Jingle Spells by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Rhonda Nelson, Kira Sinclair, Andrea Laurence – Review

jinglespells

Reviewed by Cara M.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Jingle Spells is a treasure trove of holiday stories all wrapped together into one magical package!

Featuring stories from Vicki Lewis Thompson, Rhonda Nelson, Kira Sinclaire and Andrea Laurence, this collection centers around the Evergreen siblings—a family of wizards charged with managing Christmas and all it entails!

Naughty or Nice? by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Cole Evergreen isn’t just the oldest sibling of the Evergreen clan, he’s also the CEO of Evergreen Industries. Not to mention he’s a genious. And once upon a time as an MIT student, he fell hard for Taryn Harper—a girl smarter than him! But when he was needed at home, Cole had to drop everything—including Taryn—to pick up the leadership torch and ensure his family’s way of life was preserved. Now years later, Taryn wants some type of closure! And what better way to do it than to prove Cole’s security isn’t up to snuff?

I’m a fan of Ms. Thompson’s work in any format—though preferably the cowboy one!—so I wasn’t sure what to expect with her writing a more ‘enchanted’ type but I enjoyed this one a lot. The characters came to life, and she set up the other siblings well. That Taryn was perfect for Cole was just another fabulous nugget to an interesting concept.

She’s a Mean One by Rhonda Nelson

In She’s a Mean One, Ms. Nelson brings together the once whimsical girl turned serious psychologist, Lark DeWynter and Mr. Christmas Spirit himself, Ethan Evergreen. Charged with ensuring the level of Christmas spirit stays up, Ethan must make rounds to dissuade the negative impact Lark’s more practical reasoning often causes. After several years of talk shows and bantering, Ethan quickly realizes he wants more from Lark than spirited words…only can he convince her to give him and Christmas a shot?

There is nobody who does sexy/sweet romance better than Rhonda Nelson. And this story—though short—is no exception. Ethan is loveable, yet manly. He’s smart and resourceful. And he isn’t afraid to go after what he wants. Lark is smart, sexy and independent. Yet she knows what’s in her heart. A fantastic addition to this collection, for sure!

His First Noelle by Kira Sinclair

Noelle Frost and Dash Evergreen have some troubling history. The two came together despite Noelle being a ‘mixed’ breed born of two rival clans. Though her father is Winter and she was raised with them, she never felt like one of them. But can they move past their history and make a future?

I’ll admit this wasn’t my favorite. Though I liked the characters well enough, there was just something about the insecurities of the ‘strong’ heroine and the secret keeping hero that didn’t set right. But in general it was cohesive with the rest of the stories and moved the plot along.

Silver Belle by Andrea Laurence

The final story in this collection is the only sister, Belle Evergreen. For a long time, Belle’s carried on a secret, no-strings affair with the hunky contractor, Nick St. John. But with Santa gone, Belle is the one in charge of replacing him. Her job heats up and her affair is in the way!

Being the last, this story offered up the chance of being fabulous or perhaps a dud. It came through. While not really fabulous, it was nice. I liked Nick. Belle not so much. I enjoyed her in the other stories, but this one made me feel like she was shallow and ungrateful. And somewhat a user when it came to Nick.

Ultimately, though I would recommend this entire book to anyone!

Order your copy of Jingle Spells now!

About the book…

To protect Christmas, this family of wizards will have to use a whole different kind of magic…

Part of the Winter clan, the Evergreen family is considered magical nobility. While Evergreen Industries in picturesque Gingerbread, Colorado, might look like an ordinary office building, this is where the magic of Christmas unfolds. Above Santa’s workshop, the Evergreens hold court, manage Christmas and, sometimes against their will and better judgment, fall in love. When it comes to love, the Evergreens know that sometimes you have to play a little naughty to get exactly what—or who—you want from Santa.

Celebrate the holidays with Evergreen siblings Cole, Ethan, Dash and Belle in this enchanting collection.

Wild Holiday Nights by Samantha Hunter, Meg Maguire, Debbie Rawlins – Review

Reviewed by Zara B.

Rating: ★★★★★

Wild Holiday Nights—a Harlequin Blaze 3-in-1 release—will leave you in the holiday spirit! Chocked full of romantic angst and holiday spirit, each novel will give you just a glimpse at what a magical time of year can do with a reluctant couple!

A perfect way to immerse myself into the upcoming holiday, I was excited to review this book. Two out of the three authors are on my automatic buy list, so I had high hopes…but even the one who isn’t gave me a wonderful, full story in just a few thousand words.

