Burning Bright: Four Chanukah Love Stories by Megan Hart, KK Hendin, Stacey Agdern and Jennifer Gracen ~ Tour & Giveaway

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Burning Bright
Four Chanukah Love Stories
Megan Hart, KK Hendin, 
Stacey Agdern and Jennifer Gracen
Releasing December 1st, 2015 
Avon Impulse
 

This December, take a break from dreidel spinning, gelt winning, and latke eating to experience the joy of Chanukah. When you fall in love during the Festival of Lights, the world burns a whole lot brighter.

It’s definitely not love at first sight for Amanda and her cute but mysterious new neighbor, Ben. Can a Chanukah miracle show them that getting off on the wrong foot doesn’t mean they can’t walk the same road?

 

Lawyers in love, Shari Cohen and Evan Sonntag are happy together. But in a moment of doubt, he pushes her away-then soon realizes he made a huge mistake. To win her back, it might take something like a Chanukah miracle.

 

When impulsive interior designer Molly Baker-Stein barges into Jon Adelman’s apartment and his life intent on planning the best Chanukah party their building has ever seen, neither expects that together, they just might discover a Home for Hannukah.

 

All Tamar Jacobs expected from her Israel vacation was time to hang out with one of her besties and to act like a tourist, cheesy t-shirt and all, in her two favorite cities. She definitely was not expecting to fall for Avi Levinson, a handsome soldier who’s more than she ever dreamed. 

 
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Chanukah Fun with Megan Hart

Favorite Chanukah Memory or tradition

Definitely the latkes. I like mine with sour cream, although applesauce is more traditional.

 

Favorite Chanukah Dish/Dessert

Latkes, latkes latkes! However, I don’t have a recipe. I can list the ingredients and tell you what to do, but measurements vary from year to year!

 

Potatoes

Onions

Garlic

Oil

Salt

 

Shred the potatoes and onions. Mix with the garlic, to taste. (You can also add salt and pepper) Heat the oil. Fry small patties of potato/onion mix! Enjoy!

 

Do you have any real life experience with finding love during Chanukah?

I was married before I started celebrating Chanukah, so every year has been full of love!

 

What was your favorite scene to write for MIRACLE?

I think the first meeting scene is my favorite. It made me giggle. So awkward!

 

One line that describes your holiday romance.

You’ll never know where the road will take you if you don’t start walking it!

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Chanukah Fun with Stacey Agdern

Favorite Chanukah Memory, or tradition:

My brother holds a pretty big Chanukah party every year (he calls it Laktepalooza).  It’s filled with family and friends, gingerbread houses, music and it’s centerpiece : my brother at the stove frying latkes.  I’m not always able to attend, but when I do, it fills my heart with joy, even when it ends up being in March 😉

 

 

Favorite Chanukah Dish/Dessert:

Latkes of course J

 

My family recipe involves applesauce (as a dipping sauce)

-6 potatoes

-3 onions (or one big one )

-2 eggs

-breadcrumbs, matzah meal (or gf alternative) to bind.

-Olive oil

 

Wash, cut and grate the potatoes (you can use a food processor if you have one ).  The goal is thin strips that will crisp up in the oil).

Use a paper towel and get as much water out of the potatoes as possible.  Squeeze 😉  Then put in a bowl.

Peel and cut the onions, put them in the food processor (or grater).  You want them finely chopped.  Add them to the potatoes.

Break the eggs into the bowl with the potatoes and the onions.  Mix.

Add the breadcrumbs or your substitute into the bowl, just enough to sop up the water that’s being released from the potatoes and the onions.

Oil in the pan; make sure the oil is on the hotter side.  Test the oil with a small piece of the potato.  When it sizzles, you know it’s ready.

A tablespoon of batter is usually enough.  Lower

When the oil sizzles through the latke, it’s time to turn it over.

 

 

NB: as long as the latkes are crispy on both sides, you’re good J

 

Recipe Transcribed from Jane Agdern

 

 

Do you have any real life experience with finding love during Chanukah?

The love I find during Chanukah is the love of family and friends; the family who I love, the friends both near and far.  All of them make me smile and cry with thoughtful gifts, of memories and of their presence.

 

What was your favorite scene to write for ‘A Home for Chanukah’?

There’s a scene in ‘A Home for Hanukkah’ that takes places in a big box store.  The store has huge displays for each December holiday (and there’s even a nod to one that doesn’t take place in December!).   There’s also a big bold wonderful(fictional) Chanukah song playing in the background as my hero and heroine gather the items they came to the store for.  I think I cried writing that scene, because it’s symbolic of a world I’d like to see.  Where ‘holiday’ means more than one, and at least for a little while, the world is a little brighter and filled with understanding.

