Time for some old Christmas reads…

Merry Christmas to all

Can you believe it?! December is here! That means whatever I’m reading that’s not a Christmas story, it needs to be abandoned for everything that is Christmas story.

Before I get to them though, I’d like to thank you all for making our second anniversary a huge success.To all the authors that have participated and to those that have been busy in their ‘writing caves’ and couldn’t stop by this year [and who I'll certainly accost next year], I want to send my heartfelt thanks. You are a bunch of unbelievably generous people that make me appreciate and love your work and you that much more.

My thanks go to all of my new and old subscribers who’ve faithfully followed and made comments [and made my days so much fun just by reading them all], I send my big, huge, humongous Serbian hug and a kiss! Without you, there wouldn’t be bookworm2bookworm. Period.

I also want to thank you all, authors and readers alike, for your patience with me on the contests that ran with every post [thirty-five in total for the month of November], as I procrastinated ’till the very last. I promise that by the end of this weekend many of you will be pleasantly surprised to find your names on our Contest page, and by the end of next weekend, we will have the Grand Prize announced and given away!

This month I’d like to dedicate to Christmas stories and will be recommending some that I’ve read before as well as some newly published. I hope you’ll stop by and join me in the coming weeks to find out which one’s I’m recommending and maybe recommend some of your own… I love this time of year and there’s nothing better than finding that perfect Christmas story that touches your heart, makes you sigh and cry…

Let me start with one of my all time favorites, and that is a story from Anne Gracie from an anthology I read a couple of years ago, Gifts of the Season. If you asked me about the other two stories in that book, I would have to probably think a bit to recollect them, but if you asked me about Anne’s, I’d tell you that I just cried and cried and smiled and smiled, that’s how much I loved the story and highly recommend you pick it up.

Gifts of the Season Anthology 

BOOK BLURB: The Virtuous Widow by Anne Gracie

Ellie was afraid she had no future. Left to her own devices now that her husband had passed away, she worried for her daughter’s welfare as well as her own. But her world changed when a stranger landed on her doorstep.

A Gift Most Rare by Miranda Jarrett 

Sara had never thought to see her precious Rev ever again. Yet here he was, come to stay for the holidays in the very home where she was a governess…and bringing up the painful memories of their shared past.

Christmas Charade by Lyn Stone

Beth didn’t want a husband. But when she agreed to marry handsome Jack as part of a scheme, she didn’t expect to be playing with her heart.

My next two recommends are from Mary Balogh. She never fails to give me one of the most touching Christmas stories and here are the two I think you’ll love.

ACP MBA Christmas Promise

BOOK BLURB: A love that cannot be bought or sold proves to be the greatest gift of all, in this heartwarming classic that demonstrates once again why New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh is among the most celebrated authors of historical romance.

Weddings are supposed to be joyous occasions—especially when a couple seems as well matched as Randolph Pierce, Earl of Falloden, and his bride-to-be, Eleanor Transome. Ellie brings to the marriage a vast dowry, while Falloden, though distant, is handsome, tremendously desirable, and possessed of a title most young ladies can only dream of sharing.

Yet Ellie is not most young ladies. She knows that she must honor her dear father’s dying wish for her to wed the proud earl, but she dreads a lifetime in a union without love—and how can Falloden claim to love her when he married her only for her fortune? As Christmas descends upon the Falloden manor, the warmth of the season may yet melt away the trappings of duty and wealth, leaving behind only a man and a woman destined for each other’s arms.

UTM MBUnder the Mistletoe Collection

BOOK BLURB: In this collection of five Christmas-themed stories, beloved author Mary Balogh brings together tales of love, marriage, friendship, loneliness, and healing.

Includes four Balogh holiday classics, The Star of BethlehemThe Best GiftPlaying House, and No Room At the Inn, as well as A Family Christmas, which is only available in this anthology.

A Christmas Scandal by Jane Goodger

ACS JGBOOK BLURB: In her latest romance, Jane Goodger weaves an unforgettable tale of a woman who thinks she’s lost everything–until a little Christmas magic reunites her with the one man she could never forget. . .

Dashing, debonair, and completely irresistible, Edward Hollings has all of Newport buzzing–and to Maggie Pierce’s surprise, she alone has caught his eye. But when the handsome earl returns to England without proposing, a devastated Maggie knows she must forget him. Life only gets worse for Maggie, as all her dreams of happiness and love come crashing down around her. When Maggie receives an invitation to go to England for the Christmas birth of her dear friend’s baby, she accepts–vowing to keep her devastating lies and shameful secrets from the one man she has ever loved.

Edward vowed he’d never marry, but he came dangerously close with Maggie. She’s beautiful, witty, indescribably desirable–and Edward can’t forget her. When Maggie visits mutual friends for Christmas, Edward can’t stay away. In fact, he finds himself more attracted to her than ever–a desire fueled even more by Maggie’s repeated snubs. With the love he never thought he’d find slipping away, Edward is determined to make Maggie his own, no matter what the cost. . .

The Present by Johanna Lindsey

TP JLBOOK BLURB: As the entire Malory family gathers at Haverston to celebrate the season, a mysterious present arrives anonymously. The gift is an old journal — a tender and tempestuous account of the love affair between the second Marquis, Christopher Malory, and a dark gypsy beauty named Anastasia, who seeks a love match with a non-gypsy in order to save herself from a prearranged marriage to a brute.

Though the dashing English lord Anastasia sets her sight upon burns for the exquisite, exotic miss, Christopher could never consent to wed such a lowborn lady. But miracles have been known to happen in this season of peace and giving and love, as two extraordinary people separated by circumstance of birth begin a passionate dance of will and wiles.

And in the miraculous blossoming of a glorious romance at a long ago Christmastime, there are wise and well-learned lessons that will enrich the hearts of the Malory descendants — and, indeed, of everyone who has ever dreamed.

Forbidden Magic by Jo Beverly

FM JBBOOK BLURB: Left penniless after her parents’ death, Meg Gillingham was in dire straits. Her cruel landlord threatened to turn her and her siblings out of their home by the New Year—unless she surrendered her sister to his lecherous whims. Only a miracle could save her: a magic statue that granted wishes—for a price.

Meg never expected the statue to bring her a marriage proposal, especially from the handsome Earl of Saxonhurst, who needed a bride to keep his fortune. Her heart raced wildly, for she was held spellbound by her desire for this man. But a villain was determined to destroy their union with mistrust, and see them dead. Now Meg had to put her faith in a more powerful magic—the magic of love.

A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

AWC LKBOOK BLURB: Rafe Bowman has just arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting, and if it weren’t for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen…

Winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic…and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.

That’s just a handful of books that I really enjoyed in the past and I hope you’d give them a try, unless you already read them, in which case I would love to know what you thought of them. I usually look for short Christmas stories, often found in Anthologies  at this time of the year. They are the best because they give me the feel for the authors that I haven’t read before.

Speaking of, do you like Anthologies and why? If you have any good Christmas recommendations for me please let me know. This month should be fun as we talk Christmas books…and giveaway a few of those…

Time to ‘catch up’ with my RRAH Reviews…

Hello my Bookworms! Now about those AWESOME cup cakes?! Just click on the link and you’ll find yourself in a cup cake Heaven!

It has been a hell of a short winter and almost no snow here in the Windy City, but we can deal with that. How was your winter? Have you had much snow and low temps? And your health? Have you set yourself behind with things that needed done, either at work or home?

I’ve had some set becks, mostly in keeping my RRAH reviews up-to date, but the set-back I hated the most is my bout with back pain, which took me of my healthy eating habit and the result of too much medication.had me gain all the weight I’ve lost….and that bums me out BIG TIME!

I can tell you that as of now, I’ve started the weight loss again, and hoping this time it sticks… I’m on my second cortisone shot and in two weeks I’ll be on my third one, and then REHAB! I so hope this will work, but my Doc tells me it might take me six months to a year to fully recover and move the disk back into its original position, and that’s a bummer as well, but must be done, so I push on…

You know what the best thing is about all this?! I got to read and review some good books, even though it would take me forever to sit, stand and KNEEL by the comp, I did them, however I haven’t brought them to you and since I’m feeling all bright and happy on such a great sunny day here in my Chicago Town, I’m happy to tell you about some of the books I reviewed for Romance Reader At Heart. You already might have read some, but it would be fun to hear your thoughts on them just the same.

EMILY AND THE DARK ANGEL by Jo Beverley was “…another of Ms. Beverley’s well-written and well-plotted stories, with sharp dialogue and full of witty and fun characters.

I found out that this book is part of a series which began with LORD WRAYBOURNE’S BETROTHAL, continued with THE STANFORTH SECRET and THE STOLEN BRIDE. Besides EMILY AND THE DARK ANGEL, LORD WRAYBOURNE’S BETROTHAL is the only other one I’ve read. I’ll make it a point to get the other two, as I’d like nothing better than to find out the love story of those characters as well.”

