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A Christmas to Remember by Lisa Kleypas, Lorraine Heath, Megan Frampton & Vivienne Lorret

October 10th, 2017 by dsuzuki

 

Romance stars Lisa Kleypas, Lorraine Heath, Megan Frampton, and Vivienne Lorret prove in this collection of stories that love is the most magical during Christmas…

“I Will” by Lisa Kleypas

To be reinstated into his father’s will, Andrew, Lord Drake, must court a respectable woman-his friend’s spinster sister, Miss Caroline Hargreaves. After he blackmails Caroline into helping him, the charade begins-but is it really a charade once love takes hold of their hearts…?

“Deck the Halls With Love” by Lorraine Heath

Alistair Wakefield, the Marquess of Chetwyn, devastated Lady Meredith Hargreaves when he proposed to another. But when he becomes free to pursue her, it’s too late for she’s on her way to the altar…. As Christmas approaches, Chetwyn vows to lure Lady Meredith back into his arms.

“No Groom at the Inn” by Megan Frampton

James Archer detests his mother’s matchmaking ways. When ordered to attend a Christmastime house party filled with simpering maidens, he produces a fiancée-Lady Sophronia Bettesford. James and Sophronia pretend to be in love for one month. But their pact soon turns into love.

“The Duke’s Christmas Wish” by Vivienne Lorret

To the Duke of Vale, science solves everything-even marriage. When the impulsive Ivy Sutherland makes him question all of his data, he realizes that he’s overlooked a vital component in his search for the perfect match: love.

My Thoughts

I loved this anthology and really the only reason it wasn’t a 5 star read for me was I wasn’t a fan of The Duke’s Christmas Wish by Vivienne Lorret. I really enjoyed the other three stories though and it was a close call between I Will by Lisa Kleypas and No Groom at the Inn by Megan Frampton of which was my favorite.

I Will by Lisa Kleypas read more like a full length read to me than a novella. I felt the pacing was wonderful and the story never felt rushed to me. I fell in love with both characters and thoroughly enjoyed watching Andrew and Caroline fall in love with each other. The supporting characters are great too and I want to go back and read the rest of Lisa Kleypas’s books.

No Groom at the Inn was also an engaging book to read. I loved the characters and I loved the grand gesture James plans for Sophronia. This was my first time reading Megan Frampton but now I need to go check out her other books because I enjoyed this one so much!

Deck the Halls With Love by Lorraine Heath is a second chance at love story which works well in a novella since the hero and heroine already have a history together and it doesn’t lose a lot by not having much time to show the couple’s love building. Instead we get to enjoy the romantic tension as the couple struggle to fight their feelings for each other and finally give in.

Sadly I never did get into The Duke’s Christmas wish by Vivian Lorret. Neither character grabbed me and there’s an instant attraction between the two but it felt too much like insta-love to me. The story seemed rushed and was a struggle for me to get through. I only kept reading because I knew it was a novella and wouldn’t be too long.

Still, the other three stories definitely make this an anthology worth picking up!

About the Book

A Christmas to Remember Anthology
by Lisa Kleypas, Lorraine Heath, Megan Frampton, and Vivienne Lorret

Genre
Adult
Romance

Publisher
Avon Books

Publication Date
September 26, 2017

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About Lisa Kleypas

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas graduated from Wellesley College with a political science degree. She is a RITA award winning author of both historical romance and contemporary women’s fiction. Her novels are published in fourteen different languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband Gregory and their two children.

Lorraine Heath always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals, press releases, articles, and computer code, but something was always missing. When she read a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She’s been writing about them ever since. Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including RWA’s prestigious RITA. Her novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.

Megan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction under the name Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son. You can visit her website at http://www.meganframpton.com. She tweets as @meganf and is at Facebook.com/meganframptonbooks.

Vivienne Lorret loves romance novels, her pink laptop, her husband, and her two teenage sons (not necessarily in that order . . . but there are days). Transforming copious amounts of tea into words, she is the author of Avon Impulse’s “Tempting Mr. Weatherstone” and The Wallflower Wedding Series. For more on her upcoming novels, visit her at http://www.vivlorret.net.

