These are four very different Christmas stories from Christian Fiction to Cozy Fiction and Contemporary Romance, they were all enjoyable. All were provided to me upon request (some from my NG or EW backlist). The ratings and opinions shared are my own.
Published October 6th 2020 by St. Martin’s Press
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I look forward to Donna VanLiere’s Christmas Hope book each year. These stories always have a great message and are well written family based stories. This year we have a dual-timeline story that comes together nicely in the end. With Lauren Mabrey recently discovering she is pregnant, she is dealing with monetary issues in preparing for the new arrival in 2012. She is gifted a table from friends for her kitchen. When it is refurbished, she finds recipe cards in a hidden drawer and she begins to learn to cook. The other timeline is 1972, when John Creighton is determined to build his wife Joan a kitchen table. With Joan being diagnosed with cancer, the table gets put on the back burner while dealing with her worsening illness. Lauren is sure that whoever owned the table and the recipe cards will want them back is both she and her husband follow clues to find the original owners of the table. This story finds us back at Glory’s Place where there are both new and familiar characters. The warmth, generosity and caring of the people who live and work in their town shines through. I loved hearing about the recipes and the comments put on the cards, it reminded me of the recipes I received from my mom, grandma and mother-in-law. This is not a fast paced story, but a story of love, sharing and caring. A story that shows the toil a serious illness takes on a family. A story that deals with the magic of Christmas and how determination can help someone achieve a goal. This is a wonderful Christian based Christmas story showing how the power of prayer can make the difference in a situation. Although this is part of the Christmas Hope series, you do not need to read them all to enjoy this one. I definitely recommend this one.
Published October 6th 2016 by Bookouture
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Leah Evans and her daughter Sadie are getting ready to have a huge family Christmas at her grandmother’s plantation home. Nan has recently passed and Leah is dealing with her grief, but the anticipation of taking over the plantation and continuing on with special events and guests is what is keeping her going. When she discovers that her Nan changed her will recently it is heartbreaking to know that she is a co-owner of the home with David Forester, a boy that lived there when Leah was a child. Davey was her friend, the boy who was always there to help her, teach her and be her first friend. Assuming that she and David would run the business together was her first mistake, he wants to buy her out and use the home as a residence. Can they work things out? Will they be able to become friends again? Why did Nan want to bring them together? This is as sweet a Christmas story as any I have read or watched on the Hallmark channel. There are great characters, a lot of baggage to deal with and personal reflection to have. With Leah sure she knows what she wants, it is not necessarily what she needs. Both she and David have feelings for one another, but both are fighting them. It is Sadie that gets hurt in the fallout, yet is able to bring them together. This is a beautiful Christmas romance with a lot of heart, Christmas customs and activities, friendship and hope. One I am glad I finally read and recommend to others who enjoy a Christmas romance.
Published November 13th 2018 by Henery Press
Red Carpet Catering is a fun, quick mystery series that I enjoy. This is the sixth book in the series and it can be read as a standalone, but you would miss character development along the way. Penelope Sutherland runs Red Carpet Catering a company that works on television and movie sets preparing food for the actors, actresses and crew. It is Christmas time and her BFF, Arlena, is making a documentary about the Red Apple Dancers and their Christmas shows. Her grandmother had been a dancer in this show and they are hoping to bring her into the documentary. It all sounds like a simple job, until one of the dancers is found dead, strangled and stabbed, stuffed into a storage trunk behind the theatre. Of course, Pen, finds the body and is now right in the middle of the investigation. There are a few more incidents that happen at the theatre, another murder and a kidnapping that all have Pen and the police scrambling. This is a light Christmas mystery that was interesting. I learned a bit about old theatres and production. There didn’t seem to be any real suspects, but there were a lot of red herrings along the way. I had no idea who the culprit was until near the end of the story. This was a good addition to the series. I like Penelope and her boyfriend Joey as far as the characters go, I also like Arlena, but the rest of her family are hard to connect to. I will continue to read this series, and I hope there will be more to come.
Published September 10th 2020 by Boldwood Books
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Christmas story about writing and performing that perfect Christmas song and the relationships it effects. Javi’s career is on a downward slope and Cara’s is stalled. Their agents get together and propose they record a Christmas single. Javi is a bit of a playboy, Cara is rather shy and does not want any kind of relationship. Well, when you are forced to spend that much time together, some feelings are bound to occur. Both Cara and Javi have had things happen in their past that have brought them to this point. Javi has a daughter that he doesn’t really know or spend time with, but his ex-wife needs him to take her for awhile when she goes for an acting job. This forces them to get to know more about each other and Javi decides he rather likes be a father. When Cara and Javi open up to one another, they start to have romantic feelings, but will it work. From Columbia to Miami to London we see all sorts of Christmas traditions and the culture and lifestyle they have grown up in and presently live with. I found that part of the story interesting along with all the promotion and production for their song. There are barriers and roadblocks along the way that they will have to get over if they are to have a real relationship and I enjoyed seeing how they dealt with things. I really liked the main characters in this story. Cara’s father was not my favourite, but he does come around at the end. If you enjoy Christmas stories, stories about musicians or just something a bit different this year, then pick this one up, it is an enjoyable story.