Monday, 13 February 2023

Holiday Romance Novels

 by Sharon Bryant

I love reading romance novels and watching movies about Christmas, as well as those with a holiday theme. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Hanukkah, there are so many holiday seasons incorporated within romance novels and films. 

Each Christmas, I look forward to Miranda's special post on this blog site. I download the books she recommends, and spend my spare time in January reading my way through them. So much fun! 

As a Debbie Macomber fan, I was delighted to find her novel "The Christmas Spirit" amongst this year's recommendations. It's a fabulous novel, well worth reading.

I'd also like to recommend a Hanukkah-themed holiday romance novel, "The Matzah Ball". The heroine Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a chronic disease who secretly writes best-selling Christmas romance novels. She runs into difficulties when her publisher insists she diversify and write a Hanukkah-themed romance. She has no idea where to start, and decides to attend the Matzah Ball on the last night of Hanukkah, hoping to find her muse. This means working with her archenemy from summer camp days, Jacob Greenberg. 

My favourite Christmas films are the timeless ones like "It's a Wonderful Life", "The Holiday" and "Love Actually". "Sleepless in Seattle" is my favourite film with a Valentine's Day theme.

Do you love Christmas and holiday-themed romance novels and movies as much as I do? Have you ever wondered what makes them so special?

Why Are Christmas Romance Novels So Special?

Nan Reinhardt, romance author and blogger, thinks Christmas romance novels use the romance tropes we enjoy so much, but the holiday themes can make the romance seem much sweeter. 

Hayley Walsh, author, relates the popularity of Christmas romance novels to the way people like to feel - good, hopeful and happy. "Christmas novels are usually full of love, hope, fun, laughter and leave with that warm fuzzy feeling inside." 

Penny Jaeger, author, argues that Christmas novels amplify the universal desire for love because Christmas is "the time of miracles, the time of wishes being fulfilled".

All of these authors link the popularity of Christmas romance novels to the way we feel or would like to feel at Christmas time.

Why do people like to read books and watch movies with a holiday theme?

Associate Professor Brent Rodriguez-Plate argues that holiday movies are popular because they offer their audience a "glimpse into the world as it could be."  Holiday movies offer hope and can provide "solace, reaffirmation and sometimes even courage to continue working through difficult situations", and can serve as a "barometer for how we might wish to live".

The holiday-themed romance novels and films that I love all meet these criteria. I read and watch characters solving difficult problems, and finding ways to live their lives that more closely approach how they would like to live. This is often accompanied by lessons learned, personal growth and recognition that although life is never perfect, it can be good. 

Do you have any favourite holiday-themed romance novels and movies? If yes, please share the details.

Why do you think holiday-themed romance novels and movies are so popular?

I hope you had a good Christmas, an enjoyable holiday season, and wish you a fulfilling 2023. Happy Valentine's Day.

I love to love holiday romance novels and films.

I love to laugh with friends and family.

I love to learn and grow.

Monday, 19 December 2022


Hello my darlings, it's CHRISTMAS! I just love it: the music, the tree, decorations and lights, the excited faces on the children (and maybe a few adults, eg. me), church, the food, oh my gosh, the food, social get togethers, romantic Christmas movies (definitely addicted), the gifts and cards, oh my. I'm a total Christmas tragic. You?

I always start my Christmas reading early. It gets me in the mood and totally sparks joy, so why not? Here's six of the best festive reads I've found (and there's heaps more waiting on my Kindle).

I truly loved The Christmas Spirit by Debbie Macomber. You all know I love her annual Christmas story, and this one kicked off the spirit of the season for me. Two single friends, Peter - a small town pastor, and Hank - a pub owner, impulsively decide to 'swap jobs' just before Christmas, each convinced they work harder than the other, and maybe a little concerned their busy lives have prevented them from finding romance. Ha! Cue frantic-ness with two lovely romances to enjoy.  

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One Christmas Knight by Kathleen Creighton is a blast from the past, first published in 1997 but making a charming comeback. It's a sweet story about a pregnant woman who - yes, you guessed it - goes into sudden labour when she's driving through a blizzard. A soft-hearted trucker stops to help, and he is totally fabulous the way he copes. All the love here! A baby and Christmas!

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Scrooge and the Girls Next Door by Melanie Jacobson was LOL fun, a wonderful grumpy/sunshine Christmas story. The grump is awful at the beginning, totally uptight, but I'm pleased to report there's much less grump by the end. Imagine my delight when I realised this is a series, I'm totally getting the other stories. Loved this one so big.

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Snowed In For Christmas by Sarah Morgan is an absolute delight. Get a big extended family and various assorted others and snow them into a big Scottish mansion at Christmas, and it's a recipe for disaster. No, wait, a recipe for romance, right? RIGHT? Ha, read it and see. All the feels in this one. I do love Sarah Morgan's ability to make me care so much. Ah, Christmas. 💝

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I promised you six books, but wow, I confess that Life Has Rushed Past and I still have two more I'm absolutely dying to read before Christmas. Think I'll make it? The first is Mistletoe Kisses by Nana Malone, and isn't the cover absolutely divine? A brooding billionaire (nice) gives our heroine a reason to love Christmas after she's been dumped by some loser we don't need to care about. Yes please. 

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I've been hearing a lot of buzz about Viola Shipman, so I've just picked up his book A Wish For Winter. According to the blurb, it's a book for people who love books about books, missed connections and the magic of Christmas. With a mysterious Santa in there somewhere. Tick, tick, tick, tick, wow, can't wait.

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Because I can, I'm going to add one extra. Many of you know Robin Lee Hatcher for her stunning award-winning book The Shepherd's Voice. It's how I discovered her, and I've been a faithful reader ever since. So, ta-da! here's A Carol For Christmas. I'm so looking forward to it.

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Ah, readers. So many books, so little time, but I hope and pray you do have time to sit down and enjoy some festive reading. You deserve it! Give yourself a little Christmas gift: read a book.

Be kind, be careful, be the best you can be. 

Merry Christmas precious people, and may you have a bright, shining Happy New Year!

Love from Miranda xxxx

I love to love:    you guessed it, ALL the Christmas romances. 

I love to laugh:  at unexpected humour in books. Scrooge and the Girls Next Door did that to me.

I love to learn:   what your fave Christmas authors/romances are. Do tell!

Monday, 14 November 2022

What's Keeping You Going in 2022?

As I sit down to write this blog it's 9:02 pm the night it is due... publication is but a short three hours away, so it needs to get done.

Also open on my screen is the short story I mention further below (the one that's due to be published in January) which is not finished. That deadline sailed about six weeks ago and I'm embarrassed to have missed it. The publishers are GREAT, don't get me wrong, but it's not a good feeling to know that you've not met a commitment. For those who've taken the Strengths test with Becca Syme, I'm a #1 Responsibility, so missing a due date bites hard. I've sworn to myself it'll be done tonight.

And, I don't know about you, but I feel a bit like a mouse running on one of those little wheels... I'm working the day job, recruiting to replace two members of my team, managing lots family stuff, sitting down to write only almost falling asleep at the desk, trying to figure out how we're fitting everything in around Christmas and I'm TIRED! Pretty sure I'm still processing 2020 and we're almost into 2023! 

I just want to take to my bed with a good book or twelve and pretend the world doesn't exist until the New Year rolls around and we're all inspired to begin with a clean slate.

Hanauma Bay, Oahu. Author's photo

But that's not possible! 

Instead, I decided to plan a holiday. 

I mean, a holiday to Hawaii (who doesn't love Hawaii) is definitely something to look forward to, right?

And I've spoiled myself booking a four night stay at Volcano House with an extra special room overlooking Halema'uma'u Crater (part of the Kilaeua volcano). I CANNOT WAIT!

I also decided to give myself a little grace.

We are all only human, and we can only do what we can do. 

I'm trying to focus on the important things at work, and I'm looking for opportunities to ask for help. And I'm making sure I get a little fun every day - #WillowsDiner (link below) helps a lot with that!

All that being said, I'm still working on getting through one day at a time and so I thought this would be a good place to crowdsource some other ideas. 

Tell me below, what's keeping you going in 2022?

A little shameless self promotion

Dearest Breathless Readers, today I’m finishing my blog with a little shameless self-promotion, introducing you to The Billionaire Fling, a short story anthology which launches in January 2023.

My story – One Night with London’s Most Eligible Bachelor – is in the anthology with more than twenty other shorts from best-selling and award-winning authors.

This is an international anthology, organised by The New Romance Café/Romance Café Publishing and it is particularly close to my heart because all proceeds from sales of the anthology are donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Both my mother and sister have had breast cancer, and my sister (in the wedding dress!) is still fighting it, so anything that brings us closer to a cure is worth it in my book!

If you want to buy, The Billionaire Fling can be pre-ordered here.

Champagne, sports cars, private jets: these powerful billionaires can buy everything but love. 

With the world at their command, how will they cope with the one person who wants their heart, not their money?

Strap on your red sole stilettos, pop open the champagne, and dive into our billionaires' glittering happy ever afters.

Over twenty titillating stories from USA Today best-selling and award-winning romance authors in a spicy billionaire collection curated by The New Romance Cafe, with ALL proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Kristine Charles writes sexy tales where coffee (and red wine) is abundant, designer shoes and handbags are cheap, chocolate has no calories, and men always put the toilet seat down. Find her at or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram via Linktree.

LOVE TO LOVE: holiday planning... when I need to escape, I spend five minutes looking up something new to see or do in Hawaii. Bring on my trip in February!

LOVE TO LAUGH: Check out @saruh2themax on Instagram (or TikTok). Her #WillowsDiner videos are THE BEST. They cheer me up every day!

LOVE TO LEARN: from Sarra Cannon. I'm starting to think about my plans for next year and I'm using Sarra's HB90 method (which, in short, has you plan in 12 weekly chunks with a focus on what tasks move you towards your goals). If you want to check Sarra out, her YouTube channel is great.