Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - End of the Year Wrap Up

What a year this has been!  Some really wonderful things have happened this year and I wanted to take a moment to sum everything up.

This Blog
This blog started and the very end of 2013 and I had no idea what I was doing.  I really still don't have much of an idea but I am learning.  This post is my 155 post of 2014 and my blog just had its first blogiversay.  I am so very thankful for everyone who has taken some of their valuable time this year to visit my blog and every comment means so much.  I am grateful for every follower so a big thank you to every one of you.

Books
I have read 122 titles this year (so far - who knows maybe I'll sneak something else in later today).  That is more than I have been able to do in the past couple of years.  Of these, I actually gave 32 titles either 4.5 or 5 stars!  That is amazing!  Some of my reading highlights from this year were:
This year I found a lot of really great books and only a few stinkers.  That makes reading much more fun!


My Life
My mom has been battling breast cancer for the third time this year.  She should finish treatment very soon and I very thankful that she is winning this fight yet again.  My sister had twins around Memorial Day this year so I have 2 new babies to spoil.  They had to spend some time in the NICU since they were born 7 weeks early but they are both doing wonderful.

I am working full time now and even survived a snake making its way into my office earlier this month.  One of my highlight from this year was my family's vacation.  I had the chance to read a book and take a nap on the beach and I think everyone should do that at least once in their life. 

I truly hope all of my friends and readers had a wonderful 2014!


Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Series:  Sookie Stackhouse #1
Ace Books
Publication Date:  May 1, 2001
Date Read:  December 30, 2014 (4th read)

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

5 Stars!

When I saw that some of my friends on Goodreads were getting a buddy read of this book organized, I jumped at the chance to join.  I don't really know why I love this book so much.  It actually has a few problems and I see them but I just don't care.  I love this book anyway despite all of its flaws.  This was actually the 4th time that I have read this book.  Any book that I can enjoy after reading 4 times deserves 5 stars in my opinion.

I first started reading these books before the HBO series was produced.  When I first saw the show, I remember thinking that many of the actors seemed wrong for the characters that I had created in my mind.  I found it amusing on this re-read of the book all I could think about were the television characters.  I would like to warn anyone that decides to read these books because they like the television series that they are really two very different things.  The first season of the show does follow this book pretty well but after that they really are two different stories that just happen to share the same characters.

As I mentioned earlier, I did see some problems with this book.  The writing isn't spectacular by any stretch.  The writing seems overly simple to me.  I really wished that the book focused on the exciting things going on in Sookie's life not on everyday things like cleaning.  I sometimes feel like a total pig as I look around my messy house and read about Sookie cleaning hers.  I really don't want to hear about cleaning.  I really didn't feel a whole lot of chemistry going on between Bill and Sookie either.  When they started saying that they loved each other, I thought it was a bit sudden and to be honest I just didn't see it myself.  This book also seemed a bit dated to me.  When Sookie is getting ready for Bill to come over, she puts her hair up in a banana clip.  I remember wearing a banana clip in my hair during the late 80's and very early 90's but I don't think anyone was wearing them in 2001. 

Despite these problems, I still can find so much to love inside of this book.  I fell in love with characters a long time ago and I understand that this re-read of the book was probably heavily influence by that.  I really like Sookie.  I like that she thinks of her telepathy as a disability instead of the superpower most people would consider it to be.  As you read the book, you realize how horrible it really would be to be able to read other people's minds.  Sookie goes through a lot in this book and I really thought she handled most things quite well.  She does require saving from time to time but she isn't afraid to jump into dangerous situations either.

I thought that the scenes with Eric were wonderful in this book.  I am very partial to Eric.  I can't help it and I really don't want to.  Sam was great in this book but I did want to slap him for finally noticing Sookie after Bill shows an interest.  I thought it was very realistic because people do this all the time but I still wanted to slap him because I hate it when this happens.  I really had a good time reading about all of these characters and just remembering how these books sucked me into their world years ago.  I do think that some of the later books in the series are stronger than this one. 

