Friday, December 15, 2017

Interview/Giveaway!! Christmas in a Small Town, by Kristina Knight

Welcome to the blog tour for 
Christmas In A Small Town
sponsored by 
Prism Book Tours!!

For my stop, I'm featuring an author interview!
There's also a tour-wide giveaway!!

Christmas in a Small Town
(Slippery Rock, Book 4)
Kristina Knight
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Digital Edition, 384 pages
Harlequin Super Romance
December 5, 2017
Christmas Romance,
Contemporary Romance,
Diverse Reads

 Running out on her wedding was the best decision ever!

A cheating fiancé sends Camden Harris fleeing to her grandparents’ home in Missouri. When her ex follows, determined to win her back, Camden makes a deal with neighbor Levi Walters: they’ll pretend to be in love and she’ll support his plan to buy her grandparents’ land.

The boy from her childhood has grown up into an impressive man. His charm, good looks and sweet gestures make it difficult for Camden to remember this is fake. And Levi’s kisses only confuse her more.

An Interview with Kristina Knight

Hi, Kristina, and welcome to my blog!!

Maria: Do you have any special memories of living in a small town yourself, or did you grow up in a big city?

Kristina: I grew up in a very small town -- fewer than 2,000 people, 47 people in my graduating class. It was great! There were summer festivals, parades, lots of down time. At the time (my high school years), I always felt like there should be something more, something bigger, but as an adult, I'm very thankful for my small town roots!

Maria: Do you believe in love at first sight, especially at Christmastime? 

Kristina: Definitely! Although, I think a lot of ‘love at first sight’ is ‘lust at first sight’. But that’s okay because if you don’t feel those physical zings, what are the chances those zings will develop into something more? 

Maria: What kind of advice would you give young men and women about love? 

Kristina: To follow your heart, to have real conversations about what you want from a relationship, and to follow your heart, again. 

Maria: Do you plan your plots in advance, or do you create them as you go along? 

Kristina: I work from a loose outline, but I go in knowing that the outline is likely going to change midway through a book. Sometimes the plot points I think will be early in the book turn out later, sometimes those middle points need to come in earlier, and I adjust on the fly. 

Maria: What do you find inspiring about the romance genre?

Kristina: That there are so many different ways to approach a relationship. A lot of people try to pigeon-hole romances as only being about falling in love, but to me the romance genre isn't just about falling in love with another person. It's about the characters learning to love themselves, even the parts they feel aren't lovable, and from there, embracing all that life has to offer. 

Maria: Why, in your opinion, don't more romance authors write clean romance novels? 

Kristina: I don’t have a great answer for that. I think it’s partly because so many readers don’t want a closed bedroom door in the books they read, and I think it’s partly because writers like to delve into those private moments and use them to reinforce the changes that are going on in the hero or heroine’s lives.

Purchase Links

Other Books In The Series!
Click on each cover for 
the Amazon Page.

Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police--no, she wasn't a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer's capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way, she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she's living her own happily ever after. 

Kristina writes sassy contemporary romance novels; her books have appeared on Kindle Best Seller Lists. She loves hearing from readers, so drop her a line!

For the complete tour schedule, please click on the button below!


Book Blogger Hop No. 114: Santa's Book Presents This Year!!!

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @

For more information, and 
to find out the topic of next week's question, click HERE.

This Week's Question

Which book(s) would you like
Santa to bring you this year?

(Submitted  by Maria @ 

My Answer

Of course, just ONE book won't be enough, lol! I would like Santa to remember that I'm a totally hopeless book addict, so I will DEFINITELY need more than one! I wonder how many books he can fit in his sack..... It IS a pretty big sack, after all! 

So, Santa, here's my list! (I'll be SURE to leave you several kinds of cookies on a special table by the tree, along with a cup of nice, sweet, hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream! Unless it happens to be hot, in which case I hope you love lemonade. Or would you prefer iced tea?)

One more thing, Santa dear! Please click on the book covers below to see more information about these books on Goodreads! I happen to know you read my blog! (Yeah, you guessed it....Rudolph just CAN'T keep any secrets!)

