A Boy Called Christmas(Christmas #1) by Matt Haig

Book Description:

Published: November 16, 2015

Format: Audio

You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas.
It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible.
If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you.
Because this book is FULL of impossible things.

Are you still reading?

Good.

Then let us begin . . .

A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.

Review –

Eleven-year-old Nikolas—nicknamed “Christmas”, because he was born on Christmas Day,—has received only one toy in his life: a doll carved out of a turnip. But he’s happy with his turnip doll, because it came from his parents, who love him.

But his mother has died, and his father, Joel is an impoverished woodcutter. Desperate for money, Joel joins a group of men on a quest to prove the existence of elves, leaving Nikolas with his ill-tempered aunt, Carlotta. Nikolas runs away to find his father, but trudging months through the woods, he faces starvation, freezing, and hopelessness. Then he comes across a reindeer with an arrow stuck in his leg. Nikolas helps him and names him Blitzen, and they continue their journey to the elf village together. Unfortunately, once located, the elves do not offer a warm welcome but instead lock Nikolas in the tower. It’s there that Nikolas discovers, with the help of a drimwick, or hope spell, that he’s become more than just the simple boy he used to be. 

In many ways it’s a coming of age story for Nikolas who has had a hard life and learns who he truly is and what the value of family and love really mean. It’s a story of unlikely friendships between a poor boy, a mouse, a reindeer named Blitzen and a village of downtrodden elves who are struggling to find their Christmas Spirit. But perhaps most importantly it’s a story about the unexpected and impossibility of life and the true meaning of Christmas and the Christmas Spirit. It’s heart warming and a fantastic read.

One feature I particularly loved about this book was the cameos made by well known Christmas figures (i.e. the reindeer etc) and the way we get little glimpses at how today’s much loved traditions came to be what they are. For example, How Father Christmas’ name came to be, where the idea for presents delivered by Santa came from and where the suit itself came from. This feature of the book actually made me take a step back and reevaluate everything I took for granted about Christmas and question it’s origins and it’s made this Christmas in turn all that much more special.

This book came into my possession over two years ago and I don’t know why I let it sit on the shelf for so long. I had the audio and narrator did a fantastic job, but I hear that the book has excellent illustrations and that it would make a great read-aloud.

 

 

 

Cake (Cake #1) by J. Bengtsson

Book Description:

Published: May 14, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Jake McKallister might have been a rock star, but he was no ordinary one. Surviving an unspeakable crime as a young teen had shaped him into a guarded workaholic, and he now lived his life trying to forget. If it hadn’t been for music and the redemption he found through it, he might not have survived. Career success came easily for him. Personal connections did not.

When outspoken, vivacious college student Casey Caldwell was paired with the famously reserved rockstar for a friend’s wedding, she was prepared for the worst. What could they possibly have in common? She was a bubbly talker; he was a reclusive loner. His life was filled with music; she couldn’t carry a tune. She’d enjoyed a happy childhood; his was a well-publicized nightmare.

Yet despite their obvious differences, Jake and Casey found each other, and her light balanced out his darkness. Would their love be strong enough to survive the weight of his tragic past?

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is a *full-length* standalone romance. Cake is a love story at heart but does deal with a sensitive topic and may not be for all.
Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of eighteen.

Review –

I’ve had this book in my Audible library for a very long time but never got around to listening to it until now.

I thought ‘what in the world does CAKE have to do with a Rock Star themed contemporary romance?’ Is that the name of the band? But, no, CAKE is an acronym of the names of the two main characters.

I don’t  read rock star romances too often,(they are my favorite) but this book was delightful. Now it might not be for everyone especially if you are expecting a steamy read. Because this book has only one or two bedroom scenes and they aren’t too detailed (the sex is mostly implied) but I found the chemistry between these two just wonderful. And their fun bantering from the beginning just draws you in immediately. Seeing Casey go on tour with Jake for the summer and then seeing their relationship take on a great test with facing Jake’s past and seeing that these two work together and that they don’t give up on each other was heart-warming and heart wrenching at the same time. There is conflicts of course, but NOT in the relationship. I love that the minute that they are “together”, they never stop fighting for each other and keep working on their relationship and making sure it’s as strong as ever.