I would recommend this book to others with the explanation that they are quite different from the HBO series.  This book is really a quick and easy read that can be a lot of fun.  This book is really just candy in book form.  Nothing serious, nothing substantial, but a whole lot of fun.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Releases - December 30, 2014

December 30, 2014
It's Tuesday!  That means it is time to make a little bit of room on the bookshelves, load up your ereader, or make your way to your local library.  In other words - It is time to get your hands on a new book!
Here are some of the books that have just been released that you may want to keep an eye out for:
I have had a chance to read Love Me If You Dare by Toni Blake and I absolutely loved it.  I will be posting my review during my stop on the Tasty Book Tours blog tour on January 9, 2015.  I highly recommend that you pick this one up if you are a fan of contemporary romance.

I have had the Rizzoli & Isles series on my TBR pile for a long time now.  I really hope to start reading this popular series by Tess Gerritsen sometime soon.  Die Again is the eleventh book in this very popular series.  The rest of the books on my list this week look interesting and are definitely books that I would pick up just as soon as I get caught up on my reading.

What newly released books are you excited about?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Blog Tour - Wearing the Cape by Marion G. Harmon

Wearing the Cape banner

This is my stop during the blog tour for Wearing the Cape by Marion G. Harmon. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 15 till 31 December, you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours
So far this series contains 4 novels and one novella: Wearing the Cape, Bite Me, Villians Inc., Young Sentinels and Small Town Heroes.
Wearing the Cape coverWearing the Cape (Wearing the Cape #1)
by Marion G. Harmon

Genre: Superheroes/ Urban Fantasy
Age category: Older Young Adult/ New Adult

Blurb:
Who wants to be a superhero?

Hope did, but she grew out of it. Which made her superhuman breakthrough in the Ashland Bombing, just before starting her freshman year at the University of Chicago, more than a little ironic. And now she has some decisions to make. Given the code-name "Astra" and invited to join the Sentinels, Chicago’s premier super-team, will she take up the cape and mask and become a career superhero? Or will she get a handle on her new powers (super-strength has some serious drawbacks) and then get on with her life-plan?

In a world where superheroes join unions and have agents, and the strongest and most photogenic ones become literal supercelebrities, the temptation to become a cape is strong. But the price can be high—especially if you’re “outed” and lose the shield of your secret identity. Becoming a sidekick puts the decision off for awhile, but Hope’s life is further complicated when The Teatime Anarchist, the supervillain responsible for the Ashland Bombing, takes an interest in her. Apparently as Astra, Hope is supposed to save the world. Or at least a significant part of it.


You can find Wearing the Cape on Goodreads

You can buy Wearing the Cape here:
- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble

Read the first 13 chapters for free on Amazon and Kobo


Bite Me coverBite Me (Wearing the Cape #1.5)
By Marion G. Harmon

Genre: Superheroes/ Urban Fantasy
Age category: Older Young Adult/ New Adult

Blurb:
It was supposed to be a working vacation…

For Jacky Bouchard (aka, Artemis: vampire, former night-stalking dark avenger, and reluctant superhero), a trip to the Big Easy was a chance to solidify her new Bouchard identity, meet the grandmother she didn’t know she had, and do a favor for the New Orleans Police Department by helping them keep an eye on their local vampires.

Watching a bunch of fashion-obsessed goths with fangs should have been easy, but now she’s dressing in black and sleeping in a coffin even though living the whole Fiend of The Night stereotype makes her want to vomit. And for someone working undercover, she is getting attacked a lot. When Jacky learns that a master vampire capable of siring progeny with his blood (an urban myth—vampires don’t reproduce that way) may be haunting New Orleans, she decides to go hunting. But the streets of the French Quarter are dangerous when you don’t know who is hunting you, and Jacky finds herself in trouble up to her neck and needing all the help she can get…


You can find Bite Me on Goodreads

You can buy Bite Me here:
- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble


Villains Inc coverVillains Inc. (Wearing the Cape #2)
By Marion G. Harmon

Genre: Superheroes/ Urban Fantasy
Age category: Older Young Adult/ New Adult

Blurb:
Astra has finished her training and is now a full-fledged Sentinel, but things are not going well. She suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the public revelation of her relationship with Atlas has caused her popularity to nose-dive.

To complicate things, the Teatime Anarchist's intervention has changed the course of events--leaving her with lots of knowledge about the way the future was before the Big One, a complete future-history that is now out of date.

And just when she thinks she's getting a handle on things, unfolding events (a bank-robbery and a horrific murder) show that one of the nastier pieces of the old future isn't so out of date after all; unless she solves a murder before it happens, Blackstone is going to die.


