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review 2018-12-18 14:18
BLOG TOUR Miss Compton's Christmas Romance by Sophie Barnes

 





Sometimes playing pretend can lead to the perfect romance…

When Miss Leonora Compton decides to go to Sheffield and spend Christmas with her sister, she finds herself travelling with a man she cannot afford to like. But as their journey progresses she enters an unexpected partnership with him and realizes that things aren't what they seem. Because Mr. Dalton is not only tempting. He may in fact be precisely what she needs.

When Philip believes his travel companion requires protection, he immediately steps in to help by pretending to be her husband. For although the last thing he wants is to form an attachment, Philip is irrevocably drawn to the stunning red-head. And as they become better acquainted and their paths increasingly intertwined, he must decide if risking heartache again is worth the chance of finding true love.



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This is a delightful novella from Sophie Barnes. It's a quick and easy romance with enjoyable characters and fun plot. As shocking as it was for Miss Leonora Compton to go into trade she managed to convince her parents to let her so she wouldn't be a burden on them or her younger sister and her brother-in-law in the future. As a result her parents were able to travel the world without having to worry about her. Leonora is given a shock, her landlord lost the property gambling and her new one wants an exorbitant amount of money by the New Year. With nothing she can do she leaves the shop in her best friend's capable hands and goes to visit her sister for Christmas. Her parents would be shocked that she is taking public transport but it was a frugal thing to do. Mr. Phillip Dalton was immediately captivated by the stunning and stubborn Miss Compton and in order to protect her from the unwanted advances of another gentleman in the coach he claims she's his wife. It seems they are headed to the same destination Phillip is best friends with Leonora's brother-in-law and he was also invited to spend Christmas with them. All they needed was a little push for them to meet and fall in love but will they?

Overall this was a really nice read. I really enjoy Sophie Barnes writing and this was a nice little bite to satisfy me until her next book comes out. 
 

     The Bull and Mouth coaching house was bustling with travelers buying tickets and preparing for departure while others climbed out of newly arrived coaches. Horses neighed and people shouted, pushing and shoving their way past each other, the loud noise occasionally drowned out by the sound of a horn.

     Her mother would likely have a fit if she ever found out that her daughter had chosen to travel alone on public transportation. In the past, Leonora had always taken a hired carriage, but that was before she’d become aware of the need to save every penny – back when her parents had paid the expense. In hindsight, she should perhaps have asked one of her parents’ maids to accompany her as chaperone. Except she’d been leading an independent life for the past eight months and had little desire to suffer the constant presence of someone insistent on making her follow a long list of rules. 
     So Leonora clasped her belongings and wove her way through the crowd on her own. She’d purchased her ticket a week earlier just to be sure she would get one. “Where’s the coach for Sheffield?” she asked a team of hostlers who were in the process of switching out horses. 
     One of the men pointed toward a coach on the opposite side of the courtyard, and Leonora thanked him before hurrying toward it. Her breath misted in the chill morning air as she stepped around the vehicle and prepared to show the coachman her ticket. But then she spotted him, and her entire body froze in place. Mr. Becker was here, and he was standing next to her coach, which only made Leonora’s heart beat harder. Because if there was one person she did not wish to spend one more second with, it was him. Least of all if they were to be confined to a place from which there could be no escape. 
     Her chest tightened and she realized then that she was holding her breath. She inhaled sharply, the frigid air rushed down her throat and into her lungs where it started to burn. She hesitated briefly, torn between choosing to face him and walking away. He was speaking with a younger and much taller gentleman with dark brown hair. Mr. Becker smiled, his countenance far more pleasant than when he’d come to call on her earlier. The younger gentleman nodded politely and offered his hand which Mr. Becker promptly shook before tipping his hat, adding a comment, and walking away. The younger man watched him go before turning toward the coachman. The two exchanged a few words, and the younger man pulled out his pocket watch to check on the time. 
     Leonora stepped forward. Thankfully, it did not seem as though she would have to endure Mr. Becker’s company. Just that of his friend. Determined to ignore him, she walked straight past the spot where he stood, her entire focus on the coachman. Reaching him, she set down her valise and retrieved her ticket from her reticule. 
     “Thank you, miss,” the coachman said when she handed it to him. He glanced at her luggage. “That will have to go on top of the carriage or in the boot. Which do you prefer?” 
     “I’ll put it in the boot,” Leonora told him. She picked up her valise and turned, only to find her path blocked by what had to be over six feet of solid masculinity. Leonora looked up and immediately bristled upon realizing not only that the man was Mr. Becker’s friend, but that he, upon further inspection, had eyes that weakened her knees and lips that quickened her pulse. He was, as it were, impossibly handsome, and that was almost more annoying than anything else that had happened that morning. 
     “May I help you with that?” he inquired. 
     Oh Lord, his voice was lovely too – like plush velvet sliding over her skin. 
     Leonora squared her shoulders. “No thank you. I can manage perfectly well on my own.” She stepped around him quickly, before his angular jaw and broad shoulders could cause her to change her mind, and went to the boot. It already contained a trunk and a couple of other valises, which meant she would have to heft her own up and over in order to secure it. She glanced around. Surely there must be some Bull and Mouth employee available to help? 
     If they were, none came to offer assistance. Leonora blew out a breath and proceeded to lift her valise, bringing her other hand underneath it while her reticule dangled back and forth from her wrist. Feeling the weight in her arms, she steadied herself against the carriage, bracing her body while struggling to push the darn thing toward the top of the boot. 
     “Are you sure you don’t need help?” the handsomest man in the world inquired. 
     “Absolutely,” Leonora panted. She was now holding her valise at shoulder level, supporting it against another valise that was in her way. Just a few more inches… 
     “Have you always been this stubborn?” 
     “I am not stubborn…just…” Ugh! She managed to wedge her shoulder underneath the valise, but its size and shape made it unstable, and before she could manage to steady herself properly, she felt the entire thing lean to one side. Oh no. She reached up attempting to grab it, but that only quickened the inevitable outcome.

