Thursday, November 30, 2017

*Review* Pounded in the Butt by the Handsome Physical Manifestation of Holiday Shopping by Chuck Tingle

Genre: Erotica
Published: November 20, 2017
Pages: 34

Ferndo loves the holidays, but the overwhelming struggle to find the perfect present for everyone that he knows is starting to get him down. While Ferndo could easily just buy several paperback copies of Chuck Tingle’s latest books, a great gift that’s available now with free shipping from Amazon Prime, Frendo heads to the mall on Black Friday instead. 

Unfortunately, Ferndo is quickly swept away by the surging crowd, and nearly drowns before he’s rescued by a man in a rowboat, named Borson Reems. Eventually, Ferndo and Borson find shelter on a desert island amid this overwhelming sea of shoppers. 

But Ferndo quickly learns that they’re not the only ones who inhabit this beautiful oasis at the local mall. Soon enough, he’s face to face with the handsome sentient manifestation of holiday shopping, who he’s ready to give a piece of his mind… and butt! 

This erotic tale is 4,200 words of sizzling human on handsome living concept of buying and selling action, including anal, blowjobs, rough sex, cream pies, and physically manifested holiday shopping love.

I realize now that I'm drowning in this sea of shoppers, the force of the tides just too much for me to contend with.

"I was gonna try to talk some sense into these people, to warm their hearts and open their eyes to a few sensible purchases, like a brand new Chuck Tingle paperback available now with free shipping from Amazon Prime! Or a Chuck Tingle shirt from Chuck Tingle dot com!"

It's hard to believe that Mr. Tingle would allow a holiday season to pass without writing some new absurd erotica to commemorate the season, and thankfully that didn't happen this year. This holiday season's hot button topic tackled by Tingle is the over-commercialization of Christmas, with a particular focus on door-buster deals starting earlier and earlier every year. And, well, I just knew I had to include at least one Tingle holiday tale in my 12 Books of Christmas challenge.

The thing I like most about Chuck Tingle's books is how he takes everything to the extreme. For instance, in this story, the waves of shoppers at the mall trying to take advantage of the Black Friday door buster deals turn into a literal ocean of people, and Ferndo has to be saved by a buddy he made outside before the madness started in a rowboat. It's so far outside of the realm of possibility, but you have no choice but to hang on for the ride. And after the ridiculous scene setup, you're always treated to some absolutely absurd, impossible, but graphic, gay sex.

Pounded in the Butt by the Handsome Physical Manifestation of Holiday Shopping almost did not let me down on any of the things that I expect from Mr. Tingle. The scene setup was detailed so that in spite of it's absurdity, I had no problem picturing the mall with the writhing masses marooning Ferndo and Borson on the random deserted island in the middle of the mall. The only thing that I found a little bit disappointing was the sex scene at the end. Apparently I don't find being pounded by a gift particularly titillating. But it was still ridiculous, so not completely unexpected.

Overall I give Pounded in the Butt by the Handsome Physical Manifestation of Holiday Shopping 4.732 stars. - Katie 

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

*Review* The Holiday Gift by RaeAnne Thayne

Genre: Holiday Romance
Published: November 22, 2016
Pages: 216


With two kids and an active life, widow Faith Dustin only wants peace and quiet for Christmas. But her snowy Pine Gulch ranch is nothing but chaotic. All that keeps Faith going is her helpful neighbor, cowboy Chase Brannon. He's always been "good ol' Chase," her faithful friend. Until he asks her out on a "real" date. 

Years ago Chase blew his chance with the woman he's loved since childhood. Now he's determined to step out of the friend zone…and into the role of husband. But the scared and stubborn Faith won't let herself fall. With Christmas just days away, Chase will need all the magic of the season—and the help of her two matchmaking children—to unwrap a second chance at love.

She sent him an appraising look as they reached the front door. "You look really good, Dad," she declared. "Like, Nick Jonas good." 
"That's quite a compliment." Or it would be if he had more than the vaguest idea who Nick Jonas was.

"It's been a long time since I made out with a pretty girl in a pickup truck," he said into the suddenly heavy silence. "I forgot how awkward it could be."
She swallowed hard. "Right," she said slowly. "It's the pickup truck making things awkward." 

