Review: Christmas in the City

Christmas in the City
Authors: L.J. Shen, Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward, Helena Hunting, Corinne Michaels, Melanie Harlow, Sierra Simone, Kennedy Ryan, Penny Reid, L.H. Cosway, Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: November 26, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Twelve bestselling authors have come together to brighten your holiday with six ALL NEW co-written novels. Travel through six cities and fall in love with these enchanting love stories.

Helena Hunting & L.J. Shen
Just The Tip
It’s not every day you meet a stranger who knows how to jingle your bells…

Corinne Michaels & Melanie Harlow
Baby it’s Cold Outside
My Christmas list did not include a broken heart, freezing temperatures, or my tree stuck in the door to my apartment building, but that’s what I got. Just when I thought Santa had failed me, I got something I never thought to ask for …

Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
Kissmas in New York
It was just supposed to be a simple kiss with a stranger.  I’d done it to prove a point–that I hadn’t lost my sense of adventure. But you know what they say about the best laid plans. Maybe I’d get something in my stocking after all this holiday season…

Sierra Simone & Kennedy Ryan
The Christmas Crown
Noelani, queen of Manaroa, has one mission on her diplomatic visit to the States: forge strategic alliances for her homeland. When she meets brooding security specialist Brock Grimsby, their unexpected alliance heats up the holiday. One night. No promises, but come Christmas, will either be able to walk away?

Penny Reid & LH Cosway
Songbird
Two lonely souls find companionship in Dublin for one magical night. Broderick Adams doesn’t mind his solitude, until she walks in. Ophelia Kelly sings to heal her heart, but has no idea he’s listening.

Elle Kennedy & Sarina Bowen
EPIC
Jamie and Wes are having a blast living and working in Toronto. Until a scout for another team swoops in to make one of them an offer that might complicate the life they’ve built together.

CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY is a holiday gift as a thank you! It is available for a LIMITED TIME!


I have to admit I didn’t know who all was a part of of this anthology before purchasing because all I saw was Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy & Jamie & Wes and hit one-click. Then, I got the added bonus of seeing several authors I’ve read and loved. This Christmas in the City collection is a no-brainer. Fans will want to read it. Here are my reviews for each short story.

Just the Tip ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
The chemistry in this one was HOT. It got almost a little nutty, but that added a funny aspect to the story.

Baby It’s Cold Outside ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I really loved this collaboration. I’ve only read one of the books they collaborated on before and it wasn’t my favorite, but this one was really fun. I loved the little connections in it.

Kissmiss in New York ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I love Keeland & Ward’s collaborations and this novella was no different. It was so much fun to read and managed to surprise me.

The Christmas Crown ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Simone + Kennedy = FIRE
There’s really no other way to describe their writing together. They make insta-love work in this short story.

Songbird ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
This Reid-Cosway collaboration was shorter than I wanted, but I really enjoyed it. I would love to see it become a full length novel.

EPIC ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Wesmie… Wes & Jaime… It’s always a pleasure to be back in their world. I love where this short story went. I would have been even happier if it was a full length novel because, well, Wesmie…

So, yeah. This was an EXCELLENT compilation of Christmas themed romance. I highly recommend it and it’s FREE for a limited time.

Review: The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street (Karen White)

The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street
Series: Tradd Street, #6
Author: Karen White
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Holiday, Mystery, Paranormal, Fiction, Contemporary
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The Christmas spirit is overtaking Tradd Street with a vengeance in this festive new novel in the New York Times bestselling series by Karen White.

Melanie Trenholm should be anticipating Christmas with nothing but joy–after all, it’s only the second Christmas she and her husband, Jack, will celebrate with their twin babies. But the ongoing excavation of the centuries-old cistern in the garden of her historic Tradd Street home has been a huge millstone, both financially and aesthetically. Local students are thrilled by the possibility of unearthing more Colonial-era artifacts at the cistern, but Melanie is concerned by the ghosts connected to the cistern that have suddenly invaded her life and her house–and at least one of them is definitely not filled with holiday cheer….

And these relics aren’t the only precious artifacts for which people are searching. A past adversary is convinced that there is a long-lost Revolutionary War treasure buried somewhere on the property that Melanie inherited–untold riches rumored to be brought over from France by the Marquis de Lafayette himself and intended to help the Colonial war effort. It’s a treasure literally fit for a king, and there have been whispers throughout history that many have already killed–and died–for it. And now someone will stop at nothing to possess it–even if it means destroying everything Melanie and Jack hold dear.


I’m always excited when I hear Karen White is releasing a new book. It’s even more exciting when that book is part of a series I have loved and has a holiday theme.

