Love on Location by Cassidy Carter

Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Rating: ★★★★

Maybe what they needed most was there all along…

Delaney Phillips, a divorced mom, works for her longtime best friend Wyatt Andrews at Cabins in the Pines. Wyatt inherited the rustic resort from his father, and both he and Delaney have made countless happy memories there. After a highway bypass leaves it a little too off the beaten path, they’ll do just about anything to keep it open.

At Delaney’s urging, Wyatt auditions for a reality TV program that helps businesses in trouble. The show’s glamorous host arrives with her camera crew, turning the place upside down in hilarious and alarming ways.

But Delaney doesn’t like the woman’s new plans for the business…or her designs on Wyatt. Because even though Delaney’s known him since the first grade, she’s slowly but surely falling in love with him. Can she help him see the cabins—and their relationship—in a different light?

Review:

Love on Location was a sweet, clean, friends-to-lovers romance. It was super easy to see from the beginning where it was going to go, but Cassidy Carter did a really great job writing all of the details in so the reader doesn’t lose interest.

I really enjoyed the trope of friends-to-lovers mixed with reality television mixed with a fixer upper narrative. It was pretty different than anything I’ve ever read before in a romance novel. The fact that they were willing to make it work in this small town where the reality show wanted to come in and change everything was a true testament for how things are nowadays. It was an awesome way to show the other side of the small businesses and things of that sort.

I really liked the characters. Delaney and Wyatt for sure had the chemistry that I like to see in a friends-to-lovers novel. I felt it in every word between them which is hard to do! The only reason why I gave this story a four-star rating is because I’m not someone who likes woman/woman jealousy. I don’t like the idea of a woman being so jealous over another woman and holding back because they don’t want to interfere. This book doesn’t really have the room for a jealousy intrusion. I didn’t really see how it fit.

Overall, I really enjoyed Love on Location‘s story. It wasn’t something I’ve read before and I really loved the character development. I will for sure read more of Cassidy Carter’s books when they come out!

March & April 2020 Reads

Number of Books Read: 22
Avg. Rating of the  books: 3.86/5 stars
Five Star Ratings: 5/22
*five star ratings are bold

  • Confessions of a Naughty Nanny by Piper Rayne (The Baileys #6)
  • Kiss Me Not by Emma Hart (Kiss Me #1)
  • Kiss Me Tonight  by Emma Hart (Kiss Me #2)
  • Kiss Me Again by Emma Hart (Kiss Me #3)
  • Moonlight in Vermont by Kacy Cross
  • Ten Days Gone by Beverly Long (A.L. McKittridge #1)
  • A Country Wedding by Leigh Duncan
  • You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks
  • Love Locks by Cory Martin
  • Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales
  • Beach Wedding Weekend by Rachel Magee
  • Love by Chance by Kacy Cross
  • Sunrise Cabin by Stacey Donovan
  • Nothing But Trouble by Amy Andrews (Creedence, Colorado #1)
  • The Trouble With Christmas by Amy Andrews (Creedence, Colorado #2)
  • A Forgotten Murder by Jude Deveraux
  • The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne
  • Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth
  • The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren
  • A Simple Wedding by Leigh Duncan
  • Royal Savage by Victoria Ashley (Savage & Ink #1)
  • Beautiful Savage by  Victoria Ashley (Savage & Ink #2)

So, I took some time off with these two months. Well, mostly April. I only read two books in April because I hit a rut (of course during quarantine), but we’re back now! Here’s to a happier time reading in May!

Moonlight in Vermont by Kacy Cross

Publication Date: February 18, 2019
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Rating: ★★★★

Some of the best things in life are worth the wait…

Fiona Rangely loves her fast-paced life as a high-end real estate broker in New York City. Or at least, she does until her boyfriend dumps her, claiming that he doesn’t get enough of her time.

She retreats to her family’s quaint Vermont Inn to evaluate her life…but her ex-boyfriend soon shows up with a brand new girlfriend. Fiona quickly devises a plan to win him back: pretend the handsome and laid-back head chef Derek is her new boyfriend!

Will her ex realize what he’s missing? And will Fiona herself start seeing life–and love—in a new light?

