Review | The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

Oy! to the world

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach.

But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy—Jacob Greenberg.

Though Rachel and Jacob haven’t seen each other since they were kids, their grudge still glows brighter than a menorah. But as they spend more time together, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah—and Jacob—in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze.

Buy Links | BookShop.org | Harlequin  | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Books-A-Million | Powell’s

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Let me preface this review by saying that I cannot speak to the Jewish representation in this book, or some of the finer nuances referenced in this book. I know there are some things referenced/talked about that are not the most sensitive to current events and that is affecting a lot of people’s enjoyment of this book. That being said I went into this looking for a fun rom com feel and second chances/hate to love holiday romance and for me it totally met that brief.

I enjoyed the story itself and the relationship between Rachel and Jacob. Yes there were misunderstandings and messy bits, but seeing them both working through their issues and their relationship. I did feel that the talk about Rachel’s illness and the representation there (as someone who has chronic illness/invisible illnesses) was well done. As a rom com with a holiday touch I did really enjoy the story and found it to be a fun read.

Author Jean Meltzer studied dramatic writing at NYU Tisch, and served as creative director at Tapestry International, garnering numerous awards for her work in television, including a daytime Emmy. Like her protagonist, Jean is also a chronically-ill and disabled Jewish woman. She is an outspoken advocate for ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), has attended visibility actions in Washington DC, meeting with members of Senate and Congress to raise funds for ME/CFS. She inspires 9,000 followers on WW Connect to live their best life, come out of the chronic illness closet, and embrace the hashtag #chronicallyfabulous. Also, while she was raised in what would be considered a secular home, she grew up kosher and attended Hebrew School. She spent five years in Rabbinical School.

Social Links | Author Website | Facebook: @JeanMeltzerAuthor | Instagram: @JeanMeltzer | Goodreads

Happy reading!

Cover Reveal | Golden Crown by Kathleen Mare’e

Golden Crown
Kathleen Mare’e
(Arthur Academy, #2)
Publication date: November 26th 2021
Genres: New Adult, Romance

“If the world is full of monsters, how do we know who wears the crown…”

Hendrix:
In the dark of the night he bared his soul, delivering a shocking event that should’ve changed everything.

So why in the light of day, does everything appear the same…?

The further I’m immersed in this world he calls the ‘elite’, the more I don’t understand. And it’s not only his world I’m afraid I’m falling for, but the Golden Crown himself as well.

But Pax still has secrets.

And I want him to trust me, like a flame wanting fire.

Because despite his world being nothing as it seems, I’m not sure I could walk away even if I wanted to.

Because the truth be told, I don’t want to.

I want him.
Paxton:
In the dark of the night I revealed a truth, delivering the brutal reality of what the elite really means.

So why in the light of day, does everything appear the same…?

It’s the same cat and mouse games, and the same political, power tricks where the Golden Crown is all they see. It’s all they want to see.

Except for her.

But there are things I can’t tell her. Things I don’t think she’ll understand yet.

And I need her to trust me, like a fire needing flame.

Because despite me knowing what this world does to those who fall victim to it, I’m not sure I could walk away from Hendrix, even if I wanted to.

Because the truth be told, I don’t want to.

I want her.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

I took my lip beneath my teeth before opening my soul up as much as I was capable of. The words I were about to ask, meant more to me than she would ever know.

“I need you to trust me.”

I held my breath. Ready to wait for her reply but was surprised at how fast it actually flew from her mouth.

“I do.”

I stilled. “What? You trust me?”

I didn’t believe it. I was almost angry at Hendrix’s answer.

How could she trust me after everything I’ve put her through?

Everything I’ve hidden. It didn’t make any sense.

What also made no sense was her reaction either because she shook her head before taking a seat on the edge of her bed (which was too far away from me) where she played with the hem of her tee that was resting on her lap.

“Crazy huh? That I trust you. But… I can’t explain why I do. I’ve just always….”

