A Christmas Love Song by Andee Reilly


* A Christmas Love Song by Andee Reilly
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Holiday
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

He gave her a song. She gave him Christmas.

Once a huge pop star, Jake Wilder hasn’t written a hit song in over ten years. Stuck playing small-time venues where only his most dedicated fans remember him, a comeback seems improbable. But even those gigs are quickly drying up, and if Jake doesn’t do something soon, he’ll slide into permanent has-been oblivion. In a twist of fate, a record executive with a soft spot for retro artists, holds a competition in search of pop musicians to write a new Christmas classic.
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Longing to become a serious and respected journalist, Mackenzie Stone scoffs at her latest assignment to write a profile about a washed-up pop singer. She would prefer to cover hard news rather than light stories assigned by her editor who seems unwilling to give her a chance. Determined to write a noteworthy story and at the same time prove herself, it’s up to Mackenzie to help inspire Jake to compose a Christmas classic.

As Jake struggles to overcome his anxieties and write a great song, Mackenzie digs for a story of substance. Together they find love while also discovering the true meaning of Christmas.

Opposites attract in this heartwarming story. A Christmas Love Song is a light read and is guaranteed to put you in the Christmas spirit. It is a small town, slow burning romance.

When Jake and Mackenzie are first thrown together they are unhappy they are being forced into spending time together. Jake is a singer hoping to make a comeback and Mackenzie is a journalist trying to find the next big story. As they spend time together, they are reluctant to admit they like and admire each other.

I enjoyed this upbeat story and Jake and Mackenzie. Jake is such a nice guy and he is also very talented. He deserves to get a second chance and I was rooting for him. Mackenzie is so fixated on her job she almost misses how wonderful Jake is. I recommend this tender, slow burn story.

The Christmas Unicorn by Elf Ahearn


The Christmas Unicorn by Elf Ahearn
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Romance, Historical
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

The greatest gifts aren’t always under the Christmas tree.

Believing herself abandoned by her fiancé in the wilds of Northern Wales, actress Babbie Crispen and her wheelchair-bound son struggle to find shelter on a frigid night before Christmas.

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It’s one thing to enjoy blustery winter weather by looking at it through a window. It’s quite another to be stuck in the middle of it and have nowhere warm and safe to go at all.

Most stories about Christmas were written about people who have a home to live in, however modest it might be. The holidays take on quite a different meaning for families that don’t have enough money for basic shelter and food, much less anything special to eat or to give as a gift. As soon as Babbie and her young son, Francis, I was sucked into their tale and couldn’t wait to find out how she’d manage to keep their little family alive over the winter. The odds were stacked against them so terribly.

I would have liked to see more attention paid to the character development. The storyline was well developed, but my understanding of who the characters were as individuals and how they were changing as a result of their experiences during this Christmas wasn’t as strong. While I could have described their physical appearances and occupations easily, I would have struggled to do the same with their personalities. There simply wasn’t enough information for me to say what any of the main characters were like apart from that.

The magic in this world was delightfully unpredictable. I couldn’t blame Babbie one bit for being so unnerved by the things she experienced when she first visited the Wicked Scot‘s castle. There were no rational explanations for them, and some of her experiences were just vague enough to make me wonder if her worries about there being something dangerous in that house were legitimate. I can’t say much else about this without giving away spoilers, but I deeply enjoyed where the author went with it.

The Christmas Unicorn made me smile.

Colors of the Heart by DK Marie


Colors of the Heart by DK Marie
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Her vibrancy paints the dark shadows of his heart, turning them into shades of love.

What is it about the men in Harper’s life? Every single one of them eventually let her down and abandoned her.

Damn it. She freaking knew better.

Her passion should be only for her art and her gallery.
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She is a fool to think Lucas is different. Yet, she fell into his kind eyes and sensual smile, landing in bed with him. She offered him her unrestrained passion and hope for more. In return, he left her hotel room before the sun had even peeked over the horizon, not bothering to leave a note or his number.

