Santa Claus is coming to town, and so are the Tucker sisters.
Never mind a pony. The Tucker girls have inherited their father's horse farm for Christmas. Make that a run-down horse farm. It needs some serious TLC in order to make it sell-ready. Joanna knows that by recruiting her sisters and one handsome ranch hand they can fix up the place and even celebrate one last Christmas while they're at it. However, to Isabella, returning to their home in Kentucky bluegrass country for Christmas seems like an impossible hurdle. Can her Chicago boyfriend make life merry and bright again?
One thing's for sure: nothing is peace on earth for Sophia as a new beau brings up old wounds. And when the fate of the horse farm is put in jeopardy because Amy accidentally fraternizes with the enemy, tensions rise. But it's not like the land developer stole Christmas . . . just her heart.
Can the Tucker sisters have themselves a merry little Christmas?
My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, I had high hopes of reading all the Christmas books in my to-read pile before Christmas! Alas, I failed. SLEIGH BELLS RING is a collection of four novellas by four different authors. Stories, authors, and blurbs are listed below:
All I Want for Christmas by Sandra D. Bricker: JoJo Tucker is surprised to learn that her father, who recently passed away, left her and her sisters a horse farm in Kentucky. She learned this by receiving a final letter from him. None of the girls had been on speaking terms with their father in some time. JoJo returns home and encounters her first crush, Jed Weatherly. Jed’s been working at the farm since her father died to keep things afloat. She figures it is in everyone’s best interest to sell the farm, and she makes plans to get all of her sisters together for Christmas. However, will they be receptive to her plans? Will Jed be able to help JoJo’s Christmas wish come true?
My thoughts: This was a beautiful story, with an energetic, excessively happy heroine who refused to let life get her down, even though she did grieve her father's death. I loved how she waltzed into the ranch house and everyone immediately loved her while she went to work trying to get her sisters to come home for Christmas. I love Ms. Bricker's fun-filled stories while still dealing with real emotions.
Her Old Kentucky Home by Lynette Sowell: Bella Tucker decides to spend Christmas at her old Kentucky farm with her sisters, at JoJo's request. Bella's job is shaky, so she figures the timing is perfect. Her boyfriend David will go along to visit his own family. He would love to move back to Kentucky, but he is not sure how Bella feels. JoJo and Bella discover some unopened letters their father had sent to their mother while he was in the military. Will these letters bring clarity to the sisters? Will David’s career plans be the end of their relationship? My thoughts: Bella suffers from wanderlust like her father, so she is considering breaking up with her boyfriend because she's tired of their 'long distance relationship' even though they live in the same apartment building since they both travel all the time. This story was rather flat, the characters weren't as well developed. I also didn't like that they lied (though it was about seemingly unimportant things.).And Bella was RUDE!!! But it was a sweet homecoming story.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Barbara J. Scott: The first person Sophie Tucker encounters when she returns home to visit with her sisters is her high school crush Matthew Weatherly. He rescues the vet from a car accident. Matthew knows that their father wanted to make amends with the girls, and he hopes to convince them that there was a different side to their father than they knew. Matt would love for her to stay in Kentucky, but will Sophie’s past make it too painful? Can she admit her feelings and take a chance on an unknown future? My thoughts: I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS has the strongest faith message in the book (so far) and I liked that. Matt and Sophie were childhood best friends and both of them had a whole arsenal of pet names for each other that they used frequently. I liked the way Sarah gave Matt a hard time about loving Sophie and not admitting it and I loved the way Matt was the one who led Tuck to the Lord and became a Navy hospital corpsman with the Marines like my husband did. None of the sisters played a major part in this book, it was more focused on the romance. A feel good, sweet story. Please Come Home for Christmas by Lenora Worth: Amy Tucker Brosseau is a single mother working at a café in New Orleans. While she had been angry with her father, she does agree to return to Kentucky, despite numerous bad memories. She just wants to let go of the farm and her past. She meets Dan Wentworth, who is interested in purchasing the farm. Amy plans to convince her sisters to sell it to him, but will something change her mind? My thoughts: PLEASE COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS features another rude sister, like Belle. Amy has had some hurts and while she wants to sell she doesn't like the guy who wants to buy. What will she do? Her son loves it in Kentucky, she's the only hold-out on selling and... I really didn't see what Dan liked about her. Feisty, yes. Prickly, yes. He saw that too. Dan was really nice despite being the "go after what I want and no one will stop me type."
That said, SLEIGH BELLS RING has a really good solution to the "to sell or not to sell" decision that I liked, though one of the relationships was not set in stone and it's the readers guess whether or not it will be. If you like Christmas romance novellas (contemporary) this would be a good read, for any time of the year.