So This Is Christmas

What I read: So This Is Christmas by Jenny Holiday

Why I picked it up: Christmas book + new release shelf

How I read it: On paper over a few days – longer than is typical for me.

What it’s about: Cara is a management consultant who travels all over the world, and this Christmas season she is in Eldovia helping their traditional watch company see better days. The only problem is Mr. Bentz is so proper and dislikes her greatly – that is until he doesn’t.

What I liked: I appreciated the banter between them, some great dialogue.

What I disliked: It was just too slow.

Genre: Christmas, open door romance, royalty.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and unless you’ve got no other Christmas romances to read, I’d skip this one.

Mixed Signals

What I read: Mixed Signals by B. K. Borison

Why I picked it up: I’m a gal who loves a series, so I borrowed all three for my drive this week.

How I read it: On audio at 1.75x speed while driving home today and on my walk.

What it’s about: Layla, the 3rd partner in Lovelight Farms, gets her story. She runs an amazing bakery that’s even going to be featured in the state-wide magazine for “best bakeries” – but her love life is a disaster. Each guy is just worse than the one before – so Caleb, who can’t ever get past date 4, suggests they fake date to practice. Turns out, practicing turns into something more – who knew!

What I liked: There’s a part near the end where she has this list, and it’s just the sweetest.

What I disliked: It was a little spicier than I typically listen to on audio – I would have preferred to read on paper so I could skim through some sections – but it’s a great third book in this series!

Genre: Small town, fake dating, open door romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and it’s a good series!

In the Weeds

What I read: In the Weeds by B. K. Borison

Why I picked it up: Y’all know I love a good series, so when I loved the first one, I had to start the second right away – good thing I had enough borrows on Hoopla to get all three this month!

How I read it: On audio at 1.75x today while getting ready to go on my trip and while in the car.

What it’s about: Beckett, one of the partners in Lovelight Farm, met Evelyn back in March when they were both there for a conference. He didn’t see her again until she showed up in November to do a feature on the farms. Now she’s back to “find her happy” and turns out, it might be him!

What I liked: I liked that there was a bit of story here for the farm, it was a great setting for the first book, and I liked going back to it in the second.

What I disliked: This was a little steamier than I typically prefer on audio – and a lot of their relationship was driven by “almost” sexual encounters. It felt like the story was a reason to write a steamy romance, not that the romance had some steamy elements.

Genre: Small town, open door romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and sure – if you’re a reader who likes a series.

Lovelight Farms

What I read: Lovelight Farms by B. K. Borison

Why I picked it up: I saw it on Hoopla, and it looked like something I’d enjoy: Christmas + Romance + Happily Ever After!

How I read it: On audio at 1.75x speed in about two days.

What it’s about: Stella bought a farm and now it’s in trouble because it’s being sabotaged. To “solve” her problem, she creates a new one by needing to get her best friend to act as her fake boyfriend to win a social media contest. Turns out their ten years as friendship were just the “getting to know you phase” of their romantic relationship.

What I liked: It was just a delight – the entire thing!

What I disliked: Her father is quite the jerk. I didn’t love his character and he never redeems himself.

Genre: Christmas, open door romance, small town.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes – I’m also super glad this is a three book series (so far) and that I have the next two already downloaded.

Love and Other Words

What I read: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Why I picked it up: It was on the shelf at the library and I’ve read and loved it before so I decided on a re-read.

How I read it: On paper in just a day and a half.

What it’s about: Macey’s mom died when she was ten, and she left her dad a list of notes for raising her. One of them is to find a weekend get away which in turn introduces her to Elliot. They’re each other’s first everything.

What I liked: I love the hidden library her dad creates for her.

What I disliked: Emma. I just disliked her.

Genre: Second chance romance, open door, books about books.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and definitely!

Seven Days in June

What I read: Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

Why I picked it up: Anne Bogel hosted a panel at a book festival she recorded and released on What Should I Read Next with Tia Williams and I was intrigued so I picked it up.

How I read it: On paper over four or five days.

What it’s about: Eva and Shane once shared a week long relationship in high school that altered them forever. Then they became writers and wrote about and to each other for fifteen years. Now they’re seeing each other for the first time and it all comes rushing back.

What I liked: I liked Audre, Eva’s daughter. She was a delight.

What I disliked: Their love story was not for me. The only good part was the epilogue.

Genre: Open door romance, chronic pain, recovery.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and maybe.

The Boy with the Bookstore

What I read: The Boy with the Bookstore by Sarah Echavarre Smith

Why I picked it up: There was a category of “books about books” on Libby last week where I found an audiobook last week and this one that I read in one day.

How I read it: On Kindle this afternoon/evening.

What it’s about: A bakery owner and her bookstore owner neighbor end up figuring out they’ve both been dying to ask the other one out for 18 months – now they’re sharing a small space in the back of the building while their old ones are renovated. Lots of misunderstandings, inabilities to talk about their feelings, and family drama take place – not to mention the “sharing a small work space” thing.

What I liked: I appreciated all of the family history with Joelle. Her family is really important and who they are as Filipinos was celebrated and never dismissed. It was so sweet – and also I want to try an ube latte.

What I disliked: Max has a lot of hurt in his past – and I wish there had been even more healing for him.

Genre: Books about books, abuse, open door romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I think it’s worth the read.

A Virgin River Christmas

What I read: A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr

Why I picked it up: Since I finished my other very long series, I decided to continue on my way with this one.

How I read it: On hardback.

What it’s about: Macie and Bobby knew they were meant for each other when they met at 14, then he came home from Iraq injured, and she cared for him for three years. Now, a year later, she’s still searching for the guy who saved his life, maybe he’s in the mountains near Virgin River.

What I liked: She helps him find his way back to himself, and while he’s struggling with a lot of trauma, the kind man he is remains.

What I disliked: I had a hard time with the timeline. In the book before this Vanessa has her baby, but then she shows up still pregnant in this book. It’s like this takes place simultaneously with book #3.

Genre: Small town, slightly open door romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and sure, and I think it could be a stand alone Christmas novel (maybe that’s why the timeline doesn’t really add up or count).

Best of My Love

What I read: Best of My Love by Susan Mallery

Why I picked it up: I’m really anxious to finish this series! I’ve got two more novellas after finishing the final full length novel today.

How I read it: On Kindle.

What it’s about: Shelby doesn’t trust men or love, and no one can blame her after growing up with an abusive father. She decides to enlist Aiden to be her friend to help them both learn a new way of interacting with the opposite sex.

What I liked: Their relationship that they say is “just friends” is the kind of dating relationship I think is the most successful and has the best long term outcome. Also the guy friends in this book show up really well!

What I disliked: Amber wasn’t my favorite – she ends up great, but she doesn’t start amazing.

Genre: Abuse recovery, friendship, open door romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and it’s a good ending!

Thrill Me

What I read: Thrill Me by Susan Mallery

Why I picked it up: Almost done with the Fool’s Gold series!

How I read it: On ebook from Hoopla.

What it’s about: Maya and Del almost got married once, but she decided to run off for an adventure and go to college. He went on a different adventure exploring the world. Now they’ve got to work together to make promotions for the town.

What I liked: I want to check out the videos they’ve created! I also loved reading about the different aspects of film and production.

What I disliked: I knew about Del’s parents from finishing the Happily Inc series awhile ago – this is the first introduction, and they’ve really got some work to do.

Genre: Friendship, open door romance, family saga.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and as part of this series or a precursor to the Happily Inc series!