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review 2017-07-10 06:05
Artificial Sweethearts (North Pole, Minnesota) - Julie Hammerle

Tinka & Sam are neighbors with a common cause.  They are sick of others trying to set them up with people completely unfit for them.  They mean well, but really, who can choose but you for a significant other?


Sam is interested right away.  Only he has virtually no experience with which to entice Tinka to be his.  So he goes along with the scheme he unwittingly started out of desperation.  Along the way, they start to feel more real.  If only they could both be on the same page.....


This book was seriously what we call a slow burn.  I was really turned off by how shallow and petty most of the characters were.  I was about to put the book down - when, would you believe, it started back the other way.  I felt every feel with this story and at the end was never so happy to get my HEA.  At least I think I got one.  Anyway, I give this book a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!



***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley and its publishers.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-01 14:05
Artificial Sweethearts!!!
Artificial Sweethearts (North Pole, Minnesota) - Julie Hammerle

First things first: I received this book through NetGalley.

This book comes out july 10th.


This book is the second book in the North Pole, Minnesota series. But it's one of those series, were the books centers around different characters in the same setting/town and you don't have to read all the books or don't have to read them in order. I haven't read the first book, but I'm sure I will check it out sometime.


Summary: It’s not chemistry between Tinka Foster and Sam Anderson that made them agree to fake date. With her parents trying to set her up with an annoying pro-track golf student, and intentionally single Sam’s family pressuring him to bring a date to his brother’s wedding, they could both use a drama-free summer.

So it’s not his muscular arms and quick wit that makes Tinka suggest they tell everyone they’re both taken. Definitely not. And it’s not butterflies that makes a kiss for appearances during the lake party go on way too long—so long that Sam wishes it were real.

But Tinka keeps people at arm’s length—she’s always been second best, even to her parents. And her relationship-for-show could crush everything when she realizes she’s done with fake, pretend, and second-best.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains bikinis at the lake, a lot of making out in dark theaters, and a meet-cute you’ll read twice.


I have read a lot of fantasy and thriller in the last couple weeks, contemporary wasn't one my radar that much. So, when I got my usual Entangled Teen email, showing me ARC's I could request, I was all for it. And this book was just what I needed at the moment.


This was super easy to get into. The writing was fun and just amazing. You want a fun and easy summer read, HERE IT IS.


The characters are great. We have Tinka and Sam, the two main characters. They both have their issues. They both have their problems. No, just being together, doesn't solve their problems. They do that themselves. I also loved the side characters in the story. Sam's family. I loved Jane, Tinka's friend from school and Karen, Tinka's friend from way back when. 


I loved all the relationships. The rocky one between Tinka and her parents. The broken friendship between Tinka and her childhood best friend Karen. The fun and easy friendship between Tinka and Jane. I loved Sam with his family. I loved his brother Matt with his fiance and later husband Hakeem. I loved that element. Also I wanna read a whole book about them. JUST SAYING!!!


Of course I loved Tinka and Sam. I'm a sucker for fake-dating stories. GIVE ME ALL OF THEM. Seriously. It won't be much of a spoiler, telling you, that the whole fake dating thing will lead to real feelings and trouble ahead. I expected that. BUT I LOVED IT.


The characters went through such a journey in this story. So wonderful to read. Tinka and her parents worked things out, she finally got to tell them what she really wanted in her life. I loved the baking element, made me hungry and crave sweets but it was super cute. Sam got to lean on his siblings for once. And just everything. I know this review is a lot of me feeling things but this was just SO DAMN CUTE!!!!


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text 2017-06-25 11:29
Reading progress update: I've read 14%.
Artificial Sweethearts (North Pole, Minnesota) - Julie Hammerle

This is such a fun and easy read. Just what I needed right now.