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Review: A Chance This Christmas by Joanne Rock

October 5th, 2017 by dsuzuki

Source: Netgalley

Publication date: October 5, 2017

Publisher: Tule Publishing

Rating: ★★★½☆

About the book:

Growing up in the Christmas-crazed theme town of Yuletide was fun for fashion designer Rachel Chambers until a family scandal made her unwelcome. Eight years later, she’s home for a friend’s wedding and trying to go incognito… until her old flame spots her.

Snowboarder Gavin Blake wants to make things right with Rachel, and smoothing her way back in Yuletide seems like the best way to do just that. Making Rachel his date for a week of pre-wedding parties is sure to bring them closer. Except he underestimated how long a small town can carry a grudge–or how much the memory of a long-ago kiss could tempt him all over again.

As the wedding approaches, Rachel remembers all she loved about her close-knit, Christmas-loving neighbors. But even if she can win over the town again, will she be able to convince her footloose, mogul-shredding wedding date that they can find happiness beyond the holidays?

My Thoughts:

If you love Hallmark Channel holiday movies then this book will definitely put you in the mindset of a Hallmark holiday movie. You could practically see the movie set as you read and meet the “villains” of the story and the over the top Christmas setup in town. The actual story line was cute but I have to admit that it dragged a little and while I enjoyed it, it just didn’t have that zing that kept me fully invested in the story.

I think the biggest thing that kept me from becoming truly invested in Rachel’s plight is that the townspeople seemed more focus on the fact that Rachel supposedly “cheated” on her ex. The kicker is her best friend, her ex and the guy she liked all knew that was not true! And yet no one could bother telling people that she never cheated on her ex! I can see maybe her ex because his ego was bruised but her best friend especially I felt could have stood up for her if she was really her best friend instead of basically helping to keep her best friend exiled for years. I think if that whole debacle had been left out and the story line just focused on Rachel’s father’s embezzlement it would have worked better for me.

Still it’s a cute read if you are looking for a holiday romance to get you into the holiday mood.

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Review: Tangled Up in Tinsel by Candis Terry

October 4th, 2017 by dsuzuki

Source: Received for review

Publication date: September 26, 2017

Publisher: Avon

Series: Sunshine Creek Vineyard #3

Rating: ★★★★☆

About the book:

 Meet the Kincade brothers: they’ll go to any lengths to protect their legacy—

but what happens when love gets in the way…?

As if the holidays weren’t stressful enough, Parker Kincade has a restaurant to open. The fact that his Groomzilla brother wants the place for his perfect Christmas wedding doesn’t help. Then there’s the stunning woman who appoints herself his new chef before he’s ready to hire one. But one look at Gabriella Montani has Parker reassessing needs vs. wants. And that’s before he tastes what she has to offer…

Gabriella doesn’t need to get tangled up with a sexy man. What she needs is a job and a chance to prove herself. A place in Parker’s kitchen could give her the opportunity she’s been waiting for. The heat between them is sizzling, but a place in his bed could be downright dangerous. Neither Christmas nor men have ever lived up to her expectations, but Parker has soulmate written all over him. Should Gabi let herself be swept up in his holiday magic, or will it disappear before Christmas Day?

My Thoughts:

This was the first time I heard of this author but I love holiday romances and it sounded really cute so when it became available for review I decided to give it a try. It’s definitely a fun filled fluffy romance for those ready to get into the holiday spirit. I didn’t realize it was book 3 in a series but it read fine as a standalone. It was a lot of fun watching Jordan be a groomzilla and how sweet he is wanting to please his fiancee so I would like to go back and read his story.

