‘My Not So Perfect Life’ by Sophie Kinsella

mnspl-skSTORY: Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

REVIEW: Catherine (Cat) Brenner lives in London and battles the tube travel commute every day which take her well over an hour one way. Her boss, Demeter, complains about her 25-minute commute, which makes Cat roll her eyes. Cat works at a branding and strategy agency called Cooper Clemmow. Demeter is married with two children, makes an enormous salary, and lives in a stunning house. Cat, on the other hand, lives in a tiny room and barely makes enough to get by.

Demeter is juggling lots of contracts and depends on her assistant to help her. Unfortunately, Demeter is not liked by many in the office because they feel as though they were passed over for her job.

Cat is trying hard to make friends at work and to try and get noticed by her boss. One day, a handsome man named Alex asks Cat to help him look over some items to decide if they would be worth supporting/branding them. She soon finds out that he is Demeter’s boss. She dreams about how wonderful it would be to date him. She gets embarrassed when her drunken co-worker tells Alex at the office Christmas party that Cat has a crush on him. Mortified, Cat cannot face him.

Cat’s name is actually Katie and she grew up on a farm in the countryside. Her mother passed away when Katie was little and it was her father who raised her. Katie heads home for the Christmas break. Her Dad has always had a lot of get-rich schemes that never paned out. Katie suggests that he offer a country vacation spot complete with yurts, great good, and lots of games and exercise. She even does up a fabulous brochure and after working it through, it becomes a reality. This is a good thing because as soon as Cat gets back to work after Christmas break, Demeter fires her. Totally shocked, she heads back home and tells her Dad she is on sabbatical from her job. So, she delves in and works to make the vacation spot a success.

They get many people coming and enjoying themselves. When Demeter and her family show up, Katie disguises herself and does all she can to get back at Demeter under the guise of healthy exercise. But when Alex arrives to see Demeter, things get really rough.

This is a terrific story that only Sophie Kinsella can write. I have loved all of her books and this one did not disappoint. Grab a copy of this book and come join the fun. I’m betting you will love the story.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘Heroes Are My Weakness’ by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

hamw-sepSTORY: The dead of winter.

An isolated island off the coast of Maine.

A man.

A woman.

A sinister house looming over the sea …

He’s a reclusive writer whose macabre imagination creates chilling horror novels. She’s a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids’ puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill with laughs.

But she’s not laughing now. When she was a teenager, he terrified her. Now they’re trapped together on a snowy island off the coast of Maine. Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.

It’s going to be a long, hot winter.

REVIEW: I am still new to this author and thus am feeling torn about this story. I have a feeling that if I were used to her writing voice, some of the things would have “fallen into place” much more easily.

What made this a disappointment for me was the lack of chemistry between the two leads. Try as I might, I just couldn’t get them to click in my mind’s eye. On the other hand, I liked both characters and their individuality. So, separate, they were kind of cool, but together, they were just blah.

Plot wise it wasn’t bad. It was interesting and at times entertaining and funny, but because of its slow pace, I enjoyed it less.

In the end, if you’re a fan of this author, I have a feeling you’ll like it much more than I did.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the

‘The Coldwater Warm Hearts Club’ by Lexi Eddings

tcwwhc-leSTORY: For Lacy Evans, returning to flyover country is the definition of failure. She had everything she wanted an award-winning design firm, a chic city condo, a handsome, aristocratic almost-fiance. Then her boyfriend ran off with her receptionist and her clients’ money. Now she s out of business and crashing on her parents couch. When she slides into a booth at the Green Apple Grill, she’s feeling lower than a worm’s belly.

But Lacy s old classmate Jacob Tyler is happy to see her. Coldwater s football hero came back from Afghanistan short part of a leg and some peace of mind, but he s counting his blessings, and Lacy could be one of them. Then there s her ex, Daniel, wearing a sheriff s badge and a wedding ring, but looking like young summer love. And a host of unlikely serendipities: the selfless do-gooders who sneak around taming curmudgeons and constructing second chances. The Fighting Marmots. The sprawling, take-no-prisoners Bugtussle clan.

Lacy thought she knew her hometown, and herself. She just wanted to get on her feet and keep running. But the longer she stays, the more she finds to change her mind. . .

REVIEW: Lexi Eddings is a new voice of contemporary romance, however Mia Marlow is one of my all time favorite historical romance authors. Knowing that, I was praying that I’d at least like this new reincarnation of her writing voice. And guess what? I loved it!

For me, even though this was Lacy and Jake’s story, it just felt more of an ensemble tale, and that’s because we have multiple points of views and because every character you meet is three dimensional.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the author’s choice of including Jake’s faith throughout the storyline. That’s something I hardly encounter in romances, unless they’re marked as “Christian”.

If you’re looking for a new voice in contemporary romance, I highly recommend Lexi Eddings and her heartwarming story of second chances, redemption, faith, hope and love.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘One Snowy Night’ by Jill Shalvis

osn-jsSTORY: It’s Christmas Eve and Rory Andrews is desperate to get home to the family she hasn’t seen in years. Problem is, her only ride to Lake Tahoe comes in the form of the annoyingly handsome Max Stranton, and his big, goofy, lovable dog Carl.

Hours stuck in a truck with the dead sexy Max sounds like a fate worse than death (not), but Rory’s out of options. She’s had a crush on Max since high school and she knows he’s attracted to her, too. But they have history… and Max is the only one who knows why it went south.

They’ve done a good job of ignoring their chemistry so far, but a long road trip in a massive blizzard might be just what they need to face their past… and one steamy, snowy night is all it takes to bring Max and Rory together at last.

REVIEW:  This is book 2.5 in Heartbreaker Bay Series and once more I find myself enjoying Jill Shalvis’s book less because I’ve not read the other two books first. I have no doubt that I’d have enjoyed it much more if I had a chance to connect with the people populating this series.

Despite fully connecting with an already established community and family dynamics, I thought the story well written and fast paced, but most enjoyable were the characters of Max and Rory. They  entertained me from start to finish and on that merit alone, I recommend it.

This a perfect read for all of you that are stuck this weekend in your “huts” as the snow hits our Midwest. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Lord Bachelor’ by Tammy L. Bailey

lb-tlbSTORY: Edmund Rushwood is a single English lord in possession of a great fortune who is in desperate need of a rich wife.

In accordance with his father’s will, Edmund has until he turns twenty-six to find a wealthy bride or lose his vast inheritance. To retain his selfish lifestyle, he agrees to join an American dating game show to find the woman who can save him. He doesn’t bargain on meeting Abby Forester, an impoverished, spirited American woman who is content to live out her father’s dreams in his vintage record shop.

With covert intervention from an unlikely source, Abby lands on the dating game show as one of Edmund’s potential brides. As their worlds entangle and love begins to bloom, Abby discovers Edmund cannot marry her and retain his wealth at the same time. Will love keep them together, or will greed triumph and tear them apart?

REVIEW: Portland Oregon

Abby Forester is working as a waitress to pay off her college loans and bills left by her Dad when he died. One table she’s waiting on has an English guy in the group whom she can tell is quite wealthy. A guy who had been in one of her classes, Will Simpson, is at the table and tells her that he is now the host of Love Match, a dating game show on TV. Abby is being run off her feet serving beer and fighting off groping men. Just as Abby is nearly forced to break a bottle over a guy’s head, Edmund, Lord Rushwood, rushes over to assist her.

It turns out that Edmund has been told that his father’s will stipulates he must wed a rich and socially acceptable bride by his 26th birthday or lose his inheritance. His mother’s friend suggests he look for a bride in America so he heads to Portland to escape and visit with his friend, Will Simpson. So Will talks him into going on his Love Match show as Lord Bachelor ensuring him that some of the women contestants are wealthy in their own right.

But Abby and Edmund have formed a friendship and are truly attracted to each other. Is there some way they can get around his inheritance stipulation that he must marry a wealthy woman?

This is a clever enough novel that can entertain a reader for awhile. However, I didn’t bond with either of the main characters.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

 

Spotlight on Debbie Mason and ‘Mistletoe Cottage’!

vt-mistletoecottage-dmason_final

mistletoe-cottage-coverBOOK BLURB: ‘Tis the season for love . . .

Sophie DiRossi loved growing up in Harmony Harbor. But after fleeing in disgrace many years ago, it is the last place she wants to be. Left homeless by a fire, she’s forced to go back to the small coastal town that harbors a million secrets, including her own. Sophie sees this secret reflected every day in her daughter’s blue eyes-and she must keep it hidden from the only man she has ever loved.

Sophie’s return is a shock for everyone . . . especially Liam Gallagher. The firefighter had some serious feelings for Sophie-and seeing her again sparks a desire so fierce it takes his breath away. Now Liam will do whatever it takes to show Sophie that they deserve a second chance at love, even if everything they’ve concealed threatens to keep them apart.

In this special town at this special time of the year, Sophie and Liam can only hope for a little holiday magic…

BUY LINKS: AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo /

TEASER:

Liam lifted his phone and took a picture of Sophie and Mia twirling under a shower of red and yellow leaves that were substituting for snow. Sophie sang “Let it Go” with Mia mouthing the words.

He held up the bag from Jolly Rogers when they took their bows. “Okay, Elsa and Anna, it’s time to go. I’m starved.”

If he didn’t have to take care of the repairs at the apartment before his shift, he’d be happy to watch them play make believe for however long they wanted. He loved seeing this side of Sophie. Loved hearing her laugh, watching her face light up when she looked at her daughter. But what was supposed to be a ten-minute walk through the woods to the cottage had already taken an hour.

“Kristoff sounds grumpy, Anna. Should we take him to the cottage and feed him, or make him sing for us first?”

Mia spread her arms wide and tipped her head back.

“Sorry, Kristoff. Looks like you’re singing for your lunch.”

He shook his head with a laugh, then belted out a couple choruses of the song. By now, he knew the words. He should since Sophie had been singing the song for the better part of twenty minutes. Mia clapped and ran to hug his legs.

“Be still my heart,” Sophie said, patting her chest. Then she hugged him too. “Thank you.”

“For what?” he asked her when Mia let him go to skip along the path.

“For being you.”

He took her hand, reminding himself he didn’t do serious. But like the last six times he’d told himself that in the past hour, it wasn’t really working.

Especially when Sophie smiled at him like she was now. “In case you can’t tell, we’re having fun.”

He lifted their joined hands to her face and traced her lips with his thumb. “I got that. I’m glad. It’s nice to see you happy. Both of you.”

She glanced at Mia who’d crouched on the path to collect rocks. “You’re great with her, you know. I should have thought of telling her to mouth words.”

“Forest for the trees, Soph. Sometimes it’s hard to see what’s right in front of you. Cut yourself some slack. You’ve had a lot to deal with.”

“What about you? All we ever do is talk about me.” She gave his hand a gentle squeeze. “How are you doing, Liam?”

“I’m good. Why?”

“Um . . . shot in the line of duty ring a bell? I heard what happened, Liam.”

“Of course you did. It’s Harmony Harbor.” He glanced at her, smiled. “I’m getting there. You don’t have to worry about me.”

>>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER <<<<<<<<<< 

REVIEW: Ms. Mason starts her new Harmony Harbor series with this second chance at love and I loved it. But then I’m a sucer for that trope, so …

Sophie and Liam are complicated characters, but very likable and their road to happily ever after is a bit rough, but never the less intriguing and entertaining.

If you’re a fan of small town romance ala Sherryl Woods, then you gotta read this one. It’s filled to the brim with secondary characters you’ll love and hate. Seriously, this is perfect story for this season. Grab it!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

debbie_mason-200x300AUTHOR BIO: Debbie Mason is the bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series. Her books have been praised for their “likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots” (RT Book Reviews).

She also writes historical paranormals as Debbie Mazzuca. Her MacLeod series has received several nominations for best paranormal as well as a Holt Medallion Award of Merit.

When she isn’t writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their four wonderful children, an adorable grandbaby, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads /

‘The Angels’ Share’ by J.R. Ward

tas jrwSTORY: In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…

No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.

Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior…or the worst of all the sinners?

REVIEW: William Baldwine, patriarch of the family that produces Bradford Bourbon, appears to have committed suicide by jumping off a bridge. It has also just come to light that a great deal of money is missing from the company which has been around for over 200 years. The company bears the name Bradford as it was William’s wife’s family that started the company and she inherited it. However at this point, the woman lives in her room in a drug-induced state as she has chosen not to deal with life anymore.

Lane Baldwine is the youngest son of the family which consists of three sons and one daughter. He is currently trying to deal with the aftermath of his father’s death and the question of what has happened to all of the money.

Lizzie has been employed at the estate for years. She is a horticulturist and cares for the famous gardens of the estate. She and Lane have been in love for a long time but they have never been able to be together.

Edward Baldwine is a man who stays inebriated most of the time to deal with his physical limitations and constant pain. These are a result of having been kidnapped, beaten, and ransomed years ago. Edward has spent his life with horses training them to be future Derby champions. He should be the heir apparent but he does not want anything to do with the family.

The Bradford Bourbon’s competition is the Sutton Distillery Corporation run by the Smythe family. Head of the family, Reynolds Smythe, whose health is failing, has just named his daughter, Sutton Smythe, to be the new head of the company.

In the days following William Baldwine’s death, a gruesome discovery has brought in the police and now it appears the man may have been murdered. No one is above suspicion. The rush is on to try to find out what happened to the missing money before word gets out about it that could bring the company crashing down.

The author has picked up where she left off with her first novel, “The Bourbon Kings.” This is an ongoing family saga that will grab the reader and you can’t let go. I do recommend reading the books in order to keep up with the story.

Connie for b2b