Show Yourself Some Grace

Remember when we thought 2020 was going to be our year?

My Post (3)

I am currently sitting in the bed listening to The Summer House by Jenny Hale. I just hung up the phone with my oldest son’s teacher. She called to let me know she emailed me the link for their distant learning which begins next Monday, March 23rd. Immediately my mind drifted to: how are we going to juggle this? I am online student so during the day, I need my computer. My husband is now doing distance learning for his school. Okay, we need a schedule or something. It’s the moments like this, that exhaust me. I just want ONE DAY where I’m not worrying about something, not trying to figure out something.

Yesterday was when we got the notification that school being out was extended through April 3rd. I started freaking out: we need more snacks, we need more snacks! The kids will be home all day. After days of being in the house, I got in my car to drive to Dollar General. I felt bad. I felt like I was breaking some kind of rule-but what do you do when you simply need to run to the store for a few things you need? Right now my worry is about next school year. No one has said it, but I think here in Texas, the school year is over. I’m in that weird state of worrying about the unknown.

I know this is a weird time for all of us, but I hope that amidst all of the craziness, you find the time to show yourself some grace. That is exactly what I’m doing today and tomorrow-full self-care mode! I need to get my mind right the best way I know how..basically reading romances, watching Hallmark, drinking wine and journaling! Be nice to yourselves Babes. Use this time to catch up on that Podcast you haven’t had the chance to listen to. Put it on while you’re making dinner or folding laundry. Rewatch an old favorite movie.  Find a favorite childhood show. Last night I introduced my kids to Lion King 1 1/2 and they loved it! I forgot how hilarious it is. Besides that, we have had quite the Connect Four tournaments going on.

I hope you are taking care of yourselves. Show yourself some Grace-I’m only a message away if you need to chat.

xx.

 

 

#Blogmas Low Country Christmas by Lee Tobin McClain

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Low Country Christmas by Lee Tobin McClain. Holly Gibson has found herself with custody of her young niece Penny. She travels to the town Safe Have, Georgia where according to documents left behind by her sister, is where she would have raised her and is the town baby Penny’s father, Cash O’Dwyer is from.

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Hello, not so surprise baby! This book is essentially the romance between two people who never would have thought of themselves as parents. Holly, because of how she grew up with a negligent mother and the armor she wears around herself for protection. Cash, because he’s just very business minded and while he loves his nieces and nephews, he just never had any interest in being a father himself. The two take the appropriate steps to prove Cash’s fatherhood of baby Penny and this romance is everything you’d expect in a romance after that proof of paternity with a twist of suspense included.

Both Holly and Cash have Mommy issues they are still grappling with. Holly’s Mom was one of those ‘she’s there but not really there’ types, so Holly trusts no one and prefers to be a loner. Cash’s Mom was beat to near death and lost a lot of her memory.

I was a bit frustrated with Holly because even after paternity is proven, and she is in this small town surrounded by Cash’s family which is baby Penny’s family, she is so hesitant to allow them to help her. She tries to do everything by herself. Understandable given what she’s been through, but I thought it a bit selfish. This is baby Penny’s family!

What you get when you pick up Low Country Christmas is a romance between two people whose lives have been completely shaken up by a baby. There are secrets discovered throughout the book that add a spin which lead to the big twist in the book. Does this book in with the addition that has been irking me whilst I make my way through holiday romances? Absolutely, it does. In this one it was totally hard to believe because seriously, the whole read there wasn’t really anything remotely romantic that happened. I felt Cash wanted to budge with Holly but she kept shooting him down and friend zoning him/I’m just here for support zoning him, so he’d retreat back into his shell. Then the twist happens, then it’s the end of the book. So the ending felt off for me. There could have been chemistry but that’s just not how the story was written. Spark! I would have loved more spark between Cash and Holly, and seriously, after having finished this book, it felt like the lack of spark was because of Holly. Well written, guarded character, but it just threw me off when the ending came and all of a sudden there all these feels! It was a bit unbelievable and felt rushed.

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#Blogmas Christmas In Winter Valley by Jodi Thomas

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Christmas In Winter Valley by Jodi Thomas was such a joy to read. At the core of this book is Cooper and his brother Elliott. Cooper is headed off to a rustic cabin in the Winter Valley woods to care for a herd of wild mustangs while Elliott stays back at their ranch, Maverick Ranch, trying to keep things running smoothly. With family visiting at the ranch, things are a bit crazy for him.

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While on his way to the cabin, Cooper discovers a surprise who truly made the story for me! It was a little heartbreaking, but such a delight to see incorporated into the story.

What I admire about Jodi Thomas after having read Christmas In Winter Valley, and her holiday romance released in 2018, is her ability to weave multiple story lines together without things being confusing and each story leaving my fulfilled in the end. There was a lot going on in this book, but each story felt significantly special and wrapped up nicely.

In this book, all of the main characters have a romance and a happy ever after. Elliott has a second chance romance when a blast from his past shows up unannounced to make sure she no longer has feelings for him before she gets married. Cooper has a blooming romance with the town veterinarian who helps save his life when he suffers an injury, and the ranch’s cook has a romance with a ranch hand whose been known to ‘float’ from place to place.

I think when writing different storylines, there tends to be times when certain plot lines overshadow others. Jodi Thomas definitely does not fall into that category. I don’t know how she is able to write an entire cast of characters whom you grow to care for and show just the right amount of attention to them all, but she does. It worked really well.

xx.

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#Blogmas It Started With Christmas by Jenny Hale

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Let’s just preface this with saying that initially when I finished It Started With Christmas, I felt like the ending redeemed the rest of the book. As days go by though, I think my mind is changing..

It Started With Christmas follows Holly. Holly and her Nana go to their families cabin in the hills outside of Nashville, Tennessee expecting a girls getaway. Once they arrive though, there is a visitor already in the cabin who’d been renting it out and due to the crazy Tennessee snow storm, had to extend his stay. Joseph and Holly hit it off pretty quickly, and Holly’s Nana is a tad suspicious and isn’t really feeling him.

Okay, so after this initial meeting is when things get a little weird and remain weird basically the rest of the book. Joe is engaged. He is planning the wedding because his lawyer fiance is super busy with this big case she’s working on. It gets somewhat obvious throughout the book that Joe has feelings for Holly and vice versa, but..Joe is engaged. ENTER IN, blast from Holly’s past, Rhett, her childhood best friend, first love and things get even more crazy.

It Started With Christmas is kind of a mess.  On one hand I look at it like, what if the person you’re destined to be with, is currently with someone else? In a romance though, if cheating is not your thing, this book feels a lot like cheating. No, nothing happens, but meeting Holly definitely has Joe changing his mind about his relationship. Which, maybe they weren’t meant to be in the first place, but all we are able to go off is, he begins to change his mind, the more time he spends with Holly.

I got the point of Rhett being in the story and then I didn’t. He definitely threw in a nice wrench in the story..just when Holly and Joe’s friendship starts getting a little weird, the Tennessee winds blow in Rhett! His character had the potential to really add value to the story, but that didn’t happen. I feel like if you’re going to throw a wrench in the story, come harder and make the wrench meaningful.

I think this story would’ve worked for me had the focus solely been on Holly going and finding herself. I didn’t feel chemistry between Holly and Joe or Holly and Rhett. Maybe that was the point..? Sadly, this one was a disappointment. Initially after finishing it, it felt like a four star read or high three star, but as time continues to pass, I am rethinking my rating.

xx

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#Blogmas Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

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Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale should absolutely be on your holiday tbr. This is the romance between single Mom, nurse Abbey who is trying to hold it all together and Nick. Nick is a millionaire, divorcee, who is hosting family Christmas at his place this year and is suggested to hire Abbey to come decorate and get things nice and festive for everyone.

Jenny Hale does an amazing job at creating and capturing conflict. Nick, who has always wanted to make his father proud, was handed down his dad’s business. He’s very business minded and his dedication to work and not wanting a family is a big reason behind his failed marriage. He wants none of that business again which obviously causes some issues as feelings between he and Abbey begin to grow.

It’s like these feelings are there, but can only go so far because Abbey knows Nick’s stance on certain things. She tries really hard to guard herself and her son but it eventually gets way too hard to.

I loved this book so much and can totally understand why Hallmark wanted to adapt it into a film. It is sweet and cozy. It is a reminder to slow down and that there are more important things out there than working all the time. Don’t miss out on those moments you won’t get to experience again.

