HolidayBookBash #5 - Glass Tidings, by Amy Jo Cousins

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Right out of the gate, this book has some angst in it.

I mean, it opens with one of our heroes witnessing a hit & run, so if you're looking for a holiday tale full of sweetness and light, this isn't your book.

But, as I'm sure we can all attest, the holidays themselves often contain some angst...and I loved this book because of it.

Sure, Glass Tidings has some darkness, but it's still a a hopeful (and very sexy) romance between Gray, a lonely small-town Christmas shop owner and Eddie, the glass artist drifter (and Renaissance Faire vendor) who gets tossed into his life and heart after a horrible incident. They're different men who want different things, but as the cold days pass, Eddie becomes a part of Gray's life -- working in his shop, meeting his friends, sitting together at night by the fire. A reveal threatens to tear them apart, but will they b able to get over themselves and stay together?

It's about loneliness and the strange ways and places we find happiness. Its about not getting stuck in a rut for your whole life. Glass Tidings is a great read, and finds light in the darkness and reminds the reader there might just be something wonderful out there just waiting...  

 

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Glass Tidings is available via - 

Amazon -- Barnes & Noble

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Pairs well with --

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Pizza.

These dues eat pizza, author Amy Jo Cousins is a fellow Chicagoan and we here in the Windy City are known for pizza, and I love making pizza. So I took some inspiration from Pinterest and Tablespoon and my kid & I made a holiday wreath pizza

Or rather, I tried.

It was still a delicious pizza, but it didn't exactly have the festive look I expected. Oh well, maybe you'll do better? (Update: It was still delicious and not a crumb of it was left at the end of dinner, so...)

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Gorgeous glass ornaments.

The cover of the book struck me, and the vivid descriptions of Eddie's ornaments had me daydreaming. The ornament on the book's cover is so pretty that it made me go looking for one of my own!

Check out this gorgeous ornament - or any of the beautiful glasswork by Canadian glass artist MissMacGlass. Check out her Etsy shop for some great gift ideas! There are some serious stunners in her collection. 

**Also, there's an entire Christmas tree in NYC made only of handmade glass ornaments. Check this thing out! 

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See you tomorrow - with a sweet holiday historical! <3

HolidayBookBash #4 - Two Regency Romances by Sophie Jordan.

Hear ye, Hear ye! From this point forward, I shall go looking for a holiday release from Sophie Jordan every year, because she is straight-up great at this.

Today I'm going to rave about not one but TWO great holiday-set books by Ms. Jordan that are forever keepers for me.

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Imagine Sandra Bullock in this dress. Right? I'd totally line up for that movie!

Imagine Sandra Bullock in this dress. Right? I'd totally line up for that movie!

While the Duke Was Sleeping

You guys. While the Duke was Sleeping is a regency take on the Sandra Bullock movie, While You Were Sleeping. No, I'm not kidding. Yes, it totally works.

Lonely shopgirl Poppy Faircloth adores Marcus, the Duke of Autenberry, but only from afar. He frequents her flower shop, but takes no notice of her. Then, one day, she witnesses her beloved Duke fighting with a stranger in the street. Poppy jumps in to the brawl, but the Duke is knocked unconscious by a carriage and falls into a coma. Determined not to leave his side, Poppy claims to be his fiancee - and off this sexy and rollicking adventure goes. Of course, the stranger isn't a stranger at all, but the Duke's estranged brother, the illegitimate Struan. As Poppy and Struan bump heads, they grow attracted to each other, and when the Duke's family invites Poppy for Christmas things heat up even more...

Fine, it's barely a Christmas book, BUT it's a deeply satisfying, super fun regency. Sophie Jordan writes rollicking arguments and delicious sexytimes, and it's charm just about matches the sheer joy of the original film. That movie is perfect. Fight me. ;)  

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An Heiress For All Seasons

I only read this one for the first time a month ago, but I read it in one sitting and could not put it down. It's delicious, you guys. 

Our American heiress heroine, Violet, loves a regular dude who works for her father. But her mother (of course!) insists she try and marry an English Lord. So off they go to a country house for Christmas, where she (in a barn!) meets the outrageously sexy and totally obnoxious Will, Earl of Merton. For his part, Will needs Violet's money, but he refuses to marry a rich woman just for that -- but the heiress is appealing. And when the two wind up taking shelter from a winter storm together....Do I really need to say more?

An Heiress for all Seasons is a novella in Jordan's The Debutante Files series, but you don't need to have read the other titles. Although A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin and All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue are terrific reads, so I'm not stopping you.  

I loved An Heiress for All Seasons. I loved Violet and Will so much. I wish I could read it again for the first time! <3 

Both books are available via Amazon.

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 An Heiress for All Seasons ($1.99 right now!)

...and they're also available via The Ripped Bodice, America's first romance-only bookstore. So, you know, if you wanted to give a smaller bookseller an order this season... <3 

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Pairs well with -- 

Um, if we're talking about American heiresses how can I not mention the Christmas at Downton Abbey album. (Here! Listen to a sample. I just found out this existed a few days ago!) Put this on, kick back with these books and a glass of sherry, and call it a holiday! 

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Come back tomorrow for my next bookbash pick! <3

HolidayBookBash #1: The 12 Days of Christmas Mail-Order Brides!

 

To begin, I've got a whopper of a brand-new project to share with you!

