2019 Book #61 – As Good as the First Time by K.M. Jackson

51Te9w5usZLTitle: As Good as the First Time
Author: K.M. Jackson
Date finished: 8/15/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Dafina
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Pages in book: 336
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Sugar Lake series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

True to its name, the small southern town of Sugar Lake is a sweet place to visit—and you might even want to live there . . .

With her big-city career and relationship in sudden free fall, Olivia Gale isn’t sure where she belongs. So when her help is needed at Goode ‘N Sweet, the family bakery in Sugar Lake, she jumps at the chance to indulge her pie-making hobby while getting her life back on track. Olivia’s not looking for any distractions. Even if the boy who once left her without a word is now a grown man with intriguing secrets—and the same tempting hold on her heart . . .

A firefighter and single dad, Clayton Morris is trying hard to fix his past mistakes. He thought he was doing the right thing by leaving Olivia—and now he’s sure he has nothing to offer the accomplished woman she’s become. But ignoring the sparks between them is impossible. And as unexpected surprises and hard choices endanger their fragile reunion, they’ll have to decide which direction to take if they want to find the road back to love . . .

My rating:  2.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I finished this book for ARC August 2019! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because this year they have a bunch of fun games and challenges, including one of my favorite things, reading bingo! This book will be checking off my “Finish 1 2018 release” box since I should’ve read this one last year! And since this is from my prior years backlog, I also read this as part of my Bookish 2019 Reading Challenge: 52 Ways to Kill Your TBR checking off line #11 – a novel that includes a recipe.

I had read a couple chapters of this book in last year’s Buzz Books Romance collection and was intrigued by them. So I figured I’d check out the full book! And as much as I was interested in the book based on the couple chapters I read, the book overall fell kind of flat for me. I didn’t find that there was enough meaningful interaction between Clayton and Olivia for me personally. They spent a lot of the book not only resisting each other but also not communicating well and not having the type of important conversations that I would look for with character and relationship development. And not just with the two main characters, I also thought that Olivia and her sister Drea’s relationship could have been developed more. I think that a lot of the issues I had with the book though were just based on personal preference and what I enjoy with my reading. Overall the book was entertaining and the characters were interesting, this one just wasn’t quite the book for me. I’d still recommend it if you like a sweet, small town romance (almost all closed door romance) with zany characters and a second chance romance, I’d recommend this one.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2018 Book #64 – Set the Night on Fire by Laura Trentham

51T1wUA3icLTitle: Set the Night on Fire
Author: Laura Trentham
Date finished: 7/31/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Pages in book: 336
Stand alone or series: #6 in the Cottonbloom series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Ella Boudreaux has a lot to prove to her family, friends, and foes—and to herself. So when her marriage ends she decides to invest her energy and money into a place that brings back some of Ella’s happiest memories: the Abbott brothers’ garage. Maybe, if she puts her mind to it, she can teach skeptical, stubborn Mack Abbott how to make the business a true success. Which would be a lot easier if the hunky mechanic didn’t make her motor run quite so fast…and hot.

Mack was furious when his brother, Ford, sold his share of the business. He’s in no rush to team up with a wealthy divorcée who shows up to the garage in stilettos—and the longest, sexiest legs he’s seen in forever. But Ella’s grit and determination won’t quit…and soon Mack can see that she’s been down a few rough roads herself. Neither Mack nor Ella can deny the fierce attraction that’s revving up between them. Could it be that true love has been in the backseat all along…and they’ve finally found the key?

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

At this point I’ve read a few of the books in this series, I’m starting to become pretty invested in this family! It was great to read about Mack’s story, and to see him deal with his family issues. And Ella was a unique blend of strong and insecure, fierce and soft. Mack and Ella really were pretty perfect for each other, and the romantic chemistry between them was really well written! Mack has had a rough time the past few years and I was glad that he opened himself up to Ella, since she is such a generous and loving person. There were some pieces of the story that felt pretty cheesy / corny, but overall it was a sweet story. The ending kind of fizzled out for me a bit, it felt like there almost should’ve been something more that happened. I guess anti-climactic is a good way to describe it. It was still a good story though, romantic and light-hearted. I’m interested to see if the author continues the series and if so where she takes it.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2018 Book #12 – Christmas Glitter by Ann B. Harrison

