Audiobook Review: (X3) Dear Santa, Snowed In, and Christmas in Winter Hill

Published October 6th 2015 

Author: Debbie Macomber

Narrator: Kaylor Leigh

Audiobook Length: 4 hours 59 minutes

Lindy Carmichael isn’t feeling particularly joyful when she returns home to Wenatchee, Washington, for Christmas. The man she thought was “the one” has cheated on her with her best friend, and she feels completely devoid of creativity in her graphic-design job. Not even carolers or Christmas cookies can cheer her up–but Lindy’s mother, Ellen, remembers an old tradition that might lift her daughter’s spirits.

Reading through a box of childhood letters to Santa and reminiscing about what she’d wished for as a young girl may be just the inspiration Lindy needs. With Ellen’s encouragement, she decides to write a new letter to Santa, one that will encourage her to have faith and believe just as she’d done all those years ago. Little does Lindy know that this exercise in gratitude will cause her wishes to unfold before her in miraculous ways. And, thanks to some fateful twists of Christmas magic–especially an unexpected connection with a handsome former classmate–Lindy ultimately realizes that there is truly no place like home for the holidays.

Find It On: Goodreads / Amazon

** Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, including Amazon, and I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through my links. It’s a nice way for me to continue my love of books and feed my reading addiction.**

Dear Santa follows Lindy Carmichael who is visiting her family’s home of Wenatchee, Washington for two weeks. She currently works as a graphic designer in Seattle and is trying to get herself noticed at work and she is trying to recover emotionally. I felt for Lindy as she is heartbroken that ex-boyfriend Brian cheated on her with her best friend (and former roommate) Celeste and now the two of them are off together. There is a lot of heartbreak and struggle as she tries to deal with both betrayals and move on. As she is feeling down, her mother gives her a box full of letters to Santa that Lindy wrote growing up. This was a sweet way for Lindy to revisit happy memories and for the reader to learn more about her past.

When Lindy runs into her old best friend, Peggy, she goes with them to a wine establishment where they run into Billy Kincade. He liked Lindy when they were in elementary school, but he teased her a lot and suddenly moved away when she was in 2nd grade, and he was in 4th before they could be around each other longer. Billy, who now goes by Will, has changed a lot over the years so Lindy feels bad for not liking him when she was younger. I can figure out the intentions behind this idea, but I have a difficult time connecting with it as Lindy seems to be the one who feels remorse and Will does not as she is the one profusely apologizing. I just, unfortunately, did not understand it when he was the one who bullied her. The story follows Will and Lindy reconnecting and their time getting to know each other is cute.

Overall, I think the idea of revisiting your childhood memories to help deal with struggles was an amazing idea. As Lindy’s heart was broken six months ago and her behavior when she runs into Brian/Celeste indicated she was still greatly affected by it, I feel there needed to be more for me to connect to Will as a lasting love interest rather than a holiday rebound. Lindy’s whole situation with Celeste rubbed me the wrong way with how it was handled from start to finish. I understand the intention and enjoy this part, but it was just a further example that Lindy has a lot more going on emotionally that she needs to work through. With the happy and fluffy magic of Christmas feeling with the rest of the novel, I am fairly certain that I was not meant to read anything into the events, so it does leave me conflicted on my feelings with Lindy’s journey. If you take the story at its very basic level, then this was a heartwarming light read; however, if you prefer more substance to your reading, then this was not it. This was not my favorite of Macomber’s writing, but I would still read more from her in the future.

Published November 27th 2007

Author: Rachel Hawthorne

Narrator: Cynthia Holloway

Audiobook Length: 5 hours 16 minutes

Well, apparently I live here now—my mom just bought the place. And named it after me, Ashleigh, which was nice. But did she know how cold it is here??

Um, it’s a tiny island with not much to do, unless you really like sleigh rides. But I gotta say there are quite a few hot guys on this cold island . . .

