Release Day Review: An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne

 
Named Best Book of the Month by Amazon
AN EX FOR CHRISTMAS
Love Unexpectedly
Lauren Layne
Releasing Nov 7, 2017
Loveswept

She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met
her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before
Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old
boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart
rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble
is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend,
Mark.
Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not
looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there
for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be
something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension
between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the
corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants
has been right in front of her all along.

 
NOW AVAILABLE!

REVIEW

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

An Ex for Christmas is the story of Kelly, a woman who believes in fate, horoscopes, and asking her Magic 8 Ball to help her make decisions. When a psychic tells Kelly she’s going to be reunited with her true love this Christmas, Kelly takes upon herself to track down all of her ex-boyfriends to figure out which one might the guy for her.

As Kelly reconnects with her exes, none of them create the spark she expects. The only sparks Kelly’s feeling are with her best friend, Mark. But Mark’s never been interested in Kelly in that way…or has he?

If you want a book that is going to put you in the holiday spirit, look no further. Lauren Layne has got you covered with An Ex for Christmas. This holiday gem was filled with entertaining characters, wonderfully romantic moments, and so much Christmas cheer I almost couldn’t stand it.

Kelly was a hoot. This woman took her psychic revelations seriously. She counted on that Magic 8 Ball more than anyone ever should. That’s what made her so perfect, though. Kelly was so influenced by possibilities that she couldn’t see the realities in front of her. I felt bad for poor Mark. He was a great guy, and he loved that girl so much. I knew if Mark could just get Kelly’s head out of the clouds for a moment, she would realize the person she was looking for was right in front of her.

One of my favorite thing about An Ex for Christmas was how seriously Kelly took celebrating the holidays. She put so much energy into creating a merry Christmas. It didn’t matter if it was decorating or dressing up, she was always distributing joy around town.

This book was just so much fun. I really, truly believe that the Hallmark Channel needs to make An Ex for Christmas into a holiday movie. It has everything a viewer could want out of a Christmas love story.

 Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies.
She lives in New York City with her husband.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
 

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Review: The Hazards of Mistletoe by Alyssa Rose Ivy

22832474The Hazards of Mistletoe
Series: Hazards, #3.5
Author: Alyssa Rose Ivy
Publication Date: November 20, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Holiday, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

One snowy Christmas Eve, one mistletoe kiss, one friendship changed forever.

Don’t underestimate the power of mistletoe. It looks innocent enough, but a single branch has the potential to change your life. One mistletoe kiss led to the most embarrassing night of my life, but thankfully by the next Christmas I ended up exactly where I was supposed to be.


It’s been a while since I read a book from the Hazards series. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed reading them and what a great job Alyssa Rose Ivy does creating interesting characters and crazy-fun situations. I’m so glad I requested this holiday novella from NetGalley. It was a good way to get into the holiday spirit.

The Hazards of Mistletoe started out strong. I loved the best friends to more aspect of this short story. Savannah and Glen’s attraction for each other was super cute. I thought for sure things were going to go one way.  Then, the story took a turn I wasn’t quite expecting. Things didn’t play out the way I expected, but that wasn’t a bad thing. The twist I wasn’t expecting added a whole new dimension to the story. What it did to Savannah and Glen’s relationship added a lot of depth. It showed how well Savannah and Glen fit together.

My one complaint is that I wish this story hadn’t been a novella. The shortness gave this story an insta-love feel when it was really a relationship that developed over time. I also would have loved to read about that year of time the story jumped. I felt like it would have given me a better understanding of Savannah’s attitude when she returned to Colorado. It also would have added more time to Glen’s mission and made everything more believable.

The Hazards of Mistletoe has me wanting to reach for the next book in the series that I still haven’t read. It was such a fun, quick read. I’m really hoping I’ll get to see more of Savannah and Glen in the next book.

Day 3: 12 Days of Christmas Blogging

 

Day Three: Favorite Christmas Recipe/Food

I was nominated by Michelle to do this challenge! The challenge was created by StephJ! They have amazing blogs that you should check out.


