Romance Interlude 1.7

I’m a definite mood reader. I read whatever I feel like reading at that moment, thus these random books here and there. I don’t really read an entire series unless the books feature the same characters or are not standalones or the it sounds really interesting or….just kidding. Hence, #6 from a series here, #2 from a series there, then some other book from a different series…I’m everywhere! I think that’s something I’m thankful for about romance novels. The books within a series are often interconnected but they can be read as standalone. I can just read one book and then jump ship to another series. Perfect for my many moods.


The Chocolate Temptation (2014)
by Laura Florand
ISBN: 9780988506534
Publication: January 14, 2014
Goodreads Summary
Series: Amour et Chocolat #6

One liner: Sous chef seduces the intern who is trying not to fall for his advances.

Sarah is an American intern who gave up her engineering career to become a patisserie and Patrick is the French sous chef who saw her potential. First, there’s the power imbalance that I’m not particularly found of–intern vs. boss–so I wasn’t sure how much I would like it. Their largest hurdles were themselves. If they could have talked things out, it would have been easier to bear…but it takes forever for them to get there. Patrick is frustrating because it’s he gives all these mixed signals. The best parts were their interactions in the kitchen but scenes in the kitchen became more sparse as the book came to an end. The ending was only so-so, making it feel a bit dragged out.


Crazy for the Competition (2015)
by Cindy Madsen
ASIN: B00XTX1TH8
Publication: June 9, 2015
Goodreads Summary
Series: Hope Springs #2

One liner: Competitors for a property are forced to work together and fall for each other.

It felt like I was reading a Hallmark movie (this is a compliment). Small town? Check. Leads competing over an inn? Check. Making a float? Check. I sympathized with Quinn because she tried so hard to meet her parents’ expectations, even forgoing the type of guy she normally dates to someone her parents would prefer instead. They still never seemed to be pleased with her except for dating the guy they liked who turns out to not be a great guy. Then there was this whole conversation about “it is my culture, you don’t understand” that made me go, “What? Isn’t it universal to try to respect our parents and, to an extent, try to fulfill their dreams for us?” There is a spectrum, maybe from not at all to anything and everything, about how far people might go or feel obligated to try to do that but c’mon. It wasn’t a bad read but this part made me cringe.


The Heart’s Game (2014)
by Christa McHugh
ISBN: 9781940559940
Publication: July 5, 2014
Goodreads Summary
Series: The Kelly Brothers #4

One liner: A woman’s one night stand thinks she’s pregnant with his child, but she’s actually serving as a surrogate for her brother.

One night stands that turn into more than one night, possibly a relationship are always fun. I especially like when the love interest who is all “I only do one night stands” is the one that suddenly wants the relationship. I liked the beginning of this with the Jenny being a gamer and making the first move. Miscommunication was the main barrier for between Jenny and Dan. I hate that trope so I wasn’t too fond of it. It was a pretty quick read and not too bad. This one goes into depth with a Vietnamese wedding, which I appreciated. Unfortunately, I don’t know very much about Vietnamese weddings so I don’t know how accurate it is portrayed. Originally part of my Tropeical Readathon TBR, I’m glad that I finally picked it up.


Keeping Score (2016)
by Sara Rider
ISBN: 9781501132810
Publication: November 7, 2016
Goodreads Summary
Series: The Perfect Play #2

One liner: Injured soccer player is in a battle of wills against the team physiotherapist because she refuses to have him look at an injury.

I liked Jaime’s personality. She’s the fun one. It’s not a party until she arrives. She loves her teammates and is the one who tries to motivate everyone. I loved the camaraderie between the women. Despite having an injury, she goes out of her to avoid Alex Martinez, the hot team physiotherapist. It gets pretty amusing when Alex starts messing with her back. Eventually we find out there are multiple reasons for this and why Jaime is the fun, playful one on the team. While there’s this whole keep the reader guessing about what’s going on, it was pretty predictable. Everything wasn’t too bad until probably the end, which ruined all the goodness I thought the book had going on. It felt rushed and didn’t seem plausible. Had the ending been different, I think this would have been a 3, maybe even a 4 for me.

