Review: Forever Christmas

Blurb:

The four best-selling, sweet romance Christmas stories together for the first time.

The western Washington town of Glenville is threatened with the possible loss of their 100 year old Christmas tree farm to an outside corporation. Four friends join together to keep the tradition alive and create new opportunities with the rebirth of, Forever Christmas tree farm.

Christmas Reflections – Joanne Jaytanie
As a teenager Juliet Swanson couldn’t wait to get out of her home town of Glenville WA and move to the big city. She moved to California to attend college, and then went to work for a large corporation. It didn’t take her long to realize that clawing her way up the ladder at others expense wasn’t the life she wanted. She moved back to her home town, fallen in love with the ‘family feel’ of living there, and has a close knit group of girlfriends she shares everything with. Now if she could only find a way to make her dream career a reality she would have it all, except for Mr. Right.

Colton Weatherly is a city guy who eats and breaths his career as a project manager for a development corporation. He is assigned to acquire the Glenville Ski Resort, along with the Schwartz Christmas Tree Farm. By his estimation it will be an easy close, and he plans to wrap it up in one short weekend. What he didn’t plan on was butting heads with Juliet, who is not the average ‘local girl.’

Reflecting on one’s life can sometimes lead to discovering a path you never knew existed.

Christmas Kiss – Sharon Kleve
Adelaide Duval has been told how to live her life from a very early age. First by her mother and then by her jerk boyfriend Jason. Both leave her expectantly and now she’s starting over with a new home and a new business. A new romance never crosses her mind.

Roman Bennett leaves his old life behind in the big city and settles into the small town of Glenville. When he meets Adelaide, his wounded heart is healed with a Christmas Kiss.

The Christmas Wreath – Angela Ford
Annie Dixon’s love for nature and her hometown of Glenville has her driven to find a way to keep the tree farm from outsiders. When the bank grants sixty days before the tree farm is listed for public sale, Annie and her friends devise a plan to finance the buy.
The death of Annie’s childhood friend brings Detective Ryder Harris back to Glenville. A child in his eyes, he always called her ‘Sweet Annie’. Now he sees her differently. Annie never admitted she had a big crush for Ryder. Now that familiar flutter in her heart is back. Annie knows Ryder won’t settle in Glenville. And is Ryder really back for his sister’s funeral or is he connected to the town resort’s sudden disappearance of their manager?
For the first time in many years, Ryder is excited about the holidays. Will the magic of Christmas forever connect these two hearts?

Candy Cane Kisses – Elle Rush
All bakery-owner Lindsay Leeds wants for Christmas is for her former high-school crush Sheriff Keith “Bodey” Bodewell to quit playing games. The sheriff has been dancing around asking her out for months and Lindsay is tired of it. His “fake girlfriend” ploy was cute and it was sweet that he recruited her friends to find out what she likes, but enough is enough. She’s a busy woman and he needs to step up or he’s going to lose his shot.

How can a woman who runs two businesses be so clueless when it comes to managing her heart? Bodey has dropped more than enough hints that he’s interested, but Lindsay isn’t catching them. Just when the sheriff is running out of ideas on how he can convince her to be his for Christmas, Lindsay gives him a clue about what it will take for him to get a date. And the answer is pretty simple. At least, it was supposed to be. Christmas is days away and his plays keep failing on a spectacular level.

It’s going to take the jolly fat man to make this holiday romance happen.

Review:

I was given a copy of the first story to review back in November, and I really enjoyed it so I picked up the entire collection so I could find out more about the ladies that are determined to save Glenville’s historic tree farm.

I don’t know if you read the previous review but I read book one just as the town I live in was getting ready for its annual Christmas festival. Now, I live in an old town that is in a lot of ways very similar to Glenville- It is a place where everyone knows everyone and we do our best to support and protect what is ours. We also have a proud heritage that we fight hard to preserve so I can relate to the sentiment in the book. And that familiarity is one of the main draws for me. Overall- I think this is a good collection of stories for anyone looking for quick, sweet-romance, Yuletide reads. I would say that as a whole, I would give the collection an 8 out of 10. There are some editing (and formatting) issues which I am finding quite often with this publisher. A minor mistake can be easily overlooked but when they are more noticeable, they tend to interrupt the flow of the story and have a negative effect on the overall perception of the book… I would love to see these stories polished better before they are published. One of the things that helped the rating was the concept behind the stories and the collection as a whole- I believe that all of these stories have great potential and they could easily be expanded into full length novels.

Christmas Reflections-

This is one of those quick, uplifting reads that makes you believe in the good of humanity and the power of love.

I really like the characters in Christmas Reflections. Juliet is strong and determined. When the town is faced with the possible loss of a crucial landmark, she and her friends band together to not only save the tree farm, but to turn it into something more. Colton is smart and savvy, which is why he is sent in to acquire the holdings his company wants. But the longer he is in the town, the more he questions what he really wants. The town itself is like its own character, the people are warm and helpful. They band together any time they are needed giving a sense of not only community but also an embodiment of the spirit of Christmas making it a perfect place for a place called Forever Christmas.

Christmas Kiss-

This one pretty much picks up where the fist one left off and gives a little more insight to the dynamic of the group. Even though the story focuses on Adelaide, you get a better idea about the women trying to save the tree farm.

Again, I like the characters in this one. Adelaide hasn’t had the easiest go. Her mother and her ex managed to do a number on her self esteem and she finds it difficult to trust that she is more than the plain, inadequate girl they made her out to be. But she is determined to prove them wrong and make a happy life for herself. Roman has some baggage as well- physical scars from his previous employment and emotional ones from his last relationship- but he too is searching for the path to happiness.

I did find some of the story a little hard to believe… I don’t want to give spoilers so I’m going to be as general and vague as possible. There was a point that seemed like it should have caused conflict, but the whole thing was smoothed over with little effort. People don’t tend to be that reasonable when they think they have been wronged especially when the heart is involved. Other than that, I think it was a very sweet, enjoyable story.

The Christmas Wreath-

This one backtracks a bit. It tells the story of the sale and events from Annie’s point. This part of the story takes place at the same time as those in Book 1. The story emphasizes Annie’s passion for the town and her devotion to saving the tree farm.

Again, the characters are wonderfully done. Annie is smart, strong, opinionated and a bit bossy but she is also kind, considerate, and a true friend. Ryder grew up in Glenville but he has been gone so long, he feels like an outsider. He has to deal with the internal struggle between duty and love and decide just where his path lies.

This story adds some more intrigue to the series. It explains some of the mystery surrounding the issues with ski-resort which became a concern for the town at the same time the family that owned the tree farm announced they would be selling. I love it because the author not only gives us a story of the romance between Annie and Ryder but how they connect to the world around them.

Candy Cane Kisses-

This one was probably my favorite in the collection.

This one has truly lovable characters. Lindsay is a spitfire and she isn’t going to take crap off anyone while Bodey is a bit of a doof. Instead of asking Lindsay out, Bodey concocts this elaborate scheme to get her to go out with him. And instead of letting the guy off the hook and just saying she’ll go out with him, she goes along with everyone’s matchmaking attempts and even goes out of her way to make things harder for him because she can’t let him know that she knows he’s behind it all. I love the banter between them and the dynamic of their building relationship.

I did find continuity errors but other than that, I thought it was excellently written and highly entertaining.

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