The Rules:

  • Include the photo below in each blog post
  • You may start at any point in December
  • Use the topic supplied for the post of that day
  • Make sure all posts are in December, but they don’t have to be posted consecutively (lets face it it’s a busy time)
  • Nominate 3 people after each blog to start the challenge
  • Have fun!

12 days of christmas blogging


 My Favorite Christmas Recipe:

 

I probably should have included my favorite Christmas recipe in my favorite holiday traditions yesterday. My favorite recipe/food tradition started when I was in junior high. Every year, my oldest friend Bettina would come over and we would bake sugar cookies. After high school, it became a tradition for me to make the cookies for Christmas Day dessert every year. Now, my daughter helps me make them. Here is the most current recipe I use. It’s from Sweetopia. I’ve frosted them with everything from store bought frosting, homemade buttercream and Sweetopia’s Royal Frosting.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups butter (at room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)
5 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Instructions:
1.Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low tomedium speed. (Use the paddle attachment). Mix until thoroughly incorporated – forabout one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mixagain for a few seconds more.Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporatedinto the dough. If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking;
not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.
2.Add eggs slowly and mix. Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once andmix again.
3.Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out. Add to mixing bowl. Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract. Stir briefly.
4.Sift your dry ingredients together. (Flour, baking powder and salt).
5.Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Place a large tea towel or two small teatowels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’tescape. Mix on low speed for 3o seconds. Remove the tea towels and observe the doughmixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready. It’s also important atthis stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).
6.Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper. Place on a bakingsheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
7.Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes. Place onparchment paper-lined baking sheet. Re-roll scraps and repeat.
8.Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again.They will then hold their shape better when baked.
9.Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.
10.Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown. The bakingtime will depend on the size of your cookie.
11.Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!
 
A few notes about the recipe:
*Butter – The butter needs to be soft, or room temperature. I leave mine out the night before I do my baking. If you forget, you can grate the butter on the largest hole of your box grater, so that the sugar and butter will mix together better.
*Baking powder – I hardly use any baking powder in my recipe because the dough willspread and rise more during baking, thereby making the shape of the cookie less crisp.

 


Nominees:

Sky @ Bookish Night

Cristina @ My Tiny Obsessions

Dimple @ enthrallingdimple

 

Day 2: 12 Days of Christmas Blogging

Day Two: Favorite Christmas Tradition New or Old

I was nominated by Michelle to do this challenge! The challenge was created by StephJ! They have amazing blogs that you should check out.


The Rules:

  • Include the photo below in each blog post
  • You may start at any point in December
  • Use the topic supplied for the post of that day
  • Make sure all posts are in December, but they don’t have to be posted consecutively (lets face it it’s a busy time)
  • Nominate 3 people after each blog to start the challenge
  • Have fun!

12 days of christmas blogging


 My Favorite Christmas Traditions:

 

I’m going to share my lifelong holiday traditions because I’ve loved all of them!

When I was little, my family would make the drive from Seattle, WA to Nampa, ID for Christmas every year. We would stay at my Grandma Faye’s and celebrate on Christmas Eve with my mom’s side of the family. There was always lots of pie and Christmas cookies. We were forced to eat squash (ick) before we could have either. Oh, the things you remember…

As my sister and I got older, we started spending Christmas at home. On Christmas Eve, we would:

  1. Eat dinner.
  2. Go drive around looking at Christmas lights.
  3. Read the Christmas story from the Bible.
  4. Open Gifts
  5. Go to the Christmas Eve Candlelight service at church.

On Christmas morning, Santa came and we spent the day with my mom’s brother’s family.

After meeting my husband, our holiday traditions have changed

Since meeting my husband, we usually spend Christmas Eve with his dad’s side of the family. It’s usually a buffet style meal and then gift opening for the kids.

On Christmas day, my little family celebrates on our own before my parents, sister and her family, my mom’s cousin and my husband’s mom, step-dad and grandmother come over for brunch. Everyone brings a dish to share. We eat, let the kids open gifts and then put on a Christmas movie for the kids.

