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 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)
Novel Reaction is excited be part of the blog tour for Rebecca Zanetti’s Blind Faith. First let’s learn a little more about Rebecca,
New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner – only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She is a member of RWA, has won awards for her works throughout the industry, and has a journalism degree with a poly sci emphasis from Pepperdine University as well as a Juris Doctorate from the University of Idaho.
Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides in the wild north with her husband, children, and extended family who inspire her every day-or at the very least give her plenty of characters to write about.
Social Media Links:
Rebecca is here to share excerpt from Blind Faith,
Sin Brother Reading Order
Blind Faith (you can read my review here)
Now for the excerpt itself:
Her head jerked up. Vulnerability flashed across her delicate face to be quickly hidden as she slid her arms into the robe and belted it around her tiny waist. “I haven’t had a lot of time, with being blown up, operated on, and then trying to commit fraud on the US Government on behalf of your sworn enemy.” Sarcastic humor lifted her top lip, but the lightness failed to reach her eyes or flash that devastating dimple. “Sometimes a girl just has to prioritize.”
He’d loved her sense of humor. This one? Not so much. Sarcasm and fatalism didn’t fit with the person deep inside Audrey, the one she’d shoved down to survive. “I understand why you stayed to receive medical attention.” The commander’s medical team and facilities beat any other in the world, without question. If anybody could have saved her leg, it would’ve been them. “But now it’s time to go.” As much as the thought cut through him like a blade, he didn’t trust her enough to send her to his brothers in Montana. But he could find her safety. “Let me help you.”
“I don’t want your help.” Her stance widened slightly as if they faced off under high noon.
Worse yet, absolute truth lived in every word. The woman really didn’t want his help. A surprising hurt compressed his lungs. “Why are you still working with him?” he breathed out. Could her mother’s approval mean that much to her? After everything?
Audrey lifted her chin. “They saved my life and gave me a second chance. It’s the only life I’ve truly known, and I’m doing some good with the senator.”
“Find another life,” Nate ground out.
“No.” Regret filled her sigh. “You’re the one who told me that our childhood shapes us. I’m just doing what I can right now.”
He shook his head. Why did he get the feeling she wasn’t telling him everything? There was enough truth in her statement that he couldn’t find the lie, but a lie was there. He was sure of it. “I’m going to kill him, Aud. Then I’m going to blow up every facility he owns and make sure they never function again. You don’t want to be here for this.”
Awareness pursed her lips as she studied him. Her breath hitched as her chest lifted. Those amazing eyes widened. “Suicide mission?”
“Probably.” Which was yet another reason the previous night had been a one-shot deal. Chances were slim he’d survive the attack he planned after saving his brothers.
She nodded, regret twisting her lip. “Hasn’t that always been your plan?”
“Yes.” Except for the brief time she’d been his. Then his plans had changed dramatically to a future with possible kids and even a fucking picket fence. He’d known better, without a doubt. A bullshit every-day life had never been for him. He’d been created to kill, and through a lucky turn of fate had been given brothers to love—to protect and ultimately save. They were happy, and once the chips were deactivated, they wouldn’t require his skill set any longer.
He wouldn’t be needed, and he needed them so very much. Too much.
“Hmmm.” Pain lived in her eyes, but no give existed in her jaw. “I just realized—I can’t save you.”
“No.” He frowned. What was she talking about? “I don’t expect you to save me.”
“I know.” She tightened the belt, her eyes glimmering with tears. “I’ll get you the codes and any info on Jory, but you need to decide to save yourself. When this is all over, if you and your brothers survive, you need to save yourself. Decide to keep going.”
That was the rub, now wasn’t it? The life he’d been created for, the one he’d excelled at, was over. Where exactly was he supposed to go?
Thank you Rebecca for allowing us a sneak peak at your latest novel, Blind Faith.