Monday, October 10, 2022

Review & Giveaway - - Home Sweet Christmas

Home Sweet Christmas
by Susan Mallery
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: October 4, 2022
Reviewed by PJ




With twinkling humor and heartfelt Christmas spirit, two friends find love in a town called Wishing Tree…


Until Camryn Neff can return to her “real” life in Chicago, she’s in Wishing Tree to care for her twin sisters. She’s not looking for forever love, not here. But handsome hotelier Jake Crane is a temptation she can’t resist, so she suggests they pair up for the season. No golden rings, no broken hearts. At his side, she sees her hometown through Christmas-colored eyes. The cheer is cheerier, the joy more joyful. She thought she had put her future on hold…but maybe her real life was here all along, waiting for her to come home.

New in town, River Best is charmed by Wishing Tree’s homespun traditions and warmhearted people. When she’s crowned Snow Queen, she’s honored but wary. Dylan Tucker, her king, seems like the stuff of sugarplum dreams, but she can’t shake the feeling that he’s hiding something big. As they perform their “royal” duties—tasting cookies, lighting trees—Dylan’s good humor and melty kisses draw her to the brink of love. But she can’t let herself fall until she uncovers his secret, even if her lack of faith means losing him forever.

PJ's Thoughts:

Mallery's first Wishing Tree book, The Christmas Wedding Guest, (9/28/21) planted the seed but this year's installment, Home Sweet Christmas, sealed the deal. Wishing Tree is where I want to spend my Christmas holidays and I plan to show up for all the activities! 

I love the community Mallery creates in this book, with the fun traditions, quirky locals, a meddling mama, joyful holiday spirit, and complicated relationships. In this book, she gives us two couples to follow. I found both relationships equally compelling and engaging. Her characters are so realistic...and relatable. These are complex, multi-layered individuals with strengths, weaknesses, baggage to overcome, and flaws just like the rest of us. They could be my friends or neighbors and, honestly, I'd like them to be. Well, maybe all of them except Jake's meddling, matchmaking, take-charge mother. Her heart may be in the right place but that woman scares me. 

Though there are two heart-tugging romances along with a supporting cast, Mallery weaves all of them together into a smoothly-flowing story while still giving each individual character room to evolve. I enjoyed the various relationships that play out along with the romances. Camryn's relationship with her younger sisters is poignant and complex, with a growth arc that touched my heart. I also love the twins' relationship with Jake. And then there's the abandoned pup who, let's face it, steals everyone's hearts, including mine. There are great female friendships and a spot-on friend/chosen family relationship between Jake and Dylan that was one of my favorite parts of the book. 

If you're looking for a heartwarming, hopeful, holiday romance with engaging characters, emotional depth, plenty of humor, family dynamics, self-reflection, and two happily-ever-after couples, all wrapped up with a festive bow, give yourself the gift of Susan Mallery's Home Sweet Christmas. It's a happy holiday delight. 

Though a few characters from the first Wishing Tree book appear in Home Sweet Christmas, both books can be enjoyed on their own without having read the other. If you haven't read The Christmas Wedding Guest yet, check out my 5-star review here


Have you read Susan Mallery?

Do you enjoy books with more than one main couple?

Have you read any holiday romances set in a fictional location you'd love to visit?

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, October 12 will receive a print copy of Home Sweet Christmas.

*U.S. only
*Must be 18
*Void where prohibited









19 comments:

  1. I love holiday reads!

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  2. I discovered Susan Mallery when I was looking for an easy read while recovering from an injury. Limped into Target and bought "Three Little Words" not knowing it was part of a series. I've since read the entire Fools Gold series, reread many, plus most of Susan Mallery's other titles. I'll start reading holiday books around Thanksgiving and this one will be on the list. I wouldn't mind spending Christmas in a fictional small town. I live in a rural area and our little village does have festivals and celebrations, but isn't Fools Gold. :)

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  3. I love holiday reads. During the year, when I need a lift, I will choose one of the holiday reads I have set aside for just such a time. Cindy Kirk created a small town of Good Hope in Wisconsin. The people are lovely and funny and warm. But, I could not live in Wisconsin, about this time of year, if I were there, I would become a popsicle. Snow is beautiful in a beer commercial or on a Christmas card, but I would pass away if it touched my body.
    I have read books by Ms Mallery and I have enjoyed every one I've read. Thanks for the terrific review.

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  4. I had the pleasure of meeting Susan at a booksigning, and I have enjoyed many of her books. I look forward to reading this Christmas story. I love Christmas stories, especially those set in small towns.

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  5. I've enjoyed many of Mallery's books over the years. My favorite series was the Fool's Gold series. I'd love to visit that fun town during the holidays!
    Mary H.

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  6. I have read many of Susan's books and read Christmas books all year. I have her wonderful cookbook as well and have many many recipes from it.

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  7. I've only read a couple of her books but enjoyed them. When it is done properly, I do like when more than one couple gets their HEA in a single book! I honestly cannot think of a fictional location in any holiday book or series that I want to visit, although there probably is one or two. ;-)

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  8. I have enjoyed several of Susan’s books going back 20 years!
    I do like stories featuring more than one couple: Virgin River, Icicle Falls, Fool’s Gold, Lucky Harbor, Avalon, Tyler, Lost Harbor, Knight’s Bridge, Highland Falls, Copper Ridge and Gold Valley.
    I especially liked to visit Fool’s Gold, Icicle Falls, Avalon and Highland Falls at Christmas.

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  9. Susan Mallory's books are captivating and wonderful. The different series are special. I would enjoy visiting any small town during the season.

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  10. I haven't read any thing recently, but I have always enjoyed them.. Thanks for the chance.

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  11. I read Holiday books all year long!

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  12. I've read many of Susan Mallery's books - love Christmas stories - it's fun to have several couples in the story.

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  13. Patricia Bennett BarberOctober 10, 2022 at 7:54 PM

    I love Susan's books!!!
    And when a books has more than one couple, it keeps you on your toes. And would love to go to Fool's Gold!

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  14. I have read several books by Susan Mallery and loved every one. I enjoy stories that have more than one main couple, it's like getting bonus content! I would love to see Fool's Gold, and other holiday romances I have read set in England, Scotland, Spain and Italy are places I would love to visit.

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  15. I've read several by Susan Mallery and enjoyed them. As for stories with more than one couple, those are fun too! As for fictional locations I'd visit? I'd happily move to Autre, the setting for Erin Nicholas's Boys of the Bayou and Boys of the Bayou Gone Wild series!
    --flchen1

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  16. I love Susan Mallery's books and love reading Christmas stories so I'm REALLY looking forward to this one!!

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  17. I haven't read any of Susan's books yet. More than one couple in a book is fine because they each have their own stories that add to the overall book. I would love to visit Somerset Lake in The Christmas Village by Annie Rains.
    Maryann

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  18. Yes, I have read some of Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series. I am fine with having more than one couple in the story, as long as it is a good story.

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  19. Probably too late. I do love Susan's books.

    denise

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