Book Review: A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls by Katie Mettner

Title: A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls
Author: Katie Mettner
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Christmas
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon

Actress Carrie Murray’s films are a Christmas lover’s delight. Filled with twinkling lights, festive carols, and happy endings, they’re the perfect escape from reality. For her and the audience. Then Tinseltown calls.

Braxton Timothy is Hollywood’s biggest action star. Handsome and talented but decidedly on the naughty list, no one can fathom his sudden desire to produce a feel-good Christmas movie—least of all, his no-name co-star.

Alternating between scenes reminiscent of everyone’s favorite made-for-TV movies and unexpected, off-screen chemistry, Gingerbread Falls has surprises in store this holiday season. The question is, will there be enough Christmas magic to convince two imperfect people that they’re perfect for each other?

I’ve been feeling festive all week, and I think part of that can be attributed to A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls. This book instantly put me in the Christmas-spirit, and I’ve already replaced my Halloween decorations; my house now boasts two Christmas trees and cozy lights, and I’ve already blasted holiday music for three days in a row. That’s rare for me, because I usually only start feeling the holiday spirit around December.

But A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls is the kind of heartwarming romance that puts you right in the mood for holiday cheers. The main characters, Carrie and Braxton, are two people who desperately need love, except they don’t really know that they need it. They’ve both gone through hardships in the past that shaped them into the people they are today, and for the reader, it’s obvious from the start that if these two can embrace the chemistry that lingers between them and take a chance on each other, that they might find what they have been looking for all along, without knowing it themselves.

The one thing I sometimes dislike about these types of books is that they can be quite predictable, but that wasn’t the case for A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the twists and turns.

If you’re looking for a book that’ll put you in the mood for the holidays, look no further.

Book Review Risking Forever

Title: Risking Forever: Vol. 1
Author: Tara Gallina
Genre: New Adult Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon

Risking Forever: Vol 1 (The Forever Series) by Tara Gallina

My best friend has been obsessed with Sebastian since our freshman year in college. She wants him to herself, which is fine by me. He’s a paycheck, a means to an end goal. He’s temporary. But he’s also tempting—the way he looks at me, the things he says, the way he touches me… If I’m not careful, I might do something I’ll regret. ~Ainsley Belle

THE FOREVER SERIES
At twenty, Ainsley knows it’s time to follow her own dreams and not the future her that was planned for her—a future she never wanted. Losing her job couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Sebastian Gianni isn’t the ideal boss, but he has a position to fill and Ainsley is desperate. The sexy twenty-two-year-old comes from money, owns a successful business, and graduates from college in three months. He has his life together in a way Ainsley could only dream.
No wonder her best friend is obsessed with dating him. Even his ex-girlfriend is determined to get him back, although threatening him seems like the wrong approach. Ainsley would be a fool to fall for the guy, too.
By no means, should she trust him. He has more secrets than anyone she knows, which makes her wonder if the mafia rumors about him are true. It doesn’t matter that he’s a good listener, and sweet and protective at times. That playful flirty side he shares with her alone means nothing. Right?
When a kiss turns into a secret romance neither can give up, Ainsley learns the truth about Sebastian’s corrupt family and why his ex-girlfriend won’t go away. A future together is near impossible and comes with a risk that could get them both killed—or give them everything they’ve ever wanted.

Risking Forever was everything I expected when reading the synopsis, and much more. Main character Ainsley is at that point in life that most of us, if not all of us, have to cross when we’re growing up from young adults into adulthood: where you have to decide who you really are, and what you want your future to be like.

When she loses her job, she’s desperate enough to start working for Sesbastian Gianni: a man her best friend has been obsessed with ever since freshman year in college, and whose ex-girlfriend just can’t seem to get over. With this kind of track record, Ainsley would be stupid to fall for him too… Yet, that’s exactly what happens. Sebastian is playful, confident, flirty, yet he’s also protective and caring, and the more time Ainsley spends with Sebastian, the more she feels attracted to him, until attraction turns into something much more. But can they have a future together, or will secrets from Sebastian’s past drive them apart?

