Review: The Cotswolds Cookery Club by Alice Ross

This book is actually a compilation of three serial novellas… just so you know… because I was thrown for a loop when I finished the first novella at 34%, previously having thought it was a novel, and wondering what the heck the other 66% could be! Now that that’s sorted…

I really enjoyed these entertaining novellas, each focusing on one member of the casual, put-together-on-a-whim, friendly club of women who like to cook. Alice Ross did a wonderful job making the friendships come to life and drawing the reader into each woman’s joys and pains. These are lighthearted stories, though there are a few heavy-hearted conversations among the friends about love, marriage, and children.

As an aside, I found it pretty awesome that one of the recipes a character makes is Patatas Bravas – the same dish my teenager had to make as part of a group project for her high school Spanish class.

So… each story has some seriousness, some playfulness, and a couple of out-loud laughs, but my most favorite happily ever after was in book 3 when karma makes an appearance, and the comeuppance is delish.

-calliope

Buy THE COTSWOLDS COOKERY CLUB

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Review: Two Christmas novellas- Forever Christmas & My True Love Gave to Me by Christine Lynxwiler

November means Christmas reading, so I hunkered down the past couple nights with two novellas in my Kindle’s “Christmas” folder. 

These charming and heartfelt stories felt like full-length novels in that the characters were many and varied, the plots had time to twist and meander a bit, and the main characters were wonderfully developed. 

In Forever Christmas, Kristianna tries to live out her own authentic life, fighting through family pressures and a stressful romantic past. I loved that Kristianna’s best friends never wavered in their love and loyalty to her. I enjoyed Kristianna’s fun dates, her surprise gifts, and the relationships she had with the quirky townspeople. Although saving her town of Jingle Bells from corporate intrusion was top of mind, Kristianna eventually got the message that working together for a solution is more effective than cutting off your nose to spite your face. 

In My True Love Gave to Me, loving wife and mom of two Penny has had it up to here with her newly-unemployed husband’s moping. But when he finally does something to snap out of it, she’s not truly on board with that either. The plan? A family RV trip. The reaction? Horror, as you might guess. However, in the spirit of a good Christmas story, the lessons are in the journey. Lynxwiler gives us an entertaining road trip where relationships are strengthened, trust is built, and true love abounds. 

Both novellas have a Christian perspective, with a mentions of “God’s plan” and positively describing other characters as Christian. They both have a happily ever after, too. 

You’ll be glad to know my Kindle’s Christmas folder is full of myriad holiday novels. These were only the tip of the iceberg! 

-calliope 

Buy MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME
Buy FOREVER CHRISTMAS

Review: Christmas at Evergreen Inn by Donna Alward

   

What a well-written Christmas novella! I enjoyed this story even more than my last few Christmas reads, because the characters’ behaviors were consistent, the dialogue was realistic, and the tension was so real I felt my own shoulders tightening up. Alward impressed me with a tightly written plot and just the right balance of sweet versus strong. Most importantly, Evergreen Inn was Christmassy. The hot chocolate, tree ornaments, and snowstorms helped Todd heal Lainey’s broken heart, and certainly warmed mine. 

-calliope

Buy CHRISTMAS AT EVERGREEN INN

Review: Master of Freedom by Cherise Sinclair

01 master I am fascinated with BDSM and all things Cherise. She has a way of writing BDSM books that feel real. It’s almost as if I’m in the room watching and feeling everything they are. I know this is a novella, but it totally didn’t fell like one! This felt like a full length novel, with all the emotions and excitement.

SYNOPSIS
Detective Atticus Ware gave up his beloved Idaho to start again in the mountains of California, close to his imprisoned brother. He has a rewarding job and friends, but the experienced Dominant wants more than the Do-Me submissives who flock around him. He needs a woman who will give her heart as well as her body.

Virginia, “Gin,” is damn good at her challenging career as a prison psychologist. However, one problem inmate is mired in misery and unable to overcome his guilt at causing a friend’s death.
To clear her mind, she joins a friend’s kinky backpacking excursion, planning to hide in her tent during the evening BDSM pursuits. But Atticus lures her into the activities. She’s read about BDSM, but submission under the hands of a powerful Dom is beyond anything she’d imagined. She doesn’t trust men, doesn’t want a relationship, and yet…wants more from him.

Finally, Atticus has found the woman he wants in his life. In his bed. In his cuffs. But she’s not only his brother’s therapist, but also works in a prison. How can he tolerate his woman walking into danger every single blasted day?

Gin knows she has no future with Atticus Ware, but still, hope is rising in her heart.

I loved these two together!! They were made for each other. They balanced each other and helped each other with their pasts. Their chemistry was off the charts HOT!! Even the plain ol’ kissing was hot. Actually, with Atticus, there is no plain ol’ kissing. But as they grow closer, parts of their pasts creep up and threaten to break these two apart.

Virginia, I’ll always come after you. I keep what’s mine.”

~Melpomene

Buy Master of Freedom: A Mountain Masters Novella (Mountain Masters & Dark Haven Book 5)

Review: Christmas at Carriage Hill by Carla Neggers

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I think 2014 was the first year I read anything by Carla Neggers, and I’ve become a fan. I was happy to see that Neggers wrote a Christmas novella, set in the part of Massachusetts where my mother grew up.

Christmas at Carriage Hill is a contemporary romance with an old-fashioned feel. There’s an impending wedding, New England snow, ice skating, English scones, and a military man who won’t let go of his true love.

Alex and Ian dated, broke up, then ran into each other while traveling abroad for a wedding. While the plot wasn’t thoroughly fleshed out and the secondary characters were a little flat, those are acceptable in a novella. I appreciated the great scenery, the main characters, the recipes, and the happily ever after. The power of nostalgia got to me, too, as I remember visiting the Quabbin as a child.

I enjoyed this light, uplifting, Christmassy novella by a favorite author… and it’s a steal at 99¢.

-calliope

buy CHRISTMAS AT CARRIAGE HILL

Review: The Kiss Before Midnight by Sophie Pembroke

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Molly is the baby of the family, and her siblings always took her for a flake. So the year she finally moved out and got a job in London on her own merit was supposed to be the year of her dreams.

Instead, Molly spent the year thinking about family friend Jake, and the kiss he shared with her last New Year’s Eve. Jake spent the year thinking about it too.

It was so much fun to watch Molly and Jake dance around the kiss they shared the year before. Sophie Pembroke wrote in the perfect amount of flirting, holding back, candor, humor, and misunderstanding.

This was a lovely story around Christmas time… Joyful, uplifting, romantic, full of family love, and ending happily ever after. 🎁🍷🎄❄️
-calliope

buy THE KISS BEFORE MIDNIGHT

Review: Happenstance 2, by Jamie Mcguire

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“There’s only one you.”

If you haven’t read the first Happenstance, you must go and do that now. I can wait….

Done? Good.

Erin is trying to still work through all of the information she has received, while living with her real parents. Having caring and attentive parents is something she has never had, so it’s hard for her to adjust. She just wants love, not things. But she is slowly growing closer to her real parents, while still battling the bullies at school, who don’t seem to care who she really is.

Weston is still her constant, throughout all of this. He will take one anyone who chooses to cause her trouble. But soon she makes a discovery that may change the way she looks at him and the way she looks at herself. As if her life hasn’t been flipped upside down already.

“She doesn’t need us to fix this for her. We’ll just love her through it.”

This was a nice little story. I can’t to see how she handles this information she has been given, in the next book. Thank God she has loyal parents, who would give her the moon if they could, and her boyfriend, who would wrestle dragons.

~Melpomene

Buy Happenstance: A Novella Series (Part Two)

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