“You’ve always what?”

She glances up, piercing my heart with her hazel eyes honing in on me with so much raw emotion. “I’ve always…” she starts, before seemingly coming to some realisation within herself. “When I was younger… I always sensed when things were wrong you know? Like that sixth sense that something bad was about to happen, or when danger was nearby. Even when I was too young to really understand my situation, I always knew deep down the kind of dangerous situation I was in. That it wasn’t normal. Well, it wasn’t everyones normal at least. I don’t expect you to understand, but I’m sure from those photos you saw that you have some idea of what I grew up in.” She pauses and my fists ball at the reminder instantly. I don’t have time to let that anger consume me though before she continues. “But I’ve just always trusted my instincts. They’ve never let me down and I guess in a lot of ways I’ve relied on it since I had no actual family to have my back. And…” she pauses again, nervously this time, when she notices me taking slow, measured steps toward her.

“And….?” I whisper, until I’m standing over her causing her head to tilt back to look up at me.

“And my gut? For some reason it trusts you Paxton. Despite you making me nervous, despite the things you say and the things you do. I feel safe around you. Protected. Like the only person capable of hurting me when you’re near – is no one else. Only…. you.”

My hand finds her cheek, letting her warmth seep into my palm. A palm, that was capable of so much destruction. So much hurt. But everything she just said was true. Because I’d always had this sense to protect her, like somehow our souls recognised the pain and destruction we both endured in our lives and wanted to somehow heal together. In most of our time together though, I wanted to protect her from me too. But this girl….

I held her as delicately as a guy like I could, when she gave me something of hers that was beyond precious. Her trust. I almost couldn’t believe she was giving it to me but it was something I was determined to keep. No matter the cost.

“You never asked me you know.”

“I never asked you what?”

“If I had something to do with… You never asked me.”

Her small fingers wrap around my wrist that’s still cupping her cheek and her eyes never sway from mine. “I may not know everything about you Pax, but I know you aren’t capable of something like that. I’ve been around monsters my entire life and you aren’t one. You’re not.”

I suck in a breath, wanting so much more in this moment when I breathe, “You called me Pax.”

She tilts her head, a knowing smirk crossing her delicate face. “It’s your name isn’t it?”

“I guess I like how it sounds coming from you.”

Then for the first time in a long time, I let myself feel…

Author Bio:

Kathleen grew up in the south-western suburbs of Sydney, where family holidays by the beach and tormenting her two younger brothers, was how she spent her early years. But at the young age of 11, when she submitted a short story to a talented writing competition through the NSW schools program, not only did she win it, but she quickly found a love for it as well.

Throughout her schooling, writing was a hobby, along with sketching and various sports. But fast forward to her adult years when she moved to Europe to follow her husbands field hockey dream, and her love for writing surged to the surface.

Her debut story, Cut, was penned over two years where her hobby seemed to lead to the completion of Pennys’ world. The rest of the series came the following year.

Kathleen enjoys writing stories full of self-discovery, emotional journeys and of course, love.

Something else she loves is hearing from her readers, so feel free to follow her blog or drop her an email.

For signed copies of her novels, more information about upcoming stories, or to follow her blog, please visit her website http://www.kathleenmaree.weebly.com

Dream often. Believe always.

Kathleen xo

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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Blitz | Christmas Wish List by N.R. Walker

Christmas Wish List
N.R. Walker
(Hartbridge Christmas Series, #2)
Publication date: November 25th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance

In need of work and a change of scenery, Aussie ex-pat Jayden Turner agrees to a short-term chef position at a Bed and Breakfast over the Christmas holidays. After all, how hard could it be in a small town in the mountains of Montana? What he finds is a grand old house in a beautiful town, and his new boss is gorgeous, gay, and single.

After his divorce, Carter “Cass” Campion bought his great-aunt’s rundown country manor in his home town, and he’s determined to get it ready for the busy holiday period. Recently out as gay, he’s been focused solely on his business and hasn’t had time for a man. Not that many gay men come through Hartbridge . . .

