It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

It may not be snowing today in Stockholm but it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which means I can indulge in one of my favorite guilty pleasures — reading holiday romances! I love Christmas romances and I am trying to find some Hanukkah romances to add to my reading list. If you have some faves (both Christmas and Hanukkah romances), drop me a line!

The Night Before Christian by Joy Avery

Sometimes…love is the only thing that can free you.

When Emory Chambers asked Santa for someone to warm her cold nights, she hadn’t expected him to actually deliver. But he does. The only problem… He delivers the wrong man. Her ex is the last person she expects to see stroll into her floral design shop. The second their eyes meet old feelings rush back, and their connection sparks as potent as ever. But she has to ignore the fact that she still loves him. Especially since he’s engaged to be married.

Christian St. Claire is a man lost. That’s until a floral consultation for his upcoming wedding brings him face-to-face with Emory—the only woman he’s ever truly loved. He refuses to allow himself to fall under her spell again. But despite how hard he’s trying, he can’t shake his feelings for the woman who shattered him. Reconnecting with Emory forces him to question himself. Can he vow his life to another when his heart still pounds for the one who got away?

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The Best Christmas Ever by Stacy-Deanne

All hell’s breaking loose in the Bible Belt.

After getting out of prison, 23-year-old LJ McCormick settles in Beluga, Georgia for a fresh start. That won’t be easy thanks to Beluga’s bible-thumping residents who have issues with LJ’s past and him being an atheist.

Everything the community doesn’t like about LJ makes him irresistible to Ginger, the wild and flirtatious daughter of Reuben and Nola Ryder, the pastor and first lady of the church.

Sick of being seen as just the preacher’s daughter, Ginger finds solace in LJ and the two fall in love despite the obstacles in their way.

Meanwhile, 45-year-old Nola is desperate to get her marriage back on track but her world turns upside down when she meets Quinn Moretti, an ex-con with a heart of gold, who gives her the attention and passion she’s not getting at home.

Get your copy here!

Resolutions: a novella by Lucy Eden

Mike is my best friend.

My tall, gorgeous, and bearded best friend.

We both share a love for music, Monty Python, dirty jokes and my grandmother’s homemade cookies.
I also have a giant crush on Mike.

And he has no idea.

I tried to tell him at a New Year’s Eve party last year, but I lost my nerve, and he ended up with someone else.
Armed with a broken heart and a massive hangover, I wrote a list of New Year’s resolutions intent on turning myself into New and Improved Jane who doesn’t let life pass her by.
With resolutions to check off the list and limited time to finish, I accepted Mike’s offer to help.

But spending all this time with Mike is bringing up feelings that I’d spent a better part of a year keeping under control. Mike has a girlfriend and I can’t risk losing my best friend, but sometimes the way he looks at me makes me think, maybe, he feels them too?

I’m probably just daydreaming, as usual…

This novella has NO cheating and is a standalone, friends-to-lovers romantic comedy full of alphas, steam, sarcasm and Monty Python references.

Going live on December 17 – preorder now at the special price of 99 cents – price increases to $2.99 after launch!

All I Want by Susan Scott Shelley

Damon Kallis is always in control, whether in his VP position for his family’s toy company, captaining his men’s rec league hockey team, or taking care of his friends. There isn’t any room for romance in his well-ordered life. He made that mistake once, and it nearly cost him everything. Work, family, and friends are all he needs.

 All Emily Lombardi needs is a job. After her ex poisoned her reputation as a reporter, no TV station is willing to give her a chance. When the job as Damon’s executive assistant opens up, she’s in the right place at the right time. Landing the position is simple compared to dealing with Damon — the stubborn man won’t let her in. 

Working in close quarters leads to accidental touches, lingering glances, and simmering passion. Soon, they can’t deny their attraction.

With the holiday season underway, Damon’s ice starts to thaw and Emily sees someone caring and real, someone she could count on. But their past experiences are hard to forget, and when their new-found love is tested, only a Christmas miracle can give them a happily-ever-after.

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A Christmas Spirit by LaVerne Thompson

Time’s almost running out for a spirit of Christmas. She has to find some way to bring Lily and Devin, two lonely souls, together. Even if she’s got to brew up a snowstorm to do it.

A FREE read in Kindle Unlimited

A Winter Wonderland by Rebecca Hunter

What’s worse than a broken-down car during a winter storm?
When the hot tow truck driver is your ex-boyfriend, the one you left behind
.

Coming face-to-face with Jace after nine years is a reminder of everything Selena tried to forget when she left her hometown. A very sexy reminder. And it’s even more dangerous when mixed with a little holiday magic.

Jace is supposed to be long over Selena, but he still hasn’t forgotten that she left for college without saying goodbye and never looked back. When she calls from the side of the highway, the temptation to see her again is too strong to resist.

Will a taste of holiday magic make the reunion more tempting?

** A shorter version of this sexy, second-chance romance originally appeared in the 12 Nights of Christmas anthology. It has been revised and expanded into a novella. **

Get your copy today! 

3 Recent Reviews: Something New, The Lover and New Years in Stockholm

It’s been a while since I posted reviews here. I’ve remembered to post them on Goodreads and Amazon, and then I forget to share them here. Naughty me! Let’s catch up with three recent book reviews. 

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 07.14.57Something New by Lena Hart

Release Date: 25 July 2017

Even though I am a big city girl, I love a good small town romance. I like reading about towns where everyone knows one another and there’s a good vibe. Lena Hart delivers this milieu and a charming love story in Something New, the second book in the Brides of Cedar Bend series.

This is an opposites attract story, with the initially haughty Savannah meeting the down-to-earth Damian meeting thanks to car trouble and a rainstorm. Actually, Damian comes to the rescue twice and it’s pretty obvious there’s chemistry between the two. Savvy’s in town to help her cousin prepare for her wedding and also trying to get rid of the gold digger reputation hanging over her. When she and Damian end up in a fake engagement…well, I won’t say more. I don’t want to spoil the story for you.

I really enjoyed following their path to love. It was a fun summer read and the set up gives the story the perfect rom-com-wish-this-were-a-movie feel. I really liked the cast of characters and the setting, and I thought the story flowed really well. So why four stars and not 5? If only I could give it a 4.5. My only reason for giving the story a four instead of a five is that it took me a while to warm up to Savvy. I was all-in with Damian from page one. But this is a wonderful romance and a great summer read. Highly recommended.

Note: I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book.


Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 07.27.20The Lover by Nia Forrester

Release Date: 18 June 2017

What happens when two people who don’t necessarily believe in love agree to have a baby together? Love, of course. 🙂 And what’s at stake when their secrets threaten to derail them? That’s the conundrum Ryann and Spencer face in Nia Forrester’s The Lover.

This is one of those books you want to savor. It’s a page turner–there’s no doubt about that, but you don’t want to rush. Especially not when the story is so rich and so emotionally satisfying. So what makes it so satisfying? Forrester touches on real-life issues and uses the drama and conflict to create a compelling dynamic between the sometimes emotionally distant and sometimes reluctant to commit Ryann and the sexy former bad boy who doesn’t realize he’s looking for something have and hold Spencer.

Should we talk about characterization? Of course we should. Forrester excels at creating multifaceted characters who are imperfect, who fuck up and who still pull at your heartstrings –and she does this without resorting to clichés. Ryann is not an easy character to love. She holds so tight to her secrets and the carefully constructed facade she uses as her defense against the world. But little by little we see there are chinks in her armor that reveal the real Ryann, the one who wants to be loved and doesn’t always know *how* to love. And with Spencer–he has his own issues he needs to deal with, but one thing is certain: beneath that sometimes a bit too much of an Alpha male facade, his capacity for love is great and what he wants most is to be with Ryann, even when it scares him.

There’s also the fact that this book is beautifully written. Nia Forrester is a consummate author. Her choice of words, the way she describes settings and the emotional depth of her characters…it’s magical. I am never disappointed when I read one of her books, and The Lover definitely does NOT disappoint.

Definitely a recommended read. Five stars!


Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 07.38.11New Years in Stockholm by Rebecca Hunter

Release Date: 13 July 2017

The fourth and final episode of the One Night in Stockholm series by Rebecca Hunter starts with Alice showing up at Jonas’s doorstep on Christmas Eve–a few days earlier than planned. The Jonas she gets is not what she expected. He hates Christmas and is not in the best mood or shape when she arrives. What could have become a complete fiasco flares into something much hotter and than Alice imagined–but she’s disappointed when Jonas announces he needs to leave for a few days to sort things out with his father.

As with the rest of the books in this series, New Years in Stockholm is a very sexy read. Jonas is as intense as ever, and Alice’s unquenchable desire for him practically jumps off the pages. The key difference with this episode is the emotional clarity and complexity. Jonas and Alice are on the cusp of what could be something amazing or could go horribly wrong. The question is will fear of fucking up prevent them from having what they both so desperately want? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out. 🙂

It may be winter in New Years in Stockholm, but this book is definitely a must-read of this summer. My recommendation? One-click it ASAP and enjoy!

5 books to read if that 4th of July cookout is boring…

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 23.16.45It’s a long weekend for all my Canadian and American friends–Happy Birthday, Canada and USA!–and that means cookouts…and as nice as they are, you know you’re going to need to escape and recharge your social batteries. (Let’s face it, all of bookworms go through this. We need time, space…and then we can deal with people again.) Instead of hiding in the den or the basement and watching TV (you know they’ll find you there!), load up your tablet or e-reader with some summer reads and find a good hiding place–don’t forget to grab a huge glass of wine or something.

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 21.47.43  I met Estelle Ryan in Matera last year and have had her Genevieve Lenard series on my TBR list for a while. If you like thrillers and art heists, then The Gauguin Connection could be your cup of tea. It’s the first book in a 9-part series  and it’s free, so you can try it out risk-free. So what’s it about? Here’s the synopsis:

Murdered artists. Masterful forgeries. Art crime at its worst.

As an insurance investigator and world renowned expert in nonverbal communication, Dr Genevieve Lenard faces the daily challenge of living a successful, independent life. Particularly because she has to deal with her high functioning Autism. Nothing – not her studies, her high IQ or her astounding analytical skills – prepared her for the changes about to take place in her life.

It started as a favour to help her boss’ acerbic friend look into the murder of a young artist, but soon it proves to be far more complex. Forced out of her predictable routines, safe environment and limited social interaction, Genevieve is thrown into exploring the meaning of friendship, expanding her social definitions, and for the first time in her life be part of a team in a race to stop more artists from being murdered.

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 21.44.15More in the mood in the mood for a love story? How about four friends-to-lovers stories? Then make sure you check out Because My Heart Said So: a friends-to-lovers collection by Nia Forrester, Jacinta Howard, Lily Java and Rae Lamar? I’m nearly done reading it and I can vouch for it being an excellent summer read! I’ll be posting a review soon. Here’s a little something to get you interested: 

Four Stories. Four Authors. For Love.

“Acceptable Losses” by Nia Forrester: Quentin is in the middle of a separation from his wife that seems to have no conclusive end in sight, while Lena is stuck in Single Girl Hell. The only respite either of them have is their regular coffee dates, while working on shared projects at a very demanding job. Sick of hearing about Lena’s semidisastrous attempts to couple-up, Quentin decides to fix her up. With his brother. Seems like a perfect solution; after all, his brother is a decent enough guy and Lena deserves that. Perfect … until it appears that the fix-up might actually work.

“Blind Expectations” by Jacinta Howard: Aristotle once said the only thing constant in life is change. Or was that Confucius? Whatever. People are fluid—they come into your life for a while, and when it’s time for them to float on, Leah has no qualms waving goodbye. The only exception is her neighbor and best friend, Trevor. When all else fails in her crazy world, Trevor is always there, reliable, steady… real. But then one night a heated argument leads to a revelation that shakes Leah to the core. Suddenly, Leah is forced to make a choice. But will her heart survive her decision?

“Blackbirds” by Lily Java: Once upon a time Sydney Tarr and Elliott Vance were friends: fast friends, ride or die, pledge of allegiance, take it to the mat, “friends”. And the fact that Sydney loved her friend more than she should didn’t matter until finally… one unusual and spectacular night, it did. It mattered very much. Still, not every story is a fairy tale is it? Friends do part — sometimes forever — but, not always.

“Blur” by Rae Lamar: Jade Warner is back home. The bad part? Starting over. The best part? Reconnecting with Kyle Malone. Picking up where they left off years ago, it feels just like old times…except for the mutual attraction and questionable feelings, which are all brand new. For Jade and Kyle, it’s unthinkable to hook up given the history of their fail-safe friendship, but anything can happen when you live under the same roof…

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 22.13.07Now, after reading sexy love stories, another thriller will do you good. And Death at the Duomo by Ann Reavis is set in my favourite place–Italy. Ann used to live in Florence, Italy, where the novel is set, and she knows the city like the back of her hand, which means you’ll feel like you’re walking the streets of Florence as you read. So what’s it about?

An explosion rips through the Easter festival in front of the Duomo in Florence, Italy, but no one claims responsibility. The vicitms are not only Florentine, but also visitors from throughout the world. The security forces of Europe and the United States join together to hunt down the killers.

Caterina Falcone, a Florentine investigator, and Max Turner, an agent from the U.S. Embassy, team up to find out why an American student was at the cathedral when the bomb exploded. Max hunts a bomber who sows death around the globe. Inspector Falcone believes the identity of the perpetrator can be found close to home. Together they race across Tuscany to stop a killer before more people die.

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 22.34.26After reading Death in the Duomo, you’ll probably be in the mood again for a love story. So travel north to Stockholm and give the Stockholm Diaries: Caroline by Rebecca Hunter a try. I’ve read all three books in the series and loved them. I think you will too. Check out the review I wrote for it. 

A pro hockey player with a rough reputation.
An American looking for a taste of adventure.
A chance to turn an intense attraction into something more.

Photographer Caroline Mendoza finally sheds her safe life in Michigan for adventure and a fresh start, and her first stop is Sweden. But Stockholm suddenly becomes more than just a casual stopover when Caroline discovers her reclusive next-door neighbor is ex-Red Wings player Niklas Almquist, whose high-profile alpha bad-boy image, both on and off the ice, has followed him back to Sweden.

While Niklas’s darker side draws her to him, she knows the sensible decision is to move on from Stockholm before she gets too attached. Her time in Stockholm is running out. She must choose between what is safe and what her heart tells her is right. Is she strong enough to take the risk?

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 23.03.49After all this love, maybe you’re in the mood for something post-apocalyptic? Alyssa Cole’s Radio Silence— the first book in the Off the Grid series–could be just what you need. 

No one expects the apocalypse.

Arden Highmore was living your average postgrad life in Rochester, New York, when someone flipped the “off” switch on the world. No cell phones, no power, no running water—and no one knows why. All she and her roommate, John, know for sure is that they have to get out, stat. His family’s cabin near the Canadian border seemed like the safest choice.

It turns out isolation doesn’t necessarily equal safety.
When scavengers attack, it’s John’s ridiculously handsome brother, Gabriel, who comes to the rescue. He saves Arden’s life, so he can’t be all bad…but he’s also a controlling jerk who treats her like an idiot. Now their parents are missing and it seems John, Gabriel, their kid sister, Maggie, and Arden are the only people left alive who aren’t bloodthirsty maniacs.

No one knows when—or if—the lights will come back on and, in the midst of all that, Arden and Gabriel are finding that there’s a fine line indeed between love and hate. How long can they expect to last in this terrifying new world, be it together or apart?

These are just a few of my suggestions for summer reads. Check back next week–I’ll tell you which 5 new releases I’ll be reading reading now that July is heating up Stockholm!

