As soon as I finished No Attachments I decided to look up the rest of the series and seeing a little novella Cross Country Christmas I just couldn't rAs soon as I finished No Attachments I decided to look up the rest of the series and seeing a little novella Cross Country Christmas I just couldn't resist. It was such a cute light hearted Christmas read as Jamie and Grant--who grew up together and totally crushed on each other--are on a fateful flight that crashes on take off and lands them smack together as they try to make it home for Christmas and agree to drive the 900 miles together. And, lordy. This was some trip! Full of fumbles and mishaps and all kinds of obstacles that totally had me chuckling and sympathizing with their ordeal.
I really enjoyed the story. I love second chances at romance and seeing these two bicker and tease each other then realize that the other really had a thing for them all these years later was pretty cute. There were some omg I have SO been there moments during their disaster of a trip that left them stranded during a snow storm hours from home and finally getting together. There's not a terrible lot to the story just a feel good kinda Christmasy read that'll make you smile as the two finally get what they've always wanted...each other. And cue the aaaawwwwss. lol
The Trouble with Christmas was a different, yet wonderful, read about a small town and all it's messy crazy Christmas loving glory and a heroine who'sThe Trouble with Christmas was a different, yet wonderful, read about a small town and all it's messy crazy Christmas loving glory and a heroine who's been sent to mend fences between the town and her company after a commercial deal falls through that they'd been promised by someone who shouldn't have promised it.
My favorite part--which so usually isn't the case--was the heroine. Madison is having a devil of a time with her job and life just knocking her on her rear. I could feel her frustrations and despair over how everything she did was twisted and turned by those against her. And I swear I wanted to wrap this woman up and just hug her then turn around and have a throw down with everyone else that was picking on her. *nods* She was awesome.
The town of Christmas. Yeah. They had to win me over. And they did manage to in the end and I absolutely loved them and can't wait to read more about them. They gave Madison such a hard time for a good portion of the book and whewboy yeah they had to make that up to me. Including the sexy sheriff that wants her gone but can't seem to resist her and falls for her just as hard as I did. He was...pretty tasty. Especially when he stopped making me want to pinch him. ::snort:: Heat-wise it's fairly tame but there's some excellent tension between them and a friendship of sorts that starts up. I really did love them together and seeing Madison take on this town and change their ways. It's quirky, sweet and had me a bit emotional as I read it and related to Madison and her plight. Will definitely be reading more in the future.
*girly effing swoon* Okay. First off...the cover. It's absolutely covergasm-worthy. And all the little bits inside those pages *fans self* steamy, sex*girly effing swoon* Okay. First off...the cover. It's absolutely covergasm-worthy. And all the little bits inside those pages *fans self* steamy, sexy, fun and just a damn good time. Melting the Ice. Yeah. It totally had me melting. I chuckled, teared up, swooned a little. Okay. A lot. And just enjoyed the hell out of watching Carolina and Drew take each other on as he helps model her new clothing line.
I really loved Drew--a lickable hockey star-- and Carolina--an up and coming fashion designer who needs said lickable hockey star's help showing off her clothes in a runway show.
These two were perfect for each other and, whew, they had a devil of a past to get over--seems Drew was a bit of a prick in his younger years--but he's all grown up and a really good man and now that he's in Carolina's world again he wants to make things right and maybe spend a little time getting up close and personal with her. Yums. Lucky bitch, right?? And these two...the chemistry was just excellent. No matter the situation you could feel the energy bouncing between them and it was really fun to watch.
"I suppose the first thing I need to do is measure you."
His eyes gleamed and she could read the dirty thoughts in his head as if he were telegraphing them from his brain directly to hers.
"No, not that. Already seen it."
"Yeah, but one, you haven't seen it in a very long time. And two, have you ever measured it?" He wiggled his brows.
He was such a...guy. "Not necessary. But you could strip for me."
"Now you're talkin'." He undid his belt and reached for the zipper of his pants.
I've gotta say. I've been having just fantastic luck with heroines lately. Carolina was great. She's motivated, driven, sweet. Incredibly talented and not one of those heroines that completely overreacts to things. I was all on board with her.
