The Great Santa Showdown

The best thing about today wasn’t winning—it was getting to know you.

Glenn Quigley
The Great Santa Showdown

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
It’s two weeks before Christmas, and the official Santa Claus of the small town of Yuleboro is retiring. The town takes Christmas seriously, with year-round celebrations, themed diners and guesthouses, and a Santa Claus who makes regular public appearances.

Fifty-something bookstore owner Gregory has long dreamed of taking over the role. However, he’s far from the only one. Grandfather and tree farmer John has been waiting his whole life for this opportunity and plans to seize it with both hands, despite objections from his daughter.

Alongside a host of other competitors, they’ll battle their way through a tournament designed to test the skills of any would-be Kris Kringles, and find it takes more than a belly and a beard to wear the red suit. As Gregory and John go head to head in the town’s first-ever Great Santa Showdown, will it be more than just the competition that heats up?

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating between Gregory and John.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
The Great Santa Showdown is a fun and no angst short story about two mature men competing to become Yuleboro’s next Santa. While they start out as adversaries they quickly bond over their shared passion of epitomizing Jolly ol’ St. Nick. Yuleboro is a year-round homage to Christmas and every business in the small town gets into the spirit.

Quigley’s always vivid writing offers a nice mix of world building, humor, and budding romance. The story ends with a sweet first kiss for John and Gregory, but it’s easy to see the promise of a happy future together. Adorable holiday read.

I received an advanced copy of the ebook from the author and am leaving an honest review.

About the author:
Glenn Quigley is an author and artist originally from Tallaght in Dublin, Ireland, and now living in Lisburn, Northern Ireland with his partner of many years.

His first novel, The Moth and Moon, was published in 2018. When not writing, he paints portraits in watercolours and tweets too many photos of lighthouses. 

You can connect with Glenn Quigley here:

My Favorite Quotes

“If all it takes is a belly and a beard, I’ve got you beat on
both counts.”

“Floyd pulled his scarf up over his mouth. “Why don’t we
just pick the guy with the biggest sack?”

“It’s not canon. It’s not official Santa Claus lore. It’s…fanfiction.”

“The best thing about today wasn’t winning—it was getting to know you.”

Resolve: A New Year’s Anthology for Choice

A single thought enters my mind: I’m going to get that girl to marry me. And I don’t even know her name.

Karen Grey
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
What’s your New Year’s resolution?

Eleven of today’s most entertaining contemporary romance authors have teamed up to support reproductive choice in the new year. This anthology features feel-good fiction that’s heartwarming, often hilarious, and hot enough to light your sparklers. So raise a cup of kindness to the days of auld lang syne, and settle in for a steamy read.

100% of the royalties from this collection will benefit the National Network of Abortion Funds.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Ch-ch-ch-Changes by Karen Grey

Fans of Grey’s Boston Classics series will enjoy this novella as a fun addition, however it’s also a great chance to check out her writing style. As always, I appreciate her ability to mix serious topics, budding romance, a little conflict, and humor into her stories.

Spanning a decade, Grey gives us vignettes of several New Year’s Eves for Sam and Dee. From their meeting while working/volunteering at Planned Parenthood to life as a married couple and then as parents. As with many marriages – there are hard times, big decisions, and sacrifices made. However their love, laughter, and dedication to each other shines through and they get a lovely HEA.

Content Warnings (possible spoilers):
Check individual stories for CWs.

I’ve preordered the book, but received an ARC for Ch-ch-ch-Changes by Karen Grey. I’ll add more thoughts on individual stories as I read them.

My Favorite Quotes

“A single thought enters my mind: I’m going to get that girl to marry me. And I don’t even know her name.” – Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes by Karen Grey

“From our first date, which ended in bed, smelling Sam has been one of my favorite pastimes.” – Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes by Karen Grey

Merry Christmas, Baby

I ain’t perfect, but I love you, Sunday. Don’t you ever doubt that.

