Romanceopoly 2020

I was fully planning on joining Romanceopoly at the start of the year but obviously my year didn’t begin the way I wanted it to. I was going to just skip it because I have a lot going on but because of my fatigue I spend a lot of time everyday reading (hello 16 books read). So even though I just posted my 2020 Bookish and Blog Goals where I said that I want to streamline my monthly TBR I’m still going to go for it. I will try to pick books already on my TBR (which worked out pretty well this month) but these are bonus books where if I get a chance to read them I will. If you want to join in on the fun here is the website.

I am sort of making up my own rules to play. The first half of the year I’m going to do the sun challenges and the second half I will do the moon challenges. I’m also rolling the dice and I’m just going to read anything I land on. That means if I make it around the board multiple times and land on a prompt I have already done I will just pick a different book for the challenge. I decided to do three rolls this month plus I added in the Winter challenge.

WINTER CHALLENGE

This is a book already on my TBR.

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On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside, are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers.

Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . . . and makes a horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate.

Who is the child? Why has she been taken? And how can Darby save her?

There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out. One of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. But which one?

Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child’s life and her own on the line, Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape.

But who can she trust?

FATED FOLLY (sun)

Another book already on my TBR.

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The only purebred vampire left on the planet and the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who killed his parents centuries ago. But when his most trusted fighter is killed—orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate—Wrath must put down his dagger and usher the beautiful female into another world.

Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn’t there before, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes to her at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of the Brotherhood and blood frighten her. Yet his touch ignites a dawning new hunger—one that threatens to consume them both…

PASSION PLACE (sun)

Not on my TBR but it is a KU book. It is also a book and an author I have wanted to read for awhile.

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It was the biggest day of my life.
I know most people say that about something joyous; a graduation, a wedding ceremony, the birth of their first child. My situation was a little different.
Sure, it was my eighteenth birthday, but it was also the day that I was sold.
Sold to a man with hair like a crown of gold and eyes blacker than the darkest pits of Hell.
He bought me to own me, to control me, and to use me as a means to an end.
I was his tool and his weapon.
And through it all, somehow, I also became his salvation.

THE BAR

I borrowed this book from my brother either last year or the year before so it is about time that I finally read it.

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L.A. Confidential is epic “noir”, a crime novel of astonishing detail and scope written by the bestselling author of The Black Dahlia. A horrific mass murder invades the lives of victims and victimizers on both sides of the law. And three lawmen are caught in a deadly spiral, a nightmare that tests loyalty and courage, and offers no mercy, grants no survivors.

~Cassie

 

December Wrap Up + Stats

It may be the 20th of January but I decided that I wanted to put together my December stats and share my wrap up of the month with you. I don’t think I did this for every month last year but it is definitely one of my goals for this year. The majority of what I read last month was Christmas romances but maybe if you see one you like you can add it to your list to read at the end of this year.

Wrap Up

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This is a Nordic crime novel that won the best Swedish Crime Novel award in 2016. It has also been adapted into a Netflix show that I haven’t yet watched. However, I absolutely loved this story and the way Giolito told the story. It is a book where the timeline ebbs and flows which enhanced the suspense of what was going to come to such a high degree. This is a dark story about a girl who is in jail because she is accused of helping her boyfriend kill their fellow classmates in a school shooting. The book does not shy away from the darkness and is an absolute masterpiece of storytelling. The build up to the shooting and the aftermath with the trial taking place are told in such an impactful way that I know I will think about this book for the rest of my life. I also feel like I learned a substantial amount about about Swedish culture, politics and economics which I thought was incredibly fascinating.

Rating: 5/5

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Holiday Romance: All Wrapped Up for the Holidays

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Holiday Blog Tour: Christmas in Silver Springs by Brenda Novak

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Holiday Blog Tour: Cowboy Christmas Redemption by Maisey Yates

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Holiday Blog Tour: Alaskan Christmas by Jennifer Snow

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Holiday Romance: Santa’s on His Way

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I absolutely LOVE Clue so when I saw that this book had recently come out I immediately bought it and read it. I am so happy that this is the first in a series because I loved this book. It is a modernized version of the classic game/movie/books but still keeps the heart of Clue at the center. The only downside to the story was how long it took for things to actually start happening. I can’t find anything online about when the second book is coming but I hope it is sometime this year!

Rating: 4.5/5

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I only read the first few books in the Shopaholic series (well, the first book I have reread a few times) and I forgot just how amazing Becky Bloomwood is. She will forever be one of my favorite characters to ever grace the pages of a book. This book had me laughing out loud, it had me cringing in embarrassment, it had me crying and basically it just gave me everything you could want in a book. Add all the Christmas hijinks to it and this just might be a book that I reread every holiday time. I love the message the story leaves us with as well and it could not have come at a better time for me. This Christmas was a struggle for me because the symptoms of my disease started roughly two weeks before actual Christmas and this book was definitely cathartic to me. I aim to read more of Becky this year and more of Sophie Kinsella in general.

Rating: 5/5

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I won this ebook from the authors Instagram and I’m so happy because this was a great small town holiday romance novella. Although the hero in this book is no longer a solider so that was a little off putting but the romance between the two main characters was very sweet. While it was sweet it also at times felt juvenile because they are in an intimate relationship and yet they never seemed to talk to each other about anything important regarding their relationship. They just never felt as serious as they kept proclaiming they were.

Rating: 4/5

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Blog Tour: Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison

Kindle Unlimited Readathon Wrap Up

Stats

Author                                                               Pages

Anthology: 2                                                     1-299: 3

Female: 10                                                        300-499: 8

Rating                                                               500+: 1

1*: 0                                                                  Total Pages: 4,240

2*: 0                                                                  137/day

3*: 2

4*: 4

5*: 6

Genre

Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Crime: 2

Romance: 8                                                               Year Published

YA Thriller/Mystery: 1                                             ARC/Publiser sent: 4

Adult Contemporary: 1                                           Older Release: 4

Book Format                                                            2019: 4

Owned ebook: 8

Library ebook: 1

Owned Physical: 2

Library Physical: 1

~Cassie

Hades Hangmen by Tillie Cole

I mentioned in my last post that I read the entire Hades Hangmen series by Tillie Cole in the span of a week. 7 books and three novellas and I absolutely loved the entire series. I am so excited that book number 8 comes out next month because I am dying to know what is going to happen next.

