Monday, November 18, 2019

Ho-Ho-Ho Readathon: The Magical Christmas Cat & 10 Blind Dates

The Magical Christmas Cat
By: Lora Leigh, Erin McCarthy, Nalini Singh, and Linda Winstead Jones
Published: October 7, 2008
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Purchased on Amazon
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Put a little meow in your stocking with these tales of Christmas romance from four New York Times bestselling authors.

Lora Leigh, Nalini Singh, Erin McCarthy, and Linda Winstead Jones have a special gift for readers: heartwarming holiday stories featuring passionate romance, paranormal adventure, and a distinctly alluring feline touch. 

With four thrilling stories—including one featuring Lora Leigh's genetically altered Feline Breeds—this is a collection packed with more surprises than Christmas morning, and more chills than the snowiest winter night...


My Thoughts:

For the Ho-Ho-Ho Readathon, I wanted to read a variety of Christmas reads. So for my first pick I chose an anthology in the adult paranormal genre, and for my second choice, I picked a young adult, full length contemporary. However, as all of you know, I love the romance genre, so both of my reads are full off, swoons, feels, and the romantic vibe! 

The Magical Christmas Cat called to me when I saw the large fluffy white cat on the cover. My Nana loved cats, and I'm coming up on the second year of her passing, and missing her so very much. When I saw this book, it made me think of her, because she use to have a cat that was the light of her life, and looked just like the cat on the cover! It made me feel connected to her, and I needed that. 

The Magical Christmas Cat had four short stories, and each of these stories featured a cat in one way or another. My favorite stories hands down were Christmas Heat by Lora Leigh and Stroke of Enticement by Nalini Singh. They were both part of a larger series, but I had no problem following along. I read both of these stories very fast, and love a good shape-shifter romance. I'm going to need to begin the Breeds and Psy-Changeling books! 

Christmas Bree was a fun story and I enjoyed the dynamic between the three sisters who were witches. Sweet Dreams was the slowest story for me, and my least favorite. It had a paranormal horror feel, and lacked romance. I felt like it didn't vibe with the other three stories in the anthology, but it was still entertaining. 

Most of the stories in this anthology were very sexy, entertaining, romantic, and mesmerizing. If you enjoy paranormal romance, with more explicit sexual content, and a variety of authors and short stories, you should definitely pick up this holiday anthology!

10 Blind Dates
By: Ashley Elston
Published: October 1, 2019
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: Purchased on Amazon
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Sophie wants one thing for Christmas—a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation. 

Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents' house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That's when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby. 

When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she's started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available. 

This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever . . . or is it?

My Thoughts:

10 Blind Dates was such a fun, cute, and heartwarming read!  I breezed right through this fantastic story with a smile on my face, and lots of giggles and laughs.  It was the perfect holiday read, filled with family, fun, friendship, and of course a very sweet romance!

Sophie's family kept me laughing and entertained with the way they meddled, (all from a place of love,) supported one another, bickered, had fun, and were always there for one another.  This story had the, My Big Fat Greek Wedding vibe, except that Sophie's family was Sicilian, instead of Greek.  The descriptions of Nonna's food and deserts had me salivating, and the pairing of food and family is always a win for me.  

I loved watching Sophie's relationships blossom.  It made my heart happy to see her reconnecting with her grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles; and I could relate to how close she was to her sister.  I thought it was wonderful seeing Sophie come into her own, and discovering who she was and who she wanted to become.

I adored this story, and can't recommend it enough!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Book Review: Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Twice in a Blue Moon
By: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: October 22, 2019
Source: eARC from publisher in exchange for a honest review
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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners and the “delectable, moving” (Entertainment Weekly) My Favorite Half-Night Stand comes a modern love story about what happens when your first love reenters your life when you least expect it… 

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak. 

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good. 

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice. 

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.


