Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Review: Come Away With Me

Come Away With Me Come Away With Me by Erika Kelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I quite enjoyed this novella!

I'm including it in Christmas, because it takes place in the week after Christmas.

This is the only book in the series I've read; and it did not matter. I enjoyed it so much I want to look for the other books in the series.

Skylar is the single mother of four year old Rocco. She was in college when she got pregnant; her high school sweetheart, who she had been with for years, abandoned her, leaving for LA to be a rock star. Since then she's managed on her own, as has a successful business. (Her business is a sort of fashion consultant/makeover business, and I didn't quite get how that works financially but hey it worked very well in the book.)

Jinx works at her brother's motorcycle shop: his specialty is artwork on motorcycles and he's really good. He's also had a crush on her for ages, but she's ignored him and given him the cold shoulder.

At the start of the story, she wakes up to the fact that hey, Jinx is a pretty good guy, why not open herself up to love? Reasons: she sees how good he is with her son; and she sees him with his new girlfriend and gets jealous.

Jinx likes what she does, observing how it's more than a new dress that gives people new confidence in themselves and their futures. So, he asks her to help with his mom, who has been in a rut / depressed for years.

Plot twist! Mom lives in Las Vegas, so road trip.

It's a romance, so of course it's also about them getting to know each other. And before you worry this is a cheater book: the new girlfriend, just that, is new; she's a good person, as is Jinx; and I'll just say that Jinx handles it honorably.

My only quibble is for how much it's "oh I'm a single mom," we see very little of her son, Rocco. He has gone to visit his paternal grandparents (his father may have been terrible, but his parents are great.)

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Review: One Charmed Christmas

One Charmed Christmas by Sheila Roberts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In July, 2020 my family was supposed to take a Rhine River Cruise. Obviously, that didn't happen and who knows when we will be able to travel like that again.

One Charmed Christmas takes place on a Rhine River Cruise; it's during December, so it's all about Christmas and Christmas markets. Also, it's in a post-Covid 19 world. There are scattered mentions of "when Covid-19 hit" and lots of sanitizer; also a mention of bringing masks for a plane. But other than that, nothing about social distancing so it's a few years in the future, I guess.

Honestly: what I loved about this was it satisfied, a little, the travel bug. I mean, it's not the same as traveling but I enjoyed seeing what might have been. (And what may be).

Honestly: I did not really care for any of the characters. It's nice that there are a bunch of main characters so there are two main couples. And some are in their sixties, or older! I love when romance isn't just twentysomethings.

But, individually? Eh. I didn't feel any connection; and I also found some of them a bit annoying. There was a guy complaining how shallow all his girlfriends have been with little contemplation that he, not the women, is the problem. A maybe hypochondriac wants to marry a doctor so she'll always have someone to treat/diagnosis her. Someone else was so whiny, but had a legit complaint about how her kids didn't rally round after a sickness... and then at the end we found out she'd never told them. She just expected them to ... know?

Still. Want to go on a Rhine River Cruise, cannot afford it, or waiting for them to be offered again? Read this.

I know am thinking December, not July, may be the time to go!

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Review: The Twelve Dates of Christmas

The Twelve Dates of Christmas The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read some books and think, "movie." For this, I thought "miniseries."

Thirty-something Kate lives in one of those English villages that I think exist only in TV shows. Also she has one of those jobs that makes me think, "that's a real job?" She designs fabric. I'll say this: the details of how that is done, and where she gets her inspiration, had me answering that question with "oh, yes, and how fascinating."

It's quaint and since she grew up there, she has many friends. But there isn't anyone special so she signs up for a dating agency. But it's with a twist: twelve dates in December, "the twelve dates of Christmas." Each date is an event arranged by the agency (a cooking class, ice skating, hiking, etc.), and each one will be with a different person. Each chapter is a "date."

Kate and Matt are best friends from childhood, and he's dating someone else, but their chemistry is clear from the beginning and one of the delights of this book is seeing how they get to a place where it makes sense they can be together. That it does so even though he's dating someone else -- I won't give it away, but it's done very well and convincing and with no "bad guys."

Kate's dates are a mix, and it's very realistic: there are some with potential, some are "eh," some that she really likes. I love how she is willing to entertain the possible.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Review: In a Holidaze

In a Holidaze In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maelynn Jones is returning from her usual Christmas holiday: a week spent with family and friends in a cabin. Her parents friends from college have stayed in touch for decades. This tradition is so special to everyone that even after Mae's parents divorced, they all kept going to the cabin.

This year things changed for Mae, 26. After years of crushing on one son, she kisses the other. And she learns that the cabin is being sold -- the couple who own it just cannot keep it up anymore. In the car to the airport, a truck hits the car -- and the timeline is reset. The Christmas holiday week begins again, and this time, can Maelynn kiss the right man and save the cabin?

A fall down the stairs resets the timeline again. How many tries before she gets it right?

This is a nice, quick read for the holidays. I could easily see this as a made for TV holiday movie. I'll be honest, though: I never quite bought the chemistry between Mae and her crush, Andrew, so I was less invested in that and more interested in seeing how things repeated and changed during the repeating holidays.