The Heiress and the Hothead by Sabrina Jeffries

http://amzn.to/2hfF9t8
Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion.


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This story was first featured in the 2015 anthology What Happens Under the Mistletoe. Although it’s quite a recent book, you might want to check you haven’t got that book before purchasing this as a stand alone story. Although I do quite like having my favourite stories as stand alone books.

This book is one of the Sinful Suitors stories. Amanda first appeared in The Art of Sinning and we also meet characters in this book from future books in the Sinful Suitors series. You might be enticed to read more of the series but this book does stand alone quite nicely.

Amanda and Stephen are quite opinionated and both hold strong views on mills and mill reform - which is the backdrop to this story. What’s nice is that while the mills are a big feature, and richly described, they never take away from the story or from Amanda and Stephen’s romance.

I liked that both Stephen and Amanda were made to work hard for their happily ever after. Both were stubborn and opinionated and both had to realise their own faults stood in the way. It wasn’t just the man, as is often the case in these kind of stories, that made a mistake and had to right his wrong before it was too late.

The consummation of Stephen and Amanda’s love was a little different - at least the location was! I won’t spoil the story by saying too much but while it wasn’t hugely sexy (at least compared to Jeffries’ other works), it did seem realistic and fit the circumstances.

Sabrina Jeffries is one of my favourite authors and this story doesn’t disappoint. Lively characters, strong emotion and an unusual premise give this tale something more than most and it’s a story I’d happily recommend.

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101 pages



* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *




The Sinful Suitors series:
       
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A Mackenzie Christmas by Liliana Hart

http://amzn.to/2gvswZIGrant MacKenzie is ready to settle down and start a family. The only problem is the one woman he’s interested in doesn’t seem to be ready for the long haul. But fate lends Grant a helping hand in getting exactly what he wants under his Christmas tree.


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I’ll admit that I often expect stories named for families, sagas and the like, to be rather tame. Imagine my surprise when this short tale had a nice punch of heat to it. The sex scenes (yes, there was sex - and chats of sex - packed into these 38 pages) were quite rushed and could have done with a bit more description but I’m attributing that to the fact that the story was short. I imagine in Ms. Hart’s full length novels there’s more time reserved for such things.

Grant was a good character and I feel I got to know him and like him in the short space of time. Annabeth was slightly more of a mystery and I did feel she came across as quite young; Nothing to dislike, however. Perhaps if I’d read the rest of the Mackenzie novels (this is book 9 in the series) then I might feel I knew her a little better.

A bit too much flowery language at the beginning of the sex due to Annabeth’s inexperience. Talk of gifts and miracles - hmmm. I don’t know anyone (thankfully) who speaks like that either before, during or after sex. A couple of sentences wasn’t a huge issue, however.

I liked this story. It was short, sweet with a bit of heat and a nice tale to give you a 20 minute break from the craziness of Christmas. One to check out and I might have a look for Lilian Hart’s longer novels in the future. 4 stars.


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The Winter Wife by Anna Campbell

http://amzn.to/2hu8xbGWill a chance meeting on Christmas Eve…

Alicia Sinclair, Countess of Kinvarra, cannot believe that fate has been so cruel as to strand her on the snowy Yorkshire moors with her estranged husband as her only hope of rescue. During their rare encounters, the arrogant earl and his countess act like hostile strangers. Now that Alicia has fallen into Kinvarra’s power, will he seek revenge for her desertion? Or does the dark, passionate man she once adored have entirely different plans for his headstrong wife?

...deliver a second chance at love?

Sebastian Sinclair, Earl of Kinvarra, has spent ten wretched years regretting the mistakes he made with his young bride, but after long separation, the barriers between them are insurmountable. Until an unexpected encounter one stormy night makes him wonder if the barriers of mistrust and thwarted desire are so insurmountable after all. When winter weather traps Sebastian and his proud, lovely wife in an isolated inn, could the earl and his headstrong countess have a Christmas miracle in store?



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This story seemed awfully familiar to me but since I couldn’t quite remember the exact details, I decided to give it another go. It turns out that this is a story originally featured in The Mammoth Book of Regency Romance where it was called Upon a Midnight Clear. It’s been reworked slightly since then and released as an individual novella.

This type of story is my favourite kind - second chance / reunion romances. The fact that it’s also set at Christmas makes me happy as a clam. Only chocolate could make me happier.

This is the first ever story from Anna Campbell that I read and it really shows off her unique writing style. It’s classy, packed full of emotion and is jammed with the angst that I expect from her. And I do love me some angst. What’s especially good is that both the hero and heroine are tortured by mistakes they made in their past. It’s nice to read a story where both sides admit that they handled a situation badly and weren’t as innocent of wrongdoing as they initially thought. Refreshing and made me believe the couple’s happily ever after would work this time.