My Thoughts:

I have had the pleasure of reading and enjoying author team Christina Lauren's books for several years now.  When I saw Twice in a Blue Moon, I was excited to get my hands on this newest addition and dive right in.  As a side note, I love the book cover and the whimsical and fun quality of the moon and stars.

The story begins with the main character Tate traveling with her Nana to celebrate her eighteenth birthday on her dream trip to London.  While on vacation Nana and Tate meet Luther and his grandson Sam, who are in London celebrating Sam's twenty-first birthday.  Nana is very cautious and warns Tate not to talk to anyone and to keep to herself.  Tate was excited to be away from home, to enjoy London, and get away from the heaviness of the secrets that resided at home.  

On the trip, Tate and Sam are drawn to one another and share a sizzling chemistry.  They quickly hit it off and find themselves spending a lot of time together.  What takes place is a romantic whirlwind, where these two experience an intense, exciting, and sweet first love.  Unfortunately, the tide shifts when Sam and Luther leave without saying goodbye, and Tate's trust is betrayed when her confidence is broken by Sam.

Fourteen years later, Tate is a successful actress and is excited to be embarking on a film that is sure to take her career to the next level.  However, she is completely caught off guard when she see's Sam, and learns that he is the writer for the film she will be starring in.  Tate has a lot of anger and hurt regarding Sam, but has never stopped loving him.  With the two of them on set, how will she manage to successfully act, and resolve the conflicting emotions that she feels towards Sam?

I enjoyed reading about the innocence, exuberance, and excitement of first love.  I could feel the butterflies, and picture these two that couldn't take their eyes off of one another.  Sam's betrayal devastated me, and I was angry and hurt for a young and brokenhearted Tate. 

When Tate and Sam were reunited on set, I struggled with forgiving him, even though I understood his explanation to a certain extent.  I felt like he could have handled the situation differently and even after everything went down, he didn't try to fix anything.  I enjoyed meeting an older Tate and Sam.  Being on the movie set, interacting with cast and crew, and the daily ins and outs of filming were fascinating.  Tate ends up acting with her famous and narcissistic father, and it heart my heart the way that he had abandoned her when she was younger, and she was still trying so hard to have a relationship with him, when all he cared about was himself.  

My favorite elements in the story were the characters, with my most beloved being Tate, her mother, Nana, Luther, and Tate's best friend Charlie.  I loved the settings of London and the farm where the movie was staged.  The romance was secondary for me, and I think that was because I didn't find myself falling for Sam the second time around, the way I did the first rime, before his betrayal.  

Christina Lauren is a very talented author duo.  I love their romantic comedies, and Twice in a Blue Moon was a more serious story. I enjoyed seeing them write a different type of story, and it just goes to prove that these two can write anything!   

Purchase At:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | IndieBound | TBD

About the Authors:

Yes, there are two of us! Lauren (on the left) and Christina (on the right). Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners and best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The #1 international bestselling coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced fourteen New York Times bestselling novels. They are published in over 30 languages, have received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, won both the Seal of Excellence and Book of the Year from RT Magazine, named Amazon and Audible Romance of the Year, a Lambda Literary Award finalist and been nominated for several Goodreads Choice Awards. They have been featured in publications such as Forbes, The Washington Post, Time, Entertainment Weekly, People, O Magazine and more. Their third YA novel, Autoboyography was released in 2017 to critical acclaim, followed by Roomies, Love and Other Words, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, and the Publisher’s Weekly starred My Favorite Half-Night Stand, out in December. 

Lauren Billings (but everyone calls her Lo) has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and before she made writing her full-time job, would spend her days doing nerdy research-type things wearing a lab coat and goggles. She is silly Mommy to two littles, wife to one mountain biking homebrewing scientist, and an unabashed lover of YA and romance. 

Christina Hobbs (but you’ll always hear Lo call her PQ) used to spend her days in a junior high counseling office surrounded by teenagers. These days you can find her at her desk, writing or watching BTS videos. She grew up in Utah and is absolutely not old enough to be the mom of a 17 year old (right??), thinks she’s the luckiest person in the world to write books with her best friend, and is an unapologetic lover of boy bands and glitter. 