And...Drew. Lord love the bastard. He's a handful. A cheeky infuriating and absolutely delicious alpha male that totally won me over even when he had some make-you-smack-your-forehead moments. He's one of those people you just can't help but love or say no to. He's just got a way about him of pulling people into his plans and world.
Sexy times were abundant and hot. Ung. Yeah. They definitely work together. There's nothing too out there crazy but it's steamy and toe curling and had the perfect amount of erotic mixed in.
All in all, I just loved the dynamic between these two and watching them get to know each other and let go of the past. There were nice glimpses into each of their careers and little bit of relationship drama that Sweet Mary just made me ache a bit for them. There were a few minor things I would have liked a little more on and a couple spots where the editing wasn't quite tight enough but overall this was a fun read that really made me smile and brightened my day. There were some nice set ups for future reads as well that have me so blasted excited to see what happens next.
Sexy Highlanders and Christmas. *deep breath* Yeah. Yeah, I can definitely get on board with that! Once Upon a Highland Christmas was a sweet ChristmaSexy Highlanders and Christmas. *deep breath* Yeah. Yeah, I can definitely get on board with that! Once Upon a Highland Christmas was a sweet Christmas treat filled with holiday spirit and a lovely romance that had me smiling as Breena and Grim set out on a mission to bring joy back into the life of a man they both cherish.
I really enjoyed Breena and Grim's romance. The two have known each other for a while and both have kept their attractions secret fearing the other wouldn't be interested in them but their joint mission of bringing cheer back into their Chieftain's life brings them closer and closer together and, well, things get steamy.
Grim and Breena were both great. She's lost pretty much everything in her life after her village was destroyed in a raid but she's made a new life for herself and is strong and sweet despite all of her heart breaking losses. And Grim *girly swoon* he is a HUGE mass of man and a warrior with out question. But he has such a soft inside you can't help but love him. He dotes on the senior animals, is determined to bring his friend back from the edge of depression and is completely and utterly smitten with Brenna. How could you not love him?
"Grim." Breena reached out, gripping his arm to stop him when he started to cross the battlements..."I am going with you."
"Nae, you shall wait here." Grim slipped his arm from her grasp.
"Indeed?" Brenna lifted up on her toes, whispered in his ear what he wouldn't be allowed to do if he tried to stop her.
"That's no' fair, lass." He frowned.
"I say it is." She beamed back at him, her confidence waxing.
When he blew out a breath and shoved a hand through his hair, his gaze dipping to a certain place currently hidden beneath her skirts, she knew she'd won.
All in all, Once Upon a Highland Christmas was a sweet Christmas escape for a cold winter's afternoon. I smiled and chuckled my way through and, yeah, might have had to fan myself a few times because, whew, Grim has some moves! Can't wait to see what happens next with the series!
Love, love, love Lucky Harbor. It's one of my all time favorite small towns. Christmas in Lucky Harbor is a collection of stories from the series. BooLove, love, love Lucky Harbor. It's one of my all time favorite small towns. Christmas in Lucky Harbor is a collection of stories from the series. Books 1 and 2 and then two short stories. I'd read all but one of the short stories previously and Shalvis wow'd me again with Kissing Santa Claus. If you haven't picked up this series it's a must read if you enjoy contemporary small town romances. Steamy, sweet, a little spice and just hilarious as all kinds of delicious alpha males fall for quirky, strong and spirited women...
Simply Irresistible--- 5 stars!
Oh, I LOVED this one. It really did live up to it's title and was Simply Irresistible. Okay, that was kinda corny but it's so true. I got absolutely nothing done today. Read until my eyes burned then woke up and grabbed it right back up. The main characters and their individual struggles were wonderful, the town and secondary characters hilarious. The whole premise of sisters that have really never known each other getting a second chance at being a family and getting to know each other. The writing was excellent. From the hysterical first meet-up between Jax and Maddie to the oh-so-sweet ending. It was all very nicely done.
