Author: Christie Ridgway

Retro-Review: Must Love Mistletoe by Christie Ridgway

Posted December 6, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Retro-Review: Must Love Mistletoe by Christie RidgwayReviewer: Casee
Must Love Mistletoe (Holidays, #1) by Christie Ridgway
Series: Holidays #1
Published by Avon Books
Publication Date: December 1st 2006
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 358
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Bailey Sullivan can't stand Christmas, even though her family's business is a store specializing in the perfect holiday. But now her hometown's chief supplier of rooftop Rudolphs and treetop angels is in danger of going under--it's up to Bailey to save the shop.

She has it all planned: She'll arrive on December 1 and be gone by Christmas. Plus there's always spiked eggnog to ease the pain. But "Humbug" Bailey's not the only one home for the holidays. Finn Jacobson--legendary local bad boy-turned-Secret Service agent "and" Bailey's long-lost high-school sweetheart--is once again the boy next door. Only this time he's "all grown up," and the sparks are flying faster and hotter than ever!

Bailey believes in true love about as much as she believes in Santa Claus. But as the holiday draws closer, she's starting to think about one thing she'd like to find under her tree . . .

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: I really love some of Ridgway’s books. I can’t remember if I reviewed this book here, but I do remember I really enjoyed it.

This review was originally posted on December 18, 2008.

I know I’ve said this already, but I love Christmas books. My favorite Christmas book of all time is Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano. I re-read it every year. I’ve had this book for a few years, but I never got around to reading it. This holiday season, I decided that it was just what I needed.

Bailey Sullivan barely tolerates Christmas. Her idea of a good Christmas is to pretend that it’s not Christmas. Unfortunately this Christmas isn’t going to be what she hoped it was. When she finds out that her parents store, The Perfect Christmas, is in trouble, Bailey immediately heads home. From the moment she sets foot back in her hometown, she’s determined to do what needs to be done and get out. Her deadline is December 25th.

Nothing ever goes according to plan, especially when it comes to Christmas.

Finn Jacobson has never forgotten his GND-Girl Next Door. As a rebellious teen, Finn’s parents decided that the best thing for Finn would be to go spend summers with his grandmother. Though he hated it at first, it didn’t take long for him to fall for Bailey, a girl that was so different from the type of person he was. Finn has never forgiven her for leaving town without a word. When she comes back to town, he decides to keep his distance.

Again, nothing ever goes according to plan.

Bailey is a heroine that has issues, but has never admitted that to herself. When her dad walked out when she was little, Bailey remembers her mom’s devastation. That shaped the woman that she’s become. Though she loves her stepfather, Bailey keeps her distance even from him. The fact that her mom and stepfather have separated only proves Bailey’s point. Still, she has a hard time staying away from Finn, the only person that’s understood her.

This was exactly what I was looking for when I picked it up. It had humor and poignancy. The secondary romance between Bailey’s mom and her stepfather was beyond sweet. Bailey’s inner struggle with her feelings for Finn were extremely sad. She doesn’t easily accept that she needs him in her life. But Christmas is a time for miracles, right?

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review (+ a Giveaway): Dirty Sexy Knitting by Christie Ridgway

Posted May 19, 2009 by Holly in Reviews | 43 Comments

Review (+ a Giveaway): Dirty Sexy Knitting by Christie RidgwayReviewer: Holly
Dirty Sexy Knitting by Christie Ridgway
Series: Malibu and Ewe #3
Also in this series: How to Knit a Wild Bikini, Unravel Me
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: June 2nd 2009
Pages: 304
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Conclusion to the trilogy that started with How to Knit a Wild Bikini and Unravel Me.

The beachside knitting shop Malibu & Ewe is SoCal’s newest hotspot--where strangers beomce friends and friends become family over good yarn and better gossip…

Malibu & Ewe’s owner, Cassandra Riley, is about to turn thirty and wants to celebrate with her knitting club and newfound half sisters, Nikki and Juliet, in a big birthday extravaganza. But with Juliet on her honeymoon and Nikki with a fiancé of hew own, it seems everyone’s paired up…except Cassandra.

But a series of near-death accidents cause Cassandra to run straight into the arms of the man she’s tried hard to avoid. Gabe Kincaid, her landlord and neighbor, is a loose cannon with too many strings attached to commit to her fully--or can he? When a mud slide entraps the couple and puts their lives at risk, Gabe is forced to make a decision that will change his life--and the status of their relationship--forever…
Dirty Sexy Knitting is the third and final

 

Dirty Sexy Knitting is the third and final book in Christie Ridgway‘s Knitters Series. I was a bit leery going into this book because of the actions of the hero in the previous ones. I wasn’t sure I could move past his prior behaviors and see him as true “hero” material. I’m happy to say that Ridgway was able to make him a flawed yet believable hero.

For two years Cassandra Riley has been taking care of Gabe Kincaid and wishing for strong family ties. She found her half-sisters (who share the same sperm-donor father) and is forging a strong relationship with them, but she can’t help feeling like something is missing in her life. Especially since Nikki and Juliet have both found their happily-ever-after. As her 30th birthday approaches she decides it’s time to cut ties with Gabe and start moving forward with her life. She doesn’t need to build dreams around a man who has no hope.