Lucas can’t believe how royally he messed things up with Harper. He wants a second chance, but part of him wonders if it might be better to leave her alone. A past tragedy has left him a shadow of the man he used to be. Yet, he’s drawn to Harper and can’t walk away.

Once learning of his past, Harper agrees. She doesn’t want a risk falling for a man who might never be able to love her in return.

If only her body and heart would listen to her.

Colors of the Heart is a poignant story about two people navigating the dating world. Lucas and Harper meet at a wedding and instantly connect and it is hard for them to resist the chemistry zinging between them. Sadly, they both have baggage from the past, so they are hesitant to open up their hearts again.

I liked both Lucas and Harper and thought they were good together. I was rooting for them and wanted them to work through all their issues. First, they have to learn to trust themselves to not make the same mistakes again and they also have to learn to let go and trust someone else.

DK Marie writes about realistic people trying to figure out how to deal with their life and all the issues and problems thrown their way. Lucas and Harper have made mistakes and hopefully, they have learned from them. This is the fourth book in the Opposites Attract series and each book is a stand alone, but all the characters are interconnected. This is an emotional and engaging story.

The Road to Hell Is Paved With Parsnips by R.J. Hore


The Road to Hell Is Paved With Parsnips by R.J. Hore
Housetrap Chronicles 10
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Suspense/Mystery/Thriller, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Randy’s old, sometimes good buddy, Charlie is accused of murder most foul and Randy and Bertha must stash him away from the fingers of the law and discover the truth. What they uncover are parsnip hijackings and strange goings-on, vegetable cartels, and demons.

While north to the parsnip fields Randy falls into the clutches of Freydis, the queen of the Huldufolk, who don’t usually take kindly to strangers. She’s willing to make an exception for Randy if he signs their agreement in blood. All he has to do is rescue several loads of parsnips from an army of villains, get the vegetables back to the city in time for the Annual Parsnip Festival, discover who the mastermind behind the hijackings is, and clear Charlie’s occasionally good name.

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This mystery was well written. I had a good time playing around with the various clues about the possible identity of the killer as I tried to piece them all together before the final scene. It was also nice to see how the fantasy elements of the storyline played into the main plot. They added layers of depth to the characters and setting without ever distracting the audience from our primary goal of figuring out what really happened to the poor victim.

I had trouble keeping track of the large cast of characters, especially since some of them were introduced with little to no information about who they were or what they were trying to accomplish. It would have been helpful to have more detailed introductions of everyone. Even something as simple as one additional introductory sentence per character would have gone a long way to helping me remember who everyone was.

To be perfectly honest, parsnips aren’t a vegetable I’ve ever put much thought into at all. The fact that they kept showing up over and over again was delightful. This became even more true once I realized why they were such a common topic of conversation and how they were affecting the storyline in ways I wouldn’t have ever imagined in the beginning. The author did a wonderful job of taking something as ordinary as a root vegetable and turning it into fodder for an incredibly unique story.

This is the tenth book in a series, but it can be read as a standalone work.

The Road to Hell Is Paved With Parsnips made me smile from the first scene to the last one.

No Hero Here by Faith Cameron


No Hero Here by Faith Cameron
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Historical, Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Beauty finds herself between two beasts fighting for a place in her heart…

Damsels in distress quiver in excitement for a chance encounter with famed highwayman Silver Hawk. His devilish handsome face and genteel manners cause the stoutest matrons to grow faint with desire when accosted by him for their baubles. His identity is the best-kept secret of England until he dares to kidnap Rose Witherby, an American woman on her way to greet her fiancé—his enemy. Sebastian Graham, Duke of Dorchester.
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Sebastian is Silver Hawk’s exact opposite. Scarred, a recluse, he dwells in a castle hidden from the world. When he hears his intended bride is missing, he gathers his courage and stages a successful rescue, only to find the young woman’s heart hopelessly ensnared by the highwayman he despises. The very man Sebastian holds responsible for his disfigurement.

