Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wedding Bells in Christmas by Debbie Mason



To have and to hold from this day forward
Wedding bells are ringing in the charming town of Christmas, but not for Vivian Westfield. She's just had her heart trampled under the cowboy boots of Chance McBride and lost her dream job at a big-city newspaper. But when she returns for a wedding, she stumbles on a story that could resurrect her career. First, though, she'll have to deal with the handsome man standing in her way . . . and a still-burning flame that's too hot to ignore.
 
Chance recognizes trouble when he sees it. He just didn't expect to find it in the first-class cabin on the flight home for his father's wedding. Yet there she is, as gorgeous as ever. Vivi dared Chance to want things he knew he could never have. It's why he left her. But Christmas's meddling matchmakers have them firmly in their sights. So if they want to survive the next week, they'll have to play the part of an adoring couple-an irresistible charade that may give them a second chance at the real thing . . .
Title: Wedding Bells in Christmas | Series: The Christmas, Colorado Series | Author: Debbie Mason | Publisher: Forever | Release Date: May 26, 2015 | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Publisher | Rating: 5
 

Vivi and Chance are returning to Christmas, Colorado for his dad’s wedding. When they both end up sitting side-by-side in first class, they know that Chance’s Aunt Nell is once again playing matchmaker. Rather than allowing her to work her matchmaking magic, they decide to pretend to be together, which is going to push both of them over the edge.
 
I really need to catch up with this series because Wedding Bells in Christmas was simply amazing. It’s definitely going on my Top Ten Books of 2015 list.
 
So, apparently, Chance McBride and Vivi Westfield have a history—I’m a bit oblivious to this because I haven’t read the first three books in this series, but this book did provide a hint of what came before, so I wasn’t completely lost, although there is a few points I would have liked to have known. You can tell from their first encounter that they have this amazing chemistry and Vivi is head-over-heels in love with him, but Chance is holding back.
 
Five years ago, Chance lost his wife and child. He’s not over the pain and anguish of losing them so I wasn’t really surprised that he wasn’t rushing into a permanent relationship with Vivi. There’s no denying that he wants her, but he isn’t ready or willing to allow himself to be in a position where he could lose someone else he loved. Poor guy, he really does need to see a therapist, if not to talk things out then to at least get some nerve pills for when he’s around Vivi. Although when Vivi get too involved in an ongoing investigation, Chance is willingly to do whatever it takes to keep her safe.
 
Vivi’s in love with Chance but she knows it’s Kate and Emma who hold his heart. She wants to try to help him get past his loss, but she isn’t forceful and, even though Chance has done his best to run her off, she’s there for him. Even though she knows her actions are going to push him over the edge, she still forges ahead with her own investigation.
 
I really liked Vivi’s moxie and determination. She’s a bit clumsy and completely out of her element in the small town of Christmas, but she’s not willing to give up. Chance was such a wounded soul; I couldn’t help but love him.
 
The secondary characters were great. I love it when an author incorporates an entire set of characters into a book without taking away from the main characters or the romance.
 
There was a bit of suspense and mystery to this book and I love that. Given the cover and the blurb, I wasn’t expecting it although it was such a welcome surprise. While I had a feeling of who it was early on, the plot unfolded in such a way that it was still interesting.
 
Overall, I loved this book. For me, it was the perfect example of small town contemporary done right. There were a few times I wanted to shake some sense into Vivi and Chance, but it only made the story more interesting.
 
I cannot wait to read the first three books in this series and the books to come.


 


The Christmas, Colorado Series
The Trouble with Christmas
Christmas in July
It Happened at Christmas

Thursday, May 28, 2015

It’s so not going to happen…Death Comes To Pemberley by P.D. James


In their six years of marriage, Elizabeth and Darcy have forged a peaceful, happy life for their family at Pemberley, Darcy’s impressive estate. Her father is a regular visitor; her sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; the marriage prospects for Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, are favorable. And preparations for their annual autumn ball are proceeding apace. But on the eve of the ball, chaos descends. Lydia Wickham, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister who, with her husband, has been barred from the estate, arrives in a hysterical state—shrieking that Wickham has been murdered.  Plunged into frightening mystery and a lurid murder trial, the lives of Pemberley’s owners and servants alike may never be the same.
Title: Death Comes To Pemberley | Author: P.D. James | Publisher: Knopf | Rating: DNF

It’s so not going to happen…Death Comes To Pemberley by P.D. James
 
Yeah, so as the header stated…finishing Death Comes To Pemberley is so not going to happen.
 