If you’re not familiar with Karen White or the Tradd Street series, it revolves around Melanie Trenholm and her ability to communicate with ghosts. Melanie lives in Charleston, South Carolina where the rich history of the area makes for some interesting paranormal interactions. There’s also some romance (Melanie & Jack), family relationships, and mystery to add to the fun. I will warn you that you can’t just see the words “Christmas Spirits” in the title and jump right into reading this book because you want holiday themes. While the mystery is new, the characters and their relationships are not. You would be completely lost. I have good news for you, though — the Tradd Street series is a fun read and you won’t be mad if you go back and read it from the start.

So, what did I think of The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street? I had some mixed feelings. I’m going to lay them out for you in a way that makes sense to me.

The writing: Karen White’s writing never fails to pull me in. It did have moments where things felt slow to me, but I think that’s because of some of the feelings I had for one of the characters. Otherwise, Karen White left me on the edge of my seat wondering how it was all going to turn out.

The characters: Melanie is same old Melanie. She’s quirky. In all of the other books that worked for me. In this one, it did and it didn’t. I just feel like her character needed to mature a bit. Melanie’s stayed stagnant throughout the entire series. Now, she’s married with children and her family and friends are still having to manipulate her to act like an adult at times. I did love how all of her relationships and the relationships around her have grown. It was fun to see how the gang reacted to her.

The mystery: This was my favorite part of the book. As always, I was enthralled with the mystery and how the ghosts related to it. It’s what kept me reading when Melanie was driving me nuts. I refuse to say more because I’m not giving anything away.

The end: I loved how the mystery wrapped up. It was perfection. All of the pieces of the puzzle revealed themselves in a great way and fit perfectly. What I didn’t love was how everything else ended. There was a cliffhanger that irritated me. I got it, but it wasn’t a fun way to end the book. Now I have to wait for the next book and I’m hoping it’s not going to be a long wait.

As you can see, there were some great things and some that drove me nuts. If you’re a fan of this series, you are going to want to read it no matter what.

Review: What Light by Jay Asher

29093326What Light
Author: Jay Asher
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from Kelly @ Here’s to Happy Endings. (Thanks for the book trade!)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.


I have to admit I hadn’t read any of Jay Asher’s previous novels prior to picking up What Light. I’m ashamed of that because I actually own Thirteen Reasons Why. It definitely won’t be sitting on my shelf much longer!

In What Light, Sierra and her family make their yearly voyage from Oregon to California to sell Christmas trees. While some teenagers might not want to leave high school and their friends behind for a month, Sierra looks forward to being reunited with her Christmas town and friends.

This year is different, though. Sierra meets Caleb. The cute and troubled boy has her rethinking her no holiday romances policy. The more Sierra gets to know Caleb, the more returning home to Oregon doesn’t sound as exciting as it has in the past.

I was immediately enchanted by Jay Asher’s writing. The way he puts words together is so simple, yet pretty. There was a lightness to the tone, even though there were some darker issues to parts of the story. We all have pasts we want to leave behind, and I loved the lessons this book shared relating to that topic. I was very impressed and flew through the book.

What Light‘s setting was really cool and unique. I was intrigued by the traveling Christmas tree farmer part of the story. Honestly, I’ve never thought much about Christmas tree farmers. There’s several in my area, but I have only seen the local aspect to their business.

I loved the main character, Sierra. She was pretty, smart, and mature. Sometimes I couldn’t believe how mature she was, but I felt like going back and forth between California and Oregon probably gave her a greater knowledge of the world than her peers. I loved that she wasn’t quick to judge others and set such a great example of how to treat others.

What really made me love What Light was the relationships between the characters. All the relationships revolved around the main character, Sierra. First, there was the close and open relationship she had with her parents. I loved how honest they were with each other about their feelings. Then, there was Sierra’s relationship with her different sets of friends. Their friendships weren’t without teenage drama, but way they stood by each other was really cool. Everyone should have friends like them. Finally, there was Sierra’s relationship with Caleb. That was my favorite one. There was just a teenage innocence and sweetness to it. Their influence on each other was really special. I won’t go as much into as I would like to because I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone, but the way they fell in love made me so happy!

What Light was a sweet holiday story that will have you smiling. I’m so happy I got the chance to experience it. I would highly recommend reading it. It’s filled with warm and touching moments that are sure to inspire readers this season.

 

Review: A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak

A Winter Wedding (Whiskey Creek #9) by Brenda Novak

Publication Date: October 27, 2015

Publisher: Mira

Synopsis:

Kyle Houseman has given up on love. He’s already married and divorced the wrong woman once. He also knows he’ll never find anyone that compares to his ex-girlfriend, Olivia. Kyle knows it’s his fault they didn’t end up together, but the fact that she married his step-brother is still raw. It makes family dinner tons of fun.

