Merrily in Love by Melissa West

Blurb:
36313195The Littleton brothers are as much a part of Crestler’s Key as the sun and surf, living the single life without a care. But love has a way of changing even the most determined bachelor’s mind . . . 

Brady Littleton has left his reckless youth behind to become a man his brothers can count on. When the family dive shop needs to expand, he’s got the answer: buy the Christmas shop next door. Except the retiring owner’s goddaughter, Kylie Waters, has come back to town. She was Brady’s first kiss—his first everything—and she doesn’t want to sell. He’s got a solution to that too. Whoever makes the most sales by Christmas Day can take over the shop, fair and square.

Kylie resolved to put the youngest, wildest Littleton brother out of her head when he abruptly ended their relationship years ago. But the steady, gorgeous man he’s become is impossible to ignore. Especially once reminiscing leads to a kiss as hot and heady as mulled wine. Their deal means that one of them is going to lose out on a dream…unless Christmas Day brings the gift of a sweet, surprising second chance…

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

This one had its ups and downs for me, but I finished it with a smile on my face, and shed a few tears (well, more than a few, but I’m blaming PMS for the overreaction), so I’m calling it a win.

Both Kylie and Brady spent a lot of time aggravating me.  But I also felt for both of them.  Kylie with her fear of abandonment issues.  Brady with his over the top sense of guilt when it came to his family.  So while I wanted to smack them for some of the decisions they made, and how long it took for them to grow, I also felt for them and how their past and choices had scarred them.

And even as aggravating as they both were, they were also really endearing!  They could be really sweet, and some of the moments when they were together actually had me sighing in happiness and swooning.  You can’t go wrong with swooning.

Honestly, the only reason it’s not a full 4 stars is that I always find it aggravating (jeez, is that like my word of the day or something?) when authors elude to something in the past, but don’t just explain it to the readers.  Like in this book, we know something happened to break up our characters, break both of their hearts, have them each blame the other, and develop some animosity.  But the author just kept teasing us with it, occasionally dropping breadcrumbs.  Eventually it was basically explained, but it’s the kind of literary technique that just makes me want to abandon a book…because I spend so much time wondering what happened, that I just want to skip pages to find out.  Not always, I do get that there are certain instances where it makes sense, but I honestly don’t understand what the point was of keeping the reader in the dark in this case.  But I’m about to get ranty about something that’s really rather small, so I’m gonna stop.

I must say, I did NOT like either of Brady’s brothers…they were kind of selfish and not understanding.  I got their worry, but they were kind of dicks about some stuff.  However, Brady’s parents were da bomb.  And Franny and Ally rounded out our fabulous secondary characters nicely.

So yeah.  Some aggravation, but a WHOLE LOT of swooning too.  I mean come on, the whole ending was one big swoonfest.  So all in all a winner.

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Just One of the Boys by Leah and Kate Rooper

Blurb:
36224817Alice Bell has one goal: to play for the elite junior hockey team the Chicago Falcons.But when she’s passed over at tryouts for being a girl, she’ll do anything to make her dream a reality…even disguising herself as her twin brother. With her amazing skills on the ice, Alice is sure she’ll fit in easily. That is, until she starts falling for one of her teammates…

Hayden Tremblay, star of the Falcons, can’t keep himself out of the penalty box. Constantly living in the shadow of his older brother, Hayden’s losing his passion for hockey. But when he gets shown up on the ice by the Falcons’ new rookie, Hayden’s determined to teach the kid a thing or two. Little does he guess that “Al’s” surprises on the ice are just the beginning…

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush title proves that wonderful things can happen when you’re brave enough to go after your dream. Dream hockey player, that is! Warning–a few locker room scenes are included.

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My Review:
4.5 stars — Well, I decided to start this one at midnight because I wasn’t quite tired yet…next thing I know it’s 5:30 am and I’m finished.  If that doesn’t tell you something, I don’t know what will.  I was sucked right in, it was very compelling for me.  If you’re a fan of Twelfth Night type retellings (and I just now realized I didn’t know how to spell Twelfth), and particularly if you loved She’s The Man, you’re probably going to love this one.  I saw some reviewers complain that it was exactly the same, but I felt that while it may have started pretty similarly, there was enough development with the characters to stand out from it.

