Naughty & Nice: Three Holiday Treats

Goodreads Summary:

’Tis the season for romance with three original holiday-themed novellas! Unwrap this festive eBook bundle and discover why these authors are quickly becoming the biggest names in the genre. Ruthie Knox tells a heartwarming contemporary story of first loves given the gift of a second chance; Molly O’Keefe releases the ghosts of Christmas past with a prequel to her novel Crazy Thing Called Love; and Stefanie Sloane weaves an irresistible Regency tale of fiery passion that burns deep on a cold winter’s night.


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ROOM AT THE INN by Ruthie Knox

Carson Vance couldn’t wait to get out of Potter Falls, but now that he’s back to spend Christmas with his ailing father, he must face all the people he left behind . . . like Julie Long, whose heart he broke once upon a time. Now the proprietor of the local inn, Julie is a successful, seductive, independent woman—everything that Carson’s looking for. But despite several steamy encounters under the mistletoe, Julie refuses to believe in happily ever after. Now Carson must prove to Julie that he’s back for good—and that he wants her in his life for all the holidays to come.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this story. It was a good start to the book too. I loved how the couple (Carson and Julie) were old flames and it was about them getting back together and Carson staying home.

Rating: 4 out of 5



ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU by Molly O’Keefe

Maddy Baumgarten and Billy Wilkins are spontaneous, in love, and prepared to elope the day after Christmas—that is, if Maddy’s family doesn’t throw a wrench in their plans. After all, Maddy’s barely out of high school and Billy’s a notorious bad boy. Maddy doesn’t care about Billy’s rough past—all she cares about is living in the here and now. But after Maddy’s mother stops speaking to her in protest, and a Christmas Eve heart-to-heart with her father leaves her with butterflies, Maddy starts to get cold feet. She loves Billy, but is she taking this big step too soon?

My Thoughts:

This was my least liked story on the book. I think this was because at times I was unsure how to take Billy. Then at other times he was really sweet. The story does have a HEA so that was definitely a plus.

Rating: 2 out of 5



ONE PERFECT CHRISTMAS by Stefanie Sloane

After being jilted by her fiancé, Jane Merriweather turns to her dear childhood friend, the Honorable Lucas Cavanaugh, for support—and unlocks the smoldering desire simmering in the man’s troubled heart. Frightened by his newfound feelings, Lucas flees to Scotland. But when the Christmas season brings them together again, one glance is all that’s needed to reignite his yearning. If Lucas can convince Jane that his intentions are as pure as the falling snow, they’ll turn a dreary December into a joyous Yuletide affair.

My Thoughts:

This was my favorite story of the book and I am so glad it was last! It left me with a good feeling and "save the best for last" really rang true here. This was a historical story so it took me back to when I first started reading romance. I loved the story and will look for more books by Stefanie Sloane in the future.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Overall Review:

I am glad I read this book all of the stories are Christmas romances so it was perfect for this time of year. I also love the sexy cover, something as eye catching as the "man candy" certainly makes me want to buy the book!

Actual overall rating: 3.5 out of 5
 
Links:


Shelf Candy Saturday (32): Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker


Shelf Candy Saturday is hosted by A Night's Dream of Books.
 

Ten Tiny Breaths
by K.A. Tucker


Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.

Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.

But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.

**Warning - This is a Mature YA/New Adult book. Contains sex and violence**

Amazon 

My Thoughts: I love the contrast of the reds and blues and how the blues look like water just flowing over the cover. I am really excited to read this one.


The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson and Richard Dilallo

Goodreads Summary:

The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill’s wedding. Since her husband dies three years ago, Gaby’s four children have drifted apart, each consumed by the turbulence of their own lives. They haven’t celebrated Christmas together since their father’s death, but when Gaby announces that she’s getting married—and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day—she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays.

But the wedding isn’t Gaby’s only surprise—she has one more gift for her children, and it could change all their lives forever.

My Thoughts:

I can’t say that I’ve read a book quite like this before. Gaby is planning a wedding on Christmas but won’t reveal who the groom is until then. Each of her suitors seem like good men, they would have to be to be willing to help plan and show up to a wedding not knowing if they were the groom. They all know and accept that Gaby is unique and does things in her own way.

