Monthly archives "November 2014"

One Frosty Night by Janice Kay Johnson

One Frosty NightOne Frosty Night by Janice Kay Johnson

Olivia Bowen would rather avoid this holiday season. Even her satisfaction at improving the family business doesn’t make up for the loss of her beloved father and the sudden tension with her mother. Olivia questions how much longer she can live in her hometown. And her decision is further complicated by Ben Hovik.

She should keep her distance—he broke her heart years ago. Yet his compassion and their still-sizzling attraction are seductive. Could she be falling for him again? When she spends Christmas with Ben and his teenage son, she wonders if this might be the first of many more….

REVIEW
4stars

Not your average Christmas read, One Frosty night is an unusual winter tale with an element of suspense and mystery, but also a heartwarming love story.
Death, children and past pains, it’s a story that stays true to and deals with everyday obstacles. The relationship between step-father and son was right on par and added a touch of humor, as was the strained relationship between Olivia and her mother. It perfectly depicts that everything in the world isn’t perfect during the holidays, but yet a happily ever after can still be found.

I would have given it five stars, but at times the story jumped around a tad, as if the author was trying to wrap it up, but didn’t lay out all the foundation. Still a great read for anytime of year, but one that makes you want to cozy up on a cold winters night with a cup of coffee and a good book.

I received a complimentary copy of One Frosty Night from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can find One Frosty Night on Amazon here 

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WARM HEARTS IN WINTER by Helen Pollard

Warm Hearts in WinterWarm Hearts in Winter by Helen Pollard

Forced by circumstance into the world of temping, when Abby Davis accepts an assignment in the wilds of Yorkshire as personal assistant to a widowed novelist, she assumes he is an ageing recluse.

Thirty-something Jack Blane is anything but. Still struggling to get his life and writing career back on track three years after his wife’s death, Jack isn’t ready for a breath of fresh air like Abby.

Snowed in at his winter retreat on the moors, as the weeks go by and their working relationship becomes friendship and maybe more, Abby must rethink her policy of never getting involved with someone at work … and Jack must decide whether he is willing to risk the pain of love a second time.

REVIEW5stars

A remote countryside blanketed with snow, a personal assistant hard on her luck and a moody horror author still grieving from the untimely death of his wife.

Warm Hearts in winter is a beautiful love story of two people coming together under less than favorable circumstances. A tale of learning to help, heal and love-again.

Ms. Pollard writes nice, strong, well-rounded characters who are wholesomely good and have good intentions. A spark of mystery and perfectly paced developing relationship with a smidgen of of romantic tension, you wont want to put it down.

I must say, I immediately fell in love with the cover, which I think is absolutely stunning. A terrific read for anyone looking for a simple and modest romance.

Warm Hearts in Winter is available now.  You can find it on Amazon here.

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I’M THANKFUL FOR CEREAL

thanksgivingI know it’s Wednesday, not Thursday.  But I’m I hosting Thanksgiving this year, so I have a full day of cooking ahead of me and after all that’s done and I’m stuffed from all the  goodies, the last thing I’m going to want to do is write a blog post.  Plus, I’m still NaNo’ing (less than 10,000 words to go), so I will have to fit that in at some point.  And besides, everyone’s blogs, twitter and Facebook feeds will be overrun with I am thankful for post tomorrow.  Mine wouldn’t be much different.  We all know I’m thankful for my husband, boys, family, health, job, etc.  I mention them from time to time, so it’s a safe bet that I’m happy that they are all a part of my life.  But there are other things I’m thankful for.  Things I don’t think of each and every day because they don’t seem all that important, but in the grand scheme of things, they make my life better or easier.  So here it goes, a few of the odd or not, things that I’m thank for:

1) Cereal  I’m not a big breakfast kind of woman.  Bacon, eggs, sausage, they are okay. If I’m going to eat all of that, I prefer to do so for dinner.  And I don’t like to cook it either, because who has time?  Not me!  I do good to get both boys to school and make it to work. I can’t be standing over the stove for an hour before I send them off for the day.  It’s not happening on the weekends, either.  I’m usually up hours before anyone else and I’ve already eaten a granola or cereal bar, so if my little boogers want breakfast, that’s what the box of cereal is for.  Or they can wake Dad, who is usually more than willing to cook.

