What Happens At Christmas (Millworth Manor, #1) by Victoria Alexander

Narrator: Elizabeth Wiley
What Happens At Christmas Book Cover What Happens At Christmas
Millworth Manor #1
Victoria Alexander
Historical Romance, Victorian Romance
Kensington Books
October 16, 2012

You are cordially invited to Christmas at Millworth Manor. . .

Camille, Lady Lydingham, requests the pleasure of your company at a festive house party, as she endeavors to coax a marriage proposal from Prince Nikolai Pruzinsky of Greater Avalonia.

The hostess's relatives will be in attendance--in this case, a troupe of actors hired to impersonate a proper English family in order to fool the Prince.

Gate-crashing, distractingly handsome first loves like Grayson Elliott are most unwelcome.

Games will be played.

Motives will be revealed.

Mayhem may ensue.

And hearts will be won--and lost--in the most romantic, magical season of all.

Please RSVP!

This was a very amusing Christmas story. It was just what I needed like a hot cup of chocolate on a cold winter night.

Camille, Lady Lydingham, wanted the fairy tale life so when she met a prince who was travelling. Camille put a plan into motion designed to charm Prince Nikolai Pruzinksy of Greater Avalonia into proposing to her and making her a princess.

The problem was that she didn’t feel that her family was the “right sort” to endear the prince to her, as they were quite eccentric. So Camille decided to hire a troupe of actors to portray a proper and respectable English family. While Camille and her married twin sister Beryl, Lady Dunwell, put their scheme into motion, Camille’s first love Grayson Elliot came by.

Grayson had decided that Camille was the one that got a way and he came to woo her back. Unfortunately he walks into this grand spectacle of a Christmas holiday with Camille’s faux family. Both Prince Nikolas and Grayson wanted to prove they were the right suitor. Her twin sister just wants her to be happy. The rest is just comedic genius.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this story so much but it was funny. Camille was very likable even though she was a bit of a dreamer. I give her a A for the trying in earnest to pull of a ruse of this magnitude. It required nerves of steel and sheer willpower to remain committed when parts of her story were falling part. Camille and her sister improvised so well, I almost expected them to decide to go into the theater afterwards.

I liked the drama because it felt like watching a live play with the blunders, bloopers and improvisation. The romance was also sweet and heart felt. I was pleased with how the love story was resolved. The audiobook narrator did an awesome job with various voices. I was never bored in this story. If you want an entertaining Christmas story and a second chance romance, I highly recommend this one.


Audiobook Review: Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber

Narrator: Suzanne Elise Freeman
Twelve Days of Christmas Book Cover Twelve Days of Christmas
Debbie Macomber
Contemporary Romance
Random House & Publishing Group
October 4th 2016

Continuing in a festive annual tradition, #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber returns with a new original holiday novel full of romance and cheer—and the magical prospect of finding love in the most unexpected places.

Friendly and bubbly, Julia Padden likes nearly everyone, but her standoffish neighbor, Cain Maddox, presents a particular challenge. No matter how hard she’s tried to be nice, Cain rudely rebuffs her at every turn, preferring to keep to himself. But when Julia catches Cain stealing her newspaper from the lobby of their apartment building, that’s the last straw. She’s going to break through Cain’s Scrooge-like exterior the only way she knows how: by killing him with kindness.

To track her progress, Julia starts a blog called The Twelve Days of Christmas. Her first attempts to humanize Cain are far from successful. Julia brings him homemade Christmas treats and the disagreeable grinch won’t even accept them. Meanwhile, Julie’s blog becomes an online sensation, as an astonishing number of people start following her adventures. Julia continues to find ways to express kindness and, little by little, chips away at Cain’s gruff façade to reveal the caring man underneath. Unbelievably, Julia feels herself falling for Cain—and she suspects that he may be falling for her as well. But as the popularity of her blog continues to grow, Julia must decide if telling Cain the truth about having chronicled their relationship to the rest of the world is worth risking their chance at love.

This one was really a yummy and cute holiday story.

Julia Padden was trying to secure her dream job while working retail at Macy’s. One day, she discovered her cold and standoffish neighbor Cain Maddox was stealing her newspaper, Julia’s best friend Camie suggested Julia kill him with kindness. So Julia started the Twelve Days of Christmas Blog, where she wrote everyday about ways she was showering Cain with kindness and it became an overnight sensation. To protect his identity and because she didn’t like him very much, Julia dubbed her neighbor “Ebenezer” on her blog. Soon, Julia began getting insight into Cain’s life and quickly found out that he had been dealt a hard hand in life and was unapproachable because being vulnerable to people was too scary for Cain. They soon began letting see who they really were underneath, like peeling away layers of clothing.

After about a week, Cain asked Julia out on a real date and Julia realized that she had come to actually like Cain. She decided to continue with the blog but see where this new “thing” with Cain would lead. They began to really form a bond until Cain discovered that Julia had made him a project of sorts and he felt betrayed. Would Julia be able to convince him it was all real?

This story was cute, amusing and sweet. I enjoyed it like a warm cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter night. It was lighthearted reading with a very subtle reminder that we cannot always judge a book by its cover as well as reminding us that a little act of kindness can go a long way to thaw out the coldest of hearts.
Julia was really a nice person who tried to fill her days up with as many activities and good deeds because she was avoiding dealing with her feelings of loneliness. Cain used a thorny exterior to keep everyone at bay since he had severe trust issues. It was nice juxtapose of precociously happy versus grumpy grouch. I loved the interplay with blogging and the holidays. I could picture something like this actually happening and everyone loves a happy ending. Debbie Macomber is an author I discovered with another Holiday book Starry Night and she has a gift with writing heart felt romances. but the message was woven well into the feel good romance story.

This is the best Christmas story I’ve read this yea and I plan to read more by this author soon.


Review: Christmas on Mimosa Lane (Seasons of the Heart #1) by Anna DeStefano

Review: Christmas on Mimosa Lane (Seasons of the Heart #1) by Anna DeStefanoSeries: Seasons of the Heart #1
on 2012-10-23
Pages: 299
A childhood on the streets taught Mallory Phillips to never trust love again. Years later, she longs for a peaceful existence and a community to call home, only she can t quite settle into the picturesque, cozy world around her. When Polly Lombard sneaks into Mallory s house to look at her Christmas tree, Mallory connects with Polly and Polly s grieving father in wondrous ways, helping them heal. But when Mallory s past returns to haunt her, will she trust her new family to be there for her? Anna DeStefano s heartwarming and emotional tale of second chances is a testament to the healing power of love, and the incredible joy of Christmas miracles.

Teacher Mallory Phillips woke to find a student Polly Lombard in her home. Polly had lost her mom, and at night would sneak over to the next door neighbor’s home. It became a nighttime routine. As Mallory called Pete Lombard to pick up his daughter, they began the healing process. The Lombards helped Mallory stop hiding behind her work and jump into life again.

I had avoided this book because many reviews said it was heartbreaking. I guess what I saw was hope. The other side of tragedy when people start picking up the pieces of their lives. The book was written really well. It wasn’t overly sappy and it wasn’t too fluffy. It have a great flow and great pace. Once I started, I didn’t stop listening to it until it finished. I loved little Polly. Somehow she saw the capacity for love in Mallory and she grabbed onto it hard. It was so sweet watching the shell that both Mallory and Pete formed around themselves develop crack after crack, until the shells shattered. Love and acceptance is the ultimate Christmas gift and that is what this book was about. The second chance at happiness made this book heartwarming, not heartbreaking. It was a great book to read on New Year’s Eve. I felt like I was transported to Mimosa Lane and was a part of the story. I look forward to reading some more books in this series.

Review: A Kiss For Midwinter (Brothers Sinister, Book 1.5) by Courtney Milan

Review:  A Kiss For Midwinter (Brothers Sinister, Book 1.5) by Courtney MilanSeries: Brothers Sinister, #1.5
on December 16th, 2012
Pages: 121
AmazonNarrator: Rosalyn Landor
Miss Lydia Charingford is always cheerful, and never more so than at Christmas time. But no matter how hard she smiles, she can't forget the youthful mistake that could have ruined her reputation. Even though the worst of her indiscretion was kept secret, one other person knows the truth of those dark days: the sarcastic Doctor Jonas Grantham. She wants nothing to do with him...or the butterflies that take flight in her stomach every time he looks her way.

Jonas Grantham has a secret, too: He's been in love with Lydia for more than a year. This winter, he's determined to conquer her dislike and win her for his own. It all starts with a wager and a kiss...

A Kiss for Midwinter is a novella (38,000 words) in the Brothers Sinister series. It follows The Duchess War. Each book stands on its own, but those who prefer to read in order might want to read that book first.

Miss Lydia Charingford was the best friend of Minerva Lane (now Minnie Blaidell, Duchess of Clairmont) from book 1. We had glimpses of Lydia’s past in book 1, The Duchess War, where Lydia and Minnie talked about Lydia’s miscarriage and secret shame.

In this book, we learn that 15 year old Lydia had been seen by a physician Dr. Parwine and a 21-yr old medical student Jonas Grantham, when the older doctor Parwine stated that Lydia would eventually perish due to her sin of moral decay. He prescribe prussic acid, something the medical student Grantham thought was more of poison, and sent them away.
Eventually miscarried the child, but Lydia chose to live her life full of cheer because she was living in direct contradiction to the prognosis given by that judgmental Dr. Parwine.

Years later when Jonas Grantham saw Lydia, he was amazed at how she was doing and her beautiful she was. He decided that he wanted to get to know her, but Lydia shunned him as he was one of the few witnesses to her secret shame. How can Jonas convince her that his interest in genuine and how can he get Lydia to give him a chance?

This was a Christmas story that showed us that Lydia had as much of an effect on Jonas’s career as he did on her determination to continue on despite her teenage pregnancy. I enjoyed Jonas courting Lydia because he obviously didn’t know that flowers and poetry were the way to a lady’s heart. Instead, he gave brutal honest at every opportunity. Jonas couldn’t be confused for a flattery because he didn’t even try. I think Jonas’ honesty was key because Lydia had been a victim of a cad who gave her all kinds of promises while stealing her virtue. Lydia needed a man she could completely trust and Jonas was that man.

One thing I must not forget to say is Lydia’s dad was such a caring man. I loved how supportive of his daughter he continued to be despite her secret pregnancy. He wasn’t the typical ton father and I think he was the real reason Lydia had a good outlook on life.