Category: Guest Post

Tracey Garvis Graves’s Christmas Traditions | Author Guest Post (+ Giveaway)

Posted December 23, 2018 by Jana in Giveaway, Guest Post / 3 Comments

It’s no secret among my friends and family that fall is my all-time favorite season. There’s just so much to love about it: the cooler temperatures, the vivid colors of the falling autumn leaves, pumpkin spice everything, and my favorite cardigan sweaters and boots. But those who know me well also know that winter is my second-favorite season, and there are so many things I enjoy about that time of year, especially the holidays.

I have always loved Christmastime and when I was a child my fervent wish was that every Christmas would be a white one. Living in Iowa, you’d think it was a given that the ground would be covered in snow, but that was not always the case. Now, as an adult, I still wish for a white Christmas and watch the weather forecast closely in the days leading up to Christmas Eve.

In my family, Christmas Eve was always the night we celebrated the most. We hosted a family gathering and then spent Christmas Day in a more leisurely, look-what-Santa-brought-eating-leftovers kind of way. About seven or eight years ago, I took over the hosting of our family on Christmas Eve. My dad and stepmom still host Thanksgiving and Easter at their house, but Christmas Eve is all mine. It felt like a right of passage and it made my favorite holiday even more special to me.

We have traditions that we’ve been following since I started hosting and I have no desire to change them anytime soon. Around Thanksgiving, I start baking the cookies I’ll want on hand for the holiday season. I always make gingersnaps, chocolate crinkles, peanut butter blossoms, sugar cookie cutouts, and some sort of almond bark-covered truffle. I put them in the freezer and on Christmas Eve morning, I pull out the ones I’ve been saving for our holiday celebration and arrange them on my Christmas platters.

Our dinner menu features a surf and turf double entrée. My dad always makes his prime rib and I’m in charge of the seafood. One of the things I love about our menu is that we all cook together at my house. Dad brings the beef and I’m in charge of preparing the king crab legs. I make sure to have appetizers on hand when my siblings and their families arrive so no one goes hungry while we’re putting the main meal together. We often round out the meal with a potato casserole of some kind, a vegetable such as asparagus, and a heaping basket of garlic bread.

I always set the dining room table on the morning of Christmas Eve. I have special green chargers to go under the dinner plates, cloth napkins, reindeer napkin rings, amber water goblets, and candles everywhere. Right before we eat, I often find myself standing in the dining room with the lights down low, basking in the candlelight and enjoying how pretty everything looks.

Once dinner is over, we move to the family room where we let the kids open their gifts one at a time. Once they’re done, we send them to the basement to hang out while the adults take turns opening their gifts. And when the gifts are all opened and the room is a sea of wrapping paper and bows, we make coffee and dig into those cookie platters! It’s a wonderful way to end the evening and I look forward to it every year.

I’m already looking ahead to December, and I might even have a to-do list started. Now bring on the snow. I’m already pining for that white Christmas.

Merry Christmas Giveaway from Tracey Garvis Graves!

Your choice of a copy of On the Island (her debut) or The Girl He Used to Know (her upcoming 2019 release). Such a hard decision because they are both SO GOOD!
This giveaway is open internationally.

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
Published by Penguin on August 16, 2012
Genres: Adult Fiction — Contemporary, Romance, Survival
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When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn’t bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family – and a stack of overdue assignments — instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter.

Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves
Publishing by St. Martin’s Press on April 2, 2019
Genres: Adult/Womens Fiction – Romance, Contemporary
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Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game–and his heart–to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.

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Christmas Cookies for Harker’s Favorite Book Characters | Blogger Guest Post

Posted December 21, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 0 Comments

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is all the delicious food that seems seasonally appropriate: breakfast on Christmas morning, the side dishes at Christmas lunch/dinner and, of course, the Christmas cookies!

There are also all the great books that end up on my wish list. When thinking about the books I’ve loved in the past year and the ones I want to receive for the holidays, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of cookies I would make for the characters. Below are some of my favorite cookies matched with some of my favorite characters from recent reads.

Molasses Cookies – Victor Vale and Sydney Clarke: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Growing up, my grandmother would make molasses cookies every year. There were a select few cookie cutters that she used and the best part was not only choosing what shape to use, but the colored sugar to use for each (red or green were our go-to choices, but you can customize them to your tastes).

There’s a deep, rich flavor to these cookies, something that I think Victor would appreciate because they’re not sweet like you might consider when you think of typical cookies. Sydney might make them for him and add the sugar in various colors for the hit of sweetness to a) brighten up their lives and b) add a little sweetness because lord knows the Victor/Sydney/Mitch family needs some in Vicious.

