Book Review

Book Review: Texas Cooking (Texas Hill Country #1) by Lisa Wingate

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 320
Author: Lisa Wingate
Publisher: Onyx
Release Date: September 2nd, 2003
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

No one is more surprised than Colleen Collins when she’s offered a job writing fluffy magazine articles about rural Texas cooking. But after only a few days in the charming little town of San Saline, the big-city reporter is falling for the local residents, and finding it impossible to resist the infuriating True McKittrick, a local boy-made-good whose mere presence makes her feel alive…and at home.

MADE ME SMILE.

I was out there searching for something light, could make me smile and just be a simple read. A friend recommended this and I wasn’t disappointed. Texas Cooking is nothing special, but it made me laugh, I was into the relationship and I just felt good after reading it.

Many of the remarks and antics in this book had me busting up. It really did feel like being in small town Texas. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the wide open spaces this setting brought on. It made me want to run to the countryside and see some true stars for the first time in awhile.

This romance was sweet natured and full of heart. Honestly, this easily read as a Hallmark movie. I loved Colleen and True’s interactions were cute. They both got to learn about each other and got some laughs and great kissing moments along the way. I love how it worked out and the conflict wasn’t over blown.

A very quick read and romance (took place over a week). I gratefully didn’t find it to be too insta-love because of the way it flowed into the story. The political/scandal happening where Colleen used to work felt out of place at times and kind of stuffed in there to add drama. I’m curious about the other books in this series though so I may check them out.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: mentions of losing a child (by drowning); racism

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Between You, Me, and the Honeybees by Amelia Diane Coombs

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Amelia Diane Coombs
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: June 22nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Perfect for fans of Jenn Bennett and Sarah Dessen, this swoon-worthy novel follows a teen girl during her California summer of beekeeping, secrets, and stolen kisses.

Josie Hazeldine has just graduated from high school, and she’s ready for a summer full of sunshine, beekeeping, and…lying to her mom.

Josie’s mom couldn’t be more proud of her daughter going to college, something she never got to do. But Josie wants to stay in her California hometown and take over the family business, Hazeldine Honey. So that college acceptance her mom is thrilled about? Yeah, Josie turned it down. But she’s going to come clean—just not yet.

The neighbor’s artsy, adorable grandson who’s in town for the summer makes Josie’s web of lies even more tangled. He’s into Josie and the feeling is very mutual, but he’s a Blumstein—the sworn enemy of the Hazeldines and their number one competition in the annual Honey Show at the end of July. As their secret fling goes on, Josie knows she’s getting in way too deep to leave him behind when summer’s over.

Can Josie keep the boy she can’t stop thinking about without the secrets she’s juggling crashing down around her?

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

IT WAS CUTE.

I feel like what I got most out of this was a lot of honeybee knowledge. Which I’m not complaining about at all because I really loved that aspect. I love when contemporaries have a new to me vibe and this one did with all of the apiary facts I learned.

Onto the romance side of things, it’s a quick/insta-ish romance. I didn’t find myself upset with that though (and usually I am). It was rooted in a summer style relationship and I liked how things flowed between Ezra and Joie. They were pretty dang cute and all of the honest and meaningful conversations between them was a really nice point.

Josie working through and with her anxiety hit home a lot for me. I loved this mental health rep and how it was portrayed. The addition of complex friendship was great too. While it made me irrationally angry, it went down exactly like I hoped. A lot of growth for Josie and committing to her passion and owning her truth by finally telling others. I love that she left people go and found her niche.

The story moved well. At times faster than I loved, and at times, slower than I loved. Yet I didn’t have a hard time picking this up to continue. I wanted to see where these characters were going and am grateful that they did indeed, go places! I love the pursuit of dreams with a long lasting summer romance to boot.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses and brief open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: anxiety, panic attacks, a loved one with Parkinson’s disease

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Book Review

Book Review: A Deal with the Elf King (Married to Magic #1) by Elisa Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 338 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Release Date: November 6th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Perfect for fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses and Uprooted, this stand-alone, fantasy romance about a human girl and her marriage to the Elf King is impossible to put down!

The elves come for two things: war and wives. In both cases, they come for death.

Three-thousand years ago, humans were hunted by powerful races with wild magic until the treaty was formed. Now, for centuries, the elves have taken a young woman from Luella’s village to be their Human Queen.

To be chosen is seen as a mark of death by the townsfolk. A mark nineteen-year-old Luella is grateful to have escaped as a girl. Instead, she’s dedicated her life to studying herbology and becoming the town’s only healer.

That is, until the Elf King unexpectedly arrives… for her.

Everything Luella had thought she’d known about her life, and herself, was a lie. Taken to a land filled with wild magic, Luella is forced to be the new queen to a cold yet blisteringly handsome Elf King. Once there, she learns about a dying world that only she can save.

The magical land of Midscape pulls on one corner of her heart, her home and people tug on another… but what will truly break her is a passion she never wanted.

A Deal with the Elf King is a complete, stand-alone novel, inspired by the tales of Hades and Persephone, as well as Beauty and the Beast, with a “happily ever after” ending. It’s perfect for fantasy romance fans looking for just the right amount of steam and their next slow-burn and swoon-worthy couple.

ROMANTIC.

This was pretty good! I enjoyed some aspects, but had some issues with others. Overall, I’m excited to see where this series goes. I love Elisa Kova’s work and was definitely excited for a new series from her.

I was smitten with Eldas. My brooding, dark king with a soft side. His character development went beautifully over the course of a shorter standalone. He was the gem between him and Luella. Because Luella, Luella annoyed me. Ugh. I liked her on and off throughout. Her naivety (read: stubbornness) about many things made wish she would catch on a touch quicker. Luella communicated well, but not at times she should have that came off as just an attempt to lengthen the story.

The story was great. I love elves and faeries. I am always here for a fantasy romance. I enjoyed the quick pace and that it didn’t feel too rushed. The romance was developed well and I definitely was shouting at my book by the time we got to the there’s only one bed scene. I would have really loved even more scenes with Eldas and Luella because they had great chemistry and banter that I couldn’t get enough of. This made the middle kind of drag and have some sub-plots that took too long to workout, but otherwise, a good read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a few low detailed love scenes
  • Violence: drug addiction, physical altercations, magic attacks, animal attacks

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Book Review

Book Review: A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander #6) by Diana Gabaldon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction Romance
Length: 993 pages
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Delta
Release Date: September 27th, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A Breath of Snow and Ashes continues the extraordinary story of 18th-century Scotsman Jamie Fraser and his 20th-century wife, Claire.

The year is 1772, and on the eve of the American Revolution, the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Men lie dead in the streets of Boston, and in the backwoods of North Carolina, isolated cabins burn in the forest.

With chaos brewing, the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown. But from his wife Jamie knows that three years hence the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the result will be independence — with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. And there is also the matter of a tiny clipping from The Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports Jamie’s death, along with his kin. For once, he hopes, his time-traveling family may be wrong about the future. 

HURTS SO GOOD.

That’s this series so far to me. Heart strings continually pulled, near-death moments, kidnappings, murders, the threat of war, oh my goodness, how do I even keep up? How do I even look away? The answer: YA DON’T. I have been swept up in another great Outlander installment and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love the slow pace and intricate story telling. The ability for this book to span hundreds of pages and an immense amount of information, yet keep me enthralled is no small feat. This series is a gem.

Jamie and Claire y’all. How I continue to love them more and more. Oh yes, I will say there romance is timeless. I can’t get enough of them fighting for each other, being together, working as one, and more. Same with Bri and Roger. Good heavens I’m hooked on them too, and now I NEED TO KNOW WHERE WE GO FROM HERE.

I don’t know where book seven will lead, but I’m here for the ride. This review is short because it feels impossible to cover so much and convey to y’all to read it (without spoilers at this point). It’s entrancing, and will have you completely wrapped up.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: a handful of scenes ranging from kissing to open-door love scenes (brief and extended)
  • Violence: see TW/CW below; physical altercations, guns, thievery
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: rape, sexual harassment, sexual assault, slavery, torture, kidnapping, arson, murder (including a pregnant woman), suicide attempt, suicide ideation [I know I have missed some; please research and take caution before reading this series]

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