Thursday, December 29, 2016

Review - Joy to the World by Nicole Zoltack

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of --
Joy to the World by Nicole Zoltack

Overall star rating --- 5

About the book:
Unbeknownst to Eliza Berkeley, the second daughter of a baron, the man she thought she was going to marry was not Stephen Huntington, the Duke of Wyndale. Thankfully, the reprobate does not appear for the wedding. The true duke arrives instead. Will a match formed originally through deceit blossom into love this Christmas? Or will the imposter ensure neither experiences happiness ever again?

Joy to the World originally appeared in the Bluestocking Belles' Mistletoe, Marriage, & Mayhem box set.

Book creation ratings --
Overall total, out of 30 -- 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The Christmas Quotient --- 7 
** The scale runs from 1-7 trees, and rates Christmassyness. **

The review --
She's supposed to marry one man, then another shows up, using the same name. What's a girl to do. And that's the beginning of this wonderful Christmas romance novel that has a thrilling ending.

The man whose marriage proposal she accepts, wasn't the man who the name belonged to. But on her wedding day, in search of the phony, the real Duke shows up. It's a great story, fine characters, and I loved it. Fine piece of writing here in this book, and I recommend it very much.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- historical romance
Age recommendations -- 17 plus
Sex content rating -- mild, only kisses, hand holding
Violence rating -- mild

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Author's Amazon page

Author's facebook page

Author's website

Street team on facebook

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Review - On Christmas Hill by Faith Mortimer

Reviewed by -- Shadow Walker

Book Review of --
On Christmas Hill (A Seasonal Affair) (Affair Series Book 2) by Faith Mortimer

Overall star rating --- 5   
    

About the book:
It is a few weeks before Christmas and everyone except Catherine seems to be gearing up for the big day with excitement.

Catherine is a single mum, struggling to bring up her five year old daughter, she has little time for romance, and when she learns she has lost her job and her flat is deemed inhabitable, she wonders just what else life is about to fling at her.

Where or to whom can she turn to for help? Kismet in the shape of handsome, bachelor, Jack Darcy aka Father Christmas is at hand. But can she trust the handsome stranger who seems to know a lot about her private life, and why does he introduce her to his favourite place up on Christmas Hill?

When Catherine finds a forty year old letter hidden in a village post office and seeks to reunite the letter with the addressee, little does she know what part she will play in the affair or how circumstances change her very existence. Her own ideas of weddings and being a bride seem remote. When will she find that perfect love which so far has eluded her?

Book creation ratings:
Overall total, out of 30 -- 30        
-- Story & characters -- 10        
-- Cover & title -- 10        
-- Editing & formatting -- 10        
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
Only a village idiot would give this book less than five stars. This Christmas Romance is set during the Christmas Season in England. The story is so well written and the character development is A+. The editor and proofreader needs a good slap on the back for their work on this book. It was so good that I read it in a couple of sittings and tears filled my eyes at it's conclusion. The story moves along at a nice pace and you can't help but pull for the main character, Catherine and her sweet daughter. This story will not disappoint any reader who loves romantic novels at Christmas time. Merry Christmas and enjoy this delightful book.         
                
The Christmas Quotient --- 7
** The scale runs from 1-7 trees, and rates Christmassyness. **

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- Christmas Romance  
Age recommendations -- 16 and older.        
Sex content rating -- Moderate. Tastefully done.        
Violence rating -- None.

** The author's links **

Amazon

Amazon author page

Facebook page

Website

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Review - 12 Matchsticks by A.C. Kret

Reviewed by -- Shadow Walker

Book Review of --
12 Matchsticks by A.C. Kret

Overall star rating --- 5

About the book:
12 Matchsticks
12 Days
12 Prayers

A poor young boy gets an unusual gift at a school Christmas party that will change lives forever.




Book creation ratings:
Overall total, out of 30 -- 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
The story's setting returned me to my childhood and brought back many childhood memories. We were too poor for presents; so dad and mom would fix us big treat bags of fruit, nuts, and candy for Christmas. It was the best day of the year for us.

The characters were well developed and very likable. It reminds the reader that love can be found in the darndest places if we look for them.

The theme of the 12 Days of Christmas was undeniable in this modern take on a classic. It was fast paced and well edited, which made for an enjoyable read.

I won't give the ending away, but it has a wonderful/romantic ending. Enjoy this wonderfully written book!  Dreams can come true!

