Jingle All the Way by Debbie Macomber


Jingle All the Way by Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Holiday, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Mistflower

Trapped in the middle of five siblings, Everly Lancaster always had big dreams. Now a top real-estate executive, Everly finds her work is her life, leaving no space for anything (or anyone) else. Sensing her stress, Everly’s boss insists she take December off. At first, a month away seems crazy—how will the company survive without her? But Everly’s mother convinces her otherwise. She deserves a vacation—plus, when she returns, she’ll have no excuse to skip family Christmas like she did last year.

But after her vengeful assistant books a guided cruise in the Amazon instead of the luxury beach vacation she expected, Everly is horrified to realize that she’s about to spend the next two weeks trapped—with no Wi-Fi!—in the rain forest. Not even Asher Adams, the ship’s charming naturalist, can convince Everly that the trip will be unforgettable. Slowly but surely, she realizes he is right: the sights are spectacular. And with each passing day, Everly’s relationship with Asher deepens, forcing her to take a long, hard look at her priorities.

Everly and Asher begin to see magic in the possibility of a life together. But as the cruise nears its end, and Everly’s family Christmas approaches, both must decide if love is worth the risk. A merry surprise may be in store in Debbie Macomber’s newest holiday delight.

A+ for originality. This a must read. I consider myself lucky to have read this story. I was stuck for hours in an airport in Chicago without a book to read. I went to the book store and this was the only romance book available to buy. I couldn’t put it down once I started it. The synopsis reveals quite a bit of the plot but not all of it. So, if it appeals to you as it did me then don’t hesitate to pick it up.

I was completely smitten with the hero, Asher Adams. I’m pretty sure Asher could take me to the worst place on earth and I’d still love being there if he was with me. The heroine, Everly, was endearing and hilarious. Together, Everly and Asher were heartwarming. I couldn’t get enough of their sweet chemistry.

There are other characters that are well developed and compliment the storyline such as Asher’s and Everly’s relatives. The narrative wouldn’t be the same without their support. No family is perfect but Christmas is about miracles. Quoting the synopsis at this time is necessary for this review. “A merry surprise may be in store in this heartfelt novel”. I couldn’t have said that any better.

I can think of a few stockings that need to be filled with this book. “Jingle All the Way” was a well written, fun and entertaining read. I was ho, ho, ho-ing my way through the Chicago airport all the way home. I definitely recommend this book.

Angels at the Table by Debbie Macomber


Angels at the Table by Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Holiday
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

In this joyous and whimsical holiday novel, Debbie Macomber rings in the season with the return of Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy, delivering laughs, love, and a charming dose of angelic intervention.

Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy know that an angel’s work is never done, especially during a time as wondrous as New Year’s Eve. With an apprentice angel, Will, under their wings, they descend upon Times Square in New York City eager to join in the festivities. And when Will spies two lonely strangers in the crowd, he decides midnight is the perfect time to lend a heavenly helping hand.

Lucie Farrara and Aren Fairchild meet after bumping into each other—seemingly by accident—in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. They immediately hit it off and find they have a lot in common: Lucie is a burgeoning chef and Aren is a respected food critic. But just as quickly as they’re brought together, another twist of fate tears them apart, leaving Lucie and Aren with no way to reconnect.

A year later, Lucie is the chef of an acclaimed new restaurant and Aren is a successful columnist for a major New York newspaper. For all the time that’s passed, the two have not forgotten their one serendipitous evening—and neither have Shirley, Goodness, Mercy, and Will. To reunite the young couple, the angels cook up a brilliant plan: mix true love, a second chance, and a generous sprinkle of mischief to create an unforgettable Christmas miracle.

I recently came across a book called Angels at the Table… I remembered a series by Debbie Macomber that I loved and immediately read the synopsis. Yep! Shirley, Goodness and Mercy were back at it but this time with an apprentice angel, Will. This is not a religious book at all. It’s a sweet enchanting holiday romance with comedy. I couldn’t believe my luck to run across this particular story, one that I have not read yet.

