In accordance with FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, A Chick Who Reads would like to let everyone know that books featured on this blog were either provided by the publisher or author or were purchased by A Chick Who Reads. The books received by A Chick Who Reads from publishers and authors were provided for review and no payment was received by me and did not influence my opinion of the material.
Author: Judy Christenberry Title: A Cowboy's Christmas Proposal Publisher: Harlequin Romance Publish Date: Nov 2007 Book Blurb: One snowy Christmas, wedding bells ring!
Penny Bradford has inherited her family ranch, but she has no idea how to run it! So she hires rugged rancher Jake Larson to train her up and show her the ropes. Jake thinks it will be easy -- he'll run the ranch and hold Penny's hand until she realizes she isn't cut out for ranching. Trouble is, Jake realizes he doesn't want to let Penny's hand go!
As the snow falls thick and fast, Christmas begins to work its magic on the boss and her rancher...
Review: There's nothing like a cowboy story around Christmas. This sweet romance could really give you the warm fuzzies. At times it was a little too sweet, a 25 year old virgin? Only in Harlequin Romances. However in the spirit of the holiday, the story worked well.
Penny works admirably to learn how to run the ranch that she inherited after her parent's deaths earlier that year. She works hard, even when she doesn't have to, and she has a generous spirit, giving her time to help others as well as herself. It was hard not to love Penny, even when she does stupid stuff out of anger or frustration.
Jake comes to her ranch on the recommendation of a friend of her father. He also comes with a warning that he's a lady's man. I think that characterization is one of the only problem's with the story. Jake really doesn't fit the playboy mold at all. There was also his total lack of family that didn't make any sense. The reader knew what happened with Penny's family but not Jake's. It left a bit of a hole in the story.
The character that really makes the story is the housekeeper, Harriet. She really plays a big role in getting Jake and Penny together. This type of character reminds me of Mrs. Miracle again. I guess it is because she's a matchmaking older lady that you can't help but love.
All in all, this was a lovely story of goodwill and romance and a wonderful quick read to get you into or keep you in the holiday spirit.
Author: Susan Meier Title: The Magic Of A Family Christmas Publisher: Harlequin Romance Publish Date: Nov 2009 Book Blurb: With her little foster son Harry to care for, Christmas suddenly sparkles again for secretary Wendy Winston. The only fly in the ointment is Cullen Barrington. He's her boss, yet insists on playing the part of Scrooge!
When they are all stranded together in an ice storm, Wendy sets about showing them just how magical a family Christmas can be....
Review: When it comes to sweet holiday love stories, you can't' go wrong with Harlequin Romance. They always seem to create loving tales that would make Norman Rockwell go all warm and fuzzy. The Magic Of A Family Christmas was on my TBR pile last year so I made sure I got to it and I am glad I did. This is the kind of romance that you want to read curled up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa. Think Call Me Mrs Miracle but with a little sadder backstory on the child.
Harry is a foster child whose mom died of cancer and whose father is found to have died in a prison fight a few years back. The story has a definite "aw" factor to it, but it isn't cavity inducingly sweet. It definitely would make a good Hallmark Movie.
Wendy is a sweet administrative assistant learning to balance her job with her new duties as a mom. Cullen is a sort of playboy who is about to change his ways.
If it were longer it would have been nice to understand the workings of Cullen's family, who own and operate Barrington Candies, where Wendy works, but as it was, Susan explains their situation pretty well.
I loved Harry though. He was by far one of the cutest kids in a romance novel. He was great at being a matchmaker too. The only complaint anyone might have with him would be that he seemed too adjusted, especially after losing his mom.
The story can be a little cheesy, but not in a bad way. This is definitely one of the holiday stories I'm keeping so I can revisit it in years to come.
Author: Charlene Sands Title: Do Not Disturb Until Christmas Publisher: Silhouette Desire Publish Date: Nov 2008 Book Blurb: All millionaire businessman Cody Landon wanted for Christmas was sweet payback. Superstar singer Sarah Rose had betrayed him for the limelight—and now she'd taste his revenge. He'd seduce her, then leave her forever. But Cody didn't count on being hungry for more.
Or on the resulting pregnancy. To save her image and career, Sarah Rose would have to marry him. Giving Cody what he'd wanted all along: all access—all the time. Once their baby was born, he'd divorce her. Or would his Christmas bride get what she wanted?