Alexandria House
Merry Christmas, Baby

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Having to work on Christmas Eve is bad. Having to work the graveyard shift on Christmas Eve is worse. Having to work the graveyard shift on Christmas Eve when your life is a mess? Well, that’s some BS. There doesn’t seem to be a Merry Christmas in store for Sunday Marks, but maybe one call can change that.

Point of view:
1st person. Entirely from Sunday’s perspective.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I spotted this on Melanated Reader’s IG and immediately added it to my TBR.

Normally, I would scoff at a story that only covers a few hours – but Alexandria House is masterful at packing a lot into a short. Nothing felt missing at all. Sunday is working on Christmas Eve at a job she hates and is realizing that her relationship with long time love, Justin, may be over. She’s standing up for herself and not putting up with being second (third, or fourth) in his life. Little does she know that Justin has big plans for her and them.

Sexy desktop interlude, fun banter, sexting, fexting, and ultimately an HEA. Quick and enjoyable holiday read.

About the author:
Alexandria House is a former RN turned full-time independent author who pens steamy, relatable stories about black love. Since 2016, she has penned and released 29 works including six series, two novelettes, several shorts stories, story compilations, and one poetry collection. Known for writing engaging dialogues and swoon-worthy male characters, most notably Everett “Big South” McClain of her McClain Brothers series, Ms. House has deemed herself a purveyor and proselytizer of black love. Her books consistently land atop Amazon’s African American Romance bestsellers list and she is the recipient of many reader-driven awards.

Her books have been included among other “must-read” lists published to sites such as Shondaland, Oprah Magazine, and BookRiot. She is also the author of two Audible Original projects.

When she’s not engaging her readers on social media, you can find this Arkansas native writing her next bestseller or feeding her fashion addiction.


You can connect with Alexandria House here:

My Favorite Quotes

“Snowing. In Mississippi. The hell?”

“I ain’t perfect, but I love you, Sunday. Don’t you ever doubt that.”

Easy Street

Against all odds, JJ thought, the cavalry is coming.

S.J. Varengo & CRAIG A. HART
Easy Street

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Jennifer June “JJ” Porter learned a great deal about killing at a very young age.

Now she’s trying to keep people alive.

The daughter of Cleanup Crew assassin Nicole Porter, JJ has moved her base of operations to Los Angeles, where she waits desperately for a real case. One comes from a trucker who is worried about a high school girl and sends her to Bakersfield.

And although J.J. works away from LA, she ends up much closer to Hollywood than she ever expected.

Meet a young private investigator, a twisted postal worker, and two British brothers, and the teenaged runaway who brings them all together.

Point of view:
3rd person. Various character perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I was looking for a little break from all my romance (and holiday) reads and this turned out to be perfect. I enjoyed Varengo & Hart’s storytelling that combined thoughtful character building, mystery, suspense, and a little bit of humor.

The killer is introduced in chapter one and his perspective is threaded throughout the book in a way that made me feel like I got to know him. Instead of ruining the mystery it heightened the suspense and humanized his, still deplorable, actions.

JJ Porter is a really unique Private Investigator – coming from a spycraft background but reeling from personal losses, she was a great mix of competent but still somewhat flawed. I don’t like my protagonists too perfect and she was balanced well here.

Her first real gig as a P.I. brings a questionable client and the elusive task of finding a newly 18yo runaway. As the story unfolds, it’s apparent that Tasha is in the sights of a serial killer hunting sex workers and JJ is rushing to catch up before it’s too late. JJ is joined by an unlikely sidekick, a dashing British movie star. Their banter brings some levity as well as more information about her background.

As with any thriller, I don’t want to give too much away in the review. I liked the pacing, world building, and suspense. I finished it in two days (and it only took that long because I started it too late the night before). There’s definitely a complete story here. However, there’s a tease to book 2 and it’s also obvious there’s much more to learn about JJ. I’m looking forward to more.

Note: There’s an afterward where Varengo details a bit about the history of sex work showing that while there may have been some irreverence in the fictional novel – it shows the authors understand and respect the nuances of the subject.

Narration:
Stephanie Nemeth-Parker was a great choice for the book. She skillfully becomes JJ in all her nuances while simultaneously representing an entire cast of characters. Accents, personalities, emotional scenes are performed seamlessly. Combined with the superb writing this was an outstanding listen.

While I purchased the ebook, I received a copy of the audiobook from the narrator and am leaving an honest review.

About the authors:
The authors have a website for their joint ventures at E2Books:

Craig A. Hart is the stay-at-home father of twin boys, an author, narrator, and audio executive producer. He was also director for Northern Illinois Radio Information Service, a broadcast outreach that brought daily news and information to the visually impaired. A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Craig lives in Iowa City, Iowa with his wife, sons, insane dog, and anti-social cat. You can connect with Craig A. Hart here:

S.J. Varengo was born in 1960, in a city called New York. He returned to New York City to attend Fordham University before transferring to the State University of New York at Potsdam, from which he earned a bachelor’s degree in Art History. Varengo loves to read, listen to music, and walk along forested trails with his wife Kim. He lives in Baldwinsville, NY, a suburb of Syracuse, known for its picturesque setting and its friendly people. He has two adult children of whom he is obnoxiously proud.

You can connect with S.J. Varengo here:

My Favorite Quotes

“Just go. Just go away.”

“The man who kept to the shadows as he followed her, clearly moving in the direction of Easton Street, was the Easy Street Killer.”

“If you meet a psychopath in a small city, you’re just as dead as if you’d met him in Denver, LA, New York, or the frigging planet/city Coruscant from Star Wars.”

“JJ liked stories where the hero didn’t need any damn man”

“I’m finding this conversation both very sexy and very annoying.”

“against all odds, JJ thought, the cavalry is coming.”

Daring the Duke

She’d taken a risk and dared a duke to marry her, and it was all turning up roses.

Charlie Lane
Daring the Duke

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
A redheaded bluestocking in desperate need of a wealthy husband.
A handsome duke looking for his perfect duchess.
And a dare that shows that opposites may not only attract but can be so much more.

Lady Tabitha Hampton has the memory of an elephant. Her sharp brain locks everything away tight as a trunk in an attic. But this talent fails to help the twenty-seven-year-old bluestocking attract the attention of a single wealthy suitor. And she needs one. With three sisters of marriageable age, a sickly father, and a series of bad investments that left them impoverished, Tabitha’s marriage could save or ruin her entire family.

Arthur, the Duke of Collingford needs a wife but not just any lady will do. Arthur’s future duchess must be perfect in every way—fair of face, impeccable manners, with enough social influence to impact his parliamentary projects. When he joins the whirl of the London season, the duke finds an insufferable, redheaded wallflower instead.

Tabitha insists she can be the perfect duchess, if he’ll only give her the chance. Arthur agrees to test her abilities, but she tests his control. And one taste of her lips is enough to make him question everything.

Opposites may attract, but can they cooperate? Or will they lose everything, including their hearts?

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating between Tabitha and Arthur’s perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This is my first time reading Charlie Lane and it won’t be my last. Daring the Duke was so much fun!

Tabitha and her friends are bored with the ton and decide on little dares to preoccupy themselves. When one is at the expense of the Duke of Collingford (Arthur), Tabitha finds herself on the path to becoming a Duchess. Arthur and Tabitha both have a list of what would make the perfect spouse, and neither list includes love. These two were a great contrast to each other – both trying to fulfill family obligations in different ways, denying who they are for the sake of appearances, and reclaim losses.

It’s obvious this marriage of convenience is going to turn into so much more. The situations these two find themselves in, sometimes of their own doing, are such fun. A little angst as they face some of Arthur’s judgmental family, but overall just a delightful and swoony read.

I like that the secondary characters are more than just dropped in to tease future books. They are integral to the story and a lot of fun as well. This is a series I’ll definitely be continuing.

About the author:
I’m Charlie Lane, author of lighthearted and hot Regency romance. If you’re looking for an unpredictable historical romance with contemporary sensibilities and lots of laughs and steam, you’re in the right place!

You can connect with Charlie Lane here:

My Favorite Quotes

“She should have learned her lesson by now. But she hadn’t, and now she’d upset a Very Important Duke-ish Person.”

“What if the perfect woman did not exist? What if, instead, she must be created?”

“He lifted a corner of his mouth. Thank goodness. Had it been both corners, she’d have swooned on the spot.”

“Who knew her perfect duke of a husband had a soft spot for fields of flowers and champagne picnics?”

“I find the closer my association with you grows, the more scandalous I become.”

“She’d taken a risk and dared a duke to marry her, and it was all turning up roses.”

“He set his lips to hers and then lowered his body over hers, every inch of them touching and fitting perfectly together.”

What Happens in Carolina

What’s happening in this moment feels so right and good I choose to listen to the warmth and strength of his arms around me.

Karen Grey
What Happens in Carolina

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
First, there’s only one office. Then, there’s only one bed. Then there’s only one condom.

I’m over the moon when I land my first-ever writing job on a new TV show that’s like, da bomb. So what if my old boss twisted her son’s arm to get me the job?

I’m not so enthused when I have to share an office the size of a broom closet with a grumpy guy who ignores me. I don’t care if he’s totally fly. I’ve got enough on my plate trying to come up with high concept storylines and punchy dialogue for hormone-filled teenagers—the actors and the characters—while being hazed in the writers’ room.

Things begin to heat up between us on a work trip to the gorgeous coastal filming location for our show, but when a hurricane threatens, sharing an office is the last thing we need to worry about.

Point of view:
1st Person. Alternating between Tina & George’s perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This novella is book 1.5 in Karen Grey’s Carolina Classics series. Some of the events are concurrent with those in book 1, You Get What You Give and also contains slight spoilers for it. Series is definitely best enjoyed in order.

Fun addition for fans of the series. I enjoyed George and Tina. They’re kind of opposites attract and find they have more in common than they realize. I admit I love forced proximity and “only one hotel room with only one bed” tropes, so this was great for me.

George is a bit of a gentle giant/quirky nerd and Tina is an empathic writer who is bucking her family’s vision for her life. Lots of laughs in this one as well as hunkering down during a hurricane. I adore that Tina loves what so many others have criticized George for.

They get a cute and somewhat open ended HFN. I’m hoping Grey will give us glimpses of them in future books. They’re an adorable couple.

I received an advanced copy of the ebook from Home Cooked Books and am leaving an honest review.

About the author:
Karen Grey is the pen name for award-winning audiobook narrator Karen White. A stage, screen and radio drama actor in Boston, New York and Los Angeles in the late 20thcentury, she balanced child-rearing and career for most of the 2000’s. Now, she’s not only emptied her nest of children, she’s taken it and her many pets on the road, so she can spend more time with her nomadic TV sound mixer husband while she makes up happy-ending stories.

You can connect with Karen Grey here:

My Favorite Quotes

“Ah, baby writers. Growing like Tribbles around here.”

“Not too different from what I did on the cartoons, I guess. Just twice as long, less hockey, fewer explosions and one hundred percent more talking about sex.”

“For once, the vision isn’t in cartoon. It’s all too real and all too tempting.”

“I grab him by the shirt and pull him back in for another taste.”

“I. Want. More. Kissing.”

“her demeanor polite in that Southern way where it sounds like they’re being nice but underneath the treacly tone you know they’re reveling in the fact that they get to torture you.”

“What’s happening in this moment feels so right and good I choose to listen to the warmth and strength of his arms around me.”

“The hunger in his voice has me suddenly breathless with need.”

The Leaves in Autumn

Liking Barbra is not a small gift in my life. But loving her is so much more.

Leslie Pike
The Leaves in Autumn

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
A man saddled with grief, who isn’t looking for love…

A fiercely independent single woman…

And a friendship that should never become more…

Aargon

I’m not looking for love. Hell, I can barely see my way through to the end of every day, but I do it for my son. What choice do I have? Not exactly what I planned for my life, but this is where things ended up.

The one bright spot is my best friend, my favorite sparring partner, the funniest person I know, and the only woman who seems able to accept me without demanding more than I can give. Barbra.