Ainsley’s personality is very engaging. She truly wants to better herself, she’s ambitious, but she’s also kind and caring, and she’s genuinely just a friendly, inviting person. I also liked Sebastian, but he’s more of a mystery – that’s a good trait for a romantic interest, though, since it allows readers the time to get to know him slowly. The writing was solid too, and overall, this was an entertaing romance story that I really enjoyed reading. I can’t wait for the next installment in the series.

 

Book Review and Giveaway My Way To You

Title: My Way To You
Author: Lyndell Williams
Genre: Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Lawyer Simon Young is smart, confident, and adept at keeping things with women casual—until he meets his best friend Marcus’s sister, Regina. Immediately intrigued by Regina’s beauty, Simon becomes increasingly enthralled and ultimately risks his friendship to have her for himself.

Social justice writer and activist Regina Kent is usually cautious and savvy. Yet, unable to resist her attraction to the handsome Simon, she plunges into a torrid affair, knowing that she chances angering big brother and her less tolerant followers, many of whom will not accept that one of their most popular pro-Black bloggers is dating an Asian man.

As their clandestine romance evolves, Simon and Regina fall deeper in love. Making sure that things stay between them becomes progressively impossible, and neither knows how much longer they can keep Marcus in the dark and the world at bay.

In My Way To You, Simon Young, a confident, intelligent lawyer, is determined to keep things casual when it comes dating. But when he meets Regina, the sister of his best friend Marcus, he is amazed by the pull he feels toward her. Can he keep things casual this time around, or will he fall for her the way he’s never fallen for any woman before?

Regina is usually quite cautious when it comes to the dating game, but Simon is so charming and attractive that she simply can’t resist. Still, she’s worried about what her brother Marcus might think about her dating his best friend, especially when he finds out they were dating behind his back…

I loved how the relationship between the two characters, despite their instant attraction, still moved rather slowly from that point. Both of them were reluctant to get in an actual relationship, and they each had their own reasons, which made a lot of sense for me. The cultural clash between Regina and Simon’s cultures was also very interesting and added additional challenges for their relationship.

Since I don’t want to spoil the story itself, I’ll just say that a lot of things happen throughout the book, and there’s never a dull moment. Just when you think things will calm down for Simon and Regina, something else happens that puts their relationship at risk. The fast pacing kept the story really entertaining, and I couldn’t put it down.

 

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Book Review Dearly Beloved by Peggy Jaeger

Title: Dearly Beloved
Author: Peggy Jaeger
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Colleen O’Dowd manages a thriving bridal business with her sisters in Heaven, New Hampshire. After fleeing Manhattan and her cheating ex-fiancé, Colleen still believes in happily ever afters. But with a demanding business to run, her sisters to look after, and their 93-year-old grandmother to keep out of trouble, she’s worried she’ll never find Mr. Right.

Playboy Slade Harrington doesn’t believe in marriage. His father’s six weddings have taught him life is better as an unencumbered single guy. But Slade loves his little sister. He’ll do anything for her, including footing the bill for her dream wedding. He doesn’t plan on losing his heart to a smart-mouthed, gorgeous wedding planner, though.

When her ex-fiancé comes back into the picture, Colleen must choose between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now.

In Dearly Beloved, main character Colleen manages a thriving bridal business along with her sisters. Despite having had a bad break-up courtesy of a cheating ex-fiancé, Colleen still believes in true love. Still, with a business to run, a grandmother and siblings to look after, she doesn’t have much time to look for the right guy.

Then, she meets Slade Harrington, a man who has no desire in being in a relationship and thinks the single life is just as well. But when Slade meets Colleen, it could be a match made in heaven… But then the ex-fiancé comes back into the picture, and Colleen has to make a choice that will change her life forever.

