All posts for the month September, 2013

Book Review – Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery

Published September 24, 2013 by The Book Momster

Christmas on 4thRating – 5 stars (I received an ARC of this as a cheerleader for Susan Mallery)

I decided a while back that there is a secret club romance authors have never told us readers about.  In this club, they get together and decide that when writing Christmas romance books they will scale back the steam considerably.  So, if you have an author like Susan who is typically 20-30 shades of gray, those shades are dialed back to about 5-10 for the Christmas book.  I don’t understand the phenomenon, but that is usually the reason I will never enjoy a Christmas romance from a favorite author as much as their other books.

I’m happy to report this book is the exception.  If you’ve read my previous posts, Two of A Kind is my favorite Fool’s Gold romance to date.  I loved Gideon and Felicia.  I suppose then it’s only natural that I’m going to love this book since it’s the romance of Gideon’s twin brother Gabriel and Noelle, owner of the Christmas store in FG.  This book gives us lots more of Gideon and Felicia (loved her freak out about cooking Thanksgiving dinner) as well as introducing us to Gabriel and Gideon’s parents. 

Gabriel is on leave due to a hand injury.  He is also suffering from some burnout.  He meets Noelle and decides to help her out in her store through Christmas – mostly to avoid spending a lot of time with his parents and especially his father (the scene where his father finally tries to connect with Gabriel – too funny yet sweet).  Noelle and Gabriel each have their own demons to overcome and are going about them in different ways.  Gabriel feels it’s best to live life alone so you’re not hurt when someone dies.  Noelle feels you should live life to the fullest because you never know when it will end.  Watching her unknowingly yet eventually winning Gabriel over to her side of thinking is sweet and perfect for a Christmas romance.

Now – why did I LOVE this book compared to other Christmas books enough to go to 5 stars?  First, the story is so good and engaging you don’t miss the steam typical of a FG romance.  Second, I love the fact that the town refuses to bow to political correctness and decides to call their tree a CHRISTMAS TREE!!  That whole section of the book was great.  Finally, Eddie and Gladys.  Do I have to say more?  Their comments at the end of the book had me laughing out loud.  Note to Susan – I will be first in line to by “The Butts of Fool’s Gold” calendar.  Just sayin’.

Fool’s Gold is the land of happy endings so of course you know how it will end, but it doesn’t matter because it’s worth the ride.  I hope you give it a try and enjoy it as much as I did.


Book Review – Second Watch by J.A. Jance

Published September 23, 2013 by The Book Momster

second watchRating – 5 stars

I LOVE J.P. Beaumont!  I first read Jance around 3 years ago.  The first book I read by her was Desert Heat – Joanna Brady’s 1st book.  I wanted to read more, but since I’m a person that needs to read a series in order and knowing that the Joanna Brady series eventually intersected with Beaumont, I went to Jance’s website and made myself a list of the Beaumont and Brady books in order of when they were released and began reading in order.  Crazy I know, but let’s move on.  Pretty soon I figured out that I like the Brady books, but love Beaumont.  I also want to preface this review by saying if you’ve never read Jance and want to read this book, please do so.  However, I highly recommend you begin by reading the first Beaumont novel, Until Proven Guilty, first.  It is the story of Beau and Anne Corley and really sets the stage for the rest of his books.

When last we saw Beau and Mel, he was in need of a double knee replacement.  That’s where our story begins – Beau going into the hospital for his procedure.  While there, he’s given some obviously awesome drugs which leads him to have vivid dreams/memories and “visits” from two ghosts of his past.  The first is Monica Wellington, his first homicide case that was never solved and the second is Lennie D., his leader from Vietnam that saved Beau’s life and lost his in service.  He had asked Beau to tell his fiancée that he loved her and Beau had never made contact.  As a result, Beau sets out to resolve both of these things while recovering from his surgery.

