Posted in 2022 Reviews Flashback Friday Giveaways You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – The Santa Suit: A Novel by Mary Kay Andrews #Review / #Giveaway @mkayandrews

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

The Santa Suit: A Novel
Holiday Romance Fiction
St. Martin’s Press (September 28, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250279313
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250279316
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08ZLN1DDC
Griffin (October 11, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250858453
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250858450

From Mary Kay Andrews, the New York Times bestselling author of Hello, Summer, comes a novella celebrating the magic of Christmas and second chances in The Santa Suit.

When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love—but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it’s a full-time job sorting through all of it.

At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit—beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish hand: it’s from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?

Ivy’s quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Ivy Perkins is fresh off her divorce and has purchased an old farmhouse, The Four Roses, online without seeing it in person. She arrives with her dog Punkin, a couple of chickens, and a carload of her possessions to meet the realtor for the key. She immediately sees she has her work cut out for her with a sagging porch and a driveway full of potholes. When she finally gets the front door open she sees the previous family left most of their furniture behind and the inside needs some repairs and updating too. As she continues to investigate her new home she finds a wondrous old Santa Suit still in perfect condition. Then she finds a mystery in the pocket in the form of a child’s note with a very important wish, that her father comes home safely from the war.

So while she tries to make herself at home in this new place she now needs to solve the mystery. Who was this child? Did their father make it home? And why was this note left in the pocket of the Santa suit?

While on her mission she meets several people and decides maybe that isn’t a bad thing. Christmas can be a magical time and Ivy just may have arrived in town at the perfect time.


I loved this story!

Ivy is a fabulous main character. Still burned from her divorce she was strong enough to make a huge decision. One that could have truly backfired but didn’t. She meets her realtor Ezra Wheeler. A much younger man than she expected. He is friendly and kind and he appears to be sweet on Ivy almost from the start.

The previous owners were prominent in the community and very well-liked. Christmas was their holiday and the townspeople hope Ivy will feel the same way. Finding out her new house used to be called The Christmas House does add a little pressure. I did enjoy the way the town welcomed Ivy and gave her some little pushes she needed. The people were charmingly genuine.

The story has several moving parts for a novella but they all come together in a wonderful way. All the people Ivy meets are delightfully developed. We are able to learn their backstories and get invested in their lives. My only minor complaint is that the romance developed a little too fast for my liking but it sure did work with the Christmas theme.

The Santa Suit is a heartwarming cozy holiday read with captivating characters set in a beautiful little mountain town. The book is easily read all in one sitting and it is sure to give your Christmas Spirit a little spark.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Mary Kay Andrews is The New York Times bestselling author of The Beach House Cookbook and more than twenty novels, including The WeekendersLadies’ NightSpring FeverSummer RentalThe Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Liesand Savannah Blues. A former journalist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

This is just a small sample of this author’s wonderful books.
You can find all her books here.

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy of The Santa Suit.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads
for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will
receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

The contest Will End on January 6, 2023, at 11:59 PM CST
The winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For The Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2022 Reviews Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert #Review @BerkleyPub @amyereichert


Once Upon a December
Contemporary Holiday Romance
Setting – Wisconsin
Berkley (October 4, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593197798
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593197790
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09PZTF1R4

A one-of-a-kind Christmas market offers holiday magic in this new romance from the author of The Kindred Spirits Supper Club.

With a name like Astra Noel Snow, holiday spirit isn’t just a seasonal specialty—it’s a way of life. But after a stinging divorce, Astra’s yearly trip to the Milwaukee Christmas market takes on a whole new meaning. She’s ready to eat, drink, and be merry, especially with the handsome stranger who saves the best kringle for her at his family bakery.

For Jack Clausen, the Julemarked with its snowy lights and charming shops stays the same, while the world outside the joyful street changes, magically leaping from one December to the next every four weeks. He’s never minded living this charmed existence until Astra shows him the life he’s been missing outside of the festive red brick alley.

After a swoon-worthy series of dates, some Yuletide magic, and the unexpected glow of new love, Astra and Jack must decide whether this relationship can weather all seasons, or if what they’re feeling is as ephemeral as marshmallows in a mug of hot cocoa.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Astra Noel Snow meets Jack Clausen at the Milwaukee Christmas Market and the rest is history.

