Blogmas Day 6: 12 Books of Christmas: 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

10 Blind Dates
10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston Published October 1, 2019 Source: Library

Sophie convinces her parents that she can handle spending the holidays with her grandparents and extended family while they go visit her sister, who is expecting her first baby. In the few hours before she is expected at her grandparents’ house she hopes to spend time with her boyfriend. Instead she overhears how he was hoping to spend the break away from her, to give breaking up a test run. Heartbroken, she ends up at her grandparents’ doorstep with her grandmother to comfort. One thing leads to another and her family has planned out 10 blind dates to help heal her broken heart.

My Thoughts: This is a YA contemporary holiday romance. It’s one that I kept seeing so I decided to pick it up and ended up enjoying this a lot more than I thought I would. I really like Sophie and the fact that she processed her break-up even while allowing herself to be distracted by the blind dates. I also really enjoyed her big family. There were a variety of personalities with varying degrees of likability. The overall story was sweet with heavy doses of humor. This was less of a romance and more of a girl rediscovering herself and reconnecting with friends and family. I have to admit the movie theater date takes the cake. This was a pretty quick read, it was easy to get into the story. I have had other Elston books on my radar but have yet to pick them up. I will be making it a point to remedy that over the next few months. 5*****

Always Shine!

Blogmas Day 5: 12 Books of Christmas: Coming Home for Christmas by Jenny Hale:

Coming Home for Christmas
Coming Home For Christmas by Jenny Hale Published October 4, 2013 Source: Library

Allie gets a job as a house manager for the Ashford Estate, as the owner, Robert, prepares to sell it. While there, she is supposed to prepare the estate for viewing and the holiday celebrations. The entire family arrives for one last Christmas there. Kip is smitten with Allie and convinces her to go on 3 dates. But, the more she talks to Robert, the more she is drawn to him. Do you see where I am going with this?

My Thoughts: This is another book that I’ve changed my mind about as soon as I started talking about it. Which is sad because the ending was super sweet. It was just the getting there part that bothered me. First – Allie was super duper nosey- prying ito the Ashford’s family business as if she had any and every right to. Her dating Kip was just plain awkward. And I don’t think that it was even necessary. It was never clear if she was being paranoid or if Kip was even truly interested. At the same time she’s flirting with Robert-who has taken an instant liking to her after their one time five minute meeting. Did I mention that Kip and Robert are brothers? And there appears to be a sibling competition that she’s unaware of and is never brought up. I could go on with all of the things that bothered me – but let’s not. I listened to the audiobook, and despite the things that bothered me once I started talking about it, I did enjoy listening to it. 2**

Always Shine!

Blogmas Schedule

Happy Blogmas everyone! So far I have had a post up everyday, and as much as I would love to take credit for all of the organization and prep work – I can’t. I had actually planned on doing 12 Books of Christmas for the first 12 days of December where I reviewed 12 Christmas books I’ve read. (I originally wanted to do 25 but time got away from me.) So the first 9 days were already taken care of and I am working on the last 3.

I have also been working on a schedule for the rest of my Blogmas posts and said that I would have that up soon, and so here it is! I did want to let you know that some of the posts are not necessarily Christmas related-but they are all bookish. I am going to be posting everyday up until December 31st, but some days will have two posts either with a Top Ten Tuesday Post or with a review (non-Christmas related probably). I am looking forward to doing all of the posts, I had so many ideas that some I have reserved for later months!

Without Further ado: The Schedule

1-12 Books: Back to Christmas

2. 12 Books-Christmas From the Heart

3. 12 Books- One Christmas Eve

4. 12 Books-Christmas Past

5. 12 Books-Coming Home for Christmas

6. 12 Books-10 Blind Dates

7. 12 Books – A Lonestar Christmas

8. 12 Books – Alaskan Holiday

9. 12 Books-Top Elf

10. 12 Books -Christmas Sweets/ Top 10 Tuesday

11. 12 Books-Wedding in December

12. 12 Books- 12 Days of Christmas

13. End of the Year Book tag

14. Top 10 Books that I didn’t get to this year

15. Goodreads Shuffle Round 2

16. Top 10 books I’m looking forward to (2020 releases)

17. The Ultimate Book tag

18. 10 Years Blogging (ok technically 9)

19. Christmas Traditions

20. Goodreads Shuffle Round 3

21. Favorite Christmas Movies

22. 2019 Christmas Songs Book tag

23. The Christmas Tag

24. My Christmas Wishlist

25. Merry Christmas!

26. Christmas Cookies Book tag

27. Goal Check in

28. 2020 Reading Goals

29. 2020 Blogging Goals

30. 2019 Reading Stats

31. What I’ve learned about my reading this year

While some things may be shifted around, this is the plan! If you are participating in Blogmas, let me know in the comments!

Blogmas Day 4: 12 Books of Christmas: Christmas Past by Mary Burton

Christmas Past by Mary Burton Published October 29, 2019 Source: Netgalley

I was given a digital galley of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Nicole is trying to get her life back on track after surviving her abusive husband. 18 months after his death, Nicole receives a letter that pulls her back back into her past – into the hands of a killer.

My Thoughts: Things I should have known before starting this-it is short (about a hundred pages) and it’s a romantic thriller. Because it’s so short I don’t want to give too much away, so I will be brief. This is the first time I’ve read anything by Burton, but it won’t be my last. This was well written, a nice balance with the revealing of the backstory and building of tension. Because I wasn’t expecting the romance, I feel like the hotel scene happened to fast. But since it seems that Nicole and David are picking up where they left off, I guess it’s fine. My only really complaint is the HEA. SInce she rushed headlong into her first marriage I would expect her to take more time. I think that this was too short for the level of commitment made in the end. 2**

Always Shine!

Blogmas Day 3: 12 Books of Christmas: One Christmas Eve by Samantha Stacey

One Christmas Eve (Cedar Street, #2)

One Christmas Eve by Samantha Stacey

Cedar Street #2

November 11, 2019 – Carina Press

118 pgs – Adult, Romance,Contemporary, Steamy

4 ****

I was given a digital copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Goodreads Summary

Zoe has divorced her husband and moved to a small town to open a bookstore with her cousin. She is happier and finally living life carefree, exuberantly and most importantly – on her own terms. When Preston takes the lease for the building next door, both Zoe and Preston may have met the match that they didn’t know that they were looking for.

My Thoughts: This was a really short read, and the perfect novella to pick up on Thanksgiving. Things happen kind of fast (but it would have to since it’s a little over a hundred pages). The zing between Zoe and Preston are there from the start, but it takes them a while to get on the same page. But boy! When they do they set the pages on fire!!! They both have to overcome the doubt put in place by exes long gone. There is humor, I definitely laughed out loud a few times. There is the customary overreaction. But, what I really liked about the resolution was that they each had to come to terms with their past -they had to come to the relationship and accept the other as they were. This is my first Samantha Stacey book, and I would definitely be interested in reading more from her.

*Notes: This is the second book in the Cedar Street series, but I had not read the first one so I cannot say how they are connected. I didn’t read the synopsis for the first one in case I wanted to to go back and read it. Also this is very sexy book, if you don’t like the details than pass on it.

Always Shine!

Blogmas Day 2: 12 Books of Christmas: Christmas From the Heart by Sheila Roberts

Image from Netgalley

September 24, 2019 -Harlequin Mira

304 pgs – Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction

I was given a digital copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

2**

Goodreads Summary

Olivia Berg has taken over running the nonprofit Christmas From the Heart after her mom passed away. The small and struggling town of Pine River counts on Christmas From the Heart to make the holidays as joyful as possible, providing food and toys for the residents of the town. But when they lose their biggest donor, Hightower Enterprises, Olivia knows that they won’t be able to help like they used to. When Guy Hightower’s car breaks down outside of Pine River he isn’t happy. But, when Olivia Berg rescues him he decides to hide his identity.

Oh the potential this story had. This didn’t feel like a Christmas story, being in both of the characters’ minds didn’t help. Maybe because I didn’t like either one. Obviously, Guy went through a change of heart. How he changed in the end was definitely a lot more believable. The start of his change was a bit less believable, it was as soon as he meets Olivia. While Guy was really forced to look at himself and his motives, the same cannot be said for Olivia. And she desperately needed to. Everyone knew that she was making a mistake – including Olivia! And she willingly stood by her mistake no matter how unhappy it made her or Morris. She really didn’t deserve a happy ending. The ending wrapped up quickly and overall I was disappointed. This was more of a bland romance instead of a Christmas one. I would have probably been more okay with this if there was more humor, if it was more of a romantic comedy.

Always Shine!

Blogmas Day 1: 12 Books For Christmas: Back to Christmas by Dennis Canfield

Back to Christmas: Full-color Print Edition
Image from Goodreads

Back to Christmas by Dennis Canfield

August 1, 2019 – Well Spoken Books

102 pgs. – Children’s Fiction, Fantasy, Seasonal

I was given a digital copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

3 ***

Summary: Marmel is the head labeling elf. He is in charge of getting the Naughty and Nice list together for Santa. He quickly learns that there is much more to Christmas than a label when he has to help a family get off the Naughty list or lose his job as an elf.

My Thoughts: I thought that this was a really cute story. Because it is such a short story, I can’t really talk about anything more than what’s in the summary without giving more away. It was a quick read, and it is something that I will enjoy reading to my kids. I will definitely be adding it to our collection. I do think it was pretty obvious what Marmel’s problem was, and the ending was as expected, but it was still a cute story.

Always Shine!