Monthly Archive: November 2014

Christmas Wonder Hop

christmas wonderfinal

 

Celebrate the Wonder of the Season! Visit all of the blogs to see what they love most about the season and which books have made their Christmas wish lists! There’s a giveaway at each stop so be sure to visit them all!

My portion of the giveaway is a Kindle copy of Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson. There is absolutely nothing cold about this book, and you WILL need to strap on your vibrator while reading it. I was reluctant to offer up this one, largely because I don’t want to share my Book Boyfriend Rob, but I can’t think of anything I’d rather have stuff my stocking.

Check out the link below to enter to win Cold Feet at Christmas, and please stop by the other participating blogs. There are loads of goodies out there, so why not enter to win ’em all? And – AND! – there is a grand prize giveaway, supported by many of us participating blogs. Enter that one, too!

Christmas Wonder Hop

christmas wonderfinal

 

Celebrate the Wonder of the Season! Visit all of the blogs to see what they love most about the season and which books have made their Christmas wish lists! There’s a giveaway at each stop so be sure to visit them all!

My portion of the giveaway is a Kindle copy of Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson. There is absolutely nothing cold about this book, and you WILL need to strap on your vibrator while reading it. I was reluctant to offer up this one, largely because I don’t want to share my Book Boyfriend Rob, but I can’t think of anything I’d rather have stuff my stocking.

Check out the link below to enter to win Cold Feet at Christmas, and please stop by the other participating blogs. There are loads of goodies out there, so why not enter to win ’em all? And – AND! – there is a grand prize giveaway, supported by many of us participating blogs. Enter that one, too!

Review: The Party Starts at Midnight

party starts at midnight

The Party Starts at Midnight

by Lucy King
Published by Harlequin
168 pages
Genre: romance
3 / 5

Summary:

This was not the itinerary that events planner Abby had intended:

8:00 p.m.: Leave the spectacular party you’ve organized in search of Leo Cartwrightinternational playboy, notorious tycoon and your most prestigious new client.

8:10 p.m.: Find Leo asleep, half-naked, in a penthouse suite that just screams decadenceand battle a wildly-out-of-character impulse to kiss him awake.

8:30-11:30 p.m.: Return to the party. Spend all evening avoiding Mr. Cartwrightand trying to forget his tempting demands

11:59 p.m.: Assure Leo that you will not be mixing business with pleasure.

Midnight: Break your own vow All. Night. Long

My Review:

Oh, Leo Cartwright. You, my darling, are so deliciously written that I can’t decide if I got too little or just enough.

Leo, suffering from jet lag and a bit too much drinky, passes out and nearly misses the holiday party thrown for his and his brother’s company. Fortunately, party planner Abby shows up to roust him and bring him to the party. She’s struck by how gorgeous he is (who wouldn’t be?) and nearly kisses him.

Leo isn’t quite sure why he’s drawn to Abby, but he is, and at the end of the party, he makes a move as she is helping clean up. These two rock that headboard very hotly. And very thoroughly.

OF COURSE Leo has some “issues” when it comes to commitment and love and all that stuff. He’s been burned, adopting one of those “burn me once” kind of attitudes. But Abby presents a challenge. She’s so lovely and sexually appealing, and Leo wants more, at least between the sheets.

Abby is interested in more than Leo can give, which means she’s either going to get heartbroken or that her man will wise up and get her.

I’ll let you figure out what happens.

This is a quick, spicy, utterly predictable read, with some good (albeit not enough) hot headboard rocking and a deliciously hot hero.

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Review: Cold Feet at Christmas

cold feet at christmas

Cold Feet at Christmas

by Debbie Johnson
Published by HarperCollins UK
222 pages
Genre: romance
4 / 5

Summary:

Running out on your wedding shouldn’t be this much fun!

A remote Scottish castle on a snowy Christmas Eve. A handsome husband-to-be. A dress to die for. It should have been the happiest day of Leah Harvey’s life – but the fairytale wedding turns sour when she finds her fiancé halfway up the bridesmaid’s skirt just hours before the ceremony!

Fleeing the scene in a blizzard, Leah ends up stranded at the nearest cottage, where she collapses into the arms of its inhabitant – a man so handsome she thinks she must have died and gone to heaven!

And when Rob Cavelli suddenly finds himself with an armful of soaking wet, freezing cold, and absolutely gorgeous bride on the run, he’s more than happy to welcome her into his snowbound cottage this Christmas…

My Review:

The synopsis for this book does not begin to do it justice.

For one thing, “cold feet at Christmas” doesn’t quite sum up the experience. Rob and Leah do NOT have cold feet at Christmas; their feet are quite warm, in fact, and if there are any issues, they know how to heat up those tootsies quite effectively.

