Review: Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert

Wrapped Together (Portland Heat, #5)Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4star

Genre:  Holiday LGBT Romance

Annabeth doesn’t disappoint with the new holiday story from her Portland Heat series.

This story revolves around two longtime friends, the uptight stationary shop owner, Hollis and the laidback flirty Sawyer. The pair has known each other since childhood, and with the marriage between their twin siblings, they’re now actually family.

Hollis was burned by a lover long ago and can’t seem to open up and allow himself to be vulnerable. Sawyer appears to have the attention span of a toddler, jumping from one partner and hobby to another without much thought. This frightens Hollis, worried he would be the next hobby or partner to be cast aside. When Sawyer bets Hollis he can get him to enjoy the Holidays despite his lingering grief of his parent’s death a few years prior, Hollis takes him up on it.

Sawyer takes the challenge to show Hollis all the joy he’s missing out on by being stuck in his solitary, grief-stricken life, hoping it will bring them closer together in the process.

The story was short, sweet and well paced. If you’re looking for a Lovely little holiday story to keep you warm this year, check out Wrapped Together.

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Review: Let it Snow by Jeanette Grey

Let it SnowLet it Snow by Jeanette Grey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4star

Genre: Holiday Romance

Baby, it’s cold outside, and all I want to be is inside warm with you.
Whew, this was a lovely little novella to get your holiday spirit pumping!

Sam and Holly pulled the short draw straw and had to work the closing shift at the bookstore they work at a few days before Christmas. The only problem? A blizzard descended upon them while they were busy stocking shelves, and are now forced to spend the night.
The real problem is how do you spend the night with someone you’ve had a crush on for months but haven’t told them?

Sam and Holly fumble around their attraction over the course of the evening. They each have their reasons to be closed off, but when they open themselves up to be vulnerable, they realize love and understanding might be right under their noses.

A lovely holiday read to get you into the spirit of the season.

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Nose in a Book Reviews – Holiday Anthology Roundup 2014

winter-romance

One of my favorite things about the holidays is all the Christmasy books that come out and I am a sucker for a sweet, sappy, but well written tale.  Snow, sex and sultry looks across from a crackling fire, yep, I am in like Flynn!

I’ve had the privilege of receiving quite a few NetGalley ARCs of the holiday variety and figured I’d create a post around these and give you a map of what to read and what to skip.  See, I’m giving you a gift.  The gift of your time well spent.  You’re welcome!

First up – Wild Holiday Nights  4star

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This one is filled with three stories:  Short Review – read them all.  They’re all cute, fun and fluffy.  My Favorite – Meg Maguire’s hot & steaming story, Playing Games

HOLIDAY RUSH by Samantha Hunter – Cake guru Calla Michaels is canceling Christmas to deal with fondant, batter and an attempted robbery. Then officer Gideon Stone shows up at her door.

This story was so sweet and lovely.  Calla is your usual workaholic who left her little town in search of a better life.  When she’s robbed outside of her cake shop, her brother’s best friend  flies in to make sure she stays safe.  He swoops in and saves the day and her heart.  

PLAYING GAMES by Meg Maguire – With her plane grounded on Christmas Eve, Carrie Baxter agrees to share a rental car with her secret high school crush. Sure, Daniel Barber is hotter than ever, but he’s still just as prickly, too. It’s gonna be one looong drive and an unforgettably X-rated night!

This was my favorite story of the bunch.  Meg Maguire’s writing is flawless, and steamy and so freaking sexy.  The tension between Carrie and Baxter is palpable.  The push and pull is absolutely magnetic and fabulous to read.

ALL NIGHT LONG by Debbi Rawlins – Overworked paralegal Carly Watts needs Jack Carrington’s signature, but he’ll do whatever it takes to buy more time before selling his grandfather’s company. Including having one very naughty night before Christmas!

Another delightful story. Carly and Jack’s chemistry is so well done.  I loved the back and forth banter of these two as they try to navigate through Jack’s company holiday party and Carly determination to complete the job she was sent to Chicago to accomplish.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside  4star

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A five story anthology.  Overview – go ahead and check this one out.  Super short, and cute fluffy stories.

