Monday 31 December 2012

Review: Red Hot Holiday - Anthology

I’ll be home for Christmas…to fulfill all your dreams.

This holiday, a Mountie is determined to get her man. A widow finds a fireman who ignites her passions again. And two men unsure of their commitment discover a happily ever after—and a blindfold—under their tree. No matter your desires, this collection of three shorts is bound to treat you to all the joys of the season.

Edited by Angela James, this anthology includes:

Wish List by K.A. Mitchell
I Need You for Christmas by Leah Braemel
Breath on Embers by Annie Calhoun

Stories also available for purchase separately.

For more information about any of these authors click on their names below to visit their websites:
Anne Calhoun
K.A. Mitchell
Leah Braemel

I have been loving the Christmas themed anthologies again this year and I think that Red Hot Holiday has to be my favourite. The main reason I wanted to read it was for Leah Braemel's story and that one definitely didn't disappoint but I've also found two new (to me) authors who I'm sure I'll be reading more from in the future. If you're looking for a selection of spicy holiday reads then you can't go wrong with this one and I'd highly recommend giving it a try.

Wish List by K.A. Mitchell

Blindfolds. Handcuffs. Submission.

There's so much Jonah Kendrick hasn't tried, and so much he wants to explore. But just before Christmas he finds a ring box in his boyfriend's desk. Jonah panics. He loves Evan and their sex is hot, but how can Jonah be ready for forever, when there are so many items on his Naughty Bucket List? Desires that might drive Evan away.

Evan's noticed Jonah has been distant. His usually talkative and cheerful boyfriend is preoccupied. The seemingly straitlaced Evan stumbles across Jonah's wish list of sexual kinks, and Evan realizes he may not have to hide his true nature from Jonah after all. The Dom in him wants to see Jonah on his knees, begging, submitting, but Evan isn't sure Jonah's ready to accept what being Evan's sub would mean.

The two lovers must figure out how to share their hidden desires with each other before their secrets permanently damage their love.

Jonah and Evan have been together for two years and have a pretty good relationship but when Jonah accidentally stumbles across a pair of wedding rings in Evan's desk he panics. He loves Evan but the thought of getting married just makes him think of all the things that he'll never get to try if they tie the knot. Jonah creates a wish list containing all of his darkest desires but worries that Evan wouldn't be interested in helping him fulfil them. Evan has noticed how distant Jonah has become but has no idea what is worrying him, until he stumbles across the wish list that is. Evan couldn't be more surprised that Jonah has secret dreams of submitting to anther man, he has been hiding his own dominant side for years but it looks like they may both be able to live out their wildest fantasies together - if only they can find a way to share their secret wishes.

I'm still fairly new to M/M romance but it's a genre that I'm really enjoying so I was looking forward to reading Wish List. I liked both Jonah and Evan but I think my main problem was that I struggled to believe that they'd been together for so long and yet didn't really know each other that well. I find it hard to believe that someone who is an experienced Dom has been able to be in a relationship for 2 years without letting his dominant tendencies show through in the bedroom - surely his natural behaviour would have come out at some point? I also felt it was odd that Jonah got in such a panic at the idea of Evan proposing when they seemed to have a pretty strong relationship and had been living together for over a year. I found myself getting very frustrated that they wouldn't talk to each other, Evan at least tried to communicate but Jonah seemed more interested in potentially hooking up with a stranger than talking to the man he was supposed to be in love with. The sex scenes between them were undoubtedly hot though and I loved the way Evan introduced Jonah to BDSM - the New Years Eve scene in Times Square was very sexy. I did feel that they made a cute couple I just think it would have felt more realistic if they'd known each other for a shorter period of time or perhaps I just needed a longer story to help make things feel more plausible. Either way I did enjoy K.A. Mitchell's writing style and would definitely like to read a full length novel by her in the future.

I Need You for Christmas by Leah Braemel

Ryan Porter is a sculptor, and beneath his callused hands, even the most rigid metals bend to his will. So, too, does his girlfriend Megan—a confident, strong woman who delights in submitting to Ryan’s dominance in the bedroom.

Megan is a Mountie, and she’s spent the past few years in the arctic following her career dreams. Family obligations kept Ryan at home, but their love survived the distance thanks to several hot visits. A Mountie always gets her man, and Megan is bound and determined to keep Ryan.

Now Megan’s with Ryan for the holidays…but how long will this visit last? She’s always been willing to do anything Ryan desires, but will he finally tell her that all he needs for Christmas is her?

Ryan and Megan have been a couple for years and are crazy about each other but they are both sick of having a long distance relationship. When Megan left to follow her dream of becoming a Mountie Ryan had to stay home and look after his younger siblings after his parents died but they have kept their relationship alive with visits as often as they can. Now Megan has had enough of being so far from Ryan, she chased her dream and has spent time working as a Mountie but now she has a more important dream to follow - to spend her life by Ryan's side. Ryan also has plans to surprise Megan this Christmas, now that his siblings are away at college he has the freedom to follow Megan so that they can finally be together. They're both going to be in for quite a shock come Christmas morning!

I absolutely loved I Need You for Christmas and it was my favourite novella in the Red Hot Holidays anthology. Leah Braemel was able to create characters that I connected with immediately and even though Ryan and Megan don't get to spend much time together you could tell how much they loved each other and what a perfect couple they were. I loved the fact that they were both so willing to give up their own dreams to put their partner first and I couldn't help smiling at the way they were both making plans behind the others back. As a Mountie Megan has to be in control of every situation at all times but she loves nothing more than letting her hair down with Ryan and letting him take control. Ryan was pretty much the perfect guy, he was sweet, caring and protective of both Megan and his family, he takes his responsibilities seriously and was someone that you could rely on. At the same time he was artistic, creative, funny and incredibly sexy - the things that man can do with a couple of ropes is guaranteed to make you swoon! The ultimate feel good Christmas story I Need You for Christmas is a novella that I will be reading again every year because it left me with the biggest smile on my face.

Breath on Embers by Anne Calhoun

Christmas is the perfect time for Firefighter Ronan O’Rourke to take things to the next level with his sexually adventurous girlfriend. He knows she has feelings for him—and he’s sure of his feelings for her—but when Thea refuses his invitation to sample Christmas in New York City because what they share is nothing more than sheet-burning sex, Ronan sets out to change her mind.

Deep down Thea Moretti knows she cares for Ronan, but she can’t move past her grief over her late husband. Loud music and sex with Ronan are the only things she’s got that her feel alive, so she takes as much of both as she can get. She knows Ronan wants more, but during the darkest time of the year finding her way won’t be easy.

Ronan gambles everything and challenges Thea: one night of passion with him and another man. Can he prove to her that what they share isn’t just great sex but an emotional connection strong enough to last forever?

Since the death of her husband Thea has been locked in her grief and she uses every means possible to block her feelings and remain numb to the world around her. As the second anniversary of his death approaches Thea just wants to hide away from the world and be left alone to lick her wounds. But Ronan knows what she is going through, they have been seeing each other for nearly a year now and although Thea insists that it is just sex between them Ronan knows it is so much more. He is determined to find a way to break through Thea's tough outer shell and make her rejoin the world of the living, he will do whatever it takes to show her that she isn't as numb as she thinks she is - she's just scared to allow herself to feel again.