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Here is the link for the Valentine’s novella that takes place between books 2 and 3. It is no longer canon but it is still a fun read for the first two couples in the series.

Hades Hangmen is a DARK romance series based on a motorcycle club (MC) and a horrific cult that they become entangled with. The world of the MC is so fascinating and I loved how complex and fleshed out it was. There is so much history to the characters and the club which is slowly revealed throughout the entire series. It is one part of what makes these books so compelling. The other big part of that is the men who are so not good people at all but at the same time totally swoon worthy and amazing. Cole is an thrilling author because I fell in love with almost every character in this series and I am rooting for all of them to get their happy endings.

These books are extremely emotional reads and all the characters felt so realistic that my heart bled for them. There were a couple of characters that I didn’t connect to as strongly but almost everyone else had such brutal backstories that I shed many tears over them. I usually don’t do trigger warnings because I think they tend to spoil the story but one I want to mention is rape. Please do not read these books if you are at all sensitive to this topic because it is on page, at times frequent, and difficult to read. There are many other trigger warnings for this series so if you like to know what you are getting into with a book I highly suggest you check out each books Goodreads page.

The women in these stories are so incredible. They are strong and broken. Fragile and loyal. I admire these women so much for what they have gone through and how fierce each one is in their own way. All the women in this series have been sheltered in some way and to see them find their own freedom was beautiful. I am in awe of Tillie Cole and how she was able to write a series that has me so utterly invested in the characters. I cried with them, laughed with them, hurt for them and at the end of the day they are just words on paper. Yet when you read these books you are transported to their world and it feels so real.

As amazing as everything I just gushed about is, hands down the best part of this series is the romance. WOW. I cannot get over how amazing, perfect, and absolutely beautiful these love stories are. The connection between the hero and heroine are some of the best that I have ever read. Each character has gone through some dark stuff and the way they are able to heal together and love each other is remarkable. All of the terrible things that happen and all of the darkest things that are done to them just made the love and devotion they have for each other that much sweeter and more intense.

If you are a fan of romance and think you can handle the darkness I cannot recommend these books enough. They are definitely not for the causal fan of romance. For that I would suggest Cole’s A Thousand Boy Kisses which is a tear jerker YA romance. I recently watched an IGtv that the author did and she said that she is also planning on coming out with the ninth book in this series toward the end of this year. So if you read these and become obsessed with them like  me at least know that the story isn’t ending anytime soon!

~Cassie

January + Magical Readathon TBR

*Today is the last day to enter my holiday giveaway. Leave a comment on this post and make sure you are following my blog <3*

I know I’ve mentioned it a few times but seriously how did this past year go so fast?! 2019 was a pretty great year but I am really excited to see what 2020 will bring. This year I want to try to make my TBR posts more achievable for me to actually complete. I like having a structured TBR but I also like the freedom of being able to mood read. To that end I will only be picking 6 books per month to complete which I feel is a good number because on average last year I was reading 10-12 books a month. Of course this month is a little different because I also have a different set of books that I picked during the month of December based on G from Book Roast on Youtube’s Harry Potter themed Magical Readathon. She made the coolest interactive website so if you haven’t checked it out then you definitely should! My goal from this list is to complete half of them this month and then half in February. I feel like that will give me enough time to be caught up for her next readathon.

January TBR

I have picked six categories that coincide with some of my bookish goals (which I will go over in an upcoming blog post) and I will be using these categories every month.

Kindle Book

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“For fractured souls are like magnets.
Drawn to collide into an impossible bliss…”

Labeled a ‘Cursed’ woman of Eve from birth, Maddie has endured nothing but pain and repression at the hands of The Order’s most abusive elder, Moses. Now living with her sister in The Hangmen’s secluded compound, finally, Maddie, is free. Free from the suffocating faith she no longer believes in. Free from endless years of physical and mental torment.

Just… free…

At age twenty-one, the timid and shy Maddie is content to live within the confines of her new home—safe from the outside world, safe from harm and, strangely, protected by the Hangmen’s most volatile member; the heavily pierced and tattooed, Flame.

Flame.

The man who ceaselessly watches over her with his midnight dark and searing eyes. The man who protects her with a breath-taking intensity. And the man who stirs something deep within her numbed heart.

But when circumstances conspire for Flame to need HER help, Maddie bravely risks it all for the broken man who has captivated her fragile soul.

The Hangmen’s most infamous member, Flame, is ruled by one thing—anger. Plagued by haunting demons from his past, an all-consuming rage, and isolated by an abhorrent hatred of being touched, Flame’s days are filled with suffocating darkness, pierced only by a single ray of light—Maddie. The shy, beautiful woman he cannot purge from his thoughts. The woman he has an overwhelming need to possess…
… the only person who has ever been able to touch him.

Flame’s mission in life is to protect Maddie, to keep her safe. Until a trigger from his troubled past sends him spiraling into madness, trapping him in the deepest recesses of his disturbed mind.

His Hangmen brothers fear that Flame is beyond saving.

His only hope of salvation: Maddie and her healing light.

Dark Contemporary Romance.
Contains explicit sexual situations, violence, disturbingly sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language, and very mature topics.
Recommended for age 18 years and over.

Kindle Unlimited 

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Erika

I was told that dreams were our heart’s desires. My nightmares, however, became my obsession.

His name is Michael Crist.

My boyfriend’s older brother is like that scary movie that you peek through your hand to watch. He is handsome, strong, and completely terrifying. The star of his college’s basketball team and now gone pro, he’s more concerned with the dirt on his shoe than me.

But I noticed him.

I saw him. I heard him. The things that he did, and the deeds that he hid…For years, I bit my nails, unable to look away.

Now, I’ve graduated high school and moved on to college, but I haven’t stopped watching Michael. He’s bad, and the dirt I’ve seen isn’t content to stay in my head anymore.

Because he’s finally noticed me.

Michael

Her name is Erika Fane, but everyone calls her Rika.

My brother’s girlfriend grew up hanging around my house and is always at our dinner table. She looks down when I enter a room and stills when I am close. I can always feel the fear rolling off of her, and while I haven’t had her body, I know that I have her mind. That’s all I really want anyway.

Until my brother leaves for the military, and I find Rika alone at college.

