Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Favorite Books I Read in 2014

Wow I can't believe 2014 is already over! This year has really just flown by for me. It was a good reading year. I started off with a lot (for me) of five star reviews. It made me think am I getting lax? Or are these books just that good? Well I think it was that there were a lot of great books that came out this year. So I think I will do a top 20 books that I have read. There were a lot of great ones so it was hard to choose, but I think I have a good selection. The follow are in no particular order, except the top two reads that will be at the end. This year there were two books that just really blew me away that stick out as over and above the rest. So here we go (click the title to go to my full review of the book):


Archer's Voice by Mia Sheridan. Man I loved this book. Archer is so sweet and wonderful and amazing and I loved him. Bree was just amazing with him and oh it was so good. The scene where Archer is out in the thunderstorm on the porch...oh if I hadn't loved him by then I would have after that. If you have read the book you know what I am talking about. He is pretty swoon worthy.



Love Hacked by Penny Reid. Penny has had an amazing book year. She is the only author to make my favorites list for more than one book! That is because she is that awesome. Seriously if you have not read her books yet you really should. Love Hacked is the story of Sandra and Alex and the first book of Penny's to be released this year. It was amazingly fun and goofy just like her prior books. Alex and Sandra became my new favorite couple of Penny's for a bit after reading this book. You should really check it out. Alex is this hot, kind of quiet tech guy who doesn't trust easily and I just loved him! Sandra is so funny with her odd habits (like making and wearing ridiculous occasion t-shirts). She was just great. Alex and Sandra together are hot and silly and everything you want (or at least everything I want)!



Joe 2, White Sheets by H.D. Gordon. I love H.D. Gordon. I have yet to read a book of hers I don't love. Joe made my list of top books for last year, and Joe 2 is making the list this year. H.D. Gordon has such a great way of describing things that makes reading her books really intense. I love it! Also these books don't really have a romance element which I enjoy. It seems to be hard to find so it is nice to once and a while not have that as part of the story. This is a great read and I can't wait for more stories about Joe!



Rowdy by Jay Crownover. Rowdy was an amazing read. I love all of the Marked Men, but Rowdy is one of my absolute favorites. I love love loved him! The great thing about this book is I fell in love with Salem first. Usually I don't connect with the girls in books like I did with her. I got her, we are tight. I loved both of them and loved them together. A great, great read by Jay Crownover.



Fourth Down by Kristen DeMuzio. Poppy and Ford are great together. Ford had a career ending football injury he hasn't really moved on from, and Poppy...well Poppy is just amazing. She is a caretaker for terminally ill patients. She is so sweet and kind and caring and just what Ford needs even if he doesn't realize it. They just work and this was a great read.



Neanderthal Marries Human by Penny Reid. This is a continuation of Janie and Quinn's story and man did it make me feel all the feels. This book seriously made me cry. For real. And I don't cry usually. Sure I might get a little teary eyed, but not like tears running down my face. This one made me tear up a few times, but one scene just really got to me. Even after a few days just thinking about that one scene, even now really, could make the tears start. It is amazing. Penny Reid just keeps getting better and better. Every book seems to be better than the last which is quite an accomplishment. They are also all different, but similar enough to know it is her work This was the second book of hers to come out this year and phew! It is funny and fun, touching and a little sad, ridiculous and really it just had everything. I was laughing out loud one moment, tearing up the next, and everything in between. Loved this book, love Penny Reid.



Until Nico by Aurora Rose Reynolds. Aurora was a new author for me and she is definitely one of my favorites now. Until Nico was my favorite I read of hers as I just can't resist a tattooed caveman that she writes. Nico is sweet and caring and just perfect for Sophie. He pushes her a little bit when she needs it, and supports her through anything that might happen. He is the perfect combination of sweet and kind and dominant when he needs to be. So hot. Such a good read.



Erased by Margaret Chatwin. Erased definitely surprised me by how good it was. The basic story is this seventeen year old kid who tries to kill himself, but doesn't succeed. He can't remember anything about his life prior to waking up in the hospital so he is left trying to figure out why he did it and who he is now vs who he was. He doesn't really like who he finds out he was, so he has a lot of changing and growing to do in the book. It sounds like just an okay read, but it is so well written you are just hooked from the first page. Really a great read.



All Lined Up by Cora Carmack. This was another surprisingly great read. I thought it would be good, but I absolutely devoured it. I started and didn't stop until I got to the last page. Dallas is tired of being the football coaches daughter. When she goes away to college she is excited to start anew where nobody knows her. Only problem? Her dad starts coaching her college football team. Then you add Carson to the mix, one of the football players, and the instant attraction between the two and it is a lot of fun. They try to be just friends and the tension, the will they give in and be more, was amazing. A great read.



Trapped by Jack Kilborn. Kilborn is another new to me author this year that I absolutely love. This story is intense and horrible and just beyond anything that I could think up for ways of torturing people. It was insane in a really amazing way. It is so good. You get to some scenes and they are scenes that if they were in a movie I would cringe and look away, but you can't because you are reading. Amazing in how horrifying it is.



