Review: White Christmas Wedding by Celeste Winters

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: October 1, 2019

Publisher: Howard Books/Atria

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Returning home to her family’s farm in the Midwest for her Christmas wedding was never Beth Dean’s plan. But it’s the only way her beloved grandmother will be able to attend. And even her New York City friends will find the family’s old barn elegant. But when her fiancé’s family want her to sign a pre-nup, her hopes for her future marriage may be crumbling even as the guests arrive. 

Beth’s childhood friend, Jen Fitzgerald, has always dreamed of starting a wedding planning business. And when Beth decides to have her wedding back home, it’s the perfect chance for Jen to show everyone what she can do. But when the caterer cancels and a blizzard comes in through the barn door, Jen wonders if she’s bit off more than she can chew—and how she’s going to get through the wedding while seeing her old flame, Jared, for the first time in years. 

Meanwhile, Beth’s friend Destiny is trying to put on a brave face while she wonders why she never left home to follow her dreams like Beth. The groom’s parents are brought face to face with the tensions in their own marriage as they argue over their son’s. And Sylvia, a native New Yorker, is wondering how long she can survive in a town that doesn’t even have a Starbucks, while unexpected sparks fly with Winston, a gruff local tree surgeon with a heart of gold. But when a surprise snowstorm blankets the area, keeping the guests together on the farm, everyone learns to put aside their differences and enjoy their unexpected Christmas blessings.

Review:

If a holiday book publishes today that means it’s not too early to be reading them, right?! What’s great about this one is that while it’s set right before Christmas Day it’s not actually super holiday heavy so you can easily read this a bit early and still enjoy it like I did. While the weather and the small town setting gave me cozy holiday vibes, the story itself focuses more on the wedding itself and the relationships between the various characters making it a great read for any time of the year.

There’s quite a bit going on here as there is a pretty large ensemble cast of characters and I adore books like that. Weddings seem to always bring out the drama and craziness and there was some of that at play here. Jen is trying to plan her first wedding and nothing seems to be going right, Beth is the bride and she’s having some future in law issues, Destiny is totally bogged down by motherhood and Sophie is visiting from New York and isn’t really sure what to think of a midwestern farm. Like I said, lots going on to keep things interesting and when you throw in some more secondary characters that add romance to make it a pretty entertaining read.

This was a fast and effortless read for me, the pages just flew by as I got totally sucked into the drama and lives of the characters. The only problem with reading this one before the holiday season starts is that I wish I had saved it to curl up with next to a fire and a pretty Christmas tree, it was sweet and cozy and totally lighthearted, totally what I want when I pick up this type of book.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Springtime at Hope Cottage by Annie Rains

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: March 5, 2019

Publisher: Forever Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

When opposites attract…

As an editor at a major New York City magazine, Josie Kellum is always on the go…until an injury sidelines her in the small town of Sweetwater Springs. Luckily, her new physical therapist is easy going and easy on the eyes. When their sessions start to heat up, in more ways than one, Josie is intrigued. But she has a city and career she loves waiting for her. So why does the thought of leaving him suddenly feel a lot like leaving home? 

Tucker Locklear is just starting to move on after his wife’s death. While he can’t deny his attraction to the gorgeous, vivacious Josie, he won’t risk the pain of losing someone again. The sooner he gets Josie back on her feet and back to her real life, the safer he’ll be. But in Sweetwater Springs, love has a way of mending even the most damaged heart.

Review:

Well, my first trip to Sweetwater Springs was a huge success, what an adorable book! This is book two and read great for me on it’s own, but you can count on me following this series from here on out because it was beyond sweet. This had it all, an idyllic small town, quirky residents, a sexy hero AND heroine and a few adorable kids were magic ingredients for me here, I adored this book!

Nothing tugs at my heartstrings more than a hunky widower and Tuck was seriously swoon worthy. He’s a small town guy and Josie is a big city girl visiting her friend for what’s supposed to be a quick vacation. I really loved how authentically their relationship played out, it felt so realistic. These were two grown adults who approached a potential relationship with maturity and caution and while their attraction to each other was apparent early on they didn’t rush things which was nice. Their story was tender and a little sad as they both had past issues they had to work through, but overall this one was full of hope and joy. Steam level was super low, this was much more romantic than sexy and I’m fine with that! The next book in the series is set during Christmas and I’ll be savoring it come December.