The mystery of not knowing the groom kept me turning the pages but what was missing for me was the romance feel between Gaby and these men. You can tell they all deeply care about each other but that’s about as far as it went.

Overall I liked this book but it didn’t wow me.

Overall Rating: 3.75 out of 5


 


Merry Christmas!!



Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to you all! 

A Cowboy for Christmas by Kristen James

Goodreads Summary:

When her estranged brother passes, Missy is suddenly an unwanted co-owner to Ocean View Stables by Florence, Oregon. Missy wants to start over somewhere new after her old boss burned her. She's jobless and has a wrongly ruined reputation, so this works out perfectly . . . until she meets the cowboy running the place. Brent built his dream with determination and his two hands; he's responsible for everything that happens there. Secretly, he feels responsible that his former partner died. He also doesn't hide his belief that Missy won't stick around. Women tend to take off on him so why would she be any different? They both have a past that can ruin their future. Can he trust her to stay? Can she trust him with her heart?


My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this story. It was tame compared  to some of the other cowboy romance books I read this year (Rough Riders series by Lorelei James) but it’s a really good book and it’s a great Christmas romance as well. If you enjoy either Holiday or Cowboy Romances I would recommend this title.

Overall Rating:  4 out of 5


Shelf Candy Saturday (31): Insomnia by J.R. Johansson

Shelf Candy Saturday is hosted by A Night's Dream of Books.



Insomnia 

by J.R. Johansson

It's been four years since I slept, and I suspect it is killing me.

Instead of sleeping, Parker Chipp enters the dream of the last person he's had eye contact with. He spends his nights crushed by other people's fear and pain, by their disturing secrets - and Parker can never have dreams of his own. The severe exhaustion is crippling him. If nothing changes, Parker could soon be facing psychosis and even death.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. parker starts going to mizarre lengths to catch Mia's eye every day. Everyone at school thinks he's gone over the edge, even his best friend. And when Mia is threatened by a true stalker, everyone thinks it's Parker.

Suffering blackouts, Parker begins to wonder if he's turning into someone dangerous. What if the monster stalking Mia is him after all?

I really do have this strange love for dark and creepy covers and this one definitely caught my eye when I saw it here. The things that I like most about this one are the dark circles around his eye from lack of sleep, the cracking showing that he's slowly falling apart from the insomnia, and the creepy blood red letters. Unfortunately we'll have to wait until June 2013 for this to release...but it seems like it could very well be worth the wait!

'Tis the Season (Part 4)


For some of us it's that time of year when we are transitioning from Thansgiving into Christmas and from Fall into Winter. To mark the occasion, Wendy and I have decided to do a series of Holiday related posts. The 4th and final part is Holiday Recipes!! 

Louisana Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients

24  OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 2 cups)
¼ cup  butter, melted
6 squares  BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided
3 pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
¾ cup  sugar
1 tsp.  vanilla
3  eggs
1 Tbsp.  red food coloring

Directions

HEAT oven to 350ºF.

MIX cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray.

MELT 4 chocolate squares as directed on package; place in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs; beat just until blended. Remove 2 cups batter; mix with melted chocolate and food coloring. Carefully spread over crust; cover with remaining plain batter.

BAKE 26 to 28 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Melt remaining chocolate; drizzle over dessert. Refrigerate 4 hours.



My friend, Emmalee, found this recipe for me when I was looking to try something new for the family. She found it on Kraft.com. It was a hit at Thanksgiving and was requested for Christmas…from someone who doesn’t like cheesecake. If that isn’t a shining endorsement I don’t know what is!!




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Chocolate PB Fridge Cookies

2c sugar
1/2 c milk
4 TB cocoa powder
1 stick margarine or butter

Mix together, bring to boil while constantly stirring, remove from heat and
add:

1c PB
1 tsp vanilla

Stir until well combined and add:
3c quick oats

Mix well and drop by spoonful on wax paper lined platters chill for 2 hours
until set.



This was one of my favorites as a child that my grandmother used to make every year around the holidays.