I was a huge fan of Debbie Macomber years ago. It all began in 1993 with the book “A Season of Angels”. Humans are complicated and they send prayer requests to God and he sends down angels to help answer the prayers without interfering. However, Shirley, Goodness and Mercy are absolutely hilarious. They can’t seem to guide without meddling. Each year I looked forward to the next holiday release. “1994 had Trouble with Angels, 1995 was Touched by Angels, 1999 – A Gift to Last, and 2003 was Those Christmas Angels. I just finished Angels at the Table and loved it! Each book includes those endearing angels of Shirley, Goodness and Mercy, doing their thing as only they can do.

I can’t recommend this book or series enough. It’s pure Christmas magic and as of today, Christmas is only a few months away. This particular novel, Angels at the Table, is the most romantic story in the series I’ve read and it’s between Lucie the heroine and Aren, the hero. Their relationship was, shall we say, ‘divine’. All the books can be read as a standalone so it’s okay to start with this story.

Once I started reading this book it was impossible to put down. It’s light, fluffy, humorous and heartwarming. It left me with the feeling of hope, peace and joy. I’m ready to put up my Christmas tree! But, since I’m writing this review on only the second day of Autumn, LOL, I guess I’ll have to wait. Meanwhile, I’m going to find the 2007 release that I missed.

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly


Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Historical, Women’s Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.
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The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

A mission, lives and righting wrongs…

I picked up this book because I liked other books set around the same time and thought I might like this one. The premise caught my attention and I wanted to know more. I’m glad I did. The plot is interesting and the writing was good. This story has promise.

Caroline and Paul’s storyline was interesting and rooted for them to get a happy ending. That said, the characters were a bit flat. I liked Kasia enough, but Herta… it was hard to read her plot because it was hard to buy into what she stood for. There are mentions of rape, which might be a trigger to some. I wasn’t sure how to feel about her. I didn’t like Herta’s actions, even if she thought she had a purpose. Caroline’s character came across a bit snobby. She’s a socialite, but the descriptions were a bit much. This could be a light read at times and bogged down in details in others.

Still, this is an interesting take on the subject of three women from WWII. Herta and Caroline are based on real people, so once I got to the author’s note, it was neat to find out they were real.

If you’re looking for a book that’s a different take on the time period, then give this one a try.

Blood and Gold by Anne Rice


Blood and Gold by Anne Rice
The Vampire Chronicles, Book 8
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The Vampire Chronicles continue with Anne Rice’s spellbinding new novel, in which the great vampire Marius returns.

The golden-haired Marius, true Child of the Millennia, once mentor to The Vampire Lestat, always and forever the conscientious foe of the Evil Doer, reveals in his own intense yet intimate voice the secrets of his two-thousand-year existence.

Once a proud Senator in Imperial Rome, kidnapped and made a “blood god” by the Druids, Marius becomes the embittered protector of Akasha and Enkil, Queen and King of the vampires, in whom the core of the supernatural race resides.

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Bravely, Marius seeks a new civilization in the midst of glittering Constantinople, only to meet with the blood drinker Eudoxia. We see him ultimately returning to his beloved Italy, where after the horrors of the Black Death, he is restored by the beauty of the Renaissance. We see him become a painter living dangerously
yet happily among mortals, giving his heart to the great Botticelli, to the bewitching courtesan Bianca, and to the mysterious young apprentice Armand.

Moving from Rome to Florence, Venice, and Dresden, and to the English castle of the secret scholarly order of the Talamasca, the novel reaches its dramatic finale in our own time, deep in the jungle where Marius, having told his life story, seeks some measure of justice from the oldest vampires in the world.

Marius finally gets his story! I’m stoked.

Once I read about Lestat and the Queen of the Damned, I knew I wanted to read about Marius. The man seemed to complicated and he is. I loved that he’s all about art and chasing his passions. I loved that he’s a passionate man. But I wondered often if he needed to many pages. This one tops out at over five hundred. There were times when the story seemed slow and the pacing off. Like I’d been told the same things over, just from another perspective. Sadly, I did have to put this one down a few times before I finished it. He has one heck of a long trip and the longevity of the vampires is definitely shown. I wanted him to find his heart’s delight and rooted for him to do so.

