Plaid Heart

Plaid Heart

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

REVIEW: Cupid's Match by Lauren Palphreyman

Title: Cupid’s Match
Author: Lauren Palphreyman
Publisher: Wattpad
Publication Date: July 2017
Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal Romance
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN | Audible

Description: He's mythologically hot, a little bit wicked, and almost 100% immortal. And he'll hit you right in the heart . . .

Lila Black doesn't believe in matchmaking, let alone soul mates. So then why is she constantly being hassled by the Cupids Matchmaking Service? But this gilded, cherub-bedecked dating agency isn't exactly what it seems...and it’s about to turn Lila's entire world upside down.
It turns out that Cupids Matchmaking is the real deal. As in, it's run by actual cupids―who don't look at all like they do in the paintings―and they have a serious problem with Lila's “match.” Because this guy shouldn't be in the system. He shouldn't have a match. And while he's irresistibly hot, he's also incredibly dangerous. Because Lila's true love match is Cupid. The original bad boy of love. And he wants her.

Now Lila's once-normal teenaged world has exploded into a mythological nightmare overrun by crime-lord sirens, wrathful cupid hit men, magic arrows that cause no end of trouble, and a mischievous, not-so-angelic love god she can't seem to stop herself from falling for . . .

My Thoughts: Enjoyable story about a teenager whose life is turned upside down when she finds out she has been matched by an online dating service to none other than Cupid. One might ask themselves why this would be a problem, and as Lila discovers, being matched to Cupid could bring about not only her death but the destruction of the world by Cupid’s evil and insane mother, Venus. Yes, Cupid’s mother is the goddess of love, but she is far from loving or lovable and with an army of cupid hit men wielding deadly bows and arrows at her disposal, Lila has to think fast if she hopes to save herself and her friends.

I liked the story and the characters. I honestly thought everyone was overreacting about Lila and Cupid being matched and hearing everyone droning on to Lila that the match must not happen or it is forbidden, blah blah blah, I wanted to take a few of those arrows and stab a few of these people myself. Until Cupid and Lila finally realize they have feelings for one another which returns Venus to Earth. Venus was one crazy loon. Call me crazy but wouldn’t a mother be happy that her son found his soul-mate? Wouldn’t she be happy that her son found “the one”? Wouldn’t she be happy that her son is happy? Apparently not in this family. I found it interesting that Venus’s return was feared and dreaded, but turns out was unavoidable. As soon as Cupid and Lila begin to have feelings, Venus returns and her primary focus is killing Lila, Cupid and everyone else she thinks has betrayed her.

I especially enjoyed the back story of Crystal and the Minotaur and meeting Pandora and Medusa. Fans of mythology will enjoy this book as well as readers who enjoy paranormal romances and young adult themes. This book is the first in a series and Lila and Cupid’s story continues in the next book.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Cupid’s Match from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Friday, January 03, 2020

REVIEW: The Power Of Love by Kemberlee Shortland

Title: The Power Of Love
Author: Kemberlee Shortland
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Publication Date: October 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Christmas Holiday
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: When Elaine Donovan discovers she's pregnant, she hesitates telling her husband, Ethan. They're newlyweds and plan to wait until they're ready to start a family. Ethan surprises her by accepting early parenthood, embracing the idea more fully than either of them expects.

When they receive bad news after a prenatal exam, both must face that their charmed lives are about to come crashing down around them.

Do Christmas wishes really come true? Elaine is staking her life on it!

My Thoughts: This book has a happy ending, but what a heart-wrencher it was getting there! Kemberlee Shortland is a master at pulling on my heartstrings with this highly emotional story of newlyweds Elaine and Ethan who face the hardest of announcements at a pre-natal exam. I loved how this couple has a love for one another that brings them closer together with the arrival of bad news instead of tearing them apart.

The story flows smoothly and I really liked Elaine and Ethan. Their emotions come alive on the page, in bright color and sound. I felt like I was in the room with them praying alongside them for a Christmas miracle.

