Author: Casee

Retro-Review: Must Love Mistletoe by Christie Ridgway

Posted December 6, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Retro-Review: Must Love Mistletoe by Christie RidgwayReviewer: Casee
Must Love Mistletoe (Holidays, #1) by Christie Ridgway
Series: Holidays #1
Published by Avon Books
Publication Date: December 1st 2006
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 358
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Bailey Sullivan can't stand Christmas, even though her family's business is a store specializing in the perfect holiday. But now her hometown's chief supplier of rooftop Rudolphs and treetop angels is in danger of going under--it's up to Bailey to save the shop.

She has it all planned: She'll arrive on December 1 and be gone by Christmas. Plus there's always spiked eggnog to ease the pain. But "Humbug" Bailey's not the only one home for the holidays. Finn Jacobson--legendary local bad boy-turned-Secret Service agent "and" Bailey's long-lost high-school sweetheart--is once again the boy next door. Only this time he's "all grown up," and the sparks are flying faster and hotter than ever!

Bailey believes in true love about as much as she believes in Santa Claus. But as the holiday draws closer, she's starting to think about one thing she'd like to find under her tree . . .

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: I really love some of Ridgway’s books. I can’t remember if I reviewed this book here, but I do remember I really enjoyed it.

This review was originally posted on December 18, 2008.

I know I’ve said this already, but I love Christmas books. My favorite Christmas book of all time is Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano. I re-read it every year. I’ve had this book for a few years, but I never got around to reading it. This holiday season, I decided that it was just what I needed.

Bailey Sullivan barely tolerates Christmas. Her idea of a good Christmas is to pretend that it’s not Christmas. Unfortunately this Christmas isn’t going to be what she hoped it was. When she finds out that her parents store, The Perfect Christmas, is in trouble, Bailey immediately heads home. From the moment she sets foot back in her hometown, she’s determined to do what needs to be done and get out. Her deadline is December 25th.

Nothing ever goes according to plan, especially when it comes to Christmas.

Finn Jacobson has never forgotten his GND-Girl Next Door. As a rebellious teen, Finn’s parents decided that the best thing for Finn would be to go spend summers with his grandmother. Though he hated it at first, it didn’t take long for him to fall for Bailey, a girl that was so different from the type of person he was. Finn has never forgiven her for leaving town without a word. When she comes back to town, he decides to keep his distance.

Again, nothing ever goes according to plan.

Bailey is a heroine that has issues, but has never admitted that to herself. When her dad walked out when she was little, Bailey remembers her mom’s devastation. That shaped the woman that she’s become. Though she loves her stepfather, Bailey keeps her distance even from him. The fact that her mom and stepfather have separated only proves Bailey’s point. Still, she has a hard time staying away from Finn, the only person that’s understood her.

This was exactly what I was looking for when I picked it up. It had humor and poignancy. The secondary romance between Bailey’s mom and her stepfather was beyond sweet. Bailey’s inner struggle with her feelings for Finn were extremely sad. She doesn’t easily accept that she needs him in her life. But Christmas is a time for miracles, right?

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Christmas in Atlantis by Alyssa Day

Posted December 3, 2017 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 5 Comments

Also in this series: Atlantis Awakening (Warriors of Poseidon, #2)

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I thought we could kick off the month of December Sunday Spotlights with a good old fashioned Christmas romance brought to you by some of my favorite Atlantians. Alyssa Day writes fantastic paranormal romance. I first got into her series back when it was first published in 2007. I’ve been hooked ever since. I really love reading how different authors have different takes on Atlantis. It’s fascinating.

Christmas in Atlantis
Series: Warriors of Poseidon
Genres: Paranormal romance
Release Date: December 4, 2017
Publisher: Holliday Publishing

The Gift of the Magi…in Atlantis

A tortured warrior…

Warrior-turned-pirate Dare is the black sheep of all Atlantis. He enraged Poseidon, the sea god, so much that Dare had to forfeit his ship and the water spirit who inhabits it. For Dare, being denied the ocean is worse than death…until he comes home to a woman who drowns him in waves of hunger more powerful than the sea. But black sheep and scoundrels can never deserve love, even during the magic of the first Christmas in Atlantis.

