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December 16, 2021

Spend Another Christmas with Soul Sisters at Cedar Mountain Lodge

by Susan Roberts

Last year a group of authors collaborated on a Christmas series and published books 1 - 6 of the Soul Sisters series. In November 2021, five more Christmas books were added to their series.  All of the books can be read as standalones but it's more fun to read the entire series in order.  This is a review of books 7 - 11.  If you want to read my review of books 1-6, you can read it here.

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Christmas Surprises by Tammy L. Grace

Christmas Surprises
November 2021; Lone Mountain Press; 978-1945591303
ebook, print (126 pages); holiday

Jo and Luke have been married for two years.  They've moved away from her family to Florida and Jo misses her family but their careers are very successful and they are deeply in love.  Jo works for a non-profit that helps children in foster care.  When an accident happens and she is asked to take 2 children until a home can be found for them, she wants to talk it over with Luke but he is guiding an extended travel tour and has no cell service.  So she agrees to give a temporary home to the two small children and their dog.  When Luke returns, he is not happy with the situation.  Will Jo's decision ruin their relationship or will the magic of the holidays make them both realize that it was a good decision to bring the children into their home.

This was a real heartwarming story.  After Jo makes the decision to bring the children into her home, she stresses over learning to be their mother.  She wants to establish routines to make it work for everyone but she seems to be worrying too much.  She spent time in foster care as a child and realizes that it's love and not routines that will make their new lives work.

Buy Christmas Surprises at Amazon

Christmas Yearnings by Ev Bishop

Christmas Yearnings
November 2021; Winding Path Books
ebook (141 pages); women's fiction

Marilyn is Stevie's birth mother but she hasn't been much of a parent due to drug and alcohol that caused  Stevie to end up in foster care when she was young.  Marilyn has been clean and sober for the last 3 years after abusing drugs and alcohol for years.  Marilyn lives a simple life and feels that she isn't worthy enough to have a relationship but Stevie tries to forgive and to let her have a relationship with her grandson despite her worries.  Marilyn meets an interesting man and begins to think that she may have a second chance at love. Can she be forgiven for her past mistakes and start a new life with her daughter and her new love?

This book was fantastic. I felt sorry for Marilyn who wanted a second chance after years of abuse.  She works very hard to keep stress out of her life so that she doesn't relapse but she hasn't forgiven herself yet.  She needs to learn to forgive herself before her daughter will forgive her and she can have a relationship with her daughter and her new love.

Buy Christmas Yearnings at Amazon

Christmas Peace by Violet Howe

Christmas Peace
November 2021; Charbar Productions; 978-1732726932
ebook, print (144 pages); holiday

Christmas has been Maddie's favorite holiday since she adopted her four girls from foster homes.  Even though they all have lives and families of their own, Christmas remained her special day with several family rituals.    When her male friend, Robert, suggests a romantic holiday in December, he promises that she will be home by Christmas Eve.  Maddie imagined that they were going to a beautiful resort where she could be pampered and get relieved of her stress.  When they arrive in Costa Rica after hours of flights, she finds that Robert has booked them in an eco-friendly resort where there is no electricity and no WIFI.
She makes it pretty clear to him that this wasn't what she wanted or needed and things got a little rocky until they reached a compromise.   When the return home flights get canceled, she is sad that she won't be home for Christmas.  Will she be able to maintain her Christmas magic?

Maddie has always been a strong mother.  She decided to adopt one girl and ended up with four.  She managed to instill love into their household and is happy with the lives that all of her girls have achieved.  Will she be able to maintain their Christmas magic after this trip?

Buy Christmas Peace at Amazon

Christmas Castles by Judith Keim

Christmas Castles
November 2021; Wild Quail Publishing; 978-1954325319
ebook, print (140 pages); women's fiction

Two years after her sister's wedding at Cedar Mountain Lodge, Hailey is married to Nick and they live in Florida.  She is still writing her children's book series and the only problem in her life is that she hasn't been able to get pregnant.  She volunteers at the library to read books to children and becomes friends with Brady and his infant sister Luna.  As she and their mom, Linnie, become friends, she agrees to babysit both children when Linnie goes to visit her ex-husband to discuss getting back together.  When a catastrophic event occurs, Hailey and Nick have to decide how they will cope and if they are willing to make drastic changes to their family.

I really enjoyed the character of Hailey.  She is happy and a great friend to her friends.  Even though she misses her sisters, she is content with her life in Florida.  She has a great rapport with children and her books make them happy.  I'm really happy that the authors of the first 6 books, decided to take us back to the characters that we all loved.  Maybe...hopefully...we'll meet this family again in the future.

Buy Christmas Castles at Amazon

Christmas Star by Tess Thompson

Christmas Star
November 2021; Indie; 979-8775095376
ebook, print (118 pages); holiday

Alissa and Jed have a hectic life taking care of their babies and dogs.  Jed's craft distillery is gaining more followers and he is happy with his business.  Alissa is also starting a new business which is doing well in its early phase. The only bad part of their lives is Jed's parents.  They have no relationship with the children, intensely dislike Alissa because she isn't good enough for their son plus they make fun of his occupation and want him to join the family distillery.  Alissa and Jed remain strong and realize that they don't need anyone that negative in their lives.  There are lots of surprises in this book with several of the sisters getting pregnant - for some, it was a surprise and for others, it was answered prayer.

This last book was uplifting and a perfect ending for this year's Christmas stories.  Hopefully, we'll go back to Cedar Mountain Lodge in 2022.

Buy Christmas Star at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.

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