Tag Archives: Holidays

Guest Post: 12 Days of Christmas with Authors Cindy Kirk, Tracy Brogan, and Jamie Beck *Excerpts and Giveaway*

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On the tenth day of Christmas LeAnn’s Book Reviews gave to me…three excerpts from holiday novels and an Amazon giftcard giveaway. Read on for some Christmas cheer with romantic snippets from authors Cindy Kirk, Tracy Brogan and Jamie Beck.

Happy Holidays!

 

Excerpts

Christmas in Good Hope by Cindy Kirk

“You’re an amazing woman, Ami Bloom.”

“You’re right.” Her bright smile flashed. “I am.”

He laughed.

Her laughter soon mingled with his.

Then their eyes met. The laughter died in his throat and his heart became a swift, hard beat.

He reached out for her and felt her arms encircle his neck. She was so lovely. Did she have any idea the power she had over him?

The feel of her soft curves had Beck forgetting his resolve to keep it all business between them. Just this once he would stop thinking and open himself to the moment, to her. He shifted, gathered her closer still, and kissed her temple.

When she gave a pleasure-filled sigh and lifted her face, he lowered his mouth to hers and found it as soft and sweet as he’d imagined.

The kiss started out gentle and tender but quickly morphed into something more, something that felt … life altering. When her fingers slid into his hair and she began to kiss him back with equal enthusiasm, Beck knew he was in over his head.

Jingle Bell Harbor by Tracy Brogan

He cupped my face with both hands and traced one thumb over my bottom lip, a soft, slow motion as he stared at my mouth for an eternity. And then, at last, he leaned in and kissed me. Warm, delicious perfection. Pressure and insistence in just the right measure. I’d told Drew he’d been my first real kiss at fourteen. Now I realized I hadn’t truly had my first real kiss, because this was it. I felt it from my lips all the way down to my toes and past every detour in between.

I wound my hand around the back of his neck, needing him closer, and closer still. I hadn’t underestimated just how soft that hair of his was, but I had, remarkably, underestimated my body’s instantaneous reaction to his touch. It was electric. I gave myself up to the moment. I’d earned it, this indulgence. Because I was on vacation, and Drew Hampton just might have superpowers after all.

Arms tangling, heads tilting, pressure building. The kiss ended far too soon, but we stayed close, forehead to forehead. Breathy. Sizzling. Anticipating.

“I’ve waited a very long time for a chance to do that again,” he said, his breath a caress against my cheek.

I tugged off my scarf in a hasty motion. “In that case, we should make up for lost time,” I said. And then I kissed him again. And again, and again.

Accidentally Hers by Jamie Beck

“I like you. I like you a lot.”

Heat shot up her arm and spread throughout her chest as his thumb brushed against the backof her hand. When she panicked and tried to pull away, he gripped her hand tighter. “Grey?”

He was staring at her as his other hand brushed back her hair. His touch set off a spark ofenergy that pulsed throughout the room. They both held their breath for a second, eyes locked on each other.

“Screw it,” he muttered before pulling her into a powerful kiss—one she felt down to her toes the instant his hot mouth claimed hers. A low rumble resonated in his chest as he tried to get closer to her despite their awkward positions in the chairs.

For several exhilarating seconds, she allowed herself to be swept away by the taste and smellof him. By the commanding way his tongue tangoed with hers. By the rising temperature in the room and shivery sensations overwhelming her entire body as he buried his hands in her hair.

Kissing Grey was every bit as hot as she’d imagined, and that heat shot straight through her abdomen and in between her legs.

One of his hands ran down her neck and back, pulling her closer. His chest heaved. Low sounds rumbled deep in the back of his throat as he got carried away and took her right along for the ride, crushing her to him.

Weeks and weeks of pent-up desire burst forth, causing her resolve to falter. She dug her hands into his thick, wavy hair, kissing him as she’d done so many times in her dreams. Then danger signs flashed in her mind, causing her to exert gentle pressure against his chest. “Wait.”

He kept his forehead pressed to hers, allowing his breathing to slow down. He held her there, cupping her neck, his thumbs gently rubbing her jaw. “Sorry. That wasn’t planned . . . or particularly gentle.”

