Book Review: Bah, Humbug! (Christmas Street #1) by Heather Horrocks

Lexi Anderson is an up-and-coming, Martha Stewart-type TV hostess whose two kids love the Jared Strong adventure novels, which happen to be written by their new neighbor, Kyle Miller.

For the first time in his writing career, Kyle has writer’s block – until he sees the snowman on his lawn and realizes this is the perfect place for his villain to hide the weapon. He digs into the snowman to discover two things: the weapon fits int he body just under the head, and the snowman was supposed to be the back drop for Lexi’s next show.

From this improbable beginning comes friendship. Can there be more for a woman who is afraid to get close again and a man who has shadows from his childhood?

Families join together and hearts are healed as this couple goes walking in a winter wonderland.

I do not usually get into Christmas or Holiday books in general, but this year I was making an effort to be a little bit more Holiday feeling and I had Bah humbug on my TBR so why not? The editing work on this book was not done very well and in all honesty, I am getting a little tired of so many books with typos and issues. I know small indie authors do not make huge sums, but I feel if you are going to publish a book you should proof read very well! Ask a friend! No ones perfect I know that, I know I am not perfect when I post my reviews but GAH! Okay little rant over and moving on.

This book is a fast cute little read overall and it was a fairly quick one as well. Lexi Anderson our female character reminded me a lot of Brie from Desperate Housewives and I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. The best way she thinks to get new neighbor and author to get over being a Christmas Grinch is to essentially present to him Christmas on steroids. That may not work in the real world with most people (would not work on me!) but who knows in books things happen. I don’t want to give away the plot, of course, but what would Chic lit/Romance be without a little bit of rivalry in it as well right? Enter Author Kyle’s brother. Of course he shows up as Kyle is falling in love with Lexi.

The long and short of this review (many pardon’s if I am a little jumpy with this, post holiday cold requires lots of nyquil!) is that while it isn’t a particularly deep book it is fun. If you want something easy, cute and fitting for the holidays next time they come around you would probably be happy by picking up this little Novella.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Shopaholic Ties the Knot (Shopaholic #3) by Sophie Kinsella

Life has been good for Becky Bloomwood: She’s become the best personal shopper at Barneys, she and her successful entrepreneurial boyfriend, Luke, are living happily in Manhattan’s West Village, and her new next-door neighbor is a fashion designer! But with her best friend, Suze, engaged, how can Becky fail to notice that her own ring finger is bare? Not that she’s been thinking of marriage (or diamonds) or anything . . . Then Luke proposes! Bridal registries dance in Becky’s head. Problem is, two other people are planning her wedding: Becky’s overjoyed mother has been waiting forever to host a backyard wedding, with the bride resplendent in Mum’s frilly old gown. While Luke’s high-society mother is insisting on a glamorous, all-expenses-paid affair at the Plaza. Both weddings for the same day. And Becky can’t seem to turn down either one. Can everyone’s favorite shopaholic tie the knot before everything unravels

This is my last read for 2013 and it was not a bad one, not a fantastic one but not a bad one. Once again we jump into the world of Becky Bloomwood and personally sometimes I wonder how smart the people around her really are to not notice some of the stuff that is going on with her and everything else, or if maybe Becky really just is THAT good at keeping things hidden. At any rate it was a fun and light hearted read as you would expect it to be with Becky and Luke going to get married, but Becky having to choose between two weddings and typical Becky fashion she can’t until it’s to late.

This is not an earth shattering book but it is not meant to be so it is supposed to be fun and light and fast to read I found that it was all of those things for me. I am glad that Luke finally seemed to learn the truth about his Mom and that Becky did in the end (which took a long time) seem to grow up a little bit. I do think she will of course get herself into a similar situation again (like she does) but I was glad to see her get some maturity in this one. In the end she did make everyone happy and I liked that.

My Gemstone Rating:



Book Review: Confessions of a Chalet Girl by Lorraine Wilson

Release date: June 27th 2013

Set in the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Verbier, the winter playground of the rich and famous, Confessions of a Chalet Girl is a fun and flirty contemporary romance novella from the fabulous Lorraine Wilson.

The slopes seriously start to heat up when chalet girl Holly is propositioned by her sexy new boss!

Well I am not sure the events would happen like they did so fast in real life. The casual hacking of face book and twitter that Magda did as well, was a little bit meh. However over all the story was a good one. This was a very fast read and cute. I rather liked Holly and the boss man Scott was the kind of handsome rugged fellow you would expect at a ski resort. I can admit I was a bit jealous of Holly not just for the super handsome fellow she was having and enjoying in all the ways you expect but the wonderful alps. I would not mind a nice fun swim in some of the natural pools that she enjoyed. All in all, fun, fast and flirty just what I needed after the heavy read I took on before this one. This is a good one for summer.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson

Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.

The Ugly Step sister strikes back by Sariah Wilson takes us into the world of two teenagers Ella and Mattie. Ella is of course cast as the Cinderella stepsister by Mattie and the book opens with Mattie listing her grievances against the pretty, kind, sweet (etc) Ella. We also meet Prince Charming, or is he Prince not so charming when Mattie tells us about the love her young life Jake.

