So This Is Christmas

What I read: So This Is Christmas by Jenny Holiday

Why I picked it up: Christmas book + new release shelf

How I read it: On paper over a few days – longer than is typical for me.

What it’s about: Cara is a management consultant who travels all over the world, and this Christmas season she is in Eldovia helping their traditional watch company see better days. The only problem is Mr. Bentz is so proper and dislikes her greatly – that is until he doesn’t.

What I liked: I appreciated the banter between them, some great dialogue.

What I disliked: It was just too slow.

Genre: Christmas, open door romance, royalty.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and unless you’ve got no other Christmas romances to read, I’d skip this one.

Lovelight Farms

What I read: Lovelight Farms by B. K. Borison

Why I picked it up: I saw it on Hoopla, and it looked like something I’d enjoy: Christmas + Romance + Happily Ever After!

How I read it: On audio at 1.75x speed in about two days.

What it’s about: Stella bought a farm and now it’s in trouble because it’s being sabotaged. To “solve” her problem, she creates a new one by needing to get her best friend to act as her fake boyfriend to win a social media contest. Turns out their ten years as friendship were just the “getting to know you phase” of their romantic relationship.

What I liked: It was just a delight – the entire thing!

What I disliked: Her father is quite the jerk. I didn’t love his character and he never redeems himself.

Genre: Christmas, open door romance, small town.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes – I’m also super glad this is a three book series (so far) and that I have the next two already downloaded.

On the Way to Christmas

What I read: On the Way to Christmas by Sheila Robert’s, Melissa Ferguson, and Amy Clipston

Why I picked it up: I’m a Melissa Ferguson completist, so I was excited to read her Christmas short story sandwiched between these other two, new to me, authors.

How I read it: On audio at 1.75x speed (I think that’s my preferred audiobook speed) over two days.

What it’s about: It’s three short, chaste, Christmas romances all set in small towns – one even featuring a NC town! They’re all a delight!

What I liked: I like the train story – that was Melissa’s – it was interesting to think about taking a two week train trip across the country.

What I disliked: There’s a situation with a snake that a guy convinces the woman to have around her shoulders. For that reason alone, she should have thrown him right off the train – with his snakes!

Genre: Christmas, chaste romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and it’s a delight, definitely a fun Christmas read!

Just Like Magic

What I read: Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle

Why I picked it up: I’ve liked her other books so I put her new one on hold when it came out.

How I read it: On paper over the weekend.

What it’s about: Bettie is a stereotypical social media influencer who also has way too much money, but she lost her money plus her influencer reputation months ago. Now the day before her family is expecting her for Christmas, Hall E. Day shows up to move her from a 1.4 on the happiness scale to a 10!

What I liked: There’s an element of finding out what’s important in life and valuing that instead of money and fame.

What I disliked: I just didn’t like Bettie.

Genre: Christmas, finding oneself, closed door romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and not really.

Say You’ll Stay

What I read: Say You’ll Stay by Susan Mallery

Why I picked it up: I was targeted on Hoopla – that app really knows what I like.

How I read it: On ebook.

What it’s about: It’s the prequel to the Wishing Tree duo that has a second coming out this fall. It’s set in a small town that loves Christmas, just like some of the other small towns Susan writes about so well, and it’s July 5th. That’s the day Christmas in July begins with an antler wearing 5K. Shaye is confused, but Lawson explains it – and meeting him changes her plans from “just passing through” to “staying a while.”

What I liked: I appreciated how they took their relationship slowly – and they didn’t get together because of anything except love. Kathy, her landlord, was also just the most delightful. I’m glad she sat her down and helped her see what was actually true.

What I disliked: I think this could have been a full novel, instead of a short novella. I’m sure Shaye and Lawson show up in the first full book, but I don’t quite remember them.

Genre: Christmas, chaste romance, grief.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and a great prequel!

Just Date and See

What I read: Just Date and See by Portia MacIntosh

Why I picked it up: I was targeted on Hoopla.

How I read it: On audio for the first 83% while driving and walking and painting today and then I finished up on the ebook because I could.

What it’s about: Billie is looking for a quiet Christmas at home but instead she gets a house full of family who don’t particularly want to be quiet. Everything goes wrong so she opens her dating app and signs up for all of the upcoming “Mingle All the Way” events for singles where she meets a few great new friends. Rocco becomes more than just a random friend, but, of course, something goes wrong on Christmas Day.

What I liked: Some great banter, and a lovely story without it being open door – which is just what I was looking for.

What I disliked: I didn’t like Declan, he seemed like a right jerk.

Genre: Christmas, rom com, closed door romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and it was a delight – I think I’ll be working my way through Portia’s back list!

A Kiss in the Snow

What I read: A Kiss in the Snow by Susan Mallery

Why I picked it up: It’s the 2nd to last novella in the Fool’s Gold series, which I’m going to finish today!!

How I read it: On Kindle.

What it’s about: Nancee fell in love with Shep when she was 19, but the past ten years have been on again, off again and included him standing her up at the altar. Life hasn’t been easy and her last relationship ended when the FBI started investigating her as a terrorist, so she’s back at her great-aunts baking cupcakes trying to figure out what comes next.

What I liked: Shep was fun – a guy who worked through his childhood problems and figured out how to live with them instead of running from them.

What I disliked: It’s all so quick – and there weren’t many updates about our other Fool’s Gold friends.

Genre: Christmas, chaste romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and sure, but only if you’re already into the Fool’s Gold series.

Marry Me at Christmas

What I read: Marry Me at Christmas by Susan Mallery

Why I picked it up: I’m going to finish this series in the next week or so, and this one was next – even though I read it years ago as my first introduction to Fool’s Gold. It was worth the afternoon of reading!

How I read it: On ebook from Hoopla.

What it’s about: Fool’s Gold citizens take care of one another, and no one says know when Mayor Marsha asks them for a favor. That’s how Madeline ends up planning her movie-star crush’s sister’s Christmas wedding … and they fall in love.

What I liked: I keep reading because I like coming back to the town and visiting with my old friends that I’ve gotten to know throughout the series.

What I disliked: The first set of books seem to be so disconnected to these ones, I haven’t seen those ladies in quite a while.

Genre: Christmas, closed door romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and as part of the series.

Christmas on 4th Street

What I read: Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery

Why I picked it up: I’d taken a little break from Fool’s Gold since I have a pile of physical books from the library, but I had an hour to kill waiting for something and this was an easy download.

How I read it: On Kindle

What it’s about: Noelle has opened her store and finally gets her happy ending, and not too soon either. Her three friends are getting married on Christmas Eve in a surprise event, so when Gabriel shows up and plans to stay until the day after Christmas she jumps on the chance for a little company while all her friends prepare to get married.

What I liked: I loved how strong and determined Noelle is in this story.

What I disliked: I just wanted more!!

Genre: Christmas, closed door romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and only as part of the series.

A Fool’s Gold Christmas

What I read: A Fool’s Gold Christmas by Susan Mallery

Why I picked it up: Downloaded a bunch of this series for my trip today.

How I read it: On Libby eBook.

What it’s about: Evie was drug back by her family who she really doesn’t like (but that’s because they didn’t like her first), and now she’s running the dance studio and putting on the Christmas show and leading the pet adoption and falling for Dante (which isn’t the best idea because he’s decided love isn’t worth it).

What I liked: Evie grows a lot during these few months and the town shows up for her.

What I disliked: Dante’s “turn around” is so fast!!

Genre: Christmas, closed door romance.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and as part of the series, sure.