I’ve tried and tried and tried to get into this book but it moves at snail speed. Every time I try to read it, I end up falling asleep. I even watched the movie hoping it would make me want to finish the book…but sadly, that is not the case.
 
I normally devour anything Austen-related, but this one is a no go and I was a bit disappointed because I have read and loved several Austen-inspired mysteries.
 
Overall, this was is not my cuppa tea. The movie is leaps and bounds better and that isn’t saying much considering the casting was questionable and the characters were so unrecognizable in their action.






So, lovelies, when do you give up on a book?
Do you have a certain page number or do you just go with your gut?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday {2} A Knights Bridge Christmas by Carla Neggers



"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
 
I’m completely in love with the Swift River Valley series by Carla Neggers, so I was completely thrilled when I learned that she’s releasing a new Christmas romance in late September.
 





A Knights Bridge Christmas
Publication Date: September 2015
 
 
New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers celebrates the joy and romance of Christmas in New England
 
Clare Morgan is ready for a fresh start when she moves to the small Massachusetts town of Knights Bridge with her young son, Owen. Widowed for six years, Clare settles into her job as the town's new librarian. She appreciates the warm welcome she and Owen receive and truly enjoys getting the library ready for its role in the annual holiday open house.
 
Clare expects to take it slow with her new life. Then she meets Logan Farrell, a Boston ER doctor in town to help his elderly grandmother settle into assisted living. Slow isn't a word Logan seems to understand. Accustomed to his fast-paced city life, he doesn't plan to stay in Knights Bridge for long. But Daisy Farrell has other ideas and enlists her grandson to decorate her house on the village green one last time. Logan looks to Clare for help. She can go through Daisy's book collection and help him decorate while she's at it.
 
As Clare and Logan get his grandmother's house ready for the holidays, what neither of them expects to find is an attraction to each other. Better than most, they know all the crazy things that can happen in life, but everything about Knights Bridge and this magical season invites them to open themselves to new possibilities…and new love.


Catch Up on the
 Swift River Valley Series

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Navy SEAL's E-mail Oder Bride: A Chance Creek Novel by Cora Seton



Mason Hall, Navy SEAL, knows all about difficult assignments, but his current mission is one for the record books. Not only must he find a wife—and get her pregnant—or forfeit the ranch his family has prized for generations, he must also convince his three brothers to marry, too—before the year is up. Who knew one city girl and three wayward brothers could put up such a fight?
 
Regan Anderson can’t wait any longer to meet Mr. Right, so she’s taken matters into her own hands. She’s quit her job, given up her nice apartment and undergone all the preliminary appointments to prepare for artificial insemination. Still, becoming a single mother is daunting, so when she spots Mason’s Wife Wanted ad on the Internet one night, she’s ready for a few laughs. She’s sure the ad must be fake, but when Mason answers back, she soon finds herself wanting more than a long distance relationship.
 
If Mason can just keep her talking until he makes it home from Afghanistan, he’s sure he can convince Regan he’s her man. But when he whisks her off for a trial run in Chance Creek, they’re in for an unpleasant surprise. The ranch is in ruins, the house has been stripped, and they’re going to have to work day and night to beat Mason’s deadline to win it back.
 
Can two strangers pull together against all odds? Or is this mission doomed to fail?

Title: The Navy Seal's E-mail Order Bride| Series: The Heroes of Chance Creek book 1 | Author: Cora Seton | Publisher: One Acre Press| Release Date: 11/2014 | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Purchased| Rating: 4

As of 5/26/2015 This title is available for free:


If Mason Hall wants to inherit his family’s ranch, he must restore the land and the house, find a wife, and get her pregnant. Oh, he also has to convince his three bothers to marry as well. So, what does this Navy SEAL do? He posts an online ad on Practical Wives Wanted, of course.  
 
Looking for a change? Ready for a real challenge? Join four hardworking, clean living men and help bring our family’s ranch back to life.
 
Skills required—any or all of the following: Riding, roping, construction, animal care, roofing, farming, market gardening, cooking, cleaning, metalworking, small motor repair…
 
Must be willing to commit to a man and the project. No weekends/no holidays/no sick days. Weaklings need not apply.
 