In my city.

Unprotected.

The opportunity is too good to be true as well as the timing. Because you see, three years ago she put a few of my high school friends in prison, and now they’re out.

We’ve waited. We’ve been patient. And now every last one of her nightmares will come true.

***Corrupt can be read as a stand-alone. No cliffhanger.

Book of the Month

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The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

Five Star Prediction

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Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

Goodreads TBR

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At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Classic

The first two weeks of 2020 are a classics readathon as a part of the #ClassicsCommunity 2020 group. The first round of Smutathon 2020 is this weekend so I will be pausing my classic during that time but other than that I will be trying to read primarily classics. I’m not going to do a TBR for it though because it might take me the whole two weeks to read this book.

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Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.

It is no secret that Alcott based Little Women on her own early life. While her father, the freethinking reformer and abolitionist Bronson Alcott, hobnobbed with such eminent male authors as Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne, Louisa supported herself and her sisters with “woman’s work,” including sewing, doing laundry, and acting as a domestic servant. But she soon discovered she could make more money writing. Little Womenbrought her lasting fame and fortune, and far from being the “girl’s book” her publisher requested, it explores such timeless themes as love and death, war and peace, the conflict between personal ambition and family responsibilities, and the clash of cultures between Europe and America.

Magical Readathon 

Read a book with 500+ pages

I read a very large chunk of this book in 2019 and put it down and never finished it. I am annoyed that I am going into the new year with some partial read books so I will be trying to read this one this month so I can just be done with it. I am really loving it but it the story changed and I decided to prioritize other things instead.

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What would happen if the world were ending?

A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain . . .

Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . . to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.

A writer of dazzling genius and imaginative vision, Neal Stephenson combines science, philosophy, technology, psychology, and literature in a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognizable. As he did in Anathem, Cryptonomicon, the Baroque Cycle, and Reamde, Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant.

Read an urban fantasy 

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The only purebred vampire left on the planet and the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who killed his parents centuries ago. But when his most trusted fighter is killed—orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate—Wrath must put down his dagger and usher the beautiful female into another world.

Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn’t there before, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes to her at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of the Brotherhood and blood frighten her. Yet his touch ignites a dawning new hunger—one that threatens to consume them both…

Read a paranormal book

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Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspecters, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspecters head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

Read a book that starts with S

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My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

Read a book with an author who’s last name starts with T,M, R

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Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.

Who is the child and what really happened that day?

One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.

Read a book with a winged creature or feathers on the cover

I don’t know why you can’t see it on this picture but on my copy there are little black birds in the white part of the book.

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The Redbreast is a fabulous introduction to Nesbø’s tough-as-nails series protagonist, Oslo police detective Harry Hole. A brilliant and epic novel, breathtaking in its scope and design—winner of The Glass Key for best Nordic crime novel and selected as the best Norwegian crime novel ever written by members of Norway’s book clubs—The Redbreast is a chilling tale of murder and betrayal that ranges from the battlefields of World War Two to the streets of modern-day Oslo. Follow Hole as he races to stop a killer and disarm a ticking time-bomb from his nation’s shadowy past. Vogue magazine says that “nobody can delve into the dark, twisted mind of a murderer better than a Scandinavian thriller writer”…and nobody does it better than Jo Nesbø! James Patterson fans should also take note.

Read the first book you think about

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On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside, are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers.

Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . . . and makes a horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate.

Who is the child? Why has she been taken? And how can Darby save her?

There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out. One of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. But which one?

Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child’s life and her own on the line, Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape.

But who can she trust?

Read a book shorter than the one you just finished

For this I just picked one of the smallest books on my shelf. I really want to read it and I know no matter what I read it will be smaller.

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The place is Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, an enclave of rigid piety huddled on the edge of a wilderness. Its inhabitants believe unquestioningly in their own sanctity. But in Arthur Miller’s edgy masterpiece, that very belief will have poisonous consequences when a vengeful teenager accuses a rival of witchcraft-and then when those accusations multiply to consume the entire village.
First produced in 1953, at a time when America was convulsed by a new epidemic of witchhunting, The Crucible brilliantly explores the threshold between individual guilt and mass hysteria, personal spite and collective evil. It is a play that is not only relentlessly suspenseful and vastly moving but that compels readers to fathom their hearts and consciences in ways that only the greatest theater ever can.

~Cassie

 

Kindle Unlimited Readathon Wrap Up

The past weekend was the Kindle Unlimited Readathon and I had a lot of fun participating. I was only able to read two books which was a bit of a bummer because I was hoping for at least three. I loved the two books that I did read though so overall it was a great readathon. If you are interested in what other books I have on my KU library I will leave that here.

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I freaking LOVED this book. It is a DARK romance though so if that is not your thing then I don’t think you will like this at all. I however really enjoyed all the emotions I felt reading this. It surprised me how much I connected with these characters considering how they are not good people. I especially felt this way about Preppy. He is a guy that I consider so disgusting but wow did my heart bleed for him and his story. I can’t wait to get to the three books later on in the series that are centered around him. This book does a fabulous job of showing so clearly how people can have both good and bad sides. I also really loved King and Doe’s love story. It was dark, twisted, sexy, sweet and heartbreaking at times. This book left off on a crazy cliffhanger so I immediately returned this book and “checked out” the second book in the series. I hope that I am able to get to it in January!

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This is book features a bad guy who has put a wall up due to different circumstances in his life so he treats everyone horribly. I love the character arc that Vicious had during the book and how he still was him but with his darker side tamed just a tiny bit. I also really appreciated how Emilia didn’t make excuses for her feelings for Vicious. She knows better than anyone how cruel he can be but she also knows him better than anyone else and we didn’t have long drawn out explantations of her defending her love for him. Which is not to say that she was meek because she is definitely able to hold her own against him. Their connection and interactions were amazing and I love them together. I hope that we get to see more of them as the series goes on. I gave this one four and half stars but I feel like if I hadn’t read this right after King that I would have given it five stars.

~Cassie

Kindle Unlimited Readathon TBR + Recommendations

I was so happy the other day when I went on to Youtube and pretty much all the booktubers that I follow all had announcement videos for this readathon. I have been trying to figure out a way to prioritize my kindle unlimited books and this is the perfect opportunity to read as many as possible. The readathon takes place December 27-29 and I will link PeaceLoveBooksxo (she’s the creator) announcement video here so you can get all the info and the full list of the other hosts in her description box.