You may notice the adults don’t open gifts. One of my favorite traditions is that instead of exchanging gifts between adults, we pick a charity and donate instead. We’ve donated diapers to local drug addicted babies, food to a local food bank, money to Northwest Harvest, money to the National MS Society and the last few years we have donated gifts picked from the giving tree (a Christmas tree with tags of wants/needs) for students at my daughter’s school. I love the feeling of knowing we’re helping someone else instead of ourselves.


Nominees:

 

Ashley @ Socially Awkward Bookworm

Erika @ Erika in Bookventureland

Giselle @ Hardwork Boulevard

12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge

 

Day One: List Your Favorite Things About Christmas

I was nominated by Michelle to do this challenge! The challenge was created by StephJ! They have amazing blogs that you should check out.


 

The Rules:

  • Include the photo below in each blog post
  • You may start at any point in December
  • Use the topic supplied for the post of that day
  • Make sure all posts are in December, but they don’t have to be posted consecutively (lets face it it’s a busy time)
  • Nominate 3 people after each blog to start the challenge
  • Have fun!

12 days of christmas blogging


My Favorite Things:

  1. Spending time with my extended family: my parents, sister and her family, my husband’s families.
  2. Christmas music playing everywhere you go (Sorry to my retail friends that have to listen to it all month!).
  3. The giving tree at my daughter’s school. I love being able to giveback to students at my daughter’s school.
  4. Being Santa. I never knew this could be so much fun. I only have a year or two left of this.
  5. Christmas decorations. They just make everything look happy.
  6. Christmas cookies. YUM.
  7. School holiday performances.
  8. Holiday television specials.

I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff but I need to save things for the next 11 days!


 

Nominees:

Annemieke @ A Dance with Books

Jesse @ Books at Dawn

Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts

 

ARC Review: More Than Once

26918316More Than Once (Chasing the Dream #4)

Author: Elizabeth Briggs

Publication Date: November 30, 2015

Goodreads Synopsis:

She’s trying to be good. He loves it when she’s bad.

Andrew West is done being the nice guy. After a marriage proposal gone wrong, he’s started over in a new city and he’s never risking his heart again.

Becca Collins is done being the bad girl. After quitting the band she played bass for, she’s going to prove to her family that she’s really changed.

When Becca’s dumped by her boyfriend and fired from her job on Christmas Eve, all seems lost, until she runs into a former one night stand—Andrew. To impress her parents, Becca convinces him to pretend to be her perfect boyfriend for their holiday dinner.

After Andrew shows Becca he’s all bad boy in the bedroom, neither wants to pretend anymore. But when Becca’s invited to rejoin her band for a show and Andrew’s forced to face his ex, they both wonder if they’re ready to take a leap again—or if they’re doomed to fail in life and love a second time.

 


My rating: 4 / 5 Stars


More Than Once is a  fun and steamy second chance romance. It’s filled with a ton of hot sex and sweet interactions. I loved the way Becca was a bad girl trying to be good and Andrew was a good guy trying to be bad. It was cute watching them discover they could be both with each other.

More Than Once is a great NA romance to put you in a good holiday mood.

**I received an electronic copy of More Than Once from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Other books in this series:

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Before the Blog: My True Love Gave to Me

pablo

Before the Blog is a weekly blog meme hosted by Karis Jacobstein over @ YA Litwit. It’s an opportunity to showcase books a blogger read and loved prior to starting their blog .  I love this idea because there are so many amazing books I haven’t reviewed on A Novel Glimpse because I read them a long time ago. The only rules to this meme are to answer the following questions about the book chosen to review:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 

20309175My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

Publication Date: October 1, 2014

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Goodreads Synopsis:

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year’s there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.


My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Why did you choose this book? 

We’re getting closer to the holiday season and this YA anthology is a really fun way to get into the spirit. Also, when I read this book I hadn’t read any of the authors except for Rainbow Rowell. It was a great way to find some great new authors.

 When did you read this book? 

December 2014

Who would you recommend this book to?

YA readers