I have finally finished my reviews for my Christmas Books. I might still read a few more later in January, but this is all those I read for my 20 Books of Christmas and for enjoyment.

Together Under a Snowy Skye by Lisa Hobman

Published August 24th 2022 by Boldwood Books

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Millie Treadaway is happily engaged to be married and is thrilled to find out she is pregnant. When she shares her happy news with her fiancé, he does not react as she expected. Harry Rose does not want his life upended with a child, so to “fix the problem” expects her to “get rid of it”. Millie refuses and packs up to head home to the small village where she spent time with her best friend while in college, Glentorrin on the Isle of Skye. With nowhere to stay, her BFF, Jules organizes for her to stay at Lifeboat Cottage with Jules’ brother, kindhearted Dexter. Millie had a bit of a crush on Dexter when they were younger and those feelings are still there, buried. Millie begins to notice more and more about Dexter, especially how kind he is, and Dexter definitely has feelings for Millie. Will they finally realize how they feel about each other, or will Millie make the wrong decision?

I really loved the setting of this book. I have never been to the Isle of Skye, but it is on my list of places to go. The small town with its wonderful characters, and a cute jack russell that she rescues stole my heart. Being pregnant and with her relationship with Harry being what it is, Millie was an emotional mess. She kept changing her mind about what she wanted and was worried about what was “right” and not what would make her and her child happy. I enjoyed the way Lisa Hobman developed the relationship between Dexter and Millie and how Millie was finally able to grow a backbone and stand up for herself. Nigel, the rescue dog, was wonderful. I have heard about animals used to warn people about upcoming episodes and Nigel does a great job protecting Millie and her unborn child. Overall, this was a sweet Christmas story. There were festivities, friendships, character development and of course a wonderful happily ever after. One I recommend.

Christmas at the Sleigh Cafe by Melinda Curtis

Published October 25th 2022 by Franny Beth Books

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Allie Jameson is the small town girl who made it big dancing in New York. at least that is what everyone in Christmas Mountain thinks. She has returned home for the holidays, but also to figure out what is next for her career. The show she was in has been canceled and she has a broken bone in her foot. She takes a temporary job working in the Sleigh Café with her BFF, Nick Stocking. Nice left town to make his name as a big time chef, but has returned to help his family at the café. Things are changing around town and one of the biggest changes is her own family. Can she figure out what she really wants before it is too late? Will she be able to help her family find their footing and what about Nick?

This was a relatively short story (142 pgs) but it pulled me in. I really liked both Allie’s and Nick’s characters. It was obvious how Nick felt about Allie, it just took her awhile to see it. The small town welcomed her back with open arms and as small communities do, they all wanted to know what was going on. As Allie begins to find her way, she is supported by everyone, except her mother, who wanted to live vicariously through Allie. There are a couple of serious issues such as giving up your dreams for your family, midlife crisis, small towns closing up etc. and Melinda Curtis does a great job adding these issues into the story in a very realistic way. This was a sweet Christmas romance that I do recommend.

Escaping Christmas by Marie Landry

Published November 10th 2021 by Marie Landry

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Josslyn Hazelwood aka Joss, is the Queen of Christmas. She is the star of all the feelgood Christmas movies on the Hallmark type channel. She was happy and totally oblivious to her husband’s infidelity. When he divorces her and becomes engaged to his newest sweetheart, Joss wants out of town. She heads to a small town she remembers visiting once before, Honeywell Hollow, planning to hide out until after Christmas. Joss’ BFF tells her that the best way to get over someone is to find someone new and to watch for the handsome, single, guy driving the pickup. Liam Doherty is that guy. He is the one who helps everyone around town, including his sister and her son. He and Joss hit it off well and they are ready to throw caution to the wind and have a temporary relationship. As Joss falls in love with Liam, and all the people in Honeywell Hollow, she has to figure out how this will work with her life as an actress in Toronto.

