Novel Reaction is excited to take part in sharing the kindness that is one of the great things about Christmas and to celebrate the release of Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber, one of my favorite authors. In the spirit of the main character, Julia, Novel Reaction has been asked to share an act of kindness and I thought I would share a little bit about two organizations that have come to touch my heart and that I help when I can.
Currently there are over 60 million refugees in the world, the largest in the history of mankind. These are individuals and families who have left everything they know: homes, jobs, friends, and family in the hopes that they can live a safer and happier life somewhere else. It is easy to see the stories on the news of the events taking place in Europe and think, as safe Americans, that it is too far away from where I am physically located and I don’t have a lot of extra income so what I have won’t make that much of a difference. But I have found two great organizations that are making a difference in people’s lives and that I can help when I do have a little bit extra.
The first is Liftng Hands International, they are a non-profit that has recently started taking care of a refugee camp in Greece. One of the things I really like about Lifting Hands, is besides being able to donate cash (which they use to supplement the military rations provided to the residents of the camp by the Greek military by purchasing fresh fruits and veggies for them), they also have a wish list on Amazon where I can go and pick out what I want/can afford to purchase that is needed by the camp and Lifting Hands ships it to the camp. I really like knowing exactly how I am helping the residents. Recently, the residents were asking for tea pots to make their daily tea in, such a simple comfort but they were having to make the tea in old baby formula cans, so I was able to donate $10.00 to buy a family a tea pot. I know it wasn’t much but hopefully it brought a little comfort to a family that is missing it. While Lifting Hands International has a website, more current information can be found on their facebook page.
The second organization is The Welcome to America Project, when refugees are given clearance to relocate to the U.S. they are provided an apartment for a set period of time and basic necessities. And by basic necessities I mean a bed and that’s about it. The Welcome to America Project gathers gently used furniture and other basic necessities so that families who have arrived with literally what will fit in the airplane luggage can have such luxuries as kitchen tables and chairs, couches to sit on, microwaves, and cleaning supplies. The Welcome to American Project accepts donations of money, furniture, or you can donate your time to help deliver furniture to a recently arrived family.
While it can seem that big problems exist in the world and there isn’t much that an individual can do to make a difference, there are simple acts of kindness that we can do that can make all the difference in someone else’s life. I want to challenge all of you readers to look around and find a simple act of kindness that we can do for someone else.
Friendly and bubbly, Julia Padden likes nearly everyone, but her standoffish neighbor, Cain Maddox, presents a particular challenge. No matter how hard she’s tried to be nice, Cain rudely rebuffs her at every turn, preferring to keep to himself. But when Julia catches Cain stealing her newspaper from the lobby of their apartment building, that’s the last straw. She’s going to break through Cain’s Scrooge-like exterior the only way she knows how: by killing him with kindness.
To track her progress, Julia starts a blog called The Twelve Days of Christmas. Her first attempts to humanize Cain are far from successful. Julia brings him homemade Christmas treats and the disagreeable grinch won’t even accept them. Meanwhile, Julie’s blog becomes an online sensation, as an astonishing number of people start following her adventures. Julia continues to find ways to express kindness and, little by little, chips away at Cain’s gruff façade to reveal the caring man underneath. Unbelievably, Julia feels herself falling for Cain—and she suspects that he may be falling for her as well. But as the popularity of her blog continues to grow, Julia must decide if telling Cain the truth about having chronicled their relationship to the rest of the world is worth risking their chance at love.
I have to admit I am posting this without having finished the novel, which is not like me. But this pregnant momma who spends her days chasing after a three year old in the triple digits of the Phoenix heat is struggling to stay up and finish Twelve Days of Christmas, although I really wanted to and have been enjoying the antics and interactions between Julie and Cain. The premise of the novel is cute and so great in the keeping of the true Christmas spirit and I love that Julia keeps trying despite who the first few acts of kindness don’t go over so well with Cain. If you are looking for a read to help you start to get into the Christmas spirit, Twelve Days of Christmas is for you.
You can read an excerpt here.
