Sunday, September 26, 2021

Christmas in Kailua by Jess Mastorakos



I hate Christmas. But I'm willing to let her change my mind.

How did I get roped into playing Santa at a toddler's holiday-themed birthday party? Oh, right. Because I'd probably walk through fire for the birthday girl's gorgeous mom if she asked me to.

And when she decides to take me around the island to do a bunch of Christmas stuff to cure my Grinch vibes, I can't help but want to play along.

Before I know it, the peppermint mochas and festive lights start to go to my head, and I fall for her. Hard.

But then her ex comes sniffing around. He’s playing nice, but I’ve got my eye on him. Tess and Sadie are changing everything I know about love, family, and the meaning of Christmas. So if he thinks it’ll be easy to push me out, he’s wrong.

My Review: 5 Stars

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas to us! Yes, I know it's only September BUT it's never too early to start reading Christmas romances, right?! It's one of my favorite tropes! Add in the single parent trope and this girl right here is in heaven!

Where do I even begin with my review?! I absolutely adored this book! I had the hardest time putting it down and was getting irrationally angry when life was rudely interrupting my reading time. Adulting is SO overrated! 😂

Growing up, life was tough for both Tess and Logan. Tess's parents were non-existent and her only support was her older sister, Nora. Logan's dad was abusive and his mom didn't do anything to stop it. After having to grow up the way they did, they were both determined to break the mold. They not only wanted to do better, but they wanted to be better. They wanted to be the kind of person they needed in their lives growing up. 

Y'all. I absolutely adored Tess, Logan, and little Sadie. I couldn't get enough of these three! I'm not going to lie, little Miss Sadie pretty much stole the show. Watching her relationship with Logan was seriously the cutest! She had him wrapped around her little finger before he and Tess ever started dating. Some of their scenes melted my heart! 😍 I also loved watching Tess and Logan grow together, forge their own path, and get their HEA. If there were ever a quote to describe how perfect Tess and Logan were for each other it would be, "Everyone comes with baggage. Find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack." 💗

Was it all sunshine and roses? Heavens no! There were definite bumps along the way. Annoying, almost break your car kind of bumps named Jimmy. Y'all. I can't even with that man! He needed a swift kick in the butt with steel-toed boots and a knock upside the head with a cast iron skillet. Harsh? Maybe. But you guys are totally going to agree with me... I promise! 😂

You guys, I absolutely hate when the series I love have to come to an end. It makes me so sad! I have loved getting to know the Kailua Marines and watching them all get their HEA's. They will always hold a special place in my heart. I'm excited to see a couple of familiar faces in the next series. It's one of those bonuses Ms. Mastorakos gives us. We never really have to say goodbye. It's more of a see you later. 

And speaking of Ms. Mastorakos... have I told you lately how amazing she is? Not only is she a favorite author and an auto-buy for me, but she's also one of the handful of authors that I no longer need to read the book blurb for. I know that what ever she writes, I am going to love! I cannot wait to get my hands on her next book baby! Beaufort, SC. here we come!

And of course I can't forget my casting. I personally think these two are pretty perfect. What about you?

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

My Own Best Enemy by Julie Christianson



This isn’t a wedding. This is war …

I get it. We were in elementary school. Just a couple of kids on the playground. But after Nash Hendrix called me Enemy instead of Emily, his stupid nickname ruined my life.

Now our best friends are getting married, and they expect me to stand across the aisle from Nash the Ruiner without killing him?

Whatever. I can survive being maid of honor. It’s only for one weekend.

Until it’s not.

When I get roped into wedding planning at the same places Nash is fundraising, I’m ready to blow up our temporary truce.

All I wanted was to start over. New job. New permanently-single status.

But the more time we spend together, the more I feel like … not murdering him.

Is it possible Nash and I don't hate each other?

No way. He’s still my enemy.

My big, dumb enemy.

My big, dumb, gorgeous, sweet-talking, dog-loving —

Emi, you’re doomed.

My Review: 5 Stars!

