Friday, January 18, 2013

Rainy Day Reading

I don't know about you but there's nothing I enjoy more on rainy winter days than snuggling under a cozy blanket with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book.  Since it's been raining practically non-stop for the past week,  I've been doing a lot of snuggling...and reading.  And thanks to the handy dandy convenience of my e-reader, I don't even have to leave the comfort of my couch to buy the new books that catch my eye!  Here are a few stories  I've recently enjoyed.  These three are Christmas themed but they are wonderful romances that can be enjoyed any time of the year.   

The Winter Wife: A Christmas Novella
By Anna Campbell
November 29, 2012
Amazon Digital Services

Wed at much too young an age, Sebastian, Earl of Kinvarra and Alicia Sinclair, his countess were both ill-equipped to deal with the realities of marriage.  When the bride is terrified of physical intimacy and the groom is too young and selfish to be concerned with anything other than his own pleasure, disaster is sure to follow, as it did with Sebastian and Alicia, sending one to the continent for an extended tour and the other to London.

Estranged for past ten years, Alicia is on the verge of taking the monumental step of engaging in an affair when a carriage accident in the middle of a Christmas Eve snowstorm brings her face to face with Sebastian. Forced to take refuge from the storm in an inn. they soon realize that the feelings they had for one another when newly married have lurked below the surface for all their years apart.  But, while desire forges to the surface, there are tender emotions, long held animosity and a fear to trust that threaten to keep them apart still.  Will Sebastian be able to convince Alicia that he has matured over the years?  Will Alicia have the courage to overcome the fears of that young bride and meet him as an adult woman with adult desires?  Will they succumb to one magical night then go their separate ways or discover a love that will last a lifetime?

Anna Campbell packs so much emotion into four short chapters that I felt as if I was reading a complete novel.  A heartwarming, emotional tale that sizzles; I highly recommend The Winter Wife. 

Miracle in New Hope (digital novella)
By Kaki Warner
December 11, 2012


Trapped in an avalanche of snow that buries the General Store, it is only the voice of the young girl trapped with him that gives loner Daniel Hobart the will to live.  When he's rescued, Daniel is stunned to discover that he was the only person in the store and the widower, haunted by the deaths of his wife and child, wonders if he's finally lost his mind.  When Hannah continues to appear to him however, he's convinced the young girl is real and has reached out to him for help.  He was unable to save his own child.  He's not about to let Hannah down, even if the whole town thinks he's crazy.

When her daughter, Hannah disappeared on their journey to New Hope, Lacy Ellis was devastated.  She searched and searched but found no trace and now, one year later, the young widow is just beginning to come to terms with the loss of her only child when Daniel Hobart appears in town with claims of having seen her.  Lacy wants to believe him but his tale is so outlandish.  Dare she hope?  Her brothers want to run him out of town but when Daniel insists he's going to search for Hannah, Lacy is determined to go with him.

As Daniel and Lacy re-trace the route of the previous year's journey, they find in one another understanding, compassion and an attraction that's been simmering since they first glimpsed each other on the streets of New Hope.  As the attraction deepens and feelings emerge, Lacy and Daniel are given a second chance at love but will that fragile emotion withstand the crushing disappointment if they are unable to find Hannah?  Or, will this couple who have known more than their share of heartbreak be given a second chance with a miracle in New Hope?

Kaki Warner is one of my favorite authors.  When I read one of her books, I'm not just reading about people and places; I'm experiencing her characters' journeys with them.  Their hopes and dreams, heartbreak and despair, joy and salvation.  I feel it all.  If you've read Warner, you already know what I mean.  If you haven't, this novella is a perfect way to sample this author's immense talent.

Ask Her at Christmas
By Christi Barth
Publisher:  Carina Press
December 3, 2012

Caitlin McIntyre has been in love with her best friend, Kyle Lockhart forever but would never jeopardize their friendship by admitting her feelings so she's understandably shocked - and overjoyed - when Kyle kneels in front of her and proposes.  Unfortunately, he's only practicing for the proposal he plans to make to Monica, the daughter of the man who will be merging his business with Kyle's father's business.  Kyle, a computer nerd, has never been able to please his father, the business shark but he's sure that marrying Monica, a woman he doesn't love and really doesn't even know all that well, will finally be the act that proves him worthy in his father's eyes.