 

About the Books

JingleBellHarborPRJingle Bell Harbor
by Tracy Brogan

As assistant buyer for the world’s second-largest Christmas store, Kelsey Parker feels like a holiday harlot. She’s contractually obligated to promote the yuletide season. All. Year. Long. And it’s taking a toll on her spirit. But when her clueless, self-absorbed boyfriend goes on their long-anticipated romantic vacation—without her!—Kelsey is beyond disappointed to find herself tromping through the Bell Harbor snow instead of lounging on a tropical beach.

Drew Hampton is considered quite a catch among the Bell Harbor bachelorettes, but when his high school dream girl, Kelsey Parker, shows up at his grandfather’s Christmas tree lot complaining about her love life, he decides it’s long past time to get her under the mistletoe himself.

As things heat up between the two, a surprise visitor arrives, making Kelsey an offer she can’t quite believe. Now she must decide what matters most, and she just may discover the key to her happiness.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

ChristmasinGoodHopePRChristmas in Good Hope
by Cindy Kirk

Amaryllis “Ami” Bloom’s cheerful smile greets everyone in Good Hope, Wisconsin. But her merry facade hides a dark secret she won’t ever forget. Still, she throws herself into celebrating Christmas—and convinces her handsome, and stubborn, new neighbor to join her.

Beckett Cross, however, is determined not to celebrate the holidays. He moved to Good Hope to leave behind reminders of how he’d had it all…and lost everything. But it’s hard to resist adorable Ami, the designated keeper of the small town’s holiday traditions, when she asks for help with the Twelve Nights celebrations. And Ami has a hard time resisting Beck’s soft Southern drawl and gentle eyes. Will a Christmas miracle give them a second chance at love and the hope to heal both of their hearts for good?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

AccidentallyHersAccidentally Hers
by Jamie Beck

When ruggedly sexy backcountry guide Grey Lowell moves to Sterling Canyon, Colorado, after buying the ski-expedition company Backtrax, his plans don’t include romance. Still, it’s fun to look—especially across a crowded restaurant at a beauty he dubs “Bambi.” But all his plans change later that night when he’s injured by a drunk driver.

Physical therapist Avery Randall is shocked to learn that Grey’s the man her brother struck with his car, and even more stunned when he arrives at the clinic expecting her help. Despite her reservations and Grey’s silly new nickname for her, Avery agrees to work with him, and passion begins to simmer. Yet with his livelihood at stake, Grey must make tough decisions that could hurt Avery and her family. Before long, Avery’s loyalties are tested, and the choices she and Grey each make may cost them their chance at lasting love.

GoodreadsAmazon | Barnes & Noble

 

 

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Review: A Christmas to Remember by Jill Shalvis, Kristen Ashley, Hope Ramsay, Molly Cannon, Marilyn Pappano

A Christmas to Remember Book Cover A Christmas to Remember
Lucky Harbor #8.5
Jill Shalvis, Kristen Ashley, Hope Ramsay, Molly Cannon, Marilyn Pappano
Grand Central Publishing
December 3rd 2013
e-ARC
Netgalley

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Curl up with this heartwarming Christmas collection!

Jill Shalvis, Dream a Little Dream: Melissa has kept every man at a safe distance-especially firefighter Ian, a sexy friend with sexy benefits. But Ian secretly longs for more. Luckily, ’tis the season for giving love a chance . . .

Kristen Ashley, Every Year: Holidays don’t come easy for Shy and his brother, Landon. But with the magic of Christmas, along with a little help from Tabby and her family, the Cage brothers are about to get the gift of a lifetime . . .

Hope Ramsay, Silent Night: Down on her luck and evicted from her apartment, single mother Maryanne hopes to start over in Last Chance. When the snow begins to fall, it looks like her baby might literally spend Christmas Eve in a manger. And Maryanne might celebrate the holiday with a handsome stranger.

Molly Cannon, Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas: Lincoln is a bachelor who’s set in his ways-until a professional organizer dressed up as Mrs. Claus changes his life, one tip at a time. . .

Marilyn Pappano, A Family for Christmas: War widow Ilena doesn’t mind spending Christmas alone. But when a new doctor blows into town with the winter wind, will she get her secret Christmas wish?

