Welcome to another post featuring three Christmas/Winter/Holiday books. I read these books over the last three weeks, and wanted to share my thoughts with you. As you can see by my ratings, they were not all enjoyed the same.
The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews
Published September 28th 2021 by St. Martin’s Press
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I really enjoyed this Christmas story by Mary Kay Andrews. Newly-divorced Ivy Perkins is ready for a change in her life, so she buys an old farmhouse sight unseen. She knew it needed some work, but ws not prepared for the amount of work it would entail. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it’s a full-time job sorting through all of it. Her realtor, Ezra, is waiting for her when she arrives and offers to help her with whatever she might need. As Ivy boxes things up, she comes upon a gorgeous, handmade Santa suit with a note inside the pocket so Ivy being curious tries to find out if that little girl got her Christmas wish all those years ago. What she discovers along the way and things that fit together because of it can only be Christmas Magic.
I loved both Ivy and Ezra. They were both young and trying to make their way in the world. They were both new in town and didn’t know a lot of people, so were drawn to one another. Ezra was the best realtor!! I wish mine had been that helpful. The house itself was another character. The Rose family had epitomized Christmas spirit over the years and everyone had stories about the house or the family. There are other sweet, wonderful characters that you will meet when you pick this one up. I can’t forget to mention “the girls” sweet chicks that brings along to raise. This is a wonderful story of community, friendship, new beginnings, a budding romance and Christmas Magic. It is not often I give novellas 5 stars, but this one deserves it and I would love to see this made into a movie.
Santa Cruise by Fern Michaels
Published September 28th 2021 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
Amy, Frankie, Rachael, and Nina were highschool friends who were inseparable, until they lost touch after they graduated. Fifteen years later, they are attending their reunion and realized that although many things had changed, their friendship was still there. Although they live all over the US, they want their bond to grow. They are strong and successful, and still looking for the right partner. Frankie, the planner of the group decides they should take a single cruise for the holidays and they all agree. It is late December and all four are in Miami, ready to board the cruise ship with a passenger list that includes hundreds of eligible men. Imagine four highschool friends, who haven’t seen each other for a long time, on a cruise together and hoping to meet an eligible partner, fun is bound to ensue.
I enjoyed this story, but would have preferred a quicker start and more cruising. The first part of the book was character development and background, which was interesting, but took too long. Once they got on the ship, things flew by. I did enjoy the characters, they were normal, not over the top looking for a quick hook up, which was nice. There was some fun on the cruise and some interesting friendships were made, but the story just didn’t grab me. I finished it and liked how it wrapped up, but it is not one I will think about after the fact. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.
From Alaska With Love by Ally James
Published March 3rd 2020 by Berkley
So, this isn’t really a Christmas book, but I included it in my Christmas/Winter reading. Sara Ryan is a young woman who has become a slave to her family. When her father died, she came home to help her mother adjust. While she was home she helped out her brother and his wife with their daughter. The next thing she knows, she has quit her job and is now a live in nanny for her brother as well as helping her mother with whatever she needs. During a local charity event collecting Christmas cards to pass on to troops deployed overseas, she sends a rather humorous letter that ends up in the hands of Major Gabe Randall. They continue their correspondence and as they get to know each other through emails, they begin doing chats and video calls. They fall for one another, and Gabe invites Sara to come and spend time with him in Alaska while he is on leave. She is not sure what to do and Gabe decides to fly to North Carolina to meet her and fly back to Alaska with her. He shows up at the door and with some misunderstandings, he leaves and it is up to Sara whether she will visit or not.
This was a sweet romance that I enjoyed. Both Sara and Gabe are somewhat loners, but both hope there is someone special out there for them. Both have issues of trust and they come into play in this story. I really enjoyed their banter and letters back and forth as they got to know each other. I was so ticked off at Sara’s family. She did so much for them and they treated her terribly. There were shades of Cinderella. Fortunately both Sara and Gabe had friends who wanted them to be happy, so they both had pushes and nudges they needed to move forward. It was not an exciting story, but it was sweet and I enjoyed this romance with new beginnings, taking chances and making decisions for your own happiness.