With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins

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With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins

A wallflower determined to fulfill a dying promise, the rogue she jilted years ago, and an orphaned baby are all brought together amidst the magic of Christmas in this new novella from Manda Collins.

Miss Merry Parks makes a deathbed promise to a schoolfriend that her infant daughter will be taken to her absent father. There’s only one problem—to find the baby’s father, she’ll have to consult his cousin, Viscount Wrotham, the man she jilted five years ago. The man she couldn’t forget.

Alex Ponsonby, Viscount Wrotham, is stunned to find Merry Parks—looking more lovely than ever–on his doorstep with an infant in her arms. His shock soon turns to dismay when he learns his own cousin William is the man who abandoned his wife and child. As head of the family he’s duty bound to see right is done. But he can’t let this opportunity pass. He’ll take Merry and the baby to his cousin, but he’ll woo her back in the process.

Merry agrees to travel with Alex and the baby to Wrotham Castle, where the entire Ponsonby family has gathered for Christmas, but her plans to see the baby settled then leave are ruined by a snowstorm. After five years apart, Alex and Merry will spend the week getting reacquainted. Perhaps it’s the spirit of the holiday, or the magic of the season, but there could be something else in the air this Yuletide…A Christmas Reunion.

I’ve never read Manda Collins before. In all honesty, I don’t usually read historical romance either. Once in awhile I will, but it’s typically an author I’m familiar with and know that I already enjoy their writing. This book is opening my eyes to new horizons though.

This book is the definition of what a holiday romance should be. There’s love, second chances, snow, a sleigh ride, some family drama, Christmas. I have enjoyed other holiday books but a lot have felt forced or like it didn’t capture the magic of the season. This book captured that magic for me.

Merry’s friend, Charlotte, delivers a baby but dies after from complications. Merry’s final promise to her friend is to find the father of the baby and ensure she has a family to care for her. Unfortunately for Merry, she needs help from the very man she once was betrothed to, Alex Ponsonby.

A few of the things I really enjoyed about this book were both Merry and Alex’s characters. Even though they are both proper and appropriate to the time period, both are more than willing to stand up for what is right. Merry is nervous to have to turn to Alex for help, but she is selfless and does the right thing for the baby. Alex, who is still reeling from the hurt of Merry leaving him, puts aside his own resentment and vows to help Merry and the baby.

Another aspect I loved about this story is that while it’s definitely historical, there are moments of humor and a few twists. One twist is Alex’s Grandmother. She is a total witch. Then there is a slight touch of mystery with one of the holiday guests. It just the right amount of extra little elements to keep you interested but it didn’t overpower the actual fact that this is a holiday romance.

Historical Romance fans: this is the holiday romance for you. To be honest, I feel like the majority of readers could enjoy this book. It’s not overly heavy, the magic of Christmas remains throughout the story, and the great romance between Alex and Merry is the icing on the cake.

 

 

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Holiday Spice by Samantha Chase

HolidaySpiceHoliday Spice by Samantha Chase

As soon as the mistletoe goes up, that’s when life gets really interesting

Darcy Shaughnessy has gotten used to her overbearing brothers chasing away any man she wants to date. But a chance meeting with a brooding – and deliciously handsome – artist is about to make this holiday season one to remember.

There’s only one thing Benjamin Tanner loves more than his woodcarving: solitude. Then he gets snowed in with Darcy in his cozy cabin in the woods, and their heated feelings begin to melt the icy barrier between them.

With Ben’s need for privacy and Darcy’s love of family and social life, will opposites still attract once the snow clears and the holiday festivities come to an end?

The Shaughnessy Brothers Series:
Made for Us (Book 1)
Love Walks In (Book 2)
Always My Girl (Book 3)
This Is Our Song (Book 4)
A Sky Full of Stars (Book 5)
Holiday Spice (Book 6)

This book has the perfect release date. Weird thing to notice, right? I haven’t ever felt like a book came at just the right time, but this book does.

A big reason for that is Darcy and Ben meet well before Christmas, in October. For me, this added some build up to the holiday season and made their story more than a holiday love story.