Beginning with Samantha Hunter’s Holiday Rush, we’re introduced into the choatic world of holiday weddings. Cake guru Calla Michaels is dealing with a crazed robber, an almost impossible deadline, and a bit of financial strain this holiday season…so the last thing she needs is her brother’s out-of-town partner Gideon Stone showing up to ‘watch’ over her. Especially since she’s not sure she’s gotten her lust for the man out of her system. And while Gideon has plans to protect Calla, he also can’t continue to fight the growing feelings between the two. In the end, Calla’s rushed schedule isn’t the only holiday ‘rush’ these two will share!

I enjoyed this story. I’m not a big fan of Ms. Hunters work, but this one was nice. I did feel like I should have known the people from Texas already (like from another story) but it held its own in this package.

Up next was Playing Games by Meg Maguire. With nasty weather grounding planes, Carrie Baxter and Daniel Barber are forced to share a rental car in order to get home. It must be fate! The two shoot sparks off each other from the beginning and we quickly learn they had an odd past as Daniel was Carrie’s high school boyfriend’s best friend. Only Carrie always thought Daniel told her ex something bad to break up with her but…did he?

I won’t say more. Well, other than you MUST read this story. I wanted more of it. I felt almost cheated because I so wanted a more in-depth look at these two and where they’ll be headed. It was that fabulous. The hero is brooding, sexy and so insecure in a good way. And while Carrie wasn’t fabulous, she fit him well. I’ll be watching for more of the unrequited love stories from Ms. Maguire because she does it so well!

Last in this work was All Night Long by Debbie Rawlins. Where overworked paralegal soon-to-be lawyer Carly Watts is forced to work Christmas in order to finish a deal with Jack Carrington. Only Jack’s waffling a bit. Can Carly convince him to stick with the deal?

This wasn’t my favorite out of the book. It wasn’t bad by any means. It also left some unresolved questions that gave me pause. Ultimately, though, the two find themselves exploring their relationship. It should work out nicely if he gives her a job so she’ll move closer…when she’s blamed for ruining the deal! But I’m not sure how it will work. Lovely writing, just felt like something was missing.

Overall, though, the middle story Playing Games made this a keeper on my shelf!

Order your copy of Wild Holiday Nights now!

 

About the Book…

HOLIDAY RUSH by Samantha Hunter
Cake guru Calla Michaels is canceling Christmas to deal with fondant, batter and an attempted robbery. Then officer Gideon Stone shows up at her door. Calla thought her kitchen was hot enough before…

PLAYING GAMES by Meg Maguire
With her plane grounded on Christmas Eve, Carrie Baxter agrees to share a rental car with her secret high school crush. Sure, Daniel Barber is hotter than ever, but he’s still just as prickly, too. It’s gonna be one looong drive…and an unforgettably X-rated night!

ALL NIGHT LONG by Debbi Rawlins
Overworked paralegal Carly Watts needs Jack Carrington’s signature, but he’ll do whatever it takes to buy more time before selling his grandfather’s company. Including having one very naughty night before Christmas!

Served Cold by Marie Harte – Review

Reviewed by Cara M.

Rating: ★★★★★

Sexy and entertaining, Marie Harte’s Best Revenge series starts off with a bang!

Second grade teacher, Ann Weaver has never gotten over Jack Bloom. Not only had he been her first in every way, he’d been cruel in the way he’d ditched her in high school. But now Jack’s back…and everyone knows the best revenge is served cold!

So when Ann and her two friends are indulging in their weekly wine night, they hatch a little plan on how Ann can get back at Jack. But really, all Ann wants is to know why he’d acted the way he had. And what better revenge is there than to show him what he’s been missing in the past decade!

Jack has never forgotten how Ann cheated on him high school…or how she made him feel. Ready to let the past be the past, he returns to his small town and immediately runs into Ann. She’s still the sexy redhead that sets his body on fire, so why not show her what she gave up and how much better he is at it now!

Ms. Harte weaves a tale that you know stems from a misunderstanding that could have been handled if the two involved had only talked to each other instead of being dramatic, but well…it was high school. Throw them together as adults and the past doesn’t have a chance. These two characters are so made for each. From Ann’s sweet, almost angelic way about her to Jack’s nice guy attitude, the two quickly fall back into love. Only Ann holds a secret that she never shared with Jack and then there’s the silly little idea of getting revenge on him…so what happens when he finds out? It devastates him and makes him question her feelings for him and their future. Can the two get over the past and work toward a future? Or will high school always stand in their way?

