3 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary romance · romance

Lighting Fire by Leslie North

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Lighting Fire by Leslie North

Published: August 14, 2018

Publisher: ?

Pages: 170

Genres: romance, contemporary romance

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: firefighter romance, adrenaline filled books

Foodie Vibes: small town diner food complete with the latest town gossip

 

Synopsis:

Sookie Logan is interested in one thing and Chase Kingston is not it. A fiercely independent helicopter pilot for the National Guard, Sookie is back in her hometown to fly her copter and help fight a fire, not to hook up with some junior firefighter from Alaska. Especially when this particular firefighter works for her brother, the one person in the world who’s let her down the most. The hunk in yellow & tan is off limits.

But when a date intended to just make her brother’s blood boil turns into much more, Sookie and Chase give in to their raging attraction. Both agree it’s a quick fling—something that will last only as long as it takes to knock down the flames threatening her town. Leaving Chase behind will be as easy as leaving her hometown was the first time. No attachments.

No regrets.

Chase wasn’t looking for a hook-up and definitely not with his boss’s little sister. Besides, Chase isn’t about to fall for Sookie. Their “relationship” is all about the great sex, thank you very much—he’s been burned in the past and there’s no chance of a repeat. No way. Not even if Sookie is starting to get under his skin and he can’t seem to get that little firecracker of his head.

Just when Chase is beginning to believe they may have something real, the demons he’s been fighting for years come back with a vengeance, making a future between the two as unpredictable as the fire they’re fighting. As the fire rages on, will Sookie and Chase douse their own flame? Or realize they’re meant to face any inferno together?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Leslie North and the publisher for an ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Lighting Fire is a quick intense steamy read. Sookie and Chase meet while fighting an intense wildfire. Sparks fly but they are determined to not get involved for a multitude of reasons. 

The setup is fairly typical not that it’s a bad thing, but I was hoping for a bit more depth and less cliches. I think my main critique is that Chase is such an arrogant player. And the male ego between him and his boss, also Sookie’s brother, is ridiculous. Let women make their own choices without men being possessive and judge about it. Even though Chase has another side to him, it’s still not enough to make me fully enjoy the story. 

The romance is almost as hot as the forest fire burning outside though. Chase is a very attractive firefighter. Need I say more? Sexy times are also very intense and well. done. But they’re broken up by a lot of drama, brooding and male possessiveness. 

A book with mixed elements for me. Some good, some okay and some problematic. If you want a quick steamy read, then Lighting Fire is for you. If you’re looking for a bit more depth and in line with feminist ideals, then maybe consider something else. 

 

What are your hard stops when reading a romance novel?

4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Books About Books · Cozy Mystery · fiction · mystery

Release Day | Murder by the Book

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Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott

Published: October 30, 2018

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation

Pages: 304

Genres: cozy mystery, mystery, fiction, books about books

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: books about books, feel good books with an intense edge, strong smart business women

Foodie Vibes: soothing cup of tea and a sack lunch brought to you by a new friend and fellow business woman 

 

Synopsis:

Addie Greyborne loved working with rare books at the Boston Public Library—she even got to play detective, tracking down clues about mysterious old volumes. But she didn’t expect her sleuthing skills to come in so handy in a little seaside town . . .

Addie left some painful memories behind in the big city, including the unsolved murder of her fiancé and her father’s fatal car accident. After an unexpected inheritance from a great aunt, she’s moved to a small New England town founded by her ancestors back in colonial times—and living in spacious Greyborne Manor, on a hilltop overlooking the harbor. Best of all, her aunt also left her countless first editions and other treasures—providing an inventory to start her own store.

But there’s trouble from day one, and not just from the grumpy woman who runs the bakery next door. A car nearly runs Addie down. Someone steals a copy of Alice in Wonderland. Then, Addie’s friend Serena, who owns a nearby tea shop, is arrested—for killing another local merchant. The police seem pretty sure they’ve got the story in hand, but Addie’s not going to let them close the book on this case without a fight . .

 

Review:

I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Kensington Publishing and Lauren Elliott for an ARC copy of the book. As always, an honest review from me.

What better than a book about books? Not much in my opinion. Murder by the Book centers around Addie who recently moved back to town and opened a bookshop. Previously she was in the business, along with her family, of selling, tracking down and authenticating rare books. Now she’s venturing out into business. The reception of her new shop is mixed. Some people are happy to welcome her to town, like Serena her new door neighbor, fellow business owner, and new friend. Other locals aren’t so happy to see her. 

