BOOK REVIEW: The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson.

This review is going to focus on The Dating Charade, written by Melissa Ferguson. I received an eArc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cassie Everson’s story is an interesting one, and one I feel isn’t written very often. Though the trope of not wanting kids, and ending up with kids is done, but not normally to this scale.

Cassie has had a lot of bad dates. So many that she decides to delete her online dating profile. But not before Jett sees her profile and remembers his childhood crush on her. Jett’s charms, with the help of Cassie’s best friend, seem to be succeeding at winning the girl. Until each feels they need to keep as secret from the other.

Cassie is the director of the Haven, a program to help at risk girls. Her favorite teen is Star, who has two young sisters. After her first magical date with Jett, Cassie become aware of the abuse and neglect Star and her sisters have been hiding as she sees the police and child protective services at their apartment. She takes temporary custody of the girls while waiting to hear if there is a family member able to take them in.

Meanwhile, Jett’s sister surprises him by stopping by with his twin nephew and niece, and surprise, a newborn nephew, TJ before leaving them there with their young uncle. Jett struggles to figure out raising a newborn and two toddlers with the help of his roommate Sunny and their neighbor Sarah.

The problem is, Cassie and Jett are both thoroughly aware that each other’s dating profiles stated that the other does not want children. Afraid of scaring off the other, they try to hide the children from each other coming up with lame excuses as to why they need to cancel or cut dates short.

Though I found both lead characters admirable, I became fed up with how long they kept the truth from each other. There is more drama to this book than romance. It was an enjoyable read, but not what I was expecting, nor what I was quite looking for in a read.

I think those interested in romantic comedies, blended families, and hot firefighters would find this book worth reading 😉 It was released on December 3, 2019, so find a copy and pick up this debut by Melissa Ferguson.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron.

This review is going to take a look into the world of historical fiction and castles. The Painted Castle is the third and final novel in Kristy Cambron’s Lost Castle series. I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It was published October 15th and I highly recommend readers pick up a copy.

Kiera Foley had been working on a PhD in Art History when she was ostracized from the art world. She retreated back to Dublin and we find her working in the family pub when a dark and mysterious man shows up and makes her an offer. Little does she know, it’s an offer that she can’t refuse. She arrives in the English countryside and is delivered to a rundown manor housing a painting of Queen Victoria the she must study for authenticity.

This book tells the story of the manor and those that lived there in three different points in history. The life of the viscount and artists in the 1840s, the widow of the viscount and a base full of soldiers during World War II, and that of Keira in modern day, as they work to restore the honey cottage and beautiful library that was found bricked up on the premises.

Cambron does an outstanding job of using the three couples’ stories to create the big picture of one place throughout time. And although this book is categorized as Christian fiction, it is not as heavily based on the Christian faith as some. I think those that love to get lost in the English countryside and read about art would thoroughly enjoy this book. I will definitely be going back to read the first two books in the trilogy to learn more about Keira’s mysterious brothers.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell.

I recently finished reading Songs from the Deep, a debut Young Adult novel written by Kelly Powell. It was a book I selected for the leisure reading collection at the academic library I work at and I was looking for something to read over our holiday break. Songs from the Deep did not disappoint.

Songs from the Deep takes place on the island of Twillengyle which has sirens off its shores. The story centers on Moira Alexander a 17-year-old who follows in her late father’s footsteps in playing the violin, and advocating for the safety of the sirens. It also follows her former best friend, 19-year-old lighthouse keeper Jude Osric. Their father’s were best friends and they grew up very close, until Moira’s father dies and she finds something in his belongings.

Once upon a time the islanders hunted the sirens. But Moira’s father helped create a ban on hunting the creatures and they haven coexisted in an uneasy way since. Many islanders have lost loved ones to the sirens, and still occasionally islanders are injured. However, most deaths come at the expense of tourists who don’t know how to best protect themselves with a piece of cold iron.

But now, a 12-year-old islander is dead, and the sirens have been blamed, but Moira doesn’t by it. She knows how sirens attack, and the cut across Connor’s throat is too clean to be made by teeth and claws. Moira and Jude reunite in order to find the true killer, while trying to protect the sirens from harm by the islanders.

I thought this book was an interesting twist on the typical murder mystery that is ever so popular in books today. The characters were believable with real problems that were handled mostly realistically. It was a good departure from reality and had me wishing sirens were real. Here’s hoping Powell’s next novel is just as good.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Unmanageable by Lavinia Kent

This review is going to focus on Unmanageable by Lavinia Kent. This is the second book in her Forbidden Cove series. I received an eARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The main character of this title is lawyer Veronica Andersen. She lives in Forbidden Cove and commutes daily to the city. Sometimes it’s hard for her to get back home with work events at night, which makes it hard for her to care for her dog she got from her brother after he passed away in a car accident. She’s hired a neighbor to walk her dog when she needs it.

