Thursday, November 23, 2017

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!




Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!!

I'm wishing all of my readers,
whatever country you're in,
a wonderful day!!
Although Thanksgiving is
an American holiday,
the idea of thanking a Higher Power
for the blessings we enjoy
is one that has universal applicability.


What am I thankful for?

I'm very thankful for all the things treasured by all of us -- family, health, and a roof over my head, especially in these stressful 
economic times!

I'm especially thankful for all the books and authors that have inspired and entertained me over the years!!



Here are two GREAT 
holiday romance reads!!



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6418.Thanksgiving





https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/741282.A_Randall_Thanksgiving



And don't forget..... I have a Thanksgiving-related giveaway going on 
until midnight, Dec. 1st!! 
Yes, I'm one of the bloggers participating in the annual Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop, hosted by 
Mary @ Bookhounds!!!!
Be sure to enter!! Just click on 
the picture below 
for more information!!


http://anightsdreamofbooks.blogspot.com/2017/11/gratitude-giveaway-blog-hop-2017.html




Happy Reading!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! 






Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday No. 41: Brave, by Tammara Webber





Welcome to "Can't Wait Wednesday"!
   
This is a weekly event hosted by
Tressa @ Wishful Endings, and inspired by "Waiting On Wednesday", which used to be hosted by
 Jill @ Breaking the Spine.

For more information, please click HERE.

As in the previous meme, this one showcases future releases  we book  bloggers 
are eagerly anticipating!!
There's also a Linky widget, so participating blogs can link up!



Here's my choice for this week!




 Brave
(Contours of the Heart, Book 4)
Tammara Webber
Trade Paperback,  300 pages
Tammara Webber, Publisher
December 19, 2017    
Contemporary Fiction, 
Contemporary Romance,
Diverse Reads, New Adult Fiction
   
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36367209-brave







Courage means rising up to defend your beliefs…
or daring to question them.

Erin McIntyre was captivating, but forbidden
His professional subordinate
The embodiment of unearned privilege
The daughter of his sworn enemy

Isaac Maat was impossible to read
Smart, ambitious, and emotionally detached
Hotter than anyone’s boss should ever be
And definitely hiding something…

He told himself that getting to know her would help him take down her father.
She told herself that getting under his skin would distract her wrecked heart from its misery.

Neither predicted their private war would lead to an intimate battle in which the victor would be the first one to SURRENDER.




Why I can't wait for this one!

As frequently happens when I come across books I'm unfamiliar with, it's the cover that catches my eye first. Such was the case here. I LOVE covers with couples on them, up close and personal! And I also think that boss/employee romances are AWESOME!! Plus, Webber has had a lot of rave reviews for this series, so I need to catch up!



Here are the previous books in this great series!!  (Click on the 
covers for the Goodreads pages.)


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16056408-easy

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17936925-breakable

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24283222-sweet








I'm a New York Times and international bestselling author of contemporary, romantic, coming-of-age fiction (Young Adult and New Adult), represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.
I'm a hopeful romantic who adores novels with happy endings, because there are enough sad endings in real life. 
Before writing full time, I was an undergraduate academic advisor, economics tutor, planetarium office manager, radiology call center rep, and the palest person to ever work at a tanning salon. I married my high school sweetheart, and I'm Mom to three adult kids and four very immature cats.






What do you think of my choice?
Leave your link below, so I can
come check out your pick(s)! 







Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Book Review: Sleigh Bells in the Snow, by Sarah Morgan


Sleigh Bells in the Snow
(O'Neil Brothers, Book 1)
Sarah Morgan
Mass Market Paperback, 
384 pages
Harlequin HQN
October 29, 2013
Christmas Fiction, Christmas Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance, Women's Fiction
Source: Amazon

Synopsis: Once upon a time, Kayla loved Christmas.

Now she’s more dedicated to her job than decking the halls, and can’t wait for the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ to be over.

Until she arrives at the enchanting Snow Crystal ski resort, determined to win gorgeous owner Jackson as a marketing client.

But wooing Jackson professionally quickly turns personal as they spend flirty festive nights in this glittering winter wonderland.

With snowflakes swirling and sleigh bells ringing…could Jackson be the one to make Kayla fall back under the Christmas spell?



