Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Candy Cane Kisses

Candy Cane Kisses

Print Length: 876 pages
  • Publisher: Georgia Press LLC 
  • Publication Date: September 27, 2016
  • ASIN: B01HPP4Q34

From eight USA Today bestselling Christian authors come eight brand new contemporary Christian romance and romantic suspense stories to warm your heart this Christmas. This anthology debuted at #95 on the USA Today bestselling list!

First, the disclaimer.  "I bought this collection on Amazon. All opinions are my own." That done, we get to the stories and the books... 

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful by Susan May Warren

They kept each other alive…

CJ St. John never dreamed his epic summer as a smokejumper would end with a harrowing plane crash and turn him into an invalid. He wouldn’t have survived without brave fellow smokejumper Hannah Butcher. In fact, he probably fell in love with her that night. Hannah Butcher knows that without CJ, she would have failed her rookie summer. She admired him long before the crash, but lost her heart to him during their terrifying survival.

A winter storm awakens their memories—and fears…

Six months later, a mutual friend’s wedding throws Hannah and CJ together again, and their romance is stirred to life. But when a blizzard detours them, and they run off the road, they’ll have to face their darkest fears to survive. A Christmas story about the miracles that happen when the weather outside becomes frightful.

My thoughts:  OH, THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL was a cute story. I liked Hannah, and remembered the scenes (from reading Ms. Warren's three other books in this series) about Hannah and CJ being stranded together. But CJ seemed a bit whiny and a big jerk in this story, and I was glad he manned up a bit to try and get help. And I'm glad he realized he was a jerk. Hannah is strong - as CJ tells her. There are some unfinished threads in this novella, but I understand Ms. Warren rewrote it and doubled the length, so she may have connected all the dots. 

Deadly Night, Silent Night  by Margaret Daley

Revenge. Sabotage. Second Chances. Widow Rebecca Howard runs a successful store chain that is being targeted during the holiday season. Detective Alex Kincaid, best friends with Rebecca’s twin brother, is investigating the hacking of the store’s computer system. When the attacks become personal, Alex must find the assailant before Rebecca, the woman he’s falling in love with, is murdered.

My thoughts: DEADLY NIGHT, SILENT NIGHT is book eight in this series, but it stands alone. Rebecca is a business woman and fighting to save her business and her life. I had plenty of suspects and some valid guesses, but Ms. Daley surprised me by whodunit. I thoroughly enjoyed this story but about froze to death as the hero and heroine tracked through subzero frozen tundra in Alaska when I read this. 

The Wonder of His Love by Kimberly Rae Jordan

Noella Crawford knows exactly what she wants in a man, and it’s not Finlay Kinnaird. But in spite of Noella’s best efforts to keep Finn at arm’s length, the man is determined to prove he’s the one she needs. As the Christmas season approaches, will Noella let her heart lead the way? Or will past hurts keep her from experiencing the wonder of love?

My thoughts:   Meh.   I liked Finn okay, but Noella was a piece of work.  I get that she was abandoned by an irresponsible mother, and she shared her birthday with Christmas but she needed counseling and drove me nuts. She wanted a rich man and Finn is not he because he is a mechanic and lives in a trailer.  Well, I get that appearances are deceiving but talk about convenient when his true story opens up.  Then Noella was all lovely dovey and all talks of a prenup ended.    

Calm and Bright by Autumn Macarthur

Maddie Hughes knows her charming but unreliable ex-husband will once again disappoint their son with broken promises this Christmas. But Brad’s changed. He’ll do whatever it takes to win her back. Even working in her grandmother’s quirky Huckleberry Lake gift shop. Can they allow God to heal their broken marriage and broken hearts before his career tears them apart?

My thoughts:  These types of stories always start out depressing me (divorce, kids, and fighting out their  marital problems in the pages of the book) and I ended up asking my poor husband "Do you love me?" I know he does, but I need the extra reassurance.  Calm and Bright is well written and engaging. I understood why Maddie wanted to live where she did and didn't want to live where Brad needed to be for work. I also understood why Brad's job wasn't conducive to her wants. Neither were prepared to give. The ending was a bit rushed and predictable, but overall it was a good story. 

Heavenly Peace by Lesley Ann McDaniel

Christmas is just around the corner, but widowed mom Valerie is too stressed to enjoy it. When the tag her son picks off a Giving Tree leads her to a handsome stranger named Jake, a request for a miracle might be just what they both need to restore their joy. 

My thoughts: Oh, this is a lovely story!  I loved Valerie and Jake and Valerie's sweet dad and son.  I loved the theme running through it.  I didn't like that interfering woman who tried to convince Valerie she'd lose her salvation if she remarried even though her husband died, but Jake was sweet and kind and unassuming, accepting the tentative friendship Valerie offered and withdrawing when Val pulled away. Great story!   

Wish You Joy by Jan Thompson

Christmastown USA has a new CEO. But owning a majority share of the holiday-decorating company makes no difference for Cyrus Theroux if the other 49 percent hates Christmas. Cyrus prays for a miracle to get through Christmas with his reluctant business partner…

My thoughts: This one stars with the hero and heroine fighting like cats and dogs when they met and then wham they are boyfriend and girlfriend.  I didn't like either one of the main characters at all, but I did love the idea of a year-round Christmas store. The heroine had a lot to deal with that she didn't know that might have contributed to her curtness.  

A Husband for Holly by Marion Ueckermann

Holly Blume loves decorating people’s homes, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to play house. Believing a house is not a home without a woman’s touch, there’s nothing Reverend Christopher Stewart would like more than a wife. But what woman would consider him marriage material, with an aging widowed father suffering from Alzheimer’s to look after? Can Christopher reform Holly’s heart while she redesigns his home?

My thoughts:  Great story. I was drawn into this one from the beginning and it didn't let loose until the end. I really loved Christopher and Holly and her sister Heather.  I loved the idea of a secret tunnel.  The father was a dear and I loved the way everyone acted with him and treated him. A very sweet, satisfying romance. Loved this.  

Maid for Marriage by Susette Williams

Her parents disinherited Zelina Zervos after she refused to honor their arranged marriage to a man she hadn’t seen since they were children. Drake Giannopoulos had his own reservations about marrying a virtual stranger, but his wounded ego isn’t about to let him take no for an answer.

My thoughts:  Very short, but the author explained that. Too quick forming romance and based on looks. Ex he fell in love with her from her picture and loved her ever since. What if he looks fade?  Not my favorite in this collection.         


Marion Ueckermann said...

Thanks for the review of Candy Cane Kisses, Laura.

Marilyn R. said...

Sounds like a nice read for this special time of the year. Thank you for sharing.

Autumn Macarthur said...

Thanks for taking time to read and review, Laura! :)