December Wrap Up/ My Year in Books

Another year over and done with! 2015 was a good year and I’m hoping for more goodness in 2016. As far as my December wrap up there isn’t much to tell. I didn’t get any books for review and I didn’t get any books via NetGalley or Edelweiss, which as I stated before is one of my goals in 2016. I vow to read more books I already have and not add more to my TBR pile. I also won’t be doing any challenges this year just the Goodreads one since it basically keeps my books organized for me. So here is what my year in books looked like… the short little survey I got via Tara @runningnreading and how my Goodreads Challenge went.

Number of books read: 92

Pages read: 17907 [more books this year yet fewer pages…that’s short stories for ya!

Genre I’ve read the most from: General fiction/women’s fiction

Publisher, I’ve read the most from: St. Martin’s Press & NAL/Berkley [they are so generous!]

Favorite/most often used reading spot: My bed and sofa

Most read author: Melody Grace

How I read this year:
Ebook – 50%
Paperback – 30%
Hardcover –10%
Audiobook- 10%

Types of books I wish I’d read more of: mysteries…I love a great who done it!

Month I read the most and least: Most October/least December

Goodreads Summary
So that sums up my book year. I wish you all a Happy New Year's and hope every ones New Year is filled with happiness and lots of awesome books!


Day 25 of 25 Days of Christmas: The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson
Published: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Revell
Format: NetGalley
Rating: 5/5

Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that's exactly what she's getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix--in the dead of winter, no less--the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Besides, a crazy trip with Joy would be more interesting than another Christmas home alone. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off to Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride--and a hidden problem that could derail the whole venture.

My Thoughts
The Christmas Joy Ride was one of my favorite seasonal reads. First off I’m a huge fan of Melody Carlson I just love and enjoy how she writes Christmas reads with love magic and that little something that just feels like the holidays. In this read we meet Joy who is about to move closer to her son and wants one last adventure before she leaves. She invites her neighbor Miranda who is getting over marriage is feels like she needs to get away. What Miranda thought would be simply trip ends up being an adventure that both will never forget.

They take off in Joy’s old RV and are surprising people along the way making Christmas wishes come true. In doing this both remember what the meaning of Christmas is really all about, however Joy gets ill and makes Miranda promise her that she must make the last stop by herself before Christmas. This last stop will change Miranda’s life forever, she meets a widower and his daughter and soon the sparks fly. Miranda will find out that not all men are the same and will have to make the choice of shutting down her heart again or letting herself fall and trusting in what’s meant to be. This is one read that will make you believe in Christmas again. It has all the magic and romance that one thinks of when they think about the holidays. 


Day 24 of 25 Days of Christmas: Max the boy who didn't believe in Santa Claus by Lou Silluzio

Max, the boy who didn’t believe in Santa Claus by Lou Silluzio and
Salvatore La Vattiata [Illustrator]
Published: March 30, 2015
Publisher: Domjaf Media
Format: free Kindle read
Rating: 5/5

It’s Christmas Eve and young Max is having trouble believing Santa can deliver so many presents in one night. Is Santa Claus real? He resolves to stay up and catch the giver of presents, even though his brothers try to talk him out of it.
What happens when the boys wake Christmas morning? Did Max catch Santa? Have presents been delivered? Is the magic of Santa as real as Max’s parents say it is?

My Thoughts
This was the cutest read ever! I loved the story of Max who thinks that Santa doesn’t exist. He tells his younger brothers and come Christmas there are no presents under the tree. Everyone is searching the house and soon realize that Santa never came and the only reason their parents think this has happened is because someone doesn’t believe. Max cries and confesses it’s him and says that he does believe after all and wishes he never had any doubts. Will Max’s wishes come true and does Santa come by? This is one read where I loved the illustrations as much as the storyline. This is one read that will keep you entertained.


Day 23 of 25 Days of Christmas: All I Want for Christmas by Claudia Carroll

All I Want for Christmas by Claudia Carroll
Published: November 25, 2014
Format: free Kindle read
Rating: 3/5

Christmas with the one you love. It’s going to be perfect … isn’t it? Three couples. Three Christmases. One perfect day!

