Friday, December 31, 2010

Book Review: A Cowboy's Christmas Proposal

The Cowboy's Christmas Proposal (Harlequin Romance # 3986)
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.

Rating: 4 flowers

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review: The Magic Of A Family Christmas

The Magic of a Family Christmas (Harlequin Romance)
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.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What I'm Reading For The Out With A Bang Read-A-Thon

I'm not doing the Debut Author Challenge, but I am doing several holiday challenges and I'd like to read as many books as I can for each.

So here's what's on my TBR pile for the holiday:

Currently Reading

The Magic of a Family Christmas

Books I Hope To Read
The Cowboy's Christmas Proposal (Harlequin Romance # 3986)Blackout at Christmas: Stranded With The Bridesmaid\Santa Under Cover\Kiss Me On Christmas (Silhouette Romantic Suspense) Snowbound Reunion (Mills & Boon Historical Romance)Their Christmas Wish Come True (Harlequin Romance)Santa Clawed (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries)

Out With A Bang Read-A-Thon

I saw this read-a-thon and I was so excited that I had to signup right away! I really need to finish up quite a few books by the 31st! So this is definitely the Thon for me!!

Want to join in? Go here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review: Do Not Disturb Until Christmas

Do Not Disturb Until Christmas (Harlequin Desire)
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.

Rating: 2 flowers

Monday, December 27, 2010

I Won A Book!

I'm all giddy! I won a book on Goodreads!

It has been awhile since I've won anything anywhere, so when the email showed up this morning, I was super excited!

Better yet, it is an anthology of Amish stories!

Woo hoo!

So what book did I win?

This one!

An Amish Love: Healing Hearts/What the Heart Sees/A Marriage of the Heart (Inspirational Amish Anthology

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Better Reading Ahead?

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.

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas From A Chick Who Reads

107_5101 I would like to wish everyone who reads my blog a very Merry Christmas. I hope your holiday is filled with all the good things and the good books that make this day so special.

Have a wonderful Christmas!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Book Review: The Christmas Cookie Killer

The Christmas Cookie Killer: A Fresh-Baked Mystery
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!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

All I Want For Christmas

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

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Top 5 Sundays

This is an meme from Larissa's Bookish Life

Top 5 Book Series Of 2010

The Scandalous Women Of The Ton by Nicola Cornick
One Wicked Sin (Hqn)Mistress by Midnight (Hqn)Whisper of Scandal (Scandalous Women of the Ton Trilogy)

Pleasant Valley by Marta Perry (Book one was in 2009)
Rachel's Garden (Pleasant Valley)Anna's Return: Pleasant Valley Book ThreeLeah's Choice: Pleasant Valley Book One

The House Of Rohan by Anne Stewart
The Wicked House of RohanRuthless (The House of Rohan)Reckless (The House of Rohan)Breathless (The House of Rohan)

Brides Of Lehigh Canal by Wanda Brunstetter

Kelly's Chance (Brides of Lehigh Canal Series #1)Betsy's Return (Brides of Lehigh Canal, Book 2)Sarah's Choice (Brides of Lehigh Canal, Book 3)

Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich

Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum)Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum Novels)Visions of Sugar Plums: A Stephanie Plum Holiday Novel (Stephanie Plum Novels)
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