As his new clients arrive, and being away from his two kids, celebrating Christmas is the last thing on Cass’s mind, but his new chef has other ideas. And if there’s one thing on his Christmas Wish List this year, Jayden can make it come true.

Goodreads / Amazon


Author Bio:

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub


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Review | The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery

The last thing Reggie Sommerville wants is to come back home for Christmas. It’s only been a year and a half since her boyfriend, Jake, proposed and then broke up with her, all in one weekend, and the prospect of facing the entire town is humiliating. But when her parents reveal that they’re renewing their vows in the lavish wedding they always wanted and her mother asks her to be a bridesmaid, Reggie knows she can’t say no. No matter how much she wants to. She expected the town would be gossiping about her relationship with Jake, but she never expected to run into Toby, her first love that broke her heart all those years ago, living in town and raising his son. She always thought things between them were long over…but this Christmas is full of surprises.

Dena Sommerville has only ever wanted one thing: to have a child. But motherhood has been alluding her because she never met the right man…until she took the bull by the horns and decided to have a baby as a single mom. She knew it would be difficult and the morning sickness alone is knocking her down for the count, but she’s determined to do this on her own. So when a handsome musician checks into the inn where she works, Dena is surprised when a friendship develops. He has his own issues to work through—that much is clear. But she can’t deny there’s something between them

This Christmas, guilted into being bridesmaids at their parents’ vow renewal ceremony, Reggie and Dena Sommerville just might find the most unexpected gift of all—love.

Buy Links | BookShop.org | Harlequin  | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Books-A-Million | Powell’s

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was definitely ready to pick up a book to get me in the Christmas spirit and this one absolutely fit the bill. I loved the small town setting that Mallery created for this series, it felt like a place I would love to visit and enjoy. I was a little worried with dual romances happening that one would far overshadow the other but I was pleasantly surprised at the balance between the two and how the stories wove together. Each relationship had real issues and believable scenes and just felt very organic. I also really enjoyed the characters themselves and how they balanced off of each other, there were unique personalities with depth, especially with the sisters. All in all a great holiday book to kick off the season.

Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as mom.

Social Links | Author Website | Twitter: @SusanMallery | Facebook: @SusanMallery |
Instagram: @susanmallery | Goodreads

Happy reading!

Blitz | Midlife Witch Unexpected by Melle Amade

Midlife Witch Unexpected
Melle Amade
(Cougar Creek Coven, #1)
Publication date: November 23rd 2021
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Women’s Fiction

Middle-aged and starting over is the last thing I ever wanted on my bucket list. But since my husband announced he was gay and my daughter left for college, I don’t really have a choice.

If I’m going to get my “Happily Ever After” I have to start making new choices, starting with picking guys who like women rather than women’s makeup would be a good start.

Next!

I’m way past the point of caring what other people think. I’m 49, about to turn 50 and I’m pretty sure I’m entering the prime years of my life. It’s time to make my mark and do things the way I want to do them.

Like move.

I am sooooooo leaving the city that has sucked me dry with the commute and the executive position. There’s no way I’m doing that anymore. I have enough money from the divorce to buy a house, almost any house, outside of California. I take one suitcase and my jeep, and I leave town, not stopping until I get to Cougar Creek, which is so small I think it’s barely a town, but I’m all about it. This is where I will get my fresh start.

I inherited my Aunt’s home here years ago and never even visited, but the renters just moved out and I might as well make it my home.

For now.

But Cougar Creek has a lot more in store for me than I ever imagined. There is a load of eligible young men from the local ranches, a couple of new BFFs in similar situations, and a strange invitation to a local secret society who think I’m the new high priestess of their local coven. I didn’t stop laughing until I realized they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. They have a massive problem in the cemetery and they expect me to solve it.

But I didn’t trade in one life of rules for another one, so if they want me to be high priestess, they’re going to have to accept that I make the rules.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“That’s her?” A deep voice came from the front door.

