Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sophie Pembroke Romance Novels




Room for Love
Room for Love
My rating:         Romance
Source: Publisher (via Netgalley)

Carrie has many happy childhood memories of holidays spent at her grandmother's hotel, so when she inherits the Avalon Inn, it feels like the perfect opportunity to escape from a soul-destroying job and take charge of her own life. Unfortunately, the Inn needs a lot of work, and realising Carrie's dreams will take money she doesn't have. A wedding booking from her cousin could be the saving grace, but only if she can cope with the more difficult members of her family for long enough to cash the deposit cheque.

Meanwhile, gorgeous gardener Nate is only trying to help... but help is the one thing Carrie is sure she doesn't want. Not from him, or from anyone. She's surrounded by a cast of sometimes-incompetent friends, worryingly able foes, and all the everyday demands of a struggling small business... but it's Carrie's personal struggle to accept friendship, love, and assistance which lies at the heart of this book. A very sweet story which I really loved; I finished it in no time.

A-z of Love
An A to Z of Love
My rating:         Romance
Source: Publisher (via Netgalley)

Mia was devastated when her father ran off with his mistress, so she's not impressed when he writes to her out of the blue. In fact, she's determined not to open his letters. She'd much rather ignore the issue, preferring to spend her time hanging out with best friend Charlie: taking walks on the beach, eating at his restaurant, and catching a midnight movie at the crumbling local cinema.

Then Charlie's glossy ex turns up in town, with her slick business partner and a plan to turn Aberarian into a casino resort. The townsfolk are tempted, but Mia wants desperately to keep the cinema and surrounding shops as they are. If they're going to save the town, though, they're going to need to bring in enough tourists to revive the flagging economy. Mia volunteers to take on the organisation of Aberarian's annual fish festival... but while she's got plenty of good business ideas, she can't think of any way to stop Charlie going back to Becky. But that's okay, she tells herself, because they're just really good friends. Honest.

Mia and Charlie are just adorable as they negotiate the choppy waters of their friendship, along with the challenges of putting their town back on the map. A sweet summer read.

Summer of Love
Summer of Love
My rating:         Romance
Source: Publisher (via Netgalley)

Lily's engaged, but she's in no rush to get married, even if everyone else is doing it. In fact, the more fiancé Edward tries to hurry her towards the altar, the less she's sure that she wants to marry him at all. Ever. Her jewellery workshop is her only sanctuary from her conflicted emotions, but even that feels less safe since the intriguing Alex moved in to the studio across the hall.

Alex has just come back from London, and although Lily catches his attention, he'd never do anything to interfere with her engagement. Besides, he's focused on setting up a new photography business. As Lily encourages him to grasp his dreams, though, and he supports her in return, they start to get close. The only question is how they can ever make a relationship work, when Lily is terrified of commitment, and Alex came home hoping to settle down for good.

A light, summery read full of optimism, which races towards the inevitable happy ending.

The Kiss Before Christmas
The Kiss Before Christmas
My rating:         Romance
Source: Publisher (via Netgalley)

This is a beautiful festive novella which I devoured in one sitting.

Dory is a British woman in New York who wants nothing more than to go home to her family for Christmas. Unfortunately, life isn't quite going to plan, and her budget won't stretch to a ticket - so when her boss offers to send her home for new year, just as long as she pretends to be his girlfriend for Christmas... well, she's had worse offers. But she didn't count on Lucas, Tyler's older brother, who's not only drop-dead gorgeous but immediately realises that something isn't quite right.

I loved Lucas from the first moment he sticks up for Dory against his altogether unbearable parents, and watching them get to know one another was pure pleasure. Meanwhile, Tyler was suitably clueless and infuriating, while remaining plausible in his reactions to the unfolding situation.

All in all, a perfect romance for Christmas.

The Kiss Before Midnight
The Kiss Before Midnight
My rating:         Romance
Source: Publisher (via Netgalley)

Another charming Christmas novella from Sophie Pembroke, which follows on from Dory's tale in The Kiss Before Christmas.

During the past year Molly has moved to London, got herself a new job, and almost managed to forget about the unexpected kiss she shared last New Year with childhood friend Jake. But going home for Christmas brings back all those memories, as well as casting her back into the role of immature younger sister to Dory and Tim.

Jake has a few issues of his own, not least the fact that he hasn't stopped thinking about Molly since their first (and last) kiss was interrupted. But Jake has been borrowing Molly's family since his own parents died, and as much as he's attracted to her, he's not sure he can risk losing everyone that cares about him.

Beautifully written, this is a quick read that's perfect winter fare.