Addie doesn’t have much time to dwell on that when there’s a rash of break ins at her shop, home and also other crimes about town. There’s something strange going on and she’s determined to get to the bottom of it. 

I like that Addie investigates based on her hunches but also allows the police to do their job investigating initially. She’s not just going about town willy nilly, searching for clues. The book retains its cozy mystery vibes while still being authentic and modern. A perfect mix. 

I wish there was more about Addie’s assistant. I think it would be a lovely heartfelt storyline that could definitely be explored more in a future book. 

Overall, a wonderful cozy but modern mystery featuring a great mix of small town and big city vibes. I definitely recommend it. 

 

Add to Your Goodreads TBR

 

Answer me this:

What’s your favorite part about books written about books?

4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Christmas · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · Holidays · romance

Release Day | Dear Santa by Nancy Naigle

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Dear Santa by Nancy Naigle

Published: October 16, 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 352

Genres: Christmas, holiday, contemporary romance, contemporary fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: cozy reads, small businesses, books that remind you of the reason for the season

Foodie Vibes: hot chocolate with a fire roasted marshmallow and beautifully decorated Christmas cookies

 

Synopsis: 

A holiday retelling of You’ve Got Mail that will make you fall in love with the Christmas Season!

Angela Carson wants nothing more than to be the third-generation to run her family’s holiday store, Heart of Christmas, successfully. They’ve weathered over sixty tourist seasons, major hurricanes, and urban sprawl, in their old decommissioned lighthouse. But the national chain that set up shop in their small North Carolina town of Pleasant Sands may be more than Heart of Christmas can survive.

Geoff Paisley has been at his mother’s side running the mega-chain Christmas Galore for the last ten years. When his mother falls ill, Geoff promises to answer the town’s Dear Santa letters in her stead. Soon he realizes the woman he’s been corresponding with on Dear Santa is Angela. How could the woman that grates his every last nerve in person have intrigued him so deeply through those letters?

Encouraged by her niece to ask Santa for help, Angela gives in and lets the words fly in a way that, if Santa were real, would no doubt land her on the naughty list. What’s the harm when it’s just a computer-generated response?

When Geoff reveals that he’s her Dear Santa, will Angela be able to set aside their very public feud to embrace the magic of the holiday and possibly find true love?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Griffin, and Nancy Nail for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Dear Santa is a sweet heartfelt Christmas story that reminds you of the true reason for the season. Angela owns the Heart of Christmas, a one of a kind shop that’s been in her family for years. They sell high quality hand made Christmas decorations. When a new big box style Christmas store comes into town, Angela’s business takes another hit on top of her already foundering business. The book encourages us to look at what’s really important to us, our families and our communities. Will Angela get some help from Santa this year?

I loved the setting. A quaint beachside town isn’t what you first think of for a Christmasy book, but it works perfectly. The passion Angela has for her town, the history and townspeople absolutely makes the book so special. You can feel the true magic of the holidays on each page. The descriptions of her Christmas store made me feel as if I was right there, surrounded by all the twinkly lights, fresh cut trees, and handcrafted ornaments. The scent of gingerbread and peppermint mochas waft through the air. The book is such a cozy holiday read that I can’t get enough.

However, there isn’t much romance. The story focuses more on Angela’s love for her family, business, and town than a new love interest. At least until the last, maybe 20%. It’s very sweet and happily ever after, so that helps. Also there was a lot of tension and arguing in parts. Completely authentic to the story, but sometimes you don’t want to read about stress and tension. Luckily most is about the wonderful moments of Christmastime. 

All together, Dear Santa captures the true magic of Christmas with all the cozy feels. 

 

What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

3.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary romance · romance

ARC Review | Challenging the Doctor by Patricia Fischer

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Challenging the Doctor by Patricia Fischer

Published: September 6, 2018

Publisher: Tule Publishing

Pages: 224

Genres: contemporary romance, romance

Recommend to fans of: medical romances, the author Candace Calvert, contemporary romance, happily ever afters

Foodie Vibes: homemade chocolate delicacies from the local shop

 

Synopsis:

After a near-career ending event, ER doctor Edmund Davidson relocates to Marietta, Montana, hoping it’s the fresh start he needs. Edmund settles in quickly to life in a small town and thrives in his role as the new ER doc. He especially enjoys sparing with the gorgeous, smart, and headstrong nurse practitioner. Jade intrigues him like no women he’s ever met, but he can’t help feel that she’s burdened by a dark secret.