Caitlin and Kyle have been there for each other through thick and thin, happiness and heartbreak and even though it breaks her heart to do so, Caitin agrees to help the clueless Kyle come up with a wonderful way to propose before Christmas.  That's what best friends do.  However, it gradually becomes clear that there's going to have to be a change. Caitlin can't imagine living in the same city with Kyle and his wife, especially when the future wife is a witch of a woman who makes it abundantly clear that Caitlin will have no place in their life.

Eventually, it becomes clear that Kyle will have to make a choice and it's not an easy one.  There are some bumps in the road along the way and one major pothole that broke my heart but I was willing to forgive, as was the character who was let down.  In the end though, the author brings it all together in a very satisfying manner that had me sighing with happiness.

I love the friends to lovers trope and Barth has created one that I enjoyed.  Filled with humor, emotion, heartache and romance, it's a great story to snuggle up with on a cold winter afternoon.

This novella can be purchased on it's own or as part of the anthology, Romancing the Holiday.

So what are you reading these days?  Have you jumped on the digital bandwagon or do you prefer print?  Do you snuggle on the couch or prefer a different reading location?  Do you read holiday stories all year long or just during December?  And, for the really important question, what's your snack and beverage of choice for those rainy reading afternoons?   



  1. Thanks for the reviews and suggestions. WINTER WIFE was already on my radar, but not the other two. Kaki Warner's sounds like a must read. I like print books best, but have a Kindle and need to start using it more. Historicals are my favorites, but this contemporary sounds like one I'll enjoy.
    I'll read anywhere, but usually end up on the couch. I try to read holiday stories just around the holiday, but I am still finishing a Christmas book. I am trying to lose weight, so am sticking to water or tea for snack, not succeeding very well. The Christmas goodies are almost gone (candy still here) but I'm trying to ration myself.

    1. Winter Wife was wonderful. I hope Anna Campbell writes more novellas.

      I highly recommend anything that Kaki Warner writes. She's amazing!

      Wishing you success with your weight loss! I know what you mean about the Christmas goodies. I took everything that was left in the house and dumped it at work. It was the only way I could get it to stop calling me! lol!

  2. I recently read several contemps: WYOMING FIERCE- Diana Palmer, CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH- Victoria Dahl, THE CREED'S LEGACY, CREED'S HONOR, A CREED IN STONE CREEK and A LAWMAN'S CHRISTMAS- Linda Lael Miller, THE WRANGLER and THE DEFENDER Lindsay McKenna.

    I do not have an e-reader. Half of the year I live in a rural area without cable or WiFi. So I prefer print.

    I usually read on a couch but in the summer I like to read in the backyard in the shade on a lawn chair.

    I usually read holiday stories close to the season they are set in.

    No snack or beverage while I'm reading. I don't like distractions.

    1. I've been a Linda Lael Miller fan for years but haven't read her 2012 books yet. (that not enough time issue again) Lindsay McKenna is another fave.

      I love to read outside in the summer. It's so soothing, isn't it?

  3. I read both e-books and print. I know my house would be less cluttered with books if I just switched over to e-books completely, but I can't seem to part with paper backs.
    I always say I'm going to save all my holiday books and start them at the end of November, yet I always seem to sneak a few in during the year.
    I have 2 reading spots my small couch and my bed. I prefer the bed though less distractions.
    And I like to read anything on rainy days even though now that I think about it when the whether is bed I seem to lean more towards historical reads. My snack of choice would have to be.... CHOCOLATE lol

    1. I'm the same way, Savannah. I'm getting more comfortable with the e-reader but can't seem to bring myself to part completely with the paper.

      I used to read in bed but nowadays I can't seem to get more than three or four pages in before I'm sound asleep. Come to think of it, that happens a lot on the couch too! lol!

  4. I love rainy, reading days too, PJ. My most recent reads are The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie, which was as wonderful as I expected it to be, and The Summer He Came Home by Juliana Stone. I read both electronic and print books, but ebooks are now outnumbering the print. I love being able to get immediately books that I used to have to order and wait for or take several hours and drive into the city to get once they were released. I also love not having to find space for new keepers. Gradually, I'm replacing tattered keepers--some more than twenty years old--with digital copies. But I'll never give up print completely. Signed digital copies just aren't the same, and children's books particularly lose something for me in e form.