Rose Witherby survived the war with England, only to find herself in the middle of another war. Two men claim to love her, but mystery swirls around them both, binding her heart with apprehension toward her new life and stringing her nerves in ever tighter knots. She fears one of them is not being truthful about his identity and must decide which man to trust when tragedy strikes, setting her on a path filled with family secrets and betrayal, her heart in jeopardy from two men fighting to claim it as their own.

This book was masterly crafted, exquisitely written and executed like a fine tuned orchestra from beginning to end. My suggestion is to read the synopsis very carefully because I didn’t. Typically, I would never purposely choose to read a story that included a love triangle. I’m actually glad I read this one. Now, what I really want to know is, is there going to be a second book for the one who didn’t claim the heroine’s heart? Because I totally connected with the character and I won’t be happy if there isn’t a follow up.

There isn’t much more I can say that the synopsis doesn’t already cover, not without triggering a spoiler alert. I was conflicted about who should be chosen by the heroine, and figuring out who I’d choose was part of the entertainment. When the heroine made her decision, I felt sad for the unchosen one. My heart was tugged all over the place.

Normally I’d write a much longer review, but in this case there’s not a lot I can share that won’t lead to the temptation to reveal spoilers. What I can say is that this is a must read. I am placing No Hero Here on my bookshelf to read again. I highly recommend others to read this story!

Frontiersman by AD Grant


Frontiersman by AD Grant
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Romance, Action/Adventure
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Humanity has stretched out across the stars and formed a new Frontier. Normally, the brave men and women of the Wall Guard stay on Earth to protect humanity’s home, but when her lieutenant is abducted by alien raiders, Addi abandons her post and ventures into the Frontier. She enlists the help of her trainee and a young cartographer, but every expedition needs a guide and there is none better than the disavowed Frontiersman, Jackson August.

While they search for the missing lieutenant, Addi and her crew unknowingly interfere with the plans of the mysterious Cassian Fawkes.

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Taking risks are unavoidable on this mission.

This tale put a lot of effort into developing the alien society that the human characters interacted with. Mr. Grant had a vivid imagination, and this was definitely the spot where it shone brightest. I truly enjoyed reading his theories about what this species was like, from their physical appearance to how they responded to the main characters. There were surprises around every bend with them. Just when I thought I had them figured out, the author surprised me yet again with new facets of their personalities and culture.

I had trouble keeping all of the characters straight in this book. There were so many of them that I didn’t get to know most of them very well at all. Sometimes the plot didn’t give me many details about who they were or what they were like either which also added to my confusion. It would have been helpful to have more information about them so I could remember who everyone was.

The chemistry between the two characters who were part of the romantic subplot was perfect. No, I can’t tell you who they were. Those details were only gradually revealed later on in the storyline. What I can say is that I rooted for them to end up together as soon as I realized that the relationship between them was deeper than I originally thought it would be. There’s something wonderful about putting those pieces together, realizing just how well the characters would complement each other, and hoping that they’ll figure it out as well.

Frontiersman was an action-packed story that should be read by fans of romance and science fiction alike.

Off the Record by Daisy Blaine


Off the Record by Daisy Blaine
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

To be with him she will have to choose: Write the story of her career, or become the story of the year.

Freelance reporter Stella Thompson has a standard for newsworthiness. Government scandals, social injustices, and most recently, trying to uncover what really happened to those three girls who went missing one summer over a decade ago. But Cole Maxwell’s sex life? It could not register lower on Stella’s radar. Until a chance meeting brings her face to face with the man she argues is not worth the page space.
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Most men would be offended, but Boston’s most enigmatic bachelor is intrigued by Stella’s disinterest. With her own set of reservations about getting involved with a man who’s personal life has been headline news since boyhood, she accepts his invitation to explore his clandestine world. But getting involved with Cole has risks. If anyone were to find out, Stella would lose not only her reputation as a serious investigative journalist, but also the chance to uncover the truth behind what happened to the forgotten girls. When a rogue photograph of Stella and Cole goes viral, she is forced to choose: Write the story of her career, or become the story of the year.

