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review 2017-08-19 21:15
Brief Thoughts: One Snowy Night (novella)
One Snowy Night: A Heartbreaker Bay Christmas Novella - Jill Shalvis,Karen White

One Snowy Night
by Jill Shalvis
audio book narrated by Karen White
Heartbreaker Bay #2.5 (novella)

 

 

It’s Christmas Eve and Rory Andrews is desperate to get home to the family she hasn’t seen in years.  Problem is, her only ride to Lake Tahoe comes in the form of the annoyingly handsome Max Stranton, and his big, goofy, lovable dog Carl.

Hours stuck in a truck with the dead sexy Max sounds like a fate worse than death (not), but Rory’s out of options.  She’s had a crush on Max since high school and she knows he’s attracted to her, too.  But they have history… and Max is the only one who knows why it went south.

They’ve done a good job of ignoring their chemistry so far, but a long road trip in a massive blizzard might be just what they need to face their past… and one steamy, snowy night is all it takes to bring Max and Rory together at last.



One Snowy Night was a potentially sweet and fun little romance, with a road trip in snowy weather, and some thought-provoking ideas about forgiveness, change, growing up... the works.  Rory and Max were both nice characters, although they don't really stand out all that well.  Rory is the typical, down-on-her-luck girl, who has had a rough go of things, who is trying to get her life back together and make amends with her past.  Max is Standard Broody Alpha Male #1, who is also letting things in his past influence his decisions in present day.

To be honest, the conflict between Rory and Max was a rather legit, realistic issue.  The biggest problem that I kept seeing was that the two didn't know how to talk to each other.  Max is pissed at Rory for some reason, Rory has secrets she doesn't want to talk about.  And thus, it makes for a very lonely, and quiet car ride, when neither of the two want to talk at all about anything.

I got a little frustrated when Rory realized that something big was bugging Max that had to do with their high school years.  He didn't want to talk about it, and so Rory decided that she wouldn't ask him, despite the fact that she really wanted to find out why Max had a chip on his shoulder about her.  And thus, that carried on for a bit of time and made me roll my eyes.

Because, yes, let's just NOT talk about what the problem is and let it fester while the two of you drive for a few hours together in the wintry blizzard.

My feelings of relief was palpable when some nice old couple gave Rory the tip that she needed to look to the past to figure out how to fix her present.  I probably would have just told her that she just needed to learn to talk to Max, and vice versa, but I guess the old lady put it in a more worldly way.

Anyway, this is a cute little romance, probably not something I'd come back to.

Unless there's more of Carl, the big and goofy doberman to see; now HE was probably the best part of the book!

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/08/brief-thoughts-one-snowy-night-novella.html
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review 2017-08-19 21:08
Quick Thoughts: The Trouble with Mistletoe
The Trouble with Mistletoe: A Heartbreaker Bay Novel - Jill Shalvis,Karen White

The Trouble with Mistletoe
by Jill Shalvis
audio book narrated by Karen White
Book 2 of Heartbreaker Bay

 

 

If she has her way . . .

Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand.  He needs a kitty sitter, stat.  But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her . . .

He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.

Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands.  But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead-gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him . . .

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice . . .

Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but can she trust him not to break her heart again?  It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish—and let the mistletoe do its work . . .



If it's one thing I've come to understand, it's that Jill Shalvis books are charming even when you find them frustrating.

The Trouble with Mistletoe had an interesting premise to work from, however, you could readily tell that it wasn't something meant to be drawn out.  Keeping Keane in the dark about why Willa was always angry at him could have gotten out of hand, or it could have been an interesting twist; except that particular conflict was resolved quite early in the book that made me rather glad.  I figured it was kind of nice that Willa and Keane managed to take the adult way out and let the past go--after all, when you're young, you do stupid things that you might regret in the future.  And at least Keane was a good enough person to feel chagrined about being a jerk when he was a teenager.  And Willa was gracious enough to forgive and move on.

But then we come to a sort of "second half" of the contemporary romance... and things start getting frustrating.

To be honest, what I'd worried about for the first half, actually ended up happening in the second half of this romance.

Basically, there was a lot of wishy-washy, back-and-forth with these two, and it got to a point where I don't even know what either Keane or Willa wanted from each other.  I'm not even sure they knew what they wanted with each other, or themselves, or their own lives in general.  The same conflict kept getting dredged up in monologue about each other's inability to commit... or no, this is about the other person's inability to commit... but wait, it's about his/her own concerns about committing...

And it just kept going on like that:  "This is a very bad idea.  But let's have sex anyway."  "We're not doing this anymore... okay, maybe one more time.  But it's a bad idea."  "But you don't want attachments!"  "Wait, no, I guess it's me--I can't do attachments."  "But you said you don't get attached."

After the third time, it got old.

Meanwhile, I found myself also a bit frustrated with the side characters as well.  The last thing you ever want when you're going through a conflicting romance is for friends to be nosy, especially if they're also going to be nosy, interfering, disruptive, and unhelpful.  And while it might have seemed like a comedic insert for Willa's girl friends to be the nosy, interfering, disruptive, and unhelpful lot... it actually kind of got annoying.

Except for Rory.  I liked Rory--she was nosy, but she was also really sincere.  And Archer was pretty cool, too--he wasn't nosy, he wasn't interfering, and he wasn't disruptive; he wasn't really helpful either, but at least he offered to beat Keane up if Willa needed him to, no questions asked.  The rest of Willa's friends felt like they were there just for sheer entertainment.

Keane's staff was also a bit annoying as well.

And then, true to Jill Shalvis form, some tangential conflicts are introduced that are never properly resolved, such as Keane's relationship with his parents--you get a back story, you get frustration from him, you get a teaser... and that's it.