My Final Verdict: This is a short and quick read that readers looking for a little boost to their reading pile should grab a copy.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of The Power Of Love from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, January 01, 2020

REVIEW: A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas by Darcie Boleyn

Title: A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas
Author: Darcie Boleyn
Publisher: Canelo
Publication Date: November 2016
Genre: Chick-Lit / Women’s Fiction / Christmas Holiday
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: Lucie Quigley hates Christmas. It’s the time of year when everything goes wrong in her life. So this year, when she’s asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Manhattan wedding, she jumps at the invitation to escape the festivities.

Dale Treharne has been best friends with Lucie for as long as he can remember. He’s used to looking out for his oldest friend and when she asks him to be her plus one, he can’t seem to find a reason to refuse. Instead, he sees it as a way to help Lucie get through what is, for her, the most miserable time of the year.

In New York, as the snow starts to fall, Lucie and Dale start to realize that their feelings run deeper than just friendship. But can they overcome their pasts, and make it a very merry Manhattan Christmas?

My Thoughts: I had high expectations with this book to really make the charm and whimsy of Christmas explode around me. Christmas in Manhattan sounds wonderful and it was, but it just took too long for Lucie and Dale to get there. Instead, I felt like too much time was spent lying to family and friends about their fake relationship as an excuse for missing Christmas and how they will “break up” when they get back.

I also felt completely uninformed and in the dark about what happened to Lucie’s mother and why she hates Christmas. Hints are dropped all over the book with a large thud that took me out of the story wondering what happened and wishing they would spit it out already.

What I really liked about this book is the real relationship Lucie and Dale have. The one they are ignoring, or trying to. The deep love and friendship they have for one another is something few people find but most of us spend a lifetime looking for. I loved how Dale is there for Lucie, day or night, rain or shine. It was obvious to me how deeply his feelings for Lucie are and how hard he tries to hold it inside. I was very happy when they finally got honest with one another and bared their hearts and souls.

This book has a lot of interesting characters and I had a difficult time understanding how Lucie and Petra were even friends, much less having Lucie be a bridesmaid. However, the starts and stops I had to endure in the beginning were made up for by the interesting twist the story takes when Lucie and Dale get to Manhattan. I loved the horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park and going to Rockefeller Center to see the tree and ice-skating.

My Final Verdict: Although this book had a lot of moments that dragged for me, I liked the story overall. I thought Dale and Lucie were good characters and their emotions were so raw and powerful in their intensity at times. I even felt a little compassion for Petra by the end. This was a good choice for my Christmas themed stories and readers who think Manhattan at Christmas time is the place to be should give this one a look.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

REVIEW: Lizzie's Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow

Title: Lizzie’s Christmas Escape
Author: Christie Barlow
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: October 2016
Genre: Chick-Lit / Christmas Holiday
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: A gorgeous country house hotel, a liberal dusting of snow, a cozy weekend away…what more could Lizzie ask for at Christmas?

Every Christmas Lizzie promises herself that things will change and she will leap into the new year a new woman. And yet here she is again, at the beginning of December and nothing is different. Her girls have grown up and left home, her husband Henry is slumped in front of the TV and she is alone in the kitchen, seeking refuge in the cooking sherry and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar. She’s also been very diverted by handsome new neighbor Marcus and she knows she shouldn’t be …

So when best friend Ann suggests a weekend away in the country, Lizzie jumps at the chance. Will this Christmas escape give Lizzie some much needed perspective and allow her to mend her marriage? Or will Marcus prove to be too much of a distraction?