Christmas Playlist 2020: Santa Baby

Track 02: Eartha Kitt – Santa Baby

Eartha Kitt first crooned this in 1953, asking Santa to bring her multiple things including “an outer space convertible” in light blue, a yacht, and let’s not forget “one more thing, a ring.” It’s been covered multiple times but I wasn’t a fan of this song until I heard the original. Many artists try to emulate her voice and style, but Kitt just does it so effortlessly that it’s difficult to compare. And if you haven’t, please try it at 1.25 speed. I can’t decide if I like it better at this speed or at its original speed. Either way, Kitt sings it best.

So, Santa, baby, could you slip these under the tree for me?

WISHLIST: 2020

There are a couple books that I’m looking forward to reading but just haven’t had a chance to read mostly because I don’t have access to them at the moment (and I’m a mood reader). So, you know, these can go under the Christmas tree (ahem…). They will let me make my leaning tower of TBR less leaning. (You can click on the covers to head over to the Goodreads page.)

Publication: July 14, 2020
I was really excited when this came out. It’s nice to see diverse representation and own voices at that. A one night stand and baking, what could go wrong? Apparently, a lot. Ha!
Publication: August 18, 2020
I’ve read a few of Young’s books, and I did like them. Her love interests tend to be alpha males, and I’m not the biggest fan of alpha males. The storyline for this one sounds interesting. Here’s my one liner: a family secret (temporarily) prevents a man from pursuing the woman he is in love with.

WISHLIST: 2021

I realize these are not exactly going to be under the Christmas tree this year but I am immensely looking forward to the following books. But, Santa, if you can get your hand on ARCs and send them my way, I promise “next year I could be oh so good…”

Publication: June 15, 2021
This is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Red is a sacrifice to the Wolf but (gasp!) the wolf is actually a man. It sounds so good. Whitten’s tweets have been killing me. I am anxiously awaiting this.
Publication: June 15, 2021
This is the sequel to Lee’s Forest of Souls. I reviewed it here. I’m excited to see where the story goes with Sirscha Ashwyn.

What books are on your wish list(s)? What books are you looking forward to in 2021?

Here are links to a few of my favorite covers of “Santa Baby“:
Michael Buble
Emma Bunton
Colbie Caillat
Paloma Faith
Madonna

Christmas Playlist 2020: Last Christmas

I’ve been busy with school and finals so I haven’t been able to post as much as I’d like. I’ve been wanting to do something holiday related other than participating in the Reindeer Readathon and reading a few Christmas centric books. Here is my holiday playlist along with a related bookish discussion that fits the the track. I nearly forgot I also signed up for Bookending Winter 2020 and it also works well with the event. (See: Fictionally Sam & Cuppa Clo)

Track 01: Wham! – Last Christmas

This is an 80’s contemporary that is now a classic. I’m not sure about elsewhere but at least in the U.S., I don’t think you can really go anywhere without hearing it come on at least once a day during the holiday season. This ranks at the top for me. It’s one of my favorite songs to listen to. A few years ago, I had a playlist consisting of the original and its many covers. I think my family and whoever caught a ride with me wanted to strangle me that December. While multiple artists have covered it, from Ariana Grande to Taylor Swift, nothing quite hits like the original.

When I think of “Last Christmas”, I think of two types of books: 1) contemporaries turned classics and 2) books that ultimately broke me.

A BOOK THAT BECAME A CLASSIC

Merriam-Webster defines classic as “serving as a standard of excellence; of recognized value.” Often, it’s quality is judged over time. Books I love, those I often measure other books against are what I deem classics and not necessarily what book critics tell me are classics, although there might be times when there is overlap. Being a serial rereader, I know I love a book when I can reread it. When I think of a book that carries this title, there is really only one that immediately comes to mind.


