#BookReviews & #HolidayReads: A Season for Hope & The Magic of the Season (Christmas in Silver Falls #2) by Tammy L. Grace

E77591AD-7280-43CD-903F-1EE45682F47AReviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

A Season For Hope Date of Release: October 26, 2018

Summary:

From the award-winning author of the Hometown Harborseries, comes a heart-warming and inspirational story for the holidays readers describe as the perfect Christmas story.

When their car breaks down, Hope and her young son, Jake, are stranded in Silver Falls as the holidays approach. A woman who runs a guesthouse offers them a place to stay while the car is repaired.

Frightened and broke, Hope finds a part-time job, thanks to the family who owns the guesthouse. Hidden beneath her strong work ethic and cheerful demeanor, Hope conceals a private mystery. A secret she can’t reveal.

As the Christmas season nears, the small town nestled beneath the snowy mountains and its annual holiday festival captivate Hope, while the family at the guesthouse suspects there’s something she’s hiding. In a moment of weakness, she divulges her secret.

Will an offer of help destroy her life and all she cherishes, or will it be the gift she needs to triumph over her past?

A Season for Hope is a charming story about the kindness of strangers and finding hope where you never expected it. Cozy up with the first in the Christmas in Silver Falls novellas for a holiday read sure to warm your heart.

Review:

”A Season For Hope” By Tammy L. Grace truly is one of my favorite Christmas Tales; alongside her next story. She brings you to a place you want to call home, to people you want to meet because of their genuine kindness. You will definitely want to move there…I absolutely loved Silver Falls. I know this is a book I can cuddle up with again year after year under the Christmas Tree, knowing I will be taken away to a place of joy and comfort!

The Magic of the Season

Release Date: October 24, 2019

Summary:

Will a city girl forced to spend the holidays in her small hometown recapture the magic of the season?

Madison hasn’t visited Silver Falls since she left the snowy mountain winters behind for the beaches of California twenty years ago. In the midst of the annual Christmas festival, an accident forces her to return and manage her mom’s candy business at the Sugar Shop.

Grant hasn’t seen her since she left for college, but remembers spending summers at the lake with the skinny, plain girl he and everyone used to know as Sugar. The contemporary advertising executive he encounters now is anything but plain.

Will Grant’s kindness, the charm of Silver Falls, and the caring community open Sugar’s heart to all she’s been missing?

The best-selling author of A Season for Hope, the tale readers describe as the perfect Christmas story, delivers a touching sequel with the second in her Christmas in Silver Falls series in this new festive novella that pairs perfectly with a cup of cocoa in front of a blazing fire.

Review:

Absolutely love these types of Christmas Stories where the City Mouse lands back home in her old hometown after becoming all prettied up! Tammy L. Grace had me at Hello with “The Magic of The Season”! Full of  joy, love, smiles, happiness and all that makes Christmas Bright! This is absolutely one of my favorite Holiday Reads this year!!

Both Receive 5 Stars.

 

#BookReview & #HolidayReads: A Lowcountry Christmas (Lowcountry Summer #5) by Mary Alice Monroe

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: October 25, 2016

Summary:

A wounded warrior and his younger brother discover the true meaning of Christmas in this timeless story of family bonds.

As far as ten-year-old Miller McClellan is concerned, it’s the worst Christmas ever. His father’s shrimp boat is docked, his mother is working two jobs, and with finances strained, Miller is told they can’t afford the dog he desperately wants. “Your brother’s return from war is our family’s gift,” his parents tell him. But when Taylor returns with PTSD, family strains darken the holidays.

Then Taylor’s service dog arrives—a large black Labrador/Great Dane named Thor. His

brother even got the dog! When Miller goes out on Christmas Eve with his father’s axe, determined to get his family the tree they can’t afford, he takes the dog for company—but accidentally winds up lost in the wild forest. The splintered family must come together to rediscover their strengths, family bond, and the true meaning of Christmas.

Review:

The novel by Mary Alice Monroe, “A Lowcountry Christmas”, is the 5th installment of her Lowcountry series. It is a wonderful addition to the series and is a story about the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of family and close friends. 

In the past, I have enjoyed her story lines and characters and when I pick up one of her books I know I am in for a treat. This book was not an exception. There were many times I wanted to be able to hug the characters because most of them were struggling with a difficult time in their lives. 

Miller was the youngest child of Jenny and Alistair. I felt so sorry for him as he struggled to come to terms with his parents not being able to afford a puppy that he fell in love with.  Who doesn’t want a young boy to have a treasured pup? 

