Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Review: Raging Winter by Colleen Gleason

A stand-alone, short novel in the international best-selling Gardella Vampire Hunter series.

When vampire hunter Max Denton goes undercover at an English estate over the Christmas holidays, the last person he wants to find there is the lovely Savina Eleiasa. But present she is--and on the arm of her new fiancé.

This is the second short Max Denton novel and can be read as a standalone. 

Kindle Edition, 82 pages
Published December 15th 2015 by Avid Press 
Series: The Gardella Vampire Hunters #9
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

Raging Winter is a stand alone novella that is part of the Gardella Vampire Hunter series. I won't say a lot about it or sugar coat it but I wasn't a fan.

Max had issues to put it mildly and there was no covering them to my satisfaction in the 82 pages that it took to get through the novella. On top of that, the plot in this little story fell short of interesting for a lack of better words. Lastly, it didn't even begin to scratch the Christmas itch that I was hoping it would when I picked it up.

I truly feel that you have to be familiar with this series and have read it to enjoy this novella. It is marketed as a stand alone but there was too much left unsaid from before and after. Without a history of these characters this novella is just a lack luster story that is truly forgettable.

About the Author
Award-winning, NEW YORK TIMES and USA Today bestselling author Colleen Gleason has written more than twenty books for major publishers such as Penguin Group, Harlequin Enterprises, Chronicle Books, and HarperCollins (as Joss Ware). Her books have been translated into seven different languages.

Colleen lives in the Midwest United States where she is fortunate enough to be working on her next book.  

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Monday, 11 December 2017

Review: The Map to You (A Least Likely Romance) by Lindy Zart

They both had secrets that could drive people apart—or bring them together forever . . .
Keeping his inner demons at bay means Blake Malone has more than enough trouble on his plate. He doesn’t need any extra complications. But that’s exactly what he gets when, on his way to North Dakota, he leaves his truck unattended—and returns to find a beautiful woman sleeping in the front seat.

Opal Allen seems to have a knack for attracting trouble. Which is why she isn’t about to tell her new road trip companion the real reason she needs to hightail it out of town. But Blake has a way of seeing right through her, which is both terrifying and exhilarating. Now her biggest problem is figuring out how to resist their undeniable attraction. Because once this road trip is over, she plans on never seeing Blake again.

But the best adventures don’t go according to plan. 

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Lyrical Shine

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  I am a little late getting this review out as it was released in November.

This story delivered exactly what I expected from it.  Both characters came in to their "relationship" with their own baggage that prevented them from a healthy relationship.  The two were attracted to each other however the previously mentioned baggage was an obstacle.  When they succumb to their physical attraction, it is fireworks.

Essentially the typical formula that one would expect from a story in this genre.  Those seeking their fix will be satisfied with this story.

An added element that I enjoyed was the road trip part.  There are so many places a story can take you when on the road and this did not disappoint.

This seems to be part of a series of some sort in which Blake was previously featured.  I had not read the other story and it in no way impacted my ability to enjoy this one.

Overall a good read!

About the Author

Lindy Zart is a USA TODAY bestselling author that has been writing since she was a child. Luckily for readers, her writing has improved since then. She lives in Wisconsin with her family. Lindy loves hearing from people who enjoy her work. She also has a completely natural obsession with wine, coffee, peanut butter, bloody marys, and pizza.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Review: The Handfasting by Glynnis Campbell

THE HANDFASTING – Prequel novella to The Knights of de Ware
When Sir Noёl de Ware comes from France to claim his betrothed—the most beautiful heiress in the Highlands—he's sure he's been given the best holiday gift ever…until he discovers the spirited lass he's wedded and bedded is not the right sister. Ysenda of Rivenloch never intended to be a counterfeit bride, and when she begins to fall in love with her handsome husband, she becomes trapped in her own deception. Only true love and a Yuletide wish can set things straight and grant them a happily ever after.

Kindle Edition, 114 pages
Published December 8th 2015 by Glynnis Campbell 
Genre: Historical Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

With this being such a short tale I won't re-tell the story and give away any of the plot. The synopsis gives you a good idea of what the story was about. I will say that it was filled with misunderstandings, confusion, deception, lust. lies and a whole lot of inta-love. Set during the holiday season this story had a hint of magic within the snow covered Highlands that added to the charm and festive atmosphere. Yes it was a little far fetched and unbelievable but it was cute and entertaining all the same. I think this genre is starting to grow on me.

