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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas Themed Books’

Mistletoe and the Major

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency, 1815)

Cover Blurb:

 Previously published in the anthology Under the Kissing Bough. 

The Major is home from the wars at last… 

Edmund Sherritt, Major Lord Canforth, has devoted eight tumultuous years to fighting Napoleon. Finally, Europe is at peace, and he can retire to his estates and the lovely wife he hasn’t seen since their brief, unhappy honeymoon. The innocent girl he loved from the first moment he saw her, but who shied away from him on their wedding night.

The beautiful woman who greets him at Otway Hall on Christmas Eve is no longer the sweet ingénue he remembers. This new and exciting version of his beloved countess is strong, outspoken, and independent, and she’s willing to stand up for what she wants. The question is—does she want the husband who returns to her arms more as a stranger than a spouse?

Now the real battle begins. 

Felicity, Lady Canforth, has had eight long years to regret that she sent her husband from a cold marriage bed to face brutal combat, danger and hardship. The only child of elderly parents, Felicity came to marriage innocent and ignorant, and unable to conceal her shock at the sensual power of the earl’s caresses. Before she found the nerve to offer Canforth a more generous welcome, he was called away to war. The Major left behind a countess who was a bride, not a wife; a woman unsure of her husband’s feelings, and too timid to confess how fervently she desires the man she wed.

Fate has granted an older, wiser Felicity a second chance to win her husband’s heart. Now nothing will stop her from claiming victory over the famous war hero. This Christmas, she’ll deploy every ounce of courage, purpose and passion to seize the life and love she’s longed for, ever since Canforth left to serve his country. Whatever it costs, whatever it takes, she’ll lure the dashing Major back into her bed, where she means to show him he’s the only man she wants as her lover—and her love.

After years of yearning and separation, will a Christmas miracle heal the wounds of the past and offer the earl and his bride a future bright with love? 

❄❄❄❄❄


I started my Christmas reading early this year with a lovely, heart-warming second-chance short story from Anna Campbell.

It was love at first sight for Edmund and Felicity (Flick), but they had only been married for two weeks when Edmund received orders to join his regiment. In their short, awkward time together, they had never felt at ease enough with each other to openly discuss their true feelings and were still little more than strangers when Edmund left. After eight long years, Edmund is finally able to return home and is determined to build a real marriage.

Even within the constraints of a short story, Ms. Campbell can still pack a real emotional punch. She made me feel Edmund and Flick’s initial feelings of uncertainty, regret and fear after their long separation. The years running the estate have given Flick a degree of confidence lacking in her younger self. The only child of elderly parents, she was shy and inexperienced when she married and regrets not having been braver and more responsive to her husband’s lovemaking. I like how she is determined to seize this second chance.

Edmund has his own fears. War has changed him, and he is uncertain of the welcome he will receive from Flick, but she sees that he is still the same kind, considerate man she remembers. I like the scene involving the ‘burnt letters’, when Flick’s misunderstanding of the situation leads them to finally talk openly about their feelings for each other and confess their love.

MY VERDICT: A delightful start to my Christmas reading.


REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

**I received a complimentary copy from the author for the purposes of an honest review. **

 

 

 

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(A Happy Christmas, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

A mysterious key to an attic that cannot be found…
A ghost with good but overly ambitious intentions…
And a forgotten wager that is about to turn Miss Barrington’s life into a holiday mess.

Are you ready for the outrageously funny and Happy Christmas Series?
WARNING: THERE IS A LOT OF MAGIC AND ROMANCE IN THIS BOX.

London, England – Winter of 1860
When all the ladies of London realize that handsome and refined gentleman, the Duke of Ainsley, is formally looking for a wife, only weeks before Christmas, a mad dash to claim him begins. Miss Barrington knows her chances with the duke are incredibly good given what her close gypsy friend had once foretold, but a forgotten wager with her greatest nemesis, American millionaire, Mr. Redstone, is about to bring on complications and…chaos.

Will she claim the dashing and respectable duke once foretold by the stars? Or will she fall for Mr. Redstone and go against destiny? Only the days leading up to Christmas will tell!