Don’t forget to tell me which books are on your must-read list for July! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 reviews for Rebecca Hunter’s Stockholm Diaries series

Stockholm Diaries, Caroline (Stockholm Diaries #1)Stockholm Diaries, Caroline by Rebecca Hunter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I stumbled upon the Stockholm Diaries–Amazon recommended it to me since I’ve written two novels and a novella set in Scandinavia–and am I glad I listened to them. The Stockholm Diaries: Caroline is a great love story about a young American expat trying to figure out what she wants in life and a Swedish former NHL hockey player trying to keep his personal and public lived separate. Fate pushes the two of them together early one morning during the magical days of Swedish summer–when the sun never properly sets and you feel like almost anything could happen.

Rebecca Hunter does a great job of capturing the attraction and passion between Caroline and Niklas. I especially loved how she wrote about Caroline’s friendship with fellow expat Veronica, with whom Caroline shares all of her secrets and fears. Hunter excels at describing Stockholm and the city becomes more than just a setting. It becomes a character as well.

I loved reading the Stockholm Diaries and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

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Stockholm Diaries, Caroline 2Stockholm Diaries, Caroline 2 by Rebecca Hunter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading the first book in the Stockholm Diaries series, I absolutely had to read Book 2. Now we catch up with Caroline and Niklas at the tail end of their travels and real life is looming before them. For Caroline, it means finally deciding if she’ll go back to Stockholm with Niklas or stay in Detroit for a while and try to make a name for herself as a travel photographer. For Niklas, it’s about either staying in Detroit to play for the Red Wings (even though he’s not really so keen on the idea of returning to the team after allegation that he’d abused a woman when in reality it was one of his teammates who was the culprit, but it would mean he and Caroline could be together) or returning to Sweden to play for Djurgården, his former hockey team who’ve offered him a one-year contract.

Throughout the book, we see the struggle both Caroline and Niklas are having with trying to have a life together in Detroit. Her ex- is there and he’s a nasty piece of work. And being back in Detroit suddenly has Caroline feeling like she cannot be the person she wants to be. But she is afraid to take the plunge and leave the security of what she knows. Niklas, on the other hand, is willing to do whatever it takes for them to be together, but he wants to know that Caroline is all-in. And sometimes it feels like she isn’t, which plays into his insecurities.

I really like how this series shows the pitfalls of being in a multicultural relationship as well as what’s so wonderful about it. I also like how Rebecca has created an alpha male in Niklas without turning him into an asshole. I *really* hate this alpha male as jerk trend. I don’t care how good they are in bed, a jerk is a jerk. And Niklas is NOT a jerk. I also found Caroline’s fear of giving herself to Niklas completely to be believable. She has had such a sheltered life–with her parents trying to make decisions for her, then Brad taking over her life and making her set aside her dreams, so it’s understandable that she is afraid of the same thing happening with Niklas.

I missed more of Stockholm in this story, but I knew it would mostly take place in Michigan. Really enjoyed this story and it was wonderful to see Caroline and Niklas come full circle. Now I wonder if they’ll go to Mexico together, to meet her family there. 🙂

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Stockholm Diaries, Melanie (Stockholm Diaries, #3)Stockholm Diaries, Melanie by Rebecca Hunter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rebecca Hunter has succeeded again in capturing Stockholm summers, this time focusing her attention on the archipelago, the group of islands in the Baltic Sea to which Stockholmers love to escape from the city. This time, we focus on American Melanie, who is writing a biography of her father–a famous Swedish poet who has been a mystery to her since he left her life when she as a child–and Henrik, a very handsome Swede who happens to have his own connection to her father and an aversion to relationships.

I really loved how, despite the attraction Melanie and Henrik feel for one another almost from the very beginning of the story, they try to maintain a professional relationship (since he’s helping her with translating her father’s journals from Swedish to English). But the pull between them is just too much for either to ignore and the island isn’t really big enough to justify keeping their distance. Melanie and Henrik’s story is intriguing and very sexy–very hot scenes between the two of them and my favourite takes place in the tiny cabin of his boat. I also loved how Melanie was determined to find out why her father left her life when she was so young, even if she knew that she might not like the answers she’d find.

Another winner! So happy to have found another writer writing about Americans finding love in Scandinavia! 😀

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