More mini-reviews for everyone. These three Christmas audiobooks were all delightful. I was gifted all of these books upon request. The narrators all had pleasant voices to listen to and made for an enjoyable listen. I recommend them all. The ratings and opinions shared are my own.
The Merriest Magnolia by Michelle Major, Narrated by Carly Robins
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I enjoyed my second visit to Magnolia, North Carolina. If you haven’t read the first in this series, I definitely recommend you do. It is the story of how these three sisters came to know about their relationship. This is Carrie’s story. Carrie grew up in Magnolia, the daughter of their famous artist. She knows Magnolia is slowly dying and has big plans to rescue it. The problem is that she is up against Dylan Scott. Dylan is a real estate developer who wants to turn Magnolia into a rich man’s playground. He is also Carrie’s first love who took a bribe from her father to leave town years ago. Can Carrie save Magnolia with the help of her sisters and friends? Is it possible to rekindle an old relationship after all this time?
I enjoyed this story for several reasons. I loved seeing Carrie come into her own. She loved art, but did not see herself as an artist. With the encouragement of her sisters and working with students from the high school, she realized how much art was a part of her. I enjoyed seeing how much this town worked together. Many were not in agreement with Carrie, but for the good of the town, they still helped out with her dream of a Christmas Festival like no other. The family aspect with Dylan being the guardian of his nephew grieving the loss of his parents was very emotional. There was baggage there that both had to deal with and as things came out, I was in tears a few times. Finally, forgiveness is a huge part of this story. Self-forgiveness as well as forgiving others come into play. There is a lot to this story, but there is also Christmas fun and festivities. Throw in some Christmas magic and you have a wonderful holiday romance. Carly Robins narrates the audiobook with wonderful expression, tone and voice. Her narration added to my enjoyment of the story. I recommend this book either in audio or to read.
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is a cozy Christmas romance that I enjoyed. Hannah is dealing with a few things in her life. She has lost her business to her nasty ex-boyfriend. Her gran has broken her wrist and needs help and she keeps bumping into her brother’s best friend Nico who she has feelings for. Nico has problems of his own. Can these two move from friendship into a romantic relationship and should they even try?
The main characters Nico and Hannah are well written and extremely likeable. They both have baggage they are dealing with and both develop some skills in dealing with difficult situations. Nico’s kids Josie and Marie are such a delight. I love when children are in a story to add to it, not just to make a character attractive to others. It was so sweet seeing the two of them together and how Nico took Marie into his home because it was best for both her and Sophie. There were a lot of unlikeable characters in this story. These were the ones that helped Hannah to finally stand up for herself and develop a backbone. Nico’s ex-wife and ex-mother in law, were both pieces of work, but when dealing with addiction, it is hard to predict how one will act. The book covers so many different issues such as eating disorders, addiction, family, friendship, betrayal, parenting, standing up yourself and new beginnings. This was a well-plotted story, that does start a bit slow, so make sure you stick with it. All the issues and situations blend very well together into an entertaining and heartwarming Christmas story. I enjoyed reading Nico’s and Hannah’s journey as they faced the different challenges and emerged stronger than before. I definitely recommend this on. I did a read/listen with this book. The audiobook was narrated by Julia Winwood. She used expression and tone as she read the story. It was an enjoyable listen.
A Joyful Christmas: 6 Historical Stories by Cynthia Hickey, Liz Johnson, Vickie McDonough, Liz Tolsma, Carrie Turansky, and Erica Vetsch, Narrated by Carolyn Molloy
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This was a wonderful Christmas read. This book is made up of six historical, Christian fiction that are all set at Christmas. There is not a lot of Christmas cheer, but there is information about how Christmas was celebrated in past years. There is a variety of settings such as the Civil War, Gold Rush time and in Arizona in the 1800s. Not only are they set at various times, but the plots are totally different such as hiding a soldier, proxy bride, trying to keep custody of a minor relative and more. I did not like the stories all the same but they were all good. Even in novellas, the plots were well-developed with great characters. There was a Christian overtone to all the stories, as well as love and romance. I think my favourite story was An Irish Bride for Christmas by Vickie McDonough followed closely by A Christmas Castle by Cynthia Hickey. If you are looking for some heartwarming, Christian Christmas romance in small doses (I read this one over a few days, one story a day) then this is a great pick for you. I was gifted a copy of the ebook upon request, but was able to listen to the audiobook on KU. The audiobook was narrated by Carolyn Molloy. She has a pleasant voice and nice expression.