#BookReview Hot for the Holidays by Marie Force, Tamsen Parker et. al

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Christmas! Merry Holidays!
To continue this amazing season of holiday books and cheer, check out a super sexy collection packed full of romance and sexy Santas!!

 

To begin with, I was not able to read all of the stories in this super sexy collection. I do plan on finishing it, but I figured this book deserved a review during it’s peak.

I originally picked up this book for free during a wondrous sale so I could read Tamsen Parker’s story. I’m a big fan, so of course I wanted to read about some sexy Santa/Elf play with a bit of a May/December romance. Gosh darnit, it was sexy and seriously silly. The amount of Christmas puns killed me. I’m not quite sure how she can mix ridiculously hot sex scenes with Christmas puns and make it work, but goshdarnit she did it!

Holly is home for the holidays and is working at her kinky sex play/dungeon where people hook up and play for fun. Her boyfriend is supposed to pick her up, but like most boyfriends who you go out with when you bounce off to post-secondary school, he turns out to be an absolute dick. He sends his Dad Cal instead and it’s slightly awkward. That is, until, Holly and Cal decide to have some dirty, sexy Santa-Elf play. It’s hot, it’s full of fa-la-la-la-la-la-ing puns and it’s a story I’d love to see expanded. I want to see the fall-out of Holly and her former boyfriend’s relationship SO BAD. Holly and Cal seem like a better couple anyways.

It took me a few days to read it, but not because it wasn’t good. I decided to drag it out to enjoy the fabulous-ness of Tamsen’s writing. Then, I stayed for the other stories because this anthology is so good!

In full, this collection has 13 sexy holiday stories to fill up your TBR. Some of my recent faves are apart of this collection (Skye Warren, Marie Force, & Noelle Adams) and they’re all short and sweet (or super naughty, whichever you prefer). If you are going to get anything out of this series, come for an author you’ve loved in the past and meet some new authors to binge in the future.

Five out of five stars!

Check out this marvelous book on:
Amazon.ca
Kobo
Goodreads

 

If you love sexy books, these books might make it on your TBR (take a peek!):
#BookReview For Her Own Good by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview Naked by Kay Brandt
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Romance Novels

 

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#BookReview Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis

Hot Winter Nights was a romantic heist full of Christmas cheer.

To start off, I didn’t enjoy this book was much as I wanted to and I solely blame it on exam season. Unfortunately, I still need to read my worries away during exam time and typically those books don’t cheer me up as much as they normally do. Jill Shalvis is an excellent writer and the thought behind this book is amazing!

This book is in the Heartbreaker Bay series. I have dabbled in Jill’s other novels, but not Heartbreaker Bay yet (it’s on my list, don’t you worry). I saw this book at a local used book store (in perfect condition) and figured I might as well pick it up. I loved the last books I read by Jill so this would be a natural choice for me.

I found this book to be way more suspenseful than the average romance novel. It was super intriguing though. I really enjoyed following along with a story that I wasn’t quite sure how it would end (the suspense part, not the romance. The romance was super predictable, as romance normally is). If you are going to read this as a standalone, go right on ahead! I found this book easy to jump into and I didn’t need to know about the previous characters. I’m sure I would have liked this book more and understood it more if I had read the previous books, but don’t you worry about it! You’ll be just fine.

Molly and Lucas are cute and hilarious at times. They may or may not have slept together right before the book starts, and that causes a fair bit of chaos between the two of them. The duo also work together, which makes things more interesting. When a Santa Clause may be stealing money from his elves, they go on a little mission to figure out what the mystery is behind the missing money.

The plot was definitely Hallmark-esque and my gosh, I loved it. It was awesome! I did think the book was a little longer than it needed to be, but it was still fun. To top it all off, this book is definitely an R rated, sexy book with hella chemistry. Totally worth it if you love sexy romance and want a dash of Christmas cheer. It’s more sexy than Christmas-y though (not Hallmark in that sense…).

I loved that this book was a HEA romance. That’s the type of reader I am so I totally adored the little epilogue that made sure I knew my new character friends had a great time in the book.

For my final statement, I will say that the titles of each chapter were hilarious and full of Christmas puns. I think that added a pinch of awesomeness to this story.

Three out of five stars.

You can find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Indigo
Kobo

 

Fill up your Christmas wishlist with some of these other wonderful romances:
#BookReview Tiny House, Big Love by Olivia Dade
#BookReview A Love Thing Anthology by Laura Kaye & More!
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Romance Novels

 

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#BookReview I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan

I am Thunder by Muhammad Khan was a pleasant surprise!

I love books that let me inside another person’s life and culture, and I am Thunder met the bill! This book welcomes the reader into a Muslim and Pakistani lifestyle which is something totally new to me. I’ve seen the headlines, I’ve had classmates, but I’ve never been able to learn this much about a culture in one sitting. While this book is only ONE view in a Young Adult (and slightly dramatic) book, it was still truly intriguing. Hats off to Muhammad Khan, seriously.

This book does cause some waves in the reading community though – I’ve seen lots of praises and lots of criticism. So, I’ll just share my thoughts.

I like that this book follows one young woman’s story. Yes, it’s like a soap opera and slightly dramatic at times but isn’t all YA? Muzna’s story gives some fabulous insight into her culture (for example, the difference between a religion and the actual practices someone follows). Her family life, her thoughts, her trouble deciding what to do with her life and the effect it has on everyone felt very REAL. It felt like I was reading a book made for and by a teen – she wants to meet boys, she wants to impress people, she wants to try to have a life but do what’s best for her family too. I could totally relate to her in that aspect. She struggles with being a teenage girl trying to just BE a teenage girl.

Are there parts of this book that were rough and tough? Yes. I don’t fully know what this woman’s culture would be in an accurate depiction, so maybe this is all my views as a reader. Buuuut… her parents are HARSH. It seemed like no matter what this girl did that they weren’t proud of her. It’s no wonder that Muzna “acted out” because there was no way she’d ever please those parents. It was borderline abusive. I don’t think it was a culture thing… honestly, I’m certain it’s not supposed to be a reflection of their culture. Those parents were borderline abusive if not actually abusive. Like, show a little familial love? Or at least, don’t be cruel at all times of the day?

Extreme religion was also apart of this book, so let there be a trigger warning for those who might be bothered by this topic. I found it interesting to read, but at times it felt like everyone were quite extreme with their religious practices. I know there’s only so many pages in a book, but there could have been some “softer” practices or realistic ones. I know many lovely people who study and follow various religions who aren’t as “crazy” or as extreme as some of these characters.

If I had to list the good things about this book, they’d be the following:
1. This book showcases a different religion and a different point of view in a largely read genre. I like that YA has diverse books like this one floating around so readers can learn more about the world. Difficult topics like religion and politics should be brought into books (especially YA) so more people can learn and experience the world.

2. Muzna felt like a real character with real struggles. She didn’t feel out of place or goofy. She made me really feel for her story and want to know more about her.

3. This book can start wonderful discussions. It’s the type of book I wish we read back in high school. I could have picked apart this book and had some really great discussions with my classmates and teachers. Just think of a diverse class discussing their points of views on topics like these! Oh, it’d be an interesting time!

Overall, this book is a really well written book! Muhammad Khan has written a beautiful story that will introduce you to Muzna’s world.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check this book out on Goodreads!

Or check out another book you might enjoy:
#BookReview Gods in Oslo by John Plaski
#BookReview The Fencers by Geza Tatrallyay
#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

 

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#BookReview The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

I’m so torn on this book!

The Hypnotist’s Love Story is a marvelous stand alone by the author of Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty. This book is full of deceit, stalkers, a very strange love story, and life lessons. Oh, and did I mention a little hypnotherapy? It’s kind of obvious, since it is in the title, but it’s one of the biggest parts of this novel!

I found this book to be an interesting mix of chick lit, drama and contemporary fiction. There were times I was laughing, there were times when I was cringing, and at the end I felt like I was missing something. I wanted just a little more of Ellen and Patrick’s story instead of the abrupt ending. There was so much strange insanity in this book (Patrick having a stalker, Ellen being a hypnotherapist, Patrick’s former wife Colleen, Saskia’s past…) that I was left feeling slightly empty. All of these story lines were epic, but none of them had the big follow through I was hoping for (especially in a book as long as this one!).

Ellen starts dating Patrick and their relationship moves very fast. Soon enough, she learns that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend Saskia is stalking him and that he is a widower. He idolized Colleen and the son, Jack, that they shared together. Ellen gets the feeling she doesn’t live up to Colleen and she seems to be intrigued by this stalker. All throughout the book we follow some of Ellen’s hypnotizing shenanigans and meet some of the clients. Of course, that doesn’t go too well either.

This book has the best concepts – all of that paragraph makes me really excited! To me, I just wanted more follow through. Why does Saskia feel the need to stalk? Why does Patrick feel like the type of guy Ellen should have just dumped? How did Ellen become a hypnotherapist? Why was hypnotherapy working on certain clients?