If you know what I mean.

About half of the novel takes place in Chicago, where Rob offers Leah a chance to come prove herself as a chef, with no romantic strings attached, whatsoever. Leah is all for that romance, but Rob says no, definitively so. He’s all “I’m not worthy of love so I’ll never love again,” and she’s all “but I do love you and I think you ARE worth it.”

Rob’s reasons for wanting to avoid romantic entanglements are due to a tragedy he suffered, but Leah suffered one of her own. How they deal with those awful events is quite different; Rob prefers to lock up his heart, while Leah prefers taking risks with hers.

One thing the synopsis absolutely does not do is tell you that this has some FREAKING AWESOME hot headboard rocking.

I mean … stellar.

STELLAR!

Strap on your vibrators, girls, because Rob Cavelli can please a woman. He’s one of those Book Boyfriends you wish would take physical form and devour you. Rob would drag you by the hair, throw you on the bed, and make you aware of lady parts you don’t even know exist in yourself.

He’s that good.

It’s no wonder that Leah wants MORE MORE MORE.

Alas, Rob has some healing to do, and whether he can do that with or without Leah remains to be seen.

If you’re in a cold clime, this book will heat you up and then some. If you’re someplace already warm, then grab a fan and a glass of ice water.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It’s well written, the characters are fun and enjoyable, the story is interesting and entertaining, and the sex scenes – did I mention how HOT they are? – are scorching good.

Debbie Johnson, write more, please. I liked this a whole, whole lot.

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Review: Christmas in Venice

christmas in venice

Christmas in Venice

by Joanne Walsh
Published by Tule Publishing
Genre: romance
2 / 5

Summary:

Let it snow…?

Wasn’t she supposed to dream of a white Christmas? Right now, Ashlynne wishes the blizzards, ice and fog that have left her stranded in Venice would melt away. She’s facing a dreary holiday stuck at the airport—and she’s also run into her ex-husband.Lorenzo di Grechi insists Ashlynne stay with him at his sumptuous palazzo apartment. He’s also promising her Christmas Venetian-style: eating, drinking, and visiting the seasonal markets and musical concerts that make the city so enchanting at this time of year.

She thought she’d moved on: laid the ghosts of their marriage which had ended so sadly and badly to rest, along with how passionately she’d loved him. But the sexual attraction between them is still as potent as ever, and he seems to have changed for the better, forcing her to question her belief that he’d cheated on her at a time when she’d needed him most.

Is this just some sort of Christmas magic at work? Or a real chance to forgive and rediscover her love for Lorenzo?

My Review:

That’s amore, at least as far as Lorenzo is concerned.

He and Ashlynne (that name … oy vey) were divorced five years ago, yet he hasn’t stopped loving her. So when she is stranded in his hometown of Venice and it’s Christmas, he does the kindly thing and invites her to spend the holiday with him. In their former home.

There are reasons for the split, most of which are Ashlynne (that name … just please no) dictated. Lorenzo hasn’t exactly been pining, but having his ex-wife around flames those desires, let’s just say.

There isn’t much to this slender book. It’s got the “second chance at love” vibe, and you do hope our lovebirds can work things out. I had a hard time warming up to Ashlynne (THAT NAME!), perhaps because she seemed pretty predictable. I feel like I’ve encountered her in way too many other books.

Lorenzo, though, is lovely, and I liked the background information we got on him. You can’t spend too much time with him, that’s for sure.

If nothing else, you’ll wish you could spend Christmas in Venice.

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Review: A Very Married Christmas

very married christmas

A Very Married Christmas

by Erika Marks
Published by Tule Publishing
120 pages
Genre: romance
3.5 / 5

Summary:

Cookbook author Marley Chambers can’t think of a more festive way to spend Christmas than at a friend’s holiday wedding in her hometown of Magnolia Bay. If only her soon-to-be ex-husband, all-star pitcher, Beckett “Beck” Chambers wasn’t bringing his new girlfriend—and if only he wasn’t still the sexiest man to ever walk out onto the mound…

Beck never wanted the chaotic life of a sport star—especially not at the cost of his marriage to the only woman he’s ever truly loved. But his career is a runaway train—and he’s afraid it’s too late to hit the brakes.

But when a mix-up leaves Beck and Marley stranded together for Christmas Eve on the barrier island where Beck proposed years before, old memories burn bright—and sparks fly hotter than a bonfire on the beach.

Could the magic of the season bring the gift of a second chance, just in time for Christmas?

My Review:

Beck and Marley clearly never should have gotten divorced, but that’s something the two of them have to learn.

Married for ten years (but childless – in fact, children are never mentioned), they had a fairly happy marriage. Until, that is, Marley started a career as a cookbook author. With that, her focus switched from being solely aimed at Beck’s baseball career to equally about her. This did not suit her husband, and before long, the two split up.

