Friday, 2 October 2015

Review - Snowbound at Christmas by Debbie Mason

Title: Snowbound at Christmas 
Series: Christmas, Colorado #5
Author: Debbie Mason
Release Date: September 29, 2015

Surviving the holidays will take a Christmas miracle...

Ex-cop Cat O'Connor is bored working for her sister, Chloe, as a personal assistant on the set of her soap opera. Until Chloe gets an opportunity to audition for the role of a lifetime and asks her identical twin to substitute for her on the soap with no one the wiser. It's a perfect switch—until Cat attracts the attention of the mysterious Mr. Tall, Dark, and Way-too-handsome leading man. 

Grayson Alexander never thought being snowbound in the charming town of Christmas, Colorado, for the holiday would get so hot. But between working with sexy, tough Cat on set and keeping his real reason for being there under wraps, he's definitely feeling the heat. And if there's one thing they'll learn as they bring out the mistletoe, it's that in this town, true love is always in season...

This is another clever installment in a delightful small town series. I love Christmas, it's the perfect small town setting for romance. I loved getting to "bump into" past characters, seeing them in the coffee shop, hearing them on a phone call. That really has to be one of my favorite things about this type of series, and Debbie Mason does it oh, so well. Some of the secondary characters really gave this book its shine. Ty, the hairdresser, and his nicknames for the sexy men in town had me cracking up. GG, the meddling, snobby grandmother was an eccentric old hoot, and I loved her scenes. 

The problem I had with the story stemmed from just how despicable Cat's twin, Chloe was. I had a hard time caring if she was murdered because Chloe was an absolute terror, beyond self-centered and horribly manipulative. Also, Cat was such a tough bodyguard, but she let everyone walk all over her—she spent much of the book being Chloe's doormat and that was a little difficult to believe coming from a woman who was otherwise so smart and strong. 

There were also a few scenes where something was brought up in detail as if it had importance, then there was no scene for it. For example, Cat and Grayson are going tree chopping, and there is an entire scene of getting armed, preparing for the cold, discussing how surely they wouldn't be in danger but just in case... Then, on the next page, they're already home and around the fire talking about something else. There were a few of these build-ups just to have it seem as if a scene had been cut and I found myself flipping back a page to make sure I hadn't missed anything. 

Having said that, I did love the initial confusion for Grayson, when the sisters switched places, and that he learned how to tell them apart even though so many others never could. His and Cat’s relationship was sweet and sexy and I loved them as a couple. I also really appreciated the finale, when the main characters refused to let an old busybody (even if she is persistent and charming) dictate a timeline for their happily ever after. The whodunit was nicely played, and the suspense was just enough to cast a shadow and help dictate the story, but not so over the top that the book was too dark. I like this happy medium, and appreciate when an author finds it. 

Despite a few weak spots to navigate through while reading, I can honestly say I enjoyed this book. It wasn't my favorite of the series, but it is a perfectly good addition to what has been a pretty strong series. I'm still hopeful the next one will blow me away a little more though, like previous editions have. 
~ Review by George

Debbie Mason is the bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series. Her books have been praised for their "likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots" (RT Book Reviews). She also writes historical paranormals as Debbie Mazzuca. Her MacLeod series has received several nominations for best paranormal as well as a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. When she isn't writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their four wonderful children, an adorable grandbaby, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.

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