Today is my stop during the blog tour for A Chance This Christmas. I got the chance to read this book and really enjoyed it, I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts about this book with you. After that there’s a teaser and an excerpt from the book. Then there is an awesome guest post by the author about the Christmas costume party that’s featured in the book. Followed by the author bio and social media links and two giveaway, one US only and one open international.
I know it’s a bit of a long post, but I didn’t want to leave anything out as I wanted to share everything with you!
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Growing up in the Christmas-crazed theme town of Yuletide was fun for fashion designer Rachel Chambers until a family scandal made her unwelcome. Eight years later, she’s home for a friend’s wedding and trying to go incognito… until her old flame spots her.
Snowboarder Gavin Blake wants to make things right with Rachel, and smoothing her way back in Yuletide seems like the best way to do just that. Making Rachel his date for a week of pre-wedding parties is sure to bring them closer. Except he underestimated how long a small town can carry a grudge–or how much the memory of a long-ago kiss could tempt him all over again.
As the wedding approaches, Rachel remembers all she loved about her close-knit, Christmas-loving neighbors. But even if she can win over the town again, will she be able to convince her footloose, mogul-shredding wedding date that they can find happiness beyond the holidays?
I received a free copy from the publisher on Netgalley and voluntarily reviewed it.
I’ve been enjoying this series so far and was excited to delve in the latest book in this series. It was exactly the type of read I was in the mood for. It had a good Christmas feel, a solid heartwarming romance and some interesting side plot lines as well. The book grabbed my attention from the start and kept it until the end.
A Chance This Christmas follows Rachel who returns to her hometown to make peace with the past. After a big scandal eight years ago she left and never got back. She not only ran away from her hometown, but also the boy she had a crush on. I liked Rachel, she was a great character and I liked how determined she was to set things right even though it was difficult. The town still shuns her and blames her for what happened eight years ago. It was a lot for her to go up against, but luckily she had Gavin on her side. I liked how the whole scandal and town made for an interesting plot line.
Gavin is a professional snowboarder, who is returning home to Yuletide for the wedding of his best friend. What he doesn’t count on is to run into Rachel again and realize he still has feelings for her. I liked getting to know Rachel and Gavin, we get to know a bit of their background and follow them as they get to know each other again. I also thought it was interesting what drove them apart the first time as it was very different from most second chance stories. It was awesome to see these two fall for each other again.
The romance was sweet and the Christmas setting of the town was the perfect backdrop. I really felt their connection and kept rooting for them to figure things out and find a way to be together. I liked how mature both characters where and how realistic their reactions to everything. And I was especially pleased by how low on the drama and miscommunication their romance was. I felt like it fit their characters and the few hiccups in their relationship felt real and believable. The epilogue was the perfect ending and left me with a happy feeling.
Besides the romance there are a few side plot lines going on as well. There is the scandal of eight years ago, the town who still partly blames Rachel, there is wedding between two side characters coming up and a plot line concerning the town council and the direction they took with the town. It was all perfectly interwoven into the story and between the romance. And I liked how the whole town and the side characters all played a part too and became part of the story.
I liked seeing Rachel re-connect with the town and even though it brought up some painful memories, good ones too and make peace with everything and rediscover her love for this town. And it was also fun to see everyone slowly warm up a bit towards her. I did feel one of the side plot liens regarding what happened eight years ago got wrapped up a bit rushed, but I did like we got to know what happened. Although I did keep wondering where one of the side characters was now.
And then there is the Christmas aspect of the book. A Chance This Christmas has that Christmas feel nailed down. It’s set in a small town called Yuletide that’s basically a Christmas town year round. It was so fun to visit this town and the author really made the town come alive. I could vividly imagine how everything looked. And I loved the Christmas feel of this book. It’s definitely a great read to pick up if you’re in the mood for a great holiday romance.
To summarize: I really enjoyed this book with the believable second chance romance, Christmas vibe and great characters. I was sad to leave Yuletide at the end of the book as it was such a fun place to visit. I liked both Rachel and Gavin and they were so good for each other. I liked their second chance romance and also seeing Rachel reconnect with her home town. The romance develops at a nice slow pace that fits the characters, there is little drama and miscommunication. The problems they faced and the hiccups in their relationship felt all believable. I liked how supportive Gavin was of Rachel and how Rachel opened her heart to him and the town again. The book also has a great Christmas feel, I could vividly imagine the town and all the Christmas decorations. If you’re looking for a great Christmas romance to read I would definitely recommend this one!
“Hello Gavin,” Rachel’s mother greeted him at the door, her elf costume jingling as she ushered him in. “You can go upstairs. Rachel’s ready.” She leaned closer to him for a moment and lowered her voice. “Although how you got her to say yes to this party, I’ll never know. I’m grateful to you, though.”
