An Alisa Advent Calendar Review: Purrfect Holiday by Jana Denardo

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Tony Gatti had his life planned: get his veterinarian license and go to work with his dad and uncle. Soon after achieving his goals, he learned the shadows and blurriness in his vision went beyond needing glasses. Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic mutation with no cure. With his sight almost gone, he moves into his grandmother’s St. Augustine, Florida, home with his guide dog, Raven, to start life over. Nonna Concetta thinks she knows the perfect job for him. Her vet is looking for someone to destress the cats at a local rescue.

Javier didn’t plan to hire a cute former veterinarian to fill the role of cat cuddler, but Tony couldn’t be more perfect. Worried his attraction is inappropriate and knowing the holiday season always depresses him, Javier wonders if he should ask Tony out, or if he’d just be spreading the gloom to someone who already has enough of his own. But if he takes the plunge, could it turn out to be the best holiday ever?

Ohh, this was so sweet.  Tony and Javier are absolutely perfect for each other.  I was glad that Tony was able to find a way to help animals with his blindness and it brings him into Javier’s life.  Concetta was hilarious and I love how supportive she is of Tony.  Even better was Tony and Concetta give Javier the family he needed at Christmas.

Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas.  It’s got that wonderful dog and cat on the cover.  Need I say more? Guy is cute too.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  |  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 46 pages

Published: December 26, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

Edition Language: English

Review Tour for Operation Toy Rescue by Sarah Hadley Brook (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 29,000 words approx.
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Blurb
 

When Jules Evergreen lands in trouble at the North Pole and gets shipped off to Snow Hope Island for ninety days, he never expects to take up the cause of the forgotten toys waiting for new homes. Falling for his new boss is not on the agenda either, but his heart has other ideas.


Felix Winterson has grown up on Snow Hope Island and now runs the place. He isn’t thrilled when party boy Jules arrives, and Felix tries hard to ignore the man’s charms. He has other problems, anyway. For years he’s tried to get Santa to look at the growing inventory of damaged toys in the warehouse, to no avail.


When Jules comes up with a plan to save the toys, the men find themselves working closely together. As Christmas Eve looms, there’s a lot at stake. Can they save Snow Hope, convince Santa to rescue the toys, and fall in love all at the same time?



Dec 15OMG Reads, Dec 17Mikku-chan, The Blogger Girls, Padme’s Library, Dec 19Megan’s Media Melange, Two Chicks Obsessed, Dec 21Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, MM Good Book Reviews, Dec 24Valerie Ullmer, Bayou Book Junkie, Making It Happen, Drops Of Ink

 

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review here.  We loved it!

 
Excerpt



He was surprised that no one else was in the building yet. Unless they were upstairs in the loft, or locked away in an office. He thought he’d seen Eve’s coat hanging from a peg up front.


Jules opened the laptop and logged in, ready to get started. He really wanted to take that trip to the warehouse with Felix and the quicker he finished logging things in, the quicker that could happen. As he carefully opened a rather large box, he heard a door open and turned to see Felix, Eve, and Zuzu hurry out of Felix’s office. All wore a look of panic and his heart jumped.


“What’s wrong?” he asked as Eve grew closer.


“The Big Guy is coming for a visit three days before Christmas! We just found out. He never does this. Never, Jules.” Her voice rose as she spilled the news.


Jules glanced at Felix and caught his eye, holding it for a moment. “Isn’t Santa coming a good thing?” he asked, confused.


“We don’t know. He never does this. Never,” Eve reiterated.


“She’s right. He doesn’t. What if he wants to make major changes? Or move us to the North Pole?” Felix asked.


Jules crinkled his brow. In his mind, moving to the North Pole would be great. Felix would be closer to Jules. “You don’t want to live at the North Pole?”


All three of them looked at him in shock, their mouths gaping open.


“What?” he asked.


“The North Pole is headquarters. It’s chaos,” Zuzu explained.


Okay, I’ll give them that. But there were good things, too.


“But you’d be closer to …” he flicked his gaze to Felix and felt his cheeks heat up. “The main operation,” he finished lamely.


“But we like it here. Our island is beautiful and we’re like a family. What if we’re torn apart?”


