All posts by skyebjenner

Snowed Under by Erin McCarthy

Overview
The Night Before Christmas by Lori Foster

Title: Snowed Under
Author: Erin McCarthy
In: The Night Before Christmas (Lori Foster, Erin McCarthy, Kathy Love, Jill Shalvis, Kylie Adams & Katherine Garbera)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 22nd December 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Brava
Year: 2005
5th sentence, 74th page: I mean, the whole building was glass.

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Synopsis

Justin Fairbanks has always been attracted to Claire Robbins. When she gets soaked by a snowplough and asks him to help remove her wet clothes, well, what sane man could possibly say no?

Thoughts

Everyone has a teenage crush that the sometimes wonder “what if?” And although mine chopped and changed a lot, I like the way that in this story, the couple have always been more than a little sweet on each other. But they’ve waited until they’re grown enough to actually enjoy their courtship. After all, what is okay as an adult, is kind of icky for a child…

This story was seriously fun from beginning to end. It was a little bit humorous, and a whole lot enjoyable. I also loved Claire’s go-get-them attitude. After all, she figures out exactly what she wants (Justin in her bed), and just goes for it. I have experience working around men who are kind of difficult and annoying to shift into the decisions that you want, so I completely adored Claire’s methodology.

Snowed Under is fun and very, very enjoyable. It’s a nice novella that makes you believe in true love and just generally enjoy the process of a romance developing. It’s incredibly cute, and most definitely a novella that I will read again.

<- White Knight ChristmasMs. Humbug ->

Image source: Goodreads

Red Winter by Annette Marie

Overview
Red Winter (Red Winter Trilogy, #1) by Annette Marie

Title: Red Winter
Author: Annette Marie
Series: Red Winter Trilogy #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Gods, Japanese mythology, Mythology
Dates read: 30th November – 22nd December 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Dark Owl Fantasy
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: She was alone in the forest.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Emi is the kamigakari. In a few short months, her life as a mortal will end and her new existence as the human host of a goddess will begin. Carefully hidden from those who would destroy her, she has prepared her mind, body, and soul to unite with the goddess – and not once has she doubted her chosen fate.

Shiro is a yokai, a spirit of the earth, an enemy of the goddess Emi will soon host. Mystery shrouds his every move and his ruby eyes shine with cunning she can’t match and dares not trust. But she saved his life, and until his debt is paid, he is hers to command – whether she wants him or not.

On the day they meet, everything Emi believes comes undone, swept away like snow upon the winter wind. For the first time, she wants to change her fate – but how can she erase a destiny already wrought in stone? Against the power of the gods, Shiro is her only hope… and hope is all she has left.

Thoughts

I bought this novel a while ago because I needed a story that featured a mythology that I’m not so knowledgeable about. It had no idea what to expect and had no idea whether it would be any good. And, boy, am I glad that I bought this novel! It was amazing, unforgettable and left me with a huge grin on my face. One that I probably won’t be getting rid of anytime soon if I’m being honest. Even as I write this review a while after I turned that final page, I still smile every time I think of this novel.

When I read the blurb for this story, I was expecting a medieval, historical style story. One in which the shrines and cultural practices of the past shine through. However, it is a contemporary story based in our world today. It was incredibly different and fun to have a strong belief in gods and goddesses against computers and cell phones. Shrines and archery against other forms of weaponry and buses. It was a gorgeous, wonderful tale that hit me from all different angles. Completely unexpectedly.

There are hints of the beginning of a love triangle in this story. Shiro and Katsuo both represent different aspects of Emi’s life. And although it’s kind of clear that she’ll eventually end up with Shiro, but there is that great tie to Katsuo as well. I love that they reveal more and more facets to Emi’s personality and life that were completely unexpected.

This is one of those stories that unexpectedly impacted me emotionally. In a big way. Emi’s journey and struggles are intense and make you want to give her the worlds biggest hug. It’s kind of tragic. I’m hoping that as the series unfolds there is less tragedy, and a way out of the predicament that she finds herself in. I hope against hope. Otherwise it will just break my heart if it ends more as expected…

<- More Annette MarieDark Tempest ->

Image source: Goodreads

Against the Odds by Lisa Kleypas

Overview
Where's My Hero? | Julia Quinn | Author of Historical Romance Novels

Title: Against the Odds
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Gamblers of Craven’s #2.5
In: Where’s My Hero? (Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn & Kinley MacGregor)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 22nd December 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: Bending her backward, hooking his supportive arm beneath her, he nuzzled the tender weight of her breast.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

When eminently sensible Lydia Craven decides to marry for security rather than love, she doesn’t calculate on the determination of devil-may-care doctor Jake Linley to rewrite the romantic formula in Lisa Kleypas’ charming romp, Against All Odds .

