Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tradition Tuesday Week 1 (Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas 2017)

We are so excited for our first annual 
Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas event,


Traditions are what really make the holidays memorable!
Each Tuesday we will be posting about some of our
favorite Christmas traditions.

Katie will be posting about one of her family's
favorite traditions for Week 1.

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I don't watch a lot of TV because I'd rather be reading, but one of my
favorite Christmas traditions is watching Christmas movies and TV shows.
Every few days, we sit down as a family, grab some popcorn and treats,
and watch some of our favorite shows by the twinkling lights of the tree.

Our Top Ten family favorites are:

Elf
The Polar Express
White Christmas
A Christmas Carol
A Charlie Brown Christmas
It's a Wonderful Life
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Home Alone
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Frosty the Snowman

Of course, I also LOVE many Hallmark Christmas movies as well,
but my husband and kids aren't really into those. 😊

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 20, 2017

Sweet Morsels Monday Week 1 (Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas 2017)

We are so excited for our first annual 
Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas event,


Welcome to Sweet Morsels Monday!
Mondays can be rough, but nothing can make it better than something sweet.
Each Monday, we'll be sharing a Christmas treat recipe.
Aren't Christmas treats the best?!

For the first week,
Katie will be sharing one of her family's favorites.

**I'm not sure where I got this recipe, but it was about 10-15 years ago.
Not only do we love to eat it, but we love to deliver it to neighbors as well.**

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Christmas Chex Mix

9 cups rice Chex cereal
9 cups corn Chex cereal
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups Christmas colored M&M's

Direction:
Heat oven to 250 degrees F. Spray roasting pan with cooking spray. Put cereals in pan. In medium saucepan, mix brown sugar, karo syrup, and butter. Cook and stir for 8-9 minutes over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Boil for 1 minute, constantly stirring. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Pour over cereal and gentle mix until coated. Bake 40-50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then stir in M&M's. Spread mixture onto waxed paper and let cool for 10 minutes. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

*Makes 18 cups

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Just Maybe (Home In You #3) by Crystal Walton {Review}

Just Maybe by Crystal Walton
Kindle Edition, 310 pages
Published October 11th 2017 by Impact Editions, LLC 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36206457-just-maybe?from_search=true
When a case of mistaken identity spirals into a more-than-complicated pretend relationship, an adventure seeker and a grammar fanatic just might’ve met each other’s match.

Three weeks. That’s all the time self-made billionaire Cooper Anderson has to respond to discovering he’s a single dad, sell his lake house, and catch a one-way ticket across the world. The quick-witted nanny responding to his ad couldn’t be more of a life saver … and maybe a nice distraction. Until the secrets she’s hiding get a little too close to exposing his own.

The one lead guaranteeing Quinn Thompson a promotion just has to land her back in her hometown to finagle an interview out of Mr. Elusive, of all people. But she can hack it, right? Even while mistaken for the nanny, she can keep things quick and professional. No running into her embarrassing southern family, no stirring up the wounds that’d sent her packing four years ago, and definitely no melting over a stockbroker’s unfair dimples and boyish charm.

Why, oh, why doesn’t anything ever go according to plan?

With both their deadlines closing in before they’re ready, Quinn and Cooper must decide whether the life they’re set on pursuing alone is worth more than the one they could be missing together.

***Each book in the Home In You Series is a standalone and can be read separately. But I recommend reading the books in order if you want to follow the overall timeline:

Still Falling - A Prequel
Write Me Home - Book One
Begin Again - Book Two
Just Maybe - Book Three

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My Review: 5 Stars

Ooh, I love me a story with a good case of mistaken identity and this one is classic, because not only does Cooper think Quinn is applying to be a nanny, but they somehow find themselves in a relationship of convenience, which makes everything just a little more interesting. And by interesting, I mean the sparks are snapping between the two of them and when you add that to an adorable baby boy, a crazy Southern family, and situations that leave a grin plastered to your face, you get an adorable story.

Life doesn't always go the way a person has it mapped out and sometimes that's a good thing, but both Quinn and Cooper are wrestling with choices and life paths that could have lasting consequences and I loved watching it all unfold. These are such great characters with strengths and weakness, learning to navigate life and responsibility.

