Book Review: The Christmas Wish

Title: The Christmas Wish

Author: Tilly Tennant

Format: Kindle

Published: 2018

 

DROP EVERYTHING!  STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING!  Go and read this book now!  *Disclaimer: not for people who hate heartwarming, funny, feel good holiday romance novels.  This has become my FAVORITE holiday read ever; to the point where I may even re-read this!  (I know that’s a shock, I NEVER re-read my books!)

The story starts out with Esme who decides to break it off for good with her boyfriend and goes to her grandmother’s house for some solace.  She has neglected her friends and family while she was dating her tool of a boyfriend and has an estranged relationship with her parents.  Her grandmother is the only person she knows that will take her in with no questions asked.

They bond and her grandmother is hell bent on her repairing her relationship with her parents.  Shortly before Christmas, she passes away.  Esme discovers her grandmother bought a paid for a trip to Lapland, a place in Iceland she has always wanted to go but her husband would never take her.  As Esme goes through her grandmother’s belongings she discovers tickets to Lapland that her grandfather had bought but passed away before he could take his wife.  Esme is torn at what to do with the trip and, as any down and out woman does, goes back to her tool of a boyfriend.

She tries to convince her boyfriend to go on the trip with her but all he wants her to do is to get the money back for it and spend it on something else.  Esme decides to be bold, sneaks out of the house while her boyfriend is at work, and does what her grandmother would have wanted her to do; she goes on the trip by herself.

She meets up with 3 other solo travelers; Zach, Hortense, and Brian.  Hortense and Brian end up hooking up and that leaves Zach and Esme, as friends.  Esme starts to grow fond of Zach but he is keeping his guard up high and she cannot figure out why.  Don’t even get me started on his mood swings, they’re intense.  As she takes this trip, she starts to realize there is more to life than she will ever see with her boyfriend and she needs to start living her life.

I cannot say anything else without giving key parts of the book away so, go read it!  The detail in this book around Lapland just painted a vivid picture in my mind.  I know how a very high desire to visit Lapland in person and one day visit these places Tennant describes in this book.  The attention to detail is unreal and really makes this book stand out.  I truly felt like I was everywhere described in this book.

This is a 5-star book.  Yes, 5 stars!  I wanted to be in Lapland.  I was rooting so hard for all of the characters in this book.  They all faced some difficult things in their lives and all were able to see past those times.  This made my heart smile, and my face, and even made me tear up a little and laugh out loud.  The penmanship Tennant has is just stellar and remarkable.  This truly goes beyond your typical holiday novel and is a genuine, solid read.  Does it involve romance?  Yes, but, this book offers so much more than that!  Tune in next week for advance copy review of An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen.

Advertisements

Image

Book Review: Christmas Glitter

Title: Christmas Glitter

Author: Ann B. Harrison

Format: Kindle

Published: 2017

 

In July, my mother got me addicted to Hallmark Christmas movies.  I decided this holiday season I would read some cheesy, Hallmarky novels and enjoy myself.  What I learned is that it is impossible for me to read a holiday romance novel in more than 1 sitting, it just doesn’t work.  I end up staying up until the book is finished, which is ok with me!

Let’s get one thing straight, yes, this book is absolutely predictable, just like every single Christmas Hallmark movie ever made.  The story is just plain adorable and had me sucked in.  This is also part of a series so guess what I’ll be reading in my near future!

This is the story about the super hunky soccer player, Adam, who moves back to his hometown to help his parents while his father recovers a heart attack and a woman, Dakota, who owns a fancy upscale, unique jewelry business.  Dakota recently suffered an injury in a car accident and can no longer craft how she used to and came to this small town to try and reinvent herself, while swearing off men.

Adam and Dakota meet when she goes to pick up the keys to her rental home.  Adam is stepping in for his father with his real estate business and instantly there is a connection.  They continue to bond over trying to save a dance hall in the town and Dakota steps up and leads fundraising efforts.