You can find Villains Inc. on Goodreads

You can buy Villains Inc. here:
- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble


Young Sentinels coverYoung Sentinels (Wearing the Cape #3)
By Marion G. Harmon

Genre: Superheroes/ Urban Fantasy
Age category: Older Young Adult/ New Adult

Blurb:
The reward for a job well done is another job.

After the Sentinels' takedown of the second incarnation of Villains Inc., things are relatively quiet in the great metropolis of Chicago. Astra, aka Hope Corrigan, is able to breathe a little, to hang out with her friends, and even to attend classes (where her professors are starting to think she is a myth). But Blackstone is loading more training and responsibilities on her, and converging events threaten the compromises she has made to balance her superhero career and student life and to protect her family and friends.

Worse, a new supervillain has come to town, and it will take all of Chicago's capes to defeat the threat of the Green Man — if he can be defeated at all. When a new supervillain group begins targeting anti-superhuman groups, it becomes apparent that even the Sentinels are going to need help.

Because one thing is certain: Chicago is going to have a very bad day.


You can find Young Sentinels on Goodreads

You can buy Young Sentinels here:
- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble


Small Town Heroes coverSmall Town Heroes (Wearing the Cape #4)
By Marion G. Harmon

Genre: Superheroes/ Urban Fantasy
Age category: Older Young Adult/ New Adult

Blurb:
Astra has become one of the most popular Sentinels in Chicago, past scandals notwithstanding, and is now the team leader of the Young Sentinels. But on their first big solo outing, the new junior Sentinels fall into a new scandal—one which could cost them the team. And Astra has a dream visit from Kitsune, the odd shapeshifter-thief who precipitated the battle between the Sentinels and Villains Inc. the year before. The dream warns of a fresh disaster, in a town Astra has never seen before and that may not actually exist.

Astra’s efforts to find the town from her dream leads to her “recruitment” by the shadowy Department of Superhuman Affairs, and she leaves the team behind in Chicago to learn more about the DSA’s secrets than are good for her, face old enemies, and discover a little town called Littleton. Fortunately for Astra, "leaving the team" does not mean she’s on her own.


You can find Small Town Heroes on Goodreads

You can buy Small Town Heroes here:
- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble


Marion author pictureAbout the Author:
Marion G. Harmon has read and written all of his life (well, ever since first grade). He finished his first novel, Wearing the Cape, in 2010, and after failing to find an agent who knew what to do with a superhero story, decided to self-publish (mainly so he'd stop rewriting the book). He published through KDP and Createspace in mid 2011 with some success; Wearing the Cape earned a 4.5 star Amazon rating and spent most of 2012 ranked #1 in its Amazon category.

Marion has since written four more novels set in the same world (Bite Me: Big Easy Nights, Villains Inc., Young Sentinels, and Small Town Heroes), astonished each time at the enthusiastic response of his readers. He is currently working hard on a sixth book, this one also featuring Astra and company, while polishing the plot of his deeply unserious space epic, Worst Contact. Really.

You can find and contact Marion here:
- Series Website
- Blog
- Facebook
- Goodreads



Excerpt from Wearing the Cape

Cape (plural capes): literally, a sleeveless garment hanging from the neck over the back and shoulders; figuratively, a superhuman who has chosen to act as a superhero. Synonyms: hero, mask, super, superhero. Connotations: ‘cape’ is used as both a familiar and derogatory term for superheroes, who often casually refer to themselves as capes but generally consider it a demeaning term when applied to them by the press.

Barlow’s Guide to Superhumans

I was driving east on the Eisenhower Expressway when the Teatime Anarchist dropped the Ashland Avenue overpass on top of me, using enough C4 to bring the whole southbound span down at once.

My day had started normally enough. I gulped coffee and grabbed scorched toast, exchanging kisses with Mom on the way out the door. The September chill nipped around the edges of my coat and at my legs, making me glad I’d worn tights under my skirt. Driving one-handed, I scanned my schedule with the other: I’d be playing Mom’s Girl Friday at the gallery, getting ready for Thursday night’s foundation event. Julie had texted; she planned for us to take the University of Chicago by storm our first year, and wanted us ready by Orientation Week. We’d ruled Oak Park High till graduation, and she didn’t see any reason our college years should be different.