Darcy is the youngest in the Shaughnessy family and the only girl. I felt the author really captured Darcy’s personality perfectly. I say this because at times, I almost felt like she was a little bit bratty, but then I would be able to align with her on her brothers and dad not entirely understanding her. In past books in the Shaughnessy Brother Series, we always see everyone going overboard with Darcy and you can really understand how she feels sort of trapped because it’s like she can’t ever get on her own two feet.

Ben, on the other hand, has his own family issues to deal with. His parents died two weeks before Christmas, several years back. Since then, Ben doesn’t do the holidays. He doesn’t do family, he doesn’t do traveling. Ben’s preference is solitude, which puts him in direct contrast with Darcy, who is social all the time.

Darcy mentions several times that Ben is a man, not a frat boy. I can’t really pinpoint why, but I loved that the author chose to have Darcy make this distinction. Maybe it’s because as young women, so often we choose someone who might not be the best fit just because someone sort of fits with us. Seeing Darcy realize this is pivotal in a few ways. Throughout the story, we see Darcy trying desperately to make her own way, but not having any luck. With Ben, you can see Darcy’s eyes opening up to other possibilities. This includes her career.

This story seems a little bit deeper than some of the books in the series. Each sibling has truths they have to accept and learn from, but Darcy’s seemed a bit more intense. This was appreciated because Darcy and her story has been a bit of a buildup throughout the whole series. There is also a scene where Owen dishes out some advice to Darcy, and while it might not be easy to hear, it’s a truth that Darcy needs to learn.

This book is the last in the Shaughnessy Brothers Series and I loved the ending. This story summed up the entire series beautifully and I admit that I shed a few tears. The author has created this incredible world with the Shaughnessy family and while I’m sad to see it come to an end, the ending is one the Shaughnessy family would have loved themselves.

 

Lucky Number Eleven by Adriana Locke

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Lucky Number Eleven by Adriana Locke

People say not to believe the things you read in magazines, but you know what? Most things you’ve heard about me are probably true.

I totally banged the reporter in the locker room after the championship game last year.

Those pictures in Expose from last summer? Those were not modified.

I’m also not really six-foot tall. (But let’s keep that between us.)

Now, I know you’re wondering about that last Expose headline—the one about me and my teammate (and ex-best friend) Finn Miller’s sister, Layla James. That one is a little more complicated.

Here’s the thing: I’ve played football my whole life. If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to adjust when the game changes. And if there’s one thing I always do, it’s find a way to win.

Granted, the stakes are higher. The playbook has changed. There’s more on the line than (another) MVP title. But guess what hasn’t changed? Me. I’m still Branch “Lucky” Best and I’m not about to fumble this one.

Grab a seat and a subscription to Expose. I’m about to make some headlines. (Again.)

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When I started reading this book, it reminded me, immediately, why I love reading sports romance. Adriana Locke has this uncanny ability to let the characters connect while also making you laugh and grin and smirk as you read. Within the first few chapters, I was giggling and felt like I was right in the story. That feeling is one of the reasons I love to read.

Layla and Branch meet one weekend, when Layla and her friend, Poppy, show up to a family cabin in Illinois. Unbeknownst to them, Finn, Layla’s brother, and Branch also went to the cabin for a weekend break. Finn and Poppy have an off and on again thing happening. But Finn tells Branch that his sister is strictly off limits. But the chemistry between Branch and Layla is undeniable.

Layla is really spectacular and I loved the way her character was written. As a reader, it was easy for me to see why Branch was attracted to her. I don’t mean that just through looks, but from her actual personality. She’s funny, intelligent, and isn’t afraid to push Branch back a bit. But I also loved seeing the side of her that was serious, that had stresses. I feel like in a lot of sports romances, the heroine can be a bit sharp, in terms of fighting the relationship or thinking the guy is just a playboy athlete. I felt like the author kept a really good balance going, where we see Layla’s caution but we also see her still being carefree and letting herself fall for Branch.

Branch’s character was just…I don’t even know. I loved him so much. Again, you can see why people fell in love with him. He’s hilariously funny, charismatic, but yet when his serious side comes out, he really shines. Branch has been a star for awhile, and he knows immediately what people see when they look at him, especially women. He might seem like a jerk in some instances, but he’s incredibly self-aware and thoughtful.