Jade Phillips wants to reboot her life after losing out on a promotion to head the ER to a newcomer, Edmund’s sister, Lucy. As Jade attempts to focus on selling her father’s place and close a painful chapter of her life, she discovers evidence of a dark secret. Jade finds herself in trapped between family loyalty and personal devastation. She knows her attraction to Edmund and her secrets could put them both in jeopardy, but when Edmund saves her brother’s life, she realizes she has to trust someone.

Edmund soon realizes he’s emotionally in too deep with Jade. He wants to protect her, but he’s professionally on thin ice already. If he doesn’t reveal her secret, their separate pasts can destroy both of their careers. But can he betray the woman he loves to protect himself? Or will he risk it all, even his heart?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGaley, Tule Publishing and Patricia Fischer for an ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

My actual rating is 3.5 stars, but since there aren’t half star ratings I always round up.

Challenging the Doctor is a contemporary romance set in a small town with a medical backdrop. Medical books, romance or not, are always a hit with me, so add in the feel good romance with a happily ever after. That’s going to make me a happy lady.

Edmund is the main love interest. He’s new to town, a doctor, and an honest to goodness good guy. The romance is also quite steamy. A perfect mix of passion and sweetness.

The medical settings and small town vibe also add to the appeal. The upscale diner food sounds amazing. The vibe is a bit like Candace Calvert’s books except more sexy times and less religion. Bonus points for Fred the dog, who is so dang cute? Also Edmund has social anxiety, so that’s some nice representation. It would have been better if they went more in depth in his struggles. However, it’s a romance novel, so I get why it wasn’t a main focus.

The let downs in the book include the classic eye rolling line about how most women aren’t like her. Problematic for so many reasons that I’m not going to go into right now. Also some of the other tropes felt a little old and overused. Fro example her in trouble with the law brother to stir up drama. But yet the guy likes her anyways, despite her worries.

Overall, an enjoyable read that’s perfect for taking your mind off the stresses of life.

 

Which setting is your favorite for a romance novel?

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · LGBTQIA+ Books · romance · Uncategorized

Undue Influence: A Persuasion Retelling by Jenny Holiday

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Undue Influence: A Persuasion Retelling by Jenny Holiday 

Published: September 4, 2018

Publisher: Kindle 

Pages: 230

Genres: contemporary, romance, contemporary romance, LGBTQIA+

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: second chance romance stories, M/M romance, stories about small towns, sweet guys

Foodie Vibes: grilled cheese with apple slices and champagne – simply tasty food that’s so very effective

 

Synopsis:

Second chances only come around once.

Eight years ago, Adam Elliot made the biggest mistake of his life. Now that mistake is coming back to haunt him. His family’s beloved vineyard has gone into foreclosure, and the new owner is the sister of the only man he’s ever loved—the man he dumped under pressure from family and friends who thought the match was beneath him.

When Freddy Wentworth, aka the bad boy of Bishop’s Glen, left town with a broken heart, he vowed never to return. But a recently widowed friend needs his help, so here he is. He’s a rich and famous celebrity chef now, though, so everyone can just eff right off.

But some things are easier said than done. Despite their attempts to resist each other, old love rekindles—and old wounds reopen. If they want to make things work the second time around, they’ll have to learn to set aside their pride—and prejudice.

This modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion is a standalone novel that can be enjoyed by Austen-philes and by those allergic to the nineteenth century.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Jenny Holiday, and the publisher for the ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Adam and Freddy both grew up in the same small town with slightly different circumstances. One was a bit of a misunderstood rebel/bad boy. The other did what his family wanted and enjoyed being alone with his thoughts. They met eight years ago one summer and fell in love. Circumstances, fear, and stubbornness got in the way of their happily ever after.

Now they’re all grown up. Freddy left home to become a big time chef, restaurant owner and reality TV star. Adam chose to stay in his much beloved small town, working as a mechanic for his friend and mentor. Due to unforeseen circumstances, they’re back in each other’s lives. Sparks ignite. But can they rekindle their love for each other after years of heartbreak?

I really enjoyed reading Undue Influence. The romance is so sweet without being overly sappy. The two men are genuinely nice people that I enjoyed getting to know. Adam and Freddy are such a cute couple. Here are a few more things I enjoyed about the book:

  • Shows the spectrum of gay, bisexual and pansexual men. Also a drag queen. Not just the token one or two gay characters.
  • A mechanic who reads and enjoys nature. Love!
  • Shows that not everyone has to hate the small town they grew up in
  • Respectfully distancing yourself from toxic family members allows you to be much happier #LifeLesson

The only downside is that it took me some time to get into the story at the beginning. 

 

What’s your must have in a romance novel?