Books · Reviews

SRP Reviews: Holiday Edition (Part III): A Very Meryton Christmas, A Family for Christmas, and All I Want For Christmas

During the holiday season, the reviews I post on The Self-Rescue Princess will have a different focus as my reading habits change. From Thanksgiving until the New Year, I only read novels set during the holiday season or have a seasonal theme. The Holiday Edition reviews will focus on the holiday spirit in the stories, and I plan to review more than one book in each post. I decided to go with more than one because I find I read more at this time and I want to share as many holiday short stories, novellas, books, and movies that I can during this time frame.

Between traveling during November and December and editing a book, I didn’t get as much reading done this holiday season as I like. I’m hoping next–or rather this–holiday  season year I’m able to indulge more in my passion of reading Christmas/holiday themed stories. Here are the last three books I read this year:

a very meryton christmasA Very Meryton Christmas by Olivia Kane. This Christmas tale features Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth isn’t happy to find out that Mr. Darcy, who hasn’t been kind to her, will be in Netherfield Park during the holiday season, she is despondent, fearing his presence will ruin Christmas for her. At first, she vows not to spend any time where she might run into and later allows the Christmas spirit dictate her treatment of Mr. Darcy. This was a lovely story set during the Christmas season and also filled with the spirit of the holiday.

 

a family for christmasA Family for Christmas by Mona Ingram. With the holiday season about to start, Maddie finds herself without a job. Instead of her being let go putting a damper on her life, she uses it as a springboard to start a gift-wrapping and shopping helper business. This book had plenty of Christmas spirit and I enjoyed getting to know both couples (dual romance story) and the niece of the heroes in the story. There was plenty of angst Christmas angst, meaning not anything traumatic…unless you count the fact the niece is an orphan but her parents death happen off-screen and not during the story.

I love both of the couples in the book, though I do wish that each had their own book as I’d have loved to have more time to spend with each couple. The story was heartwarming and very reminiscent of a Hallmark Christmas movie…so if you enjoy those movies, you’d like this story.

all i want for christmasAll I Want For Christmas by Sheila Roberts. Susan Carpenter, aka Suzi Christmas delights her town with the over-the-top Christmas display she erects in her front yard every year–except for one of her neighbors and the new landlord of the house next-door. Suzi’s love of Christmas starts to lose it sparkles when she finds her light display threatened by those that wish Christmas wasn’t so bright.

When Luke Potter, the landlord, loses his renters because of an obnoxious Christmas display, he teams up with his godfather who also happens to be a neighbor who dislikes the lights as much as him. It isn’t long before Luke, aka Scrooge, regrets his decision but finds himself unable to veer from his bah humbug path.

This was my favorite book this Christmas season. I loved how Susan fought for what she believed in and kept her Christmas spirit alive even though at times it dimmed a little, nothing kept Susan down, especially when it came to sharing the joy of the holiday with her family and town. I’m off to see if there’s a story featuring Luke’s brother as I grew to like all the characters in the story…well except for the grinchy neighbor.

 

Books · Holiday · Reviews

SRP REVIEWS: HOLIDAY EDITION (PART II) – Merry Ex-Mas, Tender Hearts, and The Mistletoe Inn (HALLMARK MOVIE)

During the holiday season, the reviews I post on The Self-Rescue Princess will have a different focus as my reading habits change. From Thanksgiving until the New Year, I only read novels set during the holiday season or have a seasonal theme. The Holiday Edition reviews will focus on the holiday spirit in the stories, and I plan to review more than one book in each post. I decided to go with more than one because I find I read more at this time and I want to share as many holiday short stories, novellas and books that I can during this time frame.

merryexmasMerry Ex-Mas by Sheila Roberts

The holidays aren’t quite that merry for some of the women in Icicle Falls: Cass’s daughter is engaged and wants to get married this Christmas and have her father (Cass’s ex) and his new wife stay at Cass’s house, Charlene’s ex-husband waltzes back into her life with apologies and a renewed love for her, and Ella is trying to get used to being divorced which is hard when you still live with your ex. But, all is not what it seems and it will take the spirit of the holiday to help the women sort out truth from fiction. I love how this story shows the struggles of three women trying to find the Christmas spirit when it would be easier just to let it remain lost. This book has a nice balance of holiday setting, holiday theme, and the angst that can make us want to give up trying to maintain  holiday cheer for those that we love (and who sometimes create our trying moments).

tenderheartsTender Hearts by Gail Delaney

Billy and Erin met while they were both in Hawaii on vacation. Erin was sure their time together was only a vacation fling and not true love so she slipped out of Billy’s room–and life–only to find she needed to venture back into his life since they created one together.

This story takes place over many months, ending during the Christmas season. This was one of my favorite books as the characters felt real and had a great chemistry together, even when they were at odds with other. The issues they were trying to overcome came across as natural rather than obstacles created so the couple could struggle with being together. The ending was beautiful and poignant, a perfect Christmas story ending. (Currently, it’s one of my favorites.) I don’t normally add disclaimers but I wanted to let readers know this book does have some heartbreaking scenes of a very ill baby which might be hard for some readers, especially during the holiday season.

the mistletoe innAnd last is another holiday movie review, Mistletoe Inn (A Hallmark Countdown to Christmas Movie)- This movie is based on the book The Mistletoe Inn by Richard Paul Evans. Kimberly finds herself single just in time for the holidays when her boyfriend dumps her because she isn’t serious (like him!) about her writing. Kimberly has dreamed of being a writer but seems to allow her insecurities to hold her back from her dream. She finally decides to prove her ex wrong by going to a writing retreat that takes place in the Mistletoe Inn around Christmas time. I love a good romance, especially a Christmas one, and this one also throws in writing. I understood Kimberly as I struggle with some of her insecurities and being desperate for others approval. The holiday setting was perfect. I loved her love for Christmas (another thing I had in common with the heroine) and also how the famous (but never before seen in public) romance writer compared writing to decorating a Christmas tree. I hadn’t thought I’d come away with some good writing advice from the movie! This was a heartfelt Christmas movie and I thought the characters had a wonderful chemistry together. It was just what I love in a Christmas movie: small-time angst, getting to know and trust yourself and others, and love being realized and born during the holiday season.

Books · Reviews · Writing

SRP Review: Holiday Edition II – On Strike for Christmas, The Gift of Hope, A Christmas Jar for Santa

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

During this month, the reviews I post on The Self-Rescue Princess will have a different focus as my reading habits change. From Thanksgiving until the New Year, I only read novels set during the holiday season or have a seasonal theme. The Holiday Edition reviews will focus on the holiday spirit in the stories, and I plan to review more than one book in each post. I decided to go with more than one because I find I read more at this time and I want to share as many holiday short stories, novellas and books that I can during this time frame.

On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts is one of my favorite types of Christmas theme novels. It’s where the hustle and bustle, the self-inflicted craziness we put ourselves through is challenged and ceased … at least for a period of time. This story follows the lives of some women — and their husbands — who have gotten feed up with being the only one in the household supplying the Christmas magic. After years of feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated, they go on strike and hand over the holiday reins of planning, cooking, shopping and decorating to their spouses. There is one character, a widow, who plays the role of the holiday spirit, so to speak. She helps the women keep perspective and also reminds them of their role in the way Christmases of the past played out. I really enjoyed the humor, the bittersweet moments, and the way everyone learned a lesson from the strike.

The Gift of Hope by Pam Andrews Hanson. This is a sweet, contemporary romance novella set during the Christmas season. It’s a of a young woman and a widowed pastor learning to open up to love. Hope lost her mother at a young age and saw the pain her father went through and how hard it was for him to love anyone else. Noah lost his wife and finds the holidays a struggle to get through as he raises his young daughter alone. Hope and Noah find themselves thrown … and drawn … together during the church’s preparations for the Christmas season. While the warmth and love of Christmas is in the air, both try hard not to open themselves up to the season in order to keep their hearts protected. Hope’s grandmother takes on a key role as the ‘holiday spirit’ as she opens her arms and home to others in the community and encourages not only falling in love but ‘falling into friendships’.

A Christmas Jar for Santa by is a short story told in a narrative style by an older gentleman recounting his time as a Santa Claus. It is a warm story told in an engaging voice as a man explains his reason for being Santa for decades. At this point in time, the gentleman is considering hanging up his Santa hat at the end of the season.  I don’t want to give away the ending, but a gift given to Santa has him reconsidering and remembering what the holiday is about.