And yeah, she’s sexy. But she’s leaving, and friends is all we can ever be.

Barbra

Being Aargon’s sister-in-law’s sister doesn’t make us blood. But it does mean we’ll be in each other’s lives… pretty much forever.

And that’s only reason number one why giving in to our desires would be a terrible idea. Reason number two? I’m months away from the trip I’ve been planning my whole life. I’m moving to Europe, and I have no plans to return.

But now? Europe’s shine has faded next to the spark and joy I feel igniting between us.

Point of view:
1st person. Alternating between Aargon & Barbra’s perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This is book 5 in the Lyon Family series. While Aargon & Barbra’s relationship is fully covered in this book – there are a lot of characters and events referred to from previous books. The series is best enjoyed in order starting with The Beach in Winter.

Another emotional ride with Leslie Pike and the Lyon Family. I was laughing so hard during most of this book. Not only the regular family antics and banter – but Aargon and Barbra have such a fun friendship. Their verbal sparring and over the top capers are delightful. Pike contrasts this with some serious emotions, feelings, and dealing with past trauma. I also want to share how impressed I was with how Pike handled Aargon going to therapy. He was not “cured” or “fixed” in a single session or with a few pithy phrases. It was hard work interspersed over the length of the book.

While these two have been friends for a few years, I like the way that Pike spreads their evolution to lovers… and more.. over six months. It’s also a subtle way to catch up with all the Lyon family members while solidifying Aargon & Barbra’s relationship. Family gatherings, big surprises and changes for everyone, not just the MCs. Especially poignant are Aargon’s conversations with his grown son, Teddy.

There’s a little epilogue for their HEA that was a total surprise to me. Where they ended up, not that it was an HEA – these two definitely belong together. No idea whether Pike is planning to continue the series or not, and while this would be a lovely conclusion, I wouldn’t mind getting to read some of the now-grown Lyon grandsons finding their own HEAs.

Content Warning (spoilers):
Suicide of Aargon’s wife/Teddy’s mom (past), death of Aargon’s sister (past), Barbra’s dysfunctional mother/upbringing (including a drunken scene)

I received an advanced copy of this ebook from the author and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

About the author:
USA TODAY bestselling author, Leslie Pike, has loved expressing herself through the written word since she was a child. The first romance “book” she wrote was at ten years old. The scene, a California Beach. The hero, a blonde surfer. The ending, happily forever after.

Leslie’s passion for film and screenwriting eventually led her to Texas for eight years, writing for a prime time CBS series. She’s traveled the world as part of film crews, from Africa to Israel, New York to San Francisco. Now she finds her favorite creative adventures taking place in her home, in Southern California, writing Contemporary Romance.

You can connect with Leslie Pike here:

My Favorite Quotes

“She is not afraid to speak her mind or tell me, in a hundred creative ways, to fuck off.”

“He was already shaped by grief when we met that day at the lake.”

“I don’t want us to be different with each other. I like who we have always been.”

“I’ve never known women who so aggressively believe in each other. Our friendship is like a religion.”

“I am losing adjectives to describe her appeal. They are never good enough.”

“My love for Teddy has always been indisputable. But right now, at this moment, it stands on the highest peak of the tallest mountain.”

“Liking Barbra is not a small gift in my life. But loving her is so much more.”

Her Naughty Holiday

Her heart caught in her chest at the sight of his grin.

Tiffany Reisz
Her Naughty Holiday

Format:
Audiobook

Note: The audio for this book is part of a box set that also includes Christmas with the Marine.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Clover Greene would sooner crawl into her oven than host family for Thanksgiving dinner. Yet another annual ritual of too much food, served with a side of criticism over “Clover’s Bad Life Choices.” This year, she needs to distract them all—with a handsome fake boyfriend. And she has the perfect guy in mind. 

Contractor Erick Fields is the poster boy for sexy single dads, and Clover has been secretly crushing on him for ages. She certainly wasn’t expecting Erick to agree to her insane charade…or to add lots of hot, wicked sex to the deal. If they can pull it off, the worst Thanksgiving ever might give them something to be really thankful for!

