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Guarding the Bootlegger’s Widow: A Sweet Historical Roaring Twenties Novel (Moonshine Madness Book 2) – Denise Devine

Happy New Year!

Thank you to Denise Devine for a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

SYNOPSIS:

Charlotte LeDoux is struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Her late husband, Gus, has left her a lot to deal with–his sprawling business empire, his enemies and an ex-mistress who desperately needs a friend. It’s tough for a woman to compete in a man’s world and even though it’s a never-ending uphill battle, she is determined to succeed.

Char gets a new Model T and is excited when William Van Elsberg offers to give her a driving lesson. She’s attracted to the handsome private detective, who, in many ways, is the polar opposite of Gus. Will takes her out for a spin in the car and instructs her how to drive, but at the same time, teaches her how to love again. She’s never been so happy!

Meanwhile, Gus’ enemies are circling like vultures. An anonymous note threatening Char’s life forces Will to become her personal bodyguard. He’s highly qualified, but Char’s stubborn belief in her own independence makes it the most difficult job he’s ever taken. Can he keep her safe or will he lose her in the most dangerous fight of her life?

LOVE LIST:

  • I loved that I was beyond excited to read the second book in the Moonshine Madness Series and it didn’t disappoint.  Once again, I was immediately swept up into the glamour of the Roaring Twenties and an action packed love story.
  • I loved that, even though this is Book 2, it could also be read as a stand-alone.  Details from Book 1 were expertly woven in at just the right moments to ensure that anyone who hadn’t read the first installment would be eager to do so.
  • I loved joining the rollercoaster ride of Charlotte’s life.  Her fierce determination to succeed in legitimate business ventures is impeded by continuously finding one foot heavily entrenched in her late husband’s bootlegging world.
  • I loved seeing Charlotte in her roles as new mother, guardian for her teenage sister, and potential friend to her late husband’s mistress.  Each role added a new layer to an already three-dimensional character. 
  • I loved the highs and lows of Charlotte’s developing relationship with her bodyguard.  Would he be willing to commit to her and her complicated life always fearing for her safety?
  • I loved that, once again, this book read like a movie I’d like to watch.  This thoroughly entertaining story has it all: a heroine who continues to evolve as she learns exactly what she’s capable of and a romance hanging in the balance as she weighs one dangerous decision after another.
  • I love knowing that the next book in this series is forthcoming.  I look forward to following Charlotte as she continues on her journey.

REVIEW SUMMARY:

Book 2 in the Moonshine Madness Series is not to be missed.  Whether meeting Charlotte LeDoux for the first time or picking up where she left off, readers will be swept up into the glamour of the Roaring Twenties and the rollercoaster ride that is Charlotte’s life.  She leaps off the page with a fierce determination to succeed in legitimate business ventures while impeded by the one foot she continues to find heavily entrenched in her late husband’s bootlegging world.  The highs and lows of Charlotte’s developing relationship with her bodyguard will keep readers guessing as to whether he will commit to her and her complicated life despite the constant fear for her safety. 

This thoroughly entertaining story has it all: a heroine who continues to evolve as she learns exactly what she’s capable of and a romance hanging in the balance as she weighs one dangerous decision after another.  The characters and setting are so well developed that the book reads like a movie playing out on the screen.  As the story comes to an end, readers can delight in the fact that the next book in this series is forthcoming and look forward to following Charlotte as she continues on her journey.

PURCHASE LINKS:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08F6DTKLM

AUTHOR WEBSITE:

Denise Devine, USA Today Bestselling Author  

Amazon~Website~Blog~FB~Twitter~Newsletter


Find Me in the Snow – Pamela Q. Fernandes

Thank you to Pamela Q. Fernandes for a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

SYNOPSIS:

When Althea meets Morgan Hunter at Muldoon’s pub for the first time, she thinks he’s a handsome, ego tripping, prissy-pants executive. She quickly rebuffs him only to find him thundering at her in the operation theater, the very next day. He’s dogged in his censure of her, but not immune to her allure. Through a snowy December Morgan courts Althea and wins her heart but not her trust.

