Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Review: "The Christmas Swap" by Melody Carlson

It's maybe a little early for Christmas, but I feel like in 2020, we should get a pass. Want to drink cocoa, listen to Christmas music, and read a Christmas book in September? Go for it!

All Emma Daley wants this holiday season is a white Christmas. But the young teacher and struggling musician sure can't find that in sunny Arizona. Luckily, there's someone living in a perfect mountain home in the Colorado Rockies looking to make a vacation trade this year.

West Prescott is an in-demand songwriter and talented musician who put his own singing career on hold to write songs for celebrity acts to perform. When his mother convinces him to do a vacation trade for Christmas, he never imagined one of the houseguests would be so sweet--or so strikingly pretty. Naturally, he decides to stick around, and, to get better acquainted, he poses as the house's caretaker. But when Emma's friend Gillian discovers his true identity and sets her sights on him, things get . . . messy.

Fan favorite Melody Carlson is back with another delightful Christmas tale to warm your heart on those cold winter evenings.

Can we say Hallmark movie? This book is a Hallmark Christmas movie waiting to happen, complete with all the joys and frustrations those movies evoke. 

The setting of Breckenridge, Colorado, is perfect for a Christmas book, and West's house is beautifully decorated for Christmas. But other than that, the book doesn't give too many Christmas feels; in fact, while Christmas is often mentioned, not many activities are actually Christmas-specific.

I enjoyed West and Emma, and I felt their attraction was real, but the romance progressed really quickly. I would've been totally on board if it had just been an attraction and they decided to see what progressed, but they ended up "in love" ... well, at the speed of a Hallmark movie! Their relationship felt pretty surface-level, too, probably just because the entire novel takes place over only a few days.

Gillian, Emma's "best" friend comes off like a classic Hallmark villain - not too evil, but manipulative and self centered. I basically cringed every time she showed up on the page, and I couldn't understand how Emma could remain friends with her.

Ultimately, it boils down to this: The Christmas Swap would make an excellent Hallmark movie, and I could practically see it on the screen while I read! But I want my books to have just a touch more depth and authenticity to them, so while the book was OK, it certainly wasn't my favorite of Carlson's novels. 3 stars.

Buy the book (affiliate link).
Read my reviews of Carlson's
Trading Secrets (3 stars) and Shattered (reviewed before I was rating books!)

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus.

She also writes many teen books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series.

Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books, including the Notes from a Spinning Planet series and Finding Alice, which is in production as a Lifetime Television movie. She and her husband serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell through the Revell Reads program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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