Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2017

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists. For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here.


Favorite Books of 2017

 

What were your favorites?

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Tuesday Teaser & Intro: Two Love Lane

first-chapter-first-paragraph

 

Synopsis ~ Christmas at Two Love Lane

From the moment he strode through the iron gate and into the offices of Two Love Lane on a crisp December day, it was obvious that Deacon Banks was something different. He wasn’t a Charleston native, not with that adorable Yankee accent. And unlike the usual client at the elegant matchmaking agency, he had no interest in finding a woman to marry–just a few no-strings dates while he was in town.

Macy Frost takes her professional services very seriously–how could she not, when she’s rumored to be a direct descendant of Cupid? Tech entrepreneur Deacon says he’s just trying to make his social-climbing aunt happy by being seen out and about with a few prominent beauties, but Macy insists she can make her client fall in love…for real. And Deacon can’t help but think she might be right. As charming as the palmetto trees and magnificent harbor may be, it’s the beautiful, breath-of-fresh-air Macy who’s become Deacon’s favorite part of the scenery. But can the hopelessly romantic Southern belle stop trying to fix him up and just let Cupid do his work on her own heart?

 

Chapter 1

Macy Frost was a sixth-generation Southern belle, a hard-working business owner, and an avid college basketball fan – and she wasn’t fond of pears. But she liked what pears meant on that sunny, cold afternoon in December, when the sound of Mariah Carey singing her famous Christmas anthem drifted in from Roastbusters, the tiny coffeehouse at the top of Love Lane.

Pears meant success!


Teasers

One of us broke someone’s heart really badly. Matchmaking relieves the guilt. Another one of us had her heart broken, and it derailed her professionally. Connecting other people for a living makes her feel empowered again. And the third one of us has never truly been in love because she holds back. She immerses herself in the love business to live vicariously.

 

She was a wild thing. He saw it in her eyes – a barefoot girl who marched to her own drummer.


Would you keep reading? 

tuesdayTeaser Tuesday is hosted by The PurpleBooker. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you’re reading. No spoilers, please! List the author and book title too. Link up HERE.

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon. Link up HERE.

 

Review: Snowed

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Snowed
Author: Pamela Burford
Publisher: Radical Poodle Press
Release Date: April 2017
Length: 197 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Contemporary, Romance 

Snowed in with a billionaire! A fun contemporary romance novel brimming with secrets, witty banter, and surprising twists.

The last thing wealthy photographer James Bradburn expects when he turns in after his surprise birthday party is to find a beautiful woman asleep in his bed. The last thing Leah Harmony expects after succumbing to exhaustion during the party is to find herself stranded with the yummy birthday boy at his isolated Gold Coast mansion. A record blizzard has trapped them together for days on end.

Leah guards a stunning secret as she struggles to resist their mutual attraction. Of all the men in the world, James is the last one she should even think of that way! Little does she suspect he harbors a secret of his own.

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

 

my review

My Thoughts

This book contained a plot line I have never encountered before. At least, I’m pretty sure. Trying to rack my brain and coming up with nothing. However, the plot revolves around a subject that turns most people’s stomachs: incest. The plot was very predictable and lacking. It needed much more development, as did the characters.

Leah is a young, in her early 20s, and has worked hard to open her own business, Southern Grits. She is rather mature for her age, educated, and has a wealth of compassion. She is left reeling in the very beginning after discovering a heart-stopping, revealing secret about her parents and her older sister, who conveniently died on the same day she was born. Immediately she heads to the Gold Coast Mansion where both her parents worked many years before. She plans to confront a man there. She convinces an art gallery owner to bring her as his date to a birthday party at Gold Coast.

Everything from here goes downhill for Leah. She’s laid a perfect plan – in terms of getting to the mansion – and that’s about it. She quickly discovers the birthday is not for the man she believed. Instead, it is his son. Then her date turns into a sleazeball and tries to rape her upstairs. She winds up locking herself in a room. No surprise whose room it is.

