Welcome! Kick off your shoes, get comfy and join in as we chat about books, romance and the ups and downs of everyday life.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Today's Special - - Tracy Solheim


Tracy Solheim is the international bestselling author of the Out of Bound Series for Penguin.  Her books feature members of the fictitious Baltimore Blaze football team and the women who love them.  In a previous life, Tracy wrote best sellers for Congress and was a freelance journalist for regional and national magazines.  She’s a military brat who now makes her home in Johns Creek, Georgia, with her husband, their two children, a pesky Labrador retriever puppy and a horse named after her first novel.  See what she’s up to at www.tracysolheim.com.  Like her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TracySolheimBooks



PJ here. I've said it before but it bears mentioning again; overcoming one's natural shyness and speaking to fellow elevator riders can bring the nicest people into our lives. I'm so happy for the spontaneous conversation in an elevator at the 2013 RWA national conference that introduced me to Tracy Solheim. She's a delightful woman who just happens to write terrific contemporary romances. Please give her a warm welcome as she returns to TRD to tell us about her new novella for Tule Publishing, Holiday at Magnolia Bay

I have a confession to make and a tiny apology. My latest release, Holiday at Magnolia Bay, may be a little misleading to readers expecting the novella to be laden with Christmas references.  In fact, most of the story takes place well before the holiday season—but you’ll find a very satisfying ending that takes place at Christmas time!  Since it’s not “technically” the Christmas season yet, I hope you’ll forgive me.  I had a good reason. 
You see, my story’s heroine, Jenna Huntley, is a marine biologist with a passion for sea turtles.  She meets Drew Lanham, a battle weary Navy SEAL, while trying to protect a nest of loggerhead sea turtle eggs.  Those big sea creatures only nest during the summer, so you can see my dilemma, right?  The novella—and the relationship between Jenna and Drew—had to start at the end of summer when the turtles hatch.  Of course, there’s still plenty of Christmas cheer during Drew and Jenna’s happily ever after moment, you’ll see.
So why did I write the book this way?  Because I’ve always been fascinated with sea turtles and I couldn’t imagine a book taking place in coastal Carolina without mentioning them.  Like Jenna, growing up my family gravitated to one beach on the North Carolina coast for years—and I’ve continued the tradition with my own children.  We’ve been fortunate enough to see these great turtles in “the wild” and also stranded on the beach.  Turtle nests along the shore are as much a part of our vacation spot as sunburn and seagulls.  I’ve been lucky to be able to watch under a late summer moon as a nest of loggerhead turtles bubbled up from the sand and sprinted into the ocean.  It was awesome!
A few years ago, my family and I took a trip to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll
Island, Georgia.  The day-long backstage tour was the basis for my description of the fictional Magnolia Bay Turtle Center.  If I made any errors, it’s totally my fault for not taking proper notes.  (In my defense, other books were drowning this one out in my head at the time!)  The tour was fascinating.  We watched the giant beauties swimming in large salt water pools.  My son even got to feed some.  They allowed us into the incubation room, the operating room and a smaller “triage” suite where one of the biologists was fixing the flipper of a young loggerhead.  It was a trip I’ll never forget.  If you’d like to learn more about the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, here’s the link: http://www.jekyllisland.com/jekyll-island-foundation/conservation-programs/georgia-sea-turtle-center/   It’s worth the visit.




I brought back a keepsake from that trip that hangs on my Christmas tree every year—see, I got us back to Christmas!  It’s one of my very favorite ornaments.  And, in the spirit of the holidays, I’m giving a sea turtle ornament away to one lucky person who comments on this post along with a Tule gift bag.






Tell me about one of your favorite holiday decorations or mementos. Does it have a story behind it?   It can be any holiday throughout the year, too!


After a mission goes terribly wrong, ending in the death of a teammate, Navy Seal, Drew Lanham, is forced to take a leave from active-duty. Retreating to his godmother’s beach house in coastal Magnolia Bay, Drew plans to spend the three weeks R&R licking his wounds and catching some rays while the nightmares from his failed op fade. The last thing he wants to do is mingle with the locals. What he doesn’t count on is an early morning encounter with a goddess rising from the sea. His interest is piqued and his body put on alert when he finds out that same woman may or may not be after his godmother’s money. 