“See anyone else around here, Branson?” Bianca swiveled away from me and spoke to the golden man who stood by the front door.

His laughter reverberated from his throat and all the way to my thighs. My eyes opened wide as I looked him over. Thankfully he was staring down at his phone, his golden eyes almost hidden by his blond locks falling forward over his tan skin. He wore a plaid red, white, and blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He was broad, lean, and muscular, and way too young for me.

“Who the heck is that?” I asked.

“Your caretaker,” Bianca raised an eyebrow at me.

“My caretaker?” I asked.

“The caretaker of The Estate,” Bianca explained it slowly as if she was talking to an ignoramus, which at the moment I actually felt like.

“The Estate,” I repeated like a parrot. Then suddenly snapped out of it. “Aunt Emma’s estate! Okay! Got it.”

“Round here we all just call it The Estate,” Bianca said with a shrug.

“And that’s the caretaker?” I whispered to Bianca, my voice catching in my throat.

“Every last inch of him,” she nodded, stealing a covert glance at the tall, broad man who dwarfed the front office space of the Cougar Creek cop shop.

“Lord have mercy,” I said under my breath.

Branson went straight to the sign-in sheet as if this wasn’t his first time here. But his handsome features scowled as he looked over at me. I stared back as he stepped across the sheriff’s office to tower above me, his arms folded over his chest.

“Well, that’s not intimidating at all.” I craned my neck to look up at him.

He started as if he hadn’t been aware of himself, took a step back, and unfolded his arms. “You’re Mae.” He stated the obvious. “I’m here to drive you home.”

“That’s a long way to drive.” My mind suddenly thought of a long leisurely drive back to L.A. with my caretaker, Branson.

“Pardon?” Branson looked at me a bit confused.

“Never mind.” I stood up turning to Bianca. “Do you need anything else from me tonight? It’s late and I’m exhausted. You are remanding me into Branson’s custody?”

“My custody? I’m just giving you a ride home.” Branson held up his hands in protest.

“Sheriff said you’re to verify who she is, take her home, and bring her back tomorrow to get her jeep,” Bianca confirmed for Branson.

I covertly looked him over thinking I wouldn’t mind being in his very good hands. But instantly my heart squeezed. Men weren’t safe; not at all. As I poured back through the years of lies, I realized there was probably not one single moment of truth in my relationship with my ex-gay husband. How was I ever going to trust any man ever again? Clearly, I was an idiot; a vulnerable, gullible idiot who believed anything anybody said to me.

“Are you sure he’s safe to take me to my house?” I asked Bianca.

“I have a police tracker on,” Branson wiggled his leg.

“Seriously?” I took a step back.

Bianca and Branson burst out laughing. “No not seriously,” Bianca said. “There’s only one person around here on the radar.”

“And it’s not me.” Branson pointed out. “Now come on. I’ve got a poker game waiting for me. Let me get you home and all tucked in.”

I looked over my shoulder at Bianca and we both did a slight giggle at his words, clearly thinking the same thing about being tucked in. It was a relief to feel an instant bond to this other middle-aged divorced woman, even though she’d never left this town. I guess that was nothing to hold against someone.

I shook my head as I trailed behind Branson to the door.

I wasn’t here to make friends. I wasn’t here to have romance. I was here to get some space, clear my head, and more than likely sell a house. My divorce was almost through and then I could start my new life.

Branson held the door open for me. “I’ll take you home, boss, and have you delivered to your jeep in the morning.”

My stomach sank. That’s right. He was my employee.

Well, of the estate, but as I was the sole owner of the estate, he was still my employee.

And a “no fraternizing with the staff” rule went without saying. There was no way to even have a little fling with Mr. Rock Solid Biceps.

He was way off-limits.

Author Bio:

USA Today Bestselling Author. Farm Girl. Marketing Director.

