#Blogmas Low Country Christmas by Lee Tobin McClain

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Low Country Christmas by Lee Tobin McClain. Holly Gibson has found herself with custody of her young niece Penny. She travels to the town Safe Have, Georgia where according to documents left behind by her sister, is where she would have raised her and is the town baby Penny’s father, Cash O’Dwyer is from.

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Hello, not so surprise baby! This book is essentially the romance between two people who never would have thought of themselves as parents. Holly, because of how she grew up with a negligent mother and the armor she wears around herself for protection. Cash, because he’s just very business minded and while he loves his nieces and nephews, he just never had any interest in being a father himself. The two take the appropriate steps to prove Cash’s fatherhood of baby Penny and this romance is everything you’d expect in a romance after that proof of paternity with a twist of suspense included.

Both Holly and Cash have Mommy issues they are still grappling with. Holly’s Mom was one of those ‘she’s there but not really there’ types, so Holly trusts no one and prefers to be a loner. Cash’s Mom was beat to near death and lost a lot of her memory.

I was a bit frustrated with Holly because even after paternity is proven, and she is in this small town surrounded by Cash’s family which is baby Penny’s family, she is so hesitant to allow them to help her. She tries to do everything by herself. Understandable given what she’s been through, but I thought it a bit selfish. This is baby Penny’s family!

What you get when you pick up Low Country Christmas is a romance between two people whose lives have been completely shaken up by a baby. There are secrets discovered throughout the book that add a spin which lead to the big twist in the book. Does this book in with the addition that has been irking me whilst I make my way through holiday romances? Absolutely, it does. In this one it was totally hard to believe because seriously, the whole read there wasn’t really anything remotely romantic that happened. I felt Cash wanted to budge with Holly but she kept shooting him down and friend zoning him/I’m just here for support zoning him, so he’d retreat back into his shell. Then the twist happens, then it’s the end of the book. So the ending felt off for me. There could have been chemistry but that’s just not how the story was written. Spark! I would have loved more spark between Cash and Holly, and seriously, after having finished this book, it felt like the lack of spark was because of Holly. Well written, guarded character, but it just threw me off when the ending came and all of a sudden there all these feels! It was a bit unbelievable and felt rushed.

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#Blogmas The Giving Heart by Toni Blake

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The Giving Heart by Toni Blake. Lila Sloan travels to remote Summer Island to house sit for her sister Meg. All is well, until she hears this bull dozer on the property with a driver intended on knocking down the trees on it. Enter in, Beck Grainger and the immediate thoughts Sloan has, that Meg will never forgive her if she allows the trees to be knocked down. Were the plans to cut down the trees a secret? Nope, been in the works for months. Beck however, doesn’t like being at odds with his friend Meg’s sister-especially since he finds her so appealing.

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The Giving Heart was on its way to being a five star read for me. Sure, the premise of the book is a little ridiculous as you’re reading it. I had to remind myself a few times that the beef that Lila really tries to perpetuate with Beck is all over some trees. I for one, completely get sad when I see a bunch of trees knocked down-but I don’t think I could stand in front of a crew of construction workers and they’d just halt their work! That part aside though, there was something about this book that had me sucked in. It had been a while since I’d read something that had me hanging on every word, and I found that experience with this book. This is the second book in the Summer Island trilogy so I am assuming the side characters in this book were in the previous book, but I think a lot of my interest in the story lay with the side characters, Dahlia and Suzanne. Dahlia is an older character who epitomized confidence and comfort in her own skin. Suzanne went through a tough divorce and has guarded herself against relationships since. Apparently, Beck has had a thing for her and she’s constantly turned him down..until now. Perfect timing right, with Meg in the picture?

This book becomes this weird love triangle involving two people who are also attempting to be friends. At the same time though, it is also obvious that Suzanne has had plenty of space and opportunity to have made Beck hers. Lila is only in town for a while though, so we see Beck have to make that decision-he could totally play it safe and choose Suzanne who is there, will be there, and is finally willing to give him a chance, or he can follow his heart and go after Lila.