There's a little bit of everything in this book--conflict, drama, and romance, to name a few--but it's a perfect recipe of success and I loved every minute of it.

Content: mild romance

*I received a copy to review, which had no influence on my thoughts and opinions.*

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Buy Link:

http://amzn.to/2hvsDEy 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas 2017 Reading List

Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas 2017
starts in just FOUR more days!

I've put my reading list together and hope to get through
as many of these as I can.

What will you be reading to get in the
Christmas mood?

All is Merri and Bright by Tifani Clark
The Trouble With Mistletoe by Jennifer Snow 
More Trouble in Loveland by Jennifer Peel
Christmas Secrets by Donna Hatch
Christmas in Three Rivers by Liz Isaacson
Love at Mistletoe Inn by Cindy Kirk
The Lumberjack’s Yuletide Bride by Kimberly Krey
How to Kiss a Billionaire: Billionaire Beach Romance by Cami Checketts
Santa Maybe by Aubrey Mace
The Christmas Boyfriend by Taylor Hart
Hot Cocoa Wars by Christene Houston
Fall in Love For Christmas by Rebecca Talley

The Darkest Summer by Rebecca J. Greenwood


The Darkest Summer by Rebecca J. Greenwood
Paperback
Published November 14th 2017 by Sweetwater Books 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34954017-the-darkest-summer
Lady Cora Winfield's life has always gone according to plan--her mother's plan. That's why Cora is so fascinated when she meets the dark Duke of Blackdale. Knowing his dangerous reputation, Cora's mother flatly forbids the match, and the duke decides to take matters into his own hands. Kidnapped and facing a scandal, Lady Cora must now decide whether love will be her downfall or the beginning of a new plan, one she never dreamed possible.

Set in the stormy summer of 1816, this Regency romance is a retelling of the myth of Hades and Persephone.
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My Review: 4.5 Stars 
This is one story that almost took me by more of a surprise than it did the characters. After a semi-slow start, this book whirled me away into a captivating story of the unexpected and charmed the socks off of me. 

I often wonder if the world was made up of book characters, how many inhabitants would be perfectly perfect and gorgeous individuals. I loved that Cora and Adam weren't the most handsome of characters, but they each had intriguing qualities that really made them seem like your normal, average human being. Of course, their unique personalities really complemented one another and make them absolutely more attractive, especially because of their interactions with servants and each other.
It seems that many Regencies have young ladies who are under their parents' thumbs and Cora isn't an exception. You would think her mother would be happy with any match, especially to a titled man, but that's not the case. She has foolish reasons for turning Adam away and really comes across as the "bad guy" in this book. 
I found Cora's fascination with horticulture endearing and Adam's dark, lurking ways appealing, especially when he makes up his mind about what he wants and the lengths he goes to in order to get it. The secondary characters really add to the plot and although it's slightly darker in nature, it's still very compelling and a book worth reading, as it's not your typical Regency romance. 
Content: very mild violence; mild romance
*I received a copy to review, which didn't affect my opinion or thoughts in any way.*
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Buy Links:
http://amzn.to/2yDItUo  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-darkest-summer-rebecca-greenwood/1126326709?ean=9781462120949

Giveaway:
  

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Darkest Summer by Rebecca J.  Greenwood

The Darkest Summer

by Rebecca J. Greenwood

Giveaway ends November 27, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh {Review}

Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh
Kindle Edition, 382 pages
Published September 19th 2017 by Waterfall Press 
 
 
 
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Courtney Walsh returns with a hopeful and emotional new book about seizing second chances, finding yourself, and forging your own path.
 
Beth Whitaker isn’t supposed to be a small-town girl. She’s always dreamed of leaving Willow Grove, Illinois, for the big city, but she feels trapped, struggling to make up for a mistake that’s haunted her for years. Just when Beth is finally ready to break free, her sister impulsively buys a beloved but run-down farm on the outskirts of town, and she begs Beth to help with the restoration. Reluctantly, Beth agrees to help—and puts her own dreams on hold once again.

Drew Barlow hasn’t been back to Fairwind Farm since he was a boy, and he’s spent all these years trying to outrun the pain of a past he thought he buried long ago. When he learns that the owner has passed away, his heart knows it’s finally time to do the right thing. Returning to Willow Grove, Drew revisits the old farm, where he attempts to piece together his memories and the puzzle of the crime he witnessed so long ago.

