Thursday, December 12, 2013


Ripped (Miller Sisters, #1)Series: Miller Sisters #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Cosmo Red Hot Reads from Harlequin
Publication Date: 11/26/13
Format: eARC
Pages: 95
Source: Author
Rating: 4 stars

"Wardrobe malfunction" doesn't begin to cover it.

With a rip louder than the "I dos," Hayley's hideous bile-yellow bridesmaid dress explodes. She's always had enviable curves, but nearly naked wasn't quite the look she'd been going for at her ex's wedding.

She's rushed from the altar under the best man's designer tux jacket. Hayley's expecting a blast of icy disapproval from sexy, sophisticated Niccolò Rossi—his usual reaction to anything she does. What she gets is a kiss that nearly melts what's left of her polyester nightmare gown.

It's impossible on a million levels. Exuberant engineer Hayley and buttoned-up lawyer Nico have never seen eye to eye—but skin to skin? Oh, mio… So when Nico shows up at her flat on Christmas Day to give her a fabulous gift—himself—Hayley's delighted to do the unwrapping. But it's just a holiday fling. By New Year's Day, she'll come back to her senses…unless Nico's sensual skills tear away all her resolve.

I was in the middle of reading Sarah Morgan's holiday story, Sleigh Bells in the Snow (review below), when I received the review request for Ripped. I'm so glad that I was becoming familiar with Morgan's work and enjoying it, or I might have otherwise let this one slip away. Ripped was a holiday novella that got me in the spirit, and in the mood.

Imagine how incredibly awkward it would feel to be a bridesmaid to your friend, and your ex. Awful, right? Now imagine the bride forced you to wear a hideous dress, a dress that splits the seams during the wedding. Everyone is laughing, staring... except for one man. The gorgeous and intense Best Man, Nico, who comes to the rescue. This crazy awkward scenario is what sets Ripped off to a fabulous start that left me giggling and flying through the pages.

But, Ripped is not only funny, but also very romantic and sexy. The story continues with the Miller sisters' annual Christmas party, and the sparks between Hayley and Nico fan to an out of control level. Nico Rossi = Best Christmas Gift Ever. The two get to know each other better, on all levels. The steam between Nico and Hayley was intense and sexy, but the story never lost its thoughtfulness, humor, and heart.

Ripped is a holiday romance that sends the year out with a bang. I will be anxiously awaiting the next Miller Sisters novella.

Favorite Quotes:

  The dress was a horribly tight tube, floor length, which basically meant my legs were locked together. I couldn't even run away. I was like a mermaid, but without an ocean to drown in. Escape would be a slow, shuffling, breast-bouncing affair.    ~eARC, 13%

  There was one part of him he couldn't control and that part was thrusting hard against a pair of black boxer briefs. I felt sympathy for those briefs. Containing an erection of that size just wasn't in the job description.   ~eARC, 67%

Sleigh Bells in the Snow (O'Neil Brothers, #1)Series: O'Neil Brothers #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Publication Date: 10/29/13
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Source: Purchase
Rating: 4 stars

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan heats up the season with the O'Neil brothers in a brand-new holiday series!

Once upon a time, Christmas was Kayla Green's favorite time of year. Now all the workaholic wants for Christmas is for it to be over—as fast as possible! So when duty calls her to snowy Vermont to close a deal with a new client, Kayla is grateful for an excuse to avoid the holidays for another year.

Jackson O'Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage his family's resort—it's in his blood, and he can't let it fail. Now that he's got marketing whiz Kayla Green working with him to put Snow Crystal on the map, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in Vermont is just an added bonus.

Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she's out of her depth with Jackson—he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamed of, and it's terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to swirl, will the woman who doesn't believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell?

Sleigh Bells in the Snow first came to my attention in October. So many romance bloggers were recommending it for a great holiday read, and recommending Sarah Morgan in general. I'm thrilled that I caved to the blogger peer pressure, because I truly enjoyed this story.

Sleigh Bells in the Snow as a charming and romantic story of Kayla, a workaholic who is tasked with helping Jackson find a way to save his family's resort. At Christmas. Most people would avoid working over the holiday. Kayla, though, uses work to distance herself from the painful holidays of her childhood. Jackson, stressed by business and family, sees a woman who is hiding. He wants to break her free, and knows she is worth the effort.

Sleigh Bells in the Snow was not only inspiring, and frustrating, love story (due to Kayla's resistance to Jackson), but also a family story. Jackson's crazy awesome family was trying, funny, and lovable. We also get a nice glimpse of the other two O'Neil brothers, Tyler and Shane (Jackson's identical twin, YUM) and a strong sense of where the series is headed. In fact, the subplot with Tyler and his daughter Jess was so good that it almost stole the story. I'm very excited to continue with the O'Neil Brothers series.

Favorite Quote:

  "It's time you had some new memories of Christmas, Kayla." His voice was as soft and gentle as the snow falling around them. "We're going to make them together so that you have something good to take away with you. That's my gift to you. Merry Christmas."   ~pg. 301


About the author
Sarah MorganUSA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes hot, happy contemporary romance and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She has been nominated three years in succession for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America and has won the award twice, in 2012 and 2013. She also won the RT Reviewers' Choice Award in 2012 and has made numerous appearances in their 'Top Pick' slot.

As well as writing for Harlequin Presents, her first full length novel, Sleigh Bells in the Snow will be published by HQN in October 2013 and Ripped, her first title for the Cosmo Red Hot Reads from Harlequin programme will be out in November 2013.

Sarah lives near London, and when she isn't reading or writing she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying

Website  |  Twitter Facebook GoodReads

Stranded with a HeroSeries: Anthology
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled Bliss
Publication Date: 11/11/13
Format: eARC
Pages: 350
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 stars

Getting snowed in never felt so good as boundaries are crossed, opposites attract, and friends discovering more promise a Christmas no one will ever forget.

Loving Mindy by Karen Erickson Mindy can’t believe she's stuck with her ex–best friend—and the man whose heart she broke years ago—for the holidays, though the tension between them is more than enough to keep them warm. Josh Powers never forgot Mindy, but he can’t risk his heart a second time.

White-Hot Holiday by Coleen Kwan Naomi’s sworn off men like Aaron—rich, cocky, and dismissive of holiday traditions. Aaron decided to spend Christmas in sunny Australia to avoid snowy New York, not to fall for the woman his best friend warned him away from. But when a volcano grounds him, Aaron and Naomi's relationship becomes eruptive.

An Officer and a Rebel by Cindi Madsen The last person police officer Nate Walsh expected to discover in a snowstorm is his brother's ex and former town rebel, Kelsey Cooper. She’s his complete opposite and totally off-limits, but as they wait out the storm together, all he can think is how he wishes she'd stay forever.

Saving the Sheriff by Roxanne Snopek Frankie Sylva was determined to free the reindeer cruelly held for a holiday roadshow, even if it meant risking her own life. Deputy Sheriff Red LeClair set out to save a stranger in a snowstorm, never expecting he’d be the one to be rescued.

Loving Mindy by Karen Erickson

Knowing that I love Erickson's work under the name Monica Murphy, I was excited to read Loving Mindy. This is a novella that is part of a on-going series, but I honestly didn't feel that I was lost or missing the details. Erickson did a solid job of giving just enough history, without dragging the current timeframe down.

Having both a second-chance-romance and a friends-to-lovers theme,  Loving Mindy is a beloved trope double-whammy. Mindy and Josh were both engaging characters, and I did become invested in their story in a very short amount of time. Bonus: this has me interested in reading the rest of Erickson's Lone Pine Lake series!

Favorite Quote:

  "This is the best Christmas present I've ever received," she whispered. I'm so glad you almost hit my cat."
  He laughed, the warm, rich sound making her smile. "That is the strangest thing you've said yet, Min, but I gotta agree. I'm glad I almost hit your cat, too."

White-Hot Holiday by Coleen Kwan

This was another really sweet, quick-paced holiday read. Set in Australia, White-Hot Holiday is the story of Aaron, who needs a break in the worst way, and Naomi, a woman who's been recently burned by love. This story had a good bit of angst, with Aaron and Naomi fighting their feelings. The angst is well-placed, though. Naomi is Aaron's best friend's niece, and he's been warned away from her. Naomi is dealing with a recent break-up with a man whom Aaron seems similar to. And there's also the pesky issue of the fact these two not only live on different continents, but almost an entire globe away. Naomi teaches Aaron to embrace the holiday spirit. Aaron convinces Naomi that she doesn't have to give up who she is for love again. The ending of this one was particularly good.

Favorite Quote:

  "I'm very good at customer service. See these dimples here?" He pointed at his cheek. "They're my secret weapon. I've closed major deals with them."
  A smile tugged at the corners of her lips. "I see. So dimples are worth more than an MBA from Columbia?"
  "Used judiciously, yes. They don't teach you the proper use of dimples at Columbia. It comes from experience." 

An Officer and a Rebel by Cindi Madsen

Cindi Madsen is a favorite of mine, and I love her Accidentally in Love series. Remember Wes from Falling for her Fiance? Nate is his cousin, so I think that is pretty much all I need to say to convince fans that An Officer and a Rebel is worth the read.

As always, Madsen has created a story that made me laugh, and warmed my heart at the same time. Her heroine, Kelsey was a little bit crazy, a whole lot funny, and adorable. She's a little bit of a disaster, the good kind, so of course I loved her and her purple hair and potty mouth.

This story has a nice little forbidden(-ish) romance, with Kelsey being the ex-girlfriend of Nate's younger brother. There is also the fact that Nate has always had a bit of a crust on Kelsey, but thought she could never go for him. Of course things work out, but in this story, the getting there was a whole lot of fun.

Favorite Quote:

  His heart pounded in his chest, and he pushed his hand into her hair, desire flooding his veins once more. Addictive--that was the right word for being with Kelsey. Never enough, always wanting more.

Saving the Sheriff by Roxanne Snopek

Of the four author in the anthology, Snopek is the only one whose work I wasn't familiar with. Saving the Sheriff was fast-paced and fairly humorous story. I enjoyed the premise, with Frankie infiltrating a man who's endangering game, and she's determined to save them from the butcher. Red is the sheriff in need of rescuing, which, I think what needed to be saved was his surly attitude. (just kidding, he was fine)

Frankie was fun and lively. Red was coping with his first Christmas since divorce, and was understandably a bit of a sad sack. I never really fell in love with the characters as much as I enjoyed the premise. What made this fun for me was the humor. I loved how these two teased one another. And the ending, it was another sweet and satisfying conclusion.

Favorite Quote:

  "You look good in the morning." Red half-sat up against the couch, his arms crossed behind his head, a lazy grin on his face.
  "You could dial back the crazy a touch, though."

About the authors
Karen  EricksonUSA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson lives in central California with her husband, three kids, one dog and too many cats. Being a romance writer and bringing her characters to life is her greatest dream come true.

She also writes new adult romance as NYT & USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy.
Coleen Kwan writes contemporary and steampunk romance for Carina Press and Entangled Publishing.

Coleen has been a bookworm all her life. At school English was her favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance and steampunk romance.

Coleen lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching The Office.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  GoodReads
Cindi MadsenCindi Madsen sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children. She is the author of YA books All the Broken Pieces, Cipher, and Demons of the Sun and adult romances Falling for Her FiancĂ©, Act Like You Love Me, and Cinderella Screwed Me Over.

Connect with Cindi at:
Website  |   Twitter   |   Facebook  | Blog  |  GoodReads
Roxanne SnopekBefore she was a novelist, Roxanne was an aerobics instructor (fired for insufficient coordination), a cosmetics salesperson (lacked that go-for-the-throat sales attitude), a dog-trainer (they all died*), a tax consultant with H&R Block (yeah, that was before Quicken and TurboTax), taught dog and cat breed names (she's a font of useless information) and most recently, wrote content for an interactive romance/mystery video game (still can't master Windows 8.)

Now she explores all kinds of careers from the safety of her desk, through her characters. It's better for everyone that way.

*It was 15 years ago, people! It's not like they died because of her!




  1. I've read a several Christmas themed novellas this year but Ripped and Stranded with the Hero were my faces. (I haven't read Sleigh Bells in the Snow yet)

    How awesome was Nico from Ripped?? He should have come off as a controlling alpha type or jerk but he was fantastic!!

  2. Wow, you're read a lot of holiday reads lately! I really enjoyed Sarah Morgan's Sleigh Bells in the Snow, and can't wait for the other 2 brothers' stories. I loved that it was a family story, and Kayla's workaholic ways frustrated me too. Ripped sounds really good! Did the bride chose that horrible dress for her on purpose? I'm really interested in checking this one out. I love it when a book makes me laugh! Anthologies are always fun, and I love Monica Murphy! I have a few of her books for review under Karen Erickson. I need to get to them ASAP! Great mini reviews Andrea!!!!

  3. Sounds like some sweet romance. Thanks for sharing

  4. I'm going to read Stranded With A Hero this week, so I can get it up before Christmas. Glad you enjoyed all these!

  5. Oh gosh, Andrea! You have me seriously wanting to read holiday-themed romances! I'm especially intrigued with Ripped! The premise is hilarious. I'm so glad you read some great books that put you in the holiday spirit! Did you get that shopping finished?!? I STILL don't have my tree up...maybe tomorrow. :)

  6. wonderful reviews! they sound so sweet. Ripped made me giggle, that does sound embarrassing, but awesome!

  7. Wonderful reviews Andrea. I haven't read anything by Sarah Morgan I don't think. I did read one of the Cosmo Red Hot Reads recently though and I really liked it. I am going to have to get Stranded with a Hero. I didn't realize it was an anthology.

  8. i hardly ever, actually i would say i don't read seasonal books, but Ripped sounds like a christmas read i'll want to sink my teeth into. and stranded with a hero sounds like it'd be just as fun and cute. great reviews Andrea (:


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