Book Review

Book Review: One Christmas In Winter (Winter, Montana #1) by Bell Renshaw

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Christian contemporary romance + holiday novella
Length: 152 pages
Author: Bell Renshaw
Publisher: Pine Mountain Publishing
Release Date: November 30th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Reba Farwell is finally getting a chance to live out her dreams. Sent to Winter, Montana to direct filming for a crucial, on-location shoot, she knows the next two weeks will make or break her career. And she could definitely use a break. As if that isn’t enough, she’s got a secret that none of her crew knows. All she’s asking for is two weeks of small town, Christmas beauty and a little bit of on-camera sizzle.

Five years ago, Hoyt Bradley’s heart and future shattered in one fell swoop that landed him back in Winter. Thankfully, making lemonade—or his father’s famous lemon meringue pie— out of lemons is what he does best. Running Bentley’s Diner has filled the gaps left in the wake of his heartbreak, even if it hasn’t healed him completely. Not wanting to relive memories of his rocky start in the film industry, Hoyt does his best to steer clear of the dreaded film crew, but Winter has a way of bringing people together.

After one fateful delivery and a score of icy bad luck, Reba finds herself in a bind and at the mercy of what Winter can offer. Will she pull the film together in time to salvage her name as a director? Or will the sparks flying off-camera create more of a distraction than she knows how to handle?

Come visit Winter, Montana in this Christmas Novella where the Christmas lights are always on and the snow falls most frequently when loved ones share a kiss.

A CHARMING NOVELLA.

This is one of the few novellas I can think of in recent memory that I truly had a good time reading. It was sweet and I was easily smitten with Hoyt and the entire town of Winter, Montana.

I think this book was able to get a lot fit into a small amount of pages. I felt the characters were well developed and the plot worked well to provide a charming meet-cute and other meetings. The plot focuses around acting/movie making and what I loved was that there wasn’t any actual scenes from the movie depicted. I feel like that always takes up unnecessary space so it was a nice breather to focus on the characters rather than the movie filling up the plot.

The romance between Reba and Hoyt was simple and sweet. There wasn’t a ton of nonsensical drama and they actually had some really cute moments together. The Christmas/winter vibes really added a cozy touch to them. Going sledding, walking through a tiny town down Main street. So precious.

If you’re looking for something holiday related, clean and sweet, definitely a good pick.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance novella + holiday
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: falling from a ladder
  • Trigger warnings: cyber-bullying used to manipulate someone

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Book Review

Book Review: Christmas Like This (A Love Like This #2) by Carina Taylor

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance novella
Length: 148 pages
Author: Carina Taylor
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: November 14th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

I know exactly what I’d like to put in Trey’s stocking: the biggest lump of coal I can carry.
Unfortunately, I won’t get the chance, because our boss has delivered an ultimatum: plan the company Christmas party with Trey and learn to get along, or else.
After only one day of trying to plan the Christmas party, I’m ready to pick the “or else.” Is it possible to learn to get along with the most aggravating, overprotective, handsome guy I’ve ever known?
We’re about to find out if we can get our names off the naughty list or not.

IT WAS CHRISTMASY AT LEAST.

This is a novella, so my review will be shorter than usual. I am on a quest for some great Christmas reads, this could have been better.

I think this actually would have been more enchanting if it was longer. Things happened way too fast and background information was thrown out haphazardly and inconsistently. I know there was sadness and drama put in to add an emotional component, but I wasn’t feeling much towards anyone.

The banter between them did get better over the novella. At first, it honestly seemed flat out mean and made me cringe. The push to create the enemies to lovers trope flew off the handle and I was happy when it turned down and they were able to communicate civilly with each other.

Definitely great Christmas vibes and I loved the plot of them having to plan the Christmas party together. I did like the writing, just felt like everything needed a bit more.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance novella
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: car wreck

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Holiday Reads That My Followers Recommended to Me Because I Didn’t Know Any

I may have read a lot of books and know quite a bit about books, but y’all. I know nothing about holiday books. I never seem to find them or see them to try or anything so it’s a sub-genre that I haven’t gotten the chance to dive into.

I’m hoping to change that this year! I asked my followers on Instagram for their favorite (not too steamy) holiday reads. I compiled their list together in hopes of having it in one place AND getting a chance to read some of them.

Thank you to everyone who helped me!

Snow Angel Cove (Haven Point #1) by RaeAnne Thayne

I saw this recommendation from The Book Tease.

New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne welcomes you to a small town full of big surprises that are both merry and bright…

Nothing short of a miracle can restore Eliza Hayward’s Christmas cheer. The job she pinned her dreams on has gone up in smoke—literally—and now she’s stuck in an unfamiliar, if breathtaking, small town. Precariously close to being destitute, Eliza needs a helping hand…for her sick young daughter’s sake as well as her own. But she’s not expecting her holiday hero to almost run her down with his car!

Rescuing Eliza is pure instinct for tech genius Aidan Caine. At first, putting the renovation of his lakeside guest lodge in Eliza’s hands assuages his guilt—until he sees how quickly he could fall for her. Having focused solely on his business for years, he never knew that what his life was missing was Eliza and her little girl. But is he willing to risk hoping for a yuletide romance that could lead to forever?


A Christmas Melody (Trevor Family Saga #4) by Anita Stansfield

Thank you Taylor for the recommendation!

