Married by Midnight

Married by MidnightTitle: Married by Midnight
Author: Talli Roland
Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction, Love & Romance
Pages: 44
Published by Notting Hill Press on 2014-11-05
ASIN: B00O4DR8CC
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited

FTC Disclosure: Regardless of how I received this book, this is an honest review based on my own opinions. Read my full disclosure here.

 
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From the back cover...

While choosing a vintage dress for her Christmas Eve wedding, Kate finds a cryptic note pinned to the inside of a 1930s gown. As doubts about her own ceremony loom, Kate is determined to track down the dress' owner and determine what became of her - and the marriage.

Will Kate find the answers she's seeking to propel her down the aisle, or will her discovery prompt her to call off the wedding for good?

My Review

Married by Midnight is a cute Christmas novella with a surprise twist that totally changed the story!  This is a short read, but one that is funny and heart-warming and full of love.

Kate is the main character, crazy in the last days of wedding planning before the big day.  It’s been a bit of a whirlwind romance and now the wedding is just days away.  She and her mother are quirky, doing everything by the… stars!  Signs and portents are the name of the game for them, but are they pointing to what Kate thinks they are?

This is a romantic story that is both beautiful and bittersweet in more than one way.  But I love, love, love the twist that made this story magical.

Things to love…

  • The twist.  A beautiful twist that warmed my soul!

My Recommendation

This is a really sweet love story, a story about following your heart.  It’s about understanding and believing in love, even when things don’t go as you might have planned.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4

About Talli Roland

Talli Roland writes fun, romantic fiction. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine).

Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories–complete with happy endings. Talli’s debut novel The Hating Game was short-listed for Best Romantic Read at the UK’s Festival of Romance, while her second, Watching Willow Watts, was selected as an Amazon Customer Favourite. Her novels have also been chosen as top books of the year by industry review websites and have been bestsellers in Britain and the United States.

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Delirium

DeliriumTitle: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #1
Genre(s): Dystopian Fiction, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 401
Published by Harper Collins on 2012-02-07
ISBN: 978-0061726835
ASIN: B00A9V2JSG
Format: eBook
Source: personal purchase

FTC Disclosure: Regardless of how I received this book, this is an honest review based on my own opinions. Read my full disclosure here.

 
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From the back cover...

Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.

My Review

Why did I wait so long to start reading this amazing series?!  I love the premise of this story, that love is not only the root of all that is wrong with the world, but a disease in and of itself.  The implications are terrifying, the thought processes and sheer control of the government in their attempt to subdue basic human emotions in the name of social order.

I love, love, love dystopian fiction.  Every dystopia is the result of an attempt at Utopia, an attempt that goes horribly wrong.  It is chilling to see different aspects of our own world seen in a different way, seen by the new society as the root of all problems.  These novels make you think, make you question your values, your beliefs, your priorites.   They make you ask what price you are willing to pay for a “better” world?  And is what you’re striving for really what you want?

In this one, it is love that is the root of all that is wrong with the world, a basic human emotion that is wiped out in the name of peaceful society, with often horrific results.  It is interesting that this is a society based on social order and science, and yet so much of what is done to the citizens is barbaric.  Every aspect of life is controlled.  Every social norm, every law… all in place because of the views on the destructive nature of love.  It is terrifying.

Lena is a fantastic heroine, spending her life believing in the society’s views on love and life.  She yearns for her turn to be cured, wanting nothing more than to be assured of her safety and future.  Her best friend Hana is the wild child, flying in the face of the rules.  Lena’s transformation is slow, caught between her fear of deliria and the overwhelming feeling that there just might be something more.  But she isn’t Hana.  She is a bit timid, and has her own baggage to add to her fear.  But then she meets Alex and he opens her eyes to the world she lives in.  Everything she thought she knew about her life, her past, and her future flips and nothing will ever be the same for her again.

The ending.  Oh, the ending.  I am still having a hard time dealing with it and I am almost done with the second book as I am writing this.  And that is all I am going to say about that!

Things to love…

  • Lena.  She wasn’t a cookie cutter heroine.  When we meet her, she is a bit timid, fully in line with the social order.  Her transformation is slow and considered and I liked that.
  • Hana.  She’s a contradiction, seemingly everything Lena is not.  Brave, fearless, rebellious.  Yet, in the end, it is Lena that risks everything, not Hana.
  • Alex.  There is so much more to him than just a love interest.  He is deep and represents everything that should be in their world.

My Recommendation

This is a fantastic dystopian read, with a chilling premise!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4.8

About Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver comes from a family of writers and so has always (mistakenly) believed that spending hours in front of the computer every day, mulling over the difference between “chortling” and “chuckling,” is normal. She has always been an avid reader.

She attended the University of Chicago, where she continued to be as impractical as possible by majoring in philosophy and literature. After college, she attended the MFA program at NYU and worked briefly as the world’s worst editorial assistant, and only marginally better assistant editor, at a major publishing house in New York. Her major career contributions during this time were flouting the corporate dress code at every possible turn and repeatedly breaking the printer. Before I Fall is her first published novel.

