Skip to main content

Better Late Than Never: Review of "Valentine Kisses" by Ann B. Harrison

Title: Valentine Kisses
Author: Ann B. Harrison
Publisher: Self Published
Series: Moore Sisters #2
Price: $3.99 (e-book only)
Rating: DNF

I am a Food Network addict.  No, seriously.  While typing this, I am watching the newest episode of Worst Cooks in America, where the recruits are learning how to grind their own sausages--and no, that is not a euphemism).  When I saw Valentine Kisses involved a fictional Food Network star and Masterchef winner, I was excited.  Books with cooks are totally my catnip.  If you wanted to trap me, just set out a bunch of romances about a cooking, some Pop-Tarts, and a can of Coke (or 7 Up) and your job will be done.  All Ms. Harrison had to do was write a readable book and she would have had me.  Sadly, Valentine Kisses failed at this most basic thing.

From the Publisher:

Bella Moore thought she had everything she ever wanted. The host of a hit reality show, she’s at the top of her career. So when her show goes on hiatus for six months and she finally has downtime, she decides to return to her roots and visit her sister in Cherry Lake. What she doesn’t expect is to love the town and the temporary chef position she’s taken on at the Lake Hotel.
Jake Woods is focused on his son and his job as the local fire chief. Things are moving along nicely until the new chef at the Lake Hotel almost burns the place down. Jake knows that Bella inherited a mess from the chef before her and he’s keen to help her.
After weeks of working together in tight quarters, Jake and Bella can’t ignore the sparks between them. But Bella’s stay in Cherry Lake is only temporary and Jake still hasn’t recovered from losing his wife a few years ago. They’ll have to decide whether or not the flame between them can survive without the heat of the kitchen.

The Review:

As I said, I was really down for this book and am so disappointed that I couldn't even manage to read 174 pages.  What annoys me the most is that there were glimpses of the good book it could have been.  I did enjoy Ms. Harrison's writing, although it could use a little bit of polishing.  I don't know her process and I'm not well-versed in the whole self-publishing thing, but I think that Ms. Harrison would benefit from the expertise of a professional editor.  A lot of this book's problems would hopefully be solved by an editor's red pen.

The biggest issue I had was that it seemed like certain plot points were added in just to have something there.  For instance, the cover copy makes it sound as if Bella returns to Montana because her show is on hiatus. This is a completely reasonable thing for someone to do.  Wanting to see her sister is reason enough for her return to Montana., but Ms. Harrison decided that Bella couldn't just go home for a visit, so she gave her something that forced her to leave Seattle, where for some reason her show was taped (as far as I know, most of the Food Network's shows are filmed in New York City--not Seattle).  I don't understand why this was necessary, and to make matters worse, when this plot point was brought up, it wasn't done consistently.


Another thing that bugged me was that Bella is both surprised that Jake doesn't recognize her as being a famous chef while at the same time is surprised that other people in that small town do recognize her.  Maybe she was just so wrapped up in everything that has happened in the three years since she won Masterchef that she figured everybody would know who she was, but this just wasn't depicted very well.

I really wish this book would have worked for me, but it didn't.  It barely held my concentration and when it did, it just didn't make sense.  Research isn't a dirty word.  It might be time-consuming, but if you're going to introduce something like the above spoiler, you need to know what you're talking about.  Sadly, Ms. Harrison didn't.


Popular posts from this blog

Fifteen Years Later: Review of "His Sinful Touch" by Candace Camp

Title: His Sinful Touch
Author: Candace Camp
ISBN: 0373789963
Publisher: HQN
Series: Mad Morelands #5
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $5.99 (e-book) $19.96(Audible)

Most readers remember their first, the first book of their particular genre that they read, whether they enjoyed the book or not.  I have two firsts--the first romance I ever read was a Harlequin Intrigue written by Amanda Stevens.  If you've read my blog before you probably already know this.  The first historical romance I read was Mesmerized by Candace Camp, which was also the first book in her Mad Morelands series.  

I was a senior in high school when this series began and I remember seeing the paperback version of Mesmerized on the shelf at the Target on Queens Blvd (yes, I spent a lot of time on Queens Blvd as a teenager), and was pulled in by the gorgeous cover.  Apparently, that book has had several covers over the last 15 years, but this is the one I remember:

Isn't it pretty?  Of course from the cover I…

Review of "New York, Actually" by Sarah Morgan

Title: New York, Actually
Author: Sarah Morgan
ISBN: 0373804105
Publisher: HQN Books
Series: From Manhattan with Love #4
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $5.99 (e-book) $19.96 (Audible)
Rating: 🐶🐶🐶🐶1/2

If you follow me on social media, you'll have seen my posts about this book over the last week.  For the most part, they weren't very positive -- until about 20% into the book, I hated the hero.  If I could have set him on fire, I probably would have.  It was only Ms. Morgan's prose and the fact that I had been looking forward to this book for 6 months that kept me reading.  For once, I am glad I was so wrong about a character.

From the PublisherOne man. One woman. Two dogs.  Meet Molly—New York's most famous advice columnist, she considers herself an expert at relationships…as long as they're other people's. Still bruised from her last breakup, Molly is in no rush to find happily-ever-after—the only love of her life is her dalmatian, Valentine.  Meet Daniel—A cynical divorce …

Blog Tour: Excerpt and Review of "Lord of Chance" by Erica Ridley

Title: Lord of Chance Author: Erica Ridley ISBN: 1943794049 Publisher: Webmotion Series: Rogues to Riches #1 Price: $7.99 (paperback) $3.99 (e-book) $9.97 (Audible Audio)
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

I was recently given the opportunity to take part in a Blog Tour for the newest Erica Ridley novel, Lord of Chance, and as I've liked her books in the past, I decided to do it.  The publisher quickly provided me with  a whole folder full of goodies, so without further ado:
The Excerpt
'Charlotte harrumphed to hide her amusement. “How are you at pressing wrinkles from gowns?” “Let me assure you,” Mr. Fairfax informed her with utter seriousness, “that I have never worn a wrinkled gown in all my life.” “Very gentlemanly.” She tried not to smile. “Let’s see your skill as maid-of-all-work, then. My gowns are in the wardrobe, as is my traveling iron. See what you can do.” “At your service.” He bowed, then turned and marched to the wardrobe like a soldier off to war. Now that he couldn’t see her, she let her…

Review of "On the Surface" by Kate Willoughby

Title: On the Surface
Author: Kate Willoughby
Publisher: Carina Press
Series: In the Zone #1
Price: $4.99 (e-book) | $12.47 (Audible Audio)
Rating: DNF

From the Publisher
NHL player Tim Hollander lost his temper one time and threw a water bottle at an abusive fan. After “Bottlegate,” he’s traded to the San Diego Barracudas, where he’ll need to keep the bad publicity to a minimum while proving he can still compete with the younger guys on the ice.
Erin Collier is a pediatric nurse who’s never seen a hockey game, but gets in line for Tim’s autograph at a PR event in hopes of impressing the doctor she has a crush on. When an obnoxious fan gets pushy toward Erin, Tim rushes to defend the pretty stranger, throwing a punch in the process.
Grateful for the rescue, Erin agrees to stand by Tim during the resulting press conference and host him at a hospital charity event. Their chemistry is palpable, and soon their lives are intertwined. But Erin doubts a hockey player is capable of an…

Review of "A Stardance Summer" by Emily March

Title: A Stardance Summer
Author: Emily March
ISBN: 1250131685
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Series: Eternity Springs #13
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $7.99 (e-book) $17.13 (Audible)
Rating:No Stars

Disclaimer: I wrote this review as a part of a Blog Tour, but have since pulled out of it for obvious reasons.  I am not editing the content of the review, so any mentions of the Blog Tour remain.

I want to start this review by saying that this is not the type of book I usually read and had I known this, I would not have signed up for this Blog Tour.  While it does not appear as if this is being marketed as a "Christian Romance" that is exactly what this is.  As a New York-born, California-living Atheist with degrees from two liberal universities, I am not exactly the target demographic for this book (or for this author, for that matter).  Despite feeling duped by the marketing, I made the effort to read the entire thing.  Honestly, had I stopped at any point before reaching the end,…