Both on a journey to find peace, Beth and Drew are surprised when they begin to experience a restoration of their own. But when long-buried secrets break through the soil and the truth unfurls, will it threaten their budding relationship—and the very future of the farm?
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My Review: 5 Stars

It seems to be common for people, as they are growing up, to wish for what they don't have. Beth dreams of leaving her small town to make it big in the city. And she learns the hard way that plans and dreams don't always work out the way one would hope and expect that they would. She finds herself right back smack dab in the middle of her former life, after a short stint in the city, and just exists. Until her sister, Molly, makes a rash purchase.

Beth and Molly are so different from one another and from what I gathered, they didn't always get along really well because of those differences. Now that they are adults, they are each able to embrace themselves and complement and accept each other in ways they never could have imagined. I love the sibling friendship and camaraderie, as it really felt true to life.

Another element to the book that I loved is Drew. He has a secret and is an enigma for sure. I love how the mystery unraveled, especially since that piece to the story was light and was an invisible force that connected Drew and Beth. It's such a treat to have some depth to their budding attraction.

This is the type of book that really invokes the warm-fuzzy feel goods. The setting is as comforting as a security blanket and the characters are rich, complex, and flawed, with great potential for growth. I was completely drawn into the book and loved it all.

Content: mild romance; mild violence; moderate+ religious elements.

*I received a copy to review, which had no influence on my thoughts and opinions.*
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Buy Links:

http://amzn.to/2hyBNnv  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hometown-girl-courtney-walsh/1125896249?ean=9781542045636

Monday, November 13, 2017

Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas 2017 -- 411


Hey party people! Since we have finalized what we'll be doing for our Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas we thought we would share the details with you! It is going to be SO much fun! We cannot WAIT for it to start!

So... without further adieu... here's all the fun stuff we have in store for you!

Sweet Morsels Monday - What are holidays without yummy treats?! This is a post sharing the recipes to some of our favorite treats we love to make during the holidays!

Tradition Tuesday - No holiday would be complete without traditions! We all have them! This is a post sharing some of ours with you!

Whispering Wednesday - Are you like us and love getting to know your favorite authors? Without amazing authors writing books we wouldn't even have a Swoon Fest! This post is a Q&A with 4 of our favorite authors!

Happily Ever After Thursday - We are all suckers for a Happily Ever After! When we shared our lists with each other we discovered that we all wanted to read the same books written by the authors for Wednesday's post. We thought it would be perfect to interview the characters from each of these books! We just HAVE to know how their HEA is going!

Festivity Friday - You cannot have a Swoon Fest without winners! Each Friday we will be announcing the winners for the week. We will also be posting the links to the various reviews that come in.

For the prizes that will be mailed out, it will be open to US Residents only. 

There will be several ways for you to win! *Post a review for any Swoony Christmas book on Amazon or Goodreads, post a review of any of the books we highlight on Thursdays, leave a comment on any of our blog posts, share the giveaway on social media, follow each of us and the authors we highlight on Wednesdays.

*For the reviews, they will need to be at least 100 words and MUST be read during Swoon Fest.

And there you have it folks! All the 411 for our very first Christmas Swoon Fest! We hope everyone is as excited about it as we are! Make your lists... check them twice... and HAVE YOURSELF A VERY SWOONY CHRISTMAS! It all starts on Sunday!

Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright {Review}



Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright
ebook, 320 pages
Published: November 7, 2017 by Shadow Mountain




Ever since Emma read Pride and Prejudice, she's been in love with Mr. Darcy and has regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So naturally when Emma falls for Blake Hampton and he invites her home to meet his parents, she is positive an engagement is in her future. After all, Blake is a single man in possession of a good fortune, and thus must be in want of a wife.

But when it turns out that what Blake actually wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious. She throws herself deeper into her work as CMO of Kinetics, the fastest growing gym franchise in the nation. She loves her work, and she's good at it, which is why she bristles when her boss brings in a consultant to help her spearhead the new facilities on the East Coast. Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake's younger brother, Lucas.

Emma is determined not to fall for Lucas, but as she gets to know him, she realizes that Lucas is nothing like his brother. He is kind and attentive and spends his time and money caring for the less fortunate.