Leah is harboring MANY secrets, not just one, all tied to her identity. James Bradburn is a reknowned photographer and enjoying his big birthday bash – especially when he finds a beautiful Leah in his bed after sending all the partygoers home because of the impending blizzard. They are effectively snowed in. A perfect setting to build tension. In that respect, the book almost mirrors Perfect by Judith McNaught. Since there’s nowhere to run, the close proximity should lend itself to secrets being revealed, but Leah refuses to budge on her secrets and even outright lies at times to hedge the truth.

While snowed in, the two pretty people hook up after their physical chemistry. Then they are on “don’t let me see you” terms. Then Leah saves James and eventually the snow clears and she goes back home to take care of her business with her tail between her legs, ruminating on how stupid her plan was to just show up and abandoning her parents and her business partner without so much as a by your leave.

A strong sting of irony existed in the book in the fact that Leah expected honesty from James and was so deceitful herself. It was galling. Even though James’s lie revolved around being adopted (or not). Although his lie tied to her lie, and the possibilities of their own relation, Leah was never upfront or honest with James in any way. To throw herself into a snit over his dishonesty is laughable. A good “cover” and excuse to continue to hide her lies.

James oozes sex appeal, but he has a funny and caring side to his charisma. He’s also a very prideful man, and from the beginning, he sets his mind to the notion of Leah being one of “those” women trying to corral him. She so conveniently winds up in his bed to be snowed in together, so of course, that’s why she’s at Gold Mansion. James tries peeling back the layers of Leah while revealing his own. I felt more of James was revealed in this book than Leah.

All of the characters needed more depth and development. They were very flat and predictable characters. There was chemistry between Leah and James that started out strictly physical and it does slowly develop and build. Upon a tower of lies, but there is relationship development.

 

The concept of incest and Leah dreaming over James was stomach curdling. I knew there had to be some loophole to the whole situation, but it was too weird that Leah could even knowing what she knew.

The book was much too short – it felt more like a novella than a novel. Perhaps because it was largely underdeveloped in the characters and a strong, unpredictable plot line.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pamela Burford comes from a funny family. You may take that any way you want. She was raised in a household that valued laughter above all, so of course the first thing she looked for in a husband was a sense of humor. Is it any wonder their grown kids are into stand-up comedy and improv? Oh, and here’s another fun family fact: Pamela’s identical twin sister, Patricia Ryan, aka P.B. Ryan, is also a published novelist. Patricia is the Good Twin, and yeah, Pamela knows what that makes her. But hey, Evil Twins have more fun!

It should come as no surprise that everything Pamela writes is infused with her own quirky brand of humor, from her feel-good contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels to her popular Jane Delaney mystery series, featuring snarky “Death Diva” Jane, her canine sidekick Sexy Beast, and a fun love-triangle subplot. Pamela’s own beloved poodle, Murray, wants you to know that any similarities between himself and neurotic, high-strung Sexy Beast are purely coincidental.

Pamela is the proud founder and past president of Long Island Romance Writers, Inc., a chapter of Romance Writers of America.

Find the author: GoodreadsWebsite | Facebook | Twitter

Sunday Post ~ Observation Done

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It is a weekly news post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase the books and other goodies you’ve received, and share news about upcoming events on your blog. Be creative and personalize it! To get in on the Sunday fun day, see the rules here: Suday Post Meme.


This week has been a crazy mess, and it really shouldn’t have been since two days were testing days. My assistant principal was supposed to come at some point this week to do my observation since he didn’t come in the two weeks prior. Testing for two days really cuts down that timeframe. I was expecting he would show up on Monday or Tuesday and he never did. Friday my kids were presenting their books they’ve written in a gallery walk author reading event where other classes came in and mingled, going from book to book. That is the day he showed up, so I’m not sure what I’ll hear about my evaluation review. I spent all of Wednesday running to 8th-grade classes presenting our yearbook company photo contest and this year there is a scholarship! I was floored when that afternoon at the faculty meeting – where we met our new superintendent – that our counselor made a point to recognize me for that.

