Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Christmas Fiction 2018 // Vol. I

H-h-happy fall! Because the world is crazy and delightful... Christmas books are publishing right about now! You all know that I looove a good fluffy holiday read... Here are a few that I've read so far this year! Check out my reviews so you don't pick up a dud! I will probably have a Volume II coming next month! :) (I know this is not everyone's genre, so I wanted to share it in a separate post from my normal monthly reads!)

Santa's On His Way by Various Authors* - publishes September 25th, 2018

Overall 3 Stars - I might recommend if you enjoy Christmas fiction and short stories.

What the Cowboy Wants for Christmas by Maisey Yates - 3 Stars - Foster siblings Meg, Noah, and Charlie have a complicated relationship. Meg has always loved Charlie, Charlie has always loved himself, and Noah has always loved Meg, but she doesn't know it. When Meg flies to meet Charlie for Christmas and finds him with another woman she runs back to her best friend, Noah. What once was platonic has shifted, and when she gets snowed in at his house, things are bound to change.

Overall I liked this story, it was a little bit angsty as only stories with characters who have tortured pasts can be. This was quite R-rated, which I wasn't expected and ended up being (by far) the most explicit story in the bunch. I overall enjoyed it, but it was very much a competition between the two men, everything was a comparison... which I didn't love. This story was also not overly Christmassy... which isn't my preference for a Christmas book. Also, he owns a ranch... but it's almost never mentioned. I feel like putting Cowboy in the title is just using a buzzword. I liked the epilogue in this one!

Snowed In by Staci Finz- 2.5 Stars - Rachel and Boden own restaurants in a ski resort town, they are both bidding on a large river-front property to expand their businesses, but only one can win. Rachel has been hurt by men before and steers clear of them, Boden has had a thing for her since the beginning... but they but heads at every turn. When they cater a wedding together and get snowed in at the location, all bets are off.

I didn't really love this story, because I didn't really like the characters very much. I felt like the characters didn't have a ton of witty banter that I've come to love from hate-to-love romances. The premise was cute, and it was alright to read, but definitely not my favorite in the bunch. I liked the ending and the epilogue as well.

A Cowboy Wedding for Christmas by Nicole Helm - 4 Stars - Lindsay and Cal were high school sweethearts. When Lindsay left for college and to find her own way in the world, Cal took it as another betrayal, just like each of his moms leaving him. When Lindsay's brother gets married at Cal's Christmas tree farm, he finds out she's back for good. But can he trust her not to leave again?

This was my favorite of the bunch. I liked that it was very Christamassy, I felt like there was a bit more depth to the characters, and I loved the family dynamics in this story. I liked this epilogue as well!

A Baby for Christmas by Lisa Jackson - 3 Stars - Annie always wanted a baby, but her infertility instead became the death of her marriage. Her sister is her opposite in every way, flitting from town to town, man to man, and job to job. When a baby is left on Annie's porch, and one of her sister's exes comes asking about his baby she knows she has to do whatever it takes to keep the baby.

This felt a little bit dated. It was set in the 1990s which could have added to that just a bit. I didn't particularly relate to the characters, and I felt like the instalove was a little bit extreme. In the end I enjoyed parts of it, and didn't enjoy other parts. It was alright. There was one unfortunate paragraph where they go immediately from talking about making love to cleaning out gutters that just sounded sooo wrong. LOL

Rescued by Christmas by Erika Marks* - publishes September 25th, 2018

4 Stars - I definitely recommend if you enjoy contemporary Christmas fiction.

When pop star Jackson Wilder crashes his Range Rover in the mountains on his way to a week of solitude, he limps through the storm to a lit up barn. In the morning he's discovered by a little boy, Ollie, who thinks that Jackson is Santa Claus... because he happens to be dressed up as Santa Claus. Miranda, the Ollie's mom, is terrified that there is a stranger in her barn, but quickly realizes that Jackson doesn't pose a threat to their family. As a vet, she takes care of his wounds and lets him camp out in their barn apartment. When the little boy asks Santa to heal their dying horse, Jackson has to stick around and keep up the charade.... and quickly realizes that he doesn't mind doing so.

