Review: How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake by Gina Henning

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Cute romance about Lauren, a smart professional who just got a promotion, and Jack, the seemingly-perfect guy who runs hot then cold.

I liked Henning’s vivid descriptions of Jack – I could certainly picture him, which I believe is VERY important with a good-looking romance novel hero. 🙂
And I liked how clever and sarcastic Lauren could be. The two of them together cracked me up.

I thought the inclusion of so many song references was a little corny, but maybe I’d feel different if I were more of a music fan.

The big issue I had with this novel is that there was no conflict, no roller coaster. Henning wrote the plot on a slow but steady incline – their love for each other grew until it was time to make a big decision. The whole time I was waiting for something big to happen! Were Jack’s phone calls a cover for something bigger? Was Aunt Minnie who she said she was? Would Lauren have a nervous breakdown? But … nothing. Just the steady plodding on, listening to Jack’s silly phone calls.

Know what I loved, though? Lauren’s Christmas present for Jack. Actually I thought they both did a wonderful job finding the perfect gifts for each other. And preparing for Christmas with the family rocked. As did the cake, because who doesn’t love cake?!

-calliope

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Cover reveal: Asa by Jay Crownover

I’m so excited to show you this cover!! I have loved Asa for a while now and I can’t wait to read his story!!!

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About ASA:

Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one stunning arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best.

Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.

A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.

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Be sure to get caught up on all the other Marked Men. You’ll thank me for it.
Rule: A Marked Men Novel
Jet: A Marked Men Novel
Rome: A Marked Men Novel
Nash: A Marked Men Novel
Rowdy: A Marked Men Novel

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About Jay Crownover
Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She also introduced the dark and sexy world of The Point that started with BETTER WHEN HE’s BAD and is currently working on her newest series The Saint of Denver. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

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Review: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

*1Pride and Prejudice is one of my daughter’s favourite books. She has multiple copies and has read it more than a few times….I confess I did not read this book until I was an adult…shocking I know! However, to make up for lost time, I have now read it twice and I reckon I need to read it at least one more time! Since her birthday is coming up next week I wanted to post a review just for her…so here goes….

Ok, so I didn’t know anything about this book (yes, I know I know…sometime I feel as if I must live under a rock). I saw a great local play of it that really helped me out in following the book (This play was also the start of my daughter’s love affair with the novel). That’s it though. I haven’t read the book before now and I haven’t watched the movies, so I went into this blind. This review will be based on that fact! I haven’t read all the blogs and I am not an Austen fan that knows all the background history…Please keep that in mind if my review is way off base and ya wanna kill me 🙂

The first thing that comes to mind is what did Austen really think about “the dating scene” back then? The people who really stood out to me are the parents. Even the difference between the sisters themselves. You have one side that sees it all as a joke really and the other side that takes it to the extreme. I just had to wonder, was Austen making fun of society at large throughout the entire book? Pointing out how shallow people were (still are) and how easy it is just to make a quick judgement against people based on what “society” expects?

I *really* want to know what Mr Darcy was feeling during all of this. Yes, we know what he tells his beloved Elizabeth, but I want to feel his emotions as he getting to that far away point of blurting out his feelings…both in the middle and the end of the book.

That is what did it for me. Austen really just gave me enough details for me to gobble up the whole story line, but left enough out to drive me crazy with my imagination working overtime! It’s not that she didn’t tie up loose ends. Or she left something undone. She gave us *just enough* to be satisfied yet yearn for more. I so totally understand why people read this book multiple times. I think to truly appreciate it, you need at least one re-read….but alas…not today…..

I hope you have a wonderful and happy birthday, Amanda…I love you…

Until next time….

Urania aka mom xx

Buy it now (FREE!!!) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Review: Change of Hart by M.E.Carter

01changeHave I said how much I LOVE reading from the the guy’s POV??? Well, I totally do. I mean, I’m a girl, so I already know how a girl’s mind works. But when I get to step inside of a guy’s head, I’m almost giddy with anticipation. And add in the fact that he’s an athlete, and I’m a happy girl.

SYNOPSIS
My name is Jason Hart.

As the best defensive lineman in the country, I eat, sleep and breathe football. And I like it that way. I’ve only got a few more years before I’ll have to retire, so expending energy on anything other than football seems like a waste of time.

That is, until I have a random meeting with a little boy who just lost his father. We have more in common than you might think and it creates an unlikely bond. As our friendship grows, so do my feelings for his mother.

I know Addison, as a recent widow, isn’t ready to date again. But I want to get to know her better, in spite of all her rejections.

Is it possible that I, a self-proclaimed bachelor, could be having a Change of Hart?

I loved reading about Jason Hart. He is what I picture, when I think of single athletes. Which is basically a different girl on his arm, every time you see him. But there is so much more to him. After a chance encounter with a little boy, his life makes a complete 180.

Addison has been raising her son, alone, for the past three years, and was not prepared for Jason whatsoever. She is trying to protect her and her son’s heart, but it’s no match for this lineman.

This book was a nice little slice of perfection. This story brought the romance, the funny and a whole lot of heart. One minute I was snorting as I tried to control my laughter and the next, I was sure I was going to hear the “awwww” soundtrack. The sweetness was overflowing.

I’m so glad I was able to read this sweet story. As a romance book lover, my heart was very happy, and I know yours will be also.

~Melpomene

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Review: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

IMG_2194-0.JPGThere are many ways to choose a book. By its cover, by a favorite author, bestseller lists, book review sites, blogs, write ups in popular media…My all-time favorite way to pick my next book to read, however, is by looking at and listening to the books my friends are talking about.

So there’s this Muse you may know. Her name is Melpomene. And she’s a bit of a book nerd, thus explaining why we’re friends. She also is slightly obsessed with the author Colleen Hoover. She’s read everything Colleen has written, stays up until midnight to buy and read new releases, travels to author events just to meet Colleen, and can quote anything from any book ever written by her.

