Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Book Review: "Any Given Christmas" by Candis Terry

Any Given Christmas (Sugar Shack #2) Candis Terry
Published: December 6, 2011
ISBN: 9780062133298
Genre: Romance (Contemporary)
Source: Personal Copy
Highly Recommended

You might enjoy this book if you like: Small town romances, Football romances, slightly supernatural stories

When an injury dashes NFL Quarterback Dean Silverthorne's Super Bowl dreams, he heads back to Deer Lick, Montana with a chip on his wounded shoulder, more determined than ever to get back in the game. He loves his kooky family, but this trip home is going to be a very brief Christmas visit.

His game plan doesn't include an instant attraction to Emma Hart, a feisty kindergarten teacher who seems to be the only person in Deer Lick not interested in the hometown hero. Or his dearly departed mom popping up with mistletoe in hand and meddling on the mind. Now Dean can't help but wonder if there’s more to love than life between the goal posts. 

My Thoughts:
I read my first Candis Terry book, Second Chance at the Sugar Shack (which is also the first in this series), earlier this year and enjoyed it so much that I went out and downloaded ALL of her other novels.  Of course, with my out-of-control TBR, it took me months to get to the second installment.

Terry keeps it in the family as she now focuses on Kate's older brother.  Some things remain the same--the same small town, the same bakery, and--of course--the same ghost of a mother in the backseat.  But, Dean and Emma's story almost seemed more sweet to me.  Part of that is I think that both characters were well-realized.

Dean is a NFL Quarterback and, well, I'm sold.  It's true...I like football romances.  Emma is a small town kindergarten teacher who has a secret, a sweet cat, goal and--best of all--IS A PACKERS FAN!  Folks, this book could have failed on every level other than having a quarterback and a Packers fan, and I'd still be all over it.

Now, that aside, I did feel that this was a well-balanced romance.  So often, you get the story from either just the hero or, more often, heroine but, here the story is equally focused on both. However, it doesn't merge the Emma and Dean together too much.  Hey each have their own stories and their own struggles and Terry does both of them justice.

Terry's voice is just as readable as in the first novel.  This book is a little steamier, but it isn't tawdry (something that I appreciate after some of the other romances I've read recently).  More importantly, the emotional component is emphasized over the physical one.  I find that equation to be necessary for a truly successful romance.

I will say that I do think that this book needs to be read in sequence with the series.  It's not that the plot is especially tied to the earlier book, but there are elements of the story that would seem out of left field without the background found in Second Chance at the Sugar Shack.  Also, this book isn't as "Christmassy" as it might seem.  Most holiday romances tend to end in a romantic Christmas celebration whereas, with this book, Christmas is just something that happens about halfway through. I say that only to reassure anyone who would like to read this in the middle of the summer (as I did) that it won't seem out of time.

This book was a delight to read and I would highly recommend it to any romance fan, at any time of the year.  I can't wait to see what happens in the third and final installment of this series!

I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.

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