My first thought when I started reading Sariah Wilson’s book was “wow this Mattie is a bit of a whinny mean girl.”. I think that is what your supposed to feel until you get to know Mattie a bit better the Ugly Step Sister Strikes back is indeed a journey for the reader for for Mattie and Ella. A journey that I found myself really invested in for both girls.

Both Ella and Mattie find out things not only about each other but about themselves. They find out that while they both made some sore misjudgments about one another they also wanted a relationship. I personally really enjoyed the journey that they took and by the end of the book I really loved both Mattie and Ella. Not to mention I love the take on the mean girl spirit of the book and well I don’t want to ruin the story but you have to enjoy the outcome of everything concerned.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Three Girls and a Baby (Three Girls #1) by Rachel Schurig

Ginny McKensie’s life is spiraling out of control.

Finished with college, she should have been planning her wedding. After all, Ginny and Josh were made for each other—everyone said so. Except the love of her life didn’t agree.

Now Ginny is back in her hometown, unwillingly single, and stuck in a dead-end job. When she discovers she’s pregnant, Ginny is convinced her life is ending. Instead of planning a future with Josh, she’s learning the truth about morning sickness, juggling bills, and seeing just how far designer jeans can stretch.

Her life-plan never included dating again (not even with her too-hot new boss), or being a single mother at 23. Now, with the help of her best friends, Annie and Jen, Ginny must try to re-imagine—and rebuild—a life she never wanted.’

I really enjoyed this book. At first, I wasn’t really a fan of Ginny. I thought she was selfish and a bit too immature. Then again, she was supposed to be so she could grow throughout the story. In the end, I loved all three girls and the way they related to each other. As soon as I finished I had to buy the second book. I just had to know what happened next!

My Gemstone Rating:


BooK Review: Austenland by Shannon Hale

Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man—perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. When a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, however, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

I am a Pride and Prejudice snob. I only like the BBC version, with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennett. While there are parts of the newer, shorter, harried, and nuance free Hollywood version I enjoy, like the supposed-to-be-prettiest-sister Jane, who is actually much prettier than the actress in the BBC version, every time I’ve watched it (which, I grant, is only twice), I feel angry afterwards. First, Kiera Knightly is NOT Elizabeth Bennett. Elizabeth Bennett does not smile a ridiculous smile showing her bottom teeth all the time. And she is not flat chested. I mean, come on….we’re talking about the girl who woos Mr. Darcy. With those low-cut gowns in style, I’m guessing there was a little bit of oomph necessary to catch his eye. That and a pair of “fine eyes”. Mostly, though, the entire movie is rushed. The actors spit out their lines in Gilmore Girls fashion, important scenes are entirely cut out, and then two minutes are devoted to watching Kiera Knightly spin on a swing. Frustrating.

Anyways, my point is (and I do have one), that there is only one good movie adaptation…and it’s six hours long and only strays (and not really even strays, just leaves out a few minor details) slightly from the book. So, when the main character in Austenland, Jane, loved this movie as much as me, I knew I could appreciate her.

32 year-old Jane, single and relationship challenged, is obsessed with Mr. Darcy…the dreamy Colin Firth who walks across his magnificent grounds in a wet shirt after diving into a pond (you know the scene). The Colin Firth…I mean Mr. Darcy, who beams at Elizabeth while she’s turning pages for his sister, Georgiana, at the piano (you know this scene too). After her rich great aunt comes to visit her, and subsequently finds her two-disc DVDs hidden behind a houseplant, Jane is surprised when she receives a call following her aunt’s death from the probate attorney. Instead of money, her aunt leaves her an all expense paid for trip to an exclusive British resort, where Jane will spend three weeks living the Regency period lifestyle in an attempt to fulfill, and also hopefully expunge, her Darcy obsession.

I found the beginning of this book to be annoying. Jane is too nervous and melodramatic and not all that likable. For starters, I have no idea why anyone would be ashamed of owning Pride and Prejudice. Houseplants? Please. I’m thinking of fashioning my set up with a chain and wearing it around my neck. See? I’m a true fan. However, the three weeks she spends at Pembrook Park, a Netherfield/Pemberly-esque manor with servants who can’t speak to her, empire wasted gowns, gentleman that are actors (or are they?), turns about the room, walks on the grounds and a ball are simply fantastic. The situations are entertaining, the plot pleasantly twisty and the ending satisfying.

Shannon Hale writes a light-hearted fantasy romance that is sure to please even the snobbiest Jane Austen fans. As a warning, do not expect a Jane Austen book. While Hale does a fair job mimicking some of the dialogue, the novel is thoroughly modern and much less subtle. It is a romance…therefore extremely unlikely to be true. Regardless, when I turned the last page, I had a smile on my face and said, out loud, “That was fun!”