Marine biologist, Jenna Huntley, has been searching her whole life for a place to call home and Magnolia Bay is that place. Unfortunately, she’s underutilizing her education giving tours at the town’s turtle rescue center. With the help of an octogenarian patroness, she maps out a proposal to develop a turtle hatchery on-site. Everything is going as planned until the older woman’s godson arrives. Suddenly, nothing is as it seems and Jenna’s future is hanging in the balance, with a sexy warrior pulling all the strings. Her natural tendency is to help the damaged hero, but she’s sworn off letting military men in her life ever again.

Will Drew and Jenna be able to put their pasts behind them and learn to trust their hearts long enough to enjoy their Holiday at Magnolia Bay? 


Buy it here:
-Holiday in Magnolia Bay http://amzn.to/ZvVHRv

Southern Born Christmas series
Book 1: Holiday in Magnolia Bay by Tracy Solheim - October 20th
Book 2: Just in Time for Christmas by Kim Boykin - October 27th
Book 3: A Very Married Christmas by Erika Marks - November 3rd
Book 4: The Trouble with Christmas by Kaira Rouda - November 10th




Sunday, October 19, 2014

Jeanne Adams Winner






The winner of the prize package from Jeanne Adams is

Erin

Congratulations, Erin! 
Please send your full name and mailing address to us at

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Moonlight and Magnolias Winner




The winner of a signed copy of 
All You Need is Love by Marie Force
from PJ's Moonlight and Magnolias blog is:

Donna Ariola

Congratulations, Donna!
Please send your full name and mailing address to us at

theromancedish (at) gmail(dot) com


Friday, October 17, 2014

Review - - Darling Beast

Darling Beast
By Elizabeth Hoyt
Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: October 14, 2014




I adore the Maiden Lane series. I’ve adored it since I inhaled Wicked Intentions; and every book thereafter has become my favorite. Typically, series go for 3-6 books tops; however, Darling Beast makes #7 in the series. According to the dedication page, we have Hoyt’s agent, Robin Rue, to thank for that, so be sure to put your Thank You cards in the mail when you finish reading this book at 3 a.m. and wonder what the next book in the series will be.

Granted, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne, is perhaps even more heroic, different, alluring than the other heroes in the series have been, which if you’re keeping count is saying something since we’ve got a gin-maker, a pirate, a preacher-by-day/Marvel-Avenger-in-harlequin-garb-by-night, and a duke or two who are nothing to sneeze at. So to up the stakes, Apollo spends time in Bedlam, convicted of a murder he never committed. Of course, that’s what everyone says. Right now, he’s managed to escape and is working as a gardener, rebuilding the gardens to the completely totaled and burned up theater where all of his (Apollo’s) money is tied up into. If he has any hope of getting any money, he needs the theater working again.

Living in the burned-out wreck of a theater is Lily Stump, stage-known as Robin Goodfellow, the Meryl Streep of her age and part of the reason why the theater is burned down. Her current employer, Asa Makepeace, lured her away with the promise of twice the salary, and her old boss was so mad, he burned down the joint and then promised her she’d never work for anyone else. So far, he’s made good on the threat; and Lily is trying to keep everything together until the theater is up and running again. In the meantime, she writes plays that she sells under her brother’s name and gets a cut.

Lily has a son named Indio, a curious little creature that is only a few bits brighter than his faithful companion, Daffodil the Italian greyhound who steals every scene she’s in. Indio is how the two star-crossed lovers meet; and of course, there is a long and varied list why they can’t hook up, and once hooked up, why they can’t be together, and once together, why they can’t make anything permanent ever. Thankfully, Ms. Hoyt is able to prove everyone wrong and these two lovable, world-worn characters get the happily ever after they deserve.

Ms. Hoyt’s books have been described as “crack”—and this one is just as much crack as its predecessors. You’ll be going back to your dealer for your next high within 48 hours and will be dismayed you have at least 6 months or so to wait. Fortunately Ms. Hoyt always makes it worth waiting for.

~Hellie

Hellie Sinclair (a.k.a. Fran) was one of the founding members of the Romance Writer's Revenge, where she frequently got to satisfy her love of good books and her need to expound by writing reviews. Hellie loves to craft on projects she rarely finishes, watch British dramas as a sort of Olympic marathon event, and do most anything that fits the description "indolent and pleasurable." Fortunately reading falls into that category.  Connect with Hellie on Facebook


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review -- One in a Million

One in a Million
Lucky Harbor—Book 12
By Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: October 14, 2014





Reviewing this book is bittersweet for me. It was just over four years ago when I reviewed Simply Irresistible here at The Romance Dish and first fell in love with the small coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington, where you can leave your front door unlocked and no one would ever touch your stuff, but you can’t keep a secret. I have since reviewed several of the other books in Shalvis’s popular Lucky Harbor series. Simply Irresistible is the first book of the series, so it has come full circle as One in a Million is the last. As with any series, some books stand out to readers more than others. One in a Million is one of those stand-out books for me.

