Christmas Cookies for Harker’s Favorite Book Characters | Blogger Guest Post

Posted December 21, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 0 Comments

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is all the delicious food that seems seasonally appropriate: breakfast on Christmas morning, the side dishes at Christmas lunch/dinner and, of course, the Christmas cookies!

There are also all the great books that end up on my wish list. When thinking about the books I’ve loved in the past year and the ones I want to receive for the holidays, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of cookies I would make for the characters. Below are some of my favorite cookies matched with some of my favorite characters from recent reads.

Molasses Cookies – Victor Vale and Sydney Clarke: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Growing up, my grandmother would make molasses cookies every year. There were a select few cookie cutters that she used and the best part was not only choosing what shape to use, but the colored sugar to use for each (red or green were our go-to choices, but you can customize them to your tastes).

There’s a deep, rich flavor to these cookies, something that I think Victor would appreciate because they’re not sweet like you might consider when you think of typical cookies. Sydney might make them for him and add the sugar in various colors for the hit of sweetness to a) brighten up their lives and b) add a little sweetness because lord knows the Victor/Sydney/Mitch family needs some in Vicious.

Snickerdoodles – Charlie and Nick: Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies. While you can make them on your own, once the dough is ready, it can be a nice kind of activity to do with someone you like, whether family or, in Charlie and Nick’s case, someone you love. Rolling the balls of dough, patting them into the cinnamon sugar mix, and eating the freshest, most delicious cookies right out of the oven? It’s a perfect winter-y thing to do that makes your heart and your stomach happy. The Betty Crocker recipe is the classic one my family has used for decades and I would recommend is wholeheartedly.

Black & White Cookies – Rose Marshall: Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire

Rose Marshall is a road ghost who has been hitchhiking and guiding souls since her death 60+ years ago. Her one port of call in this “afterlife” is the Last Chance Diner. I’m not sure that holidays mean a whole lot when you’re dead, but I think Emma, the owner of the diner, might serve these cookies to the supernatural beings that frequent her establishment. There are some rules for ghosts like Rose regarding being able to accept food (it has to be freely given by the living). Emma, though not technically alive, counts as someone that can give Rose her favorite burger & malted or, at special times, something sweet like these black-and-white cookie. That hit of chocolate on one side blends well with the vanilla frosting on the other. Why Christmas? Because frosting cookies feels like that extra something that really brings things over the top as a treat. You could also flavor the vanilla or chocolate side with peppermint extract (rather than the typically called for lemon) as a seasonal flavor if you like.

Santa’s Trash Cookie – Arthur and Ben: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Combining all the best flavors, especially salty/sweet, these Santa’s Trash Cookies from Delish would be perfect for the main characters of What If It’s Us, especially if they’re made huge like Arthur’s favorite double chocolate chip cookie from Levain Bakery. A bit of a wild combination of flavor and textures including chocolate chips, potato chips, and pretzels, but one that embraces its range and delivers a yummy cookie that this romcom couple can eat while in for the afternoon together or for a party with Arthur’s friends from his hometown and Ben’s from NYC.

Stroopwafel – Nina Zenik: Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

I tried these cookies for the first time this year and fell in love with the sweetness of the caramel and the chewiness of the dough. These are so delicious and, come on, how could a waffle cookie not be perfect for Nina Zenik, Heartrender and Queen of Waffles? Now I haven’t had one fresh, but I think that making these and having them fresh from the waffle iron would be a soothing treat on a cold winter’s day. If I’ve learned anything from Great British Bake Off, though, it’s that you have to be careful with the caramel that is sandwiched between the waffle cookies. Lol Easy to muck up, but very much worth it, whether you’re a waffle loving Grisha in Six of Crows or someone who needs a perk up like our girl Nina in Crooked Kingdom.

(Note: this recipe uses metric measurements, which should be considered for those readers who are in the US and may be unfamiliar with certain terms)

Visit Harker at The Hermit Librarian!