But when she opens the door she doesn’t find the older woman she’s expecting. She finds the woman’s nephew, the sexy Brian Walsh. The two feel an immediate connection, and after an initial hook-up Veronica invites him to be her date to her sister’s wedding.

The two insist they don’t want anything serious, and Veronica doesn’t take the time to get to know Brian. She even judges him for his current lifestyle of being a dog walker and doing sunset yoga on the beach.

But what she doesn’t know is that he was a star goalie in the NHL until a recent injury ended his career. Eventually the two can’t be kept apart and they work on their differences and learn about each other.

This was a fun, interesting read, and I will definitely be picking up other titles in this series.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Husband Material by Emily Belden

This review will take a look at the book Husband Material by Emily Belden. I received an eARC of this romance through NetGalley. It’s release date is December 30, 2019, and I encourage romance fans to pick it up once it is released since I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Belden’s charming story Husband Material centers on Charlotte Rosen, a 29-year-old with a secret she has worked hard to keep from literally everyone in her life. She works in data and risk analysis, and surrounded herself with learning to avoid her past. Other than her cute dog, and weekly phone calls with her mom, Charlotte has also effectively removed all contact with people in her past life from her life.

But life has a way of giving you lemons when you least want to deal with them. An unexpected package brings Charlotte crashing into her past and reeling about how to deal with its contents five years after tragedy struck. This brings her back in touch with friends and family she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years, and stirs to life past emotions that Charlotte needs to handle.

Can Charlotte learn to forgive those from her past, and move forward in life? I found this romance had so many layers to it than just your typical romance normally has. Charlotte must deal with grief, loss, love, and forgiveness, while chasing a future of happiness. It was a touching read, so I hope you’ll grab a box of tissues and read a copy of Husband Material by Emily Belden.

Happy Reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han.

This is the third book by Jenny Han in her To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, and it’s titled Always and Forever, Lara Jean. This part of the story takes a look at LJ’s senior year and what her future in college may look like.

In this plot line we know that Peter won Lara Jean’s heart, and not John Ambrose at the end of the second book. It is now senior year and there are so many activities happening all at once. This includes a class trip to New York City (seriously?!), prom, Beach Week after graduation (again…seriously!?), and we can’t forget her father’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. On top of all of this though, is applying for college and of course, picking a school.

What could possibly go wrong!?

Well, for starters, Margot can’t stand Ms. Rothschild, and she’s pretty vocal about it. She got used to filling their mom’s shoes and taking care of everyone after their mom passed away, and even though she’s away at college, she doesn’t like the idea of another woman filling those roles.

Lara Jean being the anxious over thinker that she is doesn’t let her senior year with Peter go smoothly. Constantly trying to figure out how things could go wrong, they do, as she starts fights that don’t necessarily need to be there. I remember constantly thinking–USE YOUR WORDS and talk to each other instead of thinking about your side only.

The major drama occurring in this installment is that of what college to attend, and will she go to the same school as Peter? Peter has a full ride lacrosse scholarship to the University of Virginia (UVA). The original plan is that they will attend there together, but then Lara Jean receives word that she’s no longer on the wait list for the University of North Carolina (UNC), and has now been accepted.

Where will Lara Jean decide to go? And what will that mean for her relationship with Peter? Could it be something that one last contract would solve?

I enjoyed this book, and the entire trilogy very much. This story was a very fitting, and thoughtful ending to Lara Jean’s story. I hope you all enjoy it too!

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han.

This review is going to take a look at the second installment in Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series; P.S. I Still Love You. Netflix just released the trailer for its sequel adaptation.

In this second book, Lara Jean realizes that she has fallen for Peter. The plot points at the beginning of this book take place in the first film. It begins with the viral posting of Lara Jean in the hot tub with Peter. Lara Jean feels insecure by the rumors that start flying around school and decides to stay away from Peter despite her feelings for him.

When Margot is preparing to return to college after her holiday break, she suggests that Lara Jean get a job to fill her time so that she can get over Peter. Lara Jean begins volunteering at Belleview, the local retirement home. At Belleview she meets a feisty old lady named Stormy who teaches LJ about life.

Lara Jean’s little sister, Kitty, who was just a baby when their mother passed away spends a good portion of this book trying to set up their father with their neighbor Trina.

Unlike in the film, by the end of the first book she hasn’t gotten a surprise visit from the last person she sent a letter to: John Ambrose McClaren. In the book he writes back to her and the two become pen pals. She invites him to a party of all of their old friends group from middle school when she learns that the neighborhood treehouse that they used to hang out in will be torn down. The group also decides to play a game of Assassins.

While Peter and Lara Jean are trying to make each other jealous and fighting LJ gets to know John Ambrose again, and finds out that he is Stormy’s grandson. He begins to spend more time at the retirement home and LJ takes him out in the game of Assassins.

Lara Jean and Peter eventually talk about their problems and he confesses that Genevieve’s father is having an affair and she’s having a hard time with it. Peter tells LJ that he loves her.

I enjoyed reading this book, and it was yet another page turner. I can’t wait to review the third book!

Happy reading 🙂