What I find the most interesting about this read is that I wasn’t impressed with either character initially.  Alice seemed like a selfish brat, and, honestly, I could say the same for Hayden…not to mention his almost bully-like behavior.  And while a small part of me wishes they’d seen a bit more consequences for those early behaviors, I really appreciated their growth otherwise and the development of their relationship.  It kind of surprised me.  That growth even took a bit longer than I normally would have liked, but at that point I was enthralled with the hockey, their backstories, and the friendship that was developing between Hayden and Al.  And I guess it was kind of refreshing to have characters that were truly flawed, but whose growth I totally bought into.

I felt Alice’s frustration at being past over because she was a girl.  I was bummed that she was so wrapped up in what she wanted, that she didn’t even acknowledge internally that she wasn’t *really* using the deception for her brother, but for herself…and I kind of wish she’d owned up to that a bit more bluntly in the end.  But she was such an intriguing character in her own right, a true tomboy…more comfortable pretending to be her brother and feeling like she could be herself then.  I loved the struggle she had with her own identity…it really added depth.  And my heart broke for the way she’d closed herself off to emotions because of her father leaving, and how she really didn’t know how to deal with them when they came.

I felt for Hayden too!  I can’t even imagine what he was going through after the loss of his parents, but you could really feel his rage and disillusionment.  I was worried he would be a bully, but I loved how Al just got through his defenses, and then he ended up finding that true friend who he could let in.

Strangely, the romance was only OK for me.  It’s not that I didn’t feel chemistry between them, but I was much more sucked in by their friendship, and we got to see a lot more of that than romance in the end.  That, along with needing a bit more from Xander to explain his extreme attitude (like, I sort of get his motivations, but I could have used a bit more of a resolution since it was such a big looming thing in the background), are the reasons I rounded down instead of up.  That and I will admit, there were a lot of little tiny believability flaws in this story.  But I loved everything else so much it just didn’t affect my enjoyment that much.

For me this book excels in showcasing their friendship.  I REALLY felt that chemistry.  I LOVED the way they could rely on each other and how Al was there for Hayden.

It also excels in the hockey aspect…it really showcased the sport (minus the part where they mentioned an end zone).  And as a fan of hockey, I really appreciated feeling like I was on the team.

Some other little delights: the little hints of Canada, and jokes about it; Madison was awesome; Hayden’s up and down relationship with his brother; the imperfection of Al’s family, but you could still feel the love.

So yeah.  It was a hit for me.  But I really should have known better than to start this one at midnight, especially given how much I was looking forward to it.

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The Jingle Bell Bride by Scarlet Wilson

Blurb:
36183707New York wedding planner Jessica Christie always goes above and beyond for her clients. So, stopping in Alaska to pick up the famed Jingle Bell flower for her famous client’s bouquet doesn’t seem too outrageous–until she ends up stranded there.

Matt Holden has spent the last five years since his fiancée died, living in a virtual bubble in Alaska. His research work as a botanist and assistant at the local reindeer farm keep him busy during the holidays.

But when Jessica Christie bursts into his life, all bets are off. Her stay is definitely temporary, but the feelings she ignites aren’t. Could Ms. Oh-So-Wrong actually be Mrs. Right?

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My Review:
3 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

Hmmm…well, this one started off pretty good.  I was intrigued, I thought the premise seemed interesting.  But at some point my interest waned.  And I never really got it back.  It wasn’t a bad book, but it was very very meh.  If I wasn’t reading towards a challenge and this wasn’t a NetGalley ARC, I probably would have just abandoned it in favour of something that would better keep my attention.

In the end I think I just wasn’t that enamoured with our characters.  Maybe I just didn’t quite understand what made them tick.  I just wasn’t able to fall in love with either of them.  Jessica was SOOOOO high strung, and I couldn’t understand the disconnect between her celebrity wedding planner life and her supposed dream of a bookstore.  Like they were pretty far apart, so she kind of felt like 2 different people.  I did like when she was sweet, and how understanding she could be with Matt.  And she felt very child-like at times.  I just don’t get how that child-likeness remained in the life she led.  *shrugs*

And Matt had his own good moments, but he was also kind of dismissive of certain things about Jessica, poo-pooing her job and certain aspects of her personality.  I get that that wasn’t necessarily the “real” her, but then again, it has to be somewhat her.  Just seemed kind of dick-ish.

And their chemistry was only OK for me.  It was slow slow slow, and then all of a sudden it kind of turned really fast.  And while they acknowledged that the love was fast, that just felt like lampshading…saying it was fast doesn’t discount that it was honestly unbelievably fast.