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Bookish Christmas Gift Recommendations from Literary Book Gifts | Small Business Owner Guest Post

Posted December 20, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 0 Comments

Today’s guest post is by Melissa, owner of Literary Book Gifts. She’s here to offer a few bookish gift suggestions! Perhaps you’ll consider spending your Christmas present money here!

With the holidays in full swing it can sometimes be a challenge to set some time aside to rest, relax, and have a cup of warm cocoa by the fire with a good book. You may already have your presents wrapped and arranged nicely in the living room, fun wrapping paper, ribbons, lively hangtags with quotes saying things like ‘Ho Ho Ho’ and ‘Merrrrry Christmas’ and all.

Gift giving is an activity not only for the receiver but for the gift giver. I personally love looking shopping online or through department stores not with myself in mind, but with a certain someone else whom I am trying to find the perfect present for. It’s not everyday that it’s a loved one’s birthday, special event, or holiday where I get to pick out a unique and meaningful present to give just to them.

I started an online store of book related tees and totes to offer a some unique gift options for the reader, writer, or book lover in your life. Without further ado I’d like to talk a little about some of the most popular items in the collection as well as a few of my select favorites.

The great thing of the designs in this collection is that you will not find the same shirt or bag anywhere else. Since the shirts are available in multiple color options, it’s really unlikely that you will run into someone with the same shirt.

The Pride and Prejudice T-Shirt is definitely one of the most popular choices. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy’s romance tale is still poignantly relevant even today. It showcases the title of the novel, and author Jane Austen in fancy writing. There is an image of a man leaning down and gently kissing a lady’s hand. This shirt is in a women’s cut but is also available in a unisex style as well.

Herman Melville’s classic adventure novel is undeniably stillwidely popular to this day. This Moby Dick T-Shirt is best suited for those who like to spend their summers voyaging on the open seas. Or for those who simply like reading about such adventures from the comfort of their living rooms. In a white print on dark shirt color choices, this shirt makes a great gift for any fan of whales or of the iconic Moby Dick himself.

One of my favorites in the collection is the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Tote Bag. Lewis Carroll’s novel and subsequent sequel of Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There offer us some of the most eccentric and hilarious characters and scenes in literature. Tote bags are great for their ability to carry books, lots of books, around everywhere you go. I like this bag in particular because of how it turned out with the typography framing the image so it looks just like the book cover of a vintage novel.

Melissa Chan loves bookish items and is the designer at Literary Book Gifts. There are a wide range of t-shirts and tote bags to choose from for writers and readers alike. If you are an author who is planning a book launch and is looking for a giveaway prize please get in touch, I’d love to offer any of the shirts as the prize to help generate interest for your novel.

If you find anything you like, whether it is for the holidays or for a special present use the code ThatArtsyReaderGirl20 to receive 20% off any order! This coupon code does not expire.

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Jenn Bennett: Christmas Ornament Hoarder | Author Guest Post

Posted December 19, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 0 Comments

I adore Christmas. I love snow and twinkle-y lights, and hearing holiday songs on the radio. I love warm gingerbread cookies, Advent calendars filled with German chocolate, and crying while watching It’s A Wonderful Life. But one of my favorite things about the holidays is putting up my Christmas tree.

Thing is, I have a lot of Christmas ornaments. I’m talking hundreds. Possibly a thousand? Let’s just say too many. Some of them are nostalgic, and a few of them are from my childhood. I’m American, but my father was in the U.S. Army, so I was born in Germany and lived in Europe for several years; I still have an ornament that I begged my mother to buy when we were on vacation in Rotterdam. Many of my ornaments are vintage or they look vintage—like my blown glass movie-theatre popcorn bucket, atomic robots, and sushi plate. There are even a few bizarre ones: shrunken head, oyster-shell mermaid, Crazy Cat Lady. (Keep Christmas weird!)

I never meant to accumulate so many, but one Wizard of Oz flying monkey led to another, and now I’m knee-deep in glitter, baubles, and tin soldiers. I promised my husband I wouldn’t buy another ornament—not a one—so I suppose I’ll need to cherish what I have. I mean, I really don’t need that 1940s one-eyed turkey, or that hand-painted Dracula ornament from Etsy. Right…?