Marius isn’t a perfect character. He’s cruel, passionate, demands what he wants and doesn’t always care who he hurts. But isn’t that just like a vampire? This book is filled with sadness and can be hard to get through. If you’ve read others in the Vampire Chronicles series, then you’ll know much of this story to start. But don’t let that deter you. This is still an interesting book and Marius deserved his tale.

If you’re looking for a book that’s equal parts sad and complicated, but hopeful and beautiful, then this might be the one for you.

Vixen in Velvet by Fern Michaels


Vixen in Velvet by Fern Michaels
Publisher: Ballentine Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (212 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Infamous Deception…

The tumultuous saga of beautiful, adventurous Tori Rawlings, an aristocrat of breeding and virtue. When she exchanges identities with a tavern wench to escape a repugnant marriage, Tori finds herself in league with a band of brigands and at the mercy of Scarblade, the most notorious highwayman in England.
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…Raging Desire!

An unforgettable novel of a young woman’s surrender to excitement darker than she’d ever imagined…and a love more passionate than she’d ever known.

She’s pulling the wool over someone’s eyes, but it just might be her own!

I’d never read anything by Fern Michaels before I picked up this copy of Vixen in Velvet. I will certainly read more by this author. I enjoyed the author’s style and the characters were interesting, too. I couldn’t put the book down. I have to state right away this book was published in 1976 and does show a bit of it’s age. There is the occasional head hopping, which could be a tad jarring, but not terrible.

Tori wants to be in a marriage of love, not convenience. I get it. She wants to be loved and not by someone who essentially bought her. She’s headstrong and sometimes almost too much for her own good. I liked her willingness to get into trouble and to put in work. Then there’s Scarblade. Honestly, he’s a pill, but he could’ve been worse. I rather liked him. The attraction happened rather fast, but it’s romance and I liked it.

If you want a book that’s original, then this is the one for you.

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber


Starry Night by Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (270 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

’Tis the season for romance, second chances, and Christmas cheer with this new novel from Debbie Macomber.

Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a megabestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.
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Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

Filled with all the comforts and joys of Christmastime, Starry Night is a delightful novel of finding happiness in the most surprising places.

A man, a woman and a penis bone?

I’ve read other books by Debbie Macomber and I knew going in this would have a Hallmark feel to it. I knew there would be a happy ending and things would wrap up neatly. I knew I’d be transported to their world for a few hours and would finish the book with a smile. It’s all true.

Now you’re probably wondering about the penis bone…you’ll have to read the story, but suffice it to say, the unorthodox gift is certainly memorable.

There were moments where I wanted to conk both characters on the head. Carrie tended to be a bit more forthright and pushy than I would’ve liked and Finn…I had issues with him, too. I liked him and could visualize him, but there were times he came across as almost too gruff. I get what the author was going for with him–he’s shut himself off to society and likes his lone wolf status. But I had a hard time connecting to the syrupy sweet quality to him later.

Still, it’s a good story for the holiday season and I’m glad I read it. Definitely put a smile on my face.

Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber


Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (256 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Debbie Macomber brings us to the Alaskan wilderness for a magical Christmas tale about finding love where it’s least expected.

Before beginning her dream job as sous chef in one of Seattle’s hottest new restaurants, Josie Avery takes a summer position cooking at a lakeside lodge in the remote Alaskan town of Ponder. Josie falls for the rustic charms of the local community—including Jack Corcoran, the crotchety keeper of Ponder’s famed sourdough starter, and, in particular, the quiet and intense Palmer Saxon, a famed master swordsmith.

Josie and Palmer become close during the long Alaskan summer days, but Josie knows that, come fall, she’ll be returning to reality and the career she’s worked so hard for. Palmer, on the other hand, would like nothing better than to make Josie his wife and to keep her in Ponder. But Josie can’t imagine abandoning her mother back in the Emerald City and sacrificing her career to stay in this isolated town—not even for a man she’s quickly coming to love.

