Genre: Contemporary Romance

Review: Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

Posted January 23, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Love Lettering by Kate ClaybornReviewer: Rowena
Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Format: eARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

In this warm and witty romance from acclaimed author Kate Clayborn, one little word puts one woman’s business—and her heart—in jeopardy . . .

Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing beautiful custom journals for New York City’s elite. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Like the time she sat across from Reid Sutherland and his gorgeous fiancée, and knew their upcoming marriage was doomed to fail. Weaving a secret word into their wedding program was a little unprofessional, but she was sure no one else would spot it. She hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid . . .

A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out—before he leaves New York for good—how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline, a fractured friendship, and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other about their lives, work, and regrets, both try to ignore the fact that their unlikely connection is growing deeper. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late . . .

Love Lettering has been on my TBR list for a while now and I’ve been hearing such great things about it so I was really looking forward to reading it. I read the entire thing in one day and while I enjoyed the book as a whole, I thought the beginning really dragged and it took me until chapter 9 before I started warming up to Meg, to Reid, and to everything that was happening in the book.

Our heroine, Meg Mackworth is the Planner of Park Slope. She’s made a name for herself with her custom planner business. She’s a hand-lettering specialist who handwrites party invitations, personal planners and she used to handwrite wedding invitations but her during her last wedding invitations job, she did something she shouldn’t have and so she made sure it wouldn’t happen again by quitting the wedding invitation side of her business. From now on, she’s only doing custom hand-lettering for clients who want custom planners, she’s working on a portfolio of ideas for a stationary line that she’s hoping to get a big sponsorship contract for. She tries not to think about the hidden pattern she wrote into that last wedding invitation and it’s been a year so she thinks she’s moved on from it until the groom shows up, wanting to know why she wrote that hidden code into his invitation.

Meg and Reid spark up a friendship that begins with Meg needing to find inspiration for her stationery line. She invites Reid along with her on walks around New York City so that she can find inspiration for her line and so Reid can discover the beauty of New York for himself. Reid is not happy in New York and Meg wants to show him that if he gave New York a fair shot, he would come to love it just as much as she did. They got to know each other on these walks around New York. They played games while they searched for signs around the city and ultimately, they fell in love on these walks.

Like I said before, it took me quite a while to get into this story. I just wasn’t all that interested in the beginning and that’s weird for me because I LOVE planners. I love all things planning and hand-lettering but I really struggled with this book at the start. I’m really glad that I stuck with this book though because I really came to love Meg, to love Reid, and to love New York. I’m a West Coast girl through and through but while I was reading this book, I could totally see myself moving to New York and falling in love with the city and the signs. This was a slow burn romance and I guess I was too anxious for the romance to pick up but Kate Clayborn has a writing style that flows nicely. This story unrolls slowly and picks up steam with each passing chapter. When I finished the book, I had a big ol’ grin on my face and I loved the heck out of Reid and Meg. I loved seeing Meg come into her own and I really enjoyed seeing Reid and Meg come into their feelings for each other. This was a good romance and I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Finding Christmas by Karen Schaler

Posted January 22, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Finding Christmas by Karen SchalerReviewer: Tracy
Finding Christmas by Karen Schaler
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Format: ARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 374
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

From the writer of the Netflix sensation, A Christmas Prince, and Christmas Camp, the Hallmark movie and novel, comes a heartwarming new Christmas story, Finding Christmas, showing how sometimes the detour in your journey is the path to true love.

With all the glittering decorations, twinkling lights, snow angels, gingerbread men and mistletoe, Christmas is Emmie’s first love.

This year, she can’t wait to share her favorite Christmas traditions with her boyfriend, Grant. She thinks he’s “the one.” So when Grant’s hectic work schedule has him more “Bah Humbug” than “Ho, Ho, Ho,” Emmie creates a holiday-themed scavenger hunt to help him find his Christmas spirit. At the end of the journey, Grant will arrive at the charming town of Christmas Point where she’s planned a romantic weekend filled with holiday activities.