     Her valise slipped from her shoulder and started to fall, until it was caught by a pair of large hands.

     Like Thor wielding his mighty hammer with seemingly little effort, Mr. Becker’s friend lifted the piece of luggage with infuriating ease and placed it securely in the boot. He stepped back and turned to face her, his toffee-colored eyes catching a ray of rare winter sunshine in the process. The effect was dazzling. More so when the edge of his mouth lifted to form a crooked smile with a perfect dimple placed right at the corner. 
     Leonora swallowed. For heaven’s sake, her hands were trembling, though she quickly decided that this was from her recent exertion and not at all because of this handsome man’s attentions. She had no interest in him, she reminded herself. Not when he kept company with the sort of man who would happily force a woman from her home and place of business during Christmas.

     Deciding she would not allow him to divest her of her manners, she raised her chin and met his gaze boldly. “Thank you, sir.” 
     His smile broadened. “Mr. Dalton.” He glanced aside for a second before returning his attention to her. “Mr. Philip Dalton. How do you do?”
 
 
 
 
Link to giveway: https://promosimple.com/ps/d9d5/miss-compton-s-christmas-romance


 
Author Bio:

Born in Denmark, Sophie has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor's degree from Parson's School of design, but most impressive of all - she's been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses.

While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion - writing. She currently lives on the East Coast.

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review 2018-12-17 14:40
SEASON'S READINGS Christmas Camp by Karen Schaler

 

 
Christmas CampChristmas Camp #1, This is a quintessential lighthearted Christmas romance where someone learns to appreciate the spirit of Christmas. Haley Hanson isn't really a Grinch, she really just indifferent to Christmas. She grew up poor and never really celebrated it, as an adult now she'd rather take her parents to the Bahamas then stick around all the Holiday craziness. Haley is in marketing and her next promotion depends on her next big client. Unfortunately the big client Haley brought in was given to a co-worker why, because it was a Christmas campaign for a Big old fashioned toy manufacturer. Haley's boss is willing to let her present her idea but she has to go to Christmas Camp.

Christmas Camp was founded by Ben Jacoby and his wife. They hold it every year at their inn the Holly Peak Inn and even now after the her death Ben continues to do it in her honor. What they wanted was a way to rejuvenate someone's holiday spirit, remind the of the magic of Christmas and that the most important thing during the season is family and friends, and a way of learning some new traditions. Haley goes figuring she came breeze  through the week work on her presentation at the same time get her certificate land the client and get her promotion. What really happens is that Haley finds her Christmas spirit and discovers what she really wants to do and falls in love with the innkeeper's son.

