The Christmas Keeper

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 Nov 2019

Member Reviews

I'm a huge Jenn McKinley fan and I love reading her books. This one did not disappoint. I liked that the author jumped into another genre. I usually read her cozy mysteries, but this one was a romance. The storyline was fun, and there was just the right amount of romance to keep me invested in the main characters relationship.
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Savannah Wilson is in town to rebuild her bruised and battered reputation by helping her best friend market her new bookstore. She much prefers big city living to the small town she finds herself in—although it does have its own charm, if she’s honest with herself. And there is Joaquin Solis, who she knows she must resist at all costs. He could derail all her plans. Besides, they aren’t a good fit even if Joaquin feels otherwise. When the two get wind that the bookstore might be in trouble, they agree to work together to build up publicity to turn the store’s fate around. This is Joaquin’s chance to show Savannah that their growing attraction to one another can amount to more than just a short-term fling.

You have to love a book that partly takes place in the Happily Ever After Bookstore. At least this reader has to. I have yet to read the first book in the series (you can bet I will!), but that did not hurt my enjoyment of A Christmas Keeper. It stands just find on its own. I really liked the very independent Savannah who was cheated out of her successful publicity career. She really suffered a blow when she lost her job, and is trying to get back on her feet again. Joaquin owns a horse ranch that offers horse therapy. His parents died in a terrible accident years ago, leaving him to care for his younger sister who had suffered a brain injury in the accident. It’s obvious he loves his sister very much. Family is extremely important to him. It was impossible not to fall for Joaquin. At least I would if I were in Savanah’s shoes. He is quite the catch!

In some ways, A Christmas Keeper reminded me of a Hallmark Christmas movie—only much better. It is sexy and charming with just the right amount of humor and drama to make this a fun read.
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Edited review! I posted a review for a different book by mistake! Too many Christmas books! (if that is possible.)

I was just introduced to the term "cinnamon roll hero," and Joaquin Solis  in The Christmas Keeper by Jenn McKinlay is the cinnamon rolliest. You all can keep your Christmas grinches and bad boys, give me all the good guys, lovers of Christmas, and cinnamon rolls! Joaquin has had his share of hard times, but he has turned those hard times into full blown Christmas cheer. And now he has set his sights on  Savannah Wilson, who is in town trying to pick of the pieces from her career now in shambles and assisting her friend in getting her romance bookstore running smoothly. 

I loved everything about The Christmas Keeper. Cute main characters, tons of Christmas cheer, a romance bookstores, and a cast of great side characters in a cute little town. And of course Christmas cowboys. Though it was book two in the series, it was easy to jump into the story. And now I need to go back and read book one. I have been recommending this book to all my friends. This one is easily a 4 star read!!
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Steamy Christmas romance that I really enjoyed! A great pick for the season and kept me engaged throughout!
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I read The Good Ones by Jenn McKinley and could see this book coming in the distance. There was a hyper focus on Quino’s and Savy’s first meeting. And it was a meet cute if I have ever seen it. I was super happy with the speed of their relationship. There was only minor emotional constipation. I appreciate that.
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I received the second book in the Happily Ever After series from Berkley Publishing Group at Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is my first book of author Jenn McKinlay's that I read outside her Cupcake Bakery Mystery series, a series I adore. I have not yet read the first book in this series, but hope to get to that in the new year. I was happy to find out that this works as a standalone. This book follows Savannah Wilson, who lives above her friend's bookstore, and Joaqiun Solis, who vows to marry her by Christmas. This book has charm, wit and a lot of sweetness. It's a wonderful contemporary romance. I will definitely be recommending this book to our patrons to read during this holiday season!
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Thanks to Berkley and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this novel. My review is solely my own, however, not influenced by the gratis copy.

This story is a sequel to the first book in the “Happily Ever After” series, and while enjoyable, was not as humorous as book 1. This story obviously takes place at Christmas. While the author’s Ugly Christmas Sweater theme was funny the first time, it got old pretty fast. 