In Daisy Blaine’s book, Off the Record, you will find out what it feels like to fall in love with an illusive, handsome, billionaire bachelor.

Investigative journalist, Stella Thompson meets Cole Maxwell, Boston’s favorite reclusive bachelor and soon her world is turned upside down. This story had many of the elements I like in a story; good storytelling, sexually charged romance, suspense and interesting characters. However I must warn you, this story ends in a cliffhanger. I didn’t know this going into the story, so I was disappointed at the end to learn I would have to wait to find out what happens next.

This is an intriguing and sexy story that goes into many unexpected directions and I was immediately immersed into this romantic, suspenseful story with characters that pulled at my heartstrings. It has intricate plot weaving that had me quickly turning the pages to find out what would happen next and I was never quite sure what direction this story was heading.

Stella and Cole are opposite in many ways but that works for them. Cole is older, comes from an affluent family and is rich and successful. Stella has just graduated from college and is trying to make it as an investigative reporter. They come from different worlds and even though they are opposite in many ways, they also have many similarities. Cole is nothing like Stella expects. He can be a ruthless businessman but he can also be boyishly charming and sweet. Stella and Cole are both driven individuals and work hard and long hours. I liked them both individually and when they were together there chemistry was explosive. I highly recommend this one, even though it ends with a cliffhanger.

Dreamwalkers by Leslie Rush


Dreamwalkers by Leslie Rush
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Young Adult (14 – 18 y.o.)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

The danger isn’t walking into a dream; it’s escaping the nightmare.

Between working in her mom’s Tarot shop and trying to graduate before her nine-year-old genius brother beats her to it, Vivian Night Hawk has only one escape from her tiny New Mexico town: the ability to control her dreams, a gift she inherited from her Apache father. But lately that control is slipping, stranding her in a repeating nightmare that seems to follow her, even when she’s awake.

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Sought out by fellow dreamwalker Lucas, who is convinced their fathers are still alive, Vivi ventures deep into Dreamland to find a way to protect Brian. As the bond between Vivi and Lucas ignites, the conspiracy linking them together closes in, and Vivi must unlock the darkest power of all—a power that begins with her father’s quiet words: “Walk with me.”

Imagine if you could lucid dream to the extent you can visit other people and make suggestions to them that they carry out during their waking hours? How about being able to do that when you are awake? That’s what happens in this book so hold onto your hats.

Vivi is a sixteen-year-old who doesn’t fit in with the popular girls. She is also left alone every summer as her best friend goes to stay with her dad. Her mum is a ‘health freak’ and also runs a Tarot shop where Vivi helps out. Her normal life changes when she finds a jacket that she just has to own and she collides with a mysterious stranger in the local shop.

This was a well-written story that pulled me in from the very beginning, but I do feel like the subject was only skimmed. I am also hoping this is the first of a series because I am left with some major questions! The characters are all developed nicely and relatable. The pacing was a bit slow in places but then it would speed up again.

All in all, this was a great read with interesting themes, especially when you consider it is based on a real-life program. I just hope there is more to come so I can get some of those questions answered. Plus, I’d love to learn more about the Native American myths and legends that were briefly mentioned. Definitely recommended by me.

Snowed In by Jessica Calla


Snowed In by Jessica Calla
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Holiday
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

During a magical holiday season, Emma and Andrew keep finding themselves snowed in together as they face their pasts and fall in love.

Emma Ballard, a retired supermodel, has been the acting CEO and the face of her family’s clothing business for the past five years, living the busy corporate life in New York City. She meets the Jersey branch IT supervisor, theater-nerd Andrew Mooney, when she gets stuck in a snowstorm after an office function.