I passed a gray Suburban and the red headed munchkin in the back seat waved at me while her mom talked business on her hands-free cell. I stuck out my tongue, making her laugh, and my epad launched into Julie’s new call theme: the U of C fight-song. Wave the flag of old Chicago—

Bang.

Overhead explosions shattered my thoughts and I looked up to see blooms of blasted concrete and falling bridge. I screamed and ducked, lost control. The car slid. A flash of yellow and I hit something hard. I screamed again at the second, world-ending shock as falling roadway flattened my car. The tires blew. The buckled roof hit my head and flying glass stung my face as my vision exploded in fireworks. Choking off the scream, I found myself lying stretched across the front seat, the gearshift digging into my stomach, in smothering darkness. I tasted blood on my tongue.

Alive. I was alive.

The car roof pushed down, inches above my head as I lay there in the dark, my seat belt cutting off my air. Lightheaded, clawing blindly, I unbuckled but still couldn’t breathe without choking. Cement dust. Pulling my coat open I yanked my sweater up, taking shallow, sobbing breaths through the wool and fighting to think around the rising fear.

Twisting around, I cautiously felt my legs, wiggled toes. Nothing broken? Emergency kit under seat (thanks Dad!). Pen light—I almost wept with relief.  Broken epad, damn it. Still, breathing okay, not bleeding out. Help. Help would come.

But would it come in time?

What about the munchkin and her mom? Were they under the road now? Could they wait, if they were alive? I choked on panic as thick as the dust. I had to get out. I had to know. They had to be alive.

Gasping, pulse pounding, I pushed against the roof above me and felt something deep inside me change. Cold fire ran through my bones. I shrieked and my next breath filled me with the whole world. Tearing through the crushed roof of my car, I heaved aside the chunk of roadway above my head as easily as clearing cheap drywall, stood, blinking at the disaster around me, and saw what had saved me; I’d slid into a huge earth moving machine traveling in the next lane and it shielded me.  Around us, cars had fallen with the span and lay broken among shattered chunks of road and twisted steel frame. Dust-clogged air carried the smell of spilled oil and gas, the first bite of burning rubber.  A white sedan screeched to a sliding stop at the north end of the broken bridge. The world went far, far away as I looked at my shaking hands, unable to believe what I’d just done.

Oh God. Oh God.

I pushed the screaming panic down. Okay. Deal now, freak later.

I started digging.



Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson



Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson
Series: Reckoners #1.5
Random House - Delacorte Press
Publication Date:  December 3, 2013
Date Read: December 28, 2014

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

4 Stars!

I joined a large group of people in a buddy read of Steelheart earlier in this month and absolutely loved it. I love to listen to audiobooks while I workout. The problem is that I don't really love to work out so it can take me forever to finish a book just because I have a hard time getting to the gym. With the next book in the Reckoners series coming out soon, I thought that this short story would be great for today's trip to the gym.

I was completely entertained by this story. This story should only be read after Steelheart as there are some spoilers to that book within this story. This was a fun story that focused on David. I hadn't really given a lot of thought as to how the city would have changed after the events in the first book. This story really shows how much has changed and how fearful the residents still are. This town is actually quite vulnerable when you stop to think about it.

This story started with the simple act of grabbing a hot dog. It really is the little things that can really make a difference. David soon encounters an Epic. This epic is called Mitosis and he is very dangerous. He has the unique ability to make copies of himself. During some of the description of Mitosis's abilities, I found myself thinking about that Micheal Keaton movie from the 90's, Multiplicity.


Things get exciting and David finds himself in quite a bit of trouble. He does some quick thinking and with some help from others he is able to deal with the situation. He even gets help from a large group of everyday citizens before the story is over.

I did miss some of the group in the story. Prof has a very brief appearance and Cody is completely absent in this one. This is really David's story. I would recommend this story to anyone who has read Steelheart and has an hour or so worth of free time.

I should note that I grabbed this audiobook from audible for free.  Audible 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Breaking Creed by Alex Kava

Breaking Creed by Alex Kava
Series:  Ryder Creed #1
Putnam Adult
Publication Date:  January 27, 2015
Date Read:  December 7, 2014

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

4.5 Stars!

I just need to say upfront that I have been a fan of Alex Kava for quite some time.  I don't even remember how many years it has been since I first pick up a Maggie O'Dell book but it was very early on.  Every time a new book is released in the series I have been eager to get my hands on it.  I have enjoyed some books better than others.  When I saw that there was going to be a new series from this author, I knew that I would be reading just as soon as I could. 

