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How many children? Book Reviews

In Her Candy Jar Book Cover In Her Candy Jar
Svenssons
Alina Jacobs
Romantic Comedy, Womens' Fiction
Kindle

I am always fully in control of my company, my family, and my life. Even my diet is perfectly regulated—that includes no candy.

Except when my new assistant sprays chocolate sauce all over me and passes out drunk in my car, it marks the point where my control over everything starts to unravel.

Josie is a walking disaster and some sort of sugar addict.

And she's determined to turn me into a fiend for her candy.

Josie

Routines are the enemy of life. I live to be spontaneous.

My new billionaire boss looks like he needs something sweet in his life. I graciously offered to let him stick his hand in my candy jar.

It has salt water taffy and gummy worms! I can't believe he thought it was inappropriate!

I feel sorry for the guy. His little brothers are miserable, his PowerPoints are uninspired, and his life is seriously lacking in joy. And candy.

Though if I'm being honest, I could use a little more discipline. My YOLO, fly-by-the-seat-of-my pants philosophy already sent my life into a tailspin.

It cost me the entirety of my life savings.

I'm living in a dilapidated tiny house that’s trying to kill me.

I regularly eat chocolate chips and boxed wine for dinner.

In an effort to redeem myself, I set out to show Mace that I wasn't a clumsy, car destroying, electronic-killing, accident-prone, walking disaster. That lasted all of five minute before I set his seaweed and quinoa lunch on fire. Yeah, I didn't know that was a thing either. 

I can tell I'm a bad influence. I see him lick his lips when we're alone. I just have to convince him to take one little bite…

Because once he has a taste, he's going to want to stick his whole face in my candy jar!