2)  Perms-   I totally brought back the eighties when I grew out my hair and permed it several months ago.  I can’t say that it’s my favorite look, but man does it make getting ready in the mornings a whole lot easier.  Wash, throw some mouse or gel in, and I’m off.  No drying, no straightening, honestly I can’t remember the last time I actually combed through it.  Can’t complain about that.

3)  SoBe Lifewater- Just because I like it.

4) ! and 🙂 – Because I tend to use them a lot! 🙂

5)  The notes app on my phone- Without it I’d forget all kinds of things. It also comes in handy when I’m on the go and get struck with an idea.

6) Candy Crush– It gives my husband something to do when I’m deep into writing and ignoring him.  He’s on level six hundred and something and very proud of it.

7)  My dryer– I do not iron ANYTHING!  I know … terrible me.  There’s more important things in life than ironing clothes, brushing your hair regularly, and cooking grand meals (I actually do cook and quite well, just not breakfast).

8) Bleach– I’m odd, I like the smell.

9) Internet Shopping– Have I mentioned how much I dislike shopping?  I loathe it.  I don’t like crowds, I don’t like dwaddling around, trolling through stores, looking at things that I really don’t need or want.  If I have to go out, I will, but I much prefer to find what I need online and have it shipped to me.  Much easier … so if you’re wondering about black Friday shopping, that would be a big NEGATIVE.   I did it once and it wasn’t a bad experience, I just didn’t save enough money to validate getting up (or in my case not going to sleep), waltzing around in the cold, and standing in line, all to save a couple bucks.  Yeah, not happening.  So, when everyone else is out sifting through bins, I’ll be here, probably typing away.  Have fun, though!

10) Whoever thought of flavored coffee creamer– We don’t have a Starbucks in my town.  McDonald’s McCafe is about as close as it comes and while I’m not particularly a picky person (I actually do like their White Chocolate Caramel Mocha), I don’t honestly have time, or budget, to run through McDonald’s every single morning.  So flavored coffee creamer is the next best thing.

But on a serious note,  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, that you’re surrounded by the one’s you love, and that you’re bellies are stuffed full of all sorts of goodies. Thank you for following along and listening to my rambles.  I appreciate each and every one of you.

 

COVER REVEAL- EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY Fractured Immortal By: E.L.Wicker

Emma1FRACTURED IMMORTAL By: E.L. Wicker

In 1810, an army of vampires tore through Bearwood on a terrifying rampage of death and destruction. Turned to a vampire that night, Ilia Rose fled the many painful memories soon after, walking the Earth for two centuries to seek revenge on army leader, Sol. When Ilia learns he has returned to her hometown, she follows. But the reason for his reappearance puts her life in further danger, and an unwelcome revelation about Sol’s ally, Nathaniel, means Ilia and Nathaniel must unite to defeat the enemy. Thus Ilia begins a gut-wrenching battle to save her life and the lives of her friends, a battle which not everyone will survive. A vampire tale like none other, love, pain, devastation and revenge, all weave together to create the first in a dark and unmissable new adult series.

EXCERPT

emma2 RELEASES DECEMBER 21ST AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER NOW

AMAZON / AMAZON UK 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

emma3A weaver of words from a young age, I first started writing when we were given an assignment to do so in school. I can remember being called up to the teacher as she asked me (looking slightly annoyed) “What’s this?” I can’t remember the story but I do remember one of the characters had a stutter and so I explained that to the teacher and she let me go back to my desk. I guess six year olds didn’t write stutters into their work. Well, I did. And I haven’t looked back since. Of course, over the years I wrote many more, none of which I finished, until last year when I read a book and loved it so much that I wanted to be able to do the same – write a book that someone out there would love. So I did. Whether it is loved by one or many remains to be seen, but I did it and I am so happy I did.  It opened the floodgates to so many, many more words. And while I am busy working on ‘Finding Immortal’ the follow up to ‘Fractured Immortal’ I am also writing another book too. I just can’t seem to stop.

I love to talk to people, so if you ever have something you want to say, please do but be warned, it’s very difficult to get me to shut up again 🙂

Click HERE for a chance to win a digital copy of FRACTURED IMMORTAL (Kindle users only) or you can stalk her at one of her sites below!

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / GOODREADS / BLOG

DO YOU DRAGON?

dragonI’ll be the first to admit that I’m not all that tech savvy.  I’d like to think that once upon a time I was pretty up to date on things, but more often than not, I’m asking my nine year old for help in using my phone, Kindle or computer. I could probably turn on one of their game systems if I had to, but how to actually work one- clueless!  Same way with the TV.  I don’t even attempt to use the remote, because it’s a little more than my pea brain can handle.  It’s much easier to walk over and hit the button and much faster in my book.

My laptop is tenish years old and I can’t say that I really desire a new one.  I’m kind of partial to it.  We work well together and honestly, I’ll probably cry when it finally goes down.  I know it’s a computer and easily replaceable, but it was also a gift that still means a whole lot to me.  I had wanted to get back into writing, but at the time, the only computer my husband and I had, was a desktop.  On top of it being old and slow, we also had to share it, which wasn’t all that handy when I had the urge to write and he was online playing a game or surfing the net.  Unfortunately, buying another computer wasn’t in the budget with a new baby in the house.  In conversation one day, I mentioned  my dream of writing to my mom and told her that I was even considering going back to school to take some creative writing classes.  My mom is one of those people that no matter how far fetched mine or my sisters ideas are, she always encourages them.  I’m sure when I told her I wanted to write, she never thought it would produce anything more than a girls ramblings, but that didn’t stop her from going out and buying me a laptop so that I could give it a try.  Top of the line for it’s time, I’m sure she could have put the money she spent to good use on something else.  But that’s just how my mom is- she’s always put what my sister and I wanted before her own needs and it was her gift of a laptop that made my dream of becoming a writer happen.  So, yeah, I love that thing, even though, it’s dated and the battery no longer charges and must be plugged in to work.

But getting back to my less than being up to date on technology. I’m slightly embarrassed- okay maybe I’m really not- to say that I didn’t have an up to date Word program on my laptop until recently.  My laptop came with Microsoft Works, which is a discontinued, smaller, and less expensive program that offered fewer features than Microsoft Office.  It had all the basics, which was fine with me because all I needed it to do was type words.  I didn’t need all that fancy smancy stuff.  Or did I?  Actually I didn’t, at least not yet.  All of my writing up until this year was done on Microsoft Works.  That’s right, I used the basic of basics to write my debut book.  There was no track changes, or find and replace.  I didn’t have that nifty number down at the bottom to tell me how many words I’d written and I won’t even get into the file formats.  When I took an editing workshop, I had to do most of the lessons during my lunch break or after work, so that I could use my work PC because it had the most updated Word program.  Yeah, I was using it at work, but not at home and while I did see how much easier it made writing, I guess I’m too much like my momma at times.  I just couldn’t break down and buy myself a new program when there seemed to be something else that could always use that bit of money.

However, when I recieved that elated email from Crimson Romance saying they wanted to acquire Drive Me Sane, I knew I was going to have to break down and drop some dough.  How I ever did without a decent word program, I don’t know.  Okay, there is no way I could have done without it, because track changes was a necessity in working with an editor during the editing process.