There are some hints of darkness though when dealing with Jake’s past and seeing him work through this was really hard to see because Jake is so talented and kind and down to earth and he has really gone through hell and back and is still fighting for his sanity and his past does haunt his intimate relationship with Casey. But Casey….she is a fighter, she never stops loving him or standing by him. She is very true to Jake and is willing to stay by his side through the good and the bad times and I LOVE this aspect to the romance. They go on an incredible journey and it definitely was written so well and tugged at my heartstrings.

Fantastic read!

 

Drunk Dial by Penelope Ward

Book Description:

Published: August 21, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

t seemed like a good idea at the time. Look up Landon Roderick, that boy from childhood whom I’d never been able to forget—even though he so easily forgot about me—and call him.

Then again, anything sounds like a good idea when you’ve had a little too much wine before bed, right? It was supposed to be just a quick, meaningless, prank call. Instead, I went off on him—unloading thirteen years of pent-up emotions.

I didn’t think he’d call me back.

I certainly could never have anticipated the weeks of sexually tense phone conversations that followed as I got to know the man he’d become.

Turned out, Landon had never really forgotten me, either. That special connection we had was still there. I opened up to him, but there were also things about me he didn’t know. And he had his own secrets.

ver the countless hours we talked on the phone, I wondered what would happen if we actually saw each other. One night, I did something impulsive again. Only this time, I went to the airport and booked a ticket to California. We were about to find out if one phone call could bring two lost souls together or if my drunk dial really was all just a big mistake.

Review –

I absolutely loved Drunk Dial! I listened to the audio version of this book and the narration was amazing. I didn’t want to stop listening once I started.

After the first drunk call, Landon and Rana soon make calls to each other regularly and what starts out as witty banter between the two, soon turns into an undeniable connection. Their attraction towards each other develops, so much so that neither can ignore it and love blossoms. There are a few massive problems that stand in the way; not only does Landon live in California and Rana live in Michigan, but they are both harbouring BIG secrets. They need to own up to these secrets in order to continue their relationship and the undeniable love they have for each other. Will they both be able to accept each other’s past, to make a life together in the future?

Once again Penelope Ward has created another swoony hero for her readers to fall in love with. There was really nothing not to love about Landon. He was sweet and sexy with plenty of ink and piercings to make you have hot flushes whilst reading. What I especially loved about him was, yes, he has made some mistakes in the past but, he doesn’t shy away from them. Landon owns his past and has learnt from his mistakes in order to make something of his life.

Drunk Dial is a sweet friends to lovers story with just the right mix of emotion and humor to keep you fully invested from start to finish. If you are on a search for your next BBF, then I strenuously suggest you meet Landon, he will melt your heart and make you fall in love.

Five stars!

The Hookup (Moonlight and Motor Oil #1) by Kristen Ashley

Book Description:

Published: December 19, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

When the new girl in town, Eliza “Izzy” Forrester decides to hit the local drinking hole, she’s not ready to meet the town’s good, solid guy. She’s definitely not prepared to engage in her very first hookup with him.

Then Izzy wakes up the next morning in Johnny Gamble’s bed and good girl Izzy finds she likes being bad for Johnny.

Even so, Izzy feels Johnny holding her at arm’s length. But Johnny makes it clear he wants more and Izzy already knows she wants as much of hot-in-bed, sweet-out-of-it Johnny Gamble.

Floating on air thinking this is going somewhere, Izzy quickly learns why Johnny holds distant.

He’s in love with someone else. Someone who left him and did it leaving him broken. Whoever was up next would be runner up, second best. Knowing the stakes, Izzy will take what she can get from the gentleman that’s Johnny Gamble. And even knowing his heart might never mend, Johnny can’t seem to stay away from Izzy.

Until out of nowhere, his lost love comes back to town. He’s not going back, but Johnny still knows the right thing to do is let Izzy go.

And Izzy knew the stakes, so she makes it easy and slips through his fingers.

But that’s before Johnny realizes Eliza moved to town to escape danger that’s been swirling around her.

And that’s why Johnny decides to wade in.

That and the fact Eliza Forrester makes breakfast with a canary singing on her shoulder and fills out tight dresses in a way Johnny Gamble cannot get out of his head.

Review –

I fell in love with Izzy and Johnny almost instantly. Their chemistry together was the kind that would take up all the air in a room.

The Hookup is the first in a new series, Moonlight and Motor Oil, based on a pair of wealthy alphas and the women who tame them. Set in the small town of Matlock, KY, the premise is classic. An overprotective quiet alpha whose heart was trampled meets and reluctantly falls for a sweet and sassy woman whose innocence and joy of life helps to glue his broken heart back together. Family, redemption, loyalty, and second chances are the themes on which this story is built as Johnny learns to love again while Izzy learns she is worth loving.

The Hookup is very low key (until the end) and exceptionally chatty.The  majority of the book is spent  watching our couple have sex (great hot sex) and get to know one another. The secondary cast is introduced, giving Izzy and Johnny a personable posse of friends and family who pop in and out as the author uses them to introduce the conflicts to come and to create some mild drama and background to this couple’s journey.

Fantastic read and the start of a wonderful series, and I LOVE the look of the cover.

Bossman by Vi Keeland

Book Description:

Published: July 16, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

The first time I met Chase Parker, I didn’t exactly make a good impression.

I was hiding in the bathroom hallway of a restaurant, leaving a message for my best friend to save me from my awful date.

He overheard and told me I was a bitch, then proceeded to offer me some dating advice.

So I told him to mind his own damn business—his own tall, gorgeous, full-of-himself damn business—and went back to my miserable date.

When he walked by my table, he smirked, and I watched his arrogant, sexy ass walk back to his date.

I couldn’t help but sneak hidden glances at the condescending jerk on the other side of the room. Of course, he caught me on more than one occasion, and winked.

When the gorgeous stranger and his equally hot date suddenly appeared at our table, I thought he was going to rat me out.

But instead, he pretended we knew each other and joined us—telling elaborate, embarrassing stories about our fake childhood.

My date suddenly went from boring to bizarrely exciting.

When it was over and we parted ways, I thought about him more than I would ever admit, even though I knew I’d never see him again.

I mean, what were the chances I’d run into him again in a city with eight million people?
Then again…

What were the chances a month later he’d wind up being my new sexy boss?

Review –

Oh, how good it was to finally read a spot-on hilarious new adult novel? emotional, and I just needed a break. This on was particularly lightweight and just right.

I loved Chase and Reese together and their sexual chemistry was off the charts.  Both characters are interesting and well-written.  There was also a great deeper emotional level when it came to both Chase and Reese’s pasts and it added a wonderful layer to both characters.  I loved watching their relationship grow from something innocent and fun into more meaningful and serious.  Of course, there are a few bumps along the way but it just made me love their story even more and I was so happy the way things ended for these two!

The whole plot wasn’t entirely something new, but I still loved it. Vi Keeland’s writing made it effortless to get into, which made this book even easier to read/listen.

If you’re looking for a book guaranteed to pull you in and keep you glued to each sexy and fun page, this is a book for you! Thank you, Ms. Keelend, for an other amazing read!

Agatha Raisin and The Dead Ringer (Agatha Raisin Mystery #29) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: October 4, 2018

Format: Audio/Overdrive

The team of bells at St. Ethelred church is the pride and glory of the idyllic Cotswolds village of Thirk Magna, together with the most dedicated bell ringers in the whole of England: the twins Mavis and Millicent Dupin.

As the village gets ready for the Bishop’s visit, the twins get overly-excited at the prospect of ringing the special peal of bells created for the occasion and start bullying the other bell ringers, forcing them to rehearse and rehearse . . . so much so that Joseph Kennell, a retired lawyer, yells at the sisters that he ‘felt like killing them’!

When the twins’ home is broken into one night and Millicent is found dead, struck from a hammer blow, suspicion falls onto the lawyer.

Will Agatha unmask the real killer and clear Joseph’s name?

Review –

Being  a regular reader of this series I wasn’t confused over who was who, as a first time reader to the series might be, but then this isn’t a series you read for the intellectual challenge of working out whodunnit before it’s actually revealed. You read it for the black humor, the fun of wondering what drinking, smoking, man-chasing, glamorous Agatha will do next. There are so many bodies that you stop feeling the horror of violent death: you know that as soon as you look away the corpses will get up and walk away. It’s a fun read, although, not one of my favorites and I think that was because of the voice of the narrator, I miss Penelope Keith because she did a perfect Agatha Raisin!

 

 

 

Shacking Up (Shacking Up #1) by Helena Hunting

Book Description:

Published: May 30, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.

Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick. Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet.

Review –

WHAT A FUN BOOK!!

I listened to this sexy, light-hearted romance in one sitting and it kept me laughing, swooning, and chuckling the whole way through! The writing was witty and addictive, the characters were compelling and endearing, the romance was hot, and the whole book was a joy to read!

So the story starts when an unexpected – but memorably hot kiss – with a complete stranger at an overly stuffy engagement party led to the flu from hell, the worst audition of Ruby’s life, and thusly no way to pay her rent. At that point, with her options closing, she was sure things couldn’t possibly go more wrong…

But when a second encounter with said same sexy stranger led to a further unexpected offer to babysit his exotic pets (a ferret and a big furry tarantula) while he was away on business for five weeks, it took her life down a path she couldn’t have expected… including the undeniable sexual tension between her and the no-longer-stranger who, despite his flu-related transgressions, was quickly becoming her uncouth white knight. During his trip away they would Face Time every day or night and eat dinner/or whatever meal was appropriate and drink wine or whatever. Sexual innuendoes increased with every passing day.

Both Ruby and Bancroft came from wealthy families, but while she was trying to distance herself from that world and family by making her own way without their help or involvement, he was still involved in his family’s company after retiring(because of an injury-not because he wanted to)from a career of professional rugby. Usually someone within her family’s world wouldn’t appeal to her, but his down to earth attitude towards life drew her in. And the same could be said for how he saw her. She was a breath of fresh air in his life — unprimped, uninterested in money, and not out to impress anyone, all she cared about was standing on her own two feet. His whole life had been filled with women throwing themselves at him but despite his sports star status and being such an eligible bachelor, in his own words, he “didn’t leave a trail of fucked fans across the globe” so I really appreciated that he had every opportunity to be a manwhore, and yet he wasn’t.

Despite being oceans apart for the first part of the book, I was pleasantly surprised that Ruby and Bancroft still shared sizzling chemistry, which of course led to the next big question. What would happen when he got home? Would they take their flirtations to the next level? Or part ways for good? HA! This is a romance so of course they take things to the next level… OMG the hotness!!!!   

Five stars.

If you’re a fan of romantic comedies,(as you know I usually am NOT) then this is definitely a book you’ll want to read or listen to. (The narrators are fantastic) It’s well written, fun, sexy,steamy hot and has a hero and heroine I couldn’t help but fall in love with.

Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely

Book Description:

Published: March 20, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The first time I met him, his sexy British accent almost talked me into giving him my number on the spot. The second time, he nearly charmed the panties off me with his wit. Then I learned he’s the key to success in my new job in Paris. The man who tempts me into fling-worthy dirty daydreams has turned out to be my personal translator, and his accent is the hottest thing I’ve ever heard.
My mantra is simple — Don’t mix business with pleasure. I do my best to resist him as he teaches me how to converse with my co-workers, navigate the metro and order the perfect bottle of wine at dinner. But I also figure out how to tell the charming and clever man what I most want to say — that I want him to take me back to his flat — tonight.
Except there’s a catch…

One more assignment before I take off on my big adventure…

And it involves the toughest work ever — resisting the fetching American woman I spend all my days with. But you know what they say about best intentions. Soon, we’re spending our nights tangled together, and I don’t want to let her go. The trouble is, my wanderlust is calling to me, and before we know it I’ll be traveling the globe to fulfill a promise I made long ago.

What could possibly go wrong with falling in love in Paris? Nothing…unless one of you is leaving.

Review –

To date, this is for sure my all time favorite Lauren Blakely read….I listened to the audio version  and I have to say, I think this is the route to take!

Richard Armitage…this man could read me the telephone book and I would swoon like those cartoon characters with hearts popping out of their eyes and heart thumping like mad, and Grace Grant is great too.

