Tag Archives: Christmas

Once Upon a Duke by Erica Ridley

Overview

Title: Once Upon a Duke
Author: Erica Ridley
Series: 12 Dukes of Christmas #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Historical romanceRegency romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2018

Thoughts

I was a bit tentative to read this at first – I mean, a story set around Christmas. And dukes and… yeah, it just sounded kind of kitschy. But, whilst it was fairly predictable and stereotypical, it was epically fun and special. The whole idea of the spirit of Christmas was woven throughout the storyline beautifully. And, it was incredibly fun to find some of those little easter eggs of Christmas tales that Ridley managed to weave through the storyline.

One of my favourite easter eggs was most definitely the partridge in a pear tree… I can only assume that the other 12 days of Christmas presents will find their way into the rest of the books about the 12 dukes. It may not be Christmas time at the moment – but that carol has definitely been echoing in my head since I read the name of the series…

I like that Noelle (and I JUST got that Christmas name), is focused on community and love. She is such a sweet lead, and if I find that a bit of an unrealistic characterization, it is still just beautiful. After all, she is the one who falls in love with a humbug and decides to spend the rest of her life with him… not a choice for the faint of heart.

This is a great second chance love story. The fact that it is set in a village lovingly called Christmas and features a humbug and woman named Noelle… well, it just makes it all that much cuter. I might have found it a little bit too sickly cute at times. But, overall, I think that this was incredibly enjoyable and a nice, fun and light read.

<- Making MerryKiss of a Duke ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Christmas Bouquet by Sherryl Woods

Overview

Title: The Christmas Bouquet
Author: Sherryl Woods
Series: Chesapeake Shores #11
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Year: 2014

Thoughts

Caitlyn and Carrie are little show stealers from their appearance in The Inn at Eagle Point. I mean, how could they not be? They’re identical twins who just run havoc across everyone’s emotions and practicalities. And, after reading about Jenny in A Seaside Christmas, I was looking forward to reading another tale about this latest generation of O’Briens.

Caitlyn was everything I had wanted her to be. She is driven and direct. Slightly scarred, and definitely terrified of commitment. Many things that I’ve felt myself. It doesn’t matter how much you love someone… if you’re a woman who wants a career, there are certain aspects of settling down to a family life that are truly terrifying. Caitlyn is scared of all of the same things.

Noah was a fantastic balance to Caitlyn in this tale. He is patient and kind, willing to understand her fears. And also willing to slowly work on them without putting untoward pressure on her. In fact, his patience and kindness in moments reminded me of my own partner… mines not quite as patient as Noah, but who would be? The whole point of a book hero is to be the ideal… not the reality.

This story may be set against Christmas, but mostly when I think about it, I recall the love. Christmas is sweet, well and good. But it is the family that, as always, drives this Chesapeake Shores romance.

<- A Seaside ChristmasDogwood Hill ->

Image source: Amazon

A Seaside Christmas by Sherryl Woods

Overview

Title: A Seaside Christmas
Author: Sherryl Woods
Series: Chesapeake Shores #10
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Year: 2013

Thoughts

After Jenny’s abrupt departure in An O’Brien Family Christmas, I was kind of wondering how things would turn out. I mean, you do understand WHY she’s so upset. But you also feel seriously frustrated at her being… well, brattish. I was wondering how I’d bond with her considering that background. Luckily, this story starts with Jenny KNOWING what a brat she is. And feeling guilty for it.

There’s a lot of things I love about the Chesapeake Shores novels. And, just contemporary romances in general. One of the things though that shines through most in this is that the love story isn’t an insta love. Rather, it is a tale about forgiveness and moving on from past hurts. Regaining trust is incredibly important for any broken relationship, and I love how it takes centre stage in this story.

The fact that this story is also based around Christmas just made me even happier to curl up with it. There’s nothing like spending a warm December’s evening reading a Christmas romance with the dogs curled up on your lap. Tales of Christmas and love always leave me feeling happy and settled. Jenny and Caleb’s tale is no exception.

Christmas by the beach is definitely an Australian tradition. It may be winter in the setting of this book, but it still had a powerful atmosphere to it that felt familiar. That, and the chaotic O’Brien Family just about made this tale. A fantastic way to start off the stories of the next generation of O’Briens.

<- The Summer GardenThe Christmas Bouquet ->

Image source: Goodreads

My Kind of Christmas by Robyn Carr

Overview

Title: My Kind of Christmas
Author: Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #18
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 31st October 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Harlequin
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: He could love her for a lifetime; he would never regret it.

Synopsis

Patrick Riordan always thought that nothing could match the adrenaline rush he gets from his job. 88 But this Christmas, Patrick’s pulse is really racing…

The Riordan brothers may have a reputation for being rough-and-tumble, but Patrick has always been the gentle, sweet-natured one. These days, his easygoing manner is being tested by his high-octane career as a navy pilot. But for the Riordan brothers, when the going gets tough… the tough find the love of a good woman.