This book had all the elements of a cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie, which is exactly what I was hoping to get when I picked it up. It comes complete with a single mother alone at Christmas time and a hunky man who is clearly perfect for her, but she refuses to see that. Add in the Holiday Ranch variety show that needs a director and a meddling aunt and everything falls perfectly into place for a Hallmark Christmas movie. Why it hasn't been turned into one yet, I do not understand. 

I had a really easy time putting myself into Faith's shoes. I grew up in a small ranching community (although I was absolutely a "city" kid), so I get the dynamics at play where people will step up to lend a hand when needed, and the whole everyone knows everyone thing. In addition to that, Faith is in her mid-to-late thirties (so if you like your romance with slightly more mature characters, this is definitely one for you), which is about where I am in my own life. I even have a desired Chase stand-in from that small ranching community I grew up in, so reading this was a lot like watching my occasional fantasies play out. How Ms. Thayne snuck into my head to pull them out, I don't know, but she did, and it was awesome. 

The story is told from dual POVs so there is no wondering on the reader's part about each character's feelings, at least the character's feelings as they understand them. This meant that I was squeeing early on in the story, just about every time I was in Chase's head, but it also meant that I felt just as frustrated by Faith's actions as Chase did. So even though it was Faith's shoes that I stepped into, I still absolutely felt and understood Chase's emotions throughout the story as well. 

Ultimately, this book filled me with all the feels that I was looking for from a holiday romance. I give it 5.000234 stars. - Katie 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews magazine. RaeAnne loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!

*Top Ten Tuesday* Books on my Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is books on my winter TBR. Now this should be an easy list, because I already wrote one for this exact topic (kind of sort of) when I announced the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge (check out that list here). But since winter goes past Christmas, I'm going to be ambitious (which is crazy because I'm also going to be going through a trans-Atlantic move this winter), so my plans are probably going to all go up in smoke, but I'm making them anyway! Here we go!

Since my physical books are pretty much all going to be in boxes on a boat on their way across the Atlantic pretty much all winter, I'm pretending that I will be focusing on whittling down my Netgalley backlist and maybe diving into a few of my previous Kindle Scout nominations that I've never found the time to read up to now. And because I'm going to be living in a house with almost no belongings aside from my easily portable electronic devices for like three weeks, I should have loads of time to read, so this list is going to be far more ambitious than it ought to be, and include more than ten books.

Christmas at the Vicarage by Rebecca Boxall

Synopsis: It’s been fifteen years since Rosamunde last lived at the vicarage in Potter’s Cove, the pretty coastal village where she grew up, experienced her first true love—and a heartbreak that changed her life forever. But now Potter’s Cove is calling her back: it’s time to make peace with the past and go home.

Rosamunde’s return to the vicarage in the days before Christmas is a whirlwind of festive cheer and heartwarming reunions with friends, family and her loving father, the vicar. And while seeing the old place after all this time stirs painful memories of long-ago grief, it also reminds her of all the love she left behind. Fifteen years ago she vowed never to let herself be vulnerable again—but now that she’s back she’s not so sure. Is it possible that real happiness could strike more than once?

Spanning three decades of family life, Christmas at the Vicarage is a warm, feel-good tale that examines what it means to love and to lose—and to be brave enough to try again.

Bad Luck by Pseudonymous Bosch

Synopsis: The plot thickens in this New York Times-bestselling sequel to Bad Magic!

Some people have all the luck. Unfortunately, Clay isn't one of them: He's the only camper at Earth Ranch without a magical talent. As if feeling totally useless isn't enough, Clay has to figure out what to do about Brett, a castaway boy who has just washed ashore and is determined to keep his presence a secret. Even as Clay helps his new friend hide in the remote volcanic island's wilderness, another fiery mystery begins to emerge, with all signs pointing to the impossible idea that dragons once roamed the island...and may still. Can Clay and his friends turn their luck around in time to uncover Price Island's secrets--and save it from a scorching end?

Danger, adventure, mischief, mystery, old foes, new friends, and a delightfully elusive narrator make bestselling author Pseudonymous Bosch's latest novel completely irresistible.