I had an unusual, rude encounter with a coworker on one of my trips to present to those 8th graders. One of my kids was still in the hallway several minutes after being sent to the testing lab. I came around the corner and our school psychologist was standing there chatting. I asked her if she would escort my kid the two doors down to the testing room and she gave me a fat slab of beef. Instead of just doing what I asked, which would have taken two minutes, she stood there trying to argue with me for five. I don’t know this kid. And can’t you do it? So you’re sloughing your job off on me? (That PISSED me off.) I finally said “I am supposed to be in 8th-grade classes for presentations more than five minutes ago. I just need you to do this ONE thing.” And I walked off to do my job. I am still astounded by the rude behavior because our campus prides itself on helping each other, and that is something set down by our principal.

Thursday my baby brother, 17, swore in to the Army in San Antonio. I was supposed to go, but my principal arranged for a 1/2 plan day for me and my partner and I just couldn’t. I was upset about not being able to go, but my oldest brother and my mom went. For my mom, it was a really important moment. This is her baby making the first real commitment of his life. In the afternoon my older brother sent a string of texts. They call your name a bunch of times for different things. Apparently, the last time was his actual swear in, which nobody knew because the Army does a wonderfully horrible job at scheduling things. I’m surprised they send out letters with information for the basic training graduations. Anyway, my brother walked in, did his swear in, and walked out and told them they could go home. My brother was livid that he took the whole day off and they sat in a waiting room. My mother was so upset that she didn’t get to see her baby swear in. Of course, she cried. Of course, my older brother was a jackass about it all the way home – over a 2-hour ride. And my youngest brother bawled in the backseat all the way home, feeling he let down my mom and disappointed her. I want to punch my oldest brother still days later, and I was glad my mom made a point to tell him part of the entire fiasco was his fault because he’s been through this THREE times, so he knows. She and my youngest brother don’t know how any of it works. I think my mom said there will be another one before he actually leaves, so hopefully we can get to see that one. This time with my grouchy “I never want to go to anything and then later I complain that I missed it” dad in tow.

That night it also snowed. It never snows in this region of Texas, and even when it does it is just a dusting on the ground. While we didn’t have legit snow like up north, some areas reported receiving four inches of snow! The kids at the basketball game all ran out front of the school and were running around. When I drove to The Man’s on Friday afternoon, down his way the snow cover was still on the ground and all the snowmen built in his neighborhood were still standing. My mom said when they got home from SA, my oldest brother was called in to work the roads, and so she and my youngest brother went out and played in the snow and he calmed down.

Cera undecorated the tree early in the week and destroyed everything she took off. And it was a lot just by looking at what is left on the tree. I am so upset about it, but it’s funny that she hasn’t touched anything since.

The craziest thing happened at the movies on Saturday night. The Man and I went to see Murder on the Orient Express. The instant the end faded to black for the credits, the couple on my right were bulldozing over me. I could not even sit up in my seat enough to pick up my purse off the floor. I couldn’t even find it in the pitch black! By dumb luck one finger grasped a handle and I brought it dangling up. Did that make them pause? NO. They were ON TOP of me. They were going to walk all over my purse and my hand, my legs and feet. I shoved out of the seat and up as fast as I could, making them stop. I was so disoriented in the dark I almost fell trying to walk to the stairs and then when I got to the stairs, and they were still a hair’s breadth from my back. I don’t get it. Who does that??? The Man has never been one to be a “hey you, asshole” boyfriend to jackasses in public and defend me (mostly because he’s never needed to), but he was ready to throw the both of them over the railings. There is nowhere you need to go that damn fast…unless you’re movie hopping without paying. If they had touched me, he would have stepped in for the defense of a third person for assault and would have called the local police. If they laid hands on him in retaliation, it would have been an automatic felony for assault of a disabled veteran and assault of a peace officer, both of which are felonies in our state.

Y’all! I am STILL reading Hope at Christmas! How is this possible? I just have had NO time to read and I hate that. I keep trying to read each night and I read one or two pages from my Kindle and then I am out. I wake up in the morning with my Kindle in bed with me. I have to finish reading it and start a new book today.

I wrote all of my outstanding reviews yesterday. It actually went by fairly quickly, although I did take a break halfway through that then slowed me down some when I came back to write.