Joy and Griffin had electrical chemistry from their first meeting and the sexual tension between them was perfectly captured by the author.

She (the author) gives the reader a colorful walk through the typical Paris tourist spots but also the quirky, off the beaten path track too. Through her vivid descriptions the reader feels  they ARE there with Joy and Griffin enjoying the chocolate, the angels and the scents of all the beautiful flowers and gardens.

I laughed, ached for a Brit of my own and cried (big ugly tears), all in all the book was PERFECT and I gave it five stars.

Don’t let this one pass you by – it’s life altering, in a good way.

Save a Truck, Ride a Redneck (Southern Eclectic #0.5) by Molly Harper

Book  Description:

Published: October 16, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Carl and Marianne were high school sweethearts, loving the way only teenagers can—with no thought to logic or pride, just a bone-headed, optimistic frenzy of unicorns and hormones. That was all they needed. Or so Carl thought.

Scared of being stuck in Lake Sackett, Georgia, like so many of her friends—without a real shot at a future or achieving her own dreams—Marianne panicked and bolted to college after stomping Carl’s heart into the high grass. But when she returns to Lake Sackett for the summer with her family after years away, she and Carl are drawn together like moths to a flame. As they rekindle their old romance and remember what it was like to be in love, they have to wonder: is this, finally, their real chance at happiness?

Perfect for fans of Kristan Higgins and Amy E. Reichert, this warmhearted and witty love story introduces Molly Harper’s new Southern Eclectic series set in the small town of Lake Sackett, Georgia.

Review –

I met these characters in Sweet Tea and Sympathy and this novella happens about ten years prior to that.

it is a short (a little over three hours on audio) and sweet Contemporary Romance about a woman returning home for the first time in a few years to spend the Summer with her family before heading off to Law School. t’s kind of perfect. It has Molly Harper’s trademark snark, it’s entertaining and it’s G Rated so you could give this book to your grandma without worrying too much.

Loved it and can’t wait to read more in this series.

Sweet Tea and Sympathy (Southern Eclectic #1) by Molly Harper

Book Description:

Published: November 21, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Beloved author Molly Harper launches a brand-new contemporary romance series, Southern Eclectic, with this story of a big-city party planner who finds true love in a small Georgia town.

Nestled on the shore of Lake Sackett, Georgia is the McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop. (What, you have a problem with one-stop shopping?) Two McCready brothers started two separate businesses in the same building back in 1928, and now it’s become one big family affair. And true to form in small Southern towns, family business becomes everybody’s business.

Margot Cary has spent her life immersed in everything Lake Sackett is not. As an elite event planner, Margot’s rubbed elbows with the cream of Chicago society, and made elegance and glamour her business. She’s riding high until one event goes tragically, spectacularly wrong. Now she’s blackballed by the gala set and in dire need of a fresh start—and apparently the McCreadys are in need of an event planner with a tarnished reputation.

As Margot finds her footing in a town where everybody knows not only your name, but what you had for dinner last Saturday night and what you’ll wear to church on Sunday morning, she grudgingly has to admit that there are some things Lake Sackett does better than Chicago—including the dating prospects. Elementary school principal Kyle Archer is a fellow fish-out-of-water who volunteers to show Margot the picture-postcard side of Southern living. The two of them hit it off, but not everybody is happy to see an outsider snapping up one of the town’s most eligible gentleman. Will Margot reel in her handsome fish, or will she have to release her latest catch?

Review –

I usually don’t read or listen to this type of book BUT because I have read or listened to too many serious,violent and depressing books lately, I decided it was time for a change.

This book was offered as a Daily Deal on Audible for a very good price and since I’m familiar with customs, tradition,language and humidity of the South, I thought it would be perfect.

I found this book to be an offbeat, funny, contemporary romance with just the right amount of “snarkiness”. Margot experiences culture shock when she moves down to Georgia from Chicago and gags the first time she sips sweet tea. She says, “You give this to children!” One of her aunts has a small business that frys everything and vegetables are rarely found anywhere.

The narrator did an amazing  job and I can’t wait to listen to the rest of the series. Oh, and the cover is fantastic!!!!!