Book complete and ready to launch , I began transversing the world of marketing and realized that my less than stellar knowledge of technology went much further than electronics.  When I started this blog, I had no clue what I was doing, but being a no-name and knowing that I wasn’t going to make much off my royalties, I was determined not to fork out money to have someone design a page for me.  I’ve learned the basics, but there are some things that I haven’t yet mastered and would like to do.  I’m considering a facelift if/when I do publish another book and will probably look into hiring a service to help me with that.

Thanks to Whitney, at Shooting Star’s Reviews, who encouraged me to learn how to make those nifty banners and teasers for a promotional spot on her page.  And then when I joined a virtual book party, I was introduced to Hootsuite, which allows you to set up tweets and messages that are automatically sent out at predetermined times.  So, I’ve learned a few things and while I still find myself Googling stuff that I see other’s talking about, I’m becoming more comfortable with all the different resources that make being a writer, marketer, etc, easier.

I mentioned my birthday a couple weeks ago.  My hubby and boys got me concert tickets to see Tyler Farrdragon2 and Brantley Gilbert.  We celebrated with my mom and sister a few days later.  They went in together and got me a box full of Bath and Body Works goodies along with Dragon.  No, not that beautiful mythological creature you see above, but the speech recognition software.  I had mentioned to my sister that I’d like to have it.  I’ve heard other authors say they use it, so I had already checked it out.  Mostly I wanted it for the text to speech capabilities.  I use a free version I downloaded for proofreading purposes, but the computer generated voices are a bit annoying and don’t flow like a humans.  It also doesn’t have a dictation function, which I thought might come in handy.

I honestly haven’t had time to use it much.  I took the online tutorial, but with NaNoWriMo going on, I’ve been slaving away each night on that and don’t want to waste time with a new program that I have no idea how to use.  It’s definitely going to take some time getting acquainted.  I’ve always been on the receiving end of dictations and can transcribe, but actually being the one to dictate is a whole new ballgame.   I doubt I will ever use the social medial, email and web surfing functions, but who knows.  I’m learning new things every day.

So, do any of you Dragon?  Do you like or dislike it?  Have any tips or tricks that might be beneficial?

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Susan Meier

The Twelve Dates of ChristmasThe Twelve Dates of Christmas by Susan Meier
When entrepreneur Ricky Langley offers Eloise Vaughn the help she needs, in exchange for her attending twelve Christmas parties as his date, she can’t refuse. Yes, Ricky’s handsome, and devastatingly charming, but this is about business. If only her racing heart would get the message!

Ricky has his own reasons for hating Christmas. But with each date that passes Eloise opens his eyes to the spirit of the season…and opens his heart to a totally different future….

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting trope, rich businessman Ricky Langley asks Eloise Vaughn to be his date to twelve events during the Christmas holiday. I really liked the premise, it was set up nicely and both characters had redeeming qualities. It’s a squeaky clean romance with just a bit of sexual tension between the hero and heroine to keep it interesting. However, there was something missing that didn’t allowed me to fully connect to the story and then it sort of all came together very quickly at the end with no real justification or feeling of how the two got to their happily ever after so fast. Overall, it was a decent story- a nice Christmasy read.

I received a complimentary copy of The Twelve Dates of Christmas from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can find The Twelve Dates of Christmas on Amazon here

View all my reviews

HAPPY VETERAN’S, VETERANS’, VETERANS DAY

VETERANS DAY I’d like to consider myself somewhat military savvy.  I grew up near Ft. Hood, Texas, so the military has always played a role in my life.  Many of the kids I went to school with were military brats and seeing a uniform while at the grocery or mall, was an every day occurrence.  In fact the army was what brought my dad from Ohio to Texas, which lead to this little blessing, better known as me :).   While I followed in my mother’s footsteps and met my husband while he too was stationed at Ft. Hood , my sister chose a different role in the military and enlisted in the army.  She met her husband while they were both stationed in North Carolina.  So, as you can see, my military ties are strong, but they don’t end there. I could produce a long list of relatives who’ve served on both mine and my husband’s side of the family and I’m equally proud of each and everyone of them.

