Book Review

Book Review: Spring at Blueberry Bay (Hope Island #1) by Holly Martin- 5 Stars

This is a super romantic, cozy read! Bella in currently unemployed after the boss at her last job was found embezzling funds. One day she comes home and finds a homeless man begging on her stoop and being the compassionate heart she is, Bella invites him in. This man is not who he says, but it may not necessarily be a bad thing, and soon you will find out why he did what he did.

This was such a sweet book. I loved the setting on Hope Island; it just seems absolutely gorgeous. Bella is great at her job and I love the passion she has not only in her career but towards those she loves. Isaac has a huge heart and is smart, handsome, and caring and the relationship between the two of them seemed so genuine and relatable.

This steamy book will make you laugh, cry, and swoon. It is just adorable, and I look forward to reading the others in this series!

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Book Review

Book Review: Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin-5 Stars

First off-how beautiful is the cover?!

Fairytale Beginnings is a wonderful romance featuring Milly, a dendrochronologist who specializes in dating and/or restoring historic castles through her employer, Castle Heritage, and Cameron Heartstone, who has just inherited the huge, piecemeal Clover Castle. Cameron was under the impression that Milly would be a lot older and dress a lot differently-she loves bright colors, Converse, sparkles, and Disney, but is extremely intelligent and excellent at her job. Despite getting off on the wrong foot, the chemistry between the two is undeniable. Both of them have had heartbreak in the past-can they overcome their hurts and misunderstandings along the way to open their hearts to each other?

This story was just magical. The way the author describes the castle and the village, you will feel like you’ve been transported there. With ghosts, romance, weird traditions, and the longing for a happily ever after, fairytale lovers will thoroughly enjoy this one and will be sad for it to end!

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

 

Book Review

Book Review: The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan-5 Stars

This story was pure perfection. Nina is a librarian whose job has been affected by recent budget cuts. Nina decides to make her dream come true of owning a bookshop, so she ends up buying a huge van and moving to Kirrinfief, Scotland, which works out perfectly as the little town there has no library or bookshops. Nina has a way of sensing the perfect book for each person that comes in to her shop. As Nina adjusts to farm life in the Highlands, welcoming the food, music, and traditions, she begins to create friendships with the locals that can sense her passion with reading and are eager to pick up a book again for themselves.

This is just such a feel good story if you love books, dream about books, cherish books…you will LOVE it. Every single character Nina encountered added so much dimension to the story. There is a little bit of romance in this story which I felt played out marvelously as it didn’t take away from the main plot of Nina running an extremely successful bookshop! Highly recommend for bibliophiles. I can’t say enough positive things about it!

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Book Review: So Pretty it Hurts by Kate White-4 Stars

It’s been years since I’ve read a Bailey Weggins mystery and I was dying to get back to them! It’s just a fun mystery/suspense series with a kick-A heroine. Bailey covers true crime stories for a celebrity magazine called “Buzz” and she’s always in the midst of investigations, doing sleuthing on her own and trying to find the killer before the police do. In some novels that works for the main characters and in others it doesn’t, as the MC is an idiot who inevitably gets themselves in dangerous situations with no way out. Fortunately in Bailey’s case, it works. She’s pretty intelligent and is able to stay calm in scary situations and use her brain to come up with ways of getting back to safety.

In this novel, Bailey has joined her friend and coworker Jessie on a weekend retreat at the country home of Scott, a record producer. It’s a weekend full of being catered to by an in-house cook, massages, and guided hikes, and surrounded by pencil thin models and drug-addled musicians. When one of the models ends up dead over the weekend, Bailey is certain it’s murder, and not just a case of drug or anorexia induced illness. It becomes more apparent that Bailey’s hunch is correct because someone is trying desperately to throw her off course and get her to stop fishing around.
With the feel of a juicy tabloid, this mystery is an enjoyable, suspenseful ride!

Book Review

Book Review: American Housewife by Helen Ellis-4 Stars

My three favorite stories in the collection were: “Hello! Welcome to Book Club,” “Dead Doormen,” and “My Novel is Brought to You by the Good People at Tampax.”

With sass, southern charm, snark, and a hint of malice, the short stories contained within American Housewife deliver it all. The stories are a little dark but also hilarious!

My favorite part from “My Novel is Brought to You by the Good People at Tampax”:

“Two months in, and I’ve created three apps.” “Apps?” “For people who buy my book as an e-book…the first is called Don’t Look. It’s for the overly sensitive. It blurs and turns the type red when a dog dies or a baby is born with a birth defect. Stuff like that. My second is It’s Not Okay When You Say It, and it delivers and electrical zap if the reader laughs at a racial slur. My third is Jesus Thesaurus, which replaces explicit sexual language with church words. So, when one of my characters saints a guy’s disciple, he’ll beg her to calvary his Baptists and shout amen.

This story collection is highly entertaining and makes for a quick read!

Book Review

Book Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty-5 Stars

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This kept me hooked until the last page! Full of lies, suspense, drama, and hilarity, Big Little Lies follows the lives of several mothers and how their secrets can upend a small village.

Jane is the young, single mom of Ziggy who is just starting out at school. Jane makes friends with Madeline, an impeccably dressed woman who speaks her mind and loves drama. Madeline’s best friend Celeste is loaded with money and always gives the best presents. The three of them form a sort of clique after another mom at the school accuses Ziggy of bullying her daughter and tries to petition for him to get kicked out.

Celeste and her husband Perry seem like the perfect couple-wealthy, blessed with twin boys and an exquisite home, but what goes on behind closed doors is a different picture than the one they portray outside. Madeline’s ex-husband left her alone years ago with a young baby and is now remarried to a vegan, yogi, peace seeking weirdo who is trying to turn her now teenage daughter against her. Jane seems like a loner, with no friends or family in the area. She’s not well dressed or wealthy like the other moms, and she has a few weird quirks. Her son Ziggy does not know who is father is, and it’s someone Jane tries to forget because he was a terrible person. She begins to wonder if Ziggy is taking after him once she hears the bullying accusations at school. Everyone is dealing with their own problems and secrets which makes for an intricately woven story.

The novel goes back several weeks before the school’s annual Trivia Night,  with multiple witnesses each offering their account of what happened that eventually led to the death of a parent.

While it deals with sensitive issues, it’s still somewhat lighthearted and funny. A definite read if you enjoy Lifetime movies!

 

Book Review

Book Review: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover-4 Stars

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Out of all the CoHo books I’ve read, this is the one I’ve liked the least. It wasn’t that I didn’t LIKE it, it just didn’t tear up my emotions the way her others have.

Ugly Love is about Tate, a nurse, and Miles, a pilot. Basically, the two start a “relationship” solely revolving around sex. No love. Miles tells Tate not to ask about his past, nor expect a future with him, and she agrees.

It’s obvious there’s becoming more between the two of them. But Tate knows nothing can happen. The story flashes back to about 6 years prior in Miles’s life where something terrible happened to him that has caused him to swear to never give his heart away to anyone. But what happens when “Hearts get infiltrated. Promises get broken. Rules get shattered. Love gets ugly?” 

 

Book Review

Book Review: See Me by Nicholas Sparks-4.5 Stars

 

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I haven’t read Nicholas Sparks in a long time but “See Me” has been on my list for awhile and I’m really glad I got around to reading it. “See Me” strays from Sparks’s usual dramatic romance as this is a thriller as well.

Colin-a hunky bad boy with a reputation for fighting, he’s trying to get his teaching degree and turn his life around for good. He’s taken up MMA fighting to keep his anger in check, and studies hard in school. His criminal record was expunged but a certain detective, Detective Margolis, has made it his mission to check in with Colin regularly so that when he messes up the teeniest amount, Margolis can haul him off to jail.

Maria- a beautiful, intelligent, lawyer-a previous case involving domestic violence ending in multiple deaths has left her feeling dejected in her job. She’s stuck at a firm with a partner who sexually harasses her constantly, and her work load is never ending. It seems the only time she can relax is at brunch on Sundays with her loving tight-knit family each week.

One rainy night and a flat tire bring Maria and Colin together, but not really in a good way at first! Thankfully, Maria’s younger sister Serena, a vivacious, social media butterfly, and outgoing party-goer, has classes with Colin and sets the two up.