The Heretics of De'ath by Howard of Warwick

Synopsis: England 1066: At the monastery of De'Ath's Dingle, during a completely pointless theological debate, there is a mysterious death. 

Routine business for the average investigative medieval monk.

Unfortunately this isn’t a tale of average monks. 

Anyone who would put the idiot Brother Simon in charge of a murder investigation is either one chant short of a plainsong, or is up to something. 

When Brother Hermitage, innocent in every way, including bystanding, is lined up for execution, he begins to wonder if something might be going on. Perhaps his new companion Wat, weaver of pornographic tapestry, can figure out what it is. Before it's too late. 

If you are a lover of the historical detective genre, if you have a deep respect for the worlds created, don’t read this book. It’ll only upset you.

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa

Synopsis: A stunningly ambitious and beautiful debut novel, perfect for fans of Sarah’s Key and All the Light We Cannot See, the story of a twelve-year-old girl’s harrowing experience fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany with her family and best friend, only to discover that the overseas asylum they had been promised is an illusion.

In 1939 before everything changed, Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life. Her family moved in Berlin’s highest social circles, admired by friends and neighbors. Eleven-year-old Hannah was often taken by her mother for an afternoon treat at the tea room of the beautiful Adlon Hotel, both dressed in their finest clothes. She spent her afternoons at the park with her best friend Leo Martin. But, in an instant, that sunlit world vanished. Now the streets of Berlin are draped with red, white, and black flags; their fine possessions are hauled away, and they are no longer welcome in the places that once felt like home. The two friends make a pact: come what may, they promise to have a future together.

As Hannah and Leo’s families desperately begin to search for a means of escape, a glimmer of hope appears when they discover the Saint Louis, a transatlantic liner that can give Jews safe passage to Cuba. After a frantic search to obtain visas, the Rosenthals and the Martins depart from Hamburg on the luxurious passenger liner bound for Havana. Life aboard the ship is a welcome respite from the gloom of Berlin—filled with masquerade balls, dancing, and exquisite meals every night.

As the passengers gain renewed hope for a bright future ahead, love between Hannah and Leo blossoms. But soon reports from the outside world began to filter in, and dark news overshadows the celebratory atmosphere on the ship; the governments of Cuba, the United States, and Canada are denying the passengers of the St. Louis admittance to their countries, forcing them to return to Europe as it descends into the Second World War. The ship that had seemed their salvation seems likely to become their death sentence.

After four days anchored at bay, only a handful of passengers are allowed to disembark onto Cuban soil, and Hannah and Leo must face the grim reality that they could be torn apart. Their future is unknown, and their only choice will have an impact in generations to come.

Decades later in New York City on her eleventh birthday, Anna Rosen receives a mysterious envelope from Hannah, a great-aunt she has never met but who raised her deceased father. In an attempt to piece together her father’s mysterious past, Anna and her mother travel to Havana to meet Hannah, who is turning eighty-seven years old. Hannah reveals old family ties, recounts her journey aboard the Saint Louis and, for the first time, reveals what happened to her father and Leo. Bringing together the pain of the past with the mysteries of the present, Hannah gives young Anna a sense of their shared histories, forever intertwining their lives, honoring those they loved and cruelly lost.

The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds by Selina Siak Chin Yoke

Synopsis: Facing challenges in an increasingly colonial world, Chye Hoon, a rebellious young girl, must learn to embrace her mixed Malayan-Chinese identity as a Nyonya—and her destiny as a cook, rather than following her first dream of attending school like her brother.

Amidst the smells of chillies and garlic frying, Chye Hoon begins to appreciate the richness of her traditions, eventually marrying Wong Peng Choon, a Chinese man. Together, they have ten children. At last, she can pass on the stories she has heard—magical tales of men from the sea—and her warrior’s courage, along with her wonderful kueh (cakes).

But the cultural shift towards the West has begun. Chye Hoon finds herself afraid of losing the heritage she so prizes as her children move more and more into the modernising Western world.

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

Synopsis: The incredible true story of the women who fought America's Undark danger.

The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War. 

Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" are the luckiest alive - until they begin to fall mysteriously ill. 

But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women's cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights that will echo for centuries to come. 

Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the "wonder" substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives...

A Thousand Rooms by Helen Jones

Synopsis: You don't wake up expecting to die... 

Katie is thirty-two, single, and used to work in advertising. She's also dead. A lost soul hitching rides with the dying, trying to find her way to... wherever she's supposed to be. 

And whoever she's supposed to be with. 

Heaven, it seems, has a thousand rooms. What will it take to find hers?

Lost World by T.L. Zalecki

Synopsis: In 2098 human survival depends on genetic research to develop aquatic capabilities. It has never been more dangerous for the elusive sirens to be discovered. Until now they've remained eclipsed from human eyes, inhabiting a secret island. But when their youth rebel, the sirens decide to test the waters of open society by striking a deal with megacorp DiviniGen Inc. And they risk everything to do it. Will the risk be worth it or will the sirens be forced to face the darkness of eternal isolation?

A Festival of Murder by Tricia Hendricks

Synopsis: What's worse than being abducted by aliens? Not much! But being accused of murder around Christmas time is a close second…

Nicholas Trilby moved to the Colorado Rockies in search of much needed peace and quiet. Unfortunately for him, solitude made him easy pickings for a passing UFO. Now safely returned to Earth, he's a reluctant celebrity in a quirky little tourist town that insists on naming him the Guest of Honor at its annual Alien Fest.

When a hostile reporter from The Roswell Explorer is discovered dead in the nearby lake, Nicholas knows he's in trouble once again. This time it's not little green men he needs to watch out for, but a motivated detective. With the help of his odd, alien-loving neighbors, Nicholas is in a race against time to clear his name. But what if Nicholas himself is the killer--and he simply forgot?

Die by Night by Kaitlynn Aisling

Synopsis: Werewolves are real and they dwell in Scotland; vampires are also real and they are everywhere, and Natalie has. no. idea. Natalie is having the worst day. She lost a promotion to the CEO's son's bit of fluff, then she finds that same bit of fluff in her boyfriend's bed. She realizes two things: she's unhappy and she hates accounting. Her dad is ill, she has the headache from Hell, and all she wants is a stiff drink. That decision is going to lead to much worse. 

At the bar, Gavin meets Natalie. She's been drinking her troubles away for hours and jumps on the chance to have one reckless night with a stranger, then slips away in the morning. Three months later, she realizes she's pregnant. What she doesn't realize is that she is the salvation for an entire species battling extinction.

So apparently I lied, my list is exactly ten books long, and yet there is still a very solid chance that I won't end up reading a single one of these books this winter, because I get easily distracted by other shiny books. But for the time being, this is my plan. 

So what books are on your winter TBR? - Katie 

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can stop by and see what you'll be reading.*

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

*Stacking the Shelves* 25 November 2017

(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

It's week four of my thrift store detox, and it's becoming quite clear that I'm suffering from some serious book buying withdrawal. Add to that the Black Friday deals on audiobooks, and I kind of went a little overboard on the one-clicking this week. 

On that note, here are the books I picked up this week.

