Review: Christmas in London by Anita Hughes

Anita Hughes writes for the reader who wants to escape. No matter if you’re reading Hughes’ beach vacation novels or her holiday books, you’ll remove yourself from reality, suspend your disbelief, and enjoy a ride through luxury. 

In Christmas in London, baker Louisa gets whisked away to London by television show producer Noah. She and her cinnamon rolls are needed for filming a Christmas special with a handsome, charming, world-famous chef and cookbook writer. 

When I read Hughes, I just latch on to the main character and forget my real life. In London, I got to wake up to the smell of coffee and pastry, buy fancy new clothes, take walks with the cutie pie producer, take cooking classes with the famous chef (and hang out in a mansion with him), and live the tv star life for a week… not to mention get a happily ever after (and watch a new friend get one too).

Not a bad way to spend 288 pages.  

-calliope 

Buy CHRISTMAS IN LONDON

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Review: Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber 

If you’ve read Debbie Macomber before, consider MERRY AND BRIGHT a typical Macomber Christmas read: sweet, clean, family oriented, and pretty predictable. I happen to like predictable stories, and this one had all the comforts you’d expect from a loving family at Christmastime. 

Merry is a kind, compassionate, maybe overly sensitive homebody who would help a stranger in a New York minute — and more than once, she did. 

Jay is a good guy overwhelmed with work, and taking out his frustrations on his fellow man (and woman). When Jay starts spending more time with Merry and his friend Cooper, his eyes are opened to how his values don’t match up to his behavior. 

So, in between the parts where the characters are getting to know each other and themselves, there’s a little bit of morality teaching – mostly about being compassionate. Sometimes it took me out of the story a little, but it was a nice reminder that kindness doesn’t cost me anything, and that it might mean the world to sometime on the receiving end.  

-calliope

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Review: Christmas Greetings from the Presidents

president As we fly through the holiday season, I like to pick up a few different holiday themed books to keep me in the mood. When I saw this one, I knew it would be something right up my family’s alley. All things political are the theme around here lately, so I figured we could use a dose of the goodness, from a few of the past presidents, to bring a bit of positive back in.

Christmas greetings is a compilation of various Christmas addresses from Coolidge to Obama. Inside you’ll find tidbits about the world at the time, from the Depression to 9/11. It also includes pictures of the National trees and some of the activities that were happening at the White House. My favorite pictures are the family pictures, whether staged or candid. They show the lighter side of the presidents.

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If you have a history buff in your family, or perhaps you have a little Christmas nut, like myself, grab this book.

~Melpomene

Grab Christmas Greetings from the Presidents http://amzn.to/2fZy8bl

Review: Two Christmas novellas- Forever Christmas & My True Love Gave to Me by Christine Lynxwiler

November means Christmas reading, so I hunkered down the past couple nights with two novellas in my Kindle’s “Christmas” folder. 

These charming and heartfelt stories felt like full-length novels in that the characters were many and varied, the plots had time to twist and meander a bit, and the main characters were wonderfully developed. 

In Forever Christmas, Kristianna tries to live out her own authentic life, fighting through family pressures and a stressful romantic past. I loved that Kristianna’s best friends never wavered in their love and loyalty to her. I enjoyed Kristianna’s fun dates, her surprise gifts, and the relationships she had with the quirky townspeople. Although saving her town of Jingle Bells from corporate intrusion was top of mind, Kristianna eventually got the message that working together for a solution is more effective than cutting off your nose to spite your face. 

In My True Love Gave to Me, loving wife and mom of two Penny has had it up to here with her newly-unemployed husband’s moping. But when he finally does something to snap out of it, she’s not truly on board with that either. The plan? A family RV trip. The reaction? Horror, as you might guess. However, in the spirit of a good Christmas story, the lessons are in the journey. Lynxwiler gives us an entertaining road trip where relationships are strengthened, trust is built, and true love abounds. 

Both novellas have a Christian perspective, with a mentions of “God’s plan” and positively describing other characters as Christian. They both have a happily ever after, too. 

You’ll be glad to know my Kindle’s Christmas folder is full of myriad holiday novels. These were only the tip of the iceberg! 

-calliope 

Buy MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME
Buy FOREVER CHRISTMAS

Review: Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

Today I saw someone wearing Christmas socks, despite the unseasonably warm weather we are having, so I thought it would be appropriate to review a Christmas book today! 

Penny lives alone and creates beautiful ice sculptures in solitude … until Henry and daughter Daisy start renting out the annex, and Penny feels compelled to be social. The quirky characters quickly connect with each other and make for a pleasant, predictable romance. 

But it all seemed a bit contrived. My eyes rolled at the cliched tropes and the running into each other too many times to be serendipitous. I like my chick lit light and fluffy, but with enough substance to draw me in and make me believe it’s real. 

If you need a quick Christmas romance in between serious reading, the price is right here at $2.99, but don’t expect substantial character or plot development. 

-calliope 

Buy CHRISTMAS AT LILAC COTTAGE

Review: Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber


A book about a blogger! With a meet-cute. And a smart, handsome, buff, broody guy in the same apartment building who likes Starbucks. Come on now, who isn’t signing up to be the girl in this girl-meets-boy?! 

THIS is my kind of Christmas chick lit. You’ve got your possibility of snow, your peppermint latte, some chicken soup, a job at Macy’s, struggles with a Christmas tree… I couldn’t have asked for even one more perfect scenario in this book. 

Twelve Days of Christmas is about, yes, falling in love, but more importantly, figuring out that the way to change a relationship is to become a better person, not try to change the other person. And telling the truth. That always helps. 

I really had so much fun reading this novel. Macomber put obvious effort into character development, authentic dialogue, and a natural trajectory for a growing romance. It’s chick lit, but it’s GOOD chick lit, complete with excellent writing, fun characters, and witty remarks. 

Enjoy! 

-calliope

Buy TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Review: The Christmas Angel Project by Melody Carlson

This is a charming story of five book club friends whose main connection is friend Abby. When Abby dies, the remaining four need to find a way to carry on. Abby provides that guidance from some angel gifts she’s left for them. 

I was disappointed in the beginning of this book because I could sense the “setting up” of the plot… a little contrived or overplanned. However, by the middle, I loved the direction Carlson took the four women – it seemed natural and authentic. Seeing the women use Abby’s Angels to help them grieve and then use their talents to help others warmed my heart, and it will warm yours, too. 

-calliope

Buy THE CHRISTMAS ANGEL PROJECT