Jeff Jacoby loves Christmas, he loves his job as an architect, and he loves his father but after the death of his mother Jeff has put his personal life on hold to take care of Ben. Jeff wants Ben to sell the inn and move to Boston closer to him. Ben's getting older Christmas Camp is getting harder to do with only the housekeeper, Laura, to help and he's not making as much money as he needs to keep the place going. Jeff thinks his way is the best thing to do but Ben loves Christmas Camp to much to stop doing it but doesn't see another option that is until Haley discovers the problem and comes up with a brilliant idea. As Jeff helps Haley discover Christmas magic they start to fall in love but Jeff is an idiot and gets mad at her for wanting to help his father save Christmas Camp.
 
Overall, this was a good read.  I really think it would be better as a movie. I watched The Christmas Prince and this year's sequel and wasn't that impressed with either and compared to Christmas Camp I preferred Christmas Camp and of course like with The Christmas Prince this book is getting a sequel, Christmas Camp Wedding. It was easy to read, heartfelt and funny; it has an adorable dog, and has side characters that really bring it all together. This is a good Holiday read and when NetFlix makes it into a movie I will watch it.       
 

 

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review 2018-12-13 14:24
SEASON'S READINGS A True Cowboy Christmas by Caitlin Crews
 
A True Cowboy Christmas (Cold River Ranch, #1)Cold Creek Ranch #1, I love when new series start off with Christmas books. Cold Creek Ranch is in Colorado up high in the Rocky Mountains, a hard place to live. I really enjoyed this book I loved the characters; Gray, Abby, and Becca were well written and easy to connect with. Gray is a hard man being raised by a man who was hateful, ungrateful, and just plain ornery Gray was determined never to be like his father. The biggest way to do that was to not repeat his mistakes he's already done it once and payed the price for it, marrying a flaky girl who couldn't keep her pants on, had no interest in staying at Cold Creek Ranch and died leaving with her lover. One good thing did come out of the marriage his daughter Becca. With his old man dead and buried and his brothers, Ty and Brody, wanting to sell of the land the brothers start to argue. Brody and Ty worry about Gray and they are afraid he will end up like their father, all alone and mean. So Gray comes up with the idea that he needs a wife, one that he knows is steadfast, loves Longhorn Valley and Cold Creek, someone with roots just as deep as his.

Abby Douglas has always loved Gray Everett and now he's proposing to her, something she's always dreamed of but not for the right reasons. Ever since Gray came up with the idea of marrying Abby he's looked at her in a new light more as a woman than just his neighbor and he likes what he sees. The more time he spends with her the more the attraction grows but Gray has spent to long with the main focus of his life as the ranch he's already more like his father than he thinks. All Gray needs is Abby's steadfastness, her unassuming beauty, and her honesty to knock some sense into him but is she willing to risk her heart for something that may never be reciprocated?  
 
Overall, this was a heartfelt and emotional read. The Everett boys aren't 100% mended but they are off to a great start.Abby and Becca have so much in common they form a quick bond and they are good for each other just as much as Abby is good for Gray. This story was addictive I didn't want it to end I look forward to the rest of the series.     
 
 

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-10-25 16:28
Review: Seasons of the Moon 1- Six Moon Summer by S.M. Reine

 

 

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Packed off to summer camp while her parents get divorced, Rylie is determined to see it through and hope for the best- until that one night where it all changes and she's attacked by something she can't identify. Almost immediately she notices herself changing both physically and psychologically, yet as understanding blooms she doesn't understand how she survived the attack. An enigmatic boy at the camp, Seth, has the answers she seeks and offers to help her, but as the summer wanes and the wolf in her grows stronger, Rylie fights to maintain her self-control and hopes for a cure even as she searches for clues about the one who did this to her.

 

What's Good: The premise is intriguing- going from being a nobody to a monster and all things that happen in between. Rylie's teen angsting about her parent's divorce is what you'd expect. There's also some good secondary characters- I especially liked Louise, one of the camp counselors. I actually had more empathy for her than Rylie.

 

What's Bad: The MarySue/Speshul Snoflakiness of it all. At the wise old age of fifteen Rylie wants nothing more than to spend the summer in the art district of this nameless city sipping chai tea in coffee shops while reading and going to exhibits and summer festivals, just like the typical teenage girl she's supposed to be. Oh, and she doesn't have any female friends because they're too catty yet wonders if all her male buddies' girlfriends hate her because she's blonde and slender. Any of this sounding familiar, yet?