There is little involvement with Perry, the only teenager in the series. A new character is introduced, Joaquin’s (Quino) younger sister, Desi (short for Desiree). She is 25 years old, hardly a teen like Perry, but suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury ten years earlier, so she is not a typical 25-year-old, either. Both parents died in the same car accident, so she and Quino are the only family members left. Quino is her legal guardian and takes his responsibilities seriously. He not only inherited her care, but also the family business, the horse farm. 

As in book 1, this book features an animal (or several, in this case) that serve to comfort or entertain their humans. Here, it’s not a cuddly kitten, but a cantankerous old mare with a ‘tude. 
Desi has decided that what she want in life is to work with rescue elephants in Africa, and her decisions cause Quino serious anxiety. Needless to say, he acts as though he’s her father/boss/overlord, and she resents it, even though she knows he means well. 

Never having experienced a TBI, nor ever having known someone who had, I can’t speak with any authority on the subject. But my first reaction was to side with him because is a serious injury, and who wouldn’t err on the side of caution? Who wouldn’t be beside themself if the injured sib  just up and left without a word? Hardly the action of a responsible adult.

We aren’t told until later that Desi has been seeing a doctor, but the doctor still seems a bit too casual about Desi’s grand adventure. Sure, Desi deserves a degree of independence if she knows what she is doing, but traveling alone around the globe for the first time is hardly the same, and I’d be worried, too, if my impaired sister suddenly went missing. So that part of the story felt like quite a stretch. 

As in book 1, this book features characters with a sad history or troubled past. Quino and Desi lost both parents in the same accident that injured Desi. Savy’s parents are alive but could care less if she is alive or dead. Quino is a nurturer and loves family, so he’s a tonic for Savy’s soul—plus easy on the eyes, as we’re told on numerous occasions.

There are other developments in the story but I don’t want to give away the whole plot. Suffice it to say there is the same amount of psychologizing as in book 1, with characters who make mistakes, learn their lessons, apologize,  are forgiven, and reunited.

This is a mainstream romance novel with a happy ending, slightly more intelligent than average. There are a few scenes of premarital sex if that is an issue, but they are tastefully written, not in detail. 

The book is a fast read, with unique characters, but in my opinion, was not as satisfying as book 1. If you love horses, however, you may feel differently!
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With revenge fueling Savannah’s mind, determination is the key. Nothing will stand in the way of this obsession. Not even the hot and laid back rancher. Joaquin knows that Savannah is the gal for him, unfortunately that memo didn’t reach Savannah!! With a little nudge from their friends, the two embark upon a steamy ad festive holiday. Did I mention their might be a romance in the mix??

The Christmas Keeper is a sweet Christmas romance from author Jenn McKinlay. The second installment in the Happily Ever After series was a bit slow moving in the beginning, making the novel hard to connect with initially. As a huge fan of Jenn’s other series, I always look forward to seeing what will land on my reader next. The Christmas Keeper was light and full of charm, but I did have to push through the beginning to get wrapped up in the spirit of this novel.
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This book will bring out your Christmas spirit! This is the second book in the Happily Ever After series. This story follow Savannah and her best friend Maisy, running the romance book store called Happily Ever After. After losing her high powered job in New York City, Savannah comes to the small town of Fairdale to help out her friend. Her dream is to get back her reputation and head back to the city. After meeting Joaquin, a friend of Maisy's husband, things get a little off course. Nice Christmas time read!
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The Christmas Keeper is the perfect holiday read because it is filled with Christmas spirit. Joaquin Solis knew he met his future wife and just had to figure out a way to make her his. Savannah Wilson is in Fairdale to help her best friend’s bookstore after being unfairly terminated as a publicist. Joaquin/Quino jumps at the chance to help Savannah/Savy find ways to bring in customers to the bookshop and hopefully she’ll see him and his finer points. Savy is attracted to him but knows she’s here temporarily and it can’t go anything further than friendship. What she hadn’t expected was the slow seduction and charm he showed her in mistletoe kisses, ice skating, and his over the top Christmas decorations and ugly sweaters.
What an absolutely delightful story! I thoroughly enjoyed the journey she took me on. It flowed well and the new and old characters helped the story move forward effortlessly. Quino was very charming and lovable. I don’t think Savy had a chance to NOT fall in love with him. Savy just couldn’t resist and wanted the chance to live in the moment and enjoy. Quino learned the hard way that change can be a good thing and that family stays with you no matter where you are. This story hit home and touched my heart with all the good things I love about the holidays and family.
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The Christmas Keeper by Jenn McKinlay is the second novel in the Happily Ever After series, but that didn’t stop me from swooning and enjoying this holiday romance filled with sweaters, books and magical moments.

Despite, not having read the Good Ones I decided to jump in any way and it paid off. While I plan to go back and read Ryder and Maisy’s story, this works as a standalone.

Full review will post at Caffeinated Reveiwer on December 3rd. Link provided.
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The Christmas Keeper is wonderful book to fill you with some sizzling holiday joy.

Joaquin Solis knew Savannah Wilson was the one for him, now he just has to convince her. With the help of some friends, some very steamy chemistry and a ton of Christmas spirit.

Savannah has revenge on her mind and doesn’t want to have her plans to take second fiddle to anything, even including a hot all get out rancher.

The Christmas Keeper is a sexy, charming and packed full of fun Christmas romance.

I received this ARC copy of The Christmas Keeper from Berkley Publishing Group. This is my honest and voluntary review.
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THE CHRISTMAS KEEPER is the second book in Jenn McKinlay’s “Happily Ever After” series. Although this is part of a series, I believe THE CHRISTMAS KEEPER also works well as a standalone novel. At the opening of this story, it’s very apparent that Joaquin aka Quino Solis is wild about Savannah Wilson and is desperate to figure out how to win her for the long-term. I like a charming, sincere hero pursuing the heroine and who thinks about the future. Quino is exactly that kind of guy. Despite Savannah’s frequent rebuffs, she and Quino are often thrown together since they are both friends of another couple – Maisy and Ryder. Their determination to help Maisy’s independent romance-themed bookstore succeed ends up aiding in a romance blooming between the pair.

Having this story told from alternating perspectives gives readers a better understanding of why Savannah is so determined to resist Quino’s charms, and it also shows Quino’s hidden depths. It’s a little bit frustrating when Savannah keeps throwing down roadblocks in her developing relationship with Quino, but Jenn McKinlay gives a good explanation for why she is the way she is. Likewise, at first Quino is nothing short of perfect – charming, fun, sweet, caring, and a superfan when it comes to Christmas. However, as the story progresses and family stress weighs on him, Quino proves to be just as flawed as anybody else and a more realistic hero. Savannah’s friend Maisy and Quino’s friend Ryder help break the tension in this book, and act as much-needed sources of support and as sounding boards for the two main characters.

THE CHRISTMAS KEEPER is festive and fun with a little sweet and sexy thrown in for good measure. Lanie and Luke had an interesting dynamic in THE CHRISTMAS KEEPER, and I hope to read more about them in future “Happily Ever After” stories. I look forward to reading the next “Happily Ever After” book by Jenn McKinlay.
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This book just wasn't for me, as someone with a southern accent, she tried way to hard to make the characters speak a certain way. She also mention "Smokey Mountains" like four times in the first three pages. This was a DNF for me.
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I absolutely loved The Good Ones so I was so excited for The Christmas Keeper. Savannah was a force of nature in the first book and I couldn’t wait to read her story. Plus I wanted to find out more about Joaquin!

The Christmas Keeper was everything I had hoped it would be and more. The chemistry between the two was sizzling and I loved how they slowly came to trust each other. Plus there was a mysterious and reclusive writer, a bookstore potentially in danger, and the return of beloved characters from the first book. 

This one was full of Christmas cheer and I fully plan to read it again closer to the end of the year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we keep getting more installments in this series for quite a while, I adore the characters and the setting. If you’re looking for a contemporary romance, I’d recommend checking this one out! Plus there’s plenty in this series to appeal to book lovers (I dare you to not want to visit the Happily Ever After Bookstore after reading this). 

