away, I’m going to quit here. I’m super excited to read book two, Fan the Flames, about Ian the firefighter. I got to meet him in this book, and I like him a lot. I like everyone, actually, and am excited to read all their stories. Definitely pick this one up if you like romantic suspense. It was refreshing to find a suspenseful, romantic storyline that isn’t erotica and doesn’t include paranormal aspects like so many do. Highly recommended!


Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis | Book Review

December 23, 2017 Adult Fiction, Book Review 1 ★★★★

Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis | Book ReviewChasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #4
Also in this series: One Snowy Night
Published by Avon on September 26, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Holiday, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
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4 Stars
Meet cute...

Run for the hills—temporarily. That's Colbie Albright's plan when she flees New York for San Francisco. Wrangling her crazy family by day and writing a bestselling YA fantasy series by night has taken its toll. In short, Colbie's so over it that she's under it. She's also under the waters of a historic San Francisco fountain within an hour of arrival. Fortunately, the guy who fishes Colbie out has her looking forward to Christmas among strangers. But she's pretty sure Spencer Baldwin won't be a stranger for long.

Make merry...

Spence's commitment to hiding from the Ghosts of Relationships Past means he doesn't have to worry about the powerful—okay, crazy hot chemistry—he's got with Colbie. Just because she can laugh at anything, especially herself... just because she's gorgeous and a great listener just because she gets Spence immediately doesn't mean he won't be able to let Colbie go. Does it?

and hope for a miracle.

Now the clock's ticking for Colbie and Spence: Two weeks to cut loose. Two weeks to fall hard. Two weeks to figure out how to make this Christmas last a lifetime.

I think it’s worth recognizing and celebrating my very first full-length novel by Jill Shalvis! I’ve read a handful of her Christmas novellas, and I decided that it was finally time to settle in for a longer novel and really discover what all the fuss is about. I own all but one of the books in the Lucky Harbor series and all the Heartbreaker Bay books that have been released thus far, so I really haven’t had any excuses to not read them yet. The synopsis of Chasing Christmas Eve really grabbed me, and it ended up being a really good choice! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I wasn’t too excited about reading a Christmas book that takes place in California. I lived in California for 6 years and it’s a beautiful place, so this isn’t personal, Californians! I just love snow in my Christmas novels, and that obviously was not going to happen here. Colbie is nuts for fleeing New York at Christmas, but I digress.

2. The lack of snow didn’t take away from the festiveness of the book, though! There were Christmas lights and enough warm fuzzies to make me forget that there wasn’t snow swirling around outside.

3. Colbie is a verrrrry successful YA author, and that’s the main reason I was drawn to this book! I love YA, and I love many YA authors, so Colbie immediately felt like my friend. I thought of her the way I think of any of my favorite YA authors. She’s so sweet and down to earth, not to mention incredibly nice. She’s dealing with writer’s block and she’s under a ton of stress from that, plus the fact that her entire family depends on her for every little thing. I love that she took the plunge and ran away to take care of herself. She’s also really funny and has this bright personality that made me smile. I would totally be friends with her.

4. I loved nerdy Spence. He’s a hot, rich, reclusive genius. But he’s not rich in a snobby way. He takes care of a homeless man that lives outside the building! He keeps to himself and lives his own life, and when he needs a breather he walks dogs! I mean, come on. He’s a bit of a workaholic, which has sealed off the part of himself that can have a love life. But all it takes is the right girl, right?

5. I love how Colbie and Spence meet for the first time. The description mentions a meet cute, and that’s exactly what we were given with this book. I’m not even going to say how it happens because I don’t want to spoil it. Just know that a dog is involved.

6. The romance is very sweet, regardless of the secrets they are both keeping from each other. What was supposed to be a quick little fling turns into something more than that, and forces Colbie and Spence to smooth out some of the wrinkles in their relationship.

7. I liked the supporting characters a lot, but can tell it would have really been great if I’d read the other three books in the series first so I’d know them a little better. The book works fine as a standalone, but I could have used a few more details on Spence and Elle especially.

