Holiday Spotlight – Heidi Cullinan

Let it Snow (Minnesota Christmas #1)
Publication Date: November 26, 2013

Let it Snow Heidi CullinanBlurb:

 The weather outside is frightful, but the cabin is getting pretty hot.

Minnesota Christmas, Book 1

Stylist Frankie Blackburn never meant to go to Logan, Minnesota, but his malfunctioning GPS decided otherwise, and a record-breaking snowfall ensures he won’t be heading back to Minneapolis anytime soon. Being rescued by three sexy lumberjacks is fine as a fantasy, but in reality the biggest of the bears is awfully cranky and seems ready to gobble Frankie right up.

Marcus Gardner wasn’t always a lumberjack. Once a high-powered Minneapolis lawyer, he’s burned out and back home in Logan to lick his wounds, not play with a sassy city twink who might as well have stepped directly out of his past.

As the north winds blow and guards come down, Frankie and Marcus find they have a lot more in common than they don’t. Making a relationship last beyond a snowstorm could prove impossible when one man won’t live in the country and the other won’t return to the city. Yet the longer it snows, the deeper they fall in love, and all they want for Christmas is each other.

Warning: Contains power outages, excessive snowfall, and incredibly sexy bears.

My review is here:

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Sleigh Ride (Minnesota Christmas #2)
Publication Date: November 11, 2014

Sleigh Ride (Minnesota Christmas Book 2)

Sleigh Ride (Minnesota Christmas Book 2)

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Sleigh Ride is a wonderful addition to the Minnesota Christmas series.  This is Arthur’s story, although we revisit all of the characters from Let It Snow.  I was not that fond of Arthur in the first book and I did not know what to expect, but he turns out to be a bear with a soft heart, who also enjoys a bit of kink.

When Arthur’s mother sets him up to play Santa for a library fundraiser with the uptight and somewhat reclusive town librarian, Gabriel Higgins , it seems impossible that they would have anything in common at all.  It turns out they have more in common than either man realizes but Gabriel comes with a lot of self-doubt and emotional issues.  When Arthur barrels into his life and ends up bringing out things in Gabriel that he desires, but is also ashamed of, he pushes him away, afraid of his feelings and what others will think of him.

The story had moments that made me laugh out loud and some that brought tears to my eyes.  The back story about Arthur and his experience in the library as a boy as well as the scenes with Arthur’s nephew, Thomas, and his doll touched my heart.  The effects of what adults say and do to us as children can have a lasting and sometimes painful impact on us as adults.  The scene where Gabriel holds a special story time for Thomas is beautiful.

Arthur’s mom is fun, meddling, but with her heart in the right place. It was nice seeing Marcus and Frankie again and how their lives are now.  Frankie is still adorable.  I can’t wait to see what Ms Cullinan has planned for Paul.  (We are getting Paul’s story next Christmas, right? Please!)

The Working Elf Blues by Piper Vaughn

The-Working-Elf-Blues-300x450 Title:
The Working Elf Blues
Author:
Piper Vaughn
Publisher:
Less Than Three Press
Release Date:
December 16,2014
Length:
Approx. 13,500 words or 54 pages
Genre:
Contemporary Fantasy
Rating:
Five snowflakes
Blurb:
Garnet Evergreen has never heard of an elf abandoning the North Pole for a human, but he yearns to be the first. Ever since he saw Wes, the boy with sorrowful eyes, Garnet felt an undeniable kinship. Over the years, he’s watched that boy grow into a man, and now he’s determined to give Wes a Christmas he’ll never forget. If only Garnet had thought to test his father’s sleigh before leaving…

Orphaned as a child, Wes spends every Christmas alone at his cabin. When he’s woken by a suspicious boom and finds a wrecked sleigh and an unconscious elf, he doesn’t know how to react. Wes isn’t fanciful. He doesn’t give much credence to the stories about Santa Claus and flying reindeer. But a part of him wants desperately to believe when Garnet promises forever, even if life has taught him that no one ever stays…

Review:
The Working Elf Blues is a new holiday novella from Piper Vaughn. She graciously provided a copy for my honest review.

I love holiday themed books. They are a big part of how I celebrate the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. It is a time of hot chocolate, warm snuggles under the blankets and, of course, a good book with a happy ending. I must say, this story met my holiday reading requirements.

The story revolves around Garnet, an elf with a penchant for breaking the rules and Wes, a man that has had a difficult past. When Garnet was a boy he snuck onto Santa’s sleigh one Christmas eve. When they stopped at one house, Garnet felt drawn to a room where he found a young boy with sorrowful brown eyes. After that meeting, Garnet could not help but sneak back every five years to see him again.

Wes has had his share of loss and although he is doing well now as an adult, he doesn’t allow himself to become hopeful. He knows it is all too easy to lose those you love.

When Wes is awoken by a loud sound and goes to investigate, the last thing he expects to find is a crashed sleigh and a young man dressed like an elf, complete with pointed ears. He takes the unconscious young man back to his cabin and realizes this is the same man that he has seen twice before in his life.

The author does a lovely job of bringing us the back-story of these two men and how their lives have intertwined throughout the years. I enjoyed that the way life at the North Pole was not really so different from the human world – at least in love and loss. Garnet is a great character. He is a bit of a rule breaker and follows his heart. There is a cute scene where Garnet explains how he knows so much about Wes that had me chuckling. Wes, for all that he has endured, finds he still is able to have hope because of Garnet, and is willing to take a risk and live in the present. They complement one another and it is fun seeing their feelings for each another grow.

The story is short but it is well developed, sweet and filled me with holiday cheer. There is no on page sex and only a tiny amount of angst. The ending is just beautiful.

