Hi guys and gals!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
The holidays are fast approaching. I can almost smell the roasted turkey, stuffing and yams wafting my way. Just behind the Thanksgiving celebration comes the Christmas holidays, marching right along like a toy soldier with a mission. Sugar plum fairies, nutcrackers, polka dot elephants and the like, make their way to the homes of good boys and girls courtesy of the big man in red....but what of the missus? Doesn't she get a starring role too? She does in THIS story, but perhaps not in the way that you're imaging.
Today's selection has a decidedly holiday appeal with enough drama and heart to keep you turning pages. When it arrived in my mailbox, I was thrilled to bits to discover it was signed by the author, and included another little surprise in the form of a recipe. It was for Peppermint Pie and I simply had to try it out. The end result? Well let's just say that as I'm typing this, I'm trying not to devour the whole thing. ^-^ Without further ado, allow me to introduce today's Pump Up Your Book blog tour guest and book of choice...
(Life in Icicle Falls, Book 8)
About the book...
Everyone's getting ready for Christmas in Icicle Falls, especially on Candy Cane Lane, where holiday decorating is taken very seriously. Tilda Morrison, town cop, is looking forward to celebrating Christmas in her first house…until she discovers that she's expected to "keep up" with the neighbors, including Maddy Donaldson, the inspiration behind the whole extravaganza. But this year, someone's destroying Maddie's precious candy canes! Thank goodness for the cop in their neighborhood.
Tilda already has her hands full trying to sort out her love life and fix up her fixer-upper. Oh, and won't it be fun to have the family over for Christmas dinner? Not really… Then there's her neighbor, Ivy Bohn. As a newly single mom, Ivy can sum up the holiday in two words: Bah, humbug. But she's determined to give her kids a perfect Christmas.
Despite family disasters, irritating ex-husbands and kitchen catastrophes, these three
women are going to find out that Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year!
I had a lot of fun visiting Icicle Falls, so much so that I imagine I'll be back much sooner than the odd family relations stay during the holidays.
This is almost a three in one story; that is to say that the focus is on three individual ladies and their families as opposed to simply one,but they all have connections to each other just the same. First there's Tilda, the new addition to Candy Cane Lane. She's a tough cookie with a soft center, just don't let that get out as she IS in fact a cop and that harder exterior serves her well....perhaps too well at times. She ends up keeping people at arms length and forgetting to look past their transgressions to the person they are beneath it all, or even the person they are trying to be. Though she's hard on others, she's still hardest on herself. Maybe a little time beneath the mistletoe with a certain Mr. Black will help chase the chill from her heart. *waggles eyebrows* Hey! I'm not saying it happens, I'm just saying there's potential. *ahem*
Next up, we have Maddy and Ivy. Two peas in a pod? Not exactly, and especially not after the year they've had. Ivy is up to her eyeballs in smashed dreams and a broken heart thanks to her two timing ex-husband. Her kids keep her grounded but even they are testing her limits, not to mention the reappearance of same said ex who is awfully helpful all of a sudden. Maddy on the other hand has her family life down pat and is in complete control while making sure the holiday happenings, happen on Candy Cane Lane. Someone called in sick for Mrs. Claus candy duty? She's got it! Someone can't pick up candy canes? She'll grab them and drop them off! There's vandals taking out the candy canes on their appropriately named street? She's got it covered! Did I say she had her family life down pat? Yeah...not so much. Acting out is an understatement when it comes to dealing with her daughter and when you add the in-laws to the bunch (especially when their stay gets extended due to unfortunate circumstances), things get really "festive". It's only once a year, right? Right...
I have to say, I really enjoyed getting to know these ladies and the whole town for that matter. My favorite? I'd have to go with Tilda by a landslide...though Ivy comes in a close second. I love her character, the way she's in charge and not afraid to hang with the boys, actually preferring it some degree, but finds herself drawn to the friendships she's building in her new neighborhood and against her judgment (notice I didn't say BETTER) the feelings she's developing for a certain handy man. My favorite moment had to be when it turns out that the turkey isn't actually what it seems and Devon gets to don his imaginary hero cape while saving the day. He didn't gloat or make her beg, he simply stepped in and aided a damsel in distress. Other moments of note, Ivy giving Ashley what for in the bar, Maddy realizing that the holiday will go on without her constant vigilance in more ways than one, Ivy's children's wish to Santa and the big guy upstairs, and....oh so many more! I'll stop there for fear of running you off but suffice it to say that it had much more to celebrate than simply a well scaped light display and free candy cane handout.
In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed my time between the pages and would definitely recommend it to Contemporary Romance and Women's Fiction fans in their older teens and above. There's a bit of steam, but nothing to overly blush at. Things are hinted at but go the traditional route of the "fade to black". I admit, I did not realize that this book was part of a series until I was adding it to my GoodReads shelf. Did that change my mind about reading it? Certainly not...how can you really resist the combination title and cover at this time of year? I know I couldn't, but it did give me a little pause. Initially I had a bit of trouble getting the who's who straight in my head. It actually took quite a few pages to really dig in my heels but once set, I was hooked and realized something. It's not a cookie cutter copy or anything, but the general setup, the community dynamic, the relationships and friendships, even the Man Cave bar, all reminded me of one of my favorite Contemporary Romance series, Fool's Gold by author Susan Mallery. Both author's set their works up with the ability to be read as stand alones but the overall picture is much clearer, the connections much stronger the more you "visit". That being said, I honestly do feel that because the focus in this novel was on three different women versus one potential couple, the extra background on the characters would help readers see just where they are coming from...or at least this reader.
About the author...
Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. She’s happily married and has three children. She’s been writing since 1989, but she did lots of things before settling in to her writing career, including owning a singing telegram company and playing in a band. Her band days are over, but she still enjoys writing songs. Sheila's books are best sellers and often appear as Reader's Digest Condensed Books. Her novel "Angel Lane" was named one of Amazon's top ten romances in 2009. Her novel "On Strike for Christmas" was a Lifetime Network movie and her novel "The Nine Lives of Christmas" is now a Hallmark movie, scheduled to air November 8th.
When she’s not speaking to women’s groups or at conferences or hanging out with her girlfriends she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts:family, friends, and chocolate.
Special thanks to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Books as well as the author herself for the SIGNED copy for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, the publisher, this tour, or those tours on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title is available now via MIRA Books, an imprint of Harlequin Books, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
Until next time...watch out for that mistletoe and oh look, one piece left!