Tag Archives: ebook

Tasty twist on marriage of convenience trope

A romance set in New YorkAny Way You Slice It is my first novel by Monique McDonell, but it certainly won’t be my last. This funny and uplifting story set in New York pairs Piper, an Australian in need of a green card so that she can keep running the business she has established, with Aaron, an American lawyer in need of a wife so that he can get promotion within the law firm he works for. Throw in a friend with a warm and fiery Italian family and some combustible (if occasionally unwanted) chemistry and you have a classic New York romance that works its way from ‘I must’ to ‘I do’.

I’m a fan of witty writing and clever packaging. Monique McDonell provides both. I adore the series title ‘An Upper Crust Romance’ with its promise to keep the wolf from the door. I am also delighted to report that there is more than just delicious pie on offer to keep you drooling – and I’m not even talking about the delicious Aaron. There are seven more books in the series. Yes, SEVEN! I do love a nice, long series.

5 hearts all

About the author

Monique McDonell writes fun, flirty women’s fiction. Her books include Mr Right and Other Mongrels, Hearts Afire, A Fair Exchange and the Upper Crust series. Monique lives on Sydney’s Northern beaches where she writes, drinks coffee and runs a small PR firm (not necessarily in that order). You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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New release: Christmas Down Under box set

Spend some time Down Under this Christmas, where the weather is hot and the men are hotter.

Christmas Down Under is the perfect box set for your Christmas Down Under.pngDecember holidays. It’s a delicious confirmation of exactly why those of us who live in the Southern hemisphere love the heady partnership of summer sun and prawns on the barbie on Christmas Day. If you’re currently snowed-in and shivering somewhere up North, these stories will warm your heart with their combination of long lazy summer days and Christmas cheer.

This contemporary romance collection features five New Zealand and Australian authors and one honourary Kiwi, American Rosalind James, who gets a nod after a 15-month stint in Auckland. It’s a weighty collection of over 900 pages that will comfortably keep you going through a 10-day holiday as it contains five full-length books and novella. These sweet-sexy romances range from a little bit steamy all the way to OMG.

Although I loved all the stories in Christmas Down Under, my personal favourite was Annie Seaton’s novella Christmas with the Boss. It has sun, summer, loving, and a cheeky ghost who helps Jilly and Dominic to straddle the hurdle that is their office relationship. There’s a long tradition of Christmas ghost stories including A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and I like the way a ghost story links this collection to Christmas in all countries regardless of climate.

Another aspect of the collection I really enjoyed was how each author made the location of her story come to life, giving me a feel for cities and places all over New Zealand as well as the NSW north coast of Australia.

The Christmas Down Under box set is only available until the end of December, so download your copy asap. It’s great value for money at only 99c.

Rating

3.5 hearts

 

 

More about the stories (in order of appearance)

A Festive Treat by Serenity Woods: Haunted Skye Graham only wanted a one-night stand, but Owen Hall’s an expert at finding lost people, and he’s determined to search the whole of the Northland until he tracks her down.

Christmas with the Boss by Annie Seaton: Jilly Henderson had been looking forward to five days of bliss at the beach: alone, no work, and with no one to bother her over the Christmas break. The last thing she expects is to find her sexy boss, Dominic, holidaying in the beach shack next door. This surf god looks mighty different from the uptight executive she’s used to–and mighty hard to ignore.

Christmas Holiday Hearts by Kris Pearson: Ellie McKenna’s dream job becomes her worst nightmare when she discovers the man she’ll be working for is her long-ago holiday fling. He gave her the hottest memories of her life – and a son he knows nothing about. How will Ellie carry out her Christmas holiday contract now?

Just for Now by Rosalind James: Just for Now is part of Rosalind James’ Escape to New Zealand series. Jenna McKnight has run from heartbreak into a new body, a new city, and a new job. But the gorgeous Auckland villa isn’t really her home, rugby star Finn Douglas and his kids aren’t really her family, and playing house can be a dangerous game.

Promising Penny by Joanne Hill: Penny Portman works in her parents’ Auckland cafe and dreams of running her own place one day. When old friend Michael McGuinn shows up, her feelings for him resurface, and she wonders if he will ever think of her as more than an honorary sister and if this could be the Christmas all her wishes come true.

Hide Your Heart by Tracey Alvarez: Lauren Taylor has returned to her New Zealand hometown, hiding from her famous past. Nate Fraser plans to fix up the property next door and sell it as a celebrity retreat. As passion ignites between them over the Christmas season, can Lauren trust Nate with her secrets, and her heart?

More about the authors (in order of appearance)

Serenity Woods is an award-winning author who lives in the sub-tropical Northland of New Zealand with her wonderful husband and gorgeous teenage son. She writes hot and sultry contemporary romances and much rather immerse herself in reading or writing romance than in doing the dusting and ironing, which is why it’s not a great idea to pop round if you have any allergies.

Annie Seaton lives near the beach on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. She is fulfilling her lifelong dream of writing and has been delighted to discover that readers love reading her stories as much as she loves writing them. She worked in education for most of her working life, completing a Masters Degree in Education before she took up a full-time writing career.

Kris Pearson grew up surrounded by orchards in Hastings, New Zealand, and always knew she was going to be a writer. In addition, she has worked in radio, as a copywriter, in television, and in advertising. These days she and her husband own a décor company and are proof that happily ever after does exist.

Rosalind James met her husband Rick at UC Berkeley when she was 21, so she really does believe in True Love and Happily Ever After, a fact which helps a lot in writing her stories! Their home base when they’re not adventuring is in Berkeley, California. During 15-month stint in New Zealand she fell in love with the country, the beauty and diversity of the landscape (not to mention the seascapes), the Maori culture and its integration into the country’s life, and, perhaps more than anything, the people: modest, good-humored, unfailingly polite and hospitable, and so very funny.

Joanne Hill is a writer of contemporary fiction with romantic elements. Besides writing fiction, Jo blogs about pop culture and heritage and has written feature articles for local magazines.

Tracey Alvarez lives in the Coolest Little Capital in the World (a.k.a Wellington, New Zealand) where she has yet to be buried under her TBR book pile by our infamous wind – my Kindle’s a lifesaver! Fuelled by copious amounts of coffee, she is now the author of contemporary romantic fiction set predominantly in New Zealand. Small-towns, close communities, and families are a big part of the heart-warming stories I love to write. Oh, and hot, down-to-earth heroes—real Kiwi men, in other words.

 

New release: Play Me by Kimberley Kincaid

Mischief Under the Mistletoe banner
This is my stop during the book blitz for the box set Mischief Under the Mistletoe. I am going to focus on Kimberly Kincaid contribution, Play Me. However, it would be remiss of me not to let you know that  Mischief Under the Mistletoe includes 19 short stories by 19 different authors. The stories are adult romance books varying from sweet to super steamy. The box set will be on sale for only $0.99, that’s 19 stories for only $0.99, which is a bargain guaranteed to raise your spirits and get you swinging to that holiday vibe well ahead of the Christmas holidays. The fact that the stories are short means you can dip into them whenever you get a free moment, whether it’s baking, waiting for the school Christmas carols rehearsal to end or grabbing a quick coffee in the midst of holiday spending frenzy. Here in Australia, of course, you can also nip out to the beach and luxuriate in sun and stories. I advise you poor folk up north to stay indoors and grab a chair close to the fire.

I haven’t read Kimberley Kincaid’s books before, and I am so glad I have had the chance to review one. It’s been one of those occasions when you finish a book by a new (to you) author and think, ‘That was fabulous!’ and then promptly hit the internet to find out what kind of backlist she has available.

Sophie Drayton has run away from the family nightmare that is the music industry. She is studying to become a librarian and working part-time in an all-night diner to pay her bills, which is where she first sees Emilio Barrett, doodling in a journal of some kind. Sophie has certainly seen enough of the wild life to know that Emilio is bad news, and she is determined that this time around her head – and not her heart or her hormones – will rule her decisions. But somehow she can’t seem to keep the sexy stripper from invading her thoughts. Perhaps that’s because Emilio has a mind of his own, and he has decided Kimberley’s the one for him. Now he just has to convince that his part-time job is just that; a job to keep him earning enough money to look after himself and his mum and siblings until he can get his chosen career as a musician off the ground. But when he figures out Sophie’s connection to the music industry, he stalls on telling her about his dreams and desires. She seems to hate the business. Will Sophie’s past come back to haunt them, or will Emilio prove that a bad boy can be also be a good man?

This was a thoroughly enjoyable romance touching on important contemporary issues as well as sizzling between the sheets. The characters were well rounded. Sophie’s passion for books made her come alive. Emilio’s smouldering Latino looks and his comfort inside his own skin made him a good foil for Sophie’s cerebral approach. I also found the way Kimberley Kincaid explored the issue of family and how it moulds us very interesting. Sophie’s family is wealthy but damaged. Emilio’s family has always struggled and yet they are bonded in a way that Sophie envies. Emilio is afraid Sophie will think he is trying to abuse her connections if she finds out about his hopes and dreams to be a musician. When things go pear-shaped – as was inevitable with both of them keeping secrets – both of them believe their worst fears have come true. How do they manage to work through their fears and find the courage to reach out to one another? You’ll have to read Play Me to find out!

Heat rating:
Mischief under the Mistletoe: sweet to sexy
Play Me: hot!
4 hearts

 

 

More about Mischief Under the Mistletoe:
This box set contains is composed of nineteen contemporary romance novellas about holiday hotties just waiting to be unwrapped! The stories are written by a range of  NY Times, USA Today, Amazon Bestselling, and Award Winning Authors. This anthology won’t last long. Grab it while it’s HOT!

Mischief Under the MistletoeMischief Under the Mistletoe
By Kristin Miller, Claudy Conn, Melanie James, Mindy Klasky, Holly S. Roberts, Stephanie Rowe, Diane Rinella, Kate Angell , Kimberly Kincaid, J.D. Tyler, Robin Covington, Suzanne Ferrell, Kathy Ivan, Selena Laurence, Jennie Marts, Teri Riggs, Jennifer Theriot, M.J. Fredrick and Deb Julienne

Note:
This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 17 till 23 November, you can view the complete blitz schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours. I was provided with a free advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.