Looking for more Christmas reads? I'm keeping a list (and checking it twice) of all the seasonal books that I've reviewed.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Review: Christmas in Snow Valley



Christmas in Snow Valley
Christmas in Snow Valley
Short Stories by Various Authors
My rating:         Romance
Source: Publisher (via blog tour)

Christmas in Snow Valley is a set of sweet, Christmassy romances set in the Montana town of Snow Valley. The collection delivers exactly what it promises: lightweight reading for the Christmas season.

The best thing about this collection is the way the stories are linked together - not just by a common setting, but the authors have clearly taken some trouble to give the characters a common backstory, and there are even a few little cameos between tales.

Here's an overview of the stories in the collection (from the cover) :

An Unexpected Kiss by Cindy Roland Anderson
Lucy Phillips doesn’t want to spend her Christmas vacation dodging her ex-boyfriend, so when he turns up at the airport to give her a ride home, Lucy panics and asks a complete stranger to kiss her. Although the kiss is incredible, Lucy never expects to see the guy again. Is it bad luck or destiny when Lucy comes down with a sore throat and the new doctor in Snow Valley is none other than the guy she kissed at the airport?

Feels Like Love by Jeanette Lewis
Christmas in Snow Valley is the perfect way for April Winston to introduce her city slicker fiancĂ©, Scott Mecham, to life on a farm. If only Wade Hadley, hometown boy and high school sweetheart, will cooperate! But Wade has no intention of letting April go without a fight. This Christmas, Wade is determined to overcome their painful past and show April that she already has what she’s been seeking all along.

Full Court Devotion by Cami Checketts
Kazlyn is too busy with her schooling and future plans to enjoy life, let alone fall in love with a man who has heartbreak written all over him. Tyrese Hamilton, a college basketball star and major heartthrob, is intrigued when Kazlyn doesn’t pursue him or even seem interested. Ty’s career is in jeopardy, and he needs a miracle and Kazlyn to save him.

The Christmas Eve Kiss by Taylor Hart
When Molly O’Hare gets a prediction that she will kiss her true love on Christmas Eve, she thinks it’s utterly ridiculous. But when she gets teamed up with Kevin Snow, aka her ex-boyfriend, to decorate a Christmas tree, things start to change. Too bad getting over the past is hard and seeing him kiss another girl is even harder. Now Molly is left with a choice—run away from home and heartbreak or let Christmas work out a miracle all of its own.

Risking it all for Love by Kimberley Montpetit
Succumbing to family pressure, Jessica Mason reluctantly comes home for Christmas. Ever since her high school boyfriend’s death from a car accident three years earlier, Jessica and religion have not been compatible. So, when she visits Michael’s grave, she’s surprised to meet the handsome James Douglas, Pastor John’s nephew, who’s studying for the ministry. James can not only dish back Jessica’s finely-tuned sarcasm but understands grief all too well, turning Jessica’s world upside down. Is she ready to take another risk on love?

Blue Christmas by Lucy McConnell
As head of Snow Valley hospital’s fundraising effort, Paisley Hackett barely has time to organize the craft show, cookie decorating party, and the annual Christmas Ball. What she doesn’t have time for is falling in love with Clay Jett, the incredibly handsome bass player who sweeps into town. She’s been burned by a tourist romance before and, with everything going on, Paisley will have to work overtime to protect her heart from Clay and his swoon-worthy ballads.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Threats of Sky and Sea by Jennifer Ellision



Threats of Sky and Sea
Threats of Sky and Sea by Jennifer Ellision
My rating:         Fantasy
Source: Publisher (via Netgalley)

Bree lives with her father in an unassuming country inn, far from the politics of Egria and the machinations of the royal court. Such things have nothing to do with her: her skills involve watering down beer and fending off drunken advances. So although she knows it's trouble when she happens upon a small group of elementals in the woods, she doesn't imagine that her life is about to change beyond recognition.

Elementals can call on the powers of an element, but whichever of the four talents you have, your fate is the same: the king commands you to join his army, to assist him in conquering the world. So far as I can tell, this is all he has ever cared about.

Bree is a great character, really down-to-earth, and so it's a shock to her when it turns out her father is a nobleman in hiding. Their journey back to the king's palace takes a substantial portion of the book, but once they're there, she manages to make some solid friends as well as the inevitable enemies. Caden, the crown prince, is much nicer than his father, but in a pleasing diversion from tradition the spark of attraction between him and Bree is kept to a minimum, as they're both preoccupied with loftier goals.

A solid start to a very promising series.