Book Review: Wedding Season by Darcy Cosper

Seventeen weddings. Six months. Only the strong survive. Joy Silverman and her boyfriend, Gabriel Winslow, seem perfect for each other. Living together in New York City, they have everything they want and everything in common–most important, that neither one wants to get married. Ever. But when Joy finds herself obligated to attend seventeen weddings in six months (including those of her father, mother, younger brother, and five of her closest girlfriends), the couple is forced to take a new look at why they’re so opposed to marriage when the rest of the world can’t wait to walk down the aisle. As the season heats up and the pressure mounts, Joy must confront what it means — and what it costs — to be true to one’s self. A witty, wicked comedy of manners in the satirical tradition of Jane Austen and Evelyn Waugh, Wedding Season is an intelligent, laugh-out-loud funny examination of friendship, faith, integrity, and the ideas and institutions that bind us together, shape our lives, and define who we are. “If Jane Austen and Candace Bushnell were to meet for a long drink in a downtown bar, the delightful result might be a contemporary comedy of manners with a decidedly old-fashioned feel. Darcy Cosper has given us just that: a sweet and sharply funny concoction that will have bridesmaids everywhere nodding their heads in recognition.” — Dani Shapiro, author of Family History “Wonderful….Wedding Season is social comedy on a grand scale. A hilarious and urbane primer on getting hitched-or not-in the twenty-first century.” — Gary Shteyngart, author of The Russian Debutante’s Handbook.

I’m sorry, but when a book is titled “Wedding Season” and the cover art is of a row of pastel colored bridesmaid dresses, it has one purpose in life – to be a bit of brainless fluff with a happy ending for me to read when I’m sick. I guess I should admire it for trying to be more than what it is, but it didn’t really succeed, and I was just annoyed that it didn’t know its place. It was nice to read some chick lit with a protagonist who wasn’t obsessed with getting married, and I was glad that it didn’t just end with her changing her mind and drinking the Kool-Aid (nothing against marriage, in fact I wouldn’t mind getting married myself someday, but it shouldn’t be a requirement in modern society), but the conclusion she drew about marriage in the end was just baffling and unsatisfying

Book review: Second chance by Jane Green

With this life-affirming tale of friendship and fate, Jane Green once again shows why she is a nationally bestselling author with legions of loyal fans. The story of a group of people who haven’t seen each other since they were best friends in school, they reunite when one of them dies in a terrible tragedy. Recapturing the intimacy of their younger days, they are each surprised at the impact their encounter brings. Warm, witty, and as wise as ever, Second Chance will strike a chord with anyone who is still trying to figure life out. I’m not sure what happened to Jane Green’s writing craft in this book; the POV jumps wildly in and out of various character’s heads, sometimes in the same sentence. The tense shifts from present to past and back. I suppose the effect is supposed to be one of sitting over a cup of tea with a good friend and having a gossip about other good friends. Only problem is, the book doesn’t come with tea. The story is Green’s version of The Big Chill – a man dies (and why Green chose to make it a terrorist attack on US soil is beyond me; the means of death is very tangential to the story and a car accident would have served the exact same purpose) and his death serves as the impetus for his old school friends, who haven’t really seen each other in twenty years, to gather together. They are your usual collection of stereotypes in reunion stories: the woman trapped in a loveless marriage; the happily married couple who can’t conceive; the mousy one; the glamorous, alcoholic film star. No new ground is broken, although the familiar old tropes are trod on over and over. Still, like all familiar things, there is comfort in visiting and Green’s characters, if not highly original, are engaging

Book Review: Mr. Maybe by Jane Green

To Libby Mason, Mr. Right has always meant Mr. Rich. A twenty-seven-year-old publicist, she’s barely able to afford her fashionable and fabulous lifestyle, and often has to foot the bill for dates with Struggling Writer Nick, a sexy but perpetually strapped-for-cash guy she’s dating (no commitments–really). So when Ed, Britain’s wealthiest but stodgiest bachelor, enters the picture, her idea of the fairy-tale romance is turned on its head. Libby soon finds herself weighing the advantages of Nick’s sexual prowess and tender heart against Ed’s luxurious lifestyle and unlimited retail therapy. But when the diamond shopping commences, Libby is forced to realize that the time for “maybe” is up

It is no secret that I like Jane Green, she is one of the authors that after reading the first book of hers I promptly picked up as many of the others as I could get my hands on to try to complete the collection. Mr. Maybe for me was not her best work. It was not a bad book but it just did not seem to have the usual flair that I have come to expect when reading a Jane Green.

There are several points in the book where it just seems to drag on and there are things that just do not seem to be needed. Libby Mason as a character, well I felt I could not connect with her much. She is very superficial, and a bit over dramatic and there are most assuredly times where I want to swat her upside the head. I even found myself wishing her best friend in the book Jules would do just that.

Now with the negative parts said, I did still enjoy the book overall. It was not a waste of my reading time and it did have some great parts. Nick was by far my favorite character, at first I was not sure I would like him as he was being played up as a kind of wastrel but overall he was the brightest spot in the list of characters in this book, he is witty, funny and not a wastrel but a creative mind who may not have taken the best route to what he wants but he got it in the end.

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