They are working out their divorce agreement when they wind up attending the Christmas wedding of a mutual friend. As the synopsis states, they also wind up alone, on a barrier island where Beck proposed.

IF I told you that there was a shocking ending to this, you would know I’m lying, right?

This is more novella than novel, a quick read that will warm the cockles of your heart. Beck starts off like a selfish arse, but he redeems himself. Beck has more insights into his own foibles than Marley does, and he’s the one I rooted for. If he’s happy with Marley, then I hope it works out for them. If he’s not, then so be it.

Grab a cup of cocoa, sit in front of a roaring fire, and curl up with this adorable little romance.

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Review: A Bravo Christmas Wedding

Bravo Christmas Wedding

A Bravo Christmas Wedding
(The Bravo Royales)

by Christine Rimmer
Published by Harlequin
224 pages
Genre: romance
4 / 5

Summary:

LOVE ON THE RANGE?

Princess Aurora Bravo-Calabretti is wishing for a mountain man this Christmas! But her most unroyal crush—rancher Walker McKellan —insists that they remain “just friends.” Now he’s her round-the-clock bodyguard while she is the maid of honor at her cousin’s holiday wedding. Rory can’t resist this Colorado cowboy…, but she wishes she was walking down the aisle to meet Walker at the altar!

Both the best man to the groom and Rory’s bodyguard, Walker can’t shake his charge. As he begins to see Rory in a different light, a surprise snowstorm strands him with his princess… and sparks ignite into a holiday love affair! Can their Christmas passion blossom into a very Bravo happily-ever-after?

My Review:

What a fun Christmas read, faithful readers.

Rory is a princess from some far away land, but she spent copious amounts of time with the Walker McKellan while she was growing up, thanks to having cousins who lives nearby. Rory has always had a crush on Walker, but now she’s a woman, and he’s – well, Walker is all man.

Oh, yes, he is.

The opportunity to “connect” (as in their private parts) arises (no pun intended), and Rory gets her man right where she wants him. The problem is, as problems in romance novels tend to be, that Walker isn’t so sure he wants Rory to be his forever woman. He’s wounded, you know, emotionally-speaking, and he doesn’t think he’s one of those guys for whom Happily Ever After applies.

Rory, though, is determined to change his mind. Goodness knows she tries.

There is some hot headboard rocking (not enough, but I’m greedy), and you’ve got an adorable couple. It’s a sweet, gushy, holiday read.

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Review: All He Desires

All He Desires

All He Desires

by C.C. Gibbs
Published by Forever / Grand Central Publishing
432 pages
Genre: Erotica
2 / 5

Summary:

Kate Hart and Dominic Knight’s volatile love affair continues in the last book in the All or Nothing trilogy from C.C. Gibbs.

Being tied down to just one woman was the last thing Dominic wanted. But from the moment he laid eyes on Kate, he couldn’t deny his overwhelming desire for her or his need to possess her.

My Review:

I’ll begin by saying how much I enjoyed the predecessors in this trilogy, All He Wants and All He Needs. Hot, delicious, and with captivating stories that kept me hooked. I loved them! And so I truly looked forward to this one.

And then I read it, and … well … I kind of wish C.C. Gibbs had stopped after the second one.

It isn’t that this book isn’t hot; oh, it is. IT IS. You can’t have a book with Dominic Knight and it not be hot. Dominic and Kate rip the sheets to shreds as that rock that headboard straight into the cosmos. Fortunately, there is a good amount of sex in the book. In fact, sometimes it feels as if the “plot” is there to give you a break from the sex.

Alas, the rest of the book is not even mediocre. It’s blah. It’s meh.

It’s a HUGE disappointment.

Here are the problems:

  1. There is no sustainable tension, aside from one episode that feels forced and manufactured. One of the aspects of the first two novels that I enjoyed was that any issues that came between Kate and Dominic felt, for the most part, like a natural development. Whether work regarded or relating to their feelings for each other, the problems they faced seemed almost organic. In this book, though, the problems are either ridiculously forced or so quickly dispensed with that you aren’t sure of their purpose.
  2. Whereas Dominic has grown and developed, Kate seems to have almost regressed. She is even more petulant and immature than in the second book, in which she seemed to pick fights and push Dominic more than necessary. Here, she acts like a pouting two-year-old when Dominic doesn’t immediately acquiesce. Gibbs attempts to deal with this when she refers – several times – to Kate having been raised as a single child, and a spoilt one at that – but Kate becomes someone I don’t like. And I didn’t like that I didn’t like her.
  3. The ending. GOOD GRIEF. That’s all I’ll say about that.

One good thing, aside from the sex, is the continuing banter between Kate and Dominic. One of the highlights of the first book was their dialogue; these two communicate with each other, even as they occasionally try to obfuscate certain truths. But at the core of their communication was a true respect, and that, to me, was something that made the first two books so enjoyable.

I wish I hadn’t read this one, and it pains me to say that because I had looked forward to it so so much.

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Review: Christmas in the Billionaire's Bed

Christmas in the Billionaire's Bed

Christmas in the Billionaire’s Bed
(The Kavanaughs of Silver Glen)

by Janice Maynard
Published by Harlequin Desire
192 pages
Genre: romance
3 / 5

Summary:

Whatever possessed Emma Braithwaite to move to Silver Glen? She had no illusions that being in Aidan Kavanagh’s hometown would reignite the love they’d shared in England years ago. But now that Aidan’s returned for his brother’s Christmas wedding, it’s clear Emma’s explosive attraction to the billionaire has lost none of its power.

She is the cool English beauty whose betrayal once shattered his heart. So Aidan’s not looking for reconciliation—all he wants is Emma in his bed! Needless to say, Emma has other ideas: she’s not settling for anything less than commitment this time…

My Review:

The title of this book is almost laughably awful, isn’t it?

Fortunately, the book itself is sweet, hot, and fun.

Emma is in Silver Glen, Colorado, because that’s where her true love Aidan is from. Yes, she knows he doesn’t live there any more, but she also knows that he likely will come home at some point. Even so, when he returns for his brother’s wedding, she’s discombobulated. She feels everything she felt for him even more intensely, and she also feels his distrust of her.

Aidan believes Emma abandoned him, and he isn’t likely to forgive her. His manly bits, though, are ready to forget, forgive, and frolic. When he can’t fight his attraction for her, he asks Emma to join him in bed. As the book summary tells you, she wants more than sex, but that doesn’t mean that she says no to it happening.

A quick, hot read, this one has some decent scenes of hot headboard rocking and a supremely Hot Hero. It’s one of those books that you read, enjoy, and then move on to the next book; you can’t question it too much, otherwise quite a bit of it will fall apart.

It’s hot, it’s fun, it’s a bit forgettable. But sometimes you just want an escape, and this one serves that up quite nicely.

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Review: A Foolish Consistency

A Foolish Consistency

A Foolish Consistency

by Andrea Weir
Published by Cedar Forge Press
358 pages
Genre: women’s fiction
4.5 / 5

Summary:

When a trip to the emergency room on Christmas Eve brings Callie Winwood together with Will Tremaine, the man she once thought she’d marry but has not seen in twenty-five years, their chance meeting reignites feelings each has harbored for more than two decades. Their journey toward one another is anything but simple, however. Following the death of his wife, Joanna, two years earlier, which he believes he caused, Will has devoted himself to his two young children. As Will and Callie struggle with their own personal histories of love and loss, they must also navigate the complex emotions of Will’s children who still grieve for their mother. At the same time, they must struggle with Joanna s family, who refuse to accept that she is gone, and will do anything to avoid facing the truth.

My Review:

As fun as romance novels featuring twenty-something characters are, there is something to be said for a romance with a more mature couple. Especially when the couple had their chance, walked away from it, and now get a re-do of sorts.

Callie and Will dated in college, but went their separate ways afterwards. Neither forgot the other, not even though marriage and children. Fate brings them together in a Christmas Eve emergency room visit, when Callie, in Connecticut to visit a friend, is treated by Will. This meeting spurs them to reconnect, and they discover that even nearly twenty-five years of time hasn’t diminished their attraction to each other, or their feelings.

There are obstacles, though. For one thing, Callie lives across the country. Divorced and the mother of two grown children, she’s got nice life for herself. She teaches, she’s content in California, and if her life lacks love and passion, she’s okay with that. Well, she is until she and Will meet again. Now she wants and needs him in her life.

Will, too, does not need a relationship. His wife died a couple of years earlier (and boy is there a story behind THAT), and he’s stayed in town largely because he gets help from his wife’s family in taking care of his two children. But Callie represents a chance to be with the woman he has always loved and always wished for.

What makes this book so good is that it’s so real, at least when it comes to Will and Callie. Their relationship, their children, their jobs and lives – all of it is real and relatable. They are interesting and captivating characters, and you come to care about them. The drama with Will’s in-laws is a bit hyperbolic, and those characters are straight out of Central Casting. But the rest of the book is so very, very good.

Will and Callie have real problems that they deal with like real people. There is a sweetness to their relationship that strikes a chord, and the whole “second chance at love” thing is well written. Andrea Weir gives you two people you care about, and she also gives you hope that they can overcome the obstacles in their way.

I was sad when this book ended, which is always a good problem to have.

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