Title: Twelve Days of Christmas
Author: Debbie Macomber
Format: Hardbound, eBook
Page Nos.: 288
Publisher: Ballantine Mass Market Original
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Available for purchase: Amazon
**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.
Novel Reaction is excited to show you a sneak peak of Shelley Coriell’s The Blind. I am currently enjoying this intriguing read and am loving having the main character be a bomb expert. Below you will find an excerpt to give you a taste of this new release.
THE BLIND by Shelley Coriell (July 28, 2015; Forever Mass Market; The Apostles #3)
As part of the FBI’s elite Apostles team, bomb and weapons specialist Evie Jimenez knows playing it safe is not an option. Especially when tracking a serial killer like the Angel Bomber. He calls himself an artist—using women as his canvas and state-of-the-art explosives as his brush. His art lives and breathes . . . and with the flick of a switch . . . dies.
As the clock ticks down to his next strike, Evie faces an altogether different challenge: billionaire philanthropist and art expert Jack Elliott, who’s made it clear he doesn’t care for Evie’s wild-card tactics.
Jack never imagined the instant heat for the Apostles’ defiant weapons expert would explode his cool and cautious world—and make him long to protect this woman. But as Evie and Jack get closer to the killer’s endgame, they will learn that safety and control are all illusions. For their quarry has set his sight on Evie for his final masterpiece…
The Apostles Reading Order
At the door to the roof stairs, Jack dug into his pants pocket and frowned. He patted his suit coat and shirt pockets.
The frown reached his eyes.
“What is it?” Evie asked.
“I left my key card in my other suit coat.”
“No worries.” She dug into her bag and pulled out her key card. “I got us covered.”
He waved it off. “Visitor badges don’t allow roof access.”
She swiped anyway. The dot remained red.
Jack dug out his phone and jabbed at the face. He barked an order, then disconnected the call with another jab. “Security will have a man here in ten minutes.” He jabbed at the phone again. “Let me call my maintenance team and see if they can get here quicker.” His face now sported a full-fledged scowl.
“It’s not that big a deal, and there are worse places to be stranded.” Evie wandered back toward the garden. Back home in Albuquerque, she had a potted cactus garden one of her nephews had made her for her last birthday, the perfect type of garden for her as it could stand the heat, was small, and didn’t need much tending.
“As you keep reminding me, a clock is ticking.” More than a hint of irritation edged his words.
She laughed and sat on a bench near the copper-sheeted fountain. “This isn’t about a clock, Jack. It’s about you making a mistake.”
As expected, he strode to her side. “Excuse me.”
She propped her boots on the rock surrounding the koi pond. “You’re the type of guy who doesn’t make mistakes, and it ticks you off that you left your key card in your other coat.”
He watched the fish slide in and out of light dappling the waters before shaking his head and sitting next to her. “I take it you know this because you’re not the type of gal who makes mistakes.”
A laugh ripped from her chest. “Hardly.”
“There’s no room for error in the bomb business,” he argued.
“True. I don’t cross wires while at work, but I’m no stranger to messes.”
This time he laughed as he reached out and plucked a leaf from her hair. “So you get a little ruffled.” He held up the leaf.
She plucked it from his fingers. “Oh, no. I make full-on mistakes.”
“I think we’ll need more than ten minutes.”
“Like?” He kept that intense gaze on her, a man who commands attention and answers. But she didn’t have anything to hide.
She cupped her hands behind her head. Where to start? “Like having an egg hunt with my nephews last Easter in my mom and dad’s house and not being able to track down all the eggs. For three months the house stank until my mom unearthed the last of the rotten eggs, which six-year-old Tommy had hidden in a vent in the laundry room.”
“I call that unbridled enthusiasm.”
“And there was the time just last month when my teammate Finn Brannigan asserted his motorcycle was faster than my truck. Of course I had to prove him wrong, and I did until a cop pulled me over just as I got the speedometer past one hundred. Definitely a mistake, and for the record, we both got speeding tickets.”
“And that’s team bonding.”