Springtime at Hope Cottage in three words: Tender, Delightful and Cute

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Spotlight: Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger

43178166

Goodreads

Amazon

Release date: September 24, 2019

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Genre: YA

Blurb: 

Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love, loss, and letting go

Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six, always six, Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her.

Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It’s causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he can’t otherwise say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naima and everything’s changed—just not in the way he, or she, expects.

Candace Ganger’s Six Goodbyes We Never Said is no love story. If you ask Naima, it’s not even a like story. But it is a story about love and fear and how sometimes you need a little help to be brave enough to say goodbye.

Review: Coming Home for Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne

43162898._SY475_

Amazon

Goodreads

Release date: September 24, 2019

Publisher: HQN

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb: 

Hearts are lighter and wishes burn a little brighter at Christmas…

Elizabeth Hamilton has been lost. Trapped in a tangle of postpartum depression and grief after the death of her beloved parents, she couldn’t quite see the way back to her husband and their two beautiful kids…until a car accident stole away her memories and changed her life. And when she finally remembered the sound of little Cassie’s laugh, the baby powder smell of Bridger and the feel of her husband’s hand in hers, Elizabeth worried that they’d moved on without her. That she’d missed too much. That perhaps she wasn’t the right mother for her kids or wife for Luke, no matter how much she loved them.

But now, seven years later, Luke finds her in a nearby town and brings Elizabeth back home to the family she loves, just in time for Christmas. And being reunited with Luke and her children is better than anything Elizabeth could have imagined. As they all trim the tree and bake cookies, making new holiday memories, Elizabeth and Luke are drawn ever closer. Can the hurt of the past seven years be healed over the course of one Christmas season and bring the Hamiltons the gift of a new beginning?

Review: 

Yep it’s me again reading another Christmas book! It’s almost October now and the holiday season starts for me November first, so it’s not really that early for me. I realize I’m insane but that’s my logic and it works for me. Anyway, this is the tenth book in the Haven Point series and I’m a longtime fan. Although I didn’t start at the beginning, I think I jumped in at like book four or five because you can easily read these on their own. Each book centers around a different couple but is set in the same charming, small town and if Haven Point was a real place I would be living there in a heartbeat, it’s so quaint! All of that to say, don’t be intimidated by the fact that it’s so deep into the series because you can easily start here and you should because it’s my favorite book of them all so far!

This follows Elizabeth and Luke and in previous books there’s been a mystery about her sudden disappearance seven years ago. She up and abandoned not only Luke, but also her young children and finally getting to hear about what lead up to her leaving was both fascinating and heartbreaking. This one was so much more emotional than previous books, it was still sweet and cute but there was so much depth. It tackled some really tough and sometimes heavy issues with grace, I totally teared up a few times. This is the ultimate holiday read, it’s full of compassion and kindness and is all about the true meaning of Christmas. This series is the equivalent of watching a sweet and tender Hallmark movie, I always finish one of these books feeling warm, happy and totally content.

Highly recommended by me, especially if you like sweet, clean romances with tons of heart and that will restore your own faith in humanity by the end. I’ll be reading these books as long as Thayne writes them and can’t wait to see what happens next!

Coming Home for Christmas in three words: Heartwarming, Gentle and Sweet

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: An Alaskan Christmas by Jennifer Snow

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: September 24, 2019

Publisher: HQN

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

If there’s one gift Erika Sheraton does notwant for Christmas, it’s a vacation. Ordered to take time off, the workaholic surgeon reluctantly trades in her scrubs for a ski suit and heads to Wild River, Alaska. Her friend Cassie owns a tour company that offers adventures to fit every visitor. But nothing compares to the adrenaline rush Erika feels on being reunited with Cassie’s brother, Reed Reynolds.

Gone is the buttoned-up girl Reed remembers. His sister’s best friend has blossomed into a strong, skilled, confident woman. She’s exactly what his search-and-rescue team needs—and everything he didn’t know he craved. The gulf between his life in Wild River and her big-city career is wide. But it’s no match for a desire powerful enough to melt two stubborn hearts… 

Review:

If you’re looking for a romance with some serious heat and fire this holiday season look no further because this one was 🔥🔥🔥 I was a little bit fooled by the cutesy cover and didn’t expect it to be quiet so steamy but it was, just wanted to start by giving a heads up on that one right away!

Besides a sizzling romance this one had some serious depth as well, there was a lot going on between Erika and her best friend Cassie, they had a lot to work through in order to repair the friendship that was once so important to them both. There was such a fantastic storyline involving family and friendship and a romance that was both sweet and endearing but also so sexy. Erika and Reed were both extremely likable characters and their chemistry was off the charts. I absolutely loved everything about this one, the setting, the plot the relationships between the characters, it was all amazing. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book either, so pumped it’s the beginning of a new series. I’m also super excited to see that the author has extensive backlist that I can dive into as well because this was SO good.

An Alaskan Christmas in three words: Spicy, Saucy and Sweet

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

43162894

Goodreads

Amazon

Release date: September 24, 2019

Publisher: HQN

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction

Blurb:
This funny, charming and heartwarming new Christmas novel is USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan at her festive best!

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding. First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret of their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.

Rosie’s older sister, Katie, is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself! If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiancé but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived—how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget.

Review:

Yes, it’s only September and I’m already reading Christmas books and I’m totally ok with that! I do want to point out that while this is set right before and during Christmas, it’s not overly holiday heavy if that makes sense. You can easily read it right now like I did or wait until closer to the holiday season, honestly it would be perfect at any time of year!

Sarah Morgan is one of my go to authors, but I have to say that she has a magic touch when it comes to writing seasonal books. This had such a gorgeous setting, it made me want to book a trip to Colorado for Christmas myself, it was beautifully described and also gave me so many warm and cozy feelings. You hear from all three women in the family, mom Maggie, and daughters Katie and Rosie and I just adored all three of them for various reasons. I connected to Maggie as a wife and mom and both daughters were relatable for me as well, although Katie was prickly and it took me some time to warm up to her. This doesn’t fit solely under a romance umbrella or a straight up WF novel either because it has both romance between all the main characters and it also explores the dynamics between mother and daughter and sisters.

I absolutely loved this one, it was charming and warm, a little emotional and overall just a totally satisfying read for me. I highly recommend adding this one to your holiday reading list, it was wonderful l and if it doesn’t  make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside I don’t’ know what will!

A Wedding in December in three words: Charming, Cozy and Delightful

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

 

Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: November 5, 2019

Publisher: Atria

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Be careful who you let in. 

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am. 

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them. 

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone. 

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

Review:

Sometimes the more points of view a mystery has, the better for me, especially if it’s executed well, and friends, it’s done SO well here. There are three distinct viewpoints and each was equally gripping for me, short chapters and multiple POV are my jam. Then throw in an old unsolved mystery, a stifling and creepy atmosphere and the hint of cult like vibes? My cold, black heart is swooning! 🖤🖤🖤

My biggest complaint with thrillers in general lately has been how boring and predictable they’ve all seemed and I was so impressed that this was completely unpredictable for me. There were quite a few intricate details that I didn’t see coming and the whole thing was just mapped out really well. This had serious gothic vibes, I kept being reminded of old school V. C. Andrews books but without the crazy, over the top plot lines, just the awesome settings and edgy vibes. While this was most definitely dark it would be great for readers that don’t want something super disturbing, it’s still addictive and intriguing but not nightmare inducing. I have to note that Jewell is an incredibly gifted writer, the whole book is seamless and was such an effortless read. Highly recommended for thriller fans, if you’re already a LJ fan you’ll be happy!

The Family Upstairs in three words: Atmospheric, Gripping and Tense

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: You Have to Believe Me by Sunday Tomassetti

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: September 19, 2019

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

She has every reason to hate her ex …

Every day on her way home from work, Dove Damiani drives past her ex-house, where her ex-husband lives with her ex-dog and her ex-yoga instructor, next to her ex-neighbors and the ex-life she once affectionately described as “frighteningly perfect.”

To outsiders, Dove is bitter and resentful. The divorce left her alone, with nothing but a set of car keys and 50% of a paltry savings account. 

…but it doesn’t mean she wants him dead.

When the lifeless body of her former husband is discovered in the birch grove outside Dove’s apartment on what would have been their fifth wedding anniversary, investigators waste no time making Dove a person of interest. She swears she didn’t do it. She’s never so much as killed a spider in her thirty years. 

But as evidence mounts against her, Dove finds herself questioning her memory, her sanity, and even—her innocence. 

Review:

Have you guys heard of Minka Kent? I discovered her books a couple of years ago and really like her style. She writes fast paced and addictive thrillers that are always pretty entertaining. I say all of this because the author of this is actually MK writing under a pseudonym, so if you’re a fan of her books don’t miss this one!

If you’re looking for your next weekend binge read this would be a good choice, it’s super fast and there was always a lot going on to keep my attention. I never knew quite who to trust and the whole thing was one big guessing game right up until the end. It was also pretty twisty and kind of read like a lifetime movie, a little over the top and dramatic but also fun, you can’t really stop reading because it just sucks you in, even if it’s a little out there.

A quick side note, I’ve still been struggling with thrillers and this one held my attention so that’s saying a lot for me at the moment! I can’t tell you how many thrillers I’ve set down in the last couple of months and this one made the cut 🙌🏻

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy.

Review: Love on Lexington Avenue by Lauren Layne

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: September 17, 2019

Publisher: Gallery

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

There are no good men left in New York City. At least that’s Claire Hayes’s conviction after finding out her late husband was not the man she thought he was. Determined to rid her home of anything that reminds her of her cheating husband, Claire sets out to redesign her boring, beige Upper East Side brownstone and make it something all her own. But what starts out as a simple renovation becomes a lot more complicated when she meets her bad-tempered and rough-around-the-edges contractor Scott Turner.

Scott bluntly makes it known to Claire that he only took on her house for a change of pace from the corporate offices and swanky hotels he’s been building lately, and he doesn’t hesitate to add that he has no patience for a pampered, damaged princess with a penchant for pink. But when long workdays turn into even longer nights, their mutual wariness morphs into something more complicated—a grudging respect, and maybe even attraction… 

Review:

I am obsessed with this series you guys, it’s so much fun! This is the second in a series, the first one is Passion on Park Avenue and there’s a third book coming out in early 2020. You could read this on it’s own but don’t, both books are such fun, fast and entertaining reads you don’t wanna miss out!

One of the best things about an LL book is her trademark humor and snark and this one does not disappoint in that area whatsoever. Claire and Scott are both smart and witty and their banter is amazing, there were so many funny one liners that made me legit laugh out loud. They also have fantastic chemistry and while there are a few slightly racy parts, there isn’t a ton of steam, the perfect balance for me in terms of flirty fun and sex. I really liked both Claire and Scott as characters, they’re the type of leads you’re rooting for the whole time and when they finally get their acts together I was thrilled. Recommended for fans of any rom coms, super cute and light and highly entertaining.

Love on Lexington Avenue in three words: Sparkling, Adorable and Charming

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

#Fallintomybacklist

Hey guys, I hope everyone is having a good weekend! I wanted to check in and tell you all about something fun I have planned with my friend Sarah at ReallyIntoThis We’re hosting a backlist reading challenge over on Instagram and we wanted to make sure we invited y’all to join in too. Tomorrow we’re having a stack challenge where we want to see a pile of older books that you would like to read before the end of the year. Then, from October through December we will be focusing mainly on backlist books. We would love to have anyone who wants to join us by using #fallintomybacklist anytime you post about an older book! We have some exciting stuff planned and both of us are really looking forward to reading some books we’ve had on our shelves for far too long. You can find us both on Instagram me and Sarah.

Since I’m going to be so focused on the challenge I’m not sure I’ll be posting quite as much on here for the next few months. I’ll be tracking my reading on Goodreads and Instagram still but probably won’t be posting as much here, I will be back though but just wanted to give everyone a heads up if things seem quiet.