Christmas at the Island Hotel

⭐⭐⭐

Jenny Colgan

On the tiny, beautiful, and remote island of Mure, halfway between Scotland and Norway, a new hotel opening is a big event. New mother Flora MacKenzie and her brother Fintan are working themselves half to death to get it ready in time for Christmas. 

The new hotel’s impressive kitchens throw together two unlikely new friends: Isla Gregor is the hardworking young girl who has been a waitress in the island’s cafe, dreaming of a bigger, better life now that she’s at a proper fancy hotel. Konstantin Pederson is working his way up in the hotel’s kitchens too…but he is also, secretly, the only son of the Duke of Utsire. Konstantin has been sent to learn what it is to work hard for a living, before receiving his inheritance. Although he’s initially resentful, the place grows on him; he has never met anyone quite like Isla and her fellow Murians before. 

As the island’s residents and special VIP guests gather for the hotel’s grand opening gala, Christmas is in the air. But so are more than a few small-town secrets.

My Thoughts:

The 4th book in Jenny Colgan’s Mure series is a fun read. Predictable, but fun. It was nice to revisit the island and all the characters you have gotten to know in the previous 3 books plus a few new ones.  This is not a stand alone book. Lots of characters, lots of backstory, so you will be lost if you haven’t read the first 3.

A big thank you to #JennyColgan, #NetGalley and #WilliamMorrow for providing a free Advance Reader Copy. This is my honest opinion.

In a Holidaze

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Christina Lauren

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

My Thoughts:

A fun start to the 2020 Holiday season. Going home after a disastrous Christmas break Maelyn wishes she could know what would make her happy. That was the beginning of a groundhog-esque Christmas adventure. Reading about Maelyn’s repeated attempts to “get it right” was fun and there were some laugh out loud moments. The romance was pretty rushed and while I realize there were some time constraints (the book takes place during the week of Christmas) it felt too abrupt and out of the blue. But I am a sucker for a happy ending. I love it when my books end with everything wrapped in a tidy bow, so the ending made me happy and I was willing to let some things slide. 

A big thank you to #ChristinaLauren, #NetGalley and #GalleryBooks for providing a free Advance Reader Copy. This is my honest opinion.

Amish Christmas Twins

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Shelly Shepard GrayRachel J. Good,  Loree Lough

THE CHRISTMAS NOT-WISH

Shelley Shepard Gray

When the foster parents they’ve cautiously grown to love discover they’re expecting, orphaned Roy and Jemima Fisher, ages six and seven, are secretly devastated by the certainty they’ll be given up. With Christmas around the corner, their only wish is for new foster parents as nice as Mr. and Mrs. Kurtz. Meanwhile, the Kurtzes have wishes of their own–and with faith, they all may be gifted with twice the blessings.

NEW BEGINNINGS 

Rachel J. Good

Still grieving the loss of her husband and unborn baby in an accident several months ago, Elizabeth Yoder is oblivious to her neighbor Luke Bontrager’s deepening affection for her. But while she bleakly faces Christmas alone, it’s Luke who reminds her it’s the season for giving. And when Elizabeth donates her handmade baby clothes to New Beginnings, a home for teen moms, she soon finds her gifts repaid beyond measure, with Luke’s love–and new beginnings of their own.

TWINS TIMES TWO 

Loree Lough

What happens when two secretive, stubborn people find themselves thrown together to help four rascally youngsters–twins times two!–create a Christmas surprise for their parents? Mischief and mayhem, and just maybe . . . love!

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed these novellas. I was looking for something uplifting, where I wouldn’t have to wince at the language or skip over the sex scenes. This book fit those requirements. I can probably count on one hand how many books I’ve read that fall under the Amish category, but I am going to seek out more books by these authors. It was a heartwarming and happy read. During the last two stories I was a little frustrated and thought “Just talk to each other already!” But what romance is complete without a little angst?

A big thank you to the authors, #NetGalley and #KensingtonPublishing for providing a free Advance Reader Copy. This is my honest opinion.

See Her Die

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Melinda Leigh

New sheriff Bree Taggert is called to a shooting in a campground shuttered for the winter. But she arrives to find a perplexing crime. There is no shooter, no victim, and no blood. No one but Bree believes the sole witness, Alyssa, a homeless teenager who insists she saw her friend shot.