Dakota and Adam are doing everything they can to remain friends.  Dakota has to remind herself that he’s going to be leaving soon and going back to the world of soccer, so she is trying not to get too attached.  Everyone around them can see they are perfect together, so why do they keep denying it?

There are some grammatical errors in this book that make you stop and re-read what you just read to try and make sense of it.  Aside from that, this book is for you if you love and adore Christmas Hallmark movies.  In fact, Hallmark, this book needs to be made into a movie STAT!

This is a 4-star book from me, provided you love the super cheesy holiday romance.  If you are not into that at all, just skip over this book or pass it along to your Hallmark loving friend!  It is such a cute, sweet story and now I need to read the other books in this series to see what happens with the others in the story!  Tune in next week for yet another holiday book review of Restoring Christmas by Kate Kasch.

Image

Book Review: Whisper Me This

Title: Whisper Me This

Author: Kerry Anne King

Format: Amazon First Reads Kindle Edition

Published: 2018

 

I love, love, love, LOVE, my Amazon Prime membership benefits!  This month I selection Whisper Me This which comes out on August 1st and I am telling you, it is priced right at either $4.99 Kindle edition or $9.99 hardcover, SO PRE-ORDER NOW.  Why?  This story actually had an ENDING.  Yes, the story satisfies you with not an open ended, wishy washy ending, but, a solid, you know what happens ending.  Thank you Ms. King!!

The story starts off a little iffy where we meet this wishy-washy woman who cannot make a decision to save her life, Maisey Addington.  Next to the word indecisive in the dictionary should be a picture of this character!  She has an estranged relationship from her parents which I blame on all the pressure her mother kept putting on her to do more with her life.

We find Maisey has a child and an ex-boyfriend (aka baby daddy) and gets along amicably.  There’s not much too exciting going on until her mother falls ill and she gets a call from the police telling her she should come right away.  Her and her daughter hop on a plane and travel all night to get to her mother to see what exactly is going on.

Her father is fraught and one would think he has Alzheimer’s from his sudden, erratic behavior.  What we find out is that the noisey neighbor noticed no one was going in or out of the house for a few days so she called the police.  What they ultimately found was Maisey’s mother laying unconscious in bed with a head injury. She had been there for 3 days.  Yeah.

Her father insists that she wanted to die at home but a living will can never be producted.  When Maisey makes it home she finds her father throwing papers into a fire in the living room and immediately calls 911 thinking the whole house is on fire and here we meet Tony.  The small town hero who is there and befriends Maisey and helps her with her mother’s sudden downfall.

Enter the twist.  Going through all of her mother’s things she stumbled upon the fact that she has a twin sister, Marley.  She used to play with an imaginary friend named Marley until her mother scolded her and told her to stop.  Was she imagining things?  Did she really have a sister?  Read to find out!

This book touches on a lot of abuse.  When they find her mother and examine her they discover she has had a lot of broken bones.  They accuse her husband of abusing her but Maisey defends her father and could never imagine him hurting her.  So how did she get all of the broken bones?  Tony does his best to stay away from Maisey as he himself is haunted from an abused past as well.  Although I absolutely love and adore Tony and his family, they are truly genuine, great people.

Maisey starts to learn to stand up for herself and grows a backbone and starts to make decisions.  I love this.  She truly grows throughout the book with the help of her daughter, Elle.  I don’t think Maisey would have been able to survive her trip without her daughter.  She is done with her ex-boyfriend controlling and ruining her life (he always seems to show up when she has a date, despite the fact that he’s married with a newborn baby now).

Overall, this book earned a solid 5.  It is rare to find a book that ends on a SOLID note and this one did just that.  I would classify this book as mystery with a touch of romance, not too much.  The mystery takes the fore front and honestly, I didn’t see the twist that came at the end with Marley.  But the book ends in the future and we can get closure on what happens to everyone, yay. Tune in next Thursday for my review of I Wish You Happy by Kerry Anne King (I told you I was blown away by the writing, I had to immediately read another one of hers)!

Book Review: The Kissing Booth

Title: The Kissing Booth

Author: Beth Reekles

Format: Kindle E-Book

Published: 2013

How does one plan for over 13 hours on an airplane?  Sleep would have been a great choice; however, I can never fall asleep on a plane.  Before I left for my magical, amazing, Mediterranean cruise vacation I was seeing a lot of ruckus over a new Netflix original movie, The Kissing Booth.  After I looked into it I discovered it was based off of a book written by a 15-year-old girl (yes, just 15 years old!!!!) and was getting rave reviews.  I wanted to join the party (and I love reading books and then watching the movie) so I downloaded the movie to my phone and the book to my Kindle and off to Rome I flew!

The Kissing Booth took me back to high school when I would day dream about how I would talk to my crush and what would happen.  As a high school student, your imagination can go crazy and think of some unrealistic situations.  I felt this is how the book went.  You could tell it was written by a teenager.

The story takes us on a journey with Elle and her best friend Lee, two popular high school students.  They have been inseparable for years and are essentially twins (both have the same birthday).  Lee has an older brother, Noah, and he and Elle have a love hate relationship at least until the school carnival.  Elle and Lee have come up with the fundraising idea of a kissing booth and somehow Elle and Noah end up kissing.  What happens now?  Well Noah is the hot, older brother with a player reputation so let your old teenage mind take that where you want it to.  Don’t forget to include drinking and sex in your thoughts!

I will say they hide their relationship (ut oh) and when Lee finds out, drama alert.  I didn’t particularly care for this part of the book.  It felt rushed and the characters just did their own thing immediately.  I felt like it was missing a lot of substance during this part and I could not understand why Elle and Noah had an issue with each other.  It got awkward.  But as any teenage dream prevails, they’re all awkward.  How does this all end?  Well, you’ll have to read it to find out.

Immediately after I finished the book I watched the movie.  I wasn’t too choked up over the book until I saw the movie.  Woah.  It made me appreciate the book a lot more.  Maybe if I was a teenager I would be going crazy over both, but, I’m not.  I will say though for a 15-year-old girl, it was written nicely.  A little farfetched, but, it’s what teenagers day dream about and she put it into words decently.

Overall, I am giving The Kissing Booth a rating of a 3.  If you stumble across this book go ahead and read it, but, I wouldn’t go out of my way to. I’m going to recommend you not watch the movie.  It follows the book along for the most part, but, I didn’t like how Elle was portrayed in the movie as opposed to the book.  If you have read the book and/or seen the movie I would LOVE to hear your thoughts!!  Come back next week for my review of Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage!

Review: A Queen from the North

Title: A Queen from the North (A Royal Roses Book)

Authors: Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese

Published: 2017

Format: Ebook

Set in an alternate universe where the Wars of the Roses (between the Houses of York and Lancaster) never truly ended, the Unified Kingdom of England, Scotland, and Wales is still caught in the aftermath of the conflict. Arthur, the widowed Prince of Wales, needs to marry again to provide heirs to the throne, but is Lady Amelia Brockett, the daughter of a Yorkist earl and nearly twenty years his junior, the right woman to be the next Queen?

While this is, ostensibly, a romance novel, the romance isn’t the only plot worth following. The novel is as much political drama concerning the history (and the present) between the north (York) and south (London) of England, as well as the Commonwealth, as it is about the two people trying to navigate through courtship and engagement in the eyes of not only their family and friends, but also the public and the press.

Admittedly, for me, the political drama could be more intriguing than the romance, but that might just be my inner history nerd trying to parse together the differences between this novel’s universe and the English history we are all familiar with. While the Battle of Bosworth Field happened (ending the reign of Richard III and the Yorkist camp), history is altered from there. And while it would be easy to make comparisons between things happening in the novel and events happening today, they are still grounded in the history of the world the authors created, making them fit into the novel as organic events, not thinly veiled commentary on our world.

As for the main couple, Prince Arthur and Lady Amelia, they were believable as well. Well rounded, flaws and all, the authors made them human enough that the reader became invested in their lives and their world. And it appears there may be more books to come in this series, which has me excited. And maybe hoping to get a little more of the history of the world, if only for my inner history nerd’s happiness.

