The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan

The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan

Pub. Date: September 25, 2018 – HQN

Review copy courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description: In the snowy Highlands of Scotland, Suzanne McBride is dreaming of the perfect cozy Christmas. Her three adopted daughters are coming home for the holidays and she can’t wait to see them. But tensions are running high…

Workaholic Hannah knows she can’t avoid spending the holidays with her family two years in a row. But it’s not the weight of their expectations that’s panicking her—it’s the life-changing secret she’s hiding. Stay-at-home mom Beth is having a personal crisis. All she wants for Christmas is time to decide if she’s ready to return to work—seeing everyone was supposed to help her stress levels, not increase them! Posy isn’t sure she’s living her best life, but with her parents depending on her, making a change seems risky. But not as risky as falling for gorgeous new neighbor Luke…

As Suzanne’s dreams of the perfect McBride Christmas unravel, she must rely on the magic of the season to bring her daughters together. But will this new togetherness teach the sisters that their close-knit bond is strong enough to withstand anything—including a family Christmas? (publisher)

My take:  Three sisters, adopted at a young age when their parents perished in a climbing accident, reunite to celebrate Christmas in the Scottish Highlands – and no one is more excited than their adoptive parents, Suzanne and Stewart.

Hannah hasn’t been around for a family Christmas in a few years. Her fast-paced job has kept her occupied. That’s still the case but she also has a secret. Beth is mother to two young children. She wants to return to work and try to recapture some of the person she’d been before kids. Her husband is less than thrilled with the idea. Posy, the sister who stayed in Scotland to work in the family business, has met someone who makes her yearn for a bigger life – one that would take her away from home.

As the three sisters work through their challenges will their parents get the family Christmas they hoped for? I enjoyed finding out and recommend to fans of Sarah Morgan and women’s fiction. Who can resist a Scottish setting at Christmas time? Not this reader!


 

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Sunday Post – Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas


Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

   

Last week on Bookfan:


Reading plan for this week:

When this post went live I had plans to read a particular book. Those plans changed with the busy holiday festivities and I decided to do a Spotlight/US giveaway of that book. Stay tuned!


 

Cardinal Cabin by Joanne De Maio

  • Title:  Cardinal Cabin
  • Author:  Joanne DeMaio
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pages:  215
  • Published:  September 2017 – Joanne DeMaio
  • Source:  Purchased

My take: In her new novel Joanne DeMaio takes readers back to Addison, Connecticut – the setting for a few of her previous novels. It’s a quaint and charming town that always makes me wish I lived there. With this visit to Addison we meet Penny, a reluctant travel agent. Reluctant in that she really doesn’t want to travel but she loves to help arrange trips for other people. Her boss has assigned a publicity campaign for the weeks leading up to Christmas. She’ll stay at an unidentified location and post a daily photo and clue for residents to guess where in New England Penny is staying. The promotion will end when someone guesses correctly or on Christmas Eve when Penny discloses her whereabouts.

Although Penny wasn’t sure leaving the creature comforts of her apartment in town was a good idea her mind is changed when she meets Frank. Frank, part-time handyman at the lake cabins where Penny is staying, is kind of awkward but Penny can immediately see he’s a really nice guy with mannerisms that make him seem like he’s from another era. I loved how their romance unfolded as they had such a unique experience of getting to know each other in secret (Penny couldn’t be seen in public during the contest). Frank also is co-owner of The Boathouse, an event location in Addison. He’s a busy guy but soon wants to spend what little free time he has with Penny. Sounds idyllic, right? Well it is until there’s a misunderstanding that could have a lasting effect. Will they figure things out and set things right? You’ll have to read to find out. If you like a contemporary romance with an old-fashioned vibe I think you’ll like Cardinal Cabin. I enjoyed it.


 

Christmas Reads

My busy November (aka my low-reading month) has left me without reviews to post this week. I was thinking about possible blog posts and decided to list my recent Christmas additions to my library. I’m hoping to read all or most from now until the end of December.

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Join USA TODAY bestselling author Sheila Roberts this Christmas as she returns for the final installment in her treasured Icicle Falls series

When Muriel Sterling released her new book, A Guide to Happy Holidays, she felt like the queen of Christmas. She’s thrilled when the new tree she ordered online arrives and is eager to show it off—until she gets it out of the box and realizes it’s a mangy dud. But rather than give up on the ugly tree, Muriel decides to make a project out of it. As she pretties up her tree, she realizes there’s a lesson to be learned: everything and everyone has potential. Maybe even her old friend Arnie, who’s loved her for years. Except, she’s not the only one seeing Arnie’s potential…

Meanwhile, Muriel’s ugly-tree project has also inspired her friends. Sienna Moreno is trying to bring out the best in the grouchy man next door, who hates noise, hates kids and hates his new neighbors. And while Olivia Claussen would love to send her obnoxious new daughter-in-law packing, she’s adjusting her attitude and trying to discover what her son sees in the girl. If these women can learn to see the beauty in the “ugly trees” in their lives, perhaps this might turn out to be the happiest holiday yet.

