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photo 2019-12-09 12:31
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review 2019-12-08 19:57
it's the gifts from the heart that are truly priceless...
Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings (2017 Advent Calendar Daily - Stocking Stuffers) - Nell Iris

'Red Gumball Strings and Gumball Rings' is a re-release from 2017's DSP Advent Calendar. Other than a new cover I'm not really sure how much if anything has changed. The story seems to be about the same length as it's previously release.

 

Casey and Ellis may not have much but they know how to make the most of what they have and appreciate it. It hasn't been the greatest year for Casey. He's lost his mom and she was the one person aside from Ellis, that he knew he could count on and who approved of his relationship with Ellis without reservation. 

 

While the author did a super job of giving us a fair bit of Casey and Ellis's background through their memories...especially Casey's. I would have enjoyed it even more if there'd been a bit more story that happened both before and after the holiday...specifically after. I would have loved finding out how things went when Casey started his new job and maybe something more between Ellis and his sister. While her gift to them was sweet, I would have enjoyed seeing more...what can I say when it comes to short stories it's quite often the story of my life I want more. It's also indicative of the fact that I'm liking what I've gotten since I'm saying 'I want more' rather than 'the best thing about this story was that it was short'. 

 

"Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings" is not my first time reading a story by this author and the one thing that I can say about all of her stories is that she creates characters that I would love to have more of.  From Iggy and Wilkin in 'Awakenings and French Songs to the men in 'Of Autumn Leaves and New Beginnings' or 'Promises Me We'll be Ok' and now here in 'Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings', Nell Iris has created characters that are interesting and memorable, leaving the reader wanting more...not because the story's incomplete but because it captures both the attention and the reader's heart.

 

From the Charlie Brown Christmas tree to their heartfelt Christmas gifts to each other. Casey and Ellis's story is a warm and heartfelt reminder for us all what the true blessings of the season and every day of the year should be.

 

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A copy of 'Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings' was graciously provided by the 

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review 2019-12-08 05:15
The setting for “What Lies Beneath” the first book...
What Lies Beneath - R.J. Scott, Sean Crisden

in RJ Scott’s ‘Lancaster Falls’ series is of course the small town of Lancaster Falls and as is often the case with small towns it is rife with interesting characters each one having their own secrets leaving the reader to wonder who are you? How much do you really know? And how are you involved? Small towns you’ve gotta’ love ‘em!

 

When Sawyer Wiseman left Lancaster Falls to become a police officer in the big city of Chicago returning home broken and battered wasn’t a part of the plan but we all know life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans and that’s what happened to Sawyer. So now he finds himself back in the town he grew up in working for the Sheriff’s Department with a boss whose actions are often questionable at best telling him to go out to the Dwyer cabin and check on the person who’s taken up residence in it.

 

Sawyer expects to find an elderly recluse not Chris Lassiter a hot young author of horror stories whos struggling with writer’s block who’s more than a little bit interested in the sexy, small town deputy sheriff standing on his doorstep. Now all Chris needs to do is convince Sawyer that what he thinks is a bad idea could actually turn out to be the best thing that’s ever happened to either one of them.

 

Even when Sawyer begins to acknowledge that he’s interested in seeing where things can go between them it becomes a bigger challenge than either man has anticipated with the demands of Sawyer’s job rapidly increasing, as well the pressure on Chris to produce the next bestselling book in his popular horror series is increasing as his time to meet this deadline runs out.

 

Sawyer and Chris both quickly realize that in spite of the fact, that circumstances should be pulling them apart they seem to be turning to each other with increasing frequency.

I was absolutely crazy for this story when I read the e-book…even if I did get left looking over the edge of a cliff. Still when the opportunity was presented to listen to the story on audio I jumped on it especially when I learned that Sean Crisden was the narrator. Mr. Crisden is one of my absolute favorite narrators. I know when I get a book narrated by him that even if I’m not totally enchanted with the story I’m not going to have an issue with the narration no, in fact I can rest assured that even the worst of stories will become tolerable and as was the case here a story that I already knew I loved just became a whole lot better and more enjoyable.

 

While I have by no means read every book written by this author, I can honestly say it’s not from lack of desire or willing to do so…sadly, sometimes real life just doesn’t always let us do things as quickly as we’d like to, but for me this one has a bit more of a darker undertone to it than what we usually see from Ms Scott, but I can also say that for as much as I’ve loved her other books that I’ve read, this is definitely one of my favorites and I honestly can’t wait to continue with this series and learn what’s going to happen next.

 

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An audiobook of  “What Lies Beneath” was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-12-08 04:59
V.L. Locey has created a holiday story filled with...
The Christmas Oaks - V.L. Locey

 the joy of the holiday season and the promise of new beginnings from second chances with this first book in her new series ‘Laurel Holidays’.