Alina Jacobs’ books
So Alina has written quite a number of books in a very short time.  She writes at night as she is an architect by day – but when does she bake? Or look at Instagram for baking ideas? I say this because baking of cakes, muffins, biscuits and the like, appear in nearly all the books as being main characters. And the contents are inspiring for the amateur baker – inspiring them never to try anything quite so complex!
[PS, I asked her directly, and she admitted she didn't bake, but got inspiration from others on the Net.]
She has a number of series running - all about (at the moment) hot brothers who have turned themselves, after a bad childhood for different reasons , into billionaires. Oh, and they all seem to look alike. 
The Svenssons all look like blond Vikings and the Frosts all have whitish hair and like the cold weather, and the Holbrooks have brown hair. They are all 6 foot 5 or more. 
The Frosts have a sister who is mentioned, Belle, The Holbrooks have a sister, Dana, who is mentioned, and the Svenssons don’t quite know how many sisters they have – their father is on his, at least, 11th sister-wife, as he runs a polygamist cult in the desert. He keeps the girls well secreted away as they are valuable resources in such cults; the boys are sent off to Harrogate and the eldest boys – Remy, and Hunter, and any others who happen to be in residence. They estimate that there are around 100ish boys that their father has had through his wives. So plenty for Alina to write about, although some are quite young when this series starts. And we don’t have the names of all of them yet, nor which wife is their mother, although nearly all wives have multiple children.
The boys that marry in this series seem to fall for curvy girls/women – which makes sense that they would like similarly built women, as the Svensson genes are very predominant and the father marries blond girls to enhance the ‘look’.
And the wives in these stories usually manage to cook something for the majorly hungry boys – imagine having over 30 people for EVERY meal! Help always needed to feed hungry young stomachs.
 In the series about the Frost brothers, they relate what happens at a reality TV show about Baking at Xmas and the bakers that the brothers fall for.
The Svenssons tend to have a variety of girlfriends and wives, all of whom can cook to some extent, but may have other jobs too.
The Holbrooks get involved and involved with, the artisans of the Weddings in the City co-operative.
 I found myself confused with the Svenssons particularly. And with there being so many of these guys at all ages from the triplets at 28 months to Remy at well over 40 it was tricky, so I was delighted when I found the book in which Alina identifies all the Svenssons and which wife they come from. It is worth noting that not all of them visit Harrogate, as at some point there was a major rift and some live in Boston or Seattle. [books on these will follow]
But full brothers tend to stick together. 
The young boys are put on a train by their father and sent from his desert home to Harrogate, a journey of around 72 hours. Alone. Henry being the youngest to whom this ever happened at age 4 or 5, they weren't sure. But Hunter normally knows when they are coming because he has paid his father for them! The brothers have founded several companies together. Some consultancy, some real estate, others computing. They prefer to do this than work for other people. They then employ the younger guys as Interns and Juniors to learn the business. The Holbrooks operate in much the same way, although there are far fewer of them.
So here goes – Svenssons.
1.       Merla Vee
                               i.            Remy : Rural Trust - a veteran who came out with some small mental issues that make him very shy and very fond of animals.
                               ii.            Hunter : Lawyer : very controlling as he keeps order with all the boys that come to him. When they arrive, the young boys tend to be semi-feral, with no social graces, unable to speak properly, and very underfed.
                             iii.            Gunnar : Romance Creative: TV Guru.
                             iv.            Mace :CEO Svensson Pharmatech
                               v.            Archer : CEO Greyson Hotel Group - appears very laid back but has a surprisingly  successful business.
                             vi.            Garrett: CFO Pharmatech: lots of medicines and other such items.
                            vii.            Weston : CEO ThinkX: consultancy of various types especially projects.
                          viii.            Blade: COO Thinkx
                              ix.            Parker: CTO Pharmatech
2.       Athlyn
                              i.            Greg : CEO Svensson Investments: tends to be the funder for all the investments and improvements for the family.
                              ii.            Walker: COO Quantum Cyber: the very technical end of the businesses. including Security and Govt contracts.
                             iii.            Mike : COO Greyson
                             iv.            Beck: CFO Greyson
                              v.            Liam: COO Platinum Provisions: amazing cooking implements with great precision.
                             vi.            Carl: Managing Partner Investments
3.       Amyra
                                 i.            Salinger
                               ii.            Unknown how many more
4.       Mary Beth
                               i.            Crawford
                               ii.            Josh : Svensson and Svensson Law
                             iii.            Eric: Svensson and Svensson law
                             iv.            Unknown how many more
5.       Sueanne
                               i.            Unknown how many
6.       Brenna: younger boys
                              i.            Tristan: college
                             ii.            Eli: college
                             iii.            Isaac: high school
                             iv.            Calvin:
                             v.            Ronan
                             vi.            Theo
                            vii.            Payton
                          viii.            Andy
 
7.       … not yet named with children
8.       …not yet named with children
9.       Idonna
                               i.            Bruno
                              ii.            Oris
                             iii.            Ellis
                             iv.            Orlando
                              v.            Scout
                             vi.            Oscar
                            vii.            Arlo
 
10.   Payslee
                              i.            Adrian
                              ii.            Nate
                             iii.            Billy
                             iv.            Henry
 
11.   Kimberly
                                 i.            Davy
 
There are also triplet toddler boys, as yet with no name or mother identified.
List of books in series:
Holiday Romance:
Eating her christmas Cookies
Eating her Baked Goods
Tasting her christmas Cookies
Tasting her Chocolate Cake
Frosting her Christmas Cookies.
 Svenssons:
 After his peonies
In her candy jar
His candy crush
On his paintbrush
Paint him
In her pumpkin patch
                  This is one of the stories about the Svenssons and how Garret is trying to rescue all the boys his father had had with his 9, and counting, wives.
See also Japanese Pancakes – which again are a new item of baking to me, but sound delicious.
 In her pumpkin pies
Between her biscuits
Peaches and cream
Peony for your thoughts
After her fake fiancé
After her wedding cake
In her jam jar
In her pumpkin butter
Tulips together
 
Weddings in the City
Bridezillas
Short engagement
Wedding bells
Wedding mayhem
 Now I have read all the books and the freebie Epilogues provided by the author, but I won’t review them - but I recommend them all for a lighthearted, humorous look at a type of life most of us will never encounter. The boys all tend to be adventurous, inventive, entrepreneurial right from a young age, and end up with money - lots of it. Their romances don't go well but they end up happy. The main pull of these books for me is the humour and the amazing set up of the family. An author who starts with a potential 100+ characters to follow as they grow up has ambition! Several families and good female friends get involved at various points and then there is a lot of cake involved!
 

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Frosty story: Author explains her writing

Chasing Frost Book Cover Chasing Frost
(West Side, #5)
Isabel Jolie
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: January 2021

He’s not exactly who he appears to be. But then again, neither is she… Chase I’ve never felt as out of my league as I did when I met Sydney Frost. Not in the years I’ve spent starting successful companies or since. Working for a prestigious firm gives me status and power, and I’m already a master at charming my way through a crowd—or into the bedroom. One new office colleague should be a piece of cake to win over. Ms. Frost, however, is giving my efforts a chilly reception. Time to remind her that I’m not afraid to live up to my name, either… “Sydney” On the surface, it looks like I have it all: a new, influential job, a nice salary, and the hottest young executive in the company falling over himself to introduce me to the best New York City has to offer. It’s all a lie. My name is Sadie Keating, not Sydney Frost, and I’m an undercover agent for the FBI on a case that could make or break my career. Chase Maitlin, my sexy and persistent would-be suitor, is the prime suspect in a major cross-agency investigation. I’m the rookie desperately trying not to fall for him. Chasing Frost, the fifth book in the West Side series, is a steamy, enemies-to-lovers, sometimes funny, sometimes suspenseful, contemporary romance featuring a smart, dedicated heroine and the sexy bad boy who steals her heart. All of the contemporary romance novels in the West Side Series are standalone and can be read in any order.  

  • Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? 
  • Chase, the hero in Chasing Frost, is the fun friend in the prior books. On the outset, he seems to have a big ego, but actually a lot of the tough bravado covers a degree of insecurity. When I thought about who he’d fall for, I decided a woman who could kick his ass literally, as well as possibly figuratively, might be just the challenge he needed. That’s how I came up with the idea of having him fall for an FBI agent.
    • What appealed to you about it?
    • I like FBI romance as a genre, but I especially like strong heroines.
    • Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
    • In their own ways, at the start of the relationship, both Chase and Sadie are pretending to be someone they’re not.
  • How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it?
  • I’m not quite sure, but ideas percolate for quite some time. I don’t measure it.

Do you have a set of notes or a notebook where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

I do have stacks of notebooks and when I complete a notebook, I’ll go through and “file” pages under categories such as ‘Ideas’, or “Names I like”, etc. Only this past Christmas my husband gave me a device called a Remarkable. It’s an electronic notebook (for lack of a better word), but you can file pages by topic. I was skeptical, but I think it might replace my paper notebooks. My favorite feature is the ability to read articles on the web and send it to my remarkable for filing. It’s much easier than bookmarking (and hoping I can find it later) or printing (ie killing trees – and hoping I can find it later).

  • How long does it take to research a topic before you write?
  • When I plot out my calendar for the year, I allow one month for research and outlining. But, I tend to have ideas well before the scheduled month and research long before the allotted month.
    • And for this book? I researched for several months, but I can’t say for certain how long.
  • What resources do you use?
  • In general and for the last book that you wrote? The internet, obviously, is a great resource. I also like nonfiction books. For this book, I found an author, Jerri Williams, who is a retired FBI agent. I read her book, FBI Myths and Misconceptions, and I also listened to a ton of the episodes on her podcast with other FBI agents, as well as some others she recommended to me by phone.
  • Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

Publishing is a business. I’ve never been traditionally published, but it seems to me any author a publisher selects is a risk. An author who already has proven himself/herself, and has a subscriber base to market, represents a lower risk. So, if I were a publisher, I’d look for authors who have already shown readers like their work and will buy it. If I were a publisher in this competitive environment, I would look to minimize my risk.

Therefore, it seems to me, self-publishing to start would be a benefit. I’ve heard of people taking years to find an agent and/or publisher. YEARS. When I hear that, I think of all the books they could have published in that time, all the readers they could have gained, all the things they could have learned to improve their craft and marketing skills…and to me, it feels like wasted time.  All that time writing letters to agents and tracking responses, in my mind, could be better spent increasing one’s value as a writer.

  • Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

I published my first book one year ago, and writing (for me) absolutely does not provide enough income to live off of.

I’m pretty sure some author, somewhere, wrote that if you’re writing to become rich, you’ve chosen the wrong field. Maybe I just dreamed that, but right now that feels true. I think for the vast majority of authors, it takes potentially a few years with multiple releases before sales can cover expenses. This is my second year of publishing, so I expect I still have a ways to go before I’m living off the income.

  • What do you read when you are ill in bed?
  • Romance! I recently binged Bridgerton, and if I were sick tomorrow, I’d binge read that whole series.
  • What is your favourite genre?
  • Romance. Always has been. I do read a lot of nonfiction, but it’s never as enjoyable, and its always (for me) been something I choose to read for business purposes.
  • If you could recommend a living author – who would it be?
  • Jewel E. Ann. I love the variety in her work. A dead author? Maya Angelou.
  • In your opinion who is the funniest author now writing?
  • Jana Aston
  • What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?
  • Trash. I’ve moved far too many times to be a pack rat. The floppy disks it might have survived on were dumped long ago…back whenever computers that accepted floppy disks died out.
  • Do you have any pets?
  • Yes
    • If so, what are they?
    • A labradoodle and a cat.
    • And what are they called?
    • Roxie and Figgy.
    • Do they help you write? Eg our cats like to sit on my desk/computer and play with my mouse. 

Roxie is almost always next to me, no matter where I am in the house. Since I work from home, you could say she helps me write. Sometimes she interrupts me for a scratch or to go outside. Figgy hates Roxie, in a claws-out kind of way, and therefore he never comes around.

  • What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing?
  • I live on a lake, and one day Roxie was roaming our backyard while I was writing. A mother goose and her babies came up on the beach. Roxie charged forward, and the goose rose up from the water’s edge, wings spread out, expanding to easily three times her size. Roxie did a one-eighty, tucked her tail and ran back up to me for protection.

About the Author:

Isabel Jolie, or Izzy to her friends, is an Amazon bestselling indie author with an unquenchable thirst for a good, sexy love story. Izzy’s heart pumps faster for stories with strong heroines, down-to-earth realism, and an unexpected twist.

When she’s not writing or reading, she can often be found with a glass of wine in hand relaxing with her husband, daughters, and good friends lakeside.

Izzy fills her Instagram feed with funnies, inspirational “brain candy”, and anything that meshes with her mood of the day.

https://isabeljoliebooks.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19801964.Isabel_Jolie

https://www.facebook.com/isabeljoliebooks

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Who has time to Date? Book Review

Nicole Book Cover Nicole
(Sewing in SoCal book 3)
Sarah Monzon
Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Humour
BooksGoSocial, Radiant Publications (29 Nov. 2020)
January 7, 2021

Who has time to date when she’s trying to raise a miniature human by herself AND save the planet from its irresponsible inhabitants? Not to mention my winning personality (snort) and my curves-have-curves figure (eyeroll) don’t exactly attract the opposite sex. Unfortunately, none of these reasons have stopped my best friends and SoCal sewing sisters from taking on the archaic role of matchmakers, and they’re not beneath a little bribery if that’s what it takes to get my cooperation. Let’s just say everyone has their weak spot, and donations to my favourite charities is mine. If I were to consider a romantic relationship, my dream guy certainly wouldn’t be immature, everything-is-a-game Dr. Drew Bauer. The man raises my body temperature faster than global warming does the Earth’s! But life seems determined to keep throwing us together, especially now that one of my SoCal sewing sisters is engaged to his best friend, in which case there can only be one of two outcomes: 1. I kill him in a fit of annoyance. 2. My common sense escapes me, and I fall in love with him. Honestly, I'm not sure which would be worse.

The story starts with the Blind Date.
You know the one.
Set up by your friends who are worried about you and you agree to go under protest – and here because they promise to make a donation to your favourite charity.
And you are curvy and your date doesn’t believe you don’t eat a lot – especially fatty fried food – and orders for you. Food you don’t want.
And he flirts with the waitress, makes derogatory remarks and implications about your shape and size and then leaves.
The story is told by both characters, Nicole and Drew, so we learn early on that he really likes her in an sort of she irritates him and he keeps thinking about her sort of way – and so the trope begins.
I liked the storyline. I liked Nicole and her values and her daughter and her mother too.
I approve of environmental concerns and definitely saving the whale and reducing plastic use. Nicely written and fun to read.

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Do you love Food? Book Review

Lindsey Love Loves Book Cover Lindsey Love Loves
LLL Book 1
Sophie Sinclair
Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Humour
Sophie Sinclair
October 8, 2020
332

Lindsey Love's career as a food critic is suddenly taking off when she's approached by Food and Travel to take her show to Europe. What could be more fun than to travel with her best friend Patrick, eat amazing food, and see the sights? What she doesn't bargain for is the surly, egotistical producer with the icy glare, dimples, and a penchant for questioning her every move. Nick Elliot, ex-Navy SEAL turned producer, finds himself suddenly thrown into a project he doesn't want to take on. Producing a snotty food critic's show over in Europe is not at the top of his agenda. She's stubborn, sassy, and he finds himself inextricably drawn to her. When things go awry abroad, Nick has to make the decision to save his own future or give up everything to protect Lindsey.Lindsey Love Love is a stand alone Romantic Comedy with a little bit of suspense.

Lindsey starts this story 8 weeks before the main events when she is living in a small apartment above a battle-axe.

Lindsey is a Food Blogger and plays on her name Lindsey Love for the name of her blog. And she is getting known in the media and TV shows are…

And the show that they want her to do next involves a Producer who doesn’t want to produce for his ‘friend’ as the last show he did for him was – well let’s just say he got naked a lot in that one!

So we have anguish, dislike, anger and lots of steam in various forms.

And a nicely written book about food. Little cafes, interesting places to go to visit in Europe, and a love story in the end.

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High up there is a meeting place: Book Review

What We Find Book Cover What We Find
(Sullivan’s Crossing, Book 1)
Robyn Carr
Fiction
HarperCollins UK, Mills and boon
April 1, 2016
384

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF VIRGIN RIVER SULLIVANS’ CROSSING: BOOK ONE 

Is leaving her life behind the only way for Maggie to find happiness – and love?

Neurosurgeon Maggie Sullivan knows she needs to slow down before she burns out completely, and the best place she can do that is by heading home to Sullivan’s Crossing.

Indulging in the simple life should be the perfect escape. But Maggie’s world is rocked and she must take responsibility for the Crossing.

When quiet and serious Cal Jones, offers to lend a hand, Maggie is suspicious of his motive. Though as Cal and Maggie spend more time together it gives Maggie hope for something brighter just on the horizon…

This is a book based in Sulllivan’s Crossing, a camp site, high up in the mountains, and it is a really nice long read.  It is a story of second chances.

I remember reading about these really long mountain trails in the United States in actual biographies of people who have undertaken these trails, so the setting was immediately less strange to me.

 In these stories of how people undertook these extreme long walks they mentioned the crossing places where people met up, left packages in the post office, left messages for other travellers in diaries, and so on. But this is Colorado and to own a crossing place in Colorado, high up in the mountains, is an extreme undertaking. There is such a long cold winter and such a short summer.

 I thought that the background stories of Cole and Maggie were told wonderfully.

 I specially empathised with Cal – California – and his wife with scleroderma. Our daughter has it, although not so aggressively as in his wife’s case.  It can be very nasty indeed, especially in the world of autoimmune diseases as it tends to be – see one add one.  

To some extent the ending was inevitable, but the way we got there was very nicely told. This may not be great literature but it is satisfying reading. Good storytelling, well described characters, and some good plotting, as the author herself tells us – there should always be possibilities in a good story  – believable ones have a complex process in plotting, and the greats of literature she says, got their characters up a tree and then threw rocks at them (see location 2478 in the eBook).

A solid 4 stars.

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