AND – I have been lamenting this for months. I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing it, about how I hoped to at least reach 10% on NetGalley before the end of the year. YES, I know that seems so teeny tiny. But….when you have over 625 books it really puts that into perspective. AND I DID IT! After my first review I wrote on Saturday, I am sitting at 10%!!!! I can’t tell you how happy I was! I am hoping that by the end of February I have hit 15%.

10% NG.PNG

  • Monday
    • Review ~ Snowed
  • Tuesday
    • Top Ten Tuesday ~ Favorite Books of 2017
    • Teaser Tuesday & Intro ~ TBD
  • Wednesday
    • WWW Wednesday
    • My Favorite ~ Christmas Movie
    • Review ~ Christmas at Two Love Lane
  • Thursday
    • Famous Last Words #36
    • Spotlight ~ Grigori
  •  Friday
    • Book Blogger Hop ~ 12.15.17
    • Review ~ Chocolate Kisses and Love Filled Wishes

@sissybearla

Book Blogger Hop ~ 12.8.17

book-blogger-hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week poses a book-related question. The hop starts on Friday and ends on Thursday. The purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers.


If you celebrate Christmas, do you feel the need to stop reading anything but Christmas-themed romances as the holiday season starts? (submitted by Maria @ A Night’s Dream of Books)

In years past I would read other things as the holiday season approached and ran through to the new year. There was one year I exclusively read holiday reads for Home for the Holidays feature I did for December. This year I’m reading Christmas-themed reads exclusively. I’m sure most of them are romances, but there may be a few that are not.

Review: Heat It Up

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Heat It Up
Author: Stina Lindenblatt
Publisher: Diversion Books
Release Date: June 2016
Length: 276 pages
Series?: Off the Ice #1
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult, Sports 

Some games are hotter off the ice.

Sofia Phillips feels cursed. Her father cheated on her mother, her boyfriend cheated on her she’s done with dating. A summer work-exchange program in Finland is the perfect escape. But instead of gaining experience as an athletic trainer, she’s cleaning toilets. Awesome. The trip is a disaster, and even better, she meets Kyle Bennett. In the sauna. Naked.

Sexy hockey player Kyle was the star right wing for an NHL team. But after an accident killed his wife and left him injured, Kyle has appreciated the therapeutic benefits of booze and puck bunnies. Now in Finland for the summer, he’s coaching in an elite hockey-training camp for teens. When Sofia’s grandmother decides to set her up with a nice Finnish man, Sofia recruits Kyle as her make-believe boyfriend. Neither expects their first kiss to sizzle. And neither expects, while stranded on an island during a storm, to have a scorching night of passion.

But as their charade, and then their attraction, develops into something deeper, the past comes back, threatening to destroy them. They must decide if their feelings for each other are strong enough to survive or it will be game over.

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

my review

I think this is my first New Adult book??? I don’t even know. What technically is the distinction between contemporary and new adult? I don’t know, but this book is both! 🙂

The perspective of the story is told in a dual narrative, with Sofia and Kyle each narrating alternating chapters. The book opens with Sofia’s narration and ends with Kyle’s narration. I loved both of their inner voices. Sofia’s was at times strong and confident, like in the beginning, and wavered and was doubting during times of turmoil. Kyle was very laid back and quite characteristic of a typical bachelor. A few hundred years earlier he would be called a rake.

Sofia is working hard toward her dream of working with sports teams by beefing up her resumé while also running from her own haunting memories, so she takes up the ad offer for an overseas work-swap program from her university in Minnesota. She just didn’t think she would wind up scrubbing toilets in Finland.

Most of the book is set in Hilinski, Finland. Sofia’s maternal grandmother resides there, and Sofia hasn’t visited in a few years, so it winds up being a great opportunity for them to spend some time together again. Many times Sofia makes it clear she cannot speak the language and is Finnish illiterate. I didn’t quite understand how that could be the case if she had visited every year as a child until she was in her late teens. She should at least know some basic phrases. That struck me as odd, but it was a plot-driven movement. While summering in Finland, Sofia’s grandmother hatches a plan with the woman upstairs in her building. They plan to set up Sofia with her grandmother’s friend’s grandson, Joni.