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Pulse on April 16, 2019
Add to Goodreads • Pre-Order from Amazon

After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.


Jenn Bennett is an award-winning author of several young adult books, including: ALEX, APPROXIMATELY; STARRY EYES; and SERIOUS MOONLIGHT. She also writes romance and fantasy for adults. Her books have earned multiple starred reviews, won the RITA® Award, and been included on Publishers Weekly Best Books annual list. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two dogs. Visit her at www.jennbennett.net.

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Top Ten Books On My Winter 2018/2019 To-Read List

Posted December 17, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 32 Comments

It’s time for another seasonal TBR TTT! I love these topics, and I know you do too. I’m fully immersed in Christmas novels right now, but I know I’ll be itching for a change of pace by the middle of next week. There’s so much I want to read! I’m excited to see what’s on your list as well. I’m limiting my list to books that are either out already or will be coming out this winter. I’ve got a TON of ARCs that come out in the spring and summer, but that’s no fun to talk about right now when they’re not easily accessible soon!

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
A contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast! So excited!

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
I love books about fae, and I never stop hearing about this one.

The Beholder by Anna Bright
An Odyssey retelling sounds cool, even though I’ve never read The Odyssey. lol. But I love fantasies on the high seas and look at that cover!

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
SO EXCITED to read more from the author of The Hating Game, which I adored!

Once Upon a River by Dianne Setterfield
“Replete with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric”

Come Find Me by Megan Miranda
“…a captivating thriller about two teens who connect when each discovers a mysterious radio frequency, which suggests their family tragedies are mysteriously connected.”

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
Because why not?? I love this author duo!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
I’ve always wanted to read a book by Kate Morton, and this one sounds great! I’m starting to really love historical mysteries.

The Governess Game by Tessa Dare
I’m excited for her newest book! She’s one of my favorite authors.

An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Kinsley
A graphic novel travelogue!! I just got this from my secret sister and cannot WAIT to read it!

Which books are you excited to read this winter?

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A Found Family for Christmas by Katie Ruggle | Author Guest Post

Posted December 16, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 0 Comments

In Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas, I combine two of my favorite themes: found families and gift giving. Growing up, Camille’s tiny family never celebrated holidays, and she continued this tradition—or lack of traditions—as a solitary adult. When she’s drawn into Steve’s life, however, she’s dropped right in the middle of celebration central—after all, Steve and his family own a Christmas tree ranch. There’s no avoiding the holiday spirit, and Camille quickly finds that she doesn’t want to.

I love writing about found families, lonely people finding each other, fitting together perfectly without having to change who they are. Borderline hermit Camille only had her grandma, who died years ago. Steve’s affectionate, rambunctious family is overwhelming to her at first, but they also represent everything she didn’t realize she longed for. As they welcome her into the fold and introduce her to their holiday traditions, she finds—to her surprise—that she fits right in like the missing puzzle piece.

Camille’s not the only one benefiting, however. As she grows closer to Steve and his children, all of their lives become richer. They start new traditions that include Camille. Not only do Steve and his children fill the hole in her life, but she fills the empty spot in their hearts, as well.

Gift-giving is one of those traditions that Camille never fully experienced before being included in the Springfield family’s Christmas, and the present exchange was one of my favorite scenes to write. The gifts people give each other are such a wonderful physical expression of their connections. Camille and everyone in her new family paid attention to each other, so they knew exactly what to make or buy. The thought behind each present was a gift in itself, making the receiver feel seen, understood, and loved.

Christmas isn’t the only time of year when people are lonely and family issues cause stress, of course, but the holidays seem to intensify these things. In the same way, finding a new family during this time of year makes everything extra sweet.

New families, new homes, new loves…these are the best Christmas gifts.

Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas by Katie Ruggle
Series: Rocky Mountain Cowboys #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on September 25, 2018
Genres: Adult Fiction — Christmas, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Add to Goodreads • Amazon • B&N • Book Depository

In the heart of the Rockies
In the arms of a cowboy
One white Christmas can change everything.