This one follows another of the Kincade brothers, Parker, who is a chef extraordinaire and a total sweetheart. I loved seeing how much he cared for his family and especially his two sisters. The entire family has gone through a tough situation and it was heartwarming to see them come together and support one another. Gabriella was a fun character as well who has to deal with having a total douche bag of a father. She knows what she wants and goes for it but she manages to balance it well with caring about others and not letting her ambition and drive hurt those around her. The chemistry between the two is so thick you could cut it with a knife and I loved watching the two of them together. I did think the conflict was a bit off for me. I didn’t think the secret Gabriella was keeping was enough for Parker to react as badly as he does but is the end I still really enjoyed this holiday read.

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Review: The Fire Queen by Emily R. King

October 2nd, 2017 by dsuzuki

Source: Netgalley

Publication date: September 26, 2017

Publisher: Skyscape

Series: The Hundredth Queen #2

Rating: ★★★½☆

About the book:

In the second book in The Hundredth Queen Series, Emily R. King once again follows a young warrior queen’s rise to meet her destiny in a richly imagined world of sorcery and forbidden powers.

Though the tyrant rajah she was forced to marry is dead, Kalinda’s troubles are far from over. A warlord has invaded the imperial city, and now she’s in exile. But she isn’t alone. Kalinda has the allegiance of Captain Deven Naik, her guard and beloved, imprisoned for treason and stripped of command. With the empire at war, their best hope is to find Prince Ashwin, the rajah’s son, who has promised Deven’s freedom on one condition: that Kalinda will fight and defeat three formidable opponents.

But as Kalinda’s tournament strengths are once again challenged, so too is her relationship with Deven. While Deven fears her powers, Ashwin reveres them—as well as the courageous woman who wields them. Kalinda comes to regard Ashwin as the only man who can repair a warring world and finds herself torn between her allegiance to Deven and a newly found respect for the young prince.

With both the responsibility to protect her people and the fate of those she loves weighing heavily upon her, Kalinda is forced again to compete. She must test the limits of her fire powers and her hard-won wisdom. But will that be enough to unite the empire without sacrificing all she holds dear?

My Thoughts:

I just have to start off saying how much I love the covers of The Fire Queen and the first book, The Hundredth Queen! They’re absolutely gorgeous and were the first thing that caught my eye. But even better is that the story itself entirely lived up to the covers. I loved The Hundredth Queen and could not wait to read The Fire Queen.

The book picks up right where book 1 stops off as Kalinda and Deven are fleeing after killing the Rajah Tarek and are seeking Tarek’s son. Sadly Kalinda and Deven spend most of this book separated as are Natesa and Yatin which is disappointing. Their interactions were some of my favorite parts of The Hundredth Queen. The story line is just as engrossing as the first book but I did not like the story arc of the romantic triangle between Prince Ashwin, Kalinda and Deven. I felt it was unnecessary and the attraction of Prince Ashwin to Kalinda was way too out of the blue to me.

I did love seeing so much more of the bhutas in action and the competition between the 4 bhuta women was enthralling. I only wish we had seen a little more character development for Princess Citra. It felt like she was being setup as another Natesa character in which she starts off as the biggest villain but we see glimpses of a better person in how loving she is towards her younger sister and how protective she is of her. However, we never see that same growth that we see in Natesa which was a disappointment.

So all in all I loved the first book and had high expectations. The second book fell a little short as often happens but I still have high hopes for the next book. Definitely a worth while reading series!

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Book 1 – The Hundredth Queen

Book 3 Coming February 2018 – The Rogue Queen

 

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Review: Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis

September 29th, 2017 by dsuzuki

Source: Received for review

Publication date: September 26, 2017

Publisher: Avon

Series: Heartbreaker Bay #4

Rating: ★★★★★

About the book:

Meet cute…

Run for the hills—temporarily. That’s Colbie Albright’s plan when she flees New York for San Francisco. Wrangling her crazy family by day and writing a bestselling YA fantasy series by night has taken its toll. In short, Colbie’s so over it that she’s under it. She’s also under the waters of a historic San Francisco fountain within an hour of arrival. Fortunately, the guy who fishes Colbie out has her looking forward to Christmas among strangers. But she’s pretty sure Spencer Baldwin won’t be a stranger for long.