I don’t want to give out too much spoilers, but I loved this! Colleen is amazing. She’s charming, fun, kind and generous. And the way she interacts with her family is simply adorable. Slade too is intriguing, and he has a mysterious side to him that the reader instantly wants to know more about. I was also very fond of the writing style, which was easy to read but brought just the right pacing to a book in this genre. A great read for those cold winter nights!

Book Review and Giveaway Love for Two Lifetimes

Title: Love for Two Lifetimes
Author: Martina Boone
Genre: Coming of Age / Young Adult
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon

Two generations, two great loves, one devastating lie . . . 

When Izzy unexpectedly loses her mother in a car accident, her world shatters. Their relationship has always been so close that Izzy can’t imagine life without her. Nor can she begin to understand when she finds a secret box of love letters that her mother wrote but never sent. The idea of her mother hiding such intense feelings for more than twenty years without so much as a hint makes Izzy question everything she thought she knew–including the identity of her father.

Following a trail of clues overseas, Izzy steps into a world of glamour and English royalty, one which years ago forced her mother to choose between her obligation to her musical gift and her lover’s obligations to his family, title, and estate. It’s a world of secrets and masquerades, of heartache and betrayal. And in the midst of this world, Izzy finds a young man who feels as broken as she does herself. The two are drawn to each other–only to find that their parents’ lies may present an insurmountable obstacle between them.

Thrown together on a coming of age journey of discovery that spans two lifetimes and takes them from a grand estate in the Cotswolds to a hospital bedside in India and ultimately to the Taj Mahal, Izzy and Malcolm try desperately not to fall in love. But some things are impossible…

And some loves are worth any sacrifice… 

Uplifting, funny, tragic, and unforgettably, luminously romantic, Love for Two Lifetimes is a tale of two generations of love, a lifetime of friendship, a history of sacrifice, and one last, heartbreaking and hopeful choice revealed in prose, texts, and love letters. Written for young adults and grown-up romantics, if you love the romance of the royal weddings or any story by Nicholas Sparks, Love for Two Lifetimes will have you turning pages late into the night.

“Heartwarming, lyrical, soulful, and with just the right amount of humor: this book sparkles with authentic, layered characters and beautiful, thoughtful prose.” — Jodi Meadows, NYT bestselling co-author of My Lady Jane and My Plain Jane

Love for Two Lifetimes is an inspiring, heartwarming book, and one of my favorite reads in this genre this year. Izzy’s mother passes away in a car accident, and Izzy has no idea how she will ever cope with the loss. When she finds a box full of love letters written by her mother but never sent out, Izzy follows the trail of her mother’s history, and the love she cherished for so long but did not act upon.

This leads Izzy into the world of English royalty, where she finds someone who is as broken as she is, Malcolm. The two of them have instense chemistry, and soon enough, they can no longer deny the passion between them. As they discover more about Izzy’s family history, they grow closer and closer together.

I loved Malcolm. He was caring, loving, and capable of putting others’ needs in front of his own. I also really liked Izzy’s personality, she was complex and emotional, but all in a good way, and easy to relate to. I particularly envied the relationship Izzy had with her mother, and it reminds me a lot of the relationship I have with my mother.

Fans of love stories, especially those that span generations, should definitely read this book. It’s an excellent read, and will leave you wanting more.

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Book Review: Michelle by Ayala Yoked

Title: Michelle
Author: Ayala Yoked
Genre: Psychological, Romance, Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Michelle is in trouble – but she’s fighting for her ideals!

In this psychological romance a group of university students and soldiers go underground to try to implement ideas about which they are passionate. The French police are after them. Michelle has just been released from jail in France after attempting to damage an arms factory.

Michelle has two lovers – but she’s not in love!

Michelle comes to Israel and rekindles her romance with David, a middle-aged, married professor. Tom, her student lover who had been wounded in war, and Gad, David’s son, are also among the rebels. Michelle is intellectual, arrogant and teasing – and not committed to either of her lovers.

Michelle’s rebel group depends on her – but nothing is simple!

Michelle’s friends know they can rely on her, but they each struggle with their own internal conflicts. David is terrified about his son’s entanglement in illegal activity. His own failure as a soldier still haunts him. David’s sister, Pola, comes to visit and supports their activity. These idealistic rebels will inspire you, despite their dilemmas!

In Michelle, we meet an enigmatic, charming young woman who has a rebellious streak and who is, you guessed it, named Michelle. While Michelle Cohen is the centerpoint of everything and the story, ultimately, is about her quest to fight for what she believes in, the other characters are equally as compelling and bring a lot to the table as well.

Set in Israel, the book not only focuses on Michelle but also on her love life, on the tragedies of life, and even on her time in prison – which she was sent to after getting convicted by the French court after attempting to damage an arms factory.

Michelle is vibrant, full of life, enthralling but also puzzling – to others and to herself. She often doesn’t understand the trauma that drives her to do certain things, and only in hindsight does she understand why she made certain choices. As a reader, you’re right there next to her, discovering her as she discovers herself.

Most of the book takes place in Israel, and the author does a particularly good job describing the towns, streets, and general atmosphere. Even though I’ve never been, I could imagine myself being there.

Book Review: Song for Jess by Meg Buchanan

Title: Song for Jess
Author: Meg Buchanan
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Romance
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Aspiring musician Isaac can make the violin weep, the guitar sob, and the piano talk of lives unfulfilled.

Jess dreams of becoming an artist and her paintings show real promise.

Once they get together Isaac and Jess are inseparable. They spend the summer holidays at her family’s beach house. They plan a life of travelling the world with Isaac making music and Jess painting. But when they return home, everything changes.

Will Isaac and Jess follow their dreams?

Can true love survive the choices they make?

Song for Jess is a bittersweet tale of love and loss, guaranteed to break your heart.

Although this is the second book in a series, there are no issues with reading the book as a stand-alone. I didn’t really feel as if I was missing out on something.

In Song for Jess, Isaac Coleman is an aspiring musician who has some real talent for music…unfortunately, he’s not all that at home in the romance department because although the girl he’s interested in, Jess, has a crush on him as well, he doesn’t quite notice at first. But when they connect, it’s real love, a first love, the kind that is strong and vulnerable at the same time, that makes you feel things you’ve never felt before, and might possibly never feel again.

I really liked Jess as well. She was down to earth, a little shy sometimes, and she seemed like a good match for Isaac. While at first, things are perfect between them, and their love for art – Jess is a painter – brings them together, soon it becomes clear real life isn’t just a dream and that sometimes, you have to fight for love.

An inspiring book about young love, and I really enjoyed the references to music and painting.

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Book Review: Sweet Dreams by Stacey Keith

Title: Sweet Dreams
Author: Stacey Keith
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

In a little town in the heart of Texas, the same old story can turn into happily ever after . . .

On any given day, Maggie Roby has cake batter on her sleeve, flour where the blush supposedly goes, and sore feet from standing since dawn. For her sister’s wedding day, she’s added a side of heartache. Maggie’s failed marriage taught her that love is a lie and commitment a mistake, and it was an expensive lesson. But with her bakery thriving and her life simplified to work, family, and knitting for her pug, Maggie thinks she’s bought some peace. Until Jake Sutton walks in and she realizes she isn’t safe from desire at all . . .

Jake has model-perfect looks and about a billion dollars to throw around, but Maggie also sees the same never-say-die grit she prizes in herself. The attraction between them is hotter than her oven in July. But when Jake decides to restore the old Art Deco movie theater right around the corner from her bakery, she worries that temptation is a little too close for comfort. And the added ingredient of a man from her past only complicates the mix. This time nothing less than true love will do. If she can learn to listen to her heart, she just may be able to have her cake and eat it too.

 

Sweet Dreams is a contemporary romance filled with chemistry and attraction. Protagonist Maggie Roby bakes cake for a living, and she has a sweet, caring personality. Her cake baking antics reminded me of myself last week… While I tried baking cake, and it was actually half-decent.

