Tag: Christmas Reads

Guest Review: Wanted: Mom for Christmas by Lee Kilraine

Posted November 8, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Wanted: Mom for Christmas by Lee KilraineReviewer: Tracy
Wanted: Mom For Christmas by Lee Kilraine
Series: Cates Brothers #5.5
Published by Kensington's Lyrical Shine
Publication Date: November 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-half-stars

Christmas is coming to Climax, North Carolina—and it’s delivering an unexpected second chance right to Hawk Savage’s door…

For small-town cop and single dad Hawk Savage, Christmas tends to be more hassle and worry than mistletoe and magic. His daughter, Heather, is ten going on teenager, while his son, Henry Lee, has decided he needs a mommy, ASAP. HL’s constant matchmaking is enough to break a father’s heart, but Hawk has a more immediate problem. His high-school girlfriend, Nora Joy, just arrived on his doorstep, claiming to be his family’s new Rent-A-Mom. He sure didn’t hire her, but he can’t turn Nora’s admittedly shapely tush out on the street.

Sidelined by injury, Olympic medal-winning volleyball player Nora receives a mysterious Rent-A-Mom job offer just when her finances, and her spirits, are at an all-time low. True, she’s not much for cooking. Or housekeeping. Still, it’s hard to resist Hawk’s children…and Hawk himself has changed from the lanky teenager she once knew to a strong, steady, very tempting man.

Christmas in Climax is shaping up to be full of surprises. But the biggest one of all might be the happy-ever-after that a little boy’s Christmas wish can bring…

After Nora finds her boyfriend in bed with her best friend she heads to her mom’s home to talk  things out.  She doesn’t get a whole lot of sympathy and then finds out that her mother has not only spent all of Nora’s money but has put her in great debt as well.  Nora’s not sure she’ll still be able to play volleyball for a living so sets out to find a job for herself.  This proves harder than it looks.  She finally gets an email from someone offering her a job as a Rent-A-Mom.  Nora has no experience and her mother was a horrible role model so of course, she takes the jobs.  Beggars can’t be choosers, right?

Nora heads from California to her hometown of Climax, North Carolina to meet the family she’s going to play mom to.  There’s 7-year-old Henry Lee aka HL and 10-year-old Heather and then there’s their hot father, Hawk.  Nora doesn’t really get a good look at Hawk because when she arrives at the house he’s sick with the flu.  Nora nurses him back to health with the help of the kids and all is well until he is coherent.  He realizes that the Rent-A-Mom is Nora, his girlfriend from 11th grade, and as hot as he thinks she is, he never ordered a Rent-A -Mom.  Events play out so that Hawk and the kids end up inviting Nora to stay until Christmas and this gives them all a chance to get to know each other and worm into each other’s hearts.

This was a very cute novella.  Nora and Hawk’s relationship from high school was sweet and their separation was sad.  I was happy that they got another chance with each other in the end.

Heather and HL were adorable kids who had their own personalities.  HL was outgoing and competitive and Heather was quiet and shy.  The pair were so opposite but they got along well.  Heather was a little leery at first with Nora, as she should be, but HL was all in.  These kids were just wonderful and I loved reading about them breaking out of their previous lives and inviting Nora in.

This was a lovely Christmas story and a complete standalone in the series.  I haven’t read any of the other books in the Cates Brothers series but didn’t feel like I was missing any information.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Retro Review: Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano

Posted October 25, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Retro Review: Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn PappanoReviewer: Casee
Some Enchanted Season (Bethlehem, #2) by Marilyn Pappano
Series: Bethlehem #2
Published by Bantam
Publication Date: December 1st 1998
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 374
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Sometimes miracles do happen.

When Maggie left her husband Ross that fateful Christmas Eve, their marriage was over.  But a near fatal accident on an ice-slick road changed everything.

Now another Christmas approaches.  While Maggie hasn't regained all her memory, she's ready to test her strength at home--with Ross as her only companion.  Sharing a house with him once more, putting on the best face for their neighbors, Maggie knows she's living a lie.

Then she glimpses Ross as he used to be: playful and passionate, the man of her dreams before ambition changed him.  She couldn't know he's feeling the same regrets, the same heartache...or that he fears the return of her memory.  What will happen when she remembers the reason she fled from him last year?

It will take a miracle to send the walls of anger and secrecy tumbling down and reunite the divided couple.  But in the small town of Bethlehem, miracles do happen....