Thoughts

I recently bought a few books written by Kleypas, with absolutely no idea if I would enjoy them or not. Which made me seriously happy when I read this novella. After all, I loved this, and thus, I am hoping that I will love the rest of the Kleypas books that I’ve added to my shelves. Kleypas writes with humour, sass and fire. But she manages to have that sense of vulnerability and innocence in this story which I tend to love in a good regency romance.

Lydia is the kind of heroine that I tend to love. She is funny, sassy and incredibly adorable. She’s also way too logical. Which, if I’m being honest, I can do sometimes. I can’t imagine being a smart, independent, logical woman in this time period though. Yet, somehow, this persona fits. It’s not the typical regency heroine. But it’s most definitely the kind that I love.

Partnering Jake Linley with Lydia worked fantastically well. He manages to balance her completely – something that I think we all need in our significant other. Particularly when Lydia almost throws away her happiness on something that is mere logic. Linley is most definitely the kind of hero that I would rather warming my bed… the kind of hero that made me smile and feel wistful all throughout.

I absolutely adored this novella. And I honestly can’t wait to read more of Kleypas’ regency romances. It’s glorious, fun and seriously enjoyable. Plus, she manages to do this with wit and humour, something that I think all good romances require.

<- Where’s My Hero?Midsummer’s Knight ->

Image source: Juila Quinn

Turning Up the Heat by Susan Donovan

Overview
Image result for jingle bell rockbook cover

Title: Turning Up the Heat
Author: Susan Donovan
In: Jingle Bell Rock (Lori Foster, Janelle Denison, Susan Donovan, Donna Kauffman, Alison Kent & Nancy Warren)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 22nd December 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Brava
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: The walls were caving in.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Being stood up on Christmas Eve is bad enough, but now Valerie’s furnace is broken, too. Good thing that sexy repairman is available to raise the temperature dramatically…

Thoughts

At first, it did take me a little bit to get into this story. Mostly because I didn’t quite understand how the couple in this could go from zero to lust in pretty much no time at all. Particularly when there is pretty much no talking, and very little emotional discussion throughout this story. And then, at the completion of this story, I understood why it goes that quickly, and it becomes a beautifully and wonderfully romantic tale.

I love that this story has a whole happily ever after / perfect couple feel to it at the end. Plus, there is a heck of a lot of lust throughout this story. I love how Donovan is able to make you feel a little naughty whilst reading this, whilst also being very vague. It just lends everything to the imagination, which makes it all that more enjoyable and happier.

I can’t really rant and rave about how much I enjoyed this story without giving away the twist at the end. So, suffice it to say, that this was a great and amazing novella. One that didn’t necessarily make me think all that much about Christmas. But did certainly make me think about what makes a perfect relationship.

<- All She Wants for ChristmasBaby, It’s Cold Outside ->

Image source: Goodreads

Upon a Midnight Clear by Virginia Kantra

Overview
Tied With a Bow

Title: Upon a Midnight Clear
Author: Virginia Kantra
In: Tied with a Bow (Lora Leigh, Virginia Kantra, Eileen Wilks & Kimberly Frost)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: AngelsChristmas, Historical romanceParanormal romance
Dates read: 18th – 21st December 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novella
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Her face, her chest, her whole body burned with humiliation and frustrated desire.

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Synopsis

Aimee was 13 when her mother preyed to an angel to save her life. Now, an adult, that same angel may have returned to her life, as a man. One who very much wants to save her yet again.

Thoughts

Whilst I liked this novella, it most certainly wasn’t my favourite one. It took a little while to truly get into the storyline, and even the style of writing. I do enjoy Kantra’s works, and will buy more of this series, but I’m also not head over heels in love with her work like some of the other romance authors I have filling my shelves.

I like that the angel that saves the young girl is ultimately the angel that she chooses to spend the rest of her life with. There was something incredibly sweet about that whole fate feeling, and the idea that Amy had to grow up before she could fully be committed to her angel lover. There is also her cousin, who, although she’s kind of ignorant and a little selfish, most definitely loves Amy. It gives the whole story a festive feeling full of love and affection. Or at least, that’s how I read it.

This was a really lovely and wonderful Christmas story. It’s hopeful and full of love. With just the right amount of drama and mayhem thrown in to stop you from getting bored. One I’ll read again, but not as quickly as some other stories I’ve read.