I liked the magic of Alaska though, and that atmosphere.  I enjoyed the reindeer, though I can always stand for more reindeer…as my husband said, could use more ungulates.

So yeah.  Not a terrible book by any means, just didn’t capture my attention.

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Deck the Halls by Donna Alward

Blurb:
35965582With shades of It’s a Wonderful Life, one man must face his past to find his future this Christmas.

In the last year, George’s life has drastically changed. The formerly homeless veteran now has a job he likes, a family in the residents of Darling, VT, and for the first time in years, a home. But while his present is good, he’s still haunted by the past, a past that appears shortly before Christmas when the older sister of his brother-in-arms hunts him down and finds him in Darling, working at the Ladybug Garden Center.

Amy’s looking for closure for her family after her brother’s death in the Middle East, but the serious man she finds working in Vermont doesn’t resemble the soldier she remembers from years before. This man is hardened and yet somehow fragile, too, and in her desire to find out what really happened to her brother, she learns more about George than she ever expected.

With a little Christmas magic and the whole town supporting them, can these two bruised hearts make a future together?

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My Review:
4 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

I have never read any books by Ms. Alward before, and thus none in this series.  But I had no problems following along with everything.  I will say that if you are a fan of the series, I think you’ll love this book too as many of the other couples appear in it (and it sounds like George made appearances in many of those books as well).

This was a solid Christmas romance, with a great redemption plot.  It touches on many serious subjects, from what it’s like for returning veterans, survivor’s guilt, homelessness, and the struggle to climb out of being homeless.  I especially enjoyed that last bit, as I think we forget that there’s so much to overcome mentally and emotionally.  We really got to see how being homeless affected George’s self-esteem and his sense of self-worth.

George was a bit of an oddball hero for me.  We meet him when he’s so very damaged, and he came across quite meek a lot of the time.  Sometimes I just had a hard time getting a read on his personality outside of his damage, if that makes sense.

Amy, on the other hand, was very straightforward!  I loved how strong she was in so many things, how she wouldn’t give up on George no matter how many roadblocks he tried to put between them.  And I liked that when they would have disagreements, she never held onto a grudge, and she was quick to try to see things from his perspective and adjust her expectations.  But at the same time, she wasn’t afraid to push him a bit.  I also appreciated that she had her own bit of damage, but that she was a bit further along the healing path…not healed, but with more mental tools I guess.

All in all this was a sweet love story, with a very satisfying ending.  I was a bit bummed that there wasn’t more to the “It’s a Wonderful Life” bit that is mentioned in the blurb, but there was enough else in the story to make up for it.

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Christmas with the Sheriff by Victoria James

Blurb:
32812717After fleeing her beloved small town five years ago, Julia Bailey is back to spend Christmas with her family. Returning is hard, but keeping the devastating secret about her late husband is even harder. Her place isn’t in Big Sky Country any longer…but the more time she spends with the irresistible Sheriff who saved her once before, and his adorable little daughter, the more Julia starts wishing she could let go of the past and start a new life.

Single dad and county Sheriff Chase Donovan had been secretly in love with his best friend’s wife for years. But after her traumatic loss he knew Julia needed to get away from Shadow Creek, even though helping her leave was the last thing he wanted to do. Now she’s home and he doesn’t intend to lose her a second time. Chase is going to prove to Julia just how good they can be together this Christmas…and forever.

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My Review:
4 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

Well that started off with some crying!  Or maybe, more like bawling.  😉  It was an emotional prologue, that’s for sure.  And there was definitely a sorrowful thread throughout the story, but there was also lots of great romance and laughs.

I was drawn to both of our MCs right from the beginning.  My heart broke for Chase knowing he had this unrequited love, and seeing him want desperately to make a try for a romance with Julia.  He was just so sweet and caring and GOOD.  Definitely book boyfriend material.  I just wanted to hug him.  And I kind of loved how he knew when to step things up and call Julia out on what he wanted for them near the end.  My only problem with Chase was with his past…I loved that he had this past, but I didn’t understand it.  If he left his parents, where did he go?  I got the impression this happened in high school, so how did he meet Michael, Jack and Julia?  How did they not know of this past?  It kind of felt like maybe it was added in afterwards, but the author didn’t think it all through and provide continuity.