Both Alicia and Sebastian are really interesting, fully rounded characters and are so well written that you can’t help but love them both. Despite how we first meet Alicia and her snarky attitude towards her estranged husband, I immediately felt for her and understood the reasons for her actions. Sebastian is the best kind of hero in my eyes; dark, delicious and desperately in love with his wife despite their estrangement. The fact that he maintains a sense of humour through all this makes me love him even more. The way that Sebastian and Alicia interact with each other was also great and I loved seeing their progression from wary distrust and animosity through to honesty and declarations. It was like reading happiness.

The story isn’t too long at just 59 pages and can be easily read in a couple of sittings. My only gripe is that despite the fact that this has been reworked since its original publication, there’s still no epilogue. I’m not deducting any stars because of that fact but I am pouting a little bit. I feel an epilogue rounds out a story and delivers on the promise of the happily ever after. Anyway, still a great tale for a chilly night and one I would recommend. 5 stars.




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Weighting for Christmas by AJ Harmon

http://amzn.to/2gVX1a5
Kate Evans is a vibrant beautiful woman.

Chad Rockwood is the personal trainer her mother has hired to help her lose the extra pounds she carries. 

They start out as trainer and client and quickly move to friends, but when Kate’s mom signs her up on an online matchmaking site, Chad sees red.
 

Do opposites attract? Can Chad convince Kate that she is more than a number on a scale?
 

A funny and emotional look at romance when it’s least expected.


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I make no bones of the fact that stories told in first person are not my favourite - they always make me feel strangely uncomfortable for some strange reason. But for this story - it really works. I like that we only get Kate’s perspective to what’s going on. It makes her journey all the more real and we can truly feel her emotions and how she thinks. That doesn’t mean to say that we don’t get glimpses into what Chad’s thinking; Kate is adorably clueless about her own desirability and it’s clear, to us readers anyway, what’s bothering Chad when Kate starts dating.

My only reason for giving this story 4 stars is that it took me longer than I would have liked to warm up to Kate. She’s our heroine and despite me hugely identifying with the way she was feeling and how she viewed herself, there were times at the start of the book when she was just downright mean. I probably wouldn’t have minded except that she took great pains to remind us that she was nice. Hmmmm. I saw the change in her throughout the book so maybe it was a clever ploy by the author; I’ll never know!

The reason this book wasn’t what I expected is that it’s more than just a romance. The book could have ended at about 50% and I would have been satisfied with the happily-ever-after of Kate and Chad. However, this was also a story about Kate falling in love with herself and coming to terms with who she was. Not to sound all cheesy but I found this part very uplifting and quite, erm, motivational. Maybe I’ll find my own Chad in time for next Christmas.

I really enjoyed this story and was hooked from the first. It’s light on the Christmas element as it’s set throughout the year but you honestly won’t mind as soon as you get into the story. A book I would recommend. 4 stars.



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A Match Made in Mistletoe by Anna Campbell

http://amzn.to/2gj4IbrA mistletoe wish…

All her life, Serena Talbot has been in love with the handsome boy next door, Sir Paul Garside. She always eagerly looks forward to Paul’s visit to her family over the Festive Season, even if he usually brings along his dark, sardonic friend Lord Hallam. This year, Serena is determined that Paul’s kiss under the mistletoe will lead to a proposal. Even if she has to enlist every ounce of Christmas magic she can get her hands on to make that happen.

But the mistletoe gets it wrong!

When Serena slips a sprig of mistletoe from the village kissing bough under her pillow, it’s not Paul who turns up in her dreams as the man she’s going to marry, but brooding, intense, annoying Giles Farraday, Marquess of Hallam. Still more annoying, once everyone arrives for the annual Christmas house party, she can’t stop watching Giles, and thinking about Giles. And kissing Giles, whether there’s mistletoe about or not. Now Paul wants to marry her, and Giles wants to seduce her–and Serena has a bone to pick with the old wives who came up with all this superstitious nonsense in the first place.

A Christmas of confusion lies ahead! Will mistletoe magic lead the way to a happy ending?

------------------------


**Please don't be put off by the reviews of this book on Amazon. Unfortunately there was a problem when purchasing the book and only the cover and first pages downloaded. The issue has now been resolved but customers were understandably annoyed and were trying to warn other customers which has led to a low star rating for the book.**


At 153 pages, this is a sweet tale that is perfect for a short diversion away from all the Christmas madness.

Serena has been in love with Paul since she can remember but this Christmas it’s his best friend, Giles Hallam that she hopes she’ll meet under the mistletoe. Our heroine is but 21 years old and this adds to the sweetness of the tale. What I particularly liked about Serena’s character is that while young, she almost matures before our eyes as she realises the difference between youthful infatuation and real love and desire. She didn’t play games, she was as honest with herself as she could be and I really liked her confusion over her feelings. And her interactions with Giles were fun to read.