51ESHgfyFKLTitle: Christmas Glitter
Author: Ann B. Harrison
Date finished: 2/2/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Publication Date: November 13, 2017
Pages in book: 154
Stand alone or series: #1 in The Moore Sisters of Montana series
Where I got the book from: Library Thing NOTE: I received this book for free from Library Thing in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

After a rough year involving a serious car accident, painful recovery and broken engagement, Dakota Moore moves to Cherry Lake to rebuild her life. To embrace her new community, she volunteers to coordinate the annual Christmas tree gala.

Adam Clements has come home to help his mother run the family business while his father recovers from a heart attack. For the last decade, he’s been a high-flying soccer player, enjoying the life that comes with his popularity. But something is missing and he can’t put his finger on it… until he returns to Cherry Lake and remembers the feeling of home.

Adam tries to keep his distance because he knows he’ll be leaving, but he can’t deny his attraction to Dakota. With the countdown to Christmas on, can Dakota convince Adam that his home is right there in Cherry Lake, with her?

My rating:  1.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

This book would make a great Hallmark movie, it was cheesy and kind of corny and a had a sweet ending. This certainly wasn’t a bad book and I think a lot of people would definitely enjoy it, especially since its set right around the Christmas holiday (which is a great time to fall in love!). For me personally though this book did not do the trick. The main character, Dakota, and even many other women in the novel are very insecure and self-doubting. I understand we all have moments like this but they’re all successful self-employed business owners and I feel like to earn yourself that kind of success you wouldn’t then constantly be downplaying every thing you do like its not good enough. That got to me a little. The descriptions of the interactions between men and women in the book too seemed very old-fashioned in a way that was off-putting to me, specifically when one of the older men in town is trying to talk Dakota into going to have a drink with Adam and afterwards she goes to change. The narration says “Ever since the decision had been taken out of her hands” – you can stop right there, this is not the girl for me. If you want to go that’s fine but don’t say that the decision wasn’t yours to make because that’s pretty ridiculous.

So anyways I don’t want to go on a rant, other than those types of things the book was a cute read and it was exactly the kind of story I’d expect to see on the Hallmark channel during the month before Christmas – heart-warming and sappy. I would recommend it to anyone who’s pining for a good Christmas love story after the holidays 🙂

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #69 – Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

519Qgtj62YLTitle: Ready to Run
Author: Lauren Layne
Date finished: 8/15/17
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
Pages in book: 203
Stand alone or series: I Do, I Don’t series Book #1
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: firefighter Luke Elliott, a known player who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan, but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.

My rating:  4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Jordan Carpenter, a tv producer from New York City, and Luke Elliott, a firefighter from a small town in Montana. Normally these two might never have crossed paths but luckily Jordan is trying to cast the star of a new tv show called Jilted (The Bachelor but for guys with commitment problems) and Luke has left three women at the altar, and by all accounts seems perfect to be the star of the show. And so Jordan travels (*cough*stalks*cough*) to Montana to convince him in person. Only problem is once she gets there she finds herself distracted by.. well by Luke himself. While he sure is surly he also has a heart of gold. But while Jordan’s career rests on Luke’s answer, can she really throw her life away and open herself up to this new opportunity with Luke?
Overall this was a really good book. I really got hooked into the story and I didn’t want to put it down. There was some great chemistry between the main characters and I thought the author did a great job of really developing their relationship, especially considering how short the book was. This was a fairly quick and easy read, and it would be just perfect for reading on your summer vacation. My only warning is don’t think too hard in like a feminist mentality, Jordan seemed genuinely happy with her decisions and I like that the author accurately portrays how much her character likes the small town life. My only real complaint with this one is that I thought it would’ve been really fun to read about Luke actually being on the show but it sounds like we’ll get a glimpse of that with the second book in the series, Runaway Groom. I liked this one a lot and I can’t wait for the next one in the series!!

The bottom line: I liked this book a lot, it was a sweet story and it was a good read. I really got hooked into the story, I didn’t want to put it down! I would recommend it!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page