Review: I love Charlene Sands' books for Silhouette and I was prepared to devour this one like the reading candy she usually delivers, but I just didn't quite warm up to Cody the way I felt I should. He was just a little too alpha male for me. Cody was too hung up on revenge and he didn't soften until the last 20 pages, making the ending come a little too quickly.
The premise of Cody and Sarah being high school sweethearts was a great setup for the story. I liked that they had a history, and that there were feelings still brewing between them. I wish that history had been developed more. The reader caught glimpses of what Sarah and Cody shared in bits of conversations, but a few flashbacks would have made the story better.
Sarah was a great heroine and I loved that she was a country singer. At times she seemed a bit like a young Loretta Lynn. She was strong and yet she was manipulated by her manager, who kept her away from Cody, and from developing her career the way she wanted to. Robert Gillespie was definitely a villian, but he could have been a better one. When Cody confronts him at the end, he gives in too easily for someone that really has an evil streak.
Then there was the matter of Sarah and the baby. I'm trying to figure out how she had to wait to see a doctor to know she was pregnant. I mean, there are some warning signs. Then she gives up her career at the end to be a mom, or at least it felt like she was giving up a career she seemed to love to be a mom. That kind of fell flat with me.
I usually really love Charlene's books, but this one wasn't one of her best in my eyes.
This last week has been super crazy. I think I've only read one book in the last 7 days, but with my dad in the hospital, and the holidays and him coming home with oxygen, things have been more than a little hectic.
I'm hoping that my life calms down a bit this week.
I miss my books.
And I've got so much to read.
All I want to do is curl up somewhere warm with my comforter and a good book and just read for hours.
Oh and I've got a $25.00 Barnes and Noble gift card burning a hole in my pocket to spent..hopefully on a light for my Nook and a book.
Author: Livia J. Washburn Title: The Christmas Cookie Killer Publisher: Obsidian Publish Date: Sept 30, 2010 Book Blurb: Christmas comes to Weatherford, Texas, in this delicious new entry in the national bestselling series.
Yuletide is here—and retired teacher cum amateur sleuth Phyllis Newsom looks forward to finishing up this unlucky year. But she won’t be hanging up her apron just yet—because this year’s Christmas bake-off is going to be cutthroat.
Phyllis would like to think she’s entering the Christmas cookie contest for the fun of it—but that’s not exactly true. She can’t imagine anyone beating her snowflake-shaped lime sugar cookies. Then, during her annual Christmas cookie exchange, Phyllis heads over to the elderly Mrs. Simmons’s home and finds her dead, in a pile of lime sugar cookies. But with a number of names on Santa’s naughty list, this case may be a hard cookie to crumble.
Review: This Fresh Baked Mystery was such a fun read! I loved the fact that the characters weren't your traditional hero and heroine. All the main characters were well into their 60s. Most of them were widows or widowers but all of them spunky and there isn't a single one that really felt grandma-ish.
Phyllis was the more traditional lady but she was the one out there solving the crimes, more so than any of the detectives working to solve the murder of her neighbor, Agnes.
Livia's characters really come to life and Weatherford is the perfect small town that has just enough secrets to leave the reader really wondering who killed Agnes. It seems like everyone has a motive, because everyone, in this case, Agnes, is not exactly the way they seem.
This is one mystery that really keeps you guessing about the whodunit until you get to the last few pages. It definitely makes you want to check out the other books in the series as well. Phyllis, Carolyn, Sam and Eve, easily worm their way into your heart. These are characters you feel like you really know while you are reading. Plus who could resist a sleuthing grandma? It's like Murder She Wrote, but with cooking ladies.
Oh and Livia shares Phyllis and Co.'s recipes at the end of the book!
Is time to read. This past week, I've had no time to do anything at all. My father is in the hospital with a partially collapsed lung. I'm trying to get the house sorted out for the holidays which will come regardless of whether he is home with us or not, and frankly I'm going a bit crazy.
I wish I could take some "me" time to chill and read a book, but my concentration is shot. I can't even read in the hospital room.
I hope he comes home soon.
Hospitals always bug me. Too many patients...too few nurses to tell you what's going on.
The only plus is there's a nice gift shop and they have used paperbacks for a quarter. I bought 2 yesterday...maybe I'll read them next year!
Fingers crossed that all goes well in the next few days and he comes home for Christmas. I'd trade all the books in the world to have him sitting in his chair this holiday