All of that being said, this book was still a real treat. If you love drama and a splash of romance, this book would be perfect for your shelf. Not every book can be utterly perfect in a reader’s eye and I do expect a lot (I grew up watching soap operas, so I kind of expect the real dramatics). Liane also has a wonderful writing style that makes the book fluid and easy to read (and man, having a 400 page book as an easy read is a real feat, so don’t underestimate this woman!). I will one hundred percent be reading more books by Liane Moriarty. Her ideas are incredible, her writing style is flawless and she writes realistic, believable characters REALLY well!

Three out of five stars!

P.S. “Knit, don’t stalk” is the most solid life advice I’ve ever read from a book. It is also now my favourite line I’ve ever read and I’m going to live by it.

 

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Check out some other books and reviews you might enjoy!
#BookReview Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro
#BookReview The Inside Track by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner

 

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#BookReview More Than a Feeling by Sara Richardson

More Than a Feeling is a marvelous continuation of the Heart of Rockies series by Sara Richardson.

Years ago I managed to get my hands on one of the first books in this series, and then I bought the sequels! Silly me lost them among my shelves until I recently managed to clean my little library up. Of course, I had to pick this book up and continue the series (I’m sure #2 is hiding somewhere in my house. Whoever said you had to read these in order?!).

I really enjoy this series, but it is an R rated book – sex scenes, abusive pasts and a miscarriage are just a few parts of this story that make it a “tougher” read. It felt like an adult romance novel, which is what it was intended to be. That being said, this book could be a potential trigger for some readers.

I like that Sara didn’t hold back with Ruby’s story. Her story is rough and tough and isn’t all sunshine and roses. She’s lucky to find a man like Sawyer and a beautiful, unconventional family to fill her heart with. Oh, and the sex scenes made for a good romp too!

This book has a lot of tug and pull. Ruby wanted Sawyer, but didn’t want to tell him her secrets. Sawyer was very similar, but he was all in for this relationship. The ‘should I, shouldn’t I’ was a little annoying, but that’s because it’s one of those specific cliches I get bored with. That part of the book didn’t go on for a long time, but it’s still there. This little cliche made this book a slow burn romance, but when it hits the hot parts… wowza, it is hot!

I like contemporary romances like these. For whatever reason, they are really hitting all of the notes I want them to hit this year. There were some cons though…

1. Potential animal abuse. I strongly dislike animal abuse. Fortunately, a lot of the potential abuse isn’t shown in this novel. There’s just a little bit and it’s used to show Ruby’s compassion. Still… it’s a touchy topic for me.

2. Abusive exes. Yeek… These do happen in real life but they still make me shiver. Some readers might not enjoy some of the comments said in relation to this topic! So, reader beware…

3. Miscarriage. It happened in the past but I know it’s a very touchy subject for some people. Again, reader beware!

4. Sawyer is a really horny man. It’s not necessarily a giant con (it’s a romance novel, you kinda have to expect it) but I know a good friend of mine did not enjoy that part of the novel. So, it’s a potential con? Not for me, but for some readers.

If I had to pick the good things, they would be as followed:

1. Foster families and happy endings. I like seeing the positive side of building trust and making friendships! I’m glad this book put foster families in a good light.

2. Stand-alone versus series. This book could easily have stood alone, yet it’s apart of a series. Sara gives you just enough info to be able to jump into this book without knowing the rest of this series.

3. NO CLIFFHANGER! Thank goodness there was no cliffhanger. Those kill me.

Overall, I liked this book! The touchy subjects dropped one star off my rating, but realistically they can happen! So why not put them into a romance novel and use them for a happy ending?

Four out of five stars!

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Kobo
Indigo.ca

Check out some other reviews and books you might enjoy:
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Romance Novels
#BookReview Something Like Love by Sara Richardson
#BookReview Fly With Me by Hudson Lin

 

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#BookReview City of Friends by Joanna Trollope

City of Friends is a lovely story by Joanna Trollope following the interconnecting lives of women.

This book focuses on the trials and errors of middle aged women being women. Lost jobs, children to take care of, parents to take care of, struggling romantic relationships, family drama and friendship drama all mash together into one well written tale. It’s everything you’d expect from a contemporary, women’s fiction novel!