She could see why Jack Elliott was so successful in business. He could put a twist on anything he wished. She unlaced her hands and let them fall in her lap. Did he even remember kissing her fingers? Did he sense the jolt his lips had sent through her entire body? “And then there’s last night.”
A vertical line striped the center of his forehead. “What mistake did you make last night?”
She grabbed his hand and twined her fingers with his. Last night he’d been vulnerable when he admitted his hope, his bone-deep desire, that his sister was still alive. Looking at him over their clasped hands, she said point-blank, “I should have kissed you back.”
Jack’s eyes sparked, and she knew he remembered the touch of his lips to her fingers. His shoulders, so wide they blocked the rising sun behind him, bounced in a soft laugh.
“Does that bother you?”
“No, not at all. I like strong, courageous, independent women.”
“Is that the type you take to your bed?”
“I . . .” He tilted his head, not a single wave of hair falling out of place. “Yes, it is.”
“That’s good to know.” Because knowns were always so much easier to work with. She was about to open her mouth, when the roof access door opened, a harried security guard rushing at them and apologizing for not getting there sooner.
For a solid five seconds, Jack stared at their clasped hands before turning to the guard. “No worries,” Jack said as he pulled her to her feet and walked her toward the stairs, their fingers still intertwined.
Novel Reaction is excited to be a part of the Blog Tour for Hope Ramsay’s Last Chance Hero. I have to admit that Ramsay’s fictional town of Last Chance holds a special place in my heart, the first book in the series Welcome to Last Chance (you can read my review here) was the first print book I was quoted in. For a blogger (or at least for this blogger) that was a huge deal. I, of course, immediately bought a copy to keep in my collection and then started getting obnoxious to my family because I was so excited to see my little blurb in print. I have since been quoted in several novels and while I get almost as excited every time I see it, that first one holds a special place in my heart. But I digress.
Last Chance Hero is the thirteenth story in the Last Chance series (if you count all the short stories, which I do) and you can read my review of this entertaining novel here. But don’t take my word for, pick up your own copy and tell me what you think!
From the back of the book:
Ross Gardiner has had his fill of difficult relationships. Returning to Last Chance after a rough divorce, the town’s handsome new fire chief just wants safety and stability-a tall order given his dangerous job and the way he has the attention of all the single women in town. All except Sabina Grey, the girl who stole his heart when they were teenagers. Sabina knows a lot about playing it safe. Always the good girl, she’s now responsible for her antiques store and caring for her sister. But having Ross in town brings back the memory of one carefree summer night when she threw caution to the wind-and almost destroyed her family. Now that they are both older and wiser, will the spark still be there, even though they’ve both been burned?
Last Chance Reading Order:
Small Town Christmas (anthology)
Last Chance Bride (short story)
Last Chance Summer (short story)
Novel Reaction is excited be a part of the Blog Tour for Katharine Ashe’s I Adored a Lord, the second book in the The Prince Catchers series. First let’s get to know a little more about Katherine.
Award-winning, best-selling author KATHARINE ASHE writes intensely lush historical romance, including How To Be a Proper Lady, among Amazon’s 10 Best Books of 2012 in Romance, and eight other acclaimed novels set in the era of the British Empire. With the publication of her debut novel in 2010, she earned a spot among the American Library Association’s “New Stars of Historical Romance.” She was a nominee for the 2013 Library of Virginia Literary Award in Fiction, and in 2011 she won the coveted Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Historical Romantic Adventure. Katharine is also a finalist for the 2014 RITA® Award, the highest honor in the romance fiction industry, for How To Marry A Highlander. She lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her beloved husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European History at Duke University, Katharine writes fiction because she thinks modern readers deserve high adventure and breathtaking sensuality too. For more about her books, please visit her at www.KatharineAshe.com.
I thoroughly enjoyed my way through I Adored a Lord (your can read my review here) and am thrilled to be able to share with you an excerpt from it.
He was nearly a head taller than she and certainly the most handsome man she had ever stood so close to, with his shirt of close-woven linen and waistcoat of brocaded silk. The whisker shadow of the night before that had scratched her chin had gone; his cheeks were smooth and high-boned, his jaw firm. “You seem remarkably comfortable with all of this.”
