Review: Santa Daddy by Kiera Andrews

Title: Santa Daddy

Author: Keira Andrews

Publisher: KA Books

Genre: m/m contemporary

Source: Amazon

Publication Date: November 19, 2020

After graduating from college, Hunter has found himself unsure of what is the right direction for him. He knows he should get a job in an office, but can’t find anything that fits him. On top of that, he’s romantically and sexually inexperienced and can’t get out of his own way. Staying with his mother, Hunter agrees to help out an old friend and play a Christmas elf one last time.

And, there he meets the sexiest Santa imaginable.

Nick is everything Hunter could want: tall, muscular, and devastatingly handsome. Unfortunately, he’s grumpy, withdrawn, and takes an immediate dislike to Hunter. However, he grudgingly agrees to let Hunter work at Nick’s Christmas tree farm to earn a little extra cash for the holidays.

When a blizzard hits and strands Hunter at the farm, sparks fly. Hunter manages to worm his way into Nick’s heart, which is still grieving for his partner who died years before. Can he take a change on this new connection? Or will Nick, like Hunter, get in his own way.

I thought this was a fun, light, and fluffy Christmas read. Hunter was adorable and very relatable. He overthinks everything and doubts everything about himself. At the same time he desperately wants to do the right thing. The chemistry between him and Nick was hot and sweet at the same time.

Nick was also a great character. His partner had died years before and Nick closed himself off to the world. But his heart is also soft and he can’t say no to helping out kids. He finds he also can’t say no to the adorable Hunter, and soon finds himself slipping into a role his thougt he’d never play again.

There wasn’t much of a conflict in the novel, which was nice for a Christmas read. There’s an age gap that’s addressed by other characters, but it’s also recognized that Hunter, while young, is also an adult capable to making his own decisions. If you don’t like age gaps, that might not work, but I do, so it worked well for me.

Overall, I felt this was a fun and easy read. It was a little like eating cotton candy: fun and sweet, but not much substance. But, for a Christmas romance, I think that’s perfect.

Stay At Home Book Tag

I saw this floating around the blog-o-sphere and decided to give it a try. If anyone knows where it originated, let me know so I can credit them.

LAYING IN BED — a book you read in one day.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. Prince Sebastian in in Paris so his parents can find him a bride. Sebastian, however, is looking for something else: someone who can sew him fabulous dresses. He finds that and more in the form of Frances, a talented designer who soon becomes his best friend.

I love this book. I read it on Wednesday night and it was delightful. I had only intended to read a chapter or two, but it was so good, I read through the whole thing all at once. Loved it.

SNACKING — a book that is a ‘guilty pleasure’ read.

I wouldn’t exactly call it as guilty pleasure read, but I frequently reread Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan by Vonda N. McIntyre and feel like I shouldn’t be. I love the movie novelizations so much and I read them probably more than I should.

NETFLIX — a series that you want to start.

I want to start reading the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare next. It’s on my TBR, but kind of far down.

 DEEP CLEAN — a book that has been on your TBR for ages.

I’ve been meaning to read American Princess by Stephanie Marie Thornton for quite some time.

ANIMAL CROSSING — a book you recently bought because of the hype.

I don’t know if it was hype, exactly, because the author is the only one who’s really been talking about it, but I pre-ordered Pandemica by Jonathan Maberry as soon as I heard the trade was coming out.

PRODUCTIVITY — a book you learned from or had an impact on you.

Atomic Habits by James Clear had a big impact. It changed the way I though of habits and habit-building, and it made me more aware of the things I say about myself.

 FACETIME — a book you were gifted.

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca was a gift from my mother. It’s the true life tale of a female lawyer and detective living in New York and one of her most famous cases. I’ve set it aside for now, but it really is very interesting.

SELF-CARE — what is one thing you have done recently to look after yourself.

I’ve been trying to get back into running and working out more regularly.

BONUS  an upcoming release you are looking forward to.

I cannot wait for Two Rogues Make a Right by Cat Sebastian. I love her romances, and I’m excited to see these two characters, who’ve been on the periphery of the other two book sin the series, finally get together.

I tag everyone and anyone who wants to do this tag.

Review: Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

Title: Whose Body?

Author: Dorothy L. Sayers

Genre: mystery, detective story

Source: Amazon

Publication Date: 1923

When a dead body turns up mysteriously in a bathtub wearing a pair of pince-nez, Lord Peter Wimsey jumps at the chance to investigate. The police soon think they have identified the body, but Wimsey is unconvinced. He thinks the missing person the police have identified the body as is still missing. Excited by his first murder case, Wimsey dives headfirst into intrigue, deceit, and grudges long held.

When I bought this book, I really had no idea what to expect. I’d heard of Lord Peter Wimsey, but have never seen nor read anything of him. I went into this book blind.

Luckily, I was very pleasantly surprised. I love Wimsey. He’s easy-going, light-hearted, funny, sarcastic, and good humored. He pokes fun at others and himself. He’s a gentleman without a profession, so he’s turned his sharp mind to detecting. He also is a veteran of World War I, something that could not fail to leave its scars.

The mystery was well constructed. A body is found in a shared bath of a building. Another man fitting the description has disappeared. It seems like an easy match and the police are happy to rest there, but Wimsey is observant and soon discovers the man in the bath cannot be the missing gentleman. He works very well with a police detective, Charles Parker, and his valet, Bunter, and they soon untangle the mess.

I will say that I was uncomfortable by some period-typical anti-Semeticsm. The missing person is Jewish, and while everyone is complimentary, it’s in a sort of back-handed way that makes it clear that “for a Jew, he’s actually not bad.” That made me very uneasy because I was unable to decide if it was the characters or the author talking. My only solace was that Wimsey himself did not join in.

I also really loved the lighthearted digs at other detective novels the characters too. They weren’t mean-spirited, but all in good fun. The characters would mention how thing would go if this were a detective novel and how much easier it would be. It was a lot of fun. There was also a brilliant scene in which Wimsey and Parker question a witness. They start by saying how witnesses rarely have as good a memory as in detective stories, and then ask a series of questions that guide the witness deeper into his memory until he surprises himself at how much he knew. It was brilliant.

Yes. Whose Body? is a sharp, funny, and well constructed detective mystery. Wimsey is a delight, and I look forward to reading more of him.

WWW Wednesday May 20, 2020

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, participants are asked three questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

So, I’m reading quite a few things right now. I’ve been listening to Illuminae by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff while following along with my copy, and I am loving my reread. Everything about it is fantastic. I’m also rereading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen in my new Penguin English Library edition and thoroughly enjoying myself. I’ve been listening to Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, and while I like it, I feel like I’ll never be done; I’ve listened to ten hours already and still have another twenty to go. I started reading My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which is a collection of things she’s written in her life. And, this morning, I started The Feminine Revolution by Amy Stanton and Catherine Connors, which is about reclaiming the feminine as powerful. I’m juggling a lot, but , hey, I’ve got time!

I just finished rereading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, which was even more delightful than I remembered it being, and then I read Whose Body by Dorothy L. Sayers. This was my first Sayers novel and I enjoyed it so much, I became an instant fan of Lord Peter Wimsey. I cannot wait to read more.

Next, I’m going to start tackling my giant TBR pile (I really need to get me one of those TBR carts) with the book on top: The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. I’ve been wanting to read it for quite a long time and totally forgot I’d borrowed it from my sister until last week. I’m super excited.

What are you reading this week?

Top 5 Opening Lines

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm. Each week, Shanah gives a topic, and participants are invited to come up with their top 5 for that topic. This week is Top 5 Opening lines.

For my first opening line, I’m going with something that I imagine might be on quite a few lists (although, I could be wrong.) But, I’d be remiss if I left the first line from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen off this list.

It is a truth universally acknowledge, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Next, I am putting the opening line of one of my favorite children’s book, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi.

Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty. But I was just such a girl, and my story is worth relating even if it did happen years ago.

My third choice is Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted, which has a beautiful first line that perfectly sets the tone of the entire book.

That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me. She meant to bestow a gift.

Honestly, I don’t know why I love the first lines of Beauty by Robin McKinley so much, but I love, love, love when books start with characters declaring who they are. I even copied that style when I was a baby writer of 17 and working on my first novel.

I was the youngest of three daughters. Our literal minded mother named us Grace, Hope, and Honour, but few people except perhaps the abbot who had baptized all three of us remembered my given name.

And, last, in a slightly different tone, is the first line from Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry.

When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week then there’s either something wrong with your skills or somethign wrong with your world.

And there’s nothing wrong with my skills.

And that’s it, my top 5 favorite opening lines. What are some of yours?

Review: The Hockey Player’s Heart by Jeff Adams & Will Knauss

Title: The Hockey Player’s Heart

Author: Jeff Adams & Will Knauss

Publisher: Big Gay Media

Genre: contemporary m/m romance, hockey romance

Source: Amazon

Publication Date: January 15, 2020

Caleb Carter is a hot shot hockey player out with a foot injury. He’s returned to his hometown for some rest. He never expects to run into an old crush, Aaron Price. Seeing him brings up a lot of old feelings, and he decides to go for it. But Aaron’s had some bad experiences and isn’t ready to jump into a relationship with a celebrity. The chemistry between them, though, is hard to deny and both become optimistic about their chances.

This was a very sweet story. Both characters were wonderfully well done and very believable. For all his fame and fortune, Caleb was very down to earth. He’s affable and outgoing, connects with those around him, and politely deflects attention that is unwanted. I also like how good he is with kids, both in Aaron’s third grade class and the local hockey team. There’s also a very sweet scene near the end of the book between him and a teenage fan that almost brought tears to my eyes.

If I had any complaint about the story is that it was almost too easy for Caleb and Aaron to get together. There were barriers, yes, but they all were easily overcome and there was no real drama. I would have liked to explore the depths more, especially Aaron’s troubled past.

However, this book had wonderful relationships between characters. I loved the main relationship, but also the relationship between both men and Caleb’s sister, Pam. I thought it really brought the characters alive.

Yes. If you want to read a lighthearted romance that will make you smile, this is a great book to pick up.