Astra Noel Snow is a library director in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She and a group of friends visit the Christmas Market every year. One of Astra’s favorite stops is a bakery that serves up the best Kringles around.

Jack Clausen lives in Julemarked and is a baker of the fabulous Kringles Astra loves. But you see time works differently in Julemarked. It is always December in Julemarked and the residents travel the world to a different Christmas market each December 1st. Jack’s favorite is Milwaukee because he has fallen hard for Astra.


“Once upon a December, a girl met a boy, but she didn’t remember.” With a prologue like that, I was hooked from the start.

I loved everything about this book. It was just what I needed to enrich my Christmas spirit.

Ms. Reichert has created a wonderful cast of characters.

Astra Noel Snow, what a great name and she embraces the holiday fully. Plus she shares her joy with an annual getaway with her college roommates. They are a fun group that tries to be there for each other through thick and thin. Astra shares custody of Bernie, a giant loveable Bernese Moutain and Lab mix dog, with her ex-husband. She really hopes one day he will give her full custody and she may have a few ideas on how to make that happen.

Jack Clausen has a great family. Together they own and operate Kringle All The Way, the only bakery in Julemarked. He and his brothers have worked out quite an assembly process to make all the kringles they sell. Living in Julemarked the family remains as close as ever,

The author has also created a magical place in Julemarked. Such a clever idea. Her descriptions paint such a clear picture of this place that is only there for days and not necessarily every year. She has placed it in an area of Milwaukee that is well known where a lot of people congregate too. The landmarks make the story feel so real. It is so easy to imagine the market with the Julmarked offshoot.

Once Upon A December is a magically delightful read. It is a love story but it is also about strong family ties and epic friendships. Heartwarming and unique, funny and emotional, romance and magic, Ms. Reichert blends it all together to make a very entertaining story with an unexpected ending. I think it would make a great Christmas movie! The only thing that could make this story better was if it came with a Kringle!

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About Amy E. Reichert

Amy Reichert earned her MA in Literature from Marquette University and honed her writing and editing skills as a technical writer (which is exactly as exciting as it sounds). As a newly minted member of the local library board, she loves helping readers find new books to love. She’s a lifelong Wisconsin resident with (allegedly) a very noticeable accent, a patient husband, and two too-smart-for-their-own-good kids. When time allows, she loves to read, collect more cookbooks than she could possibly use, and test the limits of her DVR.


Also by Amy E. Reichert

 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Naughty But Nice: A Hamilton Christmas Novella by Donna Kauffman


Naughty But Nice: A Hamilton Christmas Novella
Holiday Romance
3rd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Zebra Books (November 1, 2018)
Print Length: 102 pages
Kindle ASIN: B079R3JHTH

‘Tis the season for sweet surprises . . .

Businessman Griffin’s never believed in luck . . . until sassy-sweet small-town baker Melody turns his world around. Except there’s a catch: There’s no way he’ll be able to build his empire and hold on to her. This new love could destroy all his dreams—or make this Christmas better than he ever imagined possible . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

The third and final book in this series introduces bakery owner, Melody Duncastle, and businessman, Thomas Griffin Gallagher. Griffin has arrived in town to confirm he is the new heir to the Hamilton fortune and he has big plans to reenergize and update the good town of Hamilton. Melody voices her displeasure with his ideas loudly but he is determined to change her mind. He also realizes he has strong romantic feelings for her so he hopes to win her favor in more ways than one.

Of the three stories in this novella series, this was my least favorite one. I disliked Thomas Griffin Gallagher immediately. He was very pushy and had a superior air about him. He does have a backstory that formed the man he had become but I just couldn’t warm to him even after Melody shaved away some of his hard edges. Melody is such a caring individual. She came home to Hamilton to help a sick friend and it totally changed her life. Their first meeting was humorous but I think for two strangers the relationship that was quickly built just didn’t feel right to me, even with a heartwarming moment at the end.

