The Mistletoe Kiss by Betty Neels

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Ermentrude Foster has always known that she was plain, looking in the mirror attested to that fact.  So why was Dr. Rued ter Mennolt unable to keep her out of his mind.  Emmy worked as a telephone operator to help support her parents and Dr. ter Mennolt was a visiting consultant from Holland.  But fate kept throwing them together and Ruerd found himself thinking more and more of Emmy, despite the fact he was engaged to be married to the beautiful and sophisticated Anneliese.  When disaster strikes Emmy, Ruerd steps in to help her and takes her to Holland to spend the holidays with his family.

I realize I seem to be saying that everyone is my favorite author but I have to admit that Betty Neels is one of my favorites. (Of course, this is my website so most of the time I am posting about authors I enjoy.) Most of her novels take place in both England and Holland, with fabulous descriptions of both locations that really make me want to visit.  Emmy is plain and doesn’t love her job but she has a loving relationship with her parents and is willing to work to help support them.  I love Emmy’s love and dedication to her family. Ruerd’s inability to get Emmy out of his mind despite her plainness warms my heart and how long it takes him to realize why he wants to assist her so much makes me smile. I have yet to read a Betty Neels that I haven’t loved and I highly recommend it.

Rating: 1

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A Healing Touch by Jenna Anderson

photo_3268_20090106After being burned by the small town gossip at the end of her first marriage, Tracy, a single mother is gun shy to try love again.  Working full-time and raising a three-year-old son doesn’t leave much free time, let alone time to meet a new love interest.  Dr. Jeremy Nelson has just moved to town and is intrigued by the hard-working no-nonsense Tracy.  When Tracy discovers a small lump in her throat, Jeremy has a chance to get to know Tracy better but Tracy is afraid to let someone close with the whole town watching the new doctor’s every move.

I really liked the main character Tracy, she is no-nonsense and doesn’t sit around waiting for someone to save her from her problems.  She works hard providing a happy life for herself and her son.  Having grown up in a relatively small town (by small I mean being related to almost everyone and having them discuss every aspect of your life) I understand Tracy’s fears about providing fodder for the gossip mill.  The story was entertaining and the storyline moved quickly, keeping me interested until the very end.  I really liked Tracy’s relationship with her son.  A Healing Touch is a heartwarming story sure to please.  Jeremy is a strong man attracted to a strong woman, with a desire to assist her but not take over her life.  I have to admit I have a special place in my heart for the man who is strong enough to stand next to a strong woman.

**The one downside was the language, the “F” word was used four times in the novel, so if you are offended by this, beware.

Rating: 1

This book can be purchased online at Smashwords.

Common Grounds by Michelle Levigne

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I have the unique opportunity to review for two websites.  In addition to reviewing on this site, I am going to be reviewing for Classic Romance Revival.  They are a great site also dedicated to clean romance novels.  This is the first review I have done for both sites.  Check them out!

Hannah Blake had finally decided to put her unrequited love for her boss, Xander Finley, on the back burner to get on with her life when she finds a dead body at the office.  As Hannah and Xander work with the police to investigate the “White Rose” serial killer, Hannah finds herself at the center of the investigation when the killer decides Hannah is his new “true love.”

When Hannah’s life is threatened, Xander is forced to fully look at his life and realize what losing Hannah would do to him.  As the killer gets closer, Xander and Hannah get closer but Xander finds it difficult to convince Hannah that his feelings are real and not just a product of the situation.

For the most part I really enjoyed this book.  The character development was great, the plot moved along well and I really liked that the main male character was not drop dead gorgeous. (I mean really, how many times do we meet a Brad Pitt?!) I really liked how the characters had a long relationship with each other and that love had grown with that relationship.  The White Rose killer story line was believable and had me mentally pointing the finger at several different characters as the novel progressed.

This is not the first book in the series and there were several moments where I felt that I needed to have read the first books to really understand what was going on.  I also really struggled with all the minor characters.  There are a lot of minor characters and we are given some background history on almost all of them. I really struggled to keep all of them straight in my head and found myself having to stop to reread portions of the book to try and figure who was who.

The book was left wide open for another in the series and there were minor story lines that flowed throughout the main thread that could easily be picked up in other novels.  I will definitely read the next book in the series.  I love it when the characters I have fallen in love with are in other books. I would recommend reading Common Grounds.

Rating: 1

Available at Desert Breeze Publishing.

Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson

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I recently read The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson. I have to admit that I love Christmas stories.  This book wasn’t so much a romance novel as a cute Christmas story.  The author’s style reminded me a lot of the Mitford Series, if you are familiar with those books.

The main character of the novel is the preacher’s wife in a small town  of Christmas Valley that was built around a logging mill.  When the mill shut down the town leaders decided to make the town a Christmas destination as a way to draw tourists to the town to keep it economically alive.  After several years of everything focused on Christmas the members of the town have become a bit disenchanted with the entire Christmas season and solely focused on the consumerism side. Edith, the pastor’s wife and operator of a bed-and-breakfast, is facing her first Christmas without children present and decides to open up the Inn to guests for the first time.  Edith imagines a perfect Christmas with perfect guests and ends up instead with a crazy old lady named Myrtle, a fighting couple, a single mother with daughter and a reclusive old man as guests. To top it all off, a tack 1970’s bus pulls up and the couple who live in it ask if they can park the bus in front of her Inn.  Taking one look at the extremely pregnant wife, Edith agrees to let them park there until they can get the bus fixed. Pretty soon Edith is regretting all her Christmas decisions; the mayor doesn’t like the bus being parked where tourists can see it, Myrtle causes problems with everyone in the town, and Edith’s favorite Christmas angel figurine goes missing.

This story was a feel-good Christmas story.  Some of the plot was pretty predictable but sometimes I need to be reminded of the real reasons for Christmas and what the Christmas spirit really is. I love reading Christmas stories before Christmas but I have learned, the hard way, that I have to double check copyright dates of Christmas stories because publishers have a tendency to re-release the same stories every year with new covers.

The book was a quick read and is available for free at Amazon.com for the Kindle and I recommend it.

Rating: 1

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