Marrying Mandy by Melanie D. Snitker - I nominated this book on Kindle Scout and it was selected for publication. The book will go live in January. 
Trace the Edges by Laura Cacace - This is another Kindle Scout nomination that will go live at the beginning of January. 
Cosmos by Carl Sagan - This was an Audible Daily Deal last Saturday that I just couldn't pass up. When I can buy an audiobook outright for less than $5, I'm down. 
The Fairhope Series Books 1-3 by Sarra Cannon - I snagged this freebie (still free) because free, and I think I saw it posted on the authors Facebook page. 
Three Under the Mistletoe by Tia Siren - I got this as a freebie (no longer free) because it could be a decent read for the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge which started yesterday. 
Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie - I snagged this book on sale for $1.99 (still on sale) when I saw it shared by either Sofia the Great or Platypire Reviews. 
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor - This was the Audible Daily Deal this past Sunday, and since this book has been on my radar for like half of forever, I had to grab it. 
Anchor Me by J. Kenner - I grabbed this freebie (still free) when I saw it posted on the authors Facebook page (I think). 
Love Restored by Carrie Ann Ryan - I snagged this freebie (still free) for reasons that escape me now. I probably saw it on the authors Facebook page though, but it may have been shared by another blogger. 
The Passage by Irina Shapiro - I snagged this book as a freebie (no longer free) after seeing it shared by the author on Facebook. 
The Wedding Gift by Judy Kentrus - I snagged this book as a freebie (no longer free) thinking I might end up using it as one of my 12 books of Christmas for the challenge. Or maybe I'll save it for next years challenge because I'm thinking about making that a yearly thing. 
Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan - I got this book on sale for $2.99 (still on sale) because I saw it in an email either from Amazon or Goodreads. You can also add the audible narration (which is probably totes worth it) for just $4.95 right now. 
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves - I got this book on sale for $1.99 (still on sale) because the Platypires (I think) posted about the sale. I should maybe start taking notes about where I hear about these things if I'm going to keep using them in blog posts. 
Happily Ever Single by Jessica Frances - I had to get this freebie (still free) because it just seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess. 
Ghost Star by Roger Eschbacher - This is another Kindle Scout nomination for me that goes live in early January. 
The Last Friend by Harvey Church - I got another free copy from a Kindle Scout nomination this past week, and like the others, this book will go live in January. 
12 Months of Romance: A Holiday Anthology by Various Authors - This was a hate purchase because someone felt the need to review this book on Amazon stating that they wouldn't buy it because it includes a gay storyline somewhere. That review has since disappeared and I think I may have been played. 
Frigid by Jennifer L. Armentrout - I've been meaning to read one of Ms. Armentrout's books for a few years now. Getting this as a freebie (still free) was a nice surprise for me. 
The Financier by Liz Maverick - I grabbed this as a freebie (no longer free) because when I saw it I apparently felt like I hadn't gotten enough new books yet this week. 
The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon - I grabbed this freebie (still free) after The Bohemian Housewife shared it on her Facebook page. Then I saw it shared by my arch-nemesis too, and almost had to return it. I didn't, but I did think about it for a second. 
Leo Loves Aries by Anyta Sunday - I grabbed this book as a freebie (still free) because I love the cover and what I can gather is the idea behind the series.
Midnight Shift by Renee George - I snagged this freebie (still free) just because, I think. It's a more recent purchase and I don't even remember what possessed me to buy it.
Pounded in the Butt by the Handsome Physical Manifestation of Holiday Shopping by Chuck Tingle - Getting to add a Chuck Tingle book to my 12 Books of Christmas reading was just too good to pass up.
Off Limits by Clare Connelly - This is a preorder (that is FREE right now). It goes live in February, but since it's free I felt it was worth the click.
Miracle at Christmas by Debbie Mason - This 99 cent preorder will be a perfect addition to my 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge when it goes live mid-December, if I'm starting to flag with my current choices.
The Silver Music Box by Mina Baites - I got this as my Kindle First book this month, it just took me a while to choose.
Witch Slapped by Dakota Cassidy - I snagged this freebie (still free) because I love the cover.
Ink by Amanda Sun - I bought this on sale for 99 cents (still on sale) because the main character shares my name. I was really hoping that she'd die, but I have it on good authority that doesn't happen.
Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz - I snagged this book on sale for $1.99 (still on sale) because Sofia the Great shared it on her Facebook page.
Surviving the Fatherland by Annette Oppenlander - If you've been following my blog for any time at all, you know that I'm a big fan of WWII era fiction, so when I saw this on sale for $0.99 (not still on sale) I just had to buy it.
Crosstalk by Connie Willis - I snagged this during Audible's Black Friday sale for just $4.95. I won a copy of the book through Goodreads over a year ago, and it's one I'm really interested in reading, so this will help it happen sooner.
This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe - This was another Black Friday Audible purchase for just $4.95.
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher - When I saw this during Audible's Black Friday deals, I just had to get it.
The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine - This book has been on my wishlist for quite a while (I have a thing for that black apple!) so finding it for $4.95 on Audible on Black Friday was awesome.
On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace by Dave Grossman and Loren Christensen - This book was gifted to my husband several years ago for Christmas, while he was a soldier (it may have been after his first deployment to Iraq). He has never read it. So I bought it on Audible during the Black Friday sale for $4.95 thinking that he might just be enticed to listen to it at least.