Make merry…

Spence’s commitment to hiding from the Ghosts of Relationships Past means he doesn’t have to worry about the powerful—okay, crazy hot chemistry—he’s got with Colbie. Just because she can laugh at anything, especially herself… just because she’s gorgeous and a great listener just because she gets Spence immediately doesn’t mean he won’t be able to let Colbie go. Does it?

and hope for a miracle.

Now the clock’s ticking for Colbie and Spence: Two weeks to cut loose. Two weeks to fall hard. Two weeks to figure out how to make this Christmas last a lifetime.

My Thoughts:

I have always had a hot spot for the hot geek so throughout the entire series I have been looking forward to Spence’s story. Jill Shalvis hit it out of the park with this one. Spence is the perfect mix of geek and sexiness not to mention sweet and protective. I don’t think there was a single thing I didn’t love about him. Colbie was a fun character as well and we get to see some of the other Heartbreaker Bay gang which I loved. The only minor thing that didn’t quite sit right for me was Elle’s mama bear act. She’s always been the intense, take care of her people but I think it was taken just a bit too much this time around. I get she’s especially protective over Spence but it seemed too over the top. Other than that love, love, love this book! If you haven’t checked out this series yet you definitely need to move it to the top of your to read list.

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Review: Maybe This Christmas by Jennifer Snow

September 28th, 2017 by dsuzuki

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Forever

Publication date: September 26, 2017

Rating: ★★★½☆

About the Book:

All wrapped up . . . 

One more game. That’s all that stands between NHL star Asher Westmore and a major career milestone. But then his brother bashes him against the hockey boards, sidelining him for months. Over Christmas holidays, no less. If staying off the ice doesn’t drive him crazy, staying with his family will. The only bright spot amidst the mistletoe and twinkle lights: His best friend, Emma, is a physical therapist. And working out with her improves his body and his spirit.

One last time. Emma Callaway was in trouble the minute she and Asher added benefits to their friendship. How is she supposed to resist a funny, caring guy who makes her toes curl? Her heart was safe while he lived in a different state. Now that he’s back home recuperating, though, it’s only a matter of time before she blurts out her feelings. Emma’s only hope is that with a little holiday magic, she’ll get the best Christmas gift of all.

“With the perfect blend of hockey, heart, and heat, Maybe This Time is a winner!” — USA Today bestselling author Debbie Mason

My Thoughts:

I’ve been looking forward to Asher’s story from the very beginning and combining it with my love of holiday stories seemed to seal the deal on this book. It didn’t necessarily live up to my hopes for Asher’s story but it was still an enjoyable read.

Asher was a little too of a knucklehead for me with his obsession with hockey blinding him to what he had with Emma and the risk he was running of losing her. I get he had his dedication to his sport but it did grate on me a bit that he just had this assumption that once he accomplished all his goals that Emma would still be sitting there waiting for him. I did like Emma and was glad she was willing to take a chance by putting her feelings out there for Asher and my heart broke for her when Asher messed things up.

The ending was satisfying and it is great seeing all of the Westmore siblings have their HEAs. Definitely a fun series to read.

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Review: The Corner of Forever and Always by Lia Riley

September 27th, 2017 by dsuzuki

Source: Netgalley

Publication date: September 26, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About the book:

Fairy tales aren’t ever what they seem . . .

Tuesday Knight’s dream of Broadway stardom has flopped, leaving her unemployed and brokenhearted. Ready to quit kissing frogs and make her own happily-ever-after, she takes a job as a princess in Everland, Georgia’s historical amusement park.

Mayor Beau Marino lives an unenchanted existence-all work, no play-which is fine by him. After his marriage ended in disaster, the last thing he wants in his life is more drama. But Everland’s new free spirit has a talent for getting under his starched collar.

When the town’s beloved but bankrupt park might be shut down, Tuesday and Beau face a choice. Can they join forces, save the day-and each other? Or will their fierce battle of wills destroy any chance of a fairy-tale ending?

