Monday, October 29, 2018

Review: A Small Town Christmas (Four Irish Brothers Winery Book 1) by Nan Reinhardt

Winemaker and single father Conor Flaherty is determined to make this Christmas holiday special for his daughter even though his family’s winery, Four Irish Brothers, is facing some challenges.

High-octane Chicago attorney Samantha Hayes is looking forward to some delicious food, fine wine, small town charm, and a break from her hectic big city life when she agrees to do a favor for her boss and help his younger brother with a lawsuit that’s been slapped on his family’s historic winery in River’s Edge. She’s not expecting that her sexy new client will have a smile that will melt her heart and remind her that there’s more to life than work.

Sam falls hard for Conor, his daughter and the small, friendly town, but can she trust her instincts and risk her heart? Sam hasn’t seen a lot of happy-ever-afters in her life, but Conor and the magic of Christmas make her want to believe.

My Review: 

The Four Irish Brothers Winery series starts off with Conor Flaherty’s story.  In this book, Conor and his brothers are fighting to save their family winery from their step-mother who is contesting their father’s will.  

Samantha Hayes is a Chicago lawyer and is representing the brothers.  Sparks fly from the minute Conor and Sam meet, but neither of them is interested in a relationship.  Conor is a widower raising his little girl, Ali, on his own and Sam is just interested in her career at the moment.  The more time Sam and Conor spend together, the more they realize they could be good together.  Sam is afraid she wouldn’t be the best mother for Conor’s daughter and this causes her to run when her job is over.  But once Sam is back at home, she can’t get Conor, Ali, the charming town and its people off her mind.  She soon finds herself heading back just in time for Christmas.  

If this book is any indication of how the rest of the series will go, I can’t wait to read more.  The author wrote characters that I was instantly drawn to and couldn’t wait to learn more about.  The description of the town made me want to be there.  The story was fun and interesting, though emotional in parts.  I will anxiously be waiting for the next book. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Review: Cupcakes for Christmas (Return to Willoughby Close) by Kate Hewitt

Always the baker, never the bride…

Olivia James has always been happy running a tea shop and bakery in the Cotswold village of Wychwood-on-Lea, and helping her friends find their happily-ever-afters, topped by the perfect wedding cake. But as Christmas approaches, Olivia is home alone and questioning her choices while eating too many of her own specialty confections.

When Simon Blacklock, a handsome, whimsical stranger, breezes into her shop and buys a cupcake and then returns the next day and the day after, Olivia begins to dream. Can romance blossom amidst the sugar and flour? And after a lifetime of living on the side lines, is she brave enough to star in her own story?

Simon may be hiding a painful secret, but Olivia harbors secrets of her own. If they can dare to risk their hearts, this Christmas might be the most magical yet!

My Review: 

I really enjoyed the previous Willoughby Close books, so I was excited to read a new addition to the series. 

Olivia James took over mother's bakery, Tea on the Lea, after her mother retired and moved into a retirement home.  Olivia has made a few friends in Wychwood, but still felt disconnected from the rest of the town.  She lives a quiet life working and then returning to her flat above the shop to the moody cat, Mr. Jekyll that her mother left behind when she moved.  With Christmas on the way and the new cupcake promotion at the bakery, things are starting to turn around for Olivia.  Then, Simon Blacklock, walks through the door and everything in Olivia’s life changes.

The author did a great job writing this book.  The story had a lot of different elements to it, but not so much that it was overwhelming.  This is a romance that borders on women’s fiction.  Part of the story touches on mental health issues and Alzheimer's, which made the story emotional and believable.  The book was a quick read and easy to follow. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Review: Christmas Comes to Snowfall Kindle Edition by Erika Marks

Christmas with the confirmed bachelor...

Quaint Christmas or quirky vacation? Newcomer Maggie Iverson comes to the small resort town of Snowfall, Vermont, for a one-week repreive from her high-powered marketing job in Boston. She's designing a new website to boost tourism traffic (both virtual and foot) to Snowfall for the holidays. She enthusiastically throws herself into all things Christmas, but deftly dodges each match-making hint.

Long-time bachelor and veterinarian Alden Marshall has never embraced the holiday season, but when he meets Maggie, their chemistry is powerful enough to light up a dozen Christmas trees. Suddenly he finds himself immersed in the town’s merry-making with Maggie by his side. Will the magic of Christmas cast the spell Maggie and Alden need to let go of their pasts and finally find a love that lasts?

My Review: 

A sweet fast -paced holiday romance.

Maggie Iverson is workaholic who is hired to design a website for the town of Snowfall, Vermont, where the snow has fallen every Christmas since 1917.  But this year, the town is worried there might not be any snow.  Maggie is anxious to get to work.  She doesn’t mind working through Christmas as she doesn’t have family or a boyfriend to spend time with.

Alden Marshall moved to Snowfall three years ago to open his veterinary clinic.  Most of Snowfall’s residents haven’t warmed up to Alden because they believe Alden’s great-grandfather cursed the town when he broke the heart of a baker.  Every year everyone makes gingerbread men to hang on a Christmas tree in hopes of snowfall for Christmas day.

As Maggie starts to learn more about Snowfall and the people who live there, she really begins to enjoy herself, especially the time she spends with Alden.  The last thing on Maggie and Alden’s minds is a relationship, but that doesn’t stop the town matchmaker, Ezzie, from trying to hook them up.  Maybe it’s Ezzie’s work or maybe it’s just a little bit of Christmas magic that brings them together. 

I really enjoyed this book.  I would have loved for the story to have been longer, but there was a lot of information and entertainment packed into the pages.  I especially liked the tubing scene and Maggie’s flavor meditation.

My favorite quote in the book is:

“Her last three relationships broke up around Christmas so she’s decided not to date during the holidays anymore”  “Hey, that’s great!”  Randy’s eyes grew with his grin.  “Her bad luck and your curse?  You’re perfect for each other!” 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Review: Christmas at the Cat Café by Melissa Daley

Christmas at the Cat Cafe is the wonderfully festive sequel to Melissa Daley's uplifting tale, Molly and the Cat Cafe. The Costwolds' town of Stourton-on-the-Hill has its very own cat cafe. Resident cat Molly, and her kittens, live here in feline paradise, while owner Debbie serves the locals home-made goodies. But even in the most idyllic surroundings, things don't always go to plan... When Debbie's heartbroken sister Linda arrives at the cafe, Debbie insists she move in. But Linda is not alone, and the cats are devastated with the arrival of Linda's dog, Beau. Sadly, Beau's arrival is not the only bombshell - now Molly's home is also under threat when a rival cat moves in on her turf. With Christmas approaching, Molly is unsettled, barely roused by the promise of tinsel to play with. Fearing for her feline family she hopelessly stares out of the cafe window searching for an answer. Only a Christmas miracle could bring everyone together...

My Review: 

Heartwarming and unforgettable.  Christmas at the Cat Café is a story for all ages.  

Molly’s Cat Café is located in the quaint town of Stourton.  Debbie owns the café and is the caretaker of the cats.  The story is told from cat’s point of view.  Molly is happy with her life in the café with her caretakers, kittens and baby-daddy, Jasper.  But, their lives are turned upside down by the arrival of Debbie’s sister Linda who moves in their tiny loft and brings her dog, Beau.  The loft was barely big enough for Debbie, her daughter, and the cats.  The final straw was when Linda decided to adopt a Siamese cat named Ming for the cafe.  Ming steals Molly’s glory and this sets off a chain of incidents that no one expected.  With Christmas being known as a season of miracles, Molly’s Cat Café soon becomes a happy place for everyone again.  

I really enjoyed the story and the author’s writing style.  She totally got into Molly’s head and it felt so real like maybe it is how cats feel.  I started thinking of my new kitten and what my two older cats might be thinking of their newcomer.  This is the second book in a series, but I feel it can be read as a stand-alone.  It’s a wonderful story all by itself.  If you love cats and a sweet story, this book will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling and a smile on your face.  

Thank you to St Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read this and ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Review: The Christmas Window by Melissa McClone

A matchmaking aunt wants her nephew to find love under the mistletoe...

All doggy daycare owner Callie Andrews wants for Christmas is to win first prize this year. The annual window display competition is a huge event in Silver Falls, and she’s determined to showcase her success when her family visits her small town. It's time for her parents and three older brothers to realize the "baby" of the family is thriving on her own.

The last thing Brandt Winslow wants to do is rehash the past, but returning home to Silver Falls means confronting the reason he left. His vacation, however, takes an unexpected turn when his well-meaning aunt meddles in his love life, and he finds himself caught up in her misguided efforts at matchmaking.

Despite their reluctance at being paired up, Callie and Brandt discover the holidays are full of surprises...and romance. But is the magic of Christmas strong enough to keep the couple together through the new year?

My Review:

Lots of cute dogs, a matchmaking aunt and some serious romance, made this a fun book to read.

Doggy daycare owner, Callie Andrews, was determined to win the annual Silver Falls Christmas window display competition this year.  She couldn’t wait for her family to arrive and see how well Wags and Tails was doing.  They think all she does is play with dogs all day and want her to find a better career.  She would show them that she had become a successful business owner.    