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review 2016-12-19 18:42
A love story, a fabulous female character and a fresh view of Artic explorations
Under A Pole Star - Stef Penney

Thanks to NetGalley and to Quercus Books for sending me an ARC copy of the book that I voluntarily choose to review. Artic and Polar exploration is one of those subjects that sound fascinating but I didn’t know much about. This novel, although not claiming to be based on real historical figures (when I read a bit around it, I found several explorers whose lives seemed to have more than a few details in common with some of the characters, and there’s no doubt that the author has researched well the subject) manages to bring to life the polar explorations of the late XIX and early XX century, but not as the heroic endeavours we’re used to. The characters are driven, determined and daring, but that is not the whole story. Of course, when one gets to think about it, it is clear that somebody had to pay for the expeditions, and there were conditions, sponsorship, etc. Some of the things done (exaggerations, false claims, exploitation of the natives) are non-dissimilar to those seen in many other endeavours of the time when there was much curiosity for other people’s and places, and some bizarre and questionable things were done in the name of science and education. The story is framed by a trip to the North Pole, this time flying, of a collection of various characters. One of them, a journalist, has personal reasons to be there and is intrigued by one of the other characters, Flora Mackie, named the Snow Queen due to her many expeditions to Greenland and the Artic. The novel is divided into a number of parts, mostly told (in the third person) from the point of view of two characters, Jakob and Flora, both who experienced losses as children and who are fascinated by the North, ice, and the cold. Flora is an extraordinary character, a Scottish girl who loses her mother, and whose father, a captain of a whaler, decides to take her with him when she is a young girl. She loves it and is determined to go back when she grows up (as once she becomes a woman her father decides it is not appropriate for her to carry on joining his whaling expeditions). She is a driven character trying to follow her heart at a time when the number of roles socially acceptable and available for women was very limited. She feels more at home in Greenland with the Eskimos (as they were called at the time) than she does in Dundee or London. Jakob, a Geologist, loves studying the ice, glaciers and is fascinated by the North and nature. Jakob and Flora seemed destined for each other, but both personal and professional difficulties interfere (the path of true love and all that…). Later, as the story is revealed slowly and from different points of view, we come to wonder if some dark events were also involved. The descriptions of the era and particularly of the Artic and its way of life at the time are beautiful and vividly rendered. Flora is a truly complex and fascinating character, who faces difficulties familiar to many women and other unique to her singular circumstances. She feels guilty for not keeping up with moral standards, whilst trying hard to be her own person and free, no matter her gender. She might appear cold at first sight, but she has to try and be a leader to the men working with her, and not showing any weakness. A difficult task even now. Jakob is a likeable man, who doubts himself and his origins, decent and moral, less ambitious than most of the other characters, and his strongest passions are Flora and his love of ice and glaciers. There are descriptions of sex, that on reading the reviews I’ve noticed some reviewers didn’t find relevant to the book. These scenes are well-written and go some way to humanise and demonstrate how special this relationship was for both characters, especially compared to Flora’s experiences (we know less about Jakob’s), but readers need to be advised that although they are not a major part of the book (it is a long book) they are significant and explicit, especially in certain episodes of the novel. This is a novel beautifully written, full of descriptions of places few of us might get to visit and a time far away in history but close enough to seem familiar. The pace is leisurely, and although there are plenty of adventures, emotions and we share in the gamut of human emotions (love, envy, hatred, jealousy, greed…), it is not the typical page-turner. A novel recommended for those who love historical fiction (especially one that offers a revisionist view of events), stylishly written, with great characters and who don’t mind a few explicit sexual scenes.

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review 2015-12-31 21:04
Who is Santa and how did he get to the North Pole?...
Who is Santa? And how did he get to the North Pole? - Stephen W. Bigalow

If you want to find out how Christmas came to be, who Santa is, why he moved to the North Pole, where elves came from, and all of those other questions about Santa you've been dying to know then you should check out Who is Santa by Stephen W. Bigalow. It answers all of those questions and more. It's pretty long though and the author says it written for an older child but you can read each chapter just as an individual story which does help to break it up some for the younger kids but it's still pretty daunting for a child. I'm not sure why authors keep writing these extremely long Christmas books for kids. It makes you wonder if they actually have any kids of their own. My 9 year old would not sit through even a couple pages so I definitely think it should be shortened. It does have some really fun stories, pretty pictures and everything you want to know about Santa if you can actually get your kids interested enough to sit down for long enough to read some of it.


*I received this ARC through FirstReads and the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

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