Since I was eight, I have been writing stories that capture the adventures in my head and the characters strong enough and flawed enough to have them. When I look at an empty field, I see a formidable citadel. When I meet a vulnerable old man, I greet an emeritus warrior. When I walk through city streets, I feel dimensions hiding around every turn. It has been my lifelong passion to explore these worlds that reveal the pain of loneliness, the joy or self-actualization, and the hope of magic.

I grew up in a place called Potter Valley where the Milky Way is held aloft by a circle of mountains and the central business district consists of a bait store and a saloon. At 19 I moved alone to London and spent the next ten years exploring the world, even becoming an Australian citizen, before I returned to California and found a new home in Los Angeles. My world revolves around my two wee children, storytelling, and my love of travel.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Bookbub


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Blitz | Dating Dracula by Kinsley Adams

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Dating Dracula
Kinsley Adams
(Dating Monsters, #1)
Publication date: March 15th 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Paranormal, Romance

The Legend. The Immortal. My… Boyfriend?

You know, I really only had two goals in life:

1) Unearth the truth about vampires and,
2) Become hella famous.

Nowhere on that list did I have “die” or “get turned into a bloodsucker.” But guess what? Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Now, thanks to an unfortunate back-alley encounter, I’m the newest member of the undead country club (fangs, coffin, and all). And my savior? Sire? Whatever…

Freaking. Dracula. Himself.

Even stranger, he claims I’m his mate. Like… eternal love. But come on! I don’t have time for that. Not only do I need to track down my attempted murderer, but I also need to learn how to be a vampire. Falling in love is the last thing on my mind right now.

Too bad Dracula has other plans for me.

***

Fans of Dracula will love this new modern and chic take on the immortal legend himself. Scroll up and one-click now!

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

Only 99¢ for a limited time!

EXCERPT:

“I’m sorry,” she whispered with her back still to me. “I just…. You died, Anna. You’re dead.”

“Undead,” my savior clarified for like the third time.

“It’s still dead!” Lucy snapped.

Even I glared at him. Now wasn’t the time for his little comments.

“I—I don’t know how to handle all this. Do I grieve for you? Or celebrate the fact that you’re still walking around? You’re a vampire, Anna. For frick’s sake, do you know what that means? You drink blood, you sleep in a coffin… you aren’t you anymore. How am I supposed to handle this?”

My dead heart shattered. “You’re supposed to accept me as I am,” I said, struggling to keep my voice steady. “We’re sisters. Always. Forever.”

“Except always and forever means two very different things to us now,” she said.

I forced myself to swallow. From the sounds of it, Lucy was breaking up with me. Which almost made me laugh. She was my longest relationship ever. And she wanted to walk away from it? All because of an accident I had no control over?

I ran a hand down my face and turned toward my savior. Someone whose name I really needed to learn. I couldn’t keep referring to him as my savior or I was going to develop some major hero worship issues.

“Anna, I’m sorry,” Lucy repeated. “But I think I need some time to process all this.”

I nodded, all the while keeping my gaze trained on my savior. He was the only thing keeping me calm right now. The thought that I might lose my best friend over all this was too much. I couldn’t show her how much this hurt, because if I did, I might never recover. Lucy had stormed into a vamp club at my side, but apparently, she drew the line at death.

And honestly? I didn’t blame her. This time, tears really did spring to my eyes, but I blinked them back before they spilled. If I started crying, I had a feeling I’d never stop.

“I’m going to head back to the hotel,” she said. “I’ve been staying there the past few nights.” Wait, what? Past few nights? But before I could question that little tidbit, she continued speaking. “Do you want me to call your parents for you? Explain what happened?”

“No,” I rasped. That wasn’t her responsibility. If anyone was going to tell them about my transformation, it would be me.

“I’ll text you,” she mumbled, but her voice was already fading. She was leaving.

Text me. Ugh. Why not just tell me you hope we can still be friends?

I hated this. What happened to best friends forever? I’d like to think that if this had happened to her, I’d still be standing by her side. Lucy was my world. Nothing could have convinced me to leave her.

“I’m sorry” was her final comment before I heard the door shut.

I took a few minutes to absorb everything. Thankfully, my savior let me brood in silence. I appreciated that. I wasn’t in the mood to hear platitudes right now.

Once I was sure I had schooled my expression, I turned toward him and nodded. It was embarrassing to have someone witness a break-up, but there wasn’t anything I could do about that now.

I needed a distraction. I didn’t want to think about Lucy right now. I’d reserve that for later, when I was alone and could process everything myself. Instead, I stared up at him, once again stricken speechless when our gazes met. Why did I find him so enthralling? So fascinating? It felt like I could stare at him for hours.

Clearing my throat, I rubbed the bridge of my nose and asked, “Well, do you have a name?”

His brows shot upward, and an amused smile claimed his lips, exposing the tips of his fangs. Intrigued, I reached for my own, poking them with my fingertip. They must have been what scraped my tongue earlier. Seemed they were a permanent fixture too. I’d have to remember that when talking and laughing. Vampires might be public knowledge now, but as seen by Lucy, humans weren’t one hundred percent ready to accept them yet.

“Forgive me,” he said, his voice deliciously rumbly. “I’m so accustomed to being recognized wherever I go that I often forget to introduce myself.”

So, he was like vampire royalty or something?

Fangs still peeking out from behind his lips, he gave an old-fashioned bow, one he executed flawlessly, then peered at me through long, dark lashes. I shit you not, the boy almost breathed life back into me. He was just that gorgeous.

“My name is Vlad.” He took my hand and lifted it to his lips before brushing a gentle kiss across my knuckles. “But most know me as Dracula.”

I wish I could say I absorbed that information with grace and poise. But that would have been a lie. Instead, I burst out laughing, and said, “No shit!”


Author Bio:

Kinsley Adams is a thirty-something-year-old author who stopped counting when she turned twenty-five. When she isn’t writing uproariously hilarious romantic comedies, she’s raising her womb-gremlin with the hopes that he might one day become the world’s first Supreme Leader.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Newsletter


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Review | Things I Learned in the Night by Emily Byrnes

Things I Learned in the Night is a beautifully illustrated tribute to young love in a society that so often tries to invalidate it. Many of the poems in this book are exquisitely woven with nature imagery; a subtle reminder that through our struggles and joys we must all remember to take deep breaths and run in the rain every now and then.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I did enjoy this poetry collection as it was in the same vein as some that I have recently liked, but a lot of it felt too similar to other poets that I read from. There were a few poems that definitely felt poignant and new, but many were very similar to those using the same subjects. The language used is definitely beautiful and there is a good development of imagery in the poems themselves. For a poetry collection it was good and enjoyable, but again was too similar to other collections I have read to be a stand out for me personally.

Happy reading!

Blitz | Shopping for a CEO’s Honeymoon by Julia Kent

Shopping for a CEO’s Honeymoon
Julia Kent
(Shopping for a Billionaire, #14)
Publication date: July 15th 2018
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

He says we never had a proper honeymoon.

So, instead, he’s giving me… a prepper honeymoon?

Who knew billionaire preppers were a thing?

I guess I’m about to find out.

Julia Kent’s New York Times bestselling romantic comedy series continues in Shopping for a CEO’s Honeymoon as Andrew and Amanda settle in to married life… and so much more.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play / Audible / iTunes / Amazon Audible

FREE NOVEMBER 10-30, 2021
Whispersync the audio on Amazon for $7.49

EXCERPT:

Amanda

It’s Monday.

Our home looks like the set for Extreme Home Makeover, except there’s no bus to move and all of the workmen act like I’m invisible as I wander downstairs after waking up naked in an empty bed.

I throw on clothes and am down the stairs when I spot my husband.

“What is going on?” I ask Andrew, who is huddled over blueprints with some guy who looks like he runs a union hall in South Boston. Tight eyes, distrustful look, goatee, and an intensity that makes it clear you want him on your side.