Thanks so very much, Santa!! Ten books isn't that bad, right? Just remember -- I've been EXTRA NICE this year!!  :)

What are your thoughts on
this topic?
If you're participating in this hop,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!!  

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Book Review: Falling for You at Christmas, by Kristin Wallace

Falling For You At Christmas
(Shellwater Key Book 1.75)
Kristin Wallace
Kindle Edition, 137 pages
Write Notions, Inc.
November 7, 2016
Christian Fiction, Christmas Romance, Contemporary Romance, Novella, Women's Fiction
Source: Amazon

Synopsis: “I’ve always wanted you, even when I didn’t know your name or who you would turn out to be…I didn’t know that the pregnant woman who came barreling through the lobby would turn my world upside down in a matter of days.”

A Nativity story for the modern day, set in the sleepy town of Shellwater Key, Florida. 

One expectant mother. One gorgeous innkeeper. One Lamb, two Shepherds, and a King. Three days that will change her life forever.  

Pregnant, single, and alone at Christmas, Cassie Stevens decides to take a holiday vacation in Shellwater Key before her baby is born. But then her reservation is lost and she finds there is literally no room left at the inn. Thankfully, single innkeeper, Jared Latham, offers to let Cassie stay with him and his young daughter. She won’t have to sleep in a manger, but being in such close proximity to the gorgeous and caring Jared might be more dangerous to her peace of mind…and heart.

But the magic of the season can change everything. Cassie is suddenly surrounded by a group of friends, who all seem to have names relating to another important birth long ago. And when Christmas Eve brings an unexpected delivery, Cassie will discover that miracles are still possible, even in modern times.

This delightful novella has been another WONDERFUL Christmas read this year! I really connected with and LOVED the characters, whether major or minor. Furthermore, even though I would prefer to spend my Christmases in a cozy cabin up north while snow fell softly outside, I did love the setting of this novel -- a laid-back small town in Florida, which is where I happen to live.

Shellwater Key is a fictional town invented by Kristin Wallace, as she has stated herself. However, it's obviously based on places like the Florida Keys, Naples, Fort Myers, and really, any mellow, slow-paced, beach town in the state. (Not Miami though, which has gradually been turning into a little New York City!)

While reading this short, and utterly engaging story, I temporarily put away my fantasies of a Vermont Christmas, and allowed myself to thoroughly enjoy this Florida one, with the balmy ocean breezes and tight-knit friends and families. The warmth was not only in the weather, but in the welcoming atmosphere of the people and places of Shellwater Key.

Cassie and Jared are such a great couple! Both have been burned in their past romantic relationships, but both are also equally willing to move on and start fresh. This is especially the case with Cassie, who is determined to raise her daughter all by herself, with no help from the disgusting boyfriend who abandoned her as soon as he found out she was pregnant. Nor can she count on help from her own family. Her mother has passed away from breast cancer, and her father's attention is totally focused on his new second wife, who very obviously resents Cassie, and does everything in her power to keep her father from being occupied with his daughter's needs. So Cassie's ebullience and optimism, in spite of her situation, are truly inspiring, and immediately draw Jared's attention. 

Jared is himself an inspiring character. He's totally devoted to his young daughter, Tara, who is herself a total delight. Jared is also a very attractive, decent guy, one who wouldn't dream of doing anything to hurt a woman. Needless to say, he's also funny, and appreciates Cassie's own sense of humor. Also, he's as far from being a condescending misogynist as any guy can be. He's caring and patient with Cassie, and is also a great listener. So where is Shellwater Key again? Lol.

