Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel Blog Tour

Welcome to the SMALL ADMISSIONS Blog Tour!

We're thrilled to introduce you to Amy Poeppel and her charming and funny new book, Small Admissions. Read on to learn more and don't forget to enter the giveaway to win your own copy!

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In SMALL ADMISSIONS, despite Kate Pearson’s innate ambition and Summa Cum Laude smarts, she has turned into a major slacker. After being unceremoniously dumped by her handsome, French “almost fiancĂ©,” she abandons her grad school plans and instead spends her days lolling on the couch, watching reruns of Sex and the City, and leaving her apartment only when a dog-walking gig demands it. Her friends don’t know what to do other than pass tissues and hope for a comeback, while her practical sister, Angela, pushes every remedy she can think of, from trapeze class to therapy to job interviews.

Miraculously, and for reasons no one (least of all Kate) understands, she manages to land a job in the admissions department at the prestigious Hudson Day School. In her new position, Kate learns there’s no time for self-pity or nonsense during the height of the admissions season, or what her colleagues refer to as “the dark time.” As the process revs up, Kate meets smart kids who are unlikable, likeable kids who aren’t very smart, and Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer.

Meanwhile, Kate’s sister and her closest friends find themselves keeping secrets, hiding boyfriends, dropping bombshells, and fighting each other on how to keep Kate on her feet. On top of it all, her cranky, oddly charming, and irritatingly handsome downstairs neighbor is more than he seems. Through every dishy, page-turning twist, it seems that one person’s happiness leads to another’s misfortune, and suddenly everyone, including Kate, is looking for a way to turn rejection on its head, using any means necessary—including the truly unexpected. 

Amy began writing SMALL ADMISSIONS as a series of comedic dialogues after she and her husband went through the nerve-wrecking experience of interviewing at private schools for their sons. “I was convinced we were spectacularly bad at it,” she explains, “and I couldn’t stop thinking about how strangely we seemed to behave as soon as we sat down in front of an admissions officer. Sometimes I thought my husband bragged too much about our kids, other times I thought he was overly critical of them, and throughout the interviews, I felt like I was running interference, and I hated the impression we were making.” Soon after, she began working as the Assistant Director of Admissions at a prestigious day school in Manhattan. From the other side of the desk, as she interviewed parents, interacted with student applicants and participated in the banter of the admissions staff, she developed an appreciation for the nuanced drama and the pervasive humor of admissions, compounded by her previous experiences as a nervous parent facing an admissions officer. With these dual perspectives in mind, Poeppel set out to explore the absurd world of admissions with warmth, humor and above all, a deep appreciation for devoted, anxious parents and their dedicated admissions department counterparts, all through the eyes of a clever, yet flailing young woman trying her best to make sense of the acceptance and rejections in her own life.


“An excellent debut.”
Publishers Weekly

“Trenchant, funny, and a prose artist Ms. Poeppel leaves nothing to be desired, except this desire: that she write more and more, and as well as she does in this, her assured debut.”
—Hilton Als, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of White Girls and The Women

"In this absorbing story, Amy Poeppel brings her razor-sharp observations of the postures and pretenses found in our culture, in our cities,and especially in the world of admissions. Amy’s gift for dialogue, shown through the sidesplitting banter between our appealing, young heroine and the parents and children she interviews, will delight readers. Amy Poeppel displays a well of insight, forgiveness and wit that not only marks a talented writer, but the launch of what promises to be a marvelous career.”
—Diane Meier, author of The Seasons of Chances and Ritual and Style on a Changing Culture

“Amy Poeppel's writing is the perfect mixture of hilarious and smart... She absolutely nails the world of admissions in a funny, insightful and fabulous insider's look at this fascinating microcosm of human nature. What a delicious read."
—Lolly Winston, author of Good Grief and Happiness Sold Separately

“Inside every application folder is a story, and it is the job of the admissions officer to find and make sense of those narratives. Amy Poeppel’s darkly funny debut animates and exposes, with empathy and perspicacity, the anxiety, the humanity,and the occasionally surreal stories within New York City’s intense, competitive independent schools. And on top of all that, it is a wonderfully entertaining read.”
—Kristin Harman, Head of Admissions, Trevor Day School