When she travels with him at his request for Christmas to his home in Finesse, a tumble in the snow leads to the discovery of Morgan’s missing ex-girlfriend. Dead. Morgan pushes Althea away and she doesn’t understand his reasons.

Althea returns to build the new rural clinic in Finesse. She discovers the truth about Morgan’s heritage, the murdered ex-girlfriend and the secrets about the Hunter clan.

Can she save the man she loved from going to prison?

LOVE LIST:

  • I loved that this story felt like the perfect mashup of holiday romance and cozy mystery with a hint of medical drama sprinkled throughout.
  • I loved that this read like a modern-day gothic.
  • I loved that this book provided an entertaining diversion from the many Hallmark-esque reads I’ve been favoring this season.
  • I loved that, despite the mention of Christmas, this is a perfect read for any season.
  • I loved the wealthy family with secrets storyline.  I was compelled to keep turning pages to find out what they were hiding.
  • I loved the well-rounded cast of characters consisting of co-workers, friends, and family.  Each personality shined through and created a three-dimensional story world.
  • I loved the twists and turns that kept me guessing who murdered Morgan’s ex-girlfriend and that not one of my suspects was correct.
  • I loved that the pacing was well developed.  Each chapter ended with me wanting to read on to find out what would happen next.
  • I loved that there were several times when I had to restrain myself from reading ahead.  It all came together beautifully at the end and was worth waiting for.

REVIEW SUMMARY:

This story is perfect for readers looking for a holiday/medical romance combined with a cozy mystery and elements of gothic fiction.  It provides an entertaining diversion from the expected romances novels of the season.  When Morgan invites Althea to his family’s home for Christmas, she finds herself entangled in a family’s web of lies and secrets.  Readers will feel compelled to keep those pages turning until all is revealed.  An intriguing cast of characters keeps the story moving at a fast pace and will have readers guessing up until the very end.  Be prepared to want to read ahead! 

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon ebook-https://amzn.to/3ly6EvV

Amazon print-https://amzn.to/38HFJKx

Smashwords-https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1053950

Kobo-https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/find-me-in-the-snow

AUTHOR WEBSITE:

https://www.pamelaqfernandes.com


Holiday Favorites

Remote learning has meant hours and hours of screen time. Give the kids’ eyes a break from the Zoomiverse with some good old fashioned hand held books. No Wi-Fi necessary! Here are a few of my all-time holiday favorites in no particular order. As a parent and teacher, I’ve never tired of reading these stories and the children continue to love them each year. Let me know if you feel I’m missing a title!

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The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg: A young boy is invited to join a magical train ride to the North Pole. This Caldecott Medal Winner evokes the spirit of Christmas with wishes and sleigh bells. A must read prior to viewing the delightful movie version.

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The Snowy Day, By Ezra Jack Keats: Peter bundles up in his snowsuit to enjoy the wonder and joy children experience when stepping into a snow covered world. Another Caldecott Medal Winner that continues to charm from one generation of readers to the next.

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A Charlie Brown Christmas, by Charles M. Shulz: The Peanuts characters must help Charlie Brown discover the true meaning of Christmas. This is a holiday book that has it all: ice skating, a Christmas pageant, and a tree that needs a bit of help.

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Jingle Bells, Homework Smells (Gilbert the Opossum), by Diane de Groat: Gilbert is a champion procrastinator. He puts off completing his weekend homework in favor of decorating Christmas cookies, choosing a tree, watching holiday specials, and playing with friends. When Monday morning rolls around, he has some explaining to do.

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How Murray Saved Christmas, by Mike Reiss: A story that will have the kids laughing out loud! Santa is knocked out by a Jack-in-the-Box. Murray, a deli owner, fills in for him. He doesn’t smell like gingerbread or fit the suit, but with help from an elf and a little boy, he doesn’t disappoint.