Have you ever picked up a book, started reading it, and instantly knew you were going to have the hardest time putting it down? Well, that's what happened to me with this book. Nothing else in the world existed while I was reading. From the very first page, I was transported back to Apple Valley where got a front row seat to the Emi and Nash fireworks show. Y'all. I can't tell you how much I loved these two! 

Sworn enemies since elementary school, Emi and Nash have to work together to make sure their best friends' wedding goes off without a hitch. It proves to be difficult when Emi has a deep "hatred" for Nash that she just can't seem to let go of. But you know what they say, "there's a fine line between love and hate". 😉 

I loved watching these to work through their past and their feelings. It wasn't always easy and just as they took a step forward, something happened to put them two steps back. Their love/hate relationship had the chemistry flying off the pages! All I can say is sit down, buckle up, and enjoy the rollercoaster ride you are about to embark on! I seriously could NOT get enough of these two! 

And it would be remiss of me if I didn't say... you guys... I have a couple warnings for you! Doesn't it feel like that's becoming a thing with books lately?! It does to me! 

*WARNING* Do NOT eat or drink anything while reading this book! Picture this. You're minding your own business, eating dark chocolate milano cookies and all of the sudden crumbs are flying out of your mouth because you just couldn't contain your involuntary bursts of laughter! Y'all. Thank goodness it wasn't the Swiss Miss Dark Chocolate Sensation hot chocolate I was drinking. That could've ended badly! Haha.

*WARNING* Make sure you clear your schedule before picking up this book because once you start, you are NOT going to want to stop! Lets just say that I had a meeting at work on my day off but I couldn't be bothered to get ready for it, so I called in for the meeting instead. The struggle was real y'all! 😂

I know this book is just being released but y'all! I need Lucy and Fix's story like now! Their first interaction had me squealing with delight. But I'd be lying if I say that's the only reason why I need their book ASAP. You guys... I need to know what happened to Mrs. Dodd! She is definitely one of my most favorite side characters ever! You know the mentioning of cookie crumbs flying out of my mouth above? She's one of those reasons! You guys are going to love her! 

I have to say that I am SO glad I discovered Ms. Christianson! Her books are the perfect break from reality that I need! I can always count on her kidnapping me and not letting me go until the very end! I absolutely love it when that happens! 😍

And can we just take a minute to admire these two? I think they are perfect! What do you think?

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Hidden Gems

Welcome to Hidden Gems hosted by KJ's Book Nook! Once a month I'll feature a new to me author that I've discovered and fell in love with their books. I'll share the author's bio, one of my favorite books of theirs and a review.

For this month's Hidden Gems I am going to choose...

Sara Jane Woodley is a Sweet Romance author who is obsessed with Happily Ever Afters!

Inspired by the mountains, Sara Jane writes love stories set in the beautiful nature she hikes, bikes and skis in. Her clean romance books always feature sassy, strong female heroines and fun-filled, playful relationships.


I discovered Sara Jane Woodley while I was searching for clean small town romance books. The moment I saw this cover, I wasted no time in downloading a sample. From the beginning, I was swept away to the small town of Aston Falls where I fell in love and never wanted to leave. I became an instant fan of Ms. Woodley's and I look forward to seeing what she has in store for us next!

I decided that since it was More Than Second Chances that introduced to Ms. Woodley, that it would be the one I would feature. Y'all. I loved this book! It was super cute! If you haven't read it yet, then I highly recommend it! 

My life as an NFL quarterback was everything I thought I wanted... Married to a beautiful model, on the verge of winning a championship, and making more than enough money to look after my mom and grandpa.

It was perfect… until it wasn’t.

And now that everything’s falling apart, I’m returning to Aston Falls.

It’s been ten years since I’ve been back to my small, quirky hometown. Ten years since that fateful night when I told my best friend’s sister I loved her. Right before I left her.

I broke Grace’s heart that night, as well as my own. I had no choice.

When an accidental run-in forces us back into each other’s lives, I do my best to keep my distance… but I can’t.