Recommended for your holiday reading delight.

Pre-order links:

tumblr_static_5jniz6jyt7s4ogks0sswgw04c(Pre-order now at 15% off!)

 

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Happy reading,

Melyna

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The Holiday reading season has begun. Are you ready?

I am diligently working on my list of holiday books and novellas.  So far I have 36 authors, with numerous holiday titles, that I am organizing.  Amazingly, I have read a fair amount of these titles. While I am going through the authors catalogs, I am finding more titles that I have not read and there are already new ones being released for this year.  I will have everything from Thanksgiving themed titles to Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years.  There are some favorites that are being released in audio format this year too.  These books that have come to my attention are:

CandyMan[The]LG The Candy Man by Amy Lane.

This is available for pre-order at Dreamspinner Press.

Description:

Adam Macias has been thrown a few curve balls in his life, but losing his VA grant because his car broke down and he missed a class was the one that struck him out. One relative away from homelessness, he’s taking the bus to Sacramento, where his cousin has offered a house-sitting job and a new start. He has one goal, and that’s to get his life back on track. Friends, pets, lovers? Need not apply.

Finn Stewart takes one look at Adam as he’s applying to Candy Heaven and decides he’s much too fascinating to leave alone. Finn is bright and shiny—and has never been hurt. Adam is wary of his attention from the very beginning—Finn is dangerous to every sort of peace Adam is forging, and Adam may just be too damaged to let him in at all.

But Finn is tenacious, and Adam’s new boss, Darrin, doesn’t take bullshit for an answer. Adam is going to have to ask himself which is harder—letting Finn in or living without him? With the holidays approaching it seems like an easy question, but Adam knows from experience that life is seldom simple, and the world seldom cooperates with hope, faith, or the plans of cats and men.

I love the Paul Richmond cover!

Click the link to pre-order.

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Snow Globe LE Frank Snow Globe by L.E. Frank

A wonderful holiday read.   I read this one last year and it is being released on audiobook this season.  🙂

Description:

Kris Hamilton escaped the rat race in LA to live his dream of owning an art studio and making snow globes in a Christmas-themed town in northern Minnesota. But life in a tiny town isn’t as peaceful as advertised, and being treated like an outsider is making Kris’s Tourette’s flare up. When he inadvertently offends Tyr Tollefson—a beautiful blond giant of a man—Kris is ready to chuck it all. But he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Tyr’s cousin Bun, who shows them the magic of Christmas and gives them both a lesson in love and acceptance.                       

Click the link to buy the audiobook. audible_icon

 

Unwrapping Hank by Eli EastonWe also have another new holiday book coming out.

Unwrapping Hank by Eli Easton

Description:

Sloane loves a good mystery. He grew up as the son of two psychiatrists, so he finds most people tediously easy to figure out. He finds his way to Pennsylvania State University, longing for a rural experience, and ends up being lured into joining a frat by Micah Springfield, the hippest guy on campus.

Nothing in Sloane’s classes is as intriguing as Hank Springfield, Micah’s brother and fellow frat house member. Hank looks like a tough guy—big muscles, tatts, and a beard—but his eyes are soft and sweet. He acts dumb, but he’s a philosophy major. He’s presumably straight, but then why does Sloane feel such crazy chemistry whenever Hank is around? And why does Hank hate Sloane so much?

When Sloane ends up stuck on campus over Christmas, Micah invites him to spend the holidays at their family farm in Amish country. It’s a chance to experience a true Americana Christmas–and further investigate the mystery that is Hank Springfield. Can Sloane unlock the secrets of this family and unwrap the heart hidden inside the beefcake?

Available for pre-order on Amazon:

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Sleigh Ride by Heidi Cullinan Also this lovely title popped up on my Kindle Monday evening (I pre-ordered it,  So much fun opening my kindle to find a new book all ready to go!)

Sleigh Ride by Heidi Cullinan

Description:

Minnesota Christmas, Book 2

Arthur Anderson doesn’t want anything to do with love and romance, and he certainly doesn’t want to play Santa in his mother’s library fundraising scheme. He knows full well what she really wants is to hook him up with the town’s lanky, prissy librarian.

It’s clear Gabriel Higgins doesn’t want him, either—as a Santa, as a boyfriend, as anyone at all. But when Arthur’s efforts to wiggle out of the fundraiser lead to getting to know the man behind the storytime idol, he can’t help but be charmed. The least he can do is be neighborly and help Gabriel find a few local friends.

As their fiery arguments strike hotter sparks, two men who insist they don’t date wind up doing an awful lot of dating. And it looks like the sleigh they both tried not to board could send them jingling all the way to happily ever after.

Warning: Contains a feisty librarian, a boorish bear, small town politics, deer sausage, and a boy who wants a doll.

Click on the link to buy:

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Connections by KC wells Connections by K C Wells

Description:

With one week until Christmas, David Poulter is on his way to a reunion of his Chemistry degree group, fifteen years after they all graduated from Manchester University. He’s looking forward to seeing his old friends. They’ve lost touch over the years, and it will be good to see them all again.
Especially Cameron Trent. Talk about the one that got away… Still, David wasn’t out when he was a student, and as for Cameron, David didn’t have a clue as to his friend’s sexuality.
So when David finds himself unexpectedly sitting opposite Cameron on the train to Manchester, he can’t believe it. And when he learns that not only is Cameron gay, but that his confident exterior hid a shy young man who was too nervous to come right out and ask him on a date all those years ago, the trip up north takes a new direction – one that David is not going to forget.
And Christmas might be very different this year.

Buy links:

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More coming soon!

Happy Holiday Reading,

Melyna