Colin isn’t Maria’s type, but there’s something about his honesty and passion (and okay, he’s hot too!) that she can’t stay away from. Colin has great friends- Evan, who happens to also be his landlord, and Evan’s fiance, the epitome of a southern belle, Lily. I loved this friendship of these three almost as much as I loved Colin and Maria’s romance. The two fall in love quickly, but obviously, there’s bound to be some kinks along the way.

Unfortunately, one of Maria’s past criminal cases involving a family whose daughter was murdered is creeping back up. People are angry at Maria, blaming her for Cassie’s death. And they want revenge.

I alternated reading the print book and listening to audio (for the first time!) and really enjoyed it. The narrator of the audio was FANTASTIC- I loved how swiftly he could change the tone and voice for each of the characters.

While this had some of the blissful, relatable romance one can expect from a Sparks novel, it had quite a bit of mystery and suspense as well. I could have done with less fright and more romance. I didn’t find myself ugly crying at the love story part like I normally would at his novels, but I thoroughly enjoyed the thriller aspect and I was completely taken by surprise at the reveal, so I would recommend!

 

Book Review

Book Review: Thursdays at Coconuts by Beth Carter- 4 Stars

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Thursdays at Coconuts tells the story of 3 women- Alex, Suzy, and Hope, who are best friends and meet weekly at a restaurant called Coconuts. It was a fun, easy to read romance novel with a little bit of drama and suspense tossed in. Each of the girlfriends have their own very different problems- Alex is falling in love with a married-ish police officer who may or may not be a crazy stalker, Suzy’s fiance and her sister were caught in bed together the night before Suzy was supposed to get married, and Hope has two deadbeat hippie parents who mooch off of her every chance they get. Between the three of them each week, over countless glasses of wine and girl talk, can they rally together to help each other work through their dilemmas?

Overall an enjoyable story with several twists you don’t see coming. It’s a refreshing read with strong, successful women who lean on each other and understand the value of great girlfriends. You’ll laugh, gasp and cry with Alex, Suzy, and Hope as they try to find their happy ending!

I was gifted a copy of this novel by the author; thank you! All opinions are my own.

Book Review

Book Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes-2.5 Stars

 

 

An active, life-loving, successful businessman named Will Traynor is now a quadrepligic confined to a wheelchair, who can do nothing but speak, turn his head, and wheel his chair with the limited use of one arm. He is grouchy, depressed, irritable, who has to be fed, bathed, and medicated all by someone else. Louisa Clark, eccentric, lovable, cheerful, recently unemployed, becomes a companion for Will. Not to tend solely to his medical needs, but, someone who can bring him friendship and contentment.

 

I’m acutely aware I will be in the minority regarding my thoughts towards this book. I simply did not enjoy it, well, it’s not meant to be an “enjoyable” book per say, but I found it boring. The only part I cared for was the epilogue. I found it redundant. I didn’t become emotionally invested in any of the characters. I only got watery-eyed while Lou was reading Will’s letter at the end. I respect Will’s decision and I applaud Louisa for stepping out of her comfort zone by traveling and going back to school. I can even appreciate the fact that while she was trying to help improve Will’s outlook life, he was, in turn, encouraging her to be stronger and more confident, even if she didn’t see it right off.

Louisa lives a comfortable life, with loving, albeit pesky, parents, and her granddad. Her sister annoyed me. She was a spoiled, know-it-all brat. I hated the fact that Louisa was expected to be the primary earner for the whole family. Will is understandably depressed, being confined to a chair and having to rely on someone for your every need. His father is a philanderer, his mother, spineless and rude, his sister, a snob. Nathan, Will’s medical aide, was someone I actually liked. He accepted Will’s decision but also appreciated Louisa for her efforts.

So while I respect Will’s decision, what irritated me is that he was so set in his choice, nothing, nor no one, could sway him, even when he had days of pure joy and happiness. I love Louisa for her “calendar of adventures,” for pushing Will to enjoy life and see that his wheelchair doesn’t define him. She was actually a likeable character, I just couldn’t get attached and relate to her. 2.5 Stars because the ending made it not completely horrible.