With only a month and a half left in the year, I’m behind on my reading! In order to reach my yearly Goodreads goal of 50 books, I needed to step things up. Normally, I read while eating, but for the past few weeks I’ve had to start extending that time, and now I reward myself at the end of the day with a half hour or more of reading if I’ve completed most of the items on my to-do list (and sometimes I read to avoid working on my to-do list!). Here’s what I’ve read since last month:
The Christmas Coin by Christina Lorenzen
Christina is a fellow author at Clean Reads. She’s been quite prolific in the last few years, and The Christmas Coin is one of her newest titles. Sammie Holt, a busy businesswoman, has inherited her grandmother’s house to small town Holly Hamlet. She arrives just before Christmas to get her Grandmother’s house to sell, but first she needs to find a special treasure from her childhood. Since Sammie hadn’t visited her grandmother for several years, she doesn’t know that Grandma befriended the handsome man next door and his little girl. She’s somewhat dismayed that her grandmother has told the little girl the story of the coin. Since the story means so much to Sammie and is mentioned quite often, I was disappointed that the tale wasn’t shared in this book. Otherwise, this is a cute Hallmark-like story.
Chef Showdown by MJ Post
MJ Post co-wrote several romances with Mysti Parker, and I enjoyed (and reviewed) the entire series. This is MJ’s first solo title, and it’s really interesting! Eight chefs compete in a TV reality cooking show. There’s lots of spicy language and adult situations. But the story is engaging, and I certainly learned a lot about foods I’d never heard of or encountered before. I enjoyed reading about Kacie and Toby, two cooks from totally different worlds. The writing shows a lot of talent, as well as a thorough knowledge of (or intense research into) several different cuisines. The ending was somewhat unexpected, but satisfying. I’ll look for more from this relatively new author.
His to Protect: Her Bodyguard Enemy by Julia Keanini
Book Three of the Heathcliff Family Romances
Emma is the youngest of the fabulously wealthy Heathcliff family, but she’s works hard at her father’s resort and has earned the respect of those around her. When Emma and a friend witness a drug deal, she and her family realize she’s in danger. Jax Hightower is called in to protect her. Jax has known Emma since high school, and remembers her only as the spoiled rich girl who broke his brother’s heart. Emma knows Jax doesn’t like her but doesn’t know why. She also harbors bitter memories of a high school incident in which she thought Jax played a part. This misconception was never fully explained, and I found it hard to believe that both would dismiss the incident so quickly, after she’d used it as a reason for not trusting him. Other than that, the story was well written, and I’m looking forward to more from Julia Keanini.
Love Uncorked by Jennifer Conner
(The Love List #1)
I reviewed one or two other stories in this series earlier, and discovered this title in my Kindle library when looking for another book. This is relatively short, and I read it in one afternoon. It’s a cute story, but several typos detracted from my enjoyment (wrong words and punctuation errors). The premise for the series is that four single women decide to each recommend single male friends they know and like, but have no romantic interest in. They draw names and arrange to meet and see if sparks will fly. Tegan is the owner of the wine shop in the small town of Vine Grove, and she draws the name of someone who works at a nearby vineyard. She finds out that he has a girlfriend, but she meets another man there who seems to be a better fit for her.
How to Train Your Baron by Diana Lloyd
Diana is a member of my local writing group, and this debut novel of hers was a recent finalist in the prestigious RITA concert sponsored by the Romance Writers of America (RWA)! This is a fast-paced adventure, full of suspense as well as laugh-out-loud moments. Once I started reading, I had to continue, reading on several different devices just so I could find out what mischief Lady Elsinore would blunder into next. For a little while I wondered if her strong willed, ill-advised choices would get a bit over the top, but fortunately she grew up and learned to think beyond her own desires. Great reading!
In order to meet my goal of reading 50 books in 2018, I have to read nine more in six weeks. Do you think I’ll make it?