Regan Anderson is tired of waiting on Mr. Right. Deciding it was time to take control of her own life; she quits her job, starts up her new business, and takes steps toward artificial insemination. Now worried and bored, she decides to have a few glasses of wine and troll Facebook where she stumbles upon Mason’s ad. After a Pride and Prejudice drinking game—which, honestly, I’m sure is the only way to get through the Colin Firth version—and a few too many shots of Jose Cuervo, Regan answers Mason’s ad with the best bloody P&P-inspired response I’ve ever read.
 
Regan’s drunken reply has caught Mason’s attention and he’s determined to convince her that she’s the one for him.
 
This was a cute little romance.
 
Mason was likable—and apparently lickable, according to Regan. He’s willing to do anything to save his family’s ranch. He’s also willing to repay his uncle’s vast debt.
 
While Regan was likable, I felt that her character was a little flat. She supported Mason and his campaign to save his family’s ranch, but I wanted to see her struggle just a little bit. She went from being a city girl to a ranch hand in the blink of an eye and it was just a little far-fetched for me.
 
The romance was sweet, the characters had decent chemistry, but it was a little rushed for me. I think that had to do with this being novella-length rather than being full-length.
 
Overall, I enjoyed it. It was a light little read perfect for a Sunday afternoon. I’m looking forward to the next installment in this series.



The Heroes of Chance Creek Series
The Navy SEAL’s E-Mail Order Bride
The Soldier’s E-Mail Order Bride
The Marine’s E-Mail Order Bride
The Navy SEAL’s Christmas Bride
The Airman’s E-Mail Order Bride

Thursday, May 21, 2015

DIY: Birdseed Cakes




Hello Lovelies,
 
So, I’m doing something a bit different today. I’m sharing my recipe for DIY Birdseed Cakes. You can either place these cakes in a suet feeder or attach a string and hang in a tree. The birds go crazy for these and the squirrels love them as well.
 
They’re quick to make—about 20 minutes prep time—and I know what’s in it. I know that they’re wild birds, but I feel like it’s my responsibility to know what I’m feeding them.
 
If you plan to make these inside, I strongly recommend covering your surface—I used an old tablecloth. It makes it easier to clean up any birdseed that escaped.  

 
 
 
Here’s what you need:
1 Envelope of  Unflavored Gelatin
½ Cup of Warm Water
3 tablespoons of Corn Syrup
¾ Cup of Flour
3 Cups of Wild Birdseed
1 Cup of Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
1 Cup of Bluebird Nuggets (you can substitute dried fruit, peanuts, or mealworms depending on the type of birds in your area)
 
 
—In a large bowl whisk together water, unflavored gelatin, and corn syrup until –frothy
—Add in flour and whisk until it’s the consistency of pancake batter
 
 
—Add birdseed and stir until coated
—Transfer birdseed mixture into container coated with non-stick cooking spray
Allow the birdseed mixture to set for at least 10 minutes then transfer to a flat surface covered with wax paper or aluminum foil and allow to dry overnight
 
 
 
If you want to make a birdseed bell, simply use a small plastic flower plot, and allow to dry for 24 hours before removing.  You can purchase the plastic hanger from any pet supply store or make your own out of floral wire.



So Lovelies, Let me know if you try these.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday {1} Shameful by Joan Johnston




"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
 
I’m dying to get my hands on this one.
Sinful offered a tasty little hint at just how good this book is going to be.
And just look at that cover…
 




Shameful by Joan Johnston
Publication Date: December 2015
 

For readers of Linda Lael Miller and Susan Mallery comes New York Times bestselling author Joan Johnston’s sizzling contemporary Western romance, where power, money, and rivalries rule—and love is the best revenge.
 
HER SHAMEFUL PAST MAKES HER AN OUTCAST—
UNTIL A LONE WOLF TAKES HER INTO HIS HOME.
 
Scorned, pregnant, and facing a life without promise, Pippa Grayhawk is stunned when her father announces that they’re leaving their home in Australia to take over his estranged father’s sprawling Wyoming ranch. Drawn into bitter family rivalries and feeling like an interloper in her new home, Pippa rides out into the wilderness and meets an intriguing stranger and his pet wolf. The wolf doesn’t scare her, but she’s very much afraid to trust another man with her heart.
 
Devon Flynn knows all about going it alone. He lives in an isolated cabin, away from his domineering father and the scandal surrounding his family. Devon’s attraction to Pippa is intoxicating and undeniable, but when he tries to get close, she’s as wary as his once-wild wolf. Devon is willing to defy his father, and hers, to claim Pippa as his own, but winning this wounded, wonderful woman’s love might be the greatest battle of all.