I think as with book two, Lock, Stock, and Jingle Bells, the book was hurt by the novella length. Griffin and Melody are both very strong people with differing points of view and then suddenly they are in love. Where was the conflict? She stood up to him once and then after spending a few hours together, he gets everything he wants. I just wanted more development and some give and take, a little bit of a chase. I really enjoyed the first book in this series but after that, the books went downhill in my opinion. I do believe if the last two stories had been full-length novels it would have allowed for better character development and romantic tension to evolve I would have really enjoyed them.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Donna Kauffman is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over 70 novels, translated and sold in more than 26 countries around the world. The recipient of multiple RT Book Awards, she is also a National Readers Choice Award and PRISM Award winner and a RITA finalist. Born into the maelstrom of Washington, D.C., politics, she now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she is surrounded by a completely different kind of wildlife. A contributing blogger for USAToday.com, she is also a DIYer, a baker, a gardener and a volunteer transporter for the Wildlife Center of Virginia and Rockfish Sanctuary. Please visit her online at www.DonnaKauffman.com.

The Hamilton Christmas Novella Series

Find more books by Donna Kaufman here.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Lock, Stock & Jingle Bells: A Hamilton Christmas Novella by Donna Kauffman #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks


On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

LOCK STOCK AND JINGLE BELLS
Lock, Stock & Jingle Bells: A Hamilton Christmas Novella
Holiday Romance
2nd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Zebra Books (October 1, 2018)
Print Length: 109 pages
Kindle ASIN: B079R6JNTT

The best holiday gifts aren’t always under the tree …

Holly hates the yuletide season more than ever since she received her very early inheritance: her mother’s Christmas novelty store. Now she has to put her life on hold to deal with the shop, while her parents settle into their busy sunny Florida retirement. But Holly’s childhood pal, Sean, is determined to warm her up—to Christmas and to him. When they uncover a diary concealing secrets involving both their families, this could be the Christmas that changes their lives forever …

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Holly Berry Bennett left her small Virginia town to travel across the pond for college and except for a few short visits home has made a life for herself there. Now her parents have other ideas. They have decided to sell their home and retire to Florida. They have also left her mother’s Christmas shop to Holly for her to take over or dispose of as she sees fit. So again she is home trying to figure out with the mess she had been left with.

Sean Gallagher runs the family restaurant right across the street from the Christmas store. He sees Holly arrive by taxi with just one suitcase and he rushes right out to welcome her back. Childhood friends who had secret crushes on each other, Sean hopes that this will be their time. He just needs to convince her to give him a chance.

While Holly is sorting through inventory at the shop she finds an old diary. After reading it she does a little investigating and learns the secrets revealed in the diary could mean changes for both the Gallagher’s and the Bennett’s.

____

Like the first book in this series, Ms. Kauffman gives readers characters we can fall for quickly which is good due to the novella length. She does an excellent job filling us in on their backstories and writes a romance that takes place quickly but realistically. I enjoyed that a little mystery theme was continued.

I was disappointed in Holly’s parents though. Dropping their decision on her and leaving town did not sit well with me.  I realize her mother would have a hard time dealing with her shop’s future but it was totally unfair to put everything on Holly’s shoulders. They could have had her come home and worked things out together instead of just expecting her to drop her life while they just moved along with theirs. This is where the novella-length took away from the story, there just wasn’t space to have two more key characters to be present to make their decision less jarring.

That being said I finished this book and immediately started the third book in this series, Naughty But Nice.

Lock, Stock, and Jingle Bells is an entertaining romance with just a touch of mystery set in a little Virginia town. A nice mini escape to curl up with on a snowy afternoon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Donna Kauffman is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over 70 novels, translated and sold in more than 26 countries around the world. The recipient of multiple RT Book Awards, she is also a National Readers Choice Award and PRISM Award winner and a RITA finalist. Born into the maelstrom of Washington, D.C., politics, she now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she is surrounded by a completely different kind of wildlife. A contributing blogger for USAToday.com, she is also a DIYer, a baker, a gardener and a volunteer transporter for the Wildlife Center of Virginia and Rockfish Sanctuary. Please visit her online at www.DonnaKauffman.com.

The Hamilton Christmas Novella Series
LOCK STOCK AND JINGLE BELLS
Find more books by Donna Kaufman here.

You can read my review of Unleashed here


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
The book will be sent directly from Amazon.