*****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.

This review was originally posted on December 14, 2007.

I absolutely adore this book. I love it. After I read it, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I love reunion books. I love how I can re-read this every single year (at Christmas, of course) and still get as caught up in the story as I did the first time. This is one of my absolute favorite re-reads of all time (especially during the holiday season)…

Arriving back in Bethlehem a few days before Thanksgiving, Maggie has no memory of what drove her from her home that fateful night on Christmas Eve of last year. All she does remember is that after sixteen years of marriage, she and her husband, Ross, have decided to throw in the towel. After 11 months of extensive physical therapy, Maggie is forced to except Ross’s help in her recovery. Their plan was simple. Ross would be around to help Maggie for two months. They would then part amicably and then quietly get divorced.

Really, is there any such thing as an amicable divorce? Seriously.

After being a workaholic for so many years, Ross finds himself curiously adrift. Never being able to find the right balance between being a CEO and husband, Ross refuses to let himself read even one email or answer one phone call. He decides that it’s the nicest thing he can do for Maggie. A parting gift, if you will.

Nothing ever goes according to plan, of course. When you live in a town full of people offering advice, a town that has its’ own guardian angel, it’s very easy to think “what if”. It doesn’t take Ross long to start thinking that he and Maggie could make things work. There’s only one problem. While Maggie doesn’t remember the previous Christmas Eve, Ross does. He knows that it’s highly likely that when Maggie remembers what happened, it will drive her from his arms for good.

I can’t say enough how much I love this book. It’s a book about two people who lost their way. Going back to their roots, Maggie and Ross both have to look inside themselves to find what makes them happy. While Ross did put work ahead of Maggie, Maggie is far from blameless in the demise of their marriage. Coming to terms with that is hard for her, but she’s able to do it. Maggie is one of my favorite heroines.

Taking place during the holiday season, this is the perfect holiday read. I would love to live in Bethlehem.

5 out of 5


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Review: Holiday Kisses: A Holiday Romance Collection

Posted July 28, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Holiday Kisses: A Holiday Romance CollectionReviewer: Holly
The Season for Love: A Shannon Stacey Holiday Box Set by Shannon Stacey
Series: Holloway #1,
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: December 1st 2014
Pages: 274
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four-stars

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...Love!

A man gives the gift of trust and receives a second chance at love in return. A woman helps to heal the wounded heart of a soldier. A couple finds that true love knows no distance. And a young widow learns that there can be two great loves in a lifetime. Love, romance and passion come together in this collection of four seasonal shorts.

Anthology includes:

This Time Next Year by Alison Kent
A Rare Gift by Jaci Burton
It's Not Christmas Without You by HelenKay Dimon
Mistletoe and Margaritas by Shannon Stacey

Sometimes I like to pull out Christmas stories in the summer to get away from the heat, if only in my mind. This collection is available as one anthology or as individual releases in e-format. I’ve included links to both formats, for your convenience.

this time next yearThis Time Next Year by Alison Kent

Brenna Keating is on her way to spend Christmas with her grandmother when treacherous roads and a skittish deer put her car in a ditch. Riding to the rescue—literally—is Dillon Craig, a reclusive doctor who insists she weather the storm in his cabin.

Since returning from Afghanistan where he treated wounded soldiers on the front lines, Dillon’s made it a point to avoid any emotional involvement. But his unexpected guest has him dangerously close to breaking his own rules.

Brenna has a plan for her life—until she’s stranded for three days with Dillon. Soon, the chemistry sizzling between them forces her to reexamine her priorities. The man is gorgeous, if taciturn, and a true hero in every sense of the word. No woman in her right mind could resist him, and so Brenna doesn’t—even though she can’t stay…

Brenna and Dylan really drew me in. I loved their friendship and how the romance didn’t progress until both of them were ready. The ending felt a bit rushed, but that may just be because I wasn’t ready for the story to end. 

4/5


a rare giftA Rare Gift by Jaci Burton

With a disastrous marriage behind him, Wyatt Kent has no interest in getting involved with any woman, let alone his ex-wife’s younger sister. But when Calliope Andrews hires him to build an addition onto her day care center, Wyatt can’t help but notice she’s a desirable woman, as warm and funny as his ex was cold and aloof.