Obviously, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s amazing.

xx

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#Blogmas Her Naughty Holiday by Tiffany Reisz

Her Naughty Holiday

by Tiffany Reisz

#2 in the Men At Work series

Goodreads Rating: 4.08 Stars

Plot:

Clover Greene would sooner crawl into her oven than host family for Thanksgiving dinner. Yet another annual ritual of too much food, served with a side of criticism over “Clover’s Bad Life Choices.” This year, she needs to distract them all—with a handsome fake boyfriend. And she has the perfect guy in mind.

Contractor Erick Fields is the poster boy for sexy single dads, and Clover has been secretly crushing on him for ages. She certainly wasn’t expecting Erick to agree to her insane charade…or to add lots of hot, wicked sex to the deal. If they can pull it off, the worst Thanksgiving ever might give them something to be really thankful for!

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Why Read This Book:

Her Naughty Holiday was a funny as hell, super sexy, fake dating holiday romance. This is my first Tiffany Reisz romance and will definitely not be my last. I really enjoyed that the heroine and the hero were a tad bit older. Erick is actually the Dad of Ruthie, who works for Clover, our heroine. Ruthie is a total force herself to be reckoned with. I adored her. She is this total 17 year old feminist and I couldn’t get enough of her scenes.

The entire beginning and middle half of this book is build up for Thanksgiving day where Clover and Erick prepare for Thanksgiving dinner with Clover’s terrible, so terrible, family. Clover and Erick agree to ‘fake date,’ so that there is a possibility that Clover’s family will back off and give her a break about being single. These people are hilariously terrible people. They give Clover a hard time about being a college drop out, despite the fact that she is still a successful business woman. They want her to settle down and have kids, but not with Erick who is the father of a 17 year old daughter because “step kids are second best.”

I was expecting a very passive scene that I see in a lot of books where the heroine is “the bigger person,” and doesn’t say anything but oh boy, was I wrong and a total Stan for it. This book had one of the best stick up for yourself scenes I’ve read in a book and it didn’t stop there. After Clover is done with everyone’s crap, she kicks THEM ALL OUT, even Erick. Her family is stunned and stubborn and doesn’t seem to get the point, so Erick has to help them understand why Clover is so pissed.

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I loved his scene alone with Clover’s family just as much, if not more than I did hers.  It was great, and in true romance fashion, she heard it all while standing in the background on the stairs unnoticed.

You have to add this holiday gem to your tbr. If you can snag a copy of the audiobook, I can’t recommend it enough. Erick is very sarcastic and uses a lot of jokes, and it just translates so well via audio.

I hope you read it and I hope you love it.

xo.

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#Blogmas Miracle On 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

This is crazy. He groaned the words against her mouth. “You want true love, and I’m not Prince Charming.”

Prince Charming was a weird stalker guy with a foot fetish.”  Breathless, she locked both hands behind his neck to stop him pulling away. “You taught me that.

But he married the girl.”

I don’t want to marry you. I just want you to give me an orgasm.

Just the one? You have low expectations.”

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Plot:

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she’s given an opportunity to house-sit a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. What better place to celebrate than in snow-kissed Manhattan? What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous—and mysterious—owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn’t appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?

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Miracle On 5th Avenue was a reread for me. I rated it 5 out of 5 stars my first time reading it, and this go around was no different.

Although Miracle on 5th Avenue is book three in the From Manhattan With Love series, I whole heartedly believe you can read it as a standalone.  Eva and Lucas are complete opposites so if opposites attract is your thing, you will love these two. While Eva is the hopeless romantic, Lucas is a crime fiction author and complete cynic. Their romance takes place during the holidays but the fast approaching Christmas Day isn’t a major plot point in the story, so if you’re in the mood for a good December read but don’t want to be hit over the head with the fact that Christmas is coming, add this one to your tbr.

The romance between Eva and Lucas is a bit of a slow burn but I love Eva so much as a character that I didn’t notice. Yes, I want you to read this for the romance but honestly, I want you to read it more for Eva. Everyone could use an Eva in their life. She is a proud hopeless romantic. She blogs. She has a Youtube channel. She was raised by and adored her Grandmother. She is one of my all time favorite heroines. She is unapologetically herself and true to herself.

I can’t recommend Miracle on 5th Avenue enough. If you are looking for a fun romance amidst a New York City in December back drop between a true girl’s girl and a guy who writes books where someone always dies in the end, I think you’ll enjoy this one.

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