Giles is perfectly my type of hero; Brooding and lonely yet filled with love for a woman he knows he can never win. It might be mean of me but I like watching my hero and heroine go through the emotional wringer of doing what they want versus what they should. While Giles is definitely dark and brooding (but himself still young at 25), he also has an easy manner about him that made him more than two dimensional. Anna Campbell excels at angst and while there’s not much of that in this story, there are glimpses of it in the relationship between Giles and Paul.

Paul is worth a mention as a secondary character as it’s easy to write a character that we hate and hope won’t win the girl - it must be so much harder (but so much more realistic) to write one that’s a decent sort of chap. I also really loved the brief scenes of Serena with her mother - such a nice relationship.

For the majority of the book there’s lots of kissing. It’s when you get to the epilogue that anything more occurs. It was nice to see the story - and the relationship between Giles and Serena - continue after their declarations. I do love a good epilogue.

This is a short but satisfying story that has some nice festive touches. It’s sweet, it’s light but you’ll fall in love with Serena and Giles as they fall in love with each other. 5 stars.




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Christmas with the Marine by Candace Havens

http://amzn.to/2h7QQCHSubject: Major Ben Hawthorne 

Mission: To make one sexy civvy's Christmas wish come true 

Christmas is almost here, and guys are the last thing on personal shopper Ainsley Garrett's list. But her icy resolution melts when she sees an incredibly hot Marine shopping for toys. A man in uniform with a hot bod and a heart of gold? Maybe a gal can believe in Santa after all… 

Major Ben Hawthorne has his career to think about, but when it comes to Ainsley, he's willing to break his own rules, at least for one night—provided they can get this insanely wicked attraction out of their systems. Only, once isn't enough. Now Ainsley's checking her list twice…before she falls for a Marine who's naughty and nice


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Who doesn’t love a man in uniform? Especially at Christmas. That’s just what Ainsley gets in this story set at Christmas - a sort of opposites attract tale. Ben is a big softie Marine from a poor background while Ainsley is a successful business woman from one of the richest families in America. But they mesh well together and I liked their chemistry, banter and interactions with each other. Both were likeable characters and Ainsley was written especially well since sometimes rich heroines have to work extra hard for me to like them.

Fun supporting characters, too. I suspect that some of the other Marines have either had their stories told previously or will do in the future. A word of warning about the British best friend - generally alright but there are a couple of instances of her taking a ‘British’ word and dropping it randomly into a sentence. A bit cringe if I’m honest.

The sex scenes were enjoyable, too. Not too many to overwhelm the story and warm rather than blazing hot. They bordered on sweet rather than down-and-dirty sexy. Again - nothing wrong with that.

While this was a pleasant read - good characters, interesting situations and well written - it didn’t quite dazzle me or keep me hooked so that I couldn’t bear to stop reading. It was quite clear from the outset what the source of conflict was going to be so you’re just really waiting for when it was going to happen rather than wondering what might happen. That’s not necessarily a bad thing - it just gives a story that’s a little more sedate. Again, warm but not blazing hot.

With that said, this is still a good story with good characters in a Christmas setting. I would recommend it to fans of Blaze, Christmas and the Uniformly Hot! mini-series. 4 stars.



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Her Naughty Holiday by Tiffany Reisz

http://amzn.to/2guBp2Q
A feast she wasn't expecting!

Clover Greene would sooner crawl into her oven than host family for Thanksgiving dinner. Yet another annual ritual of too much food, served with a side of criticism over "Clover's Bad Life Choices." This year, she needs to distract them all with a handsome fake boyfriend. And she has the perfect guy in mind.

Contractor Erick Fields is the poster boy for sexy single dads, and Clover has been secretly crushing on him for ages. She certainly wasn't expecting Erick to agree to her insane charade or to add lots of hot, wicked sex to the deal. If they can pull it off, the worst Thanksgiving ever might give them something to be really thankful for!


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Yay for more festive romance from Blaze - although to be honest this is strictly a Thanksgiving tale rather than anything Christmassy. Not to worry - it’s still a solid story for a cold, wintery night.

I recently read Tiffany Reisz’s earlier Blaze (Her Halloween Treat) and it’s clear from both books that she has a knack for writing sexy, outdoorsy men who are a little rough around the edges with beards and muscles to spare. And who have dirty mouths and wicked senses of humour. My new ideal man!

The beauty of this tale, other than the wicked hot sex, is definitely the banter between the characters. I honestly thought I’d be put off by the fact that Erick is a single dad - it just adds a different dynamic to what’s billed as a sexy story. But it actually adds something extra to the story and Ruthie is hilarious - a typical sassy teen whose relationship with both Erick and Clover is fabulous.

Erick and Clover are a great pair - different and yet so right for each other. They have chemistry and, as I said before, the banter that is wonderful to read. What I liked is that the tale took a ‘fake boyfriend’ trope (which I admit that I love) and turned it quickly on its head to make it even better.