Review:

Fake relationships/marriages is one of my favorite tropes. I just adore the thought of two people starting a fake relationship to fool parents or to make exes jealous…and then  falling for each other themselves for real? Swoon! This story was crazy from start to finish. For Hallmark, I felt like this was extra dramatic! But I loved it!

The characters were everything I needed and more. Fiona’s character was the best. I loved her development and the realization that she didn’t even want her ex anymore was perfection. I think out of all of them, Kacy Cross wrote Fiona the best. She wrote Fiona like she had personally experienced something like this before and it made the story that much more real for me.

My favorite part of this novel was the sweetness of the romance. It wasn’t too strong but it wasn’t too much either. It was really a wonderful moment to see how the story of Fiona and Derek was going to play out. As the head chef, he knows he’s too busy and it’s almost like a forbidden love story at some parts.

The only reason why I didn’t give this book five-stars is because I wish it was a little longer! It was only 182 pages and I wish it would just keep going and going. I think ultimately it was wrapped up well and the story was great, but I would’ve liked a little more.

Overall, I’d recommend this book to anyone. This was a good story for any age. Moonlight in Vermonwas the perfect book to get me excited for the rest of Kacy Cross’ books!

The Story of Us by Teri Wilson

Publication Date: January 6, 2020
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Rating: ★★★

A bookstore owner…
her former high school sweetheart…
And a box of old love letters
that could change everything.

Jamie always adored True Love Bookstore and Café, and now she’s the owner. But businesses are struggling in her small town, and her beloved store is threatened by a new retail development scheme.

Sawyer, Jamie’s former high school sweetheart, startles her when he comes to town for the first time in fifteen years. She soon learns he’s the architect of the proposed development and he’s there to sell local business owners on his plan. Sawyer had no idea that Jamie had bought the bookstore and poured everything she had into it. If he takes it over, he’ll break her heart a second time.

Jamie’s discovery of a box of old love letters and valentines might hold the key to saving her shop. And after all this time, could love be in the cards for Jamie and Sawyer, too?

Review:

This was a very cute book to read for Valentine’s Day which is why Hallmark released it January 6. It’s very cute to read at anytime during the year, but if you’re feeling especially lovey-dovey, save this one for the next holiday/Valentine’s Day season.

A romance in a bookstore is always a book for me. As I used to work in a library, the thought of two people falling in love surrounded by books just makes my heart flutter.  I’m just a sucker for it. Teri Wilson didn’t disappoint when it came to this. The romance was definitely on point.

There were a few things that I did struggle with within this story, though. I think ultimately for me, this story was drug out a little too long. It definitely could’ve finished multiple times before it actually did and it made it a little hard to get through.

The story was a little underdeveloped for me in the beginning. I was just waiting for it to get to the entire story and when it did, it was good. Then, the story started to drag for me like I said before. I just wish it would’ve taken a little quicker to get started, but finish in that timely manner after everything came full circle.

I really did like the outsiders in this story. The two main characters were good, but I loved seeing everyone conspire against them to get them together. It was awesome to see all of the budding relationships and friendships that this novel had to offer.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. I didn’t hate it. Hallmark recently made this into a movie on their channel and I would definitely watch it!

 

20 Books to Read While You’re Quarantined

Obviously, we are all SHOOK with what’s going on around the world right now. I’ve found myself inside and staying there unless it’s absolutely necessary to go out! This is giving me the option to catch up on my current reads as well as review some of my recent reads! I decided to make a list of 20 books for you all to read during this self-quarantine time! Feel free to click the pictures to take you to the Goodreads pages! Stay safe everyone!

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Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Published: December 10, 2019

Colleen Hoover is always an easy choice when it comes to one of my favorite authors. She has a way with words and her latest novel, Regretting You, was nothing short of spectacular. You could read any of her books and be happy in your quarantine!

It’s currently available for free on Kindle Unlimited or you can buy it on Kindle for only $1.99! Find that: here. If you’re more of a book-in-hand person, this is still on Amazon Prime for only $7.48! Find that: here.

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The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
Publisher: Avon Books
Published: February 4, 2020

I received this book as an advanced reader copy. I got to read it before the publication date and I will say that I really, really enjoyed it. You can read my full review: here. Because it is relatively new, the price of the ebook is $12.99 and the paperback is $12.62 with Prime eligibility. You can find those: here.

