what I’m reading: the wedding date by jasmine guillory.

The last couple of books I’ve read hadn’t really held my interest so I was pretty excited when I saw that this book had become available from my hold list at the library. The Wedding Date did not disappoint and it was the perfect book to push me out of my reading slump. I adored this book and the characters.

Alexa and Drew meet when they are stranded in an elevator during a power outage. Needing a date to a friend’s wedding the next day, Drew impulsively asks Alexa to go with him. After the two have perhaps too much fun at the wedding, Drew flies back to Los Angeles and Alexa heads home to Berkley. When they can’t stop thinking about each other, Alexa and Drew embark on a long-distance relationship.

This is an adorable and romantic story that I could not put down. I loved the flirting between the two characters; they had so many fun and sweet moments. Also, both characters are constantly eating! I wanted to eat all the food they talked about – cheese, crackers, doughnuts, french fries, all of it.

The story just didn’t focus on the two main characters. It delved into both of their careers and their friends. Drew has some great moments as we see him working as a pediatric surgeon. Alexa is smart and focused on her career as the mayor’s chief of staff. Both of them have awesome best friends and co-workers that contributed on their own to the story.

I think this is my favorite book so far I’ve read this year.

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what I’m reading: twelve days of christmas by debbie macomber.

It’s not Christmas until you read a Debbie Macomber holiday romance.

Julia’s neighbor Cain is the biggest Grinch. He’s grumpy, never smiles, and asks Julia to keep it down when she is singing Christmas carols. And to top it off, he has the nerve to steal her newspaper. Julia decides, that in the twelve days leading up to Christmas, to kill her neighbor with kindness in the hopes that she can change his Scrooge-like behavior. Julia starts blogging about her efforts and soon her blog goes viral.

What a fun and quick holiday read. This book was super short, about 200 pages, and the print seemed a bit large in the version I was reading. It was a typical Debbie Macomber book that contained all the elements of a holiday romance – a meet-cute in the elevator, Christmas cookies, a walk in the snow, Christmas carols. There was a grumpy boy and a sweet girl, with miscommunication between the two characters and a secret that could have been cleared up had they just been honest with one another.

The book does take place over 12 days, so some of the story lines seemed a bit rushed. I really liked some of the ways that Julia tried to win Cain over including baking him cookies, buying him coffee, delivering his newspaper to him personally, and bringing him soup when he gets the flu. Julia’s blog “posts” that detailed her endeavors and Cain’s reactions to them all were amusing and made me laugh. Of course, everything works out as it wouldn’t be a romance novel without a happy ending.

I did enjoy the message this book has of being nice to others and spreading kindness. Another entertaining Christmas read!

what I’m reading: chasing christmas eve by jill shalvis.

chasing christmas eve book coverIt’s December, and during the month of December, I like to read holiday themed novels.

Chasing Christmas Eve is the fourth book in Jill Shalvis’s Heartbreaker Bay series. I’ve adored this series since reading the first book last year. The cast of characters is so enjoyable and the neighborhood they inhabit in San Francisco is charming.

Colbie Albright is a bestselling young adult author who has a bad case of writer’s block. All the stress from her family and work has overwhelmed her so she decides to get away and takes a trip to San Francisco. She ends up literally running into Spencer Baldwin and falls into the fountain of the courtyard of the building Spence owns. The two hit it off but since Colbie is only in town for 2 weeks, just until Christmas, can they find a way to make a relationship work?

I really enjoyed this light and fun holiday romance. Many characters from the other books in the series made an appearance, but this book can also be read as a stand-alone. There is no real need to know the backstory of all the secondary characters in order to enjoy the book.

This is an amusing and quaint story and it was the perfect start to my holiday reading.

what I’m reading: act like it by lucy parker.

The play that Lainie Graham is acting in on the London stage is not doing well. Despite having hot actor Richard Troy as one of its leading men, ticket sales and attendance are down. Could it be because of Richard’s arrogant and playboy public persona? When the producers concoct a plan to bring more publicity to the show, Lainie is on board, until she realizes it means staging a fake relationship with Richard. Lainie is a good actress but even she can’t pretend to be in love with someone she hates. However as the two are forced to spend time together, their relationship slowly changes from hate to love…

I love a romantic comedy and I thought this book was super cute! I enjoyed how the relationship between Lainie and Richard moved from them hating each other to becoming friends and more. It was a slow build, which made it all the more believable.