“I don’t think Santa –”


“You don’t know, Jules,” Eve broke in. “Maybe he thinks we don’t do enough to help these toys.”


Felix was vigorously nodding his agreement, so Jules shut his mouth and sat down in front of his laptop, considering the possibilities. He finally glanced back up, his lips curving up into a small smile as he eyed all three. “Then I guess there’s only one thing to do, guys. We need to show Santa how important the island is to children all over the globe.”


“How do we do that?” Eve asked quietly, her brow furrowed.


“By developing a kick ass plan to get these ‘inadequate toys’ into the hands of kids,” he explained, using air quotes. It was really just expanding what he and Felix had talked about last night. But calling it a plan made it feel more real. More promising.


Again, they gaped at him. Well, all but Felix. He was grinning. Happiness filled Jules’s chest and his heart raced as he grinned back, warmth spreading through him. Their gazes held and Jules felt like Felix was peering inside of him. Like he was seeing the real Jules. Not the guy that always screwed up. Not the guy that only thought of himself. But the one that finally — finally — wanted to do something worthy. Something that would bring others joy.


“Jules is right. We need to work together to show Santa we can handle the responsibility of taking care of the toys on this island. To prepare them for new homes. To convince him to take them with him on Christmas Eve.” Felix straightened his shoulders as determination flitted across his face and hope flashed in his eyes.


Jules couldn’t look away. The man was beautiful in every way.


Author Bio

Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the nonprofit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have costarred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.



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An Alisa Advent Calendar Review: Death to Christmas Sweaters by LE Franks

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Chess and Benjamin are casual lovers, each hiding his devotion to the other and his wish for more. But Chess is a wealthy playboy who—Benjamin believes—will never settle down. And Chess is sure, with the way Benjamin keeps him at arm’s length, that he can’t be interested in getting serious.

They’re destined for a head-on collision as Chess plans for a holiday escape designed to send Benjamin’s ardor spiking like the temperatures in Los Angeles, while Benjamin desperately drags his feet, wanting to cool things down to protect his vulnerable heart. But when the ghosts of Chess’s Christmas past and Benjamin’s unwelcome present converge at LAX, it’s obvious other forces are about to take over.

Drawn into their respective family dramas at a joint gathering, will Chess and Benjamin finally take a stand for each other and the relationship they both want, or will the holiday finally take its toll?

I really enjoyed this story.  Chess and Benjamin are both vulnerable in different ways but really want the other more than what they feel they have.  Chess may not act as though he has any insecurities but he really hides himself from the world and shows himself as carefree.  Benjamin is scared of losing Chess but also his parents but when push comes to shove he stands his ground.  I really liked these two together and though they had some trouble communicating it all works out in the end.

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht.  Wonderful cover, pertinent to the story and character.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 56 pages

Published: December 12, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady :The Magician’s Angel (The Christmas Angel #3) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Vaudeville stage magician Christopher Fiend is performing in the little town of Twelfth Junction. Next stop is Chicago where he will audition for the big time, his hopes set on a career in a venue as big as New York City. Edward Smith’s brother not only owns the theater, he lives and breathes it, but Edward wants nothing to do with theater. When he spots the green carnation in Christopher’s lapel during his performance, he realizes they are of a kind and when his attention is returned, they spend “quality time” together during intermission.

Then during the second half of the show, when a dead body turns up in Christopher’s act, everything stops, the performers are stuck in this little town during the investigation, and Christopher’s hopes for his big time audition are crushed. Not only that, the lone police officer suspects him. No one knows he spent intermission with Edward, and he doesn’t want to jeopardize Edward’s reputation so they decide to solve the crime together.  What follows is a highly detailed investigation that nevertheless left this reader in the dark. Kudos to the author for an excellent mystery. 

The one thing that bothers Edmund is that clearing Christopher’s reputation is going to send him on his way to Chicago and, though it’s only been a short time, Edmund is falling in love with the clever magician.  However, the angel, purchased by Christopher in Port Angeles early in his career, may have other plans for them.