Except the woman who has caught Patrick’s attention is Jack Sheridan’s very attractive niece.

Angie LeCroix comes to Virgin River to spend Christmas relaxing, away from her well-intentioned but hovering mother. Yet instead of freedom, she gets Jack Sheridan. If her uncle had his way, she’d never go out again. And certainly not with the rugged, handsome Patrick Riordan. But Angie has her own idea of the kind of Christmas she wants – and the kind of man!

Patrick and Angie thought they wanted to be left alone this Christmas – until they meet each other. Then they want to be left alone together. But the Sheridan and Riordan families have different plans for Patrick and Angie – and for Christmas, Virgin River-style!

Thoughts

Visiting Virgin River is always comfortable and fun. But, visiting Virgin River at Christmas time? Perfect. I probably should have waited another month or so to read this so that it was more based in the festive season… but anyway, it was a perfect way to spend the day… reading about love and sweetness in Virgin River at Christmas time.

From the very beginning, I loved that this story is about Jack’s niece. It brings out a side of him that you know is there, but is still funny regardless. I really liked having him unravel as he tries to protect Angie. And how she likes to make him unravel even more with her antics and stubbornness. It definitely brings the Sheridan clan full circle. That, and the Riordan circle also closes.

Both Patrick and Angie have PTSD from past traumas. Considering this is often something associated with soldiers, I enjoyed the ways in which both learnt to deal with their own issues. Plus, it highlights that anything can happen to give an individual PTSD. And it doesn’t make them damaged. Or irreparable. I love that it’s accepting each other’s difficulties and challenges that these two find their common ground. Common ground that binds them together and helps to make your heart melt.

I loved travelling to Virgin River again. It’s such a quaint and wonderful town. The romances are gorgeous. And, honestly, both the Riordans and Sheridans are amazing. So having a couple that unites them all together – yeah, this gave me all of the happy feelings. I may have to read this again in another month or so just to recapture that beautiful Christmas feeling.

<- Sunrise PointReturn to Virgin River ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

An O’Brien Family Christmas by Sherryl Woods

Overview
An O'Brien Family Christmas by Sherryl Woods

Title: An O’Brien Family Christmas
Author: Sherryl Woods
Series: Chesapeake Shores #8
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 23rd September 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Mira
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: It’s recently been suggested to me that dating is highly overrated.

Synopsis

New York Times bestselling author Sherryl Woods takes the O’Briens to Ireland for a family Christmas they’ll never forget!

Dating Matthew O’Brien – a playboy and a younger man – cost Laila Riley her career and her parents’ respect. A high price, even for love – and when Laila decides it was just a fling, she breaks it off, despite Matthew’s objections.

But the O’Brien family has other ideas, and they conspire to get Laila to join them on a Dublin holiday. It’s a great time to get away from it all, but Laila has reservations about the trip. Matthew’s bound to be there, and she’s far from immune. What if she can’t resist temptation?

Meanwhile, the O’Briens are in an uproar over matriarch Nell’s unexpected romance with an old flame. Will she follow her heart, despite the risks? And will Laila discover that some risks are actually once-in-a-lifetime opportunities?

Thoughts

Alright, it’s a little weird reading a Christmas book in September. But I seem to be doing that a bit lately. And, honestly, it mostly works. I think because the whole Christmas spirit thing is around and kicking, regardless of what time of year. And although I’d probably smile a lot more about actual Christmas if I read this at the right time of year… I still loved this romance.

Matthew and Laila came as quite a surprise when it was revealed in Beach Lane. As does the way their story ended on a bit of a cliffhanger in the novel. Which, of course, meant that I just had to pick up An O’Brien Family Christmas immediately. I just HAD to know what was going to happen next.

The weight of parents’ expectations can be intensely difficult. Particularly if they are then weighed against a lack of respect and recognition when you do hold up against their hopes and dreams. I truly felt for Laila throughout this. She was constantly being placed in situations of doubt by her parents. The very people who are supposed to support her. It would have been heart breaking. If not for Matthew, Trace and the rest of the O’Briens rallying about her.

This is yet another beautiful, sweet Chesapeake Shores story. It also sets up the next book (which I believe features Luke and Moira), whilst rounding out Susie and Mack’s story. That, and Nell, the most perfect matriarch gets her own taste of romance. All completely sweet and adorable.

<- Beach LaneThe Summer Garden ->

Image source: Goodreads

Bring Me Home for Christmas by Robyn Carr

Overview
Bring Me Home for Christmas, Virgin River by Robyn Carr | 9780778317630 |  Booktopia

Title: Bring Me Home for Christmas
Author: Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #14
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 5th – 8th August 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Mira
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Something like maybe we’d better get this settled between us and move on.