At first, I was hesitant and wondered how the author was going to make such a grouchy and grumpy character likable, but she did. Richard definitely redeems himself in the end and the relationship that formed between him and Lainie was charming and delightful.

There was a lot of British slang in this book and plenty of banter between the characters. Good banter always makes me smile and this book was a fun read.

This is Lucy Parker’s debut romance novel and I’m absolutely looking forward to reading more from her.

what I’m reading: on second thought by kristan higgins.

Half-sisters Kate and Ainsley have never been close. But when devastating events bring them together, they are forced to lean on each other to survive. When after only 4 months of marriage, Kate finds herself unexpectedly a widow and Ainsley’s boyfriend of eleven years decides to break up with her instead of proposing, the sisters turn to each other for comfort.

This is an emotionally compelling story about family, love, and marriage. There is a lot of laughter, a lot of sadness, and of course, romance.

The best part of the book was the relationship that grew between the sisters. Kate is older than Ainsley and the two have never been close. They feel that they don’t have a lot in common because they don’t really know each other. Kate is the more serious of the two, while Ainsley is more carefree and energetic. After Ainsley’s boyfriend breaks up with her, she ends up moving in with Kate and as the two work through their own versions of grief and move on, their relationship grows. There are some great side characters, as well. I found the character of Gram-Gram hilarious and enjoyed her dating excursions as an octogenarian.

I adored the book’s setting, the fictional New York town of Cambry-on-Hudson. I have to confess I was bummed when I found out it wasn’t real. It seems like a fun little place to live.

I did feel the ending of the book was a bit predictable with everything wound up in a nice little bow. Still, it was an enjoyable trip to get to the end and I enjoyed it very much.

what I’m reading: meet me at beachcomber bay by jill mansell.

When Clemency sits next to Sam on an airplane, she thinks she may have just met the man of her dreams. Until Clem discovers he’s married. Three years later Clemency has moved on and is living in the seaside town of St. Carys when Sam re-enters Clemency’s life as her stepsister Belle’s boyfriend. Belle doesn’t know that Sam and Clemency have already met and Clemency soon finds herself in the midst of a love triangle.

I didn’t love this book as much as I’ve loved other Jill Mansell’s books. I felt that a couple of the storylines were a bit far-fetched and I found myself rolling my eyes at how nicely everything was wrapped up. There was also one character that I wasn’t especially fond of. I felt that her redemption happened a little too fast to be believable and that her happy ending was a little too easy.

The setting of the book, however, was excellent. The town of St. Carys contains many quirky characters who are all dealing with their own problems. Some of the topics Mansell touched on include unrequited love, adoption, cancer, and race. I did like the character of Clemency. I found her to be funny and relatable and I really enjoyed her relationship with her co-worker Ronan. They have such a genuine and close friendship which really comes across in their interactions and banter.

As with all her books, Jill Mansell has the ability to draw you into her story. Her writing is entertaining, easy to read, and I spent multiple hours engrossed in this book. St. Carys was quaint and the descriptions of the people and community made me want to visit to see more of this idyllic town. I definitely want to meet all the background characters and hear more of their stories.

Overall, this book is not a bad read; however I’ve read plenty of Jill Mansell’s books that I’ve liked better.

what I’m reading: my not so perfect life by sophie kinsella.

This book was so fun! I’ve been a fan of Sophie Kinsella’s books since I read the first Shopholic novel. Although I got a little burnt out on the Shopholic books – I get it, she likes to shop – I really enjoy Kinsella’s stand-alone novels. This one did not disappoint.

Katie “Cat” Brenner lives in a fabulous flat in London, has wonderful adventures in the city, and works in a great job. At least, that’s what she wants you to think based on her Instagram feed. Actually, Katie spends a good chunk of her day commuting to work where she has to deal with her crazy boss, shares a tiny flat with some interesting roommates, and is often too broke to engage in any sort of social life. When she is abruptly fired from her job, Katie is forced to move home and help her family with their fledgling glamping business.

Katie is such an entertaining and fresh character. She is smart and resourceful. She made me laugh and empathize with her. Throughout the book Katie struggles to figure out who she is – the city girl who lives in London? Or the girl who lives in the country? There’s a little bit of romance, but it’s not the main focus of the book.

An enjoyable and entertaining book!