Saturday, May 15, 2021

Reading Update: Page 1


Any other Bow Street Runner fans out there? 
Always hard for me to pass up stories with these detectives. Looks like the heroine is a jewel thief, let the games begin!

Easy and tasty

Friday, May 14, 2021

Review: Once Upon a Puppy

Once Upon a Puppy Once Upon a Puppy by Lizzie Shane
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. 

2.5 stars 

The man had rubbed her the wrong way since the second they met. 

Once Upon a Puppy returns readers to Pine Hollow, Vermont and all the characters I had grown fond of in the first in the series, The Twelve Dogs of Christmas. We met Connor Wyeth, the uptight lawyer who's fiancee left him 13 days before the wedding and Deenie Mitchell, princess party planner full of wanderlust in the previous book and their oil and water clashing had me anticipating their book. You could easily start with this book but one of the best things about this story is the Pine Hollow setting and the group of friends the author has created. The first half of the story almost has more of a focus on Connor and Deenie separately as we get to know them and catch up on the group of friends. Connor and Deenie have their moments together but they are more touch and go, as they are navigating through life and thinking about each other. 

She was too different. That was what she'd been told her entire life. Until it had become a badge of honor. Stay different. Stay weird. Stay wild. It was who she was. And she wasn't giving it up for any man. 

The second half brings us to the fake dating trope and the romance part picks up but this is a closed door romance with only some kissing on screen, the tone is very gentle and warm. I like fully developed characters and I thought the author spending more time on Connor and Deenie in the first half, gave us this, for the most part. Deenie and her issues with never feeling respected by her family and never fitting in was more front and center and gave me a better idea about who she was. Connor's backstory comes later in the story and I wish we could have gotten even more with his mother as they seemed to have such a strong relationship. The set-up with Connor being a workaholic and fearing being left because of his birth father leaving him and his then his fiancee and then Deenie being defensive about her lifestyle choices of traveling all the time and not holding a “steady” job, set these two to clash but under the labels of uptight and wild child, the author did show how they actually fit each other. I did end up believing in their ying and yang fitting personalities. 

He didn't need fun. He needed stable. Reliable. Someone who would stick with him no matter what.

This series is tied together not only by the location of Pine Hollow but also doggies and Connor's dog Maximus added a reason for Deenie to be around, she trains Maximus, but also added some of that lovable element that only dogs can do; Maximus doesn't overwhelm with crazy antics but will have you thinking about getting a 140lb “lap” dog. The other secondary characters that consist of Connor's group of friends, filled out the story perfectly. They add dimensions but didn't overwhelm and there is some obvious laid out future romances on the horizon (Elinor and Levi have me thirsting for a second chance romance). I was wanting more of Deenie with her great-aunt Bitty, a woman who accepted and celebrated Deenie for who she was, that relationship should have been shown more because of the emotional impacts those moments could have produced. 

He wasn't the one making her feel like she wasn't enough. He was the one telling her that she was. 

I enjoy a little more spark and heat between my couples and that just wasn't this story. The pace is a little more slow moving as their friendship grows and then Deenie displays some defensive immaturity about feeling like she is the only one changing for Connor to create some late action angst. I still adored the circle of friends and the dogs but the sweetness fell into slow and dull a few times for me. However, if you're looking for a closed door romance that has a more gradual speed as it settles you into a circle of friends with added doggie bonuses, Pine Hollow is a series to look into.

View all my reviews

Thursday, May 13, 2021



Connor's frown deepened. "Is this from one of those romance books you read?"

"Yes. But that doesn't mean it isn't brilliant. And yes, in the books, we would fall in love with each other, but that isn't going to happen here. I would never want to be with you, and I know I'm the last person on earth you would date---that's what makes it so perfect. We don't have to worry about mixed messages or feelings or any of that. This is purely a business transaction. Just a couple of friends helping one another through a trick time."

Monday, May 10, 2021

Reading Update: Page 1

Mondays are for cookies and puppy filled romances ❤️🍪🐶❤️ 

The first in this series was a top ten contemporary for me last year, can’t wait to dive into this world again!

These only take around 15mins to make and are addicting good!

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Quickie Review: Lumberjack

Lumberjack Lumberjack by Jenika Snow
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

1.5 stars 

Jake now sat across from me, cleaning and sharpening the blade of his ax. Maybe doing that should have scared me, because it was intimidating watching him do it, but I wasn’t afraid of him. 
I was wet for him. 