Synopsis

Welcome back to VIRGIN RIVER with the books that started it all…

This year, Becca Timm knows the number one item on her Christmas wish list – getting over Denny Cutler. Three years ago Denny broke her heart before heading off to war. It’s time she got over her silly college relationship and moved on.

So she takes matters into her own hands and heads up to Virgin River, the rugged little mountain town that Denny calls home, as an uninvited guest on her brother’s men-only hunting weekend. But when an accident turns her impromptu visit into an extended stay, Becca finds herself stranded in Virgin River. With Denny. In very close quarters.

As the power of Christmas envelops the little town, Becca discovers that the boy she once loved has become a strong and confident man. And the most delicious Christmas present she can imagine.

Thoughts

Denny’s story was something that came a little put of left field in Wild Man Creek. It was incredibly unexpected, but you immediately fall for the happy, easygoing young lad. I didn’t realise that Bring Me Home for Christmas would be about him. But when I realised that it would be… oh, my heart melted.

Becca is a great female lead. She has so much gumption and independence. The fact that she tricks her brother into doing what she wants to start her whole adventure just made me love her even more. She is so fun and independent. And the perfect woman to go toe to toe with Denny.

I was expecting there to be a bit more of a hang up with Becca’s current boyfriend. But, that whole relationship just kind of… dissolved neatly. It was pretty much no hurdle at all. I’m not even entirely sure why he was there as a plot line. But, it still worked and the angst really wasn’t there. So I suppose it’s not too bad.

This is yet another beautiful Virgin River Christmas story. Its simple and sweet. About two people finding their happily ever after, but also about community spirit and supporting one another. Its always the kind of story that just makes you want to live in a small mountain town in a great community.

<- Harvest MoonHidden Summit ->

Image source: Booktopia

A Chesapeake Shores Christmas by Sherryl Woods

Overview
A Chesapeake Shores Christmas, Chesapeake Shores Novel by Sherryl Woods |  9780778312628 | Booktopia

Title: A Chesapeake Shores Christmas
Author: Sherryl Woods
Series: Chesapeake Shores #4
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 30th June – 3rd July 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Mira
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Lawrence chuckled.

Synopsis

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Sherryl Woods brings the O’Brien family home for a heartwarming Christmas…

After years apart, Mick and Megan O’Brien are finally ready to make it official… again. Most of their grown children couldn’t be happier about their rekindled love and impending marriage this holiday season. Only Connor is a holdout. Driven to become a divorce attorney after what he views as his mother’s abandonment of their family, Connor’s not about to give his blessing to this reunion romance

The last thing Megan wants to do is hurt her family again. After all, is she really sure she and Mick can make it this time around? And when an unexpected delivery causes chaos, it seems only a miracle can reunite this family.

Of course, it II is II Christmas – the season of miracles.

Thoughts

This was one of those fun, cute and easy reads. It’s been a while since I’ve visited Chesapeake Shores (because I didn’t have any more of the books, rectifying that situation immediately). So it was nice to just slip right back in… like putting on a well loved coat.

Megan and Mick are a good lead for the chaotic of the family of O’Briens. I enjoyed their reconciliation and how it kind of closed off the first three siblings with their happily ever afters. All the while setting up the next two Chesapeake Shores books perfectly.

I may have read this Christmas story in the middle of the year… but I do always love a good Christmas tale. They just have this extra layer of hope that always seems to surround the season. It’s that feeling of family and together-ness that Woods is able to capture in this story. The story becomes less about Megan and Mick, more about family. Connor and Megan in particular.

This was such a happy feel good book. One I very much enjoyed. And one that was a great reminder of how much I love my family. And Sherryl Wood’s romances.

<- Harbor LightsDriftwood Cottage ->

Image source: Booktopia

Oklahoma Christmas Blues by Maggie Shayne

Overview
Oklahoma Christmas Blues (The McIntyre Men, #1) by Maggie Shayne

Title: Oklahoma Christmas Blues
Author: Maggie Shayne
Series: Bliss in Big Falls #0.5
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 18th – 24th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novella
Publisher: Thunderfoot Publishing Inc.
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: How the heck do you know that?

Synopsis

Darryl is on a quest for peace. His chance at fatherhood was taken from him long ago, and an IED in Iraq ensured he’d never get another. In Big Falls, the McIntyre brothers hire him to keep an eye on their beautiful cousin Sophie in case her criminal ex shows up. He doesn’t expect to fall head over heels.

Sophie McIntyre’s life was blown apart by a drug dealing ex who cost her her job and nearly her medical license. She comes to Big Falls because she has nowhere else to go. And the minute she gets there, things start to get better.

