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Review – Anthology – Burning Bright

burning brightTitle: Burning Bright – Four Chanukah Love Stories
Authors: Megan Hart, KK Hendin, Stacey Agdern, Jennifer Gracen
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Description:
This December, take a break from dreidel spinning, gelt winning, and latke eating to experience the joy of Chanukah. When you fall in love during the Festival of Lights, the world burns a whole lot brighter.

It’s definitely not love at first sight for Amanda and her cute but mysterious new neighbor, Ben. Can a Chanukah miracle show them that getting off on the wrong foot doesn’t mean they can’t walk the same road?

Lawyers in love, Shari Cohen and Evan Sonntag are happy together. But in a moment of doubt, he pushes her away—then soon realizes he made a huge mistake. To win her back, it might take something like a Chanukah miracle.

When impulsive interior designer Molly Baker-Stein barges into Jon Adelman’s apartment and his life intent on planning the best Chanukah party their building has ever seen, neither expects that together they just might discover a Home for Chanukah.

All Tamar expected from her Israel vacation was time to hang out with one of her besties and to act like a tourist, cheesy t-shirt and all, in her two favorite cities. She definitely was not expecting to fall for Avi, a handsome soldier who’s more than she ever dreamed.

Review:
Sometimes I love when random books pop up in my feed as recommendations. This year, Burning Bright was one of them that I came across and since it focused on Chanukah, and since I can’t remember ever reading any books with that as a basis, I’m glad i decided to take the plunge. And as always with anthologies, I love discovering new authors – in the case of Burning Bright, the only author I had previously read was Megan Hart.

Burning Bright consisted of 4 stories, all with a different take on Chanukah – although for me, my two favorites were the first one, written by Megan Hart and the last one written by KK Hendin. The other day (at least to me) were only so-so and I didn’t really enjoy them – so i’m going to quickly review my two least favorite ones first, before I talk about my favorite ones. I think i’m going to refer to the Megan Hart and KK Hendin contributions as bookends – i seem to always end up using favorite authors as bookends on my shelves, and it is the case with this anthology😉

Fundamentally, there was nothing really wrong with the stories by Stacey Agdern, Jennifer Gracen – they were well-written, they just personally didn’t appeal to my reading asthetic. In a Dose of Gelt (Jennifer Gracen), we meet Shari and Evan, both lawyers who work at the same firm and in love. my problem was that I typically struggle with stories where the main couple is already in a relationship with each other – although there are often interesting dynamics, they just leave me feeling empty – I like the newness of figuring out a relationship (even though second chance romances where they couple is NOT together is a favorite trope of mine). That being said, Evan did do some serious grovelling – I just didn’t like the whole premise and how it was executed. The same could be said for A Home for Chanukah (Stacey Agdern) – the premise itself was interesting, but I struggled with the continual head-hopping throughout. It wasn’t just a simple back and forth POV each chapter, but rather multiple times in each chapter – one saving grace was that each POV was labelled, so at least there was that consistency.

My two favorites in the anthology were Miracle (Megan Hart) and All I Got (KK Hardin) – there was something brutally raw about both of these that just drew me to them. in Miracle, we got to experience Ben’s separation from his family and not being in the safety zone that his religion had previously provided – finding himself in a world that is less strict that where he came from. I really enjoyed this one because it was raw and emotional, but at the same time, I learnt some new stuff. And then there was KK Hardin’s contribution, All I Got which probably fell more into the new adult realm, since the main character was engaged in education. But when she falls in love on a trip to Israel (which is also on my bucket list of places i would love to visit one day), she discovered just how small the world truly is.