Rebel by Skye Jordan. Really Rebel and Reckless are both great reads, but where Reckless just wrapped you up in all the love, Rebel was just plain hot. Rubi and Wes are just on fire in this book. Rubi doesn't want a relationship, but eventually Wes wins her over. He was amazing with her and helping her deal with her issues. Loved this book.



How to Knit a Love Song by Rachael Herron. Herron is yet another new to me author this year and I found her because her one books said if you love Penny Reid you will love this series. Well since I do indeed love Penny Reid I thought I would give her a try and I did love her books as well. I love all the knitting in these books, and the community it creates and this book was my favorite of the series. Abigail and Cade are just so cute together! Cade is so against having Abigail living on the property, but it was so much fun watching them fall for each other, but try not to. Another new favorite author!



Falling for Rain by Meadow Taylor. I loved how beautifully Falling for Rain was written. I was drawn in right from the start and with a different author, a different writing style, this book could have been very tedious. It is the story of Emily and Rain and Emily learning to deal with some things that had happened in the past. Emily learning to move on and work through some things. Rain was amazing with her even when she was being not so nice to him. Really a beautiful read.



Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover. Man, Colleen Hoover managed to write a book that I should have hated but she got me to love it. I hate love triangles, but this has one. I hate a lot of things that happen in this book, but it worked. I remember being halfway through the story and thinking there is no way this is going to end well. I just couldn't think of a way that it could end that wouldn't be terrible, and yet once I got to the end it was perfect just like the rest of the book. This is the story of Sydney and Ridge and their inevitable attraction to one another and how that all plays out. Unfortunately they have to try and not act on their attraction as they can't be together, but man it was a great read. I loved Ridge and Sydney and it was a bumpy ride to get to the end. Like I said I normally would have hated this story, but the way Colleen Hoover wrote it it just worked. Loved it.



Collide by Forever. Wow, Collide sucked me in right from the first page. I was so surprised by how great this book was. Shay and Avalon meet in some unusual circumstances and they eventually fall in love, but it is not all sunshine and roses for them. They have some obstacles to overcome and for most of the book you are wondering what is really going on. A really great read and I can't wait for more from this author.



For Nick by Taylor Dean. I thought For Nick would just be a cheesy romance, but it was really much more than that. I shouldn't have loved it, but I did. I finished and couldn't get the story out of my head. Zach needs a wife, Andie needs money so when Zach proposed they get fake married she eventually accepts. They are so great together. Just silly and goofy and so adorable! Of course they really fall in love, but there are still some bumps in the road for them. A really great read.



We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. This story was kind of stunning. Stunning how amazing it is, stunning what happens, stunning how beautifully it is written. I loved the main character and how she described things and I loved the writing style. I really loved this story.



To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I know this is a classic, but I only just read it for the first time this year. I was surprised by how good it was and how relevant it still is. A great read and no wonder so many people love it.

And now my top two reads from 2014:


Coming in at #2: The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand. I love Florand and how she crafts a story, love most of her works, love her style of writing, but The Chocolate Touch...phew. I think it is the hottest most sensual book I have ever read, and that is even before the main characters even kiss or do anything really! The beginning when Dom is picking out chocolates for Jamie....man was that hot. Like fan myself hot. I was melted into the floor. I...I just absolutely love Dom and Jamie. They are so perfect for each other and Dom is so adorable! He is this big, tough looking guy, but he is so fragile at the same time. Love love love him and Jamie. Amazing, amazing read and I will be re-reading it again and again. So hot and sweet and fun and touching and just so so amazing. I can't get enough of Dom and Jamie!



And my #1 read from 2014....Beauty and the Mustache byPenny Reid! This book seriously blew me away. I didn't think I was going to enjoy it as much as Penny's other books since it was more romantic, more serious, but somehow that made me love it even more. This was everything I thought I hated, but Penny made me want it so much. Drew....oh Drew. He is everything I never knew I wanted. He is a poet, something I usually do not like, but now I crave his poems. He is so romantic, again something I don't normally like, but man Drew...Drew is my favorite guy I have ever read. I love him so much more than anyone else that there is no comparison. There is only Drew. I wish I were Ashley so I could live forever by his side. Ashley is so sweet and kind and amazing herself and I loved her. She is a reader and loves her fictional worlds just as much as I do. And Ashley coupled with Drew...oh they killed me. I love them! I want more of them. I could read this again and again and again. It literally took me a month before I could form any coherent thoughts expressing how amazing this book is. Even now I don't feel like I can do it justice. I can't accurately express how much I loved this book. This book is definitely more serious, but it still has those lighter moments that Penny writes so well. There are some dark times, some moments that almost made me cry, and those knitting ladies? They get me every time. They make me tear up with how amazing they are with each other. Such a beautiful story, such an incredible read. I still don't know how Penny managed to pull off such an amazingly romantic story and make me love it so much, but she did. Now to try and wait patently for the Winston Brothers (Ashley's brothers) books...

