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The Perfect Gift Paperback – September 25, 2007
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About the Author
Escaping into the pages of a book is something she's loved to do since she was a child. Now she crafts her own worlds and characters and enjoys spending as much time with them as possible.
Top customer reviews
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Very nice romance. Very sensual. I like her style of writing about a guy who is focused on only one woman, and he's got to have her, and he treasures her. This is a sequel to Blackmailed, but the stories don't need to be read together. In Blackmailed Brianna becomes the mate of Cole and Tyler. Scot is Brianna's blind brother who lives with them. In this story, Tara has just broken up with an abusive boyfriend Eric who still wants her and tries to hurt her. Tara needs to find an apartment, and Scot invites her to live with him temporarily.
Story length: 56 pages. Sexual language: strong. Number of sex scenes: one. Setting: current day St. Louis, Missouri. Copyright: 2007. Genre: contemporary romance.
For a list of my reviews of other Annmarie McKenna books, see my 5 star review of "Finding Strength" posted on 7/12/08.
3.5 stars for HOME FOR CHRISTMAS by Kate Davies.
Nice, romantic lovers story. Very pleasant ending. Wonderful guy Ethan. Dan was husband to Sophie and business partner with Ethan. Dan died two years earlier. Sophie began working at the company with Ethan. Ethan has been attracted to Sophie but remained a platonic friend due to her mourning. Sophie decides to go on a Christmas cruise alone. Ethan discovers this as she is leaving for the airport. He hurriedly arranges to get on the same cruise. They become romantic and intimate for the first time on the cruise.
Story length: 48 pages. Sexual language: strong. Number of sex scenes: two. Setting: current day U.S. and Caribbean cruise ship. Copyright: 2007. Genre: contemporary romance.
To date, I've read one other book by Kate Davies. I gave 3 stars to the anthology "Lessons Learned" copyright 2008, posted 4/18/09. The anthology includes two stories titled "Lessons in Love" and "Lessons Learned."
3 stars for MIRACLE AT MIDNIGHT by Stacia Wolf.
In 1507, a heartless countess Amara imprisons a poor man for stealing food for his children. She plans to sell his children into slavery for his punishment. Saint Nicholas, the protector of children, turns her into a statue saying that once every fifty years she will come alive for two days and must answer the question what is the true meaning of love. She has ten tries. If she fails, she will remain a statue forever. The story shifts to current day New York City, the day before Christmas. Six-year-old Samantha is visiting her divorced father. Samantha sees the statue turn into a human and convinces her father to help. They spend the two days together. Amara feels love for them and they love her back. There is a happy ending that brings some tears with it. This story reminds me of the Scrooge-type Christmas story about the heartless finding their heart.
Story length: 56 pages. Sexual language: none. Number of sex scenes: none. Setting: 1507 France and current day New York City. Copyright: 2007. Genre: fantasy romance.
3 stars for SECOND CHANCE CHRISTMAS by Mackenzie McKade.
Nice romance about a reunion of separated lovers. Lori and Dean were in love. They have a miscommunication which is not my favorite reason for separating, but I accepted it for this story. She leaves town for four years. When she returns for Christmas with her family, they see each other at a night club and are drawn to each other. They have hurried sex in the parking lot and then go to his home. By the next morning, they have cleared up the misunderstanding.
Story length: 45 pages. Sexual language: strong. Number of sex scenes: five. Setting: current day Safford, Arizona. Copyright: 2007. Genre: contemporary romance.
2 stars for LOVE ME STILL by Maya Banks.
Ok. It is more about grief and healing than romance. It is about loss, separation and eventual forgiveness. Heather is a human who is the mate of two shape-shifting wolf/men, Cael and Riyu. Heather is traveling with their father Magnus and a fellow pack member Niko. Three hunters attack them and shoot darts into Magnus and Niko. In his drug confused state, Magnus thinks Heather betrayed them. Magnus escapes, returns home and tells Cael and others that Heather betrayed them. Magnus then dies. In truth, Heather fought the hunters and saved Niko's life. She is wounded and near death when Cael and Riyu find her. They hate her for her betrayal and leave her to die. Another man finds her in the woods and takes care of her while she heals. Niko eventually returns and tells the pack the truth about Heather. They now want her back and the question is will she forgive them and return.
Story length: 58 pages. Sexual language: none. Number of sex scenes: none. Setting: unsure time in a wooded area. Copyright: 2007. Genre: paranormal romance.
To date, I've read one other book by Maya Banks. My 3.5 star review of "Colters' Woman" Copyright 2006 was posted 12/24/08.
With her husband gone and her daughter spending the holiday with her fiancée's family, Sophia books a cruise for Christmas this year, far from her memories and even further from the very distracting presence of her friend and business partner, Ethan. She just needs some time and space to figure out what she wants for the rest of her life, and whether or not her feelings for Ethan are real or just a by-product of their close friendship.
Ethan has been waiting for the right opportunity to let Sophia know just how he feels about her. Having been careful to give her space in which to grieve her late husband, he has bided his time in reluctant patience - he'll be damned if he misses his chance with her now. Determined to finally make his move and tell the lovely widow just how much she means to him, he moves heaven and earth to land himself on the same cruise. He'll pull out all the stops to make both of their dreams come true, praying that those dreams will be possible together.
Home for Christmas is an absolutely wonderful tale about a mature romance between two friends who have long loved each other from afar. With a starring couple who are both over forty, Kate Davies offers a realistic look at love the second time around for those of us who are long past the first bloom of youth, but still young enough to entertain dreams of love and forever.
As a no-nonsense widow and the mother of a young adult daughter, Sophia is mindful of her family's needs, while still being very aware of her own as a woman. When the death of her husband left her as part-owner in his business, she never hesitated to roll up her sleeves and work in the family business alongside her friend and partner, Ethan. She knows Ethan would do anything for her, but worries that her growing romantic ideas about him are born of their close proximity and her dependence on his presence in her life. While she is ready to admit her feelings, she needs time away to be sure of them before running the risk of damaging their friendship.
Of course, Ethan wouldn't be our story's hero if he let her get away with that. The man is romantically relentless, determined that he won't spend Christmas apart from the woman he loves more than anything. Even still, he gives her every chance to keep him at arm's length once he arrives on board the cruise ship, while hoping deep down inside that she doesn't take those opportunities. But Ethan means to make this relationship last for the rest of their lives, and his resolve that Sophia be sure of not just his feelings for her but hers for him are heart-warming.
Home for Christmas is a wonderfully inspiring romance that will make readers rejoice in the belief that new life and new love can most certainly happen no matter your age.
~Look What Santa Brought by Annmarie McKenna~
Scott Wyatt may be blind, but he can see a good thing when it is right in front of him. And Tara Patrick definitely fits under the good thing category. Scott has been biding his time just waiting for his chance to show Tara they can be more than just friends. With her recent break-up from her louse of a boyfriend and her subsequent need to show the bum she is serious about the break-up, Scott offers himself up to play the part of her new boyfriend. Of course, Scott just happens to be into method acting, and this is the role of his lifetime...
Tara isn't so sure about Scott's plan - especially when it involves moving in with him, albeit temporarily. But when his family makes her a business offer that is too good to be true, she can't refuse. One little problem: how will she ever be able to keep her hands off her hunky friend while living in such close proximity? Scott could never be interested in a woman like her - could he?
Fans of Annmarie McKenna's work will be delighted when they recognize the hero of Look What Santa Brought as the very same Scott Wyatt we first met in her book Blackmailed. Yes, this is the same Scott that is Brianna's little brother! Of course, this new story takes place years later and Scott is one very sexy adult man now, ready for his own shot at romance with the woman of his dreams.
Scott has certainly grown up right, now running his own business and enjoying life almost to the fullest. The only thing missing in his life is love. Sure, his looks pave the way for him with most women, but many regard him as nothing more than a curious fling due to his blindness. Tara is one of the few women that treats him just like any other man, which he most certainly is. Despite his disability, Scott is more than capable of taking care of both himself and the woman he loves.
Tara is a woman in a situation many of us have unexpectedly found ourselves in at one time of having suddenly found herself in a potentially abusive relationship. Determined to rid herself of the man trying to control her life and stand on her own, she is at first understandably reluctant to accept Scott's offer to help. That reluctance only increases as things take a dangerous turn and she is unwilling to put either Scott or his family at risk. Of course, the valiant Scott is not one to take no for an answer, especially regarding the safety of the woman he has loved for so long.
Although a short story, Look What Santa Brought affords us a `where are they now' glimpse into the lives of Scott's sister and her men, reinforcing one happy ever after while delivering another in the form of Scott and Tara's relationship.
This sexy little story may have a holiday theme, but Look What Santa Brought is undeniably a story that will be enjoyed by romance fans no matter the time of year. I know it will enjoy a permanent place in my library so I may re-read it at will in the years to come.
~Love Me, Still by Maya Banks~
Left to die by her werewolf mates after they are convinced she betrayed them and killed their father, Heather survives against the odds, though without the men she loves more than life itself, her soul feels dead inside.
Now Cael and Riyu have learned the truth, and realize their own terrible betrayal of their beautiful mate. They will do anything to make it up to Heather and earn her forgiveness, but is it too late? Has her trust in them been irrevocably broken?
Leave it to Maya Banks to have me bawling my eyes out over the Christmas holiday. With her holiday release, Love Me, Still, Ms. Banks tore my heart to shreds. Between my past experience with this author's stories and the publisher's synopsis, I really should have expected as much, in hindsight.
Never has Maya Banks' ability to instill empathy for her characters in the reader been more evident than in this story. I felt everything that Heather felt. I ached when she ached for the loss of her mates. I sobbed when she cried over the hurt she saw in her mates' eyes when they believed she had betrayed them. And when they returned to her, I felt the same joy Heather did at her return to the mates and the pack she so cherished.
In the midst of all that raw emotion, it never occurred to me what the story didn't have. It wasn't until later as I reminisced over the story that it struck me - this is the first Maya Banks title I have ever read that has no sex scene. You read that right - none whatsoever. And you know what? As much as I have enjoyed this author's undeniable talent at crafting love scenes that would melt the paint off a car, I didn't even notice it wasn't there while I read the story. It worked very well without it. In fact, I would venture so far to say that if adding a sex scene to this story meant cutting any other part of the tale, I would absolutely not want it. Love Me, Still was that perfect. If anyone should doubt Maya Banks' writing talent, this story can be held up as a prime example of her ability to stir emotions without needing sex to do so.
When I am in the mood for a good tearjerker with a beautiful love story featuring the reuniting of lovers, Love Me, Still will be the book I reach for time and again.
~Miracle at Midnight by Stacia Wolf~
In her time, Comtesse Amara de la Cortese was an unfeeling ruler with a heart of stone. And so, one fateful Christmas, Saint Nicholas turned the heartless ruler into a statue of stone, destined to wake from her prison every fifty years to try and redeem herself by proving she now understands the meaning of love. She has only ten chances and so far has failed the first nine.
When she wakes for the tenth and final time to find herself in the care of single father Nick and his sweet young daughter Sami, she knows something has changed. Perhaps Sami is the key to the answer, maybe this innocent child can teach her what all who have come before have failed to show her.
Miracle at Midnight is the first book I have yet read by Stacia Wolf, but will certainly not be my last. This powerful story grabbed me from page one, and had me turning the pages just as quickly as I could read them, stopping only to wipe the tears from my eyes at times. This story will evoke so many emotions from you that by the time you have finished reading, your eyes will be watery, your heart will be full, and you will feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
This is a story not just of romance, but of redemption and sacrifice. Watching as Amara finally decides to ignore her quest and simply enjoy her last moments of life and the people she has found to spend them with makes one think about how we live our own lives each day, taking for granted the people we love and the time we have. It was truly inspiring to watch Amara's evolution from a cruel sovereign to a woman who would do anything, give up anything for the people she has grown to care for.
Miracle at Midnight has found a permanent home on my bookshelf. This is the perfect inspirational story to read again and again when one needs to be reminded of what is really important in life.
~Second Chance Christmas by Mackenzie McKade~
Home for Christmas, it is the first time Lori Dayton has returned to Safford, Arizona since that fateful time when she lost Dean Wilcox. Not only did she lose his love, but she earned his hatred. How can she bear to face him again?
But face him she does, albeit unintentionally. When her brother drags her off for a drink at the local tavern, she runs into Dean and his accusing glare right away. Still, she does her best to avoid him. But fate has a way of intervening when you least want it to...
Seeing Lori again, Dean can't deny the compelling attraction he still has for her. But they'll never be able to forget the past, will they? More importantly, does he even want to try?
Oh my gosh. I BAWLED throughout this amazing story. If Mackenzie McKade set out to twist her readers' hearts and run their every emotion through the wringer when she wrote Second Chance Christmas, then she certainly succeeded with this reviewer. As far as tear-jerkers go, this story is right up there with one of her previous books, Lisa's Gift, which makes me tear up every time I even think of it.
Aptly titled Second Chance Christmas, this is a story of reunited lovers that find forgiveness for each other during the holidays. Having been driven apart by misunderstanding and tragedy years earlier, both Lori and Dean have suffered without each other, their tragedy exacerbated further by the fact that they lost each other because of it.
As the story unwinds, and we discover the reason for their separation, our hearts break. But when this couple finds their way back to each other for good, we really see what an uplifting romance this truly is. I didn't just read this book, I felt every word of it deep in my soul. I will carry this romance in my heart for a very long time.