But as I'd stated before, as frustrating as this book got, it still managed to be charming somehow.  Keane's kitty-sitting adventure was certainly sweet and fun; Petunia was a typical Queen Cat, and totally makes you smile.  There's even a brief appearance of a small puppy with paws larger than his own head, and the scenes were super adorable.

This was a mediocre Jill Shalvis work, at best.  Still charming, but I can see where people may not enjoy it.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/08/quick-thoughts-trouble-with-mistletoe.html
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review 2017-07-08 02:40
Beachcombers
Beachcombers - Nancy Thayer,Karen White

 

 

This was one of the recommended books for the "beach reads" week in my library's summer-reading program.  This is one of those books I probably wouldn't have chosen of my own volition, though I'm glad to have experienced it.  Its setting in Nantucket was nice, because I honeymooned there in addition to having other special vacations there.

 

The book is set in the summer of 2009; many characters are having financial problems because of the economy.  Fifteen years before, Danielle Fox drowned; whether the drowning was accidental or intentional,  no one knows for sure.  She left behind her husband Jim, a contractor, and three daughters--Abbie, who was 15 at the time; Emma, who was 13; and Lily, who was only seven.  As the oldest daughter, Abbie, stepped up as caretaker to her younger sisters.

 

As the book opens on its present-tense narrative, Abbie rushes home at Lily's urging, after having spent two years in London working as an au pair.  Lily's worried about Emma, whose fiance Duncan dumped her for another woman right around the time she lost her finance job in Boston.  Emma returned to the family home and took to her bed.  Lily's also worried about their father's business, as contracting jobs are becoming less plentiful.  He has rented out the guest cottage, aka "the playhouse," to Marina--whom she characterizes in an email to Abbie as a sexy woman who is after their father.  Six months earlier, Marina's husband Gerry and good friend Dara threw her a surprise party to celebrate her 40th birthday--only to reveal the next morning that they'd fallen in love and were expecting a baby.  Gerry wanted a divorce so he could marry Dara.  Gerry bought out Marina's half of their ad agency and their condo, in Kansas City, MO.  Marina has rented out the cottage for a six-month term, to give herself the chance for a new start.

 

So there are multiple romances in this book, and I'm not usually a romance kind of girl.  But there was enough other drama going on to make this generally a fun, frothy read for me.  Sometimes, I became irritated with certain characters.  Okay, mostly Lily.  At times, she acted more like a toddler than a 22-year-old, but this was somewhat explained by her sisters having babied her--and she does go through a trajectory.  There's some insta-love here, and I'm not generally a fan of that.  But fortunately, things weren't 100% wrapped up with a neat bow.  More like 85%.

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review 2017-06-12 18:16
the night the lights went out, Karen White
The Night the Lights Went Out - Karen White

I absolutely loved this Chick lit. I received this book for free and voluntarily chose to review it. I've given it a 5* rating. First of all, it was almost like I could hear Meralee's soft southern accent as I read along this story, as she was sharing her story. She was determined and helpless at the same time and just too darn trusting. So I was pulled into her story and those around her. Since this is the first I've ever read of this author, I was pleasantly surprised as I went along for the ride. Well done.

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review 2017-06-10 18:45
The Guests on South Battery by Karen White
The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street) - Karen White

New York Times bestselling author Karen White invites you to explore the brick-walked streets of Charleston, where historic mansions house the memories of years gone by, and restless spirits refuse to fade away...

 

With her extended maternity leave at its end, Melanie Trenholm is less than thrilled to leave her new husband and beautiful twins to return to work, especially when she’s awoken by a phone call with no voice on the other end—and the uneasy feeling that the ghostly apparitions that have stayed silent for more than a year are about to invade her life once more.

But her return to the realty office goes better than she could have hoped, with a new client eager to sell the home she recently inherited on South Battery. Most would treasure living in one of the grandest old homes in the famous historic district of Charleston, but Jayne Smith would rather sell hers as soon as possible, guaranteeing Melanie a quick commission.

Despite her stroke of luck, Melanie can’t deny that spirits—both malevolent and benign—have started to show themselves to her again. One is shrouded from sight, but appears whenever Jayne is near. Another arrives when an old cistern is discovered in Melanie’s backyard on Tradd Street.

Melanie knows nothing good can come from unearthing the past. But some secrets refuse to stay buried....

 
**********

The Guests on South Battery is the first book I have read by Karen White. Since I love paranormal stories and the American South did this book seem very promising. I also was curious to read something by Karen White, to see if her books were my cup of tea. And, I can say after this book that it worked on some levels, but it also had for me some flaws that I had problems with.

Let's start with the good things about the book. I loved the setting and the idea of the story. Old houses, ghosts, a mystery ready to be solved and family rivalry. That was great. Many of the supporting characters were quite nice, I especially liked Sophie. I think that's because we share a love for old houses. And, Melanie's mother Ginny is pretty cool. And, at first, Melanie was not so bad herself. However, and here come some things that bothered me, and it all started with Melanie. I love quirky characters, but Melanie's OCD was more annoying than quirky. I have battled my own OCD (Still do in some way) and I feel that I perhaps should have some sympathies. But, it was, to be honest mostly annoying to read about her control issues. I think she has a lot of issues she should deal with to let go of her anxiety. As my fellow buddy reader wrote about her when she discussed the boo: "she's a bit uptight". Spot on that was my thought as well while reading the book.

However, I did in some way enjoy the book, but the plot was extremely predictable. Not surprised me since I had already predicted what would happen. Or perhaps I'm just psychic? I did like the cliffhanger ending, and I have the first book in the series so I will definitely read more by the author, despite my problems with the book. However, I do hope the next book I will read will be more to my liking.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review! 
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