As always with an anthology, I was left with wanting to potentially read more books by the authors and look forward to good reads in the future. Overall, I gave the anthology 3.5 stars with 2 books getting 4 stars and 2 getting 3.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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National Young Reader’s Day – 10 November 2015

young readers appreciation day

Image Credit: Phillip Teacher, HUFS Language Institute

I’m always amazed at when I see people post about different days of recognition – because so often they are ones that I have never heard of. Case in point: the second Tuesday of every November is National Young Reader’s Day. According to Holidays Insights, this day was co-founded in 1989 by Pizza Hut and Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. While it is referred to as a National day, there have been no actual presidential proclamation making it so (would be a nice thought though right?). According to the creators, National Young Reader’s Day is “… a special day to recognize the joys and benefits of reading.”

As a book blogger, reading has always held a special place in my heart. It was something that I loved from an early age and that my parents instilled the love of in me. I remember sitting on the couch most nights reading a chapter book with my mom (most vivid is the Chronicles of Narnia). And as i grew older, I continued reading and still do to this day. So it hurts my heart when I hear young children and teenagers say that they hate reading. I can’t even imagine hating reading. Without reading I never would have been introduced to the lands of Narnia or going on a journey with the Hobbits. I never would have thought I found friends with the girls in the Babysitters Club (or the Babysitter’s Little Sister) or fallen in love with Jamie Fraser (Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander). Reading has been such an integral part of my life over the last three plus decades and I can’t wait to see what reading has in store for me over the next three (or four, or hopefully more).

For all my reader’s out there:
What books from your childhood influenced your love of reading the most?

If you could give ONE book to a child today, what would it be and why?

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Reading Events, Uncategorized

 

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Review – Dodging Temptation – Avery Flynn

25935349Dodging Temptation
Author: Avery Flynn
Series: #1 in the Retreat series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
Dodge Loving wants revenge…and he’s about to get it. On the cusp of closing a multi-billion-dollar luxury resort deal, Dodge can’t afford for anything go wrong. But then a fiery redhead shows up, the paparazzi hot on her trail, and throws his world into chaos. He has to get rid of her. Immediately.

Harper Conner just wants to be left alone, but after slapping her cheating senator ex-husband during a televised press conference, she’s a hot commodity. The ultra exclusive resort in Wyoming seems like the ideal place to hide—and work—so there’s no way she’s letting the Type-A jerk who runs the place fire her.

Despite the animosity sparking between them, Dodge and Harper can’t keep their hands to themselves. This thing between them can’t happen. It won’t. But his mother has other ideas…and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make sure Harper and Dodge fall in love.

Review:
It’s weird, I always seem to struggle writing reviews for books that I enjoyed, especially if the author is one of my go-to ones, like Avery Flynn is – I wish I could explain it. Case in point, I have had a draft of this review sitting in draft format on my blog page for about 3 weeks now (yes, you read right, three weeks)….I mean, this was an Avery Flynn book, so I knew it was going to be good, but at the same time, since it was kicking off a new series, I was kind of skeptical as well (since first books in series don’t always work for me)…but anyways…let’s talk about the Loving brothers and their HEA’s (or rather, just about Dodge)…

I’ve commented before that enemies to lovers is a favorite romance trope of mine, I love seeing these couples overcome their differences and hatred of each other to have a relationship and for me, Avery hit so many happy buttons with the Dodge/Harper romance. I mean, seriously, what wasn’t there to love about Harper, giving her ex what was due to him on national TV, even if it did turn her into a scandal and had the paparazzi chasing her. And what better place to try and escape said scandal than an exclusive resort…Dodge is the owner of said resort and to say sparks fly between the two of them is an understatement…

I’ll admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Dodge at first, he kind of rubbed me the wrong way, but as the book progressed he did grow on me. Of course, it helped that he had some awesome scenes as the relationship between him and Harper developed (and I can safely say, I don’t know if i’ll be able to look at pistachio ice cream the same way again…). Of course, he did exhibit typical dumbass male tendencies, including exceeding stubbornness (which is both a blessing and a curse it seems…). Dodging Temptation was full of Avery Flynn’s trademark sass and snark, as well as spicy love scenes and I’m intrigued to see how the rest of the series is going to turn out.

Purchase Links (Amazon):

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2015 in Book Review, Uncategorized

 

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