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.


 

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The Christmas Room by Catherine Anderson

 

  • Title:  The Christmas Room
  • Author:  Catherine Anderson
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Pages:  432
  • Published:  September 2017 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

My take:  When widow Maddie McLendon’s family (her son and teenage grandson) move to their new Montana ranch they know it’ll mean roughing it until their home is built. They’ll live in tents and trailer and make the best of it. Sam Conacher, the cranky rancher who lives next to their land, thinks his new neighbors are gypsies and won’t be issuing a warm welcome any time soon. But all bets are off when Maddie’s adult son falls for Sam’s daughter. And wait until Sam finds out that Maddie is his favorite author! Thoughts of the Hatfield/McCoy feud or the Montague/Capulet story crossed my mind as I read. There are some laugh out loud moments and some that made me cringe. Feelings run deep and for understandable reasons. The challenge for Maddie and Sam is to grow from their experiences and learn that second chances don’t often come along so one has to grab it when it does. The Christmas Room had some heart-warming moments that made for a nice seasonal read. I haven’t read any of Catherine Anderson’s books before but I’d try another one. Recommended to fans of multigenerational novels with a Christmas theme.


 

Sunday Post

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Merry Christmas!

Book arrivals: (linked to Mailbox Monday)

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Last week on Bookfan:

  • Review:  The Trouble with Christmas

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Reading plan for this week:

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Bookfan extra:

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I finished listening to The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan (click link for my brief take).

 

The Trouble with Christmas by Debbie Mason

  • the-trouble-with-christmasTitle:  The Trouble with Christmas
  • Author:  Debbie Mason
  • Series:  Christmas, Colorado #1
  • Pages:  407
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Published: September 2013 – Forever
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

 

My take:  When Madison Lane arrives at Christmas, Colorado the public perception is that she killed Christmas (thanks to a NY Times headline), ran over Santa on her way into town, and then ran over the sheriff’s aunt. Not a great entrance especially when she’s there to explain why her company won’t be investing in a new resort that would have been a boon to the town. The way the sheriff views it Madison has caused more problems for him in a couple of hours than he’s had to deal with in a year!

Hilarity ensues – making this novel perfect for a film version on the Hallmark Channel. There’s comedy, a bit of drama, and romance, of course, in a town called Christmas. I would watch that movie! Poor Madison is a trouble magnet – it just seems to follow wherever she goes and the poor sheriff is the one usually called to clean up after her. In addition to being sheriff, Gage is a divorced father with custody of his two young daughters. They’ve taken to Madison in an unexpected way – making it even more difficult to separate himself from her – because he doesn’t need any more drama in his life, does he?

I enjoyed this first book in Debbie Mason’s Christmas, Colorado series. If you’re a fan of contemporary romance and the author I think you’ll like it as much as I did.

Sweetest Regret: A Novella by Meredith Duran

  • sweetest-regretTitle:  Sweetest Regret: A Novella
  • Author:  Meredith Duran
  • Pages:  98 – Kindle edition
  • Genre:  Historical Romance; Christmas
  • Published:  November 2016 – Pocket Star
  • Source:  purchased

My take:  This novella was originally part of the anthology: What Happens Under the Mistletoe and was recently released as a single short e-book.

Georgiana and Lucas find themselves together at a Christmas house party that was supposed to have been hosted by her father. They haven’t seen each other in two years and are not on good terms because of what happened two years ago. Lucas works for or with Georgiana’s father and has been given an assignment that involves the house party. There’s some animosity on the part of both and each feels justified in feeling that way. Their repartee was enjoyable. I normally find novellas lacking but I thought Meredith Duran did a great job developing her characters and story. If you enjoy historical romance novellas with a Christmas theme you might like Sweetest Regret. I’d love to read one of her full-length novels.

The Holiday Gift by RaeAnne Thayne

  • holiday-giftTitle:  The Holiday Gift
  • Series:  The Cowboys of Cold Creek
  • Author:  RaeAnne Thayne
  • Pages:  224
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Published:  November 2016 – Harlequin
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  With two kids and an active life, widow Faith Dustin only wants peace and quiet for Christmas. But her snowy Pine Gulch ranch is nothing but chaotic. All that keeps Faith going is her helpful neighbor, cowboy Chase Brannon. He’s always been “good ol’ Chase,” her faithful friend. Until he kisses her under the mistletoe… 

Years ago Chase blew his chance with the woman he’s loved since childhood. Now he’s determined to step out of the friend zone…and into the role of husband. But the scared and stubborn Faith won’t let herself fall. With Christmas just days away, Chase will need all the magic of the season—and the help of her two matchmaking children—to unwrap a second chance at love.  (publisher)

My take: The Holiday Gift is the third of the Nichols sisters’ books within the Cowboys of Cold Creek series. It can stand alone but I think you’d enjoy it a bit more if you read the previous two books ( The Christmas Ranch and A Cold Creek Christmas Story).

I love a good Christmas romance and this one didn’t disappoint – even despite Faith’s frustrating denial of her true feelings for Chase. But I trusted RaeAnne Thayne to bring her characters to a HEA and she didn’t let me down. The Idaho mountain ranch setting as described by Thayne is wonderfully inviting. It was fun to read about all the happenings at The Christmas Ranch and with Faith’s sisters.

The Holiday Gift is a lovely story and a satisfying completion to the Nichols sisters’ trilogy. Recommended to fans of the author, novels about families, and a nice Christmas romance.

A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Monroe

  • a-lowcountry-christmas-tandem-litTitle:  A Lowcountry Christmas
  • Series:  Lowcountry Summer #5
  • Author:  Mary Alice Monroe
  • Genre:  Fiction; Christmas
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  October 2016 – Gallery Books
  • Source:  Publisher; Tandem Literary

Description:  As far as ten-year-old Miller McClellan is concerned, it’s the worst Christmas ever. His father’s shrimp boat is docked, his mother is working two jobs, and with finances strained, Miller is told they can’t afford the dog he desperately wants. “Your brother’s return from war is our family’s gift,” his parents tell him. But when Taylor returns with PTSD, family tensions darken the holidays.

Heartbreak and financial stress threaten to destroy the spirit of the season until the miraculous gift of a service dog leads Taylor, his family, and their community on a healing journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas.  (publisher)

My take:  A Lowcountry Christmas is the first of Mary Alice Monroe’s books I’ve read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone looking for a special Christmas book to read this year. It’s the fifth book in a series but I can say, not having read the previous books, it can stand alone.

The McClellan family has welcomed home their son, a veteran with PTSD, and are all getting used to a new normal. On top of that, finances are strained which adds tension to the relationships between parents and children, spouses, and siblings. I loved how Monroe took her characters through their challenges and brought them to a satisfying result: mainly the true meaning of Christmas and what matters most.

A Lowcountry Christmas is truly lovely and I can see it becoming an annual read for me. I can think of a few people on my gift list who will love it. Highly recommended!


About the author:

Known for her intimate portrayals of women’s lives, Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including The Summer Girls, The Summer Wind, The Summer’s  End, Last Light Over Carolina, Time is a River, Sweetgrass, Skyward, The Beach House, Beach House Memories, Swimming Lessons, The Four Seasons, and The Book Club. Her books have received numerous awards, including the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, the 2014 South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the 2015 SW Florida Author of Distinction Award, the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, and the International Book Award for Green Fiction.

An active conservationist, Monroe draws themes for her novels from nature and the parallels with human nature, thus drawing attention to various endangered species and the human connection to the natural world. Mary Alice is involved with several environmental groups and is on the board of the South Carolina Aquarium, the Leatherback Trust, and Charleston Volunteers for Literacy. She lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina. Visit her at MaryAliceMonroe.com and at Facebook.com/MaryAliceMonroe.