Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Christmas with the Boy Next Door by Jess Mastorakos



He's a Marine turned small-town cop, and she's the single mom next door. Can the magic of Christmas unite them even with all that stands in their way?

Marine veteran Jack Rhodes returns to Snow Hill, PA to join the local police force. It's a good gig because it means he'll be close to his sister and her growing family, but taking this job has other perks, too, like living next door to his sister's best friend.

Robin McBride is determined to give her daughter a happy, stress-free life. So even though she's had a crush on Jack since the day they met, he's a police officer now, making him off-limits. Her late husband worked for the same department and died in the line of duty. There's no way she'll put her daughter—or herself—through that again.

As they grow closer over hot cocoa and holiday traditions, Jack knows he needs a Christmas miracle to convince Robin to risk her heart. And when her past comes back to haunt her, he’ll do anything to show her he’s worth believing in.

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. The world around me ceased to exist and I was immersed in all things Jack, Robin, and Abby. I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved these three!

Jack and Robin have known each other for a few years but because of Jack's profession, Robin has done everything in her power to keep her distance from him whenever he's in town. But all that changes when he moves to Star Hill to be closer to family and ends up buying the house right next door to her. Fate has something special in store for these two and all I can say is bring on the swooning and dreamy sighs. Their journey from friends to love to happily ever after is absolutely beautiful!

And I can't forget little Abby. She is adorable! She stole my heart from the very beginning. I loved watching her relationship with Jack develop. From her first unexpected hug to pizza on a bad day to snowmen to the ball to Christmas morning. Y'all, it was so sweet! I loved that he made her such a big part of his relationship with Robin. Have I mentioned how much I love these three?

Confession. I have not read the first book in this series. 🙈 How in the world did that happen?! Yes, this one can standalone, but you better believe I'll be reading Nick and Holly's book ASAP! And I cannot wait to get my hands on Tommy's book! I was secretly hoping he'd get one! 😍

Okay. It's official. I think Ms. Mastorakos needs to start writing romantic suspense. It's hard for me to find authors who write clean, secular romantic suspense so whenever I get even the slightest taste of it from a favorite author, I instantly want more! She is a natural and had me hooked from beginning to end. I'm really hoping we get to see more books like this from her. 😊

And for my casting... *dreamy sigh* I'm in love! What do you think?

Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Holiduel by Hailey Gardiner



When my pastry school rival, Finn Calloway, suddenly reappears back in the Nashville food scene, all of my plans are thrown off. Turns out we’re both stuck working out of the same commercial prep kitchen during the holidays. To top it off, Finn’s Canadian crepe truck is getting booked at events left and right, stealing my thunder and my gigs.

The coals of our competition start to burn again, made red hot by my resentment over the fact that he kissed me five years ago and then ditched town. Never making the effort to talk to me again.

But the more time I spend around Finn, the more I begin to see a different side of him. I’m tempted to set aside our rivalry and give him a second chance. Which I definitely can’t do. Because even though it might land me a permanent spot on Santa’s naughty list, I’d rather be a winner than a forgiver.

My Review: 5 Stars

Y'all. I can't believe these words are about to come out of my mouth for this second chance, slow burn romance. Are you ready?! 

Oh holy cuteness Batman! I absolutely adored this book! I was sucked in from the very beginning and refused to put the book down until the very end! It was the perfect break from reality!

Ava and Finn have a bit of history together. It all started back in culinary school and ended with a kiss on graduation that rivaled any kiss either of them had ever had. And then nothing. For five years. Five very long years where Ava definitely did not hold a grudge against Finn. Nope. Not. At. All. And she definitely doesn't have any issues whatsoever with Finn coming back to town and stealing the holiday gig she really wanted. None. What. So. Ever. Well. Maybe just a teeny tiny bit. 

Y'all. Bring on the all the sass and witty banter. I couldn't get enough of Ava and Finn. There was chemistry aplenty between these two whether they wanted to admit it or not. I loved watching them work out their past and get their HEA. It was full of laughs and all the dreamy sighs. Gah! I love these two!

A bit of advice for readers. Do not read this book if you're hungry or if you currently have a sweet tooth. All the yummy goodness mentioned in this book will drive you crazy! I may or may not want to try some of the deliciousness that Ava and Finn made. 

