Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Review: Bittersweet (Bitter Root Mysteries #4) by C.J. Carmichael

Murder in a small town is always personal.

Local longtime librarian, Sybil Tombe, is missing, abducted from her home on the outskirts of the isolated ranching town of Lost Trail, Montana. An elderly neighbor reports seeing a gray-haired, bearded man driving up to Sybil’s house the night she disappeared. Newly-minted Sheriff Zak Waller can’t think of a less likely target for a crime. When an older man is reported lurking around a young girl at the local grade school, Zak wonders if this man could also be Sybil’s abductor? The descriptions of the men are similar—but what could be the possible link between a young girl and 60-year-old Sybil?

Peeling back the layers of Sybil's life, Zak discovers Sybil is a master at keeping secrets, especially her own, and these secrets may now be threatening her life as well as the life of an innocent child. As Zak and his team work to uncover the truth, he also has to deal with issues in his romantic relationship with deputy Nadine Black, and mete justice to a respected town citizen who has been sheltering his criminal past for too long.

My Review:

Just the right amount of mystery and romance makes this a memorable book.

If you have read any of the Bitter Root mystery series, you definitely don’t want to miss this book.  In this story, Sybil Tombe, Lost Trail’s beloved librarian, and a little girl, Darby Larkin, turn up missing.  Zak Waller, who has recently been promoted to sheriff and his team need to work fast to solve these crimes before it’s too late.  Meanwhile, Zak and his girlfriend/deputy Nadine Black’s relationship advances to a whole new level.     

I have thoroughly enjoyed every book in this series and when I heard another book was coming out, I couldn’t wait to read it.  It was definitely a page turner and I had a hard time finding a stopping place when it came to taking a break.  If you are new to this series, I would recommend reading the books in order.  I don’t know if this is the last book in the series, but it felt like it the way some of the characters loose ends were wrapped up in the end of the book.   But I am secretly hoping more books will follow.  I am not ready to say goodbye to the residents of Lost Trail, Montana. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Review: Boyfriends of Christmas Past by Edie Grace

A magical, modern-day Christmas Carol

Digital designer Emma Wallace is finally poised for her big break: kitchenware giant Johnson Cookware is looking to rebrand – and with Christmas around the corner, Emma’s long-held philosophy of work-before-play may just give her the edge she needs to win the account.

The only peppermint twist in her Scrooge-worthy plan? She’s promised her ever-patient, architect boyfriend Sam Cole that after spending the last three Christmases in her office instead of in his arms, she’ll make this holiday just about the two of them. But as Christmas Eve draws near and the deadline crunch threatens her promise to Sam, Emma finds herself visited by three boyfriend “ghosts” of Christmases past, who come bearing the gift of hindsight.

Will showing Emma her past romantic failures, as well as her early courtship with Sam, help her to see the path to true happiness in time to save her future?

My Review:

A fun twist on the classic Christmas tale, A Christmas Carol.

Emma Wallace had been dating Sam Cole for three years.  But during those years, Emma always put her job first leaving Sam waiting and wondering when she would show up for their dates.  When Sam finally had enough, he broke up with Emma.  He wanted a woman who would be there when he needed her and would put more effort into their relationship.

Emma gets a serious wake-up call when several of her ex-boyfriends come to her in her dreams trying to convince her to change her workaholic ways before she loses Sam.  But is it already too late?

This was a fun quick read.  But even though it's short, the story didn't miss a beat.  It was sweet and fun and magical all rolled into one.  If you're looking for an inspirational holiday book, I would recommend this one.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Review: Oh, Christmas Night by Jane Porter

Brilliant, but overworked California accountant, Rachel Mills, inherits an old bookstore in Marietta, Montana, just as she’s been passed over for a huge promotion. The smart thing to do would be to buckle down and keep on working. But for the first time in her life, she goes with impulsive and books a flight to Montana to inspect the bookstore, and hopefully have her first white Christmas ever.

Texan lawyer and entrepreneur, Atticus Bowen, has found the perfect location for his next restaurant—the two-story, turn-of-the-century brick building on Marietta’s Main Street. All he has to do is convince the new owner to sell Paradise Books to him. After all, used bookstores aren’t practical or viable businesses, and he’s making Rachel Mills a very generous offer. But instead of jumping on his offer, Rachel decides she’s going to open the bookstore doors for December and ‘explore her options.’

The last thing Rachel expected was to fall in love with the old bookstore, or charming Marietta. She never expected sparks to fly with handsome, arrogant Atticus Bowen, either. Smart, practical Rachel realizes she just might be falling in love with the sexy, opinionated Texan lawyer — something that could prove to be neither smart, nor practical….or the best decision of her life.

My Review:

A charming Christmas romance. 

I was drawn into this book from the start.  I really liked Rachel and wanted the best for her after she got passed over for a promotion at her job.  Then, Rachel gets a package from her godmother, Lesley, informing her that she is giving her a book store in Marietta, Montana, the town her Rachel’s mother and grandparents used to live.  After arriving in Marietta, Rachel finds herself loving the book store, but it was just more work than she expected. 

I wasn’t sure what to think of Atticus, as he wanted to turn the book store into a restaurant, but he quickly changed my mind about him.  When Atticus and Rachel started to fall for each other, I couldn’t help but cheer them on.  But they had a lot to overcome if they were to get their happily ever after.  First off, Atticus lived in Texas and Rachel in California.  Rachel was a planner and when Atticus said he wanted to settle down with a wife and family, Rachel got scared and hopped on the next plane back to California.  Rachel’s goals didn’t include a husband or children.  Was it fate or Christmas magic that helped Rachel realize her goals were outdated and changing them could bring her more happiness?  She got the next flight back to Marietta just in time to spend Christmas with Atticus and Lesley. 

While reading this book, I could easily visualize Paradise Books and the scent of old books.  Rachel and Atticus were some great characters and I enjoyed learning how they changed each other’s life for the better.  The setting of Montana at Christmas time made me want to be there.  I liked the small town feel and the residents who were more than willing to help Rachel get her store up and running again.   I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a sweet Christmas story with the feel of a Hallmark channel movie.