Not Ready to Let Go of the Holidays? Here’s a Selection of Holiday Novellas to Help You Hold On

I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas (Half-Moon Hollow, #2.6)I’m Dreaming of an Undead Christmas by Molly Harper

Blurb:

It’s Christmas in Half-Moon Hollow and newly turned vampire Iris Scanlon-Calix wants to make Gigi’s first visit home from college as normal and special as possible. It’s taken months for Iris to work up the nerve to spend time around her baby sister after her vampire transition, so she enlists help from Jane Jameson and Company to keep her blood-thirst under control and assure Gigi’s safety.

Gigi, on the other hand, has problems of her own, including the demise of her relationship with high school sweetheart, Ben, and a looming job interview with Ophelia Lambert, the scariest potential employer in the Hollow. And then there’s the small matter of the handsome, frustrating vampire who keeps appearing in Gigi’s peripheral vision, then disappearing before she can talk to him.

Can the Scanlon sisters negotiate romantic problems, vampire politics, and Christmas cookie disasters and enjoy a relatively normal holiday?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun read for fans of the series, though it’s really an elaborate teaser for the next Half Moon Hollow book, which will star Gigi Scanlon. It’s definitely worth a listen before that book comes out–I mean really, it’s Molly Harper, there’s many, many laugh out loud moments–but it probably shouldn’t be the first of her books that a person reads. It’s definitely geared toward those who already know and love the previous books–both the Half Moon Hollow and the Jane Jameson series.

B+ rating.

Audiobook version was free to members on Audible this season–thanks, Audible!

 

White Lie ChristmasWhite Lie Christmas by Christine Bell and Riley Murphy

The holidays are here, and Leah Latrelle has made a mess of them. When her out-of-town parents’ concern over her non-existent love life threatens to interfere with her father’s health, she invents a boyfriend who quickly turns into a fiancé. Her family is thrilled, and they change their Christmas plans last minute to meet their future son-in-law. Now Leah has no choice but to come up with the goods. She needs a man, fast.

When her friend and business partner, Mick, offers himself up as a sacrifice, she’s all over it. He’s handsome, dependable and available for the job. What could go wrong?

Tis the season, and Mick Kilpatrick can’t say no to a damsel in distress. Especially when that damsel is his luscious business partner who has been the object of his reluctant desire for the past year. He hasn’t pursued anything because being a dad is still priority number one. A sexy woman like Leah will only distract him from what’s really important and he can’t have that. He’ll pretend to be her fiancé, but when it’s over, everything will go back to normal. Sure, he’s fantasized about her once or…a million times but that doesn’t mean he’s in love with her. Does it?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this novella–the fake fiance storyline always makes for a lot of fun opportunities, and it was definitely used well here. It’s also a friends-to-lovers story, which definitely adds to the enjoyment. The Christmas setting was like hitting the holiday novella trifecta 🙂

I enjoyed the two main characters, Mick and Leah, a whole lot–but because of this, I felt their story deserved to be longer! Since he’s a devoted single dad, I would have really liked to have seen Mick’s son play a bigger role. The easy relationship between him and Leah was alluded to a few times, and seeing it play out alongside the rest of the story could have been really satisfying.

Still, this was a nice way to fill a few spare moments in the holiday season; a quick and entertaining read from authors I’ll be looking for more from in the future.

B- rating.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Letters from HomeLetters from Home by Bethanne Strasser

Blurb:

An Army doctor, Lena Rodriguez has always been too busy with school or the Army for romance. But the letters she received during deployment have captured her heart. Back home for the holidays, she awaits Christmas morning to meet the man who has turned her life upside down.

When Zack Benson watched his best friend’s sister Lena leave for Afghanistan, he knew he had to tell her he loved her. So he sent her anonymous love letters. Now that she’s home, he realizes he’s made a tactical error. Lena has fallen for the man in those letters but still thinks of him as a brother. He has to convince her otherwise because if he succeeds, he’ll get the best Christmas present ever. But if he fails, he could lose her for good.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the premise of this one–falling in love through a year’s worth of love letters, one per month plus an extra one on Lena’s birthday. Add to that the fact that the letters are written anonymously and that they’re from her brother’s best friend, and the delicious factor ratchets up a notch. Great plot!

I really liked both Lena and Zack–Zack especially is just so adorably romantic–but at times their stubbornness became a bit frustrating. His insistence on waiting until Christmas morning for the big reveal when she was home for days before that and was leaving two days after made me want to give him a friendly but firm push in the right direction. There was also the possibility that Lena might be too hung up on her mysterious letter writer to give the flesh and blood guy in front of her a chance–would his reveal come too late?

Overall, though, this was a satisfying read. I loved the plot and liked the characters, and definitely will look for more from this author in the future.

B rating.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Second Chance ChristmasSecond Chance Christmas by Ellen Butler

Blurb:

Prominent DC attorney Emma Taylor is pulled away from a promising date the week before Christmas to pick up her ex-fiance from the ER after a bar fight. She’s in no mood to re-open old wounds, but it’s Christmas and she can’t just leave him alone and injured.

Eight hundred eighty-four days. That’s how much time has passed since Major Colton Evans made the biggest mistake of his life. Even after two tours of duty and too much shrapnel in his leg, it’s still the loss of Emma that haunts him. And if he can win her back, he’ll take any chance.

When she insists he stay with her during the holiday, they put out enough sexual electricity to rival the most decorated house on the block. But will it be enough to light the way to a future together?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this one a whole lot, with only a few reservations. I loved that Colt knew to the day how long he and Emma had been apart–right from the beginning that had me in his corner. I stayed firmly there throughout the whole novella, rooting him on. Emma, while I did like her character, seemed to be too hung up on how she thought everyone would be perceiving her because of what had happened eight hundred and eighty-four days ago–it just didn’t seem in keeping with her prominent attorney persona at all.

Overall I really enjoyed this novella, especially when Emma got over herself and really paid attention to what everyone around her was saying and doing, not just what she thought they were going to say and do. A fast and satisfying holiday read.

B+ rating.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Books on Sale! Flirts, Flaunts, and the first in the Blood Hunter series–all 99 cents!

Entangled’s having a HUGE sale on their novella lines today–Flirts and Flaunts are on sale for 99 cents each!

Looking for a quick read to fit in this holiday season?

Whether you’re looking for something a little sweet, or something much more sexy we’ve got you covered.

Satisfy your craving and try Flirt or Flaunt today!

    

I’ve recently read–and loved White Lie Christmas by Christine Bell and Riley Murphy, Second Chance Christmas by Ellen Butler, and Letters from Home by Bethanne Strasser–definitely recommend! I’ll be picking up a few more later on today as well–there’s some new releases that look great!

Also on sale–this one until January 11–is the first book in Nina Croft’s Blood Hunter series, Break Out. I’ll be reviewing it here next week, but if you want to pick it up early, this would be a great time! Check out the book trailer below:

Will anyone have ebook gift cards left after this week? Phew!

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New Release Review: On His List by Wendy Sparrow

Title: On His List
Author: Wendy Sparrow
Genre: Contemporary romance
Published: 2013
Pages: 77
Format read: ebook
Rating: A-

On His List by Wendy Sparrow, with its OCD hero and strapped-for-cash, can’t-keep-her-mouth-shut-or-her-body-still heroine is absolutely adorable. I loved every minute I spent reading it, though my dog had more than a few moments during that time when he worried about my sanity.

Not that this is new, but….

Remy Maison isn’t actually a paid driver–her brother is. But their apartment was just broken into–again–and Denny’s migraine means he shouldn’t be behind the wheel today. It’s Remy’s day off, and she happens to like having an apartment in which to live, so she offers to take over.

Little does she know what is in store for her. Though given her brother’s panic-laced instructions, she should have had a clue….

Owen Savoy likes lists. He likes order, and knowing what is going to happen and when. He isn’t fond of loud noises, obnoxious music, being touched himself, or his things being touched. Remy should be his worst nightmare.

Yet, somehow, she’s not. The question is, what is he going to do about it? And how will he convey that information to Remy, who according to her brother would “understand guys’ intentions better if she didn’t try to couch everything in subtext”?

There were so many laugh out loud moments in this novella. It’s told from Remy’s point of view, so we see first hand the slightly chaotic craziness that is her thought process. Better yet, we see Owen through her eyes in scenes like this one, when Remy decides to change the order in which Owen will visit the companies he’s in town to see:

Grabbing a scarlet-colored felt pen from her purse, she drew arrows and scratched out the numbers until the order was much better before turning to look at Owen. He couldn’t have looked more horrified if he’d actually screamed and clutched the sides of his face. She would have reserved that face for someone killing puppies in the street.