But Emmie’s plan backfires when a mix-up has the wrong guy following her clues! Sam, a best-selling mystery writer, thinks Emmie’s clever Christmas riddles are from his agent, who is trying to help him get over his epic writer’s block.

When he arrives at Christmas Point and finds the stunned Emmie, he immediately feels she’s someone special, but she can’t see beyond the fact that the wrong guy has shown up. Inspired by the small, charming town, Sam decides to stay and convinces Emmie to join him in a little holiday fun while she waits for Grant.
When Grant finally shows up, Emmie is disappointed to discover he’s not enjoying the activities she planned and can’t help wonder if he’s really the one for her. She also can’t get Sam out of her mind and all the great times they had together. With Christmas coming fast, Emmie will need the magic of the season to help steer her in the direction of true love…

Emmie loves Christmas.  I mean she loves Christmas.  She can’t get enough of ornaments, wreaths, holiday spirit or Christmas trees.  This will be her first Christmas with her boyfriend, Grant, so she’s planned a holiday getaway for just the two of them.  Grant is a lawyer and with her as director of the community center their both busy and can’t spend much time together.  This getaway will give them a chance for uninterrupted togetherness and Emmie can’t wait.  She’s planned a scavenger hunt for Grant that includes a huge Christmas theme and will eventually take him to Christmas Point, a town that is all about Christmas.  Emmie will be waiting for him there.

Unfortunately through no fault of her own, Grant doesn’t end up getting the first scavenger hunt clue, Sam does.  Sam is a mystery writer who lives in the same building as Grant and ends up getting Emmie’s clue.  He’s excited because he thinks this is from his agent and is a way to help him start writing again. He’s been unable to write and she told him she was going to send him something to inspire him.  Sam also adores Christmas and so is totally into the scavenger hunt.

When he gets to Christmas Point Emmie is shocked when she learns what’s happened.  She had all of the activities planned to the minute and now there’s no Grant. Sam decides to tag along on her activities and their friendship grows from there.  When Emmie realizes that she’s got feelings for Sam she’s beside herself as she knows she loves Grant.  Doesn’t she?

I liked this book because I really liked Sam and Emmie together.  Before Emmie and Sam were in Christmas Point together I was wondering why Emmie was with Grant as he seemed like a bit of an ass.  And a Scrooge.  Not really her type, imho.  Emmie was fun and fun-loving, and I could see that in Sam as well.  They were much better suited for each other than Emmie and Grant.  Grant was a stick in the mud and though we didn’t get to know him well, I didn’t like him.

Overall I thought this was a cute story.  I can’t say that I love Christmas as much as Emmie and Sam do, but it was fun to see their joy in the season.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: For You by Kristen Ashley

Posted January 21, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: For You by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
For You by Kristen Ashley
Series: The 'Burg #1
Also in this series: Hold On
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 14, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First & Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 535
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Librarian's note: Alternate cover edition of ASIN B004S81POK.

Lieutenant Alexander Colton and February Owens were high school sweethearts. Everyone in their small town knew from the moment they met they were meant for each other. But something happened and Feb broke Colt’s heart then she turned wild and tragedy struck. Colt meted out revenge against the man who brought Feb low but even though Colt risked it all for her, Feb turned her back on him and left town.

Fifteen years later, Feb comes back to help run the family bar. But there’s so much water under the bridge separating her and Colt everyone knows they’ll never get back together.

Until someone starts hacking up people in Feb’s life. Colt is still Colt and Feb is still Feb so the town watches as Colt goes all out to find the murderer while trying to keep Feb safe.

As the bodies pile up, The Feds move in and a twisting, turning story unravels exposing a very sick man who has claimed numerous victims along the way, Feb and Colt battle their enduring attraction and the beautiful but lost history that weaves them together.