The book strangely felt like a mixture of enemies to lovers and friends to lovers; the enemies part felt one sided. Lila really tries to hate Beck due to the tree cutting situation and I think as a way of denying her attraction to him. He is never a jerk to her though so it’s hard to maintain that front.

This book gave me the wintry feels I was looking for, which I appreciated. I feel like a lot of the 2019 *Christmas Romances* have suffered a bit of false advertisement, but this one definitely delivered. What kept this from being a five star read was the random addition at the end of the book I wasn’t expecting and just didn’t work for me. It is a personal preference. It may work for some readers, but for me, when the characters have only known each other for 300ish pages, it just doesn’t jazz well with me. You guessed it, the proposal. 

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#Blogmas Cowboy Christmas Homecoming

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Cowboy Christmas Homecoming follows Zach Garrett; a war veteran who recently separated from active duty and is back home in Texas, taking it day by day, haunted by his PTSD. Stephanie Gayle is a local fire fighter who has her life completely under control, until the day she locks eyes with Zach. Stephanie has already been in a bit of danger, but whoa..the danger she finds herself in, now that she can’t get Zach from her mind.

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Cowboy Christmas Homecoming is the fourth book in the Dark Horse series, which I tend to take a leap of faith when jumping into a series out of order; that leap being me, hoping  each book can be read as a standalone. I will say, I do think I should have read the previous three books prior to this one-so if interested in this story for yourself, keep that in mind.

Things do feel a bit rushed between Zach and Stephanie. They meetthere is this instant attraction-and then things are getting steamy (a lot steamier than I’d expected, honestly) followed by them basically moving in together. There is a suspense twist in this story, and the way the author weaves the story together, it is the obvious decision that needed to be made, but it was still a little weirdly fast.

This book also has an addition to the story at the end, that through my holiday romance reading, I noticed is this common *thing* authors like to do, and I honestly can’t wrap my head around why..I get it, it’s a romance and we want our happy ever after, but I just don’t think it always has to end in a certain way. Again, in this story it is kind of the obvious decision with one of the specific story arcs within the pages, but it is also another element that just felt and looks really rushed..*spoils* It’s a proposal. There is a wedding. I am not one to hate on someone’s I-do’s, but I want it to feel right and I think with this story, the author attempts to make it feel right because of other elements to the story, which while you’re reading-this is the thing that needs to happen but relationship between Zach and Stephanie wise-I didn’t feel to my core that these two people were ready for that step. Smitten with each other? Check! Head over heels? Check. I wasn’t sold though, on these two being at that level however.

With all of that aside though, this book does do something really wonderful. I tend to avoid military romances. It is a goal of mine to do better, especially now that I am no longer in the military. What June Faver does in this book with Zach and his PTSD is wonderful. More than that however, she really captures what it’s like to be a veteran or a military member who is home. I don’t think people understand the feeling of out place, we feel when we return home. Family is family, and they are happy to have you home, but it is this sad, weird realization for us, that life has continued on while we were gone and no matter the amount of phone calls, you have missed out on so much. While you’re still part of something, at the same time, you feel so out of touch. The author did an amazing job of depicting this with Zach.

What you’ll get with Cowboy Christmas Homecoming is a bit of a fish out of water, war hero who is getting acclimated to civilian life and trying to figure out where in the picture he fits in. A heroine who rescued two kids from a terrible situation and is being hunted by those who are ticked off about it all and the love story between the two. Don’t be fooled by the cute cowboy on the cover with the snow scene in the back; this book is steamier than you’d expect and while I’m not the biggest suspense fan, the suspense element had me on the edge of my seat.

I rated it 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

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#Blogmas This Christmas by Sarah Spade

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This Christmas by Sarah Spade. Let’s set the scene: a guy and a girl meet in a bar, Hi, I’m Nick, Hi, I’m Mary..they’re both lying about who they are, and although they spend a hot, sizzling night together, one of them wakes up alone. Fast forward about a year, Zach has flown out to Salem, Massachusetts to visit his sister Dani, and in walks her friend, Allison. This, my friends, is how Nick and Mary learn they  lied to each other and it’s their first time seeing each other since one of them walked out on the other as they slept.