These two terrific characters are surrounded by equally terrific secondary characters. I especially loved the fact that several of them had names directly related to the story of the birth of Jesus. Jared's mother's name, for example, is Mary. Amelia Lamb, one of the guests at the inn, quickly becomes Cassie's friend and gives her wise pregnancy (and love) advice. Her name is just as coincidental as the other names in this quirky, cute, and totally heartwarming Christmas story. There's also Jesus, (pronounced "He-Soos", with "he" as in "hen", and "soos" as in "soothe"). His last name is Velazquez, and he's the father of Gabrielle, the chef at the "Original Inn on the Strip", the place where Cassie has chosen to take her Christmas vacation. This inn is located along the Gulf of Mexico. And there are more characters whose names are related to the first Christmas, such as the Shepherds, and the "King" -- Henry Stuart, owner of an auto dealership and known as "King of the Deal". 

The coincidence with the names is not the only one that reminds the reader of that first Christmas. There's also the very obvious fact that, when Cassie arrives, there's literally no room at the inn, due to a glitch in the inn's computer. Her reservation has been lost in the system somehow. Of course, Jared, the handsome innkeeper, immediately comes to the rescue, offering to share his room, where he lives with his daughter, with Cassie. So it is that Cassie starts feeling like part of his family right away, although she does fight against her feelings. She simply can't believe that a true Christmas miracle could happen for her. She also can't believe how accepting and welcoming these strangers, now turned into friends, are toward her. Everyone makes sure to make her feel at home, whether they're guests at the inn, or locals.

While some might say that this story seems a pretty predictable one, I would affirm that, in spite of that, it's an absolutely absorbing, enchanting one, as well. This is the type of holiday reading that gives me those very much needed warm fuzzies!

This lovely little novel could not be complete without a Nativity play, and it's also very fitting that Cassie suddenly realizes, during the play, that her baby will most likely be her own precious Christmas present....

Reading Falling For You At Christmas will place the sentimental reader (like me!) in danger of shedding some tears of joy, sharing in the laughter, and feeling the spiritual and emotional warmth of this beautiful season. So by all means, fix yourself some hot chocolate, or perhaps a lemonade, if it's hot enough for it, sit back, and allow yourself to enjoy this sweet gem of a holiday treat! Kudos to Ms. Wallace!  


 Growing up, Kristin devoured books like bags of Dove Dark Chocolate. Her first Golden Book led to Laura Ingalls Wilder, Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, C.S. Lewis and the Sweet Valley High series. Later, she discovered romance novels and fell in love all over again. It was no surprise, then, that Kristin would one day try her hand at writing them. She writes inspirational romance and women’s fiction filled with love, laughter and a leap of faith. When she’s not writing her next novel, Kristin works as an advertising copywriter for clients that have included the Miami Marlins, Discovery Networks, The Peabody Hotel, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises and Sea World. She also enjoys singing in her church choir and worship team and playing flute in a community orchestra.

Can't Wait Wednesday No. 44: Hero at the Fall, by Alwyn Hamilton

Welcome to "Can't Wait Wednesday"!
This is a weekly event hosted by
Tressa @ Wishful Endings, and inspired by "Waiting On Wednesday", which used to be hosted by
 Jill @ Breaking the Spine.

For more information, please click HERE.

As in the previous meme, this one showcases future releases  we book  bloggers 
are eagerly anticipating!!
There's also a Linky widget, so participating blogs can link up!

Here's my choice for this week!

 Hero at the Fall
(Rebel of the Sands, Book 3)
Alwyn Hamilton
Trade Paperback,  528 pages
Faber & Faber
     February 1, 2018       
Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Once, in the desert country of Miraji, there was a Sultan without an heir.

The heir had been killed by his own brother, the treacherous Rebel Prince, who was consumed by jealousy and sought the throne for himself.

Or so it was said by some. There were others who said that the Rebel Prince was not a traitor but a hero...

In the final battle for the throne, Amani must fight for everything she believes in, but with the rebellion in pieces, and the Sultan's armies advancing across the desert plains, who will lead, who will triumph, who will live and who will die?

Why I can't wait for this one!

Oh. My. Gosh. The THIRD and last book of this series, and I haven't even started on the first.....This happens to me A LOT. Lol. But I'm sure I'm not alone in this. There are many bookworms out there in the same situation. 
Now I'm planning to buy the paperback, which I can get from The Book Depository. That's because I want all of my covers to match, and I do NOT like the switch in cover style on the second hardcover. The third one also has a realistic style. NOT COOL, publisher!! Thankfully, the paperback versions have kept to the mostly abstract style, which is BEAUTIFUL, of the first book! 
And, of course, this is an EXCITING, not-to-BE-missed trilogy!!! YAAAAAAAAA!!!!

The other books in this series! Click on the covers for the Goodreads pages.

Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often.
Alwyn's New York Times-bestselling debut, the YA fantasy Rebel Of The Sands, was published by Viking Children's Books in the U.S. and Faber Children's Books in the U.K., and in Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Israel, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Iran. Its sequel, Traitor To The Throne, was published in spring 2017. Alwyn was named the 2016 Goodreads Choice Award winner for Best Debut Author.


What do you think of my
choice this week? 
Please leave a comment and
let me know!


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 234: Two Similar Covers

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

***Late Edition***
This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, 
if available, on their 
very talented creators!

This week, I'm comparing
two similar covers!

Karen Kingsbury
Hardcover, 272 pages
Howard Books
October 23 , 2014
   Christian Fiction, Christmas Romance,
Contemporary Romance

Angels at the Table
(Angels Everywhere, Book 7)
Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Ballantine Books
October 22, 2013
Christian Fiction, Christmas Romance,
Contemporary Romance

My Thoughts About These Covers

These two covers are undeniably  beautiful, each in its own way. However, if one compares them closely, one can see that the basic image is the same. We have the same green double doors (and what a GORGEOUS shade of green they are, too; I think it's called "Kelly Green"), the same brightly lit twin Christmas trees flanking steps leading to the doors, the same window space on each side of the doors. What makes these covers different is the very creative -- as well as brilliant -- digital manipulations of the basic image.

The cover of The Bridge clearly shows a bookstore, as we the viewers can see the shelves full of books through the windows on each side of the doors. The cover of Angels at the Table seems to display what could be a restaurant, all decked out for the holidays. It's not obvious what this venue is, though. We are unable to see clearly into the interior through those very same windows.

There are other, entirely fascinating, differences. There's a couple framed by the window inset on one of the doors, on the cover of The Bridge. The couple is obviously missing from the cover of Angels at the Table. Furthermore, the twin trees are more brightly and profusely lit on the second cover. Also, they are placed in some sort of vases. These vases are barely visible on the first cover; they are actually obscured. More differences: there's snow on the steps leading to the double doors, on the cover of Angels at the Table. There's no snow at all on the first cover, and you can't see the steps, as they, too, are obscured. Well, the first cover is much darker than the second one, overall. There's also a large awning above the double doors on the cover of the second book, while none at all on the first cover. 

Yet another difference between the two covers is that the first one has strings of colored Christmas lights along the sides of the double doors, as well as around the title, The Bridge. These lights are not present on the second cover.

The author's name, on the first cover, appears at the bottom of the image, while, on the second cover, it appears at the top. The fonts used on both covers are very similar, except for the title of The Bridge, which uses a very elegant, script font.

One subtle difference is that the second cover has a "painterly feel" to it, while the first one is definitely a photograph. I think that "painterly feel" is most likely due to more digital manipulation, since the second cover uses the same basic image as the first.

There are other, more sublte differences between the two covers, but the ones I have mentioned are the most immediately noticeable ones.

These covers show what can be done with images if they are placed in the hands of highly talented, highly creative artists and designers!

The designer of the first cover is Jaime Putorti, who is the Design Director at Simon and Schuster. Although he's on LinkedIn, I was unable to access his complete profile. There's a Facebook page, but there are no posts on it.

As for the second book, I was completely unable to get any information about the cover designer, but perhaps it was Putorti himself, having digitally manipulated an image he had previously used on another cover.

If I am later on able to get more information about the designer(s) of these two covers, I will return and add it to this post. Meanwhile, all I can do is admire these two GORGEOUS covers that are so similar to each other, and yet, so different!

What do you think of 
this week's covers?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!