Christmas is a time for family, friends and reading! Get a copy of this book and add a little more warmth to your holiday. Merry Christmas! 

4 Stars.

 

#BookReview: Not So Merry Murder by Amabel Daniels

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: December 10, 2019

Summary:

All I want for Christmas is…

Well, it certainly isn’t finding Mrs. Claus shot dead in the photo hut at Franklin’s Ma
Marlena Ridge was a nasty woman, a bitter boss, and a scornful manager at our seasonal booth for all kinds of kids to sit on Santa’s lap for an overpriced picture. But I’ve never wished her dead. Someone did, though, because there’s no mistaking the fatal wound in her gaudy, velvet holiday getup.

What’s worse is the infuriating, sexy cop in charge of the investigation, Knox James, seems to think I might know something about her murder. Or perhaps, that I could have been the one to pull the trigger.

Review:

Amabel Daniel’s “Not So Merry Murder” was a fun to read Christmas Novella.

With entertaining characters, some mystery and humor too; this was a book that held my interest throughout.

Jade was just doing her job but who knew what she was going to find Mrs. Claus dead in the photo hut?

If you are looking for a Christmas novella that is sure to keep you reading, this is the book for you.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

3.75 Stars.

#BookReview: The Clergyman’s Wife: A Pride and Prejudice Novel by Molly Greeley

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: December 3, 2019

Summary:

For everyone who loved Pride and Prejudice—and legions of historical fiction lovers—an inspired debut novel set in Austen’s world.

Charlotte Collins, nee Lucas, is the respectable wife of Hunsford’s vicar, and sees to her duties by rote: keeping house, caring for their adorable daughter, visiting parishioners, and patiently tolerating the lectures of her awkward husband and his condescending patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Intelligent, pragmatic, and anxious to escape the shame of spinsterhood, Charlotte chose this life, an inevitable one so socially acceptable that its quietness threatens to overwhelm her. Then she makes the acquaintance of Mr. Travis, a local farmer and tenant of Lady Catherine..
In Mr. Travis’ company, Charlotte feels appreciated, heard, and seen. For the first time in her life, Charlotte begins to understand emotional intimacy and its effect on the heart—and how breakable that heart can be. With her sensible nature confronted, and her own future about to take a turn, Charlotte must now question the role of love and passion in a woman’s life, and whether they truly matter for a clergyman’s wife.

Review:

“The Clergyman’s Wife” by Molly Greeley really walks in the path alongside Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice”. I felt the same tempo, magic and slow passage of time as when I read Jane Austen. There is nothing better than a book that makes you want to stop time!

I loved Charlotte Lucas, so it was wonderful to revisit with her.

Often these Austen retellings feel forced, and definitely not taken in stride; but that does not happen here. I truly felt taken away….Taken away in the beautiful use of language, and and a truly magnificent storyline.

You’ll need some time to spend frolicking with Charlotte and her family and friends through her days, because you won’t want to put the book down.

I hope that Molly Greeley has more stories in the making that are of this classical fraction, because she sure hits the nail on the head. This is certainly her wheelhouse.

I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

#BookReview, #HolidayReads & #GiveAway: Wrapped Up In Christmas by Janice Lynn

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: October 1st, 2019

Summary:

A gift of warmth
to heal two hearts…

Sarah Smith in Pine Hill, Kentucky has had her heart broken in the past. She pours herself into her work at church and into special projects—like making a quilt for a wounded warrior.

Bodie Lewis is lost. All he’s ever wanted was his career as an Army Ranger, but he wainjured in an explosion that killed his brothers in arms. In the hospital, he receives a handmade quilt. Later, he sets out on his final mission: to find and thank its maker.

Bodie expected Sarah to be an elderly lady, not a lovely young woman. When she mistakes him for a handyman, he doesn’t immediately set her straight. Instead, he sets about repairing the home she’s turning into a bed and breakfast. Sarah’s presence and the spirit of the small town bring Bodie something he thought he’d left far behind on the battlefield: hope.

This heartwarming military romance includes a free quilt pattern from the Quilts of Valor Foundation and a new Hallmark original recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Bread.

 

Review:

Janice Lynn’s “Wrapped up In Christmas” was such a charming and romantic novel.

This story had so many great aspects to it from family to friends, to Quilts of Valor organization, to learning to live after the war.

Bodie was a kind and giving soul that took Sarah by surprise from the beginning. The “butterflies” were totally entertaining and kept things exciting!