Serious dizziness, heart attack, upper body pain, seizure, rash, rashes, free viagra no prescription unica-web.com abnormal heartbeat, unpleasant penis hard-on etc tend to be serious signs and symptoms. Acidity destroys the pancreas and the entire biliary buy cialis system. purchased here viagra online pharmacies A large number of men are unable to have an intimate relationship with their partner. With selling here commander levitra all these adverse effects, these may lead to alcoholic dementia, sexual dysfunction, neuropathy and epilepsy. Fate has other plans. Josie misses the last boat out of town before winter sets in, stranding her in Ponder and putting her dream job at risk. As the holidays approach, Josie and Palmer must grapple with the complications that arise when dreams confront reality, and the Christmas magic that can happen when they put their faith in love.

Debbie Macomber is at her best in this beautiful holiday story about the far journeys we travel to find a place to call home.

A second chance at love? Yes, please.

This was my second Debbie Macomber book and I have to admit, the pups on the cover snagged my attention. I was looking for a sweet holiday read…with dogs. I wasn’t let down.

I knew going into this book, it was going to be a feel-good read. That’s what I wanted. Yes, there are complications. Yes, there’s drama. But it’s manageable. It’s the kind of book that is an easy read, quick one at that, and worth the investment of time.

Josie and Palmer aren’t perfect characters–which is good. I don’t want perfect. I have to admit, Palmer was a tad on the lovelorn side. He wanted Josie so much. I rooted for him, but at times, he was a bit over the top in his desire. It’s a sweet read, but he could be…he reminded me of a pup at times. Josie isn’t perfect as I said. She’s dying to get back to her job in Seattle. I got it. She had something she loved back home. But she loves Palmer. I liked the missed connections in the story, but I did want the action to pick up.

That said, the ending was satisfying for me. I knew what I’d be getting and wasn’t let down. It’s a sweet morsel of a book. It fit the mood and the desire I had for a holiday read.

If you’re looking for a holiday read that’s a quick one, then this might be the book you’re looking for.

Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber


Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballentine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (256 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Savor the magic of the season with #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber’s newest Christmas novel, filled with warmth, humor, the promise of love, and a dash of unexpected adventure.

Ashley Davison, a graduate student in California, desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: Every flight is full, and there’s only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead.
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At first they drive in silence, but forced into close quarters Ashley and Dash can’t help but open up. Not only do they find they have a lot in common, but there’s even a spark of romance in the air. Their feelings catch them off guard—never before has either been so excited about a first meeting. But the two are in for more twists and turns along the way as they rescue a lost puppy, run into petty thieves, and even get caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Though Ashley and Dash may never reach Seattle in time for Christmas, the season is still full of surprises—and their greatest wishes may yet come true.

Christmas, a puppy and love. How can you go wrong?

I’ve never read a Debbie Macomber book and I’m glad I picked this one up. I have to admit, I grabbed it because of the dog on the cover. I’m a sucker for dog stories. This one ticked that box for me.

The writing flowed well and it was hard to put this book down–I had to. I couldn’t stay up late enough to finish it. That said, some of the subplot was a tad odd… I really had to stretch to go along with it. But I can’t say it was enough to turn me off. The bit about the biker… Well, you’ll have to read it for yourself to make a decision.

Ashley and Dashiell (Ash and Dash lol) were an interesting pairing. They seemed to have little in common and the romance happened a bit on the quick side, but with the dash of Christmas tossed in, it was a satisfying quick read.

If you want a book that’s cozy for the holidays, then this might be the one for you.

Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen

DIE
Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (352 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

For the second time in his short life, Teddy Clock has survived a massacre. Two years ago, he barely escaped when his entire family was slaughtered. Now, at fourteen, in a hideous echo of the past, Teddy is the lone survivor of his foster family’s mass murder. Orphaned once more, the traumatized teenager has nowhere to turn—until the Boston PD puts detective Jane Rizzoli on the case. Determined to protect this young man, Jane discovers that what seemed like a coincidence is instead just one horrifying part of a relentless killer’s merciless mission.
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Jane spirits Teddy to the exclusive Evensong boarding school, a sanctuary where young victims of violent crime learn the secrets and skills of survival in a dangerous world. But even behind locked gates, and surrounded by acres of sheltering Maine wilderness, Jane fears that Evensong’s mysterious benefactors aren’t the only ones watching. When strange blood-splattered dolls are found dangling from a tree, Jane knows that her instincts are dead on. And when she meets Will Yablonski and Claire Ward, students whose tragic pasts bear a shocking resemblance to Teddy’s, it becomes chillingly clear that a circling predator has more than one victim in mind.

Joining forces with her trusted partner, medical examiner Maura Isles, Jane is determined to keep these orphans safe from harm. But an unspeakable secret dooms the children’s fate—unless Jane and Maura can finally put an end to an obsessed killer’s twisted quest.

For the second time in his fourteen years, Teddy Clock finds himself orphaned. Having survived not one, but two massacres, he wonders what it is about himself that draws such tragedy. Left with nowhere to go and no one to care for him, Detective Jane Rizzoli steps in to both solve his case and get his life back on track. What none of them suspect is that he’s not the only one. Two other children have suffered – and survived – a similar fate. Is it simply tragic coincidence or something more sinister? They might not find out until it’s too late.

I’m going to start off by saying that the mystery portion of this novel is a touch far-fetched. That said, it’s written with the same drive and intensity as all the previous novels, propelling you straight into the story without a chance to take a deep breath first. When you add in the familiar characters with this powerful need to solve the mystery and comfort the children, you forget that the actual plot is a bit over the top. Well-written and engrossing, I found myself quickly caught up in the mystery, forgetting everything else. I was rooting for these kids to get another chance at a normal life with friends and loved ones like everyone else. It was the least they deserved after all they’d been through.

As much as I adored this novel, the lack of actual Rizzoli and Isles points of view was a bit disappointing. While I enjoyed the way the teens bonded together and tried to take things into their own hands, at times I missed Jane’s smart mouth and Barry Frost’s constant damper on Rizzoli’s temper. But overall, it was an enjoyable and engaging story. The author is a master at twists and turns, surprising you even when you think you’ve got it all figured out. I highly recommend this novel and this entire series to anyone who likes a consuming, action-packed thriller of a mystery.

Secrets of Seduction by Nicole Jordan

SEDUCTION
Secrets of Seduction by Nicole Jordan
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (323 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The most charming Wilde cousin, Lady Skye has secretly loved the enigmatic Earl of Hawkhurst since girlhood, long before the tragedy that left him scarred both physically and emotionally. When Skye learns that the celebrated hero has returned to England from his self-imposed exile to make a cold marriage of convenience, she brazenly plants herself on his castle doorstep, determined to convince Hawk that she alone is his true mate and destiny.

An elite member of the Guardians of the Sword, Hawk has vowed never again to risk the pain of loving—but that’s before he deals with the most enchanting, annoyingly persistent seductress he’s ever encountered. One night of blazing passion leaves him impossibly torn. Will Hawk choose duty over love, or will he open his heart and let Skye’s healing light penetrate his darkness?

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This is my first book by Nicole Jordan, but it won’t be my last. The characters were engaging and interesting. Many had flaws and were easy to relate to. The writing is mostly crisp, although there were some moments of telling and not showing me the story. At times I felt like I was right there with the characters and other times not.

I’ve said the characters were interesting. They were. Lady Skye is unique. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to get it. I liked that. Some of her methods were a tad…pushy. Actually, she was really pushy. I liked her, but there were moments I thought she over-stepped her boundaries. When she wanted something she got a tad abrasive. Now, that’s not to say she’s a bad character. She just knows how to get what she wants.

Then there’s Hawk. The guy is battered material. He’s been through the wringer. His wife and two-year-old boy were killed in a fire and he couldn’t save them. Talk about a downer! So he’s got a lot of pent up depression. I kind of liked his brooding quality–he had a good reason to be upset. What irked me about him was as much as he’s supposed to be this strong, commanding guy, he pretty much let Skye walk all over him in order to get what she wanted. He could get terse with her, but at the same time, he didn’t mean much of it.

Now, that sounds like I wasn’t thrilled with this book. I did like it.  And the side story with Rachel, Daphne and Cornelius was great. I would enjoy reading more about them. I also did enjoy the way this story progressed. I hated having to walk away from the book and even though the characters irritated me, they got under my skin and I was thoroughly engaged. I thought about them long after I closed the book. That’s a sign I was hooked.

If you want a book with a little pluck, a little spice, and a handsome Lord, then this might be the book for you.