It’s a Wonderful Tangled Christmas Carol by Emma Chase – this is a little throw back to Dickens’ classic tale, where overworked and under attentive Drew is met by three ‘ghosts’ of his life, trying to show him all that he’s missing out on by being a workaholic jerk.

 Searching for You by Jennifer Probst – this one was cute and a novella based around her Searching series.  Those interested in those stories will probably like this one set around Riley and Dylan, a pair of searching for love business people who never in a million years would have thought this would be a match made in heaven.  When a snow storm forces them to get to know one another up at Dylan’s house, they find out they’re much more compatible then they’d ever thought.

Saving Grace by Kristen Proby – Clumsy Grace fears she’ll never learn to ski or end up in the emergency room for sure.  Her friends are tired of her making excuses and buy her a weekend of ski lessons at the near by lodge.  She stumbles into a conversation between a ski instructor and Jacob, the owner of the lodge.  He is attracted to Grace and decides to teach her how to ski.  Of course she mistakes him for the ski instructor and feels like being attracted to someone with similar stature.  She feels like she has nothing to offer someone so wealthy.  When she finds out she’s been deceived, of course she’s hurt, but ultimately the pair find love amongst the pines.   Super cute & sweet.

Safe in His Arms by Melody Anne – This one was a sweet read.  Natalie has been hired to be the new teacher in Sterling, Montana.  She’s anxious after having left southern California and is unprepared for the unwelcoming cold she finds in this new state.  Hawk swoops in and saves her, vowing she’s most unprepared person he’s ever met.  His family is a bunch of good intentioned meddlers, who ultimately bring these two together.  I really enjoyed this one.  Just sweet and grin worthy.

Rekindle the Flame by Kate Meader – Ah, you really can’t go wrong with a good firefighter, can you?  Darcy and Beck have a history.  Long ago they broke up, forced by Darcy’s family to find a more suitable mate than a blue-collar fireman.  Beck’s been forced onto leave after an accident, and has been tending bar when in strolls Darcy, only this is not the same girl he left behind.  I liked this story about second chances and sort of how a phoenix can rise from the ashes of family expectations.  All in all, this anthology was really lovely and worth a read.

Rocky Mountain Miracle  3 1/2 stars

Rocky Mountain MiracleThis one was a bit more dark than some of the other books listed above.  This story takes place on a ranch in Montana when Cole, a man presumed to have killed his abusive father comes back to take over the ranch and be the guardian of his half-brother, Jase.  Both Cole and Jase are guarded and weary, having both been met with the hands of the same abusive man.

I enjoyed how the relationship between the brothers evolves and how Maia, the town’s veterinarian was the catalyst to bringing them closer together.  I enjoyed the bit of paranormal magic that Maia brought to the story.  My only real complaint was the insta-love Cole and Maia had for each other.  It felt fake and really took me out of the story.  An average read that could be right up your alley if you don’t mind the instant attraction/love plot device.

 A Christmas Wedding Ring  2-out-of-5-stars

The Christmas Wedding Ring

This story was just average for me.  Molly’s been crushing on her older sister’s ex boyfriend for years.  When Molly’s life comes crumbling down around her, she stumbles upon a ring he once gave her and Molly vows to find him and take him up on his offer for an adventure.  Dylan’s life is at a crossroads and when Molly shows up at his motorcycle shop one day out of the blue, begging him for the adventure he’d promised her, it seemed like as good a time as ever to get away and figure things out.

This story started out cute, but as it went on, I found Molly’s lack of self-confidence overwhelming and just plain depressing and annoying.  I wanted to smack her and say “Snap out of it”.  Then there’s Dylan, who is supposed to be this macho guy who ultimately turns out to be both saint and wuss.  Neither of which really appealed to me. The writing was good, but the dialogue was annoying.  Just can’t really recommend this one.

 

A Christmas to Remember  2-out-of-5-stars

A Christmas to Remember (Lucky Harbor, #8.5; Chaos, #2.5; Last Chance, #6.5; Everson, Texas, #0.5; Tallgrass, #1.5)

I have to say, this book just didn’t do it for me.  The only one I really liked was the one from Jill Shalvis.   Another fire fighter story and second chances.