Is it because of that letter to Santa her Aunt Vidalia convinced her to write?

Within days she meets a beautiful man with a deeply wounded soul. And oddly, she finds herself giving him the same advice the town Santa gave to her—try believing again, and if it’s too much to believe, then just try hoping.

Love, magic, and miracles ensue.

Because this is Big Falls, Oklahoma. Miracles are an everyday occurrence around here. Especially at Christmastime.

Thoughts

This is an incredibly cutesy and easy read. It’s simple, fun and just all round enjoyable. Just the kind of thing to read on the kobo late at night. The fact that it has the backdrop of Christmas and a gorgeous little town… well, that made everything all that much better for my happiness.

I really enjoyed how Sophia found her own place in a new world that she’s created. It’s hard to start over and carve out your own reality, and Sophia’s ability to do so is a thing to behold. There are also all of the wonderful little miracles that help her along the way…

This story is all about romance and Christmas miracles. It was a bit of a weird time of year to be reading this… but I really liked the way that miracles and that feeling of hope were inspired throughout this story. It was all very good fun and incredibly… innocent.

I struggle with reading ebooks. But this is one that I enjoyed. And I’ll definitely be adding more of the series to my wish list… I can’t wait to see what else happens in Big Falls!

<- More Maggie ShayneOklahoma Moonshine ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Bite Before Christmas by Lynsay Sands & Jeaniene Frost

Overview
The Bite Before Christmas Large Print :HarperCollins Australia

Title: The Bite Before Christmas
Author: Lynsay Sands & Jeaniene Frost
In: The Bite Before Christmas (Lynsay Sands & Jeaniene Frost)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Paranormal fantasy, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 20th – 26th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: He’d worked with Mabel to try to find Elvi a mate, had planned and arranged local fairs with Elvi.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

This holiday season, two of today’s most popular paranormal authors invite you into their worlds—where creatures are always stirring . . . and no one sleeps through the night.

Thoughts

I was surprised that this “collection” only contained two novellas. I had half expected it to have more like most of the other collections of this varietal. But somehow it just worked perfectly. I love that both stories are Christmas vampire stories. That they feature long nights and a whole lot of love. And lust. Because there should always be some lust involved…

Both of these stories are so different from one another. The Gift is a beautiful, slow burn romance that leaves you feeling very happy, and just a little bit tingly. Home for the Holidays on the other hand is a little bit more of an action-packed story. One that constantly gets your heart racing and leaves you turning the pages at record speed.

These two novellas were wonderful Christmas stories. They were fun and intriguing. Engaging and definitely a collection that I will be reading again and again in the future.

<- Home for the HolidaysThe Gift ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

Tied With a Bow by Lora Leigh, Virginia Kantra, Eileen Wilks & Kimberly Frost

Overview
Tied With a Bow

Title: Tied with a Bow
Author: Lora Leigh, Virginia Kantra, Eileen Wilks & Kimberly Frost
In: Tied with a Bow (Lora Leigh, Virginia Kantra, Eileen Wilks & Kimberly Frost)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Paranormal romance, Short story collections
Dates read: 18th – 26th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Her face, her chest, her whole body burned with humiliation and frustrated desire.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

For the holidays, giving can bring as much pleasure as receiving.

Come, as these four bestselling authors invite you to savour the sweet anticipation of unwrapping these never-before-published novellas of searing sexuality, rapturous romance, and paranormal pairings.

Experience the feral fire of #1 New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra’s tale of the Children of the Air. Explore the outer limits of carnal craving in USA Today bestselling author Eileen Wilks’s world of the lupi, and enter national bestselling author Kimberly Frost’s all-new world of desire and devotion.

As intimate as they are imaginative, these unique holiday stories reveal the flush of surprise and joy when the most unexpected package turns out to be just what you always craved…

Thoughts

I had assumed from the cover of this book that this was going to be heavily Christmassy. It wasn’t. there were hints of the holidays throughout. And for some of the story, this was much more than a hint. But, ultimately, it had just enough Christmas feeling that it was a great read in the holidays when I was feeling very uninspired by the holiday season.

Of the holiday anthologies that I read this year this was most certainly the most lustful one. It was deliciously fun and wonderfully toe tingling. There was also the usual tales of love and romance. But, for me, I loved this collection because of the erotic aspects of the storyline. Not so much the sappy love stories. I had other collections for that.

Tied with a Bow is a great collection. One that takes place in a couple of series and worlds that I already love. And took me to a few new realities that I haven’t had the pleasure of adding to my shelves yet. The perfect mix for any anthology that I have on my shelves. A mix of startling new discoveries, and wonderful old favourites.

<- An Inconvenient MateUpon a Midnight Clear ->

Image source: Amazon