Snickerdoodles – Charlie and Nick: Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies. While you can make them on your own, once the dough is ready, it can be a nice kind of activity to do with someone you like, whether family or, in Charlie and Nick’s case, someone you love. Rolling the balls of dough, patting them into the cinnamon sugar mix, and eating the freshest, most delicious cookies right out of the oven? It’s a perfect winter-y thing to do that makes your heart and your stomach happy. The Betty Crocker recipe is the classic one my family has used for decades and I would recommend is wholeheartedly.

Black & White Cookies – Rose Marshall: Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire

Rose Marshall is a road ghost who has been hitchhiking and guiding souls since her death 60+ years ago. Her one port of call in this “afterlife” is the Last Chance Diner. I’m not sure that holidays mean a whole lot when you’re dead, but I think Emma, the owner of the diner, might serve these cookies to the supernatural beings that frequent her establishment. There are some rules for ghosts like Rose regarding being able to accept food (it has to be freely given by the living). Emma, though not technically alive, counts as someone that can give Rose her favorite burger & malted or, at special times, something sweet like these black-and-white cookie. That hit of chocolate on one side blends well with the vanilla frosting on the other. Why Christmas? Because frosting cookies feels like that extra something that really brings things over the top as a treat. You could also flavor the vanilla or chocolate side with peppermint extract (rather than the typically called for lemon) as a seasonal flavor if you like.

Santa’s Trash Cookie – Arthur and Ben: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Combining all the best flavors, especially salty/sweet, these Santa’s Trash Cookies from Delish would be perfect for the main characters of What If It’s Us, especially if they’re made huge like Arthur’s favorite double chocolate chip cookie from Levain Bakery. A bit of a wild combination of flavor and textures including chocolate chips, potato chips, and pretzels, but one that embraces its range and delivers a yummy cookie that this romcom couple can eat while in for the afternoon together or for a party with Arthur’s friends from his hometown and Ben’s from NYC.

Stroopwafel – Nina Zenik: Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

I tried these cookies for the first time this year and fell in love with the sweetness of the caramel and the chewiness of the dough. These are so delicious and, come on, how could a waffle cookie not be perfect for Nina Zenik, Heartrender and Queen of Waffles? Now I haven’t had one fresh, but I think that making these and having them fresh from the waffle iron would be a soothing treat on a cold winter’s day. If I’ve learned anything from Great British Bake Off, though, it’s that you have to be careful with the caramel that is sandwiched between the waffle cookies. Lol Easy to muck up, but very much worth it, whether you’re a waffle loving Grisha in Six of Crows or someone who needs a perk up like our girl Nina in Crooked Kingdom.

(Note: this recipe uses metric measurements, which should be considered for those readers who are in the US and may be unfamiliar with certain terms)

Visit Harker at The Hermit Librarian!


Bookish Christmas Gift Recommendations from Literary Book Gifts | Small Business Owner Guest Post

Posted December 20, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 0 Comments

Today’s guest post is by Melissa, owner of Literary Book Gifts. She’s here to offer a few bookish gift suggestions! Perhaps you’ll consider spending your Christmas present money here!

With the holidays in full swing it can sometimes be a challenge to set some time aside to rest, relax, and have a cup of warm cocoa by the fire with a good book. You may already have your presents wrapped and arranged nicely in the living room, fun wrapping paper, ribbons, lively hangtags with quotes saying things like ‘Ho Ho Ho’ and ‘Merrrrry Christmas’ and all.

Gift giving is an activity not only for the receiver but for the gift giver. I personally love looking shopping online or through department stores not with myself in mind, but with a certain someone else whom I am trying to find the perfect present for. It’s not everyday that it’s a loved one’s birthday, special event, or holiday where I get to pick out a unique and meaningful present to give just to them.

I started an online store of book related tees and totes to offer a some unique gift options for the reader, writer, or book lover in your life. Without further ado I’d like to talk a little about some of the most popular items in the collection as well as a few of my select favorites.

The great thing of the designs in this collection is that you will not find the same shirt or bag anywhere else. Since the shirts are available in multiple color options, it’s really unlikely that you will run into someone with the same shirt.

The Pride and Prejudice T-Shirt is definitely one of the most popular choices. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy’s romance tale is still poignantly relevant even today. It showcases the title of the novel, and author Jane Austen in fancy writing. There is an image of a man leaning down and gently kissing a lady’s hand. This shirt is in a women’s cut but is also available in a unisex style as well.

Herman Melville’s classic adventure novel is undeniably stillwidely popular to this day. This Moby Dick T-Shirt is best suited for those who like to spend their summers voyaging on the open seas. Or for those who simply like reading about such adventures from the comfort of their living rooms. In a white print on dark shirt color choices, this shirt makes a great gift for any fan of whales or of the iconic Moby Dick himself.