Sarah was such a sweetheart and at times my heart broke for her.

I was also deeply in love with the dog, Harry and how he was weaved throughout the story; you will too!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book !!! Definitely recommend everyone read this holiday romance!

I received this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

4.5 Stars.

 

GIVEAWAY:  eBook COPY OF BOOK.

TO ENTER PLEASE LEAVE COMMENT BY 9PM FRIDAY.  THANK YOU.

#AuthorInterview #HolidayReads & #GiveAway: Meet Janice Lynn, author of Hallmark’s “Wrapped Up in Christmas”

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What first sparked your interest in writing Wrapped Up in Christmas?

For some time I have been wanting to spread my wings as a writer and push myself outside my comfort zone, to write a story that moved people, and brought my writing to another level. My agent suggested I write a proposal for Hallmark. When I sat down to write the proposal, I asked myself what Hallmark meant to me, and I started writing the proposal for Wrapped Up in Love–which was the original title, as the original version centered around July 4th rather than Christmas. I was asked to revise to a Christmas story and make a few tweaks to the proposal, and Hallmark Publishing bought it. Now, I can’t imagine the book as anything other than a Christmas story.

How long did it take you to write the story?  

I’m honestly not sure of the exact timeframe for the first draft. I’d guess around 3 months. I was on deadline with another publisher, so I had to write.

Who is your favorite character & why?  

There are a lot of characters in the book I love for various reasons. The answer that popped into my head is Harry, who is my hero’s dog. But I adore Bodie and Sarah, and I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention the Butterflies. Writing Harry and letting his personality come through without dialogue stretched me as a writer. Stretching outside one’s comfort zone makes one grow and that’s a good thing. I adore Bodie because he is a wounded warrior with a big heart, a real life hero who loves his country and fellowman. He’s the kind of hero you know would come to your rescue no matter what. Sarah is sweet and loves her hometown and community. I love that about her, probably because I feel the same way about the small town in Tennessee where I live. And, those pesky Butterflies….those ladies were so much fun to write because I had to ask myself, now what would they do next that borders on outrageous without going too far over the top. I’d catch myself giggling at times writing the scenes with them on the page because I could so vividly see them in my mind. Hmmm, that was more than a single character, but I honestly love them all equally.

Annie: I am totally excited that you said the hero’s dog first. Each character sounds amazingly special, but I have a special place in my heart for dogs.

0B618662-BB41-4637-B465-CE0105BFD580When did you realize you were a novelist?

When I was in the first grade. No kidding. On my tablet paper, I wrote a story about a witch and was hooked. I’d write every chance I got up until I went away to college. Somehow, I quit writing for pleasure during that time, got my degree, a husband, some beautiful children, and it wasn’t until 9/11 happened that, same as many others, I found myself looking at life differently. For me that meant asking myself why I wasn’t pursuing my dream of writing. It was my dream and yet I was putting zero effort into making it a reality. I started writing again. Writing is such a wonderful outlet for me that, looking back, I can’t believe I allowed myself to stop for so long. Whether or not I ever sold another book, I’d still write. Writing soothes a need in me that nothing else touches. My hope is that my writing soothes a need in my readers that only a good book can accomplish.

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What’s been the most exciting part of Wrapped Up in Christmas’s release?

Everything about writing for Hallmark has been exciting. How my hometown has shared in my joy of this book warms my heart in so many ways. Friends and family have just embraced me with their joy. It’s been amazing, but my answer as to what’s been the most exciting has to be having been a guest on the Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family talk show on November 8th and making a snowflake ornament with Cameron Mathison. He was so unbelievably kind. I’d love to write a book that he someday starred in the movie. Did I mention that I’m a dreamer? LOL. Still, this entire experience has been dreamy, so I know dreams come true. I’m just going to keep dreaming.

Annie: WOW! I love that show, and Cameron Mathison! That is so amazing!

What’s your favorite part of being an author?

Getting to write stories that raise awareness of causes I believe in such as the Quilts of Valor Foundation. In Wrapped Up in Christmas, Sarah has donated a quilt to the Quilts of Valor Foundation. That quilt made its way to a wounded warrior named Bodie Lewis.  Quilts of Valor is a real organization that really does wrap up veterans and active servicemen and women in quilts. That my book has brought attention to their mission makes my heart happy because I 100% believe in what they are doing.