Will Grace ever find a way to forgive me for what I did?

Because all I want is a second chance.

You can check out my review here.

Happy reading my fellow Book Dragons!
Saturday, September 18, 2021

A Blind Date for the Marine by Jess Mastorakos



Blind dating for the digital age. What could go wrong?

When my best friend asks me to test his new dating app, I'm not sure it's a good idea. After all, I'm moving out of the country in six months. What's the point?

But he insists it's just to help him out, so I give it a shot. Plus, the mystery of it is kind of fun. There are no photos until you've been talking for thirty days, so it's all about the connection.

What I didn't expect was to immediately hit it off with a bookish charmer on the app at the same time as someone pretty similar in real life. Two women? Why couldn't this happen when I wasn't about to leave?

Now that I thought about it, BookishDreamer from the app reminds me a lot of Claire from the real world... wouldn't it be crazy if they were the same person?

Nah. What are the odds of that?

My Review: 5 Stars

*BREAKING NEWS* We interrupt your sacred reading time to bring you this important message.

Book Dragons. Drop whatever you are reading, head on over to Amazon, and grab a copy of A Blind Date for the Marine. Fans everywhere agree... this enchanting story is one you will NOT want to miss!

Oh my heart! Y'all! I can't even begin to tell you how much I adored this book! From the moment I picked it up, I was a goner. There was no turning back for me. I just HAD to see how Claire and Mateo's love story would unfold. I have to say... I was NOT disappointed!

There's no denying the spark between Claire and Mateo. But for various reasons, their mutual attraction hasn't gone anywhere. When Amy asks Claire, and Dex asks Mateo, to be their test dummies for their new dating app (with the stipulation that they can't tell anyone about what they are doing), they both go into it with zero desire of finding love. But from the very first message, everything changed.

*dreamy sigh*

You guys... I couldn't get enough of Claire and Mateo! It was fun watching them get to know each other through messages. I think I was just as excited as they were to read them. I literally had to force myself to not look ahead and read the messages. I'm not going to lie, the struggle was real! 😂

Oh the feels! The feels were definitely real in this one! Laughing, crying (sad and happy tears), frustration, swooning, you name it and I felt it. Is it any wonder why I'm obsessed with this series? It's just SO good! I know I said that I had a feeling Huck's book was going to be my favorite, but I lied. Claire and Mateo's story is really going to be hard to top! I seriously love these two! 😍

Y'all if you're a fan of You've Got Mail then you are going to love this book! But just a warning... you're going to want to watch the movie when you're done reading this book! Just ask me. I'm currently watching it as I type this. 😉

Ms. Mastorakos has hit it out of the park with this one! This is a prime example of why she's an auto-buy and favorite author of mine. Y'all. I'm telling you... if you haven't read any of her books yet, you are definitely missing out! I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next!

And for my casting... I'm in love!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Magic in the Moonlight by Jules Barker



After an awkward-almost kiss ten years ago, her older brother's best friend is back and more distracting than ever.

Laurel tried to kiss Nate when they were teenagers, and he flat-out rejected her. Then he left the island and never came back. Okay, so it was because of family drama and not because he was horrified his best friend’s little sister tried to lock lips with him. But Laurel can’t help re-living that embarrassment when Nate returns to the island grown up and gorgeous.

Laurel certainly hasn’t been pining for him this whole time. She’s been busy running her small boutique, collecting a fabulous vintage wardrobe, and mastering her magical ability to read the emotional energy of objects. No time for worrying about the past.

Except, suddenly, Nate is everywhere. Family dinner. Stopping by with her favorite treats. Getting hired by Gran to renovate Laurel’s cottage. It’s awfully hard to prove you’re a competent, fully-grown woman who’s so over a man when he’s your personal handyman tearing down your walls. If only she could tear down his image of her as the lonely little tagalong from his teen years. Having the confidence to make a move is even harder when she discovers he may already have feelings for someone else.