Calliope fell hard for Wyatt the first time he walked through the door of her family’s home, and can’t believe her sister let him get away. He’s still the star of all her fantasies, and she’s determined to prove to him she’s nothing like his manipulative ex. Wyatt may be all business, but Calliope sees the way he looks at her when he’s supposed to be working…

It’s not long before Wyatt and Calliope are keeping each other warm on cold December nights. But it’s going to take a Christmas miracle for Wyatt to put his trust in love a second time.

I can’t help being a little bothered by the premise. I wonder how heroine’s sister feels about baby sister dating her ex-husband? I realize time has passed and etc, but I was a little hung up on that. I liked Calliope but Wyatt was a little…one dimensional. I generally enjoy Burton’s stories, but this one fell a little flat.

2.75/5


its not christmas without youIt’s Not Christmas Without You by HelenKay Dimon (Holloway, Book 1) 

Carrie Anders officially broke up with Austin Thomas when she accepted a dream job in the city. Unofficially, she misses him and is tempted to sneak back to her West Virginia hometown to see him. That’s why this year, she’s not going home for the holidays. Her heart can’t take any more mornings-after where nothing has changed–and Austin has made it clear he’s not interested in relocating.

Austin’s been waiting for Carrie to realize she can’t live without him. But when he hears she’s not coming home for Christmas, he decides to take action. If Carrie won’t come to the country, he’s going to bring a piece of the country to Carrie–in the form of a Christmas tree lot just minutes from her apartment. He’s certain daily meetings will entice her to come home with him, this time for good.

Their attraction is as hot as ever, but with such contrary Christmas wishes, can either of them get what they really want this year?

 I love reunited lover stories and this one hit all the right notes. Both Carrie and Austin act a bit immature at times, but I was able to overlook that in favor of the sweet romance. 

4/5


mistletoe and margaritasMistletoe and Margaritas by Shannon Stacey  

Claire Rutledge still believes in love, despite losing her husband. So, after two years, she’s not surprised by the steamy dreams telling her it might be time to start moving on. But she didn’t expect her friend Justin to have the starring role.

Justin McCormick has loved Claire since the moment he first saw her, but his best friend got there first. Now that Claire is ready to move on with her life, Justin is finding it harder than ever to hide his true feelings. And when they both get caught up in the holiday spirits at a party, their simmering mutual attraction boils over into a night neither of them can forget…

This was such an emotional read for me. I love that Claire stood her ground and forced Justin to look at his life and his choices. I also sobbed like a damn baby at certain parts. Such a wonderful read.

4.5/5

This is a great collection. I enjoyed all four novellas. Each touched me in some small way. I found myself emotionally invested in all four couples, no small feat considering they’re all relatively short stories.

Overall grade: 4/5

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars


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Guest Review: An Outlaw’s Christmas by Linda Lael Miller

Posted September 28, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of An Outlaw’s Christmas by Linda Lael Miller

With his wild heart, Sawyer McKettrick isn’t ready to settle down on the Triple M family ranch in Arizona. So he heads to Blue River, Texas, to seek a job as marshal. But in a blinding snowstorm he’s injured—and collapses into the arms of a prim and proper lady in calico.The shirtless, bandaged stranger recuperating in teacher Piper St. James’s room behind the schoolhouse says he’s a McKettrick, but he looks like an outlaw. As they wait out the storm, the handsome loner has Piper remembering long-ago dreams of marriage and motherhood. But for how long is Sawyer willing to call Blue River home?

As the gray skies clear, Piper’s one holiday wish just might bring two lonely hearts together forever.

Yes it is a quintessential Linda Lael Miller book; yes, it’s set in the Old West and reeks of the culture and social norms of the 19th century;  yes, it’s got a ruggedly handsome and hard-riding cowboy as its hero, one who has experienced just about everything a man on the move can experience;  no, there are not dark and erotic scenes here, but wait!  It’s a Christmas story, for gosh sakes, and as such it is a wonderful, readable, and heart-strings-pulling tale that brings in all the good stuff we all prize about this wonderful season.

