The Stranger’s Obituary by Jessica L. Randall

51LuRobVhjL._SY346_Title: The Stranger’s Obituary (The Obituary Society #2)

Author: Jessica L. Randall

Publisher: Amazon 2015

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 184

Rating:  4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books; 52 Books – W42

Mina Fairchild keeps to herself, and that’s the way she likes it. Her secluded life protects the secrets she hides, as well as a certain peculiarity that even people in the colorful town of Auburn, Nebraska find strange.

But when her movie-star sister Bernadette shows up on her sofa, Mina’s cozy bungalow is overrun with paparazzi. One dark eyed reporter seems to see straight into Mina’s soul and her world begins to crumble. It’s bad enough when he noses around her secrets, but then he starts digging for information about her mother, and Mina can’t let that happen.

Not quite as good as the first book in the series, but still a very enjoyable read. I enjoyed Mina’s storyline, but found Bernie lacking. I just couldn’t get behind her motivations at all. Mina had reasons for her faults Bernie just seemed very self-centered. I was not a fan of hers even after her “redemption.” I loved revisiting some of my favorite characters: Gladys, Juniper, and Ada. Plus all the other townspeople make appearances. We also get a bit of a supernatural twist. Amazingly enough, it doesn’t feel weird or forced. The supernatural elements seem right at home in Auburn. I’m certain I will dive into the third book tonight during the late night feeding sessions.

The Obituary Society

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The Obituary Society by Jessica L. Randall

519g7fxIzYLTitle: The Obituary Society

Author: Jessica L. Randall

Publisher: Amazon 2014

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 194

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books; Women Authors

When Lila Moore inherits her grandfather’s house, she finds herself in a small Midwestern town where margarine is never an acceptable substitution for butter, a coveted family recipe can serve as currency, and the friend who will take your darkest secrets to the grave will still never give you the secret to her prize-winning begonias.

Apparently, I’m huge into easy fluffy books while feeding the baby in the middle of the night. And I loved loved loved this one! I immediately fell into the town of Auburn, Nebraska and all the mysteries and characters. Lila is a great main character, but I was really pulled in by the ladies of the Obituary Society and Juniper. They seem like my kind of women. The mystery was intriguing and I even enjoyed the slightly supernatural elements to the story. They weren’t distracting like I had initially feared. Instead, they just added a bit more to the mystery and atmosphere of Auburn. The romance was sweet and satisfying. I know that the next book in the series has a different main character, but I’m hoping everyone else at least makes and appearance. Can’t wait to dive in tonight.

The Obituary Society

  • #1 The Obituary Society
  • #2 The Stranger’s Obituary
  • #3 The Obituary Society’s Last Stand

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Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Cafe by Rebecca Raisin

51AufV+JbzLTitle: Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Cafe (Gingerbread Cafe #3)

Author: Rebecca Raisin

Publisher: Carina 2014

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 304

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books; 52 Books – W41

The gingerbread is baking, the dress is fitted and the mistletoe’s in place – for once, everything’s going to plan. That is until her mother-in-law arrives… Suddenly, Lily’s famous cool is being tested like never before and her dream wedding is crumbling before her eyes.

In the blink of a fairylight, the Gingerbread Café has been thrown into chaos! Lily thought she had this wedding wrapped up, but with so much to do before she says ‘I do’, can Lily get to the church on time – and make this Christmas sparkle after all?

A satisfying conclusion to this little contemporary romance trilogy. It wasn’t anything spectacular or attention-grabbing, but this volume definitely held my attention during late night feeding sessions. I loved reading about Lil’s relationships with all the different townspeople. Those were more interesting than her relationship with Damon. Thankfully it seems that Raisin has written more stories centered around some of those characters. I may just have to pick up those other stories…

Gingerbread Cafe

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Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Cafe by Rebecca Raisin

51bZ2XAFXkLTitle: Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Cafe (Gingerbread Cafe #2)

Author: Rebecca Raisin

Publisher: Carina 2014

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 94

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books; Women Authors

The Gingerbread Café is all a buzz! This Easter, Lily and the rest of the town of Ashford, Connecticut are planning a truly decadent Chocolate Festival. Cooking up a storm, CeeCee and Lily are not just baking a batch of their sinfully delicious chocolate-dipped gingerbread men, but an excess of chocolate truffles, squidgy, cinnamony hot cross buns and melt in your mouth chocolate eggs. The Gingerbread Café staff have definitely enjoyed the tasting process!