An artist who sees the world through song…

After the accident that killed her parents and blinded her, Lyric discovered she had a special gift—that of song sight. She now sees the world in her own unique way, and her paintings are full of light and magic. When the Atlantean warrior she’s fallen in love with takes her to his home in Atlantis, she finds a rare magical artifact that could change her world forever. Or it could deliver to Dare the thing he most desires.

Atlantis’s first Christmas is coming…

It’s the season of miracles in Atlantis. A chance to make wishes come true. And when Lyric tells her new Atlantean friends O Henry’s story of The Gift of the Magi, the world—and Lyric and Dare—may never be the same.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || iBOOKS

Excerpt

“Time to close up shop.” Lyric turned toward the door, but before she even took a first step, it crashed open.

“I think I need your help,”

It was Dare; she knew him instantly. She could smell the sharp sent of wind and sky and saltwater that was uniquely his; she could pick his voice out of a thousand others.

“Dare?” She started toward him. “Are you–”
“I think I need –”

A heavy thud was the only conclusion to his sentence. He’d collapsed. She rushed over and knelt down beside him. She reached for his pulse, her fingers finding their way to the spot. His pulse was there; strong and reassuring. He was soaking wet, though; his skin was icy cold and he was shivering violently.

“Dare? Dare? What happened?”

He didn’t answer. Maybe he couldn’t answer. And of course she couldn’t see him, so she couldn’t even guess how badly he was hurt.

She pulled her phone out of her pocket and told it to call Dr. Miller.

No. She pressed END CALL.

“Call 911.”

No pirates were going to die on her watch.

Warriors of Poseidon

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

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Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Alyssa Day

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

Alyssa Day is the pen name (and dark and tortured alter ego) of author Alesia Holliday. As Alyssa, she is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, and she writes the Warriors of Poseidon and Cardinal Witches paranormal romance series and the Tiger’s Eye Mysteries, a paranormal mystery series. As Alesia, she writes comedies that make readers snort things out of their noses, and is the author of the award-winning memoir about military families during war-time deployments: Email to the Front. She has won many awards for her writing, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award for outstanding romance fiction and the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Paranormal Romance novel of 2012. (With all that romance writing, you’re probably not surprised to hear that she’s a board member of the amazing writing organization, Romance Writers of America.)


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Review and Giveaway: Hello Again by Brenda Novak

Posted November 13, 2017 by Casee in Giveaways, Reviews | 3 Comments

Review and Giveaway: Hello Again by Brenda NovakReviewer: Casee
Hello Again by Brenda Novak
Series: The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #2
Also in this series: Her Darkest Nightmare
Published by Headline
Publication Date: November 2nd 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

From NYT bestseller Brenda Novak comes the next installment of Dr. Evelyn Talbot and her murderous home for psychopaths in Hello Again.

SHE CAN MAKE SENSE OF A COMPLEX CRIMINAL MIND.Evelyn Talbot, a psychiatrist at a maximum-security prison in Alaska, studies some of the world's worst serial killers. But she’s about to meet her most elusive patient at Hanover House yet: Dr. Lyman Bishop, AKA the Zombie Maker given his fondness for performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims. A brilliant cancer researcher, Bishop is either the most cunning psychopath Evelyn has ever encountered—or he is wrongly convicted.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CRIMINAL CAN SEE INTO HER OWN?When a new ice-pick fatality occurs, it seems Bishop really was wrongly convicted. Except...Evelyn has a personal connection to the victim and that suggests the killer may be someone from her own past: Jasper Moore, her high school boyfriend who tortured her and left her for dead when she was only sixteen. Jasper also murdered three of her friends—and was never caught. Is he trying to send a message with this copycat crime? The only thing Evelyn knows for sure is that if Jasper is on her trail, she might not be able to escape again . .