Tanner Riggs and his two best friends own and run Lucky Harbor Charters. As a team, they offer boat tours, scuba diving lessons, take people deep-sea fishing, etc. These activities are tame compared to what Tanner did in the past: going into the military right after high school and becoming a Navy SEAL and later being in charge of setting explosives on an oil rig. When his teenage son, Troy, comes to live with him, Tanner is thrown for a loop but is definitely up for the challenge.

Callie Sharpe grew up in Lucky Harbor but moved away after her fiancé left her standing at the altar. So it’s a bit ironic that she now runs an Internet wedding site promoting happily-ever-afters. She may have a cynical viewpoint of what happens in the years following the wedding, but she sure is good at preparing for one. She returns to Lucky Harbor to check on her grandmother, who Callie’s parents believe is losing her mind. (Obviously they don’t know Lucille as well as readers do! Ha!) Callie wasn’t prepared for her reaction when she lays eyes on her high school crush, Tanner Riggs. How do you bring together two people who have given up on the idea of true love? With doughnuts, coffee, a hot-headed teenager, and a matchmaking grandmother, of course!

I. Love. This. Book. I do, I love this book. I love Tanner. I love Callie. I love their hilarious meet-cute in the bakery. I love Tanner’s son and Callie’s grandmother, and I love Tanner’s and Callie’s sweet romance. Tanner was a bit of an adrenaline-junkie in the past, but an explosion on the oil rig changed him both physically (his leg was badly injured) and mentally (his good friend died). This causes Tanner to appreciate what he has and I love this about him. He was so real to me. And the scenes between him and his son were heartfelt and completely genuine. I have a teenage son, and while mine isn’t as wild and obstinate as Troy, I connected with Troy. Ms. Shalvis did a great job with his character.

I also connected with Callie. She is a total introvert, who is clumsy and a bit socially awkward at times. I can so relate! I really enjoyed her reactions to the things Tanner would say when they shared coffee and doughnuts. Because she was left at the altar, I can totally understand her hesitation at her and Tanner’s friendship becoming something more serious. She doesn’t want to take the chance on having her heart broken again. Thank goodness for her grandma’s sage advice! Callie’s unconditional love for Lucille and their interactions was something that really grabbed me. Lucille is one of those truly unforgettable characters. I will miss her and her crazy antics! I could go on and on and on, but I want you to enjoy this book. I’m telling you, I loved it.

As I said at the beginning, I’m sad that this is the last Lucky Harbor book. But, then again, if Ms. Shalvis wrote too many more books in the series, it wouldn’t be a “small town” anymore! So if you’re looking for a great contemporary series/romance, I heartily recommend the entire series, and, especially, One in a Million!


~Andrea

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Today's Special - - Jeanne Adams


I'm delighted to welcome Jeanne Adams back to The Romance Dish today. A former marketing executive, Jeanne has also worked in interior design and landscape design as well as the funeral and cemetery business. Now a full-time writer and consultant, Jeanne lives in the D.C. area with her husband, children and dogs. She loves working in the garden, running with her dogs, hanging out with her family and Halloween.  She really loves Halloween! 

Jeanne joins us today to talk about her newest book, a Sci-Fi romantic suspense novel titled The Tentacle Affaire. I can't wait to dive into this one!

Learn more about Jeanne and her books at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter


Little green men.  UFOs.  Men in Black.

What do you think about all that stuff? 

When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of Sci Fi Saturday! Which was a program on my local television station.  It was rotated with Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and other Saturday night scary stories we watched during slumber parties and sleepovers.  All those movies gave my active imagination a real ramp up for telling stories about what might happen “out there.”  I also adored reading books by the legendary Andre Norton, and brilliant storytellers like Anne McCaffrey and Ursula LeGuin.  Elizabeth Moon, Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Wrede, and Jana Oliver (just to name a few) have continued that tradition.  I truly mourn the loss of Anne and Andre, as well as Ray Bradbury and Issac Asimov.  I recently re-read Rendezvous with Rama.  It’s as fresh and current a storyline today as it was revolutionary for its time.  All of that, combined with growing up as the Apollo missions began and ended, and the Space Shuttle missions started up, gave me a thirst to know about what’s out there in the deepest reaches of space. 

Star Wars.  Star Trek.  Deep Space Nine.  I’ve watched them all.  I think books and programs like those teach us to dream, to reach deeper and farther, and, like old fashioned fairy tales, remind us that sometimes the fairest face may hide the foulest heart.

My newest adventure in writing, The Tentacle Affaire, came to me as an idea about 10 years ago.  At the time, I hadn’t sold commercially yet, and I was toying with the idea of technology vs. magic.  It morphed into aliens vs. magicians.  When I sold my romantic suspense novels to Kensington Publishing/Zebra and my first suspense novel came out in 2008, I put the paranormal/alien/magic story aside and concentrated on blowing things up.  Grins.  While I love that (my short romantic suspense novella, Deadly Delivery is coming out before Halloween), the story that became Tentacle Affaire lurked in the back of my mind, calling to me.  It needed to be told.  Those characters had gained life, then I’d put them in the equivalent of Cold Sleep for ten years! Bad Writer!  Well, finally, I made time, dusted them off and pulled the story out to see if it still had something to say. 

It did. 

In Tentacle Affaire, the first Slip Traveler Novel, Cait Brennan, retired marine, supposedly dead in the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center, is back on Earth to retrieve a pet.  An ugly, interstellar pet.  Not the most taxing task, so she’s excited to get some down-to-earth time, maybe check out some of her favorite DC nightspots.  That’s all going well until her next door neighbor, a philandering senator, is killed.  The killing is brutal and messy and Cait’s across the hall neighbor is immediately suspicious of Cait, something she can ill afford.  Little does Cait know that her neighbor Aiden Bayliss is a magical protector – an Adept – charged with protecting DC.  When she does find out, she has to reconcile the fact that magic DOES exist on her planet, a planet she’d thought so mundane.  Aiden, for his part, has to accept that there really ARE aliens out there, and Cait, though human, works for them.

I didn’t get too techie.  I know I don’t like that in my reading that much.  I love Tom Clancy, but I find that I skim over the “…the lever that pulled up all the charts of the ocean’s depths was to the left of the button that could send them all to hell…” kinds of descriptions. 

I kept The Tentacle Affaire fast and active, and really, really sexy.  (Okay, disclaimer, I can’t write Sylvia Day sexy, but suffice to say, it’s hot enough!)  Tentacle Affaire is Men and Black merged with a dash of Game of Thrones and a big dollop of Harry Dresden-esque magic-in-modern-society.

Cait and Aiden will be back in another adventure, continuing their blossoming romance.  In the meantime, it sure was fun to write Tentacle Affaire and I hope it's fun for you to read it! 

So, what do you think?  Are we alone in the Universe?  Do you think we’ll “make contact” in this lifetime?  Or are we too backward still to be contacted?  Or will WE be the ones doing the contacting?

I’m picking the setting for the second Slip Traveler Novel.  Which do you prefer?  Edinburgh, Scotland? Savannah, GA? Or Boston, MA?

If you could have a walk on role in any sci-fi or fantasy type story, like Once Upon a Time, Supernatural, or Star Trek (or any of the other wonderful ones we’ve seen), which one would you pick?

One commenter today will win an autographed paper copy of The Tentacle Affaire, a Washington, DC Starbucks mug and a coffee gift card from Starbucks, along with some alien green jelly beans.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Moonlight and Magnolias!


PJ here. I've just returned home from Atlanta, Georgia and another terrific Georgia Romance Writers Moonlight and Magnolias Conference. This regional conference brings writers a splendid mix of educational workshops, inspirational speakers, and networking opportunities galore..not to mention the prestigious Maggie Awards plus a Literacy Book Signing open to the public. Whether you're a writing newbie, a seasoned published professional, or a reader looking for a chance to meet a favorite author, Moonlight and Magnolias has something for you. 

Here's a look at some of my highlights of the 2014 Moonlight and Magnolias Conference!




 

Let's kick things off with my fifth annual "Sister" photo with former GRW President, multiple Maggie award winner and Golden Heart Finalist Nicki Salcedo. I adore this woman!












Romance Bandits Nancy Northcott and Caren Crane. Many thanks to Caren for inviting me to join her group for a delicious Mexican dinner at Zapata. If you're in the Norcross, Georgia area, I highly recommend this restaurant!