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Midnight in Venice by Meadow Taylor


Midnight in Venice

Synopsis:

From the author of The Billionaire's Secrets and Falling for Rain, Midnight in Venice is a captivating new contemporary tale of romance and suspense set in the magical city of Venice, Italy

Readers met and fell in love with Olivia Moretti in Meadow Taylor's hugely popular holiday story Christmas in Venice, where Olivia is rescued by a gorgeous Italian cop, Alessandro Rossi, during an airport bomb scare. Now, as the new year begins, her joy at having landed her dream job in Venice's thriving art world is surpassed only by the realization that she and Alessandro are falling in love--and her surprise that he turns out to be not just the son of a tycoon, but a gifted pianist and former racecar driver who is equally at home in the city's bejewelled palazzos as patrolling its streets. Olivia can't believe that her life now includes masked balls, exquisite music, romantic trips to Paris--and true love. But all this is put in jeopardy when a business trip to New York City finds her accused of a crime she didn't commit--and not even Alessandro believes she's innocent. Can her new love uncover the truth and keep Olivia's Italian dream from becoming a nightmare?

A thrilling, passion-filled story set among the dazzling palaces, canals, and piazzas of one of the world's most beautiful cities, Midnight in Venice is perfect for fans of Danielle Steel, Nora Roberts, and lovers of contemporary romance everywhere. 

Review:

After reading Christmas In Venice and seeing it was the beginning for this book, Midnight in Venice, I've been meaning to read it. But I like my Christmas stories for Christmas so I held off a bit. 

Midnight in Venice was an interesting read, but not as amazing as I was hoping. I read and loved Falling For Rain by the same author so I was hoping for something that would be just as good. Unfortunately this was not it. It is an alright story, but it is easy to see who the bad guys are pretty quick and the whole thing is just kind of a clumsily put together mystery. It just didn't work as well as it could have. I don't know what happened but it was just an alright read. 

Olivia is living and working in Venice, a dream come true. She works in the art world with her cousin and everything is great for her. She did have that run in with the handsome cop Alessandro, and he did give her his card, but she doesn't know if that means he really wants her to call him. She was instantly attracted to him and thinks of him often, but doesn't have enough courage to actually seek him out. It was kind of odd how much she thought about him and the way it was written. The same for him. They both had an instant attraction, but it was written in a way that was just kind of strange. 

Alessandro was married to a woman who just disappeared one day in an apparent kidnapping. He loved his wife and until Olivia he hasn't really been interested in anyone else. Olivia is different. He wants to see more of her so when they happen to wait out the rain at the same cafe he doesn't hesitate to take a chance on her. They quickly start hanging out and grow to really care for each other. This was fine I guess, but I never really saw them fall in love or anything. It was just right from the first they were all I want this other person and I didn't really believe it. 

Then you add in some drama and someone using Olivia to try and do illegal things without her knowledge and it just turns into this kind of zany mystery that was also not really believable. Olivia and Alessandro are worried someone will come after her so he is trying to keep her safe. They have some odd occurrences, but they think nothing of these since they are in a different country at the time and very few people knew they were there. It was an alright read, everything that happened was entertaining, but it just wasn't amazing. I knew who the one bad guy was pretty quick and figured out a lot of the other details without much trouble. It was alright, but not really as exciting as it could have been. 

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Available on

Monday, December 29, 2014

All Broke Down (Rusk University #2) by Cora Carmack


All Broke Down: A Rusk University Novel

Synopsis:


In this second book in New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author Cora Carmack's New Adult, Texas-set Rusk University series, which began with All Lined Up, a young woman discovers that you can't only fight for what you believe in... sometimes you have to fight for what you love.

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she's probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He's in for a different kind of fighting. And though he's arrogant and infuriating, she can't help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it's trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He's met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn't think he's broken, and he definitely doesn't need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.


Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.

Review:

All Broke Down was another great read from Cora Carmack. I love all of her stories I have read thus far, and this one was no exception.

Dylan is this do-gooder trying to save the world. Whenever she sees something that is not right she tries so hard to fix it. She gets frustrated when she can't save everyone.

Silas is still stuck in the past. He has tried so hard to get away from where he grew up and that life, but the arrest of Levi last season really messed with his head. If someone like Levi can fall so far, someone who is rich and has everything, why won't Silas? Why would Silas make it? He is quick to anger and uses his fists to blow off steam. He doesn't always think through his actions, but then afterwards he feels horrible about them and like he will never change. It doesn't help that his friends and teammates make him feel worse so he lashes out and it is just all around bad.

When Dylan and Silas meet in lock up one night they are both attracted to the other. They seem like they are complete opposites, but they really are very similar in a lot of ways. They both have pasts they want to forget, they both have things they need and want to work on, they both are perfect for each other! Dylan is the first person Silas is willing to let in, to let see parts of himself. He wants Dylan to help fix him, help him change and not be the person he keeps being. Dylan was really great with Silas. She just somehow gets him, gets him to think before he fights, gets him to be a better person.