She is deeply grateful for the chance to continue writing, as she has never been particularly good at anything else.

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Ginger Krinkles

Ginger KrinklesTitle: Ginger Krinkles
Author: Dee DeTarsio
Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction, Holiday Fiction, Love & Romance
Pages: 105
Published by Just Publishing on 2014-10-21
ISBN: 978-0692278451
ASIN: B00OAN8H76
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited

FTC Disclosure: Regardless of how I received this book, this is an honest review based on my own opinions. Read my full disclosure here.

 
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From the back cover...

Ginger Krinkles

Ginger Krinkles is crossing her fingers that this holiday season will be extra special, for once. She lost her job in San Diego and dreads moving back home to Ennui, Ohio, where she’s convinced she will end up like her mean ol’ grandmother (God rest her soul). Ginger has always been a holiday-hater. But she has a secret. Make that two. If you buy the first one, maybe it will be easier to unwrap the second: either Ginger is an elf, or there really is magic to be found in an old cookie recipe.

My Review

Ginger Krinkles was at times hilarious and at other times sad, but all in all, I liked it a whole lot more than I thought I was going to.

Ginger Krinkles is the star of this book, a snarky holiday-hater that, at first, drove me nuts.  In the beginning, she came off as a bit of a shallow, rhymes-with-witch.  But as the book unfolds and you get to know her, it is easy to understand why she is the way she is.  She’s just a smart, frustrated, snarky kind of girl who has plenty of reasons to be annoyed by the holiday season.  And then I began to love her.

The book is short, but it is full of story.  There a lot of humor and quick wit, some of which is pretty twisted, even dark.  Thusly… right up my alley!  There are some moments where we see her as flawed as she is, moments when her big mouth and her bad attitude get her in trouble with her friends, her career, her family, and her relationships.  But those things make her vulnerable and I love that.

And Joe.  Oh, Joe.  Kind of a book boyfriend for me.  Tolerant and patient, but unwilling to take crap.  And a military man to boot.  That pretty much tied him up in a pretty red bow for me.

My Recommendation

This a book with heart, with humor, imperfect characters, and even a bit of sadness.  But all of those things are exactly what makes it a great holiday read!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4.6

About Dee DeTarsio

DEE DeTARSIO is a TV writer living in southern California. After growing up in Ennui, Ohio, and graduating from The Ohio State University she vowed never to be cold again (in a tantrum more worthy of Suellen than Scarlett) and ended up in Tucson, Arizona, producing the news for the CBS affiliate, oddly enough called KOLD-TV. She moved to San Diego where she worked in the SeaWorld entertainment department as a producer/writer. (Penguins are mean!) She then became a producer/writer for the NBC affiliate.

Dee is the author of hopefully-ever-after novels: ALL MY RESTLESS LIFE TO LIVE (Winner, 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards), HAOLE WOOD (Winner, San Diego Book Awards, and Finalist in Next Generation Indie Book Awards), THE SCENT OF JADE, THE KITCHEN SHRINK (both finalists in The San Diego Book and Writing Awards), ‘TIL SOMEBODY LOVES YOU, and ROS, (Kindle Bestseller).

Though her mother never beat her (that hard) and her father is not a celebrity, she suspects one of her four sisters is a vampire.

(She only goes back to visit Ohio for two days in early October because she is equally petrified of tornadoes and getting trapped in a snowstorm.)

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The Reluctant Elf

The Reluctant ElfTitle: The Reluctant Elf
Author: Michelle Gorman
Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction, Holiday Fiction, Love & Romance
Pages: 138
Published by Notting Hill Press on 2014-10-14
ISBN: 978-1502736253
ASIN: B00O2TKBAY
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited

FTC Disclosure: Regardless of how I received this book, this is an honest review based on my own opinions. Read my full disclosure here.

 
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From the back cover...

Meet Britain's Worst Innkeeper

Single mother and extremely undomestic goddess, Lottie, has five days to become the ultimate B&B hostess to save her beloved Aunt Kate’s livelihood.

When Aunt Kate ends up in the hospital, Lottie and her seven-year-old daughter are called to rural Wales to stand in at the B&B. Without the faintest idea how to run a hotel (she can barely run her own life), Lottie must impress the picky hotel reviewer and his dysfunctional family who are coming to stay over Christmas. Without the rating only he can bestow, Aunt Kate will lose her livelihood.

But will Danny, the local taxi driver who she hires to help her, really be Santa’s little helper, or the Grinch who stole Christmas?

My Review

I was looking for a short Christmas read with a good plot and this was it, yet I still had some mixed reactions.

Lottie definitely earns the title “Britain’s Worst Innkeeper,” although I don’t think that Aunt Kate would have won any awards in that area either.  When Aunt Kate is in an accident, Lottie and her daughter Mable head to Wales for the holidays a few days early.  When they get there, they discover that Kate is down for the count AND expecting important guests over the holidays.  And if those guests aren’t satisfied, it could mean the end of Kate’s career.  So Lottie and Mabel step in with help of an unepected ally to “save” the day.