One of my favorites in the collection is the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Tote Bag. Lewis Carroll’s novel and subsequent sequel of Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There offer us some of the most eccentric and hilarious characters and scenes in literature. Tote bags are great for their ability to carry books, lots of books, around everywhere you go. I like this bag in particular because of how it turned out with the typography framing the image so it looks just like the book cover of a vintage novel.

Melissa Chan loves bookish items and is the designer at Literary Book Gifts. There are a wide range of t-shirts and tote bags to choose from for writers and readers alike. If you are an author who is planning a book launch and is looking for a giveaway prize please get in touch, I’d love to offer any of the shirts as the prize to help generate interest for your novel.

If you find anything you like, whether it is for the holidays or for a special present use the code ThatArtsyReaderGirl20 to receive 20% off any order! This coupon code does not expire.


Jenn Bennett: Christmas Ornament Hoarder | Author Guest Post

Posted December 19, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 0 Comments

I adore Christmas. I love snow and twinkle-y lights, and hearing holiday songs on the radio. I love warm gingerbread cookies, Advent calendars filled with German chocolate, and crying while watching It’s A Wonderful Life. But one of my favorite things about the holidays is putting up my Christmas tree.

Thing is, I have a lot of Christmas ornaments. I’m talking hundreds. Possibly a thousand? Let’s just say too many. Some of them are nostalgic, and a few of them are from my childhood. I’m American, but my father was in the U.S. Army, so I was born in Germany and lived in Europe for several years; I still have an ornament that I begged my mother to buy when we were on vacation in Rotterdam. Many of my ornaments are vintage or they look vintage—like my blown glass movie-theatre popcorn bucket, atomic robots, and sushi plate. There are even a few bizarre ones: shrunken head, oyster-shell mermaid, Crazy Cat Lady. (Keep Christmas weird!)

I never meant to accumulate so many, but one Wizard of Oz flying monkey led to another, and now I’m knee-deep in glitter, baubles, and tin soldiers. I promised my husband I wouldn’t buy another ornament—not a one—so I suppose I’ll need to cherish what I have. I mean, I really don’t need that 1940s one-eyed turkey, or that hand-painted Dracula ornament from Etsy. Right…?

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Pulse on April 16, 2019
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After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.


Jenn Bennett is an award-winning author of several young adult books, including: ALEX, APPROXIMATELY; STARRY EYES; and SERIOUS MOONLIGHT. She also writes romance and fantasy for adults. Her books have earned multiple starred reviews, won the RITA® Award, and been included on Publishers Weekly Best Books annual list. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two dogs. Visit her at www.jennbennett.net.

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A Found Family for Christmas by Katie Ruggle | Author Guest Post

Posted December 16, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 0 Comments

In Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas, I combine two of my favorite themes: found families and gift giving. Growing up, Camille’s tiny family never celebrated holidays, and she continued this tradition—or lack of traditions—as a solitary adult. When she’s drawn into Steve’s life, however, she’s dropped right in the middle of celebration central—after all, Steve and his family own a Christmas tree ranch. There’s no avoiding the holiday spirit, and Camille quickly finds that she doesn’t want to.

I love writing about found families, lonely people finding each other, fitting together perfectly without having to change who they are. Borderline hermit Camille only had her grandma, who died years ago. Steve’s affectionate, rambunctious family is overwhelming to her at first, but they also represent everything she didn’t realize she longed for. As they welcome her into the fold and introduce her to their holiday traditions, she finds—to her surprise—that she fits right in like the missing puzzle piece.

Camille’s not the only one benefiting, however. As she grows closer to Steve and his children, all of their lives become richer. They start new traditions that include Camille. Not only do Steve and his children fill the hole in her life, but she fills the empty spot in their hearts, as well.

Gift-giving is one of those traditions that Camille never fully experienced before being included in the Springfield family’s Christmas, and the present exchange was one of my favorite scenes to write. The gifts people give each other are such a wonderful physical expression of their connections. Camille and everyone in her new family paid attention to each other, so they knew exactly what to make or buy. The thought behind each present was a gift in itself, making the receiver feel seen, understood, and loved.

Christmas isn’t the only time of year when people are lonely and family issues cause stress, of course, but the holidays seem to intensify these things. In the same way, finding a new family during this time of year makes everything extra sweet.

New families, new homes, new loves…these are the best Christmas gifts.

Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas by Katie Ruggle
Series: Rocky Mountain Cowboys #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on September 25, 2018
Genres: Adult Fiction — Christmas, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Add to Goodreads • Amazon • B&N • Book Depository

In the heart of the Rockies
In the arms of a cowboy
One white Christmas can change everything.

When firefighter and single dad Steve Springfield moved his four kids to a Colorado Christmas tree ranch, he intended for it to be a safe haven. But he never expected danger to follow them to his childhood home…

Or that he would come face-to-face with the one girl he could never forget.

