A #ChristmasReads selection of Jorie’s during #blogmas | “A Family by Christmas” (Book One: Little Shops on Heart Street series) by Viv Royce

Posted Thursday, 12 December, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#blogmas 2019 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Borrowed Book By: I came to find out about this Christmas Romance release as I follow the social feeds on Twitter for Vivian Conroy – of whom is the writer behind this novel. She writes for different publishers and uses a few different pen names to denote which type of story and/or series she is writing. When I learnt about this upcoming Christmas release I asked my local library to purchase a copy as I was hoping they might consider it for one of their new Christmas selections for the year. I happily received the news they did select it and was thankful I had the chance to read it during #blogmas.

Therefore borrowed a print copy of “A Family by Christmas” from my local library and I was not obligated to post a review and are sharing my ruminations with my readers for my own edification as well as happily sharing my bookish life with my readers and visitors alike. The Press Materials however were provided by the author and are used with permission.

On how I came to find this author:

I first became introduced to this author’s writing style through her Cosy Historical and Cosy Contemporary Mysteries – as I previously read “In Peppermint Peril” for last year’s #cloakanddaggerchristmas readathon and I had the joyful pleasure of being involved in the Twitter chat #Conroy10 which celebrated the release of “The Butterfly Conspiracy” before I had the chance to read the book myself!

However, more to the point, I truly came to know her as a writer and as a conversationalist through her Historical Fiction Twitter chat #HistFicChat – of which we both share a mutually beloved passion for the historic past as explored through today’s Historical narratives which criss-cross through History and give us a wicked good impression of the past!

This marks the first release of her Contemporary Romances by Entangled Publishing – a new Indie publisher I was thankful to have crossed paths with as they offer romances within a lot of the sub-genres of interest I have as a Romance reader.

When I learnt of the release for “A Family by Christmas” I knew I wanted to see if my local library could purchase it in time to read by Christmas. What I hadn’t expected was reading it in the golden hour of having it a bit too long due to my father’s medical crisis & my Winter cold which not just took me offline for a week but also had me have a bit of amnesia when it came to my library account! I completely lost track of ‘where’ I was with my borrows both for print and audio – so I quickly made amends to get this novel & Ms Bacarr’s novel back to the library for the next borrowers in queue to read them before Christmas!

I also had the pleasure of hosting Vivian Conroy during one of my 2019 @SatBookChat‘s! The archived conversations are available to be seen in @SatBookChat’s Moments.

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A #ChristmasReads selection of Jorie’s during #blogmas | “A Family by Christmas” (Book One: Little Shops on Heart Street series) by Viv RoyceA Family by Christmas
Subtitle: Sometimes Wishes Do Come True | Little Shops on Heart Street
by Viv Royce
Source: Borrowed from local library, Purchase REQ | local library

Chocolatier Emma Miller has a new business selling bonbons to the residents of the quaint town of Wood Creek. When a tiny visitor stops by her shop with an interesting request. Emma is intrigued. The young girl needs chocolates that will help her widowed dad fall in love, preferably with her teacher. What Emma didn’t count on was Casey’s ever so charming and handsome dad, Grant, stepping into her life. She has to remind herself to be cautious because the one thing she learned in foster care is that people always leave.

Pilot Grant Galloway is touched by his daughter’s gift and is curious about the person who made the world-class chocolates. But when he steps into Emma’s shop full of delicious smells and tasty morsels, he forgets to breathe. And it has nothing to do with the his favourite desert. She’s pretty and kind, and when she has to deal with a difficult client, his protective instincts kick into high gear. But he risked his heart once. When his wife died, it left him broken. He’s just now beginning to pick up the pieces, and he and his daughter will be leaving town once the holidays are over.

Thanks to some Christmas wishes, though, these two might discover that their carefully laid plans are about to change.

Genres: Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Cookery, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Sweet Romance

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1694079374

Published by Entangled Publishing

on 18th September, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 160

Published by: Entangled Publishing (@entangledpub)

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

Christmas Romance Book Icon made by Jorie in Canva.