My Thoughts: There is so much more to this story than what meets the eye and I had to struggle a little bit as my feelings for Lizzie changed quite a bit as I got further into the story. I began with a lot of empathy for her and her situation. She’s been married a long time, her children are grown and away at university and her husband barely acknowledges her existence other than to ask when dinner is ready. I felt bad for her and when she meets her new neighbor Marcus, it seemed innocent but then the flirtation starts to take on a very serious tone and I had a much harder time feeling any empathy for Lizzie. I began to get angry because as cold and distant as Henry was, Lizzie never communicates her feelings to him. He deserved a swift kick and a shoe thrown at his head, but it annoyed the living daylights out of me that Lizzie so quickly embarked on this fling with Marcus without even TRYING to resolve the issues in her marriage! Also, the Christmas escape is more of an afterthought that occurred near the end of the story after Lizzie’s life is already in shambles.

I’m glad I didn’t give up on this story, however, because I was surprised at how it all played out and it resolved very well. In the end, I ended up feeling a lot of empathy for Lizzie, but also admiration. I was pleased to see her take full responsibility for her actions when confronted by not only her husband but her daughters. She also demonstrates a lot of courage by starting her own business, something she always wanted but never dared to try.

The story flows well and the characters were easy to engage with. I especially liked Lizzie’s friend, Ann, who demonstrates loyalty to Lizzie even though she is going through her own trials. Lizzie is lucky to have her as a friend. There are some surprise twists that came out of left field, but it enhanced the story very well.

My Final Verdict: Although I struggled with a few parts of the story, I recommend this story to readers who are looking for a story about forgiveness and second chances because isn’t Christmas the season of hope?

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Lizzie’s Christmas Escape from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

REVIEW: A New York Love Story by Cassie Rocca

Title: A New York Love Story (Blame It On New York, #1)
Author: Cassie Rocca
Publisher: Aria
Publication Date: October 2016
Genre: Chick-Lit / Women’s Fiction
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: Giving a present is not always easy. Clover O’Brian knows that only too well: her job consists of helping people in the arduous task of choosing unusual gifts. Christmas is coming, New York is buzzing, and Clover, who has always loved the festive period, savors the atmosphere.

Cade Harrison already has everything in life. A Hollywood actor, he is handsome, rich, famous and popular. Success, however, has its downsides; having just emerged from a disastrous relationship with an actress, he feels a need to hide away in an area unfrequented by stars, in a house lent to him by a friend, far from prying eyes – especially those of tabloid reporters. But as chance will have it, the house in question is right opposite the one occupied by Clover, who until now has seen Hollywood actors only on the big screen. Two quite different lives meet by chance, at the most exhilarating time of year…

My Thoughts: Christmas in New York is one of my bucket list items. Watching the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center, ice-skating (OK, watching the ice-skaters), horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park, hot-chocolate at Serendipity all bring an atmosphere of Christmas joy to my mind and in this story, I got to tag along with Clover and Cade and experience it through their eyes. Not all of these things happen in this story, but these are the things I would love to do in New York at Christmas.

I liked Clover and Cade, but it was little off-putting for me at first how abrasive she comes across when she meets Cade for the first time. She struck me as a little rude and obnoxious at first, but I soon chalked it up to her trying to keep things light. After meeting her family, I understood why she keeps many people at arm’s length. Cade is very guarded and suspicious of people, being a Hollywood superstar and with good reason. Hiding out on Long Island for Christmas sounds like the perfect escape from the Hollywood gossip rags and the bad breakup he left there.

Clover and Cade couldn’t be more opposite in everything; in fact their lives, likes and dislikes are polar opposites from one another. I really didn’t see how they would find their way to one another; much less create enough chemistry to fill a story. Cassie Rocca does a good job of revealing not only both characters in all of their vulnerability, but using their insecurities to break down the walls they each have built around themselves. I enjoyed watching this couple learn to trust each other and let their guard down.

My Final Verdict: A good choice for readers who enjoy a cute story in New York at Christmas. It will make you want to go outside and make snow angels.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of A New York Love Story from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

REVIEW: Christmas Kisses by Allison May

Title: Christmas Kisses
Author: Alison May
Publisher: Choc Lit
Publication Date: November 2017
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: Three girls, three kisses, three gorgeous Christmas stories...

Holly hates Christmas with a passion and can't wait to escape it - but then the flight to her once-in-a-lifetime holiday destination is canceled...