I love the premise, however formulaic it might be, of a bad situation that must be overcome.  And Lottie and Mabel definitely walked into a mess.  It was a mess so awful that it actually made me sad rather than feel for Lottie’s dilemma.  It was the kind of mess that made you wonder about the mental state of poor Aunt Kate.  I think it was that situation that gave me pause, gave me mixed feelings about Lottie.  The complete lack of connection between reality and Kate was never really addressed.  Now I know that this is supposed to be a heartwarming, holiday story, which it was, but that seemed like a glaring issue to not address.

Mabel was adorable and funny as anything and I loved her!  Lottie, too, was funny, although I thought she was a bit too tempermental with Danny at times and not enough with some of her guests.  Danny was a great guy and I thought he was a fantastic romantic hero.

My Recommendation

This is a short read, but a good one to get you in the holiday mood!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4.1

About Michelle Gorman

I write romantic comedy, including SINGLE IN THE CITY (the first in The Expat Diaries series) and BELLA SUMMER TAKES A CHANCE. Born and raised in the US, I lost my heart to London 16 years ago, where I’ve lived ever since. I’ve also turned my hand to upmarket commercial fiction under the pen name Jamie Scott.

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Blood Magick

Blood MagickTitle: Blood Magick
Author: Nora Roberts
Series: The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy #3
Also in this series: Dark Witch, Shadow Spell
Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy & Magic, Historical Fiction, Love & Romance
Pages: 337
Published by Berkley on 2014-10-28
ISBN: 978-0425259870
ASIN: B00INIXJ36
Format: eBook
Source: personal purchase

FTC Disclosure: Regardless of how I received this book, this is an honest review based on my own opinions. Read my full disclosure here.

 
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From the back cover...

County Mayo is rich in the traditions of Ireland, legends that Branna O’Dwyer fully embraces in her life and in her work as the proprietor of The Dark Witch shop, which carries soaps, lotions, and candles for tourists, made with Branna’s special touch.

Branna’s strength and selflessness hold together a close circle of friends and family—along with their horses and hawks and her beloved hound. But there’s a single missing link in the chain of her life: love…

She had it once—for a moment—with Finbar Burke, but a shared future is forbidden by history and blood. Which is why Fin has spent his life traveling the world to fill the abyss left in him by Branna, focusing on work rather than passion.

Branna and Fin’s relationship offers them both comfort and torment. And though they succumb to the heat between them, there can be no promises for tomorrow. A storm of shadows threatens everything that their circle holds dear. It will be Fin’s power, loyalty, and heart that will make all the difference in an age-old battle between the bonds that hold their friends together and the evil that has haunted their families for centuries.

My Review

I love Nora Roberts and I have loved this series.  The characters are rich and interesting.  The story line was engrossing, the epic battle between good and evil that has been going on for centuries.  But this last book disappointedd me a bit, which is not something I expected.

The story of the battle, of magic, and of the intrigue was just as engrossing in this nove as the previous two.  It was the romance, I think, that suffered in this book, as well as the individual stories of Branna and Fin.  In each of the first two books, we really got to know the two central characters, both as a couple and individually.  We watched them grow and change.  There wasn’t a lot of that in this book.  Branna spent most of it pushing Fin away if it started to get too emotionally charged.  He was completely seondary to her story right up until the end.

The ending, too, felt a bit anticlimatic.  There was such build-up and then it was over almost before it began.  It is not like Nora Roberts to end a series like that, rushed and a bit flat.

My Recommendation

It wasn’t a bad book.  It just wasn’t as rich as most of Nora Robert’s novels.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 3.6

About Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, the youngest of five children. After a school career that included some time in Catholic school and the discipline of nuns, she married young and settled in Keedysville, Maryland.
She worked briefly as a legal secretary. “I could type fast but couldn’t spell, I was the worst legal secretary ever,” she says now. After her sons were born she stayed home and tried every craft that came along. A blizzard in February 1979 forced her hand to try another creative outlet. She was snowed in with a three and six year old with no kindergarten respite in sight and a dwindling supply of chocolate.
Born into a family of readers, Nora had never known a time that she wasn’t reading or making up stories. During the now-famous blizzard, she pulled out a pencil and notebook and began to write down one of those stories. It was there that a career was born. Several manuscripts and rejections later, her first book, Irish Thoroughbred, was published by Silhouette in 1981.
Nora met her second husband, Bruce Wilder, when she hired him to build bookshelves. They were married in July 1985. Since that time, they’ve expanded their home, traveled the world and opened a bookstore together.
Through the years, Nora has always been surrounded by men. Not only was she the youngest in her family, but she was also the only girl. She has raised two sons. Having spent her life surrounded by men, Ms. Roberts has a fairly good view of the workings of the male mind, which is a constant delight to her readers. It was, she’s been quoted as saying, a choice between figuring men out or running away screaming.
Nora is a member of several writers groups and has won countless awards from her colleagues and the publishing industry. Recently The New Yorker called her “America’s favorite novelist.”

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