L-L-L-Little Reviews #45: December 2022 – Part Two

Posted December 27, 2022 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 8 Comments

Okay, did two of these this month since I ended up having quite a few reviews to share that weren’t part of tours. And I have quite a few holiday books as part of this post! Going ahead and posting this a little before the end of the month as I don’t think I have any more to review that aren’t going to get their own posts or be part of a blog tour coming up.

Kneel by Candace Buford:
L-L-L-Little Reviews #45: December 2022 – Part TwoKneel by Candace Buford
Narrator: Preston Butler III
Published by Harlequin Audio on September 14, 2021
Genres: YA Contemporary
Length: 12:00
Source: the library
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: five-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

This fearless debut novel explores racism, injustice, and self-expression through the story of a promising Black football star in Louisiana.
Russell Boudreaux is a black football player who has spent his entire life working toward a singular goal: to be recruited by a Division I football program, and eventually make his way to the NFL, until a series of racial injustices causes Russell to question the price of staying silent.
©2021 Candace Buford (P)2021 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited

My Review:

I listened to this one as it is a possible nominee for the 23-24 school year Gateway Award. And I have to say wow. It was so good. It made me so angry, which I know is the point of it. So many good things were brought up, things that I think all of my students could stand to read. I also like the way the ending was a good one, but not everything wrapped up in a neat little perfect bow. Some sacrifices were made, which made it a really realistic story in my opinion. I definitely think this one should make the list for next year.

Those Summer Nights by Laura Silverman:

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

L-L-L-Little Reviews #45: December 2022 – Part TwoThose Summer Nights by Laura Silverman
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on August 23, 2022
Genres: YA Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Source: the publisher
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: five-stars
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After recovering from a life-changing injury, a teen girl must navigate a new job, an ex-best friend, and two surprisingly attractive coworkers in this “sweet, romantic summer tale” (Kirkus Reviews) for fans of Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian.
Hannah used to be all about focus, back before she shattered her ankle and her Olympic dreams in one bad soccer play. These days, she’s all about distraction—anything to keep the painful memories of her recent past at bay, including the string of bad decisions that landed her at boarding school for a year.
Enter Bonanza, the local entertainment multiplex and site of Hanna’s summer employment. With its mini golf course, bowling alley, and arcade—not to mention her hot, flirty coworker Patrick—Bonanza seems like the perfect way to stay distracted. Until her boss announces the annual Bonanza tournament, a staff competition that brings her past Olympic nightmares crashing back into her present.
On top of that, the Bonanza staff includes Brie, the ex-best friend she cut off last year, and Ethan, her brother’s best friend who became unreasonably attractive in her year away and who accepts her, even knowing her worst secrets. Under the neon lights of Bonanza, Hannah must decide whether she can find a way to discover a new self in the midst of her old life.

My Review:

This author wrote a favorite book of mine from 2020, Recommended for You, and this one sounded right up my alley as well. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to read it until I got a copy to review as part of the library committee I’m on. This is a possible nominee for the 24-25 school year. I really enjoyed it. It had more depth than I expected from the title and what I was thinking. The main character had a lot she was dealing with and a lot to come to terms with to get her life back on track. I liked the Jewish character representation and really all of the different the diverse characters and story lines contained in this book. Another winner for me!

Dashing Through the No (Summersweet Island #3) by Tara Sivec:
L-L-L-Little Reviews #45: December 2022 – Part TwoDashing Through the No (Summersweet Island, #3) by Tara Sivec
Series: Summersweet Island #3
Published by Independently published on November 17, 2020
Genres: Adult Holiday Romance, Adult Romantic Comedy
Pages: 220
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
My Rating: five-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through Summersweet,Tess Powell was annoyed and wanted to retreat.With a BIC in her hand and a frown on her face, everyone knew she needed a break from this place.Wanting the holiday to be nothing but the best,Bodhi took his girlfriend to the mountains to rest.While visions of fire happily danced in Tess’s head,soon she would see she had everything to dread.Crying kids, singing hippos, and a stalker with a van,definitely wasn’t part of Bodhi’s evacuation plan.But all he wanted for Christmas was for her to say yes,to the question he kept asking with zero finesse.With some help from new friends and their holiday cheer,Tess and Bodhi get much morethan they asked Santa for this year.

My Review:

Okay, so I’ve seen some reviews of Sivec’s books where people say they were just a little too out there for them. And you know what? If you aren’t prepared to laugh your ass off at the ridiculousness of the situations and characters in these stories, then yeah, these might not be the books for you. On the other hand, I can’t wait to open her books and be swept away with laughter and love the characters and craziness of their stories. As someone who grew up in the 80s world of “Just Say No” and now that I’m a teacher, I’ve always been pretty much not going to end up with or be attracted to a pothead or someone who uses a lot of weed or other drugs. But in this book, I kind of fell in love with Bodhi and he is now a book boyfriend for me. I don’t even think it was just his background story, it was more about what he contributed to his relationship and how he did so much just for Tess, even if it wasn’t exactly what he wanted. So yes, I loved this one.

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox:
L-L-L-Little Reviews #45: December 2022 – Part TwoThe Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on October 5, 2021
Genres: Adult Holiday Romance
Pages: 352
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: four-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

The International Bestseller--A feel-good, holiday rom com about identical twins who swap lives twelve days before Christmas--perfect for fans of Christina Lauren's In a Holidaze and Josie Silver's One Day in December
All they want for Christmas is a different life.
When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her reality baking show, she loses a lot more than consciousness; she also loses her ability to taste and smell--both critical to her success as show judge. Meanwhile, Charlie's identical twin, Cass, is frantically trying to hold her own life together back in their quaint mountain hometown while running the family's bustling bakery and dealing with her ex, who won't get the memo that they're over.
With only days until Christmas, a desperate Charlie asks Cass to do something they haven't done since they were kids: switch places. Looking for her own escape from reality, Cass agrees. But temporarily trading lives proves more complicated than they imagined, especially when rugged firefighter Jake Greenman and gorgeous physician assistant Miguel Rodriguez are thrown into the mix. Will the twins' identity swap be a recipe for disaster, or does it have all the right ingredients for getting their lives back on track?

My Review:

So I bought this in December of 2021 from Book of the Month club but didn’t get to it till this year obviously. It is also one of the books I had on my TBR challenge, so yay for getting it read finally! It was a good story. I enjoyed the food from the reality tv show. It didn’t blow me away or anything, but it was a good holiday romance for sure!

Eggnog and Alligators by Erin Nicholas:
L-L-L-Little Reviews #45: December 2022 – Part TwoEggnog and Alligators by Erin Nicholas
Series: Boys of the Bayou #5, Boys of the Big Easy #2.5
on November 29, 2021
Genres: Adult Holiday Romance
Pages: 218
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
My Rating: four-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & Noble

Must Love Alligators (Boys of the Bayou)
Chase Dawson is back in Autre for Christmas and when he runs into brainy, beautiful alligator conservationist Bailey Wilcox again, he’s determined to make good use of the mistletoe.

Eggnog Makes Her Easy (Boys of the Big Easy)
Lindsey is expecting silent nights this holiday. Just her and her boys while her husband serves overseas. But her blue Christmas turns merry when things start rockin’ under the mistletoe thanks to a surprise gift from her naughty Santa.

Hey, the nice list is overrated anyway.

My Review:

Now I purchased this from the author on Etsy and got some fun swag with it, HERE is that link if you want to order there. I loved the first story, the clumsiness of their physical relationship and her nerdiness just really made me connect to the story. The second story was a little bit different from what I prefer, as I’ve never been married so don’t always enjoy those kinds of stories. But it did make me wish that I could have married a military man, because I think I could definitely deal with that life. And both stories had the heat!

The Christmas Blanket by Kandi Steiner:
L-L-L-Little Reviews #45: December 2022 – Part TwoThe Christmas Blanket: Special Edition by Kandi Steiner
on October 23, 2020
Genres: Adult Holiday Romance
Pages: 153
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
My Rating: four-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

A Second Chance Holiday Romance
From bestselling author Kandi Steiner comes a cozy second-chance romance about love, loss, and adventure...
When I decided to surprise my family in Wellhaven, Vermont for Christmas, I never could have known that I'd get a surprise of my own -- in the form of an unexpected blizzard.
I haven't been home in four years, not since I left this town with my eyes set on adventure.
And my heart set on forgetting the only man I’ve ever loved.
River Jensen -- my ex-husband.
I don't plan on seeing him during my visit. I definitely don't plan on him saving me when my little rental car slides off the icy road. And the last thing I could have ever prepared for is being stuck in a tiny cabin with him, waiting out the storm.
Four years have passed since I've seen him -- the boy I loved, now a man I don't know at all.
But being stuck inside with him leaves us nothing but time together.
Everything about him has changed, and yet, he still has the same forest green eyes that have haunted me since I left. Back then, we were at an impasse. Back then, there was nothing left to talk about, nothing left to fix. Back then, the only choice I had was to leave and start anew.
But the more I re-discover the man I left behind, the more I question why I ever left at all.
And if I’m too late to find my way back home.
The Christmas Blanket is a stand-alone holiday novella set in a snowy small town in Vermont.

My Review:

I enjoyed this sweet second chance romance. It had some steamy bits, some sweet bits, and some sad bits. In the end when we found out why River had been so okay or seemed so okay with Eliza leaving him, it made sense and made me love him more. Short and sweet!

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8 responses to “L-L-L-Little Reviews #45: December 2022 – Part Two

    • Lisa Mandina

      Yeah, I bought it Christmas of 2021, but finally got around to reading it this year. I have like 8 other Book of the Month books I haven’t read yet either, lol.

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