If I had one tiny gripe about this book it would be that the Thanksgiving showdown went on a teeny bit too long, for my liking. It became unrealistic. Satisfying, but unrealistic.

This book is the perfect read for anyone who likes a holiday romance tale from Blaze. It’s humorous, sexy and with enough romance to keep you smiling. It wasn’t perfect but I’m feeling generous with the season and giving it 5 stars.


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224 pages


Men at Work Series:

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Christmas in His Bed by Sasha Summers

http://amzn.to/2gEEzpcTis the season to be naughty…

Newly divorced and back in her hometown, Tatum Buchanan is trying to move on with her life. But she's shocked to discover her ex-husband has rented out her childhood home to her high school sweetheart! And the last thing she expects to see is grown-up Spencer Ryan's cut, hard body. Apparently Tatum's libido doesn't care that Spencer shattered her heart eight years ago…

With the holidays looming and Spencer's presence in her house driving her wild, Tatum strikes a bargain with him—twelve days of no-strings sex. Just so she can get him out of her system. But when the twelve red-hot days of Christmas are over, Tatum isn't sure she can say goodbye to Spencer on December 25!



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I do love a quick, sexy Christmas tale and that’s what you get with Blaze - and what you get with this story, too.

I suppose it’s a different kind of Christmas tale as there isn’t much focus on the holiday (except on the fringes of the story) but more of a focus on the relationship between Spencer and Tatum - past, present and possible future.

Both Spencer and Tatum are likeable characters and their motivations are realistic and understandable. I liked them both, loved their chemistry and truly wanted them to work through their problems and get together.

The sex is hot and there’s plenty of it in this story. Perfect for warming up chilly nights in the run up to Christmas.

My only gripe is that the ending was a bit anticlimactic. We’d been building up to it and then…it kind of just fizzled out. I’m not sure what happened but I was just left disappointed. Nothing worse. There was no big declaration, no real excitement and no butterflies in the stomach feeling that I just love at the end of these kind of books. I even picked up my book a couple of hours after finishing it, having forgotten that I actually had finished it.

But there was a happily ever after, I liked the writing style and we got to catch up on characters that I’d read about in a previous Sasha Summers story (this story still stands completely alone so fear not) - so I’m still giving this book 4 stars. It’s Christmas after all and reading Blaze festive stories has become a happy tradition.

And would you look at those sexy stocking on that book cover - where do I get me some of them?


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Her Halloween Treat by Tiffany Reisz

http://amzn.to/2eNIcqB
Trick or wicked treat!

It was a devastating dirty trick - Joey Silvia just found out her boyfriend of two years is married. What. A. Dick. Joey knows her best chance to get over one guy is to get under another. Of course, heading home to her family's remote cabin in Oregon poses some challenges in the "available men" department until she discovers this cabin comes with its own hot handyman!

Holy crap, Chris Steffensen. When did her brother's best friend turn into a hard-bodied pile of blond-bearded hotness? He's the perfect Halloween treat and a surprisingly dirty rebound guy. For a couple of weeks, anyway. Except that Chris has other ideas like proving to Joey that this blast from the past is a whole lot more than a naughty Halloween hookup.



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I was drawn to this story despite being slightly dubious about whether there could ever be a satisfying ending when one of the main characters has just ended a 2 year relationship. I mean literally ‘just ended’ about 2 days prior to the story starting. But I’m a sucker for a big brother’s best friend romance so I had to give it a try.

I’ll admit that it took me longer than usual to get behind Joey as she was (realistically) portrayed as still being hung up on her ex. But almost as soon as she met a grown-up, bearded Chris, I started to completely forget about her ex, just like she did.

Chris and Joey are perfect for each other. Never before have I read about a couple with such banter and humour in their relationship. Sure, it starts off as mostly about sex - and great sex, no less - but it quickly moves into a deeper, more meaningful relationship fuelled by their history together. They had a great connection and I loved them both.

I also really liked the way that Joey felt conflicted about what she wanted and what to do for the best - for herself and for Chris. It felt real and that made me like her more. I know we’re not really expecting mammoth depths from a Blaze novel but the line about doing what you should feel and do versus what you actually feel and do was quite a thought. It made me realise one of the reasons why I’d been wary about this book was because a couple ‘shouldn’t’ fall in love when one of them is on the rebound. And now? I think why the hell can’t they?

I would have loved to read an epilogue of the couple a few months or year later but I’m still giving the book 4 stars.

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Second Chances by Kristi Rose

http://amzn.to/2fFFxky
Fourteen years ago Lorelei Parker fell in love with her best friend, Cole Williams, but instead of forever she ended up with a broken heart. Now, if they can put their past behind them, Lorelei and Cole may find a second chance.


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I have to admit that this wasn’t the book that I was planning to read when I picked up my kindle. I was already at about 11% before I realised that I had accidentally hit the wrong title when choosing the book I wanted to read next.

But it turned out to be a good mistake to have made.