<- Tied with a BowFirst Light ->

Image source: Amazon

The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl by Jaime Primak Sullivan

Overview
The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl | Book by Jaime Primak Sullivan,  Eve Adamson | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

Title: The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl: Adventures in Life and Love in the Heart of Dixie
Author: Jaime Primak Sullivan
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: FamilyHumour, Memoirs
Dates read: 19th – 20th December 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Touchstone
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: I didn’t have the life energy to waste on games.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Jersey-bred, tough-as-nails Hollywood publicist Jaime Primak Sullivan has been crossing the line all her life. She isn’t afraid to say what everyone is thinking when it comes to love, sex, friendship, and many other topics that are all too often sugarcoated in well-mannered company. But when a meet-cute scene right out of a Nora Ephron movie upends her life, Jaime soon finds herself an unlikely transplant in an upscale suburb of Birmingham, Alabama – a reluctant “knish out of water” smack-dab in the Deep South, starting a life with her new husband, the perfect southern gentleman.

Jaime enters the heart of Dixie with her fists up, but eventually learns she must let her guard down. As she struggles to adapt to her new world, she befriends a group of southern belles, and the very women she thought her Jersey personality was most likely to shock and repel become her most surprising allies. Jaime soon discovers that while southern belles may have a secret code of behaviour northern girls don’t always understand, when it comes down to helping a fellow woman, no one is more thoughtful, more generous, and kinder than a belle.

In The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl, Jaime shares her hard-won lessons on southern etiquette, deep-fried foods, college football, the peculiar methods of southern dating – and all the unexpected homework a girl receives when she crosses the line… and decides to stay.

Thoughts

This was one of those memoirs that is completely, totally and utterly considered to be “laugh out loud”. I giggled and chortled my way through this book in total and utter joy. This is one of those stories that I will pick up again and again. There is something light and joyous about the whole storyline that really got to me and made me imagine every single moment Sullivan describes with perfect vividity.

The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl is a fairly typical fish-out-of-water story. The fact that it’s all true just makes it all that much more intriguing. I mean, many fish-out-of-water stories are based in fact, but this story has that extra ring of truth to it. Plus, you can just picture this big-haired, lough-mouthed jersey girl just blundering her way through the south. There is just a great sense of reality to this story.

I felt like this story was really written in two parts. And was pretty much two love stories. The first was Sullivan’s love story to her husband. I found the story of his courting and their relationship to be fascinating. I loved the slow-going, beautiful relationship that they shared. And the way that they are both able to negotiate their past hurts to finally come up with a new reality that leaves them both happy and feeling… well, complete, to as much of a degree as that ever happens.

The second love story though, is my favourite. It is about Sullivan’s belles. Her gorgeous girlfriends who have helped her negotiate the morals, intricacies and social norms of the belles. Although Michael was a great story, I loved the girlfriends even more. It’s an acknowledgement of the power of women and the ways in which we need them in our lives. It’s a bit of a love ballad to the south as well, but mostly it’s to the importance and power of having good women on your side.

<- WildThe Salt Path ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster

This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

Overview
This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor: Kay, Adam:  9781509858637: Amazon.com: Books

Title: This Is Going to Hurt
Author: Adam Kay
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Humour, Medical, Memoirs
Dates read: 18th – 19th December 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Picador
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Today crossed the line from everyday patient idiocy to me checking around the room for hidden cameras.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

97-hour weeks. Life and death decisions.
A constant tsunami of bodily fluids.
And the hospital parking meter earns more than you.

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor.

Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.

Thoughts

This story had me laughing out loud. And giggling. And reading a lot of parts of this story out to my partner. Much to his chagrin… he doesn’t like anything medical or any hint of blood, so telling him all about it just didn’t go down well. But I had to share. Because there is wit, humour and awesomeness right throughout this novel.

I’ve seen this novel in my suggested readings again and again. But it wasn’t until the Black Friday sales that I finally decided that I may as well buy it. Quite possibly one of the better decisions that I’ve made. This story introduced me not only to the world of medicine but reminded me how humour can help you to deal with some of the crappier things in life.

This year has been a horrifying year, and part of that for me was deciding to give up a career path that I have been working towards for years. The fact that Kay gives up his career path six years into the career made me feel a heck of a lot better about my own decisions. Particularly when I read the final passages of this book. It is completely understandable why Kay decided to choose a new path. And, although tragic, gave hope for the new life that he decided to build.

Surprisingly, this novel did actually hurt. That final diary entry just tore at my heart. And the fact that it’s all true, and I have a few girlfriends who are currently pregnant… yeah, it most definitely “hurt”. Although it also made me laugh and smile. So it was also a brilliant, fun journey.

<- Why Not Me?Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas ->

Image source: Amazon

All She Wants for Christmas by Janelle Denison

Overview
Image result for jingle bell rockbook cover

Title: All She Wants for Christmas
Author: Janelle Denison
Series: Wilde #1.1
In: Jingle Bell Rock (Lori Foster, Janelle Denison, Susan Donovan, Donna Kauffman, Alison Kent & Nancy Warren)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 19th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Brava
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: “Is Tracy your only sibling?”