So that's all the books I got this past week. It's a pretty wide variety of freebies, sales, and audiobooks, and it will probably be months before I get around to reading most of them (although with my physical books about to be packed up soon, I'll certainly have more time for reading ebooks).

So what books did you add to your shelves this week? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can see your list.*

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!

*Book Blogger Hop* 24 November 2017

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
What's your immediate feeling when entering a bookstore, as compared to how you feel when entering a department store? (submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)
So I don't think I really have any particular reaction when I walk into a department store, so that would be like a neutral reaction I guess. It just is. It's not like a chore like grocery shopping, but it's not necessarily a treat either. Granted, my shopping experience for the past seven years has been that the department store I shop at (the PX on base) is also my (English) bookstore, not that it's got a particularly good selection of books available.

Now my feeling when I enter a bookstore, a real bookstore, it's almost euphoric. It's like Disneyland for book nerds. I mean, I can't help but be excited when I set foot inside a bookstore (and I bet most of you can't either). The possibilities seem endless and it's almost impossible not to buy something, regardless of how many books I have sitting on my TBR at the time.

So the answer to the question is that I'm way more excited about the bookstore than I am about a department store.

What about you? How do your feelings differ between the two? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your post so that I can stop by to see your answer.*

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!

Friday, November 24, 2017

*Review* Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber *Spoilers*

Genre: Holiday Romance
Published: October 7, 2014
Pages: 274

Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber celebrates the most wonderful time of the year in this heartwarming Christmas novel of romance, hope, and the comforts of home—coming soon as a Hallmark Channel original movie!

Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track—and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college in Tacoma, Washington, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store.

After trying to make it on her own, Addie has returned home to Tacoma for the holidays, but this time she plans to stay for good, enrolling in the local community college to earn her degree. What she doesn’t plan to do is run into Erich Simmons.

Addie and her next-door neighbor, Erich, are like night and day. Growing up, he was popular and outgoing while she was rebellious and headstrong, and he never missed an opportunity to tease her. Now she intends to avoid him entirely, yet when they’re suddenly forced to spend Christmas together, Addie braces for trouble.

Perhaps it’s the spirit of the season or the magic of mistletoe, but Addie and Erich soon find they have more in common than they thought—and that two people who seem so wrong for each other may actually be just right. With a little prompting from a certain angelic teacher, the two are in for a holiday miracle they’ll never forget.

*This review contains spoilers.*

Thanksgiving is over which means I'm ready to read all the Christmas books. This is the time of year when I start to crave all things cheesy; feel-good romances that just lift your spirits whether you want them to or not. I had such high hopes for my first holiday book of the season, Mr. Miracle. Sadly, it did not live up to my expectations. 

For starters, based on the synopsis, I was expecting Addie and Erich to be the focus of the story, but I really felt like there was more focus on Harry's life on Earth than Addie and Erich's relationship. And about their relationship, with this being a holiday romance, I knew insta-love was going to play into the story, but I didn't really feel it with them. Sure, they started spending a lot of time kissing, but they went from hating each others guts to "I've fallen deeply in love with you" in a matter of days, but we didn't get to really see what led to that. The few interactions between them we were treated to in the story just didn't do enough to lead up to that for me. It could have, if the story would have focused on them and their interactions, maybe, but it just didn't. 

Beyond that, I had a hard time suspending belief for some of the events in the story. To start with, Erich was so dependent on Addie because he got in a car accident and broke both of his wrists. So I get that this would make bathing, cooking, and eating difficult. I have a hard time accepting that he would be as helpless as he's portrayed in the book though. There was one scene where he literally fell down and could not get up, because his wrists are broken. I am fat and out of shape and I can get up from laying flat on my back on the ground with almost no trouble. And the scene of her trying to help him get up is like THE pivotal moment in their relationship. The whole situation was just too absurd. Give the guy a broken leg and one broken wrist, and it would all have been more believable. And I was just so annoyed by this absurdity that I couldn't really enjoy the rest of the story. 