Breath on Embers is the first story that I've read by Anne Calhoun but I know for sure it won't be the last. This may not be your typical feel good Christmas romance but she has a way of writing that pulled me in and made me feel instantly connected to the characters. It is impossible not to feel Thea's heartbreak right alongside her but at the same time I knew that with Ronan she had the chance to move forward and be happy again. Ronan is one sexy firefighter and although he never says it outright it is obvious how much he loves her. While she seems determined to keep their relationship on a sex only basis he wants so much more and he knows deep down that she wants that too. The sex between them is incredibly hot but it is about so much more than a physical connection and I loved watching Ronan prove that to Thea. Breath on Embers is erotica with soul, sexy and intense it will bring tears to your eyes one minute and have you fanning yourself the next but in the end you are left with a feeling of hope and the reminder that life always goes on and no matter how bad things get they do eventually get better.

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Book Trailer & Tour Announcement: Legacy - C.J. Daugherty

I really enjoyed C.J. Daugherty's debut novel Night School (in case you missed it you can read my Night School review here) so I was excited to be invited to take part in the blog tour for the sequel Legacy. The tour officially starts on the 3rd of January (my stop will be on the 8th) but in the meantime I want to share with you the fabulous Legacy book trailer:

What do you think of the trailer? Are you as excited about reading Legacy as I am?

Allie Sheridan’s first term at Cimmeria Academy was nothing if not eventful; one student was brutally murdered, she discovered her long lost brother was still alive, she got caught up in a love triangle with the school’s hottest two boys and almost died when the school caught fire. Then there was the whole issue of why her parents had sent her to the secretive boarding school in the first place, something she’s still trying to work out.

Returning to Cimmeria, Allie has little time to reflect on the past term, as she is about to be inducted into Night School, the secret late night student group that could hold the answers to all her questions. Swathed in secrecy, the first rule of Night School is not to talk about Night School. This term Allie will discover the true meaning of Night School and in the process she will learn self-defence, strategy, how to escape from someone who is trying to kill her and ultimately will find out who she is and why she has been sent to Cimmeria.

When Allie discovers that someone inside Night School is sharing information that could risk all their lives, she realises no-one can be trusted. Not her on off boyfriend; the dark and brooding Carter, not her secret school crush; the suave French boy Sylvain, not even the teachers. When the pupil responsible for last term’s murder is seen on school grounds, Allie knows that no one is safe. But before she can figure out what to do, she might just get caught first. Legacy will reveal what Allie Sheridan is truly made of and who she really is.

Legacy deals sensitively with issues of trust, friendship, difficult parent relationships and fitting into new situations.

I also wanted to tell you a little about the fabulous giveaway that Atom are offering as part of the tour. Check out the details below for more information about the Night School Challenge!

Do you have what it takes to face the Night School challenge?

To celebrate the publication of CJ Daugherty’s new book Legacy, she is offering fans of Night School the chance to join Allie and her friends in becoming members of the secret student group Night School. In order to prove you’ve got what it takes to join the highly competitive Night School you will have to distinguish the 14 skills every Night School member should have which will be hidden across the 14 blogs taking part in the tour.

Everyone who successfully completes the challenge will become a Night School member for life and will receive the Night School membership charter and Night School members’ badge as proof of membership, but, because intelligence and speed are two of the most important Night School skills, we will be rewarding those of you who are able to collect and enter the 14 skills in the fastest time. The first ten entrants to correctly enter the 14 skills will win an exclusive members only goodie bag, including: personalised copies of both Legacy and Night School as well as a Night School members material badge which can be sewn onto a book bag or school blazer and a place on an exclusive Google Hangouts chat with CJ Daugherty herself!

Night School Challenge Rules:

  1. Visit 14 book blogs between 3rd – 10th January
  2. Locate and collect 14 Night School Skill words
  3. Return to the Night School Members page to enter your collected skills by 13th January
  4. The entry form will be live from January 10th and will close at mid night on January 13th
  5. If you successfully complete the challenge you will become a Night School member for life – when this happens you will receive a membership charter and Night School members badge to download
  6. The first ten people to receive Night School membership will be rewarded for their speed with an exclusive Night School goodie bag and a place on a Google hangouts chat with CJ Daugherty!

For more information, visit the members page on CJ Daugherty’s website here

So make sure you come back on the 8th of January to see my Legacy blog tour post, you can find details of all the other blogs taking part on CJ Daughter's website

Sunday 30 December 2012

Review: Secret Santa Baby - Robin Covington

Tessa Stoneman hasn’t been able to get long-time friend and business partner Nicholas Boone out of her head since they shared a single kiss in college. Even when she dated Nicholas’s best friend. Now that she’s giving up her position at GameNerdz to strike out on her own—and now that she’s single—maybe it’s the right time to see if there’s still something between them.

Nicholas knows once Tessa leaves the company she helped found, they might drift apart. Before she starts her own company in the new year, he wants to woo the woman he fell in love with during college. So he poses as her Secret Santa, gifts her with items from the song “Santa Baby,” and plans a big reveal at the company holiday party. But when his best friend wants to rekindle his romance with Tessa, will Nicholas lose his last chance?

Visit Robin Covington's website for more information

Tessa has been crushing on her close friend Nicholas since they were at college together but apart from a single kiss he never seemed to have any feelings towards her other than as a friend. She even dated his best friend and business partner Damien but Nick has always had a place in her heart. Now that she is single and is about to leave GameNerdz, the company that Nick and Damien both own, she wonders if this could be her last chance to show Nick how she feels but worries he might reject her. Little does she know that Nick has always loved her but been too afraid to show it. Nick can't imagine life without Tessa and has decided that it's time to finally show her how much she means to him - and he has the perfect idea for a romantic holiday gesture that is sure to get her attention.

I really enjoyed Robin Covington's debut novel A Night of Southern Comfort so when I was offered a review copy of her latest story Secret Santa Baby I jumped at the chance to read it. I love Christmas themed stories and this one has everything I look for in a feel good story; a sweet, sexy and believable romance; characters I can swoon over; and a plot that can make me smile. I've been saying for ages that we need more nerdy heroes and Nick is a perfect example of why, he is so cute and sexy but he just doesn't realise how hot he is. He is also such a romantic and I think he could win over even the most cynical woman with his wooing of Tessa - he could certainly make me swoon. As for Tessa she was a likeable heroine, someone who knows what she wants and is determined to take her chance before it is too late. The only character I wasn't too sure about was Damien but I have a feeling that is because he hasn't found the right woman yet and I'd actually be quite interested in reading his story in the future.

If you're looking for a quick, fun and sexy holiday novella then you can't go wrong with Secret Santa Baby. Robin Covington has a second hit on her hands with this one and I can't wait to read whatever she comes up with next.

