Review

Snowed in for Christmas. Sarah Morgan

book cover

Published: HQN
Date:  20th September 2022
Source:  Publicist via NetGalley

A family gathering
This Christmas the Miller siblings have one goal—to avoid their well-meaning family’s endless stream of prying questions. Ross, Alice and Clemmie have secrets that they don’t intend to share, and they are relying on each other to deflect attention.

An uninvited guest
Lucy Clarke is facing a Christmas alone and the prospect of losing her job. Unless she can win a major piece of business from Ross Miller, the season promises to be anything but festive. She’ll just deliver her proposal to his family home and then leave. After all, she wouldn’t want to intrude on the Miller family’s perfect Christmas.

Snowed in for Christmas by Sarah Morgan may just turn out to be my very favorite Christmas story of 2022.

It just had such a warm, cosy, family feel to it. I felt like I was there in Scotland, with snow and wonderful smells and the chaos of family interactions.

There is a cast of characters. So we have Lucy (the outsider) and  Ross, Alice and Clemmie the three adult children returning home for Christmas. At home there is Glenda the mother and Douglas the dad and the best nana ever. Nana Jean.

Firstly Nanna Jean just made me laugh so many times and her little interlude with a computer had me smiling more than once. Glenda is the heart of the home and is anxious that her children will be happy and that she is has mothered in the right way. Douglas is getting older and with no one in the family to carry on the business – where to next?

There is plenty of drama, finding out mistakes have been made and seeing how things might be set right. There is plenty of emotion and things taking on a life of their own. Of course being snowed in provides the perfect situation for everyone to stay together.

Lucy, the outsider – well if Nana Jean has anything to do with it she won’t be that for long.

I am not going to say more, except if you like a good family snowed in story with romance at Christmas this is definitely for you. It was for me.

photoAuthor Website:

Facebook:
Twitter:
Instagram: 
Goodreads:


Banner

Review

The Christmas Wedding Guest.

book cover

Published: Harlequin
Date: 28th September 2021
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

The Somerville sisters believe in love, but they’ve lost faith it will happen for them. Reggie hasn’t been home since the end of the world’s shortest engagement. When her parents decide to renew their vows, she buffs up her twinkle to help with the Christmas wedding. Unexpectedly, Toby, her first love, is back too, and the spark between them shines as brightly as ever. In the spirit of the season, will they let go of past hurts and greet the New Year together?

Done waiting for the one, Dena is pregnant and on her own—on purpose. But then a gorgeous, sad-eyed songwriter checks in to a room at her inn. Micah, unable to write since he lost his wife, finds inspiration in Dena’s determination to be a mom. One snowflake-speckled kiss and he’s a goner. But Dena is afraid to believe that a rock star could fall for a cookie-cutter small-town girl like her.

This book is beginning of a series by Susan Mallery in Wishing Tree – a small town in Washington state, that really gets into the Christmas spirit.

Reggie is home to help her mother organise a very special renewal of vows, and brings with her, her Great Dane – Belle, and for me just might be the star of the show.  Reggie is about to discover that maybe love just might be around the corner.  Belle certainly works out early on, where her affection is going.  Harrison a young boy just might be my second star of the show.

Dena is a teacher, single and pregnant, because she wants a family and just hasn’t found the right man. But could he be not that far away after all. If only she could believe.

The characters are interesting, the setting is one of those lovely Christmas settings, and there is a strong sense of family and sisterhood.

For me though I found a lack of tension in the plot, there is a lot of sweet set up, but I had to wait for a long time to get to where it became really page turning.  It finally finished in a satisfying way.

Review

Sleigh Bells Ring. RaeAnne Thayne

Sleigh Bells Ring

Published: Harlequin
Date: 26th October 2021
Source: Publicist via NetGalley – Blog Tour

Angel’s View Ranch has always been special to Annelise McCade. Once upon a time, it was her family’s land, until her grandfather sold it to billionaire Wallace Sheridan. Now employed as the live-in caretaker, Annie is just trying to make it through the holidays with both her sanity and her niece’s and nephew’s faith in the magic of Christmas intact.

The six-year-old twins recently lost their mother, so Annie tells herself it wouldn’t be a problem to bring them to Angel’s View. Why should it be? The Sheridans haven’t visited in years, not since Wallace died. They would never know the twins were there…until Tate Sheridan shows up out of the blue two weeks before Christmas.