They are so easy to make and they are a huge hit with kids and adults alike. The only trouble is keeping people out of them until they are set! (hehehe)



The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson


Goodreads Summary:

The small town of Parrish Springs is not ready for Matilda Honeycutt. A strange older woman with scraggly gray hair and jewelry that jangles as she walks, Matilda is certainly not the most likely person to buy the old Barton Building on the town’s quint main street. When it becomes apparent that her new shop doesn’t fit the expectations of Parrish Springs residents, a brouhaha erupts. After all, Christmas is approaching, and the last thing the town needs is a junky shop run by someone who looks and acts like a gypsy. But as townsfolk venture into the strange store, they discover that old memories can bring new life and healing.

Once again, Melody Carlson delivers a Christmas story that will touch hearts and delight the senses. Sure to be a classic, The Christmas Shoppe is filled with the special magic the best Christmas stories share – that intangible mixture of nostalgia, joy, and a little bit of magic.

My Thoughts:

This book unfolds at such a relaxed pace, like a cat leisurely stretching after a nap. It was interesting because the book is fairly short (168 pages) but it felt longer.

It’s a good story but it just didn’t suck me in. I was hoping it would leave me with that happy feeling that you get after reading a great book or watching a Christmas movie...but I just felt neutral after finishing it. It wasn’t time wasted but I think I was expecting to feel more of the Christmas magic…more romance.  I realized this after starting a different book but the connection  between the characters was missing for me too.

I know my friend Wendy at Wall-to-Wall Books really enjoyed this book so I’m linking her review in case you want a second opinion.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Christmas Shoppe on:


Snowed Over by Angie Stanton

Goodreads Summary:

To college student, Katie Brandt, ‘Home for the Holidays’ sounds like hell. When her parents separated, their holiday traditions shattered like a dropped ornament. What could be worse than celebrating Christmas with her suddenly single mom and mom’s new boyfriend?

Alex Walker, an engaged 20-year-old, dreads going home for his own reasons. He has a daunting task ahead of him and wishes he could skip the holidays altogether. So when a friend of a friend needs a ride north, Alex finds that having beautiful Katie seated by his side proves to be just the distraction he needs.

A simple ride home for Christmas turns into a nightmare when light snow rages into a full-scale blizzard. Katie and Alex find themselves stranded, and a vacant cabin becomes a haven from the storm. Under different circumstances, time alone with Alex would be the ultimate Christmas gift, but Katie knows Alex is engaged and she must hide her growing attraction.

However, Alex harbors a secret that just might change this holiday from the worst Christmas ever, to the best.

My Thoughts:

I loved this book! I was completely sucked into the story and didn't want to put it down. Needless to say I only paused briefly to allow my reading buddy to catch up. I really really want more of Alex (yum!) and Katie too! They were perfect for one another and both were so very likable. I will definitely be looking for more of Angie Stanton's work and I highly recommend this book if you like the New Adult genre!

Overall Rating: 5 out if 5

**A BIG thank you to Jenn M. for gifting me a kindle copy of Snowed Over. It was a perfect way to kick of the holiday reading!**

Shelf Candy Saturday (30): Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton

Shelf Candy Saturday is hosted by A Night's Dream of Books.
 
 

Casting Spells
by Barbara Bretton


Sugar Maple looks like any Vermont town, but it's inhabited with warlocks, sprites, vampires, witches and an ancient secret. And Chloe Hobbs, owner of Sticks & String, a popular knitting shop, has a big secret too. She's a sorcerer's daughter in search of Mr. Right and she's found him in Luke MacKenzie, a cop investigating Sugar Maple's very first murder. Bad news is he's 100% human, which could spell disaster for a normal future with a paranormal woman like her.







I love this cover! I haven't had a chance to start reading it yet but I plan to. I think it gives off a warm feeling and makes me think it’s the perfect read for a cold winter’s night. Not to mention it has a cat on it so that's even better!


Blue Moon Blog Tour: Guest Post

Click here for more tour stops.

Blue Moon (Holloway Pack #2) 
by J.A. Belfield

Soneone is watching the Holloway Pack, and this time, the female isn't the target.