I think if I’d been fans of the other writer’s series these novellas were based off of, I might have liked it better.  I just couldn’t get into the stories, characters, etc.

I have to say the Kristen Ashley story was appalling.  The writing was so bad, I had a hard time believing people bought the book just to read it.  If I had to read “My man” one more freaking time, I was gonna through the book out the window, a la’ Silver Linings Playbook.

 

Home for the Christmas   2-out-of-5-stars

Home For Christmas

This story started out with promise.  Tate, an Aussie soldier stationed in Afghanistan is handed a present during their holiday celebration.  When he reluctantly opens it, he is amazed to find a present that was something he coveted for his whole life.  He started up an e-mail correspondence with the woman who sent the present.  Layla loves everything about Christmas, after all she helps run her family’s christmas tree farm and budding gift giving company.  She’s overjoyed to receive a short, but sweet response to her package.  They continue their discussions for a while, even though after Layla lost her brother, she vowed to never be involved with someone from the military.  When Tate ends up injured, all of her fears are brought to a head.

The story is okay, but the ending felt so rushed, I couldn’t’ help but wish the author had spent a little more time delving into the last quarter of the book like she did the first three-quarters.  Just disappointed me a bit.

 

Merry Christmas, Baby     Three-star-rating

Merry Christmas, Baby (Lucky Harbor, #12.5)

This was a cute, super quick read.  This was my first peek at the Lucky Harbor series, one that I’ve been meaning to read forever.

The story revolves around Chloe and Sawyer, two characters that I get the feeling have been around in the Lucky Harbor series many times before.  In this story, Chloe is a very eight and a half months pregnant.  The baby, while wanted is wholly unexpected and definitely unplanned.  Sawyer is still taking dangerous ops even though his wife is about ready to pop.  They’re going through some tough times, and Chloe feels like he’s pulling away from her.  She’s terrified she’s losing him, but doesn’t know what to do to bring him back.

The story was very short, but a nice sweet little tale, and for those Lucky Harbor fans, you will be pleased with the ending for these two characters.

 

Thanks to everyone for reading my blog and continuing with me on my journey through life.  I hope to have more reviews posted in the coming days/weeks as well as some of my original writing too.

Have a very lovely holiday season and I wish you and your family the very best New Year!

Michela

Nose in a Book Reviews: Plain Jayne by Laura Drewry

Plain JaynePlain Jayne by Laura Drewry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4star

Genre: Romance

Thanks to NetGalley & Loveswept for an ARC copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this story. Once I picked it up, I didn’t really want to put it down. It was one of the better ‘friends to lovers’ kind of story I’ve read. Perhaps because I had a best guy friend growing up and all my boyfriends never understood or accepted it. I really connected with that part of the story.

Plain Jayne is about lifelong friends, NIck & Jayne. Nick is a successful contractor in a small Northwestern town. The same town Jayne fled once she graduated from high school. The last time Jayne was in town was to support Nick when his wife died. Only Will kicked her out of the funeral when his Mother-in-Law became inconsolable at the picture of Nick and Jayne in a misconstrued consoling embrace. Jayne isn’t really sure where she now stands, but the moment Nick sees her, it’s like their 6 year absence never happened.

Jayne is back in town to take over the Bookstore her estranged grandmother left for her. She finds the store and the apartment above in deplorable condition, a sure candidate for the Hoarders television show.

The story revolves around Jayne and Nick’s ultimate realization that they really should be more than friends even though they keep denying it to everyone who asks them. I love the real portrayal of an opposite sex best friendship. I had one and the story really felt honest in the way you need to handle people’s constant questioning of your motives.

I really enjoyed this story and would recommend it for those of you looking for a fluffy, sweet friend to lover kind of story.

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Nose in a Book Reviews: Heating up the Holidays

Better late, than never, right?

Heating Up the Holidays 3-Story BundleHeating Up the Holidays 3-Story Bundle by Lisa Renee Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a nice little holiday read with three very different stories.