What she can't understand is why Lucas continues to try to push her back into Blake's arms when he so clearly has fallen as hard for her as she has fallen for him. It isn't until Lucas reveals to Emma that he was adopted into the Hampton family that she begins to understand his loyalty to Blake as well as his devotion to the child April-she is Lucas's biological niece.

Emma opens up to Lucas about the feelings of abandonment she has harbored ever since she was a child and her mother left the family. As she helps Lucas deal with his past demons, she is able to exorcise some of her own.

Realizing that her love life is as complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must find a way to let Blake know that it's time for him to let her go and to let Lucas know it's time for him to love her back.



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My Review: 5 Stars

I'm a big Jane Austen fan and a complete romantic at heart. I love the way that Julie Wright brings such a beloved classic to a contemporary light and gives this age-old story a slightly new twist. By doing so, my heart was happy because I could feel the comfort of an old familiar favorite but the exhilarating freshness was something new. 

Have you ever taken someone's words as law and then been disappointed when it turns out they weren't as magical as you thought they were? That's kind of what happens to Emma. She is a great character, let me just say. On one hand, she's very competent and strong, but on the other hand, she only needs to be loved and when her boyfriend, Blake, disillusions her with his fishy ways, she goes as far as to renounce Jane Austen. *gasp!* The cast of characters is pleasurable and I loved getting to know Lucas, Blake's brother, better, especially as he's thrown together with Emma through their jobs. In fact, I daresay that Lucas's vague persistence nearly made me swoon a few times. 

This story really resonated with me and I adored it all. The middle portion was slightly slower, but I honestly couldn't read it quickly enough. I especially loved the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Sometimes hard things happen to great people and I love how both Emma and Lucas are able to triumph over their pasts. This is a great read for any Austen lover.

Content: mild romance

*I received a copy, which had no influence on my thoughts and opinions.*

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Buy Links:

http://amzn.to/2yvaMV3 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Author's Corner #11

Welcome to Author's Corner hosted by Bookworm NationKatie's Clean Book Collection and KJ's Book Nook! Once a month we will feature either a favorite author or new to us author. We will share the author's bio, one of our favorite books of theirs and a review. Each of us will be featuring a different author each month so there will also be links to each of our posts.
For this month's Author's Corner I am going to choose...

Julie Coulter Bellon

Julie Coulter Bellon

Julie Coulter Bellon is the author of more than a dozen romantic suspense novels. Her book All Fall Down won the RONE award for Best Suspense and Pocket Full of Posies won a RONE Honorable Mention for Best Suspense.

Julie loves her work partly because she gets to travel to distant lands to research and add an authentic feel to all of her books. Her favorite cities so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She taught journalism for fourteen years and that kept her on the cutting edge of current events and world news---which is where she gets her story ideas.

Julie offers writing and publishing tips as well as her take on life on her blog ldswritermom.blogspot.com You can also find out about all her upcoming projects at her website juliebellon.com

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Julie Coulter Bellon writes really great military suspense books,
which I thought was fitting for Veteran's Day.
I have no idea how she captures the feelings so well, but she does.
This is one of my favorites of hers.

The Captive (Griffin Force, #1)


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Be sure to check out
KJ's Book Nook
and
Bookworm Nation
to see some of their favorite authors!

Which authors do you enjoy reading?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Christmas Swoon Fest

It 'twas the month before Christmas and all through the net not a reader was stirring not even a bit. 

The books were all placed on the shelves with care, in hopes that the bookworms would soon have time to spare. 

The readers were nestled all snug in their chairs while visions of reading time danced in the air.

When what to their wondering eyes should appear a notification from their bloggers so dear. 

With excitement and squeals and dreamy sighs, they just couldn't believe their eyes! 

Swoony reads, treats and prizes galore, we hope this is something y'all will adore! 

A Christmas Swoon Fest is just what you need, and these three bloggers hope you'll agree! 

So come on over and join in the fun, our Christmas Swoon Fest has almost begun!

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We are extremely excited to announce our very first Christmas Swoon Fest! 



Who's invited?

Why YOU... and YOU... and YOU... and YES! Even the little old lady down the street dancing around in her bathrobe! ;)

What are we doing?

We're going to HAVE OURSELVES A VERY SWOONY CHRISTMAS of course!