♥♥♥♥♥♥

THE CHRISTMAS WAGER has everything I love about Delilah Marvelle’s books…emotive and evocative writing, an innovative story, richly drawn characters, sparkling dialogue, a sensual love story and delightful humour plus that extra touch of Christmas magic.

I adored Maxwell and his sheer zest for life. After a near fatal accident at the age of twelve (he still carries the bullet), his parents expect him to become overly cautious, but Maxwell is even more determined to live life to the full. He indulges in all sorts of mad-cap adventures and pranks which find him constantly in trouble with the law but he doesn’t care because…

He was alive and worth three and a half million! Life was good.

The only thing missing is a woman to share his life with…one who isn’t after his money and doesn’t think he’s a lunatic.

I loved Felicity too. After being abandoned by her mother, she spent the first 16 years of her life in a foundling home…years that have made her tough.

She had made such a reputation for herself the boys always scattered the moment they saw her coming.

Her life changes drastically when she is given a home by the wealthy uncle she never knew existed and the events her gypsy friend, Marigold, foretold begin to unfold.

It is obvious from the moment they meet that Maxwell and Felicity are destined for each other. How they reach that destination when Marigold, Felicity’s gypsy friend, foretells that she will marry a duke or there will be dire consequences, is what makes this book so enjoyable.

In fact, there is never a dull moment and I loved:

– the memorable first meeting between Maxwell and Felicity with its great dialogue:

“I may be a foundling , but I’m repectable. So don’t expect us to do things in said attic.”

His mouth twisted wryly. “At your age, dearest, you wouldn’t know how. So pull your claws in, will you? If you don’t touch my buttons, I won’t touch your hooks.

– Felicity’s drunken verbal attack on that jezebel, Mrs Mastin

– All the crazy things Maxwell does to win Felicity’s approval (I love a hero in hot pursuit of the heroine and Maxwell is nothing if not determined)

– the hair-raising sleigh ride

to mention just a few.

I don’t usually like paranormal elements in historical romances but, in this story, they work perfectly with the Christmas theme. There are plenty of twists and turns, some surprises and poignant moments, like the scene between Felicity and her mother’s ghost which reminded me of the movie “Ghost”.

There is a teaser for Marigold’s book which appears to be next, and I’m hoping that the Duke of Ainsley and Felicity’s Uncle Cedric will get there Happy Ever Afters as well. Perhaps there could even be a Christmas miracle for the self-serving Baroness Arlington.

This is the first book in Ms Marvelle’s A Happy Christmas series and, according to the Foreword, there are a further nine to come. So I’m sure of one delightful present to open each year!

MY VERDICT: An enchanting and entertaining story full of romance and the magic of Christmas. A veritable holiday treat.


REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read December 2015


**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.**

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Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

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.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

What a lovely Christmas treat this novella was! Anna Campbell has penned a delightful, entertaining and fun romance with the perfect snow-covered village setting.

Rory is such a likeable hero… a handsome, witty, charming and flirtatious Scotsman, with just a hint of devilment in his green eyes. Bess is managing, independent and capable, qualities that should annoy a man like Rory, but instead he finds himself both charmed and intrigued by her and deeply attracted. It was refreshing to find a hero who, despite having an unhappy childhood, hadn’t given up on love, although he has never believed in love at first sight until he meets Bess.

This woman was meant for him. He wasn’t sure yet what he felt about it, but the conclusion was inescapable.

At first, Bess readily believes the rumours about Rory. After all, he precisely fits her image of a pirate, wicked seducer, and reckless adventurer. However, there is something compelling about him that threatens to shatter her hitherto tranquil but lonely life.

There was something breathtakingly compelling about the new earl. A crackle of energy that Bess only now realized had been missing from her life.

Gradually, she comes to respect and admire him. when she sees how he treats the villagers with respect and wins them over with his charm and intelligence. It’s heart-warming to see how Rory puts down roots for the first time as he comes to accept the village as his home and positively embraces the responsibilities that come with his title.

Rory paused in the doorway to savor a sensation he’d never before experienced. That this was home and these were his people and he belonged here.

I enjoyed the developing romance between Rory and Bess with its delightful mixture of witty banter, delicious sexual tension and heated kisses. I love Rory’s noble action in not wanting Bess’s first time to be “some hole-in-corner seduction”. He treats her with such respect (much to Bess’s disappointment) and wants to cherish her.

The secondary characters all add depth to the story; Edward White, Rory’s secretary, butler, cook , bailiff and shipmate for twenty years; the matchmaking residents of Penton Wyck, and a certain stubborn, music-loving donkey called Daisy.

MY VERDICT: Full of warmth, fun and romance, this was the perfect start to my holiday reading. I recommend you find a comfy chair, grab your favourite tipple and enjoy!


REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALTY RATING:  WARM

Read November 2015


**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.**

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(Wicked Widows, #3.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency era)

Cover Blurb:

When Sir Lucien Blakemore arrives at his cousin’s estate for a week long Christmas party, he’s shocked to see Miss Winifred Nightingale among the other guests. Employed by his neighbor back in Yorkshire, the governess with the lovely eyes has always seemed off limits, but she’s visiting here as a guest—and there’s nothing like a little mistletoe to make the spirits bright…

Miss Winifred Nightingale never dreamed a holiday visit with her sister would lead to both ladies spending Christmas as the local lord’s guests. But the big surprise is when she finds the handsome Sir Lucien Blakemore staying there too. Their attraction between is undeniable, but will an old nemesis and a party guest bent on mischief make their first kiss under the mistletoe their last?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This novella features two secondary characters introduced in When Dukes Say I Do (Trevor and Isabella’s story), the first book in Manda Collins’s Wicked Widows series.  Lucien is Trevor’s best friend and Winifred (Winnie) is governess to Trevor’s two young sisters.

Lucien is such a likeable hero…handsome, charming, witty and inherently decent. He has a way of putting people at ease, as he does the shy, stuttering Miss Hawthorn.

It was a sign of Sir Lucien’s kind nature that the young lady didn’t feel unsettled in his presence.

I love how he champions both Winnie and her sister when the noxious Mrs Green makes slanderous remarks.

“…if you persist in your public slander of my affianced bride and her sister, I will  see to it that you and yours are made to feel the sting of my cousin’s censure. Not to mention the ton’s.”

He is honest about wanting to marry Winnie and doesn’t care what society thinks. He knows that his true friends will accept her and, as far as he is concerned – “the others can go to hell.”

Winnie is strong-minded and courageous and I love how she is not afraid to face the disapproving society ladies head on.

She looked, Lucien thought, like a golden goddess delivering a pronouncement to her minions, which was hardly the outcome Lady Emily had wished from her pointed words.

She is reluctant to marry Lucien because of their different stations in life. Her own parents’ marriage had been an unequal match and she had seen how that had ended in tragedy.  I like how Lucien, although he understands her fears,  is determined to show her that they are nothing like her parents.

The Christmas house party provides the perfect background for Lucien and Winnie’s mutual attraction to develop into something deeper. The sleigh ride, skating and gathering of seasonal greenery not only offers an opportunity for them to be thrown together but also gives the novella a lovely Christmas feel.

Ms Collins sustains the mystery of who is threatening Winnie well and it was certainly a surprise to learn the identity of the culprit.

Favourite Quote

To fall in love? She’d always thought it was something that happened all at once. Now she was inclined to see it as the gradual build of a hundred tiny moments: a caress on the hand, a sigh, a stolen kiss.

This friends-to-lovers novella is perfect for bringing a little Christmas cheer and forms a delightful end to the Wicked Widows series.

 REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read December 2014


Wicked Widows series (click on cover for more details):

Why Dukes Say I Do (Wicked Widows, #1) by Manda Collins Why Earls Fall in Love (Wicked Widows, #2) by Manda Collins Why Lords Lose Their Hearts (Wicked Widows, #3) by Manda Collins Once Upon a Christmas Kiss by Manda Collins
*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest  review.

 

 

 

 

 

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Genre: Historical Romance (Regency era)

Cover Blurb:

No good deed goes unpunished

To save her hen-witted sister from scandal, Philippa Sanders ventures into a rake’s bedroom—and into his power. Now her reputation hangs by a thread and only a hurried marriage can rescue her. Is the Earl of Erskine the heartless libertine the world believes? Or will Philippa discover unexpected honor in a man notorious for his wild ways?

Blair Hume, the dissolute Earl of Erskine, has had his eye on the intriguing Miss Sanders since he arrived at this deadly dull house party. Now a reckless act delivers this beguiling woman into his hands as a delightful Christmas gift. Is fate offering him a fleeting Yuletide diversion? Or will this Christmas Eve encounter spark a passion that lasts a lifetime?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This was a charming marriage of convenience story from one of my favourite authors who never disappoints.

I loved watching both Blair and Philippa discovering so many things about each other but also about themselves during the course of the story.

Blair’s decadent life style has begun to pall and he feels he is simply going through the motions. When he meets Philippa, she is unlike any woman he has ever met and he is totally captivated by this small, bossy woman who makes him want to be a better man. I love how his actions show him to be honourable and caring. When they are caught in a compromising situation, he steps up to defend Philippa’s honour, saying she is blameless and offering marriage. His anger against her family for belittling her makes him swear that she will never feel insignificant again. I also love him for making her feel like a “goddess”.

Philippa has always regarded herself as unremarkable and is content to be the mainstay of the family, managing the farm and the household. However, I love how being with Blair makes her question that belief and encourages her to take the first step towards independence even though it means an uncertain future with Blair. I could also relate to Philippa’s yearning to be wicked just once in her life. If you think you are going back to a boring country existence, why not enjoy Blair’s rakish skills? I was pleased that the trust that had grown between Philippa and Blair couldn’t be broken by her sister’s devious manipulations. I don’t think I would have been quite so willing to forgive Amelia as Philippa was!

The love scene was handled delicately and I loved the fact that Blair felt like a novice too.

How strange to recognise that despite his experience, tonight he was a novice like his bride. Never had getting everything right mattered so much.

He was perfectly in tune to his wife’s fears and, despite his own desires, he was willing to take things slowly, even retreat to the next room but fortunately he doesn’t have to…

“You don’t want to sleep alone in a strange place? I can understand that”
Her eyes flashed with annoyance, surprising him. “No, I don’t want to sleep alone. But that’s not what I meant.”
“What do you mean?”
Her lips tightened with displeasure. “You’re the blasted rake. You work it out.”

This novella was a delightful start to my Christmas reading.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read December 2014

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I’ve added Christi’s novella to my  December Christmas reading.

(Scandalous Seasons (Novella), #5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Lady Patrina Tidemore gave up on the ridiculous notion of true love after having her heart shattered and her trust destroyed by a black-hearted cad. Used as a pawn in a game of revenge against her brother, Patrina returns to London from a failed elopement with a tattered reputation and little hope for a respectable match. The only peace she finds is in her solitude on the cold winter days at Hyde Park. And even that is yanked from her by two little hellions who just happen to have a devastatingly handsome, but coldly aloof father, the Marquess of Beaufort. Something about the lord stirs the dreams she’d once carried for an honorable gentleman’s love.

Weston Aldridge, the 4th Marquess of Beaufort was deceived and betrayed by his late wife. In her faithlessness, he’s come to view women as self-serving, indulgent creatures. Except, after a series of chance encounters with Patrina, he comes to appreciate how uniquely different she is than all women he’s ever known.

At the Christmastide season, a time of hope and new beginnings, Patrina and Weston, unexpectedly learn true love in one another. However, as Patrina’s scandalous past threatens their future and the happiness of his children, they are both left to determine if love is enough.

 

BUY LINKS:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com.au

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(The Marriage Game, #5.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

The bachelors in Ella Quinn’s Marriage Game series make a habit of resisting the irresistible. But during the season for giving, surrendering to temptation may be the greatest gift of all…

A French spy, Georges, Marquis Cruzy-le-Châtel, has lived in England for years, sacrificing his life for his country—but not his heart. For he’s never been able to forget his childhood friend, Madeleine. And now, in her hour of need, he is there to rescue her…

The victim of a ruthless statesman, Madeleine, Comtesse du Beaune, has been abducted and sent to England to work in a brothel. Her greatest wish is to return home for Christmas, and her only hope of it is to marry Georges—though she will be his wife in name alone. Yet as they steal across the snowy countryside, Georges decides to woo her—with kisses that melt the winter’s frost and leave her longing for a holiday miracle…

 

BUY LINKS:

Buy for the KindleBuy for the NookBuy from Kensington

iBooks

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