Rating – 4 of 5 stars
Continuing the Callaway series, this book focuses on Nicole and Ryan, currently separated after growing apart after their son’s autism diagnosis. After Brandon is kidnapped, they come together to search for him and end up finding their way back to each other as well. A beautifully written story, fans of Barbara’s Angel’s Bay series will be happy to know the search leads them to Angel’s Bay where we get to check in with some old friends. While this book can be read as a standalone, I think you will appreciate the story more if you’ve read the first three books and seen more of the struggle Nicole and Ryan faced before the beginning of this story. Also ongoing in this series is a secret between the Callaway grandparents – this book mentions it, but not a lot of forward movement on that storyline. We also catch up with the couples from the previous books in the series and my only comment is – SPOILER ALERT – couldn’t the epilogue have ended with us at least knowing if Sara and Aiden had a boy or girl?? Sigh – I’m not a patient person so I guess I have to wait to the next book to find out. Speaking of, this book did a wonderful job of setting up Sean’s story and I enjoyed his part of this book.
Overall, fans of Barbara will not be disappointed with this story. This book reminded me a lot of my favorite book by Barbara, Daniel’s Gift. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!
Rating – 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.
Rating – 4 of 5 stars
I 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!
Rating – 2 of 5 stars
Crackers and milk! This book is a bad episode of the Andy Griffith show. That said, it is also quintessential Diana Palmer. If you’ve read a lot of her books, then you know what to expect going in. Sheriff Hayes Carson has been in many of her previous books and he finally gets his story. He gets shot and the only person willing to take him in is Minette, the woman he has blamed for his brother’s death for years and hates. It doesn’t take long to figure out why that is and frankly his reasons were ridiculous.
Only in a Diana Palmer book are drug lords criminals, but decent because he offers his employees benefits. Ugh! Anyway, what I did like about this book is that compared to others, it was nice that Minette didn’t come off as a stupid twit like some other of her heroines. She also has her own money and is independent and even though Hayes hates her in the beginning, he’s not overly mean to her as heroes in other books have been.
Yet, the dialogue is not great through the book. A lot of characters are introduced and we see a lot of old favorites, but I think it was too much. Everything is spelled out as if the reader can’t figure anything out on our own. Some of the characters actions were laughable too. Hayes is a SHERIFF – yet Minette has to tell him he should report the fact his house is bugged. He acts like he never thought of that.
Overall, if you’re a fan of Diana Palmer, then I will say it’s better than it has been. If you’re just looking for a good romantic suspense book, this isn’t it. And don’t read the description of the book to decide – it’s completely WRONG. Hayes is not investigating Minette and she is not an undercover DEA agent. Who in the world wrote that and how did it make it to the cover of the book???
Rating – 3 of 5 stars
I wouldn’t have thought that the book I expected to be my most favorite of the Breathless trilogy turned out to be my least favorite. Simply put – this book felt phoned in. The romance plays out just like Fever. Ash sees Josie and immediately must have her, searches for her, and then takes over control of her life. However, in contrast to Fever, this book seemed scattered. So many minor storylines – his family’s issue with the grandfather, Josie’s ex, his sister’s whirlwind romance, and then the whole Charles Willis thing – yet none were woven into the story enough to have any real meaning or satisfying resolution. I even wondered why some of these plot points were even included. The first book in the trilogy, Rush, also had several minor storylines, but they all added to the overall story and contributed to it.
Sadly, one way this book compared to Fever was the continuing use of caveman sentences. Apparently, Ash and Jace cannot speak in complete sentences and do not know what pronouns are. If it were only a couple of times, that’s one thing. It’s so prevalent that I found it distracting and I was adding the words myself as I read to make it read better.
I could go on, but I’m just so disappointed in this book. I love Maya Banks and yes I plan to continue to read her books (I’m anxiously awaiting the next Montgomery/Armstrong book), but I expected a lot more out of this book and it wasn’t delivered.