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From New York Times bestselling author Joanne DeMaio comes a heartwarming novel as merry and bright as a red-feathered cardinal taking flight.

Frank Lombardo’s never been spontaneous. The closest he’s come was accepting a side job chopping firewood for a lakeside community of rustic cabins. But with another lonely holiday season imminent, Frank’s sister urges him to be spontaneous because, seriously, who does he ever expect to meet out in the woods?

With a suitcase in hand and a bit of reluctance, too, Penny Hart arrives at Cardinal Cabin on Snowflake Lake. It’s only for a brief stay, though nobody knows where she is. Not her boss, not her friends…

Only Frank Lombardo. As the two unexpectedly meet at Addison’s hidden hideaway, a spontaneous kiss sets everything amiss. But can the magic of this quaint New England town keep these snowy sweethearts together?

Cardinal Cabin is an enchanting tale about finding love where you least expect it. So come on inside. A cozy fire crackles, lights twinkle on the evergreen tree, snowflakes tap at the windowpanes, and little redbirds bring cheer this time of year.

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Stevie Franklin is ready to go all-out Grinch on Christmas this year, but a snowy trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains could provide some unexpected gifts…
 
Stevie is thrilled to help her best friend Sunny launch her new greenhouse business in Blue Hollow Falls. Not only does it give her a chance to visit the quaint location, but it’s a welcome distraction from Stevie’s recent bad luck with men. Just one catch: since Sunny’s home is under renovation, Stevie must stay at the local inn, whose amenities feature hunky innkeeper, Noah Tyler.

Noah may be as tempting as her grandmother’s famous sweet potato pie, but city-girl Stevie isn’t sticking around—and she doesn’t do flings. Yet when Noah’s chef gets stranded in a Christmas Eve snowstorm, Stevie can’t resist pitching in and serving up some of her family’s favorite recipes. The magic of a Blue Ridge Christmas is already rekindling Stevie’s holiday spirit and making her wonder what else she might be missing out on. Now can Noah restore Stevie’s belief in love?
 
Includes original down-home holiday recipes!

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Warm up with this heartfelt romance in the Mustang Ridge series…

Grateful to her twin for keeping Mustang Ridge in the family, Jenny Skye agrees to return home for a month so her sister can get away. It’s the middle of winter, and only a few year-round staffers, her family, and the animals will be there. But the globe-trotting videographer is soon in way over her head at the dude ranch dealing with reservations, her redecorating-obsessed mother, and the town’s hunky new veterinarian.

Despite his adventurous past, Nick Masterson is putting down roots in Mustang Ridge. When a stray dog, a missing family member, and a snowstorm conspire to throw him and Jenny together, there’s no denying the blaze of attraction. But can a relationship that began in the heat of the moment turn into something more for a woman who’s always been eager to put her hometown behind her?

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Are you reading any Christmas books this season? I’d love to hear about them. Any favorites?


 

The Rancher’s Christmas Song by RaeAnne Thayne

  • Title:  The Rancher’s Christmas Song
  • Series:  The Cowboys of Cold Creek  #16
  • Author:  RaeAnne Thayne
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Pages:  224
  • Published:  October 2017 – Harlequin Special Edition
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Keep a song in your heart this holiday season… 

Music teacher Ella Baker’s plate is already full. But when single dad Beckett McKinley’s wild twin boys need help preparing a Christmas song for their father, Ella agrees on one condition: they teach her to ride a horse. She’s hoping that’ll help mend her strained relationship with her rancher father; it certainly has nothing to do with the crush that’s lingered since her one and only date with Beck. 

It isn’t disinterest spurring Beck to keep his distance—if anything, the spark is too strong, with Ella reminding him of his ex-wife. Soon what started as an innocent arrangement is beginning to feel a lot like family. But with the holidays approaching, Beck and Ella will have to overcome past hurts if they want to keep each other warm this Christmas…  (publisher)

My take:  I was introduced to the Cowboys of Cold Creek series with book #13. I didn’t feel like I missed anything by not reading the previous books in the series and I can tell you the same after reading #16 – so don’t let the number scare you. I’ve found all of her books can stand alone.

This year’s Christmas book is a lovely family story. There’s rancher Beck, single father of young twin boys, and Ella, former city girl and current local music teacher. Ella’s father owns the ranch next door to Beck’s so they are acquainted but that’s all – until the annual Christmas program begins rehearsals and the two find themselves playing more important roles in the other’s life.

In true RaeAnne Thayne style The Rancher’s Christmas Song is a charming story that embraces the true meaning of the season. Recommended to fans of the author and romantic Christmas novels you want to read in one sitting.


 

Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne

  • Title:  Sugar Pine Trail
  • Author:  RaeAnne Thayne
  • Series:  Haven Point #7)
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  September 2017 – HQN
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley; Little Bird Publicity

Description:  Librarian Julia Winston is ready to ditch the quiet existence she’s been living. She’s made a list of new things to experience, but falling for Jamie Caine, her sexy military pilot neighbor, isn’t one of them. Julia’s looking to conquer life, not become the heartbreaker’s latest conquest. But when two young brothers wind up in Julia’s care for the holidays, she’ll take any help she can get—even Jamie’s. 

Happy to step in, Jamie reveals a side of himself that’s much harder to resist. Not only is he fantastic with kids, he provides the strength Julia needs to tackle her list. She knows their temporary family can’t last beyond the holidays, but the closer she gets to Jamie, the more she wonders if things could be this merry and bright forever… (publisher)

My take:  Julia’s life hasn’t gone the way she’d expected. She ended up putting other people before her own dreams and had accepted that path. That was before two little boys showed up at her library and, once again, the course of her life changed. Jamie’s life is filled with running the corporate air travel for his brother’s tech company and only dating casually. He doesn’t do serious relationships. When he rents Julia’s upstairs apartment his only intent is to have a place to sleep when in town until his condo is ready for him to move in. What he doesn’t expect is to have his life turned upside down by the same two little boys and his pretty landlord. Sugar Pine Trail is perfect for getting readers in the holiday spirit – and it should come with a box of tissues. It’s an emotional story about learning to trust, giving and receiving, and learning to take a chance. I loved it all and recommend it to fans of RaeAnne Thayne, the Haven Point series, and a heart-warming Christmas novel. It can stand alone if you haven’t had the chance to read the rest of the series.


About the author:

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne loves words. Her love affair started as soon as she learned to read, when she used to devour anything she could get her hands on: cereal boxes, encyclopedias, the phone book, you name it! She loves the way words sound, the way they look on the page, and the amazing way they can be jumbled together in so many combinations to tell a story.

Her love of reading and writing those words led her to a fifteen-year career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and editor.

Through it all, she dreamed of writing the kind of stories she loved best. She sold her first book in 1995 and since then she’s published more than 40 titles. Her books have won many honors, including three RITA® Award nominations from the Romance Writers of America and a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews.

RaeAnne finds inspiration in the rugged northern Utah mountains, where she lives with her hero of a husband and their children. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at http://www.raeannethayne.com.


Praise for RaeAnne Thayne:

“Entertaining, heart-wrenching, and totally involving, this multi-threaded story overflows with characters readers will adore.” —Library Journal on Evergreen Springs (starred review)

“Romance, vivid characters and a wonderful story; really who could ask for more?” —Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“This quirky, funny, warmhearted romance will draw readers in and keep them enthralled to the last romantic page.” —Library Journal on Christmas in Snowflake Canyon

“RaeAnne Thayne is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors… Once you start reading, you aren’t going to be able to stop.” —Fresh Fiction

“RaeAnne has a knack for capturing those emotions that come from the heart.” —RT Book Reviews

“A sometimes heartbreaking tale of love and relationships in a small Colorado town…. Poignant and sweet.” —Publishers Weekly on Christmas in Snowflake Canyon

“Her engaging storytelling…will draw readers in from the very first page.” —RT Book Reviews on Riverbend Road


SUGAR PINE TRAIL

by RAEANNE THAYNE

$7.99 U.S. / $9.99 CAN.

ISBN-13: 978-0373803682


A Christmas Affair by Jodi Thomas

  • Title:  A Christmas Affair
  • Series:  Ransom Canyon #6.5
  • Author:  Jodi Thomas
  • Pages:  90
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Published:  October 2017 – HQN Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

My take:  This novella picks up a short time after book 6, Indigo Lake, ends. In that book we met Maria  Davis who had come out of a tragic car crash being completely blind. Before the crash she had a promising career as a chef in her future. Now she lives at home with her sister and grandmother in Crossroads, Texas. She makes jams and jellies and sells them at the local market which is owned by Wes. He fell for her the first time they met but was too shy or scared to act on his feelings. Only when Maria decides she wants more than a working relationship with him does anything happen. Wes can’t believe his life has changed in such a wonderful way. He keeps waiting to wake up from his dream. It was hard not to chuckle as these two figured things out.  Another storyline is about Travis, a 15 year-old boy who comes to live with his three bachelor great-uncles when his home situation is deemed unsuitable. Once again, Crossroads is a place that welcomes all and saves most. I hope Travis’s story will continue in a future book. Jodi Thomas inserted her usual charm and humor in all of her characters and settings. Grab a cozy blanket and settle into your favorite comfy chair to spend an hour or two with the folks of Crossroads. Recommended to fans of Jodi Thomas, the Ransom Canyon series, and novellas with a Christmas theme.