Source: Received from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


Thursday 27 December 2012

Review: Kissing Under the Mistletoe - Marina Adair

Regan Martin stopped believing in Christmas miracles six years ago when she lost everything—her house, her job, and her impeccable reputation in the wine industry—after she fell in love with a man she had no idea was married. Then Regan gets a chance for a fresh start in the Napa Valley. With her dream job, dream home, and her daughter enrolled in a wonderful new school, she starts wondering if holiday wishes really do come true.

But she soon tumbles back down to earth when she learns that her new boss is none other than Gabe DeLuca, the scorned wife’s brother. Gabe wants nothing more than home-wrecking Regan Martin out of his life, his sister’s world, and his family’s business. Mostly, he wants the lush beauty out of his head. Yet his attempts to run her out of town have him thinking twice, especially when he sees that Regan may hold the key to tracking down his sister’s stolen start-up capital. Even worse for Gabe, Regan might just be his Christmas wish and hold the key to his heart.

St Helena Vineyard Series:
Kissing Under the Mistletoe
Summer in Napa
Autumn in the Vineyard (October 2013)
Future titles and release dates to be confirmed

Visit Marina Adair's website for more information

When Regan fell in love with Richard she had no idea that it would cost her everything, she didn't even know he was already married until she was five months pregnant with his child. When Richard vanished Regan was left broken hearted and alone to raise their daughter. At least his wife Abby had her family to support her and when Abby's brothers were unable to find the cheating husband they were happy to take out their anger on his mistress. For the last 6 years the DeLuca men have made Regan's life miserable costing her countless jobs and ruining her reputation in the wine industry. But this Christmas things are finally looking up for Regan and she has been offered her dream job and the chance to start over in a new town where she can build a life for herself and her daughter Holly. What she doesn't realise is that her new boss will be Gabe, the oldest of the DeLuca clan and the man behind everything that has happened to her. Gabe wants nothing more than to protect his sister Abby and that means getting Regan away from their home town fast. He isn't going to let anything get in the way of that goal - especially not an unwanted attraction to his family's enemy.

Every so often a book comes along that sucks me in from the very first page and makes it impossible for me to do anything else until I've finished reading it and Kissing Under the Mistletoe was one of those books. I picked it up planning on reading just one chapter before making myself some dinner but several hours later I was still reading. In fact I only managed to put the book down very briefly to grab a quick snack before I jumped back in to devour the rest of the story. I have now added Marina Adair to my list of must read authors and I can't tell you how pleased I was to discover that this is the first book in a new series.

I found it easy to connect with Regan from the moment I met her, she was young and innocent and completely betrayed by the man she loved and I had nothing but sympathy for her. I was so angry at the way the DeLuca clan had made life so difficult for her - especially considering she'd had no idea that Richard was married. She was as much his victim as Abby was and had spent a further six years being victimised for something that she had no control over. To say I was livid at Gabe and his family is an understatement and to be honest I didn't think he had a chance in hell at redeeming himself in my eyes. You have to admire Regan because although she has been through hell she has never given up, she never took the easy option of giving up her career and walking away from the wine industry and she never, ever let her daughter suffer because of what had happened. Holly was her world and Regan would do anything to protect her and make her happy. There were times that Regan's story brought tears to my eyes but more than anything I admired her strength and wanted to see her find happiness.

I've already mentioned how much I hated Gabe in the beginning so I was incredibly surprised that Marina Adair managed to make me fall for him. As you get to know him you see that he ended up responsible for his four younger siblings from a young age after their parents died and all he has ever done is try to protect them. He was convinced that Regan knew that Richard was married but went ahead and had an affair with him anyway and he had no idea that she had a young child to care for. None of that makes what he did to her acceptable but it did make it easier to understand. The fact that we get to see things from his perspective was what helped me fall for him though - you get to see first hand how guilty he feels when he realises that Regan was another innocent victim and when he sees first hand how hard life has been for her since then. I enjoyed watching Gabe discover his conscience and try to make up for what had happened but I enjoyed seeing Regan tell him where to go even more. The banter between them was one of the highlights of the book for me, the chemistry between them was off the charts hot but while their eyes were stripping each other naked their words were cutting them to the core. I knew from their heated looks that they'd be good together but boy were the sexy times worth the wait!

Other highlights included Holly who was utterly adorable - I dare anyone not to fall in love with her - and Gabe's grandmother ChiChi and her friends who Regan had nicknamed the Mrs. Clauses. There were a lot of laugh out loud moments at their antics and they really helped lighten the tone of the story. Kissing Under the Mistletoe is definitely my favourite Christmas read of the year, funny, cute, romantic and hot, it was the perfect book to get me in the mood for the holidays and I know it is a book I'll be re-reading in the future. Fans of small town romance series like Jill Shalvis's Lucky Harbor books will love this one - it has the same feel good factor and great cast of characters who I am looking forward to spending more time with.

Source: Received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Monday 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas!

I just wanted to write a quick post wishing you all a very happy Christmas! I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow - eat too much, drink too much and spend some time with your friends and loved ones :o) Hopefully there'll be a few awesome bookish presents too!

I'm spending the next couple of days visiting family so things are going to be quite here on the blog for a couple of days but I'll be back very soon with more reviews :o)

Happy Holidays everyone!

Review: Under the Mistletoe - Jill Shalvis


There's no place like home for the holidays. And the Lucky Harbor Bed & Breakfast is bursting with festive lights and good cheer. But for Mia, Christmas is turning out to be anything other than merry and bright. Her recent break-up with her boyfriend Nick has made her return bittersweet. But then a surprise arrives, when Nick follows her to town bearing gifts-and asking for forgiveness.

Nick grew up without a family of his own so he's overwhelmed by the love that Mia receives from all her relatives, gathered together to celebrate the season. Under their watchful eyes, Nick finds earning back her trust the hardest thing he's ever had to do. If he succeeds, he will receive the greatest gift of all, Mia's love for a lifetime.

Lucky Harbor Series:
Simply Irresistible
The Sweetest Thing
Kissing Santa Claus (Novella in the Small Town Christmas anthology)
Head Over Heels
Lucky in Love
At Last
Forever and a Day
Under the Mistletoe (Novella)
It Had to be You (2013)
Always on my Mind (2013)
Once in a Lifetime (2014)

Visit Jill Shalvis' website for more information.

I love the Lucky Harbor series and I really liked Mia when we first met her as a confused teenager in The Sweetest Thing. It was great to see her build a connection with her birth parents Tara and Ford previously and I was pleased to find out that we were getting more of Mia's story now that she's an adult in this novella. Under the Mistletoe is set around 5 years on from Chloe and Sawyer's story (Head Over Heels). Mia is now a student in New York and is heading back to Lucky Harbor for the holidays and to attend Chloe & Sawyer's wedding. She is looking forward to spending Christmas with her extended family but her only disappointment is that her boyfriend Nick refused to go with her. Her devastation over their breakup threatens to ruin her holiday but when Nick arrives in Lucky Harbor begging her for forgiveness she could find all her dreams are about to come true.