Annie: This is an amazing organization! Here is the link for everyone to check out! https://www.qovf.org

6C64D46C-0D2E-4DA2-9D69-861ECC8BEEF4What are your hobbies?

I love to sew and quilt. I won’t say that I have a whole lot of perfectly straight quarter inch seams, but I try. 🙂  I am in the process of making a quilt for each of my children, make quilts for baby shower gifts, and have recently finished my second Quilts of Valor quilt to be donated. I hope to make many more to be donated in the future as well as continuing to write stories that draw attention to the wonderful work this organization does.  


Annie: Thank you so much for this outstanding interview behind the scenes of both you and your book! It’s so wonderful to get to know you better!

 

GIVEAWAY:  eBook COPY OF BOOK.

TO ENTER PLEASE LEAVE COMMENT BY 9PM WEDNESDAY.  THANK YOU.

#BookReview & #HolidayReads: Alone for the Holidays by Vivien Mayfair

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: July 16, 2019

Summary:

Snow is falling hard near the picturesque town of Woodstock, Vermont, with its scrumptiou bakeries, brightly lit storefronts, and twelve-foot Main Street Christmas tree. Romance is in the air for everybody except spicy Russian Clara Neverov, recently divorced, bitter, and alone for the holidays. As an acclaimed romance author, she revels in her solitary life relying only on Internet book groups for her socialization under a fake American name pulled from childhood memory and her best friend’s photo.

Giving up on Christmas after too many of them alone, she adores the solitary life free from Scrooges and messy entanglements. When a mysterious editor from a Goodreads book group she cares about shares a sad story about being alone for the holidays after his wife passes away, she accidentally invites him to spend them with her.

The only problem is that her snowy country cottage is nowhere close to the magical Santa’s wonderland that she described. In fact, it closely resembles the undergrown Grinch’s lair on a bad day.

The situation goes from bad to worse when Finn Jacobs drops an email that he’s on his way to spend Christmas with her. He doesn’t mention an arrival date and he believes her to be a trim blond bookshop clerk instead of her real identity as an overweight author with unruly espresso hair and black eyes. With some festive holiday intervention, icy roads slam her truck right into his car, where she quickly finds herself desperately scrambling for another false identity, terrified he’ll learn the truth.

When an unexpected storm snows them in while their cars are being repaired, Clara continues the ruse as somebody else with hopes that her online dream man will come to love her as she is and not as the fantasy women in his mind. The only way she can do that is to give him the Christmas of a lifetime.

There is one thing that is for sure, that spending Christmas alone is no longer an option. Lose yourself in this sweet holiday romantic tale of hope, second chances, and forgiveness during the most magical time of the year.

BONUS MATERIAL: Delicious tried-and-true family holiday recipes as seen in the book. Treat yourself to a cheesy chicken crunch-top casserole, dreamy peppermint dark chocolate mochas, a white chocolate peppermint cake, a melt-in-your-mouth pot roast, buttercream frosted cutout cookies, and many more.

The perfect Christmas short story novelette ideal for sweet romance fans of authors like Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, Brenda Novak, Holly Martin, and Jenny Hale.

Review:

Vivian Mayfair’s “Alone for the Holidays” was a whimsical and entertaining holiday romance. The characters were funny and relatable.

Clara had many secrets which caused turmoil that she had to overcome throughout this novelette.

Bonus with some yummy recipes!!!

Overall this was a fun romance! I am going to definitely check out her other books.

I received this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

4 Stars.

#BookReview, #Excerpt, #Giveaway & #HolidayReads: Mistletoe at the Lakeside Resort by Susan Schild

C392CA06-7096-48F4-942E-AE62138637E0Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Release Date: Today. October 25, 2019

Summary:

USA Today Bestselling author Susan Schild writes heartwarming and funny novels about women over 40 having adventures, falling in love and finding their happily ever afters.

The soon to be released MISTLETOE AT THE LAKESIDE RESORT is a Christmas novella and the third book in Susan’s popular Lakeside Resort series. You’ll catch up with Jenny and her gal pals, fiancé Luke, and Levi and the boys as they plan a very special Christmas for guests at her rustic cabinson beautiful Heron Lake.

A few hints: Jenny’s been gifted a new vintage camper and has the jitters about her future with Luke. Charlotte and Ashe are at odds about their upcoming wedding, and Mama and Landis make a startling announcement.

If you’re looking for a feel good read to get into the Christmas spirit, Mistletoe at the Lakeside Resort offers cozy romance, classic Christmas carols, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and a happily ever after.