Julia was pretty fabulous too, with a good mix of sass and sweetness.  Unfortunately her indecisiveness started to wear on me.  She was so back and forth, and I didn’t really get to see the growth I was hoping for with her.  It was like I thought she was deciding things were worth it, and then she would revert to fear.  And quite frankly, I don’t understand what was so different at the end…*shrugs*  So that kind of sucked.  Almost had me thinking 3.5 instead of 4, but I really did enjoy the sweet romance otherwise so whatever…I’ll do what I want.  🙂

I’m not always huge on kids in stories, and occasionally I couldn’t help but feel a bit disbelieving of the age of Maggie, but despite that she was pretty adorable and incorrigible all at the same time…even if she didn’t seem 7 most of the time.  😛

The other aspect that makes me convinced of a full 4 stars is the secondary characters.  I really loved the in-laws, from Edward and Cassy to Gwen.  And I enjoyed seeing glimpses of future stories in this series — maybe Jack and Lily?  Gwen?  I will probably be keeping my eyes peeled for them, I enjoyed this author’s writing style and am intrigued by the different personalities.

So all in all this was a great book to finish off my Holiday Read-a-Thon.  It had some good Christmas magic, some heart, some laughs, and delicious romance.

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The Holiday Gift by RaeAnne Thayne

30813474Blurb: With two kids and an active life, widow Faith Dustin only wants peace and quiet for Christmas. But her snowy Pine Gulch ranch is nothing but chaotic. All that keeps Faith going is her helpful neighbor, cowboy Chase Brannon. He’s always been “good ol’ Chase,” her faithful friend. Until he kisses her under the mistletoe…

Years ago Chase blew his chance with the woman he’s loved since childhood. Now he’s determined to step out of the friend zone…and into the role of husband. But the scared and stubborn Faith won’t let herself fall. With Christmas just days away, Chase will need all the magic of the season—and the help of her two matchmaking children—to unwrap a second chance at love.

 

 

Pre order Available November 22nd on Amazon

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3 stars

I don’t know whats wrong with me lately, but this book has left me wanting in the romance department.  I have never read a Harlequin book before.  And I must admit, I’m a bit disappointed.  I was expecting more romance, possibly some explicit scenes but this one was kinda blah if I’m being honest.

I found Faith to be a bit cowardly, and needy. This did not endear her to me.  I get that she was scared but she almost let fear keep her from something that could have been great.  I just found the trip took sooo long I couldn’t enjoy the destination when I got there. She tested the patience of a saint with her wishy washy ness.

Its a good thing Chase was a saint.  He took her indecision and her back pedaling in stride.  Waiting her out, I mean I get it, he loves her.  But what did she do that was so awesome to capture his love?  It felt a bit one sided to me since he did so much on her ranch but she didn’t seem to reciprocate the help on his.  I mean, yeah, she got him groceries once in a while, but in my eyes it wasn’t enough.

IDK, maybe my expectations were so high on this that it was doomed to fail. But this one just wasn’t the right fit for me.

I received this ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest/unbiased opinion.

 

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Maybe This Kiss by Jennifer Snow

Blurb:
31560190Love is always worth the risk . . .

Neil Healy was happy to be promoted to Air Force Lieutenant, but he’s less than thrilled that the new job has brought him back to his hometown. The memories alone could kill a man, to say nothing of actually seeing the woman he never got over. Neil knew avoiding Becky Westmore would be impossible, but he didn’t expect the chemistry between them to be as strong as ever.

All Becky wants this holiday season is to get through the month of December with her sanity intact. Not helping? Her ex-boyfriend’s return to Glenwood Falls. Even after a decade apart, Neil still makes her feel in ways no other man has. But Christmas is a time for miracles, and maybe Becky’s will be a second chance at first love.

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

Well hmmm…so this one didn’t hit it out of the park with me.  I’m still trying to figure out why.  I think I just wasn’t totally enamoured with the characters, you know?  Like on paper they were both good characters, but I didn’t feel that connection with them at the start.  And so it was slow to hook me in.  I think I wasn’t big on how frazzled Becky was, but how she wouldn’t ask for help…she made me feel tired.  I was missing some sass there too.  It’s not a bad thing, it’s just something that is a guaranteed love thing for me personally as a reader, and I wasn’t feeling it.  I thought her daughter was pretty hilarious, and her brothers intrigued me, but she was missing some sparkle.  And unfortunately my opinion of her went down before it went up.  I wasn’t really impressed with how she dealt with her relationship with Neil in the past, I couldn’t understand what drew them together if they were so very different.