TBR

My goal is to read three books during this readathon but I’m sharing all ten of the books I have “checked out” from KU right now because I want to be able to mood read next weekend.

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Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

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Menace by J.M. Darhower

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The Unrequited by Saffron A. Kent

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Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey

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Fire in His Blood by Ruby Dixon

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From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

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A Nordic King by Karina Halle

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Lessons in Corruption by Giana Darling

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Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

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King by T.M. Frazier

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Vicious by L.J. Shen

Recommendations 

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Verity by Colleen Hoover

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The Gravity of Us by Brittainy C. Cherry

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Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

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Heaven by V.C. Andrews

~Cassie

Holiday Romance: Santa’s on His Way

Today is the last book for my themed holiday romance week. I hope I was able to put some books or authors that you didn’t know about on your radar. Thanks so much for being a part of this week of fun with me!

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Publisher: Zebra

Publication Date: September 25, 2018

Pages: 

Open your heart to the holidays with these stories of unexpected love . . .
 
A BABY FOR CHRISTMAS * Lisa Jackson
The uneventful Christmas Annie McFarlane expected is suddenly anything but. First, there’s the adorable baby left on the snowy doorstep of her Oregon cabin. Second, there’s the extremely attractive, yet extremely angry man claiming to be the father. Liam O’Shaughnessy may be intimidating, but this is one precious gift Annie isn’t giving up so easily . . .
 
WHAT THE COWBOY WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS * Maisey Yates
When Meg O’Neill’s longtime boyfriend lets her down, again, on Christmas no less, she braves an Oregon blizzard to get to her best friend Noah’s comforting arms. But this time Noah’s not telling her what she wants to hear—he’s telling her the truth, from his heart. And his words just might be the gift Meg’s been wishing for all along.
 
SNOWED IN * Stacy Finz
Rachel Johnson has found the perfect spot for her second Tart Me Up bakery in Glory Junction, California. Except she’s in fierce competition with hunky bar owner Boden Farmer. Worse, while the icy rivals await the city’s decision, they end up catering the same Christmas Eve mountaintop wedding—and getting snowed in. But sometimes a loss of electricity generates a different kind of heat . . .
 
A COWBOY WEDDING FOR CHRISTMAS * Nicole Helm
Big city art teacher Lindsay Tyler isn’t just back home in Colorado for her brother’s wedding at the Barton Christmas Tree Farm and Ranch. She’s back for good. She just hasn’t told anyone yet—including Cal Barton, the ex-boyfriend she left behind. Will it take a Christmas miracle for him to welcome her back with open arms? . . .

Review

A BABY FOR CHRISTMAS

This story really disappointed me because I liked the premise of it but it didn’t work on any level for me. The book is set in the 90’s and it very much reads like a 90’s book so I did some research and it was first published in 1997. Which explains a lot including why there was such a disconnect for me when reading the “sexy” scenes. There was a questionable consent scene that I really didn’t like and unprotected sex which I don’t appreciate in any book no matter when it was written. The whole idea of the story was great though so I definitely want to read some of Jackson’s recent work.

WHAT THE COWBOY WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS

This is a friends to lover romance between two foster siblings. I really liked the element that the foster home brought to the story even if it was difficult at times to read about their terrible childhoods. Meg and Noah have such a sweet romance and I really enjoyed the way their story ended.

SNOWED IN

One of my favorite tropes is a book centered around a bakery and this book did not disappoint. So much of the story was based on Rachel’s bakery and Boden’s bar and it served as the perfect backdrop to their romance. This book is based on a fictional town near where I actually live so it was really easy to picture everything. The snowed in aspect was great and I love how it forced them to get to know each other better. The ending was predictable but still very cute. Stacey Finz has a few books set in this same small town and they are definitely on my radar.

A COWBOY WEDDING FOR CHRISTMAS

This is a second chance romance with a group of characters that I really enjoyed. Cal and Lindsay have a great connection that I was rooting for but unfortunately this story didn’t quite work for me. The introduction to all the characters was good but then things started to unravel. Everything felt rushed to me and not quite authentic. Which is an obvious risk of reading a short story so I do understand that she had some constraints on telling the story. I wish Helm had saved this idea for a full length novel though so things could have have better pacing.

~Cassie

Holiday Romance: All Wrapped Up for the Holidays

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Get your free copy here: Book Funnel

Six standalone holiday short stories!

The Merry Mistake by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Note to self: Ask Santa for glasses this year. When I accidentally mistook a gorgeous man resting outside my building for a homeless person in need of lunch, we got into it. I’d only been trying to do a good deed around the holidays, but he called me righteous. I called him something far worse. If only I didn’t have to see him again. But fate had other plans.

Finding Perfect by Colleen Hoover

A short story that brings back several of Colleen’s most beloved characters. Told from the point of view of Daniel from Finding Cinderella, readers will finally get the story they’ve been begging for more of. For the best reading experience, make sure you’ve read all three books that come together to make up this heartwarming and fun holiday short story; Finding Cinderella, Hopeless and All Your Perfects.

A Rock Chick Christmas by Kristen Ashley

What’s Christmas with the Starks like? Get a peek into the Rock Chick world and how Luke copes with Ava going Christmas gaga and just what he will, and won’t, do for his girls during the holidays.

Just Say When by Jill Shalvis

When the one you want …

Is the one you can’t seem to have…

Can love conquer all?

The Pact by Elle Kennedy

Thanks to my hectic schedule as a pro hockey player, my girl and I are spending more time apart than together. Luckily, I have a solution—a romantic New Year’s Eve getaway in the mountains, just me and Grace and plenty of sexytimes. Except this blizzard has other ideas…

The Package by K. Bromberg

Christmas week can’t get any worse for Jules Jilliland. Dumped by her boyfriend, rear-ended on the freeway, and fired from her job, she finds herself stuck in an elevator with a handsome stranger. When their packages are accidentally swapped, will it end up being a misfortunate accident that suddenly brightens her holidays?

Review

I saw Colleen Hoover talking about this book on Instagram (you can follow me here) and I instantly went to download it. This is also the first book that I started reading when I was coming out of the terrible flu that hit my house and it really helped get me out of my funk and back in the holiday spirit. I will be doing mini reviews for all the stories because my feelings were all over the place when it came to this collection of stories.

