31 December 2009

The 2009 Yuletide Round-Up!











Want to play along?
  • Grab my icon!
  • Round-up and post your Christmas reads.
  • Comment below and add a link to your round-up.
  • Lay-out is at your discretion.
  • Purchase links are optional.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
4 out of 5 stars
Available formats: Kindle, Paperback, Hardback, Audio
Purchase link: Amazon

5 out of 5 stars
Available formats: Paperback and various eBook formats
Purchase link: Amazon

5 out of 5 stars
Available formats: pdf, lit, and HTML
Purchase link: The Wild Rose Press

3 out of 5 stars
Available formats: Paperback, Kindle, pdf, lit, and HTML
Purchase links: The Wild Rose Press, Amazon

4 out of 5 stars
Available formats: pdf, lit, and HTML
Purchase link: The Wild Rose Press

30 December 2009

Christmas on Wherever Island eBook Review


eBook: Christmas on Wherever Island
Authoress: Amber Polo
Length: 60 pages
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Adult Fiction | Magical Realism
Current cost: $3.00

What they say: "Marti Bell is facing the prospect of a very unmerry Christmas. Reluctantly, leaving her married lover she travels toward ice, snow, and judgmental family until a magic Santa sends her to a surprise destination in the warm waters of the Caribbean."

My mini review: Marti is never enough. She is not enough for her married lover to leave his wife and she is not enough for her family who believes she should be married with children. So when her flight gets delayed and her mother tells her they are going to start Christmas with out her Marti finally decides enough is enough.

With a little magic and a lot of courage she walks up to the airport counter and requests a flight to "wherever" there is better weather.

Plot: Dreamy
Story: Quick

My review: I loved Marti. She's that character that I think many of us can see ourselves in. The one who longs to be what every one wants her to be but can't. Then she finds her self on a beautiful secluded island with a sexy man (Cliff) who unbeknownst to her has had a crush on her all along.
  • Will Marti be able to let go of her affections for her married boyfriend and let someone good love her?
  • Will Cliff have the courage to pursue and woo Marti?
  • Or will the island magic give them both the little nudge they need?
My rating: 5 stars; I loved this read. It was short, sweet, and lovely. A great Christmas escape.

My favorite part: The break-up scene.
My least favorite part: Much like the ocean this story of romance at sea is at times slightly choppy. However, don't allow that to detour you. This is one of my favorite holiday reads. I just wish it was a bit longer.

Kiddie-o-meter: Infidelity and sex are frankly mentioned making this tale best suited for older teens and adults.
Adult-o-meter: Adults will love the escape from a traditional Christmas. Who hasn't wondered what it would be like to leave it all behind and drink an island cocktail with a Santa in cut off shorts?

Noteable:


The authoress offers this amazing recipe on her web site:
Marti and Cliff's Magic Cake!
Size: Fills 1 4x8 loaf pan and 1 9” tube pan

Ingredients:
2 cups sifted all purpose flour

Reserve 1 cup, re-sift the remainder with:
1 t cinnamon
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. allspice
1 t. nutmeg
¼ t. mace
½ t. salt
¾ t. baking soda
Use some of the mixture to coat:
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup citrus peel/citron
1 cup candied cherries
1 cup figs
1 cup nuts (your choice)
Cook:
1 10 oz can crushed pineapple
1 cups of sugar
Until thickened about 30 minutes. Stir frequently.
Do not burn. Cool.
When cool stir in:
½ cup apricot jam or marmalade
1 cup rum or pineapple juice or combo
Cream ½ lb softened butter with
1 cup sugar
Beat in
6 eggs, one at a time.
Stir in dry ingredients slowly, alternating with pineapple mixture.
Pour over flour coated fruits and nuts and mix well.

Preheat to 275 degrees.
Grease cake pans (line with greased brown paper or foil if you do that)
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Fill pans 1” from top
Bake until a skewer comes out clean - 3 ½ to 5 hours depending on size of pans.
Cool on rack.
  • If you make the cake ahead of time, soak the cheesecloth in rum or pineapple juice and wrap in foil.
  • Freezing also helps blend the flavors.
  • When ready to serve decorate with almond paste or icing.
  • Recipe can be doubled to fill 3 graduated wedding cake pans.

Serve with a dusting of Christmas magic.

Final say: I love and relish my family and in laws but I too must admit that I have from time to time daydreamed about escaping to some deserted place to enjoy the holidays. Have you ever dreamed of such a thing and if so where would you go?

I scream, you scream, we all scream for free books


















The following books are currently FREE on Amazon for the Kindle:

All God's Creatures by Carolyn McSparren

The Crossroads Cafe by Deborah Smith

Mossy Creek by by Deborah Smith, Sandra Chastain, Debra Dixon, Virginia Ellis, Nancy Knight, Donna Ball

Murder Takes the Cake by Gayle Trent

Once Bitten by Kalayna Price

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

26 December 2009

The vote that rocked my socks


I received the coolest Christmas present yesterday.
I learned that I was in the running for the
I never expected to win (I was up against some of my favorite amazing bloggers) but I did win an honorable mention. Which warms my heart. I get misty every time I think of the people who voted for me. So I wanted to say thank you to all my beloved followers and congratulations to all my superb fellow bloggers. Any one interested in checking out the winners please visit Natalie at Mindful Musings.

24 December 2009

Yackety-yak: Christmas Special

My dear sweet blogosphere friends...


I would like to wish each and every one of you
a VERY Merry Christmas!

Now for today's Yackety-yak question:

Have you received any
book related goodies
this Christmas?

Do tell!
Please post a link to your holiday stack
in the comments field below.

23 December 2009

A Home for Christmas Book Review


Book: A Home for Christmas
Authoress: Deborah Grace Staley
Length: @185 pages
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Genre: Adult Fiction | Romance
First line: "They say you can never go home."

My summary: Dr. Janice Thornton has always dreamed of having a family. Now she has a chance at then when an uncle she never even knew she had offers her his small town practice just down the street from a dreamy single carpenter. Will Janice really leave her big city practice for family? Will she give the dreamy carpenter a chance? Will the road really lead home?

My say: Christmas reads are often terribly cliche or too sweet. But A Home for Christmas is better than that. It has beautiful complicated characters who suffer from realistic insecurities and are easy to relate to. The result is a lovely coming home and love story that just happens to take place at the most magical time of the year.

My verdict: I loved this story because it is sweet but full of layers.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My favorite part: The town angel who just happens to pop in at the right time.

My Meter Readings:
Kiddie-o-meter: This one is safe for even tweens. It remains chaste and contains no foul language or social commentary. The only violence is a fight between two brothers.
Adult-o-meter: Adults will relish in the sexy moments, subtle complexities, and idyllic town.

Noteable: This novel is part two in a series about the town of Angel Ridge Tennessee. Each novel is independent and it is not necessary to read the one before it. The first book is called Only You.

Click here to visit the Angel Ridge blog.
Click here to visit the author's page.


My final say: I love and dream of living in a small town. How about you? Do you enjoy small town reads?

22 December 2009

Once upon a time...

a girl dreamed...
not of sugar plums and gum drops
Oh no!
But of a little
pretty
white
box
that would magically read her books.

So she scrimped
and she saved
every last Yuletide dollar.

Till the day,
yes this day,
when she stirred to a thump.

Away to the window
she raced in a flash.

And what to her wondering eyes should appear?

But a sweet little box
marked just for thee.


*sigh*
*gasp*
Could it be?
Oh yes!
Finally!

Precious and cold
and I daresay ready to cuddle
the lass happily greeted
her long awaited
new friend
the ever handsome
Mr. Kindle.

21 December 2009

A Christmas Carol Novella Review

Novella: A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being A Ghost Story of Christmas
Original Publication Date: 19 December 1843
Length: Roughly 84 pages

My summary: We are all rather familiar with the spin-offs but do you really know what happened when Ebenezer Scrooge was visited by four ghosts that Christmas Eve night?

My say: As is usually the case the book is much better than any rendition I have ever seen. It is short, rather simple, and contains some lovely language.

My verdict: If you are looking for something both fantastical and seasonal, pick up this piece. It is a quick easy read.

My rating: 4 stars; I really liked it.

Kiddie-o-meter: While this story is much darker than the Disney version (there are minor references to poverty, starvation, illness, death, malice, and theft) I truly believe the message is more powerful in its original classic form. Note: Younger children will probably not understand the language. Therefore reserve this one for the tweens.

My favorite part:
The introduction of two minor characters I can not recall ever seeing or understanding before: Ignorance and Want.

My favorite quotes:
..."No space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused!"

"It is fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow , there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour."

"...For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself."

..."He was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset..."

Pass-the-mic: Check out another great review of A Christmas Carol over at Reading With Tequila

My final say: Mr. Scrooge handles his ghostly visitors much better than I would. I would have a MAJOR freak-out if I started seeing faces in my door knocker.

19 December 2009

Vintage score!

My latest vintage book score is so beautiful I had to share it with you guys & dolls.

Check it out:

Mint 1943 copies of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights for only 3 dollars each!

Aren't they just lovely?

So how about you?
Have you scored any great books?

16 December 2009

Mr. Postman: Gateway

Oh Mr. Postman!



Please bring me...



Gateway by Sharon Shinn

What are you hoping you will find in your mailbox today?

Toodles! I am off to listen to Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes now.

15 December 2009

I swoon, wake-up, and announce a contest

Forgive me while I swoon!

Photo Details: Doesn't this Givenchy gown
(worn by Emily Blunt) make you want to swoon?

This past Friday I hit...
200 followers!

In honor of this most stupendous event
I would like to hold a contest I am calling...

"Thank you my lovelies!"

Two winners will be selected
one month from today
01.15.2010
Each will receive
a $15.00 eGift card
from Amazon.

To enter you must:
1. Be a resident of the US.
2. Be (or become) a follower.
3. Comment with your email address.
4. Note in your comment if you are a
new or existing follower.

Please note:
*Existing followers will receive an additional entry.
**Followers listed in my top 20 commentators
will also receive an additional entry.

This means my faithful existing followers
and commentators will receive 3 entries.

Thank you my lovelies for your continued
support, readership, and comments!

11 December 2009

Seeking Eleanor Book Trailer

Some time ago I blogged about an unpublished book I adore and support called Seeking Eleanor.
You may have noticed I also have a Seeking Eleanor link/widget on my right hand sidebar.

Today I am happy to present the book trailer for Seeking Eleanor:



Seeking Eleanor is still seeking publication. You can help by visiting Authonomy, reading the first 7 chapters of Seeking Eleanor (FOR FREE), commenting, and selecting to "back the book" (a FREE feature of the web site). The more backings the book receives the higher the ranking. The five people with the highest rankings get their books read by a HarperCollins editor with the hopes of getting published.

Seeking Eleanor is presently number 8.
Please help send it to number 5!

Click here to read my spoiler-free review of Seeking Eleanor.
Click here to read Seeking Eleanor.
Click here to visit the author's blog.

If for any reason you have a problem with my links:
1. Search or visit www.Authonomy.com
2. Enter Seeking Eleanor in the Authonomy search bar
3. Select "read the book"
4. After you have totally fallen in love make sure to register, comment on Seeking Eleanor, and select the "Back the Book" option on the right hand sidebar.

10 December 2009

Contest winners: Ruined

I am incredibly pleased to announce the winners of the Ruined contest:

&

Congratulations darlings!
You have both won
a hardcover copy of Ruined.
I will be contacting you via email
for your mailing address.

Thank you to everyone who entered!

The winners were selected using Random.Org.

Please stay tuned for more contests.

If you have not already make sure
to enter to win a copy of The Dresskeeper.
Four lucky winners will be selected!

08 December 2009

Mr. Jack Frost Book Review Mini


Authoress: Amy Hahn
Also from this author: Dr. Anderson's Nanny
Available formats: Paperback, Kindle, and pdf, lit, HTML
Pages: 181
Genre: Adult Fiction Romance Magical Realism

My summary: Reagan just hasn't been the same since her husband passed away two Christmases ago. Now she dreads Christmas, snow, ice skating, and even denies her children a Christmas tree. Every aspect of Christmas reminds her of her loss. Then one night she makes a Christmas wish for happiness. A wish that results in one handsome yet mysterious man appearing at her front door.

My say: Who hasn't wished on a star, fountain, or snow? I still do. This is a sugary sweet love story about a woman who must learn to let go and see the blessings she has before her. Overall I enjoyed the concept, writing story, and strong start, but felt it could have been shortened or fleshed out a bit more. However, don't let that deter you. This story is like Christmas candy; perfect when you are in the mood for a yuletide flavored sugar rush.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Kiddie-o-meter: While the desire for sexual intimacy is present this novel remains rather chaste and contains no foul language.

Quoteable:

"No. I didn't respond to an ad," he told her, watching as her eyes darkened and her body tensed.

"Then why are you here?" Her voice was now cool and low.

"I'm here because you wished for me." He winced when he spoke the words. He had a feeling that Reagan was not about to believe in magical wishes.

Noteable:


My final say:
What would you wish for if you could wish for anything this Christmas (material or otherwise) ?