It took me a bit to get into the book, but not because it wasn’t good. Once I was into it, I was glad I was on a road trip and it wasn’t my turn to drive because I couldn’t stop reading. Novack really has a way of drawing you in and keeping you on the edge of your seat. The suspense is thrilling in this book, breathtaking even, when you consider the danger that Evelyn finds herself in when the book comes to an end. Evelyn studies psychopaths so she can put away the one that got away. Jasper. The one who tortured and almost killed Evelyn and murdered two of Evelyn’s friends when she was sixteen. Evelyn finds the minds of these criminals fascinating and just wants to find Jaspar so she can stop living in fear; so her parents can stop worrying about her.

It doesn’t help that she doesn’t feel like she can start a life with Amarok who she loves desperately but can’t let herself go completely with. When he leaves to go investigate what he thinks are murders committed by Jaspar, Evelyn gets a taste of what life might be like without him and it’s something that she isn’t happy with. As for Amarok, he’s all in with Evelyn and if it means hunting Jaspar down himself, he is willing to do that. He will even go to the parents who helped him escape.

Meanwhile back home, Evelyn is dealing with the killer dubbed the “Zombie Maker”. Dr. Lyman Bishop was the last person anyone ever expected to be the Zombie Maker but they found the panties of the victims in his house. Evelyn isn’t sure of his guilt. At first. Then she sees the killer behind that facade he presents to the world and she knows he’s exactly where he’s supposed to be. Too bad it comes to light that the police planted evidence in the case and Lyman Bishop is about to be released. Evelyn is in a race against the clock to get Bishop’s sister out of his care, something that he has sworn he will retaliate against her for if she’s successful at. Evelyn isn’t someone that will give up and leaving someone to be victimized is unheard of for her.

I really enjoyed this book. Even enjoyed it more than Her Darkest Nightmare. It was more than just a criminal getting even with Evelyn because she was his doctor. It was matching wits against wits. Evelyn doesn’t apologize to anyone for who she is. When Amarok’s old flame comes into town and they come face to face, Evelyn holds her ground and it is divine. I didn’t care for the woman and how she came onto Amarok at all. I actually lost a bit of respect for Amarok during the exchange. Evelyn is a kick ass heroine, a survivor. And she will have plenty to survive during the next book because Jaspar is back.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Hello Again by Brenda Novak

Posted November 12, 2017 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I am in love with this book and with Brenda Novak. She got me out of my slump. Honestly, I’ve always loved Brenda Novak. I’ve read her romantic suspense and her romance. She just knows how to weave a story together. This series blends romance and suspense perfectly. There is a lot of suspense, but the romance doesn’t make it as overwhelming as it could be.

Hello Again by Brenda Novak
Series: Evenlyn Talbot Chronicles #2
Also in this Series: Her Darkest Nightmare
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: November 2nd, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

From NYT bestseller Brenda Novak comes the next installment of Dr. Evelyn Talbot and her murderous home for psychopaths in Hello Again.

SHE CAN MAKE SENSE OF A COMPLEX CRIMINAL MIND.

Evelyn Talbot, a psychiatrist at a maximum-security prison in Alaska, studies some of the world’s worst serial killers. But she’s about to meet her most elusive patient at Hanover House yet: Dr. Lyman Bishop, AKA the Zombie Maker given his fondness for performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims. A brilliant cancer researcher, Bishop is either the most cunning psychopath Evelyn has ever encountered—or he is wrongly convicted.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CRIMINAL CAN SEE INTO HER OWN?

When a new ice-pick fatality occurs, it seems Bishop really was wrongly convicted. Except…Evelyn has a personal connection to the victim and that suggests the killer may be someone from her own past: Jasper Moore, her high school boyfriend who tortured her and left her for dead when she was only sixteen. Jasper also murdered three of her friends—and was never caught. Is he trying to send a message with this copycat crime? The only thing Evelyn knows for sure is that if Jasper is on her trail, she might not be able to escape again . .

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

If she could just get the cords that bound her hands to loosen a tiny bit more, she could get free.