Plus: Excerpts from upcoming novels!

Buy the Book
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Review

Dream a Little Dream (Lucky Harbor #8.5) by Jill Shalvis ~ 5 stars

I loved, LOVED this story!!! Then again I’m a fan of Jill Shalvis and especially her Lucky Harbor books.

Melissa is not one to commit and even though, or maybe especially because, she has developed some feelings for Ian she wants to keep her distance from him. Fate had other plans, unfortunately. After a rather dangerous turn of events Melissa admits she needs Ian in her life. Now the problem was in trying to convince him of getting together with her after she rejected him.

Through funny moments, entertaining dialogue and inner musings, Jill Shalvis brought Ian and Melissa’s connection to the page. They already had the basis of it, they just had to admit to what they were feeling and let it bloom. And bloom they did! Their chemistry jumped off the page and when they finally, FINALLY got together it was as wonderful as all the other events that took place throughout the story.

Short, but sweet with all the elements I’ve come to expect of her stories, Dream a Little Dream was my favorite of the set of stories.

Every Year (Chaos #2.5) by Kristen Ashley ~ 5 stars

I enjoyed visiting Shy and Tabby and the Chaos family, including Shy’s brother, Landon. It was good to see Shy and Tabby moving forward in their relationship, but I mostly enjoyed knowing more about Shy and Landon.

As told in Own the Wind, Shy and Landon didn’t have the greatest moments after their parents’ murder. It was touching to see how deeply their hurt was, especially over the holidays. I was especially glad to see how they made the effort to let go of the past and enjoy the moment they shared with their new-found family.

All in all, a great addition to the Chaos series with sweet, tender moments and of course some funny and lustful one’s too!

Silent Night by Hope Ramsay ~ 2 stars

I had a hard time getting through this story. Maybe is was the insta-love concept, the setting or the characters, I can’t put my finger on it. On the one hand it was sweet and ‘holiday-ish’ with its barn and the baby and Mary, which set the mood. But on the other there was the conflicting emotions of two characters that spent most of their time thinking for themselves and not communicating with each other. And if they did, it was implied which kind of turned me off the story because I had nothing to hold on to when I was looking to connect to them.

Although the story was not for me, Silent Night was still a sweet story about a man and a woman finding a chance to start anew together.

Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas by Molly Cannon ~ 3 stars

This was a fun story. I enjoyed the heroine’s humor and watching Lincoln all flustered over his attraction to her and having his stuff organized. I wish I had seem them interact a bit more, but at least their chemistry was great. Although I didn’t connect to them fully, their banter was entertaining and enough to keep me interested in the outcome of their story.

All in all, a fun holiday read.

A Family for Christmas by Marilyn Pappano ~ 4 stars

This was a nice story to read. I enjoyed learning Ilena’s story and watching her open up to new possibilities with Jared, the new doctor in town. Their interactions were fun and entertaining and their connection although not completely explored, was developed enough for me to at least believe that they had a chance at something. I would have preferred to see them interact a bit more before emotions came into play, but other than that I wouldn’t change anything about them coming together.

All in all, a heartwarming story of new beginnings for two people who were not looking for a relationship.

*I received this title from the publisher in exchange of my honest opinion.

Review: The 12 Days of Dennis by Jude Dunn

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Title: The 12 Days of Dennis

Author: Jude Dunn

Published: December 18th 2013

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance

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Synopsis

When an unexpected package is delivered on December 14th, Martin is more than a little intrigued by the contents—especially as they’re from his boyfriend, Dennis, and come with instructions to wear them when they go to dinner with Dennis’ parents the following night.

And that’s only the beginning of Dennis’ suggestive gifts.

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Review

2-stars

Hmmm, where to start? I’d like to say that I enjoyed this story thoroughly, but then I won’t be completely honest with you. Was it amazing? Sadly no. Was it good? Eh, nope. It wasn’t horrible, it was Okay, odd and over the top, but okay.

Martin keeps receiving these ridiculous gifts from his boyfriend Dennis and as the days passed the gifts keep getting weirder and weirder. Some were fun and I enjoyed reading Martin’s reaction to them. Others, well I didn’t see their point.

Anyway, that’s not here nor there. The story just didn’t work for me. Other than towards the end, I didn’t get to see any kind of chemistry and/or connection between the main characters. There was a lot of alcohol and reminiscing of events passed as the gifts were put to use. But I didn’t really see much interaction between the characters, so that right there threw me off the story.

Like I said, there were some fun moments. But everything came together in a messy kind of way and I couldn’t find it in me to really care.

All in all, a fun, if over the top story, with a pair of odd characters and an abundance of gift giving.

*I received this title from the publisher in exchange of my honest opinion.

Review: Season of Second Chances by Brighton Walsh

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Title: Season of Second Chances

Author: Brighton Walsh

Published: December 5th 2013

Publisher: Carina Press

Genre: Contemporary Romance

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Synopsis

When a storm strands Claire Hanlin in Chicago on Christmas Eve, the last person she expects to come to her rescue is Logan Dawes, the man she almost married two years ago. The chemistry between them is dangerously potent, but with nowhere else to go, Claire accepts Logan’s offer to stay with him for the night.

Back in the home they shared, surrounded by reminders of Logan and his young daughter, Claire begins to realize how much she misses the family she almost had. After a few cups of Christmas cheer, she falls right back into her ex’s arms-even though she knows it means setting herself up for heartbreak all over again.

The magic of the season has thrown him together with the woman he’s never stopped loving, and Logan’s not about to pass up this gift. He’s not the workaholic he was two years ago-his family comes first. Now all he has to do is prove it to Claire, before the snow stops and she flies out of his life for good.

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Review

4 stars

Claire just wants to get out of Chicago and the memories that have assaulted her since she arrived. Christmas with her sister seems like the perfect remedy for her wistful thoughts but she’s now stuck in town awaiting a storm to pass. Trying not to think of the man she once left behind in Chicago, Claire focuses on finding a hotel nearby to stay while the flights are sorted out.

Logan is ready to head home after spending a hectic morning tending to his business and wasting time in the airport while waiting for a flight that ultimately was cancelled. As he’s striding towards the exit he spots a face he’s never forgotten – Claire’s. The woman who meant the world to him once upon a time and who he hasn’t seen in two years. He knows he should walk away, but he can’t. Not only does he regret how things ended but he knows he’ll regret much more if he doesn’t approach her.

I loved this story! This is the second book by Brighton Walsh I’ve read and she has not disappointed me yet. With roughly 74 pages of content, Brighton Walsh managed to bring to the page a story packed-full of emotions, yearning and passion. I loved the way Logan and Claire related to each other. Neither of them had forgotten what they had shared, but both had their doubts that it could be picked up again this time around.

I enjoyed watching them getting to know each other gain and how frustrated they became whenever they were near each other. The sexual tension between them could cut glass. Each look, touch and whisper word revealed the feelings they had for each other still. Their chemistry was off-the-charts HOT, but it was their quiet moments and their unspoken words that got to me and kept me interested. I wanted to know where their story would lead and ultimately see them find their happily ever after.

All in all, a fantastic holiday story with interesting characters, chemistry abound and the kind of romance that brings a smile to your face.

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Twelve Days (A Note in the Margin #2) by Isabelle Rowan

Twelve Days (A Note in the Margin, #2)Synopsis: Christmas can be a time of love and joy, but to three men at the bookstore called Margins, it also brings reflection on what was and what will be, highlighting the importance of home and family during a hot Australian Christmas. Their lives are intertwined by the bookstore, but individually David has difficulty reconnecting with the son he knew, John discovers something about the father who abandoned him, and Jamie braces himself for what he thinks will be his first Christmas on his own.

Rating: 4 stars

Review: Great follow up to the story. Again, I enjoyed David’s and John’s journey and their relationship.

They are still together and in love, but David is still fighting his demons and having a hard time adjusting. John continues to support him and love him through this, which shows how much he really does care about David. Jamie still looking for that especial someone, especially seeing how David and John have bonded and their relationship has evolved.

The writing was great as usual. Isabelle Rowan brought deep emotions to the page and as in the previous book gives us great insight into how mental illness can affect family and friends relations.

A short, lovely update into David and John’s life.