RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
ONLY THE LUCKY (Kate Burkholder, #8.5) by Linda Castillo is a novella that lets you return to Painters Mill for a short period of time between full length novels and reconnect with the characters you love in this series.
It is Friday the 13th in Painters Mill and even though Chief of Police Kate Burkholder does not believe in superstitions the problems just keep on coming. Kate learns of a huge outdoor ‘rager’ on an abandoned farm, the town is having a complete power outage until morning and the department receives a 911 call about an unresponsive Amish teen found by her boyfriend in the barn at the party.
This novella is only 56 pages long. It is an entertaining story that assumes you are already familiar with the main series characters. The crime was easily solved, but still a good read. I will always pick up a novella or book by this author in this series to check out how my favorite characters are doing.
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
Once again I am in tears over the men of Lost N Found! In only one short novella and two very short stories I had to grab the tissues three times. Oh, and they were heartfelt, happy tears!
MISTLTOE MISCHIEF (Lost and Found, #5.5) by J.M. Madden is worth every minute. I rarely give a novella more than 4 stars because they are just too short to either satisfy you emotionally or have a strong enough story to tell to stand on its own. These stories are those rare exceptions and worth a full 5 stars. Ms. Madden knows how to bring these wounded warriors to life and to match them to their perfect mates.
Roger just cannot believe the vision of a woman that he is set up with as a blind-date for the LNF Christmas Eve party. She doesn’t seem to be bothered by his scars and prosthetic arm. Cassandra is a plus-sized woman, who has pulled herself out of poverty to become a graphic designer, but still has body image problems and no luck with good men. At first, she has a hard time believing the flattering things Roger says to her. Instantly though it becomes apparent that they both can be what the other wants and needs if they are willing to believe.
The next story revisits Gabe and Julie and the continuing struggle for Gabe to be more present in the now and remember, but let go of his time with his SEAL team. Time seems to be helping with them.
The last story revisits Zeke, Ember and little Drew. Their first Christmas together and everything is moving along, but Zeke is still hesitant about his scarred face until his run in with another student from Drew’s school.
I love all of the LNF guys so much and all I want is happiness for them all, but that J.M. has to put them through their paces to get it. This is one of my favorite series and group of true heroes. I highly recommend all of these books!
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
SILVER BELLS: A Holiday Romance by Jacquie Biggar is a holiday novella that was sweet and easily read in one sitting curled up on the couch while the weather outside is frightful.
Joel Campbell, award winning mystery writer, has moved from Scotland to Vancover Island. He wants to be closer to his grandmother and hopes the change will get him over his writers’ block. Hating his fame, he has walled off his heart, become gruff and hates anyone interrupting him and yet, he is lonely.
Christy Taylor is an artist who has started her own shop attached to her rented home. Her life cannot be more hectic. She is attempting to grow her clientele, while caring for her small daughter, Jill, who has been diagnosed with Type 1, Juvenile diabetes. Christy is a great mother, but her divorce and her ex’s attitude toward their daughter has made her distrustful of any help from any man.
These two need to open up their hearts and learn to trust again before it is too late.
This novella is an enjoyable and quick read. I loved the characters in this short read, but being short, I felt some of the character development was lost. Jill was adorable and her disease was handled extremely well. I also feel this novella was not really a Christmas or holiday story, just a winter setting. That said, still a good heartfelt novella for a cold winter day.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars (Reading as a Prequel)
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars (Reading as a Standalone Novella)
FLAWLESS MISTAKE (The Spencer & Sione Series, #0) by Rachel Woods is the prequel to her series and establishes the characters and the “mistake” that brings them all together.
Spencer Edwards is out of work and money. She allows her half-sister to talk her into her ‘Dating Protocol’ scheme even though she knows it is criminally wrong. When she is sitting in the park one afternoon debating this turn in her life, a handsome and charismatic stranger, Ben Chang, sits next to her and she begins to want more. Spencer doesn’t believe in love or marriage, so in her fear of her growing relationship with Ben, she makes the “mistake”.
Ben Chang is not the man he portrays himself to be to Spencer. To cross him is to owe him. Spencer now owes Ben and even as she is horrified by him, she still finds herself drawn to him.
Sione Tuiali’i has a violent past that he wants to forget as his uncle has trusted in him and left him his resort in Belize to run. Once friend, now enemy, Ben Chang is trying to destroy Sione and Sione has to figure out why.
Spencer and Sione are on a collision course set up by Ben.
This prequel is a more of a set up for the novel to come than a standalone novella. It is great for me as I continue on to Flawless Danger, because I always want more information on characters and their motivations. I would recommend this prequel to those reading more in this series, but it does not give a satisfactory conclusion on its own.