Holiday Releases

It seems that books with a winter or Christmas theme are published earlier each year. I want to spotlight several that have arrived at my house the past couple of months. Blurbs are from the publishers.


A small-town Texas Christmas story, where hearts are lost, love is found, and family always brings you back home.

Griffin Holloway is desperate: the Maverick Ranch has been in his family for generations, but lately, it’s a money pit. He’d sooner marry one of his horses than sell the ranch. Marriage, though, could be a solution. If he can woo a wealthy bride, he might save the ranch—just in time for Christmas.

Jaxon O’Grady likes his solitude just fine, thank you very much. But when a car accident brings the unexpected to his door, he realizes just how much one person can need another.

Crossroads is the perfect place for Jamie Johnson: avoiding nosy questions about why she’s single, she’s happy to keep to her lakeside home. So she’s baffled when she gets the strangest Christmas present of all, in the form of a Mr. Johnson, asleep on her sofa. Who is he, and why does everyone think he’s her husband?


It’s a long way from New York to Idaho…but could they have found a home at last?

Dani Capelli has never truly belonged anywhere. And from her earliest days as a foster child in Queens, she would have been lost if it weren’t for her love of animals. Until high school, when she fell hard for the wrong boy, and found herself pregnant—and married—by graduation. Two daughters later, Dani realized her mistake and filed for divorce, and with the help of scholarships and loans—and a lot of macaroni and cheese dinners—she enrolled in vet school. Things were finally looking up…until her ex-husband became her late husband, in the most notorious way possible.

Now Dani and her daughters need an out-of-town pass more than ever. So when the retiring Haven Point veterinarian offers her a chance to settle in the small Idaho town and take over his practice, she jumps at it. But adjusting to the charming mountain community isn’t easy; thirteen-year-old Silver begins acting out while six-year-old Mia is growing too attached to Haven Point and everything in it, especially their next-door-neighbor, Deputy Sheriff Ruben Morales. And Dani can’t blame her. Ruben is everything she’s secretly wanted—and everything she can’t bear to risk loving…and losing.

As the holidays draw near, their shared concern for Dani’s daughters brings them closer together, giving Ruben the chance to show this big-city woman just how magical Christmas in Haven Point can be…and that the promise of a home at last is very real in the most wondrous season of the year…


In this heartwarming holiday tale by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nan Rossiter, old friends discover the best gifts are the ones worth waiting for . . .

With Christmas just around the corner, Asa Coleman has his hands full keeping up with his young son Noah’s rambunctious spirit. Whether he’s playing Santa or keeping a furry surprise under wraps, the joy Asa feels in Noah’s delight is all he could ask for as a single father. His best friend Maddie Carlson has been more than helpful throughout the season’s sometimes overwhelming rush of activities, and she can’t help but see how well she fits into their lives. But as always, something holds Asa back from accepting the happiness he deserves. Except this year, when it’s time to open gifts, something special might surprise them all . . .


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?


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “[Debbie] Macomber brings her signature charm to this appealing tale of an aspiring chef. . . . This charmer will please Macomber fans and newcomers alike.”—Publishers Weekly

Debbie Macomber brings us to the Alaskan wilderness for a magical Christmas tale about finding love where it’s least expected.

Before beginning her dream job as sous chef in one of Seattle’s hottest new restaurants, Josie Avery takes a summer position cooking at a lakeside lodge in the remote Alaskan town of Ponder. Josie falls for the rustic charms of the local community—including Jack Corcoran, the crotchety keeper of Ponder’s famed sourdough starter, and, in particular, the quiet and intense Palmer Saxon, a famed master swordsmith.

Josie and Palmer become close during the long Alaskan summer days, but Josie knows that, come fall, she’ll be returning to reality and the career she’s worked so hard for. Palmer, on the other hand, would like nothing better than to make Josie his wife and to keep her in Ponder. But Josie can’t imagine abandoning her mother back in the Emerald City and sacrificing her career to stay in this isolated town—not even for a man she’s quickly coming to love.

Fate has other plans. Josie misses the last boat out of town before winter sets in, stranding her in Ponder and putting her dream job at risk. As the holidays approach, Josie and Palmer must grapple with the complications that arise when dreams confront reality, and the Christmas magic that can happen when they put their faith in love.