Overall I give Mr. Miracle 2.046753 stars. - Katie 

Debbie Macomber, the author of Love Letters, Mr. Miracle, Blossom Street Brides,and Rose Harbor in Bloom, is a leading voice in women’s fiction. Nine of her novels have hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller lists, and three of her beloved Christmas novels have been  hit movies on the Hallmark Channel, including Mrs. Miracle and Mr. Miracle. In 2013, Hallmark Channel began production on the original series Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove, based on Macomber’s Cedar Cove books. She has more than 170 million copies of her books in print worldwide.

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

*Top Ten Tuesday* Books I'm Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is books I'm thankful for. If you're expecting a list, you're going to be disappointed. Coming up with a list of specific books that I'm thankful for out of the blue is just not in the cards for me.

I know there are some readers out there that have certain books that helped them through tough times in their lives, and I love that books have the power to do that, but it's not something I've ever experienced. Aside from the depression that led to me dropping out of college, I've never had a particularly tough time of things (and moving closer to home and a childhood friend were the cures for the depression). I led a privileged childhood (not trust-fund born with a silver spoon in my mouth privileged, but there were never worries about where our next meal would come from, and I was always allowed to spend like $20 on every single book order and I swear we got like 3-4 of them every month. I pretty clearly always had more than what I needed to survive.) I'm white so there was never that one special book where I finally saw someone like myself as the hero of the story (I was like the hero of pretty much every story I read growing up). And I'm from a small town, so even though kids at school were definitely mean to me at times (because kids are just mean sometimes), I always had my group of friends and I just don't think bullying is as prevalent in small towns where everyone knows everyone. Not that I'm saying it can't happen, I just feel like it's more swiftly addressed when it does because there's no wondering "Who are this kids' parents?" Instead you get "I'm going to call Karen right now and we're going to get to the bottom of this."

So I don't have any specific books that helped me through the essentially non-existent tough times of my formative years. I considered creating a list of the first books I proofread for each of the authors that I work with (because I'm absolutely thankful for the books that got us started working together), but that would basically have been a rehash of my Book Blogger Hop post from this past week, so I'm not going to do that either.

Instead, I want you to walk away from this post knowing that I am thankful for ALL books, even the ones that I don't particularly like or necessarily relate to. I'm thankful for any book that makes any person feel less alone in this world. I'm thankful for any book that helps someone cope with a difficult situation. And I'm thankful for any book that helps people escape reality, even if only for a little while.

If you're disappointed with my lack of a list, you'll just have to deal, because I refuse to pick just ten books to be thankful for.

What about you? What books are you thankful for? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can stop by.*

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!

Monday, November 20, 2017

*MadLibMonday* Red Wine & Roses by SJ McCoy

When I was growing up, I loved Mad Libs. The excitement of sort of writing your own story really appealed to me. So I thought it would be fun to mesh that love with my love of books by turning blurbs into mad libs and letting you guys write your own book blurbs. 

For anyone that doesn't know how Mad Libs work, I will ask you for certain parts of speech or other specific things (i.e.: date, age, color, etc.) which you will write down. After you have completed your list, scroll down below the cover image to find the redacted blurb. Then read through it substituting your words where applicable. Try not to laugh. (Laughing is actually strongly encouraged, because this is supposed to be funny.)

Some brief definitions of the parts of speech.
Noun: Person, place, or thing.
Verb: Describes or indicates action.
Adverb: Modifies a verb, adjective, or other adverb expressing manner, place, time, or degree (gently, here, now, very).
Adjective: Names an attribute of a noun (pretty, blue, large)
Pronoun: A word that can function as a noun (I, we, they)
Preposition: a word that combines with a noun or pronoun to form a phrase that usually acts as an adverb, adjective, or noun (on, after, for)

And with that, here we go.

1: Verb
2: Adjective
3: Noun
4: Plural noun
5: Adverb
6: State
7: Plural noun
8: Verb ending in ing
9: Noun
10: Adjective

Genre: Romance
Published: November 10, 2017
Pages: 197

(   1: Verb   ) a trip to wine country to meet the Hamiltons in this new (   2: Adjective   ) and steamy series from SJ McCoy.