There are four women who were once friends and now all of them are middle aged. Each of them have their own struggles to deal with, and somehow all of their problems relate to each other’s problems. As with most female centered books, there is a pinch of feminine drama that makes me question if women are just bound to be dramatic and gossip (as a woman, I haven’t seen too much of that as an adult – maybe it’s just me though). Examples of this drama: One woman offers her friend’s “mistress” or new lover a job but not her best friend, two of the women’s children start seeing each other, a husband tells a woman to pick between their relationships or her mother’s health. Yeah… this book felt petty at times.

Even with some of these interesting plot lines, I did enjoy this book. Buuuuuut… it wasn’t a hit out of the park for me. I found it was a lovely, soft read that wasn’t hard to jump in and out of. The worst part was that it got very slow at times. There were entire chapters that could have been left out and the story still would have progressed. I also didn’t feel like there was a real “end” to this book, it just stopped. That’s how life stories go there – there never is an “end”, something just “stops”.

There are some really strong parts of this book, for those looking for my positives! There are strong women characters who are facing realistic problems. I know many girls and women who have faced some of these troubles – like a sick parent, dealing with a lost job, and trying to balance work and family life. I like seeing books like this that bring about real issues so people realize that everyone goes through this stuff. Our lives aren’t what we see on Instagram – life isn’t perfect.

It may be because I’ve read a lot of women’s fiction lately (on accident) or maybe it is just the plot of this book – I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped. The synopsis sounds awesome, the cover is gorgeous and the first half of the book really peaked me interest. At half, I kind of just wandered off in my brain and had trouble getting through it.

That being said, I would still recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporary novels and women’s fiction. It’s not a bad book, it’s just not a good book for me – mainly because it couldn’t hold my attention the way other women’s fiction has. I think Joanna Trollope has a fantastic, easy reading, writing style and I want to read more books by her! This is just a blip on the book radar!

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

If you enjoyed this book (or review!) check out another you might enjoy:
#BookReview A Cup of Redemption by Carole Bumpus
#BookReview Coming Out by Danielle Steel
#BookReview Tempting Faith by Susan Mallery

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#BookReview Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber is a lovely tale woven with friendship, romance and care!

I love to knit, even though I’m not very good at it, so a book like this is right up my alleyway! A knitting group, a flower shop, a love affair, a baby, a wedding and endless amounts of girl drama fill the pages of this book! Lydia, Colette and Alix are the three main leads, and wowza did Debbie do a good job making this story! I one hundred percent need to read the rest of this series – especially since I love Colette!

Debbie Macomber’s writing style is very lovely. It’s soft, sweet and easy to read. There are times where the plot took sudden turns that seemed out of character (someone magically being in love when before it seem a bit sinister…?), but she somehow makes it work and be believable. She writes a woman’s tale so easily, and makes it feel like they could be my friend, sister or mother. These women face real problems that many of my friends have faced themselves! This relatable factor makes this book so much better than I would have anticipated.

Despite being over four hundred pages, it truly didn’t feel that way. I was so connected to Alix and Colette’s story that I managed to binge this book in under two days. For me and my busy schedule, that’s quite the feat! But that just shows how great Debbie is at making an addicting story! I wouldn’t have been so interested in these characters and their stories if Debbie hadn’t done such an awesome job of writing the book.

I did have some “major” negatives about this book though:
1. I didn’t enjoy Lydia’s story because it does mirror some of my own past horrors and demons. Due to the loss of my Father, it was really hard to read her struggles with her Mother. Instead of pushing through it, I decided to lightly skim past that part. Should this affect other readers and their score against the book? Absolutely not! For me, it was just a little too hard to read, emotionally. It doesn’t affect my score at all, but I do have to admit I wasn’t as connected to her.
2. Christian just suddenly changed his mood. I would have liked to see a more gradual movement in his feelings, but the book is already over 400 pages long so I can understand why Debbie didn’t.

To list some of the amazing positives (that I haven’t already included):
1. The knitting quotes were fabulous! They really added a fantastic touch of personalism to the book.
2. The cover is gorgeous and colourful. If you’re going to judge a book by it’s cover, judge this book!
3. It was the perfect mix of contemporary, drama, women’s fiction and romance. I wouldn’t change a thing (minus some more Christian, of course).

Overall, this book was truly lovely! I’m glad I picked this book up years ago at a local department store! Although, I’m slightly upset it took me so long to read it! This book is a true gem that I’d recommend to ladies who love knitting, want a light, fluffy story or just want to dig into a sweet book!

Five out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca

If you enjoyed this book (or review!) check out another you might enjoy:
#BookReview Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro
#BookReview Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
#BookReview Fly With Me by Hudson Lin

 

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