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review 2018-07-20 05:09
Falling Like Snowflakes (Summer Harbor #1) by Denise Hunter
Falling Like Snowflakes (A Summer Harbor Novel) - Denise Hunter

Speeding north through rural Maine, Eden Martelli wonders how her life came to this—on the run with her mute five-year-old son dozing fitfully in the passenger seat. When a breakdown leaves them stranded in Summer Harbor, Eden has no choice but to stay put through Christmas . . . even though they have no place to lay their heads. Beau Callahan is a habitual problem solver—for other people anyway. He left the sheriff’s department to take over his family’s Christmas tree farm, but he’s still haunted by the loss of his parents and struggling to handle his first Christmas alone. When Eden shows up looking for work just as Beau’s feisty aunt gets out of the hospital, Beau thinks he’s finally caught a break. Eden is competent and dedicated—if a little guarded—and a knockout to boot. But, as he soon finds out, she also comes with a boatload of secrets. Eden has been through too much to trust her heart to another man, but Beau is impossible to resist, and the feeling seems to be mutual. As Christmas Eve approaches, Eden’s past catches up to her. Beau will go to the ends of the earth to keep her safe. But who’s going to protect his heart from a woman who can’t seem to trust again?

Amazon.com

 

 

 

Eden Martinelli is on the run with her five year old mute son. Though her one persistent thought is "keep moving!", once her car breaks down she is forced to at least temporarily settle in the small town of Summer Harbor, Maine. With holiday season on the horizon, Eden gets a job at a local tree farm, the farm owned and operated by former cop Beau Callahan. When Beau's aunt, Trudy, suffers an accident that leads to a fractured leg, Eden is hired on as her home aide while Trudy recovers and works through physical therapy. 

 

As Eden settles into the Callahan home on the farm, her very presence seems to gradually knock loose some repressed feelings in multiple family members, feelings wrapped around long-running unaddressed hurts.Beau notices this influence, and though his heart begins to warm toward Eden, he's still troubled by the mysterious air she keeps around her. Why is she so evasive with any personal questions? What is she hiding? Beau low-key worries that she might be running from the law and he just hired a criminal to look after a beloved family member, but his gut tells him she's not dangerous, just scared. So who put that kind of fear into her?

 

This is a nice holiday read. It's not brimming with over the top holiday cheer, but instead offers a cozy balance of wit, small town charm, a slow-burn romantic interest, and a dash of mystery. Perfect for those who like their suspense on the more mild side of things...sort of in the thriller-lite vein of a Hallmark Mystery Movie. The bad guy scenes got a little cliche at times for my liking, but the Callahan brothers are so likeable in this series that minor eyeroll moments can easily be forgiven. 

 

For those in book clubs, discussion questions for this story are offered at the back of the book. 

 

I've been reading these out of order, which -- I thought I would mention -- works fine, as each book focuses on a different Callahan brother (of three). But looking back, there are some minor chronological aspects -- mainly with the storyline of Riley's military service -- that will flow better if you read in order. 

 

------------------

 

My review for The Goodbye Bride (Summer Harbor #2)

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text 2018-07-19 12:35
Blog Tour: The 12 Terrors of Christmas by Claudette Melanson with Excerpt and Giveaway

Today’s stop is for Claudette Melanson’s The 12 Terrors of Christmas. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 


Award-winning author Claudette Melanson offers eleven new and original stories to make your skin crawl at any time of the year. This horror anthology also includes an original short by Amazon International Best-Selling Author, Lynn Lamb, titled "Bring Me Flesh and Bring Me Wine." A special bonus story is also included by Melanson, "Mislead," previously published only on the Halloweenpalooza blog. Grab a cup of cocoa and make sure the windows and doors are locked tight as you settle in by the fire to enjoy these tales of terror, but be warned...locks have never succeeded at keeping Santa from gaining entry. If you enjoy a slice of horror with your holiday cheer, this collection of Christmas horror shorts will satisfy all your dark cravings during the holidays...and beyond.

Terror One:

Who is Santa really? Does something sinister lurk beneath the red suit and apple-cheeked visage? More importantly, what does Santa want for Christmas?

Terror Two:

It is said that every wish bears a cost...even a wish of good intent. What do Detective Talbot and his son, Mallory, stand to lose when the pair seek to right a wrong on Christmas Eve?

Terror Three:

Christmas can be a time for great joy...but also for heart-wrenching regret. Can the magic of Christmas Eve turn back the clock before time runs out for Morana and her family?

Terror Four:

Snow falls white and clean, seeming to purify the small town of Moon, Pennsylvania, but the woods behind Vaughn's home have taken on a sinister cast. The snow keeps falling in record-breaking depths, but does evil lay hidden beneath its seemingly-innocent luster?