Converse via: #ChristmasRomance and #SweetRomance

About Viv Royce

A Family by Christmas promo banner provided by the author Viv Royce and is used with permission.

With the same trademark atmospheric settings, relatable characters and cute canines that made several of her cozy mysteries #1 Amazon US and Canada bestsellers in multiple categories, Vivian Conroy pens romance as Viv Royce, creating heartthrob heroes ranging from rugged pilots to royals reluctant to believe in true love who meet their match in that girl next door or the co-worker with the business ideas exactly opposing their own – happy endings guaranteed! When not frequenting fictional worlds, Viv loves to hike (especially in the mountains), craft with paper, felt and clay, and hunt for the perfect cheesecake. Quite active on Twitter, she's the founder of #HistFicChat, a live Twitter chat about historical fiction, featuring authors like Kate Quinn, Anna Lee Huber and Susan Spann, and would love for readers to follow her and connect via @VivWrites.

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a note ahead of reading the story:

A note on pre-reading this Christmas Romance: As I had become introduced to her Contemporary Cosy Mystery style, I was most interested in seeing how she shifted into Contemporary Romance as I love small towne romances, Christmas Romances and any story which positively highlights foster children, adoption and/or the difficult transitions from foster care to adulthood as not all children waiting for families are adopted or are legally free to become adopted.

The cover art for this novel was sweet and encouraging as you gathered the sense the whole story is set round the young girl who is smitten with the idea of romance for her father but might not realise whose meant to fall in love with him! I love the baking nudges with the aprons and the concept of having a #holidayromance set round a daughter who only wants the best happiness for her father.

my review for a family by christmas:

What is so dearly charming about how we enter into this chocolate shoppe run by Emma is how openly accepting the story is to greet you right at the moment the young girl enters her life! Emma is just going about her regular business creating an order for a customer when she unexpectedly senses rather than notices a presence in her shoppe. This leads her to finding that she has a customer of a rather shorter stature than normal and therein, lies the beauty of how Ms Royce begins this Contemporary Christmas Romance – as she allows the young girl herself to explain her reason for the visit whilst giving you the impression Emma was more than a bit flummoxed how the young girl realised this was the best place to solve her current dilemma with her father’s broken heart!

As you listen to the girl talk about her grandmother & her father, it sweetens your heart immediately as who doesn’t want to see a young daughter’s dream and hopeful gift become realised when its spoken with the heart?

Some of my best memories of visiting chocolate shoppes is the aromas you smell from fresh made chocolates and the amount of selection you have to fill your chocolate heart with a tasty sampling of what they can offer you for sale. I never know what to order or to request – the choices alone make you swoon and so, as Emma started to debate with her selections in flavours for Grant off Casey’s Christmas gift request, I found myself fondly remember my own visits to chocolate shoppes and be museful about which chocolate I should purchase and the taste it would leave me with as I exited. Although, I admit – outside of the chocolates themselves, the chocolate covered strawberries are a personal favourite!

It is how Casey chose to give her father the bonbons which I enjoyed the most – she did it in secret and even had the consideration to place the box somewhere he wouldn’t suspect a gift to be placed for him to find! Isn’t that the best way to surprise your parents? To tuck in a Christmas gift in the middle of their lives and have it found at a moment they are not suspecting to be surprised by anything? I know it is whenever I can manage to pull that kind of surprise off at Christmas! Grant of course, starts to enjoy the chocolates long before he lets his mind work out how Casey purchased them and of course, that leads him to remembering something his own Mum had mentioned to him about Heart Street’s new chocolatier! Laughs.

I loved how Grant is seeing all of this from a different perspective than Casey and even Emma herself hadn’t quite put the dots together on what Grant wanted her to do on his behalf with Casey! His idea was a clever one for sure but it was also a quickfire way of having Casey’s dream for his life realised because he was putting himself in a vulnerable position – though in truth, I don’t believe he saw it that way at first. I think for Grant, he would do anything to help Casey overcome her own loss and to give her a chance to rebuild her own life even if that meant he didn’t have as much time to focus on his own needs & his own reasons for needing to seek out interpersonal relationships.