I give it 5 pages.

Book Review: “The Christmas Widow” by Jillian Eaton

TITLE: The Christmas Widow

AUTHOR: Jillian Eaton

PUBLISHED: 2014

FORMAT: E-Book

Lady Beatrice Tumbley hasn’t gone outside since her husband was killed two years before, earning her the sobriquet “Mad Lady Bea”. Jack Emerson appears on her doorstep one night, bleeding from a gunshot wound. Can she let go of her past and let love prevail?

I read a lot of romance novels, and while most of them don’t set my teeth on edge, there is one trope that irritates me to no end and makes it hard for me to read a book – and sometimes even finish it. That’s the one where the hero decides that he knows what is best for the heroine to deal with [insert problem here] and doesn’t bother to listen to her or just run roughshod over her feelings/concerns/etc. And of course the heroine eventually falls for him, because He Was Right! (I think I just sprained something rolling my eyes).

Unfortunately, that’s the main plot at work here. Jack knows how to get Beatrice out of her grief and runs roughshod over her coping mechanisms and her feelings. Because he loves her (after knowing her for several days) and she figures out she loves him too.

This was a novella, so there’s not enough to really get to know the characters. We don’t anything from Jack’s point of view until Chapter 8, and by that point, he had already annoyed me to the point where I didn’t care about him or why he’d been shot (or how he was able to miraculously recover) or, well, anything else. Which is a shame because I’ve read other books by this author and enjoyed them. This one was just too rushed, too reliant on a tired trope that needs to go away (in my opinion), and too thin on character development for me to enjoy it.

I give it 1 page.

Book Review – Tender Wings of Desire

TITLE: Tender Wings of Desire
AUTHOR: KFC (YUM Brands claims the copyright)
PUBLISHED: 2017
FORMAT: E-Book

“For mothers everywhere, I dedicate this to you – a brief escape from motherhood into the arms of your fantasy Colonel, whoever he may be.”

Lady Madeline Parker doesn’t want to marry the man who her parents have given her hand to, so she runs away the night before her wedding and finds work in a tavern, and finds love in the arms of a sailor (also running from his responsibilities) named Harland Sanders.

No, this is not a joke. For Mother’s Day, KFC put out a romance novel, complete with redhead in jeans, accessorized by a purse and a chicken drumstick, in the arms of a rather buff and sleeveless Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of KFC. As the e-book was free*, I picked it up, and figured it would be a light read where I would giggle at the tropes I often encounter in romance novels. Oh no.

Whoever wrote this did no research into whatever era they placed this in, given the mistakes they made in forms of address for peers, most of which can be found with a quick internet search, or a character calling another a “dish”, as well as a lot of little things that just read like nails on a chalkboard to me. The plot was trite and, really, nothing was done to make us really care about Madeline, or, dare I say it, Harland. While there may be eleven herbs and spices in the Colonel’s secret recipe, they were all lacking from this book and these characters.

Which brings me to the biggest issue I had with this book – Colonel Harland Sanders. KFC/YUM Brands stuck a disclaimer in the beginning that “characters are fictitious or used in a fictitious manner.” But this is nothing more than someone at (or hired by) KFC writing real person romantic fan fiction about the founder of the restaurant. Frankly, the real Colonel Sanders, and yes, he was a real, actual person, deserves better than to be reduced to this, a bland caricature of a man running away from his responsibilities to his restaurant empire. While the real Colonel Harland Sanders’ rank was more honorary as a member of the Kentucky Colonels (an honor he shares with persons such as Muhammad Ali, John Glenn, several former U.S. Presidents, and Betty White), he was an actual human being, not just an actor in a white wig, and reading about his romancing this fictional woman just put me off this book entirely. I kept reading in the hope it would get better, and sadly, it never did.

I have to give it 1 out of 5 pages.

*As of today, it’s now $0.99 on Amazon for the e-book, unless you have Kindle Unlimited.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: