Thursday, December 2, 2021

The Island We Left Behind
by Kate Hewitt 

Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 347
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  “I love you. Of course I do. But we haven’t any choice in the matter, do we? If our little boy’s health, even his survival, is at stake, we have to do whatever it takes.”

1928, New York City: Ellen and Lucas Lyman have made a heart-wrenching decision to leave their beloved Amherst Island behind in search of a new life. The island was once the home of their hearts: where they had met as children, become friends, and over time found love.

But New York City was calling, and it was everything they’d hoped for and more. With Lucas making money on the stock market, and Ellen finding fulfilment as a mother, at first they are happy raising their family, together, in the most exciting city in the world.

Until their beloved son Jamie becomes perilously ill, and Ellen is given an impossible choice. With Lucas unable to leave his job, it is down to her to take Jamie to a place he might recover even if it means making the journey across America without him.

Ellen knows what she must do. What every mother would do to save their child. Even if it takes her further away from the man she loves — and every place she has called home ‑ than ever before.


Kritters Thoughts:  The fourth book in a series and I haven't read the previous three books, so I can give honest opinions on how I feel about this book and this book alone.  

Ellen and Lucas Lyman left their family on Amherst Island for his job/career in New York City, but the city has been the best for the son's health, so they make an even harder decision to split the family and Ellen will take the kids to California in hopes that their son can grow and overcome this health obstacles and Lucas will stay behind to keep his career moving forward in NYC.  

Knowing history and Lucas' career in the financial world and knowing that the fall was about to happen caused me some anxiety as I knew where this family would end up and wondering how it was all going to go down.  I loved the dynamic between Ellen and her cousin, Gracie as they were figuring out how to survive in California.  It was fun to see them interact with real historical figures and weave in and out of fact and fiction.  

Starting midstream with this series was definitely weird and I felt as though I was missing out on some of the needed history about these characters, but even still the story was self contained within these pages.  BUT I finished wanting to go back and start at the beginning, so I think that is a good sign and something that I hope to do soon.  


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 149 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Bookouture.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.


The Winter Berry House
by Caroline Flynn 

Publisher: HQ Digital
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  It’s the beginning of December, and the town of Port Landon is covered with snow and glowing with festive cheer. Working at the Port diner, Kait Davenport is counting down to Christmas the same way she does every year, serving fruitcake and cinnamon flavored coffee.

But when she unexpectedly runs into her high school sweetheart, Branch Sterling, she knows this Christmas is going to be different.

The holiday season marks the first anniversary of his beloved Grandma Addie’s passing, and Branch must face the task he has been putting off for so long… It’s time to return to the house he’s inherited – the house he once called home – and make peace with his loss.

Branch is determined to lay his painful memories to rest and finally move on. But he has rekindled a fire in Kait’s heart, and when she offers to help him recreate Grandma Addie’s legacy Christmas dinner for the whole town, their hope for a second chance burns bright.

Will Kait convince Branch that he belongs in Port Landon, and that their love is just as strong as their Christmas spirit?


Kritters Thoughts:  Kait has stayed in the small town that raised her, even after a lot of drama could have driven her to run and start over.  She is working at a diner in her small town of Michigan and in walks a former love who was a part of the drama and is back to take care of a house he inherited, will the past be rekindled or have they both moved on?

I love holiday romances because they still follow the romance guidelines, but everything just seems a little extra (in a good way) with the heightened addition of a holiday season.  This book felt like it could have taken place at any time of year, but I liked it more because it had Christmas lurking in the background.  

For me there were a few moments where I literally rolled my eyes at the main character, Kait.  A few moments she just wasn't believable and I wanted her to act differently and more so then I feel with a typical fictional character.  Without completely spoiling the book, there were things said by another character that she took as truth and I just wanted to say - "Hello girlfriend, really, you are trusting him!"  Those moments made me distracted, but overall she was a fine character to follow.  

I would read more by this author in hopes that this character trait would not show up again in another story.   


Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Ebook 2020 Challenge: 132 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

A shorter reading month due to the big life changes and December is looking just as busy, but will end with a vacation hopefully with some sunshine and some kindle time!

1. Bells Are Ringing by Lacey Baker (audiobook)
2. Celebration at Christmas Cove by Carrie Jansen
3. The Missing Piece by John Lescroart
4. Her Silent Husband by Sam Vickery
5. From the Dark We Rise by Marion Kummerow
6. Forever Home by Elysia Whisler
7. Nanny Dearest by Flora Collins
8. The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery
9. Keep Me Warm at Christmas by Brenda Novak
10. Meet Me in London by Georgia Toffolo
11. A Magical New York Christmas by Anita Hughes
12. The Island We Left Behind by Kate Hewitt
13. The Christmas Wish by Melinda Curtis

Total pages read, clicked and flipped: 4,160


Where Have I Been Reading?:
Massachusetts
Vermont
San Francisco, CA
Notting Hill
Germany
Virginia
New York
Washington 
Northern California
London
New York City, NY
Pasadena, CA




 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

A Magical New York Christmas
by Anita Hughes

Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  It’s Christmas week when 26-year-old Sabrina Post knocks on the door of the Vanderbilt suite at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, ready to accept the ghostwriting position for the memoir of Grayson Westcott—a famous art dealer.

A struggling journalist, Sabrina can't believe her luck: a paycheck and six nights in her own suite at the Plaza. She feels like Eloise, the heroine from her favorite children’s books. To make the job even more exciting, Grayson recounts how he worked as a butler at the Plaza sixty years ago for none other than the author of the Eloise books, Kay Thompson.

What promises to be a perfect week is complicated when Sabrina meets Ian Wentworth, a handsome British visitor, at the hotel bar. When Ian assumes Sabrina is another wealthy guest at the hotel, she doesn’t correct him —a decision she doesn’t regret after learning that Ian is a member of the British aristocracy. But, things are not what they seem. The truth is: Ian is not a wealthy lord; he’s actually the personal secretary of Lord Spencer Braxton.

As the week unfolds, will Sabrina and Ian learn the truth about one another?


Kritters Thoughts:  Sabrina Post is an aspiring writer.  She enters the Plaza Hotel to be a ghost writer for Grayson Westcott who is a famous art dealer, but there is more to him than his current job description.  While at the hotel, she runs into this guy who intrigues her, but the reader of the book knows the truth behind this guy that she is spending her time with.  Ian is at the Plaza hotel with a college friend who has also become weirdly his employer as he works for a foundation that is in the name of his friend's last name as he is an European Lord.  

Both Ian and Sabrina don't know the truth about each other and this goes on throughout the whole book and while that got a bit old for me, it was entertaining.  Their story had great ups and downs and was quite the journey throughout the book.  While there may have been a moment or two where I sweetly rolled my eyes as I knew the truth that neither of them did, it never made me want to put the book down. 

There is another storyline going on as Sabrina is meeting with Grayson and hearing his stories, so she can write his memoir.  I loved how seamlessly the book moves into his stories and of course, I loved that they were labeled, so the reader knows when we are headed into the past.  Grayson's stories were so great to go back in time in the Plaza hotel as he tells his story and I loved reading his origin story.  

While I loved this romance book, for me it honestly could have taken place at any time of the year and I didn't see as much holiday seasonal spirit as I would have hoped.  There was some chatter about the holidays and some activities, but when I read a holiday romance, I like the holiday cheer packed in every page!  


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 148 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from HarperCollins.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Meet Me in London
by Georgia Toffolo

Publisher: HQN
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  What do you do when your fake engagement starts to feel too real…

Aspiring clothes designer Victoria Scott spends her days working in a bar in Chelsea and her evenings designing vintage clothes, dreaming of one day opening her own boutique. But these aspirations are under threat from the new department store opening at the end of her road. She needs a Christmas miracle, but one is not forthcoming.

Oliver Russell’s Christmas is not looking very festive right now. His family’s new London department store opening is behind schedule, and on top of that his interfering, if well-meaning, mother is pressing him to introduce his girlfriend to her over the holidays—a girlfriend who does not exist. He needs a diversion…something to keep his mother from meddling while he focuses on the business.

When Oliver meets Victoria, he offers a proposition: pretend to be his girlfriend at the opening of his store and he will provide an opportunity for Victoria to showcase her designs. But what starts as a business arrangement soon becomes something more tempting as the fake relationship starts to feel very real. But when secrets in Victoria’s past are exposed, will Oliver walk away, or will they both follow their hearts and find what neither knew they were looking for…?


Kritters Thoughts:  Another holiday romance that was great to get me in the holiday spirit.  Victoria Scott is working in a bar, but this isn't the career she dreams of for the long term.  Victoria wants to be a clothing designer, but that isn't paying any bills at the moment.  An encounter at the bar she works at and then a literal run in on the streets, she meets Oliver Russell who is the heir to a large store brand who is opening a new store in her neighbor - ala You've Got Mail with Tom Hanks.  

What I loved about this book compared to the Tom Hanks movie is that Oliver's identity comes out early in the book, so you don't have to stress about this secret being kept from our main character, Victoria.  She finds out early, so this isn't a big part of the plot and instead they get to work together for the good of the community that this large store is invading and bettering the community at the same time.  

This is the first in a series and while the rest of the series moves to other potential couples, I wouldn't mind another book that focuses solely on this couple as I loved their journey in this book and would love to see what happened after this book ended. 


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 147 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from HarperCollins.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

A week off in between jobs and a holiday week made from some great reading time.


A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery
Keep Me Warm at Christmas by Brenda Novak
Meet Me in London by Georgia Toffolo
A Magical New York Christmas by Anita Hughes
The Island We Left Behind by Kate Hewitt

Currently Reading:
The Christmas Wish by Melinda Curtis

Next on the TBR pile:
The Christmas Escape by Sarah Morgan

Friday, November 26, 2021

Keep Me Warm at Christmas
by Brenda Novak

Publisher: MIRA
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Maybe this Christmas can thaw his frozen heart--and heal hers.

Hollywood starlet Tia Beckett knows one moment can change your life. Her career had been on the fast track before a near-fatal accident left her with a debilitating facial scar. Certain her A-lister dreams are over, she agrees to house-sit at her producer's secluded estate in Silver Springs. It's the escape from the limelight Tia's been craving, until she discovers she's not the only houseguest for the holidays. And her handsome new roomie is impossible to ignore.

Artist Seth Turner has good reason to keep his distance. Losing his wife after only a few years of marriage has left a deep scar, even if he is still happy to spend a semester teaching art classes at the New Horizons Boys Ranch for troubled teens. Despite nursing her own wounds, Tia finds her curiosity piqued by enigmatic Seth, whom she recognizes as something of a kindred soul. Maybe spending Christmas together could be another game changer for both of them--this time, for good.


Kritters Thoughts:  A Hollywood starlet is still recovering from a major car accident that scarred her face, Tia Beckett is secluding herself from everyone in the home of a producer while he is away for the holidays.  She will be helping take care of his parrot and is hoping for a quiet holiday season as she decides what she wants to do next, but it may be not be as quiet as she hoped.  As artist Seth Turner is also hoping to take up residence during the holidays in this producer's home and create some art and prep to help his adoptive mother with art lessons at her school.  

This book was a different behind the scenes of Hollywood life.  I appreciated the raw realness of Tia as she was dealing with the affects of her accident and how that would impact her career and her life.  I love a good behind the scenes book and I appreciated reading about how she was hiding in a home and the pursuit of a picture by a paparazzi.  Seth Turner was also a great character, an artist with a complicated past of his own and still dealing with the death of his wife and a rough relationship with the former in-laws.  Their love story had great ups and downs and I enjoyed the journey in this one.    

Now this is defined as a holiday romance, but for me this one didn't have enough of the Christmas cheer.  There were a few scenes with some holidays in them, but I like my holiday romances to be stock full of holiday cheer from beginning to end!  


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 146 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from HarperCollins.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

source


Happy Thanksgiving! 
I hope this day is a reminder to give thanks for the people that surround you. 
And of course for those books that enter our lives and make an impact!

And a special Happy Birthday to my dad who sometimes
shares his birthday with this holiday.

 

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