About the Author
Glynnis Campbell is a USA Today bestselling author of swashbuckling "medieval action-adventure romance," mostly set in Scotland, with over a dozen books published in six languages. A member of the Jewels of Historical Romance, she was once in an all-girl band on CBS Records, has done voiceovers for an MTV series, Diablo and Starcraft videogames, and various audiobooks, and is married to a rock star. She loves to transport readers to a place where the bold heroes have endearing flaws, the women are stronger than they look, the land is lush and untamed, and chivalry is alive and well.

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Thursday, 7 December 2017

Review: Daniel and the Angel by Jill Barnett

When wealthy financier D. L. Stewart's finds an injured woman in the snow in front of his New York City mansion, he has no idea she is Lillian, a big-hearted and somewhat inept fallen angel, sent back to teach him what Christmas is all about. But Lilli has her work cut out for her. D.L. is a wounded and cynical soul, a man who is an expert at not feeling anything, and who believes he can buy anything...and anyone. Can one loving, soft-hearted angel really change this damaged man who has a heart of solid stone?

Originally published in the 1994 anthology A Holiday of Love.

Kindle Edition, 138 pages
Published December 2015 by Amazon Digital Services (first published November 1st 1994)  
Genre: Historical Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

Daniel and the Angel was a quick story about an angel who got kicked out of heaven and lands as a fallen angel in New York City during the holiday season. She was hit by D.L Stewart's carriage and taken to his house to recover. A cold man who knew how to do nothing but work was most concerned about getting sued. Little did he know that Lillian's one chance to go back to heaven was him.

What did I think?

The beginning with Lillian up in heaven was super cheesy, I mean roll your eyes cheesy. I was questioning what exactly I was reading. Hang in there... Once she fell it got much better. It was still cheesy but in the holiday, Christmasy, romantic kind of way. Yes it was kind of insta-love but what can you expect at 138 pages. I was looking for something with some holiday magic to put me in the Christmas spirit and this novella did exactly that. If you dig deep enough there were plenty of things that could be picked apart but it did exactly what I was hoping it would do at the time I wanted it to. It was a cute and entertaining little read.

FYI... Christmas in NYC is my favourite and perhaps that added to my enjoyment of this story.

About the Author
New York Times Bestselling Author Jill Barnett is master storyteller known for her beautifully-written love stories rich with humor, emotion, and poignancy. She is the winner of Lifetime Achievement Awards for Love and Laughter and Historical Romance and is a six-time Romance Writers of America RITA nominee and winner of both a Persie Award for Literature and a Waldenbooks Award. Her books have been named Best of the Year by Dallas Morning News, Detroit Free Press, and Kirkus Review and she was the first historical romance author to ever receive a starred review from Publishers Weekly. She stands alongside Judith McNaught as one of only two authors to ever receive a six-star review from Affaire de Coeur Magazine and her work has been published in 23 languages and appeared on numerous bestseller lists. She lives in the PNW with her family.

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Sunday, 3 December 2017

Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

Kindle Edition, 316 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf 
Series: Wonder #1
Genre: Young Adult/Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

I plan on seeing this movie so I had to pick up the book and read it before hand. It is against the law (my law) to watch a movie before reading the book. I managed to get the book done before it was released but this post won't go up until much after. Hopefully I will have seen the movie by the time this post goes up and I can check back to compare the two.

There are a gazillion reviews for this book and I noticed that a large number of my Goodreads friends had rated it very high so my expectations were high as well. It is more than safe to say that I was not disappointed. Why did I wait so long to read this?

First off, I have to say that this book was very easy to read. I managed to read the entire book in one sitting. It started with August telling the story and then it alternated between many other people that were a part of his life in one way or another. I am a huge fan of alternating perspectives because I feel you get a better picture of the entire story from all sides.

I won't re-tell the story but I will talk about how relevant and timeless the messages within the pages of this book were. It showcased how someone who was different from everyone else was treated and how it impacted his life and the people around him. It also showed how mean kids can be to each other and the hurt they can cause. It was powerful and very realistic. I think all fifth graders (the grade the kids in this book were) would benefit from reading Wonder because there is a lot that they can learn from it at that impressionable age. Older children, teenagers and even some adults could learn a thing or two from it as well.

I enjoyed every second of it and I can't wait to see if the movie can live up to it.

About the Author
R.J. Palacio lives in NYC with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. For more than twenty years, she was an art director and graphic designer, designing book jackets for other people while waiting for the perfect time in her life to start writing her own novel. But one day several years ago, a chance encounter with an extraordinary child in front of an ice cream store made R. J. realize that the perfect time to write that novel had finally come. Wonder is her first novel. She did not design the cover, but she sure does love it.