Crushed to learn that Tate is there to sell his grandfather’s property—and mortified that her secret guests have been discovered—Annie offers her resignation. But Tate asks them to stay and help him get the house ready for one last family Christmas before it’s put on the market.

Annie and Tate have three days to work their magic before the Sheridan clan arrives—and to work through the growing attraction between them. But Annie simply can’t fall for the man who will put her out of a job and a home. Still, the sparkle of the season is impossible to deny…and this Christmas has surprises in store for everyone.

Sleigh Bells Ring by RaeAnne Thayne was a marvellous Christmas read. It warmed my heart, made me tear up a little with a mix of sadness and joy.

It has a cast of characters who all crept in turn into my heart. Those six year old twins Alice and Henry. Oh my. They have so much to deal with, yet their Auntie – Annaliese or Annie for short, may not have had children of her own, but she is just wonderful with them.

Then enter the Sheridan family. Returning to the ranch for one last time before Irene the grandmother intends to sell it now her dear Wallace has died, they fill the house and bring both joy and heartbreak with them. Wallace was someone who wasn’t there, but was! What a big heart and great foresight.

The ranch and town and sleigh rides all embodied the Christmas spirit. I loved seeing how they reached out and supported.

There is a facing up to tragedies of the past, and facing into the challenges of the now. And of course relationships develop in the romance way, but in all kinds of ways.

This is a Christmas book you won’t regret reading. Although you might regret having to close the book after the last page.

Buy Links: 
BookShop.org
Harlequin 
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s 

Social Links:
Author Website
Facebook: @AuthorRaeAnneThayne
Instagram: @raeannethayne
Twitter: @raeannethayne
Goodreads

Review

A Texas Kind of Christmas

book cover

Published: Kensington Books
Date: 29th October 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

A Texas Kind of Christmas has three novellas by three authors. They are loosely linked by place and year. The first is by Jodi Thomas, and here we are taken to the Texas frontier with a mixture of ranchers, lawmen, supposed outlaws, hotel staff and a young woman about to choose her husband.  She has a wealthy father who just wants to see her married off and happy, but her step mother has nasty intentions. She eventually makes her choice as does Katie one of the hotel maids.

Birdie’s Flight by Celia Bonaduce is the second story. We meet Birdie or Bridget, just arrived in Dallas needing a job. Thanks to a few serendiptious happenings she finds one as a seamstress. We also meet the capricious Charlotte who is looking for that perfect dress for the dance. Birdie is fleeing someone, just who and why we have to read on to find out. By the end of the story both girls find the one they love.

Spirit of Texas  by Rachel Miles gives us a ride through Texas to Dallas on a coach along with Eugenie who has come from England to seek out and bring home her mother.  Asher has been designated to guide her to Dallas to the St Nicholas hotel. Its a story of second chances and a ride through the wild country side.

These stories have plenty of a western feel and are a load of adventure and fun. They are short but each of them is satisfying and I felt did not suffer from being a novella.  I picked this book up because of the name of Jodi Thomas, however I have to say I enjoyed each story – all so well written and engaging.

Review

Christmas from the Heart. Sheila Roberts

book cover

Published: Harlequin Mira
Date: 24th September 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Christmas from the Heart is the name of this novel but also the name of the organisation that Livi runs as a non profit to bring joy and love to families at Christmas. The only trouble is… this year it has been very difficult raising the money to make this possible. To cap it all, the Hightower corporation have refused to give any donation, and they have been the main contributors since her grandmother’s time.

Livi herself lives on a shoe string, she lives at home with her Dad and scrimps by with very little. Guy on the other hand – the CFO of Hightower has his own swanky apartment and lives rather well. He is rather cautious though of women who have their eye on the money and that leaves him a little cynical. And that includes Livi the do gooder. To be fair he is hardworking and the Hightower business is struggling despite all the long hours he works. If only his brothers could contribute their share of the work.

Can a scrooge business man’s heart take on the spirit of Christmas? Can a woman bent on spreading the Christmas spirit have her heart persuaded to take a second look at the man she has come to despise. Will a deception be forgiven?

Christmas From the Heart is very much in the Christmas feel good, spread good spirit genre. Those who like such movies should enjoy this story.

Review

Coming Home For Christmas. RaeAnne Thayne

book cover

Published: Harlequin
Date: 24th September 2019
Source: Little Bird Publicity via NetGalley

Banner

One dark night Luke’s wife Elizabeth stumbled out of her house lost in the fog of a deep dark depression.  The night was cold and snowy, and she wasn’t heard of again. What happened to her? Did she die? Has she chosen another life and family? Luke has always wondered as he has spent the seven intervening years being a wonderful Dad to his daughter Cassie and son Bridger.

When by some miracle she is found and returns to their lives it is with very mixed and varied feelings on all their parts. What has happened to Elizabeth in the meantime? Can they all find their way back to each other or is the divorce Luke plans the most effective way to deal.

Needless to say this story grabbed me and I read it every chance I had. It’s sad and yet so very heart warming as well. Luke is a fantastic Dad and he has done such a great job of raising his two children. Elizabeth has been through a lot, yet is such a compassionate, loving person.

Add in the background of Christmas, snow and goodwill and Coming Home for Christmas brings a whole new meaning to those words. A perfect Christmas read.

Review

Christmas Camp by Karen Schaler

book coverPublished: William Morrow
Date: 16th October 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 368
Genre: Contemporary Christmas
Source: Publicist  via Edelweiss

Rating
Goodreads callout

Haley Hanson’s idea of the perfect Christmas is escaping to the Caribbean to work so she can avoid all the traditional Christmas distractions. Over the years, she’s sacrificed her personal life to climb the corporate ladder at a prestigious Boston advertising agency. Now she just needs to land a coveted Christmas toy company account to make partner. But first, her boss, Larry, thinks she needs a holiday attitude adjustment, so he ships her off to a Christmas Camp at Holly Peak Inn to help her find her Christmas spirit.

Arriving at the charming mountainside inn, Haley meets the owner’s handsome son, Jeff, and feels an instant spark, but resists the attraction, refusing to be distracted from her goal of doing all the required Christmas tasks as fast as possible so she can get back to work.

Banner

What a delightful, fresh, original Christmas season story. I wanted to resist it at first, but bit by bit it hooked my in and kept me reading on. I loved the characters and their stories, I loved the persistence of Max ( a dog) and his insight into the human heart!  I found myself wishing I was their at the Christmas Camp along with all the participants. I might be a little bit easily led I know, but I just couldn’t resist the feel good message in this story.

Haley is a sort of Grinch. But… she doesn’t really have all that much in common with that character, when you examine her life and her heart. Really that is in the right place. She has just become obsessed  with work and her eye is forever on that goal. But thanks to her boss she gets a call to step outside her life and experience something different. I found myself on her side, wanting her to love her respite in this wonder filled place, but also to be successful in her ultimate goal.

I loved the activities, the friendships and relationships that were begun or strengthened. Mmmm all the feels of the Christmas season plus. I believe this just may have a follow up. I’m all for it!

book iconbook iconbook iconBook icon

Review

Deck the Halls by Donna Alward

book cover

Published: St Martin’s Press
Date: 3rd October 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: Novella
Genre:Romance
Source:Publisher via NetGalley

Rating
Goodreads callout

With shades of It’s a Wonderful Life, one man must face his past to find his future this Christmas.In the last year, George’s life has drastically changed. The formerly homeless veteran now has a job he likes, a family in the residents of Darling, VT, and for the first time in years, a home. But while his present is good, he’s still haunted by the past, a past that appears shortly before Christmas when the older sister of his brother-in-arms hunts him down and finds him in Darling, working at the Ladybug Garden Center.

Amy’s looking for closure for her family after her brother’s death in the Middle East, but the serious man she finds working in Vermont doesn’t resemble the soldier she remembers from years before. This man is hardened and yet somehow fragile, too, and in her desire to find out what really happened to her brother, she learns more about George than she ever expected. With a little Christmas magic and the whole town supporting them, can these two bruised hearts make a future together?

Banner
When I read Somebody Like You – #1 in the Darling VT series earlier in the year, I wrote a very brief review of it, stating the character George really appealed to me. And… I wanted his story. A little comment then showed underneath, Donna saying I should watch out for October because his story was on the way. And so it is.

George is a returned service man who for a long time was down on himself and was living on the street until a few people in Darling VT really saw him and offered him a helping hand. Which to his credit he took. Yet he is still riddled by regret and no small amount of survivor guilt.