Folk artist Camille Brandt lives a quiet life. As the town’s resident eccentric, she’s used to being lonely–until Steve freaking Springfield changes everything. Brave and kind, he’s always had a piece of her heart, and it doesn’t take long before she’s in danger of falling for him and his rambunctious kids. But as mysterious fires break out across the sleepy Colorado town, Steve and Camille will have to fight if they want their happy family to survive until Christmas…

About Katie Ruggle

A fan of the old adage “write what you know”, Katie Ruggle lived in an off-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains until her family lured her back to Minnesota. When she’s not writing, Katie rides horses, shoots guns (not while riding, although that would be awesome), cross-country skis (badly) and travels to warm places where she can scuba dive. A graduate of the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado mountains really are that cold. A fan of anything that makes her feel like a bad-ass, she has trained in Krav Maga, boxing and gymnastics.

You can connect with Katie at KatieRuggle.com, www.facebook.com/katierugglebooks, or on Twitter @KatieRuggle.


Christmas with My Favorite Book Characters | Blogger Guest Post

Posted December 13, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 2 Comments

I adore Christmastime, it’s my favorite time of year. It might have something to do with my birthday being the day before or it might be the magic in the air. Living in New England, I adore the cold weather, the snow flakes swirling, and hopefully a white Christmas. Everything seems so magical and hopeful around Christmas, which means it’s the perfect time of year to spend with my favorite book characters. I chose these characters because they’re some of my favorites and also because Christmas with their families would embody that magical feeling.

These families (or chosen families) would be cozy in front of the fire and sharing memories, love, and lots of laughter. It’s not about the gifts and I bet many of these families would exchange handmade gifts.

So here they are:

The Potters and the Weasleys from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I mean who doesn’t want a sweater from Mrs. Weasley?

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March family from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Bennet family from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Winter Solstice with Feyre, Rhys, and their friends in A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

The Cuthberts in Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

The O’Brien family in the Chesapeake Shores series by Debbie Macomber

Yelana, Valek, Ari, and Jenco in Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

The Stark family from A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Mia and Olivia in From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot

Everyone in the Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis

About Jennifer

After spending 11 years as a Young Adult Librarian, I moved libraries and became a Children’s and YA Librarian. I love love love books and talking about reading (which is why I started my blog). I talk about all kinds of books from picture books to YA books to romance books.

My favorite types of books include mysteries, romance, thrillers, and spy books. I adore crafty books, regency romances, and cozy mysteries. When I’m not reading or talking about books, I love baking, crafting, watching the Celtics, or snuggling with my two dogs.

Blog: http://yabooknerd.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/yabooknerd

Which book characters would you like to spend Christmas with?


Five Unique Ways to Gift Wrap Books by Jenny Hale | Author Guest Post

Posted December 7, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 5 Comments

If you’re a book person like I am, then you might side with me on this. Wouldn’t it be awesome if Christmas were just a giant book-giving holiday? Wouldn’t it be amazing if all the gifts under the tree were book-shaped? I’m ready to start the revolution and give all my friends books this year! If you’re with me on this, here are five unique ways to wrap a book for every kind of friend:

1. The Reader Friend: The USA Today newspaper puts out the bestseller list every Thursday. Why not wrap a book in it? Then you and your friend can chat over which bestsellers you’ve read over coffee before she runs off with the new book you just got her.

2. The Nature Lover: Sometimes, less is more, right? For those who love the simple things in life, keep it calm and tranquil with a nature theme.

3. The Glam Friend: We all have that one friend who we wish would spend more time reading than she does on her nails. While I’m definitely a fan of nice nails, maybe you two could meet up for a manicure and then entice her to read what’s inside this fabulous parcel of Christmas goodness.

4. The Candy Guru: Isn’t it the best when you get to nibble on chocolates while reading? Perhaps wrap up a few of her faves with her new book to show her just how much you care. If she’s a true friend, maybe she’ll share…

5. The Best Friend: You know that friend that you just love so much that you have to draw the little arrow at the bottom on her Christmas card so you can keep writing on the back? This book is for her! Write your message on brown paper, using a permanent marker. She’ll have to unwrap her gift to read your message—like two gifts in one!

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale
Published by Forever on October 30, 2018
Genres: Adult Fiction — Contemporary, Christmas, Romance
Add to Goodreads • Amazon • B&N

A feel-good story about the magic of Christmas… and the rush of falling in love under the mistletoe.

Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and she doesn’t regret for a moment having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold. But with her son, Max, growing up, she jumps at the chance when a friend recommends her for a small design job. How hard can it be?

Nick Sinclair needs his house decorated in time for his family’s festive visit-and money is no object. What he doesn’t need is to be distracted from his multimillion-dollar business-even if it is Christmas.