“You’re not going?” He thought all the town would be there. Especially since Rachel’s mom and Mrs. Garrett were close.
“We can’t let all the elves off at the same time.” She shrugged, perfectly serious, and he wondered if she had some of the same Chambers’ guilt-by-association that plagued Rachel.
Is that why Mrs. Chambers worked all the time and volunteered even more to keep the town running? The idea didn’t sit well with him and made him all the more determined to refocus the Yuletide council back on their original mission statement. Making Yuletide a fun place to visit and live. They seemed to have lost sight of that second part.
Along with a whole lot of Christmas spirit.
“We’ll bring you back some cake, Mrs. C,” he assured her before heading up the stairs to find his date. “Rachel?” he called to warn her he was there.
“I’m ready,” came the reply from the far end of the house. “That is, unless I can convince you to bail.” She appeared in the hallway then, wearing a red sweater dress nipped at the waist with a wide, patent leather belt and silver buckle.
“Mrs. Claus.” He couldn’t hold back a grin. She looked incredibly cute. And sexy, too.
With black leather boots and her dark hair brushed to gleaming, she could have been on a billboard for the visitor’s bureau. Not that he would mention it. She waved him into the living room where the outdoor lights glowed green and red through the windows even with the blinds drawn.
Christmas decorations covered every inch of the place, even in this private space reserved for the family.
“Surprise, surprise, my mother just happened to have it lying around.” She rolled her eyes and stuffed a few mints inside a black clutch along with her inhaler. “I wasn’t sure how serious you were about costumes for a karaoke party, but knowing Kiersten’s family, I thought chances were good it will be over the top. And I don’t want to draw undue attention toward myself by not dressing the part.”
“You look great.” He couldn’t quite take his eyes off her yet, but knew he needed to keep things light. Not make her any more nervous than she was already bound to be. “I’m only sorry you won’t have a need for my present.”
He held up his shopping bag.
“A present?” The curiosity in her voice pleased him.
She couldn’t have dreaded this date quite as much as she’d pretended.
“I wanted to be sure you were covered in case you didn’t have a costume.” He thrust the bag into her hands. “Take a look.”
Sifting through some tissue paper, she seized hold of the white cashmere and pulled. And pulled. “Is it a scarf?” she started to ask. “It’s a vest.”
Reindeer cavorted all around the sweater vest that was long and loose, made to go over an outfit.
“An Ugly Sweater Vest,” he clarified, hoping she realized he was well aware of the garment’s questionable attractiveness. “It matches my Ugly Christmas Sweater.” He unzipped his ski jacket so she could see he wore the same prancing reindeer pattern on a black background. “That’s about as costume-y as I get.”
Laughing, she slid her arms into the drapey fabric of the vest. “And now, I’m over the top too. It’s perfect.” She admired the swish of the fabric in a tall mirror over the mantel. “Thank you.”
“I know I didn’t do your outfit any favors. But you look ready for a karaoke party now.” He held out his arm. “Are we ready to go?”
He spotted a moment’s hesitation in her eyes. Because of him? Or the drama sure to come?
“I’m ready.” Her voice rasped on a breathless note, but her spine straightened as she snaked a hand around his arm. “Let’s do this.”
Christmas Costume Party
Guest Post By Joanne Rock
The heroine of A Chance This Christmas finds herself at a Karaoke Christmas party during the week she’s home for the holidays. I thought it sounded like a fun idea to recreate for a future celebration myself. Karaoke always keeps party guests entertained, and we all know a handful of Christmas carols, after all. But to add to the fun—and because the Adirondack holiday town of Yuletide is a little Christmas=crazed—the Karaoke Christmas party is also a costume party.
When Rachel arrives at the party, she’s greeted by the Abominable Snowman, a costume shedding cotton fluff in every direction. There are reindeer and angels galore while the guests choose their favorite carols to sing. My hero and heroine didn’t get too over the top, preferring to dress in matching Ugly Christmas Sweaters.
One of my favorite research tools for over-the-top holiday ideas is Pinterest. Just search for Christmas costumes and you’ll see what I mean—skirts made of holiday ornaments or ribbons. Instructions for making your arms into Rudolph’s antlers so your sweater can have a big reindeer face sewn on the front. It’s a wonderful source of ideas!
I also went to Pinterest for inspiration when it came to party games. Pin the nose on Rudolph or Pin the Heart on the Grinch. A version of ladder ball with candy canes. Turn the cornhole board into a picture of Frosty the Snowman or how about a round of Let It Snow Bingo? It’s all there to DIY on Pinterest.
**You’re invited to a Christmas Karaoke Party. What holiday song / Christmas carol is the best in your personal repertoire?
About the Author
Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over eighty books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.