book reviews · bookit

Bookit 22.3 : On the Honey Side by Staci Hart

TitleOn The Honey Side
Author:
 Staci Hart
Published: February 24, 2022 (My copy was issued as an ARC)
Final grade: 4/5

Honestly, I meant for this to come out back in February, but things got in the way of that. I received this novel as an ARC back in mid February but the book itself was released for public availability on February 24th.

This book was an enjoyable read. It was the second book in the series, but I had not read the first book when I read this novel, so that may affect my review. The main character in this book is Daisy (as this series is the Blum Sisters), but you get chapters in both her and Keaton’s POV. Both characters have backstories that build up to them being together. One aspect that surprised me (in a good way) was that the characters are shown as having previous loves and those loves not being shown in a bad light. Too many romances lately have to show the ex as being a horrible person to show that the main couple in the story are right and each other’s “true” love. In this novel, its different. Both Daisy and Keaton had love before, and neither of the past relationships are shown to be horrible relationships.

Another interesting aspect of this story (and perhaps the series) is that it covers an interesting side plot of a town dealing with an homeless population. There is a sense that to get the full backstory of all the events of town, its best to read the previous book, but there is enough information that this novel can be read on its own. Its not an usual side plot.

I have read Staci Hart before (Bet the Farm) and I like her style of writing. The banter between her characters is always fun, and she veers away from too many tropes and clichés. Genre fiction in general is full of them, but its always nice to see when its twisted in a different way, or there is a balance. Hart’s books have a good balance.

The only issue I found with On the Honey Side was the background of the villain of the piece. This is however the second book in the series of three, so perhaps to understand more I need to read the first book (Which I plan on doing shortly). The third book comes out later this year.

book reviews · bookit · Television shows

Bookit 22.2: Flowers on Main (Sherryl Woods)

Title: Flowers on Main (2/14 Chesapeake Shores series)
Author:
 Sherryl Woods
Published: Kindle Edition was published October 26th 2020 (first published April 28th 2009)
Final grade: 4/5

For those of you who missed the review for Book One, this is part of a series that was the inspiration for the Hallmark Channel Series Chesapeake Shores which is on season 5. Elements of this book appear in the series, but unlike Abby’s book, Bree’s book has really little to do with the television series

NOTE: This book, and therefore this review, mention miscarriage. If this is something that makes you uncomfortable, please do not click on the read more.

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book reviews · bookit · Television shows

Bookit 22.1: The Inn at Eagle Point (Sherryl Woods)

Title: The Inn at Eagle Point (1/14 Chesapeake Shores series)
Author:
Sherryl Woods
Published: Kindle Edition was published October 12, 2020; Originally published in 2009.
Final grade: 4/5

I came across this series after watching the Television series based on it from the Hallmark Channel. I always like to read the book when I find out that is the source. In this case I actually found a series that I have quite enjoyed. A Caveat though before we begin – The show is based on the books, but takes its own direction pretty much a few episodes in. Both however are good, but don’t read the books expecting just a more in depth guide to the series.

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book reviews · bookit

Bookit 21.2 : Bet The Farm

Title: Bet The Farm
Author: Staci Hart
Published: February 23rd 202
1 – ARC (via Kindle)
Final grade: 4/5

So I know that on my bookit page, this is actually 7th down the line, but since I promised to post it today, I’m moving it up a little bit before the others. I’m going to preface this review by stating that I received this book through an ARC program, and therefore got access to it before it was available for purchase.

This was a cute read. I was intrigued to find out the main character deals with design- in particular social media and media marketing – which gave me something in common with the leading female character, Olivia. She comes home from New York to help run a farm after her grandfather passes away. This book did well with the idea of grief and trauma and how it effects our decision making and how we see things. Particularly in the leading male character, Jake. Jake holds the farm dear to his heart, having been the ‘adopted’ son of Olivia’s grandfather, Frank. The two of them both have strong reasons to want the farm to succeed, but their differing ideas of what that means cause them to butt heads…and hit walls they put up against one another.

Despite the sad start to the book, there is a good deal of happy and fuzzie scenes, featuring all kinds of baby animals, feisty goats, a cow with particular ideas about where she lives, and two puppies with some rock history names. There are also a few background characters that I can see being developed more in the future if Ms. Hart decides to continue this into a series (which it appears she will, as the book list mentions one coming later this year).

She also did a good job in not making me hate any particular character – or if I do, its not for long. I enjoyed reading it, and was quite happy with how she took some troupes and made it unique to her novel. The only issues I really had was the formatting of the e-book which had random drop caps in the middle of the chapter, and not always for a scene change. But that is a minor problem. Overall the book was a good read, and I am glad I got the chance.

Most of my other thoughts on the novel are a bit spoilery so I’ll end it there. If you like second chance romance (or enemies to lovers), and troubled main characters whose affection for one another helps them both heal in a way, I think you will enjoy this novel.

Also my favorite pun of the book?

Credits:

Images were given to me for use in review by Staci Hart/ her publishing agent

book reviews · bookit

Bookit Review 21.1 Cupids Anonymous

Ah, fresh book reviews. I’m once again doing Bookit, and once again going to attempt to review the books I read. Also, I am going to try to very the genres I read as well. Lately its been mostly romance novels and novellas (as is this review) but I’m going to be reading more non-fiction and perhaps some non-romance sci fi as well. I’ve also joined a book club and shall be giving my thoughts on books someone else choose for me.

Now onto today’s review:

Title: Cupids Anonymous (Cupids #1)
Author: Lila Monroe
Published: July 16, 2019 – Kindle Edition.
Final grade: 3.5

Continue reading “Bookit Review 21.1 Cupids Anonymous”
book reviews · bookit

Bookit Review: Vision in White

(Blogger’s Note: I am behind with my June posts, so you’ll be getting 3 posts today to catch up. I apologise for the wait)

Title: Vision in White (Book 1 of the Bride Quartet) 
Author: Nora Roberts
Publication: April 28th 2009
Edition/Format: Paperback  (Larger size, regular print)
Genre: Romance
Rating: B
Bookit 2009 # 8

Nora Roberts seems to be one of the bigger names in romance novels, and I’ve read several of her novels.  In fact, I have read this book before, but it was years ago around the time of its initial publication (I believe I got in after book 3 was printed but I can’t remember exactly).  She is a prolific writer, and one of my favorites of the romance genre.  She does however fall into the formula issue when it comes to genre writers as prolific as she is.  She often writes book series featuring a group of friends and or siblings who all find love in the subsequent books.  This series is no exception.

The Bride Quartet focuses on a group of friends who run Vows, a wedding consultation and venue buisness.  The first book focuses on Mackensie (Mac), the photographer of the group (hence the the ‘vision’ in the title).  She has a difficult relationship with her parents,in particular her narcissistic mother who manipulates her daughter a lot.  At the time of the story Mac is slowly growing the courage to finally cut her mother out of her life (to a point) but still has many hold-ups in regards to love, relationships, and expectations of herself.

Another trope that Nora Roberts likes to use is the childhood love reignited one.  The male lead of this story is Carter, who had a crush on Mac when they were in elementary school, and having met her again falls for her once more.  He has some heartbreak in his past as well, but it kind of takes a backseat in the story, and is really only touched upon in regards to Mac’s own issues.  Which makes sense to a point:  Mac is the feature character.

The story takes place over 3 months (January to March) and I feel some of the angst/drama elements were a bit too quickly resolved to fit into that time frame.  Macs issues with commitment and expecting things to last seemed to be fixed fairly quickly to give us the Happy Ending we all expect in this genre.  Given the time since I last read the series, I am wondering if perhaps some of these issues will show up as a background detail in a later book to fix the artificial convenience in the first book.

This book isn’t a hard hitting story, its light, fluffy and fits into the romance genre as one would expect.  I enjoyed the story, even if parts seemed a bit too contrived/fixed.  I’m giving the story a B.  I can suggest this book for a rainy afternoon or any time you just want a happy ending. 

Now onwards to book two:  Bed of Roses.

book reviews · bookit

Bookit Review #7: Playing For Keeps

Title: Playing for Keeps (Heartbreaker Bay #7)
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publication:  January 22nd 2019
Edition: Paperback  (look, an actual paper book) 351 pages
Genre:  Romance
Rating:  B-

Bookit 2009 #7

Alright, this book took me a while to read, half because it was hard to stay into it at first, and half because the last two months have been crazy in my life and probably won’t let up for awhile.  But that’s neither here or there when it comes to this review.  The book was alright.  There wasn’t anything I particularly hated or loved to be honest.  Its not going to be going in my re-read pile.  That being said, if someone asked me if I recommended it to them to read?  I’d probably say sure, its a nice light read.

The plot of the book starts with Sadie Lane and Caleb Parker finding a stray/abandoned dog that they name Lollipop. They have been crushing on each other in their own way for about a year now, but Sadie has issues accepting emotional connection and Caleb has a few issues of his own. They navigate their relationship around these things.

I did like the fact that this book takes into note mental health issues, but I feel like it wasn’t the right vehicle for it.  There always felt like we got the summary of things but nothing really in depth about these two characters. It was there just to keep the pair from being together long enough for it to be a novel.

And the adoption of Lollipop, a dog they find is actually far less involved then you would expect.

I’m hoping that alot of the minor details being missing is because this is book #7 and probably were mentioned in an earlier book but I honestly don’t know.  There are a few lines I found difficult not to laugh at too not because they were ncessarily jokes, but because it was just awkward phrasing  (The main one happens in one of the last chapters and involves psychic boobs).

So since I don’t feel particularly strong about this book in either way other then what I previously mentioned, I’m going to give this novel a B. 

book reviews · bookit

Bookit Review: Perfectly Clueless

Title: Perfectly Clueless (Book 3 in the Bayfield High Series)
Author: Madeleine Labitan
Publication: September 19, 2018  (115 pages)
Edition:  Kindle (via Kindle Unlimited)
Genre:  Teen Romance
Rating:  C-ish
Bookit 2009 #6

This is the final released novel in the Bayfield series.  I’m not sure if this is the final novel, or if Ms. Labitan plans on writing more.  Like its two predecessors Truth or Dare and Kiss and Make Up,  this is more of a novella then a novel at only 115 pages.  Its the longest of the three, but oddly enough not the best one.  I believe the first novel felt the most complete, even if it was short and could have used some development.

I think my main problem with this one is that there was no build up in the novel.  We are supposed to believe that Dylan and Bianca have been in love for awhile but Dylan has been in denial but its not really there in moments.   Side characters are finding it so obvious but it doesn’t seem as obvious as we are supposed to believe.  Perhaps if it was drawn out into a full novel we could have gotten more moments where we could see that Dylan is feeling it too outside him being a jerk to Bianca’s dates.    This story might also have worked better if the characters were a little older.

I also have an issue with romances that decide to make the character who is the competitor in the one character’s affections somehow a horrible person in order to make it okay that the main characters did whatever they did.  I find that unnecessary.

My final grade is C-ish due to it feeling its unfinished and also because of the troublesome bits.  This author shows promise, and I look forward to what she writes in the future, but I’m hoping that with experience in writing will come some more depth to the novels they write.

book reviews · bookit

Bookit Review: Kiss & Make-Up

 Title:   Kiss & Make Up (Part 2 of the Bayfield High series)
Author: Madeleine Labitan
Publication:  June 11, 2018  (86 pages)
Edition:  Kindle (via Kindle Unlimited)
Genre:  Teen Romance
Rating:  C-ish
Bookit 2009 #5

This is the sequel to Labitan’s debut novel Truth or Dare,  and continues to take place in Bayfield High school.  This time around, the star is  Madison Cooper, the girlfriend Adam dumped for alleged cheating in the previous novella.  As Kenzie and Sean learned in that one, Maddie had in fact not cheated on Adam, and he spends this one trying to win her back.

This story is remarkably shorter then the first.  I’m wondering if perhaps all three novels were supposed to be a collection together rather than sold separately.   It takes over more time within in the novella, although it doesn’t have much of a driving plot other then “Adam tries to win Maddie back.”  Many of the minor characters aren’t developed enough to be interesting, which is fine as they don’t have anything really to do.  I wish the author could have the characters from the last novel in this one a little bit more to develop more of a connection and flow in the series.

I feel like this would have been better set as the b-plot in a combined novel.  Both the other novellas in this series were longer and had a bit more depth to them.

I ended up giving this a C-ish grade because I feel it could have been developed into a deeper story, or added to fill out one of the other novels.  It wasn’t horrible, just quick and lacking the development in full-length novels.

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Bookit Review: Truth or Dare

Title:   Truth or Dare (Part 1 of the Bayfield High series)
Author: Madeleine Labitan
Publication:  February 27, 2018  (105 pages)
Edition:  Kindle (via Kindle Unlimited)
Genre:  Teen Romance
Rating:  Bish
Bookit 2009 #4

So this was recommended to me because I was reading the Scandalous series by R. Linda so I decided to try it out.  Its relatively short, and I was able to read it, and its two sequels in about 2 and half hours one morning.  So its definately one of those short-and-sweet novels. 
Because its so short, the action of the plot is relatively short.  I feel like this story had the promise of more, but hadn’t been given the time.  This entire story takes place over a couple hours for the most part at a teen party with underage drinking.  There is a slight element of ridiculous in the set up of the events, but I think they would be more forgivable if more happened.
In the first novel (of 3 I read) the main character is Kenzie, who spends half the novel helping her best friend enact  revenge for his cheating on her.  Cheating is a recurring element in these stories.  This story sets up the second book with that same theme.

Kenzie has a prank war with Sean, her love interest in this novella.  However after several mishaps over the night and getting stuck in the bathroom while his girlfriend cheats on him in the other room, Sean relates that he started the pranks as a way to get her attention.  
It’s hard to summarize this because its so short.  Its only around 90 pages long (the book has a bunch of samples at the end).  I think its a nice start, but could have used some more plot in the background.  On the other hand the angst side of things isn’t dragged out endlessly.  

I am going to give it a B-ish.  I feel that this author has potential, although she does have a problem with length.   Maybe in the future she can reissue this series with more backstory development and lengthen the story in general. Till then it almost seems like I’m grading something unfinished. That being said, if you have a wait somewhere and want to read something quick, this book could work for you. It didn’t make me want to (figuratively) throw my kindle in annoyance either.