Laurel’s Gift is reading the emotional past of objects, so why is it so hard to understand her emotional present?

My Review: 4 Stars

One of my favorite genres is urban fantasy. Sadly, I have the hardest time trying to find books in this genre. The majority of them are either geared towards YA or are simply not clean. Y'all. I was SO excited to discover the Magic of Moonrise Cove series. It has swept me away and has given me that much needed break from reality. I am so glad that I don't have to leave Moonrise Cove anytime soon! This place is... well... magical! 😍

Confession time. The "Brother's Best Friend" trope is usually a hit or a miss for me. It has never been in between and there's been more misses than hits. Thankfully this one was a hit! *whew* Haha. Don't ya just love when that happens?

Laurel and Nate have known each other since they were kids. She's had a crush on him for years but, for Nate, she's always been "Simon's Little Sister". It's been 10 years since Nate left the island and now that he's back, Laurel isn't quite sure how to handle it. All she wants to do is avoid him as long as possible. But between a handsy scarf and her Gran, avoidance doesn't last very long. Things were a bit awkward between Laurel and Nate in the beginning. But it doesn't take long for them to pick up where they left off all those years ago. 

I enjoyed their journey from friendship to something more. They were so good together. I loved watching Nate take care of and support Laurel when she needed it the most. Y'all. That man deserves a medal! Laurel was a bit slow on the uptake and there were a few times I wanted to shake her and say "Wake up woman! How can you not see what's in front of your face?!" 😂 Thankfully she figures it out before it's too late.

While I really enjoyed the book and had a hard time putting it down, there was one thing that kept me from giving it the full 5 stars I wanted to. What is that one thing? Kisses. I needed more kisses. I missed melting into a big ol' pile of gooey goodness and letting out all the dreamy sighs. Now don't get me wrong. There were some definite dreamy sighs escaping while reading the book, but I just wanted a bit more.  

I am absolutely loving this series! It is SO fun! I find myself wanting to devour all of the books as fast as I can but then I want to read them slowly so I can savor every minute of them. The struggle is real y'all! 😂

Ms. Barker has officially added herself to my "authors to watch" list. She had me staying up way past my bedtime because I just had to know what happened next! I can say, without a doubt, I'm definitely looking forward to reading more books by her! 

And you guys know no review of mine would be complete without a casting. I have one word for these two. Perfection! What do you think? 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Magic in the Mix by Trish LeBaron


Pastry Chef Lucy Crowthorne has no room for romance in her life. Running her bakery, making trendy pastries, and mixing potions takes up all the space on her proverbial plate. Using her craft to spread good vibes in her secret magical community is both fun and keeps her focused—until a tall, dark-eyed, and extremely distracting someone begins poking his nose around her kitchen.

Food columnist Devin Dawson can’t ignore his inbox any longer. Loyal customers of Pastries and Potions want foodie magazine PastryLit to get the scoop on this young baker and her desserts that are wowing the Oregon coast. He checks out the pastry shop and can’t deny her mousse cakes and caramel bars are worth repeat visits. But it’s the pastry chef behind the bakery case that he’s having undeniable cravings for.

Lucy’s been burned in the past, figuratively of course. Revealing her magical identity to her ex-boyfriend was her worst adulting decision ever and led to the “Clint Catastrophe” her family won’t let her forget. Now let’s be clear, Devin Dawson is nothing like Clint. So why can’t Lucy shake the feeling that if Devin discovers her secret it will lead to catastrophic heartache?

My Review: 5 Stars

Confession. One of my favorite tropes is food fiction. I love reading about all the yummy creations and then dream about recreating them. Sadly, when it comes to this trope, the pickens are slim. So, imagine my surprise and utter delight when I see the cutest book cover and discover it's all about a magical pastry chef! I felt like it was screaming at me... pick me! pick me! And pick I did. I may or may not have squealed and did a little happy dance as I one-clicked this baby.

