Review: The Last Carolina Sister (Michelle Major)

The Last Carolina Sister
Series: Magnolia Sisters, #3
Author: Michelle Major
Publication Date: March 30, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In Magnolia, North Carolina, love might be waiting right next door…

Meredith Ventner knows a wounded creature when she sees one. Though her temporary new neighbor may be—on the surface at least—a successful, drop-dead gorgeous doctor, she recognizes the deep hurt Ryan Sorensen is carrying, and it’s catnip to her soul. But even though Meredith is the youngest, scrappiest and single-est of Magnolia’s most famous sisters, she’s committed to expanding the animal shelter on her newly inherited farm. She can’t waste her energy on a man who’s only passing through town.

Ryan is hoping that after a month of small-town living he’ll be healed enough to return to his busy ER. His injured leg isn’t half as painful as his guilt from the tragedy he’s trying to forget. Yet somehow, helping feisty, tenderhearted Meredith care for her menagerie is making him question his career-first priorities. Here in this quirky small town another future is coming into view, but can he change his life, and open his heart, to claim it?


It’s been a while since I read a book by Michelle Major. The Last Carolina Sister was a nice reintroduction to her writing. Despite being the third book in the series, it was easy to jump right in. There was just enough background information given about Meredith and her sisters for their relationships and the story to make sense. It was also given in a way that didn’t feel like information dumping or cause a break in the story. My only complaint about the writing would be the switch between Meredith and Ryan’s POVs. It was a small change in font rather than a new chapter or heading with their names to discern when things changed between the two. That made it feel more abrupt when it changed and took me a while to get used to.

As for the story and characters, I liked them both. Meredith was dealing with who she was after finding out her father was not her biological sister, that she had sisters, and that she was the only one of them still single. She also was trying to expand her animal shelter. Ryan was dealing with a tragic shooting that left him injured, mourning a friend, and on a “vacation” from his job as an ER doctor. The more time Meredith and Ryan spent together, the more I loved them together. Meredith was a little insecure, but also determined. Ryan was grumpy and trying to wallow in his pain. I enjoyed how Meredith’s animal rescue brought them together. Helping out at the rescue and falling for Meredith became part of what helped Ryan heal, and in turn he helped Meredith heal. I loved the emotional journey they took together and love they built. The whole animal aspect just added such a special connection.

The Last Carolina Sister was a sweet, well written love story. I’m looking forward to going back and reading Meredith’s sisters’ stories.

Review: Must Love Dogs…and Hockey (Kelly Jamieson)

Must Love Dogs…and Hockey
Series: Bears Hockey, #1
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Lilly:  My life is like the love child of a train wreck and a dumpster fire right now. I’ve been canned, my professional reputation is shredded, and now I’m walking dogs to make ends meet.
But I still believe everything will work out. Somehow.
Then a dog at the park attacks my friend’s dog. At first, I’m ready to give the owner hell—but it turns out he’s in desperate need of doggie daycare. I figure, why not? I love dogs and I need the cash.
Too bad his cocky bad boy attitude annoys me. He’s too damn cute for his own good. And I’m not talking about the dog.

Easton: My coach is riding my ass and I’m not handling it well. When I’m saddled with an abandoned pooch, my teammate thinks a dog will keep my temper in check. I think I have enough problems already.
But when my new dog gets into a tussle that leads me to meet a smoking hot chick who knows how to handle the rascal, I start to think pet ownership isn’t all bad. At least it gives me an excuse to see Lilly again. . . .
Neither of us are interested in a relationship. First they steal your bed, then they steal your heart. And I’m not talking about the dog.


Before I start my review, I just have to say I’m really digging this cover. With so many authors going illustrated covers, this cover made me want more like. I absolutely love the couple loving on the dog. Plus, the green props. A+ cover in my book.

As for the story, it was as cute as the cover. I adored the way Easton became a dog owner. The way Otis wrapped his legs and heart around Easton made me so happy. Everything involving that dog was magic. I loved that Otis was responsible for Easton meeting Lilly and, therefore, what came after.

Lilly and Easton were both interesting characters, mostly due to their pasts. Those pasts weighed them down a lot. I liked how they reminded me and seemed to be based off a couple of real life events. That could have made the feel to this story on the angst ridden side, but it didn’t. I liked how light the story still felt despite what the characters were dealing with. Lilly and Easton’s romance had this nice, natural feel to it. Everything seemed to happen just as it should, in a cute way. When things went wrong (because you know they do at some point in a romance usually), I felt their heart ache, but I still felt happy because I knew good things were to come. The romance between them was so cute and well written.

I did have a few of things I wanted more of from this book. The first was regarding everything that went down inside the hockey organization. That was such a big deal, and I think I wanted to feel the explosiveness of the situation rather than just be told how it all went down in the end. Same with Lilly’s court case. Maybe that would have made this book heavier than I wanted, though. I don’t know. I guess I just wanted to feel more in touch with those two events. Oh! I also wanted to know what was up with Lilly’s freaking dad. That kind of resolved, but we never got to know the why of it all. That was frustrating.

That being said, this truly was a fun, new hockey romance series from Jamieson. I like how it started, and I can’t wait to find out what’s coming next in it. I’m guessing a certain someone’s book who was mentioned at the end. I am loving that idea. I also very much want a Cookie book. How could I not with a hockey player nicknamed Cookie. Makes me think of a giant teddy bear.

Release Day Review: The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

The Trouble with Mistletoe
Series: Heartbreaker Bay, #2
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

If she has her way …

Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her …

He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.

Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead-gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him …

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice …

Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish—and let the mistletoe do its work …


The Trouble with Mistletoe is a Christmas romance set in Jill Shalvis’ new Heartbreak Bay series. It’s almost a second chance romance. The characters, Willa and Keane, went to the same high school. When they run into each other in Willa’s pet shop, sparks fly. Neither are looking for a relationship, but they can’t deny their connection.

If you’re a contemporary romance fan and haven’t read one of Jill Shalvis’ novels or are looking to start reading adult contemporary romances, I would highly suggest starting with this author. Her stories are fun, witty and filled with quirky characters. Her books always make me smile and laugh.

The Trouble with Mistletoe did both of those things. Willa was a character who something funny or crazy was always happening to. It was hard not to laugh at the situations she found herself in. She was always trying to save others — people and animals — but she usually ended up being the one who needed saving. Willa had such a big heart. Keane was a lot more reserved than Willa. He tried to avoid love. Keane had a wall built around his heart due that only Willa and Petunia seemed to be able to crack.

The characters who really stole the show in The Trouble with Mistletoe were the animals. They all had such big personalities and created such mischief! I loved that the author included them in this story. It reminded me of her Animal Magnetism series, which I loved.

The only thing I felt The Trouble with Mistletoe was lacking was maybe a bigger conflict. I was waiting for a big something between Keane and Willa. Their conflict was relatable, but didn’t stand out that much. In a way I liked that since it was a Christmas story, but I also wanted something a little more dramatic.

Overall, The Trouble with Mistletoe was a really fun Christmas-time romance. I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a fun and light holiday read.