I’ve been a big fan of this author for awhile now. One of my favorite parts of this book are the little nuggets from her other books. They are really subtle and thrown in inconspicuously. If you just opened this book and had never read anything from the author, you’d be none the wiser. But if you’ve been a longtime fan, you get treats from a past character popping in, or a sports team showing up. I appreciate the way this author does this for a few reasons. First, I love seeing past characters. When you really love a book, you start to miss those characters. But I like that the author brings them in so subtly. Do you ever read a book and there are so many characters swirling around and you can’t keep track of them, and then you start to feel like you’re missing something? This doesn’t happen here. The author keeps it casual and the longtime reader is delighted to see their favorite characters pop in, but it never ends up being a big production where you’re trying to keep track of a zillion people.

If you love sports romance, you should definitely read this book. If you’re also looking to laugh, and maybe cry, and feel like you’ve never felt, then you should pick this book up.

Complicating by Samantha Chase and Noelle Adams

Complicating

Complicating by Samantha Chase and Noelle Adams

Forget all those other accidental pregnancy romances you might have read.

Daisy and Carter don’t have a one-night stand…because it’s thirty minutes in a back room at a wedding reception. And Carter isn’t a bad boy baby-daddy…except for the motorcycle, tattoos, and attitude. Daisy doesn’t have the typical issues with her pregnancy…if you don’t count the morning sickness, food cravings, and occasional horniness. And Carter doesn’t hang around all the time, wanting both her and the baby…until he falls in love.

But they definitely don’t become a happy family…right away.

Daisy has always been a good girl. She’s never done anything wild or spontaneous until she has a little too much to drink at a wedding and has a fling with a sexy stranger. She thought they were careful, but accidents happen. And now she’s going to have the baby of a man she barely knows.

Carter is her opposite in every way and completely the wrong man for her. They can still work out a reasonable arrangement regarding the baby. But the more time she spends with him, the less reasonable she feels. And he’s acting all possessive and protective, so it gets harder and harder to convince herself that he’s just the father of her baby.

She wants him to be so much more.

Welcome back to Preston’s Mill! In this book, we find Daisy and Carter meeting at the wedding of Heather and Chris, the couple from the first book in the Preston’s Mill series. This can be read as a standalone but if you wanted to read the other books, you certainly could and this story might be enhanced for you (just in that you’d recognize some past characters).

I will be honest and say this book was good, but not one of my all-time favorites from this author-duo. So I will focus on the things I really did enjoy and then touch on some of the things that just didn’t work for me as much.

First, I like these authors writing together. I’ve read several books from Samantha Chase and I have a fairly good beat on her writing style, so it’s easier for me to see where Noelle Adams comes in. I think they compliment each other really well.

I love the entire vibe of Preston’s Mill. I love the small town; I always feel like I’m right there when I read these books. You can picture these small restaurants and the apartment complex that our characters live in. It really comes to life and I actually find myself hoping that some holiday books come out in this series.

One of the biggest things I struggled with in this book was Daisy’s character. She bugged me a lot and there were several times where even I thought Carter was wasting his time on her. I feel terrible even saying that, even though these are fictional characters. Daisy’s character is pretty conservative but she manages to let loose for one night and that night leads to Carter and then an accidental pregnancy. Carter really likes Daisy and he keeps trying to be in her life and be a good father to the baby. But Daisy just keeps pushing him away and just being hard to deal with. Again, this was an area that I struggled with. I feel like the intention was that Daisy is protecting her heart but it just didn’t really translate well for me here.

I enjoyed Carter’s character a lot. When he finds out about the baby, he tries so hard to step-up. There is one scene that was funny where Carter just goes overboard, trying to read the baby books and change air filters, bring purifiers, antacids, etc. He’s trying so hard to be a good father.

Overall, I think readers would enjoy this book. If you are already fans of these authors, you’ll enjoy the story and the continuation of the Preston’s Mill series. Even without my feelings for Daisy playing into it, I did enjoy the story line and how everything played out for this couple.

