Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas-Themed Reviews for Anna Campbell, Skye Warren, Diana Palmer and Rita Herron!

Merry Christmas to all my Babes in Bambiland!
I hope all of you are having a holly jolly Christmas, making merry, spending time with loved ones, and eating lots of good food!  I read a handful of books this week to get me in the mood for the season, so I thought I would throw them all up here in case you need something to read while you are waiting for that turkey to cook at grandma's house!  So, here goes!

A Pirate for Christmas 
by Anna Campbell
Pub. Date:  Oct. 29, 2015
Publisher:  Self-Pub
Pages:  142
Format:  eBook
Source:  Amazon

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

There’s a pirate in the manor house! 
What is vicar’s daughter Bess Farrar to do when the dashing new earl, the man gossip paints as a ruthless pirate, kisses her the day they meet? Why, kiss him right back, of course! Now Lord Channing vows to claim the lovely firebrand, despite interfering villagers, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises mayhem – and a lifetime of breathtaking passion .

Pursued by the pirate… 
Bess Farrar might be an innocent village miss, but she knows enough about the world to doubt Lord Channing’s motives when he kisses her the very day they meet. After all, local gossip insists that before this dashing rake became an earl, he sailed the Seven Seas as a ruthless pirate. 

Bewitched by the vicar’s daughter… 
Until he unexpectedly inherits a title, staunchly honorable Scotsman Rory Beaton has devoted his adventurous life to the Royal Navy. But he sets his course for tempestuous new waters when he meets lovely, sparkling Bess Farrar. Now this daring mariner will do whatever it takes to convince the spirited lassie to launch herself into his arms and set sail into the sunset. 

A Christmas marked by mayhem
Wooing his vivacious lady, the new Earl of Channing finds himself embroiled with matchmaking villagers, an eccentric vicar, mistaken identities, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. Life at sea was never this exciting. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises hijinks, danger, and passion – and a breathtaking chance to win the love of a lifetime. 

This was a great little Christmas romance that is short enough for you to read on the way to Grandma's house to get you in the spirit for gathering and merriment. Plus - there is a Christmas donkey! I love Christmas donkeys! My mom's church has a Christmas donkey and last year he was braying so loud you could barely hear the pastor. So Daisy the Donkey was definitely very cute.

Our "pirate" is Rory Beaton, the new Earl of Channing (having inherited after the death of his brother). Rory is also a Scot! Oh my! As soon as he is in residence at Penton Wyck, he is being hounded about his ass by "that blasted Farrar besom." However, once he sets his eyes on the beautiful besom, Rory clearly sees the advantage to being managed by such a headstrong lass. Rory was sweet and honorable, and his campaign to win Bess over was nice to watch/read.

Our leading lady is Bess Farrar, is used to managing the village of Penton Wyck, the former earl, and her absentminded vicar father. Determined to get her Christmas ass, she marches up to the earl's estate. Only she learns she may not be able to manage this alleged pirate, but instead may have to bargain for what she wants... with kisses! Even though Bess was a bit of a manager, she really was working for the betterment of her village.

This was a really sweet love story. I didn't feel like it was too long or too short, and the Christmas theme was woven in nicely. I loved that the village got together every year to put on a Christmas play/nativity. You don't really see that type of community activity anymore, and it is always nice to see things like this around the holidays. If you find yourself traveling this season, pick this one up to get you in the spirit. Merry Christmas!

His for Christmas
by Skye Warren
Pub. Date:  Dec. 31, 2014
Publisher:  Self-Pub
Pages:  118
Format:  eBook
Source:  Amazon

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

I stand very still, holding a pen I shouldn’t be touching, in the office of a man I’ve never met. The man who’s standing behind me now. The man who has his hand on my hip.
He’s my new boss.

I could fight him, but then he might ask questions. He might find out about my criminal record, the one I didn’t mention on the job application. So I let him make me come, but he wants more. He needs more, and for some reason I want to give it.

But if he finds out about my life, I'll be out on the streets - or back in jail.
This was a short and sexy read that was only a little bit Christmasy (toward the end). I have been meaning to read more Skye Warren books because I like her writing style. From what I have read so far, her characters are engaging and mature, and her heroines have not had that annoying factor that sometimes gets to me.

Because this was such a short read, I don't want to give away a lot about the characters. Our hero, Gage Thompson, is known as the Bid Bad Billionaire.  He is all things I like about these characters: beautiful, broody, broken and dominant. Our heroine is Angel Cole, a very young tortured heroine. However for all that she was only 18 years old, she was mature for her age. I did get hung up on her age just a tad, but it was not due to the writing, it was just my over-thinking brain.

I would recommend this book to those who are fans of the boss/secretary trope.