“I was at war, Miss Caulfield. There is little that can discomfit me now.”
But that was not the entire truth. He was not at ease as he seemed to study her features now.
“As you can see, I have knowledge that can help you find the murderer,” she said.
“What suggested to you that I have any intention of pursuing such a course?”
“Of course you have, or you would not have brought the body here and bribed the servants to keep it a secret from everybody else.”
“I did not bribe them.”
“You must have. I would have. After you tell the prince, I suppose he will summon the local law to investigate. When it arrives, let me help.”
“I cannot in good conscience allow that.”
“Then allow it in bad conscience.”
“You must allow me to help.”
“And yet I will not, despite my wish to please you.”
“You don’t wish to please me. You wish to thwart me.”
“You are correct. In this at least.” His gaze slipped to her shoulder, then her arms she was hugging to her waist, passing over her breasts as though they were not there. “Your lips are blue. You must retire to the warmth of your bedchamber. I will instruct Monsieur Brazil to send up a maid to build your fire again.”
“Aren’t you concerned that the murderer might realize we have discovered the body and will know that I know about it, and will come after me?”
That muscle twitched in his jaw again, but she did not know if humor or pique inspired it. “Yes.”
“If you keep me close, he won’t be able to get to me easily.”
“Interesting choice of words from the woman who vowed not two hours ago that she would not in this life come close to me again.”
“To solve the mystery of the murderer,” she said, her tongue abruptly dry, “of course.”
“Ah.” A smile caught at the corner of his mouth, the dent peeking out. “Of course.”
“I have plenty to recommend me to this investigation that the local police will appreciate.”
“An expertise in deaths involving medieval armor, perhaps?”
“A female body.”
That stalled him. Again his gaze dropped but this time it more than grazed over her breasts; it lingered. “I will admit I am not seeing how that makes you an expert investigator to murder.” He lifted his eyes to hers. They were decidedly dark and not entirely focused. The night before, his eyes had looked like this when his body atop hers had become aroused.
“I can speak to the women at this party in a manner in which I suspect you cannot. In regular conversation that seems like gossip I can encourage them to reveal information that could be valuable to discovering why this man was murdered and stuffed into a suit of armor. I will investigate this murder whether you or the local police wish me to or not.”
There was a stillness about his contemplation of her that at once made her breathe more deeply and unnerved her.
“You have me against the wall, it seems,” he finally said.
“The moment I have cause for concern over your safety, I will remove you to the village.”
“You will do no such thing. You haven’t the right. I may not actually be a lady, but I am a guest of the prince—”
“Who will do as I advise.” He seemed entirely confident of this.
Suspicion prickled at Ravenna. “Who is to say you are not the murderer, and now that you know I have useful information you won’t dispatch me too?”
“None but me.”
She glanced into the darkness where the butler had disappeared, then back at the tall, dark man who had subdued her quite effectively in a stable the previous night. “This is the part where you pull out the bloodstained dagger, isn’t it?”
“Why wouldn’t I have done it earlier, before Monsieur Brazil knew of your involvement?”
“No doubt you only thought of it at this moment.”
“It seems I am carelessly shortsighted.”
“You are not the murderer?”
“Go to bed.” He grasped her fingers and tucked them around the lamp handle. For a moment his large, strong hand encompassed hers, and she thought that no man who murdered another could possibly have such a marvelously warm, gentle touch. Then he released her. “The prince will call the party together after breakfast. If you truly intend to assist in this—”
“You must have your wits about you.”
“I always have my wits about me.”
“I think I am coming to see that.”
“You haven’t dispatched me because you know you need my help.”
“Do I?” He took a half step closer. “Or perhaps I have not yet dispatched you because, as depraved as I am, when I look at your lips I can feel your body beneath mine in the straw. If I were to do away with you now, that scenario could never be repeated.” …
I missed reading the first book in The Prince Catchers series but I will definitely be reading the rest of the books in the series.
The Prince Catchers Reading Order:
I Loved a Rogue (February 2015)