Review: An Alaskan Christmas, by @JenniferSnow18

 

An Alaskan ChristmasTitle: An Alaskan Christmas (Wild River #1)
Author: Jennifer Snow
Rating: 4/5 stars
 

In Alaska, it’s always a white Christmas—but the sparks flying between two reunited friends could turn it red-hot…

If there’s one gift Erika Sheraton does not want for Christmas, it’s a vacation. Ordered to take time off, the workaholic surgeon reluctantly trades in her scrubs for a ski suit and heads to Wild River, Alaska. Her friend Cassie owns a tour company that offers adventures to fit every visitor. But nothing compares to the adrenaline rush Erika feels on being reunited with Cassie’s brother, Reed Reynolds.

Gone is the buttoned-up girl Reed remembers. His sister’s best friend has blossomed into a strong, skilled, confident woman. She’s exactly what his search-and-rescue team needs—and everything he didn’t know he craved. The gulf between his life in Wild River and her big-city career is wide. But it’s no match for a desire powerful enough to melt two stubborn hearts… (description from Goodreads)

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Christmas books aren’t only good to read around the holiday. At least, I that’s how I feel about them. An Alaskan Christmas is no exception here. Christmas has been done for a few months and this book took me back to cold winter nights, a little festivity, and some romance to warm things up.

Jennifer Snow’s first Wild River book really helps establish the series, as well as the small town of Wild River up in Alaska.  It’s a small town, butted right up against the wilderness that is Alaska. There’s danger and beauty out there, and Snow shows that well on the search and rescue missions Reed and his crew take on in this book. Aside from the setting, the characters are strong elements of the book. They’re flawed, realistic, and make decisions that aren’t always easy to predict, which sets them apart for me.

Having only read this book, but knowing which characters will be coming up in the next one, I know I’ll be revisiting Wild River soon. And I feel that I’ll be coming back to this small Alaskan town again and again this year, with each new release.

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About the Author:

Jennifer Snow lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband and four year old son. She is a member of the RWA, the Alberta Writers Guild, Canadian Authors Association and SheWrites.org. Her first Brookhollow book was a finalist in the Heart of Denver Aspen Gold contest and the Golden Quill Award.

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New Release: A Big Surprise for Valentine’s Day, by @jackielaubooks

Amber Wong has landed her dream job at the Stratford Festival, and life is looking good. Sure, she hasn’t had sex in so long that her condoms have expired, but she’ll just pick up some new ones, along with some discounted Christmas chocolate, at the grocery store.

And that’s where she runs into Dr. Sebastian Lam, the son of her parents’ close friends, whom she hasn’t seen in years. He’s moved back to Ontario, newly single, and… Oh my God. He’s really hot.

The attraction is mutual and no-strings-attached sex is the perfect arrangement for both of them, since Amber has sworn off dating after a string of terrible boyfriends.

But what if their families find out they’re spending time together and start interfering in their lives? That would be a disaster.

Even worse? If they develop feelings for each other, given a relationship is the last thing Amber wants right now…

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If you’d like to buy a copy of this book, you can find it on:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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About the Author:

Jackie Lau decided she wanted to be a writer when she was in grade two, sometime between writing “The Heart That Got Lost” and “The Land of Shapes.” She later studied engineering and worked as a geophysicist before turning to writing romance novels.

Jackie lives in Toronto with her husband, and despite living in Canada her whole life, she hates winter. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, hiking, eating too much gelato, and reading on the balcony when it’s raining.

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Review: Auld Lang Syne, by @RebelWrites_

Title: Auld Lang Syne (Highlands Holiday #1)
Author: Rebel Carter
Rating: 3/5 stars

It’s the holidays, and Delilah Solis has had enough.

For years she has dedicated herself to the well-being of her loved ones, working her fingers to the bone at the family business, all at the price of putting her own dreams on hold. But when Del overhears a conversation detailing how much her family takes her for granted she decides she’s had enough, and runs away for the New Year.

Del’s adventure takes her to the Highlands of Scotland, where she meets Agnes, her new boss, a woman sure about two things: the fey folk, and her talent at matchmaking. Agnes has set her sights on making a match between Del and Callum, a rugged Scotsman and the owner of the town’s printing press.

It wouldn’t be so bad if Del wasn’t so drawn to the prickly Scotsman. It’d be even better if Del could rule out fairy intervention. Are the feelings springing up between Del and Callum real, or is it all just magic?

Read on for a fun and sexy contemporary Highland romance replete with Scottish brogues, heroines who love big, and a happily ever after perfect for the New Year. (description from Goodreads)

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It’s not easy to find New Year’s romances. Not as easy as books set around Christmas at least. Luckily I’m stumbling upon more. And that’s how I ended up buying Auld Lang Syne by Rebel Carter. It sounded really good and I’m starting to realize I enjoy stories set in Scotland.

I enjoyed this novella for the characters the most. Del is a woman pushed to be the best due to her family knowing she’ll pick up their slack in the family business. She’s the best at her job, but it takes a toll. I was happy to see her finally be pushed over the edge and decide that she needed a change. The spontaneous change (heading to Scotland to follow another one of her passions) is just what she needed. Agnes, her new boss was also a great character to read. She believes in the fey while not many others still do. It leads to some issues, but that doesn’t stop her. Callum, the other character who plays a big part, while I didn’t feel I knew him a lot (1st person, one narrator POV is a little limiting at times), was also a great guy in the end.