This book is quite short, 53 pages worth and likely to take you about 20 minutes to half an hour to get through. With that said, it had surprising depth for so short a story and you really do feel connected to the characters and their emotions throughout the story.

The story is set in Florida and I have to show my ignorance here by not really appreciating the customs and idiosyncrasies of small town life in this part of America. There were a lot of ‘y’alls’ and speaking of people’s mama’s and daddy’s to name but two things. Since the author is from those parts, I’m taking it as a true depiction of life in southern Florida and it sounded just lovely.

Cole is back in town after fourteen years and he’s come to realise that he may have professional success but it’s definitely at the cost of the love that he left behind to go to college. He’s pretty much back in town to win back the heart of Lorelei.

However, it’s not as simple as all that as a tragic incident from their past has left some pretty big emotional scars and left trust between the couple almost non-existant. Thankfully, I’ve never been through a similar situation but I felt that they way the couple behaved towards each other had such a ring of truth to it that it made their interplay wholly believable. Again, despite being a short story, there was a realness to it that made it an engaging story.

Cole and Lorelei had a sweetness to them, and with a history - I was always a sucker for a second-chance love story - you definitely will be rooting for the pair to get together.

This is the only Kristi Rose book that I’ve ever read but I liked her writing style and, as I’ve said before, the fond way in which she brings small town living to life. I’m only not giving this book the full 5 stars is because of the rather annoying typos and grammar errors in the book. Still a great story and for a quick read, one I would recommend if you enjoy sweet, second chance romance stories.

This is the first story in a five book series.


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53 pages


Coming Home Series:

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The Danger of Desire by Sabrina Jeffries

http://amzn.to/2fy0rSx
To root out the card cheat responsible for her brother's death, Miss Delia Trevor spends her evenings at high society balls, and her late nights disguised as a young man gambling at London's gaming hells. When handsome Warren Corry, the Marquess of Knightford, a notorious member of St. George's Club, recognizes her and threatens to reveal her secret, she's determined to stop the enigmatic rakehell from ruining her plans.

Warren refuses to watch Delia risk everything in a dangerous game to gain justice for her brother. But when she starts to delve beneath his carefully crafted fa├žade, can he keep her at arm's length while still protecting her? Or will their hot desires explode into a love that transcends the secrets of their pasts?



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The colder, darker nights means that I’m much more drawn to the gorgeously decadent world of historical romances. And where better to start than with the queen of such romances - Sabrina Jeffries.

I have an unashamed girl-crush on Sabrina Jeffries, her writing and how she can make her characters - and their romance - come alive in their Regency world.

This is the third book in Jeffries’ Sinful Suitors series - after The Art of Sinning and The Study of Seduction - but completely stands alone if you’re new to the books. The characters from the previous two books do appear, however, which is definitely nice if you have read the earlier books and want to catch up with ‘old friends’.

So onto this book…I just adored Warren and Delia both individually and together. Delia is a fantastic mix of feisty and unsure - definitely a girl that you could see being your friend or aspiring to be yourself. Warren is my ideal kind of hero. He’s slightly arrogant, very cheeky but has a dark, tortured part of his soul that makes you just want to wrap him up in a big ol’ cuddle. Or let Delia do it for you. Together the pair really blend well and their romance sparkles with chemistry.

Aside from the romance, the best part of this book is definitely that is has depth. I loved the fact that Warren’s problems didn’t magically disappear as soon as he married Delia - it made things more real. I also liked the way they had their fall-out and make-up. And despite it hardly being the biggest twist of the century - I honestly didn’t see the resolution of Delia’s quest coming in quite the way that it did!

Sabrina Jeffries writes rich characters with a deliciously real connection to each other and their surroundings. Everything lives in a well-rounded, richly described world that makes this a book that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. I would definitely recommend it to you if you enjoy fun, rich and romantic historical romance.


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416 pages


The Sinful Suitors series:
       
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By Firelight by Janice Maynard

Maybe it’s the mistletoe—or maybe there’s something magical in the air this Christmas...

Hot Arctic Nights
In North Pole, Alaska, Christmas spirit is everywhere—except in Hallie Prentiss’s heart. At least her
two-week stint managing the Dancing Elves B&B will pay the bills. Then she gets a look at long-term guest Daniel Reynolds. Whether dressed as Santa or (even better) wearing next to nothing, the man is gorgeous, charming, and sexy as hell. Workaholic Hallie is tempted to take a walk on the naughty side for once. But when she does, will she ever want to leave?

By Firelight
There’s nothing like nearly freezing to death on the Appalachian Trail to make a woman want to live a little. And when Madison Tierney stumbles upon Grant Monroe’s mountain cabin during a blizzard, she’s gripped by something more than gratitude. Soon, the glow of firelight sparks hot, sweet kisses… and the start of a Christmas adventure she’ll never forget.



