Tag Archives: Kate Hardy

December Read-a-Thon: ‘Tis the Season To Be Tempted by Aimee Carson Puts One Naughty Girl and a Very Good Guy Under the Tree This Season

21 Dec

‘Tis the Season To Be Tempted by Aimee Carson (Entangled: Indulgence, November 22, 2013)

I cannot believe this is the last one of the novellas from Entangled’s ‘Tis the Season bundle! *sniff* I was super worried that with the first three being so awesome, maybe I was going to be disappointed with Aimee Carson‘s novella – after all, I haven’t read anything of hers before so she was a bit of a wild card. After Kate Hardy’s Scrooge-turned-Santa hero, Heidi Rice’s playboy-meets-uptight-British-workaholic, and Amy Andrews’ Drunk-Kindergarten-Teacher-Falls-For-Sexy-Soldier, how could anyone live up to the high bar set by these fabulous authors? Especially someone whose work I really don’t know?

Well, THAT’S something that will be changing considering how hot and funny ‘Tis the Season To Be Tempted is. Any author who manages to work ice tongs into a sex scene – and makes them wicked hot – is deserving of my admiration!

Wes Campbell is exhausted and a little depressed that he’s spent New Year’s with a client rather than anyone he actually cared about. He just wants to rest on the plane and gear up for even more work the next day. Facing the realization that his life is pretty bleak – no real family, a failed “perfect” marriage, and nothing but his business to occupy his time – is painful to say the least. Then the sound of someone’s voice drifts to his first class seat and Wes’ world fills with color, because that panicked voice belongs to the one woman who was always off limits, the perpetual rebel and younger sister of his best friend and college roommate, Evie Lee.

Evie is convinced that, after the year she’s had, it’s all too likely that she is going die a fiery death on this plane and no amount of gin and tonics seem to soften the reality. When she hears a deep male voice ordering the flight attendant to go easy on the alcohol, she’s unsurprised to see Wes, aka “Harvard,” her brother’s bossy best friend. He’s been a thorn in her side forever, managing to witness all her humiliating moments growing up. It’s been a decade since she’s been home to see her affluent parents who would have loved their daughter to go to an Ivy League school or at least marry someone like Wes, but Evie’s career putting a now-highly successful band on the map isn’t worthy of their admiration. With all this liquid courage, a little flirting with Wes might exactly what she needs to take her mind off her impending death, right?

While it’s the heroine who wears Hello, Kitty underpants, there is something far more sexy about the male version, don’t you think?

OMG, two terrific characters who are still wrestling with some inner doubts and vulnerability – Evie in that her breakup and job change have undermined the success she created for herself on her own terms and Wes in that his work and his life are not as fulfilling as they are supposed to be and he knows something is missing. That something is clearly Evie, and the heat between these two is smoking; their historical sparks have obviously been hiding that chemistry. Any author that can make Hello, Kitty underpants and hotel food implements sexy is a tremendous talent, and Aimee Carson‘s writing is detailed, funny and hot – a terrific combination. 🙂

Just like the other outstanding authors in this collection, Carson’s novella feels like a longer work because it is so packed with emotion. A bargain at $.99, the bundle with all four of these fabulous holiday stories at $2.99 is an outstanding bargain and an affordable stocking stuffer for your favorite romance reader (or a great way to use that bookseller gift card you received). My happiness centers on the fact that I get to race out and buy more Aimee Carson books (I’ve already put a bunch on my “to-read” shelf on Goodreads) so my time with this great author is only beginning. Merry Christmas to me (and you)!

Happy reading!!

December Read-a-Thon: ‘Tis the Season To Be Kissed by Amy Andrews Continues Entangled’s Fabulous Holiday Novella Streak

20 Dec

‘Tis the Season To Be Kissed by Amy Andrews (Entangled: Indulgence, November 15, 2013)

I have seen a lot of publishers churn out holiday books and novellas and (we all know) that while there could be some great titles in the bunch, a few of them are bound to be mediocre. With that in mind, my respect for Entangled has grown with leaps and bounds as every one of these ‘Tis the Season novellas are utterly fantastic! You’ve heard me wax ecstatic over Heidi Rice’s book yesterday and Kate Hardy’s book the day before that, so please add my appreciation for Amy Andrews to that list of admired authors.

The best present to me is that, while I’ve got a few of Amy Andrews’ books on my “to-read” list, I hadn’t yet indulged in her writing, so this novella was just the kick in the pants I needed to shunt a few of her novels up the ladder in my Kindle queue. Absolutely sweet was her Acknowledgements page at the end of this novella where she thanks Entangled’s Heather Howland and Liz Pelletier for all the help she received to convert her language from Andrews’ native Australian patois to a version of English which would match her American characters. Their team effort succeeded, as ‘Tis the Season To Be Kissed doesn’t take a single misstep, delivering two terrific characters, a snowstorm, and sexual tension so powerful it provides its own fireworks when our hero and heroine decide to ring in the New Year.

When our novella begins, Tamara is well aware that she’s reaching a new level of pathetic being three sheets to the wind by 9 am on the morning of New Year’s Eve, but she has good reason. Her best friend lent her the family Vermont cabin (and left the eggnog) and since Tamara can’t figure out how to build a fire without matches, she’s bundled in her coat and several layers with the theory that enough eggnog will keep her from freezing to death. Sadly, it’s also got her feeling quite morose about the state of her love life, which has been populated with losers this last year and turning thirty makes that experience a little more painful. With a raging snowstorm outside and reports of teenage looters on the television, tipsy Tamara panics when she hears someone on the porch clearly rattling the knob. Yet, she’s ready to defend her friend’s domicile, albeit with a golf club.

Blizzards are always better when you have a hot male body to snuggle in front of a fire with. (Public domain image courtesy of Pixabay)

Blizzards are always better when you have a hot male body to snuggle in front of a fire with. (Public domain image courtesy of Pixabay)

Sergeant Luke Jackson thought that he had left ambushes behind when his plane took off from Afghanistan 36 hours ago, but after he tackles the parka clad burglar wielding a mean putter he realizes that his attacker is a pixie-haired, slightly drunk woman. As her layers strip off after he manages to get a fire going so neither of them will freeze, he’s more and more fascinated with her. Listening to her drunken rambles about the men she’s dated, he’s actually grateful that they were all impatient assholes since Tamara is available now – and Luke is beginning to think that settling down into something more serious might be exactly the New Year’s resolution he needs. Convincing her to throw out her usual ten date timetable is going to be a challenge, but it’s nothing this soldier can’t handle.

Luke’s military service is alluded to but not belabored in this 55 page novella, yet do not worry that his character is underdeveloped. This delicious sergeant with his six-pack of abs and cleft chin is just as good on the inside as he is handsome, so I guarantee you’ll be in love with him by the fourth page after his appearance. Tamara is experiencing a very understandable crisis at the age of 30 and having her best friend’s sexy younger brother appear isn’t helping her libido dilemma, particularly when her head is very clear about the need to settle down. She’s funny and earnest, especially when drunk, and I liked that she had good reasons behind her principles and that Luke immediately respected them, even when he was determined to shorten her timetable in his own case.

‘Tis the Season Bundle by Heidi Rice, Kate Hardy, Amy Andrews and Aimee Carson (Entangled: Indulgence, December 9, 2013)

Like the other books in this series, ‘Tis the Season To Be Kissed manages to read like a longer novella and at only $.99 is an utter bargain deserving of immediate purchase. You’ll be seeing plenty of New Year’s Eve fireworks with this great story by Amy Andrews on your e-reader! Please note that all four novellas in this series are actually available as a bundle for only $2.99, and since I’ve established over the last few days that the three I’ve read so far are fabulous, it’s only mathematical literacy to realize that you should get the bundle to get the fourth story (to be reviewed tomorrow) for free.

Happy reading!

December Read-a-Thon: Heidi Rice Shows Us What Lucky Looks Like in ‘Tis the Season to Get Lucky

19 Dec

‘Tis the Season to Get Lucky by Heidi Rice (Entangled: Indulgence, November 1, 2013)

What does “getting lucky” look like in a holiday novella? How about a sexy playboy with a heart of gold, a soaking wet British achluophobe (fear of the dark), and a department store closed for Christmas where you can have anything you want? Exactly.

This fantasy is exactly what every salivating reader gets with Heidi Rice’s fabulous novella, ‘Tis the Season to Get Lucky, and it’s worth way more than the $.99 price tag since 1) it’s packed with vivid detail and a startling amount of emotion and 2) it’s Heidi Rice, people, and she’s awesome.

Kate Braithwaite’s long distance boyfriend has just dumped her via email so she trudges to the office she’s called home for the past six months (through a horrifying rainstorm) to remind herself why she left England behind. Doing PR for one of the premier stores in Manhattan has been a dream come true, but even Kate realizes how pathetic she is being the only person at work besides the security guard on Christmas. Thankful no one can see her, she exchanges her soaking wet clothes for a way-too-small elf costume and decides to try and be productive. At least she works more than the no-show playboy son of the owner who draws a massive salary and never comes to work.

Ryan Sinclair is in fact “at work” that day, and is busy pondering over what appear to be slutty elf dolls actually meant for children, when one (very sexy) elf startles him so much that he tackles her. This British beauty has a face to match her luscious body, but her frosty demeanor and workaholic attitude make her undesirable, or so he tells himself. Until the rainstorm which has become a blizzard kills the store lights and suddenly Katherine (he likes that better than Kate) is shaking, showing a vulnerable woman under the bitchiness. Over the course of a snowstorm which traps them in the store, these two people discover that the other person is not at all what they imagined…and that a Christmas blizzard may have deposited much more than snow on their doorstep.

Okay, this is Heidi Rice, a superhero in the world of category romance (way to go, Entangled!) and she delivers her usual brand of hot, sexiness wrapped in a hero and heroine who seem like a total mismatch but are really very similar under the skin. Kate has (understandable) abandonment issues and Ryan has worked to insure his daughter never, ever feels abandoned. I honestly could not believe that this novella was listed at 57 pages – if you told me it was closer to 100 pages, I would have believed you with the emotional evolution experienced by the characters between its covers. Does it move quickly? Of course, it’s a novella, but that doesn’t mean this story is anything but quality writing. Don’t move until you check out such classics of this author’s like Surf, Sea and a Sexy Stranger and/or Cupcakes and Killer Heels! They are the reason I love Heidi Rice and you’ll understand the minute you read them. 🙂

Movie Bliss: A Hopeless Romantic Seeks Movies to Love by Heidi Rice (Harlequin E, January 6, 2014)

Yet despite my being a fan, I only just managed to realize that her author bio clearly states that Rice also works as a movie journalist in her spare time. I was extremely excited to see on her blog that she has a movie guide specifically for romance lovers coming out in early January, Movie Bliss: A Hopeless Romantic Seeks Movies to Love. Seriously? Even better, it’s about 150 pages of recommendations AND it’s also only $.99. Whaaa??? Color me having pre-ordered it (and maybe my blog readers will get some movie reviews peppered in here since we all enjoy great films that make our HEA a visual reality, don’t we?).

Remember that ‘Tis the Season to Get Lucky is part of the same Entangled series as yesterday’s ‘Tis the Season to Kiss Santa by Kate Hardy, so you now have two reasons to take a look at these great books. With all the busyness and running around of the holidays, these books are exactly what you need to take a mental time out for yourself and do something just for you.

Happy reading!

December Read-a-thon: ‘Tis the Season to Kiss Santa by Kate Hardy Will Have You Wishing for a Snowstorm

18 Dec

‘Tis the Season To Kiss Santa by Kate Hardy (Entangled: Indulgence, November 1, 2013)

This novella came on just the right day for me. I knew I needed to read a holiday themed book for my December post and we had snow today – enough for a delay for my school but not enough for a snow day (which made me and all the kids sad). Since my husband and I fell in love during a snowstorm almost 21 years ago, there is nothing more romantic to me than being caught by weather (the kind where you need to snuggle for warmth) with someone you find attractive. Very attractive.

Enter category romance doyenne Kate Hardy (of Harlequin/Mills & Boon fame) and Entangled Publishing’s new Indulgence line who together have managed a lineup of delicious holiday novellas penned by serious category romance contenders! Names like Aimee Carson, Heidi Rice (!), and Kate Hardy are all well-known by readers within this genre of romance fiction, so color me impressed. Those Entangled editors are clearly smooth talkers with plenty of chutzpah to court such excellent authors for this holiday novella celebration, but that’s Entangled for you. 🙂

‘Tis the Season to Kiss Santa has a straightforward premise. Mitch has been called Scrooge for most of his life and he’s got good reason. He has no positive memories of the holiday which, for him, was filled with abusive, drunk parents and disillusionment. Now a successful PR executive in Philadelphia, he’s happy to spend the holidays doing what he always does – work. But when his soon-to-retire boss C. J. approaches him about playing Santa, Mitch balks even though he knows C. J. will be picking a successor soon. There is no way he’s agreeing to be something (or someone) he’s not.

C. J. lets him know that donning the red suit and Christmas cheer is for a local hospice, specifically for siblings of kids in the hospital who don’t end up with a lot of attention during the holiday, making Mitch reconsider his anti-Christmas stance. His boss and his wife lost a son years ago and, together with a bakery owner with a similar experience, have been putting on this party every year. Mitch feels his first stirrings of guilt and ends up agreeing to do the gig, despite his reservations.

The snow angel was my favorite! (Public domain image courtesy of Pixabay)

The snow angel was my favorite! (Public domain image courtesy of Pixabay)

Ellie is a British baker who was happy to step into the “chief elf” role when her godmother needed a hip replacement. But while the last-minute Santa is good looking, he’s also not exactly filled with the Christmas spirit. Yet, something seems to happen to him over the course of interacting with the kids, and it’s enough of a transformation that when he suggests he give her a ride home in the sudden snowstorm that sprang up, she accepts, inviting him in for coffee and cookies.

They both quickly realize that Mitch is there for the duration of the storm (and maybe Christmas day if the city can’t get the plow in soon). Ellie can’t believe that she’s so attracted to someone who she only just met a few hours ago and Mitch is stunned that this sexy redhead with the killer accent is getting under all his carefully shored up defenses. Together they discover if Mitch can get over his past and Ellie can recover the confidence shredded by her ex and have a very merry Christmas, indeed.

At almost 100 pages this $.99 novella is a total steal with two great main characters and a romantic setting. Mitch is grumpy – but not to the level of being an unlikeable asshole – and the setting of the hospice was unique yet never saccharine. Kate Hardy manages to sketch vivid people and settings with an economy of words that left me breathless as the plot moved effortlessly along, taking me with it. At its heart, this story is about the Christmas spirit helping people take chances, and that’s a message any romance reader can love.

You can be rest assured that I will be reviewing some of the other fabulous stories in this holiday series over the next couple of weeks. Hopefully they will live up to the standards set by Kate Hardy!

Happy reading!

%d bloggers like this: