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November 29, 2018

2 Romances to Enjoy with Your Christmas Cookies

by MK French

I swear, these two are like the equivalent of Christmas sugar cookies.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

The Christmas Star by Donna VanLiere

The Christmas Star
October 2018; St. Martin's Press
audio, ebook, print (240 pages); holiday
Maddie is a precocious seven-year-old girl in foster care that attends an after-school program called Glory's Place. She is close to the school janitor, and who really does his best to look out for the kids in the school, as well as the new volunteer at Glory's Place. Other volunteers are romantically involved, so Maddie decides that Amy and Gabe belong together.

This is obviously a book that is part of a series taking place in Grandon, but there's no need to have read earlier novels in the series. Gabe is a recovering alcoholic that is now sober and determined to be a better person after his prior failed marriage. Amy was hurt emotionally by her marriage falling apart and felt that volunteering would help her recover and find a new place for herself. With Maddie being determined to make them happy together, she plows ahead with all the subtlety a seven-year-old possesses -- absolutely none at all. The other characters in the book are fun but do overtake the main romance.

It's nice that this romance is a second chance for the characters, and that they're determined to do better this time around. Faith helped in getting them through their rough times, but the romance itself feels rather rushed. The ending is easy to predict from even a third of the way through the book and is unrealistic. It's meant to be a happy ending for everyone involved, but it also felt like it ignored a lot of concerns that should have been discussed by the characters. I like that Gabe and Amy find happiness, but I feel like there should have been a bit more work involved to get there.

Buy The Christmas Star at Amazon

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke by Janna MacGregor

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke
November 2018; St. Martin's Paperbacks
978-1250295972; ebook, print (368 pages)
Regency romance, holiday
Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart, had gambled a lot and lost the respect of friends he had grown up with. After his brother's and father's deaths left him the duchy, he is determined to reform his reputation and do better. Daphne Hallworth, the younger sister of one of his former friends, is forgotten at home over the Christmas holiday, and her journal is stolen. Her efforts to chase down the boy that stole it makes her cross paths with Paul, who will help her retrieve the journal if she can improve her brother's opinion of him.

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke is part of the Cavensham Heiresses series so those who read earlier books in this series will recognize the characters. They're in the background of this one, which fully focuses on Paul's family history and emotional upheaval, as well as Daphne and her family. Of course, the two are drawn to each other immediately, and the kisses exchanged as a cover in the gambling den sets off the romance between them. There's no question that the two will fall in love, and that society's strictures are the source of Daphne's dilemma. Just because it's a foregone conclusion to the reader doesn't mean that the emotions aren't a struggle for the two characters. It's still sweet to see how much they care for each other's happiness, and that their feelings are reciprocated.

Buy The Good, the Bad, and the Duke at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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  1. Thanks for sharing these. Can't ever have enough Christmas romance:)