    As for snacks, I'm repenting of my holiday indulgences and limiting myself to healthy snacks like apple slices and peanut butter. Now I'm off to buy that Kaki Warner novella. Somehow I missed that one. Thanks for the reminder. (I loved the Anna Campbell!)

    1. Like you, I adored Anne Gracie's The Autumn Bride. It's first in a new series and, of course, I'm now eagerly anticipating the rest of the books! Anne will be guesting with us here at The Romance Dish on February 4th.

      The Summer He Came Home is another story I enjoyed a lot. I'm a fan of Juliana Stone's paranormals but this book will kick off her first contemporary small-town series. I'm looking forward to its release in April.

      Knowing you love Warner as much as I do, I'm glad I was able to bring Miracle in New Hope to your attention!

  5. I'm reading all sorts of things these days. One intriguing book I read was "The Uninvited Guests" which I found to be - well - it's hard to describe. I would so love it if you, PJ, or Andrea would read it and tell me what you think. It's certainly a novel I will not soon forget.

    I do some reading on my Kindle but I still prefer a physical book. I love to actually HOLD a book in my hands. I only wish that the font size on paperbacks was truly readable. While I'm enjoying a novel, my eyes get so strained. It's not my glasses, it's the font. Come on, Publishers, bigger fonts and smaller borders. Ooops! I'm on my soapbox again. I'm get down and behave. *slinking off into the sunset*

    1. One intriguing book I read was "The Uninvited Guests"

      Connie, is that the novel by Sadie Jones?

      I hear you on that small print. As much as I enjoy holding an actual book in my hands, I've found that I have less eye strain when reading on my Kindle Fire. It was a surprise, believe me!

    2. Yes, it was the one by Sadie Jones. Please don't get me wrong. I couldn't put it down, so there was a huge draw to read it. It's been described as black comedy. Perhaps that's what made it so different.

      You're right on reading books on the Kindle. I guess I just get stubborn to hold my books. Old fashioned, I suppose! ;-)

  6. I ALWAYS said I loved holding a book in my hands and would never go to an ereader....Confession time, sigh. My DH gave me a KindleFire for Christmas (a TOTAL surprise) and I LOVE it!!! I can lay it on my lap and pick up a cup of tea, put my arms in any position, and don't even have to hold it with both hands. I have been reading mainly novellas and still have Anna's WW to download yet. I did find a Suzanne Enoch book that I've been searching for, but refused to pay the $28 Amazon was asking for the print book. I bought it for $2.99 for my Kindle! :)

    I do feel guilty, though, because my favorite Indie store won't really be seeing me much any longer....unless it's a book I really like and want the print copy as well.

    1. Deb! Welcome to the dark side! (insert spooky music) I was much the same; held off getting an e-reader for the longest time. I guess I'm glad I waited though for, like you, I adore my Kindle Fire. It's awesome!

      Congrats on finding that Enoch book for just $2.99. There are all kinds of wonderful books out there just waiting for you! :)

  7. I'm still a print reader. I can understand the convenience of the ereaders but I rarely travel anymore and so rather have the real thing. I like to share too which is too hard with the ebooks. I enjoy reading at night in bed the most but will read anywhere. As to beverage, it's usually coffee and sometimes red wine :)

  8. I do both print and ebooks. I will read on the kindle for a while although my kindle is getting old and running on a wing and a prayer. Then I switch over and read print for a while. I just finished Kaki Warner's book Colorado Dawn in print and now I am reading a book on my kindle. Love Kaki's books. Haven't read Miracle in Hope yet.

  9. I've been on a highlander high recently. :) I've read The Chieftain by Margaret Mallory, Temptation In A Kilt by Victoria Roberts (those two thanks to Connie above, waving at Connie *) and I'm getting ready to start the Highland Warrior series by Sue-Ellen Welfonder.

    I prefer to hold a book in my hand. I do read on a Kindle but there's nothing that will ever replace the feel of those words between my fingers.

  10. I just finished The Lady Most Willing by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James and Connie Brockway...loved it too! I'm going to start reading 'Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries next.

    Based on your review for The Winter Wife by Anna Campbell, I popped over to Amazon and bought a copy for my Kindle. Always looking for a quick read and this one sounds really good.