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My name is Chelsey and I am the creator of Charming Chelsey's! I read and review anything and everything that I find to be "charming." I accept ARCs or already released books for review, and I'm also available to participate in any blog tours or book reveals too. If anything, please don't hesitate to email me any time for any reason at: charmingchelseys(at)gmail(dot)com

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book Review: Vampires, Bones and Treacle Scones

Vampires, Bones and Treacle SconesAuthor: Kaitlyn Dunnett
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Kensington Books
Series: A Liss MacCrimmon Mystery # 7

Halloween is approaching and newlywed Liss MacCrimmon Ruskin is tapped by the Moosetookalook Small Business Association to organize a community fundraiser. Liss throws herself into plans to turn an abandoned mansion into a “haunted house.”


There are already all kinds of scary stories about the old Chadwick place, which was most recently owned by Blackie O’Hare, a mob hit man from Boston. There are even rumors of buried treasure on the premises. Unfortunately, work on the haunted house is plagued by a series of minor mishaps and by the disappearance and reappearance of various objects. And then, to Liss’ horror, the fake skeleton she’s acquired for a special effect is replaced with a real body—and it’s someone she knows…



The haunted house, for all that it would be the centerpiece of the event, was only one of the attractions planned for the Moosetookalook All Hallows Festival.

Liss lost count of how many trips they made, but by the time the living room was empty of cartons, she’d run out of steam. She readily fell in with Dan’s suggestion that she call it a day, especially when she recognized the look in his eyes. They were, after all, still newlyweds.

“Maybe he does,” Patsy said, “but my money’s on the obvious. He thinks there’s buried treasure on the property, just like everybody else in town has thought for the last twenty-plus years.”


“Looks like our would-be treasure hunters have gone and dug up human remains.”


I have made a deal with myself that this year in October I would try my best to read more “Halloween-y” this year. I usually read at least one a year, but this year I wanted to go above and beyond what is normal for me. This title is perfect for Halloween because our main character, Liss, is in charge of organizing the town fundraiser for Halloween. The mood and setting are perfect for the fall aromas and feelings that are in the air. The books opens up with an old, abandoned house that Liss and her husband are debating using for a haunted house in the upcoming fundraiser. The house seems to fit the profile of being exactly what the couple needs, until a body shows up with severe puncture wounds. Liss, of course, is hot on the case from this point onward.

The Chadwick Mansion was one of the best parts of reading this book, along with the suspenseful mystery of course. In the opening pages of this book, the Chadwick Mansion is described and the mood is set from that point on. I grabbed a nice, warm cup of hot chocolate and didn’t stop reading for a while. The Mansion has quite an impressive past behind it and I was so thrilled to see Dunnett take the time to explain all of this to readers. This was a very cozy mystery and has me intrigued to read all of the others in the series.


***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Kensington Books in exchange for my honest review***




Saturday, September 27, 2014

Book Review: Nightmares!

Nightmares!Author: Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers


Jason Segel, multitalented actor, writer, and musician, teams up with New York Times bestselling author Kirsten Miller for the hilariously frightening middle-grade novel Nightmares!, the first book in a trilogy about a boy named Charlie and a group of kids who must face their fears to save their town. 
 
Sleeping has never been so scary. And now waking up is even worse!
 
Charlie Laird has several problems. 
 
1. His dad married a woman he is sure moonlights as a witch.
2. He had to move into her purple mansion, which is NOT a place you want to find yourself after dark.
3.He can’t remember the last time sleeping wasn’t a nightmarish prospect. Like even a nap. 
 
What Charlie doesn’t know is that his problems are about to get a whole lot more real. Nightmares can ruin a good night’s sleep, but when they start slipping out of your dreams and into the waking world—that’s a line that should never be crossed.
 
And when your worst nightmares start to come true . . . well, that’s something only Charlie can face. And he’s going to need all the help he can get, or it might just be lights-out for Charlie Laird. For good.


Charlie figured Charlotte DeChant might turn out to be interesting. And the first time Charlie laid eyes on her, he was certainly not disappointed.

It was an odd-looking building. The front porch was overrun by a jungle of potted plants. Thick green vines crept up columns, and lady ferns and blood flowers fought for every patch of moonlight.


Anyone who say it might assume that the mansion’s occupants were a bit on the strange side – and yet the boy at the window appeared perfectly normal. 


I was pleasantly surprised to see a well-known name on the cover of this book: Jason Segel. He is one of my favorite actors, and of course I had to see what this book was all about. This book was a nice little escape for me and was just what I needed to bring in the Halloween season. The main character, Charlie Laird, is haunted by nightmares ever since his mother passed away, and it doesn’t help matters that his dad has married a new woman who lives in a big purple mansion and who Charlie believes is a witch. Segel and Miller keep the writing light, humorous, and enjoyable. Even though Charlie has his share of nightmares, this book is nothing too terrifying and contains a really good story that anyone of any age can enjoy.

The atmosphere of this book is just spooky enough to get me in the right mood for Halloween. Segel does a great job of building the mystery and suspense, especially when Charlie’s nightmares start showing up in his daily life. Charlie’s stepmother was a nice addition to the story and it actually one of the reasons that I could not put this book down. I was intrigued by her and the mystery and suspense written around her. The illustrations that show up on the pages were amazing, as well as the cover of the book. I guess I am just a big kid after all!


***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Delacorte Press in exchange for my honest review***





Follow Me Friday (18)

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow




Question of the week: Book character(s) you would like to see with their own Twitter page.

 

I am in love with this series by Gail Carriger and I would love to see the main character, Sophronia, with a Twitter page. Sophronia attends Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. From the title you might think that this is just any old finishing/boarding school, but in all actuality the girls are trained to be fighters and schemers. I am in love with the books and I love Sophronia’s quirky personality. I would love to read about her many adventures on Twitter!




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Review: Honeymoon Hotel

Honeymoon HotelAuthor: Hester Browne
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Gallery


A charming novel in the vein of The Wedding Planner featuring an ambitious and by-the-books event planner who finds herself at odds with her new assistant, who happens to be the son of her boss, on the eve of the biggest wedding of her career—from theNew York Times bestselling author of The Runaway Princessand the Little Lady Agency series.

The Bonneville Hotel is the best-kept secret in London: its elegant rooms and discreet wood-paneled cocktail lounge were the home-away-from-home for royalty and movie stars alike during the golden age of glamour. Recent years haven’t been kind, but thanks to events manager Rosie, it’s reclaiming some of its old cachet as a wish list wedding venue. While Rosie’s weddings are the ultimate in romance, Rosie herself isn’t; her focus is fixed firmly on the details, not on the dramas. She lives with a professionally furious food critic and works tirelessly toward that coveted promotion. But when the hotel owner appoints his eccentric son Joe to help run Rosie’s department, she’s suddenly butting heads with the free spirit whose predilection for the unconventional threatens to unravel her picture-perfect plans for the most elaborate—not to mention high-profile—wedding the hotel has ever seen, a wedding that could make or break not only the hotel’s reputation, but also Rosie’s career.

From the author whose books are described as “deliciously addictive” (Cosmopolitan), Honeymoon Hotel will reaffirm your belief in happily ever after.


People make a lot of assumptions about wedding planners. Either we’re hopeless romantics (I’m not). Or we’re terminal singletons (I live with my boyfriend, Dominic – he’s a food critic. We’ve been together two years).

If you chose to get married at London’s Bonneville Hotel, located down a side street off Piccadilly, you’d be joining a glittering tradition of film stars, European royals, writers, politicians, and wits, of all whom had passed through the polished brass revolving door over the years, usually in dark glasses.


On a bright May day like today, there wasn’t a more romantic place to get married in all of London than the Bonneville Hotel. In all the world, actually. It’s the only place I’d ever consider getting married, if I were in the market for a wedding, which I’m not.


The Bonneville Hotel used to be one of the most famous hotels in London, hosting some of the most well-known stars and even royalty. However, those days are long gone because now the hotel looks more run down than ever and its glory days are over. Things start looking up for the Bonneville Hotel, however, when Rosie is hired on as their event organizer. She starts hosting many lavish and luxurious events that really allow things to turn around for the Bonneville Hotel. Rosie is so busy planning other people’s weddings but she has no time for love herself that is until the hotel owner’s son, Joe steps on the scene. Joe throws a wrench in many of Rosie’s well laid out plans.

This was a delightful romance to get completely lost in. I have never read one of Hester Browne’s books before, but after finishing this one and reading everyone’s thoughts on some of her other books, I am beginning to think that I am really missing out. This book was so light and was such a breeze; I finished in less than two days and would have finished sooner had I had more time to read. The Bonneville Hotel was a marvelous setting filled with beautiful weddings that were so much fun to read about. Browne really did an excellent job of picking me up and dropping me right in the midst of Rosie’s life and the bustling life of The Bonneville Hotel.


***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Gallery Books in exchange for my honest review***





Monday, September 22, 2014

Book Review: All's Fair In Love and Cupcakes

All's Fair in Love and CupcakesAuthor: Betsy St. Amant
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Zondervan

Kat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew she was capable of so much more.

Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.

But when Lucas Brannen, Kat s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself her is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.


There was more to life than vanilla buttercream. Or at least, Kat Varland used to believe so.

Once upon a time, she created magic with flour and sugar and eggs. With cinnamon and nutmeg and vanilla. Every measured cup was instinct, every whisked ingredient inspiration.

Baking held promise, potential. Power.

A story full of love, sacrifices, chances taken, and changes made lies in wait for you with this charming new book by Betsy St. Amant. This story belongs to Kat Varland, a woman stuck baking plain vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry cupcakes when her heart yearns to experiment with new, exciting things. Her long time best friend Lucas sees fit to enter Kat in an up and coming competition in which the winner will be rewarded with an internship in one of New York’s finest bakeries. This sweet contemporary romance was just what I needed to start off this fast approaching fall season. From the characters to the cupcakes, I was so pleased with the outcome of this book and left wondering how I have never stumbled upon a book by Betsy St. Amant before!

Between Kat and Lucas, I could not tell you which was my favorite. I did appreciate how caring Lucas was towards Kat and how he knew her so well. He made some huge sacrifices for her and gladly stood beside her as she found out just how brave she really was. I love to read stories where one partner is very supportive of the other’s dreams. Lucas won me over immediately because of adoration of Kat and because he was able to quickly get her to realize all the potential she had. Betsy St. Amant builds their relationship perfectly. Nothing is rushed but instead the pacing is perfect and completely believable.

The end of this book packed a twist that I honestly did not see coming. I did a little research and found that the author is writing the story of Kat’s sister, Stella. I am hoping that Kat and Lucas reappear in this story as well. Her writing was enough to keep for hooked for a lifetime and I have researched her other books and bookmarked them already. When someone can write and describe cupcakes like this woman, I make an immediate commitment to read any and all books that she publishes. Brace yourself for a book that will suck you in and make you want to bake a few dozen cupcakes!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Zondervan in exchange for my honest review***





Saturday, September 20, 2014

Book Review: Tried & True

Tried and True (Wild at Heart, #1)Author: Mary Connealy
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Bethany House Books
Series: Wild at Heart # 1

Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister—and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It’s a risk—they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as “boys”—but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?


Good grief, she’d lived through a Civil War battle. How could climbing on a roof bother her so much?

She threw her arms around his neck. The only solid thing in the whole wide world. And she cried.

Strange woman. Strange and fascinating. Strange and fascinating and beautiful.

Today was the beginning of a new day and a new life. She felt reborn. She was a woman and she was going to live like one, and no one was going to stop her.

A brand new series by Mary Connealy about three sisters portraying themselves as men, serving in the Civil War, and claiming land out West; what could be more interesting to read? As all my loyal readers know, I love stories about sisters. This new series is going to feature the Wilde sisters: Kylie, whom this book is about, Shannon and Bailey. Kylie is unlike her sisters in one regard; she is tired of pretending to be a man. She wants to wear her hair long and wear long, flowy skirts and she doesn’t know how much more she can take. Aaron Masterson, our male lead, puts a damper on the Wilde sister’s plans when he comes calling one day on business and discovers their secret. Will he, in good conscience, be able to pretend he doesn’t know what they are doing and lie to the U.S. government?

I want to back up a minute and make sure you understand why Kylie and her sisters were dressing up and parading themselves as men. Their older brother Jimmy was killed and their father encouraged them all to dress up as men and enlist to serve, hoping they would take revenge on the men that murdered their brother. The girls are all noble and do as he wishes. The girls all have brave, strong hearts and I admired their dedication to their father and their deceased brother. Kylie and her sisters attempted to do things that women were just not allowed to do in the 1880’s. They served in the Civil War, built their own cabins, and tried their hand at living off the land out West. While the book was fiction, it was still inspirational and had a great message behind it centering on family and dedication.

Connealy’s writing is extremely detailed and very realistic. She submerses readers in the wild, wild West by allowing them to experience everything that the Wilde sisters encounter. My grandmother was always a huge fan of books set in the West, but it was just never my cup of tea. However, I have to retract that statement upon reading and finishing this book. I now have a brand new appreciation for this setting. I am very much looking forward to the next book in this series, but I cannot decide which sister I want to read about more. If the romance was as heartwarming and the action was as mind blowing, then it will not matter to me whose story I get next!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Bethany House in exchange for my honest review***







Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book Review: Screwdrivered

Screwdrivered (Cocktail, #3)Author: Alice Clayton
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Series: Cocktail # 3

Readers back for a third round of the bestselling Cocktail series will enjoy a madcap romantic comedy about bodice ripping and chest heaving, fiery passion and love everlasting. Plus a dash of paperwork filing and horseshi—wait, what?

By day, Viv Franklin designs software programs. By night, Vivian’s a secret romance-novel junkie who longs for a knight in shining armor, or a cowboy on a wild stallion, or a strapping firefighter to sweep her off her feet. And she gets to wear the bodice—don’t forget the bodice.

When a phone call brings news that she’s inherited a beautiful old home in Mendocino, California from a long-forgotten aunt, she moves her entire life across the country to embark on what she sees as a great, romance-novel-worthy adventure. But romance novels always have a twist, don’t they?

There’s a cowboy, one that ignites her loins. Because Cowboy Hank is totally loin-ignition worthy. But there’s also a librarian, Clark Barrow. And he calls her Vivian. Can tweed jackets and elbow patches compete with chaps and spurs? You bet your sweet cow pie.

In Screwdrivered, Alice Clayton pits Superman against Clark in a hilarious and hot battle that delights a swooning Viv/Vivian.

Also within this book, an answer to the question of the ages: Why ride a cowboy when you can ride a librarian?


I’d been in a romance novel this entire time, but I had the wrong book. This was my book. This was my story. This was my man.

Who wants a Superman when you can have a Clark?

Why ride a Cowboy when you can ride a Librarian?


The third book in this fresh, hot series is sure to have all fans of romantic fiction on their feet. Vivian, our feisty, fun heroine, has her eyes set on two men, both very different in background and appeal. We have Hank and Clark. Hank is the sweltering hot cowboy who first catches Viv’s eye, but he is lacking when it comes to stimulating worthy conversation. Then we have Clark, a hot historian/librarian who runs the historical society and is just as nerdy attractive as he is book smart. She is attracted to both men, but realizes she can’t have them both. Her life is turning out to be more of an adventure than she expected.

Vivian was my favorite part about this book because as far as heroines go she has been one of my favorites this year. She is very relatable and has the same fantasies that I am sure many young girls have. She pictures her life being everything like a romance novel, and in the end it really turns out like one. She dreams up all these crazy romance novel scenarios in her head and I just loved how big of a hopeless romantic she was. This would be the perfect movie; it has that romantic comedy vibe all the way through.

Alice Clayton’s writing is just to die for. She uses language that is easy to follow and allows you to fly right through the pages. I read the first book in this series, accidentally skipped the second, and this book read just as good. The characters are well-developed and it was very easy for me to pick a side when it came to Viv’s love choice. There were so many parts in this book where I laughed out loud and didn’t really have a choice in the matter. A lot of the language between the characters is flirty and packed with sexual innuendos, but that’s what makes this book a dirty little pleasure!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Gallery Books in exchange for my honest review***





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