Review: One Snowy Night (Book 2.5)

One Snowy Night - Jill ShalvisTitle: One Snowy Night | Book 2.5 Heartbreaker Bay Series
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Genre: Fiction | Romance | Contemporary
Synopsis from Impulse

Review: Jill Shalvis’ books are my go-to whenever I need a book that is upbeat, heartwarming and sexually charged – she never disappoints!

One Snowy Night, a holiday novella, is a quick and tidy fun page-turner from Jill’s Heartbreaker Bay Series, which I utterly and completely adore.  Jill’s leading characters are always strong, charming and of course sexy which makes the chemistry undeniable.

Twenty-somethings Rory and Max (and Max’s dog, Carl) are stuck in a blizzard in Max’s truck en route to Lake Tahoe on Christmas Eve.  Rory hasn’t seen her family since she was a teenager and the only ride available from San Francisco is with Max, the guy she’s had a crush on since high school.  Max has had his eye on Rory also, bringing Carl into the grooming shop she works at a little too regularly.  Naturally the ride starts off awkward but once the cute and sometimes funny banter begins sparks fly and what better way to kick off their romance than cozying up in Max’s truck.

This is a cute holiday-themed story that any contemporary romance reader will enjoy.

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Review: The Kiss Quotient (Book 1)

The Kiss Quotient - Helen HoangTitle: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Contemporary Romance
Synopsis from Berkley
Free copy provided by PRHC

Review: This book right here is exactly why I love and adore contemporary romance novels and am officially declaring it my favorite sub-genre to read!  The Kiss Quotient is witty, charming and oh so sexy – trust me when I say it will leave you breathless and your heart fluttering.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a book written about an autistic woman seeking romance but Hoang’s brilliant depiction of Stella had me gushing in adoration for her.  This is an amazing debut (and series!) that transforms the recurring fake relationship theme and injects it with autism disorder and biracial ethnicity into a fresh and modern retake.

Stella is a smart, successful and generously compensated econometrician (Google it!).  She is shy, reserved, thrives on order and routine, and has Asperger’s which makes social interactions awkward, especially relationships.  Michael is a drop-dead gorgeous Vietnamese-Swedish escort brimming with talent, confidence and charm.  He has put his fashion design career on hold to care for his sick mother and escorting, though not his choice of profession, is temporarily paying the bills.  

Stella hires Michael to teach her how to be in a relationship and have good sex complete with a comprehensive checklist from French kissing to more than missionary-style sex.  The chemistry between them is unmistakable and Michael is careful to take it at Stella’s pace.  Michael delivers more than great sex.  His ability to see past Stella’s autism and genuinely understand her and ease her anxiety elevates him to top-notch boyfriend status.  The growing love between them is inevitable but their insecurities get in the way.  With a cast of unique characters, Hoang brilliantly stifles any stereotypes and judgments which is refreshing.

This is a delightful, sexy, heartfelt, complex, emotional, educational (dare I say more?!) story that had me rooting for Stella and Michael from the get-go!  If you loved The Wedding Date then you will love The Kiss Quotient also.

Review: In the Grip of It

In the Grip of It - Sheena KamalTitle: In the Grip of It
Author: Sheena Kamal
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Thriller | Suspense
Synopsis from Witness Impulse
Book provided by Edelweiss & HarperCollins

Review: Nora Watts returns in the novella, IN THE GRIP OF IT, on assignment to surveil a boy in a child custody case on Salt Spring Island.  Cheyenne has taken her son, Trevor from Vancouver to the island’s Spring Love yoga retreat but her ex-husband, Ken is convinced there are more sinister activities taking place in the commune.

Nora joins Spring Love run by Vikram and Wanda, to investigate what is happening on the inside.  The islands typical welcoming community does not extend to the commune and Vikram and Wanda are suspicious of Nora from the get-go and the intensity builds as they take measures to oust her once and for all.  But Nora’s connection to Trevor reminds her of the daughter she never got to know and she vows to get him back home safely with his father.

This story lacks the same intensity Kamal delivered in her suspenseful debut, The Lost Ones, and I’m not entirely sure how this novella fits into the series, but I’m committed to it and will read It All Falls Down, which releases this summer.

Review: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold

 

Kitty Hawk - Iain Reading ReviewTitle: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold | Book 1 Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency
Author: Iain Reading
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Publication Date: December 3, 2012
Genre: Fiction | Adventure | Middle Grade | Young Adult | Mystery
Synopsis from Amazon

Thank you to Book Publicity Services for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the perfect blend of adventure, mystery, and history – from Kitty being kidnapped chasing down gold thieves, immersed in the rich history of the Yukon (Klondike) Gold Rush, to climbing the summit of Chilkoot Pass – I was hooked from the get-go! The storyline resonated with me because I live in British Columbia and have a keen interest in the Alaskan wilderness and a longtime love of whales dating back to my childhood dreams of becoming a marine biologist.

The story begins with a double prologue, one of which has nothing to do with the story but may tie in to other books in the series… Kitty is a passionate seaplane pilot who wants to spend her summer in Alaska studying the migration route of humpback whales between her hometown of Tofino, British Columbia and Juneau, Alaska. She reaches out to a local travel clothing company for sponsorship. Dreams do come true and Kitty packs up her De Havilland Beaver and flies to Juneau to stay with her best friend’s relatives. Kitty spends her days soaring above the water photographing the whales and gathering data to share in a joint venture with a couple of universities. Her curiosity gets the better of her when she deliberately stumbles upon a group of gold thieves who take her hostage. There is a crescendo of amazing plot twists that lead to an unexpected alliance and friendship that makes this story so likeable.

Kitty brings a fresh and contemporary verve to the middle grade and young adult genres where girls are often portrayed as anxiety ridden products from broken families and overbearing parents. Kitty is unabashed, ambitious, and sharp – she’s the whole delightful, charming package!

Every young girl should have a fictional character she aspires to be one day and Kitty Hawk is it! This book is appropriate for all ages and I cannot wait to read Book 2, Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost!

Review: The Brutal Telling


The Brutal Telling - Louise Penny ReviewTitle:
The Brutal Telling | Book 5 Inspector Gamache Series
Author: Louise Penny
Publisher: Minotaur
Publication Date: September 22, 2009
Genre: Fiction | Mystery
Synopsis from Minotaur

Review: Welcome back to the remote village of Three Pines. A place you stumble upon accidentally. A quaint and charming village brimming with eccentric folks with a penchant for attracting murder.

The Brutal Telling is the pivotal book in the Inspector Gamache series. Penny sets aside her gentler and drawn out mystery that I grew accustomed to in the previous four books. She severs the coziness of Three Pines and instills a hard edge leaving me pondering its future when Gamache arrests one of Three Pines beloved. And I loved it! Up to this point the series was inching towards blandness but Penny quickly thwarted the hum-drums.

The murder trail leads Gamache to the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii) to meet with indigenous people’s and investigate totem poles. The plot is infused in rich detail and cultural inspiration and I was drawn to the references of Emily Carr’s paintings about vanishing indigenous cultures in British Columbia.