Green Rider (2000)
by Kristen Britain
ISBN: 9780886778583
Publication: April 1, 2000
Goodreads Summary
Series: Green Rider #1

This book has all the goodness of medieval fantasy. I’ve read it nearly ever year since I first read it years ago. Karigan Gladheon is stubborn, tenacious, and loyal. These qualities are what allow her to deliver the message that she receives from a dying green rider and ultimately help her make it through what ends up being a perilous adventure. There is a hint of romance but it’s not developed until later books in the series. While I’ve reread the series multiple times, this remains the best book in the series. While not all questions are answered by the end of the book, it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger. If you don’t want to read the rest of the series (which is still not complete), you are safe to do so. The First Rider’s Call (Green Rider #2) and The High King’s Tomb (Green Rider #3) are also pretty good. Book #7 is slated for publication in 2021.

BOOKS THAT BROKE ME

“Last Christmas I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away

Despite being upbeat, the song is about unrequited love. There are a few types of books that fit in this category but I want to focus on two. There are books I thought I would love but didn’t necessarily measure up to expectations. Then, there are those that I loved and broke my heart anyway. Either way, I loved them and they couldn’t love me back!!


Midnight Valentine (2018)
by J.T. Geissinger
ISBN: 9780996935838
Publication: February 6, 2018
Goodreads Summary
Series: N/A

I really love this book, and I also like J.T. Geissinger. After her husband dies in an accident, Megan moves to the town where they had planned to open a bed-and-breakfast. She’s never moved on after his death. Then, she meets Theo, who stopped speaking after an accident left him scarred both physically and mentally. The book deals with grief but also finding second chances. It was nearly a 5-star book for me but the ending left me conflicted; I couldn’t decide if the ending was a fair one for Theo. It’s still a good book though. If you’ve read this, you have to let me know what you thought of the ending.


The Sun is also a Star (2016)
by Nicola Yoon
ISBN: 9780553496680
Publication: November 1, 2016
Goodreads Summary
Series: N/A

I’m a romantic. I love love. Love makes me swoon. I read The Sun is Also A Star as my team read for Tropeical Readathon and it broke me. I always wanted to write a review but couldn’t find the words…I was too busy bawling. I’m back and forth on insta-love. I’m not the biggest fan of it in books but, as an author pointed out, sometimes all it takes is a glance. And, sometimes, it can take years. There’s insta-love here but it works so well. I spent at least 5 minutes crying my eyes out after I finished this book. I highlighted so many passages. That ending had so many onions, my eyes stung. (I love onions by the way.)

What books do you consider classics, whether it’s one you love and reread or just exemplary of a genre you enjoy? What books have broken your heart?

Here are links to a few of my favorite covers of “Last Christmas”:
1sagain (Korean)
Good Charlotte
Carly Rae Jepsen
Savage Garden
Meghan Trainor


Bonus:
Here’s a Spotify playlist with over 100 covers of the song, CLICK!
(Yes, you may silently judge me…hahaha) Just in case you, here’s a 1-hour loop of the original, CLICK!

Romance Interlude 1.6

With the holiday season here, this one is a Christmas edition. This might be blasphemous but I’m enjoying these a lot more than the Christmas movies that have been churning out. Obviously they’re a lot steamier but I swear that isn’t the reason why I’m enjoying these more. Hahaha. For some reason Hallmark and Netflix movies have not been hitting the mark for me lately.

Please share any holiday reads you enjoyed or are hoping to read! I’m trying to really sink my teeth into more holiday reads to get into the spirit of the month.


Exes and Ho Ho Ho’s (2018)
by Pippa Grant
ASIN: B078YWF7TM
Publication: January 11, 2018
Goodreads Summary

One Liner: Man unexpectedly meets the one he let get away and refuses to let it happen a second time.

This is a Pippa Grant novel in warp speed. It starts off with a woman forced to dress as a Santa and it’s pretty hilarious. It has her signature humor and romance. I needed this to be a lot longer! A little more angst, some more groveling…and, y’know, 300 more pages to make it a full-length novel would have made this an even better read. It was a fun read!


A Very Bossy Christmas (2020)
by Kayley Loring
ISBN: 9798697547427
Publication: October 21, 2020
Goodreads Summary
Series: No official series name but a related book is coming out for Valentine’s Day

One liner: Boss asks administrative assistant to pretend to be his fake girlfriend over the holidays.

The book is relatively short at around 250 pages but this works well in its favor. There is no fluffing around, and the story takes off fairly quick. I loved the banter between Declan and Maddie. Declan can come off egotistical and some of the stuff he says are turn offs, but he is actually a bit insecure. He has it pretty bad for Maddie, and Maddie finds him just as attractive. There’s a surprise third narrator and those were probably my favorite chapters. This was another fun read for the holidays!


Charm School Christmas Karma (2019)
by Lynn Carmer
ASIN: B0819GF464
Publication: November 19, 2019
Goodreads Summary
Series: Charm School #4.5

One liner: Artist accidentally bids on and wins a date with the officer who has a giant crush on her.

This was a cute one and funny as well. Sebastian Jacobs has an enormous crush on Ai Zhao, who pretends to be resistant to his charms. He’s been trying to wear her down, and she refuses to let anyone know that it’s working. Ha! They have great chemistry and Sebastian is a sweetheart who really doesn’t want to miss his shot with her.


His Christmas Cinderella (2019)
by Kate Willoughby
ASIN: B081VCPS75
Publication: November 21, 2019
Goodreads Summary
Series: San Francisco Dragons #3

One Liner: Cable car conductor on the way to a work party gets mistaken by hockey player as an Uber driver.

Storytime!! One of the first times I used a ride share, I mistakenly thought someone was my Uber driver so the setup here is at least somewhat believable. He politely informed me he was not my driver and I was able to get into the right car right after laughing off my embarrassment. BUT…wouldn’t it have been such a great story to tell if my mistaken driver had been a hot hockey player who pretended to be my Uber driver because he thought I was hot and I was going to be his forever? Hahaha. Have I read too many romance novels? Probably.

This one is short and sweet. In a span of 68 pages, Willoughby manages to create believable chemistry between leads Bailey Peng and Gideon Aguilar. I was completely all aboard this…train (indulge me here). Willoughby notes that a full-length novel may be coming for this couple so I’m excited to see what happens next.


My Fake Christmas Fiance (2020)
by Julie Kriss
ASIN: B08GJVJLTT
Publication: October 22, 2020
Goodreads Summary
Series: Kane Christmas #1

One liner: Company merger also requires a merger between the families involved–the kids have to get married to each other by Christmas.

This one has Hallmark vibes with the merging of two Christmas companies and the understanding that the merger will only stand if Wes and Sophie get married by Christmas. Sophie is nerdy and Wes is a player and they’re both looking for ways to get out of the arrangement, but they have chemistry and are attracted to one another when they meet again. The emails back and forth at the beginning were cringey but then I was hooked when they met one another. Wes ends up being a better guy than expected.



Reindeer Readathon 2020

This is my second readathon. WOOHOO!! I decided to participate after Kathryn at Kathryn Books posted about it. It sounded like it would be lots of fun! You can check her post (here) for more information. You can also check out Breakeven Books‘ vlog for the announcement (here). If you’re already participating, I’d love to hear about your TBR!

After participating in the Trope-ical Readathon, I learned that I am very much a mood reader. I moved around nearly half the books on my TBR, and then also switched out the books for ones I felt like reading at the moment. Now, this TBR feels more like a wish list than anything else. But, aren’t all TBR’s like that? (hahaha)

I’m quite proud that this is a list compiled of books that will help make my leaning tower of TBR a little less leaning instead of with random books I found that were interesting. But…we’ll see how long that lasts. I’ve already switched out two books since I first created this list, and I’m already eyeing alternates. Those alternates are looking mighty interesting… (I know. I’m pretty hopeless.)

My “final” list of books is below with each linked to Goodreads along with the prompt and point values. Check them out!

Dasher – 15
one word title
Comet & Star – 30+15
intimidating book
Dancer – 10
sequel
Cupid – 10
genre you
love
Rudolph – 20
MC doesn’t fit in
Prancer – 15
has a map
Donner – 15
something
hidden inside
Sleighing It! – 50
completed all, extra points
Vixen – 25
fox on cover
Blitzen – 20
internal struggle

All right, Team Nutcracker, let’s go crack some…books open!
(What did you think I was going to say?)