Blog Tour: All I’m Asking For w/ Brighton Walsh & For My Own w/ Kinley Cade

imageI am so pleased to have have Brighton Walsh and Kinley Cade on the blog today.

1) Tell me a little about the inspiration for your Xmas novella?

BW: I actually got inspired for this novella by a single picture of a very, very attractive man. He had a beanie on and was wrapped in a scarf and jacket, and he had this intense stare about him, and BAM! Logan was born. The rest sort of fell into place after that.

KC: I love holiday romances in all forms: books, movies, plays and musicals, so I was super excited to write one. And my husband inspired me to try my hand at a hero who’s a bit of a loner. Sometimes the surface is hiding a big heart.

2) Tell me what it was like having Angela James as your editor?

BW: My edits on this were very minimal (thanks in part, no doubt, to Angela’s Before You Hit Send workshop that I took last year), but what we did work on together went seamlessly. She was great to work with!

KC: Fantastic! I think the book is much stronger thanks to Angela’s feedback and I’m proud of the final product.

3) Is Christmas your favorite holiday? If yes, why? If not, what
is?

BW: Yes! I love Christmas. I think that’s been passed down to me from my mom, because she’s a huge Christmas lover, too. My whole life, it’s always been this big hoopla surrounding it–decorating and baking and seeing friends and family. Now that I’m a mom, I try to make it a big deal for my kids, too.

KC: Yes. Presents! Enough said, right? I’m still young enough at heart that I love gifts but it’s spending time with family and all the winter traditions that are the best part.

4) Favorite gift you have given? Received?

BW: Last year, my family decided to do a homemade Christmas where we weren’t allowed to buy any gifts, but had to make them all. I got some amazing things, and they all meant more because of the hard work that went not only into making them, but thinking of the perfect thing. My younger sister made me a necklace with quotes from one of my favorite books, Anna and the French Kiss, that I love. And I gave my husband a hand stamped key chain that said “LUCKY US” with pennies dated the year we were married and the years our kids were born.

KC: I made my parents a book about stories from growing up in college. They liked that a lot. I’ve received a lot of fabulous gifts over the years but my engagement ring takes the cake.

5) If you had a Shelf on the Elf of your own, what would name the elf? Since you are a writer and thus creative, tell me where you might stage your elf.

BW: I do have an Elf on the Shelf! His name is Peter, and he comes to visit every December. We’ve found him in some crazy places–making sugar angels in the kitchen, having a snowball fight with mini marshmallows, riding a sled down the staircase railing… My kids are always anxious to see where he’ll be next.

KC: I don’t have children so I’m not familiar with the Elf/Shelf craze but it sounds terrifying based solely on Twitter feedback. I need to learn what it actually entails.

6) What upcoming release(s) do you have in 2014? Please tell me a little about it.

BW: In fall 2014, my new adult contemporary romance CAGED IN WINTER will be releasing with Berkley. It’s the story of an aspiring chef and the tough as nails girl who catches his eye.

KC: I’m hoping to release Cate’s story in 2014. She’s one of the sisters in Kissing Her Scrooge. Her hero is a cowboy and their story is really fun and full of heart.

Thanks, ladies for visiting us here. Happiness is truly more books. Add more happiness with these holiday anthologies.

Brighton Walsh’s Season of Second Chances is part of the anthology, All I’m Asking For.
Blurb:
When a storm strands Claire Hanlin in Chicago on Christmas Eve, the last person she expects to come to her rescue is Logan Dawes, the man she almost married two years ago. The chemistry between them is dangerously potent, but with nowhere else to go, Claire accepts Logan’s offer to stay with him for the night.

Back in the home they shared, surrounded by reminders of Logan and his young daughter, Claire begins to realize how much she misses the family she almost had. After a few cups of Christmas cheer, she falls right back into her ex’s arms-even though she knows it means setting herself up for heartbreak all over again.

The magic of the season has thrown him together with the woman he’s never stopped loving, and Logan’s not about to pass up this gift. He’s not the workaholic he was two years ago-his family comes first. Now all he has to do is prove it to Claire, before the snow stops and she flies out of his life for good.

