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review 2016-12-18 16:19
You Had Me At Christmas - Various Authors - My Thoughts
You Had Me At Christmas: A Holiday Anthology - Laura Florand,Jennifer Lohmann,Molly O'Keefe,Stephanie Doyle,Karina Bliss

You Had Me At Christmas is an anthology of 5 Christmas romance novellas.

The first one is Play by Karina Bliss and you know what?  I couldn't put it down!  *LOL*  I love me a good rock star story and this one was one.  But mostly told from the rock star wife's POV.  Yup, story about a married couple with two little kids.  He's a fresh made rockstar and she's his childhood sweetheart learning to cope with his newfound fame.

I found both characters believable and their insecurities and doubts worked for me.  As did their reconnection - especially the parts with their kids.  The sexy scenes were sexy and steamy, but it was the scenes where they were dealing with their kids and their rekindled desires at the same time that I really enjoyed.

A really good read!!

Now, on to the next one!

One Naughty Little Christmas was a lot of fun!  Starts off with a dating app and some sexy sexting between a business woman and an ex con on Christmas Day night, neither of them in the first blush of youth (Thank God!).  I found it an interesting pairing and their back and forth texting and sexting at the beginning of the story was well done and easy to follow.  I don't know that there was a lot of holiday in this one, other than the setting and the set up, but it left me with a smile on my face, so all was good!  :)

Twelve Kisses Until Christmas was ... well.. not my cup of tea.  Each time that I began to really enjoy the characters, they pulled some whiny bullcrap that made me go UGH.  It was really very much a New Adult type story and those I avoid like the plague.  The characters are never likable or sympathetic or not whining about something.  I think maybe the premise might have been better served with an actual novel where the characters could have been better fleshed out and maybe some positive sides shown?  Not much of Christmas or the holidays in this one either.  Anyway... the story wasn't great.

Snow-Kissed.  Well.  The first chapter left me so down and in despair that when the second chapter started the exact same way, it was fast forward time.  I want to read holiday stories that don't throw me into a pit of dark despair before maybe... MAYBE giving me my HEA or HFN ending.  I know miscarriages are devastating and tragic, but maybe not in a holiday romance novel?  Seeing as I DNFed this story, I have no idea if it actually held up the Christmas part of the bargain.

Let's hope the last one leaves me in a better frame of mind.

Christmas Eve: A Love Story.  It was an improvement, I'll give it that.  (Honestly, couldn't have been much worse than the DNF story.) I dunno. I wanted more joy, more happiness, more Christmassy feeling.  I wanted to finish the story with a smile and a happy sigh, but that didn't happen.  I think it could have.  The story of long-time friends to lovers is always an enjoyable trope for me, but this one was so - angst-laden? - that I found it hard to enjoy.  It was missing a sense of fun.

So, out of five novellas, I can honestly say that I enjoyed 2 of them.  Way too much 'woe is me' in the others.

What a shame.

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review 2016-11-18 18:53
The Bad Assassin by S. Doyle
The Bad Assassin - S Doyle

They meet in the wilderness of Alaska, when he saves her from being raped thanks to her being a lone woman in a small town of men. She immediately comes up with a plan—she’s a scientist in obvious need of a bodyguard, and he’d do nicely. She’s even prepared to pay him, but the only payment he wants is her body.


This one started off great. Slightly unconventional in its premise (the bargain between h/H), with a very unconventional hero, with hilarious convos and situations abounding.

By chapter five the hero started to get on my nerves with his single-mindedness and pushiness, the heroine was a blank with no discernible personality traits (a characteristic she shared with the hero), and the pacing was slow.

