Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT - and a chance to win!

Donna Kauffman, Jill Shalvis, and HelenKay Dimon, three of the most recognized names in women's fiction, have joined together in a fun holiday anthology, TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT. I have read pretty much everything these talented women have written and trust me, they know how to do romance right - gorgeous, manly men, the sexy, intelligent women they can't live without, humor and sensuality - it all adds up to excellent reading entertainment if you ask me.

I was very fortunate to get a copy of this gorgeous book from HelenKay for review - together with an extra copy for giveaway - try and tell me you're not excited!! The cover shouts Christmas, doesn't it? The red door on the cover looks exactly like the front door on the house where I grew up, which makes it extra special! I always loved that bright red door. I've written a review - try to read it all the way through before going to the contest info, ok? Just kidding, I'd probably rather skip to the good stuff too!

My review:
TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT Donna Kauffman
Emma Lafferty agrees to house sit and pet sit for an eccentric billionaire over the holidays, knowing the pay and references it would generate would be a hefty boost to her new pet sitting business. When she arrives at his country home in the middle of an ice storm, the last thing she expects to find is the gorgeous great-grandson of the CEO, and although she doesn't quite believe the story he's telling about why he's there, she finds his charm irresistible.
Trevor Hamilton knew his great-uncle was going out of the country for two weeks and was certain he could pay off whoever had been hired to pet sit so he could search the mansion for clues to a family secret - a secret that has eaten at him for several years. It immediately becomes clear that Emma isn't budging. It isn't long before Trevor is totally captivated by Emma and he finds himself questioning the importance of the supposed family secret in comparison to his desire to build a relationship with Emma.
Emma and Trevor are absolutely charming together, despite a slightly rocky start. The sparks fly immediately, although they're a little hesitant to trust each other. Trevor's questions and doubts about his place in his family is heartening, as is Emma's gentle persuasion for him to do whatever is necessary to ease his mind and allow him to find the peace he has desperately wanted for several years.
Maggie Bell is a chemistry genius, working extremely long days on what she hopes is the next medical miracle. Maggie seems to be a Mr. Wrong magnet - finding him time and time again. When she decides to just go ahead and find Mr. Wrong right off the bat, who better than her high school crush, Jacob Wheeler, a contractor who is working in her building. The trouble is, once the two start spending time together, Jacob is beginning to look more and more like Mr. Right.
Seeing Maggie for the first time since high school, Jacob is incredulous that he's never noticed how beautiful she is. When he learns that she's decided to "use" him as her Mr. Wrong, he decides to make the most of it and convince her that he wants more than a temporary fling, encouraging her to use her lab for more than test slides.
Jill Shalvis has done a great job with this reunion story. Past familiarity spares Maggie and Jacob time in the "getting to know you" stage and despite their differences in profession, they find that there's a definite attraction that both are eager to investigate and research. Add a little intrigue and danger and Maggie and Jacob's story is especially interesting.
Natalie Pritchard breaks her engagement to a sleazy, self-centered jerk only to discover that he's unknowingly in possession of a naughty tape she made for him in an effort to boost her self-confidence. She decides the only person she can go to for help is her ex's law partner, Spencer Donovan. To say that Natalie and Spencer don't see eye to eye is an understatement and it takes tremendous courage for her to even talk to him about the tape. Somewhere in the course of their meetings to discuss strategy, the two share their secrets and feelings and soon begin to see each other in a totally different light.
Spencer Donovan would be the first to admit that he had never really noticed Natalie before. As the fiancee of his law partner she was off-limits so he had no reason to check her out as a woman. Now that she's no longer taken and has requested his help, he has checked her out - and plans to continue checking her out. Because Natlie's self-esteem is nearly broken, Spence knows that a soft-touch is needed. He's counting on gentle attentions and the success of a grand gesture to prove to Natalie that she's the perfect woman for him, just the way she is.
HelenKay Dimon has written Natalie with vulnerabilities that are shared by so many women. Spencer sees these vulnerabilities immediately and rather than act on them for his own benefit, he's determined to make Natalie see how very beautiful and special she is. Talk about dreamy! It was a pleasure to see these two gradually move from verbal sparring to passionate whispering!

I give this book the highest of recommendations - everyone should have it on top of their stack of holiday reads!
Now for the contest. Please post a comment about holiday romances - do you like them? Love them? Are they just so-so for you? Do you have a favorite? I wrote an article at Romancing the Blog once that discussed holiday romances and the responses were very interesting. The general consensus seemed to be (and I heartily agree) that they are most enjoyable in the fall/winter before the holidays. There were a few who read them year-round, which reminds me of my mother who watches taped Christmas movies all year. If you send a friend who mentions your name, I'll put your name in the draw an extra time for each friend doing the mentioning. I'll draw a name on Sunday evening, the 28th. Good luck, everyone!
TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT is available on shelves now, or if you prefer ordering from the comfort of home, here's an Amazon link.

Thanks to all who stop by and huge, extra special thanks to HelenKay for offering up a copy for one lucky reader!



Laura J. said...

This is a book I've been looking forward to ever since Donna put up on her blog the cover and the blurbs of the books.

Now for your question: I don like to read holiday stories, but I try to read them around the appropriate holiday, unless I just can't find anything else I want to read instead. So at Christmas I read Christmas stories, Valentines Day (which there are fewer of these written--weird: romances-Valentine's Day seems like they would go together) I read Valentine's stories and so on so forth. To me, it's just weird to read a Christmas story in May. But then maybe it's just me.

Karin said...

I'm not a huge fan of holiday stories, but I enjoy them around the holidays. It's the same for me and anything holiday really - movies, decorations, music, etc. I think part of that has to come from the way stores push the holidays on everyone earlier and earlier every year. With that said, though, I'm definitely looking forward to this book.

ArkieRN said...

First, wow, that cover is great!

I love holiday romances. And these anthology books are a great way to get introduced to new authors.

Years back, Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught had several anthologies along with other authors. I remember them especially fondly. A Holiday of Love and A gift of Love were two of them.

Anonymous said...

I love Christmas stories and have been known to read them year round... but I read most of them around the holiday.

And this one sounds good... I'm an anthology junkie and with those three authors contributing...

Yan said...

I am definitely excited! Count me in!


Angie-la said...

I love holiday stories and have lots of Christmas anthos (including just about every one Jill/Donna has been in) I have them all on my 'keeper' shelf and read them over every year. Or when I need a dose of cheer.

flchen1 said...

Oooh, sounds so good, Laurie! And yes, I do love holiday romances--and yes, I do sometimes read them year round... they're sort of a way to take the joy of the season and pack it in a romance--what could be better? :)

HelenKay said...

Thank you for the fabulous review. I'm so happy to know you enjoyed the book.

Good luck to everyone in the contest!!

cas2ajs said...

Oh, this one's been on my wish list . . . count me in, please.
In answer to your question, I love holiday anthologies and, no, I don't only read them at the appropriate holiday. I read them any time of the year that the whim strikes.

Cheryl S.

Allison(s)Reads said...

I do like holiday stories, and novellas/anthologies too so this is my ideal combination! There's something about christmas stories where there's always an extra chance of magic and hope and good stuff happening that is very heartwarming. Off the top of my head, two favourites are Jingle Bell Rock and Secrets of a Perfect Night.

Dina said...

I have this book too and LOVED it!!!!! I also blogged about it.

Good luck to the winner, who will enjoy this ALOT!

photoquest said...

First off love the cover and yes, I love Holiday Romance which i enjoy them more in the fall and winter.I would like to be included in your drawing. Thanks

robynl said...

I love holiday romance stories but prefer them closer to the holiday.
I also suggest Jingle Bell Rock anthology.
The cover is great.

Dina said...

I have not read Jingle Bell Rock anthology, but do want too.

Michelle B said...

I love Holiday Stories! They really put me in the Christmas mood:-) Christmas is definitely my favorite time of year. I look forward to holiday romances as well as watching all my favorite (along with some new) Christmas movies. I'm almost glued to ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas in December :-)

Anonymous said...

love holiday stories

like xmas and valentine days.

love the hot hot blaze xmas books nice hot fantasy lol


limecello said...