This was a good, short read to start out the new year with. It took me a little longer to read in spots and might benefit from another quick edit/polishing up due to a few hang ups. But it was still a great first read from a new-to-me author. I’ve since bought the second Highlands Holiday book, A Viscount for Valentine’sand the entire Alpha and Omega series. I’m curious to see what Carter can do with the variety of subgenres she writes in. From here, I’ll have to check out her mail-order bride books.

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You can find this book on:

Amazon

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About the Author:

Romance is my way of creating a world that reflects the people and various relationship dynamics that exist around me. I hope that my writing offers a space where love of all shades and expressions are seen as valid, real and embraced. Each love story I write carries a piece of me in it’s pages and I’m proud to share a part of my heart with each and every page you turn.

When I’m not writing romance, I’m probably working my day job as a pretty damn good barista, or obsessing over my ever-growing plant collection. I have a geriatric dog that I coddle and enable to live her best forever puppy life. I currently live in Colorado where every day proves to be a new adventure.

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Review: Mangos and Mistletoe, by @ladrianaherrera

Title: Mangos & Mistletoe
Author: Adriana Herrera
Rating: 4/5 stars

Kiskeya Burgos left the tropical beaches of the Dominican Republic with a lot to prove. As a pastry chef on the come up, when she arrives in Scotland, she has one goal in mind: win the Holiday Baking Challenge. Winning is her opportunity to prove to her family, her former boss, and most importantly herself, she can make it in the culinary world. Kiskeya will stop at nothing to win , that is, if she can keep her eyes on the prize and off her infuriating teammate’s perfect lips.

Sully Morales, home cooking hustler, and self-proclaimed baking brujita lands in Scotland on a quest to find her purpose after spending years as her family’s caregiver. But now, with her home life back on track, it’s time for Sully to get reacquainted with her greatest love, baking. Winning the Holiday Baking Challenge is a no brainer if she can convince her grumpy AF baking partner that they make a great team both in and out of the kitchen before an unexpected betrayal ends their chance to attain culinary competition glory.” (description from Goodreads)

fancy lineresizeThis new story from Adriana Herrera ticked off many boxes for me. 1) Holiday themed, 2) novella that’s holiday themed, 3) FF Romance that includes both 1 and 2…and the list could go on and on. Last year, I enjoyed Herrera’s debut American Dreamer, the MM Romance with a food truck owner trying out his business in Central New York. Mangos and Mistletoe was a nice way to really test out this author’s versatility. She goes from a MM series to this FF novella and sets it in Scotland. That made me want to read it right away.

I really enjoyed the dynamic the two main characters, Kiskeya and Sully, had. In many ways they’re two totally different people despite the link of them both being Dominican. They both have different relationships with being Dominican and different motivations in their baking professions. Putting them together could have spelled disaster, but it didn’t. They worked so well together (not just in the ways of romance).

Herrera was able to develop great characters, not just in the two heroines, but also with the side characters. And even though I don’t know most of the baking terms used in the creations during the competition, it makes me want to learn more about it all. And maybe I’ll go watch some baking shows to add to my reading.

It was great to see how Herrera can write a great romance again. I think she did a great job jumping into FF Romance and showed that love is love. Doesn’t matter who’s in love. Just matters that it’s well written. I can’t wait to see what else is planned from this author. I know I’ll need more from her after I finish the other Dreamers novels. I hope to see another novella like this one. It was just what I needed to finish off last year and begin this new one.

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You can find this book on:

Amazon

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About the Author:

Adriana was born and raised in the Caribbean, but for the last 15 years has let her job (and her spouse) take her all over the world. She loves writing stories about people who look and sound like her people, getting unapologetic happy endings.

When she’s not dreaming up love stories, planning logistically complex vacations with her family or hunting for discount Broadway tickets, she’s a social worker in New York City, working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

She’s one of the co-creators of the Queer Romance PoC Collective and serves as the VP of Programs for the Romance Writers of America New York City Chapter.

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HRM – FINAL DAY – New Release – New Year, Second Chance, by @espenarcadia

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You know how they say closure helps? They’re wrong.

Second chances don’t exist, do they?

Austin: I was doing pretty good. Loving family, law school, job experience at a local law firm, and an incredibly handsome wolf shifter boyfriend. Until that same boyfriend decided to dump me, just before Christmas. Now, I’m heartbroken, I have to work with him every day and we’ve both been invited to the same New Year’s Eve party!

Daniel: I’ve made mistakes but breaking up with the love of my life a couple of days before Christmas has to be the worst. It’s agony without him, and it’s worse seeing him suffer every day. I threw the greatest thing I’ve ever known away because my family wouldn’t approve of me dating a fox shifter. Christmas was horrible and now New Year’s Eve is likely to be even worse.

The clock is ticking. New Year’s Eve is just round the corner. Can shifters, Austin and Daniel find a way back to each other or will the new year bring a fresh start…alone.

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If you’d like to buy a copy of this book, you can find it on:

Amazon

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About the Author:

I’m an M/M (Gay) Author who likes writing books about guys getting into trouble (adventures as I like to call them) and have some fun along the way!

Also a guy who’s obsessed with his pets, video games, and getting up to trouble when he can find the time.

I can be found in my Facebook group: The Bear’s Den

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