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Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
Publisher: Dutton Books
Published: July 2, 2019

I will never get over the mystery that was Lock Every Door. From start to finish, I just adored every twist and turn this novel had to offer me. This was my first Riley Sager novel, but I cannot wait to see where her novels end up. I have her other mystery Final Girls on my to-be-read, but just haven’t gotten to it yet. Soon enough! Lock Every Door is available on Kindle for $13 and in paperback for $17! Find that: here.

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How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published: May 15, 2018

This was the first Katherine Center novel I read and I wanted more. Her writing was impeccable and I honestly can’t even explain this book without spoiling anything. There was romance, angst, drama, sorrow, very real mental health issues and more. Both the Kindle ebook and the paperback are $9.99 on Amazon right now. Find those: here.

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The Note by Teresa Mummert
Publisher: Self-Published
Published: March 11, 2013

Romance lovers. Military lovers. Mental health lovers. Everyone really. I want you to read this book. It’s a SELF-PUBLISHED novel about a military man that finds love after war. I have never been in war or even really surrounded by anyone that has been in war. I felt like I could personally resonate with the main characters and that’s really hard to do with readers who don’t have that relatable situation. The Note is available on Kindle for $4.99 and on paperback for $14.99! Find those: here.

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18 Hours To Us by Krista Noorman
Published: November 21, 2017

This YA book was really different and that was something I could appreciate. The writing was impeccable and that’s why it had such a high rating for me. Krista Noorman wrote this awesome story and made sure that all of her bases were covered, which was my favorite part about it. You can read this book for free on Kindle Unlimited or free on regular Kindle! You can also order the paperback off Amazon Prime for only $9.99! Find those: here.

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Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
Publisher: Avery Books

Published: September 11, 2012

There’s a lot of scary moments going on around the world and it’s easy for someone with anxiety or depression to fall into a scary moment within themselves. As someone who has deals with that and read this book, Brené Brown has a way with her words to really get through to you. She really helps and not only does Brené have this as a self-help, but she shares her own personal experiences within life to really show you that you’re not alone. If you want to pick a self-help author, Brené Brown is IT. Daring Greatly is available on Kindle for $12.99 and paperback for $9.39 on Prime. Find that: here.

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All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: June 28, 2016

All the Missing Girls was Megan Miranda’s breakout novel. This story is was wild from start to finish. It was different than anything I really read before as it is told backwards. It had me on the edge of my seat and to this day is one of my favorite mysteries. You can find this book on Kindle for $11.99 and paperback for $10.34 on Prime! Find those: here.

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The Game Changer by Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Published: January 7, 2020

I recently read this one and I really, really enjoyed it. I have been trying to read all of the Hallmark Publishing novels as they’re usually a cute-sy romance type. This one, however, really caught my eye. It’s a romance for sure, but this is a mystery as well. If you’re someone who likes the romantic suspense genre, this is DEFINITELY for you. You can find this on Kindle for $7.89 or paperback for $10.89 on Amazon Prime! Find those options: here.

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Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published: July 30, 2019

Love and Other Mistakes is classified as a Christian Romance novel. I am not really religious in the slightest bit, but Jessica Kate has the writing ability to sneak in little hints of religion here and there. I read her other book, A Girl’s Guide to the Outback, recently and I found myself really enjoying her writing style. She writes about heavy topics with romance and little bit of self-love! Find Love and Other Mistakes: here.

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The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Published: March 17, 2020

Newly published, I was lucky enough to receive The Sea Glass Cottage before its publication date. It was a really interesting story of family, drama and all that happens in between. RaeAnne Thayne writes as if these are her family members and you really get attached to them in this book. This was a quick read for me as I enjoyed it so much and I think you will too! To find it on Amazon, click here.

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Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey
Publisher: Avon Books
Published: January 14, 2020

Calling all steamy romance lovers. Tessa Bailey has a way of writing that you will question every steamy romance novel you’ve ever read before. This trope, Tessa’s writing, everything about this book was amazing! She really pulls at your heart strings as well as showing you that old-school romance still is a thing! If you’re looking for a new romance author, Tessa Bailey is it! To find this book on Amazon, click here.

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The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
Publisher: Graydon House
Published: December 30, 2019

I read this story not too long ago and it’s really unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The story of this one will have you questioning if these type of things go on in real life. This book grips you from the very beginning and the ending…PHEW. It will definitely keep you interested when you need your brain stimulated! Find it on Amazon here.