It’s not your usual love story because the prim and proper school teacher and the hard body cowboy don’t fall madly in lust.  In fact, theirs is a story filled with fear and resentment, concern for her reputation and worry over whether Sawyer will even survive his wound.  It is a story that has some mystery around its edges, but it is filled with characters that are real and some who you wish didn’t ever have to live to make others miserable.  There’s the brothel madam who is raising her daughter with love and caring and in spite of her “fallen” status in the community, insists that her daughter have the best of everything she can provide, including the never-failing love of a mother.  In fact, the scenes where that particular mother’s love is most demonstrated are some of the most emotional in the whole book.  There is the dentist who is the only health care professional in the town, who every once in  awhile re-affirms that he is a dentist and not a doctor, but who never fails to respond to a call for care.  How he handles his witch-on-wheels wife is cute, too.  There is Sawyer’s family who stand by Piper no matter what.  There are others in the town of  Blue River who are special in every way, and there is the joy of a beautiful holiday that is seen by readers through the eyes of the children who are worried that the blizzard will wipe out their Christmas performance.

This is a delightful holiday story filled with warm fuzzies and a love story that is as slow growing as winter grass.  Yet it is built on respect and the realization that inner beauty is quite possibly the most valuable commodity a person can possess and little Piper St. James has it in spades.  It’s a book that will warm your heart, entertain your mind, and be deeply satisfying.  We all love the intense and erotic.  We do, after all, love romance fiction.  But every once in a while a story comes along that keeps us looking at love from a different perspective and this is one of those stories.

I give it rating of 4 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from HQN Books. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Review: Home for the Holidays by Lisa Plumley

Posted December 22, 2008 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment


When Rachel loses her Hollywood dream job, a trip home for Christmas seems like a good idea. But she never expects to find a hunk from her past waiting under the mistletoe.

Red-hot stylist-to-the-stars Rachel Porter has it all. Well, sort of. Her luxury beach house is actually a loaner from her #1 client. And her cute Tesla Roadster? Well, that’s just another job perk … hers to keep, right? But when Rachel catches her #1 client in bed with her boyfriend, she exacts her revenge by tricking her turncoat “frenemy” into committing fashion suicide on the red carpet-and promptly finds herself out of a job. And her house. Her car. Her life. With nowhere to turn, Rachel does the unthinkable: she goes home to Kismet, Michigan.

For Reno Wright, picking up his neighbor’s daughter from the airport for a holiday visit sounds like no big deal. But from the moment he spies Rachel in the airport, Reno knows he’s in over his head. The girl Reno remembers from high school looks nothing like the glammed-out man-killer who walks off the plane. But for all her attitude, Rachel is really just a small-town girl with a heart too big for Hollywood. The temperature may be freezing, but the heat between Rachel and Reno is burning hot. Reno is falling hard fast … but will his holiday romance survive once the calendar turns?

This book was effing funny. I’ve read more than one Christmas themed book this holiday season and this one was definitely the best. At times, there were tears b/c I was laughing so much.

The fun begins in Hollywood when Rachel catches her #1 client in bed w/ her boyfriend. I was actually pretty impressed w/ Rachel b/c she didn’t flip out and make a scene. Nope, this girl planned the perfect revenge. And though that revenge was sweet, it basically blows up in her face. Heading back to her hometown Kismet, Michigan, Rachel hopes to spend the Christmas holiday licking her wounds and making a Hollywood comeback.

Reno Wright is the go-to guy in Kismet. Having made it big in the NFL, Reno came back to Kismet b/c it was always home. He also feels that he owes the town a debt. It did get a tad annoying b/c Reno was definitely a martyr. That aside, he was a likable hero. The fun starts when Reno picks Rachel up at the airport as a favor to his neighbors (the martyr complex in full force). Everything changes after he meets Rachel, who is different than he thought she would be.

There was also a secondary romance between Reno’s sister and his best friend. This was probably the funniest part. Nate (a combination auto shop/home ec teacher) thinks his dream girl is Rachel and asks Reno to help him get her. Reno being Reno, can’t say no. So Reno’s sister, Angela, agrees to help Nate get his girl. Not realizing that she’s falling for Nate herself. There was one part where Nate and Angela were in the grocery store and Angela was trying to teach him how to casually talk to a woman. Nate has no brain-mouth filter. This was probably the funniest part.

“Okay.” He twisted his neck like a prizefighter. “I’m ready. I’m awesome. Dork no more, I’m on the prowl. Here I go.”

“Not like that!” She grabbed his biceps. “You look like a gigantic, demonic Dennis the Menace! Look friendly!”

So both romances were sweet. I really liked how Rachel turned from Hollywood fashionista to small town girl when she got home. Rachel liked to tell herself that she doesn’t belong in Kismet, but Reno knows she does. He just has to figure out how to keep her and not let his BFF down.

The perfect funny Christmas read.

4.25 out of 5.

This book is available from Zebra. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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