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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✦Review: THE CHRISTMAS KEEPER by Jenn McKinlay
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Donna 
Rated 5 Stars 

I loved this installment in the Happily Ever After series. The series title says it all. This author has a gift for writing smooth dialogue, witty as well as somber. It isn’t just Savy and Quino’s flirtatious banter, but all those around them. This is one of those stories that make you wish you lived there, and I hated for it to end. I connected immediately with Savy and Quino and although story and romance progressed in a predictable manner – I loved every word of it. This was a sweet and steamy romance that has me smiling long after the last page was read.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.


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Going into this book I had really high expectations.  I love McKinlay's cozy mysteries and I absolutely adored the one romance by her that I had read.  But honestly, this one fell a little flat for me.  Right off the bat I had problems getting into this one.   Maybe this was a case of expectations leading me astry.  Usually McKinlay's books just pull me in right from the start but this one just never grabbed me.  

It took me too long to connect with Savannah and honestly I'm not 100% sure I ever did and Joaquin wasn't much better though I did like him a bit better.   Savannah was to prickly and too negative and while Joaquin was much nice he never felt truly fleshed out.  But my biggest problem was the pacing in this book.  It felt like there was far too much showing and not telling and that kept me from really becoming invested in the story.  I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed this more if I had read the first book but it could be more that this just wasn't for me.  

This was still a McKinlay book so it wasn't a complete flop.  The side characters were a lot of fun and I really loved the setting.
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Okay, I LOVED The Good Ones, which is the first book in this series. I was so excited for this one! I kind of wanted to smack Savannah, but the tension was good at times. A lot happens in this book and I am here for it! I also love that the romance bookstore is a big part of this one, just like the first book. Weaving in romance writers is just so genius, and really makes me feel connected to the entire story. PLUS, this one takes place at Christmas, which just adds more warm and fuzzy feelings to Savannah and Joaquin's journey to each other. Ineed all my fellow romance readers to go read this series!
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Thank you @netgalley for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. 

This was such a fantastic addition to the Happily Ever After series. I adored the first book, The Good Ones, but the characters in this story immediately stole my heart. Savannah is such a spitfire. It’s no surprise that it was going to take a very special man to rope her into a romance and boy did she snag a good one. Quino might have just made his way to the top of my all time favorite male leads. A kind, thoughtful, charming guy who is great with kids, operates a horse farm and is utterly obsessed with Christmas. Oh my goodness, wait until you see the extremes this guy goes to in order the celebrate the festive season. His hideous Christmas sweaters cracked me up and his use of mistletoe made me swoon. Did I mention he’s quite handsome too? As in a local romance writer, modeled the cover of her well known book after him and his horse! Trust me, it’s utter perfection. The chemistry and banter between Savannah and Quino was extremely entertaining and kept me flying through the pages to get to more of their interactions. 

With all of the flirtations, humor and sweet romance, the characters had a lot of depth. Both are struggling with overcoming their past. Savannah has never felt included with or supported by her family. The holidays are extra tough because she has no amazing memories of the season to fall back on. I enjoyed watching her slowly open up to the holiday and find what brings her joy once again. Quino gave up everything to move back home and become his sister’s caretaker after his parents were killed in a accident. He’s learning that life needs to be celebrated. It does continue to go on and change is difficult, but good. He also learns the hard way to let his sister go so she can fulfill her own dreams. I also enjoyed the side story with the romance novelist who has been a recluse for many years. 

It was fun seeing the same cast from the first book. Maisy, Perry, Ryder and of course King George made several appearances. Fingers crossed the series continues!!! Looks like there could be at least two more romances to watch unfold - Hannah / Sawyer and Lanie / Luke. Can’t recommend this light, romance series enough. Both books would be so fun to see made into movies.
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Of all the romances I've read over the last year or two, I think this is my first Christmas themed one? And now I want to read more, and I didn't expect they would be that much my jam. This was super sweet and very fun to read. Even though I think she'd be mad at people feeling upset for her, Savannah's past and the career hurdles she was trying to overcome made me so mad for her, and I loved Joaquin's determination to make a Christmas (and Joaquin) lover out of her. As a book lover, I love the bookstore setting of this series and particularly enjoyed Savannah's determination to pull a reclusive author out of hiding as a career save. Thoroughly enjoyable, this would be a great stocking stuffer for any romance lover!
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