Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Double Review: Christmas on 4th Street & Yours For Christmas by Susan Mallery

Christmas on 4th Street (Fool's Gold, #12.5)
Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery
(Fool's Gold #12.5)
September 24, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Contains: fade-to-black sex
Source: eARC for Honest review

There's nowhere better to spend the holidays than with New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery in the town of Fool's Gold, where love is always waiting to be unwrapped... Noelle Perkins just got a second chance at life, and she intends to make the most of every minute. That's why she ditched a frustrating legal career to open her own store in Fool's Gold, California. The Christmas Attic celebrates everything that's magical about her favorite season. Business is booming, and as a bonus, gorgeous army doctor Gabriel Boylan has offered to help out during the holiday rush.

Gabriel's memories of Christmas past contain more sour grapes than sugar plums, thanks to a drill sergeant father who ran his home like a boot camp. Spending the holidays with his family while he recuperates from injury sounds as appetizing as last year's eggnog. Still, there are some enjoyable distractions in town, including sunny, sexy Noelle...and the red-hot mistletoe kisses they can't stop sharing.

Gabriel didn't think he was made for happily-ever-afters. But when fate hands you a love as sweet and surprising as this, only a fool could refuse....

This was my first experience with Susan Mallery's writing, and I can honestly say I was impressed. I love Christmas novellas - not only for the obvious enjoyment of a story set in the Christmas setting, but it also gives me the opportunity to get to know other authors I may not have read before. If I'm lucky, I will find a new author whose other books I will want to explore in the future. In this case, though Susan Mallery's story was more than novella length, it was still a double win. Not only did I enjoy this story, but I also look forward to reading more stories in the Fool's Gold series.

As for Christmas on 4th Street, the story is very sweet and tender. The two main characters have each had difficult pasts, yet the way they chose to live after their previous hurts and heartbreak are quite different. I loved how their choices were explored in this story, and how along the way they had to learn from each other, or give up on any potential future happiness with each other.

I particularly liked Noelle's character. She is a stand-out amongst female main characters, the way she has handled not only her past, but especially her present and her future. Her optimism, her drive, her generosity, her compassion, her heart - all of these things and more were quite admirable. Even the way she handled Gabriel and his demons. I also like that we get a new side to the military as Gabriel is a doctor/trauma specialist, and Mallery's gentle exploration within that area.

Overall, this was a very sweet read with just the right amount of angst, cuteness, sexiness, and love. Admittedly, there was a bit of cheesiness in the end, but I really enjoyed Noelle and Gabriel's story nonetheless. Just the right story for the holidays. I will warn that while the page count seems high, the story itself felt more like a long novella, so I'm not sure if there is a discrepancy there or not.

Yours for Christmas (Fool's Gold, #15.5)
Yours For Christmas by Susan Mallery
(Fool's Gold #15.5)
October 28, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Content: clean
Source: eARC for Honest review
Famous former NFL stars don't date single working moms like Bailey Voss. She'll allow herself to daydream about Kenny Scott's muscles and killer smile, but wanting more would lead to post-holiday regret. Then Kenny volunteers to run a toy drive with Bailey, and she learns that he's not just hot…he's also generous, funny, nice. The whole package—tantalizingly out of reach.

The ache of past loss reminds Kenny why he needs to avoid getting too close to anyone. Especially to a gorgeous redhead and her adorable little girl. Mess it up, and he'd lose them both. Yet Kenny can only resist Bailey for so long. And as festive spirit spreads throughout the town, he's all wrapped up in Bailey's sweet, sexy kisses and determined to make this the first of many Christmases together…
This was another sweet Christmas novella by Susan Mallery. It's packed in with just the right amounts of past hurts, present dilemmas, and future hopes. Bailey's a single mom to a very adorable daughter, and has a bit of a crush on a certain hunky former NFL star, Kenny. When circumstances put them together, they must face their mutual attractions. But it's more than circumstances that keep the friendship growing more and more. But fear can be a difficult thing to overcome.

I really liked the characters of Bailey and Kenny. Bailey, as a widow and single mom, was grateful for everything and was still optimistic in the future, even though she was also practical. Kenny was such a sweetheart. I imagined him as a gentle giant as he didn't always say a lot, but his actions were always big and considerate. The progression of their relationship was very sweet and gentle and refreshing. Then throw an adorable 7-year-old, and this sweet story is hard to resist.

Christmas on 4th Street
Yours For Christmas

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