 

When Bryan Graham left Kutter’s Summit to start a new life in Nashville going back was never a consideration for him. But when his grandfather left his hunting cabin and the land it was on to him, Bryan finds that going back is exactly what he has to do. So he develops a plan and it’s a fairly simle one…Bryan’s plan is to take a couple of weeks to spruce the place up, put it on the market and make a quick sale then it’s back to his Nashville life.

 

All that changes when Bryan arrives at the cabin only to be met by a less than friendly but equally grown up and handsome childhood friend in the form of  Parson Greer, whose also consumed by the demons of a war that left him with a lot of bad memories to torment his days and haunt his nights.

 

As Bryan and Parson become reacquainted and their feelings for each other grow, it becomes very clear that it’s going to take more than the good will of the season for these two to make things work. Bryan’s a talent agent for some of Nashville’s brightest stars…unfortunately one of those stars isn’t always making the brightest choices and keeping her in rehab has Bryan popping antacids like Pez candies, Parson’s trying to manage his PTSD on his own and then there’s the issue of Bryan who wants to return to his life in Nashville but he also wants to see what his life could be like with Parson in it.

 

Thankfully while Bryan may not have a Christmas angel on his side what he does have is a sister who wants him to be happy and a PA who genuinely cares about him as a friend and keeps his company on an even keel when he’s not there.

 

While Parson’s PTSD and Bryan’s client’s addiction were both very much a part of the story with neither issue overwhelming the story and turning it into something overly dark and somber that would keep it from being the sweet, holiday romance that if feels like it was intended to be, neither were these issues treated lightly.  

 

I really loved the epilogue it was the star on the top of the tree. While everything wasn’t tied up with a perfect holiday bow it definitely felt like all that was needed for it to happen was a bit of time. “The Christmas Oaks” is a warm holiday story that truly shares the meaning of the season. It’s not about how pretty or how big the bow on the package is or even what’s in the package…it’s about the gifts that are given from one heart to another…gifts of faith, hope and love. Gifts that cost nothing, but often mean everything.

I’d definitely recommend this one for anyone wanting to get into the holiday mood by way of a little reading romance.

 

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An ARC of “The Christmas Oaks” was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-12-08 04:48
I’m very possibly becoming addicted to this author’s stories...
Promises (Single Dads #3) - RJ Scott

It seems whenever I see a story with her name attached, I’m right there with my grabbie, gimmie hands to get a copy to read and I have yet to be disappointed.

 

“Promise” is the third book in Ms Scott’s ‘Single Dads’ series. This is Leo and Jason’s story.  We met Leo for the first time in “Single” book #1 of this series and now that his roommates Sean and Eric have each gotten their HEA, it’s Leo’s turn and who better for a cop to fall for, than an ex-con who seems to have more than a couple of secrets.

 

We met Jason in “Today” book #2, when he saved Eric’s life. When Jason shows up on Leo’s doorstep looking for Eric after his release from prison. Eric’s told him if he ever needed help he could come to him and when Leo sees Jason tired, beaten, ready to drop in his tracks and holding on for all he’s worth to a sweet little girl that he says is his daughter Leo couldn’t imagine someone more in need of help and despite the caution that his instincts are telling him to exercise…Leo’s quickly becomes determined to protect Jason…consequences be damned.

 

I’ve liked Leo from the beginning of this series and with this book we get an even closer look at this character. Leo’s past isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, he’s got demons of his own that are driving him and as he becomes more and more involved with Jason, he’s forced to confront the past that he’s kept diligently locked away.

 

Both men are more than a little bit aware of the attraction they share for each other, and for their own reasons they are equally determined to deny it at first. But as Jason’s secrets come to light, Leo begins to see that Jason isn’t what he seems to be and that his story is more complex than any of them realized.

 

I’ve enjoyed all of the stories in this series and this is probably one of the few times that I can honestly say when it comes to a favorite pairing, at this point in the series, I’m hard pressed to say that I have one.  So far, I’ve found each couple to hold their own unique appeal for me.

 

I loved watching Leo and Jason try to resist the inevitable, these two men just worked the chemistry was right and as if that wasn’t enough there was Daisy…Jason’s adorable 3…going on 4 year old daughter who not only wormed her way into Leo’s heart without even trying but found a spot in mine as well.

 

This story also gave us a bit more of a glimpse into the family that helped to make Leo the man that he is and that was fun. I love stories that have those over the top, in your face, gregarious families and Leo’s family is one that I’d definitely like to see more of.

I had thought maybe since this all started with 3 roommates…Sean, Eric and Leo that this story just might be the end of things but this is not the case and I’m so pleased to know that there are more ‘Single Dads’ to come.

 

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An ARC of “Promises” Single Dads #3 was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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