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

When sexy paediatrician Matthew Carlton plays Santa, pulling Faith Roberts on his lap, he has no idea what’s on her Christmas wish list…or how much he’ll enjoy fulfilling every bit of it…

Thoughts

I absolutely adored this novella. It was all about letting go and accepting your feelings. And lust. There was also lots and lots of lust. Which I feel like it kind of important in a contemporary romance story if I’m being honest.

I’ve never really thought of Santa as an attractive or sexy character. After all, he’s… well, Santa. But, in this story… he somehow gains a bit of sex appeal and gorgeousness that I just wasn’t expecting. I’m still not sure that I would proposition Santa like the lead woman in this story does, but I most certainly found the idea fun and entertaining.

All in all, I really, really enjoyed this novella. A bit like One Wilde Weekend, I found this fun, engaging and very, very cute. Also a little lustful and sinful. Which, honestly, is what I love in a good contemporary romance.

<- He Sees You When You’re SleepingTurning Up the Heat ->

Image source: Goodreads

Her Secret Agent by Paige Tyler

Overview
Her Secret Agent (X-Ops, #0.5) by Paige Tyler

Title: Her Secret Agent
Author: Paige Tyler
Series: X-Ops #0.5
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal romance, Romantic suspense, Shapeshifters
Dates read: 16th – 17th December 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Paige Tyler
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: If he’d been able to set his feet and get his weight into the blow, the impact would have put Igor down for a long time.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

John Loughlin, the Director of the Department of Covert Ops, is in New York City on a recruiting mission. He’s been tracking and evaluating one shifter in particular for some time. Cree Forest is a clever fox shifter—and very foxy. Cree is a translator for the UN and John is keen to recruit her brilliant mind and persuasive skills to join the DCO.

But Cree isn’t what she seems. Just as John has been watching her, Cree has been spying on him. She is working with a rogue shifter and John is getting too close—professionally and personally! On opposite sides professionally, can they trust each other with their hearts?

Thoughts

This was a great introductory novella to a series that I’m pretty much positive I’m going to love. It’s got a great premise, one that I recognise from other authors, and one that I tend to love. After all, shapeshifters who work in law enforcement of some kind always seem to work very well in my happy little brain. The fact that this story features a fox shapeshifter… well, that’s just far more enjoyable.

Her Secret Agent perfectly sets up the politics, battles and tales that are going to take over the series. I’m already completely drawn into this world, and I can’t wait to sink even further into it. Which means that I have a whole new series that I need to add to my shelves.

Not only do I love all of the backstory that is featured throughout this story. But it’s also wonderfully lustful. And just a little bit sweet. Exactly the kind of novella that I tend to fall stupid in love with and makes me go a bit nuts with buying books… now just to exercise some selfcare…

<- More Paige TylerHer Perfect Mate ->

Image source: Goodreads

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Overview
Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Title: Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas
Author: Adam Kay
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Humour, Medical, Memoirs
Dates read: 17th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Picador
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘As you know, this is standard policy’ is HR’s default line – as if being routinely malevolent is somehow better than dishing out acts of spite on an ad-hoc basis.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat… but 1.4 million NHS staff are heading off to work. In this perfect present for anyone who has ever set foot in a hospital, Adam Kay delves back into his diaries for a hilarious, horrifying and sometimes heartbreaking peek behind the blue curtain.

Twas the Night Before Christmas is a love letter to all those who spend their festive season on the front line, removing babies and baubles from the various places they get stuck, at the most wonderful time of the year.

Thoughts

This was most definitely the type of Christmas book that I needed this year – I haven’t really felt in the Christmas spirit and I liked that this one wasn’t all about joy and light. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of humour and spark to this novel that doesn’t make it glum and humbuggy. But it’s also a much more realistic, and less painful look into the Christmas season and what it really means…

I probably should have read This is Going to Hurt before Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas, but I am absolutely enamored with the tone and style of Kay’s writing. So, immediately after finishing this, I did actually pick up his first book. It’s hard to write about such a serious topic with a bit of lighthearted humour and tone. Particularly when you’re focusing in on the time of year when everyone else is busy trying to shove that good cheer down your throat…

If you’re not really in the Christmas spirit, or just want a good laugh. I can most definitely suggest this as a good, light read. Not only will it have you smiling and laughing, but it will also make you really appreciate the people who are on the front lines year-round. Those who put aside their own lives to the benefit of our own.

<- This is Going to HurtSmoky the Brave ->

Image source: Goodreads