Me Before You | 4 Stars

Me Before You
By Jojo Moyes
4 Stars

I had watched the movie before I read the book, so I knew what was coming, but I still cried and cried during this one! I can’t remember the last time I cried while reading a book, so have your tissues ready.

I really enjoyed this story. Like I said, I’d watched the movie first, but (as always) there was so much more in the book that it felt like a new experience. I loved the two main characters. Louisa was quirky and fun, dedicated and lovable, with such a unique style and personality (there’s a reason you can do a Google search for her outfits). And Will’s banter and witty attitude were just as lovable. My only complaint was about Louisa’s family’s attitude toward her/the way they spoke about her to her, but it’s not a perfect fantasy world after all and I’m sure this will give her room to grow in the rest of the series.  

Cowboy in Wolf’s Clothing | 4 Stars

by Kait Ballanger
4 Stars

My first shifter romance, and I really enjoyed it! I particularly liked that being shifters wasn’t the focus of the story, but it heightened the characteristics of the characters.

I loved the complexity of the characters and the world the author created for them. There are a number of secondary characters that drew me in, and I’m excited to continue the series to read their stories. As for this story, Colt drew me in from the beginning and didn’t let go. There’s just something about a tortured hero with a dark secret past – and Colt’s secrets had secrets. There were so many layers to unwrap as the story went on, which I loved.

Eurovision | 5 Stars

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
5 Stars

I watched Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga shortly after it came out, and since then, I have watched it so many times and listened to the soundtrack on repeat. I was very surprised by how much I love this movie. I’m not a Will Ferrell fan, and the trailer just looked super weird. But my boyfriend turned it on one day when we couldn’t find something to watch, and I was hooked.

This movie is a comedy. It’s weird and quirky, but so heartfelt that it brings me to tears – twice! (SPOILER ALERT! The first time is when they get back up on stage after the hamster wheel crashes into the audience. The second time is when she sings in Icelandic.) It’s a lot of fun.

The music is beautiful. “Double Trouble” is fun and catchy, something I could imagine hearing on the radio. “Volcano Man” is supposed to be funny (I’m assuming) but it’s got really beautiful vocals. “Húsavík” is absolutely gorgeous and so moving, and I can’t even count how many dozens of times I’ve listened to it. Oh, and don’t forget “Ja Ja Ding Dong.” Super fun, super catchy. It’s just a feel good song.

So if you haven’t seen it yet, go watch Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga on Netflix and listen to the soundtrack!

When I Fall | 5 Stars

When I Fall
By J. Daniels
5 Stars

I fell in love with Beth and CJ right from the start. They’re both so sweet and easy to love, both funny and adventurous and so caring. A perfect match. The dance between the two of them as they fought to remain “just friends” was perfectly balanced, never too fast or too slow. Every interaction between them was sweet and funny, and just such a joy to read.

My heart melted every time CJ called her “darlin'” and skipped a beat every time Beth called CJ by his birth name. The pair of them are just so darn sweet to each other! I enjoyed every moment of this book, and as soon as I finished it, I went back to read it again.

The Rancher’s Baby Proposal | 2 Stars

The Rancher’s Baby Proposal
by Barbara White Daille
2 Stars

I was not a fan of this one. Watching the heroine throw herself, repeatedly, at a man she’s had a crush on since third grade, who she’s spent her whole life waiting for and is madly in love with – even though she hasn’t seen him in years and they barely interacted during their school years? I realize romances are daydreams, but this was too much for me. I really didn’t believe that they could have a functional relationship where he loved her the same way she has supposedly loved him since she was a child.

And then his response to their final getting together? I was immediately and completely turned off to him, what a jerk. At the end, I feel like he married her because she loved him so much and loved his son – but not because he felt anything for her.

Sean’s Reckoning | 3 Stars

The Devaney Brothers: Sean’s Reckoning
by Sherryl Woods
3 Stars

I really enjoyed the super-slow build to their relationship. I enjoyed the tension. What didn’t work for me was that neither of them really questioned whether or not they were ready for/wanted a relationship, or if they were ready/wanting something long-term. They both just kept saying that some kind of romantic entanglement was inevitable and I was never really sure that it was what either of them wanted.

The hero came off as too controlling for my liking. I know that he meant well and that many women would enjoy how far he went to do what he thought was best for the heroine, but it was a turnoff for me personally.

Where We Belong | 4 Stars

Where We Belong
By J. Daniels
4 Stars

I really enjoyed this look into married life for Mia and Ben, a reminder that the story doesn’t really end at “happily ever after” or even “the end.” It was sweet and funny and so, so hot. Ben and Mia are sex-deprived when their two adorable children master the art of cock-blocking. They were interrupted so many times during the course of this book that I began to get paranoid every time they would find a minute alone together, afraid that one of their kids was about to pop up and put an end to their antics at any minute! It was a terribly fun read, even if I was on the edge of my seat every time Ben and Mia started getting undressed!

Duchess By Design | 4 Stars

Duchess by Design
by Maya Rodale
4 Stars

It took a little while for me to get into this story (I’m not a big fan of historical romance, so this was no fault of the book’s) but once I did, I really enjoyed it. Smart and sassy is the perfect way to describe Maya Rodale’s writing – and the heroine! I also enjoyed the incorporation of British aristocracy but on American soil, so nothing was as it was expected to be. A fun twist!

I loved that so much of this book focused on the revolution of putting pockets in dresses! At first, I thought it was cute and funny, but then I began to realize just how important pockets really are and how limiting it is for women not to have them. What an eye opener!

All We Want | 4 Stars

All We Want
By J. Daniels
4 Stars

I was so excited for the opportunity to see what comes after “happily ever after,” especially for this couple. I loved that even once they were married and starting a family, Luke and Tessa never really “settled down.” They still fight like cats and dogs, they still f*ck like bunnies. Everything that made us fall in love with Luke and Tessa hasn’t faded into some picture-perfect couple that is so not them. This one will tear at your heartstrings, time and again. And the lowest point? No amount of warnings from the author herself prepared me for THAT punch in the gut. This book will take you through the emotional ringer, but in the best way.

Writing A Book With My Dad: Christmas Music… in February?

Dad and I are back to writing our book! We took a break from Thanksgiving to New Year’s (from past years, I know that I’m so busy with the holidays – and happily so – that no writing gets accomplished during the month of December, so I don’t plan to do any) and I spent the past month storyboarding our pages of notes into a cohesive storyline.

Given that I don’t write during the holidays, in the back of my mind I had to know that I wouldn’t be writing our Christmas story during Christmas. But I never really considered what that would mean. When I write, I create a playlist of a dozen or so songs that I listen to pretty exclusively while writing. Sometimes it’s a single album, sometimes it’s a collection of songs. I assumed that when writing a Christmas story, I would be listening to Christmas music. After all, I love Christmas music. So much so that I begin listening to it on November 1. But listening to it in February? I’m not sure this is going to jive.

I listened to country music while I storyboarded, which fit nicely with the small town atmosphere we’re trying to create. But I can’t shake the feeling that Christmas music would really imbue my writing with Christmas spirit. I just need to see if I can find a way to turn my Christmas spirit on, write, and then turn it back off so I’m not disappointed by the fact that’s it’s NOT the most wonderful time of the year. Wish me luck!