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 3, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Unleashed (A Hamilton Christmas Novella) by Donna Kauffman #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks


On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


Unleashed (A Hamilton Christmas Novella)
Holiday Romance
1st in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Zebra Books (October 1, 2018)
Print Length: 118 pages
ASIN: B079R7PZ94

A raging winter storm and a holiday spent pet-sitting reveals there’s more than one kind of animal in the house …

When Emma Lafferty is hired by a billionaire CEO to watch his pets over the holidays, she expects to enjoy a quiet Christmas in opulent surroundings. What she doesn’t expect is to spend the week trapped in the mansion with Trevor Hamilton, the CEO’s sexy great-nephew—and heir—whose motives are as shady as his desire is crystal clear …

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In need of a little pick me up with a holiday theme? This novella may be just what you need to read!

Emma Lafferty meets Trevor Hamilton amidst a blizzard. With no power and zero visibility, they make the best of their situation while watching the lovable pets of Trevor’s billionaire uncle.

Emma has opened a pet care business and she couldn’t down this job even with it being over the holidays. Trevor knows his uncle is away for the holidays and sneaks into his house to try to uncover a family secret not knowing that a pet sitter has been hired.

I really liked these characters. The novella-length suits this situation as readers get to know the characters as they get to know each other. I loved the pets, especially the parrot but the dogs were great too. The best thing for me was that Emma was a strong, independent woman. She asked questions and expected answers. Even with her attraction to Trevor, she was never a damsel in distress.

The setting was ideal. A huge mansion with plenty of rooms to get lost in. While the snowstorm made it hard for the dogs to do their business I bet it was beautiful. Losing power was handled with fireplaces and candles which plays right into the romantic theme.

I was intrigued by the important family mystery Trevor was trying to reveal. Mysteries are just my thing. While Trevor’s sleuthing brought some funny moments to the story I was a little disappointed with the way his investigation wrapped up.

This is my first experience with this author and it definitely won’t be my last.

Unleashed is a fast-paced romantic romp.  Heartwarming and entertaining. A great romance to escape into on a wintry afternoon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Donna Kauffman is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over 70 novels, translated and sold in more than 26 countries around the world. The recipient of multiple RT Book Awards, she is also a National Readers Choice Award and PRISM Award winner and a RITA finalist. Born into the maelstrom of Washington, D.C., politics, she now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she is surrounded by a completely different kind of wildlife. A contributing blogger for USAToday.com, she is also a DIYer, a baker, a gardener and a volunteer transporter for the Wildlife Center of Virginia and Rockfish Sanctuary. Please visit her online at www.DonnaKauffman.com.

The Hamilton Christmas Novella Series

Find more books by Donna Kaufman here.


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
The book will be sent directly from Amazon.

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 8, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Reviews 2015 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review – A Vision of Sugarplums by Jennifer Blake

Checking off the “V” on my Alphabet Soup Challenge.

vision of sugar plumsA Vision of Sugarplums
Holiday Romance
87 pages
Publisher: Steel Magnolia Press (November 18, 2011)
ASIN: B006A1Z06W
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Meghan Castle is a real Scrooge about the holidays … until she finds an abandoned baby in her store on Christmas Eve. Change is certainly in the air – especially when late shopper Rick Wallman walks in with yet another delightful holiday surprise.

Meghan has to take the baby home — that or call Social Services on Christmas Eve. Rick goes with her to help shop for baby supplies and winds up spending the night.

Meghan and Rick, though, each have secrets — one of which could destroy the fragile future they begin to build together.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Meghan Castle find an abandoned baby in her store and she and a perfect stranger just take it to her house.  The stranger even stays the night and then some.

I did notice this novella was originally published back in the 90’s. No one today would find a baby in their store and just take it home. Heck would the even do that in the 90’s. It was Christmas Eve but not calling the police was so unfathomable to me. Plus a guy your never met but he seems nice so o.k. let’s take him home too. I did keep reading hoping for something redeeming to happen.

A first I thought Rick Wallman was a nice guy but then he convinces her to take the baby to her house. As the story continued steam start coming from my ears. What a jerk.

I do love a romance novel once in awhile for something different to read. I had to keep reading just to see if anyone in this story had any common sense. Meghan finds out Rick’s HUGE secret and did send him packing but SPOILER ALERT she actually takes him back.

Thankfully this was a very fast read and I hadn’t invested much time.

should have stayed home2 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Come back this afternoon. You will see my choice to finish out this year’s Alphabet Soup Challenge also totally missed the mark for me. 

*My private collection, purchased from Amazon