Readers will have time to enjoy this and spot the link to the previous book. This is one of several books written by authors using the common theme of a Christmas angel crafted in the 18th century who finds her way to those who need her as time goes by. The series does not need to be read in order, though it is fun to go step by step to try to find the link from one location where she pops up to another. The angel is the only link—there’s no crossover of characters. I love these stories so far, and this is no exception. Those who want a treat that does not put on calories should consider enjoying this series.

The cover by Meredith Russell depicts a gorgeous young man in a tux, sporting a green carnation boutonniere, the scene set against a background of stage curtains. This is the perfect depiction of both the character and the locale of the story.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

ebook, 108 pages
Published December 2nd 2018 by Jordan L. Hawk
ISBN139781941230336
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Christmas Angel #3

 

The Christmas Angel Series

Christmas Angel – Eli Easton – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Summerfield’s Angel – Kim Fielding – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Christmas Homecoming – L.A. Witt – Amazon US | Amazon UK
A Soldier’s Wish – N.R. Walker – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Shrewd Angel – Anyta Sunday – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Christmas Prince – RJ Scott- Amazon US | Amazon UK

A Lucy Review : All I Want Is You by DJ Jamison

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

One kiss under the mistletoe destroyed a friendship. Will another Christmas kiss remake it into something better?

Eli hasn’t been home since he left at eighteen with a heart aching from his best friend’s rejection and his father’s intolerance. But when his father reaches out, Eli figures it’s time to make peace with his family. He doesn’t expect to come face-to-face with Turner too — or to learn that the straight friend he’d foolishly loved is actually bisexual — but once the shock wears off, he knows exactly what he wants for Christmas.

Turner’s life isn’t everything he’d once planned, but he’s happy to be the shoulder his loved ones lean on. They keep him busy, which is just as well since none of his dates have really clicked. He hasn’t been able to connect with anyone the way he did with his former best friend. When Eli shows up for the holidays after years away, Turner doesn’t know what hit him. But he knows one thing: This time, he wants to give Eli a reason to stay.

I was super excited about this book because two of my favorite things, second chances and holidays, were here.  Eli and Turner have been best friends since they were little, Eli navigating the close-mindedness of their small town of Juniper, Oregon and Turner standing by him.  Until a kiss under the mistletoe shows Eli Turner wants no part of him and it changes their friendship.  They limp along for a while but eventually Eli’s unrequited love is too much and he unfriends Turner.  Eli’s dad, the Coach, was homophobic and nasty so when Eli leaves for college he’s done with Juniper and he doesn’t return.  For eight years, at least, when he finds out he’s losing his job right before the holidays and with some encouragement from his co-worker, Barb, decides to give the family a chance.

Much has changed since Eli left – Coach had knee surgery and is looking old, Turner’s father died and now Turner’s family and Eli’s family are even closer and celebrate the holiday together, with Turner taking care of Eli’s parents. It’s a little difficult because while Coach does seem to love his son, he is set in some old fashioned views and Eli has a hard time forgiving the terrible things Coach said to him. 

On the other hand, I felt like Turner’s actions, while not horrible, were so glossed over and forgiven that they might not even have occurred. Turner is the shoulder everyone leans on now, so he’s not a bad person.  Everything, including lying, was such a nonevent that it was irritating and made the story less interesting.

Eli’s mom is great.  While she wasn’t able to keep Eli home the first time, she proves time and again that she loves him, accepts him and isn’t just a shadow in the kitchen.  When she admits on Christmas day that she writes fan fiction, “ I even write M/M pairings. That means male/male” I wanted to hug her.  Go Mom!

This is a sweet story that didn’t quite live up to its potential for me.

Cover design by Jay Aheer @ Simply Defined Art shows Turner and Eli in front of a Christmas tree, shirtless and snuggling.  Cute and fits the theme.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 161 pages
Published November 29th 2018
ASINB07KVDG1VZsettingOregon (United States)

Swing into the Holidays with the Release Blitz and Giveaway for Old Acquaintance by Annabelle Jacobs

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 50,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Blurb
 

There are two sides to every story, even those buried in the past.


When Sam spots the hot guy moving in next door, he’s all for going round to introduce himself. That soon changes when it turns out his new neighbour is in fact an old school acquaintance, Charles Whitmore. Sam didn’t like him back then, and fifteen years haven’t altered that.