Bree calls in former deputy Matt Flynn and his K-9 to track the killer and search for Alyssa’s friend. They discover the battered corpse of a missing university student under the ice in Grey Lake—but it’s not the victim they were looking for.

When two more students go missing and additional bodies turn up, Bree must find the link between the victims. She knows only one thing for certain: the murders are fueled by rage. When Alyssa disappears, Bree must race against time to find her before her witness becomes another victim.

My Thoughts:

Another great book from an author who is becoming a favorite of mine. The second book in the Bree Taggert series kept me guessing to the very end. I was having an anxiety filled day and who would have guessed a murder mystery would put the smile back on my face.  I love the characters of Bree and Matt. They are honest with themselves, each other and the story picks up shortly after the first one left off. I like how the conflict between Matt and Jim was resolved as well. This could be read as a stand alone, but I wouldn’t recommend it. You would miss too much of the backstory of just about everyone. I can’t wait for the next one. 

Miss Janie’s Girls

⭐⭐⭐

Carolyn Brown

A bittersweet reunion becomes a time for looking back and starting over in a heartwarming new novel from New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown.
Miss Janie is at the end of a long and full life, but she has no intention of crossing that finish line until she’s found her girls…

It’s been ten years since Teresa and Kayla shook off the dust of Birthright, Texas, went their separate ways, and never looked back. Apart from their foster mom, Miss Janie, they don’t have many fond memories of their hometown. Or of each other. Still, neither can forget the kind woman who opened her home and heart to two teenagers in need.

When a private investigator—who just happens to be Miss Janie’s handsome nephew—tracks them both down and tells them Miss Janie is dying, Teresa and Kayla know deep down that they’ve got to be there for her as she had been there for them.

With Teresa and Kayla together again under the same roof, old tensions may flare, but with Miss Janie’s help, they might rediscover that home is the perfect place for new beginnings.
My Thoughts:This was enjoyable and quick to read while I traveled. A lot of it was about perspective, how our past can shape us, hold us back, or propel a person forward. The chains of the past are pretty heavy for Teresa and Kayla. They come home reluctantly, and embarrassed, about where life has led them and the choices they’ve made. It’s Miss Janie’s, the only positive mother figure they have ever known, dying wish to have her girls home again. We journey with them as they discover truths about themselves, their past and find the courage to trust again. A light, clean read with a happily ever after ending. 

The Silence

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Kendra Elliot

General Fiction / Romance

288 pages

Published by August 25, 2020 by Montlake

A man is savagely murdered outside Portland, and Detective Mason Callahan finds blood-spatter evidence that tells a troubling story. Files reveal the murder victim, Reuben Braswell, was a radical conspiracist. In his home, investigators find pages of diatribes against law enforcement as well as ties to Mason’s fiancée, FBI special agent Ava McLane. The victim was her informant—and had strong reasons to be paranoid.

To Ava, Braswell’s rants were those of a wearying and harmless man…until they collide with her investigation into the murders of police officers and finding the connection becomes urgent. Meanwhile, Braswell’s brother and Ava’s twin sister both disappear, and disturbing acts of sabotage target Ava’s personal life.

For Mason and Ava, the brutal crimes and escalating mysteries create a perfect storm for a terrorist conspiracy that becomes dangerously personal—one that has yet to claim its last victim.

My Thoughts:

I love Kendra Elliot’s books. Ever since I read her author bio and found a fellow Trixie Belden fan I made it a point to read all her books and I’ve never been disappointed. 
Mason and Ava are back in the 5th book of the Callahan & McLane series and the 2nd book in the Columbia River series. I alternately listened to the audio book and read it on my kindle. It was good enough that when I didn’t have time to sit and read anymore I turned on the audio so I could continue with the story. ** there are some f-words so if you have little ears paying attention you may want to use earbuds.** 

Jayne is up to her usual tricks, the wedding is nearing, and they have a killer and cop killer to hunt down. But Mason and Ava are always there for each other.  Ms. Elliot skillfully wove the clues through the story so I alternately was sure I knew who the culprit was and then had doubts about my theory. It was worth the loss of sleep when I got to the end and quietly shouted “I knew it!”

Fans who like a murder mystery with some light romance will be happy with the book.