Nick and Mia were both given up for adoption when they were babies but unlike Mia, who was adopted by a loving family and who has since reconnected with her birth parents, Nick spent his childhood bouncing between different children's homes and foster families. He has never known what it is like to have a normal loving family and doesn't know how to react when Mia invites him to spend Christmas with her and her parents. I have to admit I felt a bit sorry for Nick the way Mia landed the idea of him coming to Lucky Harbor with her right at the last minute. She hands him a plane ticket for the very next day and expects him to drop everything to come with her and then because he panics and doesn't instantly agree she gives up on him completely. Really I would have expected Mia to be a little more understanding than that, especially when they haven't really been dating that long and she knows all about his history and the effect it has had on him.

I actually thought that Nick was a really sweet and caring guy, yes he upset Mia by his instant refusal to meet her family but I found it easy to forgive him, particularly when he realises he was wrong so quickly and immediately sets out to win her back. It must have been incredibly intimidating for him to face down not just Mia but also Tara & Ford, her aunts and uncles (Maddie, Jax, Chloe and Sawyer) not to mention her ex-boyfriend Carlos too. Nick is willing to man up though and he will do whatever it takes to win back the love of his life.

Under the Mistletoe is a nice addition to the Lucky Harbor series and my only complaint is that I wish it was longer. It was great to catch up with the couples from the first three books and see how they are getting on now and I was really excited that we were going to see Chloe and Sawyers wedding but I have to admit I was disappointed that it was only mentioned briefly. I understand that this was Mia's story but it would have been nice to have had more of the other characters too. Having said that there is only so much you can fit into a novella and I did enjoy Mia and Nick's story, their romance was sweet and I was happy with the way things ended. If you're a fan of the series and enjoyed meeting Mia in Tara and Ford's book then this is a must read.

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Review: Small Town Christmas - Anthology

Three heartwarming holiday stories
to prove that love is the greatest gift of all

Kissing Santa Claus
NASCAR driver Logan Perrish returns to Lucky Harbor, Washington, with love in his heart and a ring in his pocket. But can Sandy Jansen forget the past and give him a second chance? Or will Logan be spending another Christmas alone?

I'll Be Home for Christmas
After ignoring the advice of Miz Miriam Randall, local matchmaker, Annie Roberts expects another hum drum holiday in Last Chance, South Carolina. But when a stray cat arrives in the arms of Army sergeant Matt Jasper, a calico named Holly just may be the best matchmaker of all.

O Little Town of Bramble
All Ethan Miller wants for Christmas is to celebrate in Bramble, Texas, with family and friends. But when his childhood neighbor, Samantha Henderson, comes home for the holiday, Ethan realizes that the girl-next-door could be the girl of his dreams.

For more information about any of these authors you can visit their websites by clicking the links below:
Jill Shalvis's website
Hope Ramsay's website
Katie Lane's website

Kissing Santa Claus by Jill Shalvis

Lucky Harbor Series:
Simply Irresistible
The Sweetest Thing
Kissing Santa Claus (Novella in the Small Town Christmas anthology)
Head Over Heels
Lucky in Love
At Last
Forever and a Day
Under the Mistletoe (Novella)
It Had to be You (2013)
Always on my Mind (2013)
Once in a Lifetime (2014)

I absolutely love Jill Shalvis's Lucky Harbor series so it's no surprise that this story was my main reason for wanting to read the Small Town Christmas anthology. We first met Logan in the second book in the series, The Sweetest Thing. He is Tara's ex-husband and came to Lucky Harbor hoping to win her back but was facing fierce competition from her first love Ford. Now I have to admit that while I was routing for Ford to win Tara's affections I did develop a little bit of a crush on Logan so it was nice to be able to see him get his own happy ending. My only disappointment with this story is that I wanted more and I'd have loved for it to be a full length novel!

Logan met Sandy five months ago and they ended up having a rather steamy affair but Logan broke her heart when he left her to return to his job as a NASCAR driver. His time away has made him realise how much she means to him but now that he is back and hoping for a second chance Sandy isn't quite so keen to let him back into her life. It's going to take all of Logan's sweet talking skills to earn him a place in Sandy's life. This was such a fun story and made a perfect Christmas read, anyone who is a fan of Jill Shalvis is sure to love this addition to the Lucky Harbor series.

I'll be Home for Christmas by Hope Ramsay

Last Chance Series:
Welcome to Last Chance
Home at Last Chance
Last Chance Beauty Queen
I'll be Home for Christmas (Novella in the Small Town Christmas anthology)
Last Chance Bride
Last Chance Christmas

After the death of her mother Annie is expecting to spend the holidays alone but when soldier Matt turns up on her doorstep with a stray cat it looks like things are about to change. Matt has come to Last Chance to make good on his promise to deliver his friend Nick's last Christmas present to his grandmother. Matt is also hoping that he might get to experience his first ever proper Christmas but he actually finds a whole lot more.

This is the first time I've read anything by Hope Ramsay but I'll be Home for Christmas has definitely made me interested in checking out more of the Last Chance series, I enjoyed meeting some of the quirky side characters like the town matchmaker and would like to get to know them better. I did find the romance between Annie and Matt developed a little too quickly for my taste but it is very hard to write a believable romance between two characters who have never met before in a short novella so I can forgive that. Overall I found it a sweet story and I liked the underlying message about what is really important in life.

O Little Town of Bramble by Katie Lane

Deep in the Heart of Texas Series:
Going Cowboy Crazy
Make Mine a Bad Boy
O Little Town of Bramble (Novella in the Small Town Christmas anthology)
Catch me a Cowboy
Trouble in Texas
Flirting with Texas (2013)

Sam has been away from her home town Bramble for years while she completed her studies to become a vet. Now she is taking time out to visit her family for the holidays before she finds a place to set up her own practise. She always had a crush on her neighbour Ethan but he always treated her more as a younger sister than a potential girlfriend. Ethan has missed his best friend while she has been away but now Sam is back and he realises that she's all woman! Can he get past his shyness and convince her to stay in Bramble and make a life with him?

Katie Lane was another new to me author but I enjoyed O Little Town of Bramble so much that I've already ordered the first three books in the series. I loved the humour in this story and just know that I've found myself another favourite series. The romance between Ethan and Sam is perfectly paced, they have been friends forever but now that they have developed deeper feelings they are so tongue tied around each other that it was hilarious to watch. They make a great couple though and I just hope we get to see more of them as the series continues. I have to mention how amusing the live nativity was and it really did put me in the mood for the Christmas holidays! I can't wait to go back and read the rest of this series.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Saturday 22 December 2012

Winner: Baby, It's Cold Outside - Anthology

With the help of I am happy to announce the winner of an ebook copy of the Baby, It's Cold Outside anthology containing stories by Amy Andrews, Aimee Carson, Kate Hardy and Heidi Rice is:

Ellen Thompson

Congratulations Ellen! I have forwarded your email address to my contact at Entangled Publishing so that she can send you your ebook. I'd like to say a massive thanks to Entangled for allowing me to host this giveaway for them.

