Review: Once Upon a Royal Christmas

Once Upon a Royal Christmas was the perfect was to kick off the holidays and my marathon of holiday romcoms.

Gracie is a children’s party princess who wins a contest to bring her Princess Snowflake to the country of San Glacera during their Christmas festivities.

The grumpy-sunshine relationship between Gracie and Prince Nikolas of San Glacera was everything I wanted in a romcom. I especially loved reading as Nikolas slowly melts from the abominable snow prince as he gets to know Gracie.

The scene in the Christmas Tree Maze was by far my favorite in this book, and for once I didn’t mind that the author included and epilogue because I definitely wanted to know what happened to these two after the final chapter.

I listened to Once Upon a Royal Christmas as an audiobook, and the narrator, Brittany Pressley, did a fantastic job keeping my attention throughout the book.

Thank you to Dreamscape Media, Hallmark Publishing and NetGalley for the advanced audiobook copy of this book.

Review: Snowy Montana Nights

Winter in Montana. Hot cowboys. Small towns.

If I haven’t sold you already, then the 🔥🔥🔥 Santa scene is definitely a reason for you to pick up Snowy Montana Nights.

I picked this up because of the setting – Gardiner, MT, a town on the Northside of Yellowstone National Park. I loved visiting Montana and this small town definitely brought me right back to Big Sky Country.

I really liked the tension between Wendy and Zane, as well as the building relationship between them. The side characters in this really made the story come alive!

This is book three in the Dallas Debutantes series, but can be read as a standalone.

Review: The Wicked City

I picked up The Wicked City based on the author Beatriz Williams. The description on NetGalley (see below) had me expecting a dual timeline POV with a little mystery connected to the historical fiction.

While I enjoyed reading this book, and absolutely enjoyed following Ginger as a character, I wished there had been more flipping back and forth between timelines.

Ginger (“Gin”) was a unique character to be the main character. She is an independent woman and very strong willed. I would get so sucked into the Jazz Age, Prohibition era with Ginger that I would have that hangover when I was back int the real world. However, when the POV would change to the current time line, it felt shocking. Especially since such a long time spent in the 20s with Ginger, then by the time the timeline switched, I had forgotten what had happened.

I really appreciated the  author’s note at the end, that she tried to replicate an Appalachian accent when writing Ginger and her family. And, although the dialect has evolved and changed since the 1920s, she tried to capture the basic ways of speaking.

While this book left me wanting more, I really did enjoy spending in the Jazz Era with Ginger, and thought that storyline could have stood alone.

Thank you to William Morrow and NetGalley for the digital copy in exchange for my review.

Synopsis:

Two generations of women are brought together inside a Greenwich Village apartment —a flapper hiding an extraordinary past, and a modern-day Manattanite forced to start her life anew.

When she discovers her banker husband has been harboring a secret life, Ella Gilbert escapes her SoHo loft for a studio in Greenwich Village. Her charismatic musician neighbor, Hector, warns her to stay out of the basement after midnight, when a symphony of mysterious noise strikes up—laughter, clinking glasses, jazz piano, the occasional bloodcurdling scream—even though the space has been empty for decades. Back in the Roaring Twenties, the basement was home to one of the city’s most notorious speakeasies.

In 1924, Geneva “Gin” Kelly, a quick-witted flapper from the hills of western Maryland, is a regular at this Village hideaway. Caught up in a raid, Gin lands in the office of Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson, who persuades her to help him catch her stepfather, Duke Kelly, one of the biggest bootleggers in Appalachia.

But Gin is nobody’s fool. She strikes a risky bargain with the taciturn, straight-arrow Revenue agent, and their alliance rattles Manhattan society to its foundations, exposing secrets that shock even this free-spirited redhead.

As Ella unravels the strange history of her new building—and the family thread that connects her to Geneva Kelly—she senses the Jazz Age spirit of her exuberant predecessor invading her own shy nature, in ways that will transform her existence in the wicked city.

Review: The Kiss Curse

The Kiss Curse was a cute, fast read, perfect for spooky season – especially for those of us who like our spooky season on the sweeter side. I absolutely loved The Ex Hex last fall, and was looking forward to joining the crew in Graves Glen again.