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As everyone knows, I can’t resist a Christmas romance - add in some chocolate and you have a trifecta of awesomeness that means I’m in heaven.

The first thing I noticed about this book is that the cover is just amazing. It’s got a sparkly tree, Christmas lights, a fire and a snog between a hot man and a girl with good hair. Love it.

And then we have the stories, both by Janice Maynard…


By Firelight

If I’m honest, it took me a good long while to wade through this story. I could get behind the premise and who doesn’t like the fantasy of being stranded in a log cabin in a blizzard with a hunky man? It just didn’t ever feel quite right.


Maddy has had a near-death experience and I could kind of understand why she would want to jump straight into sex with Grant. Yet…it felt creepy somehow. Maddy felt too innocent (although she would change to sexually aggressive at certain moments) and Grant was too keen to say he knew how she ticked.

It wasn’t offensive - although the end was a bit daft - but it wasn’t my cup of tea.


Hot Arctic Nights

In North Pole, Alaska, Christmas spirit is everywhere—except in Hallie Prentiss’s heart. At least her
two-week stint managing the Dancing Elves B&B will pay the bills. Then she gets a look at long-term guest Daniel Reynolds. Whether dressed as Santa or (even better) wearing next to nothing, the man is gorgeous, charming, and sexy as hell. Workaholic Hallie is tempted to take a walk on the naughty side for once. But when she does, will she ever want to leave?


Another cute premise and, for me, a better story than the first. It was more drawn out and I felt Hallie was a more relatable character although she did have some unnecessary back story that felt out of place in a short story.

The relationship between Hallie and Daniel built slowly after a quick attraction and I believed in their budding feelings for each other.

Unfortunately, like the first story, the ending was rushed and a happily ever after came about quite suddenly. There was a sweetness to it but little believability.



For me, both stories were sweet, festive and a slow burn. There wasn’t a lot of depth to either but an awful lot of conversation. I think I would have preferred the stories to be half the length they are but a bit more punchy. For me, I’m giving 3 stars.


Previously published as By Firelight in A Very Merry Christmas and Hot Arctic Nights in Wicked Wonderland.

* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *



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150 pages


* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *






That Mistletoe Moment by Various

http://amzn.to/2bqADTcAs the holidays descend, three single women take a thoroughly modern approach to good old-fashioned romance, and wonder if the best—and most complicated—gift of all is just a click, tap, or swipe away…

MADE UP
Like a Christmas miracle, the Build a Boyfriend App lets you simply input the stats of your dream man, and witty texts, passionate emails, and hot Instagram pics start flooding in. No more awkward questions or pitying looks as you face the holidays alone!

MIXED UP
But even the best technology has its glitches. When real-life emotions come into play, this trio of
twenty-somethings find themselves in a tangle of crossed signals, flying wrapping paper, disastrous Christmas parties…and surprising kisses.

MATCHED UP
Yet despite the confusion of their mistletoe misadventures, when the New Year dawns, these very satisfied women just may find themselves waking up with true love beside them.


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Okay, okay - I’ll admit that it’s the hottest day of the year (at least here in Scotland) and I’m sitting here reading Christmas stories and dreaming of chilly snow, roaring fires and hot chocolate. And I’m loving every minute of it.

I’m a card carrying member of the ‘I love Christmas’ club which, I’ll admit, does make it a little bit more difficult to impress me with festive stories. I keep trying nonetheless, hoping that I’ll find a wee gem that fills you with the spirit of Christmas no matter the time of year.

These three stories are connected by one thing: The Build-a-Boyfriend mobile app which allows you to pretend to have a boyfriend, especially handy over Christmas when you’re avoiding that ‘are you still single?’ question.



A Boyfriend by Christmas by Cat Johnson
Noelle decides being alone is better than staying with her long time boyfriend who is definitely Mr. Wrong, but there’s no way she’s attending the annual holiday party alone knowing her ex will be there. She needs a new boyfriend by Christmas Eve. Good thing there’s an app for that and the perfect mate—or the illusion of one—is only a text away.



There is normally one great story in any anthology and as soon as I started reading, I had this tale pegged as having that honour. Noelle is a great character, in a long term relationship but really only because they’ve both fallen into it. She and Nathan have such an adorable ‘meet cute’ as well as a great chemistry together. Nicki - Noelle’s sister - is also a great character and I had to laugh at the banter between the siblings as Nicki forces Noelle to make up a boyfriend to save face after just being dumped.

I was a bit surprised by the quickness of the declaration and proposal but that’s more based on the length of the story as opposed to the quality of the tale. I could have done with the story being longer but that’s the mark of a really good short story.

A sprinkling of festive touches, enjoyable characters and a nice smattering of sexiness makes this a really great tale. I’m now on the lookout for some longer stories by Cat Johnson - her writing style and storytelling could make her a future favourite.



All I Want for Christmas Is… by Kate Angell

It’s Christmas and Riley Tyler is desperate to land the job as personal shopper to CEO Daniel Hayes. Not only has she to find the perfect gift for the uptight businessman, she has to find herself the perfect boyfriend at the same time so she looks like the perfect candidate. The Build-a-Boyfriend app is a lifesaver, until it’s standing in the way of happily ever after.



Kate Angell is the only of the three authors in this anthology that I have read before but seeing as that was a long time ago, I’m as unfamiliar with her newer works as I am the others. I had already pegged Cat Johnson’s story as the great story in this collection so imagine my surprise when this story managed to delight me as much as the first.

The story is not new - straight laced CEO meets free-spirited, quirky girl and finds love as well as the joy of the season. The way that this story stands out is that it’s so subtley done and the characters written so true to life that it never feels the same as others or too standard.

Daniel was great character - I especially loved the way he was baffled and intrigued by Riley. Riley herself was fun, likeable and while quirky, was probably more like your average girl than many other heroines.

The Christmas present challenge, snowstorm and Christmas decorations really gave this tale a touch of Christmas but the descriptions of the ornaments really gave it a some festive magic. Lovely.

If I did have a very minor criticism (I admit I started to feel like I had to find something so I wouldn’t be waxing lyrical about all the stories!) then it would be that the sexual tension that built up between Daniel and Riley when they were being kept apart by Riley’s ‘boyfriend’, slightly dissipated when the pair finally got together. Again, I would have loved to read more about this pair and their story.



Her Favorite Present by Allyson Charles


Gabe Harrison is determined to make himself and his company - Build-A-Boyfriend - a success. Too bad that he seems to be losing the respect of his co-founder and best friend for labelling his app users as losers. So a bet is born. All he needs to do is prove that the women using the Build-A-Boyfriend app are pathetic and he wins. It’s also too bad that Rachel Sanders is the furthest thing from pathetic and while he’s still all about winning - the prize is now Rachel’s heart.



Okay, this story must be especially rubbish in order to make up for the first two, excellent stories, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. This tale was also amazing - this time going for a different spin on the Build-a-Boyfriend theme. Sure Rachel was a user of the app but, unknown to her, Gabe is the CEO and developer of the company.

The way this tale worked so well was because at the start, Gabe wasn’t a particularly nice guy. Oh, he wasn’t terrible but he was a bit of a dick to be honest. The fact that by the end of the story I was not only liking him but rooting for him, just shows what a good job the author did.

There’s plenty of heat in this tale - definitely a story to revisit on a cold winter’s night. Delicious! Rachel and Gabe were just perfect for each other and I especially liked their teasing banter and the fact that Rachel wouldn’t give an inch and didn’t fawn all over the handsome Gabe.

I could have done with a wee bit more grovelling from Gabe at the conclusion of the story but there was still a satisfying conclusion.





I really can’t quite believe that I’ve found an anthology where I really enjoyed all the stories. All three authors have delivered with a great, contemporary tale that will warm your cockles and get you into that festive Christmas mood. I would highly recommend this anthology and recommend that you get your hands on a copy, get yourself settled in and ready for Christmas no matter what month it is.



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320 pages


* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *






The Widow's Auction by Sabrina Jeffries

http://amzn.to/2bf4k9N
Though Isobel Lamberton, the widowed Lady Kingsley, is confounded by her dealings with the obstinate Justin Antony, Lord Warbrooke, his commanding presence sparks something deep within her. But such romantic thoughts are for naught. For Justin’s political aspirations always come first. And Isobel’s own secret past could damage both of them permanently.

So when Isobel’s friend talks her into participating in a scandalous auction of masked widows at a gentleman’s club, she reluctantly agrees...and soon begins to relish being an object of desire. But none desire her more than Justin, who recognizes the outspoken Isobel in disguise and sets out to teach her a lesson worth far more than money...


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This novella is a re-release of a story that appeared in an anthology called Fantasy first released in 2002. I bought that book back in the day - wow, was that really nearly 15 years ago? - only for Jeffries’ story so it’s nice to have an opportunity to purchase it now as an individual novella.

Almost from the first word this story just pulls you in. There’s no filler, twaddle or tedious scene setting - you’re just in it, experiencing it and immediately learning about and loving the characters. The scene sets itself. As for time periods, although it’s not specifically stated, the mention of Lord Grenville as PM and Charles Fox as Foreign Secretary dates the story to sometime in 1806.

But, with any romance, what matters most is the characters. Despite starting off quite hoity-toity, Isobel quickly becomes a character you feel for and root for. You understand her reasons for doing things, and the reasons why she has doubts over the way things often turn out. She’s very well written and feels as real as you or me. As for Justin - he again is very real - his motives clouded by his very real list for Isobel and changing as his feelings develop.

Normally a short story of this length (about 84 pages) leaves you unsatisfied and unfulfilled. With this tale, of course you want more of the characters, chemistry and love, but you’re left with that happy, fully satiated feeling like all is right with the world!