The Christmas Quotient --- 7
** The scale runs from 1-7 trees, and rates Christmassyness. **

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- Christmas magic/Children and the young at heart.        
Age recommendations -- 5 and up.        
Sex content rating -- None.        
Violence rating -- None.        

** The author's links **

Amazon

Amazon author page

Facebook page

Website

Twitter

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Review - 8 Hounds a-Howling by Marcia James

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of --
8 Hounds a-Howling: Klein's K-9s book 2 (Klein's K-9s service dogs) by Marcia James 

Overall star rating --- 5

About the book:
The holidays are the perfect time for ex-lovers to get a second chance at love! This sensual contemporary romance novella is the second in the dog-lovers' "Klein's K-9s" series, featuring a service dog training facility, its skilled staff, and its compassionate volunteers.

Celebrity photographer "Jax" Jackson volunteers to shoot the Klein's K-9s annual fundraising calendar. His agenda: Convince past love and calendar coordinator Amy Walters to give him a another try.

Producing the dog-themed "12 Days of Christmas" calendar includes dodging dive-bombing birds, tackling runaway pigs, and handling 78 dogs who'd rather play than pose. In the midst of the chaos, will the reunited lovers find their happily ever after?

Book creation ratings --
Overall total, out of 30 -- 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The Christmas Quotient --- 7
** The scale runs from 1-7 trees, and rates Christmassyness. **

The review --
When you begin reading this book, you're immediately left wondering what the heck Jax did, because Amy seems to hate him, and the fun doesn't stop. The chapter titles are simply delightful and add to the reading fun. What can I say …. this is simply a wonderful book.

The whole story of them shooting the calendar, and him trying to get back in her good graces, and wrangling the dogs, and trying to get their shots. It's all just wonderful. I truly loved this book, and it was such a fun read.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- Christmas romance
Age recommendations -- 17 and up
Sex content rating -- mild
Violence rating -- none

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Author's Amazon page

Twitter

Author's website

Friday, December 16, 2016

Review - A Christmas Wedding by Lindsay Downs

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of --
A Christmas Wedding (The Rogues and Rakehells Mystery Book 6) by Lindsay Downs

Overall star rating --- 5

About the book:
Soon after being introduced to Lady Ida, Lord Warren learns that someone is apparently stalking her. The purpose at first is unclear.
With Ida and her parents attending the Duchess of Fenwick annual Christmas Eve ball Warren decides he must be present to continue courting the young lady, who he is falling in love with.
When events in London become too dangerous for Ida it is recommended they, with other former rakehells and wives, retire to the Fenwick estate.
Hostilities break out between Warren and his older brother, Nash, Marquis of Renfield which is settled on the field of honor too much laughter by some.
When Mr. Godfrey, the threat to Ida and Warren’s happiness, is seen in the village take extra care in protecting Ida.
Two bodies are found. Finally, the villain is found and brought to justice allowing Ida and Warren to marry as they wish.

Book creation ratings --
Overall total, out of 30 -- 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The Christmas Quotient --- 7
** The scale runs from 1-7 trees, and rates Christmassyness. **

The review --
Mystery and romance. I just love, love, love this book. In spite of himself, Warren finds himself watching over Ida, protecting her from a cad. The characters are delightful, the writing is a pleasure to read, and it's everything you could want in a historical romance. It's a delicious mix of romance, with a bit of mystery thrown in. And our hero Warren, is every bit the hero that you could want. This book is a stunningly good example of historical romance and I enjoyed it so much.

Yes, I thoroughly recommend this book. If you like historical romance, then you will want to read this book. Yes, it's that good.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- Historical romance
Age recommendations -- 17 and up
Sex content rating -- very mild, just kissing
Violence rating -- mild

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Author's Amazon page

Author's facebook page

Author's website

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Review - How the Texan Stole Christmas by Jacquie Rogers

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of --
How the Texan Stole Christmas by Jacquie Rogers

Overall star rating --- 3

About the book:
Winnifred Spangler has thrown herself into community work to ward off the pangs of her lonely heart. Fairview, Idaho Territory, is snowed in—and cabin fever has set in with a vengeance. Winnie organizes a gift exchange for the town’s single young adults. Her hope is that a few of them will find the loves of their lives.

Judd Shaw, a Texas cowhand, hates the ice and cold. As soon as the roads are passable, he’s headed back to Texas. But thanks to his childhood friend, he’s caught up in the Secret Christmas Angel game, and the name he draws is the prettiest widow in all of Idaho—Winnie.