Since losing his wife and young daughter in a drunk driving accident Gabe has been working hard to bury the pain and find blissful numbness. Sadly most of the time it comes at the bottom of a bottle. Despite his best efforts to dissuade her, Cassandra keeps coming to his rescue – picking him up after he’s been on a bender, feeding him, coaxing him into her shop and into her life. She may be a Froot Loop, but she’s the closest thing he has to a friend in the world, and he cares about her. Enough to know she deserves better than him.

But when he wakes up naked in her bed after his latest bender – with no memory of what happened – and she says she wants some space, he knows he should walk away. The possibility that he slept with her – probably without protection – keeps him from going anywhere. Plus, the fact that she seems to want to put walls up between them when that’s always been his thing is really disturbing to him. Despite his best efforts, he just can’t walk away.

Despite the light covers and titles in this series, each book has been very emotionally compelling, dealing with some deep issues. This book is no exception. Gabe’s pain from the loss of his wife and daughter, and the survivors guilt he feels were really well done. I expected to dislike Gabe and the way he acted, but I didn’t. In the beginning I found his benders to be distasteful, but by the end I was totally sympathetic to him.

Cassandra was a strong character, but her inner strength was subtle. Instead of being a kick-ass-and-take-names type of heroine, she was a nurturer. She chose to care for Gabe and her sisters, not to mention many others in her life in an effort to fill the void left by having no strong family ties. I really liked that as the novel progressed she became stronger and started looking out for herself more.

The secondary romance – which was carried over from the previous book – between Dean and Marlys was also very well done. Actually there were times when I enjoyed it more than the main storyline. Dean brought new meaning to the saying “All’s fair in love and war”, and I loved it!

My biggest complaint is with the ending. I felt things were wrapped up rather quickly and the epilogue was of the sugary-sweet variety. Normally I don’t let those bother me too much, but this one was quite a bit over the top. Especially considering Gabe’s past.

Of the three books in this trilogy, I think Dirty Sexy Knitting is by far the best. If you’re looking for an emotionally compelling read with rich characters this is the book for you.

4.75 out of 5

Book CoverBook CoverBook Cover
 

The Series:

How to Knit a Wild Bikini
Unravel Me
Dirty Sexy Knitting

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Giveaway Alert Leave a comment before noon Friday and you’ll be entered to win a copy!*Giveaway Alert

four-half-stars


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Review: Unravel Me by Christie Ridgway

Posted November 18, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Unravel Me by Christie RidgwayReviewer: Holly
Unravel Me by Christie Ridgway
Series: Malibu and Ewe #2
Also in this series: How to Knit a Wild Bikini, Dirty Sexy Knitting
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 294
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

SoCal's newest hotspot isn't a bar or club, it's the beachside knitting shop Malibu & Ewe - the perfect place for L.A.'s hip, young crowd to enjoy good yarn and better gossip....

For the first time in her life, young widow Juilet Weston is facing the world on her ow - or hiding fro mit. But an invitation to Knitters' Night at Malibu & Ewe starts her down a whole new path full of girlfriends, laughter, and independence. And that kind of passion can be contagious...

Who knew knitting could be so sexy?

For years, Noah Smith has worked for the Westons and tried to fight his feelings for Juliet, but her newfound zest for life is turning out to be irresistible. Still, Juliet's convinced the former solider is too young to be anything more than a for-the-moment fling. To show her just how good he could be for her, he'll do anything, even it it means haunting her favorite yarn store and getting in good with her two new best friends. But Juliet's not going to make it easy for Noah to learn how to knit two hearts together...

 

Unravel Me is the second book in Christie Ridgway‘s Knitters Series. After the first book, How To Knit A Wild Bikini (see my review here), I was really looking forward to this book. Unfortunately I don’t think it quite lived up to my expectations. First, the backblurb is kind of misleading. When the book first started I had a major issue with the heroine. She kept calling herself the “older” woman and referring to the hero as a “young man”. The problem? She was only 4 years older than he was. And at 34 to his 30, it seemed especially ridiculous that she’d go on like she did. Thankfully this only lasted a few chapters before she gave it up.

The second problem, IMO, is that the cover and backblurb are misleading. The books in this series aren’t quick, light reads. They deal with some pretty heavy issues. Unfortunately the blurbs and covers don’t convey that, so I was expecting something different from what I got.

Juliet married the love of her life, who also happened to be 30 years her senior. He was an army general on the fast track to the next presidency and marrying her stalled his career. Then he died of cancer, leaving her ostracized from her peer group as well as from his.

She moves to Malibu with her husband’s helpmate and friend, soldier Noah Smith, where she makes friends with Cassandra and Nikki. Cassandra owns the knit shop Malibu & Ewe and Nikki is a personal chef (she had her story in How To Knit a Wild Bikini), and they’re also harboring a secret – they’re Juliet’s biological sisters. All from the same sperm donor (literally).

Noah has his own agenda. He wants to see Juliet settled – oh, and he’s also crazy attracted to her. As she breaks out of her numb shell and starts embracing life, he does his best to stand by her while still fighting his attraction. When he realizes she’s attracted to him too, though, all bets are off.

I really enjoyed parts of this novel, but other parts just threw me off. For example: I loved watching Juliet come undone. She was so numb and wound so tight after her husband died it was only a matter of time before she shattered. Seeing her break apart and then put herself back together as a woman was wonderful to see. The problem is the way she acted toward Noah during the process. For a 34 year old woman, she acted more like a 20 year old. Somewhat immature and totally unsure of herself. In the beginning that was fine, but the longer she played a push/pull game, the more frustrated I became with her.

Noah is portrayed in the beginning as the “younger” man. Even though he’s 30 and just passed the bar exam I had a hard time thinking of him as anything other than a young soldier. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, because trust me, there isn’t. But the way he was written was just…off somehow. Towards the end we see him as a mature man, but I think the focus was so on Juliet and her struggle Noah got left behind.

I don’t think I’m explaining this right. I loved Noah. He was strong, and caring, and he stood by Juliet no matter what. He was her helper and her champion and he was definitely sexy as hell. He just wasn’t portrayed as a mature, career driven man until the end, so I had a hard time reconciling him to that. Does that make sense?

While I loved the relationship between the three women, I really felt like it came about under totally unbelievable circumstances. I didn’t buy their reactions to finding out they were sisters by the same sperm donor, especially since Nikki and Juliet didn’t even know they were from a sperm donor. Other than their initial reaction, though, I loved how they were together. They had a tight bond right from the beginning and the way they bickered back and forth and stood up for and by each other was great. It’s refreshing to see healthy female relationships like that in a novel (as JenB recently pointed out, there aren’t enough).

This was a well done novel and I love that once again Ridgway took on deeper issues. I just didn’t feel it was as good as the first entry. I am very anxious for the next book, however (Dirty Sexy Knitting, June 2009). Cassandra is a great character and Gabe, her surly neighbor, has intrigued me from the beginning.

4 out of 5

The Series:

How to Knit a Wild Bikini
Unravel Me
Dirty Sexy Knitting

Book CoverBook Cover

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars


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Review: How To Knit A Wild Bikini by Christie Ridgway

Posted July 3, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: How To Knit A Wild Bikini by Christie RidgwayReviewer: Holly
How to Knit a Wild Bikini by Christie Ridgway
Series: Malibu and Ewe #1
Also in this series: Unravel Me, Dirty Sexy Knitting
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: June 3rd 2008
Pages: 304
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

AN IRRESISTIBLE READ (SUSAN WIGGS) from Berkley's newest bestselling author.

The beachside knitting shop Malibu & Ewe is the perfect place for L.A.'s hip young crowd to enjoy colorful yarn and intimate conversation. For personal chef Nikki Carmichael, it could be the softest place to land if her new job falls through. Working for magazine writer Jay Buchanan has come with some strange conditions—like pretending to be his girlfriend. As for Jay, he finds himself drawn to the kitchen, where he's intrigued by his sexy cook's ability to withstand the heat between them. And now he thinks it's time to turn up the flames.

hat she went into this expecting a light comedy. When I got this novel I was expecting the same thing: A light, quick summer read, but the story had more depth than I originally thought it was going to and though it was a quick read it really packed a punch. Since she did a great job of outlining the plot, I’ll just skip right into my review.

Jay is the quintessential playboy: different woman every night, happy bachelor life. I had him pegged from the beginning as somewhat shallow and even a bit callous. But really he wasn’t. He showed surprising insight and more emotional depth than I expected. I loved that he was the one who caved in and admitted his feelings first (even if only to himself).

Nikki was…different. Here’s the thing with Nikki: She had, not necessarily a tragic past, but a somewhat lonely one filled with bad decisions. I understood that. I understood her refusal to get close to people, especially her new boss. But understanding didn’t really help me warm up to her. On the other hand, I never really disliked her, either. I sympathized with her at times and felt for her, but I wasn’t overwhelmed with feelings one way or the other. I do think she took the whole, “I don’t need anyone” thing a little too far, but I didn’t hate her. I guess what I’m saying is I couldn’t really work up any emotion about her at all. I’ll let you decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

I really enjoyed the secondary characters. Jay’s niece (who was staying with him for the summer) was especially intriguing, and as this is the first book in a new series I hope we see more from her as time goes on. I loved Cassandra, the owner of the yarn shop Malibu and Ewe. And her landlord was someone I want to know more about…soon. Shanna, Jay’s next door neighbor and most recent one-night-stand provided an additional story I thought balanced things out.

I really like that Ridgway didn’t shy away from talking about and facing deeper issues with this novel. Teen sex, rape, sexual intimidation, artificial insemination, suicide. What I thought was going to be a fun summer read instead really touched me and made me think. I highly recommend this one, but don’t go into it like I did.

4.5 out of 5

The Series:

How to Knit a Wild Bikini
Unravel Me
Dirty Sexy Knitting

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-half-stars


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