Who Will You be Kissing Under the Mistletoe? – Some Christmas Themed Reads!

Christmas 2012 and January Snow 057Go Ahead and Spoil Yourself!

The tree and decorations are finally up and the turkey, goose, nut roast or whatever else serves as your Christmas day fare have all been purchased and the presents wrapped……….. More importantly you have had the chimney swept to give Santa unimpeded access to your home in the hope that he will deliver you the fictional hero of your dreams or failing that a cart load of scrummy books – a girl can dream right!

Just in case some of this fantasy goes awry we have selected some seasonal reads that you may appreciate. Where we have read them I have provided a link through the book title to the review and where not I have linked to Goodreads. Amazon or Smashwords links too are given. Also look out for my forthcoming post listing my Top Reads of 2013.

Happy Christmas and Happy Reading!  Tina:)

Christmas Themed Reads Reviewed on ARR Blog

715486[1]The Twelfth Night Wager, Regan Walker – Has the Rake Met His Match? (Regency Romance Novella): A classy Regency romance where a wager between friends, concerning seduction, has far reaching consequences for a dissolute rake and a respectable young widow. There is also a cleverly woven sub plot containing elements of danger and suspense, which add to the fun and act as a catalyst to the romance. I found it a love affirming and entertaining read, welcome at any time of year but especially heart warming at Christmastime! Amazon UK  Amazon US   Goodreads

Borderland Beauty, Borderlands Legacy #2, by Samantha Holt – Besotted Lord versus a Lady Scorned (Sensual Borderland%20Beauty300dpi.jpg.opt166x249o0,0s166x249[1]-001Medieval Romance): Lord Dominic, is surprised to learn of a marriage contract, pledging him to the daughter of a neighbour. Dominic does not recall having met his daughter, Lucy, and invites the family to spend Christmas at Thornewall to see if they suit. However, Lord Montgomery forbids Dominic to mention the contract, fearing Lucy’s reaction.Whereas Dominic is smitten with Lucy on sight, Lucy is not so keen, in part to unkind comments about her appearance, made in the past by none other than Dominic, when she was but a teenager, a man she considers an out and out womaniser. The battle for Lucy’s heart commences! Amazon UK   Amazon US  Goodreads

PastelsJingleBellsPastels and Jingle Bells (a Heavenly Bites novella) by Christine S. Feldman: A seasonal contemporary romantic novella: Trish encounters her former school bully, Ian, at her bakery. He has absolutely no idea who she is and Trish decides to use this at her advantage and begins to plan her revenge…… After spending time with him and finding out  about his childhood and the man he is today, she begins to have feelings for him. Will she be able to tell o she is and how will he react? Amazon UK  Amazon US  Goodreads

Others that Caught My Eye

A Holiday Anthology, Vol. One, Exquisite Quills, by authors including Helena Fairfax:  a FREE collection of short Christmas stories By Exquisite Quills Authors and Friends. It has been e465a2f96121845a9b6711b0678073e751187b4a-thumb[1]written for adults who love romance stories but is family friendly. Each story is unique and is meant to give a sampling of the writing of that author. From contemporary to historical, the Exquisite Quills authors and friends wish you a happy holiday filled with wonderful books.  Smashwords  Goodreads

book-a-boroughs-christmas[2]A Boroughs Christmas Holiday Anthology: A holiday bonanza: Ten stories set in different times and places, each telling the tale of people who found love through wishes or magic or luck, all on Christmas—except for one on New Year’s Eve. Contains stories by Regan Walker (The Holly and the Thistle) and Kellyann Zuzulo (The Christmas Bottle). Amazon UK Amazon US Goodreads

Married for Christmas (Willow Park), Noelle Adams – sweet contemporary romance: After years of 51RMeZJNL2L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_[1]dreaming, Jessica is getting married Daniel is her best friend, but he’s never gotten over losing his wife. He dreams of becoming the local pastor in their hometown, but the congregation is wary of an unmarried minister. As Daniel needs a wife and Jessica wants a husband and family, she proposes they get married. They can build a life together and can celebrate Christmas as a couple. It’s fine that he doesn’t love her. And it’s fine that she’s not exactly suited to be a small-town pastor’s wife. And it’s fine that she’s more attracted to her sexy, brooding husband every day. Jessica can be practical about this marriage. She knows what she’s getting into, after all… Amazon UKAmazon US Goodreads

51X5CtrdooL._AA160_[1]Four Weeks ’til Christmas (novelette,17k), by Jayn Wilde: Noelle Tanner, 25, once enjoyed the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas with her family. An accident changed all that for Noelle and now she is full of guilt and pain. Zane Williams is wealthy and handsome and at 30, must take over his father’s large corporation, having little time to enjoy life. His family is scattered and he must devote all of his time to work. A chance meeting brings the two together. Will the guilt and pain of their lives outweigh the love and blessings the four weeks ’til Christmas can hold? Or, will they be able to heal each other and make new memories to last a lifetime? Amazon UKAmazon USGoodreads

A Grosvenor Square Christmas: FREE: Four tales of a Regency Christmas from four bestselling romance authors. Down51AMnbA7LwL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_[1] through the years, enchantment touches a tall gray house in Grosvenor Square. The legend of Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball promises true love and happiness to one lucky couple. Who will feel the magic this winter? 1803 – The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen; 1818 – One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly; 1825 – His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell; 1830 – The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble. Amazon UK Amazon US Goodreads

101 Nights Series (#1 To Have and To Hold and #2 Reluctant Rapture), by Kellyann Zuzulo

101nights_tiny[1]Sassy and Sexy Marriage of Convenience!

To Have and To Hold 75 pages and Reluctant Rapture 102 pages

If you haven’t yet entered the world of Kellyann Zuzulo’s sexy and suspenseful tales of genies and the humans that fall in love with them, then you are in for a treat! The author’s The Zubis Chronicles, are a fantastic mix of paranormal romance and romantic suspense, (scroll down for links to our reviews). In the 101 Nights series, the tables are turned and the heroine is a genie and the hero a human, in a sassy and sexy marriage of convenience set in the New Jersey suburbs, with echoes of ‘Desperate Housewives.’ The first two instalments, To Have and To Hold  and Reluctant Rapture are full of sensuality and suspense, with the future of the human world and Jinnistan, home of the genies, at stake not to mention the hearts of hero and heroine.

In To Have and To Hold, hot-tempered ambassador Amani Zarin agrees to leave Jinnistan and marry the human scientist, Dr Jason Masters, in a last ditch attempt to save her beloved homeland. Energy is disappearing from Jinnistan, energy which enables the genies to thrive and survive. Without it they are doomed and many, including Amani’s own parents have already died. Dr Masters, who works for a large corporation called Covalink, headed by Warren Westcott, believes he has found a way of isolating and harvesting the energy released by genies, energy which can be captured and used to sustain their world. The more the couple touch and the more intimate they become, the more potent the energy…..

Of course all is not simple. Amani resents her marriage of convenience, in which her body is being used in this way and feels like a lab rat confined in their New Jersey home. Moreover, she harbours only revulsion and distrust of Covalink’s owner, Westcott, and suspects his motives, fearing that the energy harvested will be used for more sinister means. If her fears prove true, she has the power to call upon genies opposing this alliance with the humans, led by her an ex lover and rebel, Sumer, to call a halt to the proceedings and invade and lay waste to the human realm. Amani also has conniving board members, hostile ex-lovers and nosy suburban neighbors to contend with and an instant and intense reaction to Dr Masters she did not expect, which unsettles her especially as she thinks that he views her merely as a science experiment. Just what is a desperate genie to do when her heart and the future of her race are on the line?

After reading Kellyann Zuzulo’s The Zubis Chronicles, I wondered how this series was going to compare. The tale is very different, but I was drawn into it from the first few pages. I enjoyed learning more about Jinnistan and Amani is a fascinating character, a warrior, who sits on the Tribal Council of Jinnistan and who cares deeply for her people. She has lived for many millenia and experienced so much, some of her experiences leaving her vulnerable, although above all she is a strong individual. Jason is not the geeky scientist she imagined having to get intimate with – instead he is a real hottie and Amani knows that she must guard her heart against the attraction she feels for him, as he seems to view her merely as an object to be studied.

Jason is equally surprised at the pull Amani exerts over him and knows that it is best for the project if he keeps an emotional101nights_no2_reluctant-rapture[1] distance as he cannot risk falling in love. There are many misunderstandings between them. Jason is committed to his work and Amani is left in the house for many hours each day and due to her dislike of being cooped up and her natural curiosity decides to get out and about, which creates some interesting situations. At times I wanted to give them both a good shake, but especially Jason as I felt he was not as sensitive to Amani’s emotional needs as he perhaps should have been. However, like Amani, he certainly did not expect to find his heart involved in a science experiment!

There is plenty of sexual tension between the couple and many yummy sensual scenes, as Amani and Jason navigate their marriage of convenience. Although the series is above all a love story, with elements of suspense, I also adored the many humorous moments, as Amani struggles to come to terms with the human world and at one point in Reluctant Rapture I found myself laughing out loud at one scene! The villain of the piece, Westcott, is suitably slimy and I suspect that his true motives will be revealed as the series progresses.

I am very much looking forward to the remaining instalments of the 101 Nights Series series the next one being entitled The Ties That Bind, as well as the author’s future forays into the world of genies. I recommend this series to readers who like their romance to dabble in the paranormal and magical realm, with a fair bit of suspense.

A copy of Reluctant Rapture was provided by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Digital edition created by Maureen Cutajar http://www.gopublished.com

Kellyann Zuzulo’s post on ARR Blog entitled The Truth About Genies.

Our review of The Genie Ignites, #1 of The Zubis Chronicles

Our review of The Genie Smolders, #2 of The Zubis Chronicles

Kellyann Zuzulo’s blog http://kfzuzulo.com/

Boroughs Publishing Group   Amazon UK   Amazon US

The Truth about Genies, by Kellyann Zuzulo

Today we welcome author Kellyann Zuzulo to share with us the truth about genies….. Over to you Kellyann!

The allure of the desert, whether it’s Vegas or the Sahara, taps some primitive heat in all of us. I know it does for me.  The jinn, or genies, have been around for thousands of years. The Thousand and One Nights (also known as The Arabian Nights) brought these entities out of oral myth and into literature. Eventually, Western society got wind of these freeflying phantoms. Unfortunately, we turned them into bluish cartoons when all the research (yes, there is research on genies) says they are very similar to humans. 

genieignites_full-17942442_std[1]What a perfect antagonist for a romance! A guy who’s smart, powerful, alluring, and magical. That’s the basis for a heartthrob if ever there was one. In my novel The Genie Ignites, Zubis is that hero. Did you know that there are three types of genies? 1) Hunky. 2) Hunkier. 3) Hunkiest. (just kidding). Zubis is an Ifrit jinni. According to scholars, the Ifrit jinn are the more powerful of the three types. The other two types are Marid and Ghul. 

  • §  Ifrit are strong and powerful spirits that are not necessarily evil. They are the reference for the description in the Koran of genies as behaving, living, and looking very similar to humans.
  • §  Marid are wicked and malicious spirits, more like devils and demons as described in Western literature and religious lore. Marid function in The Zubis Chronicles as soldiers who do the bidding of Iblis. (Iblis is the oldest and most evil of all jinn and happens to be an Ifrit. Also known as Shaitan, he is the basis for the Satan legend.)
  • §  Ghuls are lesser phantoms who mostly cause mischief and don’t appear to humans, like ghosts and ghouls. The image of Middle Eastern ghuls is probably where the Western idea of ghouls came from.  

Genies are both male and female…remember Barbara Eden in I Dream of Jeannie. Not a bad depiction except for the harem 101Nights_ad-003pants…although I hear they’re coming back in style. In The Genie Smolders, which is the next novel in The Zubis Chronicles coming out this Spring, a female genie named Imitiri tries to come between Zubis and his one true love, Bethany O’Brien. Imtiri is a stunningly wicked and vengeful vamp who would do well in the Real Housewives of Jinnistan. And speaking of Real Housewives, I have another series called 101 Nights, which features a noble, beautiful, smart, and sometimes hot-tempered female genie named Amani. Girl power! Click on the image to find out more.

Are genies real? I think they are. But I also think that despite the definitions and the literature, we don’t fully understand what they are. They could be organisms on a molecular level that haven’t been defined by science yet. That’s when folklore steps in to describe things. In the meantime, I’ll keep describing the jinn as I think they exist.

Thanks to Tina Williams and A Reader’s Review for this chance to share the world of the jinn!

 ~Best Wishes,

Kellyann Zuzulo


The Genie Ignites, Book One of the Zubis Chronicles, by Kellyann Zuzulo

genieignites_full-17942442_std[1]-001Passionate and Magical Romance

After reading this tale I will never look at copper lamps or think of genies in the same way again! The Genie Ignites is a passionate and magical romance with an intricate plot. In it, a young American woman is recruited by a secret society to help it eradicate all genies. In doing so she is reunited with her lover, a three thousand year old genie she betrayed in a past incarnation she is unaware of.

American editor, Bethany O’Brien, has been beset by disconcerting dreams of a dark and handsome man. Whilst attending a reception at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, she is stunned to meet the very man she has dreamt about, a man she has never met, but whom she finds strangely familiar. The man is Zubis, counsellor to the Saudi Arabian king.

Later that evening, Seth Nasser, her liaison at the embassy, reveals to her the existence of the Jinn and the Veil of Thoth, an ancient order committed to controling the Jinn and keeping them from overrunning the world. Seth informs Bethany that she is the reincarnation of the high priestess Lina, murdered by one of the three genies who served King Solomon, the high priest she was apprenticed to.

As a malachi, a human killed by a genie in a previous incarnation, Bethany cannot be harmed by that genie and is the only person who can destroy it. She is therefore valuable to the Veil of Thoth and Seth wants her to travel to the Middle East to help the society. Although sceptical, some of the things Bethany hears sound strangely familiar, and as a committed journalist, she resolves to go to the Middle East to investigate a strange copper vessel that has been discovered and also Seth’s story.

There are many other players in this game however and Bethany finds that she has to flee the US and travel across Europe to the Middle East with Derek Martin, a photojournalist, with others in hot pursuit, including a second genie called Borzal. There is also Prince Faisal, who covets the throne, who only has his own interests at heart, which involve Zubis. Neither the reader nor Bethany know who to trust and the remainder of the plot involves murder, betrayal, deceit and some hot lovemaking scenes, which incorporate a little genie magic!

Zubis, the handsome genie, should despise Bethany for her betrayal in her previous life, but he cannot as he is deeply in love with her. Advisor to the royal family, he has already granted two of the three wishes due. On the granting of the third he will be free and this, combined with the power of his connection to Bethany, will enable him to open the gates to Jinnistan, where he wants her to return with him. He knows that once Bethany regains her memories it will be her decisions which govern whether he lives or remains free. King Jul is adamant that it will not be him who unleashes the power of the Jinn and will not make the third wish. Instead he keeps Zubis trapped in his palace.

Bethany is sassy, confident and self-assured, more than a match for an autocratic genie. When she meets Zubis and recognises him as the man from her dreams, she senses that she knows him. As she approaches the palace, her bond strengthens and her memories of him and the ancient betrayal slowly resurface, as Zubis visits her in a series of dreams and visions. One particular lovemaking scene where Zubis uses his ability of transmorphic migration is extremely memorable! I shall now be forever rubbing copper lamps to conjure up my very own genie!

The author weaves a complex plot whilst developing and maintaining a hot romance. She has clearly done a great deal of research into the mythology of the Jinn and the customs, history and politics of the Middle East. I liked the way she spins her tale and her world building is excellent. We feel for the heroine throughout and swiftly come to adore Zubis and hope that the couple will find their HEA this time round. I recommend this book to readers of paranormal romance and also those who enjoy romantic suspense with a paranormal twist. The romance between Bethany and Zubis is continued in The Genie Smolders, which is due for release this spring.

This book was given to me by the author, for the purpose of an honest review.

Boroughs Publishing Group Website

Kellyann Zuzulo Website

Books I’ll be reading this week

genieignites_full-17942442_std[1]I am planning to read Kellyann Zuzulo’s romance novel, The Genie Ignites (Book 1 of the Zubis Chronicles), which she has kindly provided ARR for an honest review. I am very excited as I have never read a book with a genie as a hero and having read the excerpt on Kellyann’s site I am intrigued. This is the book blurb from her publisher, Boroughs Publishing:

Girl meets genie. They fall in love. Girl gets killed. Genie gets cursed. Three millennia later, she’s reincarnated as a smart, somewhat sardonic 21st century editor who can’t remember the great love of her existence. The genie however, will never forget her.

I think that the pairing of a modern day woman with an ancient genie has all the ingredients of a great read. I hope to post my review in the next week or so.

Templar Publishing have also kindly provided us with copies of a proof of a forthcoming young adult publication, Drummer Girl, 16691515[1]-002by Bridget Tyler, for an honest review. In this novel, five London schoolgirls form a band and win a talent show that takes them to L. A . However, L.A. has a dark underbelly and the girls find themselves having to deal with issues such as murder and drug addiction, alongside the usual teenage trials of first love and self-image, in this coming of age novel. Caroline and I have decided to read and review this independently of each other and post our reviews side by side this week. The novel is scheduled for publication this May. See Amazon UK  and Amazon US  sites.

We love reading and reviewing books for the site, but we are also looking into ways to spice up the content where we can. Look out for some guest posts from authors or other bloggers, blog hops and some special themes, starting with our Werewolf theme coming soon!

Tina 🙂

Cover design for Drummer Girl by Will Steele