Splitting up from his long-term boyfriend means a move across the city for Charlie. As luck would have it, his immediate neighbour is a guy he went to school with, Sam Gellar. While Sam is less than welcoming, his best mate is more than happy to invite Charlie into their social circle. Whatever problem Sam has with Charlie, Charlie resolves to get to the bottom of it, because, frosty beginnings aside, Charlie likes him.


With Christmas just around the corner, fate thrusts them together, and they get on so much better than they ever did at school. Despite his efforts not to, Sam develops feelings for Charlie, and they appear to be reciprocated. If Sam wants to take things further he needs to either confront Charlie about their past–a past Charlie seems to have forgotten entirely–or let it go and move on. Sam knows deep down that he can’t let it go, but it never seems the right time to bring it up. Until it is.

 

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AJacobs_fiction
Website – www.annabellejacobs.com
Email – ajacobsfiction@gmail.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ajacobsfiction

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A MelanieM Review: A Viking For Yule by Jamie Fessenden

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

AFTER SAM’S GRANDFATHER nearly died in a blizzard one year ago, Sam has panic attacks in snow storms. So where does his friend Jackie propose they spend the holidays, as the last stop on their trip around the world?

Iceland. Of course.

But there’s more in Iceland than snow. When Arnar, a handsome Icelandic man, offers to escort Sam on a several-day tour of the beautiful countryside, they soon find themselves drawn to each other. But Arnar is firmly rooted in his native soil, and Sam has to return to the US in a week to care for his ailing grandfather.

Suddenly, yule can’t last nearly long enough.

A Viking for Yule by Jamie Fessenden is actually a sequel to the author’s very likable holiday story, A Cop for Christmas.  But honestly, this is the story I absolutely adore.  At the front?  It  absolutely redeems a wishy washy character so bland he threatened to fade into the snow in the first one.  That would be Sam.  Here he become a fully fleshed adult, someone we can finally connect with away from his Gramps.  We get to see the man,  watch how the gift of independence the trip lays upon him enables him to enjoy himself, the places and people, and grow as a person.  It’s not that Sam actually changes but more our acceptance of him and that’s a really great treat.

Next up is Arnar, the man who helps to act as Sam’s guide when Sam’s “Auntie Mame” and her dear friend take the time to make their own schedule.  Arnar, has his own issues having recently broken up with his partner. He’s not entirely happy to be involved with the “tourist” that his “aunt” has brought with her on her visit to see his mom.  I loved Arnar. He’s a man of depth and deep love of his country, a memorable character all around who sees something wonderful in Sam.

However, it’s Christmas time in Iceland and, while freezing, holiday celebrations are everywhere.  Which brings me to the third marvelous element of this story.  The author’s clear love and familiarity with Iceland.

This is as much a love story to Iceland as it is Sam and Arnar’s.  Sam and Arnar travel to many locations in Iceland, ones often famous for their Christmas markets, some for their geographical formations, and others for their religious significance. These travels are folded into the story with an ease that’s remarkable and a fondness that radiates from every scene.  Iceland is truly another main character here and it helps make the story.

Everything about A Viking for Yule is lovely. From the romance, the characters right to the ending, I just loved it.  You will too.  It’s not just for the holidays but one I could read any time of the year.

Cover Art by Reese Dante is perfect for the characters and storyline.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published November 29th 2017
ASIN B077TLWLZ4

NOTE: Though this novel includes characters from “A Cop for Christmas,” it is a standalone adventure. It isn’t necessary to read “A Cop for Christmas” first.

A Stella Review: Jingle Spell by Chris Ethan

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RATING 3 out of 5 stars

It’s the most horrible time of the year.
Smooches under mistletoes and tacky reindeer decorations.
Newly single, Davey has had enough of wasting his love and having his heart broken. Better to be single, he decides. No more dates. No more falling in love. No more dreaming of happy ever afters. Those are for movies.
He’s resolute.
And then Avery steps into his life, bringing care, compassion, and tenderness in his path.
Davey’s so tempted to hope again. But can an online date and a brief encounter turn into anything other than an ephemeral sexual encounter?
Is there a future for them? Will Avery stay? And most importantly, can Davey bear to offer up his heart to the season’s love—just one more time? 

Jingle Spell was the first book I read by this new to me author, Chris Ethan. I have to say I am a sucker for Christmas stories and the cover was too adorable to resist.

This is a very cute and simple novella, easy to read and light. A lovely way to spend a couple of hours before bedtime. Nothing complicated in the plot, just what I need in a holiday reading. Just two persons, Davey and Avery, who meet and find each other interesting,  and later realize something more could happen with a future together made of new memories (and pictures, you’ll understand if you will decide to read jingle Spell) could be built. And what conquered me was that I really was able to see them still together in the coming years.

I  recommend this new release by Chris Ethan, I will surely check the author’s other works.

The cover art by Ethereal Ealain is well done and so into the Christmas spirit and it fits the plot. I was gone as soon as I saw it.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 73 pages

Published December 7th 2016 by Dream Trek Imprint

ASIN B01N6BVH09

Edition Language English

An Alisa Review: Silent Night by Shawn Bailey

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

silent-night-by-shawn-baileySometimes it takes a little divine intervention to make someone see the error of their ways.

 

Hunter Beams is only eighteen years old but he’s tired of the world. Orphaned since birth, moved from one foster home to another and then gets fired from a minimum wage job just because he wouldn’t sleep with the boss. He is tired of getting bullied because of his sexuality. Nothing about him is normal not his size, his looks or his damn hair. Losing his job is the last straw. He is just going to end it all because he is just too damn tired of trying to survive.

 

Thirty year old Donte Womac has it all…a comfy townhouse in Chelsea, an active social life, a stable of cars and a cushy job. Then tragedy strikes and a young man lay dying in his arms. Then Donte discovers that all the money in the world can’t help a person who wants to kill himself.

 

This story was heartwarming and shows that when you meet the right person at the right time then everything will eventually work out.  Unfortunately Donte will have to help Hunter heal before they can really see if they are right for each other.  Hunter is so adorably sweet and innocent; he just hasn’t had an easy road in life and doesn’t see a reason to continue.  Donte will do anything to show Hunter that life is worth living, but doesn’t know what to do when Hunter doesn’t want him to spend his wealth on him and isn’t impressed by it.

 

This story is told from both characters’ points of view so we get to see them a bit more clearly.  They both come from such different backgrounds and Hunter doesn’t want to take from Donte, but really Donte is almost as innocent as Hunter is emotionally.  I loved both of these characters and how they interacted with each other and the side characters and in the end this book gave me the warm and fuzzy I was looking for when I went to read it.

 

Cover art is very nice and give great visuals for both of the characters.

 

Sales Links: MLR Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 150 pages

Published: December 15, 2016 by MLR Press

Edition Language: English

A VVivacious Advent Calendar Review: Ranger Station Haven (2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug) by S.A. Stovall

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
 
ranger-station-haven-by-s-a-stovallCarter is a regular Christmas grump while Owen is the polar opposite. They are both federal park rangers who are spending their Christmas in the Voyageurs National Park Ranger Station when they get a call informing them about six children who are out in the woods with a storm headed their way.
 
As Carter and Owen rescue the kids, Owen gets badly injured. This Christmas is definitely not looking up for Owen but looks like the kids they rescued might just spread around enough holiday cheer to convince even Carter to join in on Christmas.
 
I liked this story. It was an established couple romance and I loved the familiarity and warmth of love these two characters shared. Also Owen and Carter took shape almost instantaneously making this story very appealing. This story focuses on Owen and Carter and sees them embark on a new journey in their life.
 
This story was a pretty unique Christmas story. I loved how Owen and Carter end up celebrating their Christmas with Justin, Casey, Crystal, Melissa, Luke and Edmund. I loved the kids, they were just so precious.
 
I adored Carter, the story is from his perspective and I loved how he left his grouchiness behind to make Christmas special and truly memorable for the kids and Owen.
 
This is a nice warm holiday read with a bit of twist what with a rescue operation on Christmas Eve followed by a very special Christmas morning.
 
Cover Art by Paul Richmond. I loved the cover.
Sales Links
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65a2f-waxcreative-amazon-kindle
Book Details:
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ebook, 42 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635331927 (ISBN13: 9781635331929)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug