Monday, 4 December 2017

Miranda's Bumper Christmas Musings!

Eight Stunning Christmas Romances


Darlings, it's officially the countdown to CHRISTMAS! Oh, I love this part of the year, I truly do, and I particularly love Christmas romances. Do you?

Christmas romances are the gift that I give myself. By October I'm looking through my shelves and Kindle for the ones I didn't read in previous years, and I'm on the lookout for wonderful newies. Somehow they give me all the festive emotional feels, and help me relax in the crazy busy lead up to the season. So let me share a few with you - and luckily some are quick reads we can all squeeze in for our sanity!


Picture credit: amazon.com


A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt is a warm fuzzy book, set in snowy Thornthwaite in the Lakes District in England. I googled it and the gorgeous pictures blew me away. Anna, one of four Holley sisters, comes home to her parent's vicarage for the first time in a few years. She's socially awkward and still haunted by a family tragedy that happened years ago. She doesn't expect to find Simon - her father's new curate - such a wonderfully warm, strong, understanding shoulder to lean on. I finished this on the train and tried desperately not to sob out loud. A lovely, sweet story.


Picture credit: amazon.com


While we're in England, there's also The Wallflower's Mistletoe Wedding by Amanda McCabe, a tender story about Rose, impoverished gentlewoman, and Captain Harry St. George, newly returned from the horrors of war. He needs a rich wife to fix his crumbling estate. Will love win out? (I guess you know, this is a romance after all, but oh, ho, ho, how fabulous this was to read).


Picture credit: amazon.com


Still in snowy England, we have everyone's fave author Anna Campbell's stunning new novella, The Christmas Stranger. Architect Josiah and housekeeper Maggie (although she was previously from an ‘upstairs’ refined family) become snowed-in at an isolated property in the Yorkshire wilds for Christmas. Two super lonely people find each other...This is so tender, big sigh. Thanks Anna, another Regency winner - and I loved Josiah's occupation!


Picture credit: amazon.com


Whizzing over to the USA, I discovered an author I haven't read for a while, tug-at-your-heartstrings Catherine Anderson with The Christmas Room. I'm not going to tell you what 'the Christmas room' is, exactly, but it's a beautiful surprise. This book has two romances; bonus! Widowed author Maddie, her son Cam and teenage grandson Caleb have relocated to a spread in Rustler’s Gulch, Montana. Cam meets Kirstin Conacher, the neighbour’s daughter, and all hell breaks loose when he starts to woo her. Sam Conacher is one mean man since his wife died, and he’s not going to let anyone date his daughter without a fight. No surprise, Cam is up for it, and he's such a wonderful hero my heart went pitter-pat. But Catherine Anderson does put everyone through the wringer here...!

Still with me? Four more to go, and wow, these next books are just as fabbo as the first four.


Picture credit: amazon.com


I had stars in my eyes when I read A Very Aussie Christmas. Written by our very own BITB bloggers Marilyn Forsyth, Cassandra Samuels, Enisa Haines, and Sharon Bryant, plus Helene Cowan and Lynne Boyd, this is the absolutely perfect book of short stories to read at Christmas. Each one can be read with a cup of coffee as you sit down for a quick break - or a cup of Christmas cheer. In fact, my big sister bought it, read it, and said how wonderful it was to have a short rest from reality plus a great read. And I always agree with my big sister or else there'll be trouble. (Kidding, dear one...)


Picture credit: amazon.com


Another fun, quick novella is Heart Note by Cassandra O'Leary. And gosh, isn't that a terrific cover? Very festive. Set in a department store in the lead-up to Christmas, this is a behind-the-scenes look at the Perfume Department, and Security. There's a light suspense, a lot of romance, and heaps of comic moments and sassy inner dialogue from Lily, the intrepid heroine, particularly in relation to yummy security guard Christos. Everything to love here, folks, and I enjoyed the retail setting. Makes you want to give every tired shop assistant a hug. (Better not, but still.)


Picture credit: amazon.com


Every year I totally hang out for Debbie Macomber's Christmas book. It's always a sweet romance, family oriented, and beautifully Christmassy. Yes, yes and yes again this year with Merry and Bright - thanks Debbie! Heroine Merry is stressed, working hard for her unappreciative boss Jayson, plus coping with overload from a warm, loving but needy family. In the lead up to Christmas, her mother and endearing brother sign her onto an online dating website for her birthday (Dec 26th). And yes, she does meet someone...but then it gets complicated when her real world and her online world collide. Takes a special author to pull this one off, and Debbie has delivered again. Hmm-mm, just lovely!


Picture credit: amazon.com


Last but whoa, so definitely not least, is another emotional Cinderella romance from Marion Lennox, who hit my heart with The Billionaire's Christmas Baby. NY based billionaire Max, in Australia for his father's funeral, suddenly has tiny baby Phoebe (and you'll have to read it to find out where she came from) foist upon him. Sunny, his hotel room cleaner, has very definite ideas about what he should do with little Phoebe. This is a man who has never been loved, or been able to love, folks...so what happens is a miracle. Babies + Christmas = So! Much! Love! Happy sigh.

And now, a huge thanks to all the special people out there who've read along with me in 2017 - what fun we've had. I hope Santa finds out you've been very nice, yes you have, and that your stocking is stuffed with books.

Be kind, be safe, be happy this Christmas.


Until 2018, much love from

Miranda xxx


Love to love:

Looking forward to the next Christmas book on my list, an older one from 2010: Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by inspirational author Donita K Paul. Magical booksellers in this one, people!

Love to laugh:

...at how I cry in Christmas movies. Seriously, I always need tissues. (Mops up...)

Love to learn:

What is your favourite Christmas romance? You never know, your fave might become my fave. Tell me?

 

22 comments:

  1. Oh, my goodness! Sqeeee! What lovely company The Christmas Stranger is in (if he's in company, does that mean he's no longer a stranger?). Thank you, Miranda.

    I'm so happy you loved this story - I've done Christmas romps the last couple of years and I wanted to do something really heart warming this time round. And yeah, it was fun writing a man with what we'd call in the 21st a century a job!

    I'll check out your other recommendations. They all sound great. I think my favourite Christmas story is a novella by Courtney Milan called This Wicked Gift or The Christmas Cuckoo by Mary Jo Putney. Both absolutely brilliant and I've just checked - only 99 cents on Kindle.

    Wishing all the Breathless girls a wonderful Christmas! xxx

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    1. I could cope with your particular Christmas 'stranger', Anna, he is *gorgeous*. Personally speaking, I've looked forward to your Christmas novella for the last few years - you've created a precedent which your fans will expect you to keep up, you realise... Wonderful.
      Do you know, I've just checked and I have the Courtney Milan and the Mary Jo Putney novellas on my Kindle - unread! Gasp! I will be sorting *that* out between now and Christmas. Thanks for the recommendations. And have a wonderful Christmas and new year. Looking forward to reading whatever you produce next, you are an auto-read author for me. xx

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    2. Miranda, tickled pink you took to Joss! Have to laugh - you're so right. I was actually going to save Stranger for next Christmas because I had Mistletoe and the Major coming out this year as a standalone (it had previously appeared in an anthology that wasn't available for very long). Howls of protest - nice people like to get the new stories! Hope you enjoy the CM and MJP. I loved them. And thank you for the lovely auto buy comment! Happy Christmas!

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  2. Hi Miranda! These all sound so fabulous! I have Anna's novella on my kindle, ready to read and enjoy (when life slows down a little!). I'm a sucker for Christmas movies, too. I think my favourite will always be 'Love, Actually', although I do love checking out the new ones each year to see if I can find one to love as much. As for books, Cassandra's Heart Note is a fun little read (I used to work in retail when I was at College, although Walton's in Canberra was a far cry from this setting ;)). And, of course, there is our group's 'A Very Aussie Christmas', which I'm so glad you enjoyed.

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    1. One year I'll do Christmas movies as well, Marilyn! In fact I watched one with Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton called 'Joyful Noise' just last night (yes, needed the tissues again): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1710396/?ref_=nv_sr_1 . So many wonderful festive things to enjoy at this time of year, particularly 'A Very Aussie Christmas'! xx

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    2. And P.S. Marilyn, your story 'Home For Christmas' in A Very Aussie Christmas was delightful. A perfect new beginning... xx

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    3. Aww, thanks Miranda! You've made my day. :)

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    4. Marilyn, thanks for picking up my Stranger!

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  3. Oh, thanks so much for including Heart Note on this wonderful festive list! I love Anna Campbell's books so I might have to grab that one... I've also just downloaded a Christmas short story by a favourite romantic comedy author, Jennifer Crusie. Hot Toy sounds like loads of fun! Merry Christmas and happy reading, everyone. x

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    1. Oh, Cassandra, "Hot Toy' is hilarious. As is anything by Jennifer Crusie, quite frankly. Road rage translated to toy-shopping rage...! (But funny!) People with children have all been there... So glad you stopped by to say hello, we're just absolutely delighted to feature Heart Note on the blog. A lot of people have been in retail for holiday jobs, or just for the fun of it (I was a bookseller, and that was bliss). But Christmas does get a bit crazy, retail, wise, and I loved how you handled that in Heart Note. Have a wonderful Christmas and new year, and we all look forward to your next fab read. xx

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  4. As usual Miranda you have come through with the goods. Some great finds here.

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    1. Thanks, Cassandra, and I loved your story 'Millie's Christmas Miracle' in A Very Aussie Christmas. You've stepped out of your Regency zone to give us a wonderful historical novella set in dear old Oz - thankyou! Have a wonderful Christmas and happy reading.

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  5. Hi Miranda. Once again, you've done your magic and found some wonderful-sounding Christmas stories to read. Looking forward to reading them when I'm back from my travels.

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    1. Enisa, so glad you've found some suggestions to read. Loved your very emotional story 'Endings, Beginnings' in A Very Aussie Christmas! Enjoy your travels, and maybe sneak in a read or two while you're away.

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  6. So many fabulous suggestions Miranda! I think I'll start with The Billionaire's Christmas baby then keep reading right through this list.

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    1. Sharon, you can't go wrong. Marion Lennox is always a favourite with me, she has that magic touch in romance. And babies + Christmas really means everything to enjoy. Such a terrific story, 'Desert Fire' in the BITB anthology. Blown away that you can all put so much into such a short story. Amazing reading.

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  7. Thank you so, so much for the lovely mention of my Wallflower!! I had a wonderful time writing it, Regency Christmas traditions are fun to research. I always get out my collection of old Signet Regency Christmas novellas at this time of year and re-read them, the perfect bite-sized length for busy pre-Christmas days and so heartwarming (Carla Kelly always writes a good one)

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    1. Amanda, thanks so much for stopping by! How lovely to have you here. And yes, I love those Signet Regency Christmas novellas (including Carla Kelly's!). It was tragic when they stopped publishing them - my collection is never leaving my shelves. I thought your Harry and Rose were a perfect match, and so lovely for each other. I do hope you are going to write the brother's story...? Please? That should be fabulous to read. Enjoy your Christmas reading, and please keep writing, you are a gift to the world.

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  8. These all look so fabulous--thanks for including mine :) I love the Debbie Macomber covers, so sparkly and cozy-looking!

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    1. Kate, how delightful to have you stop by! Thankyou! I also love Debbie M's covers, they are so enticing and Christmassy, and often tactile as well, ready to grace a book lover's shelves. I cannot tell you how much I really enjoyed your 'A Vicarage Christmas' - it was a terrific read, and I certainly craved all the mince pies and Christmas cooking when reading it. My gosh, it was a feast to read. But I also loved your special characters and fell in love with Thornthwaite. So much so I've already pre-bought the second book in the series, 'A Vicarage Reunion', and can't wait to read it (February seems suddenly far too long to wait...but I must...). Yours was one of the first Christmas books I read this year - and what a 'first' it was. Thankyou! You made my heart happy.

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  10. I'm new to your blog/website courtesy of Anna Campbell (Long May She Reign) and I have to say: What a lovely treat. This list, as well as this site. You'll love Anna's recommendations. Wasn't the ending of The Christmas Stranger adorable?

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