An Ozark Family Christmas

Four cousins want to visit their family in the Ozark mountains, willing to even drive through blizzards to get to Granny Forrester’s home. And on the way they find love just in time for the holidays.

This book is made up of four inspirational stories from four different authors. Some I liked and some I didn’t.

1) Making Memories

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Passion to Protect

As he threaded his way through the trees, Jake’s prothesis caught a branch buried in leaf litter. Cursing the hurry that had made him lose his focus on his footing, he recovered from his stumble, then gritted his teeth and hurried toward the security light just outside the stable. Beneath it, he spotted the woman it still hurt to look at, even a dozen years after she had dashed his naive school-boy fantasies and kicked him to the curb. (pg 15)

After escaping an abusive marriage with her two children, Liane Mason returns to her home in Wolf River Lodge, only to find her first love Jake Whitaker staying at the lodge. Not wanting to see her high school swetheart any more than she has to, Liane avoids him at all costs. But when her ex-husband escapes from prison with a band of criminals, Jake is the only one she can turn to as they come looking for her.

This is definitely not the worst Harlequin Suspense novel I’ve read. I actually liked Jake’s character a good deal, and I wish there was more development in his back story. But unfortunately all of the characters are very two-dimensional, which is a problem in a lot of Harlequin Suspense books. In fact, my favorite character had to have been Sheriff Wallace, a man dealing with the death of his wife and a corrupt move he made years ago. Unfortunately, Liane’s character left some things to be desired. Between her playing martyr and breaking Jake’s heart for a second time, and her need to be saved by him a lot, it was hard to admire her for her strengths, and she didn’t have any personality, likable or otherwise, that wasn’t shaped by her exes. However, Thompson is successful in writing a story where love, despite all odds, can triumph.

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Enchanted By Nora Roberts

 As a long time Nora Roberts fan, I definitely have preferences over some of her stories. For instance I think she can be a little melodramatic in the supernatural ones, but I really like her stories about Ireland, especially the Born in Ireland trilogy. The Donovan Legacy series has a little bit of both.

Lovely, guileless Rowan Murray felt drawn to brooding Liam Donovan with a power she’d never imagined possible. And his breathtaking kisses convinced her he felt the same. But she soon realized her darkly enigmatic neighbor was as elusive as the mysterious wolf she’d seen lurking about her cabin. Liam was tormented by indecision. He understood he had no right to love Rowan, knowing what lay ahead. But the allure of her beguiling innocence overpowered his will until he could resist no longer. And he knew, if he was ever to make Rowan his, he had no chance but to reveal his incredible secret.¬†(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Okay, first of all, this isn’t my least favorite Roberts book for sure. It’s still sweet and entertaining. I liked the interaction between Liam and Rowan, and like just about all of her books, I really enjoyed the story (after the prologue which was a little melodramatic with the supernatural introduction). ¬†However, there were a few things that made me cringe. For instance, Rowan and Liam are cousins. Not first cousins, but cousins close enough to be able to trace the lineage. This bugged me a little because even though it’s not exactly incestuous, it’s still kind of gross. They did it because Rowan turns out to be a witch, too, but I don’t understand why the Donovan family is the only family with supernatural powers. Why couldn’t Rowan’s great grandmother just have been best buds with Liam’s great grandparents because they were¬†both¬†witches. It would take the creep factor out of the book completely. (Disclaimer: this is the last book in the Donovan series and I haven’t read the others, so it might have already been established that the Donovans are the only witch known witch family still alive.)

That being said, I really liked Rowan’s character. I thought she was pretty strong, and I liked how she didn’t let Liam control her at all. I also thought it was interesting how the guy she was supposed to fall in love with (the one her parents like) was actually a good guy too, and they just weren’t meant to be together. I have to admit, I like that because a lot of the time romances have the exes of the heroine be incredibly evil, which is unrealistic, even though it can make for a good story. I definitely prefer the more three-dimensional characters, however. ¬†All in all, a pretty good read if you can look past the distant cousins factor.


Lovers at Heart by Melissa Foster

LoversAtHeart.jpg¬† Treat Braden wasn’t affected by anyone or anything until Max Armstrong, the cool, efficient event planner he had first met and quickly offended. Now, six months later, she still wasn’t out of his mind, and he would do anything to get into his good graces. But Max won’t have anything to do with him. Wary of men as it is after being severely hurt by her last serious boyfriend, the slight from Treat might keep her from ever getting close to him, no matter how much they both want it.

This is the first Melissa Foster book I’ve read, even though she’s been highly recommended to me by many readers, and she has not disappointed. I thought it was a really cute love story. I liked how Max was a strong character but at the same time she was innocent and someone Treat needed to protect. The twist with her ex-boyfriend was unexpected, but I definitely liked that, because it showed that even the villains in the story were not two-dimensional. And even though this wasn’t a PG story, it didn’t rely on sex scenes to make it worth reading, like a lot of romances (even those not listed in erotica) do. It’s definitely a love story worth reading about, and I can’t wait to read the next story in The Bradens series.

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