The internal battle of Grant is well explained – how his own remorse and grief is tethered into what was happening to him in his marriage during the time of his wife’s passing. He had regrets a plenty but it was more to the point of the kind of father he was now vs the kind of father he remembered he had been previously which was tugging at your own heartstrings. He was truly blaming himself for a lot of things that were out of his control – yet within the context of how Royce presented his anguished grief you can respect the choices he’s making towards this self-recrimination because of how Grant viewed his own life’s choices. He wanted to own his past and re-direct his present but he was struggling with the resolution he craved for those moments you cannot take back or fix in the future.

The interesting bit is how Royce chose to highlight this in the midst of giving us the chance to get to know Grant & Emma on a more interactive engagement as he stepped forward to offer Emma a chance to make deliveries in a way she hadn’t quite envisioned as an option for her shoppe. It was here where we tuck closer to their personal thoughts and as we listen to their thoughts, we see the layers of how their personalities could mix together rather well.

In the background, the towne itself is going through some growing pains – as some of the shops are struggling to find their own identities on Heart Street whilst others are failing to thrive. It is an interesting business atmosphere as the towne itself is focused on independent shopping and non-chain options for the more discerning buyer who wants to pop into a store they can meet & greet the owner without worrying about a conglomerate owning it. Still. Royce owns the truth of the times in this modern world where smaller townes and independent stores are finding themselves in a transitional period of trying to market themselves to both locals and tourists alike in order to improve the viability of their commerce options & the thriving aspect of having a business district which is independently viable from the towne.

The more time you observe Grant, Casey and Emma spending together the more you feel they can find a way to repair the losses they’ve each faced separately as they unite together during a Christmas season where their lives are being consistently pulled in the same directions. What is interesting is how Emma can relate to Casey – on a very direct level of the loss of their mothers whilst for Grant he has to find a will to see that despite the fact his wife has gone prematurely there is a lot left inside his heart to give to others. He is only seeing a lot of what is happening to him from a point of reference where all of life feels overwhelming but through Emma’s presence, you start to see him softening to accepting that perhaps having an ironed out plan of what ‘comes next’ post a traumatic loss like his wife’s might not be the best course of action for him and Casey.

Grant’s parents, his sister Fay and her husband all welcomed Emma into their folds – I loved how his mother put it about how their home always had a welcoming door to greet her if she wanted to drop-in on them. It is hard to find families who offer this because too often in our current culture neighbourhoods are more sheltered away from each other or people forget that we used to be able to drop by each other’s residences, share a conversation and spend time together. I loved seeing this offered to Emma because not only did it allow her to have a new family to embrace her as one of their own but it also showed the heart of the community itself as it has this welcoming vibe to outsiders who want to make this community their home. That is doubly hard to find IRL as much as it is in fictional townes.

Each of the characters within this series has their own message to share, their own purpose to find inspiration and a sense of second beginnings – whether that is in romance or in life, this is a place where you can find your own heart feeling uplifted for seeing how each of their lives are starting to resolve from a transitional place of needing a bit of polishing to find their tomorrows of their dreams. It will be interesting to step back into this series – to see which character is next in line to be highlighted and how much time ‘moves forward’ as we realign with them to see what is new in the previous characters already disclosed. A bit like how revisiting the Christmas film series Christmas in Evergreen gives you a positive uplift of joy?

What I loved most though is the balance Royce captured between the community, the characters and the sense of finding family even after loss. She gives you a hearty story to appreciate for Christmas because this is the season for unexpected resolutions, beautiful blessings and a renewing sense of not just ‘self’ but of the romance of what makes each of us individually happy as much as how if you open your heart to what is potentially plausible to alight on your path, the surprise for Christmas if finding yourself embracing a new period of untold joys! This is the kind of story you want to tuck inside as Winter starts to bring its snowy weather and as the chase up to Christmas could use its own respites from the busy glow of the season.

on the christmas romantic styling of viv royce:

The Contemporary style is similar to what you’d find inside In Peppermint Peril as Royce loves using small towne life as an anchour to her character’s life – which of course, makes me especially happy as I love the ambiance of small towne culture and the aspects of how the community itself plays an important role in the life of a character. In this instance, she’s given us three newer residents (Casey and her father Grant as well as Emma herself) who are attempting to find their way in both the towne and in their lives.

