Archive for the ‘love stories’ Category

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The British love their ghost story sharing at Christmastime.  No one knows when the tradition truly began, but we all enjoy a most beloved ghost story each Christmas with its plethora of versions:  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  This regency romance plays into that ghostly tradition while interweaving an unlikely love story and romantic intrigue.

Holly Gray’s two Christmas wishes this year are to finally win her mother’s approval by gaining the notice of a handsome earl, hoping that he is the stranger who gave her a heart-shattering kiss…or was the unknown romantic the resident Christmas ghost?  Or could it have been someone else?

Romance, mystery and Christmas traditions in Regency England brew a tasty read.  For those of you who have not read any of Donna’s books before, this will be an excellent introduction to her style and love for this time period  I feel that it is her best novel yet in her carriage house of clean romances that make one’s toes curl.

Check out the giveaway at the bottom of this post.


Sneak Peak:

This snippet is from the beginning of the book when Holly takes the dare to go to the conservatory to learn whether there truly is a ghost at the manor.

“There you are,” a low male voice murmured barely above a whisper.

With a squeak, she jumped.

A soft laugh came in reply and that same low voice said, “Forgive me for startling you.”

She tried to peer into the face of the dark figure nearby, but the brightness of the moonlight on the snow outside all but blinded her. Which guest had come to the conservatory? She was supposed to remain alone.

A silhouetted male form neared. “You are so lovely.”

Was that Lord Bradbury? Did he truly think her lovely? He’d hardly exchanged two words with her since she and her parents arrived this morning. Who else might have come?

The figure sank into the next seat to her. Before Holly said a word, a warm, gentle, ungloved hand touched her cheek. She froze. A pair of lips pressed against hers. Soft, tender, invigorating, his kiss immobilized her. His lips moved across hers, testing, offering. He tasted faintly of citrus and cinnamon, exotic, and delicious. The heat of his lips lit an answering warmth inside. Oh heavens, she’d never imagined such a sensation! His lips continued to play with hers while a sweet ache formed. With both hands, he cradled her face, and deepened the kiss. An exquisitely delicious sensation carried her closer to an edge she never knew existed. An untouched place in her heart awoke and sang while the hot and cold tingles turned into a foreign longing. Every bone, muscle, and sinew in her body turned to liquid more decadent than the chocolate she liked to drink every morning.

She sighed. A soft male moan came in reply. The kiss ended but his soft lips planted tiny kisses along her cheek, her eyelids, her brow. Holly remained motionless, spellbound by the beauty and power of the kiss. His hands withdrew. She kept her eyes closed another heartbeat, unwilling to release the sensations shooting through her. Who had kissed her? And why?

Surely it was Lord Bradbury. Why else would he have encouraged her to come seeking a ghost? She opened her eyes.

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Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.      24e0f-donna-2013-1

Connect with Donna Hatch here: 
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The jacket blurb says it all: “the soul’s ability to connect outside the bounds of reason.”

subway loveIn the mind and time-bending novel about love, Laura boards a subway in the 1970s and ends up in a parallel New York City years in the heyday of the graffiti bedlam when authorities scrubbed away subway car art almost as fast as it was painted. She meets Jonas and an instant connection snaps between them. What I appreciate is that Baskin never editorializes on the bizarre connection through time and space. It just is. Laura endures a bizarre hippy mother, her abusing boyfriend, a mean brother and a distant father. The connection with Jonas is really the only positive connection in her life. He convinces her to confide all her hurts to her father. Their effervescent love story continues while their tagger friend, Zan, an artist of the subways, is planning the most expansive tag of the city: decorating an entire train with his art in one night. Laura and Jonas and Zan all seem to understand the almost reverent experiences they are enveloped in.  Read it!  Romance readers will adore it. Quirky story readers will love it.

(Having just attended a seminar on tagging, I now wonder if Zan contracted cancer later on. The toxic cleanser used by the city killed many of the taggers of the 80s).

Nora’s Website  baskin

Love? MaybePiper is a cynic about love.  Her mother if on her third marriage, and Piper is the after-school and dinner caregiver to her twin and hyper half brother and sister.  She loves them, and volunteers to help, but.  Then there is Valentine’s Day.  Her buddies develop a love potion that they all consume in order to have romance by the day.  Piper does not buy it.  Instead she designs “Consternation Hearts” for the boutique candy shop where she works, when she has time. Then the most popular guy in school is with her wherever she goes.  She feels great that she is with him, and then not so much.  Charlie, her neighborly roof buddy, is exasperated with her.  What is wrong with him?  Is life just one big disappointment?  Maybe?

Heather’s Website (Colorful and almost edible!) 

Woot woot!

The two characters that my high school readers wanted MORE written about are here! I did a happy dance about reviewing the continuing saga of Ben and Colleen and their roller coaster relationship. When we left the two in Stoner and Spaz, Colleen had returned to her life of addiction. Now she has returned to Ben, to the chagrin of Ben’s grandmother who is excited to have him pursue his film career and the cultured life. Colleen leaves, returns, leaves, returns, moves in, for a short time. Can she be trusted to make a new life for herself? If the ending scene is any indication, my YAs will be happy. This is such a great book for character studies. I will encourage teachers to use it in the classroom.
Ron’s Website

Tess, in servitude to a rich, unfeeling matron, plans to escape once the Titanic lands in New York City. The night before boarding, she is bullied by a frightening man on the streets of Southhampton, being saved by an equally unsettling, but handsome, young man. As bad luck would have it, both were in first class on the gigantic ship’s maiden voyage. Without much fanfare, Tess finds herself in the middle of a werewolf supremacy battle, and in love with one of them, mysterious, handsome, rich Alec. Paralleling the amazing Titanic movie, these star-crossed lovers transverse 1st to 3rd class navigating the tense war between werewolves. Tess is saved from death, even her beautiful BLONDE locks, which the cover does not depict. (Old cover, new cover seen here is correct. But does she looks like a servant?) Though Alec and his nemesis lie with the dead for identification, can she be sure of their state? I can see another series brewing. Gothic/ supernatural/love fans will enjoy the book.

ENDERS’ Rating: ****
Claudia’s Website

Okay, I have to get this off my chest right now: panty hose were invented in the 1950s. Outside of that anachronism, I enjoyed reading the continuing soap opera of the lives of Cordelia, Letty and Astrid. Cordelia is fitting well into the gangster society of her half-brother. Letty has lost her one love, but her singing career is taking off due to being in the right place at the right time. Astrid is kidnapped with a gunny sack over her head, but a blood bath saves her to marry her true love, Cordilia’s brother. What will these girls face next in The Lucky Ones? The big D? Let’s all tune in for the third novel and see. Godbersen is a fine author who keeps the reader wrapped around her little finger.

ENDERS’ Rating: *****
Anna’s Website

Move over zombies, vampires and werewolves for the capaill uisce, the sea monsters that are faster than the winter wind and blood-thirsty for whatever throbs with blood. Well, there goes a girl’s romantic dream of horses! Actually the novel has been the dream of Maggie Stiefvater for years, and we all should cheer that she followed through with writing her finest novel to date. On the isle of Thisby water horses come ashore. Some are captured and trained for the Scorpio Race each November, full of blood, mayhem, death and a prize. Sean Kendrick is the undisputed king of four of the races and trains a capall named Corr, the other half of the team that is to be beat. Another orphan on the island, Puck Donelly, enters the race to pay off the back rent owed by her and her two brothers, to the horrid landlord threatening eviction. Of course the race is the climax of the story boiling with hatred, sexual prejudice, intimidation, attempted murder, and love. The narrative is shared by Sean and Puck. What I love about the writing is that Maggie allows the reader to incrementally piece the stories of these characters together from the evidences of the narration with zero omniscient presence. It is brilliant! I didn’t want to put it down, but I did. I wanted the story to also last longer. I want it to win awards.

ENDERS’ Rating: *****
Maggie’s Blog

It is prom night for popular Bliss, bad girl Jolene, and nerdy Meg. Their prom night is far from imagined perfection. In alternating chapters the girls tell the story of their shared all night adventures that are reminiscent of the feel of “Adventures in Babysitting.” Bliss interrupts a lap dance of her best friend and boyfriend in the limo. Jolene is stood up. Meg’s date shows, but ditches her. A comedy and tragedy of errors follows Bliss’ decision to seek revenge, dragging her new posse’ along on each escapade. Highly entertaining, and ending with a feel-good but unsappy ending, this one will fly off the shelves in libraries. I reminds me again how fun creating stories from different perspectives can be.

ENDERS’ Rating: ****
Abby’s Website

“Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene.” I remembered that line often as I read this amazing book that better receive some awards. In this story of “star-crossed lovers” those two households are crumbling under the stress of lies, harassment, brutality and rape. Mikey sister, Karyn, was raped at a private party by Tom Parker at his unsupervised home. The only witness was Tom’s younger, bookish sister, Ellie. But what did Ellie witness? She told police and her family that she was asleep and saw nothing.

Mikey and his mate, Jacko, infiltrate the Parker manor to beat Tom to a pulp only to discover a huge party to welcome Tom home from jail. Mikey ends up trying to pump Ellie for information and their mutual attraction snowballs immediately. Deftly executed prose entangles Mikey and Ellie’s love story with Karyn’s slow progression to a new normalcy, with the exposure of emotional abuse of Ellie by her father whose son is following his harassing footsteps. Younger teen readers will not appreciate the depth of plot and character development of the story, but will be tantalized about the intimate scenes. Older teens will appreciate the raw emotions of the love story and easily see the pressures on all the characters in this story of family deception and manipulation, and a story of a relationship that is bruised and bandaged but surviving.

ENDERS’ Rating: ***** Jenny’s Website

For those who think there is no creativity any more in fantasy writing, read Chime! For those who think that young adult lit has no meat, read Chime! For those who think there are no more deliciously creepy stories, read Chime!

Biony is a beautiful teenager who blames herself for the death of her wonderful stepmother, the condition of her twin sister Rose and the fire that destroyed all her stories in the library. When lion-maned Eldric becomes a boarder at her home, she slowly begins to discover herself, the Old Ones in the swamp, and other unsettling revelations.

Rose’s outbursts and commentaries made me laugh out loud. Biony’s musings were innocent, complex, amazing. Here is a sample: “Slicing yourself is harder than you’d think. Your skin doesn’t slice, not like bread or cheese. Your flesh pushes back. It’s resilient, like the skin of a mushroom.”

The swamp was creepy and mesmerizing. I may never walk on a boardwalk at the beach wetlands again. But at least the beach will not give me a deadly cough…

This is no book to rush through. You need to take a bite and chew sixty times. Be prepared for each bite to have another literary flavor.

ENDERS’ Rating: ***** Franny’s Website