Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mini Book Reviews: Can This Be Christmas? by Debbie Macomber and An O'Brien Family Christmas by Sherryl Woods (no spoilers)

Book: Can this Be Christmas?
Author: Debbie Macomber
Publication: October 1st, 1998
Source: Purchased
Read: Dec 16th-18th, 2014
Summary (From Goodreads):

In this short hardcover, Debbie Macomber shows how a group of train travelers stranded in a New Hampshire depot on Christmas Eve find the true meaning of Christmas. Len Dawber, a navy man stationed in Maine, is desperate to get home to Texas, where he intends to propose to his sweetheart Amy. Cathy Norris, devastated by her husband's recent death, doesn't expect to enjoy the holiday with her daughter's family in Boston. Burned-out computer salesman Matt McHugh, emotionally estranged from his wife and two kids, nurses his resentment and contemplates divorce. Kelly and Nick Berry fear they're losing the closeness they once shared as they struggle to adjust to their new roles as adoptive parents. When a blizzard forces these characters, and several others, all cranky and argumentative, to spend the night before Christmas together, they find that a little kindness and the courage to open their hearts go a long way toward making it a Christmas to remember. A good choice if you're looking to get in the Christmas spirit.

My Thoughts:
This story was very short around 115 pages, but very sweet. Every person had a story, but a similar goal. They all wanted to spend Christmas with their families and friends. A blizzard forces these weary travelers to change their plans. They all board a train not knowing that the train will break down and they will be forced to spend their Christmas in a train depot.

I loved all the different stories of the characters. I understood their frustration with being stuck in the train depot. It was funny to see how they changed through a few small acts of kindness by the community. I thought this was a really sweet Christmas story to begin my holiday reading season.

Book: An O'Brien Family Christmas
Author: Sherryl Woods
Series: Chesapeake Shores #8
Publication: Sept 27th, 2011
Source: Purchased
Read: Dec 18th-21st , 2014
Summary (from Goodreads):

Dating Matthew O'Brien—a playboy and a younger man—cost Laila Riley her career and her parents' respect. A high price, even for love—and when Laila decides it was just a fling, she breaks it off, despite Matthew's objections.

 But the O'Brien family has other ideas, and they conspire to get Laila to join them on a Dublin holiday. It's a great time to get away from it all, but Laila has reservations about the trip. Matthew's bound to be there, and she's far from immune. What if she can't resist temptation?

 Meanwhile, the O'Briens are in an uproar over matriarch Nell's unexpected romance with an old flame. Will she follow her heart despite the risks? And will Laila discover that some risks are actually once-in-a-lifetime opportunities?

My Thoughts:
I bought this book at a library book sale and I was excited to read it. When I went to mark it as to read on goodreads I learned that it was the 8th book in the Cheasapeake shores series. This was my first book by Sherryl Woods so obviously I have not read the other books, but I decided to continue reading anyways since I was about 50 page in at the time and I understood what was happening.

Laila and Matthew were the main characters of this novel. Laila had broken up with Matthew and quite her job at the family bank, which makes her estranged for her family except for her brother. The O'Brien's are a meddling family and they have a goal this Christmas: to get Matthew and Laila back together.

I really enjoyed getting to know all the O'Brien's. They seem like such a fun family. Not to mention they spend Christmas in Dublin, which seemed like the perfect romantic setting. I enjoying getting to know Matthew and Laila better and I was cheering for a reconciliation.

One of my favorite parts was watching Nell fall back in love with her old flame Dillon much to her son Mick's disapproval. I think it showed that you are never too old for true love. Maybe this Nell's chance despite being a million miles apart.

The ending was very romantic and sweet. I am a big fan of sappy endings. It left a lot of loose ends for future novels. I'm interested to go back and read the rest of the series. Sherryl Woods has a few more Christmas novels with these characters that I would love to read.

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