You can follow their shenanigans at: @lolashoes (Lauren) & @seeCwrite (Christina) on Twitter. On Tumblr! where we post kissing gifs and writerly stuff and Wattpad for short stories and sneak peeks! 

For official information about their books, events, interviews, movie/TV news and more, follow @christinalauren.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Gratitude Giveaway Hop

Welcome to A Bookish Escape's stop of the Gratitude Giveaway Hop!  We are giving away a $10 Amazon Giftcard!  Good Luck and have fun hopping!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday (107)

In the Unlikely Event
By: L.J. Shen
Release Date: November 19, 2019

Book Synopsis:
๐‘†๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘’๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘š๐‘’๐‘  ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข ๐‘š๐‘’๐‘’๐‘ก ๐‘๐‘’๐‘œ๐‘๐‘™๐‘’ ๐‘คโ„Ž๐‘œ ๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘ก ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘  ๐‘ค๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘™๐‘‘, ๐‘ ๐‘œ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข ๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘˜๐‘’ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘š ๐‘Ž ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘ก ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ๐‘ . 

A one-night stand born from vengeance in a foreign land. 
An explosive chemistry neither of us could deny. 
We signed a contract on the back of a Boar’s Head Pub napkin that said if we ever met again, we would drop everything and be together. 
Eight years and thousands of miles later, he’s here. 
In New York. 
And he’s America’s music obsession. 
The intangible Irish poet who brings record executives to their knees. 
The blizzard in my perfect, unshaken snow globe. 
Last time we spoke, he was a beggar with no intention of becoming a king. 
But a king he became, and now I’m his servant. 
I’m not the same broken princess Malachy Doherty put back together with his callused hands. 
I have a career I love. 
A boyfriend I adore. 
An apartment, a roommate, a life. 
I changed. He changed, too. 
But Mal kept the napkin.
Question is, will I keep my word?

Why I'm Eagerly Waiting:

I've read L.J. Shen and enjoyed her books immensely!  Rockstar stories are my favorite, and I enjoy the second chance at love trope.  This sounds like it will be a really good story, and can't wait to get my hands on it!

What are you waiting on?

Monday, November 11, 2019

Sneak Peek: In the Unlikely Event by LJ Shen

The Unlikely Event
By: L.J. Shen
Release Date:
Add to Goodreads
Be notified FIRST when In the Unlikely Event goes live:
In the Unlikely Event, an all-new 
“messy, sexy, laugh-out-loud, cry-out-loud romance” from USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen, is coming November 19th and we have a sneak peek of chapter one! 

A one-night stand born from vengeance in a foreign land.
An explosive chemistry neither of us could deny.
We signed a contract on the back of a Boar’s Head Pub napkin that said if we ever met again, we would drop everything and be together.
Eight years and thousands of miles later, he’s here.
In New York.
And he’s America’s music obsession.
The intangible Irish poet who brings record executives to their knees.
The blizzard in my perfect, unshaken snow globe.
Last time we spoke, he was a beggar with no intention of becoming a king.
But a king he became, and now I’m his servant. 
I’m not the same broken princess Malachy Doherty put back together with his callused hands.
I have a career I love.
A boyfriend I adore.
An apartment, a roommate, a life.
I changed. He changed, too. 
But Mal kept the napkin.
Question is, will I keep my word?

Sneak Peek from In the Unlikely Event: 
Chapter One
Present day


My life is contained in a round, beautiful snow globe.
The kind no one has bothered to pick up from the dusty shelf in years. Unshaken. Quiet and still. From the outside, my manicured Swiss village looks perfect. And it is. Kind of. At twenty-six, it appears I have my life together.
Perfect job.
Perfect apartment.
Perfect roommate.
Perfect boyfriend.
Perfect lies.
Well, they’re not lies, per se. All my accomplishments are real. I worked hard for them. Problem is, I promised eight years ago to give them all away in the blink of an eye if I bumped into him again. But back then, I wasn’t the same person I am today.
I was lost. Grieving. Broken. Confused.
Not that it matters, because that was then, and this is now, and it’s not him I’m staring at. Nope. There’s no way.

WANT MORE? Click here:

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Stacking the Shelves & Sunday Post (50)

Hosted by:  Tynga's Reviews
Hosted by:  Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Recently I binged on the Outlander Series! I watched seasons one and two on Netflix, and loved them so much that I subscribed to a free week of Starz, just so I could see seasons three and four!  They are pretty graphic and explicit, but I love the story line, and how rich the series is in history! I never read the books, but now I'm thinking of going back and reading the series.  The Ho-Ho-Ho Readathon hosted by Kim@ Caffeinated Reviewer kicked off today and I am so excited to be reading Christmas books and participating in all of the fun games and challenges.  This event is sure to get me in the holiday spirit!  I only added 2 books to my readathon TBR, but if I end up having more time, I plan on adding more!  Is anyone else doing the readathon?

Last Two Weeks on the Blog:

Friday, November 8, 2019

Blog Tour: The Love Playbook by Suze Winegardner

The Love Playbook

Suze Winegardner

November 4, 2019

Entangled Teen Crush

eARC from publisher in exchange for a honest review 

Add to: Goodreads

Book Synopsis:

When Avery Stone learns her dad will be fired if his high school team doesn’t make the playoffs, she has to get her head out of her day planner and do something—anything—to help him win. Even if it means secretly coaching the team’s newest player, who seems to have more game than skill. 

Lucas Black just transferred to Hillside with a fake name and a big secret. The MVP of every team he’d played on since he was seven—not to mention the MVP of every post-game party—he can’t understand why since arriving at Hillside, he’s been unable to catch a single. Freaking. Ball. 

Until…Avery. Amazing, kind, generous, and crazy-freaking-hot Avery. 

As Lucas goes from zero back to hero and Avery struggles with just what Lucas means to her, she inadvertently sets them on a collision course with Lucas’s secret…a secret that could take down not only Lucas but her father too. 

DISCLAIMER: This Entangled Teen Crush contains a football player hotter than the Texas sun, hotel cuddles, and a steamy makeout session in the rain


My Thoughts:

The Love Playbook was a sweet and fun read!  Lucas has transferred to Hillside High School.  Football is his passion, but after he got caught taking expensive gifts from a university, he is banned from ever playing again.  He decides to fly under the radar by playing for a small town football team where he won't get noticed.  However, all of a sudden, he can't seem to catch the ball! 

Avery, the coaches' daughter, agrees to help Lucas improve his game.  She overheard a secret conversation that if the team doesn't make it to playoffs, her father will most likely lose his job.  Football is important to Avery's family, and after losing her mother to Cancer last year, she doesn't want them to lose anything more.

Both Lucas and Avery are struggling emotionally, and are going through very difficult times in their lives.  As they spend time together, they find a friend and ally in one another, but will their secrets catch up to them, and tear apart the relationship they've built?

I enjoyed reading about the struggles, friendship, and love of Lucas and Avery.  Both of them went through huge challenges, and were able to grow and mature from their experiences.  I loved the way they were always there for one another, supporting, encouraging, and guiding.  The Love Playbook was a fast-paced, light, sweet, fun, and feel good romance!  I enjoyed Lucas and Avery's story, and look forward to reading more books by Suze Winegardner!

About the Author:
Suze Winegardner is a British YA writer, currently living overseas with her military husband, and lovely Lab. She loves Buffy, Fray Bentos pies, Archer, cheese, and the serial comma. Wait - Cadbury Flakes too. And naps. Wait, what was the question? Anyway, she thinks her life is chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny...and if you get that reference, she already considers you kin.

Follow the Blog Tour Here