Review: Kiss Me at Christmas

Kiss Me at Christmas Kiss Me at Christmas by Valerie Bowman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story told here is very readable and involving. As well as being refreshingly to the point. For the most part. Daffin and Regina make a very believable and sensibly paired couple.
Due to the fact that Regina makes her wants and desires, and her reasons for them very clear from the start.
Pair this with the very well done whodunit aspects of this read.
Annnnnnnd voila!
You have a very enjoyable class based Historical Romance.
Of course there is a bit of the "I can't possibly marry you due to my lack of lineage" dither and rot.
On the part of Daffin. But thankfully, it occurs very close to the end of the book, and is ironically quickly dismissed by all of his blue-blooded comrades.
Before it has time to become tedious.
Lastly. The bit of handcuff assisted d\s play provides a very refreshing "first time" scenario for a newly deflowered Regina.

It must also be said that although this read is centered around Christmas. It is not loaded with the customary inundation of superfluous references to the season.
Instead letting it be the innocuous 'raison d'etre' that one needs to fully enjoy the story.
This is the 10th book in a series. But can be read as a standalone.

View all my reviews

St. Martin's Press Presents: Summoned To The Thirteenth Grave Plus A Giveaway...

Grim Reaper Charley Davidson is back in the final installment of Darynda Jones’ New York Times bestselling paranormal series! 

Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper extraordinaire, is pissed. She’s been kicked off the earthly plane for eternity—which is exactly the amount of time it takes to make a person stark, raving mad. But someone’s looking out for her, and she’s allowed to return after a mere hundred years in exile. Is it too much to hope for that not much has changed? Apparently it is. Bummer.

She’s missed her daughter. She’s missed Reyes. She’s missed Cookie and Garrett and Uncle Bob. Now that she’s back on earth, it’s time to put to rest burning questions that need answers. What happened to her mother? How did she really die? Who killed her? And are cupcakes or coffee the best medicine for a broken heart? It all comes to a head in an epic showdown between good and evil in this final smart and hilarious novel.

What, pray tell, the fuck?

It wasn’t until I felt the sun on my face that I knew, really knew, I’d made it back. The bright orb drifted over the horizon like a hot air balloon, blinding me, yet I couldn’t stop looking at it. Or, well, trying to look at it. After giving it my all through squinted lids, I gave up and closed them. Let the warmth wash over me. Let it sink into my skin. Flood every molecule in my body.
God knew I needed it. I hadn’t had a drop of vitamin D in over a hun-dred years. My bones were probably brittle and shriveled and splintery. Much like the current state of my psyche.
But that’s what happens when you defy a god.
Not just any god, mind you. No siree Bob. To get booted off the big blue marble, one had to defy the God. The very One a particular set of children’s books called Jehovahn.
The Man had some serious control issues. I bring one person back from the dead and bam. Banished for all eternity. Exiled to a hell with no light, no hair products, and no coffee.
Mostly no coffee.

And, just to throw salt onto a gaping, throbbing flesh wound, no tribe. In this dimension, the one with the yellow sun and champagne-colored sand on which I now walked, I had a husband and a daughter and more friends than I could shake a stick at. But in the lightless realm I’d been banished to, I’d had nothing. I floated in darkness for over one hundred agonizing years, tormented by dreams of a husband I could no longer
touch and a daughter I could no longer protect.
She would be gone by now. Our daughter. I will have missed her en- tire life. The thought alone shattered me. Cut into me like shards of glass every time I breathed.
But I’d missed more than her life. It had been prophesied that she would face Lucifer in a great battle for humanity. That she would have an army at her back and, fingers crossed, a warrior at her side. And that she would stand against evil when no one else could.
I’d wondered for dozens of years if shed won, the pain of not know- ing, of not being able to help, driving me to the brink of insanity. Then I realized something and a peculiar kind of peace came over me. Of course shed won. She was the daughter of two gods. More to the point, she was her fathers daughter, the god Reyazikeens only child. She wouldve been wily and cunning and strong. Of course she won.
That’s what I’d told myself over and over for the last thirty-odd years of my exile. But now I was back. An exile that was supposed to be for all eternity stopped just short, in my humble opinion, of its goal.
Unfortunately, I had no idea why I was back. I’d felt myself being drawn forward, pulled through space and time until the darkness that sur- rounded me gave way to the unforgiving brightness of Earths yellow sun. That big, beautiful ball of fire I’d so often complained about as a resident of New Mexico, where sunshine was damned near a daily occurrence.
The horror!
And here it was, bathing me in its brilliance as my feet sank into dew-