And speaking of satiated, the story has a nice amount of heat and a love story that gives you that delightful jump in your stomach. Isobel and Justin are the perfect match and even though I’ve read this story before, the feeling doesn’t leave you with repeated readings. My girl crush on Ms. Jeffries and her amazing work - past and present - continues. She really is the queen of historical romance.


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Her Sexy Vegas Cowboy by Ali Olson

http://amzn.to/2bgUyngSin in a Stetson…

For most women, going to a friend's bachelorette party in Vegas is the ultimate gals' weekend. Jessica Gainey is not most women. An introverted worrywart, Sunset Strip is not her idea of a good time. But, it's rodeo weekend, and the town is crawling with seriously hot cowboys…none more wickedly sexy than Aaron Weathers.

He's Texas. She's New York. Still, Jessica can't stop fantasizing about that ripped cowboy bod. So for one weekend, she throws caution to the wind to be a wild and daring version of herself before returning to a life where men can't be trusted and love is a four-letter word. Except that in Vegas, even the greatest odds can have unbelievable—and thoroughly satisfying—payouts!


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This is the first book by Ali Olson and, I believe, her debut for the Blaze line.

The story is a little bit of a twist on the usual Vegas storyline which is really down to the characters. We’ve got Aaron - the cowboy in town for the rodeo, and Jessica - an introvert who is like a fish out of water in the sin city.

Our heroine is a well written and well rounded character. Before I started reading I was intrigued how she was going to be portrayed. Was it really possible to write about an introverted worrywart without making her sound like a moany bore? Yes, as it turns out. I liked the way that Olson handled Jessica’s character and made her true to herself without making her into a caricature. As a card carrying introvert - I approve! Not your usual Blaze heroine but fun to read about every now and then.

It was Aaron that I had more of a problem with. He comes to the rodeo every year to enjoy the rodeo and engage in casual sex with women. It seemed like one woman was more prominent in his liaisons but it did appear that he was something of a cad. Sure, it happens, but I’m not really keen on men (or women) who are supposed to be the hero of the novel being so free with their, well, affections or sleeping around. But if that wasn’t bad enough - when Aaron and Jessica meet for the second time, Aaron is staring at the boobs of two women who are helping him stand. Fear not though - he’s only looking at them and wondering what Jessica’s boobs look like. Right then.

Oh, he’s not that bad but as a result of my slight indifference to him, the book felt a little tepid. The sex scenes were fun and the interactions between Aaron and Jessica were likeable but the book never really kicked into high gear to make me love it. The additional extra of Jessica’s father’s illness, and eventual demise, was tacked on at the end just to tie up loose ends and remove the  barrier to the happily ever after. Or at least that’s what it felt like. It seemed a strange angle to take in a Blaze novel.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I liked Olson’s writing style. It’s not a book to write home about and not one that I would pick up and read again, but if it’s sitting on your shelf or in your kindle then it’s worth a couple of hours of your time. 3 stars.



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Lady, It's Cold Outside by Deb Marlowe

http://amzn.to/29o6lzR
Miss Glenna Bolton is not having a Happy Christmas. She’s lost her grandfather and the bookshop they ran together. If not for the invitation from the Duke of Danby, she would have no place to go.

No Christmas festivities for Baron Ellesworth this year. His newly inherited estate is in bad shape—and so is his bank account. He’ll spend the holiday travelling to do a bit of business with Lord Danby, in hopes of bringing Christmas to Elleshaven next year.

Travelling during the holiday season doesn’t sound romantic, but a star in the East, an abandoned child and a quest for holiday cheer might just convince these two that love is the best gift of the Season.


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This is a novella associated with Marlowe’s Half Moon House series. The series is linked by the owner of Half Moon House - a former courtesan who helps young women in dire straits. The owner appears briefly in this novella but having never read any other Half Moon House stories myself, I’m happy that this one stands alone quite nicely.

The story itself is quite a simple tale of finding love in the most unexpected places and at the most inconvenient times. Both Glenna and Alex are likeable characters and their romance is as sweet and adorable as could possibly be.

The romance novels that I tend to read normally have a little more passion and a lot more sex and sensuality. This has quite a different tone. It’s very chaste and, well, cute as a button. With that said, it’s still really easy to believe in the love of the main characters and wish them well on the way to their happy ending.

The Christmas theme works really well and the descriptions are very believable. I could really go for some gingerbread and snow right now!

Overall, this is a quick read (68 pages) and one that is sweet, cute and just an enjoyable romance all round. 4 stars.


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68 pages


* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *


The Half Moon House Series:

http://amzn.to/29j4rjq    http://amzn.to/29riYuD    http://amzn.to/29nQynphttp://amzn.to/29j4TxT
http://amzn.to/29i9LXM    http://amzn.to/29o8o7i    http://amzn.to/29j4Ulz






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