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Sunrise Cabin by Stacey Donovan
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Published: September 16, 2018

I had to pick another Hallmark book…didn’t I? I fell in love with Sunrise Cabin as soon as I started reading it. The story captured me as something I’ve never really read in a romance novel before. The angst and drama make this book, not even going to lie. The romance is such a big part of this book, but the drama and angst is an even bigger part. Who doesn’t love some good drama?! Find it on Amazon here.

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The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper
Publisher: Ebury Press
Published: March 7, 2019

The Day We Met is about two people that meet at a younger age and know they’re right for each other, but never make it back to each other after meeting all those years ago. They see each other throughout the years, knowing that they’re soulmates, but as their lives take them in two different directions, they both move along with their lives as well. It’s absolutely heartwrenching, romantic, and it’s so real that it can actually happen in life. Find that on Amazon here.

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American Fire by Monica Hesse
Publisher: Liveright Publishing
Published: July 11, 2017

Where are my true crime lovers? This non-fiction novel about an arsonist is from the perspective of Washington Post reporter, Monica Hesse. It is so amazing and so twisty-turny to see from her perspective that we have no idea what is even going on. This happened in Virginia in the early 2010s and I feel like it never even made national news (from what I remember). Reading this story was so interesting and I know you’ll love it too. Find it here.

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Published: May 9, 2017

I think that everyone should have to read this in their lifetime. Eleanor Oliphant to this day is one of my favorite characters in a book. She is quirky, social awkward, and just hard to understand sometimes. Gail Honeyman did a phenomenal job writing this book, and it is one of my favorites. i’d recommend it to anyone. Find this book on Amazon: here.

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The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: May 17, 2016

Mary Kay Andrews is my favorite author. Her writing style is impeccable and I love it in every book she writes. Normally, she’s just a romance writer with little to no steam, but a hell of a story. This one was a little different and it’s one of my favorite books. This is a romantic suspense and the story captures you from the beginning literally until the last page. I recommend this book to everyone! Find it here.

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No Exit
No Exit by Taylor Adams
Publisher: Joffe Books
Published: June 25, 2017

You want to hear about an underrated mystery novel? This book was INSANE. Whenever I talk mysteries with someone, I always tell them about this book and most of the time, they’ve never even heard of it. I want that to change!! From the first few sentences until the final words, you are gripped into this crazy moment. This book is all about moments! Find it on Amazon here.

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This Train is Being Held by Ismée Amiel Williams
Publisher: Amulet Books

Published: February 11, 2020

Last but certainly not least, a book that touched my heart in more ways than one. This book was recently just published in February 2020, but I’m hoping that this book explodes and becomes one of the top YA books of the year. This story gripped my heart and squeezed it into oblivion. This story is so so real, and it really relates to today’s society. You can read my full review here. You can find this book on Amazon here.

 

Country Hearts by Cindi Madsen

Publication Date: December 26, 2019
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing

Rating: ★★★

She shouldn’t get involved with the cowboy next door…

After she’s laid off from her teaching job in the city, Jemma Monroe finds a position in a tiny town and rents a house on the outskirts. A visitor soon shows up at her door — a horse. His owner, a handsome neighbor in boots and a cowboy hat, comes by to collect him.

When single dad Wyatt Langford meets Jemma, it’s the first time he feels interest in a woman since his wife left. But she’s his daughter’s new teacher, so they both know they should keep their distance.

Nonetheless, Wyatt keeps finding excuses to be with Jemma, and Wyatt’s daughter becomes more and more attached to her. With them, Jemma discovers the good things about country living, from starry skies to s’mores cooked over a fire. But she still misses her past life in the city. Is there any reason for them to dream of a future together?

Review:

This was my first Hallmark Publishing novel that I read, and I was not disappointed. I am not someone who watches Hallmark movies normally, but after reading from their publishing company, I just might do so.

Jemma has a lot going on in her life. She’s laid off in the middle of the school  year and has to figure out what to do in order to pay her debt. This is unfortunately super realistic nowadays and I appreciated that it was so relatable.

Another thing that was relatable about this story was Wyatt’s character. He’s a single dad and Jemma and Wyatt meet when Jemma becomes Wyatt’s daughter’s substitute teacher. I completely expected this book to be a “city-girl having a lot of trouble and her country neighbor helping her adapt to the country life” type of book, but I didn’t really get that from this. I think that the story was very cute and had the perfect amount of romance.

Wyatt’s daughter Bailey was one of the best characters in this book. Cindi Madsen did a phenomenal job with her, showing what it’s like to have a single father, and what it’s like when that child realizes that there’s a new woman in his life. It was very interesting and really pulled at my heart strings a couple times.

The only reason why I gave this novel a three-star rating was because the writing was a little slow at points. I enjoyed the trope and the characters, but I wish it picked up more at points than what it did.

I love the recipes at the end of Hallmark books, and hopefully, after reading them all, you could make a whole dinner party worth of things! Overall, Country Hearts was a good one and I’m excited to see the rest of Hallmark Publishing’s books!

February 2020 Reads

Number of Books Read: 22
Avg. Rating of the 22 books: 3.72/5 stars
Five Star Ratings: 5/22
*five star ratings are bold

  • Playboy Pilot by Penelope Ward, Vi Keeland
  • Love, Sincerely, Yours by Sara Ney
  • Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
  • The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
  • Country Hearts by Cindi Madsen
  • The Billionaire Boss Next Door by Max Monroe
  • Witness Protection Widow by Debra Webb (Winchester, Tennessee #5)
  • A Girl’s Guide to the Outback  by Jessica Kate
  • The Secret Ingredient by Nancy Naigle
  • The Roommate Agreement by Emma Hart
  • I’m With Cupid by Dawn Blair
  • Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate
  • Her Homecoming Wish by Jo McNally
  • Work in Progress by Staci Hart
  • The Story of Us by Teri Wilson
  • Temporary Wife Temptation by Jayci Lee (The Heirs of Hansol #1)
  • The Fall of Butterflies by Andrea Portes
  • Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls
  • The Game Changer by Jennifer Brown
  • This Train is Being Held by Ismée Amiel Williams
  • Love on Location by Cassidy Carter
  • Instacrush by Kate Meader (Rookie Rebels #2)

 

Wow, 22 books!! I was thoroughly happy with the amount of 5-star ratings I got! Here’s to another good month of reading! Happy March!

The Secret Ingredient by Nancy Naigle

Publication Date: December 26, 2019
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Rating: ★★★★★

Love is like a perfect recipe… You never want to lose it.

Years ago, Kelly McIntyre and Andrew York were engaged and dreaming of opening a restaurant together. Then he chose an opportunity to study in Paris over the small-town life they’d planned, and their romance came to a bittersweet end.

But Kelly’s doing fine. She’s not only the owner of a potbellied pig named Gray, but also of her own bakery. Business is good—so good that she’s invited to compete in a Valentine’s Day bake-off. As she prepares for the contest, she tries not to get distracted by Andrew’s visit to town.

When Andrew sees Kelly, it stirs up his old feelings. Little does he know that soon, in New York, he’ll compete against her in the bake-off…and they’ll both realize how much their past is a part of them still.

Review:

I’m obsessed. I’m obsessed. I’m obsessed. I’m obsessed.

Kelly and Andrew…Kelly. and. Andrew.

Honestly, two of my favorite characters that I’ve ever read about. Kelly is a woman that opened up her own bakery in her small town. Andrew and her were engaged, but when the opportunity arose for him to stay in Paris after training in cooking, it ends. When Andrew comes back to town and they see each other for the first time, you can just FEEL the electricity through every single page turn.

There were times in this novel where I thought I knew what was going to happen, but then I was thrown for a loop! Most slow burn, come back to small town, meet again after a long time usually have similar stories, but I’m so glad that this was different. It made me like it THAT much more.

Also, this story is something I’ve never really read before. I loved the fact that things were out there, but also secretive. Nancy Naigle did such a good job of keeping the reader on their toes.

This is my first Hallmark Publishing novel as well as my first Nancy Naigle novel. I am so happy that I loved it as much as I did. Nancy Naigle will definitely be put on my list to read ALL of her books.

Lastly, when reading this, you get sucked in to all of the wonderful recipes. Nancy Naigle did a wonderful job giving so much detail about the cakes and desserts that I could close my eyes and picture them being made right in front of me. I can’t wait to read more!