Monday, 1 December 2014

Launch Day Blitz: Merry Christmas Baby by Jill Shalvis

Book Blurb
Wild child Chloe Thompson can't believe how much things have changed. She still can't get enough of her sexy husband Sawyer, but he seems to prefer working to impending fatherhood. So tonight, a very pregnant Chloe is escaping her troubles at the town Christmas party.

Sheriff Sawyer Thompson hopes surprising Chloe at the  party will give him a chance to set things right. But as the snow begins to fall and the wind rages, he wonders whether he can make it back in time. While mother nature conspires to keep Sawyer and Chloe apart,  an unexpected arrival will require them to kiss and make up . . . and ring in the happiest holiday Lucky Harbor has ever seen.

Merry Christmas Baby is an achingly sweet Christmas novella featuring Sawyer and Chloe from Head Over Heels. Merry Christmas Baby had a lot to live up to. First, the Lucky Harbour series has come to an end and I’ve been dying for some more small-town goodness. And second, Chloe and Sawyer are one of my favourite Lucky Harbour couples; I’ve read their book a hundred times and can never get enough of them. And let me just tell you, this is one of the most beautiful, life affirming Christmas novellas I’ve ever met. 

Merry Christmas Baby has a very different tone to Head Over Heels. It’s got some serious depth, a lot of poignant moments and a whole lot of angst. It broke my heart, but in lovely sweet ways, and I had to reach for the tissues a couple of times. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not overly sappy or depressing…it’s just achingly beautiful and emotional in a very rich way. While Merry Christmas Baby does have a very emotional tone to it, Jill Shalvis still manages to fit some signature hilarious moments in, as well as one very, very steamy scene. 

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll smile and at the end of it, you’ll let out a delightful sigh while you fall deeper in love with the badass Sawyer who manages to be super sweet, and the incredible Chloe who manages to be both incredibly loving and stubbornly frustrating.   

“It’s only a week,” he said, and Chloe jumped.
He was at her side again, all lethal stealth. He set her fast-acting asthma inhaler on the nightstand for easy reach and then her cell phone, which he’d no doubt charged for her since she’d forgotten. His bag hung from his shoulder, and he watched her from those fathomless eyes. If she looked closely she could see the gold flecks in them. Sometimes, when he laughed, those flecks danced.
But they were still now.
As still as the man watching her.
“I know,” she murmured. “Just a week. You’ll be back for the town Christmas party. You promised to take me.”
His jaw went a little tight. Parties weren’t exactly Mr. Social’s thing. “We talked about this,” he said.
“Yes, and you agreed to take me.”
He shook his head. “I said it wasn’t a great idea, you exerting the energy to dress up and go to a crowded event.”
“I’m not a piece of china,” she said.
“No one would ever mistake you for one,” he responded, and she was pretty sure it wasn’t a compliment.
“But,” he went on in that voice of steel, “you’re eight months pregnant and suffer debilitating asthma. Give yourself a damn break.”
“I’ve had one,” she said. “Maddie and Tara won’t even let me work at my own spa. I need to get out, Sawyer. I need to see people.” Before her life changed forever… “I’m going.”
“I’ll be back,” was all he said.
“And the party?”
“We’ll see.”
Not exactly a promise, but then again he was careful never to promise anything he couldn’t deliver. His word, when he gave it, was good as gold.
He lifted her chin and looked into her eyes for a long beat. “Dr. Tyler is only a call away,” he said. “Your sisters are close by. Jax and Ford are in your speed dials and are on standby for anything.”
Chloe’s obstetrician was wonderful, and so were her sisters Maddie and Tara and their husbands—Sawyer’s BFFs Jax and Ford. But if there was an emergency, it wasn’t any of them that Chloe wanted.
It was the tall testosterone and attitude-ridden man standing in front of her, already long gone given the look on his face.
“I want you to take care,” he said.
“You heard what Dr. Tyler said the last time we were in her office for false labor.” She patted her belly. “The Bean’s in for the long haul.”
“I meant you,” Sawyer said. “Take care of you.”
Coming from him, the words were tantamount to a shouted vow of love, and they moved her as only Sawyer could. “Always,” she promised, softening. “And what about you?”
“I haven’t had any labor pains, false or otherwise,” he deadpanned.
That got a laugh out of her.
He smiled but it faded quickly. “You know you can text or email me, and that I’ll call when I can,” he said. “And if anything happens—anything at all, Chloe—I can be back here in two hours.”
“Anything?” she asked playfully, trying to lighten the mood, using a voice that once upon a time would’ve made him kick off his shoes and strip and crawl back into bed with her, the hell with obligation and responsibility.
“I’ll be here.” He met her gaze, his own serious. “Always.”
An alarm on his watch beeped. He turned it off without taking his eyes from her.
She blew out a breath. “You’ve gotta go.”
He touched her face. “Chloe—”
She closed her eyes and turned her jaw into his touch. “I know,” she said. “And it’s okay. It’s all going to be okay.”
She just hoped that was true.

Social Links and Purchasing Information
Merry Christmas Baby releases Tuesday 2nd of December (it's available now in Australia) and will available at all manner of online book retailers. Purchasing information can be found on Jill Shalvis' Website. 

Jill Shalvis has a prominant presence on social media, so there's plenty of places to find out more information, catch excerpts from past and upcoming books and catch up on any news. The links for all of her contacts and websites are below: 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Exciting News + The Book Den's Facebook Group

Hello Lovely Readers!
This is just a quick post to let you know about some new changes I’ve made to the blog, and some of the upcoming exciting things that will be happening over the next few weeks and months. 

Facebook Group:
We’ve been having some glitches with the contact pages and the blog layout itself is reasonably restrictive in terms of what you can post. So that I am able to make the blog as exciting, engaging and interactive as possible, I’ve created a private Facebook group just for you! 

This is where we’ll hold competitions and giveaways and it’s also the best way for you to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions. I’m very open to constructive criticism so if there are any problems with the blog, or if you have any suggestions on how to improve it, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m also open to hearing from readers, authors and publishers regarding books that they would like to have reviewed (this is something I’ll talk about a little more below). Please understand that I’m open to reading all kinds of books, but I will always post an honest, but polite, review. While you’re able to contact me directly, you should also still feel free to comment on the blog posts whenever you like, just remember to keep it civil!

You can find the group here  or by searching "The Book Den: Book Reviews" on Facebook. 

Each month I’ll add up different posts specific to the blog, but this group is for you so feel free to add content that you find enjoyable and exciting. There are only two rules: 
Rule 1: keep things civil and polite. Rudeness, bullying and bad behaviour will not be tolerated.  
Rule 2: try to keep posts related to romance/erotica/fiction type areas. Feel free to post photos, especially of real-life people you think would fit characters from your favourite books, snippets , suggestions for books you’d like to be reviewed or posts about books you’ve read and loved. Join in, add your friends, be creative and have fun! 

New and Exciting Things!
Now for the new and exciting things! I’m planning to make a couple of exciting changes to the content of the blog, to make it a little more dynamic and interesting. You can read a little more about those changes below, and feedback is always welcome! 

Author Spotlight Week
I had a great time with the Inaugural Author Spotlight Week here on the blog and had some great feedback from it too. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. I plan to do an Author Spotlight Week about once a month and I want to make it as exciting and fun as possible. To that end, I would love to select the author from a list of authors suggested by readers. Of course, if an author would like to be chosen they’re more than welcome to nominate themselves too (or publishers are welcome to nominate authors as well).
I want to keep these posts fun and dynamic, so I’ll be doing reviews of their work, maybe cover reveals or snippets, interviews if the authors wish to do that and giveaways. Suggestions on how to make these posts exciting and interest are very welcome! Author Spotlight Week will be run jointly between the blog and the Facebook group. 

Reader Appreciation
We’re a very small blog but our page views grow a little each week. I love the support the blog has received and I hope that people love reading it as much as I love writing it! To show my appreciation for readers, I’ll be putting up one post a month that will stay open the entire month, where readers can post book suggestions, mini-reviews, post photos of sexy book-boyfriends or favourite snippets from books or even ask for book requests. You can post sound-tracks for books or really anything you like that it is related to the wonderful world of books! This post is all about you; the only requirement is that it stay civil and fun. Fighting or rude comments won’t be tolerated. Each month one commenter will win a surprise giveaway! Readers of all kinds (authors, publishers too!) are welcome to post comments, but publishers won’t be eligible for the giveaway.

Book Review Suggestions
I’ve been reviewing books for most of my adult life. I found that, particularly on purchasing website, the atmosphere can be a little toxic for reviewers which is one of the many reasons I started this blog. One of the other major reasons I started this blog is to introduce new readers to fabulous books and authors. I have a selection of authors I LOVE to read and I’m certainly attracted to certain styles of writing. I don’t want this blog to become stagnant or boring, so I would love it if readers (or authors, or publishers) would suggest new books and authors to read and review. That way, you’ll get snippets from authors you know and love, but you’ll also get a peek at a much more exciting range of books and authors. 

Guest Posts
I read every day and I would love to be putting out book reviews every single day too! But I’m a full time student and, especially around peak-assessment times, I don’t always have time to post regularly. I want this blog to stay as consistent as possible, so that fresh material is added regularly, so if you have a book review or something relevant that you’d like to post please feel free to contact me so that we can have a chat about it. I’m completely open to hearing from other reviewers (professional or not), readers or authors.
So that’s all from me today. Thank you for stopping by and reading and if you have any suggestions, questions or feedback please don’t hesitate to contact me! 

Best Wishes,

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Gift Wrapped by Karla Doyle + A Sexy Snippet

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of Gift Wrapped from Karla Doyle as part of her release day blitz, but I also purchased a copy of the book (it’s that good!). As always all opinions and recommendations shown here are my own. 

Book Blurb:
After catching her boyfriend cheating two weeks before Christmas, Brinn is seriously lacking in holiday spirit. So when she looks into the eyes of a last-minute shopper after closing on Christmas Eve, she’s sarcastic rather than sympathetic. But Brinn is ever the good girl and her conscience wins out. She offers the handsome stranger ten minutes to select a gift and ends up with a present of her own—a date. On Christmas Eve.

Davis hates Christmas. Especially this year, since a neighborhood heist liberated him of his hard-earned belongings and the few gifts he’d purchased. But the robbery led him to a cute store manager with a sense of humor, smokin’ body and no plans for the evening. Mistletoe might be in order after all.
Their Christmas Eve date is like gift-wrapped, sexy satisfaction. But the best gifts keep on giving, and one naughty night may not be enough—for either of them.

Book Review:
I’m a huge fan of Christmas-themed romances, and I’m also a huge fan of Karla Doyle’s work, so Gift Wrapped had quite a legacy to live up to. I was hoping for a light, fun and sexy story but what I got was so much more than that. Gift Wrapped is a super sexy, slightly kinky story that was incredibly fun but also had some serious depth and fantastic plot points. I guarantee, even if you hate Christmas stories (one of the characters is very anti-Christmas so you two will get along great!), Gift Wrapped will jingle all your bells. Yeah I went there, it was an opportunity too good to miss!

So often, romance features conventionally attractive people with jobs that most people salivate over. One of the many things I love about Karla Doyle is that she writes characters that are so real they could be people you know. But they’re characters you don’t ordinarily see in standard romances.  She’s had a red-headed hero, a heroine who photographs erotic scenes, a very complicated threesome with a teacher, a tattooed labourer and a businessman, and now, with the smokin’ hot Davis Rourke, she’s featured a hero who is huge and bald, and Brinn, a retail manager who is kind of short, kind of curvy, kind of snarky, but also sexy and cute, which I’m completely delighted by! They’re not convention, but together they are so sweet, so sexy and so incredibly real that you can’t help but to fall in love with them. 

 Davis is a complicated guy. He comes from a long-line of stuffy people with sticks up their butts (not literally, of course).  Growing up, his family didn’t do fun, they didn’t do delightful Christmas celebrations or silly things and while he’s bucking family tradition, those years of un-funness coloured his world and made him kind of a Grinch. He’s a head chef at a great, but not top-tier, restaurant and he does some really amazing things with food throughout the book. I adored Davis! Everything about him is so real and organic and I can picture a guy just like him acting just the way he does. I loved that he was kind of grouchy about the whole Christmas thing and that he’s wary of getting involved with women long-term because he’s dealt with a whole bucket of crazy in the past. But he’s hilarious, he’s protective and sweet and so, so cute with Brinn and as his roughness slowly melts, your heart will too. On top of all that goodness, he also has a penchant for very hot, unconventional (read: kinky and sexy but not whips and chains kinky) sex that is so hot it’s likely to light your Christmas tree on fire.

Brinn, our sassy heroine, is incredible! She’s the kind of woman I want to be friends with because in spite of having copious amounts of crappy relationships, she’s still forging ahead and making her life as fabulous as she can. She’s stubborn, she knows what she wants and she’s kind of snarky. She’s bright and funny and has a love of Christmas that is infectious, but it’s balanced with her wariness over letting another man dictate her life choices. She’s hopeful and sassy and incredibly sweet but she more than matches up with Davis’ dark and kinky side. I loved her interactions with her family, watching them all together way heart-warming. I also loved the choices she made, they were realistic and I could see myself making the same choices in similar circumstances, though there was a scene in Chapter Eleven that broke my heart and made me want to smack her upside the head. They fit so well together and they way they sort of melt into each other’s life is adorable and heart-meltingly sweet. 

Karla Doyle has done a great job balancing these characters’s personality attributes so that they come across as achingly real but also, not too silly and bubbly and not too grouchy and wary. The character progression feels organic and natural and completely makes sense and the plot flows beautifully around these two characters. The story happens in a relatively short period of time, but it doesn’t feel too short, and a lot happens within the 13 chapters to make it a wild ride you’ll want to sink into and never come out.
The dialogue is on-point, realistic and each character has a very unique voice. It can be tricky for female writers to convincingly write gruff, sexy masculine dialogue but Karla Doyle completely nailed it! The background characters are rich and inviting, and I definitely want to know more about Brinn’s brother. The plot, as I mentioned above, is realistic and flows so organically that it’s very easy to lose yourself in the book. There are enough plot points to keep you hooked and none of them come across as silly or contrived and they all flow together well. 

Now, I’m going to be honest with you here…I absolutely loved this book but I have one teeny tiny complaint that is completely personal and has nothing to do with the brilliance of the book. And that complaint is that Brinn went home with Davis the first time she met him, without knowing anything about him except that he was a seriously sexy guy and his flirting was practically smoking up the pages. Within the book it felt organic and natural but it tweaked all of my Girl Safety 101 triggers. But to be honest with you, if I was faced with a real-life Davis, I probably would have gone home with him too…especially if it involved pudding! 

Overall, this book is absolutely fabulous. It’s endearing and sweet, smokin’hot, kinky and sexy, it’s light and fun but still tackles some pretty deep concepts and issues, it’s fast and snappy but flows so well that you’ll sink into it and never want to come back out. The dialogue is phenomenal, the characters are incredible and the plot is organic and natural and I guarantee you, it will jingle all your bells AND light up your Christmas tree. 

Purchasing Information and Social Links
Gift Wrapped is available from a bunch of online retailers, so there’s bound to be one that tickles your fancy, and you can find all the purchasing information here:
If you’ve read Gift Wrapped and loved it, I recommend all of Karla Doyle’s books and there are plenty of ways to keep up to date on Karla Doyle's other upcoming work below: 
Karla’s Website: