Book Review

Book Review: Lake Mistletoe: A Holly, Jolly, and Steamy Christmas Tale by Amber Kelly

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 224 pages
Author: Amber Kelly
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: November 29th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Life in the fast lane is what I’ve been working toward for the last six years. My career was all planned out running one of the hottest hotels in Miami’s South Beach. That was until our playboy owner broke a few rules, and my perfect opportunity crumbled underneath my feet.

So here I am, headed to Lake Mistletoe, a quaint little valley town in Idaho of all places. My grandmother, and namesake, left her Inn to me, and I am now sentenced to the task of getting it prepared to sell at the end of this year’s holiday season. My memories of this Christmas oasis have long since faded, but I’m determined to use this experience to further my career and get back into the hospitality game.

When Keller Harris, Lake Mistletoe’s resident craftsman, and unofficial handyman, offers to help me with the neverending list of repairs and upgrades, it’s the perfect opportunity for me to get hands-on experience. He’s talented, driven, and sexy as sin, but he’s also a know-it-all and completely unimpressed by my business sense. I can learn a lot from him but his stubborn self can also learn a lot from me.

As walls start to fall, literally and figuratively, I begin to realize that success comes in many forms and passion can be found in unexpected places. Will I be able to turn this season into a stepping stone to an exciting new career in Belize?

Or will I discover that everything I ever wanted was tucked away in the Rocky Mountains?

IT WAS OKAY.

This didn’t really do anything for me. I struggle with holiday reads having a balance between steamy and hallmark. Why can’t I have something in the middle, ya know? This felt like it was trying to push more steam than the actual romance itself and left a lot to be desired for me.

There was too much focus on very random details of Willa’s day to day. Really small details that I was tired of reading about. I didn’t need to know such breakdowns that caused me to start skimming faster and faster to get to actual dialogue and momentum. Steam was thrown in without much lead-up and that felt off/random to me. I wasn’t connected to either of them by the time things started happening.

Christmas/Holiday-wise, this is alive and well in that department. I do love a small town romance and this provided well in that regard. I loved the names for the town’s hotels and all the fun things that were part of the spirit there.

I wish this was a better balance of the two sides. Oh well, another holiday romance that leaves me wanting.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Holiday Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: multiple open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a loved one

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Book Review

Book Review: That Fine Line by Cindy Steel

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: Unknown pages
Author: Cindy Steel
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: April 21st, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

All I wanted was a quiet summer on my family’s ranch in Idaho…

I didn’t think that was too much to ask. With my fiancé in California, I was back home for three months to plan my wedding. I had colors to pick, cows to milk, and a wedding dress to squeeze into.

Which was why I didn’t need anybody messing with me.

Especially not the guy who had dedicated his whole life to making mine a joke. The guy who filled my high school locker with frogs and my hot car with cans of tuna. I mean…I always got him back. But not this summer. Things were different now. I was engaged. I had grown up. I would NOT fall victim to Cade’s pranks, teasing, or his manly charms.

If only my dad hadn’t hired the moron to cowboy for him this summer.

Now my childhood enemy is living on our ranch and seems to think we have a score to settle.

And all bets are off. 

ABSOLUTELY ADORED.

Ohhhhh my gosh this book was precious.

I loved the main characters. Kelsey exhibited a lot of growth throughout the novel. Even if I wanted to shake her a few times, she did have to come around on her own to what was happening in her life. I liked how fun Kelsey became and how she remembered her roots and what [and who] she loved. Cade was so dang sweet. My my was he a swoon worthy lead. An attractive baseball player turned cowboy? Yes please.

The only frustrating thing about this book was how long the fiance timeline played out. I was hoping it was going to fizzle (because it was clearly heading in that direction) quickly so there would be more Cade and Kelsey. I would have loved some more stellar kissing scenes and heat between them.

All of the farm life stuff was great! I feel like I learned a lot at the same time as I was enjoying the romance. Cade and Kelsey also played a lot of pranks on each other. I’ve read a handful of “prank war” books and it can be good or bad. I actually found this to be on the positive side. They were truly pranks that were ridiculous, but humorous. I didn’t feel a negative/mean energy to them and that helped the enjoyability of the moment.

Such a good, quick read about rekindling a childhood love and finding out where you want your path to go. The ending was incredibly sweet and I thought really wrapped up exactly where the romance needed to go.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: manipulative/gaslighting significant other, intense body shaming, restriction of food and unsafe dieting

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: October 2021

Biiiiig fantasy mood this month y’all. Lots of good reads!

Favorite books of the month: Royally Rearranged, my rereads (The Love Hypothesis and The Simple Wid), Dial A for Aunties, Pawn/Knight, As Good As Dead

Least favorite: Crave and The Friend Zone

  • Heartbreak for Hire by Sonia Hartl
  • Royally Rearranged by Emma St. Clair
  • [Reread] The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
  • [ARC] The Righteous (The Beautiful #3) by Renee Ahdieh
  • Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart #1) by Stephanie Garber
  • The Trouble With Hating You (The Trouble With Hating You #1) by Sajni Patel
  • [Novella] Sunreach (Skyward #2.1) by Brandon Sanderson & Janci Patterson
  • The Bronzed Beasts (The Gilded Wolves #3) by Roshani Chokshi
  • Crave (Crave #1) by Tracy Wolff
  • The Friend Zone (End of the Line #1) by Sariah Wilson
  • The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time #1) by Robert Jordan
  • A Little Bit Witchy (Riddler’s Edge #1) by A.A. Albright
  • The Nabob’s Daughter by Jess Heileman
  • Witchy See, Witchy Do (Riddler’s Edge #2) by A.A. Albright
  • White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1) by JLA
  • The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
  • [Novella] Memento (The Illuminae Files #0.5) by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
  • The Gilded Cage (The Prison Healer #2) by Lynette Noni
  • Lucky Witches (Riddler’s Edge #3) by A.A. Albright
  • [ARC] Bound by Firelight (Wickery #2) by Dana Swift
  • [ARC] The Elle Project by Summer Dowell
  • Blackveil (Green Rider #4) by Kristen Britain
  • Dial A For Aunties (Aunties #1) by Jesse Q. Sutanto
  • Pawn (Fae Games #1) by Karen Lynch
  • Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements #2) by JLA
  • Gild (The Plated Prisoner #1) by Raven Kennedy
  • Knight (Fae Games #2) by Karen Lynch
  • As Good As Dead (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #3) by Holly Jackson
  • Neverseen (Keeper of the Lost Cities #4) by Shannon Messenger
  • [Reread] The Simple Wild (Wild #1) by K.A. Tucker
  • Shiver Me Witches (Riddler’s Edge #4) by A.A. Albright
  • Glint (The Plated Prisoner #2) by Raven Kennedy
  • Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliot
  • Kingdom of the Cursed (Kingdom of the Wicked #2) by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements #3) by JLA

How was your reading month? What was your favorite read?

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Book Review

Book Review: The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Ali Hazelwood
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: September 14th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

ABSOLUTELY ADORED.

You might have seen that this book has A LOT OF HYPE.

THE HYPE IS WORTH IT.

I feel like I should just end my review there.

But, I’ll dive in a little bit deeper. The grump and sunshine trope was perfect. Adam and Olive were off the charts in banter and forced proximity moments where you know they’re both feeling it. I couldn’t get enough of each interaction they had. Those coffee dates were EVERYTHING. Not to mention I love a good, who did this to you, moment and TLH definitely had one for the books. Adam is the grumpy cinnamon roll of my bookish romance dreams and wow would I have loved getting chapters from his POV too.

I did notice some repetitive phrasing (like how many times Adam called Olive a smart-a**), and the spice was eh for me. But those were minor complaints in comparison to the whole. This had everything I love about romance books. Combining an engaging plot that supports the romance + plenty of times where swooning was the only applicable emotion. All of my heartstrings were tugged by the last page (because who doesn’t love a good confession moment?!).

The setting in STEM was amazing and the side characters greatly supported the plot. Every single thing just worked for this book. I consumed it because it’s nothing short of one of my top romance reads for 2021.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to very open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: sexual harassment, sexism, death of a parent recounted

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