The Kiss Curse was Gwyn and Wells story, and this was definitely followed the enemies-to-lovers trope. (Which is one of my favorites, so I absolutely loved the witty banter and the journey in their relationship.)

Speaking of favorite things, Sur Purrcival – I absolutely that cat. He seriously steals the show every time he is in the scene.

I did really enjoy the inclusiveness in this book – Gwyn is bi and one of the side characters uses they/them pronouns. It’s subtle, but so seamlessly written into the story.

There is a little mystery in this, and there was a good red herring to keep the reader guessing. Although, in the end I did find the conclusion to be taken care of too quickly and easily.

Audiobook Review: Did Not Finish

I have been listening to audiobooks on my commute to and from work, because I cannot handle anymore of the election coverage on NPR (my usual radio station) or political commercials (on my alternative music channel).

Did Not Finish was cute, but definitely had a predictable plot and ending. Which is okay with me – sometimes I want and enjoy the predictability of the romcom storyline.

While there was some steam, the smuttiest scenes were “fade to black.”

I loved the descriptions of Axel’s home are so cozy – I would love to find an actual resort or Airbnb like this to stay in, curl up by the fireplace.

As for the audio, the narrators weren’t my favorite. The book was narrated by Kendra Murray and Connor Brown. I found Murray to be slightly robotic in the beginning, but smoothed out (or maybe I got used to her voice?) by the middle of the book. Brown, on the other hand, was very difficult for me to understand, and sometimes I would miss entire words or phrases because I couldn’t make out what he said.

Thank you to Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for the advanced audio copy of Did Not Finish.

Review: Pumpkinheads

Pumpkinheads is such a cute graphic novel – and perfect reading for fall reading.

Deja and Josiah are “seasonal friends” working together at the local Pumpkin Patch. But on their last day of the season, during their last year working at the Patch before heading off to college, the duo decides to go out with a bang. They seek out the girl Josiah has been crushing on for three years, but on the way, they also try all of the snacks!

I absolutely, positively connected with Deja – she planned their night around eating all of the snacks at the Pumpkin Patch, including the epic sounding pumpkin bomb.

I wish I had read this slower, and sooner, it was such a heart warming graphic novel.

Review: Crumbs

I picked Crumbs up at the book store because of the artwork. The cover drew me in and the artwork inside was just beautiful.

That said, while I enjoyed the relationship between Ray and Laurie, and even the career growth and decisions that Ray needs to make along the way.

But, I wanted to know more about the magic system and how it worked, and more about the Council and what it does and why it is so important. I also wanted more information about Ray and Laurie’s mobile devices. They acted like cell phones, but also were spell books?

I really did enjoy Crumbs, and the drawings of the baked goods and coffee and teas had me craving fresh pastries and hot drinks the whole time. I just wanted more from this story.

Review: Witchful Thinking

Witchful Thinking was a cute witchy romcom, even if it was set in the summer. And, while it was a cute, fast read for the fall season, it definitely won’t be a story that sticks with me.

I really liked the small town, second chance romance between Lucy and Alex. I love any small town romance!

I did want to know more about the merfolk and more background to Freya Grove. The author started to give some information why there are so many supernaturals in Freya Grove, but I feel like the full reason was never fully explained. And with Alex being a merman, I wanted more information about what makes them special.

While this is a romcom, the romance is very lowborn and there wasn’t much steam on the page.

This was a fun reader spooky season, as it is set in the summer, it could absolutely be enjoyed as a summery witchy read, too.

Review: When Life Gives You Vampires

When Life Gives You Vampires had me laughing from the get go. I listened to this as an audiobook and the narrator, Meg Sylvan was absolutely perfect for this book.

I really adored Lily – she was such a spitfire, and her thoughts (when not focused on her body) were witty and sassy. Every time I hit play on this book, I felt like I was getting back together with a friend.

There were also some fantastic Buffy and Twilight references throughout the book that made me smile.

My biggest complaint, though, is how often Lily’s weight is brought up. I am all for a a plus sized main character, and even a plus sized main character that questions and worries about her weight. However, Lily mentions or thinks about her weight A LOT. It almost became a third character in the story.

Thank you to Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for the audio review copy of When Life Gives Your Vampires.