Book Review: The Secret Santa Project by Carol Ross

Posted August 15, 2021 by meezcarrie in Carol Ross, Christmas, contemporary, giveaway, romance / 9 Comments

Seasons of Alaska #8

GENRE: Contemporary Romance (Clean & Wholesome)
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Heartwarming
RELEASE DATE: July 27, 2021
PAGES: 384

A gift he wasn’t expecting…

A special Christmas wish

Working with his best friend’s sister isn’t how Cricket Blackburn had planned to spend his holidays. He’d tried to forget about sweet, beautiful Hazel James for ten whole years and now she’s back, closer to him than ever. They have a Christmas charity to run—certainly that will keep Cricket’s mind off what might have been. Perhaps if he tells Santa his secrets, his ultimate wish might come true.

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Ohhhhh I’ve been waiting for this story!!! Hazel & Cricket have been on my radar for a bit now, and especially after Catching Mr. Right. Their journey to happily-ever-after was everything I wanted it to be and more – swoony, sweet, tender, and passionate. And my goodness, the romantic tension was off the charts. Whew. I’m still fanning over some of their locked gazes (mostly courtesy of Cricket and his intense smolder).

Hazel and Cricket have a long history, and in fact Cricket’s history with the James family goes back even before Hazel was born. He didn’t come from a solid, loving, or close-knit family like Hazel did, and his interactions with the James clan became his family. Which adds all sort of tricky layers to his feelings for Hazel. The author does a great job of presenting these obstacles in a way that makes more & more sense as we learn more of Cricket’s background. This part of Cricket’s past also added further dimension to the story, and it leads to a very sweet moment at the end of the book – one that had me a little teary-eyed too.

In The Secret Santa Project we also get to see Cricket’s brother Lee, and he surprised me in every possible (good) way. I really loved his character and would love to see more of his story at some point in the future. He provided humor as well as heart, and readers will delight in watching how he adds to the story in many different aspects.

Bottom Line: I love Hazel and I love Cricket … and I love them even more together. The dialogue, the friendship, the deeper feelings, the spark-filled looks, and then the smokin’ hot kisses – all of it was just perfection. It may be August, but I can read Christmas stories any time of the year – and it helps take the edge off the 90+ degree heat here right now when I imagine I’m visiting the James family instead. Add in a secret Santa gift exchange, a Christmas donation drive, and the stunning Alaskan setting, and you’ve got a fabulous read from start to finish!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received via the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4.5 stars / loved it!

KissingBook Level: 4 / keep those fans and fainting couches handy!

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Carol Ross lives with her husband and two dogs (a perfect border collie and a perfectly loveable miscreant of a dachshund) in a small town in Washington near both the ocean and the mountains. She loves the Northwest because, when the temperamental weather cooperates, she enjoys hiking, running, skiing, and spending time outdoors. And when it doesn’t…she dons a raincoat, or gets lost in a book. She enjoys reading in many genres but writes about what she loves the most-romance.

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Other Books by Carol Ross

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