Marie Reviews "Under the Mistletoe" by Jill Shalvis

Under the Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis


There's no place like home for the holidays. And the Lucky Harbor Bed & Breakfast is bursting with festive lights and good cheer. But for Mia, Christmas is turning out to be anything other than merry and bright. Her recent break-up with her boyfriend Nick has made her return bittersweet. But then a surprise arrives, when Nick follows her to town bearing gifts-and asking for forgiveness.

Nick grew up without a family of his own so he's overwhelmed by the love that Mia receives from all her relatives, gathered together to celebrate the season. Under their watchful eyes, Nick finds earning back her trust the hardest thing he's ever had to do. If he succeeds, he will receive the greatest gift of all, Mia's love for a lifetime.


As this book starts out Nick and Mia have sparks a plenty, and Mia thinks their meeting at a fancy restaurant is bound to end with the use of the "L" word. After six months of being together she anticipates he will finally tell her he loves her. The evening does not go as she planned. The "L" word never surfaces. She had purchased an extra ticket so Nick could join her on a trip home for the holiday to attend her Aunt Chloe's wedding. Nick turns down her invitation. Mia is confused about their relationship, or her assumption of a relationship. Nick doesn't explain why he won't go. In reality, he had taken her to the fancy restaurant to reveal he had gotten a job where he would be traveling extensively, but couldn't bring himself to tell her. Nick was bounced from home to home growing up and didn't have the loving adoptive parents Mia had. He doesn't think he knows how to deal with love and family.
Mia takes her hurt feelings and leaves town before Nick realizes he caused her pain he shouldn't have. He tries to reach her to apologize but is greeted by voice mail prompts and an empty apartment when he tries to tell her in person. A neighbor informs him she already left town, so he sets out to track her down. When he arrives in Lucky Harbor he finds an ex boyfriend and an entire family who want to witness what he has to say to Mia. They will be waiting to see if he manages to win back her trust and her heart.
I enjoyed the story. It was a sweet holiday romance. If you like a very short quick read with a strong emotional range, this book is for you.
I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


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Marie Reviews "Becoming Mrs. Walsh" by Jessica Gordon

Becoming Mrs. WalshBecoming Mrs. Walsh by Jessica Gordon


Shoshana Thompson is 26 years old, miles from home, and engaged to be married into one of Washington D.C.'s wealthiest families. Andrew Walsh, her fiancé, is Shoshana's vision of the perfect man. Throughout their engagement, she becomes enamored with his privileged lifestyle.

Rumor has it: when you marry a Walsh, you're set for life. Her socialite sisters-in-law show her how to live in a Walsh-style world, but just as she is starting to get acclimated, this world introduces her to someone who may shake up her perfect wedding plans.

While Shoshana navigates the tricky world of in-laws and societal wedding planning, she desperately tries to ignore her growing feelings for another man. She knows that exploring this love will threaten her existence as a Walsh. But, when she discovers the feelings may not be one-sided, she knows things are about to get a lot more complicated, especially because this man is absolutely off-limits.

As Shoshana learns, the view from the top is not always the clearest.

Becoming Mrs. Walsh is a story of relationships and the richly layered complexity of family, in-laws, and love.

  Shoshana Thompson is Becoming Mrs. Walsh. She is engaged to the last single Walsh brother, Drew, who has a highly secretive job, and is hardly ever around. When he is around, his attempts at romantic attention are luke warm at best. Sho continues on with the engagement, even though she is having doubts about the relationship. One of the reasons is that she doesn't think she could give up the lucrative life style she will be living. Her world clashes with the Walsh world, her friends and family don't fit in with her new family. She is at first intimidated by her future sister in laws, and doesn't know how to approach her future mother in law, but she slowly becomes accustomed to their personalities and what will be expected of her when she joins the family.
  I was glad to see that she formed a friendship with Zoey, who has multiple depths to her character. Although she may seem to be a superficial party girl, she is kind and generous with Sho. This is what makes it very difficult to see Sho lusting after Zoey's husband, (her fiance's brother), Mark. Sho has feelings for Mark, but she doesn't know what to do about it. She also doesn't know if Mark returns her feelings at first, and decides to treat it like a crush that would fade in time. When it becomes clear Mark has a thing for her too, they try to fight the attraction. How will they deal with it? Will Mark leave Zoey for his brother's soon to be wife? Crazy, right? What a complex problem! I found it difficult to relate to Sho's decisions sometimes, and her final decision I definitely didn't respect much.
  The book was well written. All the characters were formed and solid. At some points I didn't like the volume of descriptions about clothing, houses, shoes, jewelry, etc. I understand the family was wealthy. I think some of it could have been trimmed down. I found myself skipping through paragraphs about clothing and such detailed descriptions of opulence trying to get to the meat of the story, like what will Mark and Sho do? Well, the story ended with a twist that will leave you wondering what the next book has to offer. It was definitely worth reading.

I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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Marie Reviews Compromising the Marquess by Wendy Soliman

Compromising the Marquess by Wendy Soliman

Book Description Amazon:

Publication Date:December 10, 2012 England, 1814
Leah Elliot sells secrets to survive. Donning boy's clothes, she uncovers society scandals for a London gossip rag to support herself and her sister, who were left destitute after their father's death. When she meets the dashing—and perhaps dangerous—Hal Forster, the Marquess of Denby, she learns he may be involved in treason. The rumor is too valuable not to sell, despite her attraction to him… Hal does have a secret, but he's no traitor: he's a spy embroiled in a mystery, seeking the man who killed his contact in France. He sees the alluring woman behind Leah's disguise at once but is intrigued enough to play along…until he realizes that she's the source of the rumors interfering with his investigation and forcing him into an unwanted betrothal. Now, Hal and Leah must work together to draw out the culprit and undo the damage caused by Leah's gossip. Or will their passion only cause more scandal?


In Compromising the Marquess, Leah and her sister are forced to leave their home and take sanctuary with their uncle who truly wants the best for them, his wife not so much. Leah's sister is ill and is convinced they are moving to better her health by getting away from the smog and closer to the sea air. The truth of the matter is they were forced to move because after their father died in a fire at his bookstore, and their mother not long afterward, the girl's financial circumstances suffered greatly. Leah started dressing up as a boy and gathering information about society to sell to the gossip rags just to get by. This is how she ends up getting involved with the Marquess of Denby, Hal Forster. She believes he may be involved in treason. Hal sees through her male disguise but curiosity makes him play along to to try to figure out what she is up to. Hal eventually confides in her that he is keeping a secret, but not the one she thought.
Leah admits it is her fault when information about Hal gets leaked to the gossip pages and she tells him why she did it. This adds another twist to the story when Hal begins to investigate her father's death in the fire. He is suspicious when very valuable books once owned by Leah's father turn up in his library. Leah received very little money from the sale of the books because her father's associate said they were damaged in the fire, and he could not gain their full value. Hal is determined to get to the bottom of it and make sure Leah gets the money she was entitled to from the sale, which would mean she would be financially independent again. Hopefully he can accomplish it before her aunt throws her out on her ear.
The sparks fly between them. Leah is curious about love and sex, and she wants Hal to teach her about it. He advises her that a husband should be the one to educate her in these areas. She does not feel she will ever marry. He would have refused if not for the fact that she insisted she would find a more willing tutor. He finds "creative" ways to let Leah experience passion all the while driving himself crazy. This was the one thing that was a bit awkward for me in the book.
When the couple started working together to solve the mystery, which I felt was an integral part of the book, I think it was the best part. It was compelling, interesting, and a plot twist surprise comes in at the end that is shocking, in both the mystery and the romance areas.
I enjoyed the book. I liked the Forster brothers and the spy intrigue angle. Leah was smart, confident, and capable, a strong female lead. The chemistry was there between her and Hal, and the devotion to keep each other safe at the end makes their love for each other clearly visible.
I would rate this book two and a half stars. I liked it over all, but there was something about the way Hal and Leah were exploring sex that put me between "It was okay" and "I liked it."

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Marie Reviews Last First Kiss by Lori Leger

Last First Kiss (La Fleur de Love, #2)Last First Kiss by Lori Leger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blurb from the author:
After Giselle Granger loses her husband in a tragic accident, she's left with their two young daughters, and struggling for the strength to live in a world without him.

When Jackson Broussard loses his wife in the same accident, he finds himself free of the woman whose lies and manipulations have made his marriage a living hell. He feels bound to the past by desire to do right by his friend's widow and children even though Giselle makes it clear she does not want his help.

Can the two former co-workers leave their pasts behind in order to forge a new future together? Or will they be left with nothing more than a last first kiss and two broken hearts?


I was impressed by the talent of Ms. Leger . I was touched by this story and the way she handled the grief of the lead female character, Giselle. Her portrayal of the loss by Giselle of her husband and her daughters' loss of their father was heart breakingly realistic and you will surely be reading through tears and lumps in your throat as I did. The process of healing is well described, the guilt that Giselle puts herself through over feeling new love after she experienced what she thought was the one and only true love of her life is relatable. The courtship of Giselle and Jackson is sweet and touching because he not only falls in love with her but also with her daughters. The setting and characters worked in my mind. I could picture the town and the people. The plot and characters are all developed well enough that you can see other stories forming and it makes you want to know what happens to them all after this story ends. I would strongly recommend this book, and I enjoyed it so much I would like to read other books by this author.
I was given this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


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Marie Reviews DRT A Ghost Story by Eric Thomas

DRT by Eric Thomas


Amazon Book Description:

October 17, 2012

Greg, a reclusive overnight traffic reporter in Washington, DC, has spent his life in fear, avoiding anything that might shatter his tenuous grasp on normal. It turns out Greg has no idea what it really means to be afraid. After witnessing a horrifying fatal crash, a crash Greg believes he had a hand in causing, he begins to see the ghost of the dead driver. The strain becomes unbearable as Greg attempts to determine why the ghost has sought him out, what it wants from him, and whether any of what is happening is even real.

DRT is the second novel from author Eric Thomas. It's an alternating look at the absurd and the shocking as he tells the story of one man's struggle to maintain his sanity.


This is the second book I read by Eric Thomas. I thoroughly enjoyed his first book, but I have to admit that I liked this one better. The story is so chilling, so grueling, and it engaged my attention completely. I didn't want to put it down. The anxiety and depression felt by Greg are rooted deep in his past and cause him to shut the world out slowly, until he is an invisible man of his own making. The conflict of emotions he felt after witnessing the traumatizing accident that he feels he could have prevented if he was paying attention are absolutely real and compelling. It is perfectly understandable that he is seeing the ghost of the deceased man, if he is indeed seeing it. Is the ghost real? Or is this his manifestation of guilt over an accident he feels was his fault? Is his subconscious forcing him to face and resolve his long time problems with depression and thoughts of suicide? Or is this man who died as a result of his negligence really looming over him from beyond the grave ready to take his life? He feels like this ghost is going to do him a favor by killing him in seven days, until he starts to investigate the life of the dead truck driver and realizes that for the first time in a long time he wants to avoid death. This psychological thriller will have you questioning the truths of Greg's perceptions and second guessing your own belief in ghosts. The descriptions are intense and tangible, the plot twists totally enthralling.
I was given this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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Marie Reviews Romancing The Holdiay by HelenKay Dimon, Christi Barth, Jaci Burton


1. We'll Be Home for Christmas by HelenKay Dimon
Book three in The Holloway Series

No man likes having his bedroom skills described as forgettable, but that's just what Lila Payne does when she runs into Spencer Thomas again. When she discovers that he'd lied about his name during their brief three-day romp a few months before, she's so angry that she pretends she doesn't remember him.

Spence regrets his deception, but not as much as he regrets that their time together didn't last longer. When she shows up in his town, looking to revitalize her uncle's mountain resort, Spence is determined to help. Maybe rescuing Lila from a hopeless renovation project will get him in her good graces—and back in her bed.

Lila has no interest in being rescued, and Spence is insulted by her stubborn rebuffs and her "faulty" memory. But when rehab work turns into an after-hours meeting, the two of them are in for a night that just might prove unforgettable…

For more stories of Holloway, check out It's Not Christmas Without You and Lean on Me, available now!

2.Ask Her at Christmas by Christi Barth

Caitlin McIntyre's heart stops when her best friend drops to one knee and proposes. Kyle Lockhart never once hinted over the years that he has any idea she's in love with him. Not wanting to jeopardize their friendship, she's never let it slip. Good thing, too, since it turns out he's only practicing—he's about to propose to someone else.

A business merger might not be the most romantic reason to propose to a woman he barely knows, but Kyle's determined to win the respect of the dying father who's never seen him as quite good enough. Kyle's always depended on Caitlin's friendship, while trying to ignore the physical response she arouses. So he turns to her when it comes time to craft his proposal, not realizing his decision will affect their relationship, forever.

This Christmas, Kyle and Caitlin get one last chance to admit their feelings for each other, and find a mutual happily ever after, before he commits his life to another woman and Caitlin leaves town and him…for good.

3. The Best Thing by Jaci Burton
A year ago, Tori let her guard down and Brody Kent slipped right in, planting one hot, unforgettable kiss on her in a dark corner at the company Christmas party. Though the kiss surpassed her wildest dreams, she can't let it happen again. She loves Brody, but he's got a reputation for loving and leaving. She'll have to keep her heart—and her libido—in check.

Brody can't get the time of day from Tori—ever since that impulsive kiss, she's avoided him with the same brutal efficiency she uses to manage his family's construction company office. The company can't afford to lose her, and Brody's come to realize that he can't live without her. But how can he convince Tori that he's a changed man?

It just might take a Christmas miracle.


Heat Up Your Holiday
These three stories are romantic feel good holiday romances. Although they may be a book in a series, I had not read any of the other books and they stood well on their own. The season is such a busy and sometimes stressful time. This combined set of books was the perfect way to take a break and relax, let the holiday spirit wash over you as the love and heat unfolds between the main characters. I liked them all, but the last was my favorite. HOT! HOT! HOT!

I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.