At about 50% they did the deed and she showed her true face. Me: Now we’re talking... *record scratch* We weren’t talking. Because the h/H turned into sex-craved idiots.
He woke tied up and (still) naked with her pointing a gun at him, punching him in the nuts, demanding something he stole. And what does he do? He forgives her, because she has holes in all the right places. That’s the reason I gleaned. Yes, he also talked about liking her for her spirit (a spirit I didn’t see, since she was a blank), about knowing she wasn’t who she said she was (having spent most of the time in his head through the 3 person POV, I didn’t realize he actually knew that), but I didn’t buy it. She was a convenient piece of meat with conveniently placed orifices.
And what does she do? This supposedly badass bounty hunter? She lets him convince her to untie him, because he was the first man to give her an orgasm. Not because of his personality, of her liking of him, of maybe some sliver of affection...Nope, she pivoted (again) because of his massive (his words—men and their delusions of grandeur), obviously hydraulic operated, pleasure-giving schlong.

¯_(ツ)_/¯

And what happened next? You think they’d left the cabin in search of whoever shot at them? Wrong! They spent the next chapters (I don’t know how many because I stopped reading by the third consecutive chapter of boning) fucking (yes, the only fitting word, because there was nothing there, no feeling and no emotions) like rabbits with no care that there was still someone out there after them. For a supposedly trained government assassin, this was a very stupid move.
Also, the constant boning pretty much obliterated whatever story or plot came before, as if the author used this medium to get it all out, to figuratively scratch and itch, and cram all the possible sexual positions and/or fantasies into one single story. But since there was nothing behind it, it read like porn, making the story appear a metaphor for a dirty magazine hidden inside a hollowed out book.
The language also quickly turned off-putting. I don’t mind dirty talk, but everything has its time, place, and context, and I think the motto “less is more” should’ve been applied here. Again, I had the feeling the author had a list of vulgar words from a Merriam-Webster dictionary and wanted to see how many she could cram into a sentence.

In the end, I just couldn’t take it. I officially DNF-ed it at 52%. However well it started, it didn’t continue at the same level, the characters were complete blanks, I couldn’t even picture them (how they looked) in my mind, which usually comes easy, the pacing was shot to hell, there was no feeling or emotions in the narrative, the plot disappeared somewhere around the middle mark...And I stopped caring.

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text 2016-11-10 17:44
You Had Me At Christmas by Florand, Bliss and more 99 cents!
You Had Me At Christmas: A Holiday Anthology - Laura Florand,Jennifer Lohmann,Molly O'Keefe,Stephanie Doyle,Karina Bliss

What’s better than a little romance at Christmas?

Five romances at Christmas!

Snowbound friends become lovers. Enemies discover they mean far more to each other than they ever dreamed. A marriage in trouble is saved, and strangers find connection in delicious encounters... It’s Christmas, and everything is possible.

A gift to you. Five beloved Contemporary Romance authors bring feel-good magic to the holidays in this specially-priced box set.

PLAY by Karina Bliss
a Rock Solid romance
 
Rock star Jared Walker is within reach of career glory...but his marriage is in the pits. Determined to save it, he talks his wife into holiday dates with only one rule: they must pretend they are strangers.
But when he discovers what Kayla really wants for Christmas, will he be able to give it to her?


One Naughty Christmas Night by Stephanie Doyle
 
Workaholic Kate never expected to find herself looking for love online on Christmas night. Then John appeared on her screen and her whim to escape loneliness turned into the hottest sex of her life - even if it was via text. John knew Kate was too classy for his ex-con ass, but he was about to learn that Kate knew how to fight for what she wanted. And she wanted more of him.


Twelve Kisses Until Christmas by Jennifer Lohmann

Escaping her abusive father and small hometown to follow her dreams takes money Selina Lumina doesn't have. After a millionaire software developer offers her a ride out of town, she has to decide whether to follow her aspirations or take a chance at love. Could a snowbound night on the road turn into a Christmas miracle?

Snow-Kissed by Laura Florand
(previously published as part of the Snow Queen Series)
 
After the utter destruction of her marriage and her happiness, Kai knew it was better to shut herself away from the world than to hurt and be hurt.

Holed up in her mountain cabin, Kai plans to spend her Christmas alone. Until her not-quite-ex-husband shows up as the first flakes start to fall. Now should she send him back out into the cold? Or can she be brave enough to let this winter snow bind them back together?