Royce allows you to see the emotional anguish in Grant – of how the toll of losing his wife is affecting him not just on a personal level of dealing with the grief of her loss but how he’s having issues parenting Casey. Even the small joys of story-telling at night is a tricky operation for him and during the daytime he finds himself less anxious and less liable to give into his war of memories which is slowly eating him from the inside out. You can understand his struggles – the difficulty of resolving the loss and the transitions into being as single father without his wife by his side. Royce gives you this time in his life full justice without sugar coating it and honestly depicting the harder moments of a father struggling to resolve his heart as he recognises that he’s changed since his wife died.

Royce has a knack for writing Contemporary Romantic drama – for giving her characters the space and time they need to work through their own internal battles and to give a reader a chance to see peek into a community they would be grateful to call their own. This is definitely one story I am glad I heard about on Twitter and am dearly wicked thankful I could read as it is another reason why I am enjoying my discovery of Entangled Publishing as a new place to find the Romance novels I must enjoy reading!!

I am thankful my library purchased this copy as it allowed me to read it for #blogmas and as part of the #ChristmasReads I had earmarked to seek out this year. It is definitely a series I will continue to request through the library and one day would like to see on my own personal library shelves!

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Happily the sequel to A Family by Christmas is arriving in January!

A Valentine Proposal promo teaser banner provided by the author Viv Royce and is used with permission.

Just as free-spirited bookstore employee Cleo Davis faces closure of her beloved shop, the owner informs her it will continue as part of the successful Stephens chain. When the chain’s risk assessor, the very reserved, very attractive Mark Stephens, enters the store to look over her business plan, Cleo clashes with him right away. Oil and water have nothing on them.

Mark has always followed the rules. But the minute he steps into vibrant and spunky Cleo’s store, he knows he’s in trouble. One moment he’s in her “craft corner” painting bookends with kids, the next in a bidding war with Cleo at a charity auction. He can’t deny that opposites attract, and Cleo’s vivacious personality has him rethinking his life in more ways than one.

But when Cleo’s store officially becomes part of the bookstore chain, Mark will become her boss…and completely off limits.

I was quite happy to see Cleo’s story is the next installment for the series because of the way the bookshoppe became introduced through Emma’s story-line. Cleo was the first person who befriended Emma, showing her how kind and openly accepting this community is to outsiders who want to carve out a new life for themselves in a towne which is receptive to independent businesses and those of whom want to create a ‘found family’ atmosphere when they have already lost their biological families.

Cleo’s journey with the bookshoppe started in-line with Emma’s struggle to make connections within the community herself and as you see the two lives merging through their respective challenges in business, you also began to contemplate how Cleo’s life might pan out, too! This is why it is a lovely surprise finding Cleo is the next community member to have her life highlighted in the series!! Love it when that happens!!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comI am thankful the author Viv Royce could provide me with the lovely Press Materials on this post as they helped me showcase the beauty of this Sweet Romance and the series itself as it continues into 2020!

A Family by Christmas promo teaser banner provided by the author Viv Royce and is used with permission.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “A Family by Christmas”, book synopsis for both “A Family by Christmas” and “A Valentine’s Proposal”, promo and teaser banners for both “A Family by Christmas” and “A Valentine Romance” were provided by the author Viv Royce (ie. Vivian Conroy) and are used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #blogmas 2019 badge, Christmas Romance icon and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Thursday, 12 December, 2019 by jorielov in #blogmas, #JorieLovesIndies, A Father's Heart, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Christmas Romance &/or Holiday Story, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Foster Care, Indie Author, Life Shift, Motherhood | Parenthood, New England, Northeast USA, Orphans & Guardians, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Single Fathers, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Sudden Absence of Parent, Sweet Romance, Widows & Widowers

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