This book is the first in the new Ryder Creed series according to everything that I have seen.  Readers of the Maggie O'Dell series should remember Ryder Creed from the most recent book in that series, Stranded.  I would say that this could also easily be labeled as part of the Maggie O'Dell series since Maggie is featured throughout the book.  I am not sure if the plan is to phase Maggie out of this series but I do like how this book featured both Maggie and Ryder.

Ryder Creed is a dog trainer.  His dogs have become famous for their search and rescue skill.  Ryder uses different dogs for different situations but we see a lot of Grace, a Jack Russell Terrier, in this book.  Depending on the commands given, his dogs can find human remains, drugs, or just track a scent.  While looking for drugs on a cargo ship, Grace discovers children that have been hidden. 

Maggie is an FBI profiler that gets put on the case of a body found in the Potomac River.  After forensic testing, it appears the body was dumped there so Maggie goes to check out the victim's home and asks for dogs to search the grounds.  Ryder and Grace end up discovering much more than they were looking for on victim's property.

This was a mystery that kept me guessing the whole time.  There were so many different things going on that I did wonder how everything would end up fitting together.  The supporting characters in the book were wonderful and I hope to see more of them in future Ryder Creed books.  I loved Jason and his veteran friends and Hannah was wonderful.  The story came together so well with so much suspense that I simply could not put the book down.  Towards the very end, I did figure out who the villain of the story was but I never expected the excitement of the final few chapters.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good twist and turn mystery and it will also appeal to animal lovers.  I know that fans of the Maggie O'Dell series will want to be sure to pick this one up. 

I received a advance reader copy of this book from Putnam Adult via Edelweiss for the purpose of providing an honest review.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Iced by Karen Marie Moning

Iced by Karen Marie Moning
Series:  Fever #6; Dani O'Malley #1
Random House - Delacorte Press
Publication Date:  October 30, 2012
Date Read: December 25, 2014 (2nd read)

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

2.5 Stars

This was the second time that I have read this book and let's just say it was an eye opening experience for me.  I read this book the first time right after its release and gave it 4 stars.  I did not bother writing reviews at that time so I have no idea what I was thinking when I decided that this was a 4 star book.  I think I was just being an idiot because this book is nowhere near a 4 star book.  I do remember that I could not wait to get my hands on this book when it was first released and I was desperate for a new book set in the Fever world.  It took me a week to read this the first time which was highly unusual so I suspect I found it boring then but did not want to admit it to myself at the time.

I went into this re-read expecting that I would like this book.  I have very recently read the first 5 books in the Fever series and now consider all them to be 5 star reads.  This book is nowhere near as good as those first 5 book.  This book has some very major problems that I could not overlook on this re-read.

Overly Sexual - The main character in this book is a very immature 14 year old girl and the topic of sex is constantly thrown in our face.  People are having sex around her.  People want to have sex with her.  She has plans about how she wants to lose her virginity.  Sex is fine.  Sex with 14 year old girls is not fine.  If you choose to write a book with a 14 year old girl as the main character, please try not to over sex the book.

Dani - I live with a 14 year old girl and must admit that they can very interesting.  I thought Dani was especially annoying at times though.  I got so sick of hearing about how she was a superhero, or the Mega, and if I have to hear her say two peas in the Mega pod again, I may be sick.  I still can't figure out how this 14 year old girl was able to solve problems that immortal beings couldn't.

Ryodan - Ryodan is no Barrons.  Not. Even. Close.  Barrons is able to pull off the whole asshole that everyone loves in the first 5 books.  Ryodan just seems like an asshole.  Not only that, what is going on with his obsession with Dani.  She is a child.  The fact that he is waiting for her is just wrong.

Christian - What has happened to Christian?  I loved Christian when we first met him and was sad to see him changing.  He has changed and his change bothers me less than his obsession with Dani.  It is just weird and sick because let's remember - Dani is 14 years old.  Again, waiting for her is just wrong.

Jo & Kat - Where are the strong women we saw in the previous books?  I missed those women.  I really don't know who these two are.  They added nothing to the story in my opinion and the parts that were told from Kat's point of view were pretty bad.  They have both turned into wimpy women focused on sex.  Such a shame.