Joni looks exactly like a Finnish actor and is handsome. He buys into the grandmothers’ scheming while Sofia does not. She has sworn off any relationships after her first and only. One heartbreak and she claims she is cursed. Puh-lease. *insert eyeroll*

However, the guy from the sauna she nearly sprays in the junk keeps coming back to her mind. His body and his geekiness. Kyle is quite the physics nerd and a former NHL player. One of his former teammates is coaching a hockey program in Finland, so Kyle takes up an open position. Coaching is as close as he is ever going to get to his former hockey life after his injury that took his career and his wife. Since he has found a fleeting solace in alcohol and puck bunnies, although he suddenly skeptical of puck bunnies.

Kyle was clearly searching for his next everything from personal growth to job security to personal relationships. When his and Sofia’s worlds collide – again, unbeknownst to either of them – Sofia convinces Kyle to play her fake boyfriend so she doesn’t have to “date” Joni. Although she still goes places with Joni alone that he believes are dates, as do both their grandmothers…

Eventually, Sofia and Kyle elevate their relationship, but not entirely. Kyle purposefully keeps his identity a secret from unsuspecting Sofia, which I thought was deceitful and was made into a big deal that when it does come to light, Sofia just glosses over it.

Joni isn’t ready to be thrown out of the ring for the boyfriend crown, so he plays his own masterfully manipulated role and wreaks havoc with Sofia. Even as friends, I thought this was so underhanded and I did not understand why Sofia continued to hang out with him and allow him into her life. She let him be all sweet and then sour on her. But on the flip side, he was nice to Sofia. The slippery slope of sneaky snakes.

I feel like the only reason Joni was kept around was to act as a translator. The plot could have continued almost entirely without him…except for the ill-fated wedding that is masterminded. Joni doesn’t stop after the first incident. He artfully crafts this wedding guest trip that ends with more than Kyle freaking out in the sauna.

Remember how I said their worlds had collided before? The entire end of the book revolves around this revelation that was mind-blowing. It sets Sofia’s world spinning on its axis and leaves Kyle wondering why her non-part in the past matters. I could not wrap my head around why the revelation and Sofia’s non-part in it – she was just connected to the person who did it – had her literally running across Finland to get away from Kyle and ignoring him.

Overall, both characters need some therapy. They are still not done dealing with their ex’s. For Kyle, I totally understand. For Sofia, though…I don’t get it. I don’t get her motivations. Maybe it’s because I’m at a more mature stage in my life?

The best part of the book was each character’s inner dialogue and their growth. Kyle came to Finland looking to work a hockey camp when in reality he was looking for a way to heal. Sofia finds the footing she needs to move forward with her dream and her shuttered heart is given a stutter.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stina Lindenblatt lives in Western Canada, where she loves to dream up New Adult and Young Adult stories, especially those with romance. She loves to travel, and has lived in England, the US, Canada, and Finland. She has a Master’s of Science degree in exercise physiology and has worked with elite athletes. In her free time, Stina enjoys photography, especially the close-up variety.

Find the author: GoodreadsWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Famous Last Words #35

Famous Last Words

Famous Last Words is a new monthly feature here in Land of 1000 Wonders. I wanted to find a new way to share some fabulous quotations from reads old and new. The inspiration for this feature came from the character Pudge in John Green’s Looking for Alaska.


 

Summer and Brad are slated to get married but things go awry in Kissing Bridge! Brad’s younger sister, snowboarding champion, Kacey Anderson is forced to come home to heal from a bad accident. After being told she can no longer compete she begins to train at her home while still missing her beloved Olympic gold medalist Brody Jenkins. Against doctor’s orders she begins to regain her strength in the hopes of competing in the 2016 Olympics. When a young Climate Change activist enlists her help to bring awareness to the cause, Kacey begins to think that her future may be much different then she imagined. Summer is forced back to LA to finish off a contract when the worst blizzard in decades hits her hometown. Unable to return she can only suffer as she here’s a fate worse than she can ever imagine is unfolding back home in Kissing Bridge Mountain. Against all odds, love always seems to bring miracles to Kissing Bridge and this story will leave you believing and having faith in the power of true love.

Chocolate Kisses and Love Filled Wishes