But as I began writing this post, I realized I didn’t know much about this day that’s been set aside to honor our military men and woman.   Yes, most of us know it’s a day to honor those who have served, but where did it come from and why November 11th?  I had no clue, which not only saddened, but also embarrassed me.  I’m an American!  I should know these things!  So doing what any good American would do, I Googled it

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” – President Wilson

How many of you knew that Veterans day was once named Armistice Day? I didn’t.  I also didn’t know that we celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th because fighting ceased in World War I on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.  Made a legal holiday on May 13, 1928, President Wilson proclaimed November 11th as Armistice Day, to honor veterans of World War I. It wasn’t until 1954, with the ending of World War II and the high number of American’s who fought in Korea, that veteran service organizations urged that Armistice Day be changed to honor all veterans of every war and thus came the name, “Veterans Day.”

For my fellow writers, I’m not totally off my game today, although grammar is definitely not my strongest point, but yes, Veterans Day minus the apostrophe is correct.   We in America like to keep people on their toes and we went with a grammatically incorrect form of the possessive noun as the official spelling.  ***UPDATE*** After researching this further, I found this information about the spelling of Veterans Day. Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an “s” at the end of “veterans” because it is not a day that “belongs” to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.

Speaking of America, one of the questions that came to mind when I began writing this post, was if Veterans Day was an American holiday or if other nations also took a day to honor their military men and woman.  If you live in Canada, hopefully you took a moment last Sunday, on Remembrance Day or if you’re one of my new friends across the pond, you too honored your military on Remembrance Sunday.

How this day is spelled, where or how it’s observed, really isn’t important, though.  Regardless of where you live, the military is a vital presence and no matter what you do or you don’t agree with, the men and woman serving, do so selflessly.  So whether you pause at home and think about those that are currently overseas, attend a parade and wave at those that march by, or say a prayer to keep a loved one safe, please take a moment to honor all those who have served and are currently serving.

jamesA few of my favorite Veterans at my cousin’s Airforce retirement ceremony-My sister, my cousin James, my cousin Jesse, and my cousin Christina’s husband, Clay

Vets

More of my favorite veteran’s at our school’s veteran program last year.  3 of the 5 uncles on my husbands side who served, my husband, my husband’s cousin’s husband,one of the daughters who teaches at school, and all the grandkids who attend. A big thank you to my husband’s cousin, Connie, who also teaches there.  She took the picture and gave me permission to use it.

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My sister looking pretty badass in Iraq, 2008

IMG_9737[1]

Last, but not least, my favorite veteran of all, my husband, Kuwait 1997.  He also turns 40 today.  Happy birthday, babe!

SHINE AND SNOW

THURSDAY

My little town can be odd at times.  I’ve mentioned how much I love living here and I do, but sometimes it drives me a little batty.  For instance last week, we celebrated Halloween on Thursday.  Yes, I know Halloween was Friday, but the community feels that Friday’s are too busy and that it would be hazardous for the kids walking around on the busy streets with all the traffic.  We have roughly twelve thousand people living in the entire county.  Not city, county!  Big time right?  However, I’m not going to complain.  The change up actually worked to my advantage.  I got to trick or treat with my little scream freak and then head off for a weekend away with my husband.

FRIDAY

The plan was to drop the kids off at school Friday morning and hit the road in lieu of The Great Smokey Mountains.  A three and a half hour drive, we visit these beautiful mountainsIMG_9639[1] of Tennessee a couple times of year.  If you’ve never been, look up Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg and you’ll find that there is so much to do that you could never possibly see everything in a week.  With our kids in tow, we spend a lot of time driving go-carts.  There is literally at least a hundred different tracks to choose from.  Our favorite is Nascar Speedpark, which is more like a mini amusement park with roughly ten or more tracks all in one place.  You pay one price for unlimited rides on all of them, which is quite a deal.  They also like going to museums like the Titanic exhibit, Star Cars, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and the Guiness Book of World Records.  But since this was an adult only trip, we decided to do things we don’t get the chance to do with the kids around.

First stop, The Apple Barn.  Okay, we’ve actually taken the kids here.  It is a winery, but they also make apple cider and have gift, fudge and ice cream shops on site.  But no, we weren’t there for the sweets.  I like their Raspberry wine and the boys had asked that we pick up some cider.
IMG_9662[1]Wine and cider in arms, we headed off to Old Smokey Moonshine Distillery.  This was the husband’s idea, as I do not drink moonshine.  I mean, the smell of the stuff burns my nose, why would I want to consume something that taste like rubbing alcohol?

However, my sister in law raved about it after buying some last year, so I thought why not?  I gave in and gave it a try.  Twelve shots of different flavors of moonshine for my husband and a couple for me, and we ended up buying two quarts.  In case your starting to wonder about our sobriety, the shots were a mini version of what you’d normally take and honestly neither of us are big drinkers.   This was a kid free weekend, though, so we were making the most of it.

After grabbing a quick dinner, we settled into our cabin to await friends that were joining us for the weekend.  My husband is not a picky guy, but he has one request when we visit Tennessee. He wants a secluded cabin with a view of the mountains.  Usually, I can find something that suites part of this request.  The problem with this area, is that it’s so abundantly overrun with cabin rentals, that it’s hard to find one that’s secluded and if you do, it usually doesn’t come with a view.  Most of the time, we take the view, but because I was late with booking a reservation, all I could find, was one that said it was secluded.  He was okay with that, especially when we arrived and found that indeed, it was tucked away all by itself down a dead end road.  Score one for me!

I mentioned my delay in making reservations.  It’s completely out of my nature not to get something done or do my research well in advance.  I had about two months notice for this trip and somehow, I just couldn’t seem to make myself plan it.  Every time I did,  I kept getting this nagging little feeling of dread.  I tried chalking it up to guilt over leaving the kids and enjoying a place that I know they like, but I think my lack of gumption was driving my husband crazy.  He kept reminding me about the reservation and I kept putting it off and then I’d forget.  He’d remind me again and I’d say that I’d do it at lunchtime and then I’d forget.  He sent me a couple text and I’d reply saying, we’ll do it when we get home.  It wasn’t that I was purposely putting it off, I just think deep down I had some gut instinct that was trying to tell me that something bad was going to happen.

Actually nothing bad happened Friday.  We enjoyed a nice evening in the hot tub, sipping a glass of wine, while watching the first snow flakes of the season fall.  Later on, I curled up in the recliner and read while he watched TV.  It was when we heard the weatherman announce the area was expecting nineteen inches of snow that we realized that maybe our weekend away might be headed for trouble.  Let me back up, my first indication was when the recliner I was sitting in began to vibrate and move like a possessed demon.  Totally freaked out, I jumped up screaming until I saw that my husband was laughing hysterically and held a remote to the massaging controls to the recliner.  Yeah, he likes to be funny like that.  Score one for him!

SATURDAY 

IMG_9656[1]We woke up to a true winter wonderland the next morning, with at least a foot of snow and the trees decorated with white.  I’m from Texas, where it rarely snows and even after living in Kentucky for sixteen years, I still get excited for that first snow of the season.  To say that I was in heaven when I looked outside, puts it mildly.  I was ecstatic.  At least until I realized we had no power and that it was pretty darn cold in that cabin.

Hubby to the rescue.  He built a nice cozy fire and then went outside to check things out.  Since our friends were still upstairs sleeping, I pulled my Kindle out and decided to read.  IMG_9648[1]

It looks nice and cozy doesn’t it? It would have been, except that I’m pretty sure the fireplace was designed more for looks than an actual source of heat.  It never really knocked much of the chill out of the air.  In fact it was pretty cold.  I had jeans, a sweater, socks, and two blankets and was still freezing.