Anyway, with my recent cake-baking endavour right behind me, it seemed fitting I read this book, and I loved Maggie. The events in her past nearly broke my heart. She’s lived through a failed marriage, and this caused her a lot. She’s now focused solely on the bakery, her family and her pet pug. That is, until Jake walks into her store.

Jake is smoking hot, and Maggie instantly feels attracted to him. When his personality is a good match to her own, and him deciding to restore the Art Deco movie threater around the corner from her bakery, she worries she will not be able to deny the growing attraction between them much longer…

Maggie was my favorite character. I didn’t like Jake that much at first, but I soon grew to like him – his stand-offish personality at first is just an act, and there’s a reason why he acts the way he does.

This is a thrilling, adorable romance between two characters who really deserve to find their true loves.

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Book Review: Her Russian Fixer by Leslie North

Title: Her Russian Fixer (Volkov Brothers Book One)
Author: Leslie North
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

The line between right and wrong blurs when a ruthless Russian becomes her dark protector.

Benedikt Volkov grew up in Chicago, but his family’s ties to the Russian Mafia run deep. So when his godfather, Pyotr Mishin, steals millions from the Bratva, it’s up to Ben to find him or his family will be forced to pay back the money. However, his careful plans are quickly complicated when an impulsive brunette forces him to become her unlikely hero. Ben hates surprises, and uncontrollable Lucy with her luscious red lips is a distraction that could get them all killed. But with an unexpected connection to his godfather, she may be the key to securing his family’s future.

Lucy Paprocki may be reckless and disorganized, but she finds a new focus when her world is turned upside down. She’s determined to find her real father, Pyotr Mishin—a man she didn’t know existed until recently—and Ben Volkov may be her best chance. One look at his tattooed skin, muscled bulk, and penetrating stare, and Lucy knows Ben is Bratva. The mafia man may be hugely intimidating and wound tighter than a string, but Lucy will have to trust him if she wants to discover the truth about where she comes from.

With danger lurking behind every door, passion quickly ignites between impulsive Lucy and methodical Ben. They may just be using one another to get what they want, but what if all they really need is each other?

 

In Her Russian Fixer, Benedikt Volkov is a member of the Russian maffia, Bratva, and he’s on a mission to find his godfather, Pyotr Mishin. Pyotr stole millions of dollars from the Bratva, and the Volkovs only have a limited amount of time to force Pyotr to pay the money back.

While on his mission, he encounters Lucy Paprocki, a young woman who is looking for her long lost father…. no other than Pyotr Mishin, the man Ben is hunting down.

Ben and Lucy are pretty much opposites in every single way. Lucy is more free-spirited, and Ben is more methodical and focused. They come from different walks in life, and ended up on the same spot but for very different purposes… Yet, the chemistry between them is undeniable.

This is a fast-paced contemporary romance with intriguing characters and a thrilling background story.

 

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Book Review: Winner Take All by Mary Rodgers

Title: Winner Take All

Author: Mary Rodgers

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Hot shot skier and unrepentant party girl Carly Carrington is on top of the world until a disastrous crash destroys her championship dreams. Can she lower her guard long enough to trust the one man who might be able to heal her body…and her heart?

When it comes to sports doctors, buttoned-up Paul Blackburn is the best of the best. But when Carly upends his carefully ordered little world, will Paul fight his one chance at true love, or go for the gold in… WINNER TAKE ALL.

In Winner Take All, hot shot skier Carly Carrington is at the top of the world. She spends her days skiing and her nights partying. That is, until a crash destroys her championship dreams.

Paul Blackburn is the best of the best when it comes to sports doctors. Yet, if Carly wants to get fully healed, she’ll have to lower her guard and put her trust in him. When she does that, she might not just risk her chance of getting healed though… She could also risk her heart.

This is a fun, romantic read of second chances, personal growth, and love even through hardships. The relationship at the core of the book seems pretty stereotypical (injured girl falling for the doctor taking care of her) but when you read the book, you’ll realize it’s about a lot more than that.

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