Good friends, Wendy Wax and Jennifer St. Giles.Wendy was the GRW featured speaker at this year's conference.














Elizabeth Michels always rocks the best footwear!


















Boots were very popular at this year's M&M!


























This year's keynote speaker, New York Times Bestselling author, Marie Force. Marie also signed at the Literacy Autographing and hosted a gathering for local readers afterwards. She's awesome!










Jennifer McQuiston is not only a New York Times Bestselling historical romance author but also a brilliant scientist and infectious disease researcher with the CDC. She's putting her writing aside for the next six weeks to join the battle against Ebola on the front lines in West Africa. Please keep her in your thoughts and, if you're so inclined, your prayers.









It's the Maggie's...time for fancy dresses, sparkly shoes, cover models and the year's top awards.






Regan Black with friends Kim and Tracy.




















Jennifer Jakes, Sergey Volkov and Kim Killion.  The Killion Group employs the nicest, most gorgeous guys. Watch for Sergey on a romance cover near you!




















Former GRW President and Fantasy Romance author Anna Steffl.









 
Heather McGovern and Elizabeth Michels. They really bring the sparkle!




Conference co-chair, Noelle Pierce. Fabulous dress, fabulous shoes and fabulous conference!























How do you bring the sparkle, readers?  
Do you don a fancy dress? Glittering tiara? Sky-high shoes? Brilliant smile?

One randomly chosen person will receive a signed copy of
All You Need is Love by Marie Force, the
first book in her best-selling Green Mountain series.
U.S. addresses only

Monday, October 13, 2014

Review - - The Sweetness of Honey

The Sweetness of Honey
By Alison Kent
Publisher: Montlake
Release Date: October 7, 2014

 

Indiana Keller had hoped that when her brother Tennessee contacted her to help Kaylie Flynn create a garden (The Second Chance Café) that she and her brother would be able to regain the closeness they shared growing up before a life-changing night that haunts all the Keller siblings, but Ten still seems distant. Motivated in significant part by her desire to lessen that distance literally, Indiana buys Hiram Glass’s property in Hope Springs, Texas, to expand her produce business, IJK Gardens, which is headquartered in a Buda, a town 40 miles away. The move enlarges more than the number of cultivated acres in Indiana’s business. Glass was a beekeeper, and so she adds beekeeping to her enterprises. She hires a private investigator to search for her other brother, Dakota, who disappeared from her life and from Tennessee’s. She also adds Ten and Kaylie’s circle of friends. Among them are the mysterious Will Bowman, one of Ten’s parolee employees, and Oliver Gatlin, member of one of the town’s wealthiest families. Both men are attracted to Indiana.

Handsome, enigmatic Will keeps his past hidden, but he makes no effort to hide his appreciation of the beautiful women of Hope Springs: Kaylie Flynn, pregnant with Tennessee Keller’s child and about to marry him; Luna Meadows, newly married to her high school love, Angelo Caffey; and the lovely Indiana, on whom all his attention is now focused. The reunion of Luna and Angelo (Beneath the Patchwork Moon) resulted in revelations that reawakened Oliver Gatlin’s grief for his brother Oscar who has lain comatose since an automobile accident eight years ago and changed the direction of his life. He too is drawn to the beauty and elusiveness of Indiana. She is aware of the special qualities of both men, uncertain of where her heart is leading and fearful that old guilt makes her undeserving of new happiness.                       

The Second Chance Café was five-star read for me, and I liked Beneath the Patchwork Moon almost as well. I was predisposed to like the third book since it featured a sympathetic heroine in whom I was already invested and two potential heroes whom I found interesting. But my interest in the characters was not enough to overcome my impatience with the turtle-like pace of this book. I’m a reader who appreciates quiet books, and I have favorite novels that are heavily introspective. Even so I felt that Indiana’s story was too often second-verse, same-as-the-first material, and I sometimes needed to know more about what Will and Oliver were thinking. My liking for Indiana increased, and I loved one part of the ending. I also enjoyed the appearances of the couples from the earlier books, particularly the continuation of Ten and Kaylie’s HEA. While I was frustrated because I didn’t understand some of Will’s choices, I can reluctantly accept that the questions may be necessarily delayed to be answered in a later book, but that explanation doesn’t work for Oliver.