Christina Piper felt the slight give, knew her captor hadn’t tightened the knot as carefully and securely as he usually did. He’d been in such a foul mood when he appeared earlier, had been angry before he even saw her.

Mercifully, he hadn’t had much time. After torturing her for half an hour, he’d mumbled something about his wife (whom he referred to as “that bitch”) and tied her up as quickly as possible before stomping out of the old camper and slamming the door behind him.

Hands numb and swelling from pulling against her bindings, Christina paused to gather her breath and her strength. Thank God it wasn’t summer. She’d been in the camper for four days. Without air-conditioning, anyone imprisoned in the barren desert near Phoenix, Arizona—where temperatures often skyrocketed to 120 degrees—would’ve been dead by now.

Still, it was hard to breathe, what with the stench of who-knew-what (she couldn’t even allow her mind to supply a possible answer for the terror it would elicit). And the pain from her injuries made her nauseous. She couldn’t see out of one eye, had terrible burns on the insides of her thighs, which had blistered and were oozing puss, and several broken toes. She hadn’t had anything to eat or drink, either, except for the vile substances he’d forced down her throat. She’d thrown up when he made her eat a spider, and he’d slugged her so hard she didn’t know how long she was out, just that when she came to, he was gone.

She couldn’t last like this much longer. If she didn’t escape, she’d die.

Unless he decided to keep her alive. He didn’t seem to be in any hurry to end the torment. He was enjoying it too much.

At last, she got the cord to stretch. She almost couldn’t believe it when she managed to free her hands and untie her ankles. Briefly, she rubbed her sore wrists, trying to get the blood flowing, but she didn’t waste another minute as she scrambled to get out of her 1970’s dungeon.

Her poor toes, which he’d taken great pleasure in smashing with a hammer, made it almost impossible for her to walk. Only by using the counter and stove, and then the wood-paneled wall, was she able to remain upright.

As soon as she flung open the front door, saw the sun and felt the chill winter wind on her face, she started to cry. All she could see for miles was bare land and desert scrub, but it was beautiful to behold. She’d thought she’d never see anything again, anything other than the inside of that camper.

She had no idea how far she was from civilization, or in which direction she should travel in order to find help, but she didn’t care. She’d wander in the desert until she died of thirst and exposure before she’d allow the man who’d dragged her into his van when she left the bar near her house abuse her for another second. Each time he arrived, what he put her through grew worse.

“You’re a monster. I hope you die a death far more painful than the one you have in store for me.” Or worse than the pain he’d caused others. She wasn’t his first victim. She couldn’t be. He was too practiced. Too calm. Too unflinching in the face of her suffering.

When she stepped out, she fell and couldn’t get up. She was too weak, too dizzy.

Cursing, screaming and crying, she began to drag herself away from the camper. But she only made it ten or fifteen feet before she heard a car and turned to see her captor bring his van to a skidding stop.

He’d seen her. She had no way to fight him, and there was no help.

That meant there’d be no escape, either.

Evelyn Talbot Chronicles

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Brenda Novak

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career.

“I caught my day-care provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep while I was away,” Brenda says. “It was then that I decided that I needed to do something from home.”

However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. In school, math and science were her best subjects, and when it came time to pick a major in college, she chose business.

Abandoning her academic scholarship to Brigham Young University at the age of 20 in order to get married and start a family, Brenda dabbled in commercial real estate, then became a loan officer.

“When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book,” Brenda admits. “I learned how to write by reading what others have written. The best advice for any would-be author: read, read, read….”

Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. Many of her novels have won or placed in contests such as the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Write Touch, the Award of Excellence and the Beacon Award for Published Authors.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. She juggles her writing career with her children’s softball and soccer games, field trips, carpool runs and homework sessions.

When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fundraiser for diabetes research—an on-line auction held at her website May 1st – May 31st. Her youngest son, Thad, has diabetes, and Brenda is determined to help him and others like him. She also enjoys traveling, watching sporting events and biking–she rides an amazing 20 miles every day!


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