I would highly recommend this story. As a start to a trilogy, it drew me in and made me eager to read the next. I thought Ann was a little too good girl—except in the bedroom!—and Jack was a little too over her ‘betrayal’ in high school before it began. It made me question if he didn’t secretly have a little get-back-at-her going on in his mind as well. But overall, I enjoyed the story. I loved the secondary characters. And I certainly felt like these two should and would get a happily ever after out of the deal!

Order your copy of Served Cold now!

Served Hot by Marie Harte

servedhot-marieharteOne little lie, one huge grudge, and one picture-perfect plan for revenge…

Best Revenge, Book 2

Blackmailed into a prom date by the cute but geeky Dexter Black twelve years ago, Maya Werner shocked herself by having a good time. For a strong-willed, hot-tempered artist who’s used to having the upper hand, that’s never sat well with her. At weekly wine night with her friends, Maya finds herself pledging to get revenge on the men who’ve done her wrong—starting with Dex. Except the Marine Corps transformed the nerd into a hot, sexy guy with the audacity to blackmail her again. This time into a few dates.

Dex is back in town with one goal in mind: to win the girl of his dreams. But he knows how she operates. His strategy? Keep her off balance by running hot and cold until she melts into the passion between them. When a misunderstanding stokes old hurts, Maya backs away when she should stand her ground. But Dex has a contingency plan: pour on the charm with both barrels, until he has his own form of revenge—loving Maya, forever.

Warning: Blackmailing a stubborn, hot-tempered artist into bed, and an ex-Marine who has a penchant for taking pictures. Yeah, those kinds of pictures.

Order your copy of Served Hot now!

Shatter by Erin McCarthy – Review

“…another fabulously romantic young adult story!”

Larissa M.

Rating: ★★★★★

In Shatter, Ms. McCarthy’s fourth book in her True Believers series, she presents us with another fabulously romantic young adult story!

Rounding out the friendships and bringing closure to the dramatic blow up in Believe, Shatter starts off with Kylie Warner—a beautiful, formerly energetically optimistic girl—coming to terms with the way her love life and friendships have changed in the past few months. Not only did she find out her boyfriend cheater on her but with one of her best friends! To top that off she’s failing chemistry. Enter hunky nerd, Jonathon Kadisch. Not only is the grad student super sexy he’s pretty much a genius. He helps Kylie study but never expected to hookup with her. Nor did he ever imagine their one night of passion would lead to her being pregnant!

This is a stunning conclusion to Ms. McCarthy’s True Believers series. Not only are the two main characters front and center, as well as their mini-drama called life, you get a wonderful glance at a few of the other couples you’ve fallen in love with along the way.

You also have a wonderful heroine in Kylie. She’s interesting, smart in her own way, and is so much more than the bitter girl you’d think she’d become after being the betrayed like she was. There’s also an enormous growth to her carefree character. She matures along the way and you can almost feel her grow up on the pages. Then you have the already mature, super smart hero, Jonathon. Not only is a standup guy, he seems to love with all his being. Very perfect pairing for Kylie. The ultimate tragedy for the couple could have torn them apart, but in the end I believe it only made them stronger. Making this a definite keeper for me!

Buy your copy of Shatter now!

Served Cold by Marie Harte

servedcold-marieharteA little white lie has the power to bring a reformed bad boy to his knees.

Best Revenge, Book 1

Back in high school, Ann Weaver told herself getting ditched by Jack Bloom was for the best. At twenty-nine, she’s way over him. He was her first, but definitely not her last. On weekly wine night with her friends, the talk turns to regrets—and Ann finds herself pledging to fix her past, starting with confronting those who treated her like dirt. Her first target: Jack, who’s recently moved back to town to stay. But something’s different. He’s funny, kind, and amazing in bed. He acts like he really likes her, might even love her. Soon Ann is having a hard time remembering she’s only in it for revenge. Especially when she learns the real reason he dumped her. Jack is older, wiser, and has a hell of a lot of experience behind him. For a chance at a future with this grown-up, gorgeous Ann, he’s ready to do whatever it takes. Until her true motive for rekindling their romance comes to light, and Jack must decide if forgiveness is enough to let love push through the lie.

Warning: A woman who’s out for revenge and encouraging friends rooting her on. May include sex in the outdoors, fun with salad, kissing in class, and a school teacher swearing  like a sailor—not necessarily in that order.

Order your copy of Served Cold now!