Holiday Reviews: Season of Wonder, Christmas on Mistletoe Lane, and It Started with Christmas

Posted December 24, 2018 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments

holiday-review-headerHoliday Reviews: Season of Wonder, Christmas on Mistletoe Lane, and It Started with ChristmasSeason of Wonder by RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Haven Point #9
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday
Published by Harlequin on September 25, 2018
Also by this author: Snow Angel Cove, The Cottages on Silver Beach, Coming Home for Christmas, The Sea Glass Cottage, Summer at Lake Haven , Christmas at Holiday House, Sleigh Bells Ring
Format: eBook (317 pages) • Source: Purchased
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He’s giving her children a season of wonder…

Dani Capelli seized a chance to start over in a small town with her daughters. Now, facing her first Christmas in Haven Point, she wonders if leaving New York was a mistake. Dani loves working alongside veterinarian Dr. Morales, but her two children aren’t adjusting to small-town life. And then there’s Dr. Morales’s son, Ruben—Dani’s next-door neighbor. Gorgeous, muscled and dependable, the deputy sheriff is everything she secretly craves and can’t bear to risk loving…and losing.

Ruben never pictured himself falling for a big-city woman like Dani. But beneath her prickly facade, she’s caring and softhearted and she needs all the love and protection he can give. When Dani’s teenage daughter starts acting out, Ruben draws on family traditions to show the girls just how magical a Haven Point Christmas can be. But can he convince Dani that she’s found a home for the holidays—and forever—in his arms?


ASK ME HOW PUMPED I AM FOR NEW HAVEN POINT BOOKS! (Very excited, obviously.) I love this town. I heard a few mixed things about this main character and the story as a whole, but I knew the small town Haven Point feels would make up for a lot. The lead, Diana, has two girls – one bratty teenager and one adorable six-year-old, and she moved everyone to Haven Point to hopefully run the town’s veterinary practice. She can’t resist her cop neighbor and he seemingly can’t resist her either, especially as he helps the aforementioned annoying teen daughter make up for some mistakes.

This one was a bit repetitive with Dani’s internal dialogue, going back and forth all the time. She was an okay lead character but a little too hard to get to know. She was closed off to everyone, including the reader. Ruben was amazing though; the scenes with him and her kids were adorable. Mia was the cutest and Silver was a bratty teen that got better with time. I also think the big “reveal” about her ex-husband wasn’t as bad as expected? Maybe that’s terrible to say given the nature of it, but still – they built it up quite a bit. I definitely missed the cameos here too… not as many as I’d hoped because Dani refused to become a part of the town. I hope the next book, if there is one, features more of actual Haven Point and its residents.

Wintry Setting & Holiday Feels

I love the Haven Point lights parade with the boats on the water and there were a few good holiday moments. Ruben led a Secret Santa project that the girls helped with, they had the lights parade, and there were cute moments involving their Christmas tree. I definitely would have liked more holiday stuff just because Haven Point’s downtown/main street area is so adorable.


This was not my favorite of the series, but it wasn’t bad! Even though Diana was a tough lady to get to know with a rough past, she did slightly warm up by the end of the book. Ruben made up for a lot of my issues with her because he was so sweet and genuine the whole time, always ready to be with her and make her happy. I wish for more Haven Point feels but hopefully more books are coming with them.



Holiday Reviews: Season of Wonder, Christmas on Mistletoe Lane, and It Started with ChristmasChristmas on Mistletoe Lane by Annie Rains
Series: Sweetwater Springs #1
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday
Published by Hachette on September 25, 2018
Also by this author: Springtime at Hope Cottage, Snowfall on Cedar Trail , Starting Over at Blueberry Creek, Sunshine on Silver Lake, Season of Joy, Reunited on Dragonfly Lane, The Summer Cottage, The Christmas Village, The True Love Bookshop, The Good Luck Cafe
Format: Paperback (432 pages) • Source: Purchased
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This USA Today bestselling author invites you to the delightful small town of Sweetwater Springs where the magic of Christmas brings to strangers together in this "story you won't forget" (RaeAnne Thayne, New York Times bestselling author).

Christmas is coming to the North Carolina mountains, and the air is fresh and crisp and filled with promise. After the devastating loss of her job in the big city, the small town of Sweetwater Springs feels like heaven to Kaitlyn Russo. She's inherited her grandparents' charming (if a little rundown) bed and breakfast, and it's just the new lease on life she needs. Only "heaven" comes with a catch-and a handsome and completely infuriating one at that.

After what he hopes will be a quick trip, Mitch Hargrove wants nothing more than to put his hometown in the rearview mirror. But his plans get derailed when he learns he's now half-owner of the Sweetwater B&B. The fact that he's given only two months to make the inn a success is a huge problem, but it's his pretty-and incredibly headstrong-partner who's the real challenge. With the holiday fast approaching and a grand re-opening looming, will Mitch keep running from the ghosts of Christmas past . . . or will he realize the true gift he's been given?

Includes the bonus short story "Midnight Clear" by Hope Ramsay! What readers are saying about Christmas on Mistletoe Lane... "This book was exactly what I needed to kick off the holiday season." "A holiday story full of second chances, romance and magic...It's got all the feels-and a fabulous holiday message." "I truly enjoyed this fun holiday read." "This book needs to be made into a Hallmark Christmas movie!"