Debbie Macomber is at her best in this beautiful holiday story about the far journeys we travel to find a place to call home.


Lose yourself in the magic, charm and romance of Christmas in the Pacific Northwest as imagined in JoAnn Ross’s heartwarming Honeymoon Harbor series.

Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, Jolene Wells is forever indebted to the mother who encouraged her to fly—all the way to sunny LA and a world away from Honeymoon Harbor. Although Jolene vowed never to look back, returning home isn’t even a question when her mom faces a cancer scare. Which means running into Aiden Mannion all over town, the first boy she ever loved—and lost—and whom she can barely look in the eye.

Aiden’s black-sheep reputation may have diminished when he joined the marines, but everything he’s endured since has left him haunted. Back in Honeymoon Harbor to heal, he’s talked into the interim role of police chief, and the irony isn’t lost on the locals, least of all Aiden. But seeing Jolene after all these years is the unexpected breath of fresh air he’s been missing. He’s never forgotten her through all his tours, but he’s not sure anymore that he’s the man she deserves.

Despite the secret they left between them all those years ago, snow is starting to fall on their picturesque little town, making anything seem possible…maybe even a second chance at first love.


Christmas at the Chalet is a delicious love story about a bridal designer showing her new collection in the Alps during the magical week of Christmas where hijinx of the heart ensue.

It’s the day after Christmas, and Felicity Grant is at a gorgeous ski chalet in St. Moritz for the biggest fashion show of her career. Felicity is a rising star on the bridal design scene, and this is her best collection yet. But when her boyfriend gives her a spa day instead of a diamond ring for Christmas, she has to face the possibility that she may never walk down the aisle in one of her own stunning designs.

And then there’s Nell, the top model headlining Felicity’s show. Nell is planning her dream wedding to her wonderful fiancé with one catch: her divorced parents can’t stand each other and threaten to no-show if the other is there.

Add to that Felicity’s race against the clock to create a special gown for a prestigious bridal salon, and what both girls need is a Christmas miracle. What better place to find one than in the Swiss Alps with its dark forests and sparkling vistas?

But for Felicity it’s hard to recognize a miracle even when it’s right in front of her, and for Nell one miracle might not be enough to fix the past. Can dreams really come true or is that the stuff of Swiss fairytales?

Anita Hughes’s Christmas at the Chalet is full of romance, gorgeous gowns, and the stunning scenery of the Swiss Alps. It’s about love and forgiveness, and creating one’s own miracles during the most festive time of year.


The wonderfully festive sequel to Melissa Daley’s uplifting tale, Molly and the Cat Cafe.

“An engaging, pleasant read full of colorful characters with enough mentions of the cat cafe’s cat’s whiskers cookies and feline fancies to satisfy any appetite for a gentle, heartwarming story.”
BiblioManiac on Molly and the Cat Cafe

“Hopeful and joyous.” Screen Wipe on Molly and the Cat Cafe

The town of Stourton-on-the-Hill has its very own cat café. Resident cat Molly, and her kittens, live here in feline paradise, while owner Debbie serves the locals home-made goodies. But even in the most idyllic surroundings, things don’t always go according to plan . . .

When Debbie’s heartbroken sister Linda arrives at the café, Debbie insists she move in. But Linda is not alone, and the cats are devastated with the arrival of Linda’s dog, Beau. Sadly, Beau’s arrival is not the only bombshell – now Molly’s home is also under threat when a rival cat moves in on her turf.

With Christmas approaching, Molly is unsettled, barely roused by the promise of tinsel to play with. Fearing for her feline family she hopelessly stares out of the café window searching for an answer. Only a Christmas miracle could bring everyone together . . .


Sometimes life’s most magical journeys bring you back to where it all began…From New York Times bestselling author Emily March comes The Christmas Wishing Tree, an enchanting account of the magic and miracle of Christmas.

A man who loves adventure and the open sea, Devin Murphy returns for a short Christmas trip to his small hometown of Eternity Springs. Immersed in the joy and magic of the holiday season all around him, he doesn’t hesitate to play along when a young boy phones Santa to ask for a very special wish. Devin never guesses that a wrong number has the potential to make everything in his life so right.

Jenna Stockton adopted Reilly when he needed a mother and she intends to keep him safe. A small town across the country called Eternity Springs seems like a good place to hide from their past without any complications —until sexy Santa himself discovers her secrets. When Devin proposes a daring plan to face down the danger together and defeat it once and for all, she is tempted. Maybe Devin really is capable of making wishes come true? Perhaps in a Christmas wish they’ll both find the miracle they’ve been looking for all along…

A delightful Christmas novel in the New York Times bestselling Eternity Springs series.


 

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Mistletoe Miracles by Jodi Thomas

I love when author Jodi Thomas gives her readers a new book. It means she’ll be stopping by with a guest post in addition to another fabulous book in her series. Thanks for visiting, Jodi!

When I started my story of the Maverick Ranch for MISTLETOE MIRACLES, I wanted to begin with Griffin. I saw him as a far better man than he thinks he is and I knew by the time readers followed him through the story, they’d agree with me.

Griffin is the oldest of three boys.  When his father grew ill, he took over the ranch always making sure that his brothers saw themselves as equal owners.  

Isolated and with the weight of the ranch on his shoulders, Griffin knows that he has to do something to save the ranch.  In the years since his father and mother died, he’s tried everything and now he’s faced with one option open.

He’ll have to marry for money.  Oh, he promises he’ll just need to borrow enough to make the loan payment for the year, then he’ll be back on his feet. He promised he’ll be honest about why he’s marrying and he’ll be good to any woman taking him on as a husband.

But he’s totally unprepared for Sunlan.  She’s everything any man, any rancher could want in a wife.  She’s beautiful, smart, from an old ranching family, and to Griffin’s surprise, needs to get married worse than he does.

I hope you love Griffin, Sunlan and all the characters in MISTLETOE MIRACLES.

Enjoy,

Jodi

Mistletoe Miracles by Jodi Thomas

September 25, 2018 • MMP • HQN • 368 pages • ISBN 9781335005632• $7.99 U.S.

Review copy courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

A small-town Texas Christmas story, where hearts are lost, love is found, and family always brings you back home.

Griffin Holloway is desperate: the Maverick Ranch has been in his family for generations, but lately, it’s a money pit. He’d sooner marry one of his horses than sell the ranch. Marriage, though, could be a solution. If he can woo a wealthy bride, he might save the ranch—just in time for Christmas.

Jaxon O’Grady likes his solitude just fine, thank you very much. But when a car accident brings the unexpected to his door, he realizes just how much one person can need another.

Crossroads is the perfect place for Jamie Johnson: avoiding nosy questions about why she’s single, she’s happy to keep to her lakeside home. So she’s baffled when she gets the strangest Christmas present of all, in the form of a Mr. Johnson, asleep on her sofa. Who is he, and why does everyone think he’s her husband? (publisher)

My take:  The feeling I got while reading Mistletoe Miracles is why I will read any book Jodi Thomas writes. I read the first few pages and was quickly drawn into the charming and warm novel. I smiled as the Holloways found the solution needed to save their ranch; as the local hermit was thrust into a situation that forced him out of his self-imposed shell; and as fiction turned into reality for the high school drama teacher.

Mistletoe Miracles is fun, emotional and even dramatic in a few parts. I enjoyed it all and recommend it to fans of Jodi Thomas, contemporary romance, and a good story. While Mistletoe Miracles is the seventh book in the Ransom Canyon series it can stand alone. A few supporting characters are back but a reader doesn’t need to have met them before.


About the author:

A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable.

With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus. Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full-time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.” When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and checking up on their two grown sons.

For more information, please visit Jodi’s website at http://www.jodithomas.com.

Praise for Jodi Thomas:

“Western romance legend Thomas’s Ransom Canyon will warm readers with its huge heart and gentle souls.” —Library Journal

“Compelling and beautifully written, it is exactly the kind of heart-wrenching, emotional story one has come to expect from Jodi Thomas.” —Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“This tale will grab readers, who will fall in love with the main characters and be just as enamored of the others.” —Library Journal, starred review, on Lone Heart Pass

“[Sunrise Crossing] will warm any reader’s heart.” – Publishers Weekly, A Best Book of 2016


 

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!


 

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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!

***

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?

***

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.