Review: Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

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Release date: December 10, 2019

Publisher: Montlake

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together. 

Review:

You know what the best thing about CoHo is for me? You’re just never quite sure what kind of book she’s going to put out next and I love that she keeps us on our toes. If you like her earlier books this will definitely make you happy, it’s equal parts angsty and sweet, there is a lot of emotion and tenderness to this bittersweet story and I remember thinking it was classic CoHo several times while reading it.

As much as romance plays a huge role here it also closely and sharply examines the relationship between a mother and her daughter. No one explores relationships quite like the author does and her portrayal of Morgan and Clara’s relationship gave me all the feelings. With the mix of family drama and super emotional romance you get a little of everything, and it’s all done so incredibly well. There is so much more that I would love to say but I don’t want to spoil anything, this is one I would recommend going into blind, it’s best to let this one unfold on its own. If you’re already a CoHo fan you’ll love this and if you’re new to her books then grab this next week and then be happy she has an extensive backlist for you to read.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

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Release date: December 3, 2019

Publisher: Putnam

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Blurb:

In this charming, feel-good debut novel, a cynical assistant at a screenwriting agency must reenact the meet-cute scenes from classic romantic comedy movies in order to help her #1 client get his scriptwriting mojo back–but can a real-life meet-cute be in store for someone who doesn’t believe in happily ever after?

After seven years as an assistant, 29-year-old Evie Summers is ready to finally get the promotion she deserves. But now the TV and film agency she’s been running behind the scenes is in trouble, and Evie will lose her job unless she can convince the agency’s biggest and most arrogant client, Ezra Chester, to finish writing the script for a Hollywood romantic comedy. 

The catch? Ezra is suffering from writer’s block–and he’ll only put pen to paper if singleton Evie can prove to him that you can fall in love like they do in the movies. With the future of the agency in jeopardy, Evie embarks on a mission to meet a man the way Sally met Harry or Hugh Grant met Julia Roberts. 

But in the course of testing out the meet-cute scenes from classic romantic comedies IRL, not only will Evie encounter one humiliating situation after another, but she’ll have to confront the romantic past that soured her on love. In a novel as hilarious as it is heartwarming, debut author Rachel Winters proves that sometimes real life is better than the movies–and that the best kind of meet-cutes happen when you least expect them. 

Review:

I’ve been reading so much romance lately, something about this time of year makes me want to read nothing but cozy little stories and I’ve really been looking forward to getting started on this one. While it was cute and pretty fun, it also took me quite awhile to warm up to it and I kind of wish it was 100 pages shorter.

Let’s start with what I liked, because there was plenty. I loved the premise, I die for a meet cute and this had a bunch, albeit most were huge fails but that’s what made this book unique. Each chapter opened like a movie or a play setting the scene and I though that was a nice touch. There were two options for a love interest for Evie and it’s always cool to be kept on my toes in a romance, I like that whole who will she end up with thing. One of the options, Ben had a quirky and adorable daughter, Anette and she added something light and fun to an already light and fun read. I can’t resist a cute kid in a book or real life. So really, lots to like here but some stuff that made me not love it like I wanted to as well.

My complaints are kinda nit picky, but I found the beginning to be drawn out and boring. After I hit the halfway point I was finally invested but I just feel like that’s a long time to start to care about what’s gonna happen to the characters. I mentioned before that I felt like it could’ve been shorter and I really think that maybe would’ve helped my boredom in the beginning. Minor stuff, but it bugged me enough to share it so 🤷‍♀️ Also this has zero steam, if you’re looking for something spicy this isn’t it. It’s more cutesy and sweet and often a little over the top and ridiculous, but definitely fun AND funny.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Guest Post: Dreams Really Do Come True by Barbara Hinson

Good morning everyone, I have a special treat today! Author Barbara Hinske has a fabulous guest post about her novella and how it’s about to premiere on the Hallmark Channel on November 27. I adore Christmas movies and can’t wait to watch this, here is some more information on the movie and below is more information about the book and the post from the author.