Silas also helps Dylan with her issues. When she meets Silas she had just broken up with her boyfriend of 4 years, but she is not really that upset about it. If anything she is relieved he broke up with her which she doesn't fully understand. She is not really sure who she is or what she really wants as she has been trying for so long to be the perfect daughter and be everything her parents want from her. With this break up she is afraid that Silas is just another mistake, another rash decision she is making and that causes issues at first. They can't seem to stay away from each other though so they don't really label what they are doing. As the story progresses you see them get closer and it was amazing.

The end was a bit heartbreaking. I really just felt terrible for Silas. He is trying so hard and he is not really confident in a lot of things and it was just...I was so sad for him. Everything does work out in the end, but getting there was fun and hot and a bit sad. It was fun watching Silas and Dylan grown and come together as a couple. I really enjoyed this story. This was a great read.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2

Available on

Sunday, December 28, 2014

He Found Me (He Found Me #1) by Whitney Barbetti


He Found Me: (He Found Me #1)

Synopsis:

When I was seventeen, I disappeared. I walked out the door of my apartment with a backpack and never looked back. I left the life of Cora Mitchell behind, seeking freedom from my real-life nightmare. But my freedom came with a cost. I lived a fictitious life for the next six years, never letting anyone close enough to see underneath the facade that was Andra Walker. I was content with my simple little life. Until I met Julian. And the moment I started allowing myself to open up, allowing someone to see through the superficial, was the very same moment the Monster from my past would return to find me.

Review:

He Found Me was an alright story, but the writing style was not for me. It was too descriptive and just not a style of writing that I enjoy.

Cora was in a bad situation when she ran away and disappeared. She started a new life under a new identity, Andra, with the help of an older friend. She is now living a unassuming life, living and working on a farm in Colorado away far away from Cora's life. She doesn't really let anyone get close to her, definitely doesn't date anyone since she would have to lie about her past and that is a big problem for her. She feels bad lying, and she did have a bad past, but it seems like she still needs to figure out how to deal with that and try and move on. Just because you assume a new identity doesn't mean you can't have relationships. She is still working on moving on and really living her life, but she is happy enough where she is.

Julian is a mystery writing and he is renting out a cabin on the ranch for a month to work on his newest book. As soon as he arrives there is an attraction between him and Andra. They can't seem to stay away from each other. Even though Andra doesn't date she can't help but agree to go out with Julian.

This is really a love story with a little bit of the Monster might have found her again thrown in here and there. It is not so much about the Monster or what happened with him, although that is there and has to be since Andra hasn't dealt fully with everything that happened. The first few chapters where Cora is escaping I really enjoyed. I thought oh this is going to be good, but then it just went a bit downhill for me. The style of writing didn't work for me. I didn't really see the attraction between the main characters and their conversations and such were just a bit off. There was too much description and something just bugged me about it all. After a while I started skimming the text as it just wasn't holding my attention. It had the potential to be a really great story, but by the end I just felt like the Monster when he came up was just added to add drama. It didn't feel real, like it didn't feel like a part of the story but rather something that was just added all of a sudden. Maybe if we had more of the Monster storyline it would have flowed better, but I don't know. Really the way it was written made me think that Six is not on the up and up. It made me think that maybe Andra shouldn't trust Six, which I am not sure is what the author was going for. I suppose I would have to read the next book and see what happens, but it doesn't seem likely that the guy who keeps saving her would be working with the Monster so...an interesting storyline but unfortunately the execution didn't work for me. 

Rating: ★ ★ 

Available on 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Maybe Not: A Novella by Colleen Hoover


Maybe Not: A Novella

Synopsis:

Colleen Hoover, the New York Times bestselling author of Maybe Someday brilliantly brings to life the story of the wonderfully hilarious and charismatic Warren in a new novella, Maybe Not.

When Warren has the opportunity to live with a female roommate, he instantly agrees. It could be an exciting change.

Or maybe not.

Especially when that roommate is the cold and seemingly calculating Bridgette. Tensions run high and tempers flare as the two can hardly stand to be in the same room together. But Warren has a theory about Bridgette: anyone who can hate with that much passion should also have the capability to love with that much passion. And he wants to be the one to test this theory.

Will Bridgette find it in herself to warm her heart to Warren and finally learn to love?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Review:

Maybe Not was a great little read. It is long enough that the story feels complete and it was just a lot of fun. Warren and Bridgette are so strange, yet so great together. They don't really seem like they should work, but they do.

I read Maybe Someday awhile ago and I didn't remember who Warren or Bridgette were right away. This story starts shortly before that one and you get to see a little bit of that story woven into this one.  Once I read a few pages I remembered them and it was nice to see their whole story. Bridgette has not had the best childhood and she can come off as very mean and angry, but that just draws Warren to her. He is attracted to her, but her horrible attitude gets to him. He slowly starts to see how Bridgette is  just using that as a shield and he learns to read her and what she wants/needs. She doesn't want to get close to him, yet she does so she tries to drive him away. It doesn't work. From the start they don't have a normal relationship, but it works for them. Warren is great with Bridgette and Bridgette does open up a bit to him. She is still rough around the edges, but Warren loves that and it was just a really great read.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2

Available on

Friday, December 26, 2014

Justified (Alfha Law Firm #1) by Aurora Rose Reynolds


Justified (Alfha Law Firm #1)


Synopsis:

After the first sighting, he’s fascinated.