Buy:
Carina Press
Kindle
Nook

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Kinley Cade’s Kissing Her Scrooge is part of the anthology, For My Own.
Blurb:
Every Christmas, Hannah Jones makes it her mission to give her hometown the perfect pageant. Even malfunctioning inflatable Santas and lost students can’t stop the self-proclaimed Miss Holiday. But the teacher may have met her mismatch in sexy but antisocial tree farmer Griff Green. Hannah’s been lusting after her new neighbor for months—and she’s determined to melt his heart by being naughty as well as nice…

He may sell trees, but Griff doesn’t do Christmas. He’s known as the town humbug—and he likes it that way. Which is why he’s been avoiding Hannah, despite the sexy visions of her that have been dancing through his head. When a surprise visit leads to a passionate kiss, he can’t deny the attraction any longer.

When Hannah discovers Griff isn’t the Scrooge he pretends to be—and she exposes his secret to the whole town—it may take a holiday miracle for their budding relationship to survive into the new year.

Buy:
Carina Press
Kindle
Nook

Book Review: The Christmas Tree Elf by Valentine D’Arcy Sheldon

imageNo, it’s not Elf on a Shelf, it’s the debut story by Valentine D’Arcy Sheldon. Sheldon,a who has a BA in Creative Writing and a Master’s in The Arts, is more commonly known as a television producer and editor. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and two daughters, so we can probably expect more great stories to come.

Many, many  Christmases ago, Santa and Mrs. Claus took their dog Blazer for a walk in the Christmas Tree Forest. 

After seeing all the beautifully decorated Christmas trees, Mrs. Claus decides she wants one of her own. Santa promises her one, and next season the bring in the first indoor Christmas tree. But unfortunately they do not know how to properly care for their tree. Due to their neglect, the dried up tree catches fire, threatening not only the Clauses but also Santa’s Christmas workload. The fire would have set an already exhausted Santa back since he does all the Christmas prep by himself.

Luckily for the Clauses, Blink the Christmas Tree Elf magically appears to put out the fire and save the day. He teaches the Clauses about fire safety and how to take care of their tree. Blink and the other Christmas tree elves want to further help the overworked Santa, so the join his workshop to help make the toys. They still have their original job too, to protect the trees that come from the Christmas Tree Forest. It is decided that every home should have a Christmas tree and every tree needs to have an elf to look after it. 

This book is a charming story on how the elves came to work for Santa and how Christmas trees came to be. The illustrations are what really sold me on the book though. They are just gorgeously painted in a very Polar Express feel. Adults and children alike will enjoy this book. From Blink and his flashing red hat, to the lessons on fire safety and protecting nature, there’s something for everyone.

Just like Santa shared Christmas with the elves, you should share this book with your loved ones!!!

5/5 stars

~Eddie

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Book Review: The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket

2850394The holiday season is a time for storytelling, and whether you are hearing the story of a candelabra staying lit for more than a week, or a baby born in a barn without proper medical supervision these stories often feature miracles. Miracles are like pimples, because once you start looking for them you find more than you ever dreamed you’d see, and this holiday story features any number of miracles, depending on your point of view.

Continuing on with my love for the holidays, I bring you The Lump of Coal. I’ve always been a fan of Lemony Snicket because I get his wit and humor, so when I saw he had written a holiday story, I knew I was in for a treat. In this story, Snicket uses a grumpy, well-dressed piece of coal to remind us that Christmastime is a time of miracles. And the greatest miracle of all is pursuing your dreams.

Becoming a great artist is the dream of our little flammable friend.  Unfortunately, everywhere he goes, he gets rejected. He even goes into an art gallery, but is quickly turned down because they only represent “human” artists. After being rejected and feeling discouraged, he considers burying himself deep in the ground so eventually he will turn into a diamond. The biggest obstacle for the lump of coal is that he needs someone to draw with him so they can make beautiful art together. The problem is that it is the holiday season when he rolls into the world and everyone is busy. His search for a fellow artist  proves to be difficult. The lump of coal meets plenty of naysayers and phonies on his quest to be an artist, but he never gives up on his dream. When he finally meets a teenager, and they combine their talents, a miracle happens.

Miracles can happen, even to those who are small, flammable, and dressed in all black.