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Although neither Emma nor Andrew are quite ready for a relationship, and canoodling is against company policy, the holiday spirit of Manhattan is magical and contagious. As fate and Mother Nature would have it, their time snowed in together gives them the chance to finally face their pasts and fall in love.

Have you ever read a book and wondered how the characters were doing after the book ended, as if they were real people? It’s one of the reasons I cherish stories that include an epilogue. “Snowed In” has the most unique epilogue I’ve ever read in my life. It included “One year later” “Two years after that” and “One year after that”. It was like being at your favorite rock band concert and they keep coming back for encores. There are some books that, when I’m near the end, I will put down and walk away because I don’t want it to be over. I desperately want to finish it but I know I’ll be sad when it’s done. When I have a book like that and there is an epilogue it is like winning the lottery. In this case, I won the lottery three times.

The heroine, Emma and the hero, Andrew, made for one of the most absolutely sweetest romance stories I’ve read in a long time. My mother would love this book for Christmas. If you are looking for a sweet, heartwarming love story than this is the book to read. The holiday season is the best time of year to read this book because it is full of Christmas spirit. I enjoyed reading it all snuggled up on the couch next to my Christmas tree.

From the first page to the last page, the writing style, character development, plot, setting and pace all kept me enraptured. There is a plethora of entertaining moments that will make you chuckle.

If the synopsis tempts you at all then I’d encourage you to pick up this book and snuggle up for a few hours. I personally think it’s a great book to insert in a hot chocolate gift basket for anyone who enjoys a tender romance.

Taste of Passion by D. K. Marie


Taste of Passion by D. K. Marie
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

He craves more than her body.

I have a million reasons for staying away from Cindy Meier. Let’s start with the top three.

One, she’s hot and knows it. She lives in a fantasy world where everyone bows to her wishes and wants.

Two, she’s the sister of my brother’s fiancé. Enough said. We have to organize our sibling’s wedding party weekend. Nothing but planning will happen between us, no matter how much her seductive glances curl around my desires.

Three, I’ve finally crawled out of the hell I created. I’m not about to risk returning to it for a pretty smile and a smart mouth.
No matter how sexy those lips, or how much she makes me laugh.
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See, I used to be just like her. All about the good times, chasing my next party, diving into any and all pleasures.
I’d realized too late I couldn’t afford the cost. The price was too high, and those closest to me ended up paying my tab.

I won’t make that mistake again. So, I’m going to ignore her smile that lights me up. Turn from her exuberant laughter that brightens the dead corners of my soul. We’ll do our part for our sibling’s wedding then go our separate ways.

In opposite directions, because that’s what we will always be: opposites.

They say, many people fall in love at weddings and that is exactly what happens to Will and Cindy in D. K. Marie’s newest book, Taste of Passion. The story brings two vulnerable and independent people together who are not looking for love, but find it anyway when their siblings marry each other. It is a sexy and passionate story that had me quickly turning pages to find out what would happen next.

Will and Cindy first meet when they help their siblings prepare for their wedding. Will and Cindy are in the wedding party and are continually thrown together. They fight and disagree over everything, but underneath all their arguments, there are sparks flying between them. Over time, they find it harder and harder to resist each other.

Will and Cindy each have vulnerabilities, even though outwardly they appear confident and successful. Inside they are full of self doubt and insecurities. It was hard for me to believe that Cindy, a beautiful, popular model, feels insecure about her looks, but she does.

Will is a hardworking, successful chef. He made some bad decisions in the past and is afraid to relax and let go. Will is both charming and grumpy and doesn’t think he is good enough.

Will and Cindy have sizzling chemistry sparking between them and share many scorching looks. I found it easy to like and relate to them and I was invested in their story. I enjoyed this sexy, smoothly written story filled with interesting and layered characters.