Can Winnie’s smile melt his hardened Texas heart?

Book creation ratings --
Overall total, out of 30 -- 19
-- Story & characters -- 7
-- Cover & title -- 5
-- Editing & formatting -- 7
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The Christmas Quotient --- 3
** The scale runs from 1-7 trees, and rates Christmassyness. **

The review --
This is a very nice historical western romance book about a couple of widows who organize some Christmas events for the singles in their small town, and 2 cowboys who take part. It's a very nice book, and a fun read. I enjoyed it a lot. My only ding against it is the one sex scene in the book that just didn't feel like it fits. Feels like it was added to add some 'spice' to the book, which it didn't need. Otherwise, it's a great book. The characters are fun to read about, and the story is very enjoyable. If not for the thrown in sex scene, this would have been a 5 star book.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- historical western romance
Age recommendations -- 18 plus
Sex content rating -- high, pretty explicit love scene
Violence rating -- none

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Author's Amazon page

Author's facebook page

Author's website

Twitter

Monday, December 12, 2016

Review - A Heartwarming Holiday box set

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of --
A Heartwarming Holiday: 15 Connected Sweet Holiday Romances by various authors

Overall star rating --- 4 stars

About the book:
Book 1: Once Upon a Holiday - Three former college roommates start a business to bring the magic of the holidays to everyone in Christmas Town.
     Novella 1: Once Upon a Thanksgiving by Anna Adams- 5
     Novella 2: Once Upon a Christmas by Anna J Stewart- 5
     Novella 3: Once Upon a New Year’s Eve by Melinda Curtis -
Book 2: Holiday Heroes - Three former Navy SEALs come together to restore an outdated resort.
     Novella 1: Thankfully Yours by Leigh Riker
     Novella 2: Cooking Up Christmas by Tara Randel
     Novella 3: Countdown to Romance by Cari Lynn Webb
Book 3: 24 North Pole Lane - Romance is being delivered to 24 North Pole Lane this holiday season.
     Novella 1: Hers by Thanksgiving by Carol Ross
     Novella 2: Peace, Love, and Baby Joy by Amy Vastine
     Novella 3: Never Say Never on New Year’s by Cheryl Harper
Book 4: Magic Moments - Three different times, three different stories. They all bring magic to Christmas Town.
     Novella 1: Christmas Past by Tara Taylor Quinn
     Novella 2: It Only Happens in Christmas Town by Shirley Hailstock
     Novella 3: The Magic Stocking by Liz Flaherty
Book 5: Nutcracker Sweethearts by Dana Mentink, Roz Denny Fox, & Amie Denman:
As the stage production of the Nutcracker unfolds in Christmas Town, three couples find love with the help of a little holiday magic!
     Novella 1: Thanksgiving Duet by Dana Mentink
     Novella 2: Christmas Curtain Call by Roz Denny Fox
     Novella 3: Set for New Year’s by Amie Denman

Book creation ratings --
Overall total, out of 30 -- 24
-- Story & characters -- 8
-- Cover & title -- 8
-- Editing & formatting -- 8
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The Christmas Quotient --- 5
** The scale runs from 1-7 trees, and rates Christmassyness. **

The review --
When I first checked this out on Amazon, it said it had only 30 pages, and I thought, 'What?'. But that was incorrect. It is 5 books made up of 3 different novellas, written by Harlequin romance authors. It is a very long box set, so you will definitely get your money's worth. Some novellas I like better than others, but they were all solid 3 stars and up on all the individual novellas. Not a clunker in this set at all.

I think my favorite was the first and second books. The others were good too, but I enjoyed the first and second ones best. I must admit, that around the middle, I did get a little bored and did some skimming through. But the box set winds up with a strong finish. Like I said, there isn't a book in the set that I would rate under 3 stars, which is rare in a box set.

A very well written, well formatted box set with a central theme around the town of Christmas Town Maine. A box set that I highly recommend.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- Christmas romance
Age recommendations -- 17 and up
Sex content rating -- mild
Violence rating -- none

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Review - Holiday Luv Bundle by Alicia Street

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of --
Holiday Luv Bundle: Four Christmas Romances by Alicia Street

Overall star rating --- 5

About the book:
The Christmas Honeymoon
Quiet librarian Serena always loved Christmas, until she was jilted before her December wedding. A year later, while trying to rekindle her tarnished holiday spirit, she meets Damien, handsome daredevil--and a total Scrooge. Their unlikely mutual attraction brings on a challenge that leads to one very romantic Christmas.

Be Mine for Christmas
Single mom Ellie is lonely and struggling to find a job. She takes her little boy to a Christmas tree farm to see Santa and runs head on into a blue-eyed Viking with a winsome smile. Reece opened his Christmas tree farm after the accident that nearly took his life. But it left him with the vision of a woman who would heal his heart.

The Christmas Wedding Cake
Natalie and Shane were inseparable sweethearts until a pair of mysterious emails tore them apart. Years later they meet again on a reality TV cooking show--and it's more than the oven that gets cooking.

His Christmas Promise
A stray dog with a penchant for giving warm and fuzzy love finds refuge with an ex-Army helicopter pilot and helps restore his grandmother's will to live. It seems like a Christmas miracle until the bachelor war vet discovers the mutt belongs to a little girl who wants him back--and a single mom who makes him rethink his freewheeling ways and maybe even believe in love.

Book creation ratings -- Max. total of 30 possible --
Overall total, out of 30 -- 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The Christmas Quotient --- 7
** The scale runs from 1-7 trees, and rates Christmassyness. **

The review --
This is a wonderful box set, by one of my favorite authors. Two of these I had read before, but it was fun to read them again; and two were new to me and I hadn't read them before. A lot of her stories take place in a fictional community, so there are familiar characters in the books, familiar places. This box set is no exception. If you're searching for a fun Christmas romance reading, then it doesn't get much better than this box set.

I love all the books in this set, they are tons of fun to read. Great characters and stories in each one, and they all share a common setting. So it's like reading about the people from one community.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- romance
Age recommendations -- 17 and up
Sex content rating -- mild, kissing, hugging
Violence rating -- none at all

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Author's Amazon page

Author's facebook page

Author's website

Twitter

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas review - Home for Christmas by Lia Fairchild

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of --
Home for Christmas by Lia Fairchild

Overall star rating --- 3

About the book:
This year, Ali and Stephen are both just trying to make it through the holidays. Stephen is fresh out of a relationship and dreading the prospect of Christmas alone. Ali, on the other hand, can't celebrate with friends or family. The most important man in her life is dying - decorating cookies and hanging tinsel aren't even on her radar. When the two meet during a chance encounter, Stephen's instant attraction to Ali spurs him into action. He'll do whatever it takes to give her the holiday she deserves and pull off a real Christmas miracle.

Book creation ratings -- Max. total of 30 possible --
Overall total, out of 30 -- 20
-- Story & characters -- 5
-- Cover & title -- 7
-- Editing & formatting -- 8
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The Christmas Quotient --- 3
** How many Christmas trees a book gets tells how Christmassy it was. The scale runs from 1-7 trees. **

The review --
This is rather nice, but very short, story. It does have a sad note that runs through it, and that dampens the Christmas spirit of the story. But it is a quick read though, and it has a good ending.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- romance
Age recommendations -- 17 plus
Sex content rating -- none
Violence rating -- none

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Author's Amazon page

Author's facebook page

Author's website

Twitter

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas review - Holly and Hopeful Hearts by various authors

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of --
Holly and Hopeful Hearts: A Bluestocking Belles Collection by Caroline Warfield, Jude Knight, Susana Ellis, Jessica Cale, Sherry Ewing, Amy Rose Bennett, Nicole Zoltack

Overall star rating --- 4.5

About the book:
When the Duchess of Haverford sends out invitations to a Yuletide house party and a New Year’s Eve ball at her country estate, Hollystone Hall, those who respond know that Her Grace intends to raise money for her favorite cause and promote whatever marriages she can. Eight assorted heroes and heroines set out with their pocketbooks firmly clutched and hearts in protective custody. Or are they?
A Suitable Husband, by Jude Knight
As the Duchess of Haverford’s companion, Cedrica Grenford is not treated as a poor relation and is encouraged to mingle with Her Grace’s guests. Perhaps among the gentlemen gathered for the duchess’s house party, she will find a suitable husband?
Valuing Vanessa, by Susana Ellis
Facing a dim future as a spinster under her mother’s thumb, Vanessa Sedgely makes a practical decision to attach an amiable gentleman who will not try to rule her life.
A Kiss for Charity, by Sherry Ewing
Young widow Grace, Lady de Courtenay, has no idea how a close encounter with a rake at a masquerade ball would make her yearn for love again.
Artemis, by Jessica Cale
Actress Charlotte Halfpenny is in trouble. Pregnant, abandoned by her lover, and out of a job, Charlotte faces eviction two weeks before Christmas. When the reclusive Earl of Somerton makes her an outrageous offer, she has no choice but to accept. Could he be the man of her dreams, or is the nightmare just beginning?
The Bluestocking and the Barbarian, by Jude Knight
James must marry to please his grandfather, the duke, and to win social acceptance for himself and his father’s other foreign-born children. But only Lady Sophia Belvoir makes his heart sing, and to win her he must invite himself to spend Christmas at the home of his father’s greatest enemy.
Christmas Kisses, by Nicole Zoltack
Louisa Wycliff, Dowager Countess of Exeter wants only for her darling daughter, Anna, to find a man she can love and marry. Appallingly, Anna has her sights on a scoundrel of a duke who chases after every skirt he sees. Anna truly thinks the dashing duke cares for her, but her mother has her doubts.
An Open Heart, by Caroline Warfield
Esther Baumann longs for a loving husband who will help her create a home where they will teach their children to value the traditions of their people, but she wants a man who is also open to new ideas and happy to make friends outside their narrow circle. Is it so unreasonable to ask for toe curling passion as well?
Dashing Through the Snow, by Amy Rose Bennett
Headstrong bluestocking, Miss Kate Woodville, never thought her Christmas would be spent racing across England with a viscount hell-bent on vengeance. She certainly never expected to find love...

Book creation ratings -- Max. total of 30 possible --
Overall total, out of 30 -- 26
-- Story & characters -- 7
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 9
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
This is a wonderfully Christmassy box set by a group of authors known as The Bluestocking Belles, and they write historical romance, and they do it very well. This was a fun box set to read.

The stories all center around a holiday ball that this one lady is having, and woven through the stories, is this mother cat and her holiday kittens, which enchant several of our characters.

There is one story I would make mention of in a cautionary way, in that it departs from the traditional historical romance format. It has a lesbian theme that includes the 2 main characters of the story. The book is Artemis, by Jessica Cale. I read the beginning of the book, then began to get a suspicion of where it was going; then I skipped to the end and confirmed my hunch. The whole format that the story is based upon just doesn't work for me. But I wanted to mention it.

All the rest of the stories are your traditional historical romance, and are great. Woven inbetween each book in the set, is another book that tells the tale of her Lady's helper, and the chef. I'm sure you'd like to know if I had a favorite in the set, and that's hard to choose, since they're all so good. But choose I did. My favorite would have to be:  The Bluestocking and the Barbarian, by Jude Knight.

The Christmas Quotient --- 7
** The scale runs from 1-7 trees, and rates Christmassyness. **

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- historical romance
Age recommendations -- 17 plus
Sex content rating -- mild, mainly just kissing
Violence rating -- mild

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas review - A Dangerous Nativity by Caroline Warfield

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of --
A Dangerous Nativity by Caroline Warfield

Overall star rating --- 5

About the book:
The Earl of Chadbourn loves nothing better than to care for his fields, his flocks, and the people who earn their living from the land. Trapped by his brother-in-law’s death into responsibility for his traumatized nephew, grieving sister, and an estate gone to ruin, loneliness overwhelms him. The first-rate husbandry of a neighboring farm and the woman who runs it draw him like a moth to flame. With Christmas coming, can he repair the damaged estate and far more damaged family? Dare he hope for love in the bargain?

Catherine Wheatly is content to manage Songbird Cottage and care for her father and brothers. She has long since accepted that marriage and a home of her own are not in her future. She is content—until an interfering earl descends on Songbird determined to unearth their secrets and upend her world.

Book creation ratings -- Max. total of 30 possible --
Overall total, out of 30 -- 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The Christmas Quotient --- 7
** How many Christmas trees a book gets tells how Christmassy it was. The scale runs from 1-7 trees. **

The review --
Let me start by saying how much I loved this book. The characters are great, I loved them all; and the mystery about the family is what makes the book. It had me wondering what it was all the way through until it is revealed. It's a great story with a great ending, with the underlying theme of reuniting a family. I loved all the characters so much, and her writing just brings the settings so much to life.

This was a particularly fun book to read, and I highly recommend it. Simply wonderful, and a great book.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- historical romance
Age recommendations -- 17 plus
Sex content rating -- next to none, kisses is all
Violence rating -- none

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Author's Amazon page

Author's facebook page

Author's website

Twitter