“You’ve marked it.” The muscles in his neck clenched as he swallowed thickly before gesturing at the clipboard.

Oh crap. Denny had mentioned not messing with his stuff enough times she’d snarkily told him to embroider it on a throw pillow already, and now she’d just done it. “We can do it the way it was originally.”

“Well, your way is fine, but…” He gestured at the paper on the clipboard again. Wincing, he said, “I’m sorry, Remy. I just…like things a certain way, but…no, your way is fine.”

He shoved himself back into the seat with a hissed sigh from both the leather upholstery and the man. Remy’d turned sideways in the seat during their discussion, and she glanced from the marred page to Owen. A frown pulled at his lips but he was shuffling papers back into the bag with an urgency that belied how casual he was trying to be about it. The masseter muscle in his jaw flexed and then he stretched his mouth wide and rubbed a hand across it, loosening it. He was trying so hard to be okay with what she’d done.

She’d gone from stressed to happy to aroused to worried and now to horribly and completely ashamed. Denny had warned her. She wanted to bang her head against the steering wheel. It made no sense, but he was so pathetically dejected she just wanted to give him a hug.

She could fix this. She could.

Pulling the marred page from the clipboard, she handed the rest of it back to him. “I’ll just keep this up here with me.” She set it on the passenger seat. “There. See? Better. You can keep all the rest of the papers away from me.”

That drew a smile from him. “I can still see it, though.” He looked slightly embarrassed by the admission.

Her solution to this problem caused yet another why is my owner laughing like a lunatic? moment for my poor canine.

Another segment, a shortly afterwards, also serves to highlight the very vast differences between the two:

Blinking rapidly, Remy stared down at the marked-up list and scoured her brain for the missing question and an answer to go with it.

“You want to know if I’m following these directions? Really?” Hopefully, that was what he’d asked when she’d been in her fantasy—deep in the woods where she’d been ripping off his shirt…before letting him fold it neatly and set it aside.

(And yes, we find out later he really would fold his shirt. And it’s adorable.)

For once, this was a less-than-eighty page novella that I wanted to be longer not because we needed more about the characters, but because I wanted more from them. I will absolutely be looking for more from this author in the future–wouldn’t want my dog becoming too complacent, would we? 😉

A- rating.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Review and New Release: Neighbors by L.S. Murphy

 

Title: Neighbors
Author: L.S. Murphy
Genre: Contemporary romance
Published: 2013
Pages: 65
Format read: ebook
Rating: C+

Neighbors is a novella from Entangled’s Flirt line, which promises “palate-teasing novellas designed to satisfy readers’ cravings for romance without the time commitment required to invest in a full-length novel.” Sounds perfect for a busy November, right?

Rena Woods’s design business is finally taking off. She’s landed a huge client–the wife of St Louis’s newest NBA star–and she’s sure that doing well on this job will give her an “in” in the industry. When her new neighbors move in, she might not have even noticed–except for the giant moving truck boxing her into her parking spot just as she needs to leave for an important appointment.

Oh, and the gorgeous–but surly–guy behind the wheel.

Staff Sargent C.J. Riker is apparently a model neighbor to everyone but Rena, though, a fact which just feeds her annoyance. What gives?

As the two begin to get past their less-than-ideal beginning, Rena starts to feel a connection to the Marine that goes beyond simple attraction. Some things remain a mystery, however. How did he lose his leg? What causes his mercurial shifts in temper when Rena’s around? And given her aunt’s experiences with being “married to the military”–and Rena’s own less-than-perfect dating track record, not to mention her busy career–should she even try to get close enough to him to find out?

Neighbors was a pleasant way to spend an hour reading, but  it didn’t go much beyond that. Though I liked the characters and enjoyed their interactions, I didn’t ever feel a deep connection to them and their problems. Part of it is no doubt the fact that this is a very short read–knowing more about the characters and their backgrounds definitely would have made me feel more invested in their struggles–but overall, it just didn’t pack much of a “punch” for me. While reading, I just felt as if I were floating along the top of their lives, mildly interested in what was going on with them but not terribly concerned about it one way or another.

Riker’s character was obviously experiencing some major effects from his military service, and that aspect alone really deserved more attention than this short of a novella could really deliver. Still, I didn’t dislike L.S. Murphy’s writing, and would definitely pick up another book by this author in the future in the hopes that I would be able to find a better connection with it and its characters.

C+ rating.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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