Add another cute small town series to my list! The Sweetwater Springs, NC setting was adorable and a cute bed and breakfast made it even better. CHRISTMAS ON MISTLETOE LANE features Kaitlyn and Mitch, who are the new co-owners of the local B&B, thanks to Kaitlyn’s grandmother’s will. They fix the place up and get it buzzing with new guests before Mitch sells his half to Kaitlyn (or so he plans, at least).

The plot and setting were wonderful. I liked the characters too, for the most part, but this feels like the millionth holiday book in a row where the lead male is ex-military and/or a police officer. That’s generally not my cup of tea and it was kind of exhausting reading that many in a row. Mitch was a good guy, but I hate the manly man characterization that often follows these kinds of leading men. I’m just not into the strict gender roles and those were moderately evident throughout this book. Kaitlyn had an interesting backstory and they DID make a good pair in general.

Wintry Setting & Holiday Feels

The story starts right at Thanksgiving and works its way through the holiday season perfectly. There were lots of scenes were they decorated the B&B with Christmas decorations and referenced local festivals (Lights on the Lake again – just like in Haven Point lol… I read too many of these books!). The downtown area seemed festive for the holidays too. I wish the book didn’t end right around the actual day though.


This is probably one of the best holiday reads so far, as many of them for 2018 have been disappointing in one way or another. I was addicted to this one and read more than half of it in one sitting. Annie Rains has a nice writing style and I have to say, I can’t wait to return to Sweetwater Springs in book two. Even better? It features two side characters from this book that I am VERY intrigued to know more about (and see paired together!!).



I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

Holiday Reviews: Season of Wonder, Christmas on Mistletoe Lane, and It Started with ChristmasIt Started With Christmas by Jenny Hale
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday
Published by Bookouture on October 29th 2018
Also by this author: A Christmas to Remember, Coming Home for Christmas, Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses, All I Want for Christmas, We'll Always Have Christmas, The Summer House, Christmas at Silver Falls, Christmas at Fireside Cabins, The Christmas Letters
Format: eARC (311 pages) • Source: Publisher
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A beautiful, feel-good Christmas story. You’ll laugh, cry, and fall in love with this wonderfully warm and MAGICAL festive romance…

Holly McAdams loves spending the Christmas holidays at her family’s cozy cabin, with its little red door and twinkling lights, tucked in the snowy hills outside Nashville. But this year will be different. Someone unexpected is joining them…

After Holly and her beloved Nana struggle through a snow storm to reach the cabin, they discover gorgeous and wealthy Joseph Barnes, who has been renting the cabin for the last few weeks, is now snowed in. And it looks like he’ll be staying for the holidays.

Determined to make the best of the surprise situation, Holly tries to bring everyone together by baking delicious treats and decorating the cabin with plenty of festive sparkle. She finds herself growing close to handsome Joseph, who is unlike anyone she’s ever met before, even if Nana isn’t so keen on the dashing stranger with the mysterious past.

But charming and irresistible musician Rhett Burton is also back in town. Thrown into close proximity with the person who used to be her best friend and the man who broke her heart, Holly realizes it’s time to face her feelings and figure out what she really wants from her life. But to complicate things, both Joseph and Rhett have secrets to reveal…

Will Holly be able to find herself and the love she’s always dreamed of this Christmas?

Discover the joy of Christmas in this gorgeous novel, celebrating the importance of friendship, the magic of love, and finding happiness by being true to yourself.


I always save Jenny Hale for my last Christmas book of the season, but I started it concurrently with the book above. The setup for this one is a little different – the MC, Holly, and her nana head to their cottage for Christmas. The previous renter, Joe, is still stuck there from a snowstorm and the three end up shacking up. Nana was hard to like at the beginning (which is normal for a Hale book), but I warmed to her eventually.

The addition of Rhett returning to Holly’s life and all of Joe’s secrets made for some complicated situation. I don’t mind love triangles sometimes, but this one was frustrating. Rhett represented the childhood-best-friend-turned-potential-lover side and Joe was someone-new-she’s-falling-for-quickly. You learn this pretty early on, but skip the rest of this paragraph to avoid spoilers: Joe is actually engaged and Holly helps him plan the wedding even though they are clearly falling for each other. There’s something weird with his fiancee though and it’s hard to tell how he and Holly could get over this obstacle if they were to get together? Meanwhile, Rhett is in love with her and she’s coming back around to him a little bit.

So, the weird romance and a lot of excessive cheesiness (especially compared to her other books, IMO), meant that this one was not great for me. It just didn’t feel like a nice Christmas book with the introduction of this love triangle. I also didn’t exactly ship her with either of the guys because of the timing of things happening – I’m trying to be vague, but I didn’t enjoy it.

Wintry Setting & Holiday Feels

I was sad to know this book didn’t happen in the same location as many of her others, but the Nashville area romance and Christmassy cabin were a welcome change in the end! The decor and holiday feels are always so strong in Hale’s books, which is why I always save them for last – they’re usually the most holiday-ish as humanly possible! The Christmas feels were strong with this one, for a certain amount of time, especially as some family traditions emerged on Christmas. Unfortunately it did zip over to New Years and beyond, without any major substance.


One of the things I love the most about Hale’s books is that I can count on them to be formulaic, in a good way, which means I’m not often disappointed. This one did divert a bit from the norm with the love triangle and enhanced cheesiness factor, which was not what I was hoping for. I kept thinking it’d get better but it didn’t really work out that way, unfortunately.



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