WHAT A DUKE WANTS by Lavinia Kent was ” …a fast paced, fun, and very entertaining read with a predictable plot, yet it will make you feel warm and fuzzy all over.”

My thoughts on WICKED SEDUCTION by Jade Lee  are “…There’s not a thing that I didn’t like about WICKED SEDUCTION, and there’s a lot to recommend it. All the characters, secondary included, were very vivid, extremely well-developed, and the romance full of tender moments. I liked the interaction between Kit and Maddy, and I would be remiss not to mention the love scenes!

WICKED SEDUCTION is one book that you won’t be able to put down ‘till you’re done.”

BECAUSE YOUR MINE by Lisa Kleypas is as good as all of her books that came before and after this one so “…If you’ve never read any of Lisa Kleypas’ books before, you may as well start with this one. You’ll enjoy its pace, dialogue, laugh-out-loud moments and the love scenes that are tender, yet sensual.

The prequel to this story is SOMEWHERE I’LL FIND YOU, and it is as good as this story, so you may as well get both! Both are Keeper worthy.”

A LADY AWAKENED by Cecilia Grant is in one word UNIQUE “…This is not your typical cookie cutter romance, despite its trope. By choosing this plot, the author took a gamble in giving us the slower pace and fully developing her players first, main and secondary, thus making them very real and the plot easy to accept. I’d say the gamble paid off, as I enjoyed this Victorian tale very much, and I’m looking forward to Ms. Grant’s future tales. Welcome to my Keeper shelf, Ms. Grant!”

THE UNEXPECTED MISS BENNET by Patrice Sarath made me feel so fuzzy and warm all over  “…Oh, and to see and get a chance to catch up with everyone was pure bliss!

What I liked the best was this author’s prose, which was as close as one can get to Austen’s; and with it, she kept me grounded, so I hardly felt the transition from the original.

I highly recommend THE UNEXPECTED MISS BENNET to all Austen fans. As a matter a fact, this is a must for them, and it’s a definite keeper for me. I’ll still be tied up in knots, but possibly less so after this wonderful book.”

In BRAZEN by Margo Maguire  “…It was interesting to watch a high society Lady fall for this hard-living Captain, especially because neither took their feelings seriously, at first. They both thought each other unsuitable for anything but an affair. However, as much as I loved the hero, try as I might, the heroine just left me cold. Only a handful of scenes have I thought her at least a bit warm (and most of those are the sensual ones).

In the end, BRAZEN was not a bad read. I enjoyed its pace and the hero, as well as the mystery, so I’ll recommend it, but will probably give it away”

RECKLESS ANGEL by Jane Feather  just blew me away, and I think you should all get it. My favorite “…paragraph is at the end of this tale, as Daniel is watching her sleep, thinking… ”Daniel gazed upon his sleeping wife and wondered how such a wondrous, magical creature has been shaped, how such a loving and giving spirit could have emerged from the arid soil of her childhood. And he had wondered what he had done to deserve the gift of her love, the measurable joy of her self to inform his life.”

RECKLESS ANGEL is a romance with sensual overtones that should make Ms. Feather proud. She has achieved a perfect balance of romance and history by introducing us to England as it was at the time of civil strife, and gifting us with characters that were three-dimensional. Combined with a very plausible plot and a quick pace, this makes for a wonderful, extremely entertaining and fun read. I would go so far as to even recommend it to sixteen-year-olds! There are no overly explicit scenes in this book that would make it inappropriate for this generation, or for that matter, any generation. I highly recommend it, and strongly urge you to ignore the negative reviews of this delightful romance story.”

And I’m finishing off with one of the best books I’ve ever read and that’s HOW THE MARQUESS WAS WON by Julie Anne Long. What follows is a romance that will melt your heart. Everything was so well written that I was left panting, sighing, and praying that this author NEVER stops writing!

The characters, plot, setting, secondary characters, pace and prose were out of this world! I swear, you’ll be devouring the pages with such speed that you just might have to reread it at a slower speed as soon as you finish it.

Julie Ann Long is fast becoming an author to be pre-ordered! I am looking forward to her very, VERY long writing career. As with all her other books—not just this series—this one’s keeper shelf worthy and a reread MUST!”

Well, there you have it! I would love to know if you’ve read any of these yet, or if they’re still on your TBR. If you haven’t had the chance to buy it yet, let me know which one of these you’re missing and you never know, we might just GIVE you that one!