Genre:  Holiday Romance

 

Play With Me by Lisa Renee Jones

2 and a half stars

This story was the cliched story about a boss falling in love with his assistant. I found the story to be extremely rushed and the circumstances were just really predictable and almost felt like fan fiction for the way the plot moved. You know, down on her luck woman gets a job with the very difficult to work for hunky boss and they both have crazy chemistry right off the bat. This makes hunky boss suddenly very protective and crazy. The professional implications of this affair is not even handled, which pisses me off a bit. So what if we can both get sued and fired… lets keep seeing each other. Yeah… been there, read that. All in all, just average for me.

Snowfall by Mary Ann Rivers

4-and-one-half-star-rating

Just like Mary Ann’s previous Novella, The Story Guy, I absolutely loved this story. The story does follow a similar plot device as the Story Guy, and while you could see where the story was going, I still enjoyed it immensely. Jenny is slowly loosing her eye sight and has been having erotic online chats with a stranger she only knows as ‘C’. After her last Doctor’s appointment she is told to try working with a therapist to help her deal with her approaching blindness. Through the push and pull of not wanting to accept her disability, nor the man who’s making her fight to deal with it, they find love.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I really enjoyed this story and the lovely prose that only Mary Ann Rivers can provide.

After Midnight by Serena Bell

4star
This story took a long time for me to get in to, but once I did I really enjoyed it.

This is a Meet on New Year’s Eve sort of story – a little bit like cinderella, Nora and Miles have an instant connection as a friend of a friend’s party. The only problem is that Miles has to make a quick exit to avoid an altercation with a man much bigger than he was.

The pair each seem to think they’ll never see each other again, especially since Miles lives in Ohio and when he left the party they hadn’t exchanged names. With the help of their friends, Nora finds Miles and calls him up a year later. They exchange calls and enjoy each other just as much as they had when they first met. When they finally do come together, it really helped the story move along.

Out of the three stories in this book, skip the first and check out the last two. You won’t be sorry.

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Nose in a Book Reviews: Naughty & Nice

Naughty and Nice: Three Holiday TreatsNaughty and Nice: Three Holiday Treats by Ruthie Knox

My rating: 3 1/2 of 5 stars

Genre: Romance/Holiday

3 1/2 stars for the entire book. Individual ratings below.

I picked up this Arc primarily for the Ruthie Knox story that was included.

Room at the Inn
4 stars

4star

In true Ruthie Knox form, I was not disappointed by this short novella.
The story revolves around old flames, Carson Vance, the guy who just couldn’t wait to get out of Potter Falls and if he does visit, it’s never for long. Then there’s Julie Long, Carson’s old college flame who he brought back home with him one year and she ends up never leaving. She falls in love with the small tight-knit community and after realizing Carson will never stay, they break up. Eventually she opens up B&B in the small town and joins just about every committee and town organization there is to join, making her one of the town’s favorite residents.

Carson has to come back to tend to his ailing father, who has turned his old childhood home into an episode of Hoarders. Unable to sleep on the couch any longer, Carson is forced to seek a bed at the one place he never thought he’d stay, Julie’s inn. Reluctantly Julie allows him to stay, and he helps her fix up the necessary repairs prior to the Christmas tourist rush. In the process, the pair begins to work through their past issues with a little help from some family and friends.

The story brought tears to my eyes. It is about what happens when all the dreams you thought you had end up not being what you really want at all. Sometimes it is the small accomplishments that are more fulfilling than the grandiose ones. And every now and then, you really can come home.

All I Want For Christmas Is You
2 ½ stars

2 and a half stars
This one was a tale about teenage love. How family will be there in the end, and that sometimes love does conquer all. The story was really quite short and felt incomplete in the end.

One Perfect Christmas
3 stars

Three-star-rating
This was a historical romance about Jane, a woman who needs to become betrothed in order to save her family. Lucas, the handsome boy next door has loved Jane for a long time, but doesn’t think he is a worthy candidate for her husband. When Jane’s seemingly perfect match comes a courting, Lucas believes all is lost. Sometimes it takes a little jealousy to ignite the flames of love.

A cute, quick read.

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