It's Boring! - The first half of this book is incredibly boring.  It was sleep inducing for me.  I would be reading and simply fall asleep.  I stayed up half the night on a work night to finish Shadowfever but fell asleep constantly reading this book. 

I didn't hate everything about the book.  I did think that the story picked up in the second half and I didn't find it boring once that happened.  The ending was rather exciting but there was never a point in the book where I felt like I couldn't put it down.

I thought that Dancer and Lor were the best characters in this book.  Dancer is just a few years older than Dani and he was a great friend to her.  Dancer acted like a friend to Dani without references to sex.  It is a shame that others in the book couldn't have done the same thing.  Lor was Lor.  Lor is an unapologetic asshole.  Lor was often the one who actually gave Dani some decent advice or saved the day.  I guess I like assholes because I really liked Lor in this book.

Right now, I would recommend that fans of the series skip this book.  I really hate it when a series that I love goes off the tracks.  I am afraid that this is the case with this book.  I hope that the next book will be better than this trainwreck. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!


I just want to take a moment to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

I hope that this and every day is filled with joy.  

I feel so blessed in my own life and am so happy that you have let me be in your life this year.

May you day be filled with surprises!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Tour - Romancing the Holidays at Kensington - Promo & Giveaway



Win Print/iBook Bundle of ALL Six Holiday Romances

~*~


ALL HE WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS
Lisa Plumley

Kismet, Michigan # 4 
Released Oct 7th, 2014
Zebra/Kensington



In Kismet, Michigan, Christmas is special: big fluffy snowflakes, sleigh bells, carolers singing. It’s a picture-perfect holiday—you just have to choose who’s in the frame…


Jason Hamilton is on thin ice with the board of his toy company. The young CEO may be a kid at heart, but his party boy reputation requires damage control. So Jason’s off to Kismet to inspect a model store, stay on Santa’s Nice list, and stick to business—no goofing around. Which is too bad, because the store manager, Danielle Sharpe, is the definition of what makes Naughty fun…

Danielle is thrilled to show off her thriving little toy store—especially if it’s her ticket out of Kismet. The single mom is tired of manufacturing cheer solo while her ex-husband has all the fun. But if she’d known Jason was this hot, she wouldn’t have offered to host him. With Jason in her house, Danielle is getting warmer than spiked cider. She’s supposed to impress him with her expertise, not daydream about catching him under the mistletoe. Now whatever she does, she can’t get swept up in the magic…


Buy Now




When she sat down to write her first book, LISA PLUMLEY expected the process to be easy. Three tries and several years later, she realized it’s not easy—but it is the most fun to be had outside of shoe shopping. Now the bestselling author of more than a dozen books, Lisa lives in sunny Arizona with her husband and two children. She invites readers to visit her website, www.lisaplumley.com, for previews of upcoming books and more.


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NO CHRISTMAS LIKE THE PRESENT
Sierra Donovan
Released Oct 7th, 2014
Zebra



Lindsay Miller is knee-deep in Christmas cards and homemade fudge, but she’s never felt more like a Grinch. Why can’t Christmas be full of magic, like in her favorite movie, A Christmas Carol…?

…Enter Fred, a sexy and eccentric stranger who arrives at Lindsay’s door out of the blue. Dressed like he just stepped out of a Dickens novel, complete with British accent, Fred claims he’s a Messenger, sent from “Headquarters” to help her discover the joy of Christmas. But is Fred an angel from above—or just stone cold crazy? 

Fred’s used to dealing with skeptics. Telling a stranger you’ve been ordered to inspire holiday cheer is a tough sell. But there’s a further complication. Fred’s mission is to help Lindsay right the wrongs from her past that have been holding her back. But somehow along the way, they’ve become wildly attracted to each other—and falling in love is not part of the plan. Fred only has ‘til the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve to guide Lindsay to the magical future she deserves—even if it’s a future without him…

Buy Now




Sierra Donovan lives with her husband and two children in Victorville, California. Readers can visit her website at www.sierradonovan.com.


