Miracle on 5th Avenue
by Sarah Morgan
It will take a Christmas miracle for two very different souls to find each other in this perfectly festive fairy tale of New York!
Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she's given an opportunity to house-sit a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. What better place to celebrate than in snow-kissed Manhattan? What she didn't expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous—and mysterious—owner.
Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife's death looming, he's isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn't appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?
This is my first Sarah Morgan book, and it most definitely is not my last! In fact, I've already bought another one of hers to read. Her writing flows so naturally, and I found myself caring about and loving her characters.
Eva is a "hopeless" romantic who loves Christmas and believes the best in people. She lost her grandmother the previous year, and it's made her a bit more introverted, and sad. She's determined to change that this Christmas, however. She's been hired to decorate one of her client's grandson's apartments for Christmas. He's supposed to be away for the weekend...
Or is he?
Lucas is a crime fiction writer and he's having trouble coming up with material for his new book (that was due, like, yesterday). He's having trouble writing - much of it having to do with the Christmas season, and the fact that the anniversary of his wife's death is coming up. It's been three years, and Lucas is only getting more isolated.
Eva is a beautiful character who truly cares about others, and wants to find who she is again. The person who enjoys Christmas and believes in love. Lucas is infuriatingly wonderful. He has trouble seeing life from the bright side, and is perplexed by Eva's sunny attitude. These characters are quite different from each other, but they complement each other so well.
This book is a cozy read - parts of it hurt because there's something about the holidays that can be sad. Just like Eva, however, there is definitely a silver lining. It's about moving forward, and pushing toward something we need, and want. Something that helps us be who we are. That's the meaning I got from this book. I'm curious to see what others may think.
I know Christmas has passed, but this is definitely a read I suggest you pick up, regardless.
The 12 Dares of Christmas
by Leigh W. Stuart
Lauren Hall has one wish for Christmas this year—raise money to build a new, no-kill animal shelter for the town of Sycamore Cove. And she is prepared to do anything to make it happen. Even dare a man she just met to perform a strip tease for the local knitting society.
Gabe Nicholson has one wish too—obtain the job of a lifetime to launch his career. Only his wishes get snowballed when his best friend's little sister hands him a pair of stripper pants and a bottle of eggnog-flavored body oil.
It’s all sugar plums and mistletoe until a scandal caused by Lauren’s fundraiser threatens to ruin it all. With Gabe's work opportunities disappearing before his eyes and Lauren's fundraising efforts tanking, their game of dares stands to burn them both. Unless it ignites a spark of Christmas magic.
Yes, technically the Christmas season is over - but as long as my Christmas tree is up (usually until January 6), I'm counting it!
As any reader of the site should know by now, I am a sucker for a holiday romance. 12 Dares definitely had its moments where it was hot and steamy, and others when it was funny, but it still left a lot to be desired.
Lauren is a sweet heroine - working her butt off to help the local animal shelter (even though...well, I'll let you read that part). Gabe is lovely for helping her out, even though he wasn't sure what he was going to do in order to help her (bless him). And together they make a cute couple. Add in the problem that Gabe is Lauren's older brother's close friends - and you have your friction. But, even with all that, I still could not fully muster enough energy to care about these two characters. Not really. They left me feeling a bit bland about it.
To be honest, the insta-love is really getting to me. This may be why I'm taking a little break from the romance genre. Not for long, mind you, because I love it.
Back to the book - if you want a HEA (happily ever after) steamy romance surrounding Christmas, you'll like this.
More Than Friends
by Jody Holford
Owen Burnett planned on a quiet, easygoing Christmas, hanging out with his best friend and neighbor, Gabby Michaelson. So when his mom pressures him to come home for the holidays, he tells a little white lie...that he’s spending the holidays with his new girlfriend. But when his family shows up unexpectedly, Owen pulls the best friend card and asks Gabby to play his fake girlfriend.
Gabby’s been hopelessly in love with her best friend Owen for what feels like forever, but playing his "fake" girlfriend when the entire boisterous Burnett clan visits is easier said than done. The more she tries to deny the attraction between them, the more obvious their chemistry becomes. But even though she's not the only one feeling it, putting their friendship on the line is a risk she can’t take.