It was kind of the same for Neil.  He didn’t get my book boyfriend juices going at the beginning.  He was kind of blah.  He didn’t seem to like Colorado or the snow at all, and as a Northern girl who has to deal with people complaining about the weather all the time, I often wonder why they don’t just move.  So I wasn’t sure why he came back, unless he didn’t have a choice in where he was based out of?

And even their initial chemistry…I mean, I felt some of it, but it was sooo…reluctant?  So much past clouding over, that I couldn’t hop on the train you know?  Which is not a bad thing, just not a thing that this particular reader enjoys as much.

BUT.  But.  The book picked up.  I started to see more dimension in both characters.  I got some sweet moments.  I got to see more expansion on what drew them together.  And the steamy scenes drew me in more.  There was still conflict, but I was ok with how that all played out in the end — not too much unnecessary drama or dragging things out.  It ended a bit abruptly (there’s a teaser for the next book at the end, so be warned it ends sooner than you think), and I would have ideally liked an epilogue or something, but I was still happy with how things played out.  I was worried it was going to go one way, but it didn’t.

So yeah.  It ended stronger than it started for me.  And I will say that reading the teaser of the next book, I think I might enjoy those characters more…I was already more intrigued.  Good thing I have that ARC burning a hole in my pocket as well!!  I’m going to be hard pressed not to move on to it right away…I have to decide now.

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The Christmas Project by Maxine Morrey

32306652Blurb: Professional organiser Kate Stone has never – NEVER – been tempted to hit a client over the head with a snow shovel, but Michael O’Farrell is the most obnoxious – and heart-stoppingly gorgeous – man she has ever met. If he weren’t her best friend’s brother, she would not have waited on his doorstep in the freezing cold for five minutes, let alone an hour.

Kate knows, however, that her job isn’t just about tidying up, sometimes she needs to be part therapist too, and Michael clearly needs her help to declutter his heart as well as his home.

But with the festive season just around the corner there isn’t much time to get Michael’s house ready for the O’Farrell family celebrations, but everyone knows that at Christmas anything can happen…

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3.5 stars

I found the cover to be super adorable.  I received this ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest/unbiased opinion.

I was a bit lost on this one.  The chemistry didn’t seem there and it reads as if its supposed to be funny.  I don’t know if its cause I’m american but the humor went over my head.  And I found that Christmas didn’t really play as big a role as I expected, like it wasn’t emphasized except as a deadline.

It took a LONG time to get to the point and I found myself losing interest towards the middle when the story stagnated for me.  Maybe I’m an impatient reader, but there wasn’t enough good bits to last me through the blah ones. I couldn’t picture them as a match, and I tried real hard but their snarky banter didn’t read as foreplay to me.  It felt more like they should have had a fling but I didn’t see their relationship lasting .   Am I making sense?

I did love the dialogue. They didn’t beat around the bush and just went for it. Brutal honesty mixed with a touch of chagrin made me want to finish the book.  IDK, maybe I was expecting more in the romance department.  Maybe I just didn’t get the romantic undertones right.

I did love the supporting characters to no end.  They brought some great comic relief just when my attention would start to wane.  All in all it as decent book.  I would definitely give this author another try as I loved to see how their writing progressed as they continue to do it.

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The Christmas Challenge by Sinclair Jayne


32913182Blurb:
 Prodigal daughter, infamous flirt and fiery-haired champion barrel racer Tucker McTavish blazes back home to Marietta with both a secret, and a personal challenge. She will keep a low profile at her twin sister’s Christmas wedding. Which means no whiskey. No kissing. No scandals. No fun. What she needs is a miracle, so it’s too bad when she visits the legendary Miracle Lake to plead for inner strength: a tall, dark, and handsome bad boy is waiting with a challenge of his own.

Extreme sports guide Laird Hunter doesn’t do boring. And he thought he didn’t have secrets. He thrives in carving his own trail through tight and dangerous spots, but when he finds out his entire life has been built on a lie, he heads to Marietta for answers. But when he meets the redhead with the killer smile, laughing eyes and body with more curves than a mountain road, he finds himself asking a whole new set of questions.

Will these two daredevils – with more than a few secrets between them – find the one person from whom they don’t need to hide ?