When firefighter and single dad Steve Springfield moved his four kids to a Colorado Christmas tree ranch, he intended for it to be a safe haven. But he never expected danger to follow them to his childhood home…

Or that he would come face-to-face with the one girl he could never forget.

Folk artist Camille Brandt lives a quiet life. As the town’s resident eccentric, she’s used to being lonely–until Steve freaking Springfield changes everything. Brave and kind, he’s always had a piece of her heart, and it doesn’t take long before she’s in danger of falling for him and his rambunctious kids. But as mysterious fires break out across the sleepy Colorado town, Steve and Camille will have to fight if they want their happy family to survive until Christmas…

About Katie Ruggle

A fan of the old adage “write what you know”, Katie Ruggle lived in an off-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains until her family lured her back to Minnesota. When she’s not writing, Katie rides horses, shoots guns (not while riding, although that would be awesome), cross-country skis (badly) and travels to warm places where she can scuba dive. A graduate of the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado mountains really are that cold. A fan of anything that makes her feel like a bad-ass, she has trained in Krav Maga, boxing and gymnastics.

You can connect with Katie at KatieRuggle.com, www.facebook.com/katierugglebooks, or on Twitter @KatieRuggle.

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A Kiss In the Snow by Susan Mallery | Book Review

Posted December 15, 2018 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 2 Comments

A Kiss In the Snow by Susan Mallery | Book ReviewA Kiss In the Snow by Susan Mallery
Series: Fool's Gold #20.5
Published by HQN Books on October 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday - Christmas, Romance
Pages: 57
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
A Christmas gift straight from the heart of Susan Mallery, one of today's most beloved writers—a brand new Fool's Gold romance!

Cupcake baker Nancee Smith is stunned when search-and-rescue pilot Jesse “Shep” Sheppard strides into her kitchen. The last time she saw the Ghost of Heartbreaks Past was the night before he left her at the altar. He said he loved her, then didn't even say goodbye.

Now Shep claims he's done dashing away at the first sign of forever. The romance of Fool's Gold at Christmas tempts her to have faith—snow glistening on rooftops like great swirls of frosting, twinkle lights in every window—but this time around,she's the one with cold feet. If promises alone aren't enough to sway her, Shep will have to show her the love in his heart.

I enjoy reading novellas when I’m considering a new-to-me author because it’s not much of a commitment, and I have time to judge the author’s style and character development to see if the full-length novels are worth my time. I see promise in Susan Mallery, even though this book was too short for me to really get a good idea about her style.

A Kiss In the Snow is not a second chance romance. It’s not a third chance romance. It’s actually a fourth chance romance. Yeah… pretty sure I’d never have the patience or trust to give a guy a fourth chance (especially after leaving me at the altar), but to each her own! Chances are I would have appreciated these characters more if I had read the 20 previous Fool’s Gold books, but I did like them! Shep has dealt with the demons of his past and is ready to commit to the only woman he’s ever truly loved. He didn’t take no for an answer, which I thought was sweet. He definitely owed it to Nancee to pursue her relentlessly! I love Christmas romances, and I loved how festive this one was. It was a nice little story without much substance but, at just under 60 pages, you can’t expect too much from it! It did whet my appetite, though, and I’m excited to read more of the Fool’s Gold series so I can get to know the town and the characters better.

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Christmas Books I Loved As a Child

Posted December 14, 2018 by Jana in About Me / 4 Comments

I absolutely loved Christmas books when I was a child. It was a tradition to buy a brand new hardback every year, plus a few fun paperbacks to add to our collection. Now, there are so many of them and I love pulling out the big box of books every year, sitting by the Christmas tree, and flipping through the Christmas books of my childhood. They told of Santa, his reindeer, good little boys and girls, snow storms, and presents. I thought I’d share with you a small part of my childhood Christmases with a list of my all-time favorite books!

Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish 

It’s almost time to look for Santa Claus, and it’s always time to look for fun with Amelia Bedelia. Amelia is busy getting ready for Christmas – stuffing the stockings, trimming the tree, and popping corn – all in her usual mixed-up way.

I love this book! I giggled as Amelia messed up everything she possibly could.

 

 

The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat by Brigid Clark and Chris Noel 

Your family will enjoy this endearing story about two Christmas presents—a dog and a cat—who fall out of Santa’s sleigh. By working together—something that doesn’t always come naturally—they find their way to their new home. And, through their example of love for one another, they bring harmony to an entire household.

The illustrations are gorgeous, and the story itself is adorable. This book made me want to have a calico cat, and I kind of drove my parents nuts asking for one.

 

A Letter to Santa by Janet Craig 

Letters to Santa result in three children getting exactly what they want for Christmas.

I’m not sure whether I liked this book because the illustrations look very childlike, or if I just thought the story was awesome because everyone got what they asked for,  but I read this to myself almost every day in December.

 

The Mouse’s Christmas by Kit Schorsch 

The baby mice really want a Christmas tree, so their mother goes out to find them one. She looked at branches, twigs, and leaves. None of them looked like a Christmas tree, though. The farmer’s Christmas tree ended up being too tall for his house, she he chopped it up and threw it outside. It ended up providing Christmas trees for many of the woodland creatures, and a perfect one for the mouse family.

This book is adorable. The mice are so cute, and their little house is priceless. They use match boxes for beds and empty thread spools for chairs! Darling! And what a sweet message. :)

 

The Littlest Christmas Tree by Cass Hollander

When a little fir tree is taken to be sold in the city along with other tall trees, plants, and shrubs, it becomes sad. But a young couple has special plans for choosing a Christmas tree that their family will treasure for years and years. Find out how the littlest fir tree becomes a Christmas tree forever in this heartwarming story about family, love, and Christmas tradition.

The illustrations in this book are beautiful, and it’s my absolute favorite rendition of such a popular story.

Did you ever read any of these? I think Amelia Bedelia is the only one still in print, but it’d be fun if some of you have read them too! I want fun recommendations as well! What are some of your favorite Christmas books from your childhood? I’m still collecting children’s books, and would love to find some new ones this year!

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Christmas with My Favorite Book Characters | Blogger Guest Post

Posted December 13, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 2 Comments

I adore Christmastime, it’s my favorite time of year. It might have something to do with my birthday being the day before or it might be the magic in the air. Living in New England, I adore the cold weather, the snow flakes swirling, and hopefully a white Christmas. Everything seems so magical and hopeful around Christmas, which means it’s the perfect time of year to spend with my favorite book characters. I chose these characters because they’re some of my favorites and also because Christmas with their families would embody that magical feeling.

These families (or chosen families) would be cozy in front of the fire and sharing memories, love, and lots of laughter. It’s not about the gifts and I bet many of these families would exchange handmade gifts.

So here they are:

The Potters and the Weasleys from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I mean who doesn’t want a sweater from Mrs. Weasley?

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March family from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Bennet family from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Winter Solstice with Feyre, Rhys, and their friends in A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

The Cuthberts in Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

The O’Brien family in the Chesapeake Shores series by Debbie Macomber

Yelana, Valek, Ari, and Jenco in Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

The Stark family from A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Mia and Olivia in From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot

Everyone in the Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis

About Jennifer

After spending 11 years as a Young Adult Librarian, I moved libraries and became a Children’s and YA Librarian. I love love love books and talking about reading (which is why I started my blog). I talk about all kinds of books from picture books to YA books to romance books.

My favorite types of books include mysteries, romance, thrillers, and spy books. I adore crafty books, regency romances, and cozy mysteries. When I’m not reading or talking about books, I love baking, crafting, watching the Celtics, or snuggling with my two dogs.

Blog: http://yabooknerd.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/yabooknerd

Which book characters would you like to spend Christmas with?

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Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan | Book Review (+The Christmas Sisters Giveaway)

Posted December 12, 2018 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review, Giveaway / 10 Comments

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan | Book Review (+The Christmas Sisters Giveaway)Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan
Series: O'Neil Brothers #1
Also in this series: Suddenly Last Summer, Maybe This Christmas
Published by Harlequin on October 29, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Holiday - Christmas, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
Once upon a time, Christmas was Kayla Green's favorite time of year. Now all the workaholic wants for Christmas is for it to be over—as fast as possible! So when duty calls her to snowy Vermont to close a deal with a new client, Kayla is grateful for an excuse to avoid the holidays for another year.

Jackson O'Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage his family's resort—it's in his blood, and he can't let it fail. Now that he's got marketing whiz Kayla Green working with him to put Snow Crystal on the map, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in Vermont is just an added bonus.

Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she's out of her depth with Jackson—he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamed of, and it's terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to swirl, will the woman who doesn't believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell?

I love Christmas romances, especially if they are set in a picturesque place and have wonderful characters. As soon as I read that Sleigh Bells in the Snow takes place in Vermont, I was very excited! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The Snow Crystal is a cozy ski resort nestled in the mountains of Vermont. The O’Neil family has run it for years, and it is a bit of a hidden gem with lots to offer. It has cabins with hot tubs on the porch, amazing views, and a homey lodge with a sitting room and kitchen that just screams holidays. I would LOVE to pack up and move there right now. If any guest wants a Christmas tree for their cabin, one of the O’Neil brothers goes out and chops one and delivers it at their front step. How fun is that?! I really want to visit. The setting was definitely my favorite part of the book.

2. I liked Kayla, but I felt she was a bit too cynical and cold at times. I just wanted to shake her! She has a sad past of abandonment, and does not like Christmas at all. Honestly, though, I’m pretty sure she does not like any kind of family holiday. She arrives at the resort in her designer pumps and pencil skirt, bent on being a complete stick in the mud as she hides in her cabin in the hopes of letting Christmas painlessly pass her by. The longer she stay there, though, the more comfortable she gets. I liked the transformation she went through as she got to know the O’Neil family. She bought some snow boots, let her hair down, and allowed herself to get close to them even though it scared her. I liked this side of her much more than the hardened, emotionless side we see at the beginning of the book.

3. I adore the O’Neil family, and how close they are. Jackson has come back to Snow Crystal after making it big in Europe. He wants to help get the resort on the map and show the world what it has to offer, before it goes under and the family loses it. That’s why he hires Kayla to come out. As he updates and elevates the resort, he is met with a lot of resistance from his family. They are not keen on change, and are scared that a snooty New Yorker will ruin their image. As they soften Kayla, though, she softens them. I loved the conversations between family members, as they all open up and grow closer together. This family ends up being extremely loving despite their high maintenance demands.

4. I really liked the non-family staff members at the Snow Crystal. I particularly liked the spitfire of a French chef and the ski instructor. Each character in this story is unique and loveable.

5. Jackson is so wonderful. He is tender and persistent, and boy can he chop wood. I love his devotion to his family, even though they are fighting him the whole way. I love that he gave up his big life to come home and save his family lodge. I love how sweet he is to Kayla.

6. The romance is slow burning. It begins as a simple professional relationship, with that initial attraction on both sides. It then slides into this love-hate friendship kind of thing before turning into something really special. I really liked that it was not just lust, which seems to happen a lot in the Christmas romances I’ve read before. There are real feelings at play.

Sleigh Bells in the Snow is a fun, cheery Christmas romance with a wonderful family dynamic, a cozy setting, and a swoonworthy male lead. I definitely recommend you read it it you’re in the mood for some Christmas cheer! I can’t wait to read about the other O’Neil brothers, which will happen as the series continues.

(This review was originally posted on 12/6/13 and was re-posted for some extra love.)

Sarah is sponsoring a giveaway for my readers this Christmas, with a signed copy of her newest Christmas release, The Christmas Sisters!