This is quintessential Christmas fiction for me. It was cute, fluffy, and had a lot of Christmassy activities in it. I loved Jackson and Miranda, they were cautious but hopeful in a way that only fluffy books can pull off, and Ollie was the cutest. I loved all of Ollie's very kiddo questions, and the fun that he brought to the book. I loved that Miranda was a vet, and the horse rescue element of the book as well.  All of the cozy family meals, decorating the tree, sledding, etc. definitely put me in the holiday spirit. This had romance in it, but it wasn't overly romantic which worked out well with the family aspect. Definitely PG. :) Basically this is exactly the kind of book I am looking for when I pick up a Christmas novel. Definitely recommend if you enjoy Christmas fiction!

Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan* - publishes September 25th, 2018

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy contemporary Christmas fiction and stories of family dynamics and drama.

When Posy, Hannah, and Beth's parents die in a tragic avalanche they are taken in by their mom's best friend Suzanne. Every Christmas they are haunted by the tragedy, so Suzanne tries to make it the best Christmas ever each year. This year Posy is wishing she didn't feel obligated to stay in Scotland with Suzanne and her husband, Beth is wanting to go back to work while her husband wants her to have another baby, and Hannah is pregnant and not happy about it. Will they be able to have a happy Christmas amidst the chaos?

Isn't this cover pretty?! Le swoon!

Due to the subject matter, at times this book was heavier than I wanted a Christmas book to be. There was a lot of PTSD for the characters, and a lot of insecurities due to their upbringing, etc. I had to take some breaks in between, but eventually it got more toward the current family drama and the holidays which was better. I could identify with each of the people in the book which was nice, and at times a little too close to home. Once they all got together for Christmas the warm fuzzy, and less isolating drama occurred and that was better for me. I loved the family dynamics and their struggles. About 3/4 the way through a little twist happened that stirred things up and I loved it. I also loved how the sisters opened up to one another and talked about their deep rooted fears and issues. It made me really emotional from time to time. While this had romance in it, it was much more of a family drama. I was surprised by how much I ended up liking it. It won't be my last Sarah Morgan book!

Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber* - publishes October 2nd, 2018

3 Stars - I might recommend if you enjoy very fluffy contemporary Christmas fiction. This was not my favorite by Macomber by a long stretch.

Josie spends a summer working at a restaurant lodge in a remote Alaskan town. While she's there she falls in love with Palmer, a local blacksmith. He proposes, but her life and future are in Seattle as a chef. When she leaves she'll have to re-evaluate her life and her priorities. Can they make it work despite their very different worlds?

As with many Debbie Macomber books this one is fuzzy and a bit unrealistic, which is usually just what I'm looking for in a Christmas novel. While I enjoyed the story and the residents of the town of Ponder, AK this one felt a bit too stilted to me. I also didn't particularly care for the fact that the couple was already together when the story began, and it was more about how they would make it work. It made it seem like there wasn't any fun banter or chemistry, even though the characters were in love. I also felt like some of the characters were too over the top. I liked Jack a lot at first, but then he became so hysterical it wasn't really believable or that funny anymore. The epilogue was also pretty unbelievable.... even in a fantasy world the things that they all accomplished just went on and on. I won't spoil it, but it felt like too much. Not my favorite of Debbie Macomber's Christmas books, but I'll highly recommend Merry & Bright or Trading Christmas if you are looking for something a little more banter-y and slightly more realistic.

There you have it! Four 2018 Christmas releases that are on shelves now, or very soon! Volume II headed your way next month!

Do you like Christmas fiction?!

Let's be friends on Goodreads!



* Asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. These reviews are my own opinion, and based on the edition of the book I was given at the time. Thank you Netgalley!

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