 

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Recommended for those who like their holiday romances: Sweet and Historical.

A twelve-book/author mail-order bride series that launches a book a day from December 1-12th? Genius. 

Twelve of the western historical romance authors from the Pioneer Hearts community put their heads and pens together to create The Twelve Days of Christmas: Mail-Order Bride series. Care for a blurb?

Twelve men. Twelve brides. Twelve days to save a town.

Christmas, 1876: Noelle, Colorado is in danger of becoming a ghost town if the railroad decides to bypass the mountaintop mining community. Determined to prove their town is thriving, twelve men commit to ordering brides before the railroad’s deadline six days into the New Year. Each of the twelve women has her own reason for signing up to become a mail-order bride. But after they arrive in the uncivilized settlement, they aren’t so sure they’ve made the right decision. Neither are the grooms. 
Will the marriages happen in time to save Noelle? The countdown begins December 1, 2017.

The books are --

  1. The Partridge by Kit Morgan 
  2. The Dove by Shanna Hatfield
  3. The Hens by Merry Farmer
  4. The Calling Birds by Jacqui Nelson
  5. The Gold Ring by Caroline Lee
  6. The Goose by Peggy Henderson
  7. The Swan by Piper Huguley
  8. The Maid by Rachel Wesson 
  9. The Dancing Lady by Mimi Milan
  10. The Lord by Danica Favorite
  11. The Piper by Amanda McIntyre
  12. The Drum by E.E. Burke (link not available yet)

View all titles and buy the books via Amazon.

I'm a PH member myself, and have read and loved books by several of these authors. Caroline Lee and Merry Farmer will each appear during this book bash for other titles I love, Jacqui Nelson's Between Love and Lies is a stellar western romance, and Piper Huguley's A Virtuous Ruby is excellent. I recently discovered Mimi Milan and her Jericho Resistance books, and I'm hooked. (Psst. The first book in Milan's series is 99 cents!) So I'm looking forward to this series - and started reading The Partridge late last night when it appeared on my Kindle. I'm only about 30% through so far, but I've met a whole passel of miners and brides-to-be and it's all happening, so I'm excited to see where it goes...

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Chatting with Caroline Lee! 

The lovely Ms. Lee -- of whom I am a big fan and who will reappear in a few days because she's written another holiday book I love -- took a few minutes to answer some questions for me! 

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Me: With a big multi-author project like this, what is the process like? Where did the original idea come from, and how long did you all have to create your stories -- and how much detail was set in stone right from the start and how much was open to the authors’ imagination? 

Caroline: Believe it or not, the idea came to me in a dream (although it originally involved a harem and a sheikh). I woke up and thought “Whoa, I could make this work!” I contacted EE Burke and Kit Morgan and said “Tell me this isn’t stupid” and they fell in love. The three of us met and have been building this for almost a year! My goal was to celebrate diversity with this series, so we brought together authors who hadn’t worked together before, and who might not share the same audiences. This will allow us each to grow our audiences, as well as feature characters our audiences might not normally read about. With a series this big (and the fact the books take place at the same time in the same place) we had to have a lot of guidelines from the beginning. Then Kit (#1, coming out today!) wrote her book first, as a beautiful introduction to the series and all of the characters (seriously, I was so impressed). This gave us something to base our books on—hers sort of became the “series bible” as we say, which we used as a reference. We’ve been writing these books for months and months (since everyone writes at different paces), and sharing as we go. Since most of the books start Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, we had to share those chapters early on, to make sure they all meshed. Otherwise, we had a huge spreadsheet titled “What’s Happening In Noelle” and we all had to fill in our plots day by day, so we could reference it. A lot of our characters interact with one another, and we needed a way to make sure those interactions could work with everyone’s books! It’s been so cool to see what characters and plots each author has come up with!

Me: For your installment, THE GOLD RING, what was your personal inspiration?

Caroline: Kit’s book is first, Elisabeth’s book is last (she does an awesome job of wrapping up the over-arching plot!), and we decided to stick my book in the middle. I chose #5, because I figured it’d be easy to write a romance involving a gold ring… Well, would you believe that I had the hardest time making that ring work for my hero? I finally figured out how to do it, and I hope people like the twist! I’m not telling you anything else about my hero or heroine, because the other thing I wanted to do for this series was write a surprise hero/heroine. I’ll say this: the hero you think you’re getting isn’t the one who actually ends up featured in my book!

Me: Other than the 12 days of Christmas, what's your favorite Christmas Carol?

Caroline: I’m word-perfect on Good King Wenceslas, complete with different voices and hats and everything. It’s my all-time favorite, and one of these days I’ll have to make a video of me belting it out. You’ll notice I didn’t say “pitch-perfect”. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket,  but what I lack in talent I make up for in enthusiasm.

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Pairs well with -- 

This greeting card that tells it like it is, from the Get Thee to a Nunnery Etsy shop. This shop is filled with whimsical and adorable paper goods. (If you haven't already planned your holiday cards, buy some from an indie artist! They'll be far more appreciative of the $ than Hallmark would...)  

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A series this sweet also goes well with a lovely light country tune, like Sara Evans' cover of The Twelve Days of Christmas, which features two extra voices -- her daughters! 

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Have a lovely Friday - TGIF, right? - and I'll see you back here tomorrow for another delicious holiday read. <3