In three days Lucy and Andrew will fly to Mexico for their beautiful wedding. What’s a twenty-year age gap when you’re this in love? Christmas dinner feels like the perfect occasion to introduce the two families to each other. What could possibly go wrong? Workaholic Jo Hargreaves spends most of her Christmas day wondering where her unreliable new husband is. Dawn and Kirk spend hours slaving over a mung-bean based vegan festive lunch - but Dawn’s mum is struggling to keep her true feeling to herself.
 Can these three couples manage the magical Christmas they’ve been dreaming of?

My Thoughts
I didn’t know that this was a prequel so it was no wonder I was a bit confused. However, I felt this read was ok. I mean I didn’t dislike it I might have really liked it if I would’ve known the characters or stories going into it. I liked the three couples and three Christmas aspect of it, but I think it I would’ve read the full novel it definitely would’ve helped. I’m definitely on the fence with this one.


Day 22 of 25 Days of Christmas: A Family for Christmas by Helen Scott Taylor

A Family for Christmas by Helen Scott Taylor
Published: September 21, 2012
Format: free Kindle read
Rating: 4/5

A heartwarming tale for Christmas. A lonely career woman stranded in a blizzard, a disillusioned man who has cut himself off from women. When he rescues her from the snow and takes her into his home, the spirit of Christmas and his little girl's love work their magic.

My Thoughts
All Eve was trying to do was to get to her meeting when her car goes off the road to avoid a lamb. Tom came to her rescue and took her in until the roads were cleared. It's only been Tom and his little girl but when she meets Eve she is instantly taken and soon so will Tom. This is the story of finding love again and opening your heart up to the possibilities of finding the one for you. This is a sweet read and is bound to restore your faith in love and the all the joy that comes with it.


Day 21 of 25 Days of Christmas: Snowed Inn by Danielle Lee Zwissler

Snowed Inn by Danielle Lee Zwissler
Published: October 20, 2015
Format: Smashwords
Rating: 4/5

Sometimes a little bad luck can lead to good fortune...
When Lacy Johnson made a last minute decision to head home for Christmas, she wasn't prepared as usual... Her car broke down, and that's not even the worst of her luck, well that was until she met Grayson Snow-- the sexy hijack that came barreling down the hill in his pickup to save her...
Soon, it was apparent, that Grayson was more that what met the eye, and she started to fall for him and his charms, but she didn't fit in there, or did she? Luckily for her, there was room at the inn.

My Thoughts
Snowed Inn can definitely be defined as magical. Lacey and Grayson met when her car was stuck in snow and he came to her rescue. While this story can seem predictable and everything just falls into place so magically that’s what I love about it. Yes, some of the read maybe too far fetched as far as the romance is but sometimes love can be like that. Besides I love that in books anything is possible, things don’t have to be so realistic sometimes love can be a fairytale. I loved and enjoyed what this book for what it was a good romance with the dash of the holiday spirit.


Day 20 of 25 Days of Christmas: A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson

A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson
Published: December 12, 2014
Format: free Kindle read
Rating: 4/5

Holly and Caleb had been best friends as children, growing up on the same street, but as teenagers, they couldn't be further apart. When Caleb unexpectedly asked Holly to help him pick out a Christmas gift for his girlfriend, neither of them anticipated where it would lead.

My Thoughts
A Christmas Gift is the story of Holly and Caleb who as kids were best of friends but as they grew up moved into different social circles. One day Caleb asks Holly for help picking out a gift for his girlfriend but unknown to Caleb, Holly has had the biggest crush on and it kills her to do this. While Holly finds gifts that are meaningful his girlfriend lets it be known that all she wants are expensive gifts. Holly is torn to tell Caleb the truth about his girlfriend but doesn’t want to hurt his feelings and doesn’t want to risk their renewed friendship. A Christmas Gift is a sweet read about unrequited love and maybe some new found love. I love the connection between these two even if they both try to deny their feelings. This is one read that is definitely worth the time.


Day 19 of 25 Days of Christmas: Makeshift Angel by Jean Louise

Makeshift Angel by Jean Louise
Published: December 7, 2014
Publisher: J.Y. Harris Books
Format: free Kindle buy
Rating: 5/5

Emily wants to be sure that Santa gets her Christmas wish, and according to schoolyard rumor, that's a job for snow angels. Trouble is, there's not much opportunity to make snow angels in Florida. So Emily has to come up with a Plan B.....

My Thoughts
What can be said about a story that’s only nine pages long? LOTS! Boy, I thought this wasn’t going to be much of a read, boy was I wrong. This is a touching story of a little girl who only wants one thing for Christmas so she sets out to make it come true. She hears that if she makes a snow angel and makes a wish it will come true but living in Florida kind of makes that impossible so she sets out to make her own snow. When we find out her wish I must admit I got kind of teary-eyed. This book might be very short, but its message and emotions are that of a full-length book.


Day 18 of 25 Days of Christmas: A Very Grey Christmas by T.A. Foster

A Very Grey Christmas [Kissing Eden #3] by T.A. Foster
Published: November 20, 2014
Format: Kindle buy
Rating: 5/5

I was getting ready to spend the single most important holiday of the year alone. Completely and utterly alone. That meant he wouldn’t be there Christmas Eve. No making Christmas cookies or listening to my dad sing off-key while my mom bustled around wrapping last-minute gifts. No decorating the tree. No midnight Christmas kiss.
No waking up in Grey’s arms. We were actually going to spend our very first Christmas in different states. That was until Grey gave me the most unexpected gift of my life.

My Thoughts
Is it possible that the last book of the series could be the best? Well, in this case, A Very Grey Christmas is my favorite in the Kissing Eden series. Although this is a series I promise you can read this one and totally be fine, there are a few things that catch you up so you know more or less the background.

In this final book, we see that Grey and Eden are going strong in their relationship and that Eden goes back home to visit her family. While she is happy and excited to be back home the one thing she wants more than anything is that Grey could’ve made the trip. Her parents see that something is missing and try to get her mind on other things, but Eden just hates that they aren't spending their first Christmas together. Will Eden’s Christmas be blanketed in sadness or will she experience a Christmas miracle and get her wish? I won’t spoil the details, but it makes for one magically wonderful Christmas for all involved.

I had my ups and downs with this series, but I must say I loved how it ended. I thought it was a wonderful ending to a series that showed us how difficult a relationship can be but with a little work and lots of love you can pull through anything. This is one series that’s worth the read.


Day 17 of 25 Days of Christmas: Forever Christmas by Jody Holford

Forever Christmas by Jody Holford
Published: December 10, 2013
Format: free Kindle read
Rating: 4/5

When Anna Meyers purchases the home that her late mother grew up in, she’s determined to prove her independence to herself and to her well-meaning father and brother. She’s been lovingly sheltered and protected for all of her 26 years, but now she just wants to live her life- on her own terms.

Sam Gardner hadn’t given much thought to who would move next door to his small Angel’s Lake bungalow. Once his neighbor arrived, however, he could think of nothing and no one else. When Anna makes it clear that she’s not interested in having a man around, he invents a girlfriend to put her at ease.

Thinking that, Sam has a girlfriend makes it easier for Anna to be herself and open the door to friendship. He frustrates her, makes her laugh, and challenges her, but he never tries to step on her independence. The more time they spend together, the more she realizes that whoever has Sam’s heart is a lucky girl.

The only girl that has Sam’s heart is Anna, but there’s no way he can tell her this when he started this friendship on a lie. Things take a turn for the worse when Anna mistakes a nightmare client as Sam’s fiancée.  Anna came to Minnesota to fight for her independence, but she ends up fighting for much more.

My Thoughts
Sam meets his new neighbor Anna when she is trying to put up Christmas lights and from then on he is a goner. He tries to go over to help but soon finds out that Anna is one stubborn woman who doesn’t want any help. We find out that she has bought this house that once belonged to her mother and is determined to show her father and brother that she isn’t a little girl anymore and that she can do things by herself. She is trying to fix her up her house before Christmas to show them that she was good on her word.

Soon Sam and Anna start to get to know each other and Anna tells him that she isn’t ready for anything and that it’s best that they don’t hang out so much. So Sam decides to fake a girlfriend so that he and Anna and continue to spend time together. Well you know lies are never a good thing they just lead to more lies and soon Sam’s feelings are too much and he knows he just confess everything to Anna. Christmas doesn’t go off as planned for Anna her family comes in and they continue to treat her the same and she finds out Sam’s lies which make her look like a fool.

I get that lies aren’t a good thing, but I thought Anna went to the extreme with her reaction. I would be upset but in the grand scheme of things, there could’ve been worse things that could’ve happened. But aside of the romance with was great what I loved most of all was how Anna was so determined to gain and show her independence. I always loved how she wanted to reconnect with the spirit of her mother by buying the house she grew up in. This is one story that showcased more than romance and that spoke volumes.


Day 16 of 25 Days of Christmas: Last Christmas by Lily Greene

Last Christmas by Lily Green
Published: October 22, 2015
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Format: via free Kindle read
Rating: 4/5

Last Christmas Ella’s heart was broken.  She had been with sophisticated banker Robbie Newton for six years when they suddenly broke up on New Year’s Eve. Robbie had left her heartbroken and hurt with nothing but a note explaining he had taken a job in Chicago. This Christmas Ella is determined to bury her past and start afresh.

She focuses on her career as an artist and organizes her debut exhibition in a swanky London gallery. While shopping for her best friend, Libby Crosley, who is hosting her infamous Christmas party that evening, Ella bumps into a mysterious man in the supermarket. After a series of awkward run-ins and chance meetings with this stranger, Fergus Lamb, Ella feels the pangs of love again. Fergus is nothing like any man Ella’s ever dated.

He’s a quirky, smart, bold, and spontaneous war photographer who looks like James Dean. Just as Ella’s luck is changing, Robbie shows up unannounced at the opening night of her exhibition. Ella is faced with a choice when Robbie finally offers her what she always wanted. Who will Ella choose? Her suave and successful ex-boyfriend who she finds so irresistible? Or the exciting new stranger who has just waltzed into her life?

My Thoughts
I loved Last Christmas because it was all about recovering from heartache but becoming stronger for it. We meet Ella who is slowly recovering from her breakup from her long-term boyfriend the year before. As Christmas rolls around it is difficult but she is determined to make this one a good one and not focus on the negative. While she is setting up for her art exhibit she meets a nice guy Fergus whom she hits it off with right away. There is an instant connection between these two that can’t be denied. But of course, nothing can go off without a hitch her ex soon comes back realizing he wants her back. Isn’t that just like someone who hurts you, they realize what a mistake they made and now they think they can come back like nothing? Ella soon finds out that meeting up with her ex that now he wants everything she did and is promising her all of it now.  So will Ella go back to her ex and have everything she ever wanted or will take a chance at a new love with someone who loves her as is? Last Christmas is a wonderful tale that shows us that yes love can hurt but maybe just maybe it’s all for the better.


Day 15 of 25 Days of Christmas: Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh

Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh
Published: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Revell
Format: via NetGalley
Rating: 4/5

For the first time since their children were born, empty nesters Judith and Stan Winters spent Thanksgiving without the kids, and it's looking like Christmas will be the same. Judith can't bring herself to even start decorating for the holiday; her kids always hung the first ornaments on the tree, ornaments they had made each year since they were toddlers. Sure they were strange-looking--some could be called downright ugly--but they were tradition. A tradition she's heartbroken to miss this year.

With Judith refusing to decorate the bare spruce tree in their living room, Stan knows something must be done. And his only hope for saving the holiday is found in a box of handmade ornaments.

Fan-favorite Dan Walsh invites readers to enjoy this nostalgic Christmas story that celebrates all of our most cherished seasonal traditions, especially the importance of family. Readers will join in remembering the things that make their own Christmas season so special.

My Thoughts
Keeping Christmas is what I consider Christmas in a book. This book truly represents what Christmas is all about at least in my eyes. In Keeping Christmas, we met Judith and Stan who are living a nice retired life in Florida but as the holidays draw near Judith can't wait to have all her family together again. They were alone at Thanksgiving but as Christmas approaches, they find out that each of their kids and their families can't come home  for Christmas. Judith is devastated and knowing that her kids aren’t coming home she soon loses all of her Christmas spirit. Stan didn’t realize how hard Judith would take the bad news but as the holiday draws near he is determined to help his wife regain her joy with a little help from family and friends.
Keeping Christmas definitely shows us that Christmas is really more about giving than receiving. Stan gives up his dreams in order to make his wife happy and make her whole again and that’s what makes this story so joyful. It definitely gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside something that only seems happen during the holidays. If you love cozy family stories than this one might be just the one for you.


Day 14 of 25 Days of Christmas: The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson
Published: September 1, 2011
Publisher: Revell Company
Format: free Kindle read
Rating: 4/5

The small town of Parrish Springs is not ready for Matilda Honeycutt. A strange older woman with scraggly gray hair and jewelry that jangles as she walks, Matilda is certainly not the most likely person to buy the old Barton Building on the town's quaint main street. When it becomes apparent that her new shop doesn't fit the expectations of Parrish Springs residents, a brouhaha erupts. After all, Christmas is approaching, and the last thing the town needs is a junky shop run by someone who looks and acts like a gypsy. But as townsfolk venture into the strange store, they discover that old memories can bring new life and healing. Once again, Melody Carlson delivers a Christmas story that will touch hearts and delight the senses. Sure to be a classic, The Christmas Shoppe is filled with the special magic the best Christmas stories share--that intangible mixture of nostalgia, joy, and a little bit of magic.

My Thoughts
This one was a different kind of book for me. As a fan of Melody Carlson, I’ve come to know her books as something with a message and faith-based and while this one follows a little I got a sense of mystery with it. We meet Matilda who comes to town to set up shop, she is a mystery, but the small town comes up in a roar when she sets up her Christmas Shoppe. They see her as a little quirky woman who is basically selling junk and they want her to pack up and leave. However, there is something more than junk in her store everyone who comes to talk to her about leaving but somehow find something from their past and leaves with tears in their eyes. Who is this woman and how does she know what these people have been through? I loved this read because it gives you something different in a Christmas read, but the whole magical aspect that I love is still there. This is one book that will satisfy those who also love a little mystery in their reads.

Blog Tour/Guest Post: Come Back to Me by Mila Gray

Come Back to Me by Mila Gray
(Come Back to Me, #1)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: December 8, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Add to Goodreads
Buy: Amazon / BN

In this heart-wrenching tale of love and loss, a young Marine and his best friend’s sister plunge into a forbidden love affair while he’s home on leave.
When a Marine Chaplain knocks on her door, Jessa’s heart breaks—someone she loves is dead. Killed in action, but is it Riley or Kit? Her brother or her boyfriend…
Three months earlier, Marine Kit Ryan finds himself back home on leave and dangerously drawn to his best friend Riley’s sister, Jessa—the one girl he can’t have. Exhausted from fighting his feelings, Kit finally gives in, and Jessa isn’t strong enough to resist diving headfirst into a passionate relationship.
But what was just supposed to be a summer romance develops into something far greater than either of them expected. Jessa’s finally found the man of her dreams and Kit’s finally discovered there’s someone he’d sacrifice everything for.
When it’s time for Kit to redeploy, neither one is ready to say goodbye. Jessa vows to wait for him and Kit promises to come home to her. No matter what.
But as Jessa stands waiting for the Marine Chaplain to break her heart, she can’t help but feel that Kit has broken his promise…
Riley or Kit? Kit or Riley? Her brother or her boyfriend? Who’s coming home to her?

About Mila
Mila Gray is the pen name for Sarah Alderson, author of Hunting Lila, Losing Lila, The Sound, Fated and Out of Control.Originally from London she has lived in Bali for the last four years with her husband and daughter. As well as writing young adult fiction under the name Sarah Alderson and adult fiction under the name Mila Gray, she also writes screenplays. You can find out more at www.milagray.com and on facebook: www.facebook.com/sarahjalderson
Author links

Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • 3 winners for an exclusive copy of the UK edition of the second Mila Gray book, THIS IS ONE MOMENT
  • Click HERE to Enter

What was Mila's inspiration for the book and for her characters.

The inspiration came from a few things. I was asked by my publisher to write a book for a slightly older audience, having written purely YA under my real name Sarah Alderson. I was asked to write a contemporary romance but I wanted to write something with a bit of grit to it, something with a real message too.

I had previously set a book (Hunting Lila) in Oceanside, southern California and so I decided to set this book there too and just as in Hunting Lila I have a main character Jessa who falls for her Marine brother’s best friend. That is where the comparisons stop though! I love writing about girls who fall in love with their brother’s best friend – it’s a trope but when it’s done well there’s nothing so hot! Throw in a forbidden aspect and some serious heartbreak and boom, you’ve got the bones of a really great story.

And I was interested too in writing about war and the knock on effects on family and friends as well as those who are serving in the armed forces and the impact on them. So I built a story that starts with a death but you don’t know if it’s Riley, the main character’s brother, or Kit, the boy she’s fallen in love with. And then I worked backwards from there.

In creating Jessa’s world I looked at what her family was like. Her father is a Colonel and has PTSD and this has really impacted on Jessa, to the extent where she’s walking around on eggshells and is very introverted. Her brother who she adores has moved out and it’s just her and her long-suffering mother. There are some complex family dynamics and I wanted all the characters to be understood. I never write all round bad guys, I’m fascinated by the grey areas and why people are the way they are.

Through her relationship with Kit Jessa comes out of her shell and grows more confident, eventually starting to explore all the things she really wants to do in life, even if that means rebelling against her father. Kit treasures her and looks after her and is good to her in a way that is really healing and super romantic (I’m a softie!).  

With all my books I’m looking at creating characters you believe in and root for and what if situations that are compelling to read.


Day 13 of 25 Days of Christmas: Dancing with Mistletoe by Leslie Wells

Dancing with Mistletoe by Leslie Wells
Published: November 5, 2014
Publisher: Percambio Press
Format: free Kindle buy
Rating: 3.5/5

It’s December 21st, 1981 in New York City, and the holidays are approaching fast. But up-and-coming book editor Julia Nash isn’t too busy to notice that her boyfriend has only put one small gift under the tree. At least, Jack has an excuse: as the lead guitarist of a famous British rock band, he is deep into rehearsals for their upcoming tour. But Julia was hoping for something a little more meaningful than the pair of mittens she can’t resist taking a peek at.
Julia tries to ignore her friends egging her on about what Jack might have planned. But even with the distractions of a demanding boss, a steamy snowball fight, a baking flop involving rum balls, and a blizzard that shuts down the entire city, the question still torments her: Is a pair of gloves—the kind of thing you’d give to a friend—the only gift Jack is giving her? And if so, what does that say about their relationship?
Brimming with laughter and an enticing dash of romantic spice, with vivid characters that reviewers have called “engaging” and “irresistible”, Dancing with Mistletoe puts you in the mood to kiss someone you love under a sprig of green.

My Thoughts
I went into this not knowing that it was in a series of sorts. However, I thought it read well as a standalone. This is the story of Julia who fell in love with a famous musician Jack and her life as it has turned upside down but for the good. We have these thoughts of famous musicians who are reckless and cheaters, but I loved how Jack is the exception to the rule. This is a true love story of a girl who simply fell in love with someone who truly loves her back. I also loved that it was set in the 80’s plus I love the other characters in the book. Although this is a series I didn’t feel like I was missing anything but I do want to go back and read the series.


Day 12 of 25 Days of Christmas: Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie

Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie
Published: October 13, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Rating: 3/5

Mayhem ensues under the mistletoe as a determined shopper grabs the very last hot toy action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the middle of a real-life spy game and in the arms of a sexy secret agent.

My Thoughts
I was kind of torn when it came to this book. At first, I thought it was a cute romantic book about a girl and guy meeting at a toy store looking for the same toy, but sadly I wish it was only about that. Then comes this story of a “spy” looking for some secret spy clues I honestly didn’t get it. I was just utterly confused and not buying this whole storyline. I gave it three stars mainly for the beginning which was the only part I liked. This wasn’t my cup of tea but feel free to give it a try you might have better luck than I did.


Day 11 of 25 Days of Christmas: Until January by Mary Whitney

Until January by Mary Whitney
Published: December 17, 2014
Publisher: Posit Publishing
Rating: 4/5

I have a happy life—a great career, wonderful friends, and a nice family (for the most part), but parents don’t like to let their single thirty-one year old daughters spend Christmas alone. Apparently, no matter how successful you might be in your career or how independent of a life you may lead, you can’t be trusted alone during the holidays. You might snap Fatal Attraction style and make rabbit stew for your married lover’s Christmas dinner.

But I’m a vegetarian, and I don’t date married men, so my parents have agreed to let me spend this December by myself. I’m even looking forward to it—at least, I was until HLG came back. HLG is short for Hot Lawyer Guy. I know his name, but it’s easier if I think of him as HLG because he’s my unattainable crush. Every woman has a mild obsession they need to kick, and he’s mine. If he would just go away for good, this December would be perfect.

My Thoughts
Until January is a great romantic and funny read that any single girl could totally relate to. Gretchen is single and this Christmas really doesn’t want to go home to her parents questions on finding someone so she decides to stay home for Christmas. She recently has found her neighbor totally irresistible and is crushing on him badly but finds out he has a girlfriend. During a series of meet-ups at odd hours of the day, she knows she has no chance but can't help to daydream. After weeks of not seeing him, he resurfaces and this time minus the girlfriend. Will this be her chance of making something happen or will Gretchen continue to let things slip by the wayside? Once you get to know HLG you will find him just as irresistible as Gretchen does. This is a couple who you will root for and hopefully, by the new year, things will all work out for all. Until January is all about what the New Year can bring and that is the best thing about it right? It’s all about life’s endless possibilities.


Day 10 of 25 Days of Christmas: The Holiday Jingles Set by Christianne C. Jones

Holiday Jingles Set by Christianne C. Jones and Emma Randall [Illustrator]
Published: August 2015
Publisher: Picture Window Books/Capstone
Rating: 5/5

My Thoughts
This is the cutest set of children’s Christmas books I’ve seen in forever! The pictures are vivid and amazing and each story is so cute your children can’t help but get drawn in. This is a great way to get the kids involved and the rhyming story is something everyone can get into. While the suggested age is 2 I dare you not to fall in love with these whimsical characters that make the season a little brighter. These are bound to put smiles on the faces of all ages.


Day 9 of 25 Days of Christmas: Miss Christmas by Gigi Garrett

Miss Christmas by Gigi Garrett
Published: November 27, 2015
Format: free Kindle read
Rating: 5/5

Holly Kuhn is on the hunt for The Tree, but could she possibly find The One along the way?

Next to Santa Claus, Holly Kuhn has one of the most important Christmas jobs out there. She’s the Director of Horticulture at Rockefeller Center, which means she’s in charge of finding the biggest and most perfect Norway spruce and transporting it to Manhattan. When she stumbles upon The Tree of her dreams on an idyllic Massachusetts dairy farm, Miss Christmas—as she’s called—is on seventh heaven. That is, until she meets the farm’s owner, handsome Sam McCary, and discovers he doesn’t share her holiday spirit.

Will Holly be able to convince him to share his tree with the world? Or will workaholic Holly learn that sometimes there’s something even more important than tinsel-trapped success?

Join Holly and Sam—along with a colorful supporting cast and charming small town—as they discover that Christmas miracles are all around us, if we’re only willing to see them in plain sight.

My Thoughts
This short holiday read is simply a must! Miss Christmas focuses on Holly who is in charge of finding the perfect tree to grace Rockefeller center. Christmas and trees are her specialty, she grew up on a Christmas tree farm and nothing makes her happier than finding the one. In an effort in making her job number one she has put everything including finding love on the back burner. All until one day when she receives a letter from a little boy who claims he has the perfect tree and must came by and see it. Call it faith or coincidence she not only finds the perfect tree but maybe even The One…as in his uncle Sam. As in some things in life nothing goes off as planned when Sam refuses to give up his family’s tree. Will Holly get her tree and her man or is she destined to spend another Christmas alone? This is one romantic read that is bound to pull on the heart strings which in my opinion makes the most wonderful Christmas read.


Blog Tour: Christmas Confessions & Cocktails by Vicki Lesage

American-turned-Parisian Vicki tells it like it is, from her crazy Christmases growing up in the Midwest to her even crazier holidays in her new home in France. Bizarre gifts, stomach-turning food, and holiday travel disasters are just some of the tales you'll chuckle at in this installment of the Paris Confessions series. 

This Christmas-themed memoir features 25 funny and heartwarming essays, all with a tenuous tie to Christmas, and pairs each with a delicious drink recipe. So grab your martini shaker and get ready for tasty cocktails and hearty laughs this holiday season! 

A humorous collection of holiday-inspired stories with Christmas drink recipes

If you're looking for a great read this holiday season, don't miss Christmas Confessions & Cocktails! The 25 stories in this holiday collection take you on an adventure full of Christmas spirit (and spirits, including Christmas cocktail recipes like Christmas Cookie Martini, Peppermintini, and Glitter & Gold). And it makes the perfect Christmas gift! 

Add to Goodreads / Buy: Amazon

December 7 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
December 8 – A Southern Girls Bookshelf – Excerpt
December 8 - Chick Lit Goddess – Q&A & Excerpt
December 8 – Living Life With Joy – Q&A & Excerpt
December 9 – Readsalot – Excerpt
December 10 – Around the World in Books – Excerpt
December 11 – Caroline Fardig – Excerpt
December 11 – Granny Loves to Read – Review
December 15 – Whispering Stories – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
December 16 – Love Chick Lit – Review
December 16 – My Pretty Little Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
December 16 – One Book At a Time – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
December 16 – Leigh Anderson Romance – Q&A, Guest Post & Excerpt
December 17 – Book Lover in Florida – Review & Excerpt
December 18 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
December 18 – A Page To Turn – Review

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      About Vicki
Bestselling author Vicki Lesage proves daily that raising two French kids isn't as easy as the hype lets on. In her three minutes of spare time per week, she writes, sips bubbly, and prepares for the impending zombie apocalypse. She lives in Paris with her French husband, rambunctious son, and charming daughter, all of whom mercifully don't laugh when she says "au revoir." She penned the Paris Confessions series in between diaper changes and wine refills. She writes about the ups and downs of life in the City of Light at VickiLesage.com.

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Excerpt from Christmas Confessions & Cocktails by Vicki Lesage

“Christmas is a few days away!” I said, giddy with excitement. “What kind of cookies do you want to leave out for Santa?”
Mika stared back at me blankly.
“You know... how we leave out milk and cookies for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve?”
Still no clue.
“I know Leo is a bit young but it’s an excuse for us to eat cookies!”
“Sorry,” he said, snapping out of it. “I was confused. In France we leave out carrots and water. For the reindeer.”
No wonder the French are so skinny.
If that was the tradition in the U.S., not only would we have less of an obesity problem, but I might not have ever figured out Santa wasn’t real.
Each Christmas, Stephen and I would faithfully set out cookies and milk, selecting different treats each year so that Santa wouldn’t get bored.
“Should we give him Oreos or Pitter Patters?” I asked my four-year-old brother one holiday season.
He pondered the question with the seriousness it deserved. “We got Oreos last year. What about Chips Ahoy? They’re the yummiest!”
“Yeah! Mommy, can you please buy Chips Ahoy for Santa?” I asked.
“Sure, honey.”
Except she didn’t. ’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a Chips Ahoy was in sight, nor Nestle Tollhouse.
“Mommy, what’s this?” I asked, eyeing the plate of Fig Newtons set out next to a glass of water.
“I thought Santa might want something different this year. He’ll like it, you’ll see.”
Nobody liked Fig Newtons except Mom. And water? Who preferred water with cookies when you had the choice of milk? Except for Mom.
Wait a minute...
At six years old, I wasn’t 100% positive about my assumption. Plus, I didn’t want to sabotage my chance of getting gifts if there really was a Santa Claus. I decided to play along, just to be safe.
The next morning, bountiful presents were packed under the Christmas tree. Whew, Santa had come after all.
But then I discovered a second clue. “Mommy, Santa Claus has the same handwriting as you,” I said, pointing to a gift tag.
“What a coincidence!”
“And he liked Fig Newtons and water, just like you.”
“Well isn’t that funny!”
“Yes, that is funny.” I was on to her but didn’t want to ruin Stephen’s fun.
But he was on to her, too. “Wait a minute, Mommy. Are YOU Santa Claus?”
She was caught red-handed.
If only we had set out carrots and water for the “reindeer,” we kids would have never been the wiser. Because if there’s one thing Mom likes more than Fig Newtons (and one thing even more boring than Fig Newtons), it’s carrot sticks.