Winter Warmer Deals from Felicity Heaton / F E Heaton – Paranormal Romances with Passion

If you've ever read my reviews for any of Felicity Heaton's books you'll already know how much I love her paranormal romances. She writes wonderful stories full of action, swoon worthy heroes and brilliant, sexy romance! Felicity has some fantastic deals on her books this month so I wanted to share them with you so you don't miss out. For those of you who are taking part in the British Books Challenge (and who read adult books!) you might want to take advantage of these deals & free ebooks to stock up on some books to read in the new year! Anyway, I'm going to hand you over to Felicity so she can tell you more about the special offers and free ebooks currently available.

Between now and 15th January 2012, you can get your hands on some of Felicity Heaton and F E Heaton’s hot heroes at bargain prices or even for FREE! What better way to pass a chilly winter or relax in the sunshine if you're down under, than curled up in the arms of some paranormal heroes, letting yourself be swept along in their romance and adventures?

There are plenty of fantastic reads to choose from, all priced between FREE and $3.99 and in a range of lengths between novella and long novels, and a variety of paranormal romance sub-genres including sinful angels, sexy vampires, seductive werewolves, and even a super-hot demon and sassy witch pairing.

You can snap up the first book in Felicity Heaton’s best selling angel romance series, HER DARK ANGEL, for FREE. Or indulge your wicked side by picking up a FREE copy of the first book in her oh-so-naughty Vampire Erotic Theatre series, COVET.

If you like longer vampire romance novels packed with action, twists and emotion, then why not check out the first book in her Vampires Realm series that she writes as F E Heaton? And yes, PROPHECY: CHILD OF LIGHT, is also absolutely FREE!

You can also grab yourselves some of her stand alone paranormal romance novels or snatch some more books in her Vampires Realm series for only $2.99 or $3.99, including her award nominated vampire romance novels Forbidden Blood and Heart of Darkness.

These great deals are available at Amazon Kindle Stores, Apple iBookstore and Kobo Books! Don’t worry if you’re a Nook or Sony Reader user. You can download the FREE EBOOKS at Kobo Books and use the epub file on your device without any problems.

So snap these up quick to avoid disappointment! FREE EBOOKS end on December 31st 2012 and the prices of discounted books will change back on 15th January 2013.

Find out more about the books and these great offers at:

Friday 21 December 2012

Love Hurts Blog Tour: UK Giveaway of Easy by Tammara Webber & Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan

I'm thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour to celebrate the release of both Easy by Tammara Webber and Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan that are being published in the UK in January by Penguim. I've already read Easy which I loved (watch out for my review which will be posted later today) and I can't wait to get started on Reason to Breathe so I'm very excited to be hosting a fabulous giveaway so that 3 of my blog readers will be able to win a copies of both books!

Before we get to the giveaway I want to give you a little more information about the books:

Easy is a New York Times bestseller - a must-read in the New Adult genre for everyone who loves Slammed by Colleen Hoover or Breathe by Abbi Glines. Deeply romantic and utterly gripping, Tammara Webber's Easy is not to be missed.

When Jacqueline follows her long-term boyfriend to college, the last thing she expects is a breakup. After two weeks in shock she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, ignored by former friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, she is assaulted. Rescued by a stranger in the right place at the right time, she just wants to forget that night. But when her attacker turns stalker she has to make a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Her savior proves protective and intriguing, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly, knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

Visit Tammara Webber's website for more information.

Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan is a US bestselling phenomenon.

An utterly addictive and heartbreaking novel that will leave readers breathless and desperate for more. All fans of Jodi Picoult and new adult author fiction such Colleen Hoover's Slammed, Tammara Webber's Easy and Abbi Glines' Vincent Boys will love Rebecca Donovan's incredible writing. A must-read.

A passionate love. A brutal betrayal. Unwavering hope.

In a town where most people worry about what to be seen in and who to be seen with, Emma Thomas would rather not be seen at all. She's more concerned with feigning perfection, pulling down her sleeves to conceal the bruises. Emma doesn't want anyone to know how far from perfect her life truly is.

When Emma unexpectedly finds love, it challenges her to recognize her own worth - but at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she's desperate to hide.

Visit Rebecca Donovan's website for more information.

Giveaway Details:

Thanks to the lovely folks at Penguin I have a fabulous giveaway for my UK blog readers.
  • Three lucky winners will win paperback copies of both Easy by Tammara Webber and Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan.
  • The winner's prize will be sent out directly by my contact at Penguin so the winner must give me permission to pass their address on.
  • To enter please use the rafflecopter below to confirm that you are a UK resident, there are optional extra entries for following or tweeting about the giveaway but these are not required to enter.
  • Duplicate and invalid entries will be deleted and the winners will be chosen at random from all remaining entries.
  • The giveaway will close at Midnight GMT on the 12th of January 2013 and the winner will be contacted soon afterwards. You will have 48 hours to reply to me with your address or a new winner will be chosen.
Don't forget to follow the rest of the Love Hurts Blog Tour, you can easily find all of the tour stops by clicking the links on this cool interactive banner:

Thursday 20 December 2012

Review: Ketchup Clouds - Annabel Pitcher

Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret - a dark and terrible secret that she can't confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder.

Full of heartache yet humour, Zoe tells her story in the only way she can - in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.

Visit Annabel Pitcher's website for more information

I absolutely loved Annabel Pitcher's debut novel My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece when I read it last year so I was incredibly excited to get my hands on an early copy of her second novel Ketchup Clouds. This book jumped straight to the top of my to read pile as soon as it arrived but I'll admit that I was slightly nervous it wouldn't live up to my expectations. Thankfully my worries were proved unfounded and I loved every minute of it!

Our narrator for Ketchup Clouds is fifteen year old Zoe, a teenager who has a horrible secret that has been weighing on her conscience for nearly a year. She is too scared to talk to anyone she knows about the things that she has done but when she finds out about criminals on death row who are looking for pen pals she feels like she has found someone to confide in. Stuart Harris is on death row after committing a murder and Zoe believes that he will be able to understand the guilt she feels. The story is told through a series of letters that Zoe writes to Stuart over a period of several months, her honest account of her life and the terrible events that ended with the death of a young man is touching, humorous and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Annabel Pitcher manages to create such realistic voices for her teenage characters, I felt the same about My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece but I think I found it even easier to identify with Zoe than I did with Jamie. Zoe is a normal teenager, she likes hanging out with her friends, loves her family and she dreams having of her first kiss and her first boyfriend. Her letters are a completely honest and give insight into her family life along with the trials and tribulations that come with being a teenager and falling in love for the first time. I dare anyone who reads the book not to fall head over heels for her adorable little sister Dot, she has to be one of the cutest fictional five year olds that I've ever come across!