After the first smile, he’s infatuated.

By the first kiss, he’s obsessed. 

Nolan sees Chloe through a window of a bakery in downtown Manhattan. At first sight, something about her calls to a piece of him he thought was lost. Without thinking, he begins watching her, and when the moment presents itself, he strikes, claiming Chloe for himself. For a man who is used to getting what he wants Nolan wont let anyone or anything stand in his way.

Review:

*Note: I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

First off let me just say that if you do not like alpha males you should not read this book. If you don't like guys who are obsessed and super possessive and just want to hide their woman away and not let her go anywhere without him, this is not for you. I for one would never want that in a guy I am actually seeing, but love reading it when Aurora Rose Reynolds writes them. Justified is the story of Nolan and Chloe and phew is it hot! I feel like Nolan is even more of a control freak alpha than her other characters have been and it was great. This is a short, quick read, but I loved every minute of it.

When Nolan sees Chloe for the first time there is something about her that draws him to her. He sees how innocent she is, how unexperienced, and he loves it. He has to have her. As he says, "She is mine. She just didn't know it." He is a little crazy about her, a little obsessed and he realizes that his feelings are a little extreme, but he just doesn't care. She seems to be crazy about him as well and she doesn't mind his super possessive nature. She likes it.

This book really starts after they have been together for a while. Nolan is completely in love with Chloe, and she with him. Odd things start happening and Chloe keeps getting hurt or almost getting hurt and it turns Nolan into even more of a caveman. I feel like even though it was kind of easy to figure out what is going on and why it was still a fun read. I loved it and can't wait for more in the Alfha Law Firm series!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2

Available on

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Letters at Christmas by Amber Lin


Letters at Christmas (Entangled Scandalous)

Synopsis:

London, 1815

Three London Seasons. Three Christmases come and gone. Jilted Sidony Harbeck is done waiting for the inconstant Captain Hale Martin to return. Despite their whispered adolescent promises, he never wrote her a single letter. Now the scoundrel has returned, professing his love and a thoughtless bet to woo her, but she only wants him to suffer.


After three years at sea, Hale finally has the means to marry his best friend's sister and the love of his life. But he only has three days to convince her of his devotion because he stupidly proposes a wager - he'll convince Sidony to marry him by Christmas or he'll leave her alone forever. When Hale sets out to seduce her, the stakes are raised by a passion so intense that Sidony must risk her heart no matter the odds. 

Review:

Happy Holidays! For those of you who celebrate Merry Christmas! Or I hope you had a Happy Hanukkah, Kwanza, or whatever you might celebrate this time of year. Today we have my last holiday read. I'm a little sad now that it is over, but then again I always like the lead up to Christmas day better than Christmas day itself. All the anticipation and fun of the holidays that I love so much. Now onto my last book!

Letters at Christmas was not quite what I expected. I love old timey books as nothing really happens between the main characters until the end. Well, this is a more modern old timey story I suppose. There is lots of sexy time in this book! Much more than I expected for the time period it is set in. I did enjoy the story a lot.

Hale left Sidony three years ago to go make his fortune so he will be able to marry her. He promises to write every day, but she never hears from him once in all that time. When he finally comes back, Sidony is angry and doesn't want to let him back into her heart, even though she wants to at the same time. She doesn't want to be hurt again.

This is the story of Hale winning Sidony back over. It is a short, quick read and kind of fun. I enjoyed the characters and the story was just fun. Sidony and Hale are great together and everything works out in the end, just in time for Christmas! I love the last little bits of holiday magic for the season. 

Rating: ★ ★ ★1/2

Available on

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Baby for Christmas (Once Upon A Christmas) by Lisa Plumley


Once Upon A Christmas

Synopsis:

KahlĂșa, coffee, and sympathy—it's amazing the trouble they can get a girl into. Chloe Carmichal was only trying to help her best pal (and secret crush), Nick, drown his sorrows. She never expected they'd end up having a hot-and-heavy tryst that Nick's hangover would make him forget, but that Chloe will always remember...since she'll have his baby as a Christmas memento...

Review:

Just a note - this is the third story that comes in the Lisa Plumley Christmas collection Once Upon A Christmas. These stories are each long enough that I am going to write a review for each of them individually, even though you have to purchase the set to read them. Now on to story 3, A Baby for Christmas.

A Baby for Christmas was almost my favorite in the set. If I just ignore the whole not telling the baby daddy he is going to be a dad then it was my favorite story in this collection.

Chloe has been in love with her best friend, Nick, forever. She finally thinks that he is returning the affections when he sleeps with her after too much Kahlua and coffee after a girl broke it off with him. Unfortunately he doesn't remember being with Chloe and when he asks about it upset that he might have taken advantage of her she lies and says nothing happened. That would be fine, but then she finds out she is pregnant with his baby. What does Chloe do then? Makes up a fake boyfriend who got her pregnant and is in the marines so he is not around. I hate that. I hate girls who don't tell guys they are going to have their baby for whatever reason. Her reasoning? She knows Nick would want to do the right things and get married and such, but she doesn't want to just out of obligation. She wants to marry someone who loves her and whatnot.

Then the rest of the book is Chloe pregnant and Nick falling in love with her but trying to stay away because of the boyfriend who impregnated her. If I don't think about the fact that she is keeping this huge secret from him then I really enjoyed the story. Chloe was cute and cares for so many animals and she is a bit clumsy and just fun. Nick is this guy who doesn't want a family or any commitments. His whole family has ended up settling down and giving up their dreams of inventing something amazing and he doesn't want that to happen to him. He doesn't want to give up his goal of making something great. He thinks if he has a serious girlfriend, gets married, has kids, he would have to give up his dreams just like everyone else. I liked him though. He was so sweet with Chloe and was there for her throughout her pregnancy and was just a great guy. You could see that he keeps trying to remember something, something he feels is important, but he just can't seem to grasp onto what it is. Really it was a sweet, fun read about two best friends who fall in love. I did enjoy the story a lot. I just wish she would have been honest with Nick from the start. Oh well, it all works out in the end and Nick is amazing with her. A great read.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Available on

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Honeymoon (Once Upon A Christmas) by Lisa Plumley


Once Upon A Christmas

Synopsis:

Some women would consider it the perfect Christmas gift: an all-expenses-paid Vegas honeymoon. But Stacy Ames isn't some women. Actually, she's supposed to be posing as her cousin Janie. Too bad Stacy's faux hubby turns out to be her infuriatingly sexy ex, Dylan. Fortunately, mistletoe and free champagne have a way of turning "too bad" into very, very good...

Review:

Just a note - this is the second story that comes in the Lisa Plumley Christmas collection Once Upon A Christmas. These stories are each long enough that I am going to write a review for each of them individually, even though you have to purchase the set to read them. Now on to story 2, Christmas Honeymoon.

I enjoyed Christmas Honeymoon, but not as much as the first story, Mistletoe and Holly. The whole concept, Stacey has to pretend to be her just married friend so that it doesn't cause family drama, was not my favorite. I don't know why they couple didn't just tell the aunt they had a honeymoon already paid for that is nonrefundable and maybe they can use the vegas trip at another time or something. I guess the family is easy to insult or something, so I just had to go with it.

Stacy was a lot of fun. She is kind of clumsy and just I found her quite humorous. When Dylan shows up to help her pull of the rouse she is not very happy. She had dated Dylan when she was newly divorced and then he broke it off breaking her heart. For his part he thought she wasn't ready for more and was trying to protect himself. Unfortunately that didn't work out for him and he regrets it every day. He shows up to try and win Stacy back. He wants forever with her and he has been miserable without her.

Watching these two work everything out was fun. With Stacy being clumsy and not trusting Dylan, and Dylan trying to be super romantic but being misinterpreted there were some funny moments. They are also pretty hot together so it was a good read. I do wish there was a bit more Christmas fun, but all in all it was a good read.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Available on

Monday, December 22, 2014

Mistletoe in Manhattan by Talli Roland


Mistletoe in Manhattan: A Christmas Story

Synopsis:

As Little Missington's first Christmas baby in fifty years and the daughter of 'Christmas When You Like It' party-planners, Holly West has been surrounded by the holiday spirit since birth. Trouble is, she's not exactly filled with festive cheer. In fact, Holly can't wait to ditch the tinsel and Santa suits for champagne and celebs, and become a party-planner to the stars. 

When British film star Dean Layton hires her parents' company to throw his holiday bash in Manhattan, Holly jumps at the chance to help, confident she can handle a little Christmas in exchange for access to Dean's exclusive world. 

But New York and Dean's over-the-top demands are more than Holly bargained for. Can Holly deck the halls and make it a party to be proud of, or will this Christmas be one she'll never forget . . . even if she wants to?

Review:

Mistletoe in Manhattan is a different type of Christmas story. Instead of being a romance where two people fall in love and live happily ever after in this story we learn that Christmas is all about the family, though **slight spoilers** there is a bit of a love interest that doesn't really go anywhere. It is a bit unsatisfying as I would have like it to not be there, or maybe have a follow up book or something. Oh well, it was still a fun holiday read.

Holly works for her family's Christmas party planning business. She want to break away a bit and do more parties, not just Christmas parties. She is getting tired of all the holiday things all the time. When a British film star wants to have a British Christmas party last minute in New York he hires Holly to handle it for him. She flies from her small hometown to Manhattan to plan the party that will hopefully help her family's business grow and expand across the pond.

Once Holly arrives in New York things don't go exactly as she planned. There is a lady who is not too thrilled to have Holly planning the party who pretty much is useless since she wants to see Holly fail. There are the extras that are added after she already planned most of the party that make it so she can't catch her original flight out which would have had her home on Christmas Eve. There is just a lot that Holly didn't realize, the way these people do business and run their lives is not like what she is used to. Really it makes me glad I don't have to deal with famous people.

Through all of this Holly has the help of the friendly bartender at her hotel bar. He helps her figure out where to get everything she needs and helps her explore New York a bit as well. He also helps Holly realize that if she can spend Christmas with her family she should. She shouldn't be one of those people who puts work first.

Overall it was a good read, but the slight romantic interest which didn't really do much left me wanting more, or less. Still I enjoyed the story. It had just enough holiday fun for me.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Available on

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mistletoe and Holly (Once Upon A Christmas) by Lisa Plumley


Once Upon A Christmas

Synopsis:

Accountant Holly Aldridge scrupulously plans everything in her life—until her boyfriend gets spontaneous by dumping her right before Thanksgiving. Still, Holly's sure he'll reconsider, given a little time...and a reason to be jealous. That reason, all six-feet-plus of him, is her new roommate, Sam McKenzie. If Sam has his way, Holly will have a sizzling new romance by Christmastime...

Review:

Just a note - this story comes in the Lisa Plumley Christmas collection Once Upon A Christmas. The stories are each long enough that I am going to write a review for each of them individually, even though you have to purchase the set to read them. First up Mistletoe and Holly.

Mistletoe and Holly was a fun read. Holly is this very structured person. She has her life planned out and she wants things to fit nicely into their boxes. When her boyfriend dumps her right before Thanksgiving, well she just don't accept that. He is supposed to be perfect for her. They don't have a passionate relationship or anything, they really seem like they just co exist, but her mom approves of him so she needs to do whatever she can to win him back.

Sam is off work for the holidays from his teaching job. He has come home to work with at his family's business until it is time for classes to start again. When he needs a place to stay Sam's cousin sets him up with Holly. Sam is not so hot on the idea until he sees her, then it is love at first sight. He was fun to read. Fun to see how he tries to convince straight laces by the books nothing spontaneous Holly to trust him. Her ex had said that she wasn't spontaneous so she is trying to live a little and do some crazy things. She is attracted to Sam and likes him, but she is adamant about winning her ex back. The farther the story goes on the more you are left to wonder why in the world Holly is trying to hard. She has a great guy who claims to love her, but she wants to get the dud back who is just kind of boring.

Of course everything works out in the end. This was a great holiday read and I really enjoyed this story. Even though Holly can be frustrating at times, it was still a fun read.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Available on

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Kissing Santa by Aithne Jarretta


Kissing Santa

Synopsis:

Lily Johnson comes home for the Christmas holidays. There's also the potential reunion with an old flame. The storm of the century hits the little community where Lily grew up.

Christopher Crin is well known for his holiday gift giving. He even bears the nickname Cringle. This year he has a special gift to give.

Will Lily accept?

Review:

Kissing Santa is a very short holiday read. I enjoyed the story, and I would definitely read a prequel or something to see how Lily and Christopher first got together and what happened between them.

Lily is home for Christmas when a storm hits. There is a tradition of the firefighters delivering Christmas presents to all the kids as Santa on Christmas Eve, with Christopher heading the gift giving. With the weather Lily and the kids are not sure Santa will still make it, but Christopher is not willing to give up. Not only do the kids need him, he needs to see Lily before she leaves again. It is a cute, really quick read.

Rating: ★ ★ ★1/2

Available on

Friday, December 19, 2014

Blog Tour! Inspire by Cora Carmack - Review & Giveaway


 

Synopsis:

Kalliope lives with one purpose.

To inspire.

As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real.

Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal.

Her presence may inspire genius.

But it breeds madness, too.


Review:

Inspire is another great read by Cora Carmack. Yes, it is a paranormal romance, something a little different for her, but it is great. I don't know that I have ever read a book about a Muse, though it did make me think of Xanadu which I love! This is not cheesy like that movie. This is just a sweet, hot, up and down love story.

Kalli is a muse. She inspires artists to create and it is kind of wears on her. She is immortal, every day at midnight she resets, so she can never change anything. If she gets hurt it is fixed at midnight. Changes her hair color? It gets rest at midnight. Her and how her powers work was very interesting. I don't know that I have ever read anything quite like this story. It was really a cool idea.

So Kalli. She dates the artists she is helping as that is easier for her to use her powers, but she doesn't always break things off quickly enough. She gets attached sometimes and she just wants a normal life. She wants to be loved and have kids and just be human really, but she can't. She has to use her powers or bad things happen. The way she has this power inside her, this thing that she needs to release every so often of it will make her go crazy, was really interesting. She has to be careful how she uses her powers as it can be very addicting. 

When Kalli first meets Wilder she thinks how he is nothing like the men she usually goes after. He just looks like a suit, not an artist type person. She really likes him and he is obviously intrigued by her. When they keep running into each other it becomes harder and harder for Kalli to keep her distance from him. She wants that normal life too. She wants to be loved for who she is not what she does. She really likes Wilder and they are pretty hot together. There is lots of sexy time in this book and it is great. 