Life with a group of seven male werewolves worries Jem Stonehouse not one bit. She is engaged to the Alpha's son Sean Holloway after all. So what has Jem's territorial instincts on high alert?

The pack's latest addition. Both of them.

None of the men think there's a problem with the new girlfriends. Jem's intuition tells her otherwise - that and a nagging suspicion the new females aren't there to partake.

Jem believes they've joined in to take.

The question is...what?

As the eve of the blue moon draws ever closer, Jem's running out of time to find the answer and outwit a thief of the worst possible kind.

A woman who believes she can't lose.


As part of the Blue Moon Blog Tour, J.A. Belfield has stopped by with the below guest post. I personally loved reading this blurb from Josh's point of view!

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Without doubt, changing stings worse than a kick to the jewels.

The pain’s worth it, though. Especially when you get to hunt, to track the critters overrunning our forest like it’s their own. To get the greatest workout a male’s muscles could ask for, second only to sex itself—obviously, depending on who it’s with.

So, yeah, definitely worth it.

Not to mention the joys of the newest addition to our expeditions.

Sean’s mate. Jem.

Damn, that female stinks the place up like an aphrodisiac that hits straight to the groin.

I’d never got whiff of a female werewolf before her. Never understood the effect they could have.
Maybe that’s just me, though.

Because even as my paws pound the earth, as jolts spear between each contraction and expansion of muscles with every landing and leap off I take, and although the concoction of rabbit and fox and badger and squirrel fires my olfactory in a dizzying temptation … all it takes is one whiff of Jem, and my head’s all confused, my body responding without order, and before I know it I’ve altered my course.

I used to try avoiding it.

Sometimes, anyway.

Not anymore.

What’s the point?

So, once the call from the Holloway’s has been made, I bullet straight through the trees in the siren’s direction, losing the rest of my family within a handful of steps.

The pack tell me I’m the fastest runner.

I sometimes wonder if they thought the same before Jem came along.

It doesn’t take long before the rustle and beat of the Holloway’s passage reaches me. Mere seconds after that, the breeze carries across the aroma de femme.

Of course, I surge myself faster. I don’t even slow when she comes into sight. Why would I—when bulleting forward and diving for her flank sends us both rolling across dirt in the kind of proximity Sean wouldn’t stand for under any other circumstances?

Still, I have to keep it clean.

One false move, and that glisten in his eye’d devolve from amusement to warning.

She flicks back up onto her paws. I swear the kick of her claws that sends dust at my eyes is done on purpose.

Not that I care.

She slinks round to the right, her shoulders high, her head hanging low. As she turns enough to face me, her lips are rippling, yet the same message isn’t conveyed by her eyes. Those hold only mischief.

A couple steps toward me, her ears flattening back, a growl gives the false impression of her pissed-off-ness before she spins away again.

To fool her into thinking I’m well and truly rebuked—yeah, right—I don’t move to begin. Besides, the sway of her hide is entertainment enough for a moment.

Realising the gap’s expanding, I make the leap for her again.

She’s ready this time, though—whirling around before I reach her. Jaws snapping hard enough that I skim to the side to avoid their nip.

I laugh to myself as her growl sends tickling vibrations through my ear.

Until I compose myself and look back to find she’s already dismissed me, she’s already brushing against Sean, and whatever crazy communication they always seem to have going on is passing between them.
Within seconds, they’ll head off alone for their own private hunt no one else is ever invited to.

Shaking off the pang at how fast our moment zipped by, I pad out of the clearing and prepare to crack open some rats.

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Thanks so much for stopping by Julie!

You can find Julie at the below links:
Website
J.A. Belfield Blog
Bookaroo-Ju Blog
Facebook
Twitter

Also, make sure you check out the giveaway that Julie is hosting on her blog.

'Tis the Season (Part 3)


For some of us it's that time of year when we are transitioning from Thansgiving into Christmas and from Fall into Winter. To mark the occasion, Wendy and I have decided to do a series of Holiday related posts. Part 3 is about holiday themed movies! 

I mentioned in the first 'Tis the Season post that I have a love for Christmas themed movies. Sure they are sometimes predictable and will probably all have that hallmark happy ending but they are guaranteed to leave you with that warm and fuzzy feeling that goes so well with the season.

