Posts tagged with: Christmas Revels

Foanna’s 2014 Reading Roundup – Part 1

rr 1Happy new year, Banditas and Bandita Buddies! I hope 2015 is fantastic for you.

That’s enough of the looking ahead. Let’s look back to 2014 and some great books.

I thought I’d devote my spots on the Romance Bandits for January and February to listing some of the wonderful reads I found last year. After all, we all love recommendations for our towering TBR piles, don’t we?

Today, I’m going to talk about romances. Next month, I’m going to talk about books that aren’t romances (or at least not primarily – I find my favorite books nearly always include some sort of romantic plot, even if only as a subsidiary). You’ll notice that I’ve steered clear of books by my tremendously talented Bandit sisters – if I included theirs, we’d be here all year!

rr 2I blogged a couple of months ago about how I was on a major Nora Roberts kick. That looks like it might continue this year. Of the many Noras I read in 2014, my favorite is THE WITNESS, her story of a super-intelligent, high achieving teenager who finally kicks over the traces and rebels, only to be forced into a living nightmare when she witnesses a mafia killing. The woman grows up, always on the run, always smart enough to stay alive – but what happens when she falls in love with the local police chief? Is it time to stop running and finally face her enemies?

This one has two wonderful central characters (I love Abigail’s dorky but smart take on life), a lovely romance and some seriously good suspense. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you grab it now! For a peek at some of the other Nora books I read this year, here’s my blog on the subject: http://romancebandits.com/im-in-the-mood-for-love-and-nora/

rr 3The next book, THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT by Kandy Shepherd, is by a friend of mine. It just happens that some of my favorite reads last year are by people I know – they’re all well worth picking up! Summer is simply gorgeous, a lovely story about two damaged people who were in love as teenagers and reconnect after life hasn’t been kind to either of them. It’s a story about bad timing turning into forever after. I laughed and cried in this one – and you’ll fall in love with the town of Dolphin Bay where the book is set. You can read an interview with Kandy here: http://romancebandits.com/kandy-shepherd/

The next sooper-dooper read for you is THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE, the debut novel by Vanessa Barneveld, another friend of mine.

rr 5This YA is a beautiful story about coming to accept who you are and finding the right person and learning that life is a mixture of happy and sad. It’s also a darn good ghostly mystery story as heroine Keira struggles to answer the questions surrounding the death of high school hero Jimmy and in the process realizes that she’s always loved his older brother Dan. Even if you’re not usually a YA fan, give this one a go. You won’t be disappointed. You can see where Vanessa visited the lair and gave us the lowdown on her book here: http://romancebandits.com/vanessa-barneveld/

With my next recommendation, I’m cheating slightly as it’s a series of six, M.C. Beaton/Marion Chesney’s The Travelling Matchmaker books. These are trad Regencies full of wit and romance and classic period touches like duels and highwaymen and marriages of convenience.

rr 4When housekeeper Hannah Pym unexpectedly receives a bequest from her late employer, she determines to seek the adventure that her quiet life in domestic service has so far prevented. She sets out on various stagecoaches and meets danger and excitement and young lovers and a chance to discover talents she never knew she possessed. These books are such fun – definitely a series to put a smile on your face. Here’s a link to a more detailed review of the six books that I did on the Romance Dish: http://www.theromancedish.com/2014/06/regency-charmers.html

My next choice from 2014 is a corker of a steamy reunion story from lair favorite Annie West. For some reason, I couldn’t link this one through the cover, but here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J2ZVDSM?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B00J2ZVDSM&linkCode=xm2&tag=romanbandi-20

rr 6I love all Annie’s stories but this one really hit it out of the ballpark for me. Orsino Chatsfield and his estranged wife Poppy have so much passion between them that when they come together in a glamorous French chateau, they set the Loire Valley aflame! This is part of the Harlequin Chatsfield continuity but you can read the story as a stand-alone. Give it a go – these characters are unforgettable. Here’s a link to where Annie visited the lair to talk about this book: http://romancebandits.com/annie-west-6/

My last favorite book of the year is one I read in December. Who doesn’t like a Christmas charmer? Mary Jo Putney‘s collection of four Regency novellas plus a contemporary, CHRISTMAS REVELS, is uber charming. All the stories are great, but my particular favorite is The Christmas Cuckoo where a capable young woman who believes she’s on the shelf collects the wrong man from the local inn and takes him home for a family Christmas. A lovely story about life delivering some gorgeous surprises just when you think your chances have run out. And you’ll fall in love with Jack Howard just like Meg does.

So that’s my romance round-up. I’ve got a mixture of women’s fiction and mysteries and nonfiction coming next month so make sure you check in.

In the meantime, what were your favorite romances of 2014? I’m always looking for recommendations.

1BanditBootyAnd because I love to share my friends’ books, I’ll give one commenter today their choice from THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT by Kandy Shepherd, REBEL’S BARGAIN by Annie West, or THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE by Vanessa Barneveld. The prize is available internationally. Good luck! 

‘Tis the Season…

Earllowres..of goodwill to all men and of great reading for us gals!

Christmas seems to bring a  million books out of the woodwork – all that kissing under the mistletoe obviously inspires romantic thoughts.

Today, I want to introduce you to three stories of mine with Christmas themes and mention two more Christmas anthologies well worth your time – and then, just as a ring-in, a new novella from Annie West that while it’s not a Christmas story, will definitely light up your Yuletide.

TWW low resAll are available digitally on multiple platforms. If you’ve got a Kindle, just click on the cover and it will take you to the page on Amazon. We like to make it easy for our Bandita Buddies!

First up is HER CHRISTMAS EARL: A REGENCY NOVELLA which has been going like hotcakes, I’m pleased to say, including reaching the number 1 spot on a number of Amazon lists, including Regency romance. This is a story of a mishap on Christmas Eve that leads to an unlikely marriage of convenience – and of course true love!

It’s available for the princely sum of 99 cents. You can read the blurb and an excerpt here: http://annacampbell.info/xmasearl.html

anthologyIf you’re a member of the den (and why wouldn’t you be? Just click the members button on the top toolbar for information and registration), there’s another exclusive excerpt of Earl available this month here: http://romancebandits.com/exclusive-excerpt-from-her-christmas-earl/

My second recommendation is my 2012 Christmas novella, THE WINTER WIFE, which is a reunion story featuring a Scottish earl and his headstrong countess. You can read an excerpt and the blurb here: http://annacampbell.info/winterwife.html

The last of my Christmas stories is such a bargain, it’s FREE! Last year, I teamed up with Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly and Kate Noble on an anthology called A GROSVENOR SQUARE CHRISTMAS. My story, “His Christmas Cinderella,” is, you guessed it, a Cinderella story about a girl from a humble background who dares to love a Scottish earl. Scottish earls seem to proliferate in my Christmas stories!

ChristmasRevels1-187x300Now for the other books I want to bring to your attention. First up features the debut of multi prize-winning Bandita Buddy Louisa Cornell. Her novella “A Perfectly Dreadful Christmas” is included in the anthology CHRISTMAS REVELS, just out! I’ve got this on my Kindle and I’m saving it as part of my Christmas book wallow. It sounds delicious.

Next is another freebie that gives you so much Christmas reading, you’ll still be going next year! A whole stack of authors including Banditas Trish Milburn, Donna MacMeans, Nancy Northcott, Suzanne Ferrell and Tawny Weber got together to put together a free Christmas themed anthology called TINY TREATS. I don’t know about you but at this time of year, short really suits my reading requirements and this is like a big box of chocolates!

Tiny treatsMy final recommendation isn’t exactly a Christmas book but it’s just come out from the brilliant Annie West. Annie visited us yesterday to tell us about her latest release in the Hot Italian Nights Series, BOUGHT BY THE ITALIAN. I’ve read this little treasure and it’s a fantastic story – not to mention an absolute steal at only 99 cents.

You’ll notice that none of these books are exactly going to break the bank which is great news at this time of year where everything else seems to require major spending!

bbti 4The other great thing about all of these is that they’re bite-size chunks of romance goodness. Another item people are short of at this time of year is time. We’re all so busy running around, it’s the ideal occasion for some stress-busting reading, but it’s finding space to indulge in it, isn’t it? Well, all of these will take you a couple of hours at most, mostly less. A sweet moment of bliss to reward you for all your Christmas hard work.

So go ahead, why not treat yourself to some great reading this Christmas?

This is my last blog for the year, so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2015. Thank you for your support!