February Reading

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I can’t believe we’re already half-way through March and I’m only just now recapping February! Today I’m sharing a round-up of the books I read during February. Scroll on to find out which one was my favorite. You can also click the images below to read my reviews for each.

lift-and-separate lean-in we-just-clicked love-in-an-elevator talking-as-fast-as-i-can criminal-confections

Books Read in February 2017

Books listed below in the order they were read

  1. Lift and Separate by Marilyn Simon Rothstein, 4/5 stars
  2. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, 5/5 stars
  3. We Just Clicked by Sophie Childs, 5/5 Stars
  4. Love in an Elevator a Romantic Comedy Anthology, 5/5 Stars
  5. Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham, 4/5 Stars
  6. Criminal Confections by Colette London, 4/5 Stars

My favorite books read during February were…

Honestly, this month was hard to pick a favorite, so I picked two. My two favorite books read in February were Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and Love in an Elevator a romantic comedy anthology.

 

february-2017-books-read

 

What books did you read last month that you loved?

 

 

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Review – Criminal Confections

Criminal Confections by Colette London

criminal-confectionsPublished: January 2015

Book Blurb: Hayden Mundy Moore is an expert on everything chocolate, helping clients develop new products and revamp recipes until they’re irresistible. But sometimes, a dash of murder finds its way into the mix. . .

Hayden Mundy Moore has bushwhacked through African jungles and haggled in exotic markets to find the finest cacao beans and the most flavorful blends. It’s thrilling work but rarely dangerous–until a colleague turns up dead at the exclusive chocolate-themed Lemaître resort spa in San Francisco.

Adrienne Dowling’s heart attack is blamed on an accidental overdose of the secret ingredient used in Lemaître Chocolates’ new line. Hayden can’t believe that conscientious Adrienne would make that mistake. And between chocolate body scrubs, cocoa mud baths, and a non-stop frenzy of chocolate-based treats, Hayden starts to suspect that she, not Adrienne, was the intended target. Finding a killer among the rival chocolatiers and potential suspects won’t just be satisfying–it might save her life. . .

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

My Review

Entertaining cozy culinary mystery that involves more chocolate than one would know what to do with! I enjoyed Hayden’s story and watching her slowly pull the clues together to figure out whodunit. I loved the dynamics with her friend Danny and adviser Travis too, and would be interested to see where those relationships go in future story lines. The story was well laid out with just enough clues to get an inkling, but not so much where you figured it out too quickly. This was the first novel in the series and I would certainly be interested in continuing with the next ones. There were also a few chocolate recipes at the end, fun touch!

4/5 Stars

I received a complimentary review copy via NetGalley. All reviews 100% reflect my honest opinion.

 Arielle Joy

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Review – Lizzie’s Christmas Escape

Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow

lizzies-christmas-escapePublished: October 2016

Book Blurb: Every Christmas Lizzie promises herself that things will change and she will leap into the new year a new woman. And yet here she is again, at the beginning of December and nothing is different. Her girls have grown up and left home, her husband Henry is slumped in front of the TV and she is alone in the kitchen, seeking refuge in the cooking sherry and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar. She’s also been very diverted by handsome new neighbour Marcus and she knows she shouldn’t be …

So when best friend Ann suggests a weekend away in the country, Lizzie jumps at the chance. Will this Christmas escape give Lizzie some much needed perspective and allow her to mend her marriage? Or will Marcus prove to be too much of a distraction?

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

My Review

Lizzie’s Christmas Escape was a beautiful Christmas novel about life, love, what happens when you lose your way, and the adventurous path you can take to find yourself again.

This is the story of Lizzie and her best friend Ann and was filled with love, laughter and lots of tears, tragedy, and life changes. It also had secrets and surprises mixed throughout. Sometimes people can surprise you and they aren’t always how them seem. Learning to trust yourself and being true to yourself is important in living life to the fullest.

5/5 Stars for another wonderful novel by Christie Barlow

I received a complimentary review copy via the author. All reviews 100% reflect my honest opinion.

Arielle Joy

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Review – Getting Over Gary

Getting Over Gary by Jessica Redland

getting-over-garyPublished: March 2016

Book Blurb: It was supposed to be the perfect fairy-tale. Elise married her childhood sweetheart, Gary, straight out of college, and they’ve been happy together for over twelve years. Elise is now desperate to start a family, but Gary doesn’t seem to share her enthusiasm anymore. Arriving home early from a party, she discovers why: Gary’s been keeping a secret from her. A very big secret.

While her own marriage appears to be falling apart, being a supportive bridesmaid for her best friend, Sarah, isn’t easy. Especially not when Clare, her nemesis from day one, is one of the other bridesmaids. If she’s going to get through it, she needs to put her own feelings aside, find herself again, and get over Gary. Fast.getting-over-gary

Could recently-divorced Daniel be the tonic Elise needs, or is he full of secrets and lies too? Is his hostile, but strangely attractive brother, Michael, the genuine article instead? And why do the good guys like Stevie turn her down?

But then Elise discovers she has a secret of her own and getting over Gary suddenly becomes the least of her worries…

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

The first cover is the Goodreads cover, the second is what shows on Amazon.

My Review

Gary has a very big secret that he’s been keeping from Elise for a very long time that begins to break away at their marriage. Once she gets over the initial shock and hurt, she begins to move on with her life. Getting Over Gary is filled with multiple life events, both good and bad. There’s so many things going on in Elsie’s life that help keep her distracted. At one point she even gets a little too distracted, which I thought was a bit unbelievable as I never understand how women get themselves into certain situations. But it certainly made for good entertainment!

Ultimately this was an entertaining story about what happens when people fight who they are, drown themselves in lies, and what happens when the truth finally comes out. Telling lies always leads to more lies and it’s hard to find your way out. I adored some of the relationships in this novel and enjoyed the overall story. Looking forward to more from this author.

4/5 Stars

I received a complimentary review copy via the author. All reviews 100% reflect my honest opinion.

Arielle Joy

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Review – Kitty’s Countryside Dream

Kitty’s Countryside Dream by Christie Barlow

kittys-countryside-dreamPublished: February 2016

Book Blurb: New home. New life. New beginning. Love affairs can blossom in the most unlikely places . . .
When Kitty inherits Bluebell Lodge from her grandmother, a farm in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside, it’s time for fresh air and a fresh start. Up to her elbows in chickens and ponies, Kitty soon realises there’s an awful lot to learn about farming. Still, at least the locals seem friendly, not least her handsome neighbour Tom…

But just as Kitty is beginning to find her feet, and the possibility of love, the discovery of a long-hidden diary, by a mysterious character called Violet changes everything. Who is Violet and what is her message for Kitty? As Kitty fills in the lost pieces of her family jigsaw and discovers some shocking revelations, will her countryside dream and blossoming relationship fall to pieces? When it comes to life in the country, nothing is ever quite as it seems …

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

My Review

Kitty Lewis inherits a home and chicken farm business from her late grandmother. She recently lost her mother, and her father died when she was young. She’s had a bit of a lonely existence and somehow the past few years she only spent time doing two things: taking care of her sick mother and reading. She has no friends, no hobbies (other than reading lots of books), no idea who she is as a person and no direction in life.

When she inherits her grandmother’s home and business, she’s faced with a new opportunity at life… and potentially love? She also inherits a cute friendly cat named Allie. Her attractive co-worker Tom seems to be flirty but also seems to be taken. Kitty’s Countryside Dream is a lovely novel filled with secrets, misunderstandings and romance. The story was very enjoyable and the characters were extremely likable. The novel was filled with humor, fun, secrets and romance, which turned out to be a great mix for this story.

4/5 Stars

I received a complimentary review copy via NetGalley. All reviews 100% reflect my honest opinion.

Arielle Joy

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Review – A Summer at Sea

A Summer at Sea by Katie Fforde

a-summer-at-seaPublished: August 2016

Book Blurb: Emily is happy with her life. She has a steady career as a midwife that she loves. She enjoys the freedom of being a single woman. But she can’t help feeling that she could do with a little more excitement in her life.

So when her best friend Rebecca asks whether she’d like to spend the entire summer cooking on a ‘puffer’ boat off the dramatic Scottish coast, she jumps at the chance. A spot of sea air and all that delicious food sounds like a wonderful idea…

But Emily doesn’t expect the kitchen assistant she’s working with to be so jealous and competitive. And she certainly doesn’t expect to meet Alasdair, a handsome and captivating local doctor. Emily tries her best not to notice him. Because if she falls in love with Alasdair, as he appears to be falling for her, she might never want her old life back again…

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

My Review

Emily is a midwife that specializes in home births. She’s overworked and in major need of a vacation. When a close friend that she hasn’t seen in years offers her an opportunity for a working holiday, she jumps at the chance. And so the adventure begins. Emily accepts Rebecca’s offer and takes sabbatical from work.

While on the boat she meets some lovely characters and most significantly, Alasdair and his young daughter Kate. Emily and Kate get on well, as in Kate’s mind Emily has no desire to marry Kate’s father. Being a friendly handsome doctor in Scotland, he’s a bit of an eligible bachelor and Kate has seen many young women try to befriend her to get to her dad.

A Summer at Sea was a lovely story, and although the reading went at a more leisurely pace than I’m used to, it had lots of excitement wrapped throughout. I liked the book’s viewpoints on home birth vs. hospital birth. I’m don’t think I’d ever want to have a baby at home, but it was interesting to read a bit about it and learn something new. The main themes of the novel were family, love, and opening your heart to new people and new places.

4/5 Stars

I received a complimentary review copy via NetGalley. All reviews 100% reflect my honest opinion.

Arielle Joy

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Review – Those Summer Nights

Those Summer Nights by Mandy Baggot

those-summer-nightsPublished: May 2016

Book Blurb: Imogen Charlton is sorted. Dead-beat husband? History. Dream job? Application sent. But then her impulsive brother, Harry, spends every last penny on a Greek restaurant in Corfu, and is determined to run it himself. It’s up to Imogen to bring him to his senses.

When sexy millionaire Panos Dimitriou offers to buy back his family taverna, Imogen wonders if all her prayers have been answered (and all her fantasies about to come true). But Harry won’t budge, and his enthusiasm is infectious.

Bright pink bougainvillea tumbling over whitewashed walls, endless blue skies, the sparkling Mediterranean; it’s hard not to fall for Corfu. And that’s not all Imogen is falling for…

As the sparks of passion fly between Imogen and Panos, is Imogen having second thoughts on selling the restaurant? And will she have to choose between love and a new dream?

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

My Review

Surprisingly this was the first novel I’ve read by Mandy Baggot (I have quite a few novels purchased and waiting on my iPad) and I must say I’m sorry I waited this long! (I recently shared a review of her Christmas novel but I read this one toward the end of last year and forgot to review it!) Her writing is entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable. I enjoyed her story of Imogen and Panos and all of the lovely characters involved in their story. I enjoyed watching Harry follow his new dream to open a restaurant in Greece and all of the fun and chaos that ensued from the moment they get there. From the gorgeous man that wants to tear down the beachfront and redevelop, to the wonderful old woman that sold them the restaurant, to the local animals that appear, this story was entertaining the whole way through.

One of the main themes of the story was that family and loved ones are the most important things in life. Life is not about things, but about family and love. Dreams and people can change, and often times for the better. It is more important to listen to your heart than to work towards a misunderstood goal. It is more important to work hard and live your life than to work to prove yourself worthy.

Reading this novel made my mouth water and put me in the mood for Greek food! It made me want to book a flight and holiday on the shores of Greece.

5/5 for this romantic summer beach read

I received a complimentary review copy via NetGalley. All reviews 100% reflect my honest opinion.

 Arielle Joy

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