 A great book for kids and adults alike, Snicket provides plenty of chuckles on the coals journey to its happy ending. On of my favorite parts of the book is Brett Helquist’s illustrations. The lump of coal is brilliantly drawn and elegantly dressed throughout the story. All the characters and scenes are drawn with such charm that perfectly captures the holiday feel. If you love Christmas stories and have my sense of humor, then this is . This will probably be the first time you ask Santa to bring you a lump of coal even though you’ve been a good boy/girl all year!

Also, the real Santa Claus is at the mall.

4/5 stars

~Eddie

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Book Review: The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore

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Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, so please excuse me if all my reviews through the month of December are holiday related. Don’t worry though, I’m not going to review The Night Before Christmas or A Christmas Carol. I will still provide you with the dark, humorous books that I love to read. Consider that my Christmas present to you.

I never read any of Christopher Moore’s other novels, but I’m a sucker for a fun title and a silly cover.  In The Stupidest Angel, Moore has combined characters from his other novels with the residents of Pine Cove, with the new addition of a dimwitted Angel. Don’t worry though, this book isn’t a sequel, you don’t have to read any of Moore’s previous novels to enjoy this one. but you might want to read them after.

The story starts with Lena and her husband Dale.

In another Christmas story, Dale Pearson, evil developer, self-absorbed woman hater, and seemingly unredeemable curmudgeon, might be visited in the night by a series of ghosts who, by showing him bleak visions of Christmas future, past, and present, would bring about in him a change to generosity, kindness, and a general warmth toward his fellow man. But this is not that kind of Christmas story, so here in not too many pages, someone is going to dispatch the miserable son of a bitch with a shovel. That’s the spirit of Christmas yet to come in these parts. Ho, ho, ho.

SPOILER ALERT: Lena is the one to dispatch Dale with a shovel.  Dale, at the time of the shoveling, was dress up as Santa. Their “argument” is witnessed by seven-year-old Josh Barker, who immediately becomes heartbroken over the fact someone killed “Santa.” But Christmas is not lost, Josh is visited by the Archangel Raziel, whose mission it is to go to earth and find a child who has made a Christmas wish that can only be granted by divine intervention, and do something for him. And of course, Josh wants Santa to come back from the dead. Raziel’s botched job of raising the dead takes the story is some crazy directions.

The book  has everything your holidays need. There’s a pot smoking sheriff, Theo Crowe and his psychotic wife, Molly (she’s off her meds.) who runs around naked with a sword. Christmas isn’t Christmas till someone is running around naked with a broad sword. There’s a zombie army, lead by Santa, who really want to go to IKEA. Tombstone tomfoolery. Profanity, lots of profanity. A talking fruit bat. Oh, and of course, the miracle of Christmas.

The book was a fairly quick read. It might not be for the faint of heart or the scrooges. But I quite enjoyed its vulgar profanity and sarcasm. I mean, that’s my type of Christmas.

“Merry Christmas, you doomed sons’ a bitches!” said Santa.

4.5/5 stars

~Eddie

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8 Bit Christmas by Kevin Jakubowski

18730452Timmy Kleen is the neighborhood rich kid. He gets what he wants and one day for his birthday he strikes kid gold, the newest thing around, a Nintendo Entertainment system.

It’s the late 80’s and Jack Doyle is 9 and his jaw drops, along with most of the neighborhood boys, when he sees what Timmy got for his birthday. Timmy announces that on Saturday mornings 10 boys, only 10, will be picked to spend the day with him playing with his new Nintendo. So starts the jockeying for prime positions in Timmy’s lineup.

For those who haven’t made the cut each Saturday, the rest would meet at the local trading card store to buy and barter baseball cards, the staple of most boys childhood. Even this activity pales to the quest to get a Nintendo of their own. A rumor goes around that the cub scout who sells the most Christmas wreaths will win a coveted game system. Mayhem ensues as each boy tries every trick in the book to win that prize.

It all seems so close and with Christmas coming every boy is praying and begging Santa for a system of their own under the tree until something happens and parents rally to ban the sale of the gaming system and Jack, who had been obsessing about getting one, tries everything to get one. He even enlists his friends to sell their cards, pool the money together and buy one out of town.

I really enjoyed this book, it brought back so many childhood memories about trying to get THE must have toy of the year and being jealous of those who have IT. For me it was an Atari. My little cousin would get all the newest electronic stuff and I wanted that Atari so bad I could taste it! This is a great read for Christmas!

ARC provided by Netgalley

4/5 stars

Crash

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