Terror Five:

As his elves scurry to fill the toy orders for the busy season, unknown terror creeps toward the workshop intent on releasing an evil meant to cancel Santa's yearly deliveries forever.

Terror Six:

A well-meaning elf casts a spell which could inadvertently reveal the dark truth about Santa's workshop and its inhabitants. The world's children may end up paying a terrifying price, proving that the path of good intention oftentimes does indeed lead to hell.

Terror Seven:

A scary twist on a classic Christmas poem

Terror Eight:

Santa's sleigh plummets to the ground, tearing all hope of a merry Christmas to bits and pieces. Will the elves be able to employ enough magic to stitch together some sort of solution? Or will their efforts only deliver greater horror and loss?

Terror Nine:

Trinette is preparing to celebrate her first Christmas in love. Her boyfriend says he found the perfect gift for her, but beneath the shiny red paper and ribbon lies a secret he's kept hidden during all the months of their courtship...

Terror Ten:

The world's population explosion means business is booming at Santa's workshop, with the need to expand making a difficult excavation below the permafrost necessary. But the elves should use caution lest they dig up an evil best left buried.

Terror Eleven:

A special holiday treat for Maura DeLuca fans! Riptide ended on a happy note, but how did Maura's extended family celebrate Christmas? Could it be that the holiday didn't quite play out the way the vampires planned?

Terror Twelve:

It's a dangerous time to call oneself a non-believer. Those who scoff at Santa's existence are melting all over the world. But could the benevolent head elf turn out to be the murderer?

 

Vampires, ghosts, demons, elves, werewolves, serial killers and a rampaging Krampus are just a few of the monsters creeping amongst the pages of The 12 Terrors of Christmas. Are you brave enough to venture inside to experience the flip side of the typical Hallmark-themed Christmas?

 

 

 

 

Buy Links

 

Amazon *** Apple *** B&N *** Google *** Kobo 

 

 

The date was December 1st, twenty-two long, boring days before school let out for Christmas break, and it was snowing like hell. I’d never admit it to anyone, but I was slightly creeped out by the murderous details in the story I’d just been listening to. For some reason, watching little Lamia creep off into the woods alone disturbed me even further. I yanked the red-and-white Beats earbuds—an early present from my dad, who was equally proud of my Audible habit—from my ears only to find myself surrounded by the eerie soundlessness which always seemed to accompany a heavy snowfall. I felt like all the normal noises had been sucked away from the air around me, completely. All I could hear as I continued toward the spot where Lamia had disappeared was the soft groan of my boots sinking into the thick carpet of icy fluff beneath me. “Hey, Kid!” I called out, but she ran on as if she hadn’t heard me, the snow muffling my voice as it had all other sound in our little corner of the world. She hadn’t turned her head in response or even slowed the pace of her run a tick. When I reached the line of trees, I hesitated. Must’ve been the dread the story I’d been listening to had inspired, I told myself, but I was angry in the space it took my heart to pump out another beat. “Shit, really?” I mumbled under my breath. “That kid’s not even old enough to go to school, and she ran in there like she was the one born with the nuts… Awwww, to hell with it.” I slid the backpack from my shoulder so that I could enter the woods as unhindered as possible and dove in. I’d never admit I did so with my eyes closed. As the squeak of the snow under my feet became the only sound—I’d lovingly packed my precious earbuds into a special pocket reserved only for them—echoing softly off the damp-dark tree trunks, I tried to brush off that tickle of fear which had begun to climb each individual vertebrae in my back like a lizard inching along a palm frond. After all, I’d always wished to see something scary, gone in search of ghosts on more than one occasion. Always hoped to find some kind of proof to turn all those journal entries into truth. So many of the early settlers had written accounts of seeing or hearing things that didn’t belong in the realm of the living. How could so many of them have been wrong? But as much as I’d searched the woods ringing the whole of Whispering Woods Drive, and even the deserted, burnt-out shell of the Henderson place which stood waiting for the insurance money to come through so they could rebuild, I’d never seen a whisper of vapor, never heard so much as a whisper that couldn’t be explained away by the logical or mundane thing which had made the sound. Of course, everyone in Moon had seemed to stop writing about ghosts, abruptly, in 1890. Our history teacher had told us this happened because that had been the real beginning of scientific advancement, bringing about all the means to discover those logical explanations I mentioned previously to explain away all the strange things they couldn’t before. The end of superstition giving way to the birth of rationale. Still, I’d always hoped… It was the weird smell which stopped me in my tracks. Earthy…savory…familiar. My mother burned sage incense often in our home; it was one of her favorite scents. It had irked me for years because I’d just known she was chasing all the ghosts away with the smoke even though several people on the internet were of the opinion you could only use a sage smudging stick to cleanse a house. I’d seen where one person commented on Yahoo Answers that three or four incense sticks bound together could be used in place of one, so I’d tried to console myself with the fact my mother only burned one at a time. Before I laid eyes on her, I heard her. It was really bizarre to hear a child chanting…like something out of a ChildrenoftheCorn-esque horror movie. "Air, fire, water, earth. Cleanse, dismiss, dispel." She repeated the prayer over and over, and I must’ve listened to it twenty times before I calmed enough to peek out from behind the large tree trunk I’d been resting my back against. Lamia held an actual smudge stick… I’d seen enough of them on the internet and my favorite shows to know what one looked like. “You little bitch…” I growled under my breath. No wonder I’d never seen so much as a parlor trick performed by a poltergeist. Between Lamia and my sage-burning mother, no self-respecting ghost would come within a mile of Whispering Woods Drive. But what had Lamia seen or heard that would prompt a four-year-old to ghostbust the woods surrounding her home?