Things didn’t get much better when our friends woke up.  The cabin had no cell service and the phone line had been knocked out with the power.  A tree had fallen blocking our truck in the driveway and the other couple had a car that wasn’t four-wheel drive.  Essentially we were stuck until a snow plow came through or the electric company got the power back on.  Not so bad if you can deal with the cold, but we also didn’t have food.  Let me take that back.  We had priorities.  Remember where we stopped the day before?  And our friends had brought pork rinds! Now I’m not a fan of pork rinds, I find them pretty disgusting, but I was hungry.  Not I’m willing to eat bugs and rodents hungry, but those pork rinds were pretty damn good hungry.

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After sitting there for about an hour and talking about how terrible the day was going and how we didn’t think a plow would make it to the cabin, the guys decided that they were going to scope out how bad things were.  They managed to get the truck around the  back side of the cabin and then onto the road leaving us girls to talk.

Fire, pork rinds and snuggled up with blankets my friend, Mandy, starts telling me about the scare she received when they arrived the night before.  She was upstairs in bed reading when the door to the room slowly creaked open. She called out her husband’s name and heard nothing, so she got up and looked downstairs and realized the guys were outside smoking.  It left her a little spooked, especially when she said she saw all these weird candles in the room.  I told her the story of how my husband had scared me and we laughed about how jumpy we were, but then we started looking around and saw that the cabin had some odd decorations.IMG_9654[1]IMG_9652[1]

Maybe these beauties were intended as Halloween decorations or they hold some kind of meaning, but they were a little spooky, especially after hearing her story and then something hitting the window right outside of where we sat.  I could not see from where I was sitting, but she said she saw something black hit the window.  I definitely heard it, though. But nothing black or brown or red, green, yellow or blue, sat underneath the window, because we investigated and the only thing we found was a blanket of white snow.  I know what you’re probably thinking, that a ball of snow or ice probably fell off the roof, but it’s not that type of roof.  There is a  huge overhang that would prevent this from happening.  So not only was our day cold and dreary it was getting weirder, while we grew hungrier.  Oh and we were going through wood fast!

When the guys returned, they informed us that the electric company was out, but that they said it would likely be days before they made it to us . Luckily, they did find a route to town.  Unluckily, it required a drive over the mountain on roads that hadn’t been plowed.

Now this is where I have to commend my husband.  He really is superman in my eyes at times.   Not only did he find us a way to town, he did so by clearing the road of fallen trees as we went. Yeah, he’s handy like that.  I’m pretty lucky, but then it also helps that he works for the Highway Department and that plowing snow and clearing roads is part of his job 😉  I’m not sure how we made it, but we did.  We ended up in Pigeon Forge at Crackle Barrel somewhere around five that evening.  Famished, we all pigged out,  while getting updates on the weather.  We then made the decision to return to the cabin to attempt to get the car out and find a hotel in town, because eighteen plus more inches were expected for that night.

IMG_9661[1]Score number two  for the guys, because they did get the car and we did get a cheap, but decent hotel.  Finally, our night was looking up.  In fact it went pretty well.  A ride on a ferris wheel and late dinner at Dicks Last Resort, we returned to the room and drank wine while playing cards into the wee hours of the morning.

  SUNDAY

 Our trip turned out nothing like we planned and a few times felt pretty daunting.  I didn’t get to do my early Saturday morning writing like I had hoped and the seculusion part of my husband’s idea didn’t work out so well.   The other couple didn’t get to fully enjoy the  one full day that they had, but it all turned out okay.  We had fun and we laughed about all the silliness when things finally calmed down.  However, the one thing we were all looking forward to that weekend, was taking a drive through the mountains to get a glimpse of the fall colors.  With the weather being so uncooperative, it didn’t appear that was going to happen this trip, but we gave it a go anyhow and drove up as far as we were allowed.  What we saw was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful.  Fall in all it’s glory with a sprinkling of winter on it’s way.IMG_9688[1]

The Texan’s Christmas By: Tanya Michaels

The Texan's ChristmasThe Texan’s Christmas by Tanya Michaels

BLURB:

The last thing rodeo cowboy Daniel Baron needs is a commitment. After a lifetime of feeling like an outsider among his larger-than-life stepfamily at Roughneck Ranch, Daniel is ready to leave the ring—and Texas—behind forever. Except he can’t stop thinking about the woman he just met—beautiful, bighearted…and pregnant.

Of course Nicole Bennett is attracted to strong, sweet Daniel—he’s pretty much perfect. But he made it clear that he doesn’t want a family, the one thing Nicole’s dreamed of her whole life. Now, just as that dream is coming true, Nicole could lose the only man she wants to share it with…unless Daniel can find the courage to open his heart.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my second read in The Texas Rodeo Baron series and my first by Tanya Michaels, as each installment is written by a different author. I’m not sure if the mixing of authors is is a new trend or old, but it’s one that I’ve noticed a lot of lately. I think it’s neat way to offer individuality to characters that are prominent in each book, because each author writes and portrays them as they understand the character.

In the past, I’ve steered away from what I feel are cheesy titles “The Cowboys …”, “The Texan’s ….”, “The Billionaire’s …”, or “The Duke …” However after relenting and giving some of these a go, I find that my judging a book by it’s cover or um … title, is completely unfair. Most of them I enjoy very much, as was such, The Texan’s Christmas.

Tanya Michaels actually weaves a rodeo story into everyday life allowing even those that don’t particularly care for the cowboy themed storylines to enjoy it. Centered around the Baron family and their coming together at Christmas, it’s a story of understanding who you are and what you mean to those around you.

It’s a nicely written clean story that you won’t want to miss.

I received a complimentary copy of The Texan’s Christmas from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Texan’s Christmas releases today.  You can get it on Amazon here.

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REVIEW- Christmas on 4th Street By Susan Mallery

Christmas on 4th Street (Fool's Gold, #12.5)Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery

BLURB:

There’s nowhere better to spend the holidays than with New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery in the town of Fool’s Gold, where love is always waiting to be unwrapped… Noelle Perkins just got a second chance at life, and she intends to make the most of every minute. That’s why she ditched a frustrating legal career to open her own store in Fool’s Gold, California. The Christmas Attic celebrates everything that’s magical about her favorite season. Business is booming, and as a bonus, gorgeous army doctor Gabriel Boylan has offered to help out during the holiday rush.

Gabriel’s memories of Christmas past contain more sour grapes than sugar plums, thanks to a drill sergeant father who ran his home like a boot camp. Spending the holidays with his family while he recuperates from injury sounds as appetizing as last year’s eggnog. Still, there are some enjoyable distractions in town, including sunny, sexy Noelle…and the red-hot mistletoe kisses they can’t stop sharing.

Gabriel didn’t think he was made for happily-ever-afters. But when fate hands you a love as sweet and surprising as this, only a fool could refuse….

 

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Susan Mallery isn’t a new author to me. I’ve read several of her books and immediately fell in love with her style of writing. Christmas on 4th Street is only my second Fools Gold novel and is a wonderful addition to the Fools Gold series. With fun and entertaining characters, it’s not your average hot desirable man meets shy succumbing female.

I loved this story. Both characters were well developed and likable. It was light and funny at times, but then also heartfelt and emotional. Relatable and true to every day life, I can easily see Noelle and Gabriel living in small-town USA dealing with life as it is handed to them.

I would have given the story 4- 4.5 stars except the ending just sort of crept up and tadaa – ended. Not that it was a terrible ending, because you get the HEA, but it was built up and you think your going to start going down hill and the story will fall into place, but then you hit a plateau and it wraps up and came together very quickly. It’s still a very good read and a beautiful story. I definitely recommend it.

I received a copy of Christmas on 4th Street from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can find Christmas on 4th Street on Amazon here

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