 Alright, who's the lumberjack perv who told me to add this to my tbr? Very short story with two epilogues that give the happily ever after. Woman escapes to the woods after seeing semi-boyfriend cheating, gets lost in woods, and gets butt sniffed by lumberjack. 

He groaned and palmed my ass right before he ran his nose up and down the crease of my bottom. “You smell so fucking good.” 

 See, I would never lie about butt-sniffing. The slimmest of characterization and story, basically butt talk (but(t) I don't think the p ever went in the b????) and sex scenes. 

 I'm happy these two crazy kids found each other but if you want hot, scorching sex scenes with characterization try Cara McKenna instead. But(t) if you want 80pgs of, albeit, visually described hot flannel dude who can wield an ax, then add this short story to your spank bank, I mean Kindle.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Reading Update: 30%


“She’s got lots of energy,” Nate commented dryly, his hand cradled around his mug as he lifted an eyebrow at Maggie. 
“That comes from being eighteen.”
“You make it sound like you’re in your dotage.” 
She laughed. “Well, I’m a lot closer than I care to admit.”
Nate put down his empty cup and rested his elbows on his knees, linking his hands together. “Believe me, Maggie. You’re anything but too old.”
Maggie’s pulse leaped as his gaze locked with hers.

Review: How to Catch a Duke

How to Catch a Duke How to Catch a Duke by Grace Burrowes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. 

If you've been a reader of Burrowes' Rogues to Riches series, then you've been anticipating the younger brother Lord Stephen Wentworth's book. The Wentworth family went from living hand-to-mouth to the older brother Quinn (My One and Only Duke) being saved from the gallows and inheriting a dukedom. Their hard knock life has them not quite fitting in with the aristocracy and each sibling's story has reflected that while still placing them in privileged positions. I would suggest not jumping into the series at this book as you'd miss a lot of the Wentworth family dynamic and that directly affects the hows and whys of Stephen's character; you'd be missing a lot of the foundation for this story.

I have come to ask you to murder me, my lord.” 

Miss Abigail Abbott is a character that we meet in the previous book, Stephen's sister Constance's story (The Truth About Dukes). Abigail is an inquiry agent, a sort of private investigator. Having meet Stephen through Constance (they had some crackling tension in the previous book), Abigail thinks he's the perfect person to help her. She thinks there was a failed attempt to poison her and a failed kidnapping of her person. Abigail thinks it's a Lord Stapleton behind the attempts and it's due to some letters his now deceased son wrote Abigail when she was the son's mistress (she didn't know he was married). I'm not sure I ever completely bought into Abigail's idea that she needed to fake her own death to escape Lord Stapleton but it provided a fantastic first line to start the book off and gave a reason for Abigail to be in Stephen's company. 

The conundrum of his mental processes, charm juxtaposed with calculation, fascinated Abigail. She was counting on his calculating mind to keep her physically safe, while the charm imperiled her heart. 

I've read a good amount of Burrowes' stories and they typically have what I call a babbling brook pace and feel, gradual and gentle. I thought the tempo was different in this one, it felt more like ping pong action. I'd be reading a scene, engaged, and then the scene would cut and the next paragraph would show the characters at a later date thinking back to the scene I had been engaged in but cut out from. It worked for me at times and didn't at others as I thought I was missing out on some scene emotions; instead we get the emotions from inner thoughts from the characters. I'm not sure if my anticipating the babbling brook from Burrowes made this ping pong tempo feel off or if the tempo was off. 

Abigail dearest, we all need a little kissing, cuddling, and cavorting. Proving that to you shall be my fondest challenge. 

The mystery thread of why Lord Stapleton wanted the letters from Abigail felt thin for a a lot of the story. It takes until the end and revealing of why, for it to make sense but even then I'm not sure the journey we take to get there was supported for three hundred pages. Stephen and Abigail have good byplay but I did think for where I thought they were in their journey to come together that their first bedroom scene came a bit quick, even though it was around 50%. These two definitely have a connection, Abigail doubts her appeal because of her height and size and Stephen doubts his appeal because of his limp (his father broke his leg when he was a child) and vulnerabilities created because of these insecurities brings these two together. They're sweet with a little zip because of Stephen's kind but not always nice and Abigail's calling him on his not always nice but not letting him hide his kindness. 

Stephen Wentworth was stealing her heart, and she was helpless to prevent his larceny. 