Andrew breaks away, kisses my cheek, and gives me a saucy half grin. “Just like you wanted. Here we go.”

“Here we go what? We barely talked about what we wanted!”

“We did,” he says, suddenly defensive. “In bed,” he whispers.

“What I want in bed has nothing to do with tile colors and three-season sunrooms!” I say.

Loudly.

“The guys aren’t working on anything like that,” he hisses as a few workmen suppress smiles. “We’re putting in new backup systems.”

“Backups for what?”

“Power outages. Acts of God. Hurricanes. Bomb cyclones that leave six feet of snow.”

I snort. “What, no alien contingency plan? Got a blueprint for a universal extraterrestrial language translator in there?”

Andrew reddens and avoids eye contact.

I frown. “Andrew?” I grab his arm and pull him aside, his muscles tense. “What are you doing? This isn’t how I envisioned remodeling and spending our honeymoon. For one, we didn’t have sex that second time this morning.”

He looks at the clock. “It’s only 7:53. Plenty of time for that.” He grabs me at the waist and pulls me close, trying to divert me with a kiss.

It works.

“We’ve got the geothermal heat unit figured out, and when we redo the gutter system and the roof, in addition to the solar panels, we’ve got an evaporation system set up for clean water collection. Storage is next,” he says to me.

“All that in the first hour of work?” I’m stunned.

“I’m efficient. Two weeks of my focused attention is like five years of a normal human
being’s time.”

“Efficient and humble. I love that in a man.”

“You’d better, because you’re stuck with me forever.”

“Is that a threat or a promise?”

I get a pat on the ass in response.

Author Bio:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. Since 2013, she has sold more than 1.5 million books, with 4 New York Times bestsellers and more than 16 appearances on the USA Today bestseller list. Her books have been translated into French and German, with more titles releasing soon. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three children in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / Amazon / Newsletter


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Life Update | November is Hard

Hey everyone. I’m sure some have noticed that not as many reviews have been going up as I usually post and there is a reason for that. In my everyday life I deal with a lot of things, my job is very stressful and busy and I have a number of autoimmune/invisible illnesses. I don’t talk about this a lot as it’s just not something I like to get into. That being said, that’s some of what I deal with on a daily basis and I do my best to maintain.

On top of all this I recently had a death in the family that was a big blow. It was a diagnosis that came on fast and was unexpected, and was found too late to really combat. My family is hurting right now and I’m doing my best to keep those closest to me on a somewhat even keel. So…while I’ve still been posting daily, I haven’t been finishing a ton of books. I’m in the middle of multiple books that I’m working hard to finish, but maintaining the normal things I’m juggling and then experiencing this has really knocked me down.

I debated even making this post as I don’t share a ton of my personal life on here, but wanted to explain and say that more reviews are on the way as well as other fun posts. I very much try to keep a happy face on for you guys and want to keep that content coming.

Yes, I’m still doing nanowrimo, but will have a lot of catching up to do at the end of the month. Once I’m a bit more centered I will do a post to update on that front as well.

Here’s a picture of Calypso saying hi to hold everyone over.

Happy reading!

Blitz | Merry Ex-Mas by Elizabeth Janette

Merry Ex-Mas
Elizabeth Janette
Publication date: November 10th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance

It’s been ten years since Delaney Silverman last stepped foot on the Silver Bells Christmas Tree farm her family owns and operates, but when her father dies, she has no choice. Even if it means mending fences with her estranged mother. The last thing this reformed wild-child-turned-Manhattan-marketing-pro has in mind, though, is a second chance at first love. But after life brings her face to face with the sexy, ex-fiancé neighbor boy, she realizes he’s everything she never knew she needed.

Travis Harper knows two things to be true: 1. It’s time to adopt his foster daughter and build a custom home life for themselves, and 2. Laney Silverman is the last woman he’d ever trust with their hearts, even if she is everything he’s ever wanted. Especially since she has a bad habit of walking away from him.

Will twelve days be enough to give two former lovers a Merry Ex-Mas?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Releasing her grip on the luggage, Laney wrapped her arms around her mom, pulling her into an awkward embrace.

Ruth stiffened. “What . . . are you doing?”

“Hugging you. Apparently it’s what people do when they’ve lost someone they love.”

“Yeah, well, stop it. I don’t need your sympathy.”

Whatever emotion Travis thought he saw when looking at Laney’s mother, it wasn’t there now. When she drew back and studied Ruth’s face, no tears clouded her eyes. No grief etched her expression. Only annoyance, pure and simple. Like always. Laney dropped her arms. Same old Mama. Lovable as a freaking porcupine.

Deep breath, girl. You can do this. For Dad. She peered up at the house. Despite the generous square footage of the single-story bungalow-style house, from the outside, the home appeared smaller, darker without her father’s presence. She swallowed hard to dislodge the lump of grief wedged in her throat and forced herself to enter the house.

Crossing the threshold tugged at the threads of memories she’d kept squirreled away. Not all of them welcome. It took only one whiff of the familiar cinnamon coffee scent before the years magically melted away, and she was eighteen again, chafing at the bit, dying for just one ounce of the freedom her friends possessed.

Laney shook off the ghosts that held her hostage and tried to only focus on the positive memories. The ones with her dad.

As she made her way through the living and dining room toward her old bedroom, a smile pulled at her lips as fond memories bubbled up. She’d been closest to her father and everywhere her gaze landed brought forth an image of him to warm her heart. Fingers drifted over the couch, threadbare now but still located in the same place against the wall. Her father’s most-coveted possession, a black leather recliner, nestled in the corner of the living room. The mantle above the stone fireplace where Christmas stockings once hung. The oil paintings of snow-covered barns in the middle of a forest.

An image of her father wafted through the recesses of her mind. Happy and smiling. The world could be falling apart around him, and he’d still be as jolly as good old St. Nick. Hard to believe he was gone. The urge to cry swelled, but she tamped it down like a good girl and turned away, plastering a smile on her face.

“Where on Earth are you going?”

“To my bedroom.”

Your bedroom?” Her mama tsked. “Good heavens, child, it stopped being your bedroom ages ago when you moved out.”

Laney used a foot to push open the bedroom door and stopped dead. “Good Lord Almighty, Mama, what have you done?”

It was like Santa’s workshop had materialized right in the middle of the room. Her mouth hung open as she gawked at the atrocity. Where once stood a vanity filled with cheap cosmetics only a teenager would buy, now a fake Christmas tree loomed, wilting under the weight of too many ornaments. Garland hung from the high shelf spanning the top of all four walls. A toy train chugged its way around the room. A workbench sat along one wall with a dozen or so holiday crafts waiting to be finished. The walls had been stripped of the soft turquoise blue hue her sixteen-year-old self had painstakingly selected, and replaced with a dreadful shade of gold that mirrored the tree ornaments.

And her daybed? Nowhere to be found. The half dozen or so NSYNC and Jonas Brothers rock band posters were conspicuously missing too. Gone were her hot-pink curtains, fuzzy beanbag, and black shag rug as well as anything remotely resembling her teenage years. All signs of her life there had been erased.

She’d been erased.


Author Bio:

Born to parents who loved to read, it’s no surprise Elizabeth Janette’s lifelong love of literacy led her to become both a teacher and a writer. In fact, writing about getting RIF’d from her teaching job in the 2008 recession is what led her to publish an essay about the experience. From then on, she was hooked. Now days, when she’s not teaching sassy 5th graders, Elizabeth Janette writes romance that both sizzles and thrills. And when she’s not teaching or writing, she works for her local chapter of the National Writing Project teaching teachers how to teach writing. Visit http://www.elizabethjanette.com to connect and sign up for her newsletter.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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