The Holiday Gift by RaeAnne Thayne


The Holiday Gift by RaeAnne Thayne


With two kids and an active life, widow Faith Dustin only wants peace and quiet for Christmas. But her snowy Pine Gulch ranch is nothing but chaotic. All that keeps Faith going is her helpful neighbor, cowboy Chase Brannon. He’s always been “good ol’ Chase,” her faithful friend. Until he kisses her under the mistletoe… 

Years ago Chase blew his chance with the woman he’s loved since childhood. Now he’s determined to step out of the friend zone…and into the role of husband. But the scared and stubborn Faith won’t let herself fall. With Christmas just days away, Chase will need all the magic of the season—and the help of her two matchmaking children—to unwrap a second chance at love.

The first thing I will say about this book is that it is a part of a series, and that is the Cowboys of Cold Creek. There are many other books in this series and you will enjoy this book a lot if you are familiar with the setting already. I, however, did not know this so I will admit to you all that I struggled with this book because it was so many characters and I kept feeling like I was missing something.

I was drawn to this book because of the Christmas theme, and I also love the concept of being near the Teton mountain range. I’ve visited this part of the country and this book definitely made me feel like I was right back there. The author creates stunning visual imagery for her readers and I felt like I was right there with our characters in Idaho.

If I’m being truthful, I really did not care for Faith much. I understood her hesitation over a relationship with Chase, but at times she was so obtuse. And I think the fact that she was purposefully obtuse just started to drive me a little crazy at times. This is one of those moments where I feel like having read other books in the series would have made this book more enjoyable. There is so much overlap in characters, I can safely assume that Faith has popped up in past books. I think I would have felt more favorably for her had I gotten to see her in other settings before this.

Chase was a great character. The way he continued to step up to help Faith, even when I didn’t think she necessarily deserved it, was admirable. I also respected that Chase respected Faith and what she had been through. He truly did know Faith well and his actions showed that. I think his actions is what made their love believable. The fact that Faith had to keep talking herself into it made it hard to see her as really in love with Chase. But his actions showed why she SHOULD be in love with him.

I can’t say I would recommend this book if you haven’t read other books from RaeAnne Thayne, or aren’t already familiar with this series. The book is well written and the story is complete. But for someone who wasn’t familiar with the rest of the series, I found it a bit hard to keep up with all of their characters and all the backstories that were going on. I would still rate this book highly; there isn’t anything wrong with it. But my personal thoughts are that I would have loved this book vs just liking it if I had been more familiar with the series.


Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne


Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne

There’s no place like Haven Point for the holidays, where the snow conspires to bring two wary hearts together for a Christmas to remember 

It’s been two rough years since Andrea Montgomery lost her husband, and all she wants is for her children to enjoy their first Christmas in Haven Point. But then Andie’s friend asks a favor—to keep an eye on her brother, Sheriff Marshall Bailey, who’s recovering from a hit and run. Andie will do anything for Wyn, even park her own misgivings to check on her grouchy, wounded bear of a brother. 

Marshall hates feeling defenseless and resents the protective impulses that Andie brings out in him. But when a blizzard forces them together for the holidays, something in Marshall begins to thaw. Andie’s gentle nature is a salve, and her kids’ excitement for the holidays makes him forget why he never wanted a family. If only he and Andie can admit what they really want—each other—their Christmas wishes might come true after all.

I absolutely ADORE Christmas books. Halloween too. I just love seeing writers bring these special seasons to life with their words. With that said…I really didn’t love this book.

RaeAnne Thayne does an amazing job bring winter and Christmas to life. Which is why it makes it hard for me to dislike this book. I didn’t hate the book, but it really didn’t captivate me and I found myself somewhat forcing myself to return to it.

I definitely could see the town and characters coming to life as I read Andie and Marshall’s story. What was hard for me was the heaviness of the story. This is only my personal opinion, but I feel like holiday related books should be somewhat lighter. I know we all love a good Christmas miracle, but this book had so much heaviness within in, that I kept getting a bit torn in what direction I should be going.

For example, we see Andie’s history: this includes her husband, Jason, dying in the line of duty as a police officer and then later she is raped and attacked by her husband’s old partner, who is now in prison. Marshall, on the other hand, has just been in a hit and run accident and has a broken leg, and is certain that its an inside job. Then we learn Marshall has more in personal life than anyone in town even knows about.

These aspects didn’t necessarily bother me, but they made the book take on a lot of heaviness. The aspect of Marshall trying to solve his own hit and run case kept turning the story into more of a mystery. Then when the mystery is finally solved…it almost felt a bit rushed. Like it just didn’t make a lot of sense to me. My honest first thought was that the author sort of forgot about solving it and just needed to throw something in there quickly. That was how much it threw me off the way it was “solved”.

Overall, I did like the characters and the way the love between Andie and Marshall came to be. As a side note, there is no sex in this book. There is kissing and definite sexual tension. That didn’t bother me personally, but I know some prefer the steamier scenes so I want to be upfront that you won’t get those in this book.

If you are familiar with this author, I’m sure you would like this book. I would definitely be willing to read another book from this author. Her writing is fantastic and she was able to bring the story to life. I think it just became too many things swirling around and it actually took away from the rest of the good parts of the story.