Cameron Hamilton may well be the most eligible (   3: Noun   ) in Napa Valley. He’s the CEO of Hamilton-Groves, one of the largest wine producers and distributors in the country. He lives a charmed life. Admired for his (   4: Plural noun   ) in the boardroom – and the bedroom—he works (   5: Adverb   ) and plays harder. He’s not looking for a wife, he’s too busy living to want to settle down. 

Piper Reynolds is at a crossroads in her life. She’s just moved to (   6: State   ) to take a job flying a private jet. After (   7: Plural noun   ) flying cargo and (   8: Verb ending in ing   ) that was as far as her career would go, her new job and new life are a dream come true. It couldn’t get any better – or could it? She isn’t looking for a (   9: Noun   ), but as Maid of Honor for her old friend Laura, she’s paired with best man Cameron Hamilton. He’s (   10: Irresistible   ), but she’s trying to resist – at least at first.

Now that your fun is through, here is the real blurb for Red Wine & Roses by SJ McCoy.

Take a trip to wine country to meet the Hamiltons in this new sweet and steamy series from SJ McCoy.

Cameron Hamilton may well be the most eligible bachelor in Napa Valley. He’s the CEO of Hamilton-Groves, one of the largest wine producers and distributors in the country. He lives a charmed life. Admired for his skills in the boardroom – and the bedroom—he works hard and plays harder. He’s not looking for a wife, he’s too busy living to want to settle down. 

Piper Reynolds is at a crossroads in her life. She’s just moved to California to take a job flying a private jet. After years flying cargo and believing that was as far as her career would go, her new job and new life are a dream come true. It couldn’t get any better – or could it? She isn’t looking for a man, but as Maid of Honor for her old friend Laura, she’s paired with best man Cameron Hamilton. He’s irresistible, but she’s trying to resist – at least at first.

If you enjoyed this mad lib, please comment below. I love hearing from my followers. And share with your friends. - Katie 

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

*Review* Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Genre: Middle Grade/Non-fiction
Published: September 27, 2002
Pages: 304

Esperanza thought she'd always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico--she'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances--Mama's life, and her own, depend on it.

"I am poor, but I am rich. I have my children, I have a garden with roses, and I have my faith and the memories of those who have gone before me. What more is there?"

I read this during Hispanic Heritage month for the Platypire Diversity Challenge because it was available at my library with no hold… but I didn’t review it then, because life hates me. And I’m super behind on reviews. But I’m trying to catch up - and that’s what matters in life.

This may be a book for younger kids, but it’s got some pretty heavy topics. And I think the way a lot of those were handled was fantastic. It explains things in a way that I feel works well with middle schoolers, and at the same time it’s something really anyone who reads can be empathetic to the struggles of Esperanza. Plus there’s a lot of reality in this, so it’s really a great way to introduce children to this topic.

Esperanza starts the story as upper class with very little actual worries and she goes through so much. Her parent’s lives are threatened, her home is threatened, her entire livelihood is changed, and she has to go through a major life change multiple times in a short period. It’s really a wonder how she manages to handle everything. I think that really helped me feel a stronger connection with her as a character.

The real props of this story need to go to Esperanza’s mother though. The things that woman goes through… it’s really only the background of the whole book though, but gawd damn. I’d want to read this whole thing over again from her perspective if I was given the opportunity.

So… I feel this whole thing is a great way to introduce children to how migrant camps were back in the 1930s. And it especially is fantastic because it’s based on the story of Pam Muñoz Ryan’s actual grandmother. This is going to be something I’ll have my child read when he’s a little older.

3.2 and 6/5th platypires - Joood - Hooligan

Pam Muñoz Ryan is the author of the New York Times Best Seller, ECHO, a 2016 Newbery Honor Book, and winner of the Kirkus Prize. She has written over forty books for young people—picture books, early readers, and middle grade and young adult novels. She the author recipient of the NEA's Human and Civil Rights Award, the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, the Willa Cather Award, the Pura Belpré medal, the PEN USA award, and many others. Her novels include Esperanza Rising, Riding Freedom, Becoming Naomi León, Paint the Wind, The Dreamer, and Echo. She was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, holds a bachelor's and master's degree from San Diego State University and lives in north San Diego county with her family.