The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan
Published by HQN Books on September 25, 2018
Genres: Adult Fiction — Contemporary, Holiday, Women’s Fiction
Add to Goodreads

In the snowy Highlands of Scotland, Suzanne McBride is dreaming of the perfect cozy Christmas. Her three adopted daughters are coming home for the holidays and she can’t wait to see them. But tensions are running high…

Workaholic Hannah knows she can’t avoid spending the holidays with her family two years in a row. But it’s not the weight of their expectations that’s panicking her—it’s the life-changing secret she’s hiding. Stay-at-home mom Beth is having a personal crisis. All she wants for Christmas is time to decide if she’s ready to return to work—seeing everyone was supposed to help her stress levels, not increase them! Posy isn’t sure she’s living her best life, but with her parents depending on her, making a change seems risky. But not as risky as falling for gorgeous new neighbor Luke…

As Suzanne’s dreams of the perfect McBride Christmas unravel, she must rely on the magic of the season to bring her daughters together. But will this new togetherness teach the sisters that their close-knit bond is strong enough to withstand anything—including a family Christmas?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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My Top Ten Favorite Christmas Movies

Posted December 10, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 34 Comments

Today is freebie day, and to go along with my A Bookish Little Christmas event this month I decided to make it Christmassy. I love all things Christmas, but I’ve been focusing a lot on Christmas books on the blog lately, so I’m taking a break from books and focusing on my very favorite Christmas movies this week! I’m a Hallmark Christmas movie junkie, so that’s what most of these are!

Finding Father Christmas

Christmas for Miranda is a painful reminder of the family she never had. Her mother died when she was young, never revealing the identity of her father. But, three days before Christmas, she unexpectedly receives a clue as to the whereabouts that takes her to a beautiful New England town where she meets Ian, a young man who helps with her search. As the clues lead to her father’s identity and Miranda discovers the possibility of love in Ian, and she learns that her father lived in the small town and now she knows his family (her brother and her biological father’s wife). She faces a terrible decision… Should she share the truth and risk losing the family she has just found, or leave and keep the secret forever? This Christmas promises to be life-changing for Miranda with a new chance at life and love.” Starring Wendy Malick, Erin Krakow and Niall Matter.

One Starry Christmas

Aspiring astronomy professor and Christmas enthusiast Holly (Sarah Carter) is crushed when her longtime boyfriend Adam (Paul Popowich) schedules a business trip and leaves her alone over the holidays. When she decides to surprise both Adam and her parents with a Christmas visit, however, fate, or perhaps the Christmas spirit, intervenes. Holly’s bumpy holiday travel makes a turn onto the road to romance when she and her bus companion, Luke (Damon Runyan), forge an instant connection over their love of constellations and Christmas. In the spirit of the season, Holly invites Luke and his brother Bull (George Canyon) to join her family and Adam for Christmas, which instantly creates a competition between Luke and Adam for Holly’s attention. As sparks fly like shooting stars between Holly and Luke, will Holly decide to play it safe and stay with Adam or to thank her lucky stars for the Christmas gift of romance with Luke?

Window Wonderland

It’s no holds barred when two Manhattan department store employees vie for the same job during the busy Christmas season. Sloan Van Doren (Chyler Leigh) is a driven young woman determined to become the next window dresser at McGuire’s department store and to uphold a 95-year-old artistic holiday tradition. Serious and professional, she’s the polar opposite of the happy-go-lucky Jake Dooley (Paul Campbell), who also wants the job. When Mr. Fitch (Matty Finochio), the head of advertising and promotion, gives them a challenge, the competition is on: each will create a series of seasonal storefront windows twice a week until Christmas. The creator of whichever window display gets the most attention from passersby will get the job.

As they go through their paces, with Jake’s obvious talent grabbing the public’s attention, a silent but mutual attraction develops between the pair, hampered by the contest and the presence of Kenneth (Cameron Mathison), Sloan’s blueblood boyfriend, who can’t understand the importance Sloan is placing on this job. Supporting the efforts of the window dressers are McGuire’s veteran window washer Mac (Terence Kelly) and brassy bathroom attendant Rita (Naomi Judd) who have eyes for each other but haven’t done anything about it yet. Love is in the air at McGuire’s, but things aren’t exactly what they seem. Who will win in this love triangle?