Brandt Winslow left Silver Falls six years ago after his business partner sold their company right out from under him.  Brandt was still angry at Nick about it.  He was back in town to visit his aunt Margot for Christmas and just hoped he didn’t run into Nick while he was there.  He didn’t know how he would react or what he would say to him.  The last thing he expected was for his aunt to try to set him up with a girl.  He didn’t have time for it and didn’t plan on sticking around once Christmas was over.  But, it seems when Margot sets her goal on a couple, they end up falling in love.

The cover of this book grabbed my attention right away.  The story is also very enjoyable too and definitely put me in the holiday mood.  I loved the characters and couldn’t get enough of them.  I especially liked how Callie was able to get Brandt used to being around dogs when he was a little scared at first.  I would recommend this book to anyone who loves animals or just a good clean romance.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Review: The Italian's Christmas Housekeeper by Sharon Kendrick

From making the billionaire’s bed…

To Christmas between his sheets!

Shy housekeeper Molly Millar always tries her best. She’s anxious to impress outrageously wealthy houseguest Salvio de Gennaro, but instead is unfairly criticized by her employer! When she’s found sobbing by Salvio, he comforts her…with the most amazing experience of her life. But when that incredible encounter costs Molly her job, Salvio rescues her with an irresistible proposition: become his temporary housekeeper—just in time for Christmas!

Escape into this captivating Cinderella romance!

My Review:

If you like Cinderella type romances, you will love this story about a self-made millionaire, Salvio de Gennaro and Molly Miller, a maid who is in charge at an estate where Salvio is visiting. 

Molly ends up pregnant after sleeping with Salvio and she soon loses her job.  Salvio had given Molly his assistant’s business card in case she ever needed another job.  Molly is hired to work at Salvio’s Christmas party at his Cotswold home.  Salvio is shocked to come home and find Molly in his house and when he learns of her pregnancy, he decides to use it to his advantage.  His mother has been on him to marry so he takes Molly back to Italy where they spend Christmas with his parents and tells them they are getting married.   What happens next is a real test of their characters and deepens their relationship even more.  But it is soon threatened again.  How they work through their issues made for a good story and a perfect happily ever after. 

Thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Review: Christmas at the Chalet by Anita Hughes

It's the day after Christmas, and Felicity Grant is at a gorgeous ski chalet in St. Moritz for the biggest fashion show of her career. Felicity is a rising star on the bridal design scene, and this is her best collection yet. But when her boyfriend gives her a spa day instead of a diamond ring for Christmas, she has to face the possibility that she may never walk down the aisle in one of her own stunning designs.

And then there's Nell, the top model headlining Felicity's show. Nell is planning her dream wedding to her wonderful fiance with one catch: her divorced parents can't stand each other and threaten to no-show if the other is there.

Add to that Felicity's race against the clock to create a special gown for a prestigious bridal salon, and what both girls need is a Christmas miracle. What better place to find one than in the Swiss Alps with its dark forests and sparkling vistas?

But for Felicity it's hard to recognize a miracle even when it's right in front of her, and for Nell one miracle might not be enough to fix the past. Can dreams really come true or is that the stuff of Swiss fairytales?

Anita Hughes's Christmas at the Chalet is full of romance, gorgeous gowns, and the stunning scenery of the Swiss Alps. It's about love and forgiveness, and creating one's own miracles during the most festive time of year.

My Review:

I could almost feel the cool snow and picture the beautiful people and scenery. 

This book really transported me to another world.  I loved the setting of St. Moritz.  It’s a place I know I will never get to see in real life.  But, after reading this book, I felt like I had just gone there.  There are beautiful people, stunning scenery, fantastic sounding food, fun events and beautiful wedding dresses and clothing.

Wedding gown designer, Felicity Grant is in St. Moritz for the debut of her winter collection after having a fight with her boyfriend, Adam on Christmas day.  She wants to get married and he doesn’t.  Since arriving in St. Mortiz, Felicity has been struggling with her emotions and wonders what she should do to get Adam to see things her way.  When she takes a fall on the street, a handsome doctor, Gabriel Innes, is there to pick her up and help her.  But then a picture of Felicity and Gabriel ends up online claiming they are having an affair.  It was strange consequences that Felicity finds herself in other situations where Gabriel is there to help her when she needed it.  They end up forming a friendship and Felicity gets relationship advice from Gabriel.  But as more pictures turn up online, rumors start to spiral out of control.  Was it just coincidence that they always seemed to be in the same place at the same time?  But when Adam shows up, Felicity really has a big decision to make. 

A second story in this book was about one of Felicity’s models, Nell, who is planning her own wedding and wants both of her divorced parents to be there.  They both refuse to be in the same place at the same time.  Nell goes on a truth finding mission to find out why they really split up.  The reason will surprise you.  The reason never crossed my mind. 

All around, I loved everything about this book.  And it doesn’t even need to be Christmas time to enjoy it. 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the ARC to read in return of an honest review.