Y'all. From the moment I started reading, I was swept away to the magical island of Moonrise Cove. Everything around me ceased to exist and I found myself sitting in the small alcove at Pastries and Potions with Lucy and Devin, nibbling on a Hunky-Chunky chocolate cupcake and drinking hot cocoa while being regaled by their adventurous love story. 

Before she was even born, Lucy's life was mapped out for her. She didn't have a choice in what she wanted to do or who she wanted to be. Having the decisions made for her had her feeling trapped and smothered. She just wanted to be free to choose things for herself. Opening up Pastries and Potions was just the ticket to prove to everyone that she can do the hard things on her own. With so much on the line, she can't afford any distractions. 

Enter in Devin. Y'all. I loved him instantly! I know I say this in a lot of my reviews but, he was absolutely perfect for Lucy! Even though he's absolutely clueless when it comes to magic, it doesn't stop him from being who Lucy needs in her life. Whether it's saving her from accidents, encouraging her when she's feeling down, cleaning up the disasters that seem to be following her around, whatever she needs, he is always there for her, no questions asked. He is absolute perfection!

Oh how I adored Lucy and Devin! I loved getting to know them and seeing what made them tick. Their journey wasn't all sunshine and roses. There were bumps along the way and hard choices needed to be made. But those things made them stronger and helped mold them into who they were meant to be. 

You guys! This is seriously the cutest and sweetest book! But it really needs to come with a warning or two. I'm thinking something like... 

*WARNING* Make sure you have some sweet treats with you while reading because you are most definitely going to be craving some yummy goodness like Moonrise Turtle Bars and Hunky-Chunky chocolate cupcakes. (Y'all. I really need these in my life!)

*WARNING* Make sure you clear your calendar because once you start, you won't want to stop. It may or may not cause you to be late back to work after lunch. 

If you haven't guessed already, I absolutely adored this debut novel by Ms. LeBaron! She did a phenomenal job of kidnapping me and holding me hostage until the very end. I cannot wait to read more of her books! 

As for my casting... y'all. There are no words! I love these two! 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

More Than Just Friends by Sara Jane Woodley



Nobody knows why I returned to my small, gossipy hometown of Aston Falls after graduating med school. Not even Ella.

She thinks that I’m a serial dater. A “never forever” kind of guy.

That I always saw her as my best friend, nothing more.

If only she knew.

After Ella temporarily moves into my spare bedroom, familiar feelings come rushing back. And when she proposes a fake relationship to appease her overly intrusive family, I can’t say no.

I’d do anything for Ella… even forever.

But, can we ever really be more than just friends?

My Review: 5 Stars

Confession. I have been in a reading funk lately. Every book I picked up just couldn't hold my attention. The struggle was real y'all! As I was going through all my books again for the umpteenth time, Ella and Austin started screaming at me and demanding that I read their book. Apparently they were done waiting for me to dive into their love story. Who says characters only speak to their creators? 😉

From the moment I started reading their love story, I was immersed into all things Ella and Austin. These two are the best of friends and have been since they were kids. They didn't do anything without the other by their side. When one of them needed lifting up, the other was the first one there. They were inseparable. Everyone around them could see how perfect they were for each other. 

And you would think they would be able to see it too, right? Wrong. Y'all. These two are stubborn and refuse to acknowledge the elephant in the room. Never have two people been more perfect for each other. But fear and insecurities held them back. 

I did love watching their relationship grow from best of friends to something more. I will admit that I was extremely frustrated with Ella and wanted to Gibbs slap her a few times. But in the end, she realized what she wanted, needed, and deserved, and set about getting her HEA with her best friend and love of her life.

I am seriously loving this series! It really makes me want to live in a small town. Not only do I love seeing old friends and catching up with them, but I also love meeting new ones. I cannot WAIT for JJ and Christian's story. Y'all. I see a lot of sass in the very near future! 😉😂

I just have to say that Ms. Woodley is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. She's been able to give me that much needed break from reality that we all so desperately need at times. I cannot wait to see what she has in store for us next! 

As for my casting, I saw these two pretty early on and think they're pretty perfect. What do you think?