This was a wonderful Christmas story that I couldn’t stop reading once I started. Joss was hurt, and just wanted to hide. The media wouldn’t leave her alone, so she hopped in her vehicle and drove to Honeywell Hollow. She rented a house for a month, with plans to stay hidden and not mingle with the townsfolk. Well, all best laid plans go awry. It is impossible to resist the pull of the cafe, the handsome handyman, the little boy whose mom is struggling and the love that oozes from all the buildings and people. Liam is that handsome single guy who returns home to help out. He and his sister grew up with an alcoholic mother and his sister was following in her footsteps. His nephew, Rex, steals the show! He was such a wonderful little boy who wants love, but knows that his mom has issues. Fortunately, Liam and others in the town are there to support him. This book is festive, and full of caring characters, but there are some serious issues as well. The story touches on alcoholism abandonment, infidelity, and paparazzi, but it does not take over the story. There are a couple of steamy open door scenes, but overall this is a wonderful story of new beginnings, family, community and romance with a wonderful Christmas vibe. I will definitely need to watch for more books by Marie Landry.

Holidays in Virgin River: Romance Stories for the Holidays (Virgin River #7.5, 10.5) by Robyn Carr

Published October 4th 2022 by MIRA

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I am still working my way through the Virgin River series, so when I saw that this volume was being published this year with two of the novellas I had yet to read, as well as an intro from Robyn Carr and recipes, I thought it would be a great Christmas read. Both of these stories are related to some degree and I enjoyed the characters and their romances. In Under the Christmas Tree, Annie McCarty stops in Virgin River to see the Christmas tree on the way to visit her parents. While talking to Jack, his son crawls under the tree and comes out with a puppy. Annie crawls under and finds a box containing 8 almost frozen puppies. Raised on a farm and loving animals, she takes control and gets Jack and Preacher to agree to let the puppies stay at the bar while she and others take care of them. Jack calls the vet, Nate Jensen to check them out and help with their care. Of course Nate and Annie are attracted to one another and have a relatively quick get to know each other time before realizing that they are in love. In Midnight Confessions, Nate’s niece, Sunny is staying with him and Annie. She is down in the dumps as the New Year’s Eve a year ago, her groom to be failed to show up at their wedding. Sunny just wants to hide and have a quiet New Year’s. They head to Jack’s bar for an impromptu party and she is nursing her drink when a handsome man walks into the bar. Drew Foley is a medical resident who just wants some time to study and relax so is in Virgin River staying at his sister’s cabin. He also ventures to Jack’s bar and from the moment he sets eyes on Sunny, he is smitten. Drew had recently been dumped by his live in girlfriend, so he was not looking for a relationship either. As they begin to talk, they laugh, smile and share things with one another. Another romance that begins at Jack’s Bar.

Both of these stories are examples of why I love Robyn Carr’s stories. They have great characters who have flaws and/or baggage, but still want to live and be happy. They have often given up on finding what they want, but there is someone out there for everyone. I enjoy seeing the characters that I have met along the way while reading the books in this series and catching up with them. I found the note to readers at the front of the book interesting as well as the recipes. A nice way to get me back into this series.

The Christmas Spirit by Debbie Macomber 

Published October 18th 2022 by Ballantine Books

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Christmas Story was a novella that really brought the true meaning of Christmas home. Hank and Pete are best friends. They each think the other’s job is easy compared to theirs, so they decide to swap places for a week. Pete is a pastor who is dedicated to his church, his parishioners and family. Hank is the owner of a small, local bar who is friends with guys from a motorcycle club as well as ladies from the strip club. Their jobs couldn’t be more different from one another, but a fresh perspective might be just what they both need. Hank has always had feelings for Pete’s sister, Grace, and with them working together for the next week, might he finally be able to show her how he feels. I don’t want to give anymore of this story away, but I will say I loved it. Sometimes, we Christians get a bit too big for our britches and it takes someone of something to bring us back to earth and see what is around us that needs our help and support. It is also great to have someone look at people from a different perspective and show them that they are just as good as everyone else. Throw in a children’s nativity play with live animals and you know there is going to be some chaos. I laughed, I smiled, I nodded my head and I loved this story!