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December 28 2015 @ 12:31 pm
December Reads: Christmas Books!  
Title: Wish Upon A Star
Author: Trisha Ashley
Pages: 513
Rating: no titleno titleno titleno titleno title
Links:
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Description:
The perfect gift isn’t always under the tree…

Single mum Cally’s life is all about her little girl Stella. She’s resigned to the fact that the only romance she’s going to get is from the rom-coms she watches, and with her busy job and her daughter, she doesn’t have time to even think about love.

But life gets very tough when Stella gets sick. Balancing her job as a recipe writer and looking after Stella is all consuming, so when Cally meets handsome baker Jago the last thing she wants to do is fall in love, especially when she’s been badly burned by a Prince Charming from her past. Can laid-back, charming Jago unlock Cally’s frozen heart and help her find true love and magic under the mistletoe?

Thoughts:
I can't believe I nearly didn't read this one because of the reviews. I read a few of the reviews on this story and some of them said how boring this book was and I'm so glad I didn't listen. It was far from boring unless you have no interest in the lives of the characters you read about.

What grabbed me the most about this books is the feeling that I'd just tuned in to see what was happening in Cally's life. Cally's fiancé walked out on her only for Cally to discover she was pregnant. Her fiancé wanted nothing to do with the baby so Cally became a single mom. Cally's little girl's name is Stella and she has a heart condition. When Stella was born she had heart surgery but will definitely have to have it again.

Cally is told by UK doctors that three year old Stella has a expiration date. They've exhausted all their ability and eventually Stella will get to a point where her organs can't keep up with her growth. Stella will eventually fade away. What a heart wrenching thing to be told about your child. But Cally won't take that as the final word on the subject and soon learns of an experimental operation in the US. But it is expensive.

Cally sells her London home and moves back to Sticklepond to live with her mother until the money can be raised and Stella will hopefully be another success story for this experimental treatment.

In the meantime, Cally will stress eat and bake cakes while making Stella's life as full as possible.

Ashley did a masterful job telling this tale which kept me glued to the book. I couldn't get enough of it and ended up reading until late in the night to finish this book.

What I loved most is while this book is about Cally and Stella we get a little love story in the form of Jago and Cally. Jago is a kindred spirit (also dumped) who loves cakes too. Cally and Jago quickly become friends and spend as much time together as possible, all with Stella too. Stella loves her Daddy Jago too.

Love and friendship bloom between Jago and Cally and they both have a huge stake in Stella's future.

Another aspect of this story I loved was Sticklepond. I've gotten to know it in some of Ashley's other novels but this time the entire town got together to help raise money for Stella's operation and it made the story even more powerful.

Wonderful read.


Title: Twelve Days of Christmas
Author: Trisha Ashley
Pages: 419
Rating: no titleno titleno titleno titleno title
Links:
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Description:
Christmas has always been a sad time for young widow Holly Brown, so when she's asked to look after a remote house on the Lancashire moors, the opportunity to hide herself away is irresistible -- the perfect excuse to forget about the festivities.

Sculptor, Jude Martland, is determined that this year there will be no Christmas after his brother runs off with his fiancée and he is keen to avoid the family home. However, he will have to return by the twelfth night of the festivities, when the hamlet of Little Mumming hold their historic festivities and all of his family are required to attend.

Meanwhile, Holly is finding that if she wants to avoid Christmas, she has come to the wrong place. When Jude unexpectedly returns on Christmas Eve he is far from delighted to discover that Holly seems to be holding the very family party he had hoped to avoid.

Suddenly, the blizzards come out of nowhere and the whole village is snowed in. With no escape, Holly and Jude get much more than they bargained for -- it looks like the twelve days of Christmas are going to be very interesting indeed!

Thoughts:
I really wish I could give this book 4.5 stars because it was so very good.

There was a bit of an adjustment for me as I'm American and this is a very English story. Still I found it fascinating and enchanting and one of the best Christmas time romances I've come across in a long time.

Holly doesn't celebrate Christmas due in part to her upbringing and tragedy but she's rather forced into it when her house-sitting job turns into a gathering for the family of the man who's house she is watching.

Holly is a smart and kind person who you feel the desire to hope for her happy ending.

Jude is a bit rough around the edges but it becomes clear quite soon that he like provoking Holly just to see what happens.

My favorite thing about this story is that half of it is just Holly getting to know Jude's family and pets before he even appears. Then it is all cooking, celebrating and artistic endeavors than lead to two hearts finding what they've lost.

And to top that off, there is a bit of a mystery that links Holly's grandmother to Jude's family!

It is a brilliant story and one I highly recommend.

Title: Chocolate Wishes
Author: Trisha Ashley
Pages: 390
Rating: no titleno titleno titleno titleno title
Links:
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Description:
Life is sweet for chocolate maker Chloe Lyon! In the picture-perfect Lancashire village of Sticklepond, Confectioner Chloe dispenses inspirational sweet treats containing a prediction for each customer. If only her own life was as easy to forecast - perhaps Chloe could have foreseen being jilted at the altar! But when a new Vicar arrives in the village, the rumor mill goes into overdrive. Not only is Raffy Sinclair the charismatic ex-front man of rock band 'Mortal Ruin', he's also Chloe's first love and the man who broke her heart. Try as she might, Chloe can't ignore this blast from her past. Could now be the time for her to make a wish - and dare to believe it can come true?

Thoughts:
I'm really enjoying Trisha Ashley's books. I started last Christmas with Twelve Days of Christmas and decided this year to read a bunch of her Christmas time novels. This one was probably my least favorite but having said that I still really enjoyed it.

The premise of the book is that Chloe had been jilted by her fiancé and her grandfather decides to relocate their family to Sticklepond. Some of Ashley's other characters live in Sticklepond so there are appearances of characters from some of Ashely's other books. Chloe and her family quickly become part of the community while taking on a enemy the whole town wishes to see drive out of town.

Chloe's life is a bit loveless until the new Vicar moves to town and she discovers she knows him... or at least did before he became a Vicar.

I feel like putting your finger on the magic that is Ashley's books is harder than just reading them but part of it is feeling like you've been totally immersed in the lives of the characters and that Ashley's love stories stem from caring and friendship rather than immediate attraction and good sex.

Brilliant writer!



Title: Yuletide Treasures
Author: Andrea Kane
Pages: 90
Rating: no titleno titleno titleno titleno title
Links:
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Description:
Yuletide Treasure captures holiday magic as it transports us to a village in Victorian England, where an embittered earl seeks a governess for a lovely, defiant little girl named Noelle.

Thoughts:
Noelle is three going on four and she's a constant reminder to her Uncle of the sister he once loved and lost. Angry and full of self-loathing the Eric can't bring himself to take car of Noelle and instead sends her to live with every family he can find in the parish.

The things is Noelle is "spirited" and has been returned to Eric repeatedly. He's all but exhausted every avenue he has to ensure he doesn't have to deal with the child that reminds him of everything he's loved and lost.

Noelle is a highly mischievous child but one who clearly acts out to get the attentions she's been denied for her entire life.

Enter Brigitte, our heroine, who can see through Eric's anger and refusal to be part of Noelle's life and Noelle's antics for the cry for love it is.

Brigitte not only connects with Noelle but brings love, hope and Christmas to a little girl who has never had any.

This story was short, simple but profoundly beautiful. I would read this again.

I've heard you should read The Last Duke and The Theft as they are all tied together.

Title: The Christmas Cat
Author: Melody Carlson
Pages: 117
Rating: no titleno titleno titleno titleno title
Links:
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Description:
After years abroad, Garrison Brown returns home to Vancouver to build a new life. When his beloved grandmother passes away a few weeks before Christmas, Garrison goes to her house to sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. While Garrison hopes to dispense with the task quickly, his grandmother's instructions don't allow for speed. She has left Garrison with some challenging requirements for the future homes of her furry friends--plus a sizable monetary gift for the new owners. Garrison's job is to match the cats with the right owners without disclosing the surprise gift. Along the way, he may just meet someone who can make him stay.

Humorous and heartwarming, this latest Christmas story from bestselling author Melody Carlson is the perfect gift for pet lovers and anyone in whose heart Christmas holds a special place.

Thoughts:
Garrison just lost his Grandmother, a woman who took him in after the death of his parents and raised him. Garrison has spent 9 years in Uganda putting in wells and helping those in need. He is back in the States getting healthy (he got malaria) and employed when he loses his grandmother. Now he is tasked by said grandmother to find the perfect home for her 6 cats. Snag, Garrison is allergic.

Garrison takes on the daunting task and find a neighborhood full of friends he hadn't known about, opportunities he didn't have elsewhere and love he'd been looking for. And all of it because of a cat.

Carlson's story is adorable and fun. My favorite aspect is Garrison's willingness to fulfill his grandmother's wishes and he's growing attachment to the cats he's re-homing. It is nice to see a story that focuses just enough on the well being of animals while maintaining a great story.

But one more lovely thing about this story is Garrison's dream is to help young men who are struggling with poor life choices only to realize his cat adventure has helped him with the choices his life has given him.

Really lovely.

Title: The Gift of Christmas Past (from Anthology The Christmas Cat)
Author: Lynn Kurland
Pages: 320 - anthology
Rating: no titleno titleno titleno titleno title
Links:
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Description:
Lynn Kurland's "The Gift of Christmas Past" in which a feline guardian angel has to pull his mistress back in time to a Christmas Eve long ago where she finds her own true love.

Thoughts:
Only read Lynn Kurland's The Gift of Christmas Past

Cute Christmas love story where the idea is that the Cat's purpose is to help his human find love kind of like a feline angel. The story is a little quirky but it was cute and well done, if a trifle short.

Abby has just lost a worthless boyfriend because she lost her job and then the Social Security office seems to have lost her. She's considering throwing herself off a bridge into a lake when she see her lost (possibly dead) cat jump in first. Soon after Abbey has fallen in and finds herself 700 years in the past where she finds a real man.

If that weren't strange enough her cat, Sir Sweetums, talks to her letting her know what the whole plan was so she doesn't try throwing herself into Miles's moot in hopes of returning to her own time.

Not bad but not fantastic.
 
 
Kaylee Winchester: Supernatural - Dean Rock Onroguem on December 30th, 2015 12:11 pm (UTC)
Might have to have a closer look at some of these.
Jill aka Josireesanwar on December 31st, 2015 12:56 am (UTC)
Trisha Ashley is just great. I need to gather her remaining books and read them all.
thrace_adams: Outlander Craig Na Dunthrace_adams on January 2nd, 2016 02:41 am (UTC)
Sounds like you really like Trisha Ashley and I Might have to give her books a go! They sound lovely :D

Although, the first one worries me, I'd have to know the kid is all right... *chews nails*

Edited at 2016-01-02 02:42 am (UTC)
Jill aka Jo: H: Snoopysireesanwar on January 2nd, 2016 07:13 am (UTC)
That scared me too but you could always read the end first..

Spolier...
[Spoiler (click to open)]But if you must know, she's okay. It is just the getting there and reading how it all happens that kept me glued to my Kindle.