I am getting into the holiday spirit and Christmas magic, holiday romance, and new beginnings are all things I love about these stories. I had both ebooks and audiobooks for all three of these stories and did a read/listen (more listen than read to be honest) with each of them. The pubishers generously provided me with copies of these books upon request. The ratings and opinions shared are my own.

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Keep Me Warm at Christmas (Silver Springs #9) by Brenda Novak, Veronica Worthington (Narrator)

Published September 28th 2021 by Harlequin Audio,  MIRA

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I always enjoy my visits to Silver Springs. This is a series that has recurring characters, but I have had no issues reading this series out of order. This is the newest book in the series and it is a great Christmas romance. Hollywood starlet Tia Beckett just finished her first movie when she had a serious car accident. It left her face with terrible scars and she is in hiding. She is staying at her producer’s estate in Silver Springs to housesit and look after his parrot. What she was not expecting was another person sharing the estate over the holidays. Artist Seth Turner is also trying to keep a low profile after returning to Silver Springs. His wife died shortly after their marriage and not only is he still grieving her, but her parents blame him for her death. With paparazzi skulking around and a the two of them being kindred spirits, they become friends and maybe just a little bit more.

This was a quick and enjoyable read/listen. There is a Christmas setting, some family drama, baggage carried by both characters/tragedies to overcome, and of course romance. I liked both Tia and Seth. They are flawed, but still generous, caring and kind. There is a bit of tension between them at the beginning and I enjoyed watching that relationship change and grow throughout the story. They were relatable wit realistic emotions and actions. The secondary characters were relatively well developed. There were some I liked and others who played the parts of adversaries. Overall, this was a delightful Christmassy story with romance and a happy ending. The narration by Veronica Worthington was well done and enjoyable. I recommend this book in either format.

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The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer, Dara Rosenberg (Narrator)

Published September 28th 2021 by Harlequin Audio, MIRA

4.5 Stars:

This is a fun, holiday romance. Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl who loves Christmas. When she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, she had to find a job that she could do at her own pace. She loved to write and became a best-selling author of Christmas romances. The problem is that her father is a world famous rabbi and she has to keep this a secret. This year, the publishers want something different. They have requested a Hanukkah romance. As far as Rachel knows, there is no romance in Hanukkah, so she needs to find some inspiration. When she hears about The Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, she knows she needs to get a ticket. The organizer of the event just happens to be an old family friend who is spending Shabbat at her parents. Jacob Greenberg was her first love from summer camp that betrayed her and had become her arch nemesis. Can she get an invite to the party? Will her and Jacob be able to move beyond their memories of that summer?

This was an entertaining Enemies to Lovers story. Both of these characters, Rachel and Jacob are a interesting and great characters. Rachel has a lot of secrets, from her days at camp to her health issues and her job. Jacob is an overachiever with a huge heart. He keeps his past to himself and has a lot of baggage when it comes to his parents. Both he and Rachel have misunderstandings based back to their days at camp and that is one hurdle they need to get over if there is any chance of their relationship moving forward. I loved Rachel’s resourcefulness and creativity as well. The secondary characters were all wonderful. They were well developed and played important parts in moving the story and relationship forward. This book had me laughing one minute, sighing the next and being close to tears at other times. I like that I learned some things about Jewish celebrations and customs as well. This is a magical, tender, emotional, Hanukkah romance, that I definitely recommend. I would love to see this one as a Hallmark Movie. Once again, I did a read/listen with this story. The audiobook was narrated by Dara Rosenberg. I have listened to several books she has narrated and am always pleased with her performances. She gives voice to the various characters and I can easily distinguish between all the different characters including the male voices which were well done. I will not hesitate to listen to books she reads and performs in the future.

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A Little Christmas Spirit: A Novel by Sheila Roberts, Ann Marie Gideon (Narrator)

Published September 28th 2021 by Harlequin Audio, MIRA

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I always look forward to Sheila Roberts’ Christmas stories and this one was one of the best I have read this year. This was a bit of a Scrooge retelling, but it is a very different story. Stanley Mann lost his Christmas spirit when he lost his wife and he sees no point in looking for it. He is miserable, unfriendly and very unneighbourly. When a single mother, Lexie Bell and her young son, Brock move in next door, Stanley has no intention of getting to know them. When he begins seeing his wife in his dreams he gets a rude awakening. She prods him to get to know the new neighbours and Brock very quickly begins calling him Grandpa Stanley as he just lost his grandfather. It takes a while, but Stanley becomes close to Brock and Lexie and they become a surrogate family to him.

I loved this story. It was all about family, both found and blood, as well as love, community and caring. Brock was such a great character. He brought Stanley and Lexie together as a family and he made me smile so many times. Lexie was such a great mom. She wanted the best for her son, even if it meant moving away and starting over with a new job and a new community. I also loved Stanley. I totally understand how he felt, losing my husband 6 weeks before Christmas several years ago. Stanley didn’t have any family to pull him out of the doldrums, so Lexie and Brock did the job. I also liked learning about Stanley and Carol as well as their romance and life together that was told through flashbacks. I can’t forget to mention the little dog that Stanley finds at the beginning of the story that also becomes part of his life. This was such a wonderful story of caring, community, found family, Christmas Magic, friendship and hope. I did a read/listen of A Little Christmas Spirit, narrated by Ann Marie Gideon. I enjoyed her performance, and have listened to several other books she has narrated. She gives voices to the various characters that helped identify who was speaking. Her expression and inflection are wonderful and add to my enjoyment of the story. She is a narrator that I watch for.