I will tell you that one thing that usually makes me stray away from a book is if I learn it has a friends-to-lovers theme. I am more likely to want to read an enemies-to-lovers story. I don't know what that says about me. Let's move on.
This story is a friends-to-lovers, and its a Christmas story *sigh* It's everything youd expect: cheesy, sweet, and all things Christmassy. Gabby is in love with her neighbor/best friend, Owen, and then one day he asks her to be his pretend-girlfriend because his family is visiting - and well, maybe you can guess the rest.
Because it is a story that we can guess at and probably be right, I appreciated that the story went to the point right away. After that, there was always something happening, and because the author included dual POVs (yay!), we were able understand this couple a lot easier than other enigmatic "will-they-won't-they" stories. This was something I appreciated in a quick Christmas read.
Also - I loved the family in this book. Owen's family is warm and inviting, while also being realistic when shit goes down. That's all I'm gonna say.
This book took me a couple to a few hours to read - it was fast, and enjoyable for the season!
The Christmas Cake Cafe
by Sue Watson
Heart-warming and hilarious, a story that will make you laugh, cry and bring a smile to your face. Get ready for another deliciously amazing Christmas treat from Sue Watson….
As the Prosecco chills and Bing Crosby croons, Jen Barker just knows that her long-term boyfriend is about to propose. But instead of a diamond ring nestled in her champagne flute, Jen finds cold flat rejection. Her once perfect life and dreams of a husband and family seem even further from reach.
A working holiday to the Swiss Alps with her younger sister Jody might not be the Christmas Jen had it mind, but it offers her the chance to recharge her batteries and recover from heartbreak.
When Jen meets handsome ski instructor Jon Zutter her hopes for a happy-ever-after seem within her grasp again. Jon is kind and gorgeous and as they bond over Sachetorte at the picturesque Cake Café, Jen thinks he might just be her perfect man. But a relationship with him comes with a catch – and there are some things even cake can’t fix.
As the snow falls and Christmas approaches, could this be the place that restores Jen Barker’s faith in love?
I'm going to be honest with you, dear reader. I'm a bit on the fence about this one. If I had to give it stars - I'd give it 2.5 to 3 stars out of 5. That's not a horrible evaluation - but I can't decide if I liked it enough. I wouldn't re-read it - which is unfortunate for a Christmas read, but I don't regret reading it. There will be some spoilers.
Jen is on the cusp of her 40th birthday on Christmas (her favorite holiday), and she's expecting her boyfriend of nearly a decade to propose to her. With the champagne going at a nice restaurant, she thinks they're on the right track - only to realize that her boyfriend is breaking up with her. There starts the story - a tale of reflection, learning to let go, and love. Most of all, the acceptance that life is not perfect - and neither are we. This is the message I truly loved about this book. We so often expect life has to be perfect, or nearly so, and when it isn't, we are disappointed and unhappy.
With a little push from her half-sister, Jody, Jen decides to join her in Switzerland on a working holiday. Together with two of Jody's closest friends, they embark on an adventure of skiing woes, and nights of partying. Jen meets a lovely man named Jon, who seems to be just as interested in her as she is in him. And here's where we encounter my problem with the book.
Jon is a really nice male character - but by the time "things happen", I know far more about Jen than Jon. Which isn't a horrible thing, except I'm supposed accept that these two meet, talk, and fall hopelessly in love. Again - it happens, but all Jen does is talk about herself! Things get a bit better when we do learn more about Jon, and I think his "secret" is dealt with in a very responsible way. But throughout the story, I couldn't shake the feeling that this story went from being a Christmas romance to being...something else. Something I didn't think I was signing on for. I appreciated that Jen was able to work through her demons from her father leaving when she was younger, and from trying to make things fit into a perfect mold instead of just letting things happen. But at about half way through the book, I just wanted to know what happened. I can't say I was enjoying the journey. It was funny in parts, but to describe it as a "funny, feel good Christmas read" is misleading.
If you like deep reads like this whenever, including Christmas - this is your story.
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