Christmas Eve: A Love Story by Molly O’Keefe
(previously published in the Sweet Talk Anthology benefiting Diabetes research)

Growing up in the mountains of Wyoming Trina and Dean had been childhood friends until the bitter feud between their families drove them apart. When the magic of Christmas Eve tips the star-crossed lovers together year after year, will they be able to make sure this holiday is not their last?

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review 2016-06-06 00:00
Betting on the Rookie
Betting on the Rookie - Stephanie Doyle The premise of a second chance in life and love is what drew me to Betting on The Rookie. It's easy to cheer on characters you like. Neither Stephanie or Evan trust easily but their connection turns into something bigger than the both of them. Betting on The Rookie brings a euphoric feeling to an inspirational good time.
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text 2015-07-01 15:40
Green Card: Marriage of Convenience Romance
An Engagement in Seattle: Groom WantedBride Wanted - Debbie Macomber
Rio Grande Wedding (Men Of The Land) (Silhouette Intimate Moments, #964) - Ruth Wind
Wanted: Outback Wife - Ally Blake
An Inconvenient Wife - Katy Madison
Mail-Order Groom: (Second Edition) - Cindy Flores Martinez
Kissing the Canvas - Billy London
Baily's Irish Dream / Czech Mate (Duets, No 88) - Stephanie Doyle,Kate Thomas
A Marriage of Convenience - Jewel Amethyst
Marry Me, Cowboy (Copper Mountain Rodeo) - Lilian Darcy
Temporary Wife - Joan Kilby

Anyone else a fan of the movie Green Card with Gérard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell

 

I loved that movie.  In case you A: Were not born or B Some how missed it in 1990 here is the plot according to IMDb 

 

George Faure is a Frenchman who has been offered a job in the U.S. But in order to get the job he must obtain a work permit - green card, and the easiest way is to marry an American. Bronte Parrish is a New Yorker who is a keen horticulturist and just found the perfect flat with its own greenhouse. Unfortunately the flat is for married couples only. A marriage of convenience seems the ideal solution to both problems. To convince the immigration officers they are married for love, they must move in with each other. As the mismatched couple attempt to cope with life together, they start to fall in love.

 

I love Marriage of Convenience plots!  I adore the couple time and the you must deal with each other.

 

For a Contemporary Romance what could be a more realisic reason for this kind of marriage that citizen status.  I do wish they had less "we are going to get found out" drama.

 

Here are some fun Green Card Romances with immigration needs for all kinds of reasons.

 

My lists are never in any particular order. Enjoy!  

 

1. An Engagement in Seattle by Debbie Macomber

 

Aleksandr Berinksi is a Russian biochemist in the U.S. on a visa that is about to expire. Marriage will allow him to stay—marriage to Julia Conrad. If Julia's going to save her Seattle-based company, she needs him as much as he needs her. There's a Groom Wanted in Julia's life. And not just any groom!

 

2. Rio Grande Wedding by Ruth Wind

 

One kiss stole her heart. So when Molly Sheffield realized Alejandro Sosa needed a green-card bride, it seemed only natural for her to stand by his side….

 

But the pretty widow could not predict the feelings she would have for her new husband. After opening her heart to Alejandro, Molly knew she was meant to spend forever with this man. But she and Alejandro had only so many passionate nights, so many warm and loving days, before they said goodbye.

 

Or before they fell hopelessly in love…

 

3. Wanted: Outback Wife by Ally Blake

 

hen Jodie Simpson met her long-lost sister, Louise Valentine, she didn't realize the biggest adventure of her life was about to begin. With her visa about to expire, and desperate to stay in Australia, Jodie has a plan…she'll marry for convenience!

 

Jodie is offering a one-year marriage, with no strings attached. So why does sexy cattle rancher Heath Jameson, who is almost certainly looking for a long-term wife, want to marry her? Heath seems so sure—and so handsome—that Jodie takes the plunge. Only to fall for a convenient husband who seems to be running from the ghosts of his past…

 

4. An Inconvenient Wife by Katy Madison

 

Brandi Yeats wants gold—Olympic gold, but she needs a new ice dancing partner. One man is available, but he's totally wrong for her, and he's the wrong nationality. Marriage is the only way they can compete for the same team. So what's a girl to do when her dreams are on the line? What she won't do is have an affair with the broody, but far too attractive, Russian, even if he is her husband. 