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The Winter Man 
by Diana Palmer
Pub. Date:  Nov. 16, 2009
Publisher:  Tantor Audio
Narrator:  Marguerite Gavin
Length:  7 hrs 32 min
Format:  Audiobook
Source:  Hoopla

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

Silent Night Man
What does Millie Evans want for Christmas? To feel safe. Even though her stalker is dead, he arranged for a hit man to kill her. Now the special government agent Millie has loved from afar for years has vowed to protect her. Tony Danzetta moves the prim librarian into his home and guards her 24/7. Dare she dream of keeping Tony, her own silent night man, by her side forever? 

Sutton's Way
Wyoming rancher and single father Quinn Sutton is raising a child he knows isn't his own. All the love left in his guarded heart goes to the boy. But when a beautiful city woman is stranded nearby in a blizzard, he rescues her and brings her to Ricochet Ranch. Amanda Callaway has her own secrets and plans to keep her distance. If only she weren't falling for her unlikely hero...

So I was listening to this book during the same time that I was reading His for Christmas by Skye Warren... and let me tell you that they were as different as night and day.  From erotic romance to cowboys and virgins.

This is my first read from Diana Palmer, though I know she has lots of books out, mainly in the western romance genre. I am not too sure about her heroes - I hope they aren't all like the two in these short stories because they were huge buttheads!

In Silent Night Man, Tony is a government agent coming home to bury a friend. At the funeral home he runs into Millie, and he treats her horribly. They have a hot and cold attraction for most of the story... but during the cold parts, Tony is freezing. I really didn't care for him as a hero. I didn't think there was any excuse for the way he treated Millie, particularly once he learned things were exactly as he believed. Millie was the virginal librarian, meek and soft spoken. Her character was likable, for all that we have not much in common. I sympathized for her history and her treatment at the hands/words of Tony. I really wanted to just kick his ass for her.

Silent Night Man is a quick romantic suspense. It wasn't very Christmasy, just some references to the holiday at the end.

In Sutton's Way, both of our main characters are extremely inexperienced virgins.  This is a novel concept given that Quinn Sutton is 34 years old and raising a son. But Quinn did not act like a 34 y/o - he was more like a mean old man. He hated women and threw insults at our heroine left and right - he called her a tramp and a hussy for no other reason than her being female. He was even worse than Tony was in Silent Night Man! Amanda Callaway is a country/rock star who has moved into the cabin neighboring the Sutton ranch to regroup after a recent tragedy.  She was old fashioned and totally in the dark when it came to intimacy.

I didn't buy into the romance so much in this story just because Quinn was so mean.  But I did get a lot of laughs about him explaining sex to Amanda. He would say things like "that hardening [of her nipples] is because you are aroused, you want me, but don't worry it will go away" [or words to that effect].  Everything he knows about sex, he learned from books and he takes a very clinical and old fashioned approach to the whole thing.

The one thing that saved this story for me was some suspense at the end that was really good.  This story was not all that Christmasy either.  So neither of these shorties added much to my Christmas spirit. 

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Going to the Chapel 
by Rita Herron
Pub. Date:  Nov. 11, 2014
Publisher:  Montlake Romance
Pages:  132
Format:  eBook
Source:  Kindle Unlimited

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

If there’s a naughty list, Izzy Sassafras is on it—but she’s ready to make a new start this Christmas. Especially after leaving her lying, cheating, no-good husband and fleeing to her old hometown of Matrimony, Georgia. Izzy’s made herself a promise: no more men. All she wants to do is get her wedding business up and running—and mend fences with her estranged sisters. But Izzy knows she’s in trouble when her very first client, a smooth-talking Texan, makes her light up like a Christmas tree.

Desperate for business, private investigator Levi Fox reluctantly takes a case involving a runaway wife in a town called Matrimony. When he meets sweet, sexy Izzy, he decides she can’t possibly be as innocent as she seems. At first, posing as her client is the perfect cover; but he soon imagines himself as a groom—with Izzy as his Christmas bride! Will this case end with a trip to the chapel…or the jailhouse?

This was a cute little southern romance, heavy on the Christmas theme. Izzy and her sisters are from small town north Georgia. Matrimony is one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone else's business, and memories are long.  The Sassafras sisters scattered after the last scandal they caused in town, cat fighting in the middle of the Dairy Delite.  But now they are all back in Matrimony for one reason or another, each with their own secret and treading warily around one other.  Working together on a wedding planning business is where we get most of our Christmas theme, as the sisters are planning a Christmas wedding for their first client, Levi Fox.  Only Levi is a client under false pretenses. 

Going to the Chapel was a light and quick read, with no steam to it. It's my first read from Rita Herron and I will probably read more from her in the future.  The characters were endearing and I liked the southern small town feel.

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