When Abbey pulls up to the huge Sinclair mansion, she has a feeling she might be out of her depth. And when she meets the gorgeous, brooding Nicholas Sinclair, she knows that she’s in real trouble . . .

With the snow falling all around them, can Abbey make her dreams of being a designer come true? And can she help Nick to finally enjoy the magic of Christmas?

About Jenny Hale

When I graduated college, one of my friends said, “Look out for this one; she’s going to be an author one day.” Despite being an avid reader and a natural storyteller, it wasn’t until that very moment that the idea of writing novels occurred to me.

Sometimes our friends can see the things that we can’t.

While I didn’t start straight away, that comment sowed a seed and several years, two children, and hundreds of thousands of words later, I completed a novel that I felt was worthy of publication. The result was Coming Home for Christmas, a heart-warming story about friends, family, and the magic of love at Christmas.

The rest is history.

When I’m not writing, I’m a mother of two boys and a wife to a very supportive husband.


Ginger’s Favorite Holiday Romances | Blogger Guest Post

Posted December 5, 2018 by Jana in Book Spotlight, Guest Post / 2 Comments

Hello and Happy Holidays! When Jana reached out to me, asking if I’d like to join her A Bookish Little Christmas feature on her blog, I was first, extremely honored, and second, immediately wanting to say yes! I love collaborating with other bloggers in the community, especially for fun holiday features like this one. It’s a great way to meet new readers while sharing your own love for reading. So, thank you, Jana for asking me to be a part of this!

If you know me, or follow me anywhere on social media, then you probably already know where my style of reading tends to fall… ROMANCE! I’ve always been more of a contemporary kind of reader, but in the last five years or so, all I’ve wanted to read are romances. The romances I’ve read the most this year have been Adult and fall under contemporary or historical romance. I can never get enough!

With that being said, I would love to recommend a few of my favorite holiday romances I’ve read, plus share some others I am hoping to get to this holiday season. If romance is your jam, then I bet this post is for you! If you’re not so much a romance fan, maybe I could convince you to try something new? Either way, I hope I’ve added a few new books to your to-be-read lists (and maybe even your holiday wish lists??).

For the Holiday Romance Novella Fan…

Holiday Wishes (Heartbreaker Bay #4.5) by Jill Shalvis

About the book: It’s Christmastime again in Heartbreaker Bay!

When Sean O’Riley shows up at the Hartford Bed & Breakfast for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, he’s just hoping to make it through the weekend. What he’s not expecting is to come face to face with the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago—a woman he’s never really forgotten.

The last time Lotti Hartford saw Sean, she told him she loved him while he said nothing. Now, ten years later, she’s just looking for a good time. For once, she wants to be the wild and free one, and Sean – the good time guy – is the perfect candidate. 

But as the weekend continues, Sean realizes that after a lifetime of being the hook-up king, he’s ready to find happily-ever-after, and he wants it with Lotti. But will she open her heart to him again? As Christmas sweeps through the little B&B, he can only hope love and magic are in the air. [goodreads.com]

This was a fun, quick read if you’re looking for something steamy to read during the holidays. The festiveness of the Bed & Breakfast set the scene for a cozy Christmas holiday, and these two characters definitely kept things warm! Jill Shalvis is always a reliable author if you’re looking for something to entertain and keep you satisfied. Also check out a previous novella from this same series, One Snowy Night, which I enjoyed just as much – if not more!

Room at the Inn  by Ruthie Knox

About the book: Ambitious and driven, Carson Vance couldn’t wait to escape the small town where he was born. But now that Carson is back to spend Christmas with his ailing father, he must face all the people of Potter Falls he’s left behind. Topping that list is Julie Long, who’s sacrificed so much for Carson’s family, and whose heart he broke once upon a time.  

Now the proprietor of the local inn, Julie has blossomed from a shy schoolgirl into a successful, seductive, independent woman—everything that Carson’s looking for in a relationship. But despite several steamy encounters under the mistletoe, Julie refuses to believe in happily ever after. Now Carson must convince Julie that he’s back for good—and that he wants her in his life for all the holidays to come. [goodreads.com]

If you have not read a Ruthie Knox novel before, then I highly recommend starting with this sweet, sexy holiday novella of hers. It’s such a great introduction to her realistically romantic story telling. This particular story is a second chance romance sort of tale. What began as just a physical relationship gets a second go, and satisfies way more than just physical needs. In just these short pages I really got to know these characters and understood their journey, all while told against a sweet Christmas back drop.

For the Historical Romance Fan…

I Will: A Christmas Novella by Lisa Kleypas

About the book: Andrew, Lord Drake, has been cut out of his father’s will because of his dissolute manner of living. To be reinstated, Andrew decides to pretend that he has changed his wicked ways. 

As part of his plan, he wants to convince his father that he is courting a respectable woman with the intention of marrying her. The problem is, he doesn’t know any decent women, except for his friend’s spinster sister, Miss Caroline Hargreaves. He blackmails the reluctant Caroline into helping him, and so the charade begins . . . [goodreads.com]

Oh how I love a fake relationship turns something more! This deliciously romantic tale kept me reading in one sitting (bonus: it’s a novella!) and I knew I was in for a treat considering it was from Lisa Kleypas. There’s something festive about an English setting during the holidays from the 19th century. Throw in a fun plot and I am sold!

How the Dukes Stole Christmas by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, & Joanna Shupe

About the book:

“Meet Me in Mayfair” by Tessa Dare

Louisa Ward needs a Christmas miracle. Unless she catches a wealthy husband at the ball tonight, the horrid, heartless Duke of Thorndale will evict her family from their beloved Mayfair home. But when her friend begs to switch dance cards, Louisa finds herself waltzing with the enemy: the horrid, heartless–and unexpectedly handsome–Thorndale himself. Now the duke’s holding her future in his hands…and he’s not letting go.

“The Duke of Christmas Present” by Sarah MacLean

Rich and ruthless, Eben, Duke of Allryd, has no time for holidays. Holidays are for whimsy and charm–the only two things his money cannot buy. Lady Jacqueline Mosby is full of both, even now, twelve years after she left to see the world. When Jacqueline returns for a single Christmas, Eben can’t resist the woman he never stopped loving…or the future that had once been in reach. It will take a miracle to convince her to stay…but if ever there were a time for miracles, it’s Christmas…

“Heiress Alone” by Sophie Jordan

When Annis Bannister’s family leaves her behind in the rush to escape an impending snowstorm, she finds herself stranded in the Highlands, left to fend off brigands terrorizing the countryside, robbing homes locked up for winter. Her only hope falls on her neighbor, a surly hermit duke who unravels her with a look, then a kiss … until she fears the danger to her heart outweighs the danger of brigands and snowstorms.

“Christmas in Central Park” by Joanna Shupe

Women all over America devour Mrs. Walker’s weekly column for recipes and advice. No one knows Rose, the column’s author, can’t even boil water. When the paper’s owner, Duke Havemeyer, insists she host a Christmas party, Rose must scramble to find a husband, an empty mansion, and a cook. But Duke is not a man easily fooled and she fears her perfect plan is failing–especially when Duke’s attentions make her feel anything but professional. To save her career will she give up her chance at love? [goodreads.com]

Not one, but FOUR historical romance holiday stories in this one! And even better, they’re from some of my favorite authors! Tessa Dare and Sarah MacLean’s were probably the two I enjoyed most, but all four are definitely a treat that should not be missed this holiday season. If you’re like me and having withdraws waiting for the next MacLean novel to come out, this is a nice surprise to tide you over.

For the Steamy Romance Fan…

An Ex for Christmas  by Lauren Layne

About the book: When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.

Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along. [goodreads.com]

Oh how I loved this one!!! Lauren Layne writes some of the yummiest, steamiest romances, in my opinion. Her characters always make me laugh out loud and I end up adoring their relationships. Though I knew where this story would eventually end up, it was still fun to experience. There’s an unexpected emotional pull that I felt while reading this one, and for someone who is always looking for substance in her romances, this one definitely hit that spot.

One Hot December by Tiffany Reisz

About the book: Never mess with a woman who carries a blowtorch in her backpack. Welder and artist Veronica “Flash” Redding’s playful sense of evil sometimes gets the better of her. Like when her insanely handsome, wealthy, suited-up boss gave her the most sensuously wicked night of her life…then dumped her. Yep, revenge is a dish best served hot.

Only Ian Asher isn’t quite letting Flash get away quite so easily. He’s not ready to forget the intensity between them. The searing heat when they touch. And the deliciously demanding control Ian wields in the bedroom. Now he has only the holidays to convince Flash that they belong together…and that even the most exquisite, broken things can be welded back together. [goodreads.com]

Whew! Get ready to fan yourself if you read this one. It is HOTTT. If sexytimes in your romances is your jam, then definitely pick up this holiday romance by Tiffany Seisz. She definitely knows how to warm you right up!

Gift Wrapped by Karla Doyle

About the book: After catching her boyfriend cheating two weeks before Christmas, Brinn is seriously lacking in holiday spirit. So when she looks into the eyes of a last-minute shopper after closing on Christmas Eve, she’s sarcastic rather than sympathetic. But Brinn is ever the good girl and her conscience wins out. She offers the handsome stranger ten minutes to select a gift and ends up with a present of her own—a date. On Christmas Eve.  

Davis hates Christmas. Especially this year, since a neighborhood heist liberated him of his hard-earned belongings and the few gifts he’d purchased. But the robbery led him to a cute store manager with a sense of humor, smokin’ body and no plans for the evening. Mistletoe might be in order after all.  

Their Christmas Eve date is like gift-wrapped, sexy satisfaction. But the best gifts keep on giving, and one naughty night may not be enough—for either of them. [goodreads.com]

I love a good story that highlights two characters that may be down and out, yet when they meet their luck starts to change. These two held great chemistry and kept a fun, sexy romance set against the holidays delightful and entertaining. If sexytimes are your thing, but you also want more substance between the physical encounters, then this holiday romance is for you.

A Few Holiday Romances on My Christmas Wish List…

One Day in December  by Josie Silver

About the book: Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.

 Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be. 

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness. [goodreads.com]

Santa, Baby by Jennifer Crusie, Carly Phillips, and Lori Foster

About the book:

JENNIFER CRUSIE

Mayhem ensues under the mistletoe as a determined shopper grabs the very last hot toy action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the middle of a real-life spy game–in the arms of a sexy secret agent. . .

LORI FOSTER

Two dedicated coworkers with a lot of secrets (and fantasies!) between them must plan a Christmas party side by side–and discover a love worth celebrating–in this steamy office romance.

CARLY PHILLIPS

A “mistletoe moment” begins when a no-nonsense lawyer intent on seducing her boss meets his twin instead–after giving him a scintillating kiss that leaves him begging for more. . . [goodreads.com]

Coming Home for Christmas  by Jenny Hale

About the book: Allie Richfield loves Christmas, so when she lands a job as House Manager for the amazing Ashford Estate—which includes organizing the Marley family festivities—she is in her element. With a budget bigger than her life savings and a team of staff, how hard can it be?

As one-by-one she meets the Marleys, she’s about to find out…

Allie’s new boss, Robert, might be gorgeous, but he’s also colder than the snow outside and refuses to come home for Christmas. Robert’s playboy brother, Kip, flirts with her relentlessly; and his sister, Sloane, arrives home with baggage—both the divorce-kind and the Louis Vuitton kind. Their ninety-two year old grandmother, Pippa, spends her day grumbling at everybody from her mobility scooter.

With Robert intending to sell Ashford, it’s the Marley’s last chance to create some happy memories in their family home—and Allie is determined to make it happen… even if it takes a little Christmas magic! With the festive spirit in full swing, she might even discover a little happiness of her own… [goodreads]

Thank you, again, to Jana for hosting A Bookish Little Christmas and allowing me to recommend a few of my favorite holiday romances. I hope I’ve added a few to your own to-be-read lists!

Please let me know if you end up reading any of these.
You can find me at the following:

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Why Christmas Isn’t Always Perfect by Linn B. Halton (aka Lucy Coleman) | Author Guest Post (+ Giveaway)

Posted December 2, 2018 by Jana in Giveaway, Guest Post / 6 Comments

I’ve written three Christmas novels so far – well – four, technically, as I’ve just finished my Christmas 2019 release. And I usually end up writing them during the summer months. So, I think I qualify as a Christmasaholic.

Quite simply, I LOVE Christmas. But that doesn’t mean every single one has been perfect. We had the year that chicken pox meant we had two very poorly children indeed. And the first year after my Dad died. My tears plopped down onto my Christmas dinner plate as I ate, knowing nothing would ever be quite the same again.

As in life, Christmas can’t always be full of laughter and happiness. But having experienced the sad times is precisely why the excited inner-child within me wants to trim up on the first of December. And keep alive the things that have become traditions in our family.

It’s never about the presents, although buying things for the kids is always fun. It’s standing in the kitchen making homemade mince pies, and alternative ones because I hate mincemeat.

And the memories. The year our fully-decorated, six-foot tall blue spruce tree decided to topple over and I rushed to stop it. Painful.

The first year the whole family came to me for Christmas dinner and the duck looked half-raw, so we had cold pork instead. And the year the turkey was attacked by a neighbour’s cat as it sat on the window sill, cooling.

Sitting around the dinner table pulling Christmas crackers and telling silly jokes at the tops of our voices because my partially-deaf uncle forgot to put in his hearing aid.

After attending midnight mass one year it began snowing as we walked home. That was truly magical.

We end up having three Christmas celebrations now, because our family is spread around the UK. I’ve discovered that Christmas isn’t just for the 25th of December. It’s about the spirit of the thing – goodwill to all men and the memories you make. And that comes from your heart, not in a nicely wrapped box. Or a delivery from the supermarket.

I hope everyone has a truly wonderful Christmas. But if this year turns out to be your Christmas from hell, focus on getting through it as best you can. When you come out the other side pick a date and have an alternative celebration. Cheesy Christmas hits and all. Then set your sights firmly on next year!

Snowflakes Over Holly Cove by Lucy Coleman
Published by Aria on September 18, 2018
Genres: Adult Fiction — Christmas, Contemporary, Romance
Add to Goodreads • Amazon • B&N

The perfect Christmas romance for fans of Karen Swan.

As the snowflakes start to fall, the village of Holly Cove welcomes a new tenant to the beautiful old cottage on the beach…

For lifestyle magazine journaist Tia Armstrong, relationships, as well as Christmas, have lost all their magic. Yet Tia is up against a Christmas deadline for her latest article ‘Love is, actually, all around’…

So Tia heads to Holly Cove where the restorative sea air, and rugged stranger Nic, slowly but surely start mending her broken heart.

Tia didn’t expect a white Christmas, and she certainly never dared dream that all her Chiristmas wishes might just come true…

Set in Caswell Bay on the stunningly rugged Gower Coast, the cottage nestles amid the limestone cliffs and the woodlands; the emotions run as turbulently as the wind-swept sea.

As cosy as a marshmallow-topped cup of cocoa, fall in love with a heart-warming festive story from the bestselling author of The French Adventure.

About Linn B. Halton

From interior designer to author, Linn – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (as Lucy) and Harper Impulse (as Linn); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.
Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Read a chapter from each of her novels here! | Linn on Twitter | Lucy on Twitter
Facebook | Amazon Author Pages: Linn B. Halton and Lucy Coleman

Giveaway

A surprise Christmas parcel from Linn is up for grabs this month!
The parcel includes a book, a bauble, and chocolates!

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Rachael Lippincott’s Connection to Five Feet Apart | Author Guest Post (+ Giveaway)

Posted November 12, 2018 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post / 7 Comments

I’m pleased to kick off the official Five Feet Apart blog tour with this lovely guest post by author, Rachael Lippincott! I didn’t know that this story was a screenplay before a book, and that a movie is currently in production. That makes things even more interesting. I have a bit of a personal connection to this story, as someone I care about has cystic fibrosis. It’s so nice to get a little background on it, and what inspired its creation before the movie, starring Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson, hits theaters on March 20, 2019.


Rachael Lippincott’s Connection to Five Feet Apart
by Rachael Lippincott

To put it simply, this book is the product of the hard work of many, many people. From the screenplay itself, written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, to Claire Wineland’s incredible contributions and spirit, to Justin Baldoni’s work as the director of the movie, to my physical writing of it, all of it had this innate desire to raise awareness about Cystic Fibrosis at the very core.

For me, everything started the day I got the screenplay for Five Feet Apart. I poured over the words, finishing it over the course of an afternoon, the story of Will and Stella leaving me filled with a myriad of emotions, from anger to joy to sadness to longing. When I finished, my computer screen was filled with tabs about Cystic Fibrosis and B. cepacia and medical statistics for the disease.

My inspiration started with the screenplay and grew to so much more than that over the course of that afternoon and the coming weeks and months. It became about the real life Wills and Stellas. People like Claire Wineland, who stare CF in the face and inspire so many others to live a life that they can be proud of. It became about a mom in Des Moines with this superhuman perseverance to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis foundation so that her daughter and so many other CFers can live to see a cure. It became about people that had never heard about Cystic Fibrosis reading Will and Stella’s story, or watching it on the big screen, and taking the time to open up google and learn about what the disease is.

I am acutely aware every day that this book could have had anyone’s name on the cover next to Mikki and Tobias’s. But I was lucky enough to be able to use my greatest passion, writing, to join a team of people committed to raising awareness about Cystic Fibrosis, and I take that very seriously. I can say earnestly that I will do everything I can to raise awareness for CF and I hope beyond all else that Five Feet Apart helps in some small way to bring about a cure.


Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
Original screenplay written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on November 20, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction — Contemporary, Romance
Add to Goodreads • Amazon • B&N • Book Depository

Can you love someone you can never touch?

Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?


About Rachael Lippincott

Rachael Lippincott was born in Philadelphia and raised in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She holds a BA in English writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, splitting her time between writing and running a food truck with her partner.

 

The publisher has graciously offered up a copy of Five Feet Apart to a lucky reader of That Artsy Reader Girl!

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Blog Tour Schedule

November 12 – That Artsy Reader Girl

November 13 – Vivacious Bibliophile

November 14 – A Gingerly Review

November 15 – Life of a Simple Reader

November 16 – A Glass of Wine

November 17 – Book is Glee

November 19 – Bumbles and Fairytales

November 20 – Adventures of a Book Junkie

November 21 – Jen Ryland Reviews

November 22 – Joyous Reads

November 23 – Chasing Faerytales

November 24 – Folded Pages Distillery

November 26 – Oh, Hey! Books

November 27 – Book Briefs

November 28 – Novel Knight Book Reviews

November 29 – A Dream within a Dream

November 30 – My Guilty Obsession

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