Blurb:

Verna Lind expects Christmas of 1952 to be the best holiday she’s had since the war ended. But as she’s leaving the bank, a frigid wind off Lake Erie catches her hard-earned Christmas club savings, whisking the bills into the busy streets of downtown Cleveland and devastating her plans. Strangers come to her aid, though no one anticipates the power of their chance encounter or the seeds of happiness Verna’s lost money will sow. 

From Barbara Hinske, best-selling author of the Rosemont series, comes this heartwarming Christmas tale celebrating the generosity of the human spirit and the irresistible pull of love — an instant holiday classic for admirers of It’s a Wonderful Life and The Gift of the Magi. 

Dreams Really do Come True

 

The Christmas Club – my Christmas novella – is one of the Hallmark Channel’s 2019 Christmas movies! If that sounds like an author’s dream come true, it is!

 

I’m a women’s fiction author who also writes mystery/thriller/suspense novels – all of them with a touch of romance. I planned to publish an anthology of Christmas novellas with a group of other similar authors. It seemed like a smart marketing opportunity and I set to work. What would I write about?

 

A homily from a sermon I’d heard thirty years earlier had made a big impression on me at the time and had stuck with me all these years later. The point of the pastor’s story was to do kind things in nice ways. We all like to be recognized when we do something kind for someone else. I certainly like a pat on the back! But sometimes the recipient of our generosity feels demeaned – or is made to feel “less than” – by acknowledging our gift. The pastor told the story of a woman whose money blows out of her hands. A young man races off to chase after it, returning to her with the money. She gratefully acknowledges his efforts at finding it. What he doesn’t tell her is that the money was long gone; he’d restored it to her from his own wallet. She isn’t made to feel like a charity case.

 

I expanded on this idea by placing characters at Christmas (in 1952) and having the lost money be Christmas Club savings. If anyone has saved all year long in a Christmas Club account at the bank, they know how precious that money is and how devastating it would be to lose it. In my story, however, that lost money carries blessings with it all around.

 

As it turned out, I was the only author who actually wrote their novella. I published it as a stand-alone work in October of 2016 and the rest, as they say, is history. The Christmas Club was greeted with enthusiastic reviews – many of them opining that it would make a great Hallmark movie and that they would re-read the story every Christmas.

 

Crown Media purchased the screen rights and Julie Sherman Wolfe made a lovely screenplay out of it. She changed the setting from 1952 to current day and added a twist that I wished I’d thought of. In my humble opinion, I think both the book and the movie are holiday classics and should be on everyone’s “to do” list for the holiday – now and in the years to come.

 

My goal in writing The Christmas Club was to uplift, encourage, and entertain. I’m more than pleased with the pleasure and happiness it’s bringing into the world.

Review: First Blood by Angela Marsons @bookouture @WriteAngie

Release date: November 14, 2019

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

In the darkness of a cold December morning, Detective Kim Stone steps through the doors of Halesowen Police Station.  She’s about to meet her team for the first time.  The victim of her next case is about to meet his killer…


When the body of a young man is found beheaded and staked to the ground in a secluded area of the Clent Hills, Kim and her new squad rush to the crime scene.

Searching the victim’s home, Kim discovers a little girl’s bedroom and a hidden laptop.  Why is his sister relieved to hear he’s dead – and where is the rest of his family?  

As Kim begins to unearth the dark secrets at the heart of the case, D.C. Stacey Wood finds a disturbing resemblance to the recent murder of Lester Jackson.  But that’s not all Stacey finds …

She’s convinced there is a link between the victims and a women’s shelter run by Marianne Forbes, Lester’s niece. A child of the care system herself, Kim knows all too well what it means to be vulnerable. Could Marianne be the key to cracking this case?

With the killer about to strike again, Kim is in deep water with a rookie squad.  Inexperienced Stacey is showing signs of brilliance but struggling to hold her nerve and, while D.S. Bryant is reliable and calm, D.S. Dawson is a liability. With his home life in pieces, his volatile behaviour is already fracturing her fragile new team.

Can Kim bring Dawson in line and pull her crew together in time to catch the killer before another life is taken? This time, one of her own could be in terrible danger…

Discover where it all began for Kim and her team. An absolutely heart-stopping mystery thriller that will keep you glued to the pages, reading late into the night.  Perfect for Kim Stone fans and new readers to the million-copy bestselling series.


A detective hiding dark secrets, Kim Stone will stop at nothing to protect the innocent.

Review:

You know what I never realized that I needed in my life? A prequel to the Kim Stone series and after having read First Blood it was exactly what I was craving and I didn’t even know it. Good thing Angela Marsons is far more clever than I am and anticipated what this series needed well ahead of all of her fans, I swear she’s such a keen and crafty author, bravo once again 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

This follows the team, as we know them, but way back when they worked their first case together. Yep, you get to see Kim meet everyone for the first time; Bryant, Stacey and Dawson all meet each other and the boss for the first time and their first case was quite the head scratcher. It was just as dark, disturbing and deranged as the rest of the series and of course it kept me guessing, and second guessing myself the whole way through. Marsons never pulls any punches and she sure didn’t here either.

There was something almost sweet and tender about seeing these well loved characters during a vulnerable time as they all start work together for the first time. Of course going back to see Dawson was incredibly bittersweet knowing what I now know, I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten so teary eyed reading a thriller before, but there you have it. Seeing the very beginnings of their various relationships forming was eye opening and really fun, if you’ve ever wondered what Bryant thought of Kim after a first impression or how Stacey found her niche within the team this will answer all of those burning questions and then some.

Longtime fans of the series are going to be just as thrilled about this prequel as I am, it was incredible and has every element that I’ve come to know, love and appreciate in a Kim Stoke book. Hurry and go grab your copy now so I have someone to chat with please, and if you’ve been ignoring my constant urging for you to read this series for years now go ahead and listen to me already 😝

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Raven Lane by Amber Cowie

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Release date: November 12, 2019

Publisher: Lake Union

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

The truth can bring out the worst in the best of friends.

Esme and Benedict Werner have an idyllic life in a tight-knit community until an accident in their cul-de-sac ends in the tragic sudden death of one of their dearest neighbors. After vindicating eyewitness accounts morph into contradictory memories, suspicion, and unaccountable accusations, Benedict is arrested. Esme’s life, too, is changed forever.

As the neighborhood largely turns against her and her family, Esme has time to think about her past and what to do next. Then her fellow residents start looking deeper, questioning one another, and themselves, about hidden lies and betrayals.

Esme has more than her share of secrets. And the consequences of what happened on that fateful late-summer evening on Raven Lane are far from over. When the mask of civility slips, can friends and neighbors recover from seeing the monstrous truths beneath? 

Review:

I absolutely love a juicy domestic drama and Cowie delivers with Raven Lane. This is full of the type of characters I love to hate and so many of them are hiding dark and dangerous secrets, I know I wouldn’t want any of them as my neighbors! But they were really entertaining to read about and all were rather complex and interesting, but not altogether likable. If you like a quiet style of suspense this is the book for you, it’s character driven and scandalous and even a little sexy at times, but this combo worked incredibly well for me and I raced through this one.

Another aspect that I enjoyed was the book within a book, the man that died is an author and every once in a while there’s an excerpt from his book. The book he was writing was a little weird but intriguing, and between that, the present day timeline and Esme’s slow unraveling of her own past, I was hooked. This was edgier than Rapid Falls and very different, but I adore Cowie’s writing style and that didn’t change. I also applaud authors who push their own boundaries and try something new from book to book and the shift was great for me, I’m now a firm fan of the author.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

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Release date: November 5, 2019

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

The first rule of this book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife. 

Review:

It’s not often that an author comes up with a truly unique premise (especially in a contemporary romance) but this one felt so new and fresh. The idea of a bunch of super manly dudes reading Regency romance novels cracks me up, but there was so much more to this one than just humor. It seems like most of the time authors follow the same tropes, and that’s fine, I love enemies to lovers, second chance romance, etc as well, but reading about a couple on the verge of a divorce was also another aspect that I really liked. I found myself relating to Thea and Gavin way more than usual simply because I’m also married with kids and know how hard the balance between being a mom AND a wife can be, it’s hard sometimes to step out of the mommy role and into the wife one and I loved that this was explored here. It felt really authentic in the way that it showed the not so pretty side to marriage and I appreciated that.

While you do hear from Thea often the bulk of this is good from Gavin’s perspective and I’m so here for that. Throw in the male members of the book club as well and there’s plenty of alpha male hotness and hilarity at play. This was also heartfelt and raw and at times sexy and spicy. Basically this had a little bit of everything and I loved it, so excited it’s the first in a series, bring on book two!

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

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Release date: October 15, 2019

Publisher: Dial

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

Tis the season for change and Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is embracing it, returning from the States to live in the charming village of Letherby and working with her best friend, Suze, in the gift shop of Suze’s stately home. Life is good, especially now that Becky takes time every day for mindfulness . . . which actually means listening to a meditation tape while hunting down online bargains. 

But Becky still adores the traditions of Christmas: Her parents host, carols play on repeat, her mother pretends she made the Christmas pudding, and the neighbors come ’round for sherry in their terrible holiday sweaters. Things are looking cheerier than ever, until Becky’s parents announce they’re moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch—unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocados—and ask Becky if she’ll host this year. What could possibly go wrong? 

Her sister demands a vegan turkey, her husband  insists that he just wants aftershave—again, and little Minnie demands a very specific picnic hamper: Surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old-boyfriend-turned-rock-star and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear. But as the countdown to Christmas begins and her big-hearted plans take an unexpected turn toward disaster, Becky starts to wonder if chaos will ensue, or if she’ll manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas after all.

Review:

A new Becky Bloomwood novel is always cause for celebration for me, set it during the holidays and I’m even more excited and this one did not disappoint! I love that it’s easy to jump in and out of this series if you want, or if you’re like me you follow each book, but even if it’s been years since you’ve read a Becky book it’s like checking in with an old friend you haven’t seen for awhile but you pick up exactly where you left off, the ultimate in a comfort read for me.

It’s not a BB book if there isn’t chaos and mayhem and seeing as this is set amid the holiday rush you can imagine the mishaps that are possible. Becky never fails to make me laugh out loud and this was no exception, she’s so over the top and silly that you can’t stop yourself from liking her, or at the very least laughing at her. These books don’t take themselves seriously at all, they’re pure fun and entertainment and I always finish with a smile on my face. Recommended when you want something light, silly and hilarious.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Poison Garden by A. J. Banner

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Release date: October 22, 2019

Publisher: Lake Union

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Elise Watters seems to have it all—a blissful marriage, a gorgeous Victorian home surrounded by lush gardens, and a dream job running her late mother’s herbal boutique.

But on the eve of her first wedding anniversary, Elise makes a shocking discovery that turns her life upside down and casts doubt on everything she thought she knew—about her marriage, her friends, and even herself. As she treads into dangerous territory, Elise is forced to wonder: Is her whole future at stake? Or is paranoia getting the best of her?

If she is to believe what she sees, Elise has every reason to fear for her life… 

Review:

Talk about a one sitting, binge worthy read! Not only is this on the shorter side making it super easy to breeze through, it’s also incredibly pacey and engaging making it super hard to put down. Throw in a healthy dose of paranoia and a whole heap of secrets and this is one fun read, perfect for this time of year.

While this was definitely full of intrigue and suspense it was on the lighter side of the suspense world, nothing too dark or disturbing but still really juicy and entertaining. The drama was high here and at times a bit over the top, but I love that style and found it added to the story for me. I’ve been a fan of Banner’s books for awhile now and this one was similar in terms of style to The Twilight Wife for me so definitely grab this if you liked that one!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

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Release date: October 22, 2019

Publisher: Gallery

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

As an adventurous send-off to her childhood, eighteen-year-old Tate Jones travels with her grandmother from their small town in Northern California to London. But the vacation of a lifetime is wonderfully derailed by the appearance of two charming Vermont farmers: grandfather Luther and his handsome grandson Sam.

Sam and Tate fall hard and fast. For two glorious weeks, the couple share their hopes, dreams, and secrets. Sam admits he suspects his grandfather is dying and that this could be the last trip they take together, and Tate reveals that she is the hidden daughter of one of the biggest film stars in the world—a secret she’s never told anyone before.

But when Tate is exposed by a crush of cameras and reporters, she knows she’s been betrayed by the one person she thought she could trust. She is forced to decide whether she will return to her quiet life or embrace being in the public eye. So when Sam reappears in her world more than a decade later, can Tate forgive the past and rekindle the passion they shared on their magical trip abroad? And does she even want to? 

Review:
Before I get into my personal opinion on this one I want to start by saying that this didn’t feel like a typical CL rom com. I’ve seen quite a few not so great reviews of this and I can’t help but think that it’s partly because peoples expectations for this one weren’t met based on the authors previous books. I haven’t read every single one of CL’s books but I’ve read most of them and usually they crack me up, make me swoon and I always find my next book boyfriend. This one is different, but it was different in a good way for me. It’s not really funny, it’s deeper and it felt more mature to me than their previous books, think more angst and emotion and less hijinks and laughs. I always appreciate when an author changes things up a bit, but just a heads up that this isn’t as light as their typical rom com.
I was talking with my friend Jamie @beauty_andthebook_ and I think she nailed what made this one a standout for me. This begins when Tate is just eighteen and Sam is a couple of years older and instead of a brief prologue that barely scratches the surface you get multiple chapters from this time period so you really get to know and understand what happened in their past before you flash forward fourteen years later. It provides a significant backstory and really allows the reader to experience all of the first love feelings right alongside Tate and really strengthened my connection with her. To me, great depth of character is just as important to me as an engaging storyline and CL nailed the characterization here.
A second chance romance, a Hollywood movie set and a supporting cast of characters that added flavor and spice to a sometimes dramatic story made up the most perfect combination for me! Again, this one felt more soulful and mature than the usual CL book, but if you want a heartfelt romance with a strong plot grab this one.
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Faker by Sarah Smith

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Release date: October 8, 2019

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Emmie Echavarre is a professional faker. She has to be to survive as one of the few female employees at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed predominantly by gruff, burly men. From nine to five, Monday through Friday, she’s tough as nails–the complete opposite of her easy-going real self. 

One thing she doesn’t have to fake? Her disdain for coworker Tate Rasmussen. Tate has been hostile to her since the day they met. Emmie’s friendly greetings and repeated attempts to get to know him failed to garner anything more than scowls and terse one-word answers. Too bad she can’t stop staring at his Thor-like biceps…

When Emmie and Tate are forced to work together on a charity construction project, things get…heated. Emmie’s beginning to see that beneath Tate’s chiseled exterior lies a soft heart, but it will take more than a few kind words to erase the past and convince her that what they have is real. 

Review:

Can we all agree the cover for Faker is the cutest thing ever? Of course that’s what initially caught my eye, but despite the adorable cover the inside is equally cute, but it’s also much more than just a pretty cover. It’s also sweet and charming but it has plenty of depth, and while I wouldn’t necessarily call it serious, it does have its moments of introspection and it added something powerful to the story.

I love a good old enemies to lovers trope and this delivered! Emmie and Tate are coworkers who have never gotten along and even before they start dating their chemistry is off the charts and comes through in their bickering. Their sexual tension just builds throughout the book and the payoff was so worth it! This definitely had some steam and to balance out the sexiness were plenty of moments between these two as they shared parts of their background and histories with each other. Tate is a total introvert, he’s incredibly private and while Emmie seems more outgoing than him, she’s guarded as well. I just loved these two together and how they brought out the best in each other, it didn’t hurt that Tate pulled something seriously romantic moves in order to win Emmie over and he won me over in the end too!

Super impressive debut and one that I can definitely recommend, an easy and fast romance read that I loved spending a few hours with.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.