Find It On: Goodreads / Amazon

** Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, including Amazon, and I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through my links. It’s a nice way for me to continue my love of books and feed my reading addiction.**

Snowed In follows 17-year-old Ashleigh Sneaux who has just moved from Dallas, Texas to Mackinac Island, Michigan with her mom. The island itself is a winter wonderland filled with winter activities; however, I did have trouble picturing the size. The island is described as tiny yet there are apparently movie theaters and four separate areas for shops while at the same time it is described as isolated with less than ten kids Ashleigh’s age. The number of people around Ashleigh’s age did not make sense at all. At some point, they are all perfectly paired off and at others they are all breaking up and getting together with another meaning there are those that are single at some point. Since Ashleigh is the narrator who is used to her former large city life, it was difficult to follow if she was just unreliable or the actual setting was not clear.

Ashleigh was a very difficult character to figure out as her thoughts wavered between how cold it was and her obsession with her boy hobby. There was pretty much nothing else introduced about her personality, so it was difficult to figure out how I, as the reader, was supposed to connect with her. She eventually meets Nathalie and Shanna, who become among her first friends on the island along with Chase, the currently single boy who works at the fudge shop. Later, she runs into Josh, who is helping his dad after they were hired to fix up the inn Ashleigh’s mom bought.

Essentially, there is a lot going on in this story that all leads to the conclusion that every character needs some exploration of what constitutes a healthy romantic relationship. There is a lot of problematic elements with every single character and how they view their respective romances, including the adults. Unfortunately, it does take away from my enjoyment and then you add cheating to the mix and it almost made this unreadable. As I am trying to avoid spoilers about specifics (the cheating is widespread and included in trigger warnings across the internet, so I personally did not consider it a spoiler-type element), I can’t go into every detail for the issues, but they were definitely all there. The closest okay relationship was Tara’s, who was Ashleigh’s best friend from Texas, although I had to keep reminding myself that this character was a teenager. While Tara’s boyfriend could be her lifelong soulmate and they complimented each other well, they sometimes came across as if they were together their whole lives rather than just a short time. Overall, it was difficult to connect to anything in this story, but I would encourage others to read it as I may just be in the minority.

Published September 3rd 2019

Author: Melody Carlson

Narrator: Marisa Blake

Audiobook Length: 3 hours 52 minutes

Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn’t always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, “Where’s the snow?” Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista’s Christmas spirit before the big day?

Find It On: Goodreads / Amazon

** Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, including Amazon, and I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through my links. It’s a nice way for me to continue my love of books and feed my reading addiction.**

Christmas in Winter Hill is a short holiday story that follows divorcee Krista Galloway who has just moved to Winter Hill, Washington from Phoenix, Arizona with her eight-year-old daughter, Emily. She moved to this small town to accept the position of city manager, which brought me to my first piece of confusion. Considering Krista was going to have to make a lot of decisions for the town, she seemed to move there with zero knowledge of the place, which just seemed odd that there was no prior research. Since this is a holiday novel where the reader knows there will be issues coming up to bring the characters together, it did not give me the best first impression of Krista and her capabilities as she wanted to make decisions for a place that she knew nothing about. While she may have experience, each place operates completely differently as decisions to aid one town may not work for another. It seemed this basic baseline knowledge for her job is glossed over a lot and did not give a great first impression.

Krista has a complex relationship with Christmas, which makes her new home difficult as Christmas is what they are famous for, including their annual festival, Christmasville. This festival attracts people from near and far, including all the way across the United States. This also means that many people want to live in Winter Hill and the town is struggling to keep up with the high demand. Upon arriving, Krista meets widower Conner Harris and his teenage daughter, Anna. As Conner is the son of Krista’s office manager who arranged Krista’s housing, it was a nice way to create this meeting between them. Once she begins working, she runs into issues, including some discrepancies in the budget. This leads to Krista to try and figure out that this job may be more difficult than meets the eye.

Overall, this was a cute story about a woman with a complex relationship with Christmas based on her bumpy past who learns the magic of the holidays. There are mentions of religious elements throughout and the story does play into the power of prayer, but it does not take over the story if you’re not the type to read any type of Christian fiction. The romance is cute, although it was not as much front and center as I expected in this type of novel. I did enjoy Krista’s starting over in a new town and her daughter Emily was adorable. I also loved how Anna was written as it would have been easy to make her unlikable, so I love that this main set stayed likeable. This story was not bad, but it just needed a little more to make it feel warm and fuzzy, especially with the romance.

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