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating between Clover and Erick’s perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Thanksgiving romance! Rec by Marlowe Roy.

This was such a fun & sexy book with two of my favorite tropes: single dad & fake dating… with benefits. While this only spans a few days Clover (30) & Erick (38) have known each other for a year because Erick’s daughter works for Clover. Plus, when they decide to fake date they ended up spending time together almost non-stop until Clover’s big family Thanksgiving.

Lots of laughs, very low relationship angst, and hoo boy were the sexy scenes steamy. Ruthie (Erick’s 17yo daughter) was absolutely hilarious and it was terrific how much both Clover and Erick love her. Most of the problems came from Clover’s interactions with her family (hence the fake dating). I like how Erick’s support finally allowed Clover to stand up for herself.

I liked the way Reisz wrapped it all up and gave Erick & Clover their HFN.

Narration:
Gabrielle Cendese’s narration was wonderful. She did a good job differentiating the character voices and her delivery of the humor was especially notable. Enjoyable production that I can see being an annual listen.

Note:
One more thing I liked, but it’s a bit of a spoiler:
Clover is a virgin. I appreciated that Reisz didn’t have the typical overly focused on pain & blood “deflowering”. It just was. She also had a believable reason for why it didn’t happen until she was 30.

About the author:
Tiffany Reisz is the USA Today-bestselling author of the Romance Writers of America RITA®-winning Original Sinners series from Harlequin’s Mira Books.

Born in Owensboro, Kentucky, Tiffany graduated from Centre College with a B.A. in English. She began her writing career while a student at Wilmore, Kentucky’s Asbury Theological Seminary. After leaving seminary to focus on her fiction, she wrote The Siren, which has sold more than half a million copies worldwide. 

Tiffany also writes mainstream women’s suspense fiction. Tiffany lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her husband, author Andrew Shaffer, and their two cats. The cats are not writers. 

You can connect with Tiffany Reisz here:

My Favorite Quotes

Note: I listened to this, so any spelling/grammar/punctuation errors are my own and not the author’s.

“No burning things you’re still on probation.”

“Kids are such cockblocks.  That’s the name of my parenting book if I ever write one.”

“My 17 year old daughter was trying to get her 30 year old boss laid.” 

“I think I’m already addicted to your body.”

“Her heart caught in her chest at the sight of his grin.”

“You too are so cute it’s gross.” 

Holly and Ivy

Whatever emotions she felt, they would propel her forward to a future where new and happy memories could be made as well.

Fern Michaels
Holly and Ivy

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
The flames of memory always seem to glow a little brighter during the holidays. Perhaps that’s why this time of year is so difficult for airline heiress Ivy Macintosh, as she faces thoughts of yet another festive season alone. Since the plane crash that claimed the lives of her husband and two children eight years ago, she’s been submerged in grief.

When eleven-year-old Holly Greenwood knocks on her door, lost and frightened after a forbidden visit to her singing teacher, Ivy’s self-imposed exile is shattered. Holly has an extraordinary voice, and wants nothing more than to perform in an upcoming Christmas musical. Holly’s father, Daniel, doesn’t allow music in their home, refusing to give a good reason why—just as he refuses to talk about Holly’s mother. Ivy has no idea how closely she and Daniel are linked by their tragic pasts, yet she’s drawn to the warmth she senses beneath his gruff exterior. And as Christmas nears, their shared concern for Holly begins to draw Ivy back into the world again . . . and toward a family who may need her just as much as she needs them . . .

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating between multiple perspectives, but mostly Ivy & Daniel.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
While this is partially labeled a romance, I think it’s important to note that there are some heavy topics and situations. The budding romance between Daniel and Ivy is secondary – they don’t even meet until almost half way through – to the pain that they’re each dealing with after losing their spouses. Additionally, Daniel’s strained relationship with his daughter Holly is painful to witness.