I don't want to say any more about the plot or give away Zoe's secret but I felt that the story unfolded at a perfect pace. You are given just enough information to keep you hooked but still kept on tenterhooks until the very end of the book as you wait to see exactly what happened on that fateful day the previous year. I didn't pick up this book intending to finish it in one sitting but that is exactly what I did - I just couldn't tear myself away from Zoe's story and her heartfelt letters. Ketchup Clouds made me smile, it made me laugh out loud, it touched me emotionally and even made me shed a tear, it is a beautifully written story and one I'm sure I'll be recommending for a long time to come. Annabel Pitcher is an author who is going to go far and I can't wait to read her next book.

Source: Received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Hardcover / Kindle:

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Review: Demon's Curse - Alexa Egan

A fast-paced and captivating debut—the first in the dark and sexy Imnada Brotherhood series about shape shifters in Regency-era England.

A rising star on the Covent Garden stage, Bianca Parrino believes she has everything she wants. Independence. Wealth. And a life finally free of her violent, abusive husband. But when her close friend, Adam, is murdered, and Bianca is suspected in his death, she is unwittingly drawn into the search for his killer, and soon must question everything she believes—about her friend, about herself, and about a world she never knew existed.

A member of the mysterious race of shape-shifting Imnada and part of an elite military unit, Captain Mac Flannery gathered intelligence during the Napoleonic wars. As a result of a savage massacre, Mac and the men he served with are cursed. Now one of them has been found murdered, and Mac suspects the existence of the Imnada has been discovered at last. His only link to unearthing the truth is the beautiful actress who turns up unexpectedly at Adam’s funeral.

Before long, Mac has more to contend with than Bianca’s overt mistrust, his ill-fated attraction to the haughty and beautiful actress, and his ongoing search for an end to the curse. Because Adam’s killer is back, and Mac is next on his list.

Imnada Brotherhood Series:
Awaken the Curse (Novella)
Demon's Curse (26th December 2012)

Visit Alexa Egan's website for more information

Mac is part of an elite military unit who are gathering intelligence during the war, they are also part of a secretive race of shapeshifters called the Imnada. The Imnada were supposedly wiped out by the Fae related Others centuries ago but in reality they have just worked hard to remain in hiding. When threatened with discovery Mac's team do what they have to to protect their clan but as a result of their actions they find themselves cursed. Now with one of his until murdered Mac believes someone has uncovered their identity and that he is their next target. Bianca is a popular actress but when rumours link her to the murder of her close friend she is asked to take leave from her job. She is grieving for her friend and desperate to prove her innocence but she can only do that with Mac's help. Can they work together to catch Adam's killer and possibly find a way to break the curse?

After reading the prequel novella Awaken the Curse I had high hopes for Demon's Curse when I picked it up but unfortunately I found myself feeling let down by the time I finished it. I normally love the combination of a paranormal romance with a historical setting but in this case the book just really struggled to hold my attention and I even found myself skimming sections which is something I never usually do. Firstly I was surprised to see that there was no link between this story and the prequel novella, I wasn't expecting to see much of the previous couple but I did think that Lucas might have an important role to play in the series so it confused me that he wasn't even mentioned. I do wonder if he will crop up in future books but at this point it kind of feels like there was no point in reading the prequel, it certainly didn't give me any information that I needed to read this story.

At 400 pages this isn't a massive novel but the pacing really drags in parts which made it feel much longer than it was. You have to wait a long time between the action scenes and I just found myself getting bored. I know there is always a certain amount of world building to be done in the first book of a new series, in fact that is something I usually enjoy because I like finding out the details, but in this case I had so many questions and it took forever to get any answers. Perhaps it's just me but I didn't even understand what the curse on Mac and his team did to them until about half way through the book! I still don't know much about the Imnada or the Others (on a side note I have to mention what a boring species name Others is - especially when you compare it to Imnada!) and the whole feud between the two groups seems ridiculous.

Mac and Bianca were likeable enough characters but neither of them stood out in my mind, in fact barely a week on from finishing the book I can hardly remember anything about either of them without looking at the notes I took while I was reading. I did like the fact that Bianca's past isn't brushed under the carpet as soon as she meets Mac. She had suffered a great deal at the hands of her abusive husband and that made her especially wary of Mac. Even when she got to know him better and decided to give in to the attraction between them she still had moments where her memories would surface and effect the way she reacted to Mac. I felt that this was a very realistic reaction for someone who had been abused and I really liked the way Mac was so patient with her and helped her work through her issues. I also liked the fact that Bianca wasn't a useless female who sat around waiting to be rescued by her man and that she helped him as much as he helped her.

I would like to find out more about the Imnada and I really want to know what will happen with Lucas (from the prequel) but I'm really not sure if I'll continue reading this series. I can't say that I hated the story but I can only say it was OK, nothing about it blew me away or made me excited to carry on reading future instalments. I may well be in the minority with that though so I don't want to put anyone off giving it a try. Hopefully you'll enjoy it much more than I did.

Source: Received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Other reviews of this book:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Review: All I Want for Christmas is a Duke - Anthology

Two ladies. Two dukes. One Christmas. And scandal galore.
A Christmas anthology by two hot names in historical romance fiction...

Merry Christmas, Mrs. Robinson by Delilah Marvelle

Lady Jane left her father, the Earl of Chadwick, and the ton behind to experience life on the stage. After a disastrous marriage, the widow is living on the edge of poverty, determined to guard her heart, when a secret admirer from her past demands a second chance.

Shy and retiring Martin Nicholas Pierce, the Sixth Duke of Somerset, has carried a torch for Lady Jane since her youth, but he is five years her junior. When she married another man, he left for Europe, determined to put her out of his mind. After returning to find Lady Jane free, he vows to replace the memories of her cursed Twelfth Night with a new beginning.

The Twelve Days of Seduction By Màire Claremont

Alexander Hunt, Eighth Duke of Berresford, is aware his ward's governess isn’t quite what she seems. Although Miss Flint is beautiful and intelligent, she misrepresented herself to gain employment, and he threatens to give her the sack mere days before Christmas.

Desperate to convince the sexy duke not to tear her from the little girl she's grown to adore, Adriana challenges him to seduce her before the Twelve Days of Christmas have come to an end, although she fears it may cost her heart. Alexander accepts the challenge, unconcerned that he has as much to lose, if not more, than the delectable Miss Flint.

For more information about any of these authors you can visit their websites by clicking the links below:
Delilah Marvelle's website
Maire Claremont's website

Merry Christmas, Mrs. Robinson by Delilah Marvelle

Lady Jane left behind a life of privilege when she defied her father, the Earl of Chadwick, to become an opera singer. She was courted for months by letters from a mysterious Mr X but two weeks after marrying the man she thought was the letter writer she discovered she had been deceived. The Duke of Somerset Martin Pierce was childhood friends with Jane and despite being five years younger than her he had fallen madly in love. Unable to get past his crippling shyness he used letters as a way of telling her how he felt but he was devastated when she married someone else and he immediately left the country rather than watch her in the arms of another man. Now that he is back from his travels and has discovered that Jane is free again he is determined to finally make her his.

This was a very sweet friends to lovers story that I really enjoyed reading, it was the first time I've read anything by Delilah Marvelle but I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for her books in the future. Jane and Martin had a special friendship as children and Martin's feelings quickly developed into more. Jane never really looked at him as more than a friend because of the age difference between them but she missed his friendship dreadfully when he left to go travelling and didn't even say goodbye. They have both changed a lot in the years since they last saw each other, Martin has gone from an incredibly shy seventeen year old to a confident man who knows how to get what he wants from life. Jane on the other hand has gone from being a social butterfly who was full of confidence to someone who is wary of having her heart broken again and who prefers to spend her time out of the limelight. Can Martin's love help her regain her confidence or will she see his actions in the past as yet another betrayal of her trust?

The Twelve Days of Seduction by Maire Claremont

Adriana has had a difficult life but she has clawed her way out of the gutter and worked incredibly hard to become a respectable governess to the Duke of Berresford's young ward. For the last year she has been living a dream and she loves young Georgiana like a daughter but she knows everything will come crashing down around her if Alex ever finds out about her past. Alex is livid when he finds out that Adriana has deceived him and no longer feels he can trust her to raise an innocent child. Rather than throw her out just before Christmas he decides to make her an offer, since he has always been attracted to her he decides to act on that and make her his mistress but only on the condition that she stays away from his ward. Adriana knows this is an opportunity she can't afford to pass up, especially when she has always admired Alex from afar, but she can't bring herself to leave Georgiana and is determined to find a way to persuade Alex to let her keep her role as governess.

I really enjoyed Maire Claremont's story, the way Alex sets about seducing Adriana was romantic but also very sexy and I found myself laughing out loud at the banter between them. I think what I liked most was the way Alex comes to respect her for the woman she has become in spite of her horrible childhood. It wasn't easy for her to make something of herself after everything she has been through but she has never wanted sympathy, just a chance to prove herself. They make a great couple, especially since he is so prepared to stand by her no matter what anyone else thinks. I also enjoyed their interactions with Georgiana and the way Adriana helps Alex become closer to his ward. This was a perfect Christmas treat and it has left me incredibly excited about Maire Claremont's debut novel The Dark Lady which will be published early in 2013.

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


Monday 17 December 2012

Cover Reveal & International Giveaway: Mourning Cloak - Rabia Gale

Today I'm taking part in the cover reveal for Rabia Gale's upcoming novel Mourning Cloak. I love the gothic feel to this cover and I'm a big fan of all things demon so I'm really looking forward to reading this one!

Kato Vorsok is a man deserted by his god. A failed hero living in exile, he wants nothing to do with his old life.

Until the night he encounters a wounded mourning cloak—a demon that can walk through walls, dissolve into mist, and spear a man’s heart with a fingernail.

She calls him by name. She knows his past. She needs his help.

And she is his key to redemption.

Visit Rabia Gale's website for more information.

Mourning Cloak is due to be published on the 21st of January 2013 so don't forget to add it to your shopping list!

Giveaway Details:

Rabia Gale is also offering a fantastic international giveaway to go alongside the cover reveal. To be in with your chance of winning digital copies of all of Rabia's books or a digital ARC of Mourning Cloak just enter using the rafflecopter form below.

The giveaway is open internationally and runs from the 17th to the 31st of December 2012. The winners will be chosen at random and will be contacted directly by Rabia Gale who will be sending out the prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So what do you think of the Mourning Cloak cover? Have you read any of Rabia Gale's previous books? Are you adding this one to your wish list?

Sunday 16 December 2012

All I want for Christmas is . . . gift ideas for book lovers if you don't want to buy books

So people have been asking me for weeks what I'd like for Christmas & I can always come up with a selection of books for them to choose from but what about those people who think I have way too many books already or who want to give something else as a gift? That's where it gets much harder! Anyway, while I've been scouring the internet looking for things to add to my wish list I've found some fabulous book related products that I thought I'd share here in case you still need some ideas for yourself or other book lovers in your lives.

First I want to look at a couple of ideas that are twists on the traditional use for a book. I've mentioned the Spineless Classics poster range before (see my blog post here) but they have just added 2 more books to their range that I'm particularly excited about. These posters contain the full text from the book so you can actually read the story while it's hanging on your wall!

That's two more of my favourite books they've now added to their range, at this rate I'll have to wallpaper my whole house in these posters to have room to display all the ones I'd like to buy! They have also just announced the release of Life of Pi so if that is one of your favourites make sure you look out for it. You can see the full range of posters available at the Spineless Classics website here.

Now what about unusual ways to use a normal book? Make sure you check out Luciana Frigerio's shop on Etsy called A World of Paper where she creates custom folded books with the letters or words of your choice. You can see a couple of example pictures below but the choices are endless if you let your imagination run riot and I think these would make a fabulous addition to any bookcase!

What do you think? Aren't they wonderful! Now another shop that I adore on Etsy is Novel Creations. One day I will invest in one of these bags because I've been admiring them from afar for a long time now! It almost feels like sacrilege to destroy a book but when the results are as good as this I can't resist.

I think my favourite is the Dracula bag but you must check out the shop because they have a huge selection and they update the range regularly. Now we've seen books made into bags but what about a bag made just for your book? Whimsy Woo Designs have a fantastic selection of custom made bags and covers for books, ereaders and iPads but I think my favourite is this owl patterned book bag, it even comes with a cute built in bookmark:

So now you have a way to protect your book when you're out and about what about somewhere to keep it overnight? If you're anything like me then some nights you end so caught up in a book that you keep reading until you can hardly keep your eyes open. For those nights when you don't even have the energy to put your bookmark back in before you fall asleep this lamp will make sure you don't lose your page.

The Literary Gift Company sell this lamp along with loads of other fab book related products so if you've not seen the website before you should check it out now.

So what do you think? Are there any items that you'll be adding to your wish list? Or do you have any recommendations for book related products that you think I should check out?

Just to let you all know I have not been paid in any way for this blog post and I don't own any of the products mentioned. The images are linked directly to the websites where I found them and the links underneath will take you to the page where you can buy them from.

Saturday 15 December 2012

Review: A Galactic Holiday - Anthology

Do androids dream of electric sugar plums?

A detective who refuses to modify her body teams up with her cyborg rival to track down a burglar who is putting toys into homes. A solitary ice miner finds love and friendship while stranded on the surface of Galileo. And two hardheaded negotiators put their differences aside to evade an assassin and save their planets. Enjoy these visions of Christmases yet to come with three science-fiction novellas from Carina Press.

Edited by Angela James, this anthology includes:

How the Glitch Saved Christmas, by Stacy Gail
Galileo's Holiday, by Sasha Summers
Winter Fusion, by Anna Hackett

Stories also available for purchase separately.

For more information about any of these authors click on their names below to visit their websites:
Stacy Gail
Sasha Summers
Anna Hackett

A Galactic Holiday is a fantastic anthology containing some great Christmas themed science fiction romance stories and is great for anyone who wants to get into the holiday mood. I have to admit that the main reason I wanted to read the anthology was for Stacy Gail's story, I loved her contribution to the Carina Press steampunk Christmas anthology (A Clockwork Christmas) last year so was looking forward to reading more of her work. The other authors are both new to me but I will definitely be keeping an eye out for stories from both of them in the future. I really love the science fiction theme to this anthology and it's definitely made me want to read more books in this genre in the future.

