Tag Archives: holiday romance books

Review ~ A Spoonful of Sugar by Kate Hardy

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Tyler Carter is a healthy-eating gym owner who doesn’t bake. When his employees enter him into a bake-off contest to raise money for Harry’s House, an after school space for kids commemorating local first responder Harry Monroe, he needs to learn–fast!

Shy special needs teacher Stacey Allman loves to bake and often dreams of sharing her confections with her uber fit, gorgeous neighbor. So when Tyler sets off his smoke alarm and explains his dilemma, she can’t resist the temptation of playing pastry chef tutor. He offers boxing lessons in exchange. More time together? Yes please,

But when Tyler’s ex comes back to Marietta asking for his help, will it derail Stacey and Tyler’s chance at love, or will it make them see that they’re the perfect fit?

A Spoonful of Sugar is book two in the Bachelor Bake-Off series, and this time we get health conscious gym owner Tyler, whose staff entered him into the bake-off knowing he can’t even cook grilled cheese. So when Tyler sets off his smoke alarm during an attempt to bake a cake he finally gets an official introduction to his cute by shy neighbor, Stacey Allman. Stacey is a heroine you can get behind and I applaud Kate Hardy for this character. She is sympathetic and kind, sweet and shy, but along the way she learns that she is stronger and smarter than her family ever let her believe. When these two meet up for baking lessons, it is a sweet romance even grandma will love.

What I loved about A Spoonful of Sugar was the small town feel and getting to catch up with the people of Marietta. The drama was minimal, almost too minimal but for a sweet romance it got the job done. I liked Tyler a lot, but Lyle is the one who stole the show for me and I hope he gets a story in this series too. The thing I had a problem with is that Kate Hardy spent a lot of time talking about how to bake and at times it felt more like an homage to baking than a small town romance. The author more than made up for it with the actual bake-offs, but it slowed down the pace of the book a bit too much. Overall I enjoyed this title, but I enjoyed book one more.

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REVIEW ~ Oklahoma Starshine by Maggie Shayne

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ABOUT:
A deeply moving, emotional story of a mother’s anguish, a father’s love, a family’s hope, this novel will renew your faith and restore your belief in miracles.

Veterinarian and single mom Emily Hawkins’ world is turned upside down when her precious little girl is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Only a bone marrow transplant can save 3-year-old Matilda Louise. Emily isn’t a match, but she’s determined to find someone who is, and that means tracking down Tilda’s biological father and his filthy rich family, a family she believes would’ve preferred her little girl had never been born.

But when she arrives in Big Falls, Oklahoma, nothing is the way she expected. Joey McIntyre, the billionaire’s son who’d been her sweet teenage summer fling, is as handsome and smooth as ever, but he seems to fall hard for Tilda-Lou at first sight, and he’s furious that Emily has kept his child from him. Which makes no sense at all. Soon Emily begins to suspect that the version history she’s believed all these years, might not be the real one. And if that’s true, she’s done a terrible, unforgivable thing.

But none of that matters as dire symptoms set in. The doctor advises Emily and Joe to give their girl the best Christmas ever. Fortunately, Christmas is what the Brand-McIntyre clan does best.

Emily and Joey put their feelings aside, coming together in a desperate search for a way to save their little girl against all odds.

But the truth is that little Matilda Louise is the one who’s saving them.

If you enjoyed Maggie Shayne’s Award Winning Texas Brands Series and Oklahoma Brands, you are going to LOVE the McIntyre Men.

I’ll tell you up front that I am a fan of Maggie Shayne and specifically her Oklahoma-centric series’. I love the feisty Brand women which means I’ll pretty much give every new series at least one book. When I came across Oklahoma Starshine, which combined the Brand women with the hot McIntyre men, I was all in. Throw in a secret baby and the possibility of a second chance romance and I’m a sucker for it!

I won’t rehash the synopsis but let me just tell you that I was totally prepared to have a real good hate-on for Joe…and Bobby Jo. And for a long time, I did. Even longer than Emily probably.

One of the things that often defines Maggie Shayne novels is the big family dynamic and I love it. Almost always. Sometimes though, like in the case of Emily, I think it can come across as bullying. Skepticism is perfectly understandable but seriously, NO ONE considered that just maybe Joe had done something to screw things up between him.

I loved watching Matilda and Joe fall in love as father and daughter, it just enhanced the whole holiday feel of things. To me Emily and Joe were secondary in this story, which was okay.

I loved that all the Brands show up and use all of their quite considerable otherworldly beliefs to help guide Tilda to good health.

Oklahoma Starshine was a lot of fun, magic, holiday spirit with just the right amount of romance to make this a quick, enjoyable read.

***At the time of this review Oklahoma Starshine is just #99cents!***

Feels Like Love ~ Just 99 CENTS!!!

I just wanted to belong…
Sadie had never belonged anywhere other than on stage. A soulful singer and musician, she left home at a young age and never looked back. No one missed her anyhow. Traveling the country with one no good boyfriend or another for work, Sadie settled in New Orleans until another d-bag boyfriend decided she wasn’t enough…and the slutty new bartender was.
She left for Mustang Prairie and the open arms of her half-sister Amelia…or so she thought

I just wanted to protect her…
Dylan Parker was retired at the ripe old age of 34. After catching a serial killer who’d tortured Chicago for a decade, he was ready to turn in his homicide detective’s shield.
Needing distance from his high society parents and their social climbing friends he packed up his truck and bought a bar in Mustang Prairie. Getting reacquainted with small town life would be an adjustment…until he met a copper haired amazon with a voice like warm honey.
Sadie was everything he wanted; a friend, a devil’s advocate, a sister, and a confidante. Theirs was a deeply satisfying friendship so Sadie and Dylan fought their mutual attraction.

Can Sadie & Dylan admit that their friendship feels more like love?

What people are saying about Feels Like Love:

Return to Mustang Prairie and get swept away by a sweet and spicy romance!

Meet Sadie Girl, the wanderer with a heart of gold and the voice of an angel. And Dylan, the blue-eyed stud who traded in his cop badge to be a small town bartender.

Both come from cold, unsupportive families. Both have reasons to flee from romance. But eventually these two best friends won’t be able to deny their sizzling chemistry, and the growing tension between them.

My favorite book in this series! You will LOVE these characters and enjoy revisiting the rest of the Mustang Prairie gang.

Feels Like Love (Mustang Prairie Book 3)
US: http://amzn.to/1KIICF5
UK: http://amzn.to/2etV2YN
AU: http://amzn.to/2dJmi7h
CA: http://amzn.to/2ei4CTs

 

Review ~ Oklahoma Christmas Blues by Maggie Shayne

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ABOUT:

Darryl is on a quest for peace. His chance at fatherhood was taken from him long ago, and an IED in Iraq ensured he’d never get another. In Big Falls, the McIntyre brothers hire him to keep an eye on their beautiful cousin Sophie in case her criminal ex shows up. He doesn’t expect to fall head over heels.

Sophie McIntyre’s life was blown apart by a drug dealing ex who cost her her job and nearly her medical license. She comes to Big Falls because she has nowhere else to go. And the minute she gets there, things start to get better.

Is it because of that letter to Santa her Aunt Vidalia convinced her to write?

Within days she meets a beautiful man with a deeply wounded soul. And oddly, she finds herself giving him the same advice the town Santa gave to her—try believing again, and if it’s too much to believe, then just try hoping.

Love, magic, and miracles ensue.

Because this is Big Falls, Oklahoma. Miracles are an everyday occurrence around here. Especially at Christmastime.

If you know me at all, then you know that Maggie Shayne is one of my one-click authors and that is especially true with the ever expanding Oklahoma branch of the family! This is a heaping serving of Christmas magic mixed in with a little bit of love and romance.

Sophie was in Oklahoma visiting her uncle and aunt-in-law (Vidalia of the Oklahoma Brands), but really it’s because her ex cost her a fancy job at well respected hospital and he nearly cost her career. So she’s lying low and trying to figure out what happens next and going back to her roots as a bartender.

Darryl was hired on the down low by her overprotective cousins, the titular McIntyre Men, to keep her safe in case her ex comes after her. But Sophie thinks Darryl is the bouncer who likes to flirt with her, until a misunderstanding forces the truth out quickly. I really appreciated this in Oklahoma Christmas Blues because sometimes we really don’t need to have it drawn out over the length of the story. It was handled and we all moved forward.

The cutest part of this story was the letters to Santa and how slowly they came true. Of course there’s a lesson to be learned here because neither Sophie or Darryl asked for material things. They wanted help getting their lives back on track while they sorted it out for themselves.

Again Maggie Shayne has done a fantastic job with this fun holiday tale to kickoff the newest series. Oklahoma Christmas Blues was a quick read but my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. I can’t wait to watch each of the McIntyre men fall, and I have Oklahoma Moonshine already!

Side note: I missed Vidalia’s story and I’m adding it to my TBR list! You can do the same here!

LIVE!!! ~ The Christmas Fountain by Kait Nolan

Elementary school teacher Mary Alice Reed wanted a nice, stable guy to share her happily ever after. When she thought she’d found him, everyone tried to tell her that the guy she thought was her Mr. Right, was really Mr. Somebody Else’s. Living with a town’s worth of I-told-you-so isn’t easy, but she’s coping. And definitely taking a break from love in order to get past her last disaster to chair her favorite Christmas charity.

Trauma surgeon Chad Phillips gave up the intensity and long hours of a big city hospital to move to Wishful. He wants a home and family, a town with a slower pace, where he can actually build a life. Being one of Wishful’s most eligible bachelors has gotten him a lot of pie and casseroles, but it hasn’t helped him find that special someone to come home to.

When a friend’s accident lands Mary Alice in his ER, Chad finds himself more than intrigued. Part Martha Stewart, part Mary Poppins, and all Girl Next Door, she’s exactly what he’s been looking for. Volunteering for the Fountain of Hope charity seems like the perfect way to get to know his Christmas crush. But just as he seems to be overcoming Mary Alice’s once bitten, twice shy caution, that one tiny thing from his past, that he probably should have told her about, shows up for a Christmas season visit. Chad’s gonna have some explaining to do.

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Happy Thanksgiving!!!

To all my friends, family and readers in the United States, I wanted to take a moment to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and tell you that I am thankful for ALL OF YOU!! Those of you who have bought my books, reviewed them or helped pimp them. To those of you who supported and encouraged me, and those who offered critiques that were hard to hear…thank you.

Putting one book out for consumption is hard. Making a career of it is even harder without the right people around to help you succeed. It is a slow climb but we’re all still making it together. So thank you for being the kind of people to help and I hope I’ve given back as much or more to you.

Eat well and be thankful for those that are with you today, and remember those who aren’t with you any longer.

And wish me luck as I embark on my very first vegan Thanksgiving meal.

After your belly is stuffed and your heart is full of mashed potatoes and yummy pecan pie, snuggle up with a good book or two.

Just #99cents

Alex & Baxter