Thursday, November 30, 2017

Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas Week 2: Happily Ever After Thursday


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


Many book characters seem to become a part of our lives.
Sometimes we really want to get to know them better
and enjoy their romance for just a little bit longer.
Each Thursday, we will be spotlighting 
one of our swoony Christmas couples.

This week, we'll be getting to know
Charlee & Ryan 
from More Trouble in Loveland by Jennifer Peel.


1. What do you like to do on a romantic date?

We love to head up to one of our favorite Italian restaurants in Estes Park to have dinner and then walk the Riverwalk.

2. What do you like most about each other?

Our fierce loyalty and how we support each other’s goals and dreams.

3. What is your favorite way to spend time together?

Hanging out with our son, shooting hoops, or cuddling on the couch together watching a movie. And of course, jumping on the trampoline.

4. What are three things on your bucket list?

Run the Boston Marathon (that’s more Ryan, but since I love him so much, I’ll play along or basically die with him doing it.)

Attend the NBA Championship Series games.

Go to Northern Wales and bounce on the world’s largest underground trampoline.

5. What is “your song”? 

Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran (It was the first song we ever danced to.)

6. What is the craziest date you’ve been on?

For Ryan’s 34th birthday I made him a scavenger hunt complete with a map and clues leading to his buried birthday present. My favorite part of the night was watching him sing karaoke to My Girl to get one of his clues.

7. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Sleeping under the Christmas Tree. No children allowed.

8. How would you describe each other to someone else in three words?

Ryan would describe Charlee as annoyingly-charming, spontaneous, beautiful-heart.

Charlee would describe Ryan as all-mine, the-best-of-the-best, thoughtful.

Swoon Worthy Spotlights


Welcome to Swoon Worthy Spotlights,
Swoon Worthy Spotlights features 1-3 of our favorite books that we have read during the month.
We will share the cover(s), our review(s)
and a link to each other's posts
so you can check out which books we have all chosen!

The books that made me swoon in November are:







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What books made you swoon recently?


Be sure to check out some other choices from



and

Bookworm Nation


Happy Reading!!

The Rebels of Cordovia by Linda Weaver Clarke {Review}


The Rebels of Cordovia by Linda Weaver Clarke
Paperback, 220 pages
Published April 17th 2013 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform



Centuries after the legendary Robin Hood, a group of men and women find themselves fighting for the same cause: for their rights, for freedom of speech, and equality. Robin's Rebels realize they must fight against the tyranny of a wicked king and help the people survive this oppression. In the small country of Cordovia, small groups of rebels begin springing up, but its Robin's Rebels who get the attention of the king. In this battle for freedom, a tender love story begins to blossom. Daniel, a rogue and a leader of the Freemen, doesn't realize that the sweet feminine woman he has met and is falling for happens to be the leader of Robin's Rebels. Realizing the importance of uniting all the rebel groups, Daniel tries to recruit Robin's Rebels but they refuse. Now he has to find a way to convince them. When he finds out the leader is actually a woman, what will his reaction be?

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My Review: 3 Stars

Good versus evil is the story for many people and in this book, two different groups are fighting for the same reason. As I read this book, I felt that I was sitting at the knee of a beloved grandparent, hearing the tale from his or her mouth. While this is an interesting way to hear the events, I enjoy it better when I feel like I'm the main character's best friend and confidante or a fly on the wall, actually seeing the story unfold right there with the characters. In short, there is much more telling than showing and I couldn't engage as much as I would have liked to.

That aside, there is some suspense and action, as these characters struggle to free themselves and their followers from a ruler who has them all under his thumb. I love the strength of Daniel and Robin, and especially the message that women can do hard things too, and every bit as well as men. And Daniel accepts that!

The romance is very mild and gradual. Although the sparks are lacking, it comes across as genuine and lasting. This story is pleasant and light, entertaining but not intense, and good for those who enjoy a gentle read.

Content: mild language; mild violence; mild romance

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

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Buy Links:

http://amzn.to/2ngXN8g  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rebels-of-cordovia-linda-weaver-clarke/1115202222?ean=9781484147658

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Christmas Secrets by Donna Hatch {Review}

Christmas Secrets by Donna Hatch
Kindle Edition, 158 pages
Published November 9th 2017 by Mirror Lake Press LLC 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36424623-christmas-secrets?ac=1&from_search=true
Holly has two Christmas wishes this year; finally earn her mother's approval by gaining the notice of a handsome earl with an impeccable reputation, and learn the identity of the stranger who gave her a heart-shattering kiss...even if that stranger is the resident Christmas ghost.
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My Review: 4 Stars

I love a good story that starts out with a bang and boy does this one ever! Holly decided to innocently watch for the supposed ghost that appears at her brother-in-law's house each year, but she ends up with a mystery kiss that even curled my toes. I think I was almost as caught off guard as she was.

The flirtatious characters plays a very nice game of round robin, as the different individuals fall in and out of love at an alarming rate. However, once a firm and forbidden attraction is formed, the romantic tension could be cut with a sharp knife. The butterflies were flying rampant in my stomach throughout and the swoon literally oozed out of my kindle from just a glance or a brief graze of the hand.

Not only did I identify with the solid Christmas traditions throughout the story, but I absolutely adored the cast, especially the main characters. Holly is overly eager to please her mother and I love her growth throughout the book. I especially loved that her love interest wasn't stodgy and stiff, but had a ripple of delightful wickedness flowing through his veins, especially considering how society deems he should be. Donna Hatch always delivers a great Regency story, and this one put me in a jolly holiday mood.
  
Content: mild romance (kissing)
*I received a copy, which had no influence on my thoughts and opinions*
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Buy Link:
http://amzn.to/2k3r317

Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas Week 2: Whispering Wednesday


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


We're so excited about Whispering Wednesday!
Each Wednesday, we will be having a different author
answering some of our burning questions.

Next up, we have one of our favorite swoony clean authors,
Jennifer Peel!

Let's get to know her a little bit better: 

1. What gives you inspiration for your characters and story lines? 

Life experiences, stories on the news, my children and husband, friends, people watching, my dreams.

2. Which are your top five favorite kissing scenes from your books?

Meg and Zander’s first kiss in Statistically Improbable.

Sam and Paige’s first kiss on the beach in Paige’s Turn.

Cole and Jillian’s first kiss as strangers on a plane in the Pianos and Promises series.

Charlee and Ryan’s first kiss after the One Republic concert in Trouble in Loveland.

Cheyenne and Aidan’s first kiss in Cheyenne. There is something about two people hating each other, but they really don’t and the fireworks that happen when they kiss.

3. What has been your favorite book to write?

This is a tough one. It would be a toss-up between More Trouble in Loveland, Trouble in Loveland, and Statistically Improbable.

4. Which of your heroes and heroines would you most like to meet in person?

All of them! But some of my top ones would be Ryan and Charlee, Meg and Zander, and Beck and Call.
5. What three words would you use to describe your books? 

Character-driven, emotional, real-romance.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Heartless by Marissa Meyer {Review}

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Published November 8th 2016 by Feiwel & Friends 
 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25566212-heartless
 
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland - the infamous Queen of Hearts - she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen .
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.
Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
 
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My Review: 5 Stars
 
I'm late in the game, I know, and I don't know why I haven't picked this one up before because I absolutely loved it! Marissa Meyer could write the phone book and have me completely captivated from cover to cover.
 
I've always had a soft spot for fairy tale retellings and have often felt that the villain has a story to tell, a reason why he or she became evil. Meyer created a heart wrenching idea of how the Queen of Hearts came to be and I couldn't put it down. I think most people know the basic gist of the story, but there is so much more to it--so many amazing details that had me reeling.
 
The way the characters came together and mingled, especially characters from other stories, was completely creative and entertaining. The cast is amazing and I still crossing my fingers that this isn't a standalone--I want more! 
 
I could picture everything so vividly and my emotions were played like a harp. I vacillated between love and hate and seriously everything in between. I think I've learned my lesson--Meyer has talent and I won't be this late to the party with her next release.
 
Content: moderate violence (some blood, beheading, death--not too graphic); mild romance (kissing)
 
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Buy Links:
 
http://amzn.to/2Ah5NZE  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heartless-marissa-meyer/1121501897?ean=9781250044655#/

Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas Week 2: Tradition Tuesday


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.

KJ will be posting about one of her family's
favorite traditions for Week 2.

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We used to have a lot of traditions growing up. But over the years, with my siblings getting married, having kids of their own and moving out of state, the majority of those traditions have fallen to the wayside.

But there is one tradition that I refuse to stop and that is Christmas breakfast! Whether it's just my dad and I or a few of my siblings and their families, I will ALWAYS have Christmas breakfast! Depending on who's here will determine the menu. Sometimes it's just eggs, bacon, hashbrowns and a big glass of milk (or in my case a Pepsi!). But other times it's eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, pancakes, toast, biscuits and gravy, orange juice, milk.. you name it and we probably have it! It's the BEST!

Over the last few years I have taken over the majority of the cooking and I love it! I've inherited my dad and grandpa's breakfast making genes! And if you ask me it's one of the greatest things I could have inherited from them! 😊

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas Week 2: Sweet Morsels Monday


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 second week,
KJ will be sharing one of the newest additions to her Christmas treats.

**I am a HUGE peanut cluster fan and a HUGE Rocky Road ice cream fan! So imagine my surprise when I discovered a Rocky Road Peanut Clusters! I just HAD to try them! So I went out the very next day and got all the ingredients. One word... AMAZING! Not only are the super yummy but they are super easy! I hope you guys love them!**

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Rocky Road Peanut Clusters

Ingredients:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 tbsp vegetable oil OR shortening
1½ cups roasted, lightly salted peanuts
1½ cups miniature marshmallows

Instructions:

1. Line a large baking sheet with waxed paper.
2. Melt chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and vegetable oil together in a large microwave-safe container. I used a Pyrex glass bowl.
3. Heat on high for 30 seconds, stir, repeat, until chips are melted and smooth.
4. Quickly stir in the peanuts and marshmallows.
5. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the waxed paper. You can make them as large or as small as you like.
6. Let set up in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before packing. Store leftovers (ha!) in an airtight container.

Don't these look and sound amazing?! Let me know what you think if you try them!


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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas...Reviews! Week 1


We hope you have been enjoying our Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas hosted by KJ's Book Nook, Bookworm Nation, and Katie's Clean Book Collection!

Every Saturday we will be posting links to all the fabulous reviews from the Swoony Christmas reads you send us as well as the new Rafflecopter.

We really do hope you are having as much fun as we are! Life can get pretty crazy this time of year and it's always good to escape reality for a little while. What better way than reading swoony Christmas books and entering to win prizes?! 😉

So... without further adieu... here are the reviews we received this week! 

Marrying Miss Kringle: Lux by Lucy McConnell: 


The Christmas Groom by Taylor Hart: 


A Lawman for Christmas by Karen Kirst


How to Kiss a Billionaire by Cami Checketts: 


Honeymoon for One in Christmas Falls by Jennifer Peel:


Hot Cocoa Wars by Christene Houston:


The Christmas Boyfriend by Taylor Hart:


The Lumberjack's Yuletide Bride by Kimberly Krey:


A Christmas Kiss by Susan Hatler: 


Home For Christmas by Melissa McClone: 


The Bookworm and the Beast by Charlee James: 



Friday, November 24, 2017

The Lumberjack's Yuletide Bride by Kimberly Krey {Review}

The Lumberjack's Yuletide Bride by Kimberly Krey
Kindle Edition
Published November 6th 2017 by Gelato Publishing LLC

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36551635-the-lumberjack-s-yuletide-bride
Maddie Collins, first grade teacher at Cobble Creek Elementary, is not a man-hater. Sure, her absent father gave men a bad name, and her mother always warned her that high hopes were dangerous things, but Maddie still hopes to find a man who’ll return the love she has to offer. When lumberjack, Bear Schaefer takes an interest in her, Maddie allows her hopes to soar above the tree tops. 
 
Bear Schaefer, aka poster boy for Big Daddy Mills, has been dying to get back to Cobble Creek. As part owner and operator of an environmentally proactive logging company, he has a list of things vying for his attention. But none are quite so alluring as the lovely Maddie Collins. Date after date their connection grows deeper while the sparks grow hotter. Yet just as things become serious between them, a vengeful woman from Bear’s past threatens to tear them apart. With Maddie’s hopes for love so high, and Bear’s love so deep, a fall would be more devastating than a forest fire.  
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My Review: 5 Stars 
My first thought when I started this was, "Do lumberjacks really still exist or are they a tall tale like Paul Bunyon?" Well, hello Bear! I do believe they exist and I absolutely loved his role in the story.

Bear uses his fame to do good for the environment and to educate people and although he's big, larger-than-life, famous, and tough, he's got a tender core that completely melted me (along with Maddie, of course) down to my soul. Maddie is a first grade teacher and an amazing person, especially with all she's been through in life.

One of my favorite things is when a celebrity (of sorts) doesn't let the fame go to his head and falls back to his roots to find love. Bear and Maddie grew up together and always had a spark that seemed to die out before it truly ignited. But a few years later, the winds pick up and fuel this chemistry into a full-blown, raging fire. The swoon pops between them and I loved watching everything develop in a deliciously satisfying way.

What would a story be without a little conflict? This one comes in the form of a volatile woman and sprinkles seeds of doubt across the board. As a whole, this story will leave you with a feeling of contentment and happiness. I can always count on Kimberly Krey to deliver a sweet treat right to my heart.

Content: mild innuendo and steamy clean romance

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Buy Link:

http://amzn.to/2A4de8w   

Festivity Friday Week 1 (Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas 2017)

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

Festivity Friday is our fabulous cap of the week!
Each Friday, we will be posting the winners of 
our giveaways. Be sure to stop by all week long
for fun posts and chances to win,
and be sure to check back on Fridays to see if you're a winner!

And the winners are...

Christmas Treat Pack -- Lynette D.
One ebook of Cookie Girl Christmas and A Cliché Christmas--
Audrey S.
$5 Amazon Gift Card -- Linda H.
Kimberly Krey ebook -- Alisa B.

**Winners will be contacted by email**

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happily Ever After Thursday Week 1 (Have Yourself a Very Swoony Christmas 2017)

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

Many book characters seem to become a part of our lives.
Sometimes we really want to get to know them better
and enjoy their romance for just a little bit longer.
Each Thursday, we will be spotlighting 
one of our swoony Christmas couples.

This week, we'll be getting to know
Maddie & Bear 
from The Lumberjack's Yuletide Bride by Kimberly Krey.



1. What do you like to do on a romantic date?

Bear: Anything that involves the outdoors, pretty much. Especially when it's cold out and Maddie has to cuddle up to me.

Maddie: I love the outdoors too, but I'm equally fond of a cozy night with a warm fire and good food.


2. What do you like most about each other?

Bear: I love that Maddie is genuine. She isn't trying to be someone she's not for the sake of impressing people. She's beautiful, fun-loving, and she'll make an incredible mother one day. 

Maddie: Bear has these contrasting parts that make him fascinating. Apart from being handsome and witty, he's strong, physically and mentally. Contrasting that is the fact that he’s also gentle and loving. And while he has a business to run, Bear makes time for the important people in his life. Mainly his mother, sister, and me.


3. What is your favorite way to spend time together?

Bear: Do you really want me to answer that?

Maddie: (*smacks Bear on the arm) I love going logging with him. Going to football games at Cobble Creek High. And shopping along Main Street when it’s lit up at night.


4. What are three things on your bucket list?

Bear: To take Maddie to Germany one day.

Maddie: Yeah, we want to go to Germany. We’ve talked about going on an Alaskan Cruisewe’d love that. And I don’t know if this really belongs on a bucket list, but we’d both like to see our moms get remarried, and see our sisters end up with great guys too.

Bear: Definitely.


5. What is “your song”? 

BearHave Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Maddie: Yeah, that’s it for sure.



6. What is the craziest date you’ve been on?

Bear: Should we count the one where we were Chefs for the day?
Maddie: That was definitely different. Oh, how about the one where we went sledding on a double date with Kate and Cam, and then Willy showed up with his date and tried racing you down the hill!

Bear: That’s the craziest one for sure, since poor Willy’s boots fell off and his date had to carry them down the hill for him.


7. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Bear: Going out and picking that choice Christmas tree.

Maddie: Definitely. And getting the holiday brownies at Tops Bakery.

8. How would you describe each other to someone else in three words?

Bear: Maddie is bright, beautiful, and selfless.

Maddie: Bear is passionate, caring, and courageous. And handsome, can’t forget that one.

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