on December 14, 2012
This book is OK, but a little uneven as to its "voice," and thus, target audience. It starts out like a Hallmark movie, very cute and endearing (but not cloying). It's set in Noel, Montana, a town that sounds like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The folks all know each other's business, which of course is annoying, but the upside of it is that you actually have friends who care about you and will come to your aid when you're in trouble. It's clear from the very outset that Hope is going to wind up staying in Noel, although she's a "city girl" from Seattle. The only tension comes from what's going to add up to make this the obvious choice. There are a handful of underdeveloped characters here, including the obligatory "hot guy," a mom & daughter duet who run Hope's Grandmother's bakery. There is also the bad mother/daughter relationship btwn Hope and her mom, and the bad father/son relationship btwn "hot guy" and his Dad. Neither of these amount to much more than Psych101 when it comes to explaining what makes Hope or him who they are. But then, the story goes WAY off from Hallmark and describes steamy sex scenes btwn the two after knowing each other for two days and doing nothing but needling each other--corny and unbelievable, as well as cutting out all the grannies out there who otherwise might enjoy the story. Then the book reverts back to Hallmark mode when it ties up all the lose ends: Hope and her mother have a heart to heart and begin the "road to recovery," as do hot guy and his Dad. Even the daughter from the bakery "cuts her mother's apron strings and moves to the big city." There are some nice scenes in the book, and it does reinforce the very xmas theme that home is where the heart is. But it's way too choppy otherwise.
This is a cute romantic Christmas story. Hope goes to Noel, Montana to settle her grandmother's estate. The whole town is Christmas 365 days a year. A bit much. The hero is great, loved him. There are lots of issues with the hero and heroine, parent problems, etc. But to save the day, Grandmother shows up as a ghost to guide Hope. I really enjoyed this light, fun read. I would recommend it. I stayed up until 2 a.m. to finish because there just wasn't a place to stop reading. Loved it.
on January 4, 2013
I thought I was reading a sweet romance; it wasn't...I liked the characters and the story line, I didn't read the whole book. I stopped at the first sex scene. I wish someone would have rated it as such, so that no one else gets surprised.
on December 15, 2012
I agree with the 3-star review by Irene. It's a nice story, but the author would have done herself a good service by hiring someone to edit and give some valuable feedback before releasing it. There are grammar issues throughout the book and quite a bit of inconsistency that makes the story hard to swallow. It's a good start, but seems more like a rough draft than a finished novel. It needs a little more work.
Half the time Hope calls her mom "Holly" and the other half of the time she calls her "Mother" and the switch sometimes occurs only sentences apart. The same thing occurs with Tucker. In his first conversation on the phone with his dad, he first calls him "dad," then calls him "Eric," then calls him "dad" again, all within a few short paragraphs of conversation. Kids rarely call their parents by their first names, even when they are having relationship problems, and they certainly don't switch back and forth.
If you can past these issues, the book is a nice read, and I'm sure plenty of people will enjoy it.
on December 3, 2014
Hope for Christmas is the first book in the Noel, Montana series by Jennifer Hayden. It is a cute Christmas story of forgiveness and reconciliation. It is also a ghost story of sorts. The characters were realistic, or most of them,; the setting was very cute; and the plot was intriguing. I really liked reading this.
Hope Travener has had a difficult relationship with her mother for years. Her mother has finally hit the wall. Holly’s mother had died 6 months ago and Holly had not gone to the funeral nor did she seem to be paying any attention to her mother’s will. She had never taken Hope to visit her Grandmother nor talked about her to Hope. Hope had grown up in isolation from family since her father died. Her Mother has now gone through six husbands and six divorces. All Holly cares about seems to be herself. Now Hope has to clean up one more mess.
Hope travels from Seattle to Noel, Montana where Christmas is celebrated 365 days a year. She enters town and feels as if she has gone down Alice’s rabbit hole. The town is overly decorated for Christmas, the streets are all named Christmas names; the stores are all geared to Christmas, even her Grandmother’s bakery- Christmas Eve’s Bakery. When she doesn’t see a For Sale sign or any sign of life at the bakery, she tries the door and finds it unlocked. She tries the lights but they don’t come on. She is \ run over by a man who is followed by two women. When Hope gets to her feet, she is introduced to the three, Tucker Reed, Mayor; Jingle Bells and Merry, bakers. After an interesting conversation that seems out of this world, Hope goes to her Grandmother’s house which is way overly decorated for Christmas like a Gingerbread house. She goes back to town to the tavern Tucker said he ran and got a stiff drink. Was this real?
Tucker takes her to Angles, her Grandmother’s friend and Tucker’s Grandmother. Agnes lives next door to her Grandmother’s house and is ninety-one years old. She is the executor of Evie’s will but seems to have forgotten to put the places up for sale. She has paid all the bills and kept the bakery going but forgot the sale of the bakery and business or has she?
Thrown into a weird situation and then getting angry with her mother and threatening to apply the codicil to the will, Hope stays a few days in Hope. She is threatened by Jilly, Miss Nowl 2012 to stay away from Tucker, warned to stay away from him by Merry and others, visited by the ghost of her Grandmother, caught in compromising situations, and fought with her mother again. Will this never end?
on February 20, 2016
I was unfamiliar with this author but decided to try her book, based upon the synopsis. I thoroughly enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
Some of the reviews of this book disagreed about whether or not this was a sweet romance. Some reviewers thought the book vacillated between being a Hallmark sweet romance, and one with enough salacious sex to offend the Hallmark granny audience. I feel that it was a sweet romance, but not a totally clean one. At sixty-five years old, I qualify for the granny set and I saw nothing offensive about this book. The sex scenes were few, mild, and fit within the storyline without overwhelming it. I would have no problem letting my teenage granddaughter read this book. Romance readers who want an absolutely clean book these days should probably just look for Christian romance labels and accept the fact that most mainstream romance books will have some level of sex, even those considered to be sweet. Sweet is not the same as perfectly clean.
This book had some heartwarming value messages. The hero is a good grandson who left a very high paying law practice and moved closer to his grandmother. His purpose was to run her bar, which she loved but could no longer manage, and to look out for her by enabling her to stay in her home and maintain her independence. The heroine shows regret for not being there for her grandmother in life and she leaves a high paying career to honour her in death. She follows her grandmother's wishes to keep her beloved bakery running, when she and her mother could have made a huge profit by selling it. As well, people in the town may know everyone else's business, but they care for and look out for one another.
Some reviews criticized the book's predictability. It's a romance. It's supposed to be predictable. That's why most people read them. Boy meets girl or same sex couple meet, there is some kind of conflict, boy and girl or same sex couple fall in love, conflict gets resolved, boy and girl or same sex couple get married, boy and girl or same sex couple live happily ever after. Of course, there is a lot more to a romance book than that, but it essentially follows that scenario every time. If it doesn't, it isn't a romance book. So, yes, this book was predictable, which I view as a positive quality.
This was a light, "feel good" romance that was fairly well written. The writing mechanics weren't perfect but they weren't too bad, and certainly weren't severe enough to spoil the story, unless one is a perfectionist when it comes to writing mechanics. I definitely have a cutoff point where I toss a book with egregious errors, but this one wasn't even close to my personal threshold. However, everyone has their own threshold, which is fair enough.
Other aspects of the story, such as characterization, dialogue, and plot were quite good. Characters, (including a couple of dead ones) :-), came to life, the dialogue flowed smoothly and fit the various characters, moods, and situations, the plot wasn't complex but it was entertaining.
I recommend this book to anyone who wants a heartwarming, sweet, "feel good" romance that isn't absolutely clean but doesn't rate as highly sensuous. The characters definitely engaged me and held my interest, making this book an excellent read for the beach or a winter's day.
on December 9, 2014
In this delightfully quirky story, you have city girl Hope, who goes to Noel, Montana to finalize her grandma final wishes on behalf of her mother. Imagine her surprise when she finds herself in the middle of year round Christmas town complete with ghosts. Having to deal with the hunky mayor is not too bad either.
Tucker Reed is happy with his new life in Noel , Montana. Out of the rat race! When he meets beautiful city girl Hope, he can't believe how attracted to her, he is. He is a no commitment, no strings attached kind of person and she isn't and she lets him know it. So why can't he get her of his mind? Can he gets what he wants? Does he know what he wants? Read on and find out.
on December 26, 2012
The ghostly plot device is too convenient, and makes for a less enjoyable story. That supporting characters are stereotypically one dimensional, detracting from the central story. But there are a lot worse light romances out there.
on November 30, 2014
A feel good novel. Just what we all wish for ourselves and our loved ones especially at Christmas time! Loved the characters the author painted. Made me feel like I was living in this fairy tale town.
on December 19, 2012
Hope Tavener is in a small town called Noel in Montana, a place where there is Christmas all year round. She's there strictly on business for her mother, Holly, a woman who refused to come back to the town even for her own mother's funeral. Holly is the owner of her mother's house and the bakery there, and she wants them sold. She entrusted her mother's friend and neighbour, Agnes, to do the selling. However, Agnes (and her dead friend, Evie) had other plans.
Tucker Reed is the town hunk, bar owner and acting Mayor. He's an all-around nice guy who looks after his ninety-one year old grandmother (Agnes) as well as helping out whenever/wherever he can. The women of Noel fall down at his feet because of his looks and his nice guy demeanor, but he can't commit to any of them. To him, none of them are entanglement worthy...that is until he meets Hope. Of course, this little fact doesn't help her to be popular with the women-folk of Noel.
Hope is staying at her grandmother's house, but she isn't alone. Evie has been visiting her, talking to her and scaring the crap out of her. Evie and Agnes have been conspiring for years to get Hope to Noel. Now that she is finally there, they can set their plan into motion.
What could an old woman and a ghost want with Hope? Will their plans work out or fall flat? Will Hope ever be accepted in Noel?
This book was a real little treat. Christmas is an amazing time of year, but living in a town where there is Christmas carols, Christmas lights on every house and touristy shops that cater to everything Christmas all year round, would seemingly get old after awhile...yet, I found that I might like to visit this place...to maybe even live there.
Tucker and Hope were so amazingly good together and I loved the sexual tension between them. I found myself wondering what Evie's plans were and why she felt she needed Hope there. I found that I couldn't put this book down, it was so good.
For a sweet Christmas read this year, Hope For Christmas would be it. 5 stars!