Neither of Stephen's sisters make an appearance, which I did miss and I thought Duncan and Stephen should have had some alone scenes but there was a great breakthrough understanding between Stephen and his brother Quinn. With the ping pong tempo I talked about though, we get the brothers revealing and talking about some things but then after, granted, they do hug, we jump to Quinn with his wife and he has an emotional moment I wish could have been more with Stephen. The Wentworth's are a family that could have overwhelmed Stephen and Abigail's book but I love their dynamic all together that I could have stood for more of them. 

She wanted to curl up in his arms and wake up in a world where nobody got in a lather about old letters, and a common inquiry agent could fall in love with a ducal heir. 

Stephen was a character that I could read a series on him alone and Abigail had her own deep background, I could also read more about her, but importantly, she did match him. The mystery plot with the letters and how Abigail wanted to fake her own death, which leads to a fake engagement trope, even though these two pretty much admit their feelings are real from the beginning but thinking nothing can come of it, was a little weaker and you'll mostly go along because it keeps our two characters together. I also thought the author created a story that was open about all the bed-hopping that was going on during this time, the extramartial affairs and Stephen's bisexuality. It also looks like we are getting a Ned Wentworth book (boy Quinn adopted) and I am thrilled, especially after his appearances in this. There's always something comforting about visiting a Burrowes' world and family, How to Catch a Duke, will give you those feels.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Reading Update: Page 1


Stephen’s book! 🥰 If you’ve been reading the Rogues to Riches series, you’re probably with me and my excitement for Stephen to find love. 

Some Sunday salad 🥗 to enjoy the moment with. Chipotle and mango are my peanut butter and jelly.

I substituted Greek yogurt for the mayo in the dressing

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Review: I'm Waiting for You and Other Stories

I'm Waiting for You and Other Stories I'm Waiting for You and Other Stories by Kim Bo-young
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. 

I'm Waiting For You and other stories, is a translated collection of four science fiction short stories that explore what it means to be human. The collection has a bookend feel with I'm Waiting For You and On My Way, two connected stories that have main characters tethered by love but separated by space and time. The middle two stories, The Prophet of Corruption and That One Life, blend Korean mythology, science, and science fiction. The latter half of the book gives us author, translator, and original reader's notes and a glossary. I would suggest reading the glossary before The Prophet of Corruption to familiarize yourself with the terms used in the story to get a stronger foothold in the world. However, I think the author and original reader's notes should be read after all the stories are read because of the different impact they will have and how it will make you want to go back and read two of the stories again. 

I'm Waiting For You 
Someone once said that space and time are actually the same thing. 

The first story and my favorite, introduces us to a man traveling in the universe to get back to earth for his wedding. It's told in loose letter form, he's sending letters to his fiancée and the reader gets the essence and sometimes wording of those letters but also observations of what is happening to him. The short story gives us 15 letters but also centuries as mistakes, mishaps, and a mixture of good and bad luck keep the groom from, sometimes when and sometimes where, he needs to be. You'll feel his loneliness, frustration, and will as you'll question along with him what it means to survive. 

The Prophet of Corruption and That One Life 
“You'll know you're corrupt the moment you want to put clothes on.” 

The middle two are the longest and shortest of the collection and probably the two that would give book clubs the most and varied discussions. The blend of mythology with theoretical framework like superstring theory, had this at times confusing and profound to me. As the reader follows along with the character of Naban, they'll question the 'corruption of man' and creation to be human. They who were oblivious to the greatness of survival and scorned life's battles, who failed to see the sacredness of one person's individuality. 

On My Way To You 
They say that we're taking up food and clothing that should rightfully be theirs to enjoy. They even say that we'll endanger the lives of the women and children. A funny thing to say, really. Half of us are women and children, too. 

While we started with the groom, this last story gives us the bride and her journey through her letters. She goes through the same give and take of good and bad luck. Having read the groom's story, this one has moments that hit even deeper as you'll see missed opportunities and how close and far away they were from each other. 

Told through a science fiction lens, this collection was at turns bleak, hopeful, and questioning. The first story will have you thinking that hell is solitude, the middle two will have you thinking that hell is only our own creation, and the last will have you thinking hell is other people. The hopefulness comes from the author's ability to shine through the emotions of love and will. Don't skip the author and original reader's notes as they added an impactful layer to the first and second stories and like I said, will have you going back and reading them again. This is a collection that will have you debating and questioning, lingering in your thoughts, and revisiting, not to be missed even for the causal science fiction reader.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Reading Update: Page 1


A gorgeous day outside calls for gorgeous writing and gorgeous (😉) tacos!

I would go a cup of buffalo sauce for more taste. Definitely make the cashew sauce, so good.