How the Glitch Saved Christmas by Stacy Gail

Reina Vedette chose principle over position when the Chicago police department ordered her to accept performance-enhancing body modifications or lose her rank. Demoted to a level one detective, Reina’s stuck chasing a bizarre, Grinch-in-reverse break-in case with fiery bod-mod enthusiast and level five top detective Edison Wicke.

Wicke has had his eye on Reina for ages, and as the two of them hunt down the benevolent burglar, they take turns warming each other with body heat in the subzero Chicago winter. Despite professional friction and their opposing views on bod-modding, Reina soon has to admit that she and Wicke are perfect for each other.

But when they track down their philanthropic quarry on Christmas Day, an unexpected glitch in a homemade android brings out Reina’s emotional side, and she and Wicke must decide whether love between a Neo-Luddite and a "walking toaster" is a gift that either of them can give.

Reina is the only fully human detective left in the Chicago police department having refused to undergo body modifications to enhance her performance. Her refusal to accept these upgrades have seen her go from the most celebrated detective in her department to having everyone constantly belittle her and demote her while they try to change her mind. The last thing she wants is to be forced to work with the department bod-mod poster boy Edison and have him throw her failure back in her face. Edison was the first detective to have the bod-mods done and has since stolen her spot at the top of the station hierarchy so she is determined to keep him at a distance but at the same time she has a need to prove that she is still just as good as him. As they start work on the most bizarre burglary case ever they find it hard to keep each other at arms length but can someone as anti bod-mod as Reina really fall for someone who has had as many upgrades as Edison?

I really enjoyed this novella set in a futuristic version of Chicago. It was interesting to see how the use of robotics had spread into upgrading humans too and both the advantages and disadvantages that this gave the modified detectives. It was great to see how well Reina and Edison worked together, their different skills complimented each other perfectly and you could see that they had both made the right decision for them when it came to the bod-mods. They also have fantastic chemistry and were able to quickly warm each other up from the Chicago subzero temperatures! I'm very curious to see if this will end up being the beginning of a series, there would be a lot of scope for Stacy Gail to go into further detail about the way Reina has been ostracised by the other police officers for her refusal to get the bod-mod upgrades. I would have liked to see her be able to prove to everyone that she was still a damn good detective and that is something Edison seemed determined to help her show people. If this does turn into a series I will definitely be picking up any future stories but even it it doesn't it was still a very enjoyable read and one I'm happy to recommend.

Galileo's Holiday by Sasha Summers

Ice miner Riley works alone in the depths of space, and that’s the way she likes it. She’s proud of her independence, and when her ship gets destroyed by raiders on the icy surface of Galileo, she’s not sure she wants to rely on rakish trader Leo and the kindness of a band of settlers to survive.

Despite her attempts to keep her distance, it’s not long before Riley warms to the family atmosphere of the settlers’ station. As Galileo’s Holiday approaches and she develops feelings for the handsome, charming Leo, she questions whether she really wants to remain alone.

But Leo is hiding cargo the raiders want, and when they come back for it, everyone on the small station is in danger. Riley will risk anything to protect her new friends—because if the raiders succeed, the choice between Leo and a life alone won’t be Riley’s to make.

Riley has spent her whole life working as an ice miner, she has her own ship and spends the majority of her time alone but she is happy to follow in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother who were both miners before her. Everything changes when Riley is trapped on the planet Galileo after raiders destroy her ship. Rescued by trader Leo and welcomed into the nearest space station Riley starts to realise just what she has been missing out on by spending so much time alone. When the raiders come back, searching for Leo and his cargo Riley must risk everything if she wants to keep her new friends safe.

Riley is strong, intelligent and fiercely independent but at the same time she is also quite vulnerable and naive when it comes to interacting with other people. She is so used to being alone that she doesn't quite know what to make of the banter that goes on amongst the settlers at the station but it doesn't take her long to fall into a happy routine. Considering she has just lost everything she has ever known she is in need of a little TLC and that is exactly what she is offered by the settlers as they welcome her into their group. Leo hasn't always lived his life on the right side of the law but he is trying to make up for it now and I liked the way he fell so hard for Riley. Neither of them ever expected to find love but when they do they fall hard and fast. Galileo's Holiday was a really sweet story and I enjoyed the futuristic take on the holiday celebrations, I'll be looking out for more by Sasha Summers in the future.

Winter Fusion by Anna Hackett

Ex-space marine Savan Bardan survived the Galactic Wars to become the most ruthless trade negotiator in the galaxy. His planet needs energy to survive, and he’ll do anything to close the deal for the Perman fusion crystals that can provide it—even if it means seducing his beautiful, infuriating opponent, a rival icier than her planet.

Perma’s top negotiator, Brinn Fjord, lost her father when Savan delayed her planet’s Trade Guild membership years ago. She hates the handsome Rendarian and the planet he represents. She’s determined to finish the deal and get rid of him as quickly as possible, so she can celebrate the holidays.

But soon the rival negotiators are in a fight for their lives. Besieged by mysterious accidents and unforgiving weather, Brinn and Savan have no one to depend on but each other. As they put the past aside, they uncover a desire hot enough to melt ice, and Brinn discovers a secret that may keep them apart.

Savan is a ruthless negotiator who will stop at nothing to get the fusion crystals his planet Rendar needs to survive but this is going to be his toughest negotiation yet. To make a deal he is going to have to convince Brinn, Perma's top negotiator, to talk to him and he knows how much Brinn hates him and Rendar for preventing them from joining the Trade Guild sooner. Savan had his reasons for delaying Perma's membership but all Brinn knows is that it meant they were unable to trade for desperately needed medicines and it cost thousands of lives - including her father's. When Brinn and Savan come under attack on their way to visit the ice mines they must work together to survive in a hostile environment - especially when they have a trained assassin on their tale just waiting for the chance to finish the job he started.

I really enjoyed the Winter Fusion novella, Anna Hackett has created a detailed and interesting future and I'd love to re-visit these worlds and find out more about them. As a planet Rendar was so focused on getting access to more and more technology that they have destroyed their environment, the people there more interested in financial success and becoming the best of the best than they are in the idea of family and home. It sounded like a miserable place to live and it was a nice reminder to be thankful for the smaller things in life. Perma on the other hand couldn't be more different, the planet is a brutal place to live with incredibly low temperatures and a lot of snow and ice but the people there are much more relaxed and take time out to enjoy life with their loved ones. They are also much more careful to protect their environment which I think added an important message to the story. This isn't something that is pushed down your throat though, the author hasn't used the story to stand up on a soapbox, it was just a nice extra layer. I really enjoyed watching the romance that develops between Savan and Brinn, on the surface they are complete opposites but really they are both looking for the same things from life and are very well matched. If you like a good enemies to lovers story then you're sure to enjoy this one!

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


Related Posts with Thumbnails