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3.0 out of 5 starsMeh so so
Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2014
I was really excited to read a Fools Gold Christmas story and I love the idea of a Christmas shop. But this one just fell flat. The main problem seemed to be that I was getting so much dumped into the story about the hero's brother and his fiance and they'd obviously had another story, but their story seemed to still overshadow this one. As someone who has not read many of the Fools Gold stories, I found myself bogged down in characters who obviously have had major roles in other stories, but not this one. I missed the primary romance between the hero and the heroine and felt like too much was going on with the other characters and their relationships--parents, siblings, fiances, etc to keep the focus on the main characters. This is the second Fools Gold book I have tried, and I'm not going to read anymore. I just can't get into a series that has nine plus books.
‘Christmas on 4th Street’ was my first foray into Fool’s Gold, I’ve got the series on my TBR list but haven’t gotten around to reading any yet, but I saw this one was on sale for $1.99 and being that it’s the holiday season I was looking for a light, feel good story and this one fit the bill quite nicely! The town and community of Fool’s Gold is definitely something! It’s a little over the top, but I like that the residents seem to know that and realize that what they have there in town is not common, I think that added a great deal to its charm. It’s the perfect setting for a Christmas story though, with the tight knit community, the parades (with an elephant wearing a Santa suit!) and festivals, it’s a very magical backdrop for this cute love story.
I liked Noelle, she was a survivor with a big heart. She came to Fool’s Gold looking for a new start after overcoming life threatening illness and she’s really found her niche with her Christmas store. I loved how attentive she was to her customers and made each one feel special. I also liked how tight she was with her friends and how open and honest she was with basically everyone. Her first meeting with Gabriel was pretty funny and I liked seeing their friendship and then more develop between them. Gabriel had several issues stemming from his upbringing and his time serving as a trauma doctor in the Army and because of some of the stuff he’s seen and been through in the Army he is very hesitant to open his heart again. But of course there’s just something about Noelle that he can’t shake and I liked watching his defenses fall. There were some ups and downs but overall this one was easy on the heart and I really enjoyed it. Things happened pretty quickly at the end, but hey it’s Fool’s Gold at Christmastime, so to them it probably didn’t seem too far-fetched!
I am going to have to go and read some of the other books in the series because there were some characters that were from other books and I’d love to go back and read their stories, like Felicia and Gideon. She was pretty intense and seems so opposite of Gideon, so I’m curious to see how their story played out!
I also read the bonus novella ‘Yours for Christmas’ at the end featuring Bailey and Kenny, from what I understand there’s been some chemistry brewing between these two for a little while, I’ll be interested to go back to some of the previous books to read about that. But I thought their story was cute too. Of course I’m a sucker for a guy falling for a single mom and her kid(s) and loving the kid(s) as if they were his own. In this book the fact that Bailey was a single mom was a big of a hang up for Kenny because of past experience. And while I could totally understand why he would shy away from single moms after that experience, I found the fact that he wouldn’t even consider trying for something more with Bailey to be a little extreme. I’ve only read these two stories in this series so I don’t know if this is a trend but so far both of the heroes had their individual hang ups and to them it was like a brick wall that stopped the relationship from going any further (at least for much of the story), they weren’t even willing to consider the possibility of something else. I thought that was kind of interesting. In the end I liked where this one went, although again things happened really fast here, being a novella though I wasn’t surprised since there’s only limited time to work with. Plus we got a little peek at Noelle about a year (I think) after her book took place and that was fun to see what’s going on with her.
Overall I enjoyed both stories and they were just what I was looking for and I am looking forward to returning to Fool’s Gold and catching up on the rest of the series.
2.0 out of 5 starsVery Slooooooooooow, drown-out & repetative
Reviewed in the United States on December 14, 2013
This is my first book by S Mallery. Got it for X-mas, to listen to an audio, while commuting. While I usually like light-hearted romances and sweet, dreamy fantasies (something to get your mind off the reality of everyday life), this one was not very entertaining. Very-very slow to start... what is the opposite of 'dynamic'? Way too many unnecessary details, I mean, we got a full scoop on who is walking the dogs during the adoption, how they fill dog dishes with water and where... Oh, please! Move-on, already! A lot of repetitive thoughts, again and again we heard how heroine's mother felt bad and how sorry she is, and how the heroine herself is considering taking the responsibility for their relationship... over and over! And then we heard some more details at nauseum on the costume constructions or holiday decorations... I found myself skipping my CD and then skipping some more. I wish I had more material on the heroes' relationship, other than their intimate moments, and their time together to really see how their feelings grow. Instead I got lots of background observations and secondary characters' interactions. Nearly all of Mallery's previous books in these series main characters were mentioned here and given updates: so&so is now married, so&so is now pregnant, so&so is happily engaged. We you like this kind of 'review', then you will love this book. Its like a prolog of the previous books. Otherwise, while I feel it is important to create an 'atmosphere', an overall background of the place and time of book's plot, this one has too much redundancy and is way too detailed in minutia. The ending was very obvious and a bit rushed. Again, I felt I wish I had less animal's descriptions and more hero/heroine deeper communications/ meaningful interactions. Overall a bit naive and weak, even for a romance love story. A great love story could be moving and profound; this one just felt like a 'neatly wrapped' blabbering. Sorry... will not purchase any other books.
4.0 out of 5 starsCould have been over-sentimental - well avoided
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 5, 2013
I like the Fool's Gold series but am always hesitant about any book specifically set at Christmas and particularly in America as they have the tendency to be nauseatingly sentimental. I was very pleased to discover that the author nicely avoided most of this and has written another strong entry in this series.
Noelle owns a Christmas shop and Gabriel is a military doctor on leave to join his family because he has a wound and is in danger of burning out (you will just have to forgive Susan Mallery for the Christmascentric names !). Noelle is starting again after an eventful life in which she was abandoned by a fiance and sees the town, her job and her new friendships as a great gift. She is an optimist but fortunately, along with her ability to always see the best in every situation, she is witty and over competitive. Gabriel is her opposite and he sees life as fleeting and essentially meaningless.Over the Christmas period they will come together in a totally predictable way, overcome their differences and forge new relationships with those close to them.
There is nothing unique or surprising here but this is an engaging, light read for those who enjoy romance. There are lots of interesting minor characters, a small amount of physical danger to add a bit of tension and at least one magical moment (I am not sure about Mayor Marsha's developing magical tendencies - they almost pushed the book over the edge into sentimentality). This is well and wittily written and I actually found myself wanting the final wedding scenes to be a bit more developed as I thought that they were too rushed - maybe the spirit of the season got to me after all.