I LOVE holiday romances. I don't know why. In books, at least. Anthologies just always get me in the right place. I also really enjoy reading Christmas anthologies at "odd" times - Christmas in July, Christmas in March, Christmas in August - it all works. Sometimes it's nice to read about the winter in 100 degree weather (and vice versa). But Christmas anthologies always just have the holiday cheer and feel, which is nice at any time.
I've been hearing about this book for a while - especially at HelenKay's blog - I love her writing, and wan't wait for this book to come out. So glad you like it, Laurie! :)

Stacy~ said...

I was re-reading Merry Christmas, Baby this weekend. I love holiday stories, especially the Bravas. This one is definitely on my TBB list.

Thanx Laurie, for your contests :)

Pam P said...

I do like holiday stories, especially at Christmas, though I sometimes read them at other times of the year. I tend to read more anthologies with December being a busy month between Christmas and end-of-year things to get done and less time for reading, puts me in the holiday spirit.

Laurie said...

I also enjoy holiday stories but, I too like to read them at the corresponding time of year. As a matter of fact,I just bought Christie Ridgeway's "Must Love Mistletoe".
I've read lot's of anthologies over the years including those mentioned above. I also enjoyed Red Hot Santa, Jingle All the Way along with all of Debbie Macomber X-mas stories!

CrystalGB said...

I love reading holiday romances. One of my favorites is An Outlaw For Christmas by Lori Handeland.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy holiday stories. Usually around the same time as the holiday.

Stacy S

Cryna said...

This is one of the books on my wish list. It is one that I have been looking forward to reading.

As for holiday stories, I can read them at anytime. I finished an anthology set around Christmas a couple of weeks back, but it seemed to fit in because we were going through a real cold snap.

Thanks Laurie for running contests, and a special thanks to HelenKay for the chance for a lucky poster to win a copy. Please count me into this draw.

Cheri2628 said...

I love Christmas stories. There just seems to be an extra dose of love and warmth to them. I usually read several in Nov./Dec.

I have had my eye on this book. It sounds wonderful, and I really like the cover. Please include me in the drawing.

Cherie J said...

I love holiday romances and enjoy reading them pretty close to the actual holiday. It is just not in me to read a Christmas story in the summer. Prefer reading them in the fall. An Enchanted Season Anthology with Nalini Singh, Erin McCarthy, etc. is one of my favorites.

Anonymous said...

I always look forward to these holiday anthols.

This looks v.g. And I cannot wait to read it.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I posted earlier, does it take a while to show?

Anyway, I loved reading the excerpt and cannot wait to read the book.

Thanks for offering it up.

Pat L

Anonymous said...

Holiday stories make me cry with ahppiness!

Lisa F. said...

I love the holidays! Christmas is such a magical time of year and while it brings out some crazies, I also think it brings out the best in most people.

I would rather read Christmas stories in the months leading up to Christmas, but it doesn't bother me to read them after the holidays. I usually have more time then and also the extra money to buy them!

No favs, but I think I remember Johanna Lindsey did a Christmas book including two of her Christmas stories. Christine Feehan did one about the Carpathians (Dark Celebration)that I really enjoyed too and it was released shortly before the holidays. Usually all the Bravas are good - there is some great talent writing for that line.

tetewa said...

I enjoy holiday reads, one of my favorites was Jingle Bell rock. Love the cover for this one and three great authors!

Sue A. said...

I'm looking forward to the holiday season and all those great holiday books! This one sounds so good!

Barbara said...

Very nice review Laurie. I am green with envy that you got this one already as it's been on my list to buy for a couple of months. I love Christmas themed stories and am very much looking forward to this one...more so now that I have read your review.

Good luck everyone. Have a great weekend too.

Anonymous said...

Duh, I think that WAS my comment above the other one. LOL.

Pat L.

Joyce said...

Sounds fantastic. Count me in.

Judy F said...

I love Christmas stories. A buy Debbie Macombers every year as a treat for myself.

I can't wait to read this anth.
Great review.

Denise A. Agnew said...

I'm eager to pick up this book based on your excellent recommendation. Looks like tons o'fun for the holidays. As for liking holiday themed books...yep, I do like them. I even wrote one a long time ago that is out of print right now. :) Someday I'd love to have it published again.

Denise A. Agnew

Lori T said...

I love Christmas stories and I tend to read them before Christmas.

I really like Debbie Macomber, Jude Deveraux, and Johanna Lindsey's books.