#FallIntoChristmasRomance #BlogTour: Christmas In Rose Bend by Naima Simone

For this blog tour, we’re looking at a warm gingerbread cookie of a Christmas romance tale that someone thought needed some cilantro on it. For this blog tale, we’re looking at Christmas In Rose Bend by Naima Simone.

Christmas Romance With A Touch Of Preachy Politics. This is *mostly* a Hallmarkie Christmas Romance that would *mostly* fit right in with a typical Hallmark Christmas Movie. So for fans of that kind of story, you’re going to love this one. That noted, it does have a moment or two of getting particularly preachy about the author’s politics here – enough that when reading through that section (an extended one early and a few other comments here and there) there was debate within my head about a star deduction. But ultimately even the preachiness was more spice than actual substance here – kind of a cilantro. Some will LOVE it. Others will HATE it. No matter which side you’re on here, know that it truly doesn’t form the actual meat of the tale here, and the rest of the tale really is a solid story of the type described above. This is marketed as Book 2 in a series, and honestly with the various backstories provided it almost seems like it could be even deeper than that – and yet the story here still works as a standalone by itself. Ultimately a solid Christmas Romance, and very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, social media links, and buy links.
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#FallIntoChristmasRomance #BlogTour: A Little Christmas Spirit by Sheila Roberts

For this #FallIntoChristmasRomance blog tour, we’re looking at a strong amalgamation of A Christmas Carol, The Grinch, and Up – with a romance tacked on + an even stronger romance that “romance” purists will claim is just a love story. For this blog tour, we’re looking at A Little Christmas Spirit by Sheila Roberts.

A Christmas Carol / The Grinch / Up Mashup. If you go into this book expecting a romance – how it was marketed to me – … ummmm…. yeah, this isn’t really that. The “romance” here is fully tacked on in the last 20% of the book, with the guy barely mentioned at all before that point (and even in the “romance” here, the rest of the plot of the book is still truly the driver). But if you go into this as more of a women’s fiction / Christmas type book, it works quite a bit better. The focus is largely on Stanley, who is an amalgamation of the memorable parts of Scrooge (from A Christmas Carol, including a Christmas Ghost in the form of his dead wife), The Grinch (and his too-small-due-to-pain heart), and Carl from Pixar’s Up (grump old widower who doesn’t really like kids… at first). Then we’re introduced to Lexie and her son Brock, and from that point on Stanley’s life will never be the same again. But the majority of the book really is spent on Stanley, Lexie, and Brock, with the edge to Stanley and his memories of his wife (and interactions with her ghost). Here, it really does work to be a heartwarming tale (or heartworming, for those adverse to stories that get a bit saccharine at times, and in nod to the word I originally wrote there :D) again in line with A Christmas Carol and The Grinch. A fun tale that could have gotten a lot more depressing than it ever did, this is a solid Christmas tale… just not a Christmas Romance. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#FallIntoChristmasRomance #BlogTour: A Little Christmas Spirit by Sheila Roberts”

#FallIntoChristmasRomance #BlogTour: The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery

For this blog tour we’re looking at a very Hallmark Christmas type tale that happens to be a two-for-one romance, with *two* couples’ stories told at once. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery.

Two-For-One Christmas Romance. This is one of those Christmas Romance novels that almost seems destined to be made into a Hallmark Christmas movie – you’ve got the quirky town, the various leads that have no interest in an actual relationship, the innkeeper, the local shop owner, the mysterious stranger, and even the unusual-yet-cool career… and *none* of them are actually looking for romance. And yet… Mallery has a lot to cover in nearly 400 pages, and does a solid job of showing the two relationships – one new, one second chance – building throughout. If you’re looking for a book where the couple is already together a quarter into the book… this isn’t that. This is one of those where they finally actually get together closer to the end (which isn’t a spoiler due to genre ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), and it is indeed a satisfying conclusion. It will be interesting to see where Mallery takes Book 2 of this new series, with a couple of interesting possibilities there. Very much recommended.

After the jump, the “publisher details” including book description, author bio, social media links, and links to buy the book.
Continue reading “#FallIntoChristmasRomance #BlogTour: The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery”

#BookReview: The Manger House by Elizabeth Bromke

Short Tale Packs A Lot In Its Pages. This is a long novella / short novel (seriously, it is right at that 160 page point that some consider the cutoff between the two) featuring three sisters and their efforts to reclaim their lives and make their marks on their hometown. As the middle book of a trilogy, arguably Book 1 (The Boardwalk House) should be read first, but honestly this book reads perfectly fine if you want to start here and go back as well. Great atypical Christmas story featuring three vastly different sisters in three vastly different situations, yet who all show what Christmas is all about. Another great read for those family get togethers where maybe you just need a break from your actual family. Very much recommended.

This review of The Manger House by Elizabeth Bromke was originally written on November 18, 2021.

#BookReview: Christmas In Peachtree Bluff by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Interesting Blend Of Gilmore Girls, Home Alone, Hurricane Survival, and Hallmark Christmas. I’m pretty sure this has one of the more interesting premises of any Hallmark Christmas type tale I’ve ever seen, one that blends elements of Home Alone with a tale of a post-Thanksgiving major hurricane along the Georgia coast before transitioning into a more “traditional” / “typical” Hallmark Christmas type tale. For those that don’t mind coming into an existing world, you’ll be able to follow everything perfectly fine here. For those others that can absolutely never have any prior book’s events revealed before reading that book… well… this is actively marketed as Book Number 4. ๐Ÿ˜€ A solid if standard-ish tale of its type (re: Hallmark Christmas), this one is told from five female perspectives – a grandmother, her three daughters, and one of those daughters’ own teenage daughter – and even the various guys involved here are given solid characterizations and never belittled, which can at times be a problem with other authors. (This is my first book from Harvey.) Indeed, it is actually with the involvement of one of the guys in particular where the Gilmore Girls elements *really* come to play, with some recurring hilarity. Overall a truly solid book within its type, and a good break for those looking to break away from their own situations during the holidays. Very much recommended.

This review of Christmas In Peachtree Bluff by Kristy Woodson Harvey was originally written on October 3, 2021.

Featured New Release Of The Week: A Lot Like Christmas by Jennifer Snow

This week we’re looking at a book that uses a Christmas countdown to both countdown to Christmas… and to a goodbye. This week we’re looking at A Lot Like Christmas by Jennifer Snow.

Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:

A Different Kind of Christmas Countdown. What happens when you meet a new person 3 weeks before Christmas and you find yourself falling in love… and yet they have told you up front that they are leaving town again on Christmas Day? Well, in this case… you have a plot (and plot device, as the countdown is given at the start of every chapter) for a romance novel. ๐Ÿ˜€ For the clean/ sweet crowd, know that Snow doesn’t exactly shy away from the sex scenes here, and they are never of the “behind closed doors” (unless inside a freezer counts? :D) nor “fade to black”. Otherwise, this was a fun Christmas novel of the various parties and sweets that flavor the season while also dealing with a couple of distinctly non-Christmas heavier issues as well. Truly an excellent work that shows Snow’s skill of showing off social issues without letting them weigh a story down – and even working them into the overall theme of the given book. Finally, I love the “connective tissue” of the series such that we see the couple from the first book a few times and seem to have an indication of who at least one person in the next couple in the next book will be. Excellent tale no matter the time of year you read it, and very much recommended.

#BookReview: The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews

Book Version of Hallmark Christmas Movie. The title is basically all you need to know here. If you like the Hallmark Christmas Movie craze, you’re going to love this book. If that isn’t really your thing… you should still try this book out, since it *is* funny and includes a compelling small-town mystery of long-lost family. This is an excellently written story that fits well within the space intended, and thus is another sure-fire winner for an author who seems to be in that “groove” now. All the feels, a touch of humor, a dash of Christmas magic, and no true anxiety/ fear inducing drama. Truly, all you can really ask for in a story of this type. Oh, and this one is a short and easy read too – perfect for a quick bite to get you in the Christmas spirit or to kick off your three months of Christmas. Or for when your family is over for Christmas and you need a break! ๐Ÿ™‚ Very much recommended.

This review of The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews was originally written on August 19, 2021.

#BookReview: Holiday Home Run by Priscilla Oliveras

Perfect Quick Escape From The Family During The Holidays. This is one of those shorter novels – 94 pages or so, per Amazon – that is great for just getting away from everyone and everything for a couple of hours or so and reading an entire book in the process. Mostly light and fun, there is next to no drama here really – more in line with a Hallmark Christmas movie, if even that much. But like a Hallmark Christmas movie, it mostly focuses on the romance of the two leads – in this case, a Puerto Rican looking to establish herself apart from her family and an ex-MLB pitching ace looking to re-establish himself. Very much recommended.

This review of Holiday Home Run by Priscilla Oliveras was originally written on October 2, 2020.

#BookReview: Holiday Fling by Crystal Lacy

Fling or Flung? This was a fun Christmas romance on Hawaii with two visitors who happen to live not far from each other back home. Solid awakening type romance, with pretty well everything expected within that trope – and all executed well. As with any vacation romance, “will they or won’t they” looms large in the back third, and even here Lacy spins a solid tale. Very much recommended.

This review of Holiday Fling by Crystal Lacy was originally written on December 12, 2019.

#BookReview: Heavenly Melody by Sammi Cee

Christmas Magic. This was a solid tale of two men who both tragically lost their mothers and their paths to finding each other. One man used the tragedy to help others. The other man used it as an excuse to hide. But thanks to some meddling elders and some old fashioned holiday obligations and magic… Excellent holiday romance, very much recommended.

This review of Heavenly Melody by Sammi Cee was originally written on December 9, 2019.