The Surgeon’s Cinderella by Susan Carlisle

The Surgeon's Cinderella

The Surgeon’s Cinderella by Susan Carlisle

From matchmaker…to perfect match?

Whitney Thomason prides herself on being able to find the perfect partner for anyone, but heart surgeon Tanner Locke is a real challenge! He wants to settle down, but he’s adamant there’ll be no falling in love…

When Whitney’s candidate falls through, it’s up to her to be the girlfriend Tanner needs for his weekend business getaway, but two days in close proximity proves torturous. They know giving in to temptation is a bad idea, but desire is more powerful than reason…

This is my first book from Susan Carlisle, but it won’t be my last. I really loved the story of Tanner and Whitney. I say the story of them, and not their story because while this is a love story, this book also encompasses a lot of the challenges that both characters have to face themselves.

Whitney runs a matchmaking business and Tanner becomes a client. Whitney knew who Tanner was in college, but he had no idea who she was. Now, in college, Whitney was heavier and has since lost weight. However, she still carries insecurities with her. For me, this was actually one of my favorite parts of Whitney’s character. I enjoyed seeing a real character. Whitney doesn’t dress that well, partly because I felt she was still hiding herself. Then we see that she’s very aware of what she eats and how the world saw her when she was heavier. I think we can all say we’re against body shaming and whatnot, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still happen or that you don’t feel still feel the sting of people’s words. So to see a character dealing with that was an aspect that I appreciated.

Tanner was harder for me to like. He was actually somewhat harsh to Whitney on a few occasions. But I almost enjoyed that because as he gets to know Whitney more, you can see how he becomes more comfortable with himself in Whitney’s presence.

I hinted at this earlier but one thing that really stood out to me is that even while Whitney and Tanner are exploring their relationship, both have insecurities and issues they need to deal with on their own. Finding love can’t magically fix your problems and I appreciated that a book touched on that. Until Tanner and Whitney address their issues, they really can’t move forward. It’s sort of like that saying of you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.

I would definitely recommend this book. It was an easy read and the story flowed really well. I enjoyed that I got the goodness of a love story but that the author included issues that people do face everyday. It was an all-around great reading experience.

A Sky Full of Stars by Samantha Chase

A Sky Full of Stars

A Sky Full of Stars by Samantha Chase

He’s always looked to the stars
Now she’s the brightest light in his universe.

Brilliant astrophysicist Dr. Owen Shaughnessy feels more connected to the cosmos than to people. He’s great with calculations, but when he leads a team of scientists to study a famous meteor shower, he doesn’t factor in his free-spirited artist assistant Brooke Matthews.

Polar opposites in personality, the friction between Owen and Brooke threatens to derail the project. But the beauty and mystery of the night sky draw them together—and she’s going to surprise him in ways the stars never could.

“A sweet romance that takes its time to court the reader: classic, thoughtful, and sometimes as lyrical as the stars.” —Kirkus Reviews

The stars are about to align in the newest Shaughnessy Brothers romance!

The Shaughnessy Brothers:
Made for Us (Book 1)
Love Walks In (Book 2)
Always My Girl (Book 3)
This Is Our Song (Book 4)
A Sky Full of Stars (Book 5)
Holiday Spice (Book 6)

I’m going to make a bold statement. This is my favorite book from Samantha Chase. “One More Kiss” in her newer series is a really close second, but this one has officially wormed its way into first place.

As a long time lover of the Shaughnessy Brothers Series, I’ve been anxiously waiting for Owen to get his story told. And it was so worth the wait. (As a disclaimer, you could read this book and not be familiar with the other books in the series. For maximum enjoyment, I would recommend having read at least one of the other earlier books).

Owen Shaughnessy is, for a lack of a better word, the genius in the family. He’s also a socially awkward genius. Or is he? One of my favorite themes in this book is the insecurity that we feel, or we perceive in ourselves. That might seem like an odd factor to enjoy but the reason I liked it was because we all feel that way. To others, Owen is successful and brilliant. But in Owen’s own mind, he’s just in a permanently awkward place. Then he meets Brooke Matthews.