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Eight Wild Nights: A Family Hanukkah Tale, by Brian P. Cleary: A delightful, rhyming tale of a family celebrating the eight days of Hanukkah as friends and relatives visit.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss: A beloved tale of finding the true meaning of Christmas.

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The Trees of the Dancing Goats, by Patricia Polacco: A young girl and her family find it challenging to enjoy their Hanukkah feast while their neighbors are plagued by scarlet fever. Her grandfather’s idea to deliver trees to their friends inspires Trisha to decorate them with the gifts he’d made for her and her brother. A beautiful story of giving and friendship.

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The Night Before the Night Before Christmas, by Natasha Wing: A fun version of the classic “The Night Before Christmas”. On December 23rd, a family is scrambling to prepare for the holiday.

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Snowmen at Night, by Caralyn Buehner: A charming story for every child who ever wondered what their snowman did at night. The illustrations vividly detail the fun of drinking cold cocoa, playing baseball with snowballs, sledding, and several other wintery activities.

Santa Paws (Santa Paws, #1)

Santa Paws, by Nicholas Edwards: A homeless puppy’s bravery leads him to his new family. This story pulls at the heartstrings and will warm readers’ hearts.

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June B. First Grader: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May), by Barbara Park: Junie B. at her festive best! Laugh along as she finds a way to deal with Tattletale May while trying to enjoy the holiday fun in Room One.

Christmas Come Back (to me) – Caroline Akervik

Thank you to Caroline Akervik for a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

SYNOPSIS:

Erik or “Erik the Wall” Engen, formerly one of the most feared and admired goalies in the International Hockey League, now an executive in his family’s holiday ornament company, has returned to his hometown of Noelle, Wisconsin during its annual Nutcracker Festival. It’s his job to evaluate the prospects of the Engen Nutcracker Factory, the company founded by his beloved grandfather.

After travelling the world creating murals, artist Stella Larson has returned to Noelle as well. Erik and Stella soon realize the old feelings between them linger, but she can’t seem to forget or forgive him for breaking her heart a decade before.

With a little hope and some Christmas magic, can Erik make his way back to the woman he always carried with him in his heart?

LOVE LIST:

  • I loved that this story was set during a small-town Wisconsin Christmas.  Perfect for a December read!
  • I loved the Hallmark movie feel.  Sweet, romantic, uplifting.  Every page was a delight.
  • I loved how the author’s vivid details brought the story to life.  I felt enveloped by the Christmas season as the characters made their way through town from holiday festivities in school, to a ski lodge I’d love to visit, and finally to the Nutcracker Ball.
  • I loved that the characters were well developed.  Stella’s career as an art teacher rang true for me.  Erik’s past as a hockey goalie impacted the dedication and discipline required for his role as a business executive.
  • I loved that Stella didn’t immediately succumb to Erik’s attention despite their history.  Her reluctance to dive back in was realistic.
  • I loved the concept of a high school romance ending to allow Erick and Stella to see the world and pursue their dreams until they finally met again with those experiences shaping who they became as adults.  The flashbacks to their younger days allowed me to get to know them and the events that led to their current goals.

REVIEW SUMMARY:

A wonderful holiday romance!  Pour a cup of tea, curl up in front of a fire, and enter the Christmas season in the small town of Noelle, Wisconsin.  This story has everything readers want this time of year:  snow, lights, ice skating, parades, ski lodges, and even a Nutcracker Ball.  Stella’s reluctance to take a second chance with Erik years after he ended their high school relationship will ring true for readers.  But the time spent apart as they saw the world and pursued their dreams clearly shapes the adults they become.  These fully formed characters come alive in this heartwarming story.  Each page is a wintery, festive delight.

AUTHOR DETAILS:

Caroline I. Akervik
Middle Grade and YA Author of A Horse Named Viking, White Pine, and Halcyon
https://www.facebook.com/HorseNamedViking/ @CAkervik
http://carolineakervik.blogspot.com/