 

Another cute little fluffy short story to occupy my early morning newborn feedings. I liked diving back into life at the Gingerbread Cafe. And Charlie was a treat. My biggest issue with the story was the abrupt ending. It felt like the story just cut off mid chapter. So I knocked off a star. I imagine I will start the last story in the trilogy tonight.

Gingerbread Cafe

  • #1 Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe
  • #2 Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Cafe
  • #3 Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Cafe

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Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe by Rebecca Raisin

51YIKOCskLLTitle: Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe (Gingerbread Cafe #1)

Author: Rebecca Raisin

Publisher: Carina 2013

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 64

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books; 52 Books – W40

Christmas is the season the Gingerbread Café in Ashford, Connecticut was made for…but owner Lily couldn’t be feeling less merry if she tried. She’s spent another year dreaming of being whisked away on a sleigh-ride for two, but she’s facing festive season alone – again. And, just to give her another reason to feel anything other than candy-cane perky, a new shop across the road has opened… Not only is it selling baked goods, but the owner, with his seriously charming smile, has every girl in town swooning.

But Lily isn’t about to let her business crumble — the Gingerbread Café is the heart of the community, and she’s going to fight for it! This could be the Christmas that maybe, just maybe, all her dreams – even the someone-to-decorate-the-Christmas-tree-with ones – really do come true!

With the arrival of the littlest addition to our household, I’ve been mostly reading during night feedings. Because it’s night time and I’m super tired, I decided that I would dive into some of the fluffy reads on my Kindle. This series is one of those fluffy reads. The beginning wasn’t amazing, but I eventually was sucked into the story of the cafe and Lily.  A nice light read. I think I’ll start the second one tonight…

Gingerbread Cafe

  • #1 Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe
  • #2 Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Cafe
  • #3 Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Cafe

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The Motel Room by Alyssa Cooper

51s9UNdv07LTitle: The Motel Room

Author: Alyssa Cooper

Publisher: 2014

Genre: Paranormal

Pages: 28

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books; Women Authors

Since his death, the ghost has been trapped in a motel room, watching the comings and goings of his nightly guests. The strangers never stay more than a night or two, and they never seem to notice him – no more than he notices them. Wrapped in fading memories of the time he was alive, he drifts through time, waiting for the return of the one person he can still see clearly.

But as time stretches out before him, his frustration begins to build, boiling over into violent anger. When a young couple dares to rent his room for the night, igniting his rage, the ghost finally discovers the true power behind his ghostly form.

A little short story I snagged for free off of Amazon. I didn’t quite know what to expect from the summary. The story could have gone the true horror route or the sentimental romance. Instead I must say that the story had a weird tone. I couldn’t quite figure out how to take the characters or storyline. I think there was some interesting plot points in there, but ultimately it wasn’t really for me.

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The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio

the-last-camellia-sarah-jioTitle: The Last Camellia

Author: Sarah Jio

Publisher: Plume 2013

Genre: Fiction

Pages: 306

Rating:  4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books; Popsugar – Murder Mystery; Women Authors

On the eve of the Second World War, the last surviving specimen of a camellia plant known as the Middlebury Pink lies secreted away on an English country estate. Flora, an amateur American botanist, is contracted by an international ring of flower thieves to infiltrate the household and acquire the coveted bloom. Her search is at once brightened by new love and threatened by her discovery of a series of ghastly crimes.

More than half a century later, garden designer Addison takes up residence at the manor, now owned by the family of her husband, Rex. The couple’s shared passion for mysteries is fueled by the enchanting camellia orchard and an old gardener’s notebook. Yet its pages hint at dark acts ingeniously concealed. If the danger that Flora once faced remains very much alive, will Addison share her fate?

Our book club selection for September and a book that’s been on my shelf for awhile. This was such a quick read for me. I think it took me a total of 3 days to read and I wasn’t spending that much time reading. I quickly fell into the story wanting to know what happened to Flora and what would happen to Addison. The back and forth between the two time periods worked just fine. I was intrigued by the botany and the big mystery of the camellia. I loved the side characters in the historical sections especially the children. I also love that the manor seemed to become another character in the story. With all these good things, there were a few elements that bugged me. I didn’t feel very connected to Addison at all. Her backstory bugged me. And I definitely didn’t really see the relationship between her and Rex. It just wasn’t that well developed. And the ending on Addison’s side was super rushed and weird. Not satisfying at all.

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The Secret Mistress by Mary Balogh

51wWA28uXdL._AC_UL320_SR192,320_Title: The Secret Mistress (Dudley #3)

Author: Mary Balogh

Publisher: Dell 2011

Genre: Historical Romance

Pages: 406

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books; 52 Books – W35

While Lady Angeline Dudley’s pedigree dictates that she must land a titled gentleman, the irrepressible beauty longs for a simple, ordinary suitor. So when Edward Ailsbury, the new Earl of Heyward, defends her honor with unmatched civility, Angeline thinks that she has found true love. Persuading the earl is another matter entirely. From her unconventional fashion sense to her hoydenish antics, Angeline is the last woman on earth for Edward. And yet a stolen kiss awakens something primal within him. Naturally, being a gentleman, he does the right thing after compromising a lady: He offers marriage. The proposal is born of duty, but will Angeline cause Edward to forget about decorum behind closed doors, where sensuality and seduction play wicked games? For a proper wife by day can become a husband’s secret mistress by night, when delicious desire rules.

A fitting conclusion to the trilogy. I wasn’t overly fond of Angeline or Heyward in the first two books, but I did enjoy reading their story in this volume. A very cute couple doing the will they or won’t they dance for almost 350 pages. Finally we get to see them both surrender to their true feelings. Definitely an enjoyable read for this week.

Mistress (Dudley)

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More Than a Mistress by Mary Balogh

51wNFokrsdL._AC_UL320_SR194,320_Title: More Than a Mistress (Dudley #1)

Author: Mary Balogh

Publisher: Dell 2000

Genre: Historical Romance

Pages:403

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books; Women Authors

She races onto the green, desperate to stop a duel. In the melée, Jocelyn Dudley, Duke of Tresham, is shot. To his astonishment, Tresham finds himself hiring the servant as his nurse. Jane Ingleby is far too bold for her own good. Her blue eyes are the sort a man could drown in—were it not for her impudence. She questions his every move, breaches his secrets, touches his soul. When he offers to set her up in his London town house, love is the last thing on his mind.

Jane tries to pretend it’s strictly business, an arrangement she’s been forced to accept in order to conceal a dangerous secret. Surely there is nothing more perilous than being the lover of such a man. Yet as she gets past his devilish façade and sees the noble heart within, she knows the greatest jeopardy of all, a passion that drives her to risk everything on one perfect month with the improper gentleman who thinks that love is for fools.

Time to dive back into some fluffy romance. I picked up this book because I have all three books sitting in my TBR pile. I almost always read romance series books back-to-back. So on to the book itself. I was a bit turned off by the Duke at the beginning of the story, but he definitely grew on me. The best parts were the conversations between the Duke and Jane in the den. I loved those moments. The only thing I really didn’t like was the ending. I hate super abrupt endings and this book has one of those. Oh well, I can ignore the last three pages. I enjoyed the rest of the book. On to the second in the series…

Mistress (Dudley)

  • #1 More Than a Mistress
  • #2 No Man’s Mistress
  • #3 The Secret Mistress

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Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

51R3N1KbjrL._SY346_Title: Curtsies and Conspiracies (The Finishing School #2)

Author: Gail Carriger

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company 2013

Genre: YA Paranormal

Pages: 329

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books; 52 Books – W32

Sophronia’s first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won’t Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers’ quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship’s boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot–one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

My fun series for August! After reading a bunch of nonfiction books, I needed something light and fluffy. This volume was just the thing! I love Sophronia and her motley crew of intelligencers and assorted helpers. I wished to see more of Soap and Vieve int his volume. We got a decent amount of Soap, but Vieve was left to just make appearances. And it seems that Vieve will not be regulated to guest appearances in the series. Boo! She’s amazing! But we did get an appearance from some powerful vampires, most notable Lord Akeldama, one of my favorite characters from the Parasol Protectorate series. Will be diving into the third book soon…

The Finishing School

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