Wow. This book is long. It took me three weeks to read it because it just went on and on. When I was halfway through it, I couldn’t believe that I was only halfway. It just dragged on and on. I liked it, but it was way too long.

Alec Colton has loved February Owens for what seems like his entire life. That’s why he was devastated when she broke up with him, seemingly for no reason. Not only did she break up with him, she married someone else then disappeared. Twenty two years after she left him, Feb is back in the ‘Burg. Colton avoids her as best he can, but that proves to be impossible when someone starts murdering people close to Feb. No matter what happened between the two, Colton will always protect Feb. Whether she wants his protection or not.

Feb was devastated when she was forced to break up with Colton. What was even worse is he acted like he didn’t know why. That sends her running. Right into the arms of her soon-to-be ex-husband. Although they don’t stay married long, Feb knew it was a mistake. The only man she wants is Colton, even with how he betrayed her.

When the murderer escalates and seems to be fixed on Feb’s lovers, past and present, Colton moves Feb into his house where he can better protect her. Colton doesn’t know if having her move in is the best or worst idea that he’s ever had. What Colton does realize is that after rekindling their relationship, he’s not letting her go. The murderer has other plans. No one is going to be with Feb but him.

Like I said, this book was pretty long. I skimmed some, read some, but mostly read. I really love reunion stories and this was definitely that. I’m really looking forward to reading this series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The ‘Burg

three-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Headliners by Lucy Parker

Posted January 19, 2020 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Headliners is the fifth book in the London Celebrities series by Lucy Parker. I’m a pretty big fan of this series so I have been looking forward to this book for as long as I’ve known it was coming. I wasn’t too wild about Nick as the hero since he pissed me off in the last book but I’ve already dug into my eARC of this book and Lucy Parker’s redemption game is strong because by the end of this book, I loved Nick to pieces. I’m super stoked to share an excerpt from this book so that hopefully, you guys will be stoked for this release, right along with us. Check it out.

Sunday Spotlight: Headliners by Lucy ParkerHeadliners by Lucy Parker
Series: London Celebrities #5
Also in this series: Pretty Face, Making Up , The Austen Playbook
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: January 20, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

Sparks fly when two feuding TV presenters are thrown together to host a live morning show in Lucy Parker’s latest enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance.

He might be the sexiest man in London, according to his fan site (which he definitely writes himself), but he’s also the most arrogant man she’s ever met.

She might have the longest legs he’s ever seen, but she also has the sharpest tongue.

For years, rival TV presenters Sabrina Carlton and Nick Davenport have traded barbs on their respective shows. The public can’t get enough of their feud, but after Nick airs Sabrina’s family scandals to all of Britain, the gloves are off. They can barely be in the same room together—but these longtime enemies are about to become the unlikeliest of cohosts.

With their reputations on the rocks, Sabrina and Nick have one last chance to save their careers. If they can resurrect a sinking morning show, they’ll still have a future in television. But with ratings at an all-time low and a Christmas Eve deadline to win back the nation’s favor, the clock is ticking—and someone on their staff doesn’t want them to succeed.

Small mishaps on set start adding up, and Sabrina and Nick find themselves—quelle horreur—working together to hunt down the saboteur…and discovering they might have more in common than they thought. When a fiery encounter is caught on camera, the public is convinced that the reluctant cohosts are secretly lusting after one another.

The public might not be wrong.

Their chemistry has always been explosive, but with hate turning to love, the stakes are rising and everything is on the line. Neither is sure if they can trust these new feelings…or if they’ll still have a job in the New Year.

Excerpt

Blindfolded biscuit decorating.

Sabrina was rapidly becoming a lot less fond of Fenella Price.

Phil Meyer, one of the finalists for Ultimate Cakemaster, the current Sunday evening obsession around the country, was just about bent double so that Layla Johnson, his petite fellow contestant, could secure the length of black silk over his eyes. The pair of them had been chuckling and jostling one another, and obviously having a grand old time as they effortlessly produced a stack of perfectly browned, crisply shaped gingerbread people at their station.