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17738241-sleigh-bells-in-the-snow?ac=1&from_search=true




Last Christmas season, I had the most delightful pleasure of reading Sarah Morgan's Miracle On 5th Avenue, a book which considerably brightened the whole season for me. Right there and then, I became a fan!

This season, I've recently finished Sleigh Bells in the Snow, and it was no less a wonderful read than its predecessor!

Morgan has the wonderful knack of making her characters really come alive in the reader's mind. As I read this novel, I felt so much as if I were part of the story, and the protagonists actually became like friends to me. I would LOVE to be able to attend Kayla and Jackson's wedding! Sigh..... 

Kayla was a character I could immediately relate to, as no one wants to go through rejection, and she was definitely rejected -- by her own parents. Finding out that they were divorcing, at the time that she did, was a HUGE blow to her, one that influenced her life since then, in very important ways. Like many people in similar circumstances, she closed her heart to any relationships, whether friendships or romantic liaisons. Instead, she buried herself in work, and this was what she totally lived her life for. 

Along with an addiction to work, she decided that the Christmas season was something she had absolutely no need for. Thus, she completely avoided any type of contact with such things as Christmas trees, holiday decorations, Christmas carols, etc. She became, in fact, a female Scrooge, although not because she was tight with money. The Christmas season merely represented for her some very painful events in the past, and she just didn't need any reminders of that.

Enter Jackson O'Neil, whose family owns a ski resort in that wonderfully magical state of Vermont, where I've always yearned to live..... 

The resort, named "Snow Crystal", is definitely in trouble, as people are just not booking enough cabins to make it a profitable business. Jackson, being a loyal member of his family, even leaves his own profitable company in Europe to return and help his family save their beloved resort.

In the process, he hires Kayla to perform some PR magic in order to make the resort better known among potential vacationers. Kayla totally accepts the challenge, agreeing to work right through the Christmas season.

If only she had figured out in time that, instead of being totally shielded from Christmas-related events, she would be completely immersed in them....

One of the things I liked the most about this wonderfully addictive novel is that both protagonists are successful at their jobs. There's no question about that. Kayla is simply THE BEST at her job of public relations marketing. Her record proves it. And Jackson is equally successful in his own right, having founded his own highly profitable company. So these two romantic leads are on equal terms here, except, of course, in the emotional terrain. 

I love that it's Jackson who slowly, lovingly, draws Kayla out of her emotional shell. I love that he's so compassionate, such a great listener, and a very patient, empathetic partner to her. And I love that Kayla is so totally dedicated to being a hard-driving business executive, although I do think it was unfortunate that her emotions took a back seat as a result. That Jackson gently thaws her out -- a very fitting metaphor, considering the beautiful winter setting -- makes this role reversal a totally magical one! 

Another aspect of this book I really liked was that, toward the end of the story, Jackson and Kayla were able to come to a very satisfying arrangement in the work department, one that would not only allow them both to achieve success in their separate endeavors, but also, again magically, save the Snow Crystal resort. 

I can't enough GREAT things about this book! In short, this is a romance novel for the 21st century, as there is NO "damsel in distress" in sight, but only a woman, who like many men before her, has shut her heart down. That a man is involved in helping her open her heart to love again makes this an immensely rewarding novel, and points the way to a beautiful harmony between the sexes, instead of gender wars.

The wonderful, comically endearing chemistry between Kayla and Jackson is beautifully shown in their dialogues. Other characters engage in very witty dialogues, as well.

"If I hadn't already given you the business, I'd give it to you now." He towered over her, six foot two of solid male muscle and raw power.

"Because you've seen my legs?"

"Because you laughed." His voice was dark velvet and any desire to laugh vanished.

********

"What about snowmen? You ever build one of those?"

"I prefer my men warm-blooded."

 ********

"Are you serious?" Jackson shook his head. "On second thought, don't answer that. As you pointed out, personal relationships with a colleague make things awkward. And it's unprofessional."

"To hell with professional, it's Christmas. People do crazy things at Christmas."

"Round here people don't wait until Christmas, they do crazy things all the time."

********

Helping to flesh out the whole "Snow Crystal experience" is the wonderful cast of secondary characters created by Morgan. Jackson's family and friends are just incredibly wonderful and appealing, even including his cantankerous grandfather, Walter, who, at the beginning of the novel, keeps resisting Jackson's plans for the resort at every turn. He was also rather hostile to Kayla and her ideas before he even heard them. So I felt very happy and proud when Kayla was finally able to win him over, and, at the same time, reveal to Jackson what his grandfather's true motives were in throwing a wrench in the works!

I must mention more members of Jackson's family, such as Alice, his grandmother, who calmly knits through her husband's ironically comical temper tantrums, Elizabeth, Jackson's mother, who ends up becoming a mother figure to Kayla, and Tyler, Jackson's wild brother, who fiercely loves his daughter Jess. This girl, who was only twelve, was memorable in her own right; her only wish is to become a skiing champion, just like her famous father. 

Then there's the deceptively formidable, yet in the end, comical, Elise, the French chef who just might have something going with Sean, Jackson's older brother..... And let me not forget Brenna, the resort's ski instructor, who might just have a thing herself for that wild, freedom-loving skier. Her no-nonsense approach to dealing with him was fun to read!

Then there was that lovable, cuddly puppy, named "Maple". She, too, played a very important part in the re-making of Kayla Green's attitude toward Christmas. Thanks to her just as much as to her human owners, Kayla realized that Christmas is a time for love and closeness.

There's no better recipe for the Christmas season than a bit of family mischief and even "meaningful" misunderstandings, all ending in one big happy holiday! Throw passionate romance into this mix, and you have all the makings for a wonderful season of love and holiday happiness!

For those of us, who, like me, are total suckers for funny, emotion-laced holiday stories, this novel will be a perfect accompaniment to the beautiful holiday season! This book, like Miracle On 5th Avenue, is a definite keeper! And I fully intend to read more Sarah Morgan novels, whether or not they have a Christmas setting! She totally makes my reading day!!
      

MY RATING:







USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes contemporary romance, and her trademark humor and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She is a 3-time winner of the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America, and has been nominated five times. Sarah lives near London, England, and when she isn't reading or writing she loves being outdoors.

Look out for Moonlight Over Manhattan, Sarah's latest installment in her series set in New York City, which will be released on Nov. 28, 2017.





Sunday, November 19, 2017

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 231: The Fox and the Star, by Coralie Bickford-Smith



Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!


***Late Edition***
This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, 
if available, on their 
very talented creators!



Here's my choice for this week!

The Fox and the Star
Coralie Bickford-Smith 
Hardcover, 64 pages
Penguin Books
November 10 , 2015
   Children's Fiction, Fantasy, 
Graphic Novels


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25387851-the-fox-and-the-star?ac=1&from_search=true




My Thoughts About This Cover

This is such an enchanting cover! It's one of those that I could look at again and again! 

The design is just purely exquisite. The overall pattern made by the stylized tree branches, curving around and around all over the image, is just totally GORGEOUS! And the little leaves are so lovingly detailed..... There's even a delicate little spider's web ensconced in one of the branches, close to the words "and the" in the title. Aaaah! The feeling I get is pure visual bliss, along with a delightful sense of whimsy. 

Of course I'm not forgetting the cute lilttle fox at the bottom of the image. He fits so perfectly into the overall design, too, as he tilts his head up toward the equally cute star blinking toward the upper right-hand corner. 

It's just so fascinating, the way the eye is led all over the cover, flowing from one end, and across, to the other. Sheer genius!

It's also fascinating, as well as amazing, the effect that a designer can achieve with just black and white!

The author of this lovely children's book had previously made a name for herself as a book designer, and, of course, she designed this cover, as well. In addition to the cover image, she has created the illustrations found throughout this beautiful book. 

The following information is from Bickford-Smith's Goodreads Author Page: "Coralie Bickford-Smith graduated from Reading University after studying Typography and Graphic Communication, and currently works in-house at Penguin Books. Coralie's book covers have been recognised by the AIGA (NY) and D&AD (UK), and have been featured in  numerous international magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Vogue, and The Guardian. Her work with Penguin Classics on the clothbound series attracted worldwide attention, and harks back to the world of Victorian bindings and a golden age of book binding."

I will soon be featuring more of the GORGEOUS Penguin Classics covers that have been designed by Bickford-Smith! Meanwhile, if you click on her website link below, you'll see some of her exquisite cover designs for these books.

Needless to say, this BRILLIANT designer is on my happily endless list of favorite great book illustrators and designers!

 

Online Links



What do you think of 
this week's cover?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!







Friday, November 17, 2017

Book Blogger Hop No. 110: Author Thanksgiving Party



Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @


For more information, and 
to find out the topic of next week's question, click HERE.


This Week's Question

If you had an author-only
Thanksgiving party, who
would you invite?

(Submitted  by Kristin @ 



My Answer

This is an interesting twist on the typical "having lunch with favorite authors" type of question!

My own list would include quite a few YA authors, of course, since I post mostly about YA fiction on this blog. However, I do feature adult fiction pretty often, as well, so I am also including adult fiction authors. 

So here's my list, in no particular order, with my reasons for the invites! (Click on each author's name for their Goodreads pages.)

YA FICTION AUTHORS 

J.K. Rowling: I don't think I need to explain why I would want to invite her. Harry Potter is in my blood! AND DUMBLEDORE LIVES. 'Nuff said! 

Stephenie Meyer: Speaking of blood....lol. She's the creator of the sweetest, sexiest non-threatening vampire in history, as well as the most romantic werewolf with the BEST abs! I will NEVER forget Bella, Edward, and Jacob!!!!

Andrea Cremer: Speaking of werewolves....I LOVE the Nightshade Series!!! Calla and Shay totally ROCK.

Leigh Bardugo: I have read Shadow and Bone, from the Grisha Trilogy, and I need to read the other two! Plus, she wrote a Wonder Woman novel -- Warbringer!!

Lisa T. Bergren: This Christian author wrote the AWESOME River of Time series, featuring the kick-butt She-Wolf sisters!! And their boyfriends totally ROCK. Gabi and Marcello are one GREAT couple!

Richelle Mead: For her FANTABULOUS Vampire Academy series!! Rose and Dimitri are another favorite couple of mine!! And Rose is DEFINITELY a kick-butt heroine!! 

ADULT FICTION AUTHORS

Mary Balogh: My FAVORITE Regency romance author!! I ESPECIALLY LOVE her poignant Christmas stories! I also LOVE how her female protagonists always make it SO easy to be unforgettable to their men.... My favorite novel is A Precious Jewel, which reminds me of a 19th-century "Pretty Woman"!!

Amanda Ashley: Her books were my first introduction to the romantic vampire. Her heroes are SO sweet, and her novels are pretty clean, considering the genre she writes in. My faves are A Darker Dream and Midnight Embrace!

Melody Carlson: For writing the most beautiful, touching Christian fiction Christmas romances I've EVER read. They are collected in a beautiful, touching,  omnibus volume, appropriately titled The Christmas Bus.

Kendra Leigh Castle: For her Dark Dynasties series, featuring some VERY appealing vamp heroes....such as shapeshifting vampire Tynan MacGillivray, who dazzled me (although he didn't sparkle) in Dark Awakening

Elizabeth Davies: Yes, I know, I'm OBSESSED with vampires....but ONLY if they're on the romantic side. Although the hero of her Resurrection series, Roman, is a bit on the rough side, he truly loves Grace, the human woman he falls for. And, of course, he DOES mellow out.

L.G. O'Connor: For her Angelorum Twelve Chronicles! She has created a VERY compelling mythology involving angels and demons! I GREATLY enjoyed the first book in the series -- Trinity Stones!

I think this is a good number to invite to a Thanksgiving party. I'm certainly thankful that I was able to read their books! And I'm sure all of them -- and me -- would have a LOT to talk about while dining on sumptuous Thanksgiving fare! (Catered, of course, as I don't cook....lol.)

I realize that these two lists feature mostly romance authors, although their books also include other elements. What can I say? I have been such a fan of romance novels for such a long time, I always gravitate right back to the genre, usually in the sub-genres of historical romance and paranormal romance.

Now I need to start working on a list of favorite fantasy and science fiction authors, as I love those genres, too!




What are your thoughts on
this topic?
If you're participating in this hop,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!!