I on the other hand had never heard of this author until meeting Melpomene. But of course, when someone I know and trust speaks so highly of an author, I’m intrigued. So my question was, which book to start with? The answer was Slammed, so Slammed it was. And what a great first read it was!

Let me preface the remainder of this review by stating that I am in no way, shape, or form what one would consider a fan of traditional romances. My fellow Muse, however, is exactly the opposite. So it was with a slight bit of trepidation that I began this book. Would I like it enough to finish it? Would it be too mushy for me? Would I have to lie about how much I disliked it to avoid awkward moments and hurt feelings? No worries on all accounts.

When 18 year old Lake’s dad dies unexpectedly, her family leaves Texas for Michigan searching for a fresh start. They are now a family of three, and Lake knows it’s up to her to hold it together for her mom and her brother Kel. So, as miserable as she is about the move, she puts on a happy face and gives it her best shot. She’s not counting on the handsome new neighbor, though. Sparks fly instantly, and suddenly Lake’s not missing Texas any longer. Alas, happily ever after is never easy to come by…

And that’s all I’m going to say. It’s hard to give much more away without ruining the story. But I will say that it’s an amazing story, one that made me keep reading even after it was lights out on a school night. Yes, it’s a love story. But it’s also a story of loss, of grief, of resilience, of trust, of moving on. It’s a story I won’t soon forget.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Slammed: A Novel

Review: Jacked by Tina Reber

01jack Holy suspense and romance, Batman!! My goodness!! Tina Reber has done it again. Truly. Let me calm my nerves, after that ending, and perhaps I can put my thoughts down.

SYNOPSIS

We all have skeletons in our closets.

Doctor Erin Novak was only sixteen when she was accused of a crime she didn’t commit. Since that moment, she has made it her life goal to pursue emergency medicine, pouring her heart and soul into assuring another innocent life isn’t lost to the hands of the wicked.

We all have secrets we’ve never shared.

Detective Adam Trent has lost control of everything, starting with losing his partner to a punk with a gun and then everything else to the crushing guilt. Now a member of the elite Auto Theft Task Force in Philadelphia, it’s his job to be one step ahead of the criminals stealing expensive cars in the city. Too bad the television cameras keep getting in the way of his investigation.

We all have pasts that we can never escape.

A stolen car, a tragic chase, and a traffic stop crosses the fates of these two, tying them together in ways that are unimaginable. As their love and trust grows, so do the enemies that threaten their survival, testing the strength of their commitment. Can true love endure half-truths, past pains, and secrets never meant to be shared?

Some things are just out of our control.

This story was a breath of fresh air. I gotta tell ya, I was not expecting this at all. After reading Love Unscripted and Love Unrehearsed, part of me wondered how Adam Trent was going to be. I mean, I loved Ryan, don’t get me wrong. But we met Adam’s brother, Kyle, and he was kind of a jerk. But Adam was far from that. No guy is perfect, but he is trying the best he can.

Adam is the face of a new show about auto theft. He’s a bad ass cop, who just wants to do his job and go home. But having cameras in his face, make his life a bit more difficult. And one evening, a decision was made that caused a chain reaction, that would change his life forever.

Erin is a spunky ER nurse, with a secret she’s kept for many years. It’s a part of her that gives her the drive, and has shaped her goals in life. She’s happy with her friends and content with her life, until one evening it was completely flipped upside down.

Adam, is all man. He likes what he likes and he when he meets Erin, he is determined to get close to her. She is weary of getting close, after a string of bad luck with guys. But Adam isn’t taking no for an answer. He’ll woo her slowly.

Just standing next to her seemed to calm me, as if she were coated in some sort of magical aura that made me feel as though I wasn’t so lost and alone in the ugliness of life.

Adam has seem his share of ugly. The loss of his partner was the breaking point for him. But when he meets Erin, it’s like everything just clicked. He describes her as, an angel sent to heal my broken soul. I like that Adam is real. If he’s hurt, he’s not afraid to show his pain, whether by tears or words.

As they grow closer, past insecurities start to creep up and they have to work even harder to earn each other’s trust. But once that trust is there, losing it makes earning it back twice as hard. But Adam has his ways, and let me tell you, his are very very hot.

I just loved these characters. They’re not perfect, but together, they are. They just fit. All it takes it that one person, who truly knows you, then BAM!

Tina Reber knows how to twist my gut and my heart. She knows how to make me cry and make me laugh. I have a feeling that the Trent Brothers are going to destroy me one by one.

The best thing about this book, besides the suspense and romance, is that portions of the proceeds goes to The Sweeney Alliance, which provides support to those who are “first responders” and who deal with unimaginable stress and horror daily – Fire, Police, EMTs, etc. As a firewife myself, I hear some of the stories and I can’t imagine experiencing them first hand. To have an organization that helps with them deal with those stresses, I want to support that. So I will definitely be grabbing a few paperbacks, when they’re available, and gifting them to some of my girls. Helping our men by buying books, sounds like a perfect combination!

~Melpomene

Buy Jacked (Trent Brothers Book 1)

Review: Yours for Christmas by Susan Mallery

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Fun and emotional romance set in Fool’s Gold! It’s finally Kenny’s turn to fall in love, though he fights it every step of the way. Good thing Bailey is persistent. 🙂

This generously long novella tugged at my heart strings as I watched not only a man and woman fall in love, but a child feel some extra Christmas love as well. From tree-trimming to Christmas galas, this book burst with all the verve of Mallery’s full-length novels. And I love Fool’s Gold, whether I get it in big doses or small. ❤
-calliope

buy YOURS FOR CHRISTMAS for just $1.99