The Merry Mistake

This was a really cute heartwarming romance. I love the way Piper and Mason met. It was such a fun introduction to the two of them and the rest of the story was just as cute.

Finding Perfect

I was the most excited to read this story because Colleen Hoover took two of her stories and wove them together in this short story. Graham and Quinn are my favorite of her couples and their book, All Your Perfects put me into a month long book hangover earlier this year. I was so excited to read about what they are doing now and this book did not disappoint. I have never read any of Hoover’s YA books and I don’t think I will in the future. I felt for Daniel and Six and the heartbreak they were going through but I don’t think I would connect to either of them if there wasn’t this huge trauma they were dealing with.

Rock Chick Christmas

I didn’t really like this story at all. Of course I have never read any of her previous books in this series so I’m sure that is why. If I was already familiar with these characters going in then I would have had a stronger connection to them. Without that background this story just fell flat and I felt nothing for anyone. I am the kind of romance reader that needs to be invested in the romance to enjoy he payoff of the spicer scenes and I ended up just flipping though that part. Maybe in the future I will have a chance to read some Kristen Ashley and have a better appreciation for her work.

Just Say When

This story didn’t work for me purely because it has the miscommunication trope in it which is my least favorite thing to read. Well, it’s mostly not clarifying statements they made when they were first dating, but still with only two chapters it ended up just being an ok romance to me. The ending was very cute though and I’m happy I’m read it for that.

The Pact

This was a sweet and sexy hockey holiday romance (say that five times fast!). Grace and Logan are in two different places in life since Grace is still in school and Logan is a rookie pro hockey player. The story centers around them trying to figure out how to make time for their relationship and making sure that they stay a priority to each other. This was seriously so cute and I love Grace and Logan a lot which speaks to how great of an author Elle Kennedy is. I will for sure be making Elle Kennedy’s books a priority in 2020. I can’t believe I have been sleeping on this author for so long!

The Package

I love the premise of this story. It was such a fun idea that worked really well. Archer and Jules were both great characters and I liked seeing them get to know each other better. The story was a little predictable but for a holiday feel good romance this hit all the boxes.

~Cassie

 

 

Holiday Blog Tour: Alaskan Christmas by Jennifer Snow

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I’m back today with my last post for the HQN Trade Publishing holiday blog tour. Which makes me sad because I had such a good time reading all these books and finding some new authors that I love. You can check out Day OneDay Two and Day Three by clicking the links. Don’t forget that the fun doesn’t stop here because this weekend I will be reviewing a couple of holiday romance short story collections. I’m also planning on reading more holiday romances during the lead up to Christmas because why stop the fun here when there are so many amazing books out there. All pictures and promotional material in this post is courtesy of HQN Trade Publishing but my review is 100% my own.

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AN ALASKAN CHRISTMAS

Author: Jennifer Snow

ISBN: 9781335041500

Publication Date: 9/24/2019

Publisher: HQN Books

Book Summary

In Alaska, it’s always a white Christmas—but the sparks flying between two reunited friends could turn it red-hot…

If there’s one gift Erika Sheraton does not want for Christmas, it’s a vacation. Ordered to take time off, the workaholic surgeon reluctantly trades in her scrubs for a ski suit and heads to Wild River, Alaska. Her friend Cassie owns a tour company that offers adventures to fit every visitor. But nothing compares to the adrenaline rush Erika feels on being reunited with Cassie’s brother, Reed Reynolds.

Gone is the buttoned-up girl Reed remembers. His sister’s best friend has blossomed into a strong, skilled, confident woman. She’s exactly what his search-and-rescue team needs—and everything he didn’t know he craved. The gulf between his life in Wild River and her big-city career is wide. But it’s no match for a desire powerful enough to melt two stubborn hearts…

Review

This was such a fun sexy romance. Erika and Reed have a sort of friends, kind of enemies vibe going on and I loved that instant connection they had with one another. As Erika and Reed are falling in love with each other they have some fun (and harrowing at times) adventures together and I think that just added up to me rooting for them even more.

They seem to live such different lives but the more they got to know each other the more they realized how much they had in common. Figuring this out about each other led them to falling love with each even faster and it was the sweetest thing to see. I love how strong their feelings were for each and how much the other person meant to the other. This story went in lots of different directions and I loved how they navigated all the twists and turns that came there way.

This is also the first book in a new series and I could definitely see some future stories being developed which makes me excited to see where the author goes from here. Of course the bonus to that is that we will hopefully get to see glimpses of Reed and Erika through other people’s stories. If you want to get a small taste of who Erika is then keep scrolling to read a first chapter excerpt of this awesome holiday romance.

 

Jennifer Snow

Author Bio

Jennifer Snow lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband and four year old son. She is a member of the RWA, the Alberta Writers Guild, Canadian Authors Association and SheWrites.org. Her first Brookhollow book was a finalist in the Heart of Denver Aspen Gold contest and the Golden Quill Award. More information can be found at http://www.jennifersnowauthor.com.

Social Links

Author Website

Twitter: @JenniferSnow18

Facebook: @jennifersnowbooks

Instagram: @jensnowauthor

Goodreads

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Her arms full of patient files, Dr. Erika Sheraton tipped her head back as Darren, her premed intern, poured a double shot of espresso down her throat. The hot liquid delivered the instant adrenaline boost she needed to get through the rest of her fourteen-hour shift.

Dinner? A quick glance at the clock on the wall above the nurses’ triage station revealed it was almost nine. A late dinner.

“How are you not vibrating? That’s your third in two hours.” Darren crumpled the paper cup and tossed it into a recycle bin as they walked.

“Caffeine stopped affecting me a long time ago. Now’s it’s about the taste,” she said, only half kidding. Double course loads and all-nighters in college and then med school had prepared her for the long hours she put in now as a general surgeon and caffeine had been her best friend.

The twentysomething looked like he could use a cup himself, as he stifled a yawn. His sandy blond hair poked up in the back as though he’d crawled out of bed at the last possible minute and his hazel eyes were bloodshot. If he was tired now after only eight hours on shift, he’d be reconsidering this particular profession by midnight. The staff at Alaska General Hospital never rested. The revolving doors at emergency constantly rotated with broken bones, heart attacks and bleeding patients filing in. No day was ever the same. Unpredictability kept Erika alert and on her toes.

