Two very different stories but both perfect for the season!
Holiday Treasure by Melody Anne
Mega wealthy Tanner Storm has it all – great looks, wealth, and nothing holding him down. Then, his father decides to play games with him and his siblings, handing him an apartment complex in downtown Seattle that Tanner wants nothing to do with. When the conditions of his father’s terms ensure that he do something with this building or lose his inheritance, he at first thinks, so what. But, then it becomes a challenge that he has to accept, because he’s never before backed down. He decides to tear down the building and start fresh with something far more appealing that will add to his already fat wallet. The only problem is that the residents don’t want to leave, and under the contract with his father, he can’t force them out. When he ends up before Judge Kragle from all the complaints made against him, the judge decides the best punishment for him will be two weeks of living in the very apartment complex he despises and two weeks of community service, playing Santa Claus at the mall. Perfect! This is not the Christmas of his dream. The plot thickens when he meets his neighbor, Kyla and falls into instant lust. Will this turn out to be Tanner’s secret angel, or will he forget all about her the minute he leaves? Enjoy this Anderson Christmas Novel from NYT Best Selling Author Melody Anne who wishes you all a very Merry Christmas and an even happier New Year.
Sweeter than a candy cane but hotter than a hot chocolate… yup, I think that’s a good description for this story. It’s one of many in the Anderson series by Melody Anne and just as entertaining as the others.
One thing I loved: The Billy storyline while sad, is also a charming twist and builds on the family bonds that all books in the Anderson series focus on. We see Tanner with his brothers and also have Kyla’s bittersweet memories of Christmases with her family.
One thing that could be better: Billy’s family background is mentioned and acts as a useful plot device to help Tanner and Kyla’s relationship. However, I would have liked more details about what happened with his grandmother.
The Christmas element: the gradual build-up to Christmas Day allowed both Tanner and Kyla to recapture Christmas joy. They both have good reason to shut out seasonal festivities but this time around, they find themselves enjoying traditions.
4/5 espresso shots
Home for the Holidays by Hope Callaghan
Christmas in the cozy town of Belhaven is a magical season, but this year it will be extra special for “Garden Girl” Gloria Rutherford. The much-anticipated wedding to the love of her life, Paul Kennedy, will soon take place and all of Gloria’s children and their families will be coming home to celebrate.
Paul, only days away from retiring from Montbay County Sheriff’s Department, drops a bombshell on Gloria when he tells her he’s being investigated for criminal activity. Not wanting to drag Gloria into his crisis, Paul all but calls off the wedding and then suddenly disappears.
A heartbroken Gloria is ready to throw in the towel and run away until her friends, The Garden Girls, step in, determined to get to the bottom of Paul’s investigation, clear his name and get the wedding back on track.
Will the girls be able to salvage Gloria’s special day or will she soon be saying “Bah Humbug” instead of “I do?”
This story takes place several books into the Garden Girls Mystery series. Although there are a lot of characters and relationships already established, I didn’t feel lost while reading. I think the author provides just enough background to allow new readers to catch up but not too much to detract from the actual story.
One thing I loved: The friendships shine through in spades. Gloria has tons of friends! I think more than five who feature! While it was hard to keep track of them all, the obvious affection they all have for one another is clear. I loved how they all do their part to help Gloria solve the mystery.
One thing that could be better: The investigation seemed to drag at times. I think for a shorter read, there may have been one too many red herrings.
The Christmas element: Gloria’s wedding and the Christmas celebrations intermingle but each event gets it’s own attention. Gloria’s grandsons’ performing at their church concert is cute and sweetly described… and a tradition many will have fond memories of from their own experiences.
3.5/5 espresso shots