Wilder has some issues he is working through as well. There is just something about Kalli that draws him to her. There is this connection so he doesn't give up when she is all hot and cold with him. It is a really interesting read. Though the entire time I was reading I was just like how in the world will this end well? It doesn't seem like there is any way for them to work things out and really be together, so it was one of those I am loving it but dreading the end. 

The end is a bit of a cliffhanger. Things aren't really resolved, but I felt like it stopped in a good place. I want to read more, see how Kalli and Wilder get their happily ever after, but it wasn't one that made me angry it stopped you know? It was more like no!! Okay, well i guess I will just have to wait for the next chapter of their story and see how this all works out. It worked. A really great read. I loved Kalli and her interesting abilities and background and Wilder was amazing. I can't wait for the next book!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Available on


About Cora Carmack: 


Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.      





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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Home for Christmas by Stephanie Wilson


Home for Christmas

Synopsis:

Savannah Wentworth, a Seattle socialite, has sold everything she owns to balance the accounts of her family's historic business, including her ancestral home. She finds herself at a crossroads with Christmas just around the corner. 

Austin Douglass, a self-made technology mogul, is getting ready to offer an IPO for his company that is gaining worldwide attention. He needs to attract investors, and the old-monied Seattle families are interested. Growing up on a wheat farm in Eastern Washington has little prepared him for the rigors of entertaining the Seattle elite. Through his P.R. person, he meets someone who is. 


Savannah is a traditionalist, Austin is a minimalist. They are polar opposites. She is losing her family estate, he is gaining one. As the holidays brighten up the city and snow falls in the mountains around them; as the time-honored Christmas traditions are celebrated; can these two find a path that will lead them ... Home for Christmas?

Review:

Home for Christmas was a fun holiday read. It has all that Christmas magic that I love so much. Nothing like the holidays to get two people to come together and fall in love. Love it.

Savannah is a little down on her luck. She has had to sell of most of her family's belongings and her family's business and now she has about a month before she needs to decide what she is going to do. She does not have a lot of money left, she has to move out of the family's house that she loves so much, and she has to decide on one of two not so exciting job offers. She is really in a bind and she doesn't have many people she can count on. She doesn't have any family, but does have an awesome best friend.

Austin is the owner of a tech company he built and unbeknownst to Savannah when they first meet, the buyer of her family home. He has never really had a strong connection to anyone or anyplace. He grew up on a farm in Eastern Washington, but it wasn't a warm fuzzy home he lived in. He has never really gotten close to anyone since.

Savannah is so sad to lose the house. She is very attached to her family's possessions and she hates that she is losing all of them. When Austin needs someone to make her childhood house into a home again in very little time, Savannah is offered the job. She loves doing things like this and she is from old money like the investors Austin is trying to woo. She knows what they will be looking for in an investment. She is cautious, but happy to have one last Christmas in her old home, one last time decorating and hosting parties in her old house. Since she is so attached to the house she gets a little annoyed with Austin at times since he doesn't really care about the house like she does. He wasn't even planning on living there, just using it to host parties and such to try and get investors. They can rub each other the wrong way at times, but they still are attracted to each other. Neither of them really wants a relationship, but this is Christmastime so they cannot help it!

There are some misconceptions on both sides that hinder the magic from bringing them together as quickly as it could. Savannah inadvertently hurts Austin, but then does nothing to fix the situation. She would just need to explain that this is not really the way it is and they could be living happily ever after. On Savannah's part she is kind of stupid and listens to the mean girls who obviously are jealous of her and just making stuff up. I don't know why she never talked to Austin about the things she thought she knew, but in the end it all works out.

The one thing that kind of annoyed me in this book? All the references to places in Seattle that were not really needed. They read kind of like product placement, but to show that the author really does know the city. I just don't like when places and references are thrown in just to show the book is really set wherever it is. It is fine if the characters go places or reference things to set the location, but it has to feel like it fits into the story, not that it is like a product placement in a movie. So that brought my rating down a bit. It wasn't terrible, but it did bug me a little bit. Overall though it was a good read.

Rating: ★ ★ ★1/2

Available on 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cover Reveal: Asa (Marked Men #6) by Jay Crownover

Are you all excited for Jay Crownover's next book Asa? Yes? I know I am. Man I love her books and I cannot wait to read more of Asa! It is going to be so good! It is not quite time, but today we do get the first looks at his cover. Man, I cannot wait! Without further ado the Asa cover!


Available for pre-order on

Add it to your to-read list on Goodreads

About Asa:

Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one stunning arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best. 



Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.



A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.



Get to know all the Marked Men (click on the title for my review):

Rule available on Available on Amazon * Amazon.de * Barnes & Noble * Goodreads

Jet available on Amazon * Amazon.de * Barnes & Noble * Goodreads





And don't miss Jay at 3pm EST over at the Between The Covers page on Facebook today! Come chat with her!



Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She also introduced the dark and sexy world of The Point that started with BETTER WHEN HE's BAD and is currently working on her newest series The Saint of Denver. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.
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