Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review: Snowflakes and Stetsons by Jillian Hart, Carol Finch & Cheryl St. John

Snowflakes and Stetsons is a Christmas anthology with a western historical romance theme that includes stories by Jillian Hart, Carol Finch and Cheryl St. John. This was my first Christmas read of the year and it was a sweet read! I read it early, during a time when I needed some comfort, but be sure to know that this book will be read again this Holiday season.

"The Cowboy's Christmas Miracle" By Jillian Hart

After serving seven years in a Territory prison for a crime he did not commit, Caleb McGraw goes home only to find out that his fiance is dead and that he has a son. That news takes him to Moose, Montana where his six year old son Thomas now lives with the widow Caroline Dreyer where he prevents a robbery and is invited to stay at least until Christmas. Caroline who lost her husband and child, and Thomas who lost his mother are both cheered by Caleb's company, and soon these three unhappy people are making the best of the season. As Caroline and Caleb's attraction grows and she figures out that he is indeed Thomas' father, they grow closer together and share their pain and hopes for the future. But what will happen when Caroline finds out that Caleb is an ex convict and the reason behind his imprisonment?

The Cowboy's Christmas Miracle by Jillian Hart is a lovely, heartwarming holiday story about three people who experience deep loses in their lives and find a second chance at that illusive happiness. Although things happen a bit quickly for these two people and Caroline needs a push to see what is clearly in front of her eyes, I love that Caleb deservedly finds a place where he's respected for the wonderful man he truly is, and happiness with Thomas and Caroline.

"Christmas at Cahill Crossing" by Carol Finch

Beautiful Rosalie Greer is caught in a blizzard on her way to town from a secret Santa shopping trip. It's dark and wolves have her surrounded when Lucas Burnett and his dog, Dog, find her buried under a pile of snow. Lucas takes her to his ranch where as an outcast of society he keeps to himself. He's bitter about the fact that he was a Texas Ranger and helped settle the area, but because of his mixed blood he is not socially acceptable to the townspeople. However, Rosalie is not everybody. She is a respected business owner and despite an initial misunderstanding likes gorgeous Lucas. After he saves her life, she's determined to involve him in the town's events for Christmas and hopefully in her life.

In Christmas at Cahill, I loved both Rosalie's spunky attitude and the fact that Lucas couldn't resist her. Carol Finch brings the whole town into this story, making the Christmas holidays come alive for the reader and including a bit of action by using Lucas' Texas Ranger past. Finch uses sexual tension to build this romance, and later on passion heats up the holiday season in this novella.

"A Magical Gift At Christmas" by Cheryl St. John

U.S. Marshal Jonah Cavanaugh and three other Marshals are on the train to Denver, guarding a gold shipment from a gang of train robbers. Desperate circumstances push Jonah to make the fateful decision to disconnect the mail car from the rest of the train, and let the rest of the train go on to Denver. He decides to guard the car, let the other Marshals deal with the gang and wait for reinforcements. Jonah's plans, however, are complicated when he first finds Meredith Abbott riding her father's Pullman car and on her way to Denver for Christmas, and later finds Hayden and Jillian, two stowaway children, in the baggage section of the car. Jonah, Meredith and the children find themselves in the middle of a blizzard, waiting for a gang of thieves to attack, and hoping for rescue. While the situation is stressful, it also helps to pull them together and as the warmth of the holidays, love and giving make way into their hearts both Meredith and Jonah realize what's really important in life.

I really enjoyed A Magical Gift At Christmas. Meredith and Jonah are strong characters, and the children make great secondary characters in this novella. The train robbery, shootouts and action give this story a real western flavor, yet the wonderful heartwarming, family atmosphere that St. John is known for is right there to enjoy. The Christmas theme is well represented in the middle of all the action, and a romance that begins with admiration and respect as its base, has a sweet, sweet ending.  

Category: Historical Romance/Western - Holiday
Series: None
Publisher/Release Date: Harlequin Historical/September 20, 2011
Source: ARC received from author
Grade: B

11 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for the review!

    SMOOCHES!

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  2. Awesome!! I got this on my reading dock! Mostly because, well, you know, i'll read anything with St. John on the cover, LOL

    But I'm glad to hear the other stories are good too! :D
    Can't wait to get to this one!

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  3. Don't you just love it when all the stories in an anthology turn out to be enjoyable reads? I think I'll read this one closer to the holidays. Will make for a nice break from the craziness. :)

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  4. Cheryl, it was my pleasure! I loved this whole book, but as always I loved your lovely story.

    Alex, I know you're a St. John fan, so you'll definitely enjoy her novel. But yes, the whole anthology is good! I enjoyed the whole experience.

    Leslie all three stories all well in this anthology. I will be reading it again during the holidays, so I can understand why you're saving it. :)

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  5. Lovely review Hils. 'Santa' always used to gift me a Christmas anthology in my stocking...I will have to keep this in mind (and tell my internal Santa :)

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  6. Hey Hils :) Sounds like this anthology is a winner! I like that each story is pretty unique it seems and the holiday spirits... Maybe I'll get this one :)

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  7. Orannia, this will make a great stocking stuffer! What a great idea. *g*

    Nath, this one is a winner for me. I enjoyed the whole book exactly because the stories are different, yet they retain that holiday atmosphere, they are all westerns (although different in style), and the writing is great all around. :)

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  8. Aww, this one sounds so sweet. I remember when you highlighted it on your blog a while ago and it caught my attention. I wouldn't mind if Santa stuffed this into my stocking, too!

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  9. This book IS sweet, Christine! Put it in your list for Santa! LOL!

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  10. Carol Finch provides a lively story with an even more spirited heroine in CHRISTMAS AT CAHILL CROSSING. I loved being introduced to the town and characters in this story and look forward to revisiting in full length novels.

    I highly recommend this collection and know you'll enjoy it.

    Marlene
    Info site for Bear Viewing deals

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  11. This is a great group of short stories from well known authors of the genre. Each story was stand alone and could be read in a short amount of time with great and likeable characters. I truly did enjoy this one.

    Cath Brookes
    Website

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