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This Christmas was a lot of fun. It is book 2 in Sarah Spade’s Holiday Hunk series and I feel like the entire series is going to be a lot of fun. So far, both Halloween Boo and This Christmas have been novellas, so I’m assuming that is what we can expect from the next books in the series.

I feel like with This Christmas, Spade tried to do a bit too much. Don’t get me wrong, it was still fun and very sexy, but she attempted to weave a few things into a short amount of time. It can be done. There are authors who accomplish, a lot in novellas, but in This Christmas, it didn’t work for me. We have the story line of Zach and Allison having met and lied to each other. Then we have second chance with them meeting on the other side of the country. Allison’s parents are also in town and they are those annoying parents who bug her about not being married, so enter in fake boyfriend trope. We have my best friend’s brother, because Allison and Dani are besties, oh and let me not forget the fact that Max and his buddy own the company Dani and Allison work at..so Max is essentially her boss. It is a lot and not very many pages. I feel like with what Sarah Spade wanted to do with this book, it could have totally been a full length novel. This is a personal preference. I felt like with Halloween Boo, we got so much development and back story in such a short amount of pages and with This Christmas it felt like a bunch of things happening but not many things being 100% fleshed out.

Still though, if in need of a quick read to help you reach that Goodreads goal, I think it’s worth a read. Like I stated before, I feel like my issues are more of a personal preference, these things may 100% work for you.

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#Blogmas Christmas In Vermont by Anita Hughes

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Christmas In Vermont by Anita Hughes. I spotted this out of the corner of my eye on a evening trip to Barnes and Noble. Mom trip, just wanted to get out of the house. The cover is stunning and although I knew I didn’t need anymore holiday romances, I couldn’t leave the store without it.

Emma is our heroine in Christmas in Vermont. It is just days before Christmas, and she surprisingly finds a jewelry store open in Manhattan. She goes in, wanting to get some cash for a bracelet her now ex boyfriend gave her. Once in the store though, she sees a watch that she gave to her boyfriend from college, Fletcher. She trades the bracelet for the watch and goes straight to her best friend Brownyn.  Brownyn believes in synchronicity, does some digging and learns that Fletcher is visiting a bed and breakfast in Vermont. She handles all the logistics for Emma and off she goes for Vermont!

signature5da8e3b9ed56dOkay, I didn’t hate this book, but I had more issues with it than I expected. Is it cozy? Yes. It is a good read to cozy up with, warm drink in hand and your favorite winter blanket? Yes. One of the biggest issues I had with this book, is one that I have had with a few other books I’ve read during this holiday romance binge I’m on. The issue is this: I don’t mind a romance where the hero is engaged to another person when the story initially kicks off, but I feel like this can be a tough story line to deliver well on. This is the second book I read, where our hero, Fletcher, is engaged and he’s engaged more than halfway through the book. Obviously, the author has to create some issue that arises that ends the engagement and now creates the part of the story where he and our heroine, Emma, can now pursue their relationship. In their case though, this is a second chance romance because the two dated in college, and I feel the author tried to make it work by giving us flashbacks between then and now. In my opinion though, it just didn’t work.

Was Fletcher’s fiancé just the worst person ever? Not really. She is a young actress trying to make a come up and Fletcher is a Broadway producer. It is obvious she has motives behind being with him, but the reasons why the two parted ways felt she obvious, like obviously this is where the story would go. It was so obvious, it didn’t feel believable.

So, now Fletcher is without a fiancé and realizes what he wants is Emma. By this time, the story feels rushed because there are like 50ish pages left in it. Maybe the author felt like, by giving us the time hopping, it would be enough, but for me it wasn’t.

Another issue I had with the book was in regards to Fletcher’s daughter. When Emma arrives in Vermont, she learns that Fletcher is not only engaged but he has a 9 year old daughter. Emma and his daughter grow very close, because Fletcher and his fiancé are constantly leaving her at the bed and breakfast. As a parent, I was just a tad uncomfortable with this. It felt irresponsible and regardless of your relationship status, the welfare of your 9 year old daughter should be number 1, and I’d think any woman who isn’t on board with that, shouldn’t be your fiancé. Personal opinion, but it just rubbed me the wrong way.

If you can get past all of that however, it is a nice look at the belief that things happen for a reason. A series of events can be happening because they are leading up to something big. It was really interesting.

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#Blogmas Christmas In Winter Valley by Jodi Thomas

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Christmas In Winter Valley by Jodi Thomas was such a joy to read. At the core of this book is Cooper and his brother Elliott. Cooper is headed off to a rustic cabin in the Winter Valley woods to care for a herd of wild mustangs while Elliott stays back at their ranch, Maverick Ranch, trying to keep things running smoothly. With family visiting at the ranch, things are a bit crazy for him.

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While on his way to the cabin, Cooper discovers a surprise who truly made the story for me! It was a little heartbreaking, but such a delight to see incorporated into the story.

What I admire about Jodi Thomas after having read Christmas In Winter Valley, and her holiday romance released in 2018, is her ability to weave multiple story lines together without things being confusing and each story leaving my fulfilled in the end. There was a lot going on in this book, but each story felt significantly special and wrapped up nicely.

In this book, all of the main characters have a romance and a happy ever after. Elliott has a second chance romance when a blast from his past shows up unannounced to make sure she no longer has feelings for him before she gets married. Cooper has a blooming romance with the town veterinarian who helps save his life when he suffers an injury, and the ranch’s cook has a romance with a ranch hand whose been known to ‘float’ from place to place.

I think when writing different storylines, there tends to be times when certain plot lines overshadow others. Jodi Thomas definitely does not fall into that category. I don’t know how she is able to write an entire cast of characters whom you grow to care for and show just the right amount of attention to them all, but she does. It worked really well.

xx.

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#Blogmas A Coldwater Christmas by Delores Fossen

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A Coldwater Christmas by Delores Fossen is book four in Fossen’s Coldwater Texas series. I read last year’s holiday romance in this series and had every intention on backtracking through the series in 2019, but failed to do so. *cringe* In my attempt at holding myself accountable however, I will make it a priority in 2020.

What this books is about: Recently separated from her husband Janna, returns to her hometown of Coldwater, Texas to speak to her previous ex-husband and first love Kace about the fact that his father and her mother are engaged. This is sour subject being that Kace and his brother’s cannot stand their father due to him walking out on the family and the boys ending up in some really crappy foster care situations. Twist to the story? Janna has recently left her jerk of a husband Dominick and he is out to drain her bank accounts.

A Coldwater Christmas is hilarious! I adore Delores Fossen’s sense of humor, it truly shines through in this story with roaming Texas longhorns throughout the town streets, flying pink penis’s with smiley faces on them and vibrators sent in the mail. As I read the book it felt like a solid five star read. I was convinced I was going to love it..

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My issues with the book lie with a few things at the end of the book and the second chance romance between Janna and Kace.  When reading a second chance romance, I tend to pick sides. You read from a specific character’s perspective (in this case, Kase’s) and it’s usually the character who has blasted in from the past who I feel like has to earn my trust and help me feel that the connection is genuine (in this case Janna!). I didn’t feel a connection between Janna and Kace, especially with the way the ending happened. I felt like if the road we took was the road we were going to take, I should’ve felt more than just these two old lovers have linked back up and are again having amazing sex. The way the book ended felt like a let down because I was loving the book so much in the beginning and middle half.

I have also been pondering on, if a romance is a Christmas romance, how much of the Christmas aspect do I need? The mention of Christmas in this one is very brief, so if that is something you need more of in your books..just throwing it out there, you don’t get much!

xx.

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Weekly Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up

Happy Sunday Friends. I hope your week has been amazing. This past week was my last week in my current two courses. Last week I had a research paper due for each class and this week was *sigh* final exam week. I won’t get into specifics of how bad it sucked, but I will leave you with this: I’m glad it’s over. 

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I am currently in the middle of 2 audiobooks and loving them both despite the fact that I have been too busy to listen to them these past few days. I did manage to read one book this week, and that was Low Country Christmas by Lee Tobin McClain. I rated this holiday romance 4/5 stars. It was may first romance by the author, and I really enjoyed it. I began reading this while participating in TisTheSeasonAthon and finished it up this week.

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The only thing I listened to this week was one episode of the Fated Mates podcast, where hosts Jen and Sarah chatted about their favorite romances of 2019. You can find that episode here.

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Last night, I introduced my daughter to the beloved holiday family film, The Santa Clause. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I watched that movie but I had obviously blanked at some point on how hilarious it is. It was so good, I am so glad after all this time, I finally rewatched it! And my daughter Loved it!

Over on Youtube, Vlogmas is in full effect! I am patting myself (tiredly) on the back because your girl has posted a video everyday in the month of December. I don’t want December to go, but..Vlogmas is exhausting! It’s fun, but exhausting. It definitely challenges you creatively. I may do a post about it at some point, but yes, fun and exhausting!

One of my favorites to keep up with during Vlogmas is my friend Michael, from the channel Michael Reads. I am always so interested in seeing what he’s reading, especially his short story collections, he has the cutest niece  and I love his coffee shop visits!

I just wanted to pop in and say Hey this morning. I hope your December has been amazing so far.

*for more content, make sure if you are a YouTube fan, you hit the subscribe button on my channel. I’ll leave one of my latest videos here!

#Blogmas 12 Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber

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Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber was a reread for me. I read it for the first time November of 2018 and loved it. It is with great joy, to say that I enjoyed it just as much this go around as I did the first time.

This is the enemies to lovers, holiday romance between Julia and her jerk of a neighbor, Cain Maddox.  Julie works at Macy’s and is up for a promotion where she could be working in the store’s social media department. It is between Julie and another employee for the position and the deciding factor boils down to, who can create a blog and generate the biggest following in the allotted time. Julie has no idea what she would create a blog about, until her best friend recommends starting a blog about killing her jerk neighbor Cain with kindness.

Cain’s last relationship dealt with him falling for an employee who used him to gain a promotion then ditching him once he got it, so this obviously causes some issues when he learns that Julie has basically done the same thing (minus the ditching part!)

What I find lovely about rereading is the comfort in returning to a story you’ve already grown to love and knowing that it is still going to come through for you. That’s what this story represents for me. I just know I will return to it every holiday season. At the core of this story is kindness. Julie literally starts a project to be kind to Cain, regardless of how much of a jerk he is to her. I like that. I like how Debbie Macomber makes that the center of the story and sticks with it.

xx.

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#Blogmas Past Vlogmas Recommendations

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I absolutely love Vlogmas where Youtube creators will vlog everyday in December leading up to Christmas. I feel like it’s when creators creativity really shines through with having to come up with daily content, edit and upload. I was thinking of some of my favorite Vlogmas videos from past years. I had to do a bit of digging but I managed to track down a few to share.

Cheyenne Barton is one of my all time favorite Youtubers. I could literally post all of her videos, but I won’t do that. Please, go check her out though. She lives in Seattle with her boyfriend Connor and beautiful cat Sophie. Her vlogs are so cozy and as soon as I get notified she’s posted one, all nonsense ceases so I can tune in!

 

Maria from the channel May Seventeenth is another Favorite of mine. She is originally from Spain but lives in Paris now. I love seeing Paris through her eyes.

 

I have been following Alexis Belon since Myspace days and while she hasn’t really posted in 2019, I don’t mind going back and rewatching her videos. She is a New York City vlogger and like Maria, I love getting to see her city through her eyes. We aren’t seeing the touristy parts of the city, you’re seeing the everyday hustle and bustle from someone from there and still living there. My Fingers are crossed she comes back to making videos again soon.

 

Lastly, I think anyone who reads books and subscribes to someone on Youtube who reads book knows about Reagan from Peruse Project. While we don’t read the same books, a few years ago she created a separate channel for Vlogmas. It might’ve been intended for vlogs period but it mostly consists of vlogs and sadly, she hasn’t uploaded to it in 2 years. I really, really enjoyed her Vlogmas videos and lucky for us, they are still up.

 

I wanted to share these favorites in the case you are doing Vlogmas and maybe need some inspiration or just need channels to go binge! I really love/have loved these channels and hope you find something you like.

xx.

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