Country music sensation Lourdes Bennett came to Whiskey Creek to escape the spotlight and work on her new album. She was supposed to be spending the Christmas holiday squirreled away in Whiskey Creek with her fiance Derrick. Instead, she’s here alone dealing with the possibility that Derrick might not be as loyal to her as she thought.

When Lourdes can’t get her rental’s furnace to work, she calls her landlord, Kyle. As Lourdes and Kyle begin to get to know each other and become friends, they both notice a spark. But will Lourdes be willing to give up Nashville for a quieter kind of life in Whiskey Creek?


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Whiskey Creek is one of my favorite contemporary romance series. I love the group of friends Brenda Novak has created the series around. I’m always curious to find out which friend is the next to fall in love and who it will be with.

I was excited when I learned we were finally getting Kyle’s story in A Winter Wedding. I’ve been waiting to see inside his head ever since I read Olivia and Brandon’s story in When We Touch. Since Kyle’s been (not so secretly) in love with Olivia the entire series, I wondered what kind of woman would be able to capture his attention.

Brenda Novak couldn’t have created a better character than Lourdes to win Kyle’s heart. She was strong and independent — everything Kyle needed in a woman after dealing with his ex Noelle. I loved the connection they had and how protective of Lourdes Kyle was.

Since I mentioned Noelle, I have to say I absolutely loved her part in this story. It was fun to get a glimpse into her head and see what she’s been thinking the entire time she’s been pining after the ex-husband who is in love with her sister.

Kyle’s story was everything I was hoping it would be. A Winter Wedding was the perfect Christmas-time contemporary romance  read. It was fun, fast-paced and included all of the Whiskey Creek characters I’ve grown to love. If you love contemporary romance series, I would highly recommend the Whiskey Creek series and A Winter Wedding.

Other books in this series:

        

Marry Me at Christmas

Marry Me at Christmas (Fool’s Gold #19) by Susan Mallery

Publication Date: September 29, 2015

Publisher: HQN Books

Synopsis:

Bridal boutique owner Madeline Krug has the biggest crush on actor Johnny Blaze. She was excited when he moved to Fool’s Gold, but she’s tongue-tied every time she sees him in town.

Madeline is going to have to get herself together, though. Thanks to Mayor Marsha, Madeline is going to be helping Johnny plan his sister’s wedding. That means she’s going to be spending a lot of time with the actor.

Johnny moved to Fool’s Gold looking for normal. He never planned on finding love. When he meets Madeline he finds her not only beautiful, but refreshing. She doesn’t care that he’s Johnny Blaze the actor. Madeline treats him like a normal person.

As they plan his sister’s wedding, sparks begin to fly between Madeline and Johnny. But will they be able to have a normal relationship with Hollywood interfering?


My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Marry Me at Christmas was a cute holiday romance. Just like previous Fool’s Gold romances, it was filled with fun characters and silly moments.

Madeline was sweet and a little bit insecure. Johnny was a gorgeous actor looking for a normal life. I loved them together! But I have to admit it was the moments between Johnny, Eddie and Gladys that were my favorite parts of the book. Those two old ladies bring such humor to Fool’s Gold!

My only complaint about the story was the ending. It felt too rushed for me. I don’t want to give it away but I didn’t quite buy it. But hey, it’s a Christmas-time novel. It was definitely fun and sweet. Marry Me at Christmas will put readers in a jolly holiday mood.

Other books in this series:

Chasing Perfect (Fool's Gold, #1) Almost Perfect (Fool's Gold, #2) Sister of the Bride (Fool's Gold, #2.5)  Finding Perfect (Fool's Gold, #3)  Only Mine (Fool's Gold #4)  Only Yours (Fool's Gold, #5)  Only His (Fool's Gold, #6)  Only Us (Fool's Gold, #6.1) Almost Summer: A Fool's Gold Novella (Fool's Gold, #6.2)   Summer Days (Fool's Gold, #7)  Summer Nights (Fool's Gold, #8)  All Summer Long (Fool's Gold, #9)  A Fool's Gold Christmas (Fool's Gold, #9.5)  Halfway There (Fool's Gold, #9.75)  Just One Kiss (Fool's Gold, #10)  Two of a Kind (Fool's Gold, #11)  Three Little Words (Fool's Gold, #12)  Christmas on 4th Street: Yours for Christmas  When We Met (Fool's Gold, #13)  Before We Kiss (Fool's Gold, #14)  Until We Touch (Fool's Gold, #15)  Yours for Christmas (Fool's Gold, #15.5)  Hold Me (Fool's Gold, #16)  Kiss Me (Fool's Gold, #17)