Read my review of Sinful

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sinful by Joan Johnston



For readers of Linda Lael Miller and Susan Mallery comes New York Times bestselling author Joan Johnston’s sizzling contemporary Western romance, where power, money, and rivalries rule—and love is the best revenge.
 
 WHILE HE SEEKS A HAVEN,
 SHE SEARCHES FOR A PLACE TO CALL HOME
 
 After a tragic accident leaves Delta sergeant Connor Flynn a widower, he faces the toughest fight of his life: battling his in-laws for custody of his two young children. To win he’ll need a make-believe bride to take care of the kids while he runs his Wyoming ranch. Who better than a woman he already knows and likes—his late wife’s best friend?
 
 Ruthlessly forced from her home by her powerful father, King Grayhawk, Eve needs somewhere to go . . . and so does the herd of wild mustangs she’s rescued. Connor’s offer sounds like the answer to a prayer. But Eve has a guilty secret she’s guarded for years: She’s always been in love with Connor.
 
 Now forced to live under the same roof as her heart’s desire, Eve must hide the love that has never died, while Connor vows to resist his growing need for a woman who was forbidden fruit during his marriage. Can two lonely people set adrift by fate and haunted by guilt find redemption in the healing embrace of love?


Title: Sinful | Series: Bitter Creek # 13 | Author: Joan Johnston | Publisher: Dell | Release Date: April 28, 2015 | Genre: Contemporary Western Romance | Source: Publisher | Rating: 5

There was so much going on in Sinful that I could not put it down.
 
To keep custody of his two young children Connor Flynn needs a wife. And who better than Eve Grayhawk—his late wife’s best friend and children’s godmother. Having been thrown out of her home, Eve really isn’t in a place to say no, but it’s going to be hard having a pretend marriage with the man she’s been in love with nearly all her life. To add to their drama, the Flynn’s and Grayhawk’s have been feuding for years.
 
OMG, I loved Sinful.  This one is definitely a keeper. I can’t believe that this is the first time I’ve read a Joan Johnston novel. I so need to read more of her books.
 
Connor and Eve were such a perfect fit. She was able to soothe his demons and he was there to protect and shelter Eve when she needed it the most. With everything Connor’s been through, he could have been an arse, and even though he’s described as ‘trouble waiting to happen’, he was such an enjoyable hero.
 
The only think that kind of annoyed me was that Eve gave Connor to Molly. She was a teenager and they had the whole ‘family feud’ thing going on, so I understood why she did it. Although I have to say, Eve must have been a better person than me. I don’t think I could have been an active participant of the life the man I loved was living. So kudos to Eve.
 
Overall, everything about this book was amazing. The characters, the plot, the brilliant way it set up the next book Shameless, which I am impatiently waiting to read.
 
I do have one problem with this book although it was with the editors, rather than the plot/character/romance, which is why I didn’t lower the rating. There are several typos throughout the book, which should have been caught.




Have a Joan Johnston novel to recommend?
I’d love to hear about it.
 





Monday, May 18, 2015

Bride by Mistake by Nicole Helm


Wedding fever has hit the little town of Marietta…
 
And Kaitlin Shuller’s groom of her dreams is marrying someone else… her sister.
 
Worst day ever. Her heart is broken, and all her carefully laid plans destroyed. Enter Beckett Larson, her older brother’s best friend and a very good bad decision.
 
Beckett has spent his life trying to outrun his bad reputation, but everyone already thinks the worst of him, so when Kaitlin offers herself to him — virginity and all— he just can’t say no.
 
But one night together has permanent consequences, and this time Beckett knows he can’t outrun his bad boy reputation. He’s determined to make Kaitlin his bride…even if he has to seduce her down the aisle.

Title: Bride by Mistake | Series: Montana Born Brides #3 | Author: Nicole Helm  | Publisher: Montana Born Books | Release Date: 5/18/2015  | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Publisher | Rating: 4
It takes watching the man she loves marrying her sister to make Kaitlin realize she’s tired of being the good girl, people pleaser she’s always been. Now that her plans have been destroyed, Kaitlin’s free to finally go after the bad boy that’s been staring in her X-rated dreams.
 
Beckett Lawson was a troubled teen, whose ‘bad boy’ reputation has followed him into adulthood. He thought he had a chance to escape it, but now that his best friend and business partner is accusing him of stealing from the company, Beckett’s right back at square one.
 