“After these rounds, I’m going to need you to check in on Mr. Franklin—he’s in recovery. His family is wondering when they can see him.” The man’s entire extended family was camped out in the surgical ward waiting room—fifteen or sixteen of them at least. They couldn’t see the man, but they all refused to leave. Each one took turns driving the nurses on duty crazy. “Make sure they know only immediate family can go in. He needs his rest.”

Darren nodded, but a look of hesitation appeared behind his dark-rimmed glasses.

“What?” She checked her watch.

“I just… Well, shouldn’t you talk to them? I know his wife wanted to thank you…”

Erika shook her head. “Keeping him on the low-cholesterol, low-sodium diet I’ve prescribed—and off my operating table—will be thanks enough,” she said, scanning the top folder on her stack.

“Okay, but…”

She shot him a look.

“No problem. I’ll check in on him.”

“Thank you.” She continued down the hall toward the next high-priority patient.

“Don’t forget, your dad still wants to see you,” Darren said, struggling to keep up to her half sprint.

“I know.” And she could do without the hourly reminders. Her father rarely requested her presence during her rounds, so whatever it was wouldn’t be good. If she put him off long enough, maybe he’d forget. 

 “Top chart—Mr. Grayson. He’s scheduled for an appendectomy in a few hours,” she said, approaching the man’s hospital room.

Darren nodded as he smiled. “This old guy is hilarious. Did you know he was a stunt motorcycle driver in the circus in the ’80s?”

“No.” She knew he had an inflamed appendix and had waited far too long to come in. She knew his vitals and that in an hour, they’d be prepping him for surgery. Knowing personal details of a patient’s life didn’t make her job any easier or guarantee a better outcome. She juggled the files on one arm as she reached into her pocket for a new set of sterile gloves.

“Hey, before we go in there, can I talk to you?” Darren asked, stopping her outside the room. He stared at the checked patterned floor tiles.

Damn. “You’re requesting a transfer to a different physician.” He wasn’t the first medical student who’d gotten reassigned. She’d made it a month with Darren—a new record.

Another intern bites the dust.

He nodded, obviously relieved that he hadn’t had to vocalize it himself. “You’re amazing, Dr. Sheraton, and I feel so fortunate for the opportunity to work with you, but you’re also very busy and unavailable…”

The sharp sting of the words was familiar. She’d heard the same speech from interns and boyfriends alike. She’d successfully eliminated the problem in one group right after her first year of residency…interns were hospital assigned and therefore out of her control.

“I mean I just need all the training I can get and between patients and your research work…”

She didn’t need an explanation. She was busy. Too busy to have someone following her around in fact. This was totally fine with her. “I understand.”

“You’re not upset?”

“Only about having to get my own coffee from now on,” she said.

The joke missed its mark and the intern’s eyes widened. “I can still do that…”

Wow, was she really that scary? She was demanding and expected the students to put in the hours she did. She may not be the friendliest doctor on staff, socializing after work and remembering birthdays and such, but she gave these interns a real picture of their future in medicine. Wasn’t that what they were there for? “I was kidding, Darren.”

“Oh…right.”

“Dr. Sheraton, please report to emergency. Stat.”

The call over the hospital intercom had her handing Darren the stack of folders. “Please take his heart rate and blood pressure,” she said, practically running to the elevators. “And don’t forget Mr. Franklin.”

“Got it,” he called after her.

The quiet twenty-six-second elevator ride to the first floor was the closest thing she got to a spa day. It was the only time she was forced to slow to a pace other than her own usual breakneck speed. But even that half a minute was too long. It gave her time to think. Think about her previous surgeries and replay the details—what went right, what went wrong, what she could do better next time. Constantly reevaluating herself made her a better surgeon, but too often it left her feeling like she was coming up slightly short of her potential. Her type A personality left little room for failure or complacency. 

Checking her phone in her lab coat pocket, she scanned her schedule for the rest of the evening, evaluating what she could push back if this emergency demanded her immediate attention. The number of things marked urgent made her will the elevator to move quicker. She’d be lucky to get out of there by 2:00 a.m.

A text popped up from Darren.

If you change your mind about Mrs. Franklin…

She wouldn’t. She ignored the text from her intern—former intern—and put the phone away.

As the elevator stopped, she took a deep breath, expecting to see a flurry of organized chaos as the doors opened. Stretchers, ambulance lights flashing and sirens wailing outside, paramedics and nurses… Instead, she ran square into her father.

No emergency, just his six-foot-three frame and his usual neutral expression. It was impossible to read her father, as his face gave nothing away. His emotions were never too high or too low, just infuriatingly balanced no matter the circumstance. His calm presence and rational thinking made him fantastic at his profession, but sometimes he was irritating as shit as a father.

“Hi. I was just coming to see you.” Eventually.

“Walk with me,” he said, turning on his heel and nodding.

Her jaw clenched so tight her teeth might snap. This was so like him—assuming she could drop everything at his command. He may run the hospital, but he often had no idea how hectic her schedule was. “Can we talk as I do my rounds, Darren is…” 

 

“More than capable,” he said, leading the way to his first-floor corner office. “And requesting to be transferred, I see.”

His tone made her palms sweat. He should be happy that she was pushing these interns to their limits. What awaited them once they graduated wasn’t for the faint of heart. Better to get used to grueling days and nights now, performing on little to no sleep, living on caffeine and leftover Halloween chocolate bars, than to realize they couldn’t cut it when lives were in their hands.

Unfortunately, he didn’t always agree with her beliefs . He wanted the interns to feel at home at Alaska General so they’d apply here once they graduated. The hospital was short staffed and more doctors would benefit everyone, but Erika preferred to work alongside the best.

Her father had an open-door policy—literally—so when he closed the office door behind her, she knew the head of General Surgery hadn’t called her in to discuss Thanksgiving dinner plans.

She glanced at his wall calendar as she sat. Especially since Thanksgiving was a week ago.

“Dad, this intern thing is just ridiculous…”

He held up a hand. “This isn’t about your inability to effectively manage others.”

Kick to the gut delivered and received. She clamped her lips together.

He opened his desk drawer and handed her a letter as he sat in the plush, leather chair behind his oversize mahogany desk.