 

Review:

“Christmas at Lakeside Resort” is a feel-good, charming and always engaging story about people you want to know and a place you want to visit! I’d call ahead and reserve my spot if I could right now for this upcoming Christmas Season!

Since we can’t do that…I suggest you get lost in the land that Susan Schild’s created at Lake Heron called Lakeside Resort.

Between the wonderful town, amazing people and absolutely delightful animals I could not put this novella down. I know you will feel the same way!

This is part of a series, but I believe you could read this first and then go back to the others! So….Grab this little piece of the holiday joy now….so you can start your celebrations early!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

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Excerpt:

“With a businesslike look on her face, novice house stager Charlotte pulled a scribbled list from her purse. “Ladies, I need accent chairs, even if they’re ratty. I need lamps, but only if there are two of them. Vintage water skis are hot. Look for lake-related memorabilia, like books or old pictures of families on the water. Dog prints always come in handy. Cool baskets, macramé, bowls, and rugs are useful though I’d need to sniff the rugs before I buy them. I got a beauty at an estate sale last year. When I got it home, I realized it smelled of dog tee-tee.” She wrinkled her nose. “That smell never comes out. Never.”

The parking lot of the fire hall was already packed, even though the sale didn’t officially start for another ten minutes. Mama expertly swung the big SUV into the last slot in a line of cars parked on a grassy roadside.

“Are we too close to a ditch bank?” Jenny asked nervously.

“I’ve got plenty of room,” Mama said, a confident look in her eye as she switched off the ignition.

The three of them stepped out of the SUV.

When Jenny paused to adjust her wrinkled sock in her boot, she heard a cry, a muffled thud, and then a small moan. Wildly, she glanced over to the driver’s side of the SUV. Mama had disappeared.

Charlotte realized something was wrong at the same moment Jenny did, and they both scrambled around to the other side of the car. Mama was sprawled in the grassy ditch, groaning and touching her right foot.”

….thank you, Susan Schild

#BookReview & #HolidayReads: Christmas in Snow Valley by Tammy L Grace (A Novella included in Christmas at Mistletoe Lodge: New Holiday Romances to Benefit St. Judes Hospital)

Reviewer: Serena Soape

Release Date: On Sale Now

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Summary:

Tammy L. Grace – Christmas in Snow Valley — Fifteen years ago, he broke her heart. She never moved on. Will a little Christmas magic bring them back together?

Review:

Tammy L. Grace has joined ten other authors to bring together new Holiday Romance Set of novella’s to benefit St. Judes Hospital called “Christmas at Mistletoe Lodge”.

She has has written another heartfelt, touching story that brought happy smiles throughout the story, called “ “Christmas in Snow Valley”.

From the moment the main character Emily arrived, I knew there had to be a bunch ifsurprises in store. Sure enough there was; you will have to read to find out.

Snow Valley was such a warm, inviting town that seems like a great place to visit! Most especially at the holidays!

I would recommend this book, as well as; her other books. She is such a heartwarming writer.

I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

4 Stars.

#BookReview & #HolidayReads: Mistletoe at the Lakeside Resort by Susan Schild

Reviewer: Serena Soape

Expected Release Date: October 25, 2019

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Summary:

USA Today Bestselling author Susan Schild writes heartwarming and funny novels about women over 40 having adventures, falling in love and finding their happily ever afters.

The soon to be released MISTLETOE AT THE LAKESIDE RESORT is a Christmas novella and the third book in Susan’s popular Lakeside Resort series. You’ll catch up with Jenny and her gal pals, fiancé Luke, and Levi and the boys as they plan a very special Christmas for guests at her rustic cabins on beautiful Heron Lake.

A few hints: Jenny’s been gifted a new vintage camper and has the jitters about her future with Luke. Charlotte and Ashe are at odds about their upcoming wedding, and Mama and Landis make a startling announcement.

If you’re looking for a feel good read to get into the Christmas spirit, Mistletoe at the Lakeside Resort offers cozy romance, classic Christmas carols, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and a happily ever after.

Review:

“Mistletoe at Lakeside Resort” is a sweet and charming Christmas Novella that left me feeling happy, joyous and looking forward to the holidays.

The way Susan Schild describes Jenny and Luke’s adventures, I could picture myself being right there with them in one of the cabin’s on Heron Lake.

It’s definitely a wonderful place to spend the Holidays!

I have enjoyed all of Susan Schild’s books, and I cannot wait for the next.

I received this ARC copy of this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

4 Stars.