Raquel J. Palacio / R. J. Palacio is a pseudonym of: Raquel Jaramillo


Thursday, 30 November 2017

Review: The Black Falcon's Christmas by Kimberly Cates

The Black Falcon rides again... An English Heiress lost... A Devil's Bargain struck...

When English heiress Maryssa Wylder defied her father to wed an Irish patriot raider known as the Black Falcon, she thought she was ready for life as Tade Kilcannon’s wife and the mother of their son. But nothing her governesses taught her prepared her for tending a baby or being part of his large, boisterous family—a family that can’t forget she is the daughter of their greatest enemy.

Tade Kilcannon knows Maryssa is struggling after sacrificing a life of wealth and privilege for their great love. When he learns that her joyless father forbade celebrating Christmas, he dons the Black Falcon’s mask one last time to fight for their happily ever after. Can he give Maryssa a Christmas miracle?

Kindle Edition, 237 pages
Published December 5th 2016 by Kimberly Cates Books 
Series: Celtic Rogues
Genre: Holiday/Historical Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

I started reading this book because I wanted a nice festive story to help get me in the holiday spirit. I have just recently began trying out the historical romance genre.

The Black Falcon's Christmas is part of the Celtic Rogues series and is the continuation of Tade and Maryssa's story. You don't need to read the first book in the series in order to follow along. With that being said, I found myself more interested in the story that had already happened in the first book than the one that was happening on the pages in front of me. A lot of time was spent filling in the blanks as to how the two ended up where they were and I found that part, the back story, most intriguing. The plot within this book was, if I'm being honest, a little boring and slow. I felt like the same story could have been told with half as many pages and then I may have enjoyed it a little more. It wasn't horrible just terribly long winded.

This book did not really satisfy my Christmas craving however it did make me quite curious about Tade and Maryssa's original story. Although this can be read as a stand alone I think if I had followed their story from the beginning I might have enjoyed it more. It was just way too slow for my liking.

About the Author
Kimberly Cates lives in Illinois with her family.
Pseudonyms: Kimberleigh Caitlin and Kim Cates.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Review: Mischief & Mistletoe by Tanya Anne Crosby

'Twas the Week Before Christmas...

Suspecting he can never be the man Emma Peters wishes him to be, Lucien Morgen, the fifth duke of Willyngham, decides to break off their long-standing engagement...only to discover the innocent fiancé he set aside for years has unexpectedly blossomed into a passionate, irresistible woman.

When All Through the House...

As the family counts down to Christmas, everyone else seems to realize Lucien and Emma are truly meant to be--except the oblivious couple. With the help of some very mischievous children, Emma and Lucien are about to discover that a little mischief beneath the mistletoe might just open their hearts to love.

Kindle Edition, 78 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical Romance/Holiday/Novella
Kristine's Thoughts:

In my hunt for some Christmas cheer to get me in the Christmas spirit I decided to pick this novella up and give it a try. In the interest of full disclosure I will admit that I have never really been drawn to historical romance. I love historical fiction but tend to stay away from these types of books. I don't know why.

I have to admit that I enjoyed this novella more than I thought I would. At only 78 pages I can't really say too much about it but it succeeded in giving me some holiday feels. Who doesn't smile at love discovered during the holiday season.

If I had to dissect the story I would say that the characters were a little weak especially Lucien. A broken betrothal because he didn't feel worthy but with no explanation was a little unbecoming. Also the fact that his feelings changed three years later when Emma was more mature, beautiful and self confident was a little slimy. However, I adored Emma's family and their closeness and holiday traditions.

In the end this novella did entertained me for a short time and succeeded in putting me in the holiday spirit.

About the Author
Put a menu in front of me and I immediately don't know what I want. Fried green tomatoes with grits? Yep, OK. Fish? Sounds good, too. OK, so what are you having? I'll do that too. When it comes to shoes--forget it. I end up buying nothing because I can't make up my mind. Thank God I have a husband who has great tastes, or my closet might be empty. I'm one of those people who suffers from acute ambivalence given too many choices, but when it comes to what I wanted to do with my life, I've known that decidedly since the age of 12--and probably long before that. It all began once upon a time after a tonsillectomy, when the doc advised mom and dad they should reward me with anything I wanted (the key word here being anything). All I wanted was dad's typewriter. I got it, of course--a black, sporty Olympia I immediately set out to wearing the letters off the keys. So here I am all these years later, with sixteen books under my belt and a new one on the way ... still wearing the letters off keyboards ... and loving every minute.

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