 

 

One line that describes your holiday romance

3 boroughs, two mensches and one Chanukah romance complete with menorahs, latkes, chocolate and love.

 

REVIEW

Jill’s Review

I was beyond excited when I caught sight of Burning Bright. Seriously, Four Chanukah Love Stories by Megan Hart, KK Hendin, Stacey Agdern and Jennifer Gracen how amazing is that? (Honestly I may have gotten up and danced the Horah! Ok, ok not the Horah… but I did jump up and down!) With all of the holiday romances that come pouring out every year we don’t often get to snuggle up with FOUR Chanukah romances!

Before my life became pretty much consumed 24/7 by this Book Community it was pretty much consumed 24/7 by the Jewish Community (I guess you can say when I jump into something – I go all in 😉 ) So delving into the pages of this book was like coming home for me. Visiting old friends that I used to spend all my working days with. Each of the 4 stories is completely different yet linked by some universal themes: Hanukkah, love, family and traditions.

Megan Hart’s Miracle brings us the story of Amanda and Ben. Neighbors who meet for the very first time and don’t know quite what to make of each other. Watching as they navigate their differences and learn about themselves was truly heartwarming. I could absolutely picture them and their scenario. And for people unfamiliar with Judaism (I don’t want to give the story away) this will give you a bit of a glimpse into some different aspects of it.

In a Dose of Gelt by Jennifer Gracen we meet a couple in love, Shari and Evan as they are about to go home and meet the family for the holiday. Uh Oh. Yeah you guessed it, there is always some drama that is bound to happen when you bring your loved one home to meet the family over Hanukkah – especially if your 91 year-old Bubby (Grandma) is there and you are a divorce lawyer (just saying!) Evan may need the eight days of hanukkah to make it up to Shari!

Stacey Agdern’s A Home for Chanukah introduces us to Molly and Jon. Molly meets Jon when she goes to invite him to their building’s Chanukkah party and stays to ask him for some help since she is planning it. we see their relationship develop as they spend time getting to know each other as they run errands to plan the party. Jon is in the music business, specifically modern Jewish music – and I could not just read this story straight through with my normal background noises as distractions. As Jon was talking so passionately about Jewish music I had to have some playing in the background so I quickly turned on Jewish Rock Radio so that I could feel like I was sitting there WITH Jon and Molly and I could really FEEL a part of this story!

All I Got by KK Hendin takes us to Israel and the story of Tamar and Avi. Tamar and Avi meet and connect as she is on vacation in Israel, is there anything more perfect than meeting someone new? And Israel during the holidays is such a wonderful place to be. The way KK peppered the story with little anecdotes/memories of Israel from people truly warmed my heart (maybe even more so, because my first trip to Israel was also during the holidays so all the memories! *SIGH*). It was the perfect story to end the anthology.

And yes I have switched back and forth between the spelling of Chanukah & Hanukkah in this review. I can’t help it!! I clearly favor one way.. the book likes it another way.. When you read the Foreword by Sarah Wendell she’ll even lay it out for you. There are many different ways to spell it, “Making copyeditors gnash their teeth for over 5000 years!” 😉

Sweet romances that all have a story to tell, this collection is full of love that will leave you feeling the warm glow of the holidays. Burning Bright truly lit up my Hanukkah nights and warmed my heart. Treat yourself to this gift this holiday season!

 

Chanukah Fun with KK Hendin

Favorite Chanukah Memory or tradition:

My favorite memory is from the first year I lived in Israel. I was in school there, and we had the afternoons off that week. A bunch of us wanted to do something fun before lighting the menorah in the evening, but we were all too poor to do anything that really cost money. So we split up into two groups and wrote a ridiculous list of things to do. The goal was to see which group could do more things on the list, with picture evidence to make sure nobody lied. By the end of the afternoon, we had done things like decorate a public bathroom, confuse the heck out of a bunch of soldiers, ask random strangers both silly questions and very serious questions, and hired ourselves to work at people’s restaurants. And all for the price of a bus ticket.

My favorite tradition… hmm. Lighting the Chanukah candles every night is really nice, because we do it as a family. Everyone gets together in the living room, and we all light our menorahs together, and sing. And laugh when my dad reminds us not to go near the candles, because when it comes to menorahs, he seems to forget we’re all perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves near fire.

 

Favorite Chanukah Dish/Dessert:

It’s traditional to eat both dairy products and fried food on Chanukah, which is the greatest possible combination of foods to eat. One Chanukah night every year we ignore the concept of a balanced meal for dinner and have latkes, homemade french fries, and a bunch of different kinds of cheese. It is a ridiculous overindulgence, and the next day everyone just eats salad as a recovery food. (I eat my latkes with cottage cheese, not applesauce. I don’t understand the appeal of latkes and applesauce. I’m sorry.)

 

(When I called my mother to make sure I got the latke recipe correct, I mentioned eating latkes and cottage cheese. Her response was something along the lines of, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?? WHO EATS LATKES AND COTTAGE CHEESE??”. When I reminded her that I have ALWAYS eaten latkes and cottage cheese together, she told me she probably blocked the memory.)

 

The recipe we use for potato latkes is our potato kugel recipe tweaked.

 

Potato Latkes (Or Potato Kugel)

5 pounds potatoes

1 large white onion

(You can substitute a zucchini for a few of the potatoes if you want for the potato kugel.)

6 eggs

(1/2 cup oil-for kugel)

1 tablespoon Salt

Pepper

 

LATKES: In a large mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, salt and pepper. Use a food processor to shred the potatoes and onions, then add to the mixing bowl. Form into patties, and fry them in oil. Serve with applesauce, sour cream, or (to quote my family), if you’re irrevocably broken somehow like KK, cottage cheese. Makes a lot of latkes.

 

POTATO KUGEL:  In a large mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, salt and pepper. Cover the bottom of a 9×13 pan in oil and place it an oven set at 450. Use a food processor to shred the potatoes and onions, then add to the mixing bowl. Combine all ingredients together, and the take the mixing bowl directly to the oven, and pour the mixture into the pan without taking the pan out of the oven. Cook for an hour and a half, or until the potato kugel is at the consistency and texture you’d like. Serve hot with anything at all, because potato kugel, and if you have extras somehow, potato kugel is delicious cold with a bit of mustard on top or dipped in humus. Makes one delicious pan of potato-y goodness.

 

(Alternative, if you’re feeling fancy: instead of baking the kugel in a 9 x 13, you can bake it in cupcake tins for fanciness and extra crispy bits. Adjust temperature and cooking time accordingly.)

 

Do you have any real life experience with finding love during Chanukah?

I think I really and truly fell in love with Israel on Chanukah- I finally was settled in, I knew how to get places without taking the bus, and there were an abundance of cheerful soldiers. It was finally sweater weather, and every person, regardless of religious observance, was excited about Chanukah, and about sufganiyot.

 

Also, as a New Yorker, getting to go to the beach in December without freezing your face off is pretty cool.

 

What was your favorite scene to write for ALL I GOT?

Besides the ending? Probably the rain. I’ve done my share of dance parties in the rain in Israel, and it was so much fun to write one for Avi.

 

One line that describes your holiday romance.

Sometimes you can meet the love of your life at a bus stop.

Megan Hart is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than thirty novels, novellas and short stories. Her work has been published in almost every genre, including contemporary women’s fiction, historical romance, paranormal and erotica. Learn more at www.meganhart.com

 

Jennifer Gracen hails from Long Island, New York, where she lives with her two young sons. After spending her youth writing in private and singing in public, she now only sings in her car and has fully embraced her lifelong passion for writing. She loves to write contemporary romance and romantic women’s fiction for readers who yearn for better days, authentic characters, and satisfying endings. When she isn’t taking care of her kids, doing freelance copy editing/proofreading, reading, or talking to friends on Twitter and Facebook, Jennifer writes. She’s shocked her family hasn’t yet staged an intervention for her addiction to social media. But the concerts she gives in her car and the dance parties she has in her kitchen are rumored to be fabulous.

 

 
Stacey Agdern is an award winning former bookseller who has reviewed romance novels in multiple formats and given talks about various aspects of the romance genre. She also a romance writer. You can find her on twitter at @nystacey. She’s a proud member of both LIRW and RWA NYC. She lives in New York, not far from her favorite hockey team’s practice facility.

 

 
KK Hendin writes books where people flirt awkwardly, make out, dish out a whole lot of sass and ridiculousness, and live happily ever after. She’s the author of many books, including the TWELVE BEATS IN A BAR series and the upcoming UNDERCOVER series. She also writes books as K. Hendin, where people aren’t as nice and Happily Ever After isn’t a guarantee. KK is currently writing way too many books, and is still waiting for the subway to run on a regular schedule. When she’s not playing book Tetris in an attempt to fit everything onto the bookshelves in her tiny NYC apartment, she’s probably wandering her neighborhood with her camera or drinking yet another cup of coffee.
 
 

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