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Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March

Release Date - September 25, 2018

This isn't my first time in Eternity Springs, but this one had me crying the hardest. I think it hit the fears the "mom" in me would experience in Jenna's shoes. The Christmas Wishing Tree is a strong, addicting contemporary romance, but it does have aspects of romantic suspense, too.

Devin Murphy's family is all in Eternity Springs. He adores them and visits as often as possible. It's not easy when he's half a world away in Australia. During a Christmas visit, his phone gets a call from a young boy who wants to talk to Santa. Devin connects with the boy and continues to take his calls. All the boy wants is a dad for Christmas.

Jenna Stockton does everything she can to keep her adopted son safe. She's gained the unwanted attention of a stalker and it needs to end, but she's powerless to stop it. The attacks are stepping up. From slashed tires to dozens of pizzas showing up at her house, she's having a hard time. When her house is raided and her son is knocked over and his arm is broken, Jenna packs him up and moves him. Police can't find her stalker, and she feels helpless.

When she learns her son has been making calls to "Santa," she wants to end it. The Santa on the other end of the phone convinces her to let her son continue to call until he has to return to his home in Australia from Eternity Springs. The calls come to an end when she's forced to move after her son's arm is broken.

In a new state, the same thing happens. She's been the victim of swatting twice now. She hopes a trip to Eternity Springs, the place that "Santa" made sound so peaceful, may help her son get past the fear of simply living.

When Devin learns the attractive single mom he meets is the stranger he'd talked to on the phone, he befriends her and her son. With the help of his friends, he's determined to help Jenna catch her stalker for once and for all. When he's done, he'll return to Australia for good. He never expects to fall in love.

Jenna knows Devin has a business to run in Australia. While she's equally smitten, she can't give her heart to a man who plans to leave.

The swatting sequences in The Christmas Wishing Tree broke my heart. Reilly's fear is so real. I couldn't read the book with dry eyes for that reason. I also had to read the book in one sitting. I'm so glad I did. It was enchanting and the best book I've read this month.

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan

Release Date - September 25, 2018

Many years ago, Suzanne became a guardian to three young girls. She's wanted nothing more than to keep those girls from experiencing heartbreak again. With the help of her Scottish beau, they raised three smart women, but the past has a way of staying on the mind. This Christmas, Suzanne wants to get the family together for a Scottish Highlands Christmas no one will forget.

Beth is a devoted mom, but she longs for something more. Her two daughters wear her out. When an old boss offers her the job of a lifetime, she expects her husband to be thrilled. He's not. Upset and uncertain she and her husband have the same dreams, she takes off for Scotland to have time to herself before the family gathers for Christmas.

Hannah is a successful businesswoman who has no time for love. Her boyfriend of six months seems perfect, but Hannah doesn't believe in happily ever after. She can't handle a surprising revelation, so she flees to Scotland to attend a family Christmas. She hasn't been to one in a couple years, and she knows she can't avoid this one.

Posy never left the family's lodge. She helps her mom run the cafe and assists in mountain rescues. Their current guest, a bestselling author, has Posy wondering if she's missing out.

The three sisters are bonded by tragedy, but it's that same tragedy that's shaped them into the women they are today. If Suzanne's wishes come true, this will be a holiday gathering that will help them form the bond that's been missing.

The Christmas Sisters was a little slow to start. Beth and Hannah's characters were hard for me to like at first. They couldn't see the things that were good in their lives and focused only on the negative. Once they were all in Scotland together, I was completely hooked. I fell in love with the family and couldn't put the story down.

I laughed and cried with this one. I wouldn't mind seeing them return in future novels just to see how things are going!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

I Do Not Trust You by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

Release Date - September 11, 2018

Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz have a book that caught my eye. The cover design is eye-catching and drew me in. The story is okay, but it's not as gripping as I hoped. I didn't feel an urge to keep reading at any moment in the book.

Since her father's death, Memphis "M" Engel has dealt with her new life. She has guardians who have moved in and taken over her home. She's not thrilled with them. When Ashwin "Ash" Sood shows up, a mystery man that proves irritating yet intriguing, she can't help but insist she join him on a quest.

Ash has proof her father is alive and being held captive. A dangerous sect wants the information on a map M possesses. Only her knowledge of ancient languages and symbols can help find the relic some desire to possess. M has no idea if she can really trust Ash, but she must save her father and Ash is the only one who can lead her to him.

I Do Not Trust You kind of says it all in the title. Ash is not a trustworthy character. M knows it and tries to stay a few steps ahead of him, but the race for the relics is the key to getting her dad back. M will do anything to rescue her dad, even if that means working with the enemy.

The pacing had moments where it dragged. In France, I found the "you must party with this guy first" to be a bit dull. It dragged on and I really didn't care. M seemed older than she was, which threw me off several times. She often seems more adult than teen.

While I didn't hate this book, I never loved it. It was just okay. I stuck with it to see how it ended. I'm glad I did. It took a bit of a turn into horror and I loved that. In the end, that was what saved the book for me. It went from "meh" to "awesome," if only for a moment.