Her eyes widened, seeing the Hospital Foundation logo on the top of the page. “Is this the final approval from the board for the clinical trials?” They’d submitted the application six months ago to start trials on a new antirejection drug after years of research, and they were waiting on the formal go-ahead to start with a test group.

Would Darren reconsider staying with her if he knew he could be part of a medical breakthrough? He’d been a lot of help in the past month.

“Just read it,” her father said.

She scanned the letter from the board of directors, feeling her excitement fade and anxiety rise with each word. “Recommended vacation? What is this?”

“I don’t like it either, but the board is reviewing policies and making sure we are following them,” he said, the edge indicating he’d been outvoted in this decision. He certainly didn’t believe in time off and had never encouraged her to take any. Her life was her career, just like him.

“But any day now we will be starting clinical trials on the new drug.” It had taken her father and his team almost three years to get the experimental antirejection product approved for testing on organ transplant patients and they’d finally gotten it. They’d worked around the clock for a year to make sure they did. Subjects were undergoing assessment right now to be ready for the trials.

Now was not the time to take a break.

Her father looked as though he’d made the same argument to the hospital board. “The team will have to handle it.”

So recommended actually meant forced. “Why now? I’m fine. I don’t need a break.” At twenty-nine, she was eager to prove herself as one of the top general surgeons in the state. Between her surgical success record and the research time she’d invested in this new drug, she was close. Helping her father get one step closer to winning the Lister Medal was high on her priority list. “Come on, Dad, you know I’m good. My last two operations were impossible surgeries…”

Improbable surgeries.”

Erika clamped her lips together again, forcing her argument to stay put. It wouldn’t do any good. Three years working alongside her father and she’d yet to prove herself. Despite two back-to-back improbable surgeries that she’d performed successfully, he still doubted her abilities. His micromanagement over her research team had driven her insane, but he’d reluctantly agreed to let her run her own set of clinical trials on the antirejection drug, and she’d foolishly believed she was making progress with him.

Now she was being forced into taking a break.

What the hell was a break? She hadn’t had one since starting university. She’d graduated with her bachelor’s in three years instead of four by doubling up on courses and then had applied directly to med school. She’d interned at Alaska General and secured a position there shortly after graduation. She couldn’t remember the last day she had off, let alone…she glanced at the letter. Two weeks?

What the hell would she do with all that free time?

Excerpted from An Alaskan Christmas by Jennifer Snow, Copyright © 2019 by Jennifer Snow. Published by HQN Books.

Buy Links

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target 

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

~Cassie

 

 

 

 

Holiday Blog Tour: Cowboy Christmas Redemption by Maisey Yates

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The book that I’m sharing with you today gave me all the feels and had me in tears by the end. Being a part of this blog tour has opened my eyes to new author’s that I will be actively be keeping my eye out for when I’m book shopping and I hope you have maybe found some gems too! I’m so grateful for Harlequin Trade Publishing for including me in their blog tours and click the links if you want to see what I thought of the books on Day One and Day Two. As always my review is 100% my own although all pictures and promotional information is courtesy of HQN Trade Publishing.

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COWBOY CHRISTMAS REDEMPTION

Author: Maisey Yates

ISBN: 9781335009906

Publication Date: 9/24/2019

Publisher: HQN Books

Book Summary


As snowflakes fall in Gold Valley, Oregon, will this rugged cowboy finally win the woman of his dreams?

Cowboy Caleb Dalton has loved single mom Ellie Bell, and her little daughter, Amelia, for years. But since Ellie is his best friend’s widow, Caleb’s head knows Ellie will always be strictly off-limits. If only his heart got the memo. So when Caleb discovers that Ellie has a Christmas wish list—and hopes for a kiss under the mistletoe—he’s throwing his cowboy hat into the ring. If anyone’s going to be kissing Ellie and sharing this magical time with her and her daughter, it’s him.

Ellie has dreaded the holidays since losing her husband. But this year, she’s finally ready to make some changes. She never expects the biggest change to be the heart-stopping kiss she shares with Caleb. For almost five years, Caleb has been her best friend, her rock, her salvation. This Christmas, can Caleb prove he’s also the missing puzzle piece of Ellie’s and Amelia’s hearts?

Review

The romance in this book is a beautiful, heartwarming, sexy, seriously hot tear jerker. When I started this book I had no idea of the roller coaster of emotions I was about to go on. The heartbreak that both Ellie and Caleb have gone through losing Ellie’s husband Clint five years ago is still something that they are both actively dealing with. Ellie is trying to figure out how to move forward in life since she has spent the last five years frozen in her grief. Caleb is grappling with the guilt he has been carrying since the first moment Caleb met Ellie and fell in instant love with her when Clint brought her to a family party.

Reading about Ellie confronting her grief and also her guilt about moving on and loving someone else gave me all the feels. She is also dealing with a lot of trauma from her crappy childhood with a mom that made her feel like she wasn’t worthy of love. My heart was so broken for Ellie and all of the pain and confusion that she was feeling. She really had a journey to go through to find her way to completely opening up her heart and Caleb was right there helping her along. They are hot and spicy together in the bedroom and I loved seeing them find their way to each other.

Caleb is also dealing with his own trauma with some family baggage and a not great relationship with his dad. There was an aspect of his story that centered around Ellie showing him that he had a learning disability his whole life that no one ever diagnosed or cared to find out why he was struggling so much in school. This part really resonated with me because my oldest has a language based delay and it was a nightmare getting the school to help. (Thankfully he has gotten help and is doing really well now!) But this book really touched me when it was talking about how not getting the help can affect your whole life. I also really felt for Caleb when he was trying to come to terms with his complicated relationship with Clint. He unconditionally loved Clint but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t have any negative feelings toward Clint and his place in Caleb’s family. The best part of Caleb is his absolute devotion to and for Ellie and her daughter Amelia. I don’t think I have ever read a book with a man more dedicated to the woman he loves than Caleb.

I’m sure by now you know that I gave this book five stars and I cannot recommend this book more to you. This book is a part of series set in the same small town (I know you know that this in an automatic yes please from me) and I now need to read them all. I am a huge fan of this author after reading this book and you can check her out for yourself by scrolling down to read the Chapter Two excerpt below.

Maisey Yates

Author Bio

New York Times Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit. 