Into the mix arrives his best friend’s twin sister – Amy. She has come looking for answers to what went down that day when her brother was killed in war.

What follows is a heart warming Christmas story of reaching out, giving, hope and love. Things move along for George, he has already come a long way but there is more ways to travel. Towards the end it tugged on my heart strings.

There is no quick fix, but there is promise of good things to follow. George and Amy are just beginning. If the Darling VT series continues… well I hope Amy and George poke their noses into other peoples stories and update us.

Review

The Christmas Room by Catherine Anderson

Book cover

Published: Berkley
Date: September 26th 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages:
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Rating
Goodreads callout

Widow Maddie McLendon has uprooted her life to move to Rustlers Gulch with her son and grandson. But as a brutal Montana winter looms on the horizon, contractors have yet to break ground on their new house, leaving them to live in a makeshift camp of trailers, tents, and sheds….

Since his wife died six years earlier, millionaire rancher Sam Conacher has been content to wallow in his grief alone, while keeping a tight rein on his twenty-six-year-old daughter. But now the girl has gone and fallen in love with his foolish new neighbor’s no-good son….

Banner

Cam, his son Caleb and mother Maddie have arrived in a town in Montana and set up on a parcel of land where they intend to build. In the meantime home is a tent and caravan as they begin this stage of their journey.

Not so far away is Sam and his daughter Kirstin, they have a huge ranch but not many workers. Sam has scared them all away with his grumpiness, think Scrooge and the Grinch rolled into one plus some. He has been really mean spirited since his wife Annie died about five years ago. He is very protective of his daughter Kirstin and runs off any man who looks at her. So… when Cam shows some interest it is a real challenge to Sam. He is downright rude and before long there is a war going on between Sam and Maddie, who resents his attack on her son Cam. A wall is built, no trespassing notices are put up.

Maddie though is hiding a secret that she is keeping from her son Cam and grandson Caleb. Caleb is having a difficult time settling into a new school and so far has no friends.  Cam is finding it hard to sell land, all in all things are not going well. However there is romance blossoming between Cam and Kristin.  And even though its war for Sam and Maddie, perhaps there is going to be a second chance romance there too.

The story was a load of fun. It moved along at a good pace with something happening all the time. I loved Caleb, the young teen who had a heart of gold trying to fit in with his peers. He was thoughtful and so caring especially of his grandmother.

While the story does come together at Christmas and is totally heart warming, most of the story takes place before Christmas, so don’t feel you are getting too Christmasy to read this now. It’s a perfect pre Christmas read, that will put you in the spirit for that season when it arrives.

Review

Miracle on 5th Avenue. Sarah Morgan

book cover

Published:HQN
Date: November 29th 2016
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source:Publisher via NetGalley
Rating:
4 stars                  Add to Goodreads

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she’s given an opportunity to house-sit a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. What better place to celebrate than in snow-kissed Manhattan? What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous—and mysterious—owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn’t appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?

My thoughts banner
With Miracle on 5th Avenue – we have #3 in the From Manhattan with Love series. It’s a story I have been anticipating with relish for awhile now, and so it was a pleasure to read about Eva and Lucas Blade. We’d met Eva before and knew her pretty well but Lucas was a treat in store for us. 
They’re both suffering loss, yet Eva has no one – no family at all, although what she hasn’t taken time to realise is that family doesn’t always have to be blood based. Her many close and not so close friends both adore and love her.
Lucas is trying to escape his interfering family (as he sees it). So while he is pretending to be in Vermont he is actually at home.  He is a writer with writer’s block, the book is due and there is not a word on the page, until enter Eva – sent by his Grandmother to decorate and cook so the place is all welcoming when he returns for Vermont. 
So this book is a slightly different version of meeting and being snowed in, because of course Lucas was home when Eva turned up, but it was too icy and snowy to leave. 
Eva is a romantic, she believes in love and living happily, even ever after. Lucas has past experience that tells him differently. Eva doesn’t like the dark thrillers that Lucas writes and would love to see a little love in there  to lighten things a little.   That horrifies Lucas! 
So there is a fun clash between the two, some tension and heat, and possibly coming up a love story and a happily ever after.
I enjoyed Eva and Lucas’ story and it ends deliciously. Can’t ask for more.