 

 

 

Claudette Melanson writes dark fantasy, horror and children’s books in Kitchener, Ontario with seven bun babies at her side: Tegan, Pepper, Butters, Beckett, Sansa, Daenerys & Caramel. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English, BS in English Education and an MA in Literature. Harboring a deep admiration of vampires since the age of five left her with the desire to eventually become one, and now fuels the creation of her favorite paranormal characters. She hopes to one day work full time as an author, since there are many, many stories playing out inside her head.

In her very scant spare time, she enjoys watching Japanese Anime and reading vampire stories...along with other genres of great fiction, as well as riding every roller coaster she encounters in both her hometown and away at signings. An advocate for good health and ketogenic eating, her favorite foods are bulletproof coffee, cashew-flour crust pizza and treats made with xylitol and almond, coconut or cashew flours.

Future dreams include a cabin boasting a roaring fire, isolated inside a snow-filled wood in the Yukon—the perfect writing spot—and the completion of dozens of future novels and stories. A Rabbit Rescue fanatic and loving bunmom, she also hopes to help rescues all over the world save many innocent lives.

 

Links:

 

Website *** Facebook *** Twitter *** Pinterest *** Instagram *** Google+ *** Bookbub *** Amazon *** Goodreads

 

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2018/07/19/blog-tour-the-12-terrors-of-christmas-by-claudette-melanson-with-excerpt-and-giveaway
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review 2018-07-17 03:11
Colgan Captures the 10th Doctor's First Adventure Perfectly in this adaptation.
Doctor Who: The Christmas Invasion - Jenny Colgan

Back in High School, I remember attending an author event -- some SF author that I'd never heard of (you probably haven't either), but what did I care? He was an actual SF/Fantasy/Horror writer visiting Idaho (it happens a little more now, but back then I hadn't thought it was possible). He discussed getting to write a novelization of a major Horror film thinking, "How hard can it be? Take the script, throw in some adjectives and verbs -- maybe a few adverbs and you're done!" He then went on to talk about all the things he learned about how hard it was taking a script of whatever quality and turning it into something that works in an entirely different medium. That's really stuck with me for some reason, and I've always respected anyone who can pull it off well (and even those who get close to doing it well).

 

Before I babble on too much, Colgan is one who can pull it off pretty well.I discovered Doctor Who a couple of years before I saw that unnamed SF author, but didn't get to watch much of it, mostly because I lived in about the only place in the States where PBS didn't air old ones. I saw a few Sylvester McCoy episodes (mostly due to the magic of VHS and a friend who lived somewhere with a better PBS affiliate). Other than that, it was the small paperback novelizations of episodes. I owned a few, the same friend owned a few more -- so I read those. A lot. Then comes Russel T. Davies, Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper, etc. and all was better. But I still remembered those novels as being Doctor Who to me.

 

So when they announced that they were re-launching that series this year, I got excited. I own them all, but I've only found time to read one -- I started with Jenny T. Colgan, because I know how Paul Cornell writes, and I assume I'll love his -- ditto for Davies and Moffat. Besides, The Christmas Invasion is one of my favorite episodes ever.

I won't bother with describing the plot much -- you know it, or you should. On the heels of regenerating into the 10th Doctor, Rose brings a mostly unconscious stranger into her mother's apartment to recuperate. At the same time, an alien invasion starts -- the British government -- under the direction of Harriet Jones, MP -- and the Torchwood project tries to respond, but really is pining all their hopes on the resident of the TARDIS.

 

Colgan does a great job bringing the episode to life -- I could see the thing playing out in my mind. But she doesn't just do that -- she adds a nice little touch of her own here and there. Expands on some things and whatnot. In general, she just brings out what was there and expands on it. Adds a few spices to an already good dish to enhance the flavors. Colgan absolutely nails Rose's inner turmoil about who this stranger in her old friend's body is.

 

I particularly enjoyed reading the scene where the Doctor emerges from the TARDIS, finally awake and ready to resume being Earth's protector -- between Rose's reaction, the already great dialogue, and Colgan's capturing the essence of Tennant's (and everyone else's) performances in her prose. Seriously, I've read that scene three times. I never do that.

 

I'm not particularly crazy about the little addition she made to Harriet Jones' downfall, but I get it. I'm not scandalized by it or anything, I just didn't think it was necessary. Other than that, I appreciate everything Colgan did to put her stamp on this story.

 

If the rest of these books are as good, I'm going to be very glad to read them, and hope that there are more to come soon.

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text 2018-07-13 16:16
Friday Reads - July 13, 2018
The Hens: The Third Day - Merry Farmer
The Swan: The Seventh Day: The 12 Days of Christmas Mail Order Brides, #7 - Piper Huguley
The Dancing Lady: The Ninth Day - Mimi Milan
All She Wants for Christmas: A Regency Christmas Novella - Amy Rose Bennett
Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale: A Tiny Christmas Tale (Espoir Archives Book 1) - Amanda Dykes
On A Cold Christmas Eve - Bethany M. Sefchick
A Dangerous Nativity (The Dangerous Series) - Caroline Warfield
At Your Request (Apart From the Crowd): An Apart From the Crowd Novella - Jen Turano
A Perfect Holiday Fling (Moments in Maplesville) - Farrah Rochon
The Christmas Mail Order Bride - Kit Morgan

This Sunday starts the week long COYER Christmas in July read-a-thon and ends during the halfway mark of 24 in 48 read-a-thon. So this list is for the next 10-12 days of reading; I am still working through All the Devils Are Here and Just Mercy, but those are on the back-burner come Sunday.

 

Holiday Reading List:

1. The Hens: The Third Day (12 Days of Christmas Mail Order Brides #3) by Merry Farmer

2. The Swan: The Seventh Day (12 Days of Christmas Mail Order Brides #7) by Merry Farmer

3. The Dancing Lady: The Ninth Day (12 Days of Christmas Mail Order Brides #9) by Mimi Milan

4. All She Wants For Christmas (A Regency Christmas Novella) by Amy Rose Bennett

5. Twelfth Night by Marisa Dillon

6. Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale (Espoir Archives #1) by Amanda Dykes

7. The Christmas Mail Order Bride by Kit Morgan

8. On a Cold Christmas Eve by Bethany Sefchick

9. A Dangerous Nativity (The Dangerous Series #1) by Caroline Warfield

10. At Your Request (Apart from the Crowd Novella) by Jen Turano

11. A Perfect Holiday Fling (Moments in Mapleville) by Farrah Rochon

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review 2018-07-03 16:41
Return to Jenkins Cove by Rebecca York, Ann Voss Peterson & Patricia Rosemoor
Christmas Spirit (A Holiday Mystery at Jenkins Cove) - Rebecca York
Christmas Awakening (A Holiday Mystery at Jenkins Cove) - Ann Voss Peterson
Christmas Delivery (A Holiday Mystery at Jenkins Cove) - Patricia Rosemoor

***copies provided by publisher through NetGalley***

CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by Rebecca York
Chelsea Caldwell is right back where she started, seeing ghosts and being the talk of the town. Yet there's something sinister happening in the small town of Jenkins Cove, and Chelsea might just be the person to uncover it.


It felt like this book couldn't decide what it wanted to be. Romantic suspense, paranormal romance? Each separate classification would've worked, unfortunately, mixed together created an unfortunate mess.

The characters were bland and dull, the plot got lost in the suspense/paranormal/killer/ghosts mess, and the romance left me utterly cold.


CHRISTMAS AWAKENING by Ann Voss Peterson
After ten years, Marie Leonard is back in Jenkins Cove determined to discover why her father's been murdered...But she'll have to deal with skepticism by the local chief of police, the man who broke her heard ten years ago, and a killer determined to silence her forever.


Though this one also had some paranormal elements, it was a much more straightforward romantic suspense story than its predecessor.

Unfortunately, the suspense aspect was the only thing I enjoyed about this one, even though the villain's motive left much to be desired.
The characters were bland (the hero was a self-pitying fool and I simply couldn't stand his moaning toward the end), and the romance tepid.


CHRISTMAS DELIVERY by Patricia Rosemoor
Lexi thought Simon, the father of her preteen daughter, dead for thirteen years, but instead of dead, he's merely been through hell, thanks to human traffickers operating in the small town of Jenkins Cove.
But now, Simon is back, determined to make whoever the culprit is pay...


This second-chance quasi-romance left me utterly cold. The characters were dull and bland, I didn't care about their relationship in the past (since we never got to see it) or in the now (because they simply weren't that compatible).

The main suspense arc of this "series" was never that interesting, so the resolution (rather predictable in all ways) didn't bring much satisfaction.

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