Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: Tinsel My Heart by Christi Barth

Tinsel My Heart by Christi Barth
Expected publication: December 5th 2013 by Carina Press
Purchase at Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Becca Huntley's produced the Lyndale Park Players' over-the-top Christmas show for ten years. It's a beloved Minneapolis tradition, and the theater's main fundraiser. But this year's production is in danger of being canceled when their director disappears into rehab. Good thing his directing partner steps in to save the day. Except for the minor fact that he hates everything about Christmas.

Jack Whittaker wiped this town off his shoe with his graduation tassel and never looked back. But duty compels him to fulfill Tyler's promise to direct the show. Even though it means working with Becca, the girl he always wanted, lost to Ty, but never forgot.

It'll take more than a few handfuls of tinsel to soften Jack's heart toward Becca's favorite holiday. Steamy kisses that melt the snow right off his boots are a step in the right direction. They'll both discover that Christmas is about making each other's dreams come true. But will it require sacrificing their chance at a happily-ever-after together?

My Thoughts
One of my favorite times of the year to read is definitely during the winter season, and when Christmas comes around I enjoy jumping into a good holiday story. So, thank you to Christi Barth for sending me an eCopy of Tinsel My Heart, as it marks my first holiday book for this season. What a perfect holiday romance to kick off my Christmas reading.

In Tinsel My Heart, Jack Whittaker comes back to his Minneapolis hometown to help rescue the annual holiday production of Season of Christmas, which is the town’s claim to fame. Jack has strained memories of this town and left as soon as his high school diploma was handed to him. However, because his directing partner Tyler Peterson, who was hired to direct the show, disappears to rehab, Jack is forced to face the town that looked down on him because of his poor beginnings, and save the annual production.

When he takes on the directing project, he also comes face to face with his long time high school crush Becca Huntley, who also happens to be the producer for the show. When sparks fly and production hits high gear, Becca and Jack begin to explore their feelings for one another that started over 15 years ago.

I really enjoyed this holiday love story of long time love and Christmas miracles. Becca was an easy character to fall for because of her dedication to her production staff and most importantly her grandmother. I enjoyed her backstory and hoped for a happily ever after for this loveable character.

I liked the twist on Jack’s story, seeing as he had a bit of a Christmas Grinch attitude. It was enjoyable to see his holiday icicles melt and finally come to enjoy the season.

Overall, Tinsel My Heart was filled with a good cast of characters that was supported by an interesting plot and all around enjoyable dialog. Well done!
3.5 Suns

Book Excerpt

 She picked up the end of her braid and tickled his cheek. “Told ya.”
The silken hair set off a chain reaction in his body. Blood pounded south in great, galloping leaps and bounds to pool in his crotch. Jack hadn’t experienced an insta-hard-on like that in years. He quickly shifted the black script binder across his lap.
“You’ve changed, Becca.”
“Since high school? I would hope so.” Then her lips pursed. “Okay, you’ve piqued my curiosity. Exactly how have I changed?”
“You’ve grown from a pretty girl into a beautiful woman.”
“Oh.” Her pale cheeks turned the color of ripe strawberries. It made Jack wonder if her nipples were the same color. Or would turn that color after he used his lips on them. “Um, thank you. And let me just say that adding a few pounds of pure muscle didn’t hurt you any, either.”
Interesting. Might as well push a little harder, see what developed. “Here I thought you were going to comment on my righteously masculine goatee.”
As if lifted by marionette strings, her hand rose, scraped along the end-of-day stubble on his cheeks to trace the outline of the goatee. “It, ah, makes you look devilish.”
“Want to dance with the devil?”
“What?” Her gaze flew up to meet his as her hands dropped to her lap. “You want to dance?”
Super literal people made flirting much more difficult. Jack sighed. “Metaphorically.” When she still looked bewildered, he continued. “Forget it. Do you want to have dinner with me?”
She blinked, rapidly. Looked down at her hands twisting together. “That depends.”
It wasn’t a complicated question. Jack didn’t want her take on the crisis in Syria. Why would a simple dinner invite come with conditions? “On what?”
Becca looked over both shoulders, as if to check they were still alone. Or as alone as you could get in a threehundred-seat theatre full of people milling about from the lobby to the dressing rooms. “Are you just lonely, Jack? Because of Ty?”
“I’m a grown-ass man. I can eat by myself,” he growled.
“I know. I guess my real question is, do you want to have dinner with just anyone? Or do you want to have dinner with me?” She fluttered her hands up to cover her heart.
Now he got it. Well, he didn’t get why she had the crazy female insecurity, but at least he knew what she was driving at. “I want to have dinner with you. Only you. Not because we used to be good friends. Not even because we’ve slid pretty well back into those roles. And not just dinner.” Jack grasped her chin between his thumb and forefinger. “You’re a beautiful woman who heats me up every time you slide those cool lake eyes over me. With enough talent and know-how and passion for my business to make for interesting conversation. So what I want from you, Becca, is a date.”
To his utter surprise, she didn’t blush again. Or look away. Or for that matter, look flustered at all. Instead, she mimicked his pose, putting her hand to his mouth. Rubbed her soft thumb in a slow glide across his lower lip. Her eyes darkened from the clear blue of Lake Harriet in the summer to the darkness of a winter’s night.
“Well, why didn’t you say so? Of course I’ll go out with you.”
No matter how many he tried on for size, women never failed to confound him. Jack didn’t know what he’d said to peel off her timidity. Didn’t care, either. Just looked forward to an evening filled with more surprises from the woman he was discovering he liked even more than the girl he used to adore.

About the Author
Christi Barth earned a Master’s degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes contemporary romance. She is the award-winning author of the Aisle Bound series. Christi is President of the Maryland Romance Writers and lives in Maryland with her husband.

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