Brooke is outgoing, beautiful, and an artist. She meets Owen at the urging of her uncle, who is a colleague, and friend, of Owen’s. One thing that I found fascinating about Brooke is that while Owen wouldn’t guess it, she feels just as awkward as he does. But for different reasons. Brooke has grown up in a world of beauty pageants, while her brother is treated as the “smart one”. So Brooke is immediately intimidated by Owen, because she feels like she isn’t smart enough.

This parallel worked for me because I think we’re all awkward. Everyone can’t be good at everything and Owen and Brooke show that, but they also do compliment each other. Another facet of their relationship that I enjoyed was seeing Brooke open up to Owen. And I mean truly open up. Not in a superficial way, or just pulling each other out of their shell. I really can’t explain it in words but it worked for me and I really found myself loving this couple.

I would definitely recommend this book. Seeing Owen finally get his story told was so satisfying for me, as a reader. Even if you aren’t familiar with the series, Owen and Brooke are a couple that will have you believing that true love isn’t only in the stars.

Cheater’s Regret by Rachel VanDyken

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Cheater’s Regret, an all-new sexy standalone from #1 New York Times Bestseller Rachel Van Dyken is now Live on Amazon & Free in Kindle Unlimited!!

Cheater’s Regret by Rachel Van Dyken
Release Date: May 23rd

Genre: Contemporary Romance

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken returns with a smoking-hot story about the satisfaction of plotting revenge on your ex—until he turns your world upside down again.

Austin Rogers’s dreams of domestic bliss involved watching Netflix and eating hot dogs with the love of her life. But then he cheated on her. And dumped her—as if the whole thing was her fault. To maintain her pride and restore her sanity, she decides to get revenge. It feels immensely satisfying to plot her ex’s downfall—but so does kissing him.

Thatch Holloway, a plastic surgeon straight out of residency, knows he ruined the best thing that ever happened to him. But not all cheaters are created equal. He got himself into this messed-up situation—true—but he has his reasons for what happened, and he’d do it all again to protect Austin.

He’s not over her. And she’s not over him.

Austin wants closure, but since Thatch refuses to give it to her, she takes matters into her own hands. She needs to write a human-interest piece for her MBA, so she demands the full plastic-surgery experience. Sparks fly as they’re forced to work together. But Thatch isn’t afraid to play dirty in return. And he’s still hiding something—something that has the power to destroy not only Austin but their second chance at finding forever…

Now Available on Amazon & Free in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2r621AS

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/31MHqf

Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/6IjjiJ

How do I love Rachel Van Dyken, let me count the ways. Sorry, but none of us have time for me to sit and list all the reasons that I love this author. She is an automatic one-click for me and has been for awhile.

One thing I have always loved about this author’s books is that they’re fast-paced and funny. Even when something sad is happening, there are moments of humor. This story is no different.

Austin and Thatch were hooking up before she caught him kissing someone else. (If you read “Cheater”, then you’ll have caught that scene in Avery and Lucas’ story; also, you don’t need to read “Cheater” to enjoy “Cheater’s Regret”). Austin is wallowing in her sorrow, and also her absolute heartbreak. If I thought Austin was real, I was ready to run and comfort her. My heart broke for her.

Thatch is a really complex character. One minute, I loved him. The next, I wanted to get revenge on him. Then I loved him. And back and forth. It was just crazy how yanked all over the place I felt. I personally loved that feeling because, as a reader, it helped me relate to Austin on a much deeper level. You could understand why she needed to let Thatch go, but yet, couldn’t.

Another factor that I really loved was seeing how others treated Austin. I know this might seem minor to other readers, but when I read “Cheater” and this book, I pictured Austin as this stunning beauty. And I think she is. But when we see her deal with insecurities and others putting her down, or only being interested in her due to who her father is (the mayor), you really start to see why Thatch is so special in how he treats Austin.

I really loved this book. It took me high and low and I’d do it all over again.

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Meet the Author:

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

Connect with the Author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RachelVanDyken

Website: http://rachelvandykenauthor.com

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/RVDNewsletter

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachvd

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachVD

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2cNVwL9

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/RVDGR

Rachel’s Rockin’ Readers: http://bit.ly/RachelsRockinReaders