~*~

CHRISTMAS IN COWBOY COUNTRY
Janet Dailey
Released Sept 30th, 2014
Zebra




The greatest gift is love…

Ski instructor Annie Bennett doesn’t have time to miss the twinkling lights and holiday parties in Aspen and Vail. With her older brothers gone and winter just around the corner, her parents need help with their sprawling Colorado ranch. The most wonderful time of the year isn’t always easy for a lot of the folks in their town, but Annie does her best—until the tall, dark, and rugged surveyor on their neighbor’s land becomes a potent distraction…

Wyoming born and bred, Marshall Stone is a practical man. But there’s something about Annie that’s as wild and sweet as the mountain wind. He doesn’t want to tame her. Just love her. Annie Bennett is all he wants for Christmas. And for always. But she’s too wary to believe he means it. Until he takes her in his arms and explains without saying a single word…

Buy Now




Janet Dailey’s first book was published in 1976. Since then she has written more than 100 novels and become one of the top-selling female authors in the world, with 300 million copies of her books sold in nineteen languages in ninety-eight countries. She is known for her strong, decisive characters, her extraordinary ability to recreate a time and a place, and her unerring courage to confront important, controversial issues in her stories.


~*~

HUCKLEBERRY CHRISTMAS
Jennifer Beckstrand
The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill # 3  

Released Oct 7th, 2014
Zebra/Kensington




Now that they’ve happily married off two of their grandchildren, Anna and Felty Helmuth are ready for their next matchmaking challenge. What better way to celebrate the most heartwarming of seasons—and make Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, the place for unexpected love…

A difficult marriage has left the Helmuths’ widowed great-granddaughter, Beth, finished with wedlock. She’s content to live with them and make a life for herself and her toddler son. But once she turns down handsome Tyler Yoder’s proposal, it seems only fair to encourage him to find a suitable wife. Trouble is, his gentleness and generous ways are showing her how joyous a real meeting of hearts can be. . .

After a failed courtship, Tyler thought the best he could hope for in a wife was mere companionship. But spirited Beth is the one he longs to protect, and hold close. Earning her trust is the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. And soon, both will discover that forgiveness and understanding are gifts that only rekindled faith—along with the happiest of holidays—can bring.

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Jennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series and the Forever After in Apple Lake series, set in two Amish communities in beautiful Wisconsin. She has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and two adorable grandsons, whom she spoils rotten. Readers can visit her website at www.jenniferbeckstrand.com


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SANTA’S SECRET
Serenity Woods
Released Dec 1st, 2014
Kensington Books




Will the magic still be there when they wake on Christmas morning?

Having long since lost his Christmas spirit, Rudi comes to Santa’s Secret Village looking to sell the resort. His seven-year-old daughter already knows the truth about Santa, and neither of them is particularly in the mood for the festive season.

Practically a recluse since the death of her husband, Eva’s not looking for romance. Her trip to Santa’s Village is for the sole purpose of making Christmas more festive this year for her young son. But Eva brings an unexpected sparkle to Rudi and Isabel’s lives that renews their belief in the spirit of Christmas.

As the weather grows colder, things heat up between Rudi and Eva. But will the magic still be there when they wake on Christmas morning?


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Serenity Woods lives in the sub-tropical Northland of New Zealand with her wonderful husband and gorgeous teenage son. She writes fun, flirty, sweet and sexy contemporary romances. She would much rather immerse herself in reading or writing romance than do the dusting and ironing, which is why it’s not a great idea to pop round if you have any allergies.


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IF THE SHOE KILLS
Lynn Cahoon
A Tourist Trap Mystery # 3
Released Nov 10th, 2014
eKensington




The tourist town of South Cove, California, is a lovely place to spend the holidays. But this year, shop owner Jill Gardner discovers there’s no place like home for homicide…

As owner of Coffee, Books, and More, Jill Gardner looks forward to the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers. But when the mayor ropes her into being liaison for a new work program, ‘tis the season to be wary. Local businesses are afraid the interns will be delinquents, punks, or worse. For Jill, nothing’s worse than Ted Hendricks—the jerk who runs the program. After a few run-ins, Jill’s ready to kill the guy. That, however, turns out to be unnecessary when she finds Ted in his car—dead as a doornail. Detective Greg King assumes it’s a suicide. Jill thinks it’s murder. And if the holidays weren’t stressful enough, a spoiled blonde wants to sue the city for breaking her heel. Jill has to act fast to solve this mess—before the other shoe drops…

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Lynn Cahoon is a multi-published author. An Idaho native, her stories focus around the depth and experience of small town life and love. Currently she lives in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and two fur babies. 



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