Sunday, December 29, 2013

Review: Sleigh Bells in the Snow

Christmas romance stories are my favourite kind of Christmas stories so it’s no surprise I loved reading Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan. It had some of my favourite romantic Christmas elements: small town, beautiful scenery, family traditions…oh, it was lovely!

Here’s the synopsis:
Once upon a time, Christmas was Kayla Green's favorite time of year. Now all the workaholic wants for Christmas is for it to be over—as fast as possible! So when duty calls her to snowy Vermont to close a deal with a new client, Kayla is grateful for an excuse to avoid the holidays for another year.
Jackson O'Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage his family's resort—it's in his blood, and he can't let it fail. Now that he's got marketing whiz Kayla Green working with him to put Snow Crystal on the map, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in Vermont is just an added bonus.
Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she's out of her depth with Jackson—he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamed of, and it's terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to swirl, will the woman who doesn't believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell?
I think one of my favourite things about this novel was the setting. Snow Crystal, Vermont sounds like such a nice spot and the way Morgan described the Inn and the grounds made me want to visit. Now, I don’t ski and I’d probably be just as scared as Kayla was about the prospect of seeing a black bear but it still sounds amazing. I especially liked the idea of the secluded log cabins, complete with fireplaces and hot tubs, and I was so jealous that Kayla got to go on a dog sled. I’ve since added ‘dog sledding’ to my list of life goals! I don’t think this novel would have been as lovely as it was had it not been for the idyllic setting Morgan created.

There was a good balance of heavy emotional scenes and humorous scenes in this novel. Kayla had a lot of issues to work through (issues that, of course, were made worse at Christmas) and the Inn was in serious trouble but Morgan worked in some lighthearted moments. Personally, I loved every scene that mentioned a moose. Kayla had never seen a moose before and was terrified of them – especially after Jackson explained how dangerous it can be to hit one with your car. One example of an amusing moose scene (and there were many) was when Kayla’s assistant pulled up a picture of a moose on her computer since Kayla was under the impression they were cute looking animals. Her response? “Dear God – “ Kayla recoiled. “That is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.” Poor moose. :)

The romance in this novel was completely predictable but I was ok with that. It was kind of amusing to read along as Kayla and Jackson tried to deny their feelings for each other. Once they gave in, woo boy, sparks flew. And the setting for their first kiss? Swoon! It was nice to watch Kayla become more relaxed the more time she spent with Jackson and I could tell that they were really good for each other. 

I can’t end this review without discussing the Christmas elements to the novel. I was so glad I got the approval from Netgalley just in time to read it before Christmas. Of course, that being said, you can still read this at any time and enjoy it. Christmas is important in this book but there’s a lot more going on in this world than just the holiday. I loved that Jackson’s family, his mother in particular, went all out for the holidays. There were oodles of cookies, a live tree, presents, and a large family meal. It sounded wonderful! I also loved that they provided real trees for the guests who were staying at the cabins over the holidays. Talk about service!

Sleigh Bells in the Snow was such a great read. I adored the world author Sarah Morgan has created and I am so glad that she’s making this into a series (not that it was surprising with the backstories she created for Tyler and Sean, Jackson’s brothers). I can’t wait to return to Snow Crystal. This is a fabulous winter read that I think all romance lovers will enjoy.

*A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

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