Book Review: The Christmas Wedding Ring by Susan Mallery

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Molly had a crush on Dylan for years while she was growing up. But he was ever only interested in her sister. After Dylan and Molly’s sister break up, Dylan moves out of town, leaving Molly with a ring and a promise of an adventure. Over a decade later, Molly has had the epitome of bad weeks and decides she’s had enough. She tracks down Dylan and asks him to follow through on his promise for an adventure.

What I Liked

  • It’s sort of Christmas themed. Which is a big plus for me!
  • This book was more fade-to-black than Susan Mallery’s typical romances. That’s not to say it was squeaky clean, nor is it to say that I rate books solely on their adult content. I just found that this author (and many others) tends to focus on the plot more when she can’t use adult content as a filler.
  • The characters aren’t perfect. Neither of the two main characters (Dylan and Molly) are cookie-cutter. It was fun to discover their quirks, and it was also great to see them struggle with their inadequacies. It made the story more realistic.
  • The story wasn’t insta-lovey. The characters have history, and I got to see the characters grow in their feelings for each other. They didn’t just start out with an instant attraction.
  • Overall, this was just a super cute story, with lots of little revelations along the way that hooked me and kept me reading.

What I Didn’t Like

  • It wasn’t on-the-edge-of-my-seat-oh-my-gosh sort of exciting, but it was exactly what I was looking for in a holiday romance. Just keep that in mind if you’re looking for something a little bit more adventurous.

In Conclusion

If you want a cute holiday romance (and are okay with PG-13 content) then this book is for you!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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Book Review: Lucky Dog Lessons by Brandon McMillan

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Every week, Brandon McMillan takes a dog and trains them, working to get them suitable for a forever home. He’s trained thousands of dogs over the years, so he has many tricks and tips up his sleeve for training them successfully. He outlines how to prepare for training before going into how to train the seven basic commands: SIT, DOWN, STAY, HEEL, COME, OFF, and NO. He also takes time to explain how to address common dog “problems” such as barking, digging, door dashing, and housetraining, among others.

What I Liked

  • So I’ve only read two books on training dogs, but if you do have a new dog, I definitely recommend this one! His methods are surprisingly simple and seem to be working pretty well for me and my dog.
  • He acknowledges that training doesn’t go perfectly every time or for every dog. Which means he provides lots of ideas for the tough cases. It gives you a lot of different tools to use if you need them.
  • My friend used his technique to train her dogs not to door dash. After only a couple of hours they had broken the habit completely. She was pleased that his technique had worked so well where even a professional trainer had failed.
  • The techniques work for me, a brand-new dog owner, who never even had a dog growing up, and for my friend, who has had at least fifteen years of raising dogs.
  • Another friend of mine called it “the most passive-aggressive  way to dog train”, which actually sums up the book pretty well. Your dog likes chewing your shoes? Tie the shoe to his collar and let him wear it around for a while! After that your dog may not like your shoes very much. This is just one of many similar techniques the author introduces.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Now I actually have to take the time to train my dog? 😋

In Conclusion

If you’re planning on getting a dog, if you just got a dog, or if you’re a long time dog owner, this book is definitely worth picking up!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

Book Review: The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Sage is one of a few orphans chosen by Conner Bevin to pretend to be the long-lost prince. Conner, a nobleman, claims that this is the best for everybody – for the kingdom, for him, and the orphan he chooses. We as the reader get to follow Sage as he competes to be the best false prince for Bevins plan, and as he uncovers the details of the plan.

What I Liked

  • There were a lot of subtle complexities to this book. It wasn’t a mystery, but we were constantly learning new things about all of the characters, the kingdom, and the plan to be a false prince. It kept me intrigued the whole way.
  • I’m struggling to find a way to describe this book without giving much away. Lets just say that it definitely cracks my top five books for this year.

What I Didn’t Like

  • This was clearly written for an upper middle grade or lower young adult audience (similar to the Percy Jackson series I would say). This was fine by me, but I want to let you know in case that isn’t your cup of tea.
  • There was a specific chapter that confused me so much that I had to read it twice. But once I got it…. wow!

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a great fantasy, this is your book!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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Book Review: The M-Word by Beverly Farr

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Brenda is done with dating altogether, but still wants to have children someday. Then she meets a Marius, piano tuner who needs help getting a green card. She decides to risk it and asks him to marry her.

What I Liked

  • This book is SO CUTE. I keep going back to reread certain scenes because I just love how the characters interact.
  • I loved Marius. He’s pleasantly different from any other romantic interest I’ve read. He’s positive and down to earth and doesn’t let things “ruffle his feathers”. In some ways, I would love if my personality reflected his! He also dreams of becoming an opera singer, which was another thing I’ve never really seen in romance novels. It was fun to see a new career/personality than I was used to.
  • Although it’s been years since I’ve seen it, I think this book was loosely based on La Traviata, the opera by Giuseppe Verdi. So that’s pretty cool.
  • This is another “fade-to-black” romance so you don’t have adult content distracting from the plot of the novel.

What I Didn’t Like

  • This book is shorter than many novels, so it didn’t have as many twists and turns. However, the length and complexity seemed to match the character’s stories perfectly. I wouldn’t change anything about this book, it just wasn’t worthy of a five star rating. (Does that make sense?)

In Conclusion

If you like fade-to-black romance novels, you’ll probably love this one.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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Book Review: Forgotten Honeymoon by Beverly Farr

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Summary

After a car accident, Kelly wakes up having forgotten three weeks of her life. She isn’t concerned, and resumes where (she thinks) she left off. However, she soon discovers that she’s pregnant – which, to her recollection, shouldn’t be possible! The book follows her as she tries to piece together what happened during those three weeks and figure out who the baby’s father is.

What I Liked

  • This is probably one case in which I really like amnesia being part of a book. It was fun to discover and piece together things as the character did. It was also fun to see the other characters around her acting differently than she expected because she forgot conversations and events with them.
  • This was, of course, another cute romance. Which I seem to be reading a lot of these days. It also doesn’t contain any on-screen adult content (only fade-to-black), which is nice.
  • This book was a quick read, which was also nice.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Some of the interactions between characters seemed exaggerated or unrealistic. It was a pretty cute read, it just wasn’t a “wow, amazing” sort of read.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a cute, fade-to-black sort of romance then you might enjoy this book.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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Book Review: A is for Abstinence by Kelly Orman

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

This book is from the point of view of Kyle Hamilton, the cocky rock star from V is for Virgin. It’s four years after the first book. Val has graduated college and Kyle is now trying a solo music career after the band’s break up. He’s gotten in touch with Val again and now he’s trying to convince her that he’s changed and deserves another chance.

What I Liked

  • This book was a lot better than the first one (you can see my review for that one, V is for Virgin, here). This one was an actual romance, which I’ve gotten into a lot lately.
  • The characters are older, and are able to make more adult decisions. It made the story more relatable to me – it was no longer just a frilly high school book. (It wasn’t that frilly before, but this book definitely had more substance.)
  • It was great to see Kyle work on improving his character for Val. And it was great to see that Val wasn’t going to compromise her values, even if she had strong feelings for Kyle.
  • It’s always fun to have a book set enough in the future that you get to see where each character ended up.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The characters acted a lot older than their ages. They were, for the most part, 21 and 22, but their decisions were much more mature and life-impacting that the decisions most people are making at that age. So that bothered me a little, but it wasn’t that bad.

In Conclusion

If you managed to make it through the first book, then you’ll definitely enjoy this one.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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Book Review: V is for Virgin by Kelly Orman

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Summary

This book follows “Virgin Val” after she is dumped for wanting to be a virgin until marriage. Unfortunately, hometown rock star prodigy, Kyle Hamilton, posts about her purity pledge on the internet, causing her a lot of unwanted attention.

What I Liked

  • The hint of a relationship between Kyle and Val was enough for me to pick up the next book. (It’s also the only reason I gave this book three stars instead of two.)
  • The author did a pretty good job of addressing the topic of virginity in a fair way without including religion.
  • It was interesting to see how Val handled the sudden fame that gets thrown her way.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Based on the Goodreads summary, I had expected this to be a romance. It was actually more of a story about how Val deals with unexpected fame.
  • This book was sort of dry. I love Kelly Orman’s books (especially Cinder & Ella!), but I was very close to putting this book down and not picking it back up. I feel like there was a doctor’s appointment or something where this book was my only option and that’s why I finished it.
  • I feel like the author missed the opportunity to add the point that someone who is not a virgin has no less value than someone who is. There is a specific scene in which this could have easily been done. (To be fair though, she also doesn’t look down upon the non-virgin characters, it just isn’t addressed at all.)

In Conclusion

This book was only so-so. Go read Cinder and Ella (also by Kelly Orman) instead!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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