Fern Michael’s portrayal of their loss, grief, and poor coping provides a stark contrast when they embrace the opportunity for healing. While I wish that the ending hadn’t felt as rushed as it did, the resolution was satisfyingly sweet. There’s a cute little epilogue.

Narration:
Brittany Pressley is amazing here. I always love her wide range of character voices and emotions. She especially shines when she’s voicing children – Holly sounds young but appropriate for her age. Perfect narration.

Content Warnings (possible spoilers):
Alcohol abuse, suicidal ideations by an MC, detailed grief, Daniel is at times verbally abusive to Holly

About the author:
Fern Michaels is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over 161 Published Works, 150 million books-in-print, 153 New York Times and USA Today Best Sellers.  Her Work Has Been Translated Into 20 Languages. She’s a passionate animal lover and lives in South Carolina, surrounded by her children, grandchildren, dogs, cats, and a resident ghost named Mary Margaret.

You can connect with Fern Michaels here:

About the narrator:
You can connect with Brittany Pressley here:

My Favorite Quotes

“One day, you’re a family, and in a matter of minutes, everything you have planned, worked for, hoped for, is crushed.”

“Maybe it was time to release them, allow herself to feel, and know that whatever emotions she felt, they would propel her forward to a future where new and happy memories could be made as well.”

“It’s only as complicated as you choose to make it.”

“So many years she had dreaded this confrontation with the past, feared the emotions it would stir up.”

All I Want for Christmas

He’d never met anyone that made his heart race while time slowed at the same time.

Michelle Stimpson
All I Want for Christmas

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
When a doctor and nurse with very different views on Christmas are thrown together on a decorating committee and bond over a special patient, they each learn the most important Christmas lesson: all they want for Christmas is each other.

Dr. Allison Hall is staring down the prospect of her first Christmas in a new town and her first without her son, who is spending the holiday with her ex. As the new doc on the block, she’s on duty for the Christmas shift and glad of it. When one of her favorite patients lands back in the hospital, and it looks like this might be his last Christmas, she hopes she can help connect him to his estranged daughter.

Dante Price thinks Allison should mind her own business. He’s a nurse—and admittedly a bit of a Christmas Scrooge. But when he gets put on a decorating committee with Christmas-loving Dr. Allison, he starts to see the holiday in a new light.

Soon the two are working together to deck the halls with boughs of holly—but can they pull off a Christmas miracle and reunite a father and daughter?

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating between Allison & Dante’s perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Cute Hallmark-esque Christmas novella. While faith-based, it’s a small part of the story. I enjoyed the grumpy/sunshine (well it was really grinchy/decorator) and office relationship dynamics.

Doctor and single mom, Allison, meets nurse, Dante, at Mercy Hospital. Their views on Christmas and it’s meaning differ greatly. After working together with the same patient and decorating their hospital floor it’s obvious they have a lot to learn from each other.

I liked that things with Allison’s ex are mostly positive and how Dante interacts with Allison’s son, Sam. Charming HFN ending fitting for a holiday short.

Narration:
While I speed up almost every narration, I had to do it even faster for these narrators as both of their deliveries were protracted. That said, at a comfortable speed I enjoyed their performances. They used a variety of character voices and brought through all the emotions of Stimpson’s writing.

Content Warnings (possible spoilers):
A terminal patient is central to the story, death of parent (past), family estrangement (secondary character)

About the author:
Bestselling veteran author Michelle Stimpson has penned more than fifty faith-based books including traditional bestseller Boaz Brown, the beloved Mama B series, and Deacon Brown’s Daughters, for which she produced an award-winning independent film. Additionally, she has published more than fifty short stories through her educational publishing company, WeGottaRead.com.

You can connect with Michelle Stimpson here:

My Favorite Quotes

Note: I listened to this, so any spelling/grammar/punctuation errors are my own and not the author’s.

“Let’s hope for more days and make each one count.”

“Stay away from the light Mr Eddies, we’re just stepping into the hall.”

“He’d never met anyone that made his heart race while time slowed at the same time.”

“She smelled like fresh, clean laundry.  Could laundry be sexy?”