“As Jean Hanff Korelitz did for college in her novel Admission, Amy Poeppel artfully and hilariously describes the gamesmanship in the high-stakes, high-anxiety world of New York City’s private school admissions offices with spot-on dialogue and genuine insight. As the novel unfolds, the reader finds that Small Admissions lead to bigger, more important truths in the lives of the characters populating this hilarious book; I couldn’t put it down.”
—David Harman, Headmaster, Poly Prep Country Day School

“A rare book that actually makes you laugh out loud. Small Admissions offers a peek into the world of New York City private school admissions, but the deadly insights hardly stop there. Family, friendships,meetings(!)—Poeppel tells gleaming, hilarious truths about them all.”
—Charity Shumway, author of Ten Girls to Watch


Amy Poeppel is a graduate of Wellesley College. She lives with her husband and three sons in New York City, where she worked in the admissions department of a prestigious independent school. She workshopped a theatrical version of SMALL ADMISSIONS at the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit. She later expanded it into this novel. 


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Win 1 of 3 signed copies of SMALL ADMISSIONS by Amy Poeppel! Just click the link directly above. Good luck!


* * * 1/2

(Source: e-galley provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Small Admissions is a delightful read. Granted you're delighting in someone's world gone bizzaro while her friends circle around her looking for ways to lift her spirits. 

Even though the story is about Kate and her drastic meltdown, you don't get to meet her immediately. Instead, her two closest friends (Vicki and Chloe) and her sister (Angela) speak in cryptic terms about the circumstances surrounding her downward spiral. You'd think the sky had fallen and there was panic in the streets the way they're reacting but you have to be patient enough for the details to fall into place. Truthfully, I didn't find Kate all that appealing until she began to climb out of her funk. She's more of an academic and not quite adept at interacting with people. Her mind just functions differently - a wee bit eccentric though not as bad as her parents. No joke, wait until you meet them! Kate's essentially an adult-sized child. Through working in the admissions office at the prestigious school, her quirky personality appears. Her reactions to the snobby, entitled and often dysfunctional parents are entertaining. Add to that the fact that she's unqualified for the job and out of her depth means that you never know what's going to happen. You also get to meet the parents of the kids trying to enroll at Hudson Day School. Some of them are seriously so weird that you'll be shaking your head.

Admittedly, several POVs in one story is not my thing. This time though I was impressed because it felt they served a different function than I've experienced with other stories that employ the same tactic. In Small Admissions, I saw Kate differently depending on whose POV it was. To Angela, she seems incompetent and a burden; to Vicki she seems privileged and irritating, and to Chloe, she seems like a charity case. I definitely appreciated how Poeppel made Kate's character so multifaceted that way. 

As I read along, I kept thinking that I'd like it to see it as an indie a movie because I wanted to witness these characters live and in action. Small Admissions is all about off-the-wall humour and wacky personalities, and is sure to strike the right chord with any reader looking for just that!

~ Bel

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Fixer by Helenkay Dimon Release Day Launch


It's release day for The Fixer by HelenKay Dimon! This sexy romance is out now! Check out the book below and grab your copy today!


About The Fixer: He’s known only as Wren. A wealthy, dangerously secretive man, he specializes in making problems disappear. A professional fixer, Wren hides a dark past, but his privacy is shattered when Emery Finn seeks him out—and what she wants from him is very personal.   Some people disappear against their will. Emery’s job is to find them and bring closure. Wren is the only person who can help solve Emery’s own personal mystery: the long-ago disappearance of her cousin. Just tracking down the sexy, brooding Wren is difficult enough. Resisting her body’s response to him will prove completely impossible.   Anonymity is essential to Wren’s success, yet drawn by Emery’s loyalty and sensuality, he’s pulled out of the shadows. But her digging is getting noticed by the wrong people. And as the clues start to point to someone terrifyingly close, Wren will have to put his haunted past aside to protect the woman he loves.

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Exclusive Excerpt: 
She handed him a water bottle and sat down on the opposite end on the love seat, as far from him as possible, which amounted to a half cushion away. “I wasn’t sure you’d come over when I called.”
The bottle made a crinkling noise when he grabbed on to it. “Why not?”
He didn’t mention that she’d used his emergency private number for a nonemergency, so neither did she. “You kind of ran out of here last night.”
Then she’d thought about him all night while Tyler sat there talking about his new job and the new city he loved. Emery had been happy for him, even as a part of her grumbled that it had been so easy for him to move on and never mention Tiffany.
For most of the night she’d been guilty of the same sin. As he talked, her mind switched to Wren. The sound of his voice. The way his muscles felt through his shirt. She certainly wouldn’t have won any Good Friend prize for her mental wanderings.
“You had company. Something and someone else to occupy your time.” Wren didn’t look at her as he set the unopened bottle on the coffee table.
She took in the stiffness of his shoulders and the fact he hadn’t even bothered to take off his suit jacket. He walked in and went to the couch because she told him to have a seat. Very little else had transpired except for her why-am-I-doing-this panicked race to the kitchen for water. “Don’t do that.”
He leaned back on the cushions and faced her. “What?”
Gone was the easy flow of conversation from last night and the touching. Yeah, he didn’t look even a little interested in touching, which was a damn shame. “You sound all haughty and businesslike.”
“You may have just summed up the majority of my personality.” He smiled but the gesture didn’t quite reach his eyes. It looked forced and disappeared right after it happened.
She tugged on the wrapper around her water bottle. Picked at the end until she could rip off a nice long piece. “I don’t buy that. Not anymore.”
His gaze bounced from her hands to her face. “What changed?”
“I don’t even know. Maybe it’s a sense or a hope.” Of course, neither of those explained why the air in the room was all but suffocating her.
Talk about an unhelpful response. She put the bottle on the table next to his and sat back again, just inches away from him. “Does that mean you get what I’m saying?”
“Not even a little bit.”
She would have laughed at that if the tension strangling her in a bear hug would ease. “Any chance I could get you to take off your jacket? Maybe loosen that tie.”
“You still seem overly concerned with my wardrobe.” But he relaxed a little. Sank back into the cushions and rested his arm across the top.
“It’s like armor.”
His fingers tapped against the love seat. “It’s wool, I believe.”

“Now you’re being a gigantic pain in the ass, just because you can.” The guy could not take a hint. She was dying to get him out of the suit. She could pretend this had to do with wanting to know he was human and to loosen him up. Yeah, there was some of that, but this was really about wanting more from him.

HelenKay Dimon spent the years before becoming a romance author as a...divorce attorney. Not the usual transition, she knows. Good news is she now writes full time and is much happier. She has sold over forty novels and novellas to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Kensington, Harlequin, Penguin Random House, Riptide and Carina Press. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues and her books have twice been named "Red-Hot Reads" and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. She is on the Board of Directors of the Romance Writers of America and teaches fiction writing at UC San Diego and MiraCosta College. You can learn more at her website:

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Completely Yours by Erin Nicholas Blog Tour - Top 5 and giveaway

Today we are celebrating the release of Completely Yours by Erin Nicholas!  We've got super hot covers and graphics, a giveaway, and a Top 5 list that proves that Erin should be our friend!  Check it out below and add Completely Yours to your ever-growing TBR pile!


Author: Erin Nicholas
Series: Opposites Attract, #1
On Sale: December 20, 2016
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $5.99 USD
eBook:  $3.99 USD

The first book in a brand new contemporary romance series from New York Times bestselling author Erin Nicholas about three geeky girls and the hunky guys who fall for them.

Kiera Connelly leads a quiet life, and that's just how she likes it. She's built a name as a graphic designer and meets up with her friends online, all from the comfort of her living room couch. But when a rare outing turns disastrous, Kiera finds herself up close and way too personal with an unbelievably hot real-life hero.

Zach Ashley doesn't see himself as a hero. He's just a regular guy who gets to help people every day as an EMT. But when he's called to a scene and has to treat his most gorgeous patient ever, he finds himself mixing work with pleasure. He never hesitates to put his life on the line...but will he ever risk his heart?



She was still watching the ambulance, and she nodded absently. “Okay.”
He moved in front of her and crouched to get on eye level. “You can go right over and see them at the hospital. Mass General. If you’re not family, they might not be able to tell you much, but if you can get in touch with their families, they can come and sit with you, right?”
She nodded again but Zach wasn’t sure she’d heard him. He really wanted to know that someone was going to be there with her. Shock in survivors wasn’t uncommon. The that-could’ve-been-me thing could kick in at any moment if it hadn’t already. But there was nothing like seeing someone you cared about hurt.
He put his hands on her arms again, this time rubbing up and down and just ignoring how good her skin felt against his rough palms. Mostly. He needed to comfort her more than he needed to worry about how she made him feel.
“Do you know where Mass General is?” He didn’t love the idea of her driving herself over there. She was clearly overwhelmed.
Kiera nodded. “Yes.”
“You can get there?” he asked.
She nodded again.
Okay. So…
“Zach! Let’s go!”
Zach glanced over at Reed. His co-workers needed help so he was going to be here for a while. He couldn’t be messing around, obsessing about a woman who liked to play dress-up. “Kiera, I need to go but…”
“Yeah, of course.” She shook her head and looked around. “You go.”
“But…” But nothing. She was fine, and he was needed by people who weren’t fine. “Okay.”
He had the fleeting thought that he wanted to kiss her goodbye. But that was crazy. They’d just met. In the middle of an emergency. No way should he kiss her.
Finally, he let go of her and stepped back. But not touching her didn’t do a thing to make him not want to touch her. He forced himself to turn away and head toward Reed, trying to clear his mind of green and gold sweet-smelling flowers as he went. But when he got about twenty feet from her, he glanced back.
And she was still standing there. Hugging herself. Looking lost.
“I’ll be right there,” he told Reed.
Reed glanced back. “Dude…”
“I know.” And he did. He needed to not be distracted. But the only way that was going to happen was if he knew for sure that Kiera was taken care of.
He jogged back to her side. “Hey princess, what’s up?”
She looked at him, and her look of confusion cleared. That made him feel stupidly good.
“I don’t have a way…”
She trailed off, and Zach frowned. “You don’t feel up to driving?”
“We brought Sophie’s car, and her fob thingy is with her.”
Ah. A little issue. “You have someone you can call?”
“I didn’t bring my phone.”
“You can use mine.”
“No one’s home. I live with Maya and Sophie,” she said. “Obviously, they’re not… there.”
Her voice wobbled, and Zach worked on not grabbing her and hugging her.
They’d just fucking met. Hugging and kissing wasn’t appropriate. Dammit.
“How about a cab?”
“I don’t have any money.”
He looked her over again, revisiting the curves he realized he’d already memorized. He could give her money for a cab of course. He could get her home. But she’d be home alone. He could get her to the hospital, but they wouldn’t talk to her and she’d be stuck in the waiting room for God knew how long. Alone.
And leaving her alone was simply something he could not do.
“You need to come with me.” He reached out and snagged her hand before he could tell himself that holding her hand was a bad idea.
Because it was. Her hand felt good in his, and the way she curled her fingers around his tightly and followed him without question felt good. And the idea that he was going to get to spend more time with her felt good. And all of that was bad. And yet, he pulled her along with him through the convention hall and into the heart of the chaos.
 “What are we doing?” she asked.
“I need to go help with some more injured. And I need you to stick with me.”
“Me? Why?”
He looked over at her. Her cape floated behind her, and for the first time, he noticed the golden sword swinging at her left hip. Damn. That was kind of hot. “Because you’re a gorgeous kick-ass warrior princess, and the people in here are gonna need some gorgeous kick-ass stuff.”
She looked at him with surprise, but as he held her gaze, he saw something that turned him on even more than her smelling like candy—a spark of determination. She pulled up straighter as she walked, and he felt her hand tighten on his.
“Kick ass. Right. I can do that.”
He smiled. “And I could use some help from an interpreter.”
“An interpreter? I speak some Spanish but that’s about it.”
“You don’t speak geek?” He hoped he wasn’t committing a faux pau in calling her, and all of this, geeky.
But she actually gave him a half smile. “Oh, geek. Yes, I’m fluent.”

And now the Top 5!  Check it out you guys - Erin is as much of a geek girl as we are!  Woohoo!

Top 5 Geek Girl Indulgences

       1. Books!  I always have one with me and I’ve been known to pull it out even standing in line at the   grocery store :-)

   2. Marvel movies! Love them all, but Captain America is one of my favorites.
   3. Supernatural. I’m addicted to the TV show-- everything about it. I’ve seen every episode at least   three times.
   4. I’m also a huge fan of Star Wars, even Ep 1-3 :-) 
   5. The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. The books more than the movies, but the movies too!
   6. Couldn’t stop with five J  Harry Potter!  Everything about it. 




Erin Nicholas is the author of sexy contemporary romances. Her stories have been described as toe-curling, enchanting, steamy and fun. She loves to write about reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines and happily ever afters. She lives in the Midwest with her husband who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books, her kids who will never read the sex scenes in her books, and family and friends who say they're shocked by the sex scenes in her books (yeah, right!).


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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wound Tight by Tessa Bailey Blog Tour


Today is our stop on the blog tour for Wound Tight by Tessa Bailey! Check out this fantastic new release and grab this sexy new contemporary fiction today!

About Wound Tight: A sexy new M/M romance from New York Times Bestselling author Tessa Bailey   When CEO Renner Bastion walks into a room, everyone keeps their distance. Well, everyone but the sarcastic, tattooed, Boston-bred security guard whose presence has kept Renner in New Jersey longer than intended. As if the unwanted attraction isn’t unsettling enough, Renner finds out his protector isn’t as unavailable as originally thought.   Milo Bautista just came out to his wealthy, ultra-confident boss, a man he secretly respects and admires…in more ways than he’ll admit. Worldly, experienced Renner would never look in his direction, let alone share some of that confidence he wears like a cloak, so Milo has set his sights on someone else to be his first.   Until Renner offers him private lessons in seduction... 

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We were lucky enough to have Tessa stop by today to talk about her inspiration for Wound Tight!  Welcome Tessa!  

What inspired the characters in Wound Tight?

Renner Bastion is the villain of this series. He’s the brooding factory owner and entrepreneur who played fast in loose with our beloved characters’ emotions in previous books. So when I decided to redeem him—and give him a happily ever after—I knew the person who rose to the challenge of thawing his cynical heart would need to be special. That person turned out to be a man. And even though I’d never written a M/M book before, Renner’s story didn’t feel right until I crafted scrappy, glass half full, Bostonian security guard, Milo Bautista, to be his other half.

The dynamic between these two was inspired by The Odd Couple. True story. Renner is not about to learn any new romantic tricks, until Milo comes out to him and asks to be taught everything Renner knows. In order to land another man. Dun-dun-dun.

Originally, I wanted there to be an over-the-top angsty push and pull between Renner and Milo, but it worked out differently than expected. As my stories often do! There is an age difference between them, not only in number, but in life experience. Where that starts as an obstacle, those differences turn out to be exactly what they need. It’s torrid and hot, it’s nurturing and nagging, it’s funny and sweet. Most of all, it’s perfectly right.

Thanks for much for stoppng by Tessa!  We love Wound Tight!  It's a phenomenal first foray into the m/m world and we hope you write many more!  


Tessa Bailey Bio: Author Bio: Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.   Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.   She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of nine years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

Connect with Tessa: Author Twitter: @mstessabailey 
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Author Street Team/Facebook Group: Bailey’s Babes 

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Snowbound at Christmas by Jennifer Ryan, Lia Riley and Maisey Yates

When a snowstorm pummels the western half of the country, three couples find once off-limits love just in time for Christmas. An unforgettable holiday anthology from bestselling authors Jennifer Ryan, Maisey Yates, and Lia Riley.

