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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Operation: Cupid by Allyson Lindt


Kaylee lost her true love on Valentine’s Day, so to say she’s not a fan of the holiday is the understatement of the decade. When being bombarded by hearts and flowers pushes her to the brink of tears, she wishes for her lost love back. A stranger, who reminds her of the past in every way, offers her comfort—but he summons painful memories, leaving her torn.

Devin enjoys his job as a cupid, helping lonely souls move on from lost loves and heartbreak and seeing their joy return. His life was taken too soon and being a cupid allows him a second chance. When he’s assigned to Kaylee, he’s inexplicably drawn to her, but she triggers unfamiliar memories and emotions. He finds himself breaking all the rules of his job to make her happy, but he still can’t offer her the one thing she wants: her lost love.

As Kaylee and Devin grow closer, the demons of their past still haunt them. If they can’t reconcile what could’ve been, they’ll both lose out on their second chance at happily ever after. Can true love survive all obstacles?


 
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A sweet story about a second chance at love that comes about in a most unexpected way. Certainly neither Kaylee or Devin could have foreseen that they would get the opportunity they are given here, and really, who would? How exactly it comes about is kept rather mysterious, leaving many unanswered questions, but that is likely for the best. It allows the story to remain focused on the two main characters as it should in a story of this length.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Christmas Spirits by Christy Gissendaner


Kia Mays has little time for anything as her lifelong dream of being a fashion designer comes to fruition. For Christmas, she takes time out of her busy schedule to visit her family in Georgia. Her beloved grandmother, Naya, reveals a secret of her Baule heritage. In Baule, located on the Ivory Coast of Africa, the people believe in spirit lovers, which you are separated from at birth. Tedros, her lover from the spirit world, appears to her and reveals that he is there to assist her in finding a mortal lover.

Elliot Melton, the brother of Kia's new sister in law, is also invited to share the season with the family. With the help of a meddling grandmother and an otherworldly spirit, Elliot and Kia soon find out that Christmas is the best time to fall in love.





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I found this to be a rather refreshing holiday romance story that doesn't rely on any of the "alone for the holiday" tropes that seem to predominate in this sub-category of romance. It read primarily like a contemporary romance to me, though with a large dash of the paranormal thrown in to spice things up a bit. There's no insta-love here, and wedding bells aren't ringing yet at the end; instead we have two ordinary people who are simply willing to take a chance and see where their instant attraction will lead them.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Music Box by Alice Brown

It’s Christmas Eve and Beth Montgomery’s life is a mess. She stops by the nursing home to visit her last remaining relative, her grandmother, Adeline Montgomery. Then she can go home and have a glass or ten of wine and cry over her latest string of bad luck. She was released from her job earlier.

She arrives to find Alex St. Claire visiting with her grandmother. What she doesn’t know is that he is a very lonely vampire, who made a mistake years ago when he thought he was in love with Adeline. He has spent many years trying to help out the family where he can. But Adeline’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse, and Beth knows her grandmother doesn’t have very much longer to live.

Both alone, Beth and Alex make a spontaneous decision to spend Christmas Eve together and are recipients to more than one miracle. But what will happen the next morning? Is Beth strong enough to handle the truth about Alex?



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I wanted to like this book. The blurb hooked me in, for it sounded like exactly the sort of story I typically enjoy (really, a book usually has me at "vampire"), as well as sounding somewhat similar to some Christmas romance stories I've greatly enjoyed in the past. The opening scene in the nursing home was quite promising, for it drew me in and got me interested in the characters. Unfortunately it started going downhill for me after Alex and Beth left the nursing home and didn't really redeem itself until the last quarter or so of the book. It recaptured my interest then, at least to a certain degree, and pulled my final rating up considerably.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stroke of Midnight by Robin Danner


It’s New Year’s Eve… What’s a fairy to do?

The king of the Fairies has granted his daughter Mariel one year in Regency London before she must return to their realm to be married. Several hours before midnight on New Year's Eve, a fairy is sent to fetch her home—her childhood love, Rhys. Even though part her is glad to see the dark, handsome fairy again, she knows he’s been sent by her father to collect her. And she’s not about to give up her last precious hours in the world she’s grown to love. But when Mariel learns that her father has chosen Rhys as her husband to unite their two clans, the idea of marriage sounds much more appealing. Especially once her new husband takes off his clothes and leads her to bed…

 



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This was a sweet little story, though a somewhat confusing one at times and also a bit lacking in substance. While I enjoyed the story, and liked the characters, I don't feel as though I really got to know them very much and thus never truly became invested in their tale. Still, it made for a pleasant half hour's reading.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey


The Swordswoman
She was Tarma, Born to the Clan of the Hawk of the nomadic Shin'a'in people, she saw her entire clan slain by brigands. Vowing blood revenge upon the murderers, she became one of the sword-sworn, the most elite of all warriors. And trained in all forms of death-dealing combat, she took to the road in search of her enemies...

And the Sorceress
She was Kethry. Born to a noble house, sold into a hateful "marriage," she fled life's harshness for the sanctuary of the White Winds, a powerful school of sorcery. Becoming an adept, she pledged to use her talents for the greatest good. Yet, unlike other sorcerers, Kethry could use worldly weapons as well as magical skills. And when she became the bearer of a uniquely magical sword which drew her to those in need, Kethry was led to a fateful meeting with Tarma.

The Oathbound
United by sword-spell and the will of the Goddess, Tarma and Kethry swore a blood oath to carry on their mutual fight against evil. And together, swordmaster and sorceress set forth to fulfill their destiny.

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Tarma and Kethry are two of Lackey's more memorable characters, conceived in a time when sword and sorcery was one of the popular flavors within the fantasy genre. They were first given life in short stories that were published in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress anthologies, and a few of those stories have been incorporated into this novel. As such, this book tends to be slightly episodic in nature, particularly through the central portion of it, and it's fairly evident where a few of the short stories were pasted in, likely with only light edits to keep it consistent with the timeline of the rest of the novel. Still, these two women are interesting enough characters to be worth reading even in short snippets, and I enjoyed revisiting this tale of their early days together.