My Thoughts:

I feel bad I don’t have much to say about this book. It wasn’t bad but I did struggle a lot to finish it. Tuesday’s character bugged me a lot but that is more of a clash of personalities. I found her flightiness and some of her cases of bending the rules to be a bit much. It came across to me as irresponsible and immature to me more than endearing. Beau’s uptightness was more understandable to me and while I thought he needed to loosen up I did like his character. And the other reason this book was just meh to me was that for small town romances I normally fall in love with the supporting characters as much if not more than the main characters. However, it’s been about a week since I’ve read this book and I can barely remember much about them other than the foster girl who takes a shine to Tuesday and the fortune teller from Everland.

So while the book wasn’t badly written I honestly can’t recall many of the details because it took me so long to get through this book and it just didn’t stick with me.

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Review: The Scot Beds His Wife by Kerrigan Bryne

September 26th, 2017 by dsuzuki

 

Source: Received for review

Publication date: October 3, 2017

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Series: Victorian Rebels #5

Rating: ★★★½☆

About the book:

The Scot Beds His Wife is the next lush, captivating Victorian romance in the Victorian Rebels series by Kerrigan Byrne.

They’re rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards—dark, dashing men on the wrong side of the law. But for the women who love them, a hint of danger only makes the heart beat faster.

Gavin St. James, Earl of Thorne, is a notorious Highlander and an unrelenting Lothario who uses his slightly menacing charm to get what he wants—including too many women married to other men. But now, Gavin wants to put his shady past behind him…more or less. When a fiery lass who is the heiress to the land he wishes to possess drops into his lap, he sees a perfectly delicious opportunity…

A marriage most convenient

Samantha Masters has come back to Scotland, in a pair of trousers, and with a whole world of dangerous secrets from her time spent in the Wild West trailing behind her. Her only hope of protection is to marry—and to do so quickly. Gavin is only too willing to provide that service for someone he finds so disturbingly irresistible. But even as danger approaches, what begins as a scandalous proposition slowly turns into an all-consuming passion. And Gavin discovers that he will do whatever is necessary to keep the woman he has claimed as his own…

My Thoughts:

I didn’t realize this was book 5 in a series but for the most part it didn’t pose a problem reading the story. I was able to dive right in and for the most part I enjoyed the story. Samantha was a fun character and not the typical heroine I’m used to reading. Gavin took a bit longer for me to take a shine too but he eventually won me over as well.

Both characters have a sad back story and neither are what you might consider upstanding citizens in either of their respective worlds. Despite that we see them both struggling to escape their pasts and forge a new life but their past continues to dog their heels. Gavin turned me off a bit in the beginning because despite having just read about his horrible childhood his attitude about getting what he wants no matter who he has to use turned me off. I’m glad that Samantha calls him on it at one point saying how he doesn’t care that he leaves a strings of broken hearts behind and makes himself feel better by saying the women he seduces know what he’s there for. I also was turned off by his attitude towards his brother Liam. Maybe I’m missing something because I didn’t know Liam already had his own book that I haven’t read but despite being called the Demon Highlander he didn’t seem so bad. It seemed like he always looked out for Gavin, he loves his wife and overall seems to treat his people well. So I didn’t get the level of animosity Gavin showed towards him for most of the story.

The other minor turn off for me was the amount of swearing used throughout the story by Samantha. I normally don’t mind swearing when it fits the story but in this case it seemed to be thrown in willy nilly as a sign of the uncouth American woman. It seemed like a cheater’s way of showing how un-lady like and “American” Samantha was. Also I’m not a linguistic expert but it just seemed out of place for this time period as well. Maybe it’s because I don’t think I’ve ever read another historical romance in which the heroine, no matter her background, has ever said the f-word so often. It’s something I’m more used to contemporary romance characters using.

So those few things kept this from being a 4-4.5 star read but I definitely enjoyed it enough that I need to go back and read the other books in the series. I also can’t wait to read Alison Roth’s story! I’m hoping that is coming out next.

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