 

For someone who's life's been destroyed by becoming a legendary monster, Rylie's pretty blasé about it. It's all "Dear Diary: Mean girls at camp are bothering me... met a cute boy by the lake... I'm a werewolf now." Her biggest concern about it is her distaste for her insatiable cravings for meat, what with being a vegetarian. At least until the fateful night when she rips apart a fawn, then she has an emotional breakdown. She's actually more upset about eating Bambi than becoming a rampaging monster that'll want to slaughter things to begin with. But hey, we got veggie vampires nowadays so why not tofu werewolves? Plus the mysterious yet cute boy she meets knows a whole lot about what's happening to her yet she barely bothers to ask him more than a couple of questions at a time. And some of his answers don't make a lot of sense. When Rylie asks Seth what's happening to her, he responds, "The new & full moons are different. You change on the new moon because it makes the human weak, so the wolf emerges. On the full moon the wolf becomes strong. It dominates you." You kinda see what the author's trying to get at, but it doesn't come across very well. Like a friend of mine said: Heads, I win; Tails, you lose.

 

The mystery of the identities of the werewolves attacking the camp is nothing special. One's a bit of a surprise and the other one isn't, but what makes it bad is the ham-handedness of the whole situation. Rylie has questions (naturally) and is clearly a danger to herself and everyone else during her furry nights, yet the alpha wolf who bit her lets her flounder until the climax of the story. And their actions and motives are ridiculous- without going too far into it, how does this individual expect to keep the massacre of an entire summer camp secret? The second person's identity discloses more ridiculous plot holes: they've been a werewolf for a year yet apparently still lives in the city. Clearly this person was brought into the fold immediately but again, why wasn't Rylie? And how has this person been managing on their wild nights and why can't Rylie do the same?

 

And speaking of 'the city'... Wondering why I called it that? Because everyone in the book does. Rylie, Louise, Cassidy, Amber- everyone comes from 'the city'. The summer camp has a name, the mountain is located on has a name as do the river and lake around the camp, but the city, county and state they're all in don't, even though 'the city' has a North End and East Side with an art district.

 

The final showdown is a cartoon. Werewolves in human form can heal at an amazing rate- Rylie breaks her ankle yet it's well enough in a matter of moments for her to run full tilt along a mountain trail. Somehow none of this translates onto any other werewolves but her: in the final battle Rylie gets her throat ripped out but can keep on fighting since she's young and strong, which enables her to eviscerate her opponent- alpha were described as the size of a horse- to the point that he's on the verge of bleeding out. Really.

 

What's Left: There's flashes of good storytelling, especially the little insights into Rylie psyche before and after her transformations, but they're scattered and almost lost in all the MarySue-ism and silliness. Too many parts of the story feel slapped together because too much space is wasted showing how speshul Rylie is to help justify her being chosen becoming a werewolf in the first place. Which didn't make any sense, either.

A couple of minor twists in the story will keep you entertained but all the fudging to keep our girl the centerpiece of the story drags it all down.

 

The romance between Rylie and Seth is forced. Rylie knows he knows more than he's letting on yet she never asks him more than a couple of questions at a time- she's too preoccupied with flirting with him to remember why they're sneaking her away from camp during full moons.

 

There's a good premise here but it's bogged down by some absolute nonsense. The old adage of keeping it simple applies here, and simply put the series needs to be what it says it is: the story of a girl who gets turned into a werewolf.

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review 2018-08-23 13:17
Review of Different Seasons by Stephen King
Different Seasons - Stephen King

This is King's classic collection of four novellas, the first of which led to the beloved movie Shawshank Redemption. I enjoyed two and a half of the stories in this collection. The Shawshank story was outstanding (and it was interesting to see the differences between the book and the film). The Apt Pupil story was disturbing but very good (I have not seen that movie). The third story of the kids looking for the dead body really dragged for me. I also didn't care for the whole "story within the story" technique of sharing the writing work of one of the characters. I thought the fourth story had great potential, but then it also fell back on the story within a story and, while more interesting, didn't quite capture my imagination. Still well worth the read for King fans.

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