They also looked far too unsurprised by this exciting turn of events; evidently, they’d been given a heads-up in the green room that things were going to take a farcical turn.

Sabrina winced as she glanced back at the pile of biscuits on the Carlton/Davenport station. Their lines of figures looked flat-out tragic. Several were missing limbs after she’d accidentally dropped a tray while trying to avoid bodily contact with Nick, and at least half of them were burnt, after the biscuit prince had forgotten to take them out of the oven. He claimed the temperature had been set too high.

And unlike the piping bottles at the opposite station, their royal icing had an interestingly crunchy texture, because Nick Davenport, usually a veritable Renaissance Man, had no idea how to crack an egg. He’d bounced the shell off the side of the bowl like he was slam-dunking a basketball.

“I thought you knew how to bake,” she muttered under her breath as she slipped the blindfold around Nick’s head. She was tall even without her heels, so they didn’t need to resort to Phil and Layla’s acrobatics. He made a quiet sound of protest when she pulled the tie too tight, and she slipped her fingers under it to loosen it. “Sorry.”

He’d managed to transform in the hour before they went live, and now looked as alert and dapper as ever in his crisp suit. She could smell him, this unusually close. His skin had a warm scent of oud from his cologne and, faintly, vanilla from the bottle of extract he’d spilt all over his hands. Sabrina could almost taste it in the back of her throat.

She smoothed the silken fabric into place over his short black curls. “What happened to the scion of the baking dynasty?”

For the first few minutes of the segment, she’d thought he was just embracing the direction to fudge things a bit, make sure their guests looked suitably expert. After she’d watched him poke curiously at the butter with the handle of a wooden spoon, and the acrid bitterness of burning sugar had reached her nostrils, she’d realised he wasn’t acting, he was just shite.

London Celebrities

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: January 2020

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!


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Throwback Thursday Review: Her Secret Fling by Sarah Mayberry

Posted January 16, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Her Secret Fling by Sarah MayberryReviewer: Holly
Her Secret Fling by Sarah Mayberry
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Publication Date: December 29, 2009
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

Jake Stevens—star reporter and celebrated literary genius—is a snake. How else to explain the way he turns Poppy Birmingham's hero worship into loathing with a single conversation? So what if she's got a lot to learn about journalism? Aren't they coworkers now? On the same team? Jake can take his attitude and…

Then during a job-related road trip, their relationship goes from antagonistic to hedonistic in no time flat. And suddenly Poppy can't think of anything more delicious than having a secret fling with Jake. But with all this intensity, can she really keep it no-strings-attached?

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on January 18, 2010.

I really like Sarah Mayberry. I don’t know why I haven’t read more of her books.

I bought this book because I’ve enjoyed Mayberry novels in the past, but I was kind of put off when I realized the hero and heroine are both journalists. As it turned out, there was no reason to worry. The characters were stellar and their careers played a minor role in the overall story.

I liked both Jake and Poppy. Our first impression of Jake isn’t a favorable one. He resents Poppy being hired with so little journalist experience and sets out to let her know right away. He isn’t one of the wounded-heart types who’s only an ass to hide his true feelings. He’s just isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind.

Although Poppy is out of her depth and intimidated by Jake, she doesn’t let him walk all over her. She stands up for herself and gives as good as she gets. Although writing is a new career for her and doesn’t come naturally, she’s determined to make it work.

I really liked that both Poppy and Jake were real characters. They weren’t perfect, they were just two people getting to know each other and dealing with everyday life. It was very refreshing.

The way Poppy acted toward the end kind of bothered me, but I’m not exactly sure why. I think it was that she started acting like a silly girl, pining over a man thinking she could change him. She did wise up – and without too much fuss – so I was able to move past it, but it struck me as not quite fitting in with her character.

Overall this was a very sweet love story with solid characters. I every much enjoyed it.

4.25 out of 5

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

four-stars


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