The Sweetest Thing-- 5 stars
Tara and Ford's story was wonderful. These two really do not have an easy go of things. They have so much in their past they have to get through and that kept them pretty damn snarky and at odds with each other but that made the final happily ever after so much more fulfilling. I'm an absolute sucker for the "second chance at love" storyline especially when it's done so nicely and the characters are people you're left really rooting for. And these two were so people I was rooting for. I loved their snark, I loved finding out what tied their pasts together, loved how they worked through the pain it caused and found closure and a wonderful relationship with (view spoiler)[ the daughter they gave up for adoption when they were just kids themselves. (hide spoiler)] A heart felt and emotional addition to the series and one of my favorite love stories. No question.
Kissing Santa Claus-- 5 stars!
*squee* So this was a new one for me and I absolutely freaking adored it. It's the short story of NASCAR driver Logan--who is the ex of Tara, one of the original Lucky Harbor heroines-- and the town clerk Sandy. It was excellent. Sweet and touching and had me chuckling as these two meet up again after 5 months apart and Logan sets out to win Sandy's heart and prove he's the man for her. Logan's a great guy and you could really tell he adored Sandy and Sandy...gah she's a heroine I totally related to and loved. She's dedicated, a bookworm and her family lives pretty far away which makes for a lonely holiday season. And she's heartbroken over not hearing from Logan for so long after he went back to work for the season. I liked her. And that while she made him work for it a little bit she wasn't too hard on him. It's just a short story but nicely done and a satisfying little trip to Lucky Harbor. Bonus was that a lot of the original heroes/heroines from the first 3 books made appearances which I always love.
Under the Mistletoe--3 stars
Okay, so obvious I love Shalvis' work and Lucky Harbor but this one was a bit of a blip for me in the series love we have going on. It was still an enjoyable read though just not quite what I'd hoped. Part of that was that while I really did like Mia (the daughter of Tara from book 2) and Nick and their little bit of relationship drama I just had a hard time with getting into the story mainly because I still saw Mia as a teenager since, well, she was one last time we saw her. This one jumped 5 years in the future but still I couldn't shake it off when it first came out. It was just too soon for it in my head. Maybe now I'd love it more. Hmm. Maybe a re-read in my future :)
Reviewed for herding cats & burning soup.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Yes, yes, I am a Christmas book junkie. I love em. And oh there were so many romantically make-a-girl-happy bits about His By Christmas. ChristmastimeYes, yes, I am a Christmas book junkie. I love em. And oh there were so many romantically make-a-girl-happy bits about His By Christmas. Christmastime! Woot! The whole friends to lovers set up which I adore. Men being men and :facepalm: making stupid bets *shakes head* leading to some drama. It was a pretty good time as Yvette, wanting to make her family proud, sets her sights on snagging a future Duke and gets a bit derailed when a dear family friend, Jeffrey, is asked to watch over her while her family travels and sparks start flying.
I enjoyed His By Christmas and really liked Jeffrey and Yvette together. They've known each other for years and years and he's practically a member of her large family and there's a closeness because of that that I just loved. They're sweet and comfortable and I couldn't help a wistful little smile whenever they were together just the two of them. Things are very, very tame until right towards the end but there are some nice intimate moments as he's there for her during a family emergency that made up for it I thought.
Feeling guilty she'd taken up Jeffrey's entire evening, she looked up at him. "You don't have to stay with me any longer, Jeffrey. You've been so wonderful to me, but I think I'll be fine now. You can go home."
"You are my home. I'm not leaving until you go to sleep."
Okay, so I had a couple quibbles. The big one was that one of the secondary characters, the future Duke who was wooing Yvette and who she planned on marrying, was hurt because of Jeffery and Yvette coming together. It had to happen to get them together but dragged out for too long with him falling in love with her as well and really that bothered me. It also kind of rubbed wrong that everyone just dismissed Lord Shelley and his feeling so easily when he'd done nothing wrong and really didn't deserve to be treated as he was. It just. It really bothered me quite a bit. And that's my little rant. If not for that I probably would have rated this higher.
Other than that and being a bit predictable His By Christmas was a sweet and touching Christmas romance and scratched my Christmas itch nicely. I'll be going back at some point to check out the rest of the series and see how her sisters found their mates.
Cowboys and Christmas. *thud* Seriously, cowboys and Christmas. I'm a freaking gonner. Adding in humor, all kinds of sexy and amazing characters? It jCowboys and Christmas. *thud* Seriously, cowboys and Christmas. I'm a freaking gonner. Adding in humor, all kinds of sexy and amazing characters? It just all made for a damn fine read that kept me smiling, had me squirming and tearing up a couple times too. Doesn't get much better than that.
The gist is that Casey has always wanted a cowboy of her very own (damn, girl, I can so relate!) And finally after 28 years of waiting she's getting the chance of a lifetime when she finds out her favorite western story is looking for a new marketing executive. All she's gotta do is spend one week on the family ranch learning about the heart of the operation from it's sexy as sin head cowboy who's not all that thrilled about having to babysit a city-slicker. Even if certain bits of him are standing right on up and panting in her direction. And she's panting right on back.
Yup. The best way to absorb the cowboy lifestyle was to just jump right into it... or on top of one. Casey smiled.
Bonner and Casey were fantastic. They're both hard workers and good at what they do and have so much passion in them and the chemistry, damn, they could heat up the fucking sheets. Things get hot and heavy early on (there's some backdoor action--just a heads up) despite their attempts to remain professional and resist--and it was fan yourself hot. They definitely put their week together to good use--teasing, exploring and just getting to know each other. It was so fun to watching Casey navigate through live on the ranch and then later on seeing cowboy Bonner visiting the big city.
A Cowboy for Christmas was the perfect holiday treat and left me completely smitten with Bonner, Casey and the people surrounding them. I chuckled quite a few times and damn Johnson surprised me and had me in tears a couple times too as Bonner and Casey showed their vulnerabilities, found love and helped each other through the twists life through at them.
Whew, yeah, if you're looking to heat up the holidays His for Christmas will hit the spot. Things get down right steamy as Lady Amelia and Evan CameroWhew, yeah, if you're looking to heat up the holidays His for Christmas will hit the spot. Things get down right steamy as Lady Amelia and Evan Cameron find themselves stranded by a winter storm and unable to resist the fires sparking between them despite years apart and a rocky past. I'm a total Christmas story junkie. Add in a second chance at finding love and I'm a gonner. And I totally got the warm fuzzies over Evan and Amelia.
Okay, so, these two. They've known each other since they were children and were each others first loves but a misunderstanding and just life has kept them apart for years nursing old hurts. I really enjoyed watching their romance unfold. Seeing Evan work at figuring out what he'd done to cause such pain for Amelia all those years ago and setting to fixing things. He was just a great guy it would be impossible not to forgive. Amelia was lovely too. She's sweet and caring and I totally got her hurt feelings and why she felt the way she did.
What was great about them was that even though there was drama between them they both came across well balanced and rational. They listened to each other, thought things over and moved forward without being overly dramatic. It was just nice to see that for a change.
"Sorry," he murmured.
She turned to face him, her gaze replete with satisfaction. "Hm?"
"Sorry if I scratched you. With my beard."
She gave a lazy smile. "I like how it feels against me. It's rough..."
"I see." His grin turned sly. "Do you like it rough, Lady Amelia?"
He watched the flush rush over her skin. She pressed her lips together and didn't respond, but her eyes glowed and he knew he was right.
Just like that, he was hard again.
So, heat. Like I said, this one is steamy! Way steamier than I was expecting. Like bite your lip make you squirm good. And I loved it! These two get to the good bits real quick but it worked since they've known each other their whole lives and really cared about each other too. And even though there was a lot of loving happening it didn't distract from the romance and them working through their troubles.
Haymore proved, once again, that she is a master at crafting a truly lovely and heart warming romance. I chuckled, I squirmed and even got a little teary as Amelia and Evan found true love and overcame their past. I left this one smiling a dopey little smile and can't wait for the next book.
Aaaannnd...craving cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap was a great little Christmas collection surrounding the lives oAaaannnd...craving cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap was a great little Christmas collection surrounding the lives of three girlfriends, a winter storm and, like I mentioned, cookies galore! It's sweet, sassy and even a little steamy and just what you need to get in the Christmas spirit!
Where There's Smoke by Donna Kauffman--3 stars!
Clara is a hot mess when it comes to all things baking and Lord help her she's just landed a gig as the Christmas cookie columnist for the local paper and things get off to a very hot start as she starts her cookie baking adventures. Enter firefighter Will who swoops in and saves his old college friend from a glorious cookie disaster. I'm always a fan of second chance romances and loved that these two knew each other years ago and were good friends once upon a time. It really made their instant connection and relationship believable and pretty cute. Will. Gah. He's all kinds of sexy firefighter goodness and spends a good bit of time shirtless. *girly swoon* He's just a sweet guy. Clara I had a little harder time with. She's having a rough go lately but really instead of feeling completely sympathetic she came off a bit whiny and oy I am not a fan of whiny so it was hard to connect with her. It was still a cute read though.
The Gingerbread Men by Kate Angell-- 4 stars!
Gingerbread men with candy cane erections. ::gigglesnort:: Kate Angell is freaking brilliant! The Gingerbread Men was a sweet, fun and heartwarming read that kicks off with naughty gingerbread men causing all kinds of havoc and landing one sexy hunk of a man on Abby's doorstep during a fierce winter storm. There was a very intimate feel to this one and you could really believe the emotions thrumming through Abby (the x-rated cookie maker lol) and Lander were feeling and the bond between them. They've both suffered losses recently and it was really touching how Lander helped her through her sadness and grief of her first Christmas without her Grams. Getting her to talk and decorate and remember the good times. I did think there was a touch too many mentions of her grandmother but really it was just moving seeing how much he cared and wanted to do for her. There's also an awesome kitty who really brought a sweet little element to their story. All in all a great read with a really wonderful ending that left me smiling.
Sugar and Spice by Kimberly Kincaid-- 5 stars
Once again Kincaid wowed me. Sugar and Spice was sweet and sexy, heartfelt and delicious and topped off with the excitement of a life changing competition. Basically... it was pretty damn perfect. Lily and Pete are up against each other in a huge Cookie Competition hosted by the local resort and the two are amazing. I loved watching them compete, get to know each other and butt heads a little bit because omg they are such opposites. He's a cocky go by the seat of your pants pastry chef (and holy cow pastry chefs are HOT) and Lily's a hardcore planner that follows all the rules. I was really pleased with what a deep connection was forged in so few pages and how quickly I grew to care about them both. They really grow as characters and it was just lovely watching them come together in and out of the kitchen. Kincaid truly rocks a foodie romance novella. If you haven't checked her out yet you need to. Pronto.
Alright so now that I've talked about all the good there is one thing I had trouble with that I think bares mentioning. The prologue and epilogue were difficult to get through. Too many names thrown at me. Too much back and forth activity/conversation. It was just confusing and made me feel a bit scattered and really didn't seem necessary overall. It would have worked great with just the three novellas in my opinion. So, just a heads up, if you're struggling with it hold tight. The novellas are totally worth it.
So. I saw Christmas. And I saw a freaking drool-worthy hunk of man candy and, well, I was in! With not a clue what Santa Wore Combat Boots was gonna bSo. I saw Christmas. And I saw a freaking drool-worthy hunk of man candy and, well, I was in! With not a clue what Santa Wore Combat Boots was gonna be about. lol And I got quite the surprise from this little novella as neighbors Emma and Jake bring a little magic back into the holiday season after losing someone they love.
The quick of it is that Emma lost her husband years earlier and since then her spirit and joy have been fading day by day. She's just barely getting by emotionally and only pulls it together for her children. Her neighbor and friend, Jake, has watched over her all these years and now, with the help of her husband's spirit, he's decided it's time to help her finally heal and grab back on to life.
Jake is a great man (and a firefighter). He really adores Emma and her children. He may have started helping her because he felt obligated to her husband-who he served with-but you can tell he just loves this little family and wants to be with them. He was so blasted cute with her kids it totally made all my girlie bits do a little sigh. lol And I liked Emma too. She really has lost the Christmas spirit and you could feel her struggles and desperation over not having her husband and having to endure the season. It was nice to see her come around with a bit of a nudge from everyone.
This one was really sweet and pulled at my heart. It was such a hard spot for all of them dealing with their loss and having to finally move on. There's a bit of magic involved since her husband's spirit is part in the storyline but it worked for me overall. And, whew, the ending? Had me a total girly crying mess. That's what popped this one up to a 4.
*3 bucks is a little steep but if it goes on sale it's one I'd recommend if you just want a quick and touching Christmas read.
Novellas and short stories are always a risk but since I adore the Lucky Harbor seriesOriginally posted for herding cats & burning soup
Novellas and short stories are always a risk but since I adore the Lucky Harbor series and have enjoyed short stories from Shalvis in the past I had high hopes for Under the Mistletoe. And while I did enjoy some parts of it and the story was complete it still left a good bit to be desired, in my opinion.
Part of the problem for me was that the story skips 5 years in the future when Ford and Tara's daughter, Mia, has gone away to college and found herself a man. Now, last we saw her she wasn't even legal (that I can remember) and I just couldn't get that out of my head. I kept seeing her as a 17 year old and, you know, that's got a real ick factor in some of the situations they get into. And with so few pages by the time I did get that out of my head it was, unfortunately, nearly over.
Now, putting aside the whole age thing, I did like Mia and Nick. They've got a little drama and hurt feelings going on, are sweet and sexy and your heart breaks for them a little when things go amiss. But really I wanted more for Mia. Not that I didn't like Nick, because I did. It just felt too soon for her story and I would have much preferred things being held off and getting a full length or at least a more fleshed out novella down the line. With both of them having complicated family lives growing up their story really could have been so much more developed and explored.
While Under the Mistletoe did provide a nice little taste of life in Lucky Harbor while we wait for the next novel and I did enjoy getting to see a little of the three original sisters and their men the story as a whole just didn't make it all the way into the "amazing" category that I expect from Shalvis now days.
*A copy was provided in exchange for an honest opinion....more
Oh my god some stories are just like a train wreck... but in the best possible way. With Cases of mistaken identity, falling for the enemy, naughty thOh my god some stories are just like a train wreck... but in the best possible way. With Cases of mistaken identity, falling for the enemy, naughty things done against doors with said enemy, wild tempers and trees getting set on fire Hunk for the Holidays was an entertaining ride and one I couldn't pull my eyes away from for a single second. It provided me my favorite new phrase..."penis-pilot" too!
Some books, I think, are just meant to be fun. They can be a little ridiculous, a little predictable, full of crazy, passionate characters and do it all in a way that really just...works. This was my first time reading Lane and it really hit the spot, both warming my heart and making me chuckle which is the best type of Christmas read in my opinion.
"Brains and looks. I like that in a man." She leaned forward and rested her wrinkled hands on the glass table. "But if you're planning on catching Cassie, you'll need more than brains and good looks. You'll need the patience of a saint and the endurance of a pack mule. In case you haven't noticed, my niece is a real fireball."
James had noticed.
James and Cassie have an interesting meet, seeing she thinks he's the escort she hired to take her to the family's company Christmas party and he decided to go along for the ride and not tell her he's her families main business competition and public enemy number one. Oy, right? You just know there are going to be some fireworks down the line with that one!
James is pretty much sex on two legs. He's got the whole alpha sexiness going on and is old fashioned about opening doors and such. *rawr* and Cassie is most definitely a handful. She's a control freak and used to bossing men around which pretty much stops with James. *rawr* again. LOL I loved the head butting their similarities in personality caused and the control exchange between them. The relationship goes at warp speed but the chemistry between the two definitely works and things get down right steamy. The two make some lovely blunders that'll make you laugh, make you cringe and make you want to lock them in a room until they get it right.
One of the things I found interesting was the secondary storyline of Cassie's brother, Rory, finding his happily ever after. What caught me with it was that I got just as lost in his and Amy's story as I did in the main one. I'd completely forget about the other while I was reading this one or that one. Not sure if that's a good thing or not but Lane had a way of getting me so incredibly focused on what I was reading that all else kinda of left my brain for a while.
After spending a little time with Cassie's big, crazy, wonderful (and very involved) family I'd really love to hear some of their stories one day. They're a wild group, and yeah if they were yours they'd probably make you twitch, but damn from the outside looking in they're a real trip.
*A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest opinon...more
Binding Arbitration was one of those books that did a total number on me. Oh man, it was not a prOriginally Posted for Herding Cats & Burning Soup
Binding Arbitration was one of those books that did a total number on me. Oh man, it was not a pretty sight. I spent most of my Sunday afternoon an absolute blubbering mess. Marx did a fantastic job of getting this reader to really feel everything her hero and heroine were going through. I was angry, and frustrated, had my heart broken and mended right along with Aiden and Libby as they struggled to deal with a painful past and going through any parent's greatest fear. Their journey was gut wrenching and heart warming all at the same time and will no doubt have you reaching for the tissues.
For a while there at the start I really wasn't sure I was going to fall for either of the main characters. Libby's a defense lawyer (yikes) and Aiden, well, I agreed with Libby completely that he was "a conceited, spoiled, spineless bastard." But somewhere along the way these two both wormed their way into my heart and completely won me over. I really liked was neither of them were perfect. They screw up, they get defensive and bristle up to hide what they're feeling and are just real people you can relate to and understand. My heart really went out to Libby. And Aiden? He pulled himself together like I would never believe and turned into an incredible man willing to do anything to fix the wrongs in his past.
There were a couple things that did give me some trouble. I had a hard time keeping all of the secondary characters straight and really wish I'd kept a list of who they all were. And then there's an imaginary umpire that chats with/mocks Aiden. He just didn't work for me but thankfully as the book goes on it threw me less whenever he'd pop in.
Overall, I'm so glad I had the chance to read Binding Arbitration and that I pushed through the first couple chapters that had me feeling pretty confused. The incredible emotional response Marx created and the moving storyline with it's twists and surprises vastly overshadowed any troubles I had along the way. I'm really hoping that since there were a couple unfinished storylines that means we'll be getting another book at some point. No doubt it will be a wonderful experience as well. ...more
I fell in love with Sabrina Jeffries' Hellions of Halstead Hall series earlier this year and wasOriginally Posted for Herding Cats & Burning Soup
I fell in love with Sabrina Jeffries' Hellions of Halstead Hall series earlier this year and was so excited when I heard Pierce Waverly was going to have his story told as well. And I mean total squealy fangirl excited. After little glimpses of him in the series I was dying to find out more about him and let me tell you he was so much more than I could have hoped for. 'Twas the Night After Christmas was an amazingly powerful read that's both sweet and touching with a little humor added in. It had me on the edge of tears more than once as well. It hit all my emotions and is one that will always have a place on my shelves.
Camilla and Pierce were wonderfully written characters. I loved their whole set up with Camilla more or less tricking Pierce into coming home to visit his estranged mother who was "deathly ill". Camilla was, quite simply, a meddler. Not to mention determined and head strong. She wanted this family to mend itself and was going to make that happen no matter what it took.
And Pierce, well, he had quite the reputation and could be such an ass but really you couldn't hold it against him all that long. You could feel his hurt and pain and see exactly where he was coming from. I was on his side nearly the entire book when it came to his family who had just been horrid to him in the past. He's really an amazingly sweet man under it all and does such sweet things for the people around him and you can't help but fall a little in love.
"I'm considered something of a catch."
"I am well aware of that," she said dryly. "You forget that I've read all about you in the papers."
That seemed to bring him up short. "I'm not as bad as they make me out to be."
"Says the man who already has me half naked in a drawing room."
Overall the book's fairly serious but there's little bits of humor tucked in here and there that kept the serious tone from being too overwhelming. There were some great moments between Camilla and Pierce when they'd call each other's bluff. These two definitely played a game with each other and weren't willing to back down...[this is from a scene where Camilla insists she's read a racy book and he calls her on it telling her to read her favorite page which turns out a little different than she expected] Nothing in Camilla's experience had prepared her for such a blatant display of carnality.
"Well, read on," the earl taunted when she hesitated.
A blush rose on her cheeks. "I can't." She lifted her stunned gaze to his. "There are no words. Just a...picture."
The color drained from his face. Reaching over, he snatched the book from her and stared at it, then shot her a horrified look. "Oh, holy hell. It has pictures."
One of the things I loved most about the storyline and writing was that it grabbed my emotions and drew me in completely. I was so wrapped up in the book that 300 pages flew by before I realized. The ending was just wonderful but I still wish it had been a little longer because I just wasn't quite ready to give the book up. You know that feeling? 'Twas the Night After Christmas is easily my favorite Christmas story and one I'd recommend for anyone who loves historicals and heart warming, healing stories. Jeffries really outdid herself and has me eager for more......more
Oh I liked this. An Outlaw's Christmas was one of those books that I immediately felt comfortableOriginally Posted for Herding Cats & Burning Soup
Oh I liked this. An Outlaw's Christmas was one of those books that I immediately felt comfortable with. It's just a sweet story and the writing flows so easily. This was my first time reading Linda Lael Miller and I may just have to stalk her now. And...um...by stalk I mean, wave nicely from WAY over here as I devour everything she's ever written.
Piper and Sawyer were both wonderful characters. They're compassionate and honest with the perfect touch of fire in them. I really enjoyed watching love sneak up on the pair. And how they dealt the not-so-proper situation they found themselves in after Sawyer landed injured on her doorstep and compromised her reputation. I loved how they were with each other. A touch, a look, a murmured word just when the other needed it. There was such a comfortable, right feeling to the two of them as a couple.
An Outlaw's Christmas is just a feel good kinda book. It's short, sweet and warms your heart. I loved the little glimpse into a family full of solid honorable men and bold feisty women. Always a great combination. I'll definitely be going back now and checking out the rest of the McKettrick clan. They sound like a damn fine group of men and women and I can't wait to hear all of their stories. ...more
While there were some aspects to the book that I did enjoy and kept me reading, namely Angela the mentally ill psychic who was well written, I had twoWhile there were some aspects to the book that I did enjoy and kept me reading, namely Angela the mentally ill psychic who was well written, I had two pretty major issues with the book that I just couldn't seem to get past.
1) Deceptive marketing--which really rubs me the wrong way After reading the blurb and seeing the cover for this book I went in thinking it would have a kickass heroine that's strong, smart and saves the day. And with the threat against the mall there'd be some nice suspense going on. To top it off some heartwarming holiday romance happening between Heather and her boss to go along with the action. That would have made for a pretty awesome book, right?
Well, none of that happened. The heroine with her claimed "wits, hope and unflagging courage" doesn't exist. At all. Heather plays such an incredibly minor role in the book I don't see how she can even be considered a main character. Her big part in the storyline was telling her boss she thinks the mall is in danger. And then she gets sent home to rest while the men take care of everything because she looks tired and shouldn't worry. The practically non existent romance coupled with characters that were hopeless, hostile or mentally ill was not at all what I'd expect from the way the book was presented.
And 2) the actual writing and story development.
Really I think I could have overlooked the misleading marketing if the actual writing and storyline were well written. Unfortunately the writing was choppy with no real transitions between POV changes and multiple spots that felt like big chunks of the story were missing which made for some very awkward reading.
There were also multiple secondary storylines where brand new characters were thrown in just to complain about the food they were eating and go on for pages about how they didn't have money to spend so they'd just put it on their credit cards because that's free money! They didn't provide any value other than making the book a little longer and leave me wondering what connection I was once again missing.
The actual suspense/mystery behind the mall being threatened by a bomb explosion was laid out pretty much from the start and felt very outdated. Mostly due to the fact that the book was written pre 9/11 making a lot of the dialogue along the lines of "No one would dare blow up a mall! People just don't do things like that to innocent people! It's just a prank!" were ridiculous and really hard to just go along with it when we all know better at this point.
If you're like me and looking for a well thought out and heartwarming Christmas tale this is definitely not what you're looking for. Obviously Christmas at Timberwoods left me more frustrated than satisfied and I can't say it's one I'd recommend. But I know Michaels is a wildly popular author so her style must work for a lot of people out there so maybe it's right up your ally.