Carla Loves To Read



Christmas at Lilac Cottage (White Cliff Bay #1) by Holly Martin

Christmas at Lilac Cottage (White Cliff Bay #1)5 Stars

Published September 25th 2015 by Bookouture

I love books by Holly Martin, and this one did not disappoint. Penny is a damaged woman, one who has been holed up for eight years in Lilac Cottage after a devastating experience. She is not looking for a man, she is looking for friends and is hoping that Henry and his wife Daisy will fit the bill. When Penny is your friend, she goes out of her way to help and care about you. When we first meet Henry, I thought he was a miserable, uptight snob, but when we got to know him, how wrong I was. Daisy, it turns out, it not his wife and that changes Penny’s hope for a friendly couple living in her annex. I do not want to give away anymore of the story, but suffice it to say that Henry and Penny will get their Happily Ever After. I loved the small town of White Cliff Bay. There were some great secondary characters who added so much to the story. As well, the festival and Christmas Spirit got me in the mood for Christmas, even though it is still two months away. I devoured Henry’s and Penny’s story in one day and am ready to continue the White Cliff Bay series with the next book, Snowflakes on Silver Cove. I can’t wait to read more by this wonderful and funny author. I definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a feel good Christmas Romance.

Continue reading “Christmas at Lilac Cottage (White Cliff Bay #1) by Holly Martin”


Lone Star Christmas (Coldwater Texas #1) by Delores Fossen

Lone Star Christmas4 Stars

Published September 25th 2018 by Hqn

Lone Star Christmas is the first in a new series set in the small town of Coldwater, Texas. Callen , Laramie hightailed it out of Coldwater when he was 18, never planning to return. When he receives an invitation to the wedding of Buck, his foster father and his longtime girlfriend Rosy, Callen declines. When he gets a call from Shelby, Jake’s daughter, he decides to head to Coldwater to find out what is going on. Shelby tells him Jake needs him. He is worried about seeing Shelby again, as he was in love with her all those years ago, and does not know how he will feel seeing her again. This is Callen’s and Shelby’s story. They must deal with some feelings that resurface, other family members, Buck’s secret, the wedding and someone who tries to stir up trouble. Will they be able to find their way to each other? Will Callen decide to stay in Coldwater? Only time will tell.

I really enjoyed this romance, even though the sex scenes were a bit more descriptive than I am comfortable with. It was funny and emotional all at the same time, with a certain cuteness as well. I loved the characters, the small town, the gossiping townsfolk, and the laugh out loud moments. I still can’t picture those beautiful red dresses with the added embellishments from Rosy on the QT. That wedding would have been a sight to see in real life. Callen and Shelby were great together. I was rooting for Callen to find some healing from his past and see that coming home would help him. He and his brothers went through some terrible situations. It was great to see, that even when angry that Callen took off never to look back, the brothers were there for one another when push came to shove. I can’t wait to see the other three brothers find their perfect mate and Happily Ever Afters. If you enjoy a great romance with a bit of physical loving thrown in, family dynamics and an unselfish man who gave a home to many foster children, then you will love this story. I will certainly watch for more in this series. The publisher, HARLEQUIN, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

Continue reading “Lone Star Christmas (Coldwater Texas #1) by Delores Fossen”

Kiss the Girl (Naughty Princess Club #3) by Tara Sivec

Kiss the Girl (The Naughty Princess Club, #3)4 Stars

Published September 4th 2018 by Swerve (St. Martins)

Kiss the Girl by Tara Sivec is the third book in the Naughty Princess Club series. We met the three “Princesses” in the first book, At the Stroke of Midnight, yet that was Cindy’s story. Belle’s story was told in the second book, In Bed with the Beast, and this is Ariel’s story. These characters are loosely based on the fairytale princesses, but this series has our princesses stripping, drinking and yes falling in love. Ariel is the snarkiest of the trio and has quite a mouth on her, so be prepared for some vulgar language as well as some descriptive sex scenes. Having said all that, I did enjoy the stories about these three ladies.

Ariel is the last of the trio to begin stripping. As this story unfolds, we see the real Ariel, her previous heartbreak and how it effected her self-esteem. This story finds Ariel being evicted from her home and losing all her beloved antiques. Eric Sailor, the man Ariel has loved to hate since the first book, comes to her rescue and sets her up on one of the yachts that he owns. In this book, he wants to prove to Ariel that he loves her and wants a relationship with her. True to the fairytale references, there is an Ursula in this story who is Ariel’s adversary and we meet her father, Mr. Triton, the Car King, lovingly referred to as C-King. This is Ariel’s chance to find love and a happy ever after. It is not a smooth ride, but it is a fun one.

Tara Sivec has written a series that combines humor, sexiness, and sass all with a fairy tale connection. This is not the normal read for me, but with the added message of female empowerment and not letting yourself become dependent on a man. It is okay to use your feminine wiles and sexuality on your own terms to take care of yourself and your loved ones. If you enjoy a fun, romantic, sassy, creative and sexual story, then pick up this series and enjoy. The publisher, St. Martin’s Press, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read and review. The rating, opinions and ideas shared are my own.

Continue reading “Kiss the Girl (Naughty Princess Club #3) by Tara Sivec”

Home for Christmas by Holly Chamberlin, Karen White (Narrator)

Home for Christmas4 Stars

Published October 31st 2017 by Kensington Publishing Corporation 

This is the seventh book in the Yorktide, Maine series but I loved this Christmas story as a stand alone. Holly Chamberlin has written a sweet, gentle Christmas story with a bit of romance and family dynamics. It is a reminder of what is really important in life, especially around the holidays.

Nell and her two daughters live in a small Maine seaside town. Nell is divorced and her husband has remarried. Nell is worried that this might be her last Christmas with her girls. Molly is a senior in college who has been seriously dating Mick with the expectation of marrying him. Felicity is a senior in high school and has just announced that she is spending next Christmas abroad with her father and his wife. When Molly announces that she is moving to Boston and breaks of her relationship with Mick, Nell doesn’t know what to do to help her. When Nell’s college boyfriend, Erik comes to town for a book tour, she is worried about what will happen when they meet up. She made a decision to break up with him after her parents convinced her he was not good enough for her. When they reconnect, she begins to wonder what her life would have been like if she had been stronger and made different decisions.

As with any family at Christmas, everyone is busy and it seems that Nell’s plans to make this the best Christmas her girls have ever has, is not working. Felicity seems to be star struck by her step-mother, not realizing how much she is hurting her mother. I wasn’t sure if I liked Felicity at first, she seemed self-centered and a bit selfish, but she comes around later in the story. Molly is running scared from the possible engagement and life on a farm. Of course, the best story line is the reconnecting of Nell and Erik. It seems natural and flows easily. The romance is sweet, slow and of course, successful. There is nothing sexual in this story, but the romance is evident. Of course there is a happy ending for all concerned, which is my expectation when reading these cozy Christmas Romances. I would definitely recommend this one to any who enjoy a sweet Christmas Romance. I listened to the audio book of this title and thoroughly enjoyed the narration by Karen White.

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Sweet Haven (Home Sweet Home #1) by Shirlee McCoy

Sweet Haven (Home Sweet Home, #1)4 Stars

Published February 23rd 2016 by Zebra

The Lamont family chocolate store, Chocolate Haven is in danger. When the patriarch of the family breaks his leg, one of his three granddaughters, Adeline (Addie) steps in to make the chocolate until he recovers. She is the only of the three sisters who has not fled small town Benevolence, Washington for the lights of the big city. At the same time, Sinclair Jefferson has returned to town to help his brother get back on his feet after a disaster in life. He also left town to make his own life away from Benevolence where he was labeled and caged in as a youth. Addie is having problems making the chocolate, especially the fudge, that the store is so well known for. Will she drive the store into closing?

This is a fun small town romance with some great characters to add some depth to the story. Sinclair lives above the store and he and Addie are constantly bumping into each other. He is a bit gruff, adamant that he is leaving soon to take up the reins at his home restoration business. Throw in Addie’s mother, who is a successful real estate agent, is not very nice to Addie, always judging her. I love that Addie is a real person. She loves to eat, is full figured with curves, loyal to her family and town and tries to take care of everyone. She is the kind of person that I would love to have as a friend. Then there is Tiny, her dog. He is always off and running and some of the humour involves his antics. Add in a homeless young man who just wants to make his own way, someone sneaking in and out of Sinclair’s apartment, a new police detective, Jax, who was a childhood friend of Sinclair and Addie’s grandfather and you have a close knit community that know everyone else’s business.

I enjoyed reading about Addie and was happily wishing that she and Sinclair would work out their issues. Could she convince him to stay in Benevolence? Will she ever get the fudge to turn out like her grandfather’s? Who is the stranger that is working at Chocolate Haven and what is he doing in town? Lots of fun with some twists to keep the story interesting. I am looking forward to seeing what is in story for Addie’s sisters in the next two books in this series.

Continue reading “Sweet Haven (Home Sweet Home #1) by Shirlee McCoy”

Finding Love in Big Sky, Montana (Resort to Love #2) by Angela Ruth Strong

Finding Love in Big Sky, Montana (Resort to Love, #2)4.5 Stars

Published September 1st 2016 by Mountain Brook Ink 

I was very lucky to follow Angela Ruth Strong’s facebook page at the right time. She had some copies of Finding Love in Big Sky, Montana available and I requested one. I am so glad I did. This is the first book I have read by this author, but will definitely be reading more.

Who doesn’t love a holiday story, especially one with love at Christmas! Josh Lake was a driven businessman, living in Chicago. The last thing he wanted was to be running home for the holidays with his tail between his legs. Suspended from his job and allowing his ex to stay in his apartment, he leaves for home with few possession, driving his fancy, new Mercedes. After driving for 30 hours, he stops in Big Sky for a coffee break. When entering the small coffee shop, the first person he sees is Paisley, a friend from high school. Reluctantly, she is convinced to let him rest in her bunkhouse at her ranch. And then there is Paisley. What do you do when your dreams are shattered? You follow a second one. That is exactly what Paisley is trying to do. However, until money starts flowing, she could use some free labor. Running into Josh Lake just might fit that agenda.

This story shows the reader how these hurt souls heal with the love of God in their lives. They do not have to do anything to make themselves acceptable to God. They had to learn to love themselves first, before they would be able to accept God’s plan for their lives. I loved that the characters in this book were real, relatable and developed. Josh and Paisley were both wounded and vulnerable. Sam, Josh’s brother was a hoot and really helped bring them together, even though Paisley wanted him to shield her from her feeling for Josh. Add in two quirky coffee house ladies with an agenda all their own who are also rooting for Josh and Paisley. This is a story of forgiveness, heartache and healing. It teaches us not to hide our feelings or hold our secrets inside, but to trust and share with others in order to understand God’s plan. I am really looking forward to the next book in this series.

Continue reading “Finding Love in Big Sky, Montana (Resort to Love #2) by Angela Ruth Strong”

Don’t Call Me Cupcake (The Holloway Girls #1) by Tara Sheets

Don't Call Me Cupcake (The Holloway Girls, #1)4.5 Stars

Published April 24th 2018 by Zebra Shout

In the small town of Pine Cove, the Holloway family have been known for their magic for generations. Emma’s family has baked magic infused cupcakes to fix what ails, bring contentment, success, or lift someone’s spirits. Emma meets a new, handsome man in town and sells him her “success” cupcakes. He eats all three, before Emma finds out that he is Hunter Kane, a big city entrepreneur who has come to Pine Cove Island to build a competitive business near her cupcake/sweet shop. Emma can’t afford to lose any business as money is very tight. Her old house is in need of urgent repairs, her mortgage is past due, and she can’t pay her rent on her shop. Emma wants Hunter gone, so she and her cousin plan to whip up a cupcake that will make him want to leave. Unfortunately, their intense and irresistible attraction to one another has Emma reevaluating her plan of baking a magical “be-gone” cupcake to get rid of him.

Don’t Call Me Cupcake was a sweet, magical romance that I really enjoyed. Hunter and Emma knock heads a bit when they first meet, but sparks flew every time they were together. They were fun together and even though there was a mutual attractions, they were careful and did not rush into a physical relationship. I loved the magical aspect to the story. We had Emma’s special cupcakes, Juliet’s magic with plants and flowers and the house itself. Things were moved and found all over the place and always when they were needed. The story itself was sweet, with wonderful townspeople, some good character building, some angst, missteps, and even an ex-boyfriend who causes some problems. Pine Cove sounded like a quaint, beautiful seaside town, making the story even more charming, and a place I would love to visit. I really enjoy the Holloway Girls and look forward to reading Juliet’s story in the next book in this series coming out later this month.

Continue reading “Don’t Call Me Cupcake (The Holloway Girls #1) by Tara Sheets”

A Sweet Blooms Cafe by Dean Hodel

Sweet Blooms: A Sweet Blooms Cafe sweet short romance4 Stars

Published February 24th 2018 by EG Publishing

This is a sweet novella about second chance romance, and finding something when you weren’t expecting it or wanting it. Not only does Victoria’s loved Grandfather die, but she is fired from her job in New York. She heads home to Florida and Sweet Blooms. There she finds Mark working for her grandmother. He has been dealing with the death of his wife and the “Blooms” have helped him heal. Victoria finds herself in a situation she did not want as it doesn’t fit in with her life that is in turmoil at the time. It is a romance that has its problems that must be overcome, but Sweet Blooms is a healing place. I requested and received a copy of this book from the publisher, EG Publishing, to read. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

About the Book (From Goodreads): Two souls have come to Sweet Blooms to heal and find themselves. They’ll have to get past their pain to discover love also blooms in this sweet shop.


3 Stars

Published August 2nd 2018 by EG Publishing

Another trip to Sweet Blooms Cafe finds Victoria and Mark now running the business while Grandma Rose is retiring. Their pastry chef also retires and unbeknownst to each other, both Mark and Victoria hire new ones. Grandma Rose suggest they both work to show what they can do, and then the cafe and the customers will select the winner. This story could have been a little longer dealing with the relationship and competition between Conrad and Lili. It happened just a bit too fast, and there was not a lot of substance to the story. If you are looking for a fast, clean insta-love romance, then this is it. If you want a little more meat and potatoes, you might want to pass on this one. This is a novella, but I enjoyed the first one in this series much more. The publisher, EG Publishing, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, ideas and opinions are my own.

About the Book (From Goodreads): After six years of being the face of a three-star Michelin restaurant plus-sized pâtissier Lili Stephenson is told she doesn’t fit the new corporate image and is sent back to the kitchen. Frustrated about the new size requirements, Lili packs up her pastries and heads south to Sweet Blooms Café.

Conrad Rogers moved to Sweet Blooms to reinvent himself. When the head pastry chef announces his retirement David expects a promotion, not competition. When Lili arrives with her big city attitude and award-winning wine cakes things really heat up.

Two chefs with something to prove to themselves and each other, both fighting to make Sweet Blooms Café their new sweet haven.

About the Author: The only thing that could rival Dean’s love of Sweets in the bakery are strong, independent women. He writes about love in different phases of life and bold women who don’t believe in waiting for someday. His heroines believe in two ideas: every day is a gift, and true love is worth taking a chance on.

The First Kiss of Spring (Eternity Springs #14) by Emily March

349649225 Stars

Published February 27th 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

I love a small town romance and this series fits the bill. I have read several books in this series and even though I have read them out of order, and not read them all, I never have an issue following the story. The first time Caitlin and Josh meet, they are sharing a gondola ride, with Josh’s dog, Penny, who uses a wheelchair after breaking her back. When there is a major power outage, they are stuck for several hours together before getting rescued. They get to know a bit about each other and the next thing you know, Caitlyn has invited Josh to be her plus one at a wedding she is standing up in. As the story progresses, Caitlyn decides that she wants to marry this man, he on the other hand, does not want a commitment. He is looking for a friend with benefits.

I liked the way this book is written. Each chapter opens with a journal entry taking us into the past of one of the characters. We do not know who wrote these journals. This adds some angst to the story as these memories contain issues with child abuse, suicide and drug addiction. The romance plays out quickly at first, then due to situations in the story, it looks like it may not pan out. Their journey is rocky, there are family issues and secrets that come out that cause problems that must be dealt with. Like most second chance romances, they must review their life choices, often starting something new, move back home and listen to their hearts as well as to each other. There is so that happens in this story which makes it an enjoyable story. I recommend this one to anyone who enjoys contemporary and/or second chance romances. I requested and received a copy of this book from the pubisher, St. Martin’s Press, to read. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

Continue reading “The First Kiss of Spring (Eternity Springs #14) by Emily March”

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