It's no secret that I am not a fan of slow burn romances. This book was so well written that I didn't even realize it was one until closer to the end. Any author who can get me to read a slow burn without knowing it's a slow burn definitely deserves all the stars. 

This was my first book by Ms. Gardiner and it definitely will not be my last. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series. 

And of course my review wouldn't be complete without my casting. I'm loving these two! What do you think?!

Friday, November 4, 2022

Christmas at Valentine Inn by Jennifer Peel



With a name like Isabelle Valentine, one would think I was destined to find true love and believe in the ridiculous notion of soul mates. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all about love. I even own an inn with my sister where each room is named after our favorite romantic couples. But soul mates? It seems highly implausible there is that one person, your person, meant only for you. My sister, of course, would tell me I’m dead wrong and that the very inn we own calls to such lovers. So, what if she did find her own unlikely happily ever after here with one of the most famous men alive? That doesn’t mean I’m meant for such a destiny.

But what happens when the implausible happens? When a man I thought I would never see again walks into my inn. The man who twenty years ago administered the kiss of all kisses. The kind of kiss that whispered to my soul and told me things I wasn’t ready to hear. But this time Dr. Patrick Abbott isn’t alone—he comes with two beautiful kids and the memory of his dead wife, who seems to haunt all their lives. So much so, Patrick would just as soon skip Christmas. At least that’s his plan until he finds himself playing hero trying to help me save my sister’s secret Christmas Eve wedding. By hero, I mean pretending it’s our wedding. Yep, you heard that right. Now we find ourselves having to act as if we are the jolliest couple around, making the season bright. But somehow the pretend feels all too real. Perhaps in all the chaos, there is room for my own Christmas dreams to come true. Maybe, just maybe, I was wrong about soul mates? Either way, I’m hanging up more mistletoe. Because hello, the man can kiss.

My Review: 5+ Stars!

Oh holy swooniness Batman! Where do I even begin with my review?! Part of me wants to yell.... DON'T READ REVIEWS! JUST READ THE BOOK! But then the other part of me wants to start gushing about how much I LOVED this book! Gah! Y'all. I just can't even right now! 

It's no secret that I'm a sucker for swoony second chance, single parent romances and this one absolutely NAILED what I've come to crave with these tropes! I was hooked from the very beginning and had the hardest time putting this book down! I never wanted it to end! It was just THAT good! 

From the first moment I met Izzy in The Valentine Inn, I knew she would hold a special place in my heart. There was just something about her fierce love, protective nature, and snarkiness that had me wanting to know her and her story. And oh what a story it was! My heart broke into a million pieces for her! I can't even imagine having to go through some of the things she did. The woman definitely deserves the very best and a dang good HEA!

Enter Patrick in all his white knight glory! Y'all. I became a big ol' pile of ooey, gooey, goodness! That man! WOWZERS! Y'all. I'm going to say it right now. He's MY book boyfriend and y'all just need to STAY AWAY! I will fight you for him! Haha. The man may be just as broken as Izzy, but he is absolute perfection! I absolutely adored their relationship. So swoony and sweet and loving! Y'all... you can't help but root for these two to get their HEA! 

And we can't forget Bridgette and Rory. Y'all. My heart was breaking for those kids! So much hurt and anger lived in them. You can tell they needed Izzy as much as she needed them. I loved watching her relationship with the kids develop and how they all helped each other heal. It was a beautiful thing! 

This book has all the feels! And I mean... ALL. THE. FEELS! Laughing, crying, swooning, dreamy sighing, you name it and I did it! The HEA in this book will probably be one of my all time favorites ever! If you haven't already guessed, this book is definitely a MUST READ! 

I can seriously go on and on and on with my gushing. I have read this book 3 times and have had the biggest book hangover every single time! If I had to give any kind of warnings it would be to make sure you clear your schedule before starting this book and then once you finish it make sure you reread some of your favorites before starting anything new. This book is going to be hard to follow!

Ms. Peel has definitely hit it out of the park with this one. Here it is, days later, and I can't stop thinking about Izzy, Patrick, and the kids. Gah! I seriously love this book with my whole butt! I would say heart but my butt is bigger! Clearly, Izzy has influenced me just a teeny tiny bit. 😉

As for my casting.... *dreamy sigh* I. Am. In. Love! What do you think?!