Cora has had the year from hell, and faces a bleak Christmas working in Golding's department store - in the most unflattering reindeer costume imaginable...

Jessica is in denial after her husband's betrayal, and can't help but think back to when her life still seemed so full of hope and promise...

Three years from hell, three sets of broken dreams, three girls in desperate need of Christmas spirit. Is the perfect Christmas kiss all it takes?

Includes Holly's Christmas Kiss, Cora's Christmas Kiss and Jessica's Christmas Kiss.

My Thoughts: My first pick for Christmas themed reading of 2019 started out magnificently with Christmas Kisses by new to me author Alison May. Three individual stories focusing on a different character who have all lost the Christmas spirit. The main thing I enjoyed is that even though each story is individual, they are all connected and I really enjoyed all of them. I found the character’s engaging and their experiences intriguing and interesting and I had a difficult time putting the book down. Thinking back, I’ve tried to pick a favorite of the three, but it’s nearly impossible. I had empathy for each character and their situation and was invested in their situation from the beginning.

My Final Verdict: Readers looking for a wonderful story to bring out the Christmas cheer and the spirit of the holiday should definitely start here. Though this was my first read by Alison May and the publisher, I hope it won’t be my last.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Christmas Kisses from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Saturday, October 19, 2019

REVIEW: Suddenly Sorceress by Erica Lucke Dean

Title: Suddenly Sorceress (Ivie McKie #1)
Author: Erica Lucke Dean
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Publication Date: December 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: PMS can be a real witch.

Ivie McKie isn’t your run-of-the-mill kindergarten teacher. After an encounter with a horny goat, followed by a confrontation with her lying, cheating fiancé, Ivie is shocked when the big jerk suddenly transforms into a skunk—the black and white furry variety.

Enlisting the help of her shopaholic friend Chloe and sexy club magician Jackson Blake, Ivie is forced to play a literal game of cat and mouse as she races against the clock to change her ex back before she's arrested for his murder.

With every new spell comes a fresh wave of sexual desire, drawing Jack further into Ivie’s troubles—her panties, the car, the kitchen, and assorted seedy bathrooms along the way.

Ivie soon discovers what every witch worth her spell book knows: There’s nothing worse than a bad case of Post Magical Syndrome.

My Thoughts: The timing for Suddenly Sorceress by new to me author Erica Lucke Dean couldn’t have been more perfect. With Halloween right around the corner, this book caught my attention at an opportune time. It’s a great story to kick off a series about a sorceress who doesn’t know she is a witch until her jerk of an ex-fiancé demands the ring back so he can give it to another woman. Not really sure how it happened but when Ivie comes back to her senses, Matt the Rat is now a skunk…literally.

Now, Ivie is racing around trying to figure out how to change Matt back before the police come knocking. Along the way, she changes him into a snake and a few breeds of dog. There may have been a rat in there somewhere too. I had a hard time keeping it all straight but since he was a creep, I didn’t spend a lot of time worrying about his condition. It seemed that Matt had full awareness of what was happening to him and I really liked that, though he doesn’t show one iota of remorse for the crappy way he has treated Ivie. Personally, she should have left him as a skunk and had Animal Control come and pick him up. He doesn’t deserve to walk upright on two legs.

I really enjoyed this story and the shenanigans Ivie and her BFF get into wrangling help from two magicians. I especially enjoyed the Ivie’s relationship with Jackson. All I will say is that he is not all he appears to be. This story ends on a high note for both Ivie and her BFF (kudos to Chloe for her brilliant Halloween costume idea) and leaves a major segue into the next book.

My Final Verdict: A very good choice for readers wanting a Halloween theme story that will hold their attention with the zany storyline that gave me many laugh out loud moments. Fans of paranormal romance will enjoy the backstory of how Ivie got her powers and the effects using magic has on her.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Suddenly Sorceress from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at sharalsbooks@yahoo.com Happy Reading! :o)