Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Salon: Christmas Stories To Enjoy

Photo from morgueFile
Much has happened since we last visited for Sunday Salon. Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the Christmas season is officially underway.

Another week has past as we gather once more to participate in Sunday Salon. Today we talk about the books we’ve found and discuss new ones we’re eager to read. In the spirit of Christmas, I have three entertaining and intriguing books to share with you today. While each is unique in its own special way, they all share one standard theme throughout - the magic of Christmas.


coverAuthor Victoria Alexander beautifully blends romance, loyalty, humor, historical England, and mystery with a dash or two of Christmas magic for an engaging read. You always know her book is going to be filled with passion and lots of fun.

Narrator Elizabeth Wiley does a wonderful job bringing all the characters to life. She gives each their own distinct voice keeping the story flowing smoothly. Her accent transports listeners to an English country home for an unforgettable Christmas.

Camille, Lady Lydingham, thought she’d found her perfect prince. All she has to do is give Prince Nikolai Pruzinsky a perfect Dickensian Christmas like he wants and he will surely propose. There is just one problem - her family. There are out of town on holiday and are a bit unconventional to begin with.

Camille, a wealth widow, hires a troupe of down-and-out actors to play her family and staff. With the reluctant support of her twin sister, Beryl, and her husband Lionel, Lord Dunwell, Camille believes she can pull it off. She’ll explain everything to the Prince once they’re married and they’ll have a good laugh.

Camille never dreamed her plan would go up in smoke, but then she never planned on seeing Grayson Elliott again either. She had loved Grayson for years. He had declared his love for her 11 years ago on her wedding day and then disappeared.
Grayson returns to find Camille in the midst of a masquerade. He can’t help but say he’ll help her win her prince despite buried feelings that are beginning to surface and a distrust for the prince.

As Camille’s play continues, sparks begin to fly between her and Grayson. Just as she realizes she may have her prince, she’s not sure she wants him anymore.

The characters are well-developed and realistic. The author’s detail to the era and setting add another layer to the story. The eccentric characters and the perplexing plots will keep you in stitches. Filled with twists, surprises, romance, and loads of humor, WHAT HAPPENS AT CHRISTMAS is a delightful story that reminds us to be careful of what we wish for.

Author Victoria Alexander’s website is
What Happens At Christmas by Victoria Alexander, Performed by Elizabeth Wiley, Brilliance Audio, @2012, ISBN: 978-1455800247, Unabridged, 10 Discs, Listening Time: 11 Hours 24 Minutes

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

'Twas the Night After Christmas coverAuthor Sabrina Jeffries takes an intriguing look at how misunderstandings and pride cause a split between mother and son that only a Christmas miracle and a meddling companion can mend.

Narrator Michael Page does an excellent job giving each character their own unique sound. His vocalization of the emotions felt by the characters will bring you to tears, have you ready to slap someone, and laughing as he guides you through the story.

Pierce Waverly, Earl of Devonmont, has been an unabashed rogue most of his life. Basically abandonment by his parents and sent away to boarding school, he was raised by distant relatives. Since his father’s death, Pierce has taken on taken on the responsibilities of his title, but has never forgiven his parents - especially his mother.

An urgent message come from Mrs. Camilla Stuart, his mother’s new companion, saying she is seriously ill. Unable to stop himself, Pierce races to Montcliff only to learn it was a cruel trick by Mrs. Stuart hoping to get mother and son together.

Pierce also finds Camilla is nothing he imagined a vicar’s widow to be. Drawn to her, he finds himself staying longer at Montcliff. Meanwhile, he also discovers there may be more to his mother’s past than he knew. In addition, Camilla has secrets of her own that she tries to keep from Pierce.

The author has created characters with great depth as we see the kindness in Pierce coming to the surface and the longing in Camilla. There is also the brave face of Pierce’s mother and the innocence of young Jasper. The descriptions of the era, setting and customs places the listener (reader) in the middle of the scene bringing it all to life.

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS will tug on your heartstrings and then have you laughing out loud. This historical romance is mingled with surprises, loyalty and the magic of Christmas for a delightful story.

Author Sabrina Jeffries’ website is

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries, Performed by Michael Page, Brilliance Audio, @2012, ISBN: 978-1455861200, Unabridged, 8 Discs, Listening Time: 9 Hours

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Kissing Under the MistletoeAuthor Marina Adair has penned a charming story of loyalty, family, hardship, determination, and the miracle of love blended with the Christmas season.

Narrator Renee Raudman does a beautiful job giving unique voices to each of the characters, especially Holly. You can feel the pain and sadness, love and hope in her vocalizations. Her cadence draws you in for a tantalizing story.

When she was 19, Regan Martin made a terrible mistake that cost her everything and gave her a wonderful gift at the same time. She feel in love with a man she worked with only to discover he was already married. Just before losing everything, Regan learned she was pregnant.

Six years later her daughter is the center of her world as Regan tries to get on with her life. However, Gabe DeLuca, the brother-in-law of her ex-lover, has made it his mission to crush Regan’s career and life in the wine industry everywhere she turns.

When a dream job comes open in Napa Valley complete with a ‘forever’ home for them and a private school for Holly, Regan can’t believe her good luck. But the luck doesn’t last long when it’s discovered the job is with a DeLuca owned company. Regan is quickly out of a job, searching for a new place to live and trying to keep Holly in school. To add to her problems, Regan is also battling increasing good feelings toward the man who has made her life miserable for six years.

Meanwhile, Gabe only wants Regan out of his family’s business and away from where his sister might run into her. He also wants the attraction he feels for Regan to go away.

The author has created strong protagonist in Regan and Gabe. Giving each strengths, as well as flaws makes them more realistic. Loyalty and family is a driving force for both of them. The capricious supporting characters with their quirky ways adds another delightful layer to the mix, especially the meddling Christmas grandmas.

KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE will keep you laughing and tug at your heartstrings as Regan does her best to provide for her adorable daughter. The bickering and bantering between Regan and Gabe reminded me of old Cary Grant/Katherine Hepburn scenes. This is a must-read for the holiday season.

Author Marina Adair’s website is

Kissing Under The Mistletoe by Marina Adair, A St. Helena Vineyard Novel, Performed by Renee Raudman, Brilliance Audio, @2012, ISBN: 978-1469236612, Unabridged, 8 Discs, Listening Time: 9 Hours

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have you discovered any Christmas-themed stories you’d like to share?

1 comment:

  1. Mason - You've offered all sorts of 'holiday magic' books, for which thanks. That wine country setting for Kissing Under the Mistletoe is especially appealing. It's hard to believe that the holiday season is already here...


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