Despite my disappointment in this particular book, I remain a Hope Springs fan. Kent is a gifted writer, and my hopes are high for at least two more books in this series. I recommend the Hope Springs series to contemporary romance fans generally and to small-town romance fans particularly. It offers a fascinating mix of characters who are refreshingly complex and original, and the second-chance theme introduced in the first book runs through the series. But I recommend you start with The Second Chance Café and Beneath the Patchwork Moon to see this author at her best. One other caveat for readers who are fans of Kent’s erotic romances, this series has a relatively mild sensuality level.

~Janga

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Virginia Kantra Winner





The winner of signed copies of
Carolina Man and Carolina Blues by Virginia Kantra is

librarypat


Please send your full name and mailing address to us at
theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com



Theresa Romain Winner







The randomly chosen winner of print copies of 
Season for Surrender and Season for Scandal by Theresa Romain is:

rachael

Congratulations, rachael!

Please send your full name and mailing address to us at

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot)com




Debbie Mason Winner






The randomly chosen winner of the prize package
from Debbie Mason is:

LauraL

Congratulations, Laura! Please send your full name and mailing address to us at

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com



Friday, October 10, 2014

Review - - Mr. Miracle

Mr. Miracle
By Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: October 7, 2014


Debbie Macomber gives fans an early Christmas gift with this story featuring Harry Mills, a guardian angel on earth for his first, eagerly awaited assignment. Harry’s human guise is that of an English instructor at a community college in the state of Washington. Harry expected his assignment to be easy, but it proves complicated in a number of ways. His charge proves stubborn, some of the faculty and staff of the college where he teaches are distressingly mean-spirited, and the human emotions Harry is now experiencing, including his response to champagne and a flirtatious French teacher, disturb his angelic serenity. Not even the advice of his angel mentor in the guise of tattooed barista Celeste Chapeaux is enough to restore it.

His primary assignment is to help Addie Folsom, a student in his literature class. Addie, a high school dropout who left home in a storm of rebellion six years ago, is returning with mixed emotions. She is embarrassed that she is returning not in triumph as she had planned but rather with her pride in tatters. Also, Addie’s father died a few months earlier, and she is concerned about her mother facing her first Christmas without him. Although not fully estranged from her father, Addie was never fully reconciled with him after his explosion over her dropping out of school led to her leaving home. Now she must deal with her regrets. She takes comfort in knowing her father would be pleased that she plans to earn the credit she needs to obtain her high school diploma and continue with her education.

Erich Simmons was the boy next door. He was a popular extrovert, the opposite of dyslexic Addie who was a misfit in school. The best friend of Addie’s older brother, Erich teased and tormented Addie and was generally the bane of her childhood. That didn’t keep a teen Addie from falling for him and having her heart broken. Addie can’t forget their past and has no interest in becoming friends with Erich, but when he has an accident that leaves both his arms in casts, Addie, with some less than subtle prompting from Harry and Celeste, agrees to take care of Erich so that their widowed mothers can take the Christmas cruise they had planned. Gradually Addie and Erich discover how much they have in common, and with Christmas kisses, romance begins to bloom. But it will take some electrical manipulation from Harry to transform Erich’s Scrooginess about Christmas and give these two a happy holiday.

For romance readers, Debbie Macomber’s name is almost as closely linked to Christmas reading as that of Charles Dickens, whose A Christmas Carol is the book Harry assigns his class. Mr. Miracle blends elements of the author’s popular Mrs. Miracle books with her even more popular Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy angel series. This one is thinner in story development and characterization than the earlier books. Addie and Erich’s past and Erich’s dislike of Christmas are drawn with very broad strokes, and, based on my experience, Harry’s literature class is definitely the stuff of fiction on several levels. Nevertheless, the book has enough sweetness, charm, and seasonal sentiment to make Macomber fans happy.

Like Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle, Call Me Mrs. Miracle, and Trading Christmas, Mr. Miracle has been adapted as a Hallmark movie with Rob Morrow (Northern Exposure, Numb3rs) in the title role. The movie is scheduled to debut November 29 during Hallmark’s 2014 Countdown to Christmas. Word is that it is also a backdoor pilot for a second Macomber series, following Cedar Cove, on the Hallmark Channel. Harry and Celeste and Mr. Miracle’s secondary cast, which includes Danny Wade, an enthusiastic ex-con who loves his flawed mama, and Andrew Fairfax, an Army vet with a heavenly service dog, hold the promise of delightful viewing for those who like their programming wholesome and heartwarming. In the meantime, the novel Mr. Miracle is a sweet start to 2014 Christmas romance reading.

~Janga