Nikolai Petronof is willing to do anything to skate with a strong competitor like Brandi—even trap himself in a lie he can't get out of. Everyone warns him not to mix fire and ice, but he can't help himself. That is until he's caught in a hands-off marriage of convenience that is far too inconvenient...

 

5. Mail-Order Groom: by Cindy Flores Martinez

 

Lisa is about to marry the love of her life, but her world is shattered when she finds her fiancé, Jeff, in the arms of another woman. When he calls off the wedding, she's heartbroken. 

In a twist of fate, she meets Krzysztof Zielinski from Poland on Mail-Order-Grooms.Com. He needs to marry an American woman so that he can stay in America, and he’s willing to pay money for it. His reason for needing to stay is what tugs at Lisa’s heart and convinces her to say “I do” to him. After all, it’s going to be strictly a business deal. 

Lisa races to the altar with Krzysztof, but things become complicated when she finds herself falling for him, and he’s not planning to stay in America forever. Will her heart break all over again?

 

6. Kissing the Canvas by Billy London

 

Russian boxer, Pasha Markovitch, has everything in his corner, looks, potential for Olympic greatness, and speed of powerful fists professionals only dream of. There’s just one small issue. If he can’t find a solution to his current visa situation, he’ll be out of the UK and ducking and weaving with government standard silver bracelets on his wrists. The pressures of his father’s greed and the anxiety of a past that continues to knock him down, steadily wear on him until chance leads him to green fingered, sarcastic mouthed, Liliana Asare who offers the light of a reprieve. Coming to an arrangement of mutual exchange, they both get what they want. Pasha gets to stay in the country and Liliana gets the financing for her florist shop. The whole scenario is perfect enough to list. Woman willing to marry him so he doesn’t end up deported and she doesn’t end up losing her livelihood? Check. Avaricious father satisfied? Check. Falling in love with his fake wife? Wait, that’s not on the list…

 

7. Baily's Irish Dream / Czech Mate by Kate Thomas


She knew all the right moves...


Wendy Marek needs to see green -- as in money to finance her studies in fashion design in Paris. But to claim her inheritance she must marry. Visiting Czech Peter Havel also needs to see green -- as in green card! What will Wendy do with a Czech math genius with the body of an Olympic gold medalist? Well, marry him, of course. However, what will happen to this marriage of convenience when love enters the equation?

 

8. A Marriage of Convenience by Jewel Amethyst

 

After being left standing at the altar, Tamara needs someone to share the new home she can’t afford. Enter Kawbena Opoku, a gorgeous Ghanaian scientist in search of a green card, to fulfill Tamara’s needs—and the desires she didn’t know she had.

 

9. Marry Me, Cowboy by Lilian Darcy

 

Champion barrel-racer Tegan Ash has nothing left to go home to in her native Australia and every reason to stay in the USA. But her visa is about to expire, and her prospective groom has called off their green-card wedding. 

Jamie MacCreadie doesn’t actually want to marry a woman he can't stand, but his best friend and fellow rodeo rider Chet has just let her down and, somehow, he finds himself offering to do the deed instead. 

There’s no chance it could turn into the real thing, because they have nothing in common… do they?

 

10. Temporary Wife by Joan Kilby

 

Veronique Dutot and Burton O'Rourke—each has something the other needs.

 

Veronique is a talented chef, while Burton happens to need a chef for a new cooking show he's about to produce.

 

Veronique, on the other hand, needs her visa extended so she can live in Vancouver near her former mother-in-law.

 

Burton proposees and old-fashioned solution to their very modern problems. A temporary marriage. A marriage of convenience.

 

Veronique accepts—although there's nothing temporary or convenient about the way she's starting to feel.

 

 

So I need more for these. Perferably between working class people. Yeah. 

 

Whatcha got? Or if you don't have any which writer should we hound to creative more? lol

 

Vote for the best of the best on my Goodreads list: Green Card: Marriage of Convenience Romance. 

 

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