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Jennifer Cullen (Brooke Burns) is a single, working mom who has become somewhat of a Scrooge when it comes to the Holiday season. Even her six-year-old son Brian is having trouble believing in Santa Claus. When Jen’s Uncle Ralph (Henry Winkler), a retired police officer, comes to visit for Christmas, he brings along a new friend, a nomad and Jack-of-all-trades named Morgan Derby (Warren Christie). The two met on a flight, and Morgan’s plans to continue on to Denver are cancelled when he finds out the city is completely snowed in. Jen is wary of the stranger, but at Ralph’s request, agrees to let him stay the night. She warms up to Morgan, especially when she sees how he interacts with Brian. Uncle Ralph approves of Morgan, too, but Jen’s boyfriend Richard isn’t nearly as receptive. Meanwhile, Morgan has started to really like Jen, but if she can’t manage to make Christmas about anything more than business, Morgan will be on his way to Denver, and she’ll have missed the opportunity that was right in front of her. Uncle Ralph has done what he can to keep Morgan around, but it’s going to take something more than that to get him penciled into Jen’s long-term plans. Jen just needs to learn “how to do Christmas,” and it turns out Morgan is the perfect one to teach her.

Christmas Getaway

Hoping to spend the holiday relaxing, a travel writer takes a traditional Christmas vacation for the first time. Through a mix up on the rental site, she finds herself double-booked for the holidays with a widower, his young daughter and mom. What begins as an inconvenience blossoms into much more. Stars Bridget Regan and Travis Van Winkle.

Miss Christmas

Nicknamed “Miss Christmas,” the official tree finder for Chicago’s renowned Radcliffe Tree lighting is left desperate to find the perfect tree. A letter from a young boy promising his tree is perfect sends her to a small town where she learns the young boy’s dad isn’t willing to part with his tree. While sparks fly, she’ll be forced to confront what she’s really been missing for Christmas. Starring Brooke D’Orsay and Marc Blucas.

 

The Santa Clause

When a man inadvertently kills Santa on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place.

The Holiday

Two women trade homes only to find that a change of address can change their lives. Iris (Winslet) is in love with a man who is about to marry another woman. Across the globe, Amanda (Diaz), realizes the man she lives with has been unfaithful. Two women who have never met and live 6000 miles apart, find themselves in the exact same place. They meet online at a home exchange website and impulsively switch homes for the holiday. Iris moves into Amanda’s L.A. house in sunny California as Amanda arrives in the snow covered English countryside. Shortly after arriving at their destinations, both women find the last thing either wants or expects: a new romance. Amanda is charmed by Iris’ handsome brother Graham (Law) and Iris, with inspiration provided by legendary screenwriter Arthur (Wallach), mends her heart when she meets film composer Miles (Black).

The Nine Lives of Christmas

Fireman Zachary Stone (Routh) is a confirmed bachelor who doesn’t believe in love or commitment. When a stray tabby cat named Ambrose shows up at his door, Zachary takes him in and slowly starts to see that a little companionship might not be so bad after all. Zachary’s commitment to solitude is further challenged when he meets Marilee (Sustad), an animal lover and veterinary student who teaches Zachary how to care for his new feline roommate. Chemistry immediately develops between the two, but will they find a way together despite themselves?

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Christmastime is here. Happiness and cheer. And for Peanuts fans everywhere, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without this classic holiday delight. Christmas lights may be twinkling red and green, but Charlie Brown has the Yuletide blues. To get in the holiday spirit, he takes Lucy’s advice and directs the Christmas play. And what’s a Christmas play without a Christmas tree? But everyone makes fun of the short, spindly nevergreen Charlie Brown brings back – until the real meaning of Christmas works its magic once again.

What are some of your favorite Christmas movies?
What topic did you choose for freebie week?

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