Social Links

Author Website

Twitter: @maiseyyates

Facebook:@MaiseyYates.Author 

Instagram: @maiseyyates

Goodreads

Excerpt 

From Chapter Two

Caleb Dalton hadn’t had much to smile about for a long time. It had been a bear of a few years, since his best friend’s death, and while time might ease a wound, it wouldn’t ever bring Clint back.

But that permanence made space for movement, around the grief, around the pain. And finally toward a future he’d been planning for a long time.

Clint had been, honest to God, one of the best men on earth. The hole he’d left behind had been huge, and Caleb had dedicated himself to caring for his friend’s widow and child in his absence.

That had been his life, his whole life, for nearly five years. And it was fair, because it had been Ellie’s life, too.

He cared for Ellie. A hell of a lot. He’d met her because of Clint, but she’d been in his life now for more than ten years.

His feelings for Ellie were complicated. Had been from the beginning. But she’d been with Clint. And there was no doubt Clint was the better man. More than that, Clint was his brother. Maybe not in blood, but in every way that counted.

Caleb had never claimed to be a perfect friend. Clint was one of those people who’d drawn everyone right to him. He was easy to like. Caleb’s own parents had been bowled over by Clint from the time they were kids. 

And Caleb’s jealousy had gotten the better of him once when they’d been younger. Something that made him burn with shame even now.

He hadn’t let it happen when they’d been adults. No matter how tempting it had been. No matter how much he’d…

A muscle in his jaw ticked.

He gave thanks that there was a space in front of the Gold Valley Saloon, and he whipped his truck there up against the curb, ignoring the honk that came from behind him.

He turned around and saw Trevor Sanderson in his Chevy, giving Caleb the death glare.

“Hold your damn horses, Trevor,” he muttered as he put his truck in Park.

He should have been quicker.

Hell, that was life in a nutshell. Sometimes, you were just too late. For parking spots, and for women.

He’d tried to get that image out of his head. More times than he could count over the past decade. Had tried to erase that first time he’d seen Ellie.

It was at his parents’ barbecue. Late one summer afternoon.

He’d been talking and laughing with his brothers, and he’d lifted a beer to his lips and looked out away from the party. Then he’d frozen.

It was like the world had slowed down, all of it centering on the beautiful blonde walking toward him. The golden light from the sun illuminated her hair like a halo, and her smile seemed to light him up from the inside out.

As she’d gotten closer, he’d taken in every last detail. The way the left side of her cheek dimpled with that grin; her eyes, a mix of green and blue and a punch in the gut. Her lips were glossy pink, and he wondered if it was that stuff that women wore that smelled and tasted like cherries. He couldn’t decide if he hoped that it was or not.

Twenty years old, more experienced with women than he probably should be, and ready right then and there to drop down to his knees and propose marriage to the one walking in his direction.

It took him a full minute to realize that the beautiful blonde was holding hands with someone.

And that that someone was Caleb’s best friend on earth.

It was a surreal moment. It had been a sea change in his soul. When his feelings for Ellie had tipped over from nothing to everything.

A revelation he hadn’t been looking for, and one he sure as hell hadn’t enjoyed.

It was like the whole world had turned, then bucked, like a particularly nasty-ass bull, and left him sprawled out on the ground.

It had been the beginning of a thorny, painful set of years. As he’d gotten to know Ellie, as his feelings for her had become knit deep into his heart, into his soul. She’d become more than his friend’s woman, and more than a woman he’d desired. She’d become a friend to him.

In many ways he was thankful for the depth of the feeling, because it was the reason he’d been able to put aside the lust. The idea that he’d fallen in love with her at first sight.

When Clint had first started dating her, she’d been in school, so she hadn’t been around all the time. But during the summers, and on breaks, she came around with Clint. 

Went to the lake with them. Went fishing. Came to Christmas and Thanksgiving.

The summers at the lake, though, that had been a particular kind of torture. All of them swimming out in the water, her and her swimsuit. A tiny bikini that had left little to the imagination.

And he had been so very interested in imagining all the things that it did conceal.

And he’d felt like the biggest, most perverse asshole.

Then there had been the time that Clint had asked him to take her out riding.

Just the two of them.

Because Clint trusted him. Of course he did. Why wouldn’t he trust his best friend? So he’d done it.

Had taken her out on the trails that wound behind the Dalton family property, up to the top of a mountain. And he looked over at the view with her, watched the sunset. And everything in him had wanted to lean over and kiss her on the mouth. To act on the feelings that were rioting through his chest.

For just a breath she’d looked back at him, met his eyes. And he’d thought maybe she’d wanted it, too.

Yeah, it would have exploded his relationship with Clint, but for a minute it seemed like it might be worth it.

Then she’d looked away. And then he’d come back to himself.

Clint was his brother. In every way but blood.

And he couldn’t betray his friend like that.

Anyway, Ellie loved Clint.

She didn’t love Caleb.

And no matter how much he might not want to, he had to respect that.

So he hadn’t kissed her. They had ridden back down that mountain, and nothing happened between them. But late at night, Caleb had taken himself in hand and fantasized that it had.

Two days later Clint and Ellie had been engaged.

Caleb had agreed to be the best man.

She’d married Clint. And while his feelings for her had remained, they’d shifted. As they’d had to.

He wasn’t perfect. He’d never touched Ellie. Not like a man touched a woman, though that hadn’t stopped him from going over the accidental brush of fingertips, of their elbows touching, over and over in his mind if it had happened on accident.

It hadn’t stopped him from keeping and cherishing secrets with her, even when he knew he shouldn’t. Hadn’t stopped him from pushing some boundaries that not even Ellie had realized he’d been pushing at.

Ellie was the one who’d realized, for the first time, that he was dyslexic. And he’d sworn her to secrecy. And in that secrecy had come secret reading lessons.

And he’d…well, he’d lost control of his own feelings again. And once he’d recognized that, he’d cut them off. Cut her off.

But then Clint had died, just a month later. And everything changed again.

Since then, his relationship with Ellie was about their coming together to try and fill the gap Clint had left behind. His helping where she needed it.

Helping with the house, with her grief, with Amelia.

That was all.
Excerpted from Christmas Cowboy Redemption by Maisey Yates, Copyright © 2019 by Maisey Yates. Published by HQN Books.

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~Cassie