Where can you find this FANTABULOUS event?

On our blogs of course!

KJ's Blog: KJ's Book Nook
Kathy's Blog: Bookworm Nation
Katie's Blog: Katie's Clean Book Collection

When are we doing it?

It starts on November 19th and goes through December 16th.

Why are we doing this?

Because we LOVE all things Christmas! And what better way to get into the holiday spirit then to read Swoony Christmas books!

So what do we have in store for you?

We are still working on finalizing everything. Stay tuned for more details! 

How many prizes are there and how do you win?

We will have one winner each week and then have one "Grand Prize" winner at the very end. We'll be using Rafflecopter to keep track of the entries. In order to win, you will need to participate in Swoon Fest. 

Reading and reviewing books during this time period is going to be the main way to enter. You're review will need to be at least 100 words. But there will be other ways to enter. Like I said before, we're still working to finalize everything. 

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We hope that you'll join us! We always have a blast during Swoon Fest! 

Stay turned for my Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas reading list! I can't wait to start reading! 

Christmas Secrets by Donna Hatch {Book Blitz + Giveaway}

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Release Celebration for
Christmas Secrets
By Donna Hatch

Donna Hatch is bringing readers some sweet romance this holiday season...

Christmas Secrets
by Donna Hatch
Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 260 Pages
November 9th 2017 by Mirror Lake Press LLC

A stolen Christmas kiss leaves them bewildered and breathless. A charming rogue-turned-vicar, Will wants to prove that he left his rakish days behind him, but an accidental kiss changes all his plans. His secret could bring them together...or divide them forever.

Holly has two Christmas wishes this year; finally earn her mother's approval by gaining the notice of a handsome earl, and learn the identity of the stranger who gave her a heart-shattering kiss...even if that stranger is the resident Christmas ghost.


Exclusive Excerpt

This scene takes place when everyone on Christmas Day takes a turn kissing their spouse or sweetheart underneath the mistletoe ball. Now the group turn to Will and Holly, who have only known each other a few days, and start goading them into sharing a mistletoe kiss... 
“Come now, don’t be shy,” her sister called. “It’s tradition.”
The others called out encouragements.
Apology edged into Will’s uncertain expression. “Do you mind?”
Holly’s palms grew sweaty inside her gloves, and her smile probably came out wobbly. “Who are we to go against tradition?” Did she sound desperate in her desire to kiss him?
Will held out a hand. She placed hers in it and walked at his side to the kissing ball. They stood, hand in hand, facing each other. His neck cloth shifted as he swallowed. He leaned in. Her heart stumbled and her knees shook. She closed her eyes. Aching, she lifted her face. His cinnamon-spiced breath warmed her mouth.
He kissed her cheek.
Stunned, she opened her eyes. The watching guests groaned and some chuckled.
“No, no, that won’t do at all,” Joseph’s voice rang out. “Give her a proper kiss.”
Will froze. That intensity she occasionally saw in him returned. “Holly.” He swallowed again but instead of nervousness, a hunger that sent a flurry of shivers through her overtook his expression. “May I?”
She nodded. It didn’t matter if he saw how much she wanted this, wanted him. Let him know. Let the whole world know.
 He touched her chin, lifted it, and leaned in. Again, she closed her eyes. This time his lips touched hers, pliant and unbelievably gentle. Heat exploded at the contact and shot through her all the way down to her tingling toes. Different from her mystery kiss, this one sang of affection and respect and a deep longing to be accepted. Sweeter, more chaste, more filled with caring, Will’s kiss brought her a level of joy she’d never known. All the world faded away leaving Will and the power of his affection, his touch, his kiss. Every moment of her life seemed to have been designed to bring her to this single, perfect moment of bliss and wholeness.
“Ahem.” Father cleared his throat conspicuously.
Will pulled away all too quickly. A tiny sound of distress caught in Holly’s throat. It was over too soon. But oh, what a glorious kiss!

About the Author


Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty five years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.


Tour Giveaway

 

- 1 winner will receive a Mistletoe "Kissing Ball" Ornament, an ebook
of A Christmas Reunion or Mistletoe Magic (winner's choice) and some of Donna's favorite Christmas recipes
- Open to US/CAN only
- Ends November 13th

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