All in all, this was a very fun Christmas romance! I loved watching Colbie and Spence fall in love and work through what being in love means to them. I’m definitely a fan of Jill Shalvis, so yay! It would have really sucked if I’d come out of this hating her and already owning a million of her books. I’m excited to read more of the books in the Heartbreaker Bay series and then start working on Lucky Harbor!

Which Jill Shalvis book is your absolute favorite?


Operation Mistletoe Magic by Nicki Edwards | Book Review

December 21, 2017 Adult Fiction, Book Review 3 ★★★★½

Operation Mistletoe Magic by Nicki Edwards | Book ReviewOperation Mistletoe Magic by Nicki Edwards
Series: Escape to the Country #4.5
Also in this series: Operation White Christmas
Published by Momentum on October 25, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Holiday, Romance
Pages: 91
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
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4.5 Stars
Christmas is looking grim for Melissa Allen. She has no one to celebrate with, as her boyfriend of five years left her for her best friend and, after losing her home in a fire, she has nowhere to live. Left without a choice, she accepts the offer to the stay with family friends Rob and Linda Nicholls.

Chris Nicholls is excited about bringing his five-year-old daughter, Jasmine, home to Lakefield, Ontario for her first white Christmas. The trip is a surprise for his parents, though no one is more surprised than Chris when he finds his childhood best friend in his parent's spare room. Surprise soon turns to delight as Chris has always had feelings for Melissa, feelings that are only getting stronger the longer they are together.

But Melissa has had her fill of heartbreak, and isn't willing to fall for a man who is only going to leave. And Jasmine? She doesn't want to share her daddy with anyone. If Chris has any hope of convincing Melissa and Jasmine that they have a future together as a family, he'll need all the mistletoe magic he can get.

Nicki Edwards knows how to write sweet Christmas stories. I fell in love with Operation White Christmas two years ago and was very excited when I found out she had written another Christmas novella set in a quaint Canadian winter wonderland. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Even though Operation Mistletoe Magic is considerably shorter than Operation White Christmas, this little novella is packed with so much! It had enough substance that it didn’t feel fluffy and empty to me, but not so much that I felt like we needed a longer novel to fit it all in.

2. I really liked the characters, and the fact that they were so well fleshed out and filled with personality. Melissa has been dumped for her best friend, has lost her job, and her house has burned down, leaving her with nothing. Emotionally and physically, she has nothing. But she didn’t let it get her down. When she was invited to live with her childhood best friend’s family, she was touched and overwhelmed with gratitude. Not many people could make lemonade out of SO MANY lemons, but she found the sunshine through the storm. Chris is a single dad, and a really sweet dad at that. He’s heading home for Christmas with his little girl to give her a chance to see what a white Christmas is like, and also to figure out what he wants for his future.

3. I loved seeing Melissa and Chris become reacquainted and sift through their shared memories as they explored how their feelings for another had evolved over the years. Friends to lovers and second chance romances are some of my favorite kinds of stories, and this book combines both!

4. The romance was so sweet and completely clean (just like Operation White Christmas). It’s like a Hallmark Christmas movie in book form.

5. The story is so Christmassy! It’s wintry and festive and filled with all the glow and shine I crave from Christmas romances.

All in all, I loved Operation Mistletoe Magic. It’s a sweet, quick, feel-good story that can be read in an evening, but will give you a big enough dose of Christmas cheer to carry you through the entire holiday season.

 


Starry Night by Debbie Macomber | Book Review

December 14, 2017 Adult Fiction, Book Review 13 ★★★★★

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber | Book ReviewStarry Night by Debbie Macomber
Published by Ballantine Books on October 8, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Holiday, Romance
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
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5 Stars
Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a mega-bestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.

Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

As soon as I read the premise for this year’s Debbie Macomber Christmas romance, I knew I was going to love it. Debbie has become a Christmas tradition for me, and I read at least one of Christmas books every December. I think that Starry Night is definitely my new favorite. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I love that Starry Night is mostly set in the Alaskan wilderness. Carrie gets dumped by a bush pilot on a frozen lake in the middle of a snowstorm in the mountains! I can just picture her trek up the hill to Finn’s house, all cold and wet. I loved Finn’s cabin. It sounds so rustic and cozy, with wall to wall bookshelves and a wood burning stove. Oh, and there is a super romantic moment involving the Northern Lights. I just can’t explain how much I loved this book’s setting.

2. I really liked Carrie. She is adventurous and really goes after what she wants. She wastes no time diving into finding Finn, cancelling her Thanksgiving plans and flying to Fairbanks, AK with no idea of what awaits her. I would have been terrified to hire a bush pilot to drop me off at a hostile stranger’s house in the middle of nowhere! I loved her spunk and her stubbornness. When she finally found Finn, he was a grumpy anti-social mountain man, but she did not let that get her down. She still charmed him, and I loved watching her melt his icy exterior.

3. Finn has a dog named Hennessey that I fell in love with. This dog is huge, and at their first meeting he was out to defend his territory and scared Carrie half to death. But then she melts him too, and he keeps her warm at night on the couch. She talks to him a lot when Finn refuses to do humor her, and I loved how she was with him! I also loved that her conversations with Hennessey broke the ice between her and Finn.

4. Oh Finn. I love Finn. He is a bearded, bulky man who wears plaid and has a big nose, but I don’t even care. Sometimes I get tired of the suave, handsome, not-a-hair-out-of-place, Mr. Perfect lead. Finn is your average attractive-ish man who becomes more attractive as you get to know his personality. He has this dry wit that leaves you feeling insecure and intrigued. He is so real to me. I loved watching his life change as he falls for Carrie.

5. There is a huge underlying message of the importance of family in Starry Night, which warmed my heart. Family and making sacrifices for the people you loved. And mending hearts. Really, every Christmas message was woven into a wonderful story that I read in one sitting.

6. This book is completely clean. Sure, there are some warm moments, but I appreciated that there were no sex scenes. It’s all about love and family, and I felt like the lack of sex allowed the characters to connect more on a deep emotional level, rather than a physical one.

All in all, Starry Night is my favorite Christmas romance of the year. I smiled, I laughed, and I really felt for these characters. I loved the setting and the relationships that were formed. There’s a very small emphasis places on Thanksgiving and Christmas, which makes it a perfect anytime read. You should definitely fine a copy and read it. Have some warm tea in hand and cozy up in a blanket. Alaska is COLD!

This review was originally posted on December 12, 2013, but since it has held up for 4 years as my favorite Christmas book ever I felt it deserved some extra love!

The Christmas Cabin by J.L. Jarvis | Book Review

December 10, 2017 Adult Fiction, Book Review 3 ★★★★

The Christmas Cabin by J.L. Jarvis | Book ReviewThe Christmas Cabin by J.L. Jarvis
Published by Bookbinder Press on November 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Holiday, Romance
Pages: 206
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
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4 Stars
Lawyer Abbie Harper rents a cabin for her own perfect Christmas. On Christmas Eve, she leaves the stress of her New York job and drives to the mountains, settling in for seven glorious days of peace on earth and good will toward men—so long as they steer clear of her.

Forest Ranger Jack Whelan is no good at relationships. He manages just fine by holding fast to one rule: Don’t let anyone get close. Then Abbie Harper rents his cabin. As a light snow falls, the furnace breaks down, and Jack is called in for repairs. When the storm picks up, they’re stranded together, turning their ordered lives upside down like a snow globe.

Two snowbound strangers who think they know what they want will find out what they need—at The Christmas Cabin.

I don’t know why, but I LOVE stories that include two people being snowbound together in some remote location. I love it even more if it takes place during Christmas. Abbie’s job is taking over her life, so she decides to rent a cabin in the mountains to get away from it all. She brings enough food, Christmas movies, and an ereader full of good books (my kind of girl) with the plan of relaxing and enjoying the snow and scenic views. When she arrives she finds that the heat is not working and has to contact the owner of the cabin (multiple times) to come fix it. What starts out as a strictly business-type relationship quickly gets friendly as the snow falls and Jack is unable to leave the cabin. He takes the couch, she the bed, and the magic begins.

I liked both characters a lot, but Jack was definitely my favorite. He’s sweet, gentlemanly, giving (he saves people for a living), and romantic. Abbie is quirky enough to grab a tree branch from outside, stick it in a jar of water, and use it as her Christmas tree. She’s got this terribly irrational fear of dogs (the coyote howls in the distance render her practically immovable), but Jack is understanding and accommodating. He brings her earplugs, the cutie, and then freaks out when he knocks on the door and she doesn’t answer. Surely she must be dead. They form this really sweet, caring relationship that I just loved. And YAY all sexytimes happen behind doors, which I really appreciate in a Christmas romance.

I loved the writing. The author wrote some amazingly festive and beautiful Christmas scenes, and really got me into the Christmas spirit. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, happy holiday romance!

This review was originally posted on December 21, 2016

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan | Book Review & Giveaway

December 8, 2017 Adult Fiction, Book Review, Giveaway 13 ★★★★

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan | Book Review & GiveawayMiracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan
Series: From Manhattan with Love #3
Published by HQN Books on November 29, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Holiday, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
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4 Stars
It will take a Christmas miracle for two very different souls to find each other in this perfectly festive fairy tale of New York!

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she's given an opportunity to house-sit a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. What better place to celebrate than in snow-kissed Manhattan? What she didn't expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous—and mysterious—owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife's death looming, he's isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn't appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?

Sarah Morgan is one of my very favorite authors, and I can definitely always count on her to get me into the Christmas spirit. I’ve read and loved many of her Christmas romances, so I was very eager to read Miracle on 5th Avenue as well. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. Miracle on 5th Avenue is the first book in the From Manhattan with Love series that I’ve read, but I did not feel like I was missing out on any information. It reads perfectly fine as a standalone, but will make you want to grab the other books in the series as well. 

2. I love that one of the main character, Lucas, is an author. He’s on deadline and he’s writing a book that millions of people are eagerly anticipating. Any book that includes other books is always a double win for me. I enjoyed reading about his writing process and the writer’s block and how he comes up with his stories. He writes crime novels, and he’s inspired to model a character after Eva, our heroine.

3. Speaking of Lucas, I loved him even though he’s not super lovable. Readers only see his bad side for a little while. He’s grumpy and stressed and pretty irritating. But then he becomes inspired by Eva, his creative juices start flowing, and when she becomes more to him than a character in his book he becomes caring and sweet. I loved seeing him open up about his past. As he did, so did Eva.

4. Eva is a Christmas fanatic just like me, so we got along very well. While grumpy Lucas worked upstairs in his fortress of solitude, she decorated a tree in his living room and cooked up a storm of so many yummy sounding foods all while singing her heart out. She’s so much like me. And she drove him nuts in an endearing kind of way. Her cheery disposition melted the ice man, and things got cute, if not a little bumpy along the way.

5. This book is so festive, which I’m finding is rare among this year’s “Christmas” book releases. I’ve read quite a few recent releases from this year and last year, and I finally found one that was Christmasy enough for me. Thanks for doing it again, Sarah! FINALLY.

6. I love Sarah’s writing and her ability to create characters that make their way into your heart, her ability to write emotions that you can feel, and her ability to always put a smile on your face. 

All in all, Miracle On 5th Avenue was another win for me! I really loved it and am excited to continue the series. I love New York City, so it’s kind of like Sarah wrote me my own series! Definitely pick this up if you’re looking for a little Christmas cheer and some really fun characters.

In honor of A Bookish Little Christmas, Sarah has offered up a signed copy of Miracle On 5th Avenue to one of my readers! I am so unbelievably jealous of whoever wins! I’d love a signed Sarah Morgan book! Enter to win below!

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