So when Kaitlin seduces him, there’s no way Beckett can refuse. And now that Kaitlin’s pregnant, he’s not about to let her go even though she wants to go her own way.
 
A part of me wanted to harm Kaitlin. I know she’s dealing with her whole ‘the-man-I-love-married-my-sister-so-my-world-is-shattered-and-I’m-tired-of-being-a-good-girl’ thing, but come on, after she slept with Beckett, she treated him poorly then told him he lied about his feelings for her. I know she’s trying to sort out who she is now but she came off as self-absorbed and she kind of crawled under my skin.
 
I loved Beckett. He’s a bad boy with a heart of gold that he kept hidden. He’s been in this situation before and it ended badly. He’s not about to let it happen again, so he wants to be there for Kaitlin, which seems to tick her off but he’s not giving up. To matters worse, he’s been falsely accused of stealing from the company he started with the man he thought was his best friend.
 
Even though Kaitlin wasn’t my favorite heroin, I liked this book because I’ve always had a fondness for bad boys and I found Beckett to be endearing. He’s the type to fight for what he wants.
 
While the plot was fast-paced and heartfelt, I felt that this book should have been longer so that all things could have been resolved. While the characters did get their HEA, not all threads were complete and dangling threads drive me crazy.
 
Overall, I liked this book. Did it need to be longer? Most definitely.


Nicole Helm writes down-to-earth contemporary romance—from farmers to cowboys, midwest to the west, she writes stories about people finding themselves and finding love in the process. She lives in Missouri with her husband and two sons, surrounded by light sabers, video games, and a shared dream of someday owning a farm.

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Montana Born Bride Series
1-His Fairy Tale Bride by Scarlet Wilson
2- His Blushing Bride by Dani Collins
3-Bride by Mistake by Nicole Helm





Monday, May 11, 2015

Audiobook Review: A Tailor-Made Bride Karen Witemeyer


When a dressmaker who values beauty tangles with a liveryman who condemns vanity, the sparks begin to fly!
 
Jericho "J.T." Tucker wants nothing to do with the new dressmaker in Coventry, Texas. He's all too familiar with her kind--shallow women more devoted to fashion than true beauty. Yet, except for her well-tailored clothes, this seamstress is not at all what he expected.
 
Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner, while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man?
 
When Hannah decides to help Jericho's sister catch a beau--leading to consequences neither could have foreseen--will Jericho and Hannah find a way to bridge the gap between them?

Title: A Tailor-Made Bride | Author: Karen Witemeyer| Narrator: Nicole Poole | Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins | Publisher: Recorded Books| Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance | Source: Audible | Rating: 4 Cups

I always enjoy a Karen Witemeyer romance and A Tailor-Made Bride was no exception.
 
When Hannah Richards is bequeathed a shop in Coventry, Texas where she can start her own dress shop, she never expected to face the ire of the livery owner.  Although the man is simply confusing. One minute he’s huffing about Hannah corrupting the women of the town with her high fashion then the next he’s showering her with acts of kindness.
 
Jericho “J.T.” Tucker knows firsthand just how fancy dresses can affect a woman. His mother was a prime example. So he’s not taking any chances with Hannah. Although the more he knows about Hannah and her character, the closer they become.
 
Yet things could crumble when she starts helping his sister snag a beau.
 
I really liked this audiobook. The narrator truly brought the characters to life, which is a huge plus when listening to an audiobook.
 
The main characters were fun. They clashed, then made-up, then clashed again before finally getting their act together.
 
Hannah was a strong heroine that’s capable of standing on her own two feet. She’s not afraid to stand up to J.T., which made for some amazing chemistry. But she also had to learn that she needed to ask for J.T.’s help.
 
 J.T. was aptly named Jericho because he had these wall around him that he didn’t really want to let down. He has been hurt in the past by his mother so he allowed that to cloud his judgement about Hannah. At times, it was a bit annoying with his whole ‘fashion-is-the-devil’ spiel, but I could see where he was coming from.
 
What I loved about this couple was the give and take. They both had to learn how to work together to be a couple.
 
The secondary characters and their storyline was just as interesting and rather than drawing away from the main characters/storyline it aided its progression.
 
Overall, I loved this one. The characters were engaging, the plot flowed, and the narrator was delightful.




Christy Award finalist and winner of both the ACFW Carol Award and HOLT Medallion, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes Christian historical romance for Bethany House, believing the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children

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