covered sand with every step I took. I walked toward it. The sun. Crav- ing more. Begging for more.
“I will never complain about you again, I said, tilting my face toward the heavens, because the thought of my daughter growing up without me wasn’t the only thing that had driven me to the edge of sanity. Nor the heartbreak of missing my husband. His hands on my body. His full mouth at my ear. His sparkling eyes hooded by impossibly thick lashes.
No, it was the perpetual darkness that pushed me so far inside myself I could hardly stay conscious.
I’d tried to escape. To find my way back to my family and friends. Boy, had I tried. But it seemed like the harder I struggled, the deeper I sank. The realm in which I’d been cast was like an inky, ethereal form of quick- sand. If not for the wraiths . . .
I stopped and bent my head to listen. Someone was following me, and for the first time since materializing on the earthly plane, I tried to take in my surroundings. With my vision adjusting, I could just make out the sea of peaches and golds that stretched out before me. Sand as far as the eye could see.
Then it hit me. The Sahara. I’d been here before. With him.
I started walking again, slowly, making him come to me as I used every ounce of strength I had to tamp down the elation coursing through my veins.
I’d dreamed about this moment for so long, a part of me wondered if it were real. Or if I were hallucinating. But I felt the warmth radiating from his body and I knew. Heat—his heat—pulsated over me in rich, fervent waves, stirring parts of me that hadn’t been stirred in decades. Or churned. Or even whisked, for that matter.
I dared a glance over my shoulder. My knees weakened and my stom- ach clenched at the sight. Dressed as a desert nomad in traditional, sky- blue garb, he followed at a leisurely pace. A light breeze pressed his robe against his body, outlining his wide shoulders, long arms, and lean waist.

A turban of the same sky blue had been wrapped around his head and face until only his eyes shone through.
Dark. Shimmering. Intent.
Like that could fool me. Like I wouldn’t know my husband from a thousand miles away. His essence. His aura. His scent.
Of course, the ever-present fire that licked over his skin, the lightning that arced around him, didn’t hurt.
He moved like an animal. A predator. Powerful and full of confidence and grace. Every step calculated. Every move a conscious act.
And he was closing in.
I turned back to the horizon, my heart bursting with the knowledge that my husband was still here. Still on Earth. Still sexy as fuck.
And yet, there was something not quite . . .
I whirled around to face him when I realized part of what I was feel- ing, part of the tangle of tightly packed emotions that made Reyes Reyes, was anger.

No. Not anger precisely. Anger would be far too tame a word. He was livid. Furious. Enraged. And it was all directed at me.

My Thoughts

The Trouble with Twelfth Grave (Charley Davidson, #12)First things first.  You were promised you 2 reviews, and two reviews you shall have.
Let's start things off with The Trouble With The Twelfth Grave.
If you were ever a fan of  Where's Waldo, in any form or fashion.  This is the book for you.
In this case however, we will be referring to our little game as "Where's What's His Name?"
Because since his stay in the demon glass...
Let's just say that our beloved Reyes just hasn't quite been himself.
He's been...well more.
More what... you ask?
Growlly, dark, dangerous, evil?
And now he's a word, gone.
From Charley and in a very disappointing large part, from the storyline.  With a paltry 5 appearances book wide.
And let's not forget the name changes.
Which I pray that you don't make me attempt to spell.
(Charley and Darynda are so much better at it than me.)
But I digress.

As if that weren't enough.
Which it never is when Charley is involved.
There are also a ton of new and very WTF murder cases to solve.
And Amber's not so sanctioned attempts to follow in her mom's and aunt Charley's PI footsteps.
To keep under wraps.

When measured against the "action out of the gate" prior reads in this series.
It is very safe to say that The Trouble With The Twelfth Grave takes a while to warm up.
With Charley at her coffee drinking snarky best.  Front and center.
But when things do warm up plot-wise.
The temperature goes through the roof.  Along with the body count.

There are also a great deal more surprises to be had this read.
So many in fact, that there can be can be no doubt that this book is indeed that set up for major
goings on in book 13.

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave (Charley Davidson, #13)And now...
Summoned To The Thirteenth Grave
Bring on the tears pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth.
As good and evil collide in more ways than one.
(Pun very much intended.)
Good people have to die.
(I mean the world has to be saved, right?)
And Charley...
Well see, she's a GOD now and...well.

That's it basically.
This last book is a great big ball of "Oh shit!  Did that Just happen?"
Kleenex break.
"I can't...I just can't!"
Drink and Kleenex break.
"I can't believe ITS OVER!!!!!"
Break to inform concerned family members and pets that you in fact do not need to be put on a 72 hour mental health hold.
You're just emotional over the fact that your favorite book series has ended and you're going to need several pints of ice cream and many days of pajama-clad alone time.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author DARYNDA JONES won a Golden Heart and a RITA for her manuscript First Grave on the Right. A born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.



And Let There Be Treats!

Enter for a chance to win the entire Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones, an ARC of the epic finale, Summoned to Thirteenth Grave, plus fun swag!

(This giveaway will be live from October 31st thru Niember 14th.
It is hosted by by St. Martin's Press.  And is subject to their terms and conditions.)