Close to Perfect: A Montana Men Novella by Jennifer Ryan

At sixteen, Abigail gave Dex the gift of a lifetime, but the cost of it was more than he ever knew. Now she's back in town with a secret that has been ten years in the making and this time it s Dex's turn to make the ultimate sacrifice or risk losing her forever.

Snowed in at Copper Ridge: A Copper Ridge Novella by Maisey Yates

Mia Landry has always had it bad for brooding cowboy Devlin Grayson. Too bad he's her best friend's older brother. But when they find themselves snowed in at Copper Ridge Lodge, Mia finally has the chance to tell the man of her dreams exactly what she wants him.

Hot Winter's Night: A Brightwater Novella by Lia Riley

While Brightwater is being covered in snow, Goldie Flint is stuck in her flower shop. She never expected her hero to be Kit Kane, the former love of her life. Kit knows that what he had with Goldie isn t just in the past and with the help of a little bet, an ornery grandmother, and a lot of snow, he s ready to show her that what he really wants for Christmas is a second chance.

Source: advance e-galley provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

It seems odd to be reading Christmas novellas when it's still warm out. No joke, it's going to be 70 degrees here on Thursday - a whole week before Thanksgiving! Of the three authors featured in Snowbound at Christmas, I'm most familiar with Lia Riley. I gladly used this as an opportunity to become acquainted with some new authors of whom I've heard about but hadn't read their books yet. 

Close to Perfect by Jennifer Ryan -- *** stars

it starts with a quick flashback of Abigail and Dex from ten years before that instantly hooks you. Two social opposites in high school discover that they had more in common with each other than they thought. An unfortunate sequence of events culminate in Abigail being sent away and neither of them hearing from each other again. She does return years later and it's a chance for them to not only rekindle their romance but also right many wrongs. It feels like a Hallmark Christmas movie - it's sweet, hopeful and about finding and giving forgiveness. This style is not typically what I gravitate towards but the holiday season always has a way of making me long for innocence and happy endings. This is what all feel-good holiday stories are about and what we crave.

Snowed in at Copper Ridge - *** stars

It's so annoying and inconvenient to have a crush on your best friend's brother. Talk about awkward and what it means to the best friend code. Mia has been nursing a crush on the much older Devlin for years. This Christmas, the family decides to host the holidays at a lodge but because of a snowstorm delaying everyone else's arrival, Mia and Devlin are on their own for a night. Yep. Just the two of them in a lodge with their innermost desires threatening to escape. Mia is definitely naive whereas Devlin is the experienced one. Lots of innuendos are tossed about taking this story to the other end of the spectrum. Feeling a little chilly?  You're in for some hot, combustible sexy times.

Hot Winter's Night by Lia Riley - *** 1/2 stars

The entire Brightwater series is about one person - Grandma Kane! Okay, maybe not but the staunch and brazen matriarch figures prominently and she's a hoot. I want to be her when I grow up. Anyway, this time we get to know Kit, the cousin of Archer, Wilder and Sawyer. Kit's a war veteran and has the scars to show for it. Goldie is the girl he left behind without saying goodbye or resolving any of the problems they had. Years later, she still carries a grudge against him even though they're still madly in love with each other and the entire town knows this. Their contentious relationship comes to a head one night during a snowstorm that finds her taking shelter at the Kane's where the whole family - Kit included - is waiting out the storm. There's chaos, there's tension, there's fun and there's Grandma Kane! Readers who've enjoyed the other three books in the Brightwater series will enjoy this, too. Style-wise, Hot Winter's Night is a nice balance between the more chaste, Close to Perfect and the raunchy, Snowed in at Cooper's Ridge.

It's inevitable that things will be crazy-busy this time of year so make it a plan to grab a copy of Snowbound at Christmas. The novellas are a perfect length to squeeze in a few minutes of reading and escape. Not to mention fun!

~ Bel