I typically never like a story that deals with flashbacks.  Most of the time I end up speed reading because I just want to get back to present day and on with the story.  Jance does an amazing job of weaving the past and present together to tell not only a great mystery, but an extremely poignant story of the Vietnam era and the way people continue to honor those lost today.  Making an appearance is none other than Sheriff Joanna Brady – you can appreciate this more if you read both series, but you aren’t missing anything if you haven’t.  I loved reading about his adventures on the Wellington case because it happened in 1973 and it’s always fun to read about mystery solving before the technology age and to really think about how far we’ve come in crime solving.  Monica Wellington’s case would have probably been solved pronto had it occurred today.

As Beau himself admits, his Vietnam past has never really been discussed.  Exploring that in this book was a great secondary storyline.  It’s a rare book that makes me cry, but I was teary at the end of this book.  Then once the story ends, there is another few pages called “The Story Behind Second Watch.”  I could barely finish reading it because I was crying like a little girl.  I was so moved to learn that while details of the Vietnam storyline are fiction, the characters depicted were/are real.  I can’t decide if I would have rather have known that before or after, but the story Jance tells of her real-life Lennie D. is very sweet and you can’t read it ahead of the book because it does give away things that happen in the book, but do take time to read it once you’re done.

Also in the background of this book, Mel is off working a case herself involving potential police brutality.  Sometimes you will read a book with so many different storylines going on that you feel everything is shortchanged.  I didn’t feel that way in this book.  Each storyline leads to a resolution that left me feeling satisfied and not wondering or wanting more.  Well, okay, I always want more Beaumont, but eventually the current book has to end.

All in all, I think this is one of the best Beaumont books written.  I wish more authors (particularly one whose name I won’t mention) took some lessons from Jance.  She writes three series – I admit I’ve not started the Ali Reynolds series…yet.  The first is on my Nook waiting for me.  However, what she does effortlessly is write great suspense novels and I never feel as if she’s sacrificing one series for another.  Beaumont is still great today even though she also writes the Joanna Brady and Ali Reynolds series.  She proves you do not have to disappoint fans of one series to focus efforts on another you may want to write. 

While Beau may be my favorite of hers and I may be an impatient person waiting for the next Beaumont book (it usually takes about 2-3 years now), it’s so worth the wait.  In the meanwhile I have Joanna to keep me company and soon Ali will join the mix as well.

Coupon and Autographed Bookplate for FG Cookbook

Published September 3, 2013 by The Book Momster

FG cookbookI have a limited supply of autographed bookplates that can be inserted into Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold Cookbook.  If you purchase a printed copy, please comment below and I will get in touch with you to send you your bookplate.  The bookplates are physically signed by Susan.  My supply is limited!  If you would like a $2 coupon to purchase the book, comment below and I will get it to you.  If you purchase the book at Target, there is bonus content included (2 extra recipes and a letter from Susan).  Enjoy!

Book Review – Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold Cookbook

Published September 3, 2013 by The Book Momster

Rating – 4 of 5 stars

FG cookbookI admit that I am the person who will buy a cookbook with lots of plans to cook so many recipes in it only to wind up only trying one or two.  I plan to make a concerted effort to make several recipes from this book because they look so good and simple. Despite the fact I received this cookbook free, I would have gone out and bought it because a. It’s from Susan Mallery   b. It includes a FG novella, and c.  It looks pretty and I am one of those people who would buy it based on that as well.

Let’s start with the romance.  It’s rated G so no worries about having kids looking at the cookbook and getting an eyeful of something they shouldn’t.  I love that the characters fall in love while trying to put together this cookbook.  Continuing with the theme of this year’s books, the characters also have a past and that plays into the romance as well.  For FG fans or newbies, the back of the cookbook contains a listing of all the FG books to date and all the characters involved.  Awesome!

As for the cookbook itself, I love the way it is laid out!!!  The book is divided by the four seasons and each season is then divided into two sections based on the season (i.e. Summer is divided by Warm Weather meals and Picnics and Parties).  Each section is color coded making it easier to skip to where you want to be.  This week, I’m cooking the Seared Chicken with Lemon Spinach – it only takes about 15 minutes to cook!  The desserts in the book look divine and I’ll be testing the Classic Guiness gingerbread among others.  The back of the book contains conversion charts which I always find helpful.

Overall, Susan shares some wonderful recipes and a heartfelt story and I loved it!

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