For twenty-year-old Melody Morgan, Christmas is nothing but a source of shame and embarrassment – just like all the other holidays in her life. She has grown up hating special days – and Christmas is the worst of all.

Then Matthew Trevor walks into her life one November afternoon and turns her world upside down. For Matthew, it’s love at first sight. But how can this handsome, upbeat returned missionary possibly know about the dark, desperate side of Melody’s life – and once he finds out, will he still love her?

This is not just a Christmas story. It’s a touching novel of discovery, renewal, and commitment to eternal principles of love and faith. What Melody learns about Christmas – and about herself – is the greatest gift of all. You’ll be charmed and moved by this sweet and satisfying adventure of the heart. And along the way, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the spirit and wonder of Christmas. 


It Happened at Christmas by Christen Krumm

Thank you Lyndsay for the recommendation!

In this enchanting YA spin on While You Were Sleeping, Christen Krumm delivers laughter and Christmas sparkle through a swoon-worthy story of first love and belonging.

Life at Iverson Preparatory Boarding School isn’t easy when you’re basically the maid. Murphy Cain spends her days cleaning up after her upper class peers in exchange for tuition while dodging their cutting remarks. All of that changes when she rescues her crush, the popular and hunky Tripp Harrington, after a near-fatal accident and is mistaken as his girlfriend.

Murphy finds herself struggling with the choice to reveal the truth or play along. As Tripp’s girl, his wealthy family will offer Murphy something she’s been craving her whole life—a chance to be one of the “in” crowd. A chance to belong. Without it, she’ll be right back where she started.

It only gets worse as Tripp’s brother Hank enters the picture. He’s handsome, down to earth, and seems to understand Murphy better than anyone else. The only problem? She’s supposed to be dating his brother.

As Christmas break draws to a close, Murphy must decide if telling the truth is worth losing it all or if the risk will bring a greater reward in the end.


Secret Santa (Holiday and Party Romantic Comedies #1) by Sabrina James

Recommended by a personal friend.

HOLIDAY CRUSHES ABOUND

Noelle, a hopeless romantic, just knows that her gifts have to be from her senior crush! And geeky Froggy thinks the game is the perfect way to get super-popular Celia to fall for him…except she thinks his gifts are from Jake, the school’s resident bad boy, and starts to crush on him!

SECRET SANTA MIX UPS GALORE

Romantic mishaps abound but all is revealed the night of the Winter Dance, when there’s more than one surprise waiting for everyone under the mistletoe! So bring a little Christmas spirit into your life today.This funny sweet romantic comedy is perfect for the holidays and all year ‘round.


A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

Thank you Joanna for the recommendation!

A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion—or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.


Trouble in Loveland by Jennifer Peel

Recommended by a personal friend.

Charlee Jensen had what she considered the idyllic childhood growing up in a town named for that most prized emotion of all, Loveland, Colorado. At seventeen, her teenage crush, a man eight years older than her, marries and she naively thinks this is the worst thing that would ever happen to her. Then her parents divorce and her world crumbles. She finds herself being whisked away from her beloved home and estranged from her father.

Now eight years later, with two degrees that she never wanted in hand, and no job prospects, her father offers her a position with his CPA firm. With no other options available, Charlee accepts his offer and returns to the hometown she loved. While rebuilding her relationship with her father, she discovers that perhaps a romantic relationship is in the cards for her, with her old teenage crush, Ryan Carter, who just happens to still live next door and is now a partner in her father’s CPA firm.

Newly divorced and single dad, Ryan Carter, isn’t quite sure what to make of the girl next door, who’s all woman now. He finds himself having a hard time resisting this beautiful yet annoyingly charming woman, but their age difference and his complicated relationship with his ex-wife cause quite a bit of trouble for the couple. Ryan finds himself torn between keeping the peace with his ex-wife and mother of his child and his feelings for Charlee.

Can they successfully overcome their troubles in Loveland? Find out in this clean romance filled with sparks, humor, and of course, a little bit of trouble.


Christmas Like This by Carina Taylor

Thank you @happyreadingwatching for the recommendation!

I know exactly what I’d like to put in Trey’s stocking: the biggest lump of coal I can carry.
Unfortunately, I won’t get the chance, because our boss has delivered an ultimatum: plan the company Christmas party with Trey and learn to get along, or else.
After only one day of trying to plan the Christmas party, I’m ready to pick the “or else.” Is it possible to learn to get along with the most aggravating, overprotective, handsome guy I’ve ever known?
We’re about to find out if we can get our names off the naughty list or not.


The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

Recommended by a personal friend.

Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington D.C. to L.A in time for Christmas. Forced to travel by train, he begins a journey of rude awakenings, thrilling adventures and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, as he rediscovers people’s essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost.

The Christmas Train is filled with memorable characters who have packed their bags with as much wisdom as mischief … and shows how we do get second chances to fulfill our deepest hopes and dreams, especially during this season of miracles. 


Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War 1

Recommended by a personal friend.

New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great War.

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him.


What Light by Jay Asher

Recommended by a private account.

From Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, comes a romance that will break your heart, but soon have you believing again. . . .

Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that’s moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.

While I have no idea about any of these books, they all sound like great, quick holiday reads! I can’t wait to get to read as many as I can.

I would love more recommendations! What’s a favorite holiday book of yours? Lets talk in the comments!

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