Pre order Available November 15th 2016

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5 stars

I received this ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest/unbiased opinion.

I floved this book.  This is a Christmas novel I can get behind!  In my experience Christmas books tend to be fluffy, fast reads but this one wasn’t like that at all.  These characters had depth and complex personalities.  Their problems were not just as simple as ‘boy meets girl, they fall in love’  No no no.

Tucker was a whirlwind of self-doubt and insecurity mixed with a blend of out-spokeness and simple pleasures, such as ice skating and hot chocolate.  But she wanted to change on the inside.  You could read how much she wanted to get that connection back with her twin sister.  How every time she was judged for her past, she shook it off and kept trying to prove herself.  It was humbling to read for me.  She forgave others so easily when they read her wrong.  Even when they didn’t ask for it.  I wish I could do that.

And Laird has his own inner demons to face.  He was definitely a lost soul, armed with only a starting point of Marietta.  He set out to find himself.   He was a little harder to read.  Strong, silent type, a perfect match for the fast talking Tucker.  Their chemistry was amazing!  You could see how they both struggled with the importance of facing their inner challenges and the attraction they had for each other.

All in all a beautiful read.  And since this is the third in the series I’m definitely going back to read the first two!  Happy reading.

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Once Upon a Royal Christmas by Robin Bielman

Blurb:
32325012Colliding with a prince while dog walking isn’t how Rowan Palotay pictured meeting royalty, but then lately her life hasn’t gone according to plan. With one teensy tiny mistake, her job as a news reporter took a turn for the worse and now she’s lucky to have a small pet column in the local newspaper. Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and magic, but she feels like she’s forever stuck on the naughty list.

Prince Theodore Chenery is in Marietta shortly after the death of his mother to meet his grandparents for the first time. When an accidental run-in—literally—with Rowan leads to an unexpected friendship, he finds himself enchanted with the outspoken, feisty country girl. She’s unlike anyone he’s ever met and her special brand of kindness and honesty make it harder and harder to remember his obligations back home.

Rowan can’t afford one more mistake, and Theo’s future is already mapped out, but when they find it impossible to fight the passion and deep-rooted emotions between them, they discover what matters most. Until their relationship makes worldwide news… and Theo must decide whether to follow his heart, or his royal duty.

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My Review:
4.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

OMG, this book is already in the running for favourite Christmas read this year, and I’ve only just begun!  But it was just…I don’t know…just Lenore perfect, you know?  Like there are certain things that just make for a perfect Lenore read, and this one hit soooooo many of them.  I have a weakness for royalty books.  I don’t read them much, but I do enjoy them (and that probably comes from all my Harlequin reading in the past).  But this one turned out to be less about the Royalty aspect, and more about…I don’t know, just a freaking fabulous love story with lots of romantic tension, and laughs, and goofy grins, and not a lot of moments where I wanted to bang my head.  It had the kind of climax and tension where I got what was happening, even if I already knew that they were thinking about things all wrong.  But don’t worry, they got there.

I wondered how the whole reporter thing was going to play out, but it didn’t really play that big a factor.  And her mistake didn’t either.  It was kind of glossed over.  But that was ok, b/c by that point I was so sucked in to the sweetness of their romance, that I didn’t even care.  Both of these characters on their own were my kind of characters.  Rowan was really rather hilarious.  I loved that she could be kind of bold, goofy, a wee bit insecure, but stubborn and still really kind and sweet too.  Sassy and sweet, I love that combination.

And Theo.  Oh Theo.  I want Theo for myself.  He was…AHHH!!!  So sweet, and sexy, and a bit sassy in his own right.  I just adored him to pieces, and I’m not even going to be able to do justice to why….

But the winner for me was them together, and how their romance progressed.  For what was a pretty short novel (or a long novella, depending on how you look at it), I really felt like we got a fabulous romance out of it.  I really believed the progression from lust and infatuation to friendship to more.  I loved watching them get to know each other, asking questions and really developing that base of connection.  And OMG the tension.  I can’t even tell you.  So many butterflies in this book for me.  And the steamy scenes fulfilled on the tension promise.

And all that set in a great holiday atmosphere, with lots of great family and secondary characters.  It made me want to read more Marietta stories, and definitely more stories from this author.  And it obviously got me feeling the magic of the season.  So yeah, success.  Gonna be hard to top.

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