I really do watch a lot of Christmas movies each year and it would be ridiculous to list them all so I decided to list some favorites.

Bad Santa
Holiday in Handcuffs
A Holiday to Remember
The National Tree
Recipe for a Perfect Christmas
Santa Baby
Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus
Undercover Christmas
Under the Mistletoe
The March Sisters at Christmas
Surviving Christmas



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I have found that now as an adult and mother I still love curiling up to watch the holiday movies. (It is a great way to get my son settled before bed too! Some of my favorites are White Christmas, One Magic Christmas, Scrooged, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and Eight Crazy Nights. I could go on and on, I just love the holidays! I still have a fondness for all the old animated shows too, but my son's favorite is Polar Express so we watch that one quite often through the season.


WINNERS!!



This month's swag winner is...

 Gabbie M!!

Congrats, you've won the below swag!




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The winner of Wendy's Renhala ebook giveaway is...

Judith

Congrats Judith!!

 

PROXIMITY REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW, AND EBOOK GIVEAWAY

Goodreads Summary:


Dr. Palta Capal would be a typical American career woman…if only she were human.


She has found her calling in this world as a physician. It’s an ideal outlet for her compassionate spirit...and unearthly healing powers.

Palta may spend her nights rereading Jane Austen novels, but she deliberately avoids pursuing her own love story. Human men—attractive as they may be—inevitably grow old and wither, leaving her to grieve in solitude. Frankly, no one has seemed worth the torment.

Enter Eric Moran, the intensely attractive and enigmatic new coworker on the scene. With his quiet confidence and warm smile, he manages to draw Palta’s attention. Little does she know that he, too, holds a secret… one that will propel them both into an escalating collision of two worlds.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this story. It was quite a bit different than other books I have read, especially lately, but it kept my interest which is really important.

I am looking forward to seeing what happens next and how the adventure will continue. Overall I would recommend this title.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

We have M.A George (MG) the author of Proximity, here with us today on At Random (AR) to answer a few questions and she is giving away an ecopy of Proximity to one of our readers!

(AR)- Just because I am curious and a fanatic coffee drinker I have to ask...Coffee or Tea?

(MG)- If I have to pick between the two, I’ll say tea…I do enjoy it in all its forms. I’ll confess I can’t stand coffee…too bitter. But that’s not to say I’m above caffeine addiction. They’ll be prying a Cherry Coke Zero out of my cold, dead hands.

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(AR)- What made you decide to write?

(MG)- It’s been a long-time fantasy, but it materialized rather abruptly after a late-afternoon chat session at work. The subject of currently popular books came up, and I confessed that I’d always dreamed of being a writer. I was encouraged to live the dream, and I was off to the races the following day. My fingers haven’t stopped clickety-clacking away since. (Usually late at night when the rest of the family is fast asleep.)

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(AR)- Are there any authors that inspired you?

(MG)- Jane Austen is my idol. I am utterly amazed at the way her stories live on to this day, still appealing to readers of all ages. She had an amazing gift for painting characters that make you think, make you laugh, make you love them…or hate them. (Mr. Wickham, I’m talking to you. With an icy glare.)

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(AR)- What are you currently working on?

(MG)- I’m feverishly working away on book two in the Proximity series. I am thrilled to hear that readers are eager to know the continuation of Palta’s story, and I am equally eager to put it into words!

(AR)- I am certainly looking forward to it too!

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(AR) What is your favorite way to relax on a December evening?

(MG) Ever since that fateful day when this all began, writing has become my favorite evening treat. I sink into a cushy lounge chair, pop in some ear buds, and try to keep from singing to myself while I drum away on the keyboard. (The computer keyboard, that is.) Of course, I set the laptop aside for a few hours in the earlier part of the evening to hang out with my favorite little guys…story time